Punk Rock Resurrection

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Punk Rock Resurrection Page 13

by Jenna Galicki

  Alyssa was still blotting the corners of her eyes. “Is that what happened earlier tonight? Something triggered a memory?”

  A fresh wave of humiliation spread heat across Damien’s cheeks, and he lowered his head. “I saw her. She passed right by us on the street.”

  “Your mother? Oh my God. Did she see you?”

  “No. She wasn’t even looking in my direction.” He narrowed his eyes a little. “But my hair stands out a block away. How could she have missed it?”

  Alyssa was quiet for several seconds, then ran her hand over the starched edge of his mohawk. “What was your hair like when you were a kid?”

  “Short. Spikey. Almost as dark as yours.”

  “I’d love to see a picture of you when you were young.”

  He shrugged one shoulder. “Don’t have one.”

  “You don’t have any pictures of yourself from when you were a kid?”

  He shook his head. “We didn’t have phones with cameras back then, and I don’t think my mother ever took a picture of me.”

  Alyssa leaned forward, like she didn’t hear him correctly. “What mother doesn’t take a picture of her child?”

  “My mother.”

  “Your mother was a witch.” Alyssa covered her mouth with her hand. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. She’s still your mother, and I know you still care about her.”

  He searched his heart. There were so many contradicting emotions when it came to his mother. He wasn’t sure which way he sided anymore. “I think I love who I wanted her to be. I just wanted a mother. Is that too fucking much to ask for?”

  “No.” Alyssa positioned herself on the edge of the couch so she could look directly at him. She took his hand and cradled it to her chest. “You shouldn’t have to ask for your mother to love you. It’s supposed to come naturally. What about the rest of your family? Didn’t they know what was going on? Couldn’t you tell them?”

  “There was no one else.” He looked off to the side as a memory flickered inside his head. “I had a grandmother.” He hadn’t thought about her since he was a kid. “She was nice to me. But she saw my mother slap me once, and they had a big fight. My mother threw her out of the house, and I never saw her again. I don’t remember why my mother hit me. It was just on the arm, but I remember it stung like hell, and I cried. I was young . . . maybe six.”

  “My God . . .”

  The disgust on Alyssa’s face and the pity in her voice added another layer of humiliation to Damien’s already disgraced ego. He leaned back on the couch and avoided her gaze. He needed a drink and another pill. He needed to forget. The Johnnie Walker glistened in the bottle. The amber liquid twinkled at him and offered relief. Despite Alyssa’s disapproval, he gulped the whiskey as fast as he could swallow it, hoping to numb his mind and body enough to finish his conversation with her.

  She gently pulled the bottle from his lips. “You can’t keep doing this to yourself. I understand it’s hard. I know it’s fucked up, but you need to stop relying on the alcohol.” She covered the jar of pills in her pocket with her hand. “And I don’t want you taking these pills anymore.”

  He hung his head into his chest and rubbed his eyes. The whiskey rushed to his head and eased some of the turmoil, but it was the medication that would erase it. “I don’t know if I can do that, Alyssa. I got so much shit swimming around in my brain sometimes. When I get like this, I need something to make it go away.”

  Her soft hands turned his face toward her, and she placed a tender kiss on his lips. “Talk to me. It’ll make you feel better to talk about it. Tell me everything. I want to help you.”

  She offered him everything he ever wanted – comfort and understanding, affection and warmth, love and hope. It was time he trusted her. “I’ve been on my own since I was 18. That’s when she threw me out. I was getting ready to leave anyway, but I didn’t have enough money to get an apartment. I didn’t have a good job. I worked at the music store part-time making minimum wage.”

  “What’d you do?”

  Another round of shame warmed his cheeks. “I lived on the streets for a while. I kept my bass and amp at Angel’s. I told him that my mother was threatening to sell it when I wasn’t home. He found out the truth about a month later.”

  “You were on the street for a month?” He could hear the empathy in her voice, and he was ashamed.

  “It was a piece of cake after living with my mother. Anyone who tried to fuck with me or my shit got my boot in their ass. I had some pretty nasty fights.” He pulled up the sleeve of his T-shirt and pointed to the small, lumpy scar on his shoulder. “That’s where I got this.”

