Rock Revenge:Alex's StoryBy: Candy J. Starr
“Hey, you’re the girl from the other night. You were talking to Alex.” It was the young guy with the stringy hair. He’d popped up in front for me without me even noticing him.
I shrugged, intending on pretty much ignoring him, but the barmaid called me over.
“Have a drink before you leave,” she said and started pouring me a beer.
Alex wasn’t part of the group sitting at the bar, and I hadn’t seen him around, so I felt safe sticking around for a while.
“So, you know Alex from before?” the young boy asked.
I nodded, hoping my lack of interest would put him off talking.
Some old blues played in the bar, it sounded like Robert Johnson. I slipped onto a stool, away from the others but they all faced me with no attempt to hide the curiosity in their faces. I guess that was better than sympathy.
The others chatted away about things that didn’t concern me. Someone called Gina was getting married. I think that was the girl from the proposal the other night. The name sounded familiar. Sally came down from upstairs, still on the phone and sat at the bar too.
The barmaid handed me my drink. “I’m Carlie, by the way, and that one with the big mouth is Drew. Oh, and that’s my fat head boyfriend, sitting over there. Holden.”
I looked up and nodded. Then stopped mid-nod. When she said Holden, I had no idea she meant HOLDEN FUCKING KING. I was sitting in a bar drinking with Holden King. Sweet Jesus. I gulped my beer down to hide the fangirl blush creeping over me.
“Tell us about Alex,” the boy called Drew said. “Do you have any funny stories? Stuff we can stir him about?”
Carlie laughed. It seemed they didn’t put Alex on a pedestal, that’s for sure.
I shook my head. “No, sorry.”
I didn’t look up, though. I didn’t want them reading anything in my eyes. I sipped my drink and listened to their talk, all private jokes and funny stories.
“You’re playing here soon?” Holden asked.
I nodded. Hell, I couldn’t talk to someone like him. If Alex had always been an obtainable dream, Holden was a level beyond that. The rock star everyone desired. Still, he seemed like just a regular guy, sitting here in the bar with the others.
“She’s playing this Thursday night,” Sally said. “I’m expecting big things too. Maybe a headlining spot after they build up a following.”
That made me blush. Then Holden King said he’d come along and check us out. Holy crap. Maybe he was just saying it to be nice but, man, that’d be the greatest thing ever. Just wait until Pete found out, he’d shit himself.
As I sat there, I realised it was the first time I’d relaxed and just hung out chatting since Jake died. All my friends back home had treated me like I’d break down any moment, so I’d let them drift away. I was comfortable with Pete and Ferdie but that was all about the music.
Since the place was quiet, Carlie moved away from the bar to play on the Galaga machine.
“Do you play?” she asked me.
I shook my head.
“You don’t want to play Carlie,” Holden said. “She’s ruthless.”
“It’s true,” Drew added. “But one time, we had a huge battle for me to win my job back and I BEAT CARLIE.”
The grin on his face made me laugh. It was obviously a huge deal for him.
“Are you ever going to let that go?” Carlie said. “For fuck sake, it was one game. A fluke at that.”
Drew sighed. “No, Carlie, I’ll never forget it. Anyway, is there anything else you want me to do? Jackson’s going to be here soon for my guitar lesson.”
“I think we’re covered.”
As she said that, a guy walked in. He’d been the one who’d proposed the other night. Wow, everyone in this place hung out together by the looks of it.
Before he trailed the older guy upstairs, Drew turned back to me.
“Since you’re from the same town as Alex, maybe you can clear this up for us. Is it true he killed a man?”
My insides clenched as though as giant fist squeezed me tight. I couldn’t get enough air. He’d asked so casually. Had Alex been bragging about it? Surely not. Or maybe it was just a rumour. No matter what, I couldn’t stay here. All those fuzzy feelings inside me evaporated. I was stupid to let my guard down for a second.
I sat my glass down and walked out of the bar without answering.
“Drew, you fucking moron,” Carlie said, as I was leaving. “Watch that fool mouth of yours.”
Pete and Ferdie turned up the day before we played. I’d booked them rooms in the same rundown hotel where I was staying, and we sat around rehearsing until some burly guy bashed on our door.