Havoc:Mayhem Series #4

By: Jamie Shaw



“I want Mike.”

“Why?”

“I miss him,” she lies. I can tell because she smiles when she says it. It’s her sweet smile—the one she uses to get what she wants from her rich father, a smile that’s too sweet. It’s the same kind she gave me tonight when she asked if she could wear my hoodie “for a minute,” even though we both knew she had no intention of giving it back.

I cross my arms tight over my thin thermal to ward off the cold, and Danica must be able to see the doubt on my face, because she continues explaining.

“Mike was an amazing boyfriend,” she insists. “He treated me like a princess. He used to carry my books and bring me little gifts. On Valentine’s Day, he always put flowers in my locker.”

Her smile softens into something almost genuine, but it disappears when I ask, “Then why’d you dump him?”

In that condescending, usual tone of hers, she says, “Because we were graduating and he wasn’t doing anything with his life. He was totally broke, but he wouldn’t even think about going to college. He didn’t have real goals. He was just a loser in some stupid little garage band.”

Judging by the legion of fans jammed in front of the stage earlier tonight, it’s clear he did have real goals and he’s accomplished them with his “stupid little garage band,” but I don’t bother pointing that out. I also don’t bother pointing out that Danica dropped out of college after only one semester and has spent the past six years living off of her parents’ credit cards.

Sixty years ago, our grandparents bought a farm. Twenty-six years ago, her dad and my mom inherited it, and my parents made it their home. Fourteen years ago, Danica’s parents made a lot of smart connections and investments, breaking into the corporate level of the livestock business, making a fortune, and moving far away from our small town and the modest plot of land that started it all. Now, Danica works for their company when it suits her.

My parents and younger brother still live on the same small farm our grandparents bought, and up until two months ago, so did I.

“And this has nothing to do with what Adam said at the beginning of the show about their band signing a big record deal?” I challenge, and Danica’s eyes harden, but she doesn’t bother arguing with me. Instead, movement toward the club steals her attention, and her almond eyes swing toward Mayhem.

Seven people walk across the dark parking lot toward the buses. Adam and a girl under his arm. Shawn and the female guitarist, Kit. Joel and a bombshell in high heels. And Mike.

Danica strips off my oversized hoodie before any of them can see her in it, tossing it to the ground and running toward her ex. “MIKE!”

It’s like a scene out of a movie. Her long legs race across the parking lot. Her hair flies in the wind behind her. She jumps into her ex’s arms.

But when his arms should lift to wrap around her—so he can spin her around like any good movie heartthrob would—Mike’s simply hang motionless at his sides.

I stop brushing the dirt and dried leaves off my green Ivy Tech hoodie—the one my parents bought me one Christmas when they couldn’t afford to get me much else—to watch the curious scene in front of me.

“Aren’t you happy to see me?” Danica squeals, and the female guitarist makes a sound that causes Shawn to tighten his arm around her. Her black eyes are murderous, and I notice that the rest of the band looks more or less the same. They watch Mike and Danica like the scene unfolding before them is a horribly offensive horror movie instead of the timeless romance Danica wants it to be.

I watch too, and when Mike’s arms eventually lift to hug Danica back, I sigh and return to inspecting my hoodie. There’s a stain on the sleeve. It smears as I rub my thumb over it.

“What are you doing here?” Mike asks, and Danica flippantly tells him that she lives here now as she moves on to hug the rest of the guys. She puts on a performance worthy of an Oscar, and it doesn’t falter until Shawn steps out of reach when she tries to catch him in her arms.

“What are you doing at our show?” he asks.

“I wanted to see Mike.” She pouts without casting Mike even a second glance.

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