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WitFit Jan/Feb 2013
90's Sex, drugs and rock-n-roll
Word Prompt: Dreary
Heavy mist hung in the air over Lake Union, lending a dreary feel to the mid-morning light filtering through my bedroom curtains. I dressed quietly, opening and closing drawers carefully so I wouldn't wake up the man sleeping face-down and barely covered in my bed.
Still, though, I couldn't help but stop to admire the planes of his back, the brash red and black tattoo that covered the top of his shoulders and wrapped down to the middle of his spine. My fingers twitched to touch, to run my fingers over the looping design, but if he woke up I wouldn't have the nerve to leave—and my morning class was due to start soon.
Huffing at responsibility foiling my desire, I went to grab my scarf off of the chair.
"Hey." The voice was raspy, whiskey soaked from the night before and adorably sleepy.
"Shoot. Sorry, did I wake you? I was trying to be quiet."
"I would have been more pissed if you didn't say goodbye."
I set my things down and crawled on to the edge of the bed to give him a proper goodbye, but his hand snaked out from under his head and grabbed me, toppling me over. He rolled until I was on my back and pinned me down.
"Hey!" I shouted, but didn't really protest when his head burrowed into my neck and settled there. "I'm gonna be late."
"Don't care," he said.
His lips feathered over my pulse point, and I groaned. "Don't start, I have to go. Besides, you probably won't even be up until I get back from work."
"As much as I'd like to stay here, I have shit to do. We're gonna go set up early for the show tonight. You're coming, right?" Edward laid his head on my chest and wrapped his arms around me tighter.
I ran my fingers through his hair. "Of course. Wouldn't miss it."
"All right," He started to move off of me but copped a feel before I could move.
"Always for you."
I got up from out underneath him and stood on the side of my bed straightening my clothes. He reached up to grab my fingers and swung our hands back and forth. He was affectionate normally, but this sleepy side of him was the one I really, really liked. It was sweet, more playful than normal, and I loved waking up to him. I watched our hands and then sighed, looking back at his face. The green of his eyes seemed a little duller this morning, red rimmed from a night of practice.
"Have a good day."
"I will." I leaned down to kiss him on the lips. "I'll see you tonight."
I liked Fridays because I only had one early class and afterward I usually worked a short shift at the store. It always felt like a decent start to the weekend: not too rushed, not too boring, and by the time things were getting started I was ready to join the fun.
The mist from this morning had turned into rain, and my windshield wipers were in desperate need of a replacement. I wondered idly if Edward knew how, and then laughed that off. Frontman extraordinaire, most definitely, but handyman he was not. Just thinking about him (which, honestly, I did ninety-nine percent of the time nowadays) made my stomach purr, a happy cat batting at her favorite toy.
The past three months had been both a learning experience and much, much better than I expected. He'd been devoted, completely true to his word, and while we sometimes didn't get to see as much of each other as I would like, he gave me his free time. Of course, I knew the band was a huge priority. He and the guys were trying to make a living at it and I supported it one-hundred percent of the way.
It was exciting to watch things progress for them. Slowly, things were building for them: The demo, cut and polished in about a month, was getting some airplay on one of the local radio programs; shows were more frequent, and the band had developed a decent local following. I couldn't go to as many of them as I had in the beginning, not with school that I needed to stay on track for and picking up hours when I could, but Rose did, and she was enthusiastic about the future.
Two months ago, maybe that would have worried me. The shows had their fair share of female attendees, and some of them were purely there for the guys, but now I didn't worry about him and the girls. It was just part of the life, the appeal of a rock band. I felt confident enough in what we had developed that I knew he could handle it. Besides, being a shrew about it would only make it worse.
Plus, I had Rose on my side to run interference.
The store loomed ahead and I turned my car into the small lot, grabbed my bag from the back.
"Hi, Mike." I brushed past him and grabbed my apron from the hook on the wall. Now that it was getting closer to Christmas, Mike was pretty much here all of the time.
"Hey, Bella. How was your week?"
"Not bad, just a little busy. Has it been crazy in here tod—Hey!" I was bending down to put my bag under the counter, and there was something brushing against my butt.
I shot up and whirled around. Mike was standing behind me with one of those squishy water weenies in his hand, giggling like a ten year old.
"What the hell are you doing?"
"God, that's hilarious. You should see your face right now. "
My face felt like it looked pissed, and I put my finger in his. "If you ever try something like that again, I'll scream to management about harassment."
His face fell, and he took a step back. "Jeeze, I was just having a little fun. Lighten up."
"No, I will not. That's not appropriate behavior for a manager. Got it?"
He shrugged and slunk away, and I tried to calm my breathing. I wasn't sure where that had come from, to be honest—normally I was a mellow sort of girl, and usually too worried about keeping things on an even keel to talk back to . . . anyone, but what he'd just done was freaking rude.
"Need me to crack some skulls?"
I whirled around and found Tyler at the counter, arm slung around the neck of a tiny, mousy looking girl. I peered at her, trying to place her, but she was someone I didn't recognize. This had to be a new development because while they were sort of cute together, they were also a little shy and slightly awkward together. They looked a little rough, though, and knowing the band had practiced the night before, I assumed they were just waking from a night of late, late partying.
"Hey, Ty. Thanks, but no. If he does it again I'll hand his ass over to the manager. Rough night?"
He smiled, embarrassed. "Yeah, but we're just heading to her place before the show. Bell, this is Lauren."
She gave me a little wave. Remnants of black makeup clung to the space around her eyes, too smudged to be intentional, and her color was a bit off—but, then again, this was Seattle and December at that. My color was pretty pasty, too. I didn't have the excuse of staying up all night, either.
"Nice to meet you," I said, smiling because she was Tyler's and I liked that guy a lot.
"Yeah . . ."
