As a general rule, she avoided bars. Bars were loud and full of drunks. Chelsea was not a fan of either loud or drunks. Combine them together, and it was recipe for a headache. Her typical day, however, did not normally include all the frustrations she’d experienced over the past fourteen hours. Chelsea wasn’t quite sure which moment of her day was the worst. There was the mother who had yelled at her because she wouldn’t recommend a kid for testing (he still hadn’t learned all the required skills). There was the teenage boy who, despite having the stomach flu, thought he was able to take a sparring class (it ended with her sanitizing the mats). There was her brother, who had called to bemoan how his girlfriend cheated on him (for the third time; why did he keep taking her back?). And there was the fact that she really, really
wanted to go out of town this weekend but her car was broken (and there was no hope of getting it fixed until her next paycheck). Chelsea decided that she had earned a drink. Unfortunately, when she opened her refrigerator, she found a distinct lack of alcohol.
Normally, when faced with such a situation, she would just go to bed. It had been a really trying day, though, and she very much wanted that drink, which was why she found herself standing outside the town’s only true bar thirty minutes later. The Wolves Den. Chelsea tilted her head to the side, studying the bar’s sign for a moment and wondering where the name came from. She forced the thought from her mind. Trying to figure out why someone named a bar was often a futile exercise. She pushed the door open and made her way inside. For a Thursday night, the crowd was about what she expected. Not too large, but not as small as she’d expect to find on a Tuesday. Dropping her bag on the bar in front of her, Chelsea climbed onto a stool and ordered a Captain & Diet Coke before training her eyes on one of the television monitors. Back home at this time of year, all the televisions in the bars would be playing ACC basketball – State, Wake, UNC, and Duke. Out here, the team names were all unfamiliar. A small pang of homesickness settled around her as she watched the monitor.
Her drink arrived a few minutes later, interrupting her contemplation about sports teams she didn’t recognize. Chelsea smiled, tipped the bar tender heavily, and took a long drink from her glass. Shutting her eyes, She felt her muscles start to relax. It really had been a hellish day. She opened her eyes once again, twisting in her seat to take in the bar. It really wasn’t anywhere near as bad as she’d expected. From the looks of it, the bar also hosted a stage and a dance floor. Maybe she’d swing by some weekend and see what the local music scene was like, provided it didn’t get too crowded. Chelsea reclined back against the bar and settled down to people watch as she nursed her drink.