Rock Revenge:Alex's StoryBy: Candy J. Starr
The rest of the band joined me. The only thing I could do was blaze into the next song as though she wasn’t even there.
I’d wanted to put my past behind me and start anew. In the back of my mind, I’d always had the worry that things would come back to bite me on the arse but I’d shrugged that thought away. But today was the day. And I never thought vengeance would be wrapped up in such a hot package.
Dee had had a crush on me for as long as I could remember. Hell, you’d have had to be blind not to notice that kid traipsing behind me like a lost puppy. She’d been cute back then. Cute and precocious, and way too young. I had no interest in messing with high school girls, even when I was in high school myself. If I even shot a few words in her direction, she stammered and blushed and ran away.
Even if she’d been older, she was my best friend’s sister. That would’ve been like poking a stick in a hornet’s nest. I had way too much self-preservation to mess with that. Jake protected her like she was a baby bird. Actually, I think Jake liked that she crushed on me. It meant she stayed away from other guys who might not be so hands-off. If he’d still been around, I’d have pitied any guy who dated her. Jake judged all other men on himself and he’d been no saint, sure as hell.
But now, if it wasn’t for those eyes, blazing with hate but still those same eyes, and that curl of the mouth exactly like Jake’s, I’d have never known her.
Even Jake would’ve had his work cut out protecting her now. Firm, perky breasts that were perfectly showcased by the dress she wore. A tiny waist. And the swagger of a woman who got what she wanted.
But, when I looked her, I saw beyond her. I saw that carnage and the mangled steel. I heard the last whimper that Jake made, his body broken, while I lay there without a thing I could possibly do. I couldn’t look at her. I couldn’t remember that night. I couldn’t think about that and continue playing. I couldn’t only pretend she didn’t exist.
I went into the next song with sweat beading on my brow. I wiped it off with the back of my hand. Even my hands were sweaty, so much so that I was worried I’d slip on the strings, but I made it through the next song and the one after that.
Fabian shot me glances. He knew I was off my game even if the crowd didn’t pick up on it. I was never off my game. I never got distracted and I never let anything reach me when I was on stage. Of course, he had questions.
She hadn’t moved. I wasn’t sure if she planned on staring me to death while I played or what, but she remained rooted to the spot. Normally, some groupie would’ve hip bumped her out of the way in a fight for the front position but no one went near her. She radiated a darkness that held people off. She was still just a kid, really. She’d only be twenty or so. She should be radiating sunshine and girliness but that shadow had made her grow up too fast. And I was the bastard responsible for that.
She grinned at me and it turned my blood cold. She wasn’t here for fun, that’s for sure.
She was here for revenge.
The club wasn’t anything special. Trouble — I wondered if Alex had named it that. It seemed like something he’d do. It was a bit of dive bar really. I walked through the downstairs bar, the carpet threadbare and sticky. A few people sat around the bar, not even glancing up at me. I went upstairs, although I heard no music playing.
When I walked into the band room, it felt like walking in on a private party. Some geezer was up on stage proposing to his girlfriend.
There wasn’t a huge crowd, much smaller than I’d expected. That added to the private party feeling. The place stunk of stale beer and cheap cologne and rock. The same as any other band room. The bar ran along the right side of the room; the stage at the front, of course. A blond chick sat at the door, looking bored and picking her nails.
A girl walked up on stage. She looked like she wanted to hide away. She giggled and accepted the proposal. People cheered.
I got a whiskey from the bar and knocked it back, waiting for them to finish. I needed to make an impression and it’d be a dick move to call attention to myself in the middle of all that mushy talk. They looked happy, really happy. I bided my time, trying not to fidget or look nervous. I wouldn’t bite my nails. I wouldn’t get out my phone.
Then I spotted Alex, off to the side of the stage, partially hidden. My stomach dropped and my hands shook. I inhaled, a few sharp breaths to steady myself but they didn’t seem to hit my lungs. My chest squeezed so tight, there was no air getting to it. My first impulse was to run. Run far, far away from Alex. It was like being in the same room as the devil, but I could handle this. I had to handle it. There was no retreat. I’d made a promise to Jake, and I couldn’t go back on that now.