  Alyssa ran her finger over it. “What happened?”

  He hated thinking about his time on the street, but it wasn’t as bad as the time he spent living in his mother’s house. “I had a decent spot to sleep. It was in the park, in a corner. It was covered and out of sight. Some asshole thought he was gonna take it from me. I wasn’t giving it up. I had been sleeping in that spot for a week. It was mine.” Renewed anger pulsed in his veins at the memory. “We got into it. He had a knife. I didn’t.”

  “You got stabbed?” The alarm was clear in Alyssa’s voice.

  “Sliced. Grazed. It wasn’t deep, but it bled like a bitch. I was so pissed off. I grabbed his wrist and almost broke his arm. He fled, and I got my sleeping spot. People learned not to fuck with me real fast after that and left me alone. I’m just glad it wasn’t winter.”

  She placed her lips on the scar. “I’m so sorry that happened to you. How did you get off the streets? Did Angel take you in?”

  He nodded. “I argued and didn’t want his help, but he dragged me into his car against my will. He can be pretty stubborn once his mind’s made up. Strong, too.” Damien recalled that first night he spent at Angel’s apartment. He had been embarrassed and didn’t want to burden his friend, but Angel was adamant about helping him. Angel had even offered to give up his bed, but Damien couldn’t take it. He would have been happy to just sleep on the carpet, but he ended up taking the couch. “It was real nice to sleep on something soft again after lying on the ground. The couch was like paradise. I only stayed with him until he got me into public housing.”

  “You lived in the projects?” Alyssa grimaced.

  “It was a war zone half the time, but it was a roof over my head. Angel brought me leftovers from the restaurant all the time, and his mom was always having me over for dinner.” He reflected on his strong friendship with Angel. The man practically saved his life, all out of the goodness of his heart. “I owe him everything, and I’d do anything for him and his mom. His dad too. Both of his parents have been really good to me.” Exhausted after recounting so much of his screwed-up life, Damien collapsed into the couch cushions and put his head on Alyssa’s shoulder. He was surprised that she was still there and didn’t run out the door an hour ago. He should have trusted her sooner. “I’m sorry to put all this shit on you at once, and I’m sorry I wouldn’t let you see my apartment sooner.”

  “This place isn’t so bad, Damien.”

  He picked at the piping on the slipcover. “Angel’s been helping me fix it up. I was trying to make it nicer for you. You should have seen the couch before I got this cover.” He motioned toward the windows with his chin. “Angel just put up those curtains for me last week.”

  “They’re pretty.” She leaned forward and looked across the room. “Is that a rat?”

  Elvira was still on the credenza in front of the window, chewing on a toy in her cage. She rarely used the small cage anymore. He had bought her an elaborate setup of winding tunnels to run through that connected to a large cage. Damien smiled. He loved that little rodent. “That’s my other girl – Elvira. Does it bother you that I have a rat as a pet?”

  “No.” Alyssa crossed the room. “I love rats. I had them as a kid.” Her voice echoed with enthusiasm. She bent down so she was eye level with the cage. “Hi, Elvira.”

  Elvira backed up into the c
orner and stood on her haunches, a little unsure and frightened.

  “She’s not used to people. Angel’s the only other person she’s met, and he won’t get within five feet of her.”

  Alyssa chuckled. “He’s hysterical sometimes.” She rested her finger in between the bars of the cage, so Elvira could take in her scent.

  Damien opened the cage door and Elvira immediately jumped out, ran up his arm, and perched on his shoulder. He turned toward Elvira, and she sniffed his ear. “She’s just a little skittish. Come sit down and let her get to know you.”

  He sat on the couch with Elvira in his lap, and they pretended she wasn’t there. After a while, she tentatively began to sniff at Alyssa with her curious pink nose. She tested Alyssa’s knee with her front paw, then jumped on her leg. Alyssa didn’t move but smiled down at her. She let Elvira sniff her hand before offering a tiny pet with her index finger. Elvira sniffed it, then jumped back into Damien’s lap. That crazy little rodent brought such a smile to his face. “That’s the closest she’s been to anyone but me since I’ve had her.”

