Punk Rock Resurrection

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Punk Rock Resurrection Page 14

by Jenna Galicki

  Helpless and exhausted, she slipped back into bed and took Damien in her arms. He never opened his eyes but returned his head to her shoulder and wrapped his arm around her waist. She squeezed her eyes shut and pulled him tight. There were so many things she feared about the future of their relationship, but most of all, she feared the depths of Damien’s addiction.

  Chapter Fifteen

  Alyssa was a mess over the next few days. There were so many conflicting emotions running through her head. She needed to vent to someone before she exploded, but her mother was at an art show in New Orleans. There was only one other person she could talk to.

  Angel opened his apartment door with surprise. “Alyssa, what are you doing here?”

  She literally wanted to collapse into his arms. Before the other night, she hadn’t cried since she was a kid. She never felt so powerless and unable to take control. She dealt with a lot of bullshit in her life, but she had no experience with substance abuse.

  “Is everything OK with Damien?”

  “He seems better . . . I guess.” Truthfully, she had no idea. After Damien confessed his troubled past, and she confiscated his pills, he hadn’t mentioned anything about either. He promised to quit, and so far she hadn’t seen him take a drink, but she couldn’t be certain he wasn’t taking pills behind her back or drinking when she wasn’t around.

  Angel recognized her distress, placed a caring hand on her elbow, and guided her into his apartment. “Sit down. I’ll make some tea.”

  She didn’t want tea, but he already had a flame under the kettle. While they waited for the tea to steep, they sat at the breakfast bar without saying a word. Angel knew she was there to talk about Damien and his past, and he waited until she was ready to speak. “Did you know him when that shit was going on with his mother?”

  Sadness passed over Angel’s face and he frowned. “Yes. I tried to do anything I could to help him. When we were still in high school, I tried to get him to stay with me and my parents, but he refused. He didn’t want anyone’s help. When I found out he was on the street,” Angel shuddered, “I drove him to my apartment and wouldn’t let him leave until he had a place to go. I worried about him in the projects, but he swore he was OK. After another shoot-out in the hallway, I insisted he find an apartment in a decent neighborhood.”

  The kettle whistled and interrupted Angel’s story. He filled two cups with tea and honey and placed a lemon wedge on each saucer. He placed one cup in front of Alyssa and sat on the stool opposite her before continuing with his account of Damien’s past. “He finally agreed to borrow money from me to pay the first month’s rent in a decent apartment building. My mom found him that place. He thinks the management company waived the security deposit, but I paid it. I know the place isn’t exactly ideal. It’s run down and outdated, but it’s affordable. I wanted him somewhere safe, and he liked it because it’s close to me and Jimmy.”

  “You’re a good friend to him, Angel.”

  “That’s how I was raised. Close friends are like family, and we take care of each other.”

  Angel came from a wonderful, loving family. It was ironic that he and Damien were best friends yet their backgrounds were completely different.

  He stirred the lemon into his tea and watched it swirl in the cup. “Damien told me what happened the night I brought you to his apartment. I’m glad you called me. He needed you.”

  She knew Angel was referring to Damien crossing paths with his mother and sharing his troubled childhood, but Alyssa wondered how much he knew about Damien’s drug problem. “Did he tell you about . . . his pledge for sobriety?”

  Angel sat up straight. “No. That’s the best news I’ve heard in a long time. I’ve been after him to quit drinking for months, or at least slow down. I hated being the judgmental friend, so I kind of stopped pressuring him. I knew that I couldn’t make him do something he wasn’t ready to do. He needed to be ready on his own terms. He needed a reason, and that reason is you, Alyssa.”

  “I wasn’t talking about his drinking.”

  Angel tilted his head with confusion.

  He didn’t know about the pills. Was it that easy to keep a prescription drug problem a secret? Now Alyssa was faced with the decision of whether or not to betray Damien’s trust and leak his personal business. She rubbed her temples and tried to figure out what to do.

