Punk Rock Resurrection

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Punk Rock Resurrection Page 22

by Jenna Galicki

  “This place is a dream,” Jimmy said. “You got some mad decorating skills.”

  “Thank you,” Alyssa replied. “I’m glad you like our home.”

  Home. The word brought a million good things to mind – love, family, affection, and belonging. Damien had lived in three or four different places, but this was his first official home.

  Chapter Twenty-Seven

  Alyssa cleaned up her work station for the night and watched Damien at the front desk speaking with a customer. She had returned to work while Damien was still in the hospital. It had only been for a few hours each day, but it had given Damien a chance to talk to the social worker alone, and Alyssa had been able to resume her income. She had no idea how much, if anything, Damien had said to the social worker when he was still in the hospital, but so far he’d made good on their agreement about engaging in nightly chats. He even reiterated the horrible incident with his mother that had led to his accidental overdose.

  This was Damien’s first week back at work. She was proud of him. Everyone felt a shard of guilt and responsibility for Damien’s overdose, but it was Alyssa who felt the most accountable. She should have had more patience with him, and she’d never forgive herself for letting him down. She had no experience with substance abuse and thought she was doing the right thing by giving him an ultimatum. That decision backfired and almost cost Damien his life.

  Damien seemed at peace. The overdose fiasco probably gave him a good scare, because he experienced some sort of revelation at his close encounter with death and rose like a phoenix from the ashes, reborn with strength and determination to start his life anew. Thank God, because although Alyssa vowed to stick by his side, she couldn’t watch him backslide into a pit of despair where drugs were the only thing that numbed the pain.

  Her biggest worry was Damien’s biggest outlet – performing. The bars, especially The Quadrangle, held an overabundance of temptation. She couldn’t spend every minute watching him the way she did before she left him. It was not only unhealthy; it was deceitful to spy on him. Alcohol was the lesser of the evils that lured him into relapse. Anyone could easily spot Damien with a drink in his hand or alcohol on his breath, and the telltale sign of inebriation was quick to notice in the slur of his words. It was the pills that were easily disguised, especially since he had mostly taken them before he went to bed or in the middle of the night when he had woken from a bad dream. That’s why she had never noticed the reduced size of his pupils.

  He swore he had no pills in his possession, and she believed him, but she also knew that he could easily get his hands on them if he wanted to. They were only a phone call away, she reminded herself. She was determined to cut him off at the source, which meant that she needed to get Jerry aside and make it clear that Damien was no longer a customer.

  Immortal Angel was on a 30-day break while Damien recovered. He insisted that he was well enough and strong enough to return to the stage and the temptation of the bar scene, but Angel and Jimmy refused. They were adamant that he complete 30 days of sobriety, which was nearing its final week.

  Damien must have felt her eyes on him, because he turned toward her from the front of the shop.

  She smiled at him, and he nodded back. As soon as the customer left, he came to her work station.

  “I would’ve helped you clean up. Are you done for the night?”

  “Yeah.” She tugged on the hem of his T-shirt and pulled him closer. “Should I wait for you?”

  “I promised Spyder I’d stay and close up. Axel’s got another two hours on his piece.” He glanced at the clock on the wall. “I won’t be out of here until midnight. Go home. You look beat.”

  Alyssa knew Damien had to stay until closing, that’s why she didn’t book any late appointments tonight. She needed to ensure that Damien was occupied when she had her little run-in with Jerry before Immortal Angel’s return to The Quadrangle.

  “Are you sure you don’t mind if I leave?” She gave him an extra sweet smile and hoped it didn’t arouse suspicion.

  “Why are you being so cute?”

  She pressed her lips together and relinquished all signs of playfulness. “I still worry about you, Damian. I almost lost you.”

  “It takes more than 160 milligrams of oxycotton and a half-bottle of whiskey to take me out.” A tiny smile was stuck in the corner of his mouth.

  She poked him in the ribs. “It’s not funny.”

