Punk Rock Resurrection

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Punk Rock Resurrection Page 4

by Jenna Galicki

  Damien’s bass guitar bellowed out a resounding growl that echoed through the bar on the heels of Jimmy bass drum. While Angel was a showman and owned the stage, Damien was hypnotized by the rhythm. His eyes were usually either glued to his strings, or closed while he was lost in the deep rumble of his bass.

  Karl was Jimmy’s cousin, and he was the band’s lead guitarist. He played the melody that drove the songs home, but he had a lackluster stage presence, and Angel was always pushing him for a more flashy performance.

  Damien brought his attention back to his beloved bass. She was like a baby in his arms. She was sweet and innocent, beautiful beyond words, until he plucked her strings. Once he flicked his fingers across her, she let out a devil’s cry. It was a low thunder that sent a shudder down his back and made the hair on the back of his neck stand on end. She was a black jewel, and the overhead lights reflected her brilliance.

  He was so wound up in the song that he forgot Alyssa was supposed to be at the show. The bright lights made it hard to see into the crowd. Most of the people were mere outlines of faceless shadows, except the people who positioned themselves closest to the stage. The two young girls at the center were Immortal Angel’s diehard groupies and Angel’s personal cheering squad. He knew them simply as Audra and Kira. They were always together, and they never missed a show.

  Damien returned his gaze to his much-loved instrument, and she purred back at him. When he picked his head up, Alyssa was at the front of the stage. She wasn’t looking at him though; she was mesmerized by Angel. It was understandable. Angel was gyrating his hips and grabbing his crotch. His fluid vocals filled the room and captivated everyone in it. He shed his leather jacket, exposing his bare chest, and the two girls who adored him at the center of the stage screamed with excitement. Angel reached into the audience, took hold of Kira’s hand and sang to her. She held onto to him with both hands, and it looked like she was trying to pull him into the audience – or her arms.

  Every pair of eyes at the front of the stage were on Angel, but it was Jimmy’s beat that held Damien’s attention. The fast, hard rhythm of the bass drum was the power behind Damien’s baseline. The drum pounded in his chest like a second heartbeat. Then, he remembered Alyssa was in the audience. He returned his eyes to the spot where she had been standing, but she was gone. He found her standing directly in front of him. Her eyes were focused on him now, and she gazed up with a sensual smile. He smiled back at her and nodded his head. He was usually so obsessed with his bass that he didn’t interact with the audience, so when he approached the end of the stage, the crowd responded with a unanimous cheer and saluted him with horns in the air. His boot stomped to the beat of Jimmy’s bass drum, and he plucked his E string with exaggeration. The crowd cheered and called his name, but he was only looking at Alyssa. She wore a look of indifference, neither impressed nor swayed by his talent on the bass, but he saw the smile tucked in the corner of her mouth and the shine in her eyes. She still couldn’t fool him.

  The sixty-minute set flew by. It always did. He nodded to Alyssa before he left the stage. This time she flashed him a smile that lit up her enigmatic and beautiful face.

  On the way to the back room Angel caught up to him. “Who’s the girl?”

  “Just some chick at the shop.”

  Angel was smiling like a teenager, and it made Damien flush. “Knock it off. She came to see the show, that’s all.”

  “She’s very exotic looking. Love the black hair and red lips.”

  “She plays it real cool. Acts like nothing fazes her, and she has this real mysterious quality about her. I’m really diggin’ this girl, but sometimes she’s hard to read.”

  “I know the type. The ones who play hard to get are usually the ones who are craziest about you.”

  “What do you know about hard to get? Guys are always throwing themselves at you. Some of the girls, too.”

  Angel laughed. “Audra and Kira? They’re adorable, but I think they’re just infatuated with the music. Why are you wasting your time standing here talking to me? You got an exotic beauty out front.” Angel gave Damien a little push. “Go!”

  “I need a drink first.” Nerves rumbled around in Damien’s belly on the walk to the back room. He found his bottle of Johnnie Walker and poured himself a shot. Normally, chicks didn’t make him anxious, but this wasn’t a hookup. He was genuinely interested in Alyssa. He was drawn in by her mystique, challenged by her indifference, and aroused by her rebellious attitude.

