Jason hadn’t left the bar all night. He was told that he had a room to go to but he couldn’t bring himself to find it. Instead, he had found some spare pillows, made a small space behind the bar, away from anyone, and had settled himself in. The moment he had laid down, he had found himself paralysed. The notion of movement seemed completely foreign to him and all memory of how to do it was lost. He just lay there, letting his entire world collapse in around him. He listened to the crashes and explosions and general disasters coming from the glass bubble, allowing the full destruction to completely envelope him.
The room had gone quiet after a couple of hours. No more people walked in and out of the bar, everyone was either in the bubble or had gone to bed. The noises from outside that had been at one time loud and constant were now intermittent and less threatening. Someone must have left the door to the bubble slightly ajar however because whenever a noise was made, he could hear it clear as day.
Jason’s mind seemed consumed. He had every person he ever loved running on loop around his brain, a new stab of pain entering his chest when he would remember another person that he hadn’t thought of yet. He was crying, he had been crying for hours. He didn’t want to make a sound however. Instead he had his hand clamped over his mouth, his whole body tense in a constant strain to keep his sobs to a minimum.
All through the morning, he had heard the different people coming in, he had listened to countless tales of what had happened and heard all the varied reactions to it. Credit where credit’s due, everyone in this building seemed to be covering all the bases. Emotions tended to range from silence, to anger, to despair, to hysteria and even in one case, uncontrollable laughter. He kept his ears trained on the people outside of his bar, using their reactions as a way to push out his own.
Luckily it seemed that people were staying in the main section of the restaurant and no one ventured as far in as where his bar stood. As such, he wasn’t disturbed by anyone coming behind the bar to drown their sorrows.
The noise from people was beginning to die down and turn into a steady slow series of whimpers when he heard Michelle’s voice. Hers was cheery and chipper, she seemed to be talking to someone, asking them for an update on the night’s activities. He didn’t know why he hadn’t noticed before, but he could hear the constant mocking undertone in her voice now in everything she had to say. A stab of anger ran through him and he realised that he really hated that woman. She had lied to him in the cruellest way possible, raising his hopes in order to manipulate him to do her will. He wondered if this anger and hate was enough to move his body out of his hiding place. He tried a muscle but no movement came. He gave up after one try and resigned to staying put instead.
It didn’t matter however, as soon the gentle tapping of Michelle’s high heels were making their way around the bar. She didn’t see him at first, she was humming a bright tune to herself whilst turning on the cappuccino machine. Jason still couldn’t work out how to use his legs but he knew categorically that he did not want her to see him like this. A determination unlike anything else he had experienced ran through him and he forced his body to move. With a groan it complied and he quietly shifted out of his hiding place, looking for a place he could move to before she saw where he had in fact been hiding. He got up and started to move down the bar away from Michelle.
“Oh Jason!” She cried. “You gave me a shock! I didn’t see you there.”
Jason felt a shiver run down his spine and considered making a run for it, but decided against it and instead turned around, fixing his gaze on hers, his expression set and grim.
“Ah.” She said, taking in his expression. “Yes, Kelly did mention to me about your little discovery.”
Jason didn’t say anything, he just continued to stare.
“Look,” she said. “Yesterday was a very stressful day, there were a lot of emotions running in the air and a lot of things that needed to be done in order to keep everyone alive. As such, there may have been a few errors in judgment made on my part. I really was only thinking short term and I needed your cooperation. I probably shouldn’t have brought your boyfriend into it.”
“You lied.” Jason said icily. “You looked me in the eye and promised that he was safe. You made it seem as if it were out of your hands and that you were as disgusted about it as I was.”
“Yes,” Michelle said nodded, “I did do that. I thought that it was the best way for you to comply with what had to be done. Granted there are now long term issues with this, I really don’t want this to damage what could be a wonderful friendship.” She let out a little chuckle and tapped him on the shoulder. “After all, we’re in this for long haul aren’t we?”
“Are you kidding me with this?” Jason said, his voice raising. “You think that you can just apologise and I’ll be okay with you?” Jason moved closer so his face was inches from hers. “I hate you. With every cell in my body. For as long as I am breathing, you can be certain that that will never change.”
Michelle’s smile immediately dropped and a flash of hatred flashed through her eyes.
“Now listen here, you little shit.” She said, her voice low. “I couldn’t care less what you think about me. You are nothing but a glorified drink pourer. You should be kissing my arse for getting you in here and saving yours. It’s not like anyone sees the point of you being here anyway.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Jason asked.
Michelle’s smile was back. “Oh come on Jason, work it out love. This building holds the only survivors this country has. One might think that in a world that desperately needs repopulating, filling one of the spaces with a gay man constitutes as a waste.”
Jason’s mouth dropped open, his anger boiling red in his face. Michelle continued before he could retort.
“With that in mind my sweet, you might want to save all the friends you can. It would be absolutely dreadful if someone were to start making your complete redundant nature a public state of affairs. I mean it’s not like this building would fall apart if they were short of one queer barman and I’m sure that once people catch wind of what’s going on they are going to be gunning for someone to blame. Who better than the man who’s existence in this place makes no sense? Perhaps you bought your way in?”
“But I didn’t...”
“It really doesn’t matter Jason. That’s the beauty of gossip, especially when there’s no evidence to contradict it.” Michelle gave his arm a little squeeze. “That being said, perhaps you might want to reconsider who you’re throwing your little tantrums with. So, no hard feelings huh?”
Jason kept quiet.
“Good.” Michelle said with a little giggle and she leaned in and kissed Jason on the cheek before walking away.