  “What aren’t you telling me, Alyssa? Damien’s like a brother to me. If there’s something else going on that I need to know about, tell me.”

  She stared down into her tea. It was piping hot and the steam warmed her face. She took a long drink while Angel waited. She knew she needed to tell him about the pills, but she was stalling. If Angel guessed or mentioned it first, it would ease her guilt. No such luck. “Did you know he takes oxycotton?”

  “No. Is it prescribed from a doctor?”

  Her raised brow and the slump of her shoulders answered his question.

  “Oh my God.”

  “I don’t know how I missed it. I feel like an idiot. I can’t believe I didn’t know.” She had studied to be a nurse and should have recognized the warning signs, but he was very discreet. “I think he only takes the pills when he has those nightmares, but he seems really dependent on them – and he takes them with alcohol.”

  “That’s dangerous. What are we going to do? Should we stage an intervention?”

  “You know him better than I do, Angel, and I know he’s not the type to go for that shit. He’ll feel backed into a corner. Hell, I’d be pissed off if someone tried to do that to me.” Her mind was fried, and her heart was beaten. She was ready to drop. “I don’t know if I’m up for this. I can’t watch him like a hawk and constantly worry that he’s taking a drink or swallowing pills behind my back. I can’t live my life like that. I can’t be in a relationship like that.” She looked up at Angel. Fear was staring back at her. “He’s in a bar every weekend. That’s never going to change. Temptation will always be in front of him. I don’t know if I can trust him.”

  “What are you saying?” Angel’s eyes grew wide, and the grip on his mug was tighter. “Are you thinking about breaking up with Damien?”

  She leaned forward and covered her face with her hands, unable to look Angel in the eye. “Yes. But I can’t do it. I care about him too much. I have to give him a chance.” When she looked up, Angel was standing next to her. He put his arms around her in an emotional show of support and compassion.

  “You can count on me, Alyssa. Whatever you need, whatever Damien needs, just ask. I’m here for the both of you.”

  Angel and Damien had a unique and valuable friendship. He was probably the only person who cared about Damien as much as she did. She didn’t know how to help Damien conquer his sobriety, but she knew that she could count on Angel for help, and maybe that would be enough to help get through this hurdle with Damien.

  Chapter Sixteen

  Alyssa felt like a watchdog at The Quadrangle. The smaller bars that Immortal Angel played were less worrisome. The crowds were thinner, and it was made up of locals mixed in with loyal fans. The Quadrangle was a hardcore place to party. There were no ground rules. Raunchy behavior was the norm. It would be easy to solicit drugs freely in the thick crowd. Half the people in here were high already. Alyssa scanned the room. She didn’t know what she was looking for, other than an open exchange, but she didn’t think a drug deal would be that blatant, even in this free-spirited crowd.

  She leaned her back against the stage. It afforded her the best view of the place. She continued to watch the interactions between the people around her, until something tapped her on the head. She turned around and was greeted by Jimmy’s smile. He was squatting at the edge of the stage, and her eyes went to the drumsticks in his hand, knocking out a beat on his leg. “Did you just hit me on the head with that?”

  “I tapped you.”

  “Well, don’t do it again unless you want that drumstick up your ass.”

  “Whoa. I was playin’ around. Don’t m
ess with a drummer’s sticks.”

  “Sticks?” She smiled back at him. “I said stick. Singular. If you want to make it two, I’m game.”

  Jimmy’s brows pinched together, questioning if she was serious or not, then he quietly hid his drumsticks behind his back. “What are you doing so close to the stage, anyway? Are you turning into an Immortal Angel groupie?”

  “Yeah. Can you sign my boob?” She opened her leather jacket and pushed her chest out.

  He let out a boisterous laugh. “I’d love to, sugar, but Damien might take my head off.”

  She was glad for the moment alone with Jimmy. She needed to know that he was on board with keeping an eye on Damien. “All kidding aside, Jimmy, did Angel tell you about Damien’s problem?”