  The alcohol still burned his throat as much as it did when he took his first sip at age 14 from his mother’s discarded glass. It felt like yesterday instead of eight years ago. He touched the scar on the side of his head where his mother had hit him with his first bass guitar. The anger burned deep in his gut at the memory, and he poured himself another shot. He welcomed the burn this time.

  Angel took the glass from his hand. “Don’t get drunk before you meet your girl.”

  Damien took the glass back and swallowed the last drop. “She’s not my girl – not yet.”

  Maneuvering through the crowd after the show was worse than before it started. Everyone Damien passed wanted to talk to him and express how much they enjoyed the music. Audra and Kira intercepted him, but he would always make time for them.

  “It was an awesome show, and you looked great!” Audra stared up at him. “I love the new ink on your neck. You’re so badass!”

  His fingers caressed the tattoo that wasn’t quite healed yet. The connotation of demons circling his throat and the recollection of his mother were a fitting association. “Thanks. I got a real personal connection to it.”

  “Is Angel coming out soon? I almost died when he grabbed my hand and sang to me!” Kira squealed.

  Their exuberance was uplifting. They had such a high of level of energy that he let go of the memory of his mother that was weighing on his mind – almost.

  He left Kira and Audra with a nod of his head and pressed through the army of people. He acknowledged them with a fist bump or a high five and accepted their pats on the shoulder.

  He found Alyssa on a stool at the bar sipping a beer and talking to a guy with a shaved and tattooed head that went by the name of Sully. Protective of the only woman who stirred his hormones into a jumbled mess, Damien quickened his pace and wedged his way between them. “Back off, dude. She’s with me.”

  “I don’t see a ring on her finger.” Sully was being sarcastic, but he was harmless.

  Damien pointed his thumb over his shoulder. “Get lost.”

  “Next time, don’t leave your girl sitting alone at the bar,” Sully grumbled as he walked away.

  Damien was surprised that Alyssa wasn’t surrounded by every guy in The Quadrangle. She was gorgeous. She was wearing those sexy thigh-high boots that drove Damien insane. One leg was crossed over the other, and her six-inch spiked heel was waving with a carefree bounce. A miniskirt would have driven Damien right over the edge, but the skin tight black leggings were responsible for the olympics that were going on in his pants right now. The urge to run his hand up her thigh and over her hip was almost too much to control, so he stuffed both hands in his pockets. He leaned in to kiss her cheek, but she stopped him with a firm hand on his chest.

  “I’m not your girl.” She had that glint in her eye again, and the tiniest smile in the corner of her mouth, otherwise it would have been easy to mistake her harsh vocabulary for the real thing.

  He tried to hide his smile, but it was bursting through his lips.

  “What’s so funny?”

  “You are.” He took hold of her upper arms and planted a quick kiss on her cheek.

  She was so surprised she didn’t have a chance to react, but now she was the one pursing her lips together trying to suppress a smile. “That’s going to cost you.”

  “I’m ready to pay. What’s my punishment . . . Mistress?”

  The smile broke through her dark red lips, and she eyed him up and down. “I don’t know if you can hand
le it.”

  Every nerve ending in his body was jumping through hoops of fire, and his erection was about to bust open the zipper of his jeans. He leaned closer to her. “Try me. I’m game for anything.”

  “I was hoping that was your answer.” She placed her beer on the bar. “You can start with a refill.”

  His cock ached with disappointment. Dirty talk, filled with innuendo, and she wanted a beer. “Empty promises,” he mumbled in her ear, and motioned to the bartender.

  Her raised eyebrows challenged him, and they stared at each other.

  The bartender broke their standoff. “Johnnie Black?”

  Damien nodded. “And a beer for the lady.”

  Alyssa tapped the bar with her index finger. “I’ll take a shot with that, too.”

  She was hell on heels.

  They watched the bartender pour their drinks in silence, but glanced at each other. That little spark that ignited when they made eye contact made Damien’s blood pump a little faster.