Tyler cleared his throat. "We're just going to get a few things and head out. You'll be there tonight?"
"Yep, I'll see ya then."
The mouse gave me another tiny wave before they moved as a unit through the store. I sat there thinking that it was kind of cute that Tyler had found someone. Things seemed to be heading in the right direction for everyone these days. I couldn't wait for tonight.
Rose was waiting on me when I got out of the shower later that night, and we headed down to the Off Ramp together. It was a bigger venue, with some actual radio promotion going in to it, so the place was packed when we got there even though we were relatively early for doors.
There was a great little spot off to the side with tables, close enough to the stage to see everything, but separated from the floor to be relatively safe from our vantage point. We grabbed a few drinks and headed over, and then waited for things to start.
"Who's that up there?" I pointed to someone I hadn't seen in practice warming up on a guitar.
"Oh, that's Ben," said Rose, "They added him to play some rhythm guitar for when they want Edward front and center. Kind of to round out the sound, if you get what I mean."
"Great idea," I said. "When did they do that?"
"Early last week. He knows Jasper, and you know how that tyrant is. He only practiced with them once, though, so I hope it goes okay tonight. He's got some job at night or something, can't make it to a lot of practices."
I liked the fact that they were always seeking to improve their sound, constantly evolving during the process. It could only mean good things. I just hoped the new addition's schedule worked out for them.
"And Jasper was okay with that?"
She laughed. "He's gotta be. Ben's gotta eat."
Then Edward and Emmett were heading in our direction. Emmett threw his arm around Rose and grabbed her beer, draining it. She pushed him, and then smiled. "Hi, babe. You guys all set up?"
He launched into a big explanation, and I tuned him out to pay attention to the guy at my side.
Edward walked up and slid an arm around my waist, whispered hello in my ear in a voice that should be illegal.
Leaning into him, I put my arm around him and slid my fingers into his pocket—a habit I had developed. "Hey," I said as he leaned down to kiss me.
"This show is going to be fucking awesome!" said Emmett, finishing his tale. Rose just smiled at him, appreciating his boyish excitement like no one else could.
"We're going to get going, just wanted to see you two before we did," said Edward.
I preened at the attention, kissing his jaw and then his ear. "Okay. See you soon."
"Good luck," said Rose.
When they walked away, I noticed the room had filled up a little more . . . and I also noticed the scowls I was getting from various female around.
"And so it begins," I muttered into my drink.
"Don't worry about it. You're the only thing he wants, capiche?"
"They don't get to kiss him like I do," I agreed, smug and silly from my drink. I was such a lightweight.
When the lights went down, the crowd moved closer to the stage, screaming, arms raised overhead in anticipation of the upcoming show.
The music started with a loud jam, one of their best in my opinion, and when the light illuminated Edward, his hands were wrapped around that mic as if he owned it. In his trademark move, he closed his eyes and let his voice capture the room.
Tyler danced back and forth as he played, a counterpoint to Jasper's smooth prowl around the stage. As much as I still didn't really know him, nor really like him for that matter, he was a great musician, concentrating on his own play, focused as if there was no one else in the room. Emmett was in usual form, more a show than anyone else on stage, and Ben rounded the sound out nicely.
The energy from the band members only fueled the crowd; they pumped their fists in appreciation to the beat of the music, and some formed a pit around the stage that was already wild.
Their entire set was a pure, honest, raw exhibition of the hard work they had put in over the last year. I was so proud that I couldn't help but get caught up in it myself.
At the last song, always a cover of a recent hit, I stood and drained my glass. "Rose, I'm gonna hit the bathroom now before it gets too hectic."
"Okay," she shouted over the music.
Even though I knew the set list by heart, knew when to take a break so I could greet Edward as he came off stage, there were some faces in line for the bathroom that I recognized. I smiled at a few, chuckling to myself that they knew the song list as well as I did, too. When I had finally taken care of my business, I walked out to wash my hands. The bathroom was already in a state of chaos, but at least they hadn't depleted the stash of paper towels.
After I'd finished rinsing my hands I looked up into the mirror to see Tanya standing right behind me. My flight instinct, always close to the surface, kicked in, but then I got aggravated from the nasty look she was giving me. So I ignored her, grabbed a paper towel, and continued to dry my hands.
"Bet you're all proud of yourself now."
I rolled my eyes and did my best to ignore her, but because of the small and cramped space the other girls in the bathroom were taking notice. Great. As much as I felt I maybe owed her an apology, I also didn't want to do it in front of all and sundry, so I turned the water off and moved to brush past her.
She stepped in front of me and tossed her hair.
"Tanya, I don't want—"
"I hope you sleep at night knowing what you did. But girls like you don't care. It's all about you. But you'll see. You're not that special, and there'll be a hundred like you coming at him until he gives in. He's not that choosey, after all. Enjoy my sloppy seconds," she said sneering.
That did it. I was done with the bullshit. I knew what happened, and knew intrinsically that I couldn't take it back, but she didn't need to insult me to prove her point. And, honestly, it'd been three freaking months already; it was time for her to just move on. I straightened and looked her in the eye.
"Technically, sweetie, I had him first. Chew on that."
I busted past her and headed out the door. My nerves were shot, hands shaky and steps jittery from the confrontation. It felt good, though. First with Mike, and now with Tanya—I'd stood up for myself for a change, didn't wait on Rose or someone else to get my back while I melted into the shadows. It sucked that I'd even had to, and while I didn't feel justified in helping Edward to cheat on her, I couldn't change the past, and didn't really want to anymore. Edward was mine, period.
When I got back to the table Rose took one look at me, and then peered over my shoulder. "Are you okay?"
"Yep. Never better."
And I settled into watching the rest of the show.
Thank you so much for your comments! Absolutely love connecting with your memories.
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