  Jimmy hunched his shoulders lower, and it was the first time she’d seen the smile fade from his face. He looked different without the carefree ease in his demeanor, and his blue eyes clouded with serious consternation. “Yeah. Angel told me. I had no idea. Man, I knew he liked his Johnnie, but I thought that was it.”

  Alyssa looked at the growing crowd congregating around the stage. People were stuffed almost halfway to the front bar of The Quadrangle. Larger crowds were showing up at each show. People were so packed together she could barely see what was happening a few feet away. She couldn’t possibly scan the room. “Who do you think Damien gets oxycotton from? It’s gotta be someone here. I doubt he gets it on a street corner. It’s too obvious. And there was nothing going on at the other bars. I’ve had my eyes open. I don’t know what goes on in the men’s room, but I see girls snorting coke in the ladies’ room here all the time. You know this place better than me. Who do you think it is?”

  Jimmy rested his elbows on his knees and tapped his drumsticks in the palm of one hand. “I really don’t know. I’m not in that circle.” He looked into the crowd and rubbed his long sideburns. “But I can tell you who would know.”


  “You’re not going to like it.”

  “I don’t care. Just tell me who it is.”


  She pursed her lips together with annoyance. “That trashy blonde who’s always all over Angel? I wouldn’t trust a word out of her delusional mouth. That girl lives in a fantasy land.”

  “You may be right, but I think she’s your best bet on leading you to the source. She’s high all the time.”

  Alyssa gritted her teeth together, but Jimmy had a point. She avoided conversations with Kendall at all costs. The girl turned her stomach, but she was the only one who might know something. Jimmy was about to tap her shoulder with the drumsticks to get her attention. One look, and he froze with his sticks mid-air. “Don’t test me,” she warned with a sadistic smile.

  He flashed her a broad smile in return and hid the drumsticks behind his back again. “We’re going on in a few minutes. I gotta get in the back.”

  “OK. Thanks. Do me a favor? Keep an eye on Damien. All right?”

  “I always do.” Jimmy clutched his drumsticks to his chest. The playful smile he always wore was replaced by sincerity. “I love him like a brother.”

  Even though the lights were still up, it was still hard to see very far in the murky bar. Alyssa searched for Kendall. There was no sign of her in the immediate area surrounding the stage, and all else seemed normal. Fans were talking while they waited for the show to start. Every few seconds a whistle or a “woot” echoed through the room in anticipation of Immortal Angel’s performance.

  The lights went down, and the crowd erupted into a cluster of shouts and fists in the air. Angel strutted on stage wearing his signature black leather pants. They were tighter than the stretch denim jeans she wore, and she wondered how he moved so freely without splitting the seams. They did look really good on him, though.

  Angel shouted into the mic, “Are you ready for the show? Because it’s gonna kick fuckin’ ass!”

  The crowd hollered in response, and Alyssa flinched when the person next to her screamed in her ear. It was the reason she rarely got this close to the stage.

  Damien, Jimmy and Karl joined Angel on stage causing another round of cheers from the crowd. She ignored them and turned her attention to Damien. He gave her a tiny smile and a nod of his head before he lost himself in the sound of his bass.

  Music exploded through the room like a stick of dynamite, and Angel’s voice lit up the stage. Two guys pushed past Alyssa and landed directly in front of Angel, vying for the center spot with Kira and Audra.

  The beat of Jimmy’s drums echoed in Alyssa’s chest, and the chime of his cymbals rang in her ears. She watched him. No shirt, broad chest, and colorful, tattooed arms flailing around like he had four of them. Watching him left her in awe. His talent was undoubtedly handed down from generation to generation. It wasn’t a learned skill. It was inborn.

  Karl played the guitar on the opposite side of the stage with humble fortitude. His hands were quick, and the notes were clear as they sailed through the sound system. He jumped on the riser and played next to Jimmy. It was the most flair she’d seen him exhibit on stage.

  Alyssa turned her attention back to Damien. Eyes closed, head slightly tilted back, the music bled from his fingertips. The concentration on his face suggested he was in another zone experiencing some profound revelation. He was mesmerizing.