  Alyssa held up her shot and Damien held up his half-full tumbler. She clinked his glass. “That’s a pretty big shot you got there.”

  “Big is an understatement. I like to use the term huge. And impressive.”

  She laughed. “Oh really? Don’t set yourself up for failure.”

  His eyes never left hers as he took a big swig of his glass. “Don’t take my word for it. You can judge for yourself.”

  She folded her arms across her chest and stared back at him with a smile pressed into her plump, crimson lips.

  He finally silenced her. “What’s wrong? No comeback? No witty retort?”

  “I have plenty of witty comebacks. I’m just not sure how far I want to take this tonight.”

  His cock was doing backflips, and she was enjoying watching him squirm. He took another gulp of his drink, while hers remained untouched on the bar. “I thought you wanted that shot. Can’t handle the hard stuff after all, huh?” He placed his empty glass on the bar and taunted her with a smile. “I bet that hard-as-nails exterior is really just a front. Underneath it all, I bet you’re just a girly-girl.”

  Her eyes opened wide, and her face went blank. For a minute Damien thought he went too far and pissed her off. He was about to apologize, but she picked up the shot glass and drained it, then slammed it down on the bar. She grabbed his shirt and pulled him so close he felt her breath on his lips. “I’m an expert at dishing out the hard stuff. I wield a needle for a living and pierce it through raw flesh without an anesthetic. The question is, can you handle it?”

  Her self-righteous smirk mocked him with playful satisfaction, but Damien was about to keel over from the overwhelming heat that covered his body. Tiny dots of perspiration broke out on his forehead, and he was starting to think that maybe she was right – he couldn’t handle her in the bedroom. Had he finally met his match? Could this gorgeous, ferocious woman break him? Could she be the one to make him surrender and beg for mercy?

  “What’s the matter? You look a little stunned. Did I scare you?”

  “Hell, no.” He stepped closer and his thighs bumped against her knees. “You got me excited.”

  She pressed her fingertips against his chest and pushed him a few inches away. “Just a minute. Don’t think I forgot that you called me a girly-girl. You’re going to pay for that remark.”

  “Oh, please teach me a lesson.”

  She threw her head back and let out a devilish laugh. “I’m not going to make you pay with something you’d enjoy. We’re taking a step back. Cooling our heels.”

  He practically heard the cry coming from his engorged cock. “You are pure evil.”

  She laughed again. “I just have a sick sense of humor, that’s all.”

  He drained the whiskey from his glass. He should have had a nice buzz by now, but he was stone-cold sober. This chick was keeping all of his senses on high alert. “What do you want to do now? Do you want to get out of here?”

  She shook her head. “I think the alcohol is clogging your brain.”

  It wasn’t the alcohol, it was her ruby red lips and the stiletto that kept grazing his thigh that was breaking his concentration. He knew she was purposely touching the heel of her boot against his leg every time she crossed and uncrossed her legs, just to drive him crazy. It was working. “OK. I’ll play your little game.” He leaned an elbow against the bar. “What’d you think of the show?”

  “That’s better.” She adjusted herself on the stool and thought about her answer. “To be perfectly honest, I was blown away.”

  He didn’t expect her to sound sincere. He thought she’d make a sarcastic comment and they’d enjoy some more banter. “Seriously?”

  “Seriously. All kidding aside, I thought the show was phenomenal. No offense, but I expected to see a bunch of amateur musicians up there butchering a handful of covers. I never expected original music that sounded like I was listening to it on the radio.” She gave him a playful shove. “You got talent!”

  His chest swelled with pride. There were few things in life that he excelled at, even fewer that made him proud, but playing the bass was his forte. It was his calling and the only thing that gave his life meaning and purpose. He accepted her compliment with earnest. “Thank you.”

  “There was so much grit and spunk coming out of your bass that you overshadowed the guitar player. Don’t get me wrong, he was good. He was quick and rattled off the melody with heart, but you had tenacity up there. You were in your own little world, yet you commanded the audience.”

  “Really?” He smiled with a new found self-worth. “I never pay much attention to anything except timing and the beat of the drum.”