  He put her back in her cage and resumed his seat next to Alyssa. The numbing effect of the pills and alcohol was wearing off, and he knew that soon he’d be a mess again . . . or maybe not. Maybe his talk with Alyssa allowed him to shed his demons. Maybe he set them free and now they would stop haunting him.

  Drained from opening his heart and soul, he lay down on the couch and put his head in Alyssa’s lap. She fanned her hand across his mohawk and tenderly stroked the shaved side of his scalp, then she leaned over and kissed him on the forehead. Her long, black hair tickled his neck and deposited the scent of flowers across his face. He curled his arm under her leg and pressed his cheek into it. He couldn’t imagine what he’d do without her.

  Her lips were on his cheek and he turned to catch them. She held his face in her hands while she bathed his mouth in a kiss. It was the most tender kiss he had ever received. Time slowed while she caressed his cheek and ran the back of her hand down his neck and across his chest. Her touch was gentle and whispered across his skin. He yearned for her sharp nails to dig into him and pushed the tips of her fingers into his flesh.

  “No.” She tickled his lip with the sensual stroke of her finger. “None of that tonight. Tonight my touch is gentle and healing.” Her caring eyes were filled with sympathy and compassion, and Damien knew he was lucky she was with him tonight. He needed her.

  He led her to the bedroom where she undressed him. She slipped the shirt over his head and unbuttoned his jeans. She pulled them down to his knees, and he sat on the bed so she could pull them off of his legs.

  After he was naked, she stood in front of him and caressed his cheek. He was eye level with her breasts when she removed her top, and he buried his face in the center of her chest. Her arms pulled him close to her heart. He needed to be held right now, and her comforting embrace blanketed him with its soothing warmth. He basked in the security of her arms, while she continually stroked his back and his cheek. The closeness they shared was overwhelming for Damien. He didn’t expect Alyssa to understand or console him so readily without judgment. Everything she had done for him tonight – tracking him down at his apartment to make sure he was OK, holding his hand and listening to him while he spoke – were actions that showed him what it was like to be loved by a woman.

  His hands slid up her back and found the clasp of her bra. He tossed it onto the bed setting her breasts free. His lips clamped down on her nipple, and his teeth gently tugged on the ring. Normally, he would have been rough and yanked on it, but tonight was about tenderness, and he was looking forward to a soft and comforting hand.

  Alyssa stepped out of her boots and jeans, kissed his lips, and lightly pushed him back on the bed.

  He surrendered to her touch. There was no vying for control tonight. He needed to be loved and cared for. He slid up to the pillows and lay there, defenseless and powerless.

  Her mouth whispered over his chest and up to his ear. “I’m going to make love to you, tenderly and slowly. I want you to submit and let every soft touch of my body heal you.”

  The kiss on his neck was so faint it was little more than her breath on his skin. The way her fingers feathered across his chest and torso was like a delicate breeze. It left him paralyzed, fearful that movement would chase away the silken touch that weakened him. He sighed and fell deeper into the mattress as her mouth moved lower.

  She knelt between his legs and licked his inner thighs, tickling him with her tongue and leaving a soft, wet trail. Her hands lightly stroked him, while her lips placed a tender kiss on the tip of his cock. The warmth of her mouth closed around him and he let out a tiny whimper. She kissed her way back up to his lips. Cupping his face between the palms of her hands with the care of someone holding a newborn bird, she let her lips settle on his. Her tongue was graceful and supple as it dipped into his mouth, as if she was tasting him for the first time.

  He reached into the top drawer of the nightstand, produced a condom and handed it to Alyssa. She was in charge tonight.

  She straddled him and sat back on his thighs, so his cock was standing right between her legs. She rolled the condom down his length with a soft slip of her fingers. Damien was unused to the gentle touch and it sent a warm shiver up his spine. Ever so slowly, she guided his cock inside her. It was like everything was happening in slow motion. Her hips rose and fell with gradual precision. Each movement of her body was exact and perfectly choreographed.