  She loved to watch Damien on stage, but it was Angel who stole the show. His voice always pierced through your deepest thoughts and brought your attention back to him. The group of fans in front of him now expanded to several more male admirers, but Audra and Kira weren’t relinquishing their spot. A bulldozer probably couldn’t move them.

  Angel strutted across the stage and stopped in front of Alyssa. Her presence at the front of the stage drew his attention, and he leaned down on one knee and belted out a crazy lyric in her direction. He sang fast and he was loud, but his voice was pure and spotless. It held her prisoner with its power, and she couldn’t look away.

  Fans alongside her were reaching out to touch Angel, pawing at his legs and arms, but he ignored them and reached down and grabbed her hand. She didn’t offer it like the wild fans next to her, but he took it. He squeezed her hand and wouldn’t let go. Girls around her screamed from excitement, but she just shook her head and laughed. He finally let go of her hand and blew her a kiss. She saw Damien shoot him a sideways glance. Was that jealousy? Alyssa rolled with laughter. It was fun at the front of the stage!

  After the first few songs, Alyssa began weaving through the crowd, looking for any signs of an illicit transaction. It was too crowded to see anything beyond the groups of people she passed through. Any transaction most likely took place in the bathroom, anyway. She put it off as long as she could. There was only one person who would lead her to the source – Kendall.

  She wasn’t hard to find. There were two bars at The Quadrangle, one in the front and one in the back. Kendall was at the one in the back. Alyssa squeezed into the space next to her. She almost ordered a beer, but stopped herself. It was out of sheer habit, not a driving thirst for alcohol. She couldn’t image how hard it must be for Damien in the bar all the time. He was stronger than she realized, probably stronger than he knew.

  “Well, look who it is.” Kendall sneered at her. “I saw you at the front of the stage with Angel.”

  Why was she so fucking obsessed with Angel? “I was watching Damian. Angel found me in the crowd.” It was a dig, and Kendall felt its sharp connotation.

  “Whatever.” Kendall turned her back on Alyssa and started a conversation with a guy that was standing nearby.

  Calculating her actions, Alyssa ordered a diet coke and waited a sufficient amount of time so it didn’t look suspicious. “Um, Kendall, I have a question for you.”

  Kendall turned with a surprised arch in her brow. “Are you talking to me?”

  She called her by name. Who else would she be talking to? “Yeah. Where can I score some shit in this place?”

  “What kind of shit?” />
  “You know what I’m talking about. Who should I see? Where can I score some oxy?”

  Kendall looked her up and down. “Why are you asking me? Damien knows who to talk to.”

  Alyssa reminded herself to remain calm, even though her internal temperature just rose to a boiling point. She took a deep breath. “Because he’s on stage. By the time they’re done playing, and he packs up his equipment, it’ll be two hours from now.”

  Kendall narrowed her eyes and pursed her lips to the side. She studied Alyssa, but didn’t answer.

  “Forget it.” Alyssa took her diet soda and turned to walk away.

  “Wait. His name’s Jerry. He’s the resident street pharmacist around this neighborhood. Everyone knows him, and he’s a close friend of mine, so don’t give him any trouble.”

  Alyssa was running out of patience, and she was done playing games with Kendall. “Are you going to tell me where to find this guy or not?”

  “He’s here. Don’t get all uptight.” Kendall bobbed her head and looked through the crowd of people. “There he is. The guy with the brown jacket. He usually stays in that corner most of the night.”

  Hatred coursed through Alyssa as soon as she laid eyes on Jerry. He was a sleazy, scumbag drug dealer. She walked away from Kendall without another word and positioned herself at the other end of the bar so she had a clear view of Jerry. She watch him transact business with several people over the next twenty minutes. Trades were exchanged between sly handshakes. It was happening in front of everyone, but no one noticed what was going on – or they didn’t care. She had no interest in confronting him. She only wanted to know who he was so she made sure Damien kept his distance.


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