Chapter 1 - NYC

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A little past 7:30AM you can see Ben rushing down the hallway of the subway, like he did everyday. He jumped on the train right before the doors closed.

"This job is going to kill me, I fucking know it" he said aloud to himself, shaking his head dramatically before tossing it back and snapping it forward again. He grabbed an empty handle bar hanging above his head to steady himself as the train took off.

He reached for his cell phone to check the group chat that contained him and his two best friends, Sam and Samantha. No, they aren't related. And Sam is not short for Samantha, so don't get them confused. They're two separate people. 

Sam had somehow managed to break her finger while trying to throw the dining room table at her husband Richard. Samantha had started taking meditation classes so she wouldn't be so tempted to kill her boss. 

"This week is already an honest-to-fucking-God train wreck" Ben muttered aloud again as somebody bumped into him. He looked up to start arguing with the kid that was standing before him, but he then noticed a tall, toned, and if his assumptions were correct, young Spanish man with a tattoo sleeve, not far from the boy. Ben smiled at him instead of launching into a tirade of curse words. The man smiled awkwardly back at Ben before moving to another spot on the train.

"Another fucking asshole," Ben added out loud softly.


Ben walked into work 10 minutes before the store needed to be opened. Mimi, one of his full-time associates, walked in after him, and they made eye contact after which she smiled. Ben smiled back and prayed silently for her not to speak to him.

"Ben!" Mimi chirped loudly, causing Ben to jerk.

"Yes, Mimi?" Ben answered rolling his eyes with his back now turned to her.

"Can I leave mid-day today? My best friend is in the city for literally one night and I want to show her around!"

Ben responded, "I think you might be the only associate I have on-staff today Mimi, but let me call Jack at the main store and see if he can loan me someone."

"Oh my God Ben, you're literally the best boss ever!"

"I said I would call and see. I never said you were getting the half-day sweetheart..."

"Thank you for trying though!"

"Can you get the store ready for open? I'm going downstairs to check off the new arrivals. It's early, and I am assuming we're not going to be busy until about eleven or so."

"Yeah, sure!"

Ben walked down the narrow wooden stairs to the storage and cramped office space inside his very lavish French store. He had been managing it for three years in a row now. He grabbed a bottle of champagne from the fridge, only reserved for high-profile customers as he had been sternly told throughout this employment. But that hadn't stopped Ben, as he had been steadily going through the supply for three months for his own personal well-being. Nobody needed to know that it was him actually drinking and not the privileged, racist clients who trafficked the store daily, testing his patience to the point where he imagined dropkicking them so often.

He sat in the chair, pulled out his cell phone, and dialed Sam. Sam picked up at the first ring.

"Ben, I swear, I don't know what I've done in my past life for any of this to happen," Sam complained.

"Hold your Lululemons before you start another 'woe-is-me' campaign, Samantha," Ben snapped abruptly. He then added Samantha to the call and took a sip of the over-priced champagne, which tasted even better because he shouldn't have been drinking it in the first place.

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