Rock Revenge:Alex's StoryBy: Candy J. Starr
Ice cold. That was me now.
Before I walked out the door, I got the worn photo out of my bag.
“I’ll sort this out, Jake”, I said. “I’ll get justice for you.”
Even in the few years, the photo had yellowed and faded. I had a fuckton of photos on my phone that stayed as fresh as the day I’d taken them but this solid object meant more to me than any of them. As it changed, my connection deepened.
The faded image of Jake grinned back at me. His sandy hair flopped down in his eyes, which glimmered with mischief, and his cheeks dimpled. Jake was like the sunshine and Alex had been darkness. Yin and yang. That’s what had drawn them together. That’s what had made them amazing on stage. Now, Jake was gone and there was just Alex.
This was war and I had no intention of being a casualty.
How was I supposed to finish the set after Jackson had his fun? Everyone was filled with gooey, mushy feelings. I’d agreed to him playing, but that proposal stuff had been a shock to me. It’d taken the thunder right out of my performance.
Jackson had come to me about a week ago saying he wanted to get up and play.
“Not a whole set, just one song. Just to prove I can do it.”
It’d be the first time he’d played live for years, since an accident had damaged the nerves in his hand. You can’t say no to something like that. The man was a rock legend. He’d been my idol. Of course I’d let him get up and play. The idea exploded in my head. I wanted to pump it up, make a big event of it, but Jackson said to keep it quiet.
“What if I make a total dick of myself? And I want it to be a surprise for Gina.”
It’d been a surprise for Gina, all right. Not only had Jackson got up on stage and played his song, he’d finished it off by asking her to marry him. Of course, she’d said “yes”. That’s when the entire crowd melted with the mushiness of it. I saw one regular, a cynical old bastard, wipe a tear from his eye. Hell, if he’d planned to do that, he could’ve got up at the end of the night so I didn’t have to follow up on it.
I went into the next song but the magic was gone. The song was too loud, too edgy. No one wanted that. They wanted to continue with their cloud of emotion. Anger and pain wasn’t going to win them over. It was the wrong song for the night. When we finished, I turned to the guys.
“Change of set,” I said. “I’ll do this one solo.”
A slow ballad was much more to the crowd’s taste. I’d not rehearsed this song for a while but it was in keeping with the atmosphere. I’d soon have them back where I wanted them.
Gina and Jackson stood to the side of the stage, all glowing with love. People kept coming up to congratulate them. It was as though it was their night, not mine. I didn’t want to be bitter or selfish, but it was awful timing.
I sang. I ignored them and sang.
When I got to the chorus, I sensed a change in the atmosphere. I looked up. Someone pushed their way through the crowd. That wasn’t so unusual but the energy radiating from her actually made people cower away. A path cleared in front of her and had taken all the focus off me. Despite her drop-dead gorgeousness, she had an aura of sorrow and pain, more than most people wanted to deal with. There was something familiar about her but I was sure if I’d ever met that woman, I’d never forget her.
This night was not going how I’d planned.
I tried to ignore her as I sang. Just another woman in the crowd, just another groupie. She sure as hell was more determined than the rest, and she had something alluring about her. A mystery that would be worth solving. I’d seek her out after we finished playing but now, while we played, I had no attention to give her.
She got to the front row and leant against the stage, her posture alone a big “fuck off” to me. I wouldn’t look at her, even though she drew me to her. I wouldn’t let her know she was getting to me. There wasn’t a man in the place that wasn’t gawking at her. She was hot and she knew it. But the music had to be the only thing on my mind.
Now that she was closer, it hit me. It took a moment. She’d changed so much, with her hair bleached white blond and her eyes rimmed with black liner, with her body filled out so every man knew she wasn’t a little kid anymore. Still, I’d recognise her anywhere.
Jake McGowan’s kid sister.
That look in her eyes scared me. All that anger and resentment was aimed at me and I had no way of justifying myself. She knew what she knew and she was definitely after something. If I told her the truth, she’d never believe me. The truth wouldn’t redeem me. What she sought was something I couldn’t give her.