  He didn’t want to think anymore and let his mind go blank. He only wanted to feel the joy that Alyssa was bringing to his body. He let go and gave himself to her. He let each sensation sweep through him, moaning deeper with each gentle thrust of her pelvis. He succumbed to her without any restraint or control. He just allowed the heavenly buzz to overtake him, and he climaxed with a deep sigh. It was unlike any experience before. The tenderness and gentle movements were something he wasn’t used to. He never thought it would make him feel so utterly satisfied and protected. He lay in the shelter of Alyssa’s arms and held her tightly, and he never wanted to let go.

  Chapter Fourteen

  Alyssa stared up at the ceiling for what seemed like hours, while Damien slept soundly on her shoulder. His slumber was that of someone who hadn’t slept in days. There was no movement under his lids or twitching of his mouth. His limbs were still. His weight on her shoulder seemed heavier than usual. It was more than likely the combination of drugs and alcohol that made his sleep so content.

  She paid close attention to his breathing which was deep and regulated. Her fingers counted the pulse in his neck for fifteen seconds. It was strong and within normal range. Now that sleep held him safely in its realm, she let herself replay the night over in her head. The resilience that she held onto for Damien’s sake quickly disintegrated. The neglect and abuse he suffered as a child was too overwhelming to bear. Hot tears blazed a trail from the corners of her eyes into her hairline, and she pressed her lips together to keep her silent sobs at bay. She held him tighter and wrapped both arms around him. Her poor, sweet man had suffered mercilessly as a child. His mother was a monster. Only someone with a heart as big as Damien’s could turn all that hate around and grow into a caring, thoughtful, and sweet-tempered man.

  The tears were overflowing like a river down her cheeks, and her chest heaved with silent sobs. She feared waking Damien, so she swallowed her emotion and slipped out of bed unnoticed. She shut the bedroom door behind her and locked herself in the bathroom. Covering her mouth with her hand, she let the tears flow freely down her cheeks. Her legs lost their strength, and she leaned against the bathroom door for support. Emotionally drained, she slid to her knees and rocked against the door. She wiped her eyes and tried to calm down. Her black eyeliner was smeared on her hands and probably across her face.

  The image of Damien as a young boy, with his innocence and kind heart yearning for his mother’s love, would never leave her head. He had been a child trying to do anyt
hing to please his mother in order to find grace in her eyes. He was her dog, begging for affection which she returned with malice and cruelty. Anger burned inside Alyssa’s belly like an acrid, bitter poison, and the crushing guilt about not recognizing Damien’s drug habit tormented her.

  She never expected to take on the emotional baggage of someone with a drug and alcohol problem who was tormented by demons from his past. She didn’t know if she could handle the heartache and responsibility. She had always steered clear of drama and complicated relationships, but she couldn’t walk away. Damien needed her. And she needed him. She worried that their relationship couldn’t survive. The odds were against them, and she knew that his recovery would most likely cause too much stress on the both of them. They could easily crash and burn. Her heart ached for the uncertainty of the future.

  She heard noise from the living room. Damien was up, and it quickly brought her emotions under control. She scrubbed her face and stepped out from the bathroom still blotting her cheek with the towel. Damien was waiting a few feet outside the doorway. The blank look on his face and the haze over his glazed eyes concerned her. “Did you have another bad dream?”

  “No. I thought you left, but then I heard the water running.”

  “I was just washing off my makeup.” She laced her fingers through his and kissed his cheek. “Let’s go back to bed.”

  He followed her in a robotic trance. Once in the bedroom, he crawled into bed and buried his face in the pillow. Alyssa remained rooted in the doorway. Her eyes were focused on her jeans, now neatly folded on the dresser. She knew she’d left them rolled into a messy ball.

  Damien never looked up while she quietly tiptoed over to the dresser and checked her jeans. The pills were still there, but they were in the wrong pocket. Her heart raced out of control. She wondered if he swallowed another pill or snatched a few from the bottle. He seemed tranquil for the last few hours, so she didn’t think he took one. It was more than likely he only swiped a few tablets for security. Either way, she knew that parting ways with the pills wasn’t going to be easy for Damien. Fresh tears welled in her eyes and blurred her vision, but she fought them. There was no time to cry. Damien was waiting for her.


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