  She leaned forward and touched his chest with her hand. “The drummer was fantastic. I have never been compelled to look past everyone on stage and focus on the drummer before. His hands were a blur as they flew across the drums. I literally thought I was seeing things.”

  She took a big chug of beer, presumably to wet her throat because she was talking with such enthusiasm. She placed her beer on top of the bar and stood up like she was getting ready to give a speech. “Now, let’s talk about your singer. Holy hell. What the fuck was that?” She put her fingers to her temples. “His voice! It was pristine. And the glitz and the flash. It’s obvious that he lives for the stage. I can’t tell you how impressed I am, Damien. Why the hell don’t you have a record contract?”

  He shrugged. “We’re trying. Angel does a hell of a job managing the band, but it’s not that easy.”

  “Which one’s Angel? The singer?”

  “Yeah. Do you want to meet him, and the rest of the band?” It sounded like a cliché question to get in a girl’s pants, but Damien was genuinely proud to call the other members of Immortal Angel his friends, and he wanted to introduce them to the gorgeous woman in front of him.

  She answered with an eager, “Hell, yeah.”

  This time she didn’t protest when he possessively took her by the hand and led her through the crowd. The occasional words of praise and shouts of his name by the other people in the bar were met with a note of pride.

  Damien spotted Angel next to the stage talking with Jimmy. It was the least crowded spot in The Quadrangle now that the show was over, and it was quieter, so they could talk without shouting.

  When they approached, Angel and Jimmy turned at the same time, but their reactions to Alyssa were completely opposite. Angel wore a friendly, amicable smile that radiated warmth and comfort. Jimmy flashed his charismatic smile that made his cheek dimple, and his eyes brightened like the sun.

  Jimmy took Alyssa’s free hand without waiting for an introduction and held it between his palms. “You must be the piercer.”

  Alyssa’s face lit up with an amused smile. “The Piercer? Yes, it’s my superhero name, but you can just call me Alyssa.”

  “Well, it’s very nice to meet you, Alyssa. I’m Jimmy.”

  To anyone else, it would appear that Jimmy was laying on the charm, but it was just Jimmy bei
ng Jimmy. He had a natural appeal and a likeable quality that was apparent from the moment you met him.

  “It’s nice to meet you, too,” Alyssa replied. “I really enjoyed watching you play the drums. It was quite a show.”

  Jimmy tipped his head in thanks.

  Before anyone else had a chance to say anything, Alyssa turned toward Angel and pointed at him. “And you – oh my God!” Angel flinched a little and Alyssa laughed. “Sorry, I had a couple of beers, and that came out a little more enthusiastic than planned. Your voice floored me from the first word you sang, and you dominated that stage.” She pointed to it over Angel’s shoulder. “I’ve never seen a show with so much energy and talent. My blood was pumping, and the crowd was nuts. I would have been shouting and stomping my feet like the rest of them, but that’s not my thing. It was like I was listening to Freddie Mercury, Prince and the Ramones all at the same time. I’ve never seen anything like it. You guys were that good.”

  “I love this girl!” Angel was beaming. “That’s the best compliment anyone could ask for! Thank you. You’re a sweetheart. I try to give my all when up on stage.” He glanced at Jimmy and Damien. “We all do. I have exceptional musicians behind me, and our fans are full of passion. It’s what pushes me to bring everything I have to my performance.”

  Alyssa looked around briefly. “Where’s your guitar player?”

  “Karl’s my cousin,” Jimmy said. “He split. He’s got a girl up in Westchester and spends most of his time up there. He doesn’t hang around much once the shows are over.”

  Damien saw Angel out of the corner of his eye, inspecting Alyssa’s clothes and hair. He knew Angel was admiring her look, but he knew Alyssa well enough to know she would call him out on it.

  She felt Angel’s gaze on her and slowly turned in his direction. “Why are you staring at me like that?”

  Damien expected Angel to get flustered, but he didn’t. He inspected Alyssa more closely. “Love the hair and makeup. And don’t even get me started on the boots. You got a great look.”


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