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The Fortunate Ones
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At Twin Oaks Country Club, there are the fortunate ones, and then there are the rest of us: the waiters, the caddies, the valets, and in my case, the cabana girls. Most days, I’m poolside in a pleated skirt, dishing out margaritas to tycoons and titans. It’s not exactly my dream job, but it does come with one perk…
He’s my silver lining in a custom black suit.
Besides being a legacy member at the club, he’s a tech mogul and Austin’s most eligible bachelor. Oh, and those dimples? Yeah, they make my stomach dip too.
On good days, I catch his sleek Porsche winding down the tree-lined drive. On better days, I steal a glimpse of his handsome profile as we pass in the hall. And on the absolute best day, I find him alone at the bar, looking for company.
“Come have a seat.”
Those four little words set me down a path I never could have imagined. Private planes, penthouse suites, and temptations around every corner make it impossible to keep my distance. His world feels decadent and wild—but overindulgence comes with a cost. Every kiss comes with strings. Every erotic encounter is a promise I’m not ready to keep.
When I pump the brakes, he hits the gas. James doesn’t want to go slow—he wants a commitment.
And the thing about the fortunate ones?
They’re used to getting what they want.
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This is the last outfit I would ever choose to wear, but it’s not my choice to make. It’s my work uniform: a skintight blue polo paired with a pleated khaki skirt that cuts off much closer to my crotch than my knees. Combine that with an embroidered baseball cap and gleaming white Keds, and I’ve become everything I hate in in this world: a country club cabana girl.
My name is embroidered on the shirt in a scrolling font. Above it sits the club’s pretentious logo, a laurel wreath hugging the Twin Oak initials. It hasn’t changed in 50 years, and that’s just the way the members like it. Old money likes old things—except, of course, when it comes to the elite amenities in a place like this. Here, they want new, bigger, better. Acres of perfectly manicured lawns. 18 holes of world-class golf. An Olympic-sized swimming pool with all the kid-friendly accouterments any day-drinking lacrosse mom could ask for. From what I’ve seen, there’s a members-only spa, formal dining room, and gentlemen’s cigar lounge. Beyond that, there’s no telling what else lies within the grounds of Twin Oaks. The scope of my job really only entails access to the pool and main clubhouse. Aside from that, I’m not particularly encouraged to roam.
When each member arrives, they drive through a bougainvillea-covered arched iron gate guarded by no less than three men at any given time. The level of security strikes me as overkill, as if the architects envisioned lower-middle-class hordes crashing through to get their first taste of crab legs. But, then again, I’m not dripping in diamonds like half the women here, so whatever. If Julio, Matt, and Nico make them feel safe, that’s great.
The truth is, their only real talents are scanning ID cards and kissing the asses of wealthy members, like this guy.
“C’mon beautiful, give us a little smile.”
I want to ignore him. I’m focused on the sleek black Porsche driving up the tree-lined drive. In a minute, it will pull into its designated parking spot between a white Mercedes SUV and some other car that costs more than most houses.
“Are you being shy darlin’?” the asshole asks, trying to get my attention.
His guests laugh and I know my time is up. I won’t get to watch him get out of his Porsche today.
With a barely concealed sigh, I turn away from the drive and beam my pearly whites. The old fart claps his hands together and pulls out his wallet. Members pay for things at the club with their assigned ID number, but tips are usually doled out in cash. Every dime is supposed to pass through the cabana bar so it can be divvied up at the end of the day, but after schlepping back and forth around the pool all afternoon waiting on Mr. Oil Tycoon and his merry band of buttkissers, the crisp hundred-dollar bill he hands me feels more comfortable inside my pocket. Later, it will buy me takeout sushi and enough wine to drown this memory.
“Brookie, have I told you you’re my favorite cabana girl?” he asks, making a show of plucking another Benjamin from his wallet. “I like your…work ethic.”
I can’t argue with that. I am extraordinarily focused while I’m here, not because I care about this job, but because I’ve found that staying as busy as possible makes the shifts pass in a flash. No matter if Mr. Oil Tycoon asks me to slice two hundred limes so his board of directors can do rounds of tequila shots (my wrist is still recovering), rub sunscreen on his meatball head (my hands haven’t felt clean since), or entertain his children while he and his wife get completely sloshed (c’mon kids, let’s play roll silverware)—I’m going to do it all with a big, fake smile on my face.
I take the second bill out of his hand and dispense some version of the pleasant bullshit I’ve become remarkably adept at conjuring. My toolbox now includes a girlish laugh, a giddy thank-you, and a nauseating “Oh you.” I worry that someday I might slip and tell him to go screw himself, but from the looks of his saccharine stare, I’ve managed to hold off for at least one more day.
He dismisses me with a wave of his hand and I turn back for the cabana’s bar. I’d like to take this moment to clarify that on my own time, I’m not a show dog, but here? At Twin Oaks? I have yet to encounter a situation that tests my dignity beyond the promise of a tip, and of course, the members take advantage of that knowledge. They want us at their beck and call, and our management encourages it. Anything the guests request, make it happen. If that means serving virgin daiquiris to spoiled brats until they puke, I’ll do it. If that means pouring mommy’s little cocktail into a Styrofoam cup so she can take a roadie with her, so be it. It’s all part of the job.