  “I don’t want you to worry about me, Alyssa. I’m good. We have our talks at night, and they help me. No nightmares in almost two weeks.”

  A sense of relief satisfied her anxiety, and she almost abandoned her quest to straighten out Jerry, but there was still too much uncertainty once Damien started playing The Quadrangle again. “As long as you’re OK, I’m gonna go home. You sure you don’t want me to stay?”

  He tweaked her chin with his thumb and index finger. “Go. I’m fine.”

  The Quadrangle was already packed and the music was blasting from the juke box while there was a break between bands. Alyssa stayed away from the bar. She hadn’t had a drink in over a month. Nothing was worth putting Damien’s sobriety at risk. She walked through the crowd and noted the unfamiliar faces. These weren’t Immortal Angel’s fans.

  Jerry was stationed in his usual spot near the men’s room, but she didn’t approach him – not in the middle of a room full of people. She wanted to get him alone, so she waited. It disgusted her when she saw him transact business with people, but it wasn’t her business to get involved.

  She waited almost thirty minutes before Jerry moved from his location and headed for the door. He went out front, lit up a cigarette and started toward the corner before Alyssa had a chance to approach him. She quietly followed him, still unsure what she was doing chasing a drug dealer down the street. He must have become aware that she was behind him, because he quickened his pace. He was trying to lose her on foot. Before she realized it, she was a few blocks away from The Quadrangle and on a dimly-lit street with no one else around. It probably wasn’t the best conceived idea, but it was too late to reconsider.

  Jerry spun around. “Why are you following me?” He took a step toward her and stretched his arms out to the sides to challenge and intimidate her, but she didn’t back down.

  “Do you know who I am?”

  “You’re Damien’s ol’ lady.”

  “That’s right.” Now, she was the one who took a step closer. “He almost fucking died.”

  Surprise and shock passed over Jerry’s face for a brief second, before he recovered and put up his defenses. “If you’re here to blame me for it, keep fuckin’ walking. It’s not my fault. He’s a grown man.”

  Anger burned inside her belly like a raging fire. “You’re the fucking devil.”

  “You should turn around and go the fuck home.”

  “Let me finish. Damien’s been clean and sober for 24 days. He’s playing The Quadrangle next weekend. If you sell him drugs or if I catch you near him, I’ll cut your fucking heart out and feed it to a stray dog in the street.”

  He laughed at her.

  Her eyes turned to steel and she took another step closer. “I fucking mean it.”

  He must have seen her rage and realized she was serious, because he abruptly stopped laughing and glared at her. They held each other’s stare until his eyes shifted somewhere behind her. “What the fuck is this – an ambush?”

  Alyssa looked over her shoulder and saw Angel headed toward them. “What are you doing here, Angel?”

  He ran to catch up to her. “I saw you following Jerry down the street and wanted to make sure you were all right.” He glanced at Jerry. “What’s going on?”

  “This chick’s crazy. That’s what’s going on. Look, I don’t need any fuckin’ problems, especially someone overdosing on my shit. Damien can buy from someone else if he wants anything. Just leave me the fuck alone.”

  Alyssa and Angel both watched Jerry walk down the block shaking his head.

; “Are you fucking crazy?” Angel turned to Alyssa with his eyes wide with disbelief. “He could have pulled a gun on you or something. Next time wait for me.”

  He was always so noble. “Thanks, Angel, but I don’t expect you to take a bullet for me.”

  “I’m serious. He’s a thug. You don’t know what he’s capable of.”

  Angel was right. The confrontation with Jerry could have turned ugly or dangerous, but sometimes the need to safeguard the love of your life outweighs sensibility. “I just needed a little peace of mind. Aren’t you worried about Damien?”

  “Worried? I’m petrified, Alyssa. I’m the one who found him, remember?” Angel put his hands over his eyes and dropped his chin into his chest. “I’ll never forget that for as long as I live. He’s my best friend, and I almost watched him die.”

  She never realized that Angel was taking it as hard – probably harder – than she was. She put her hand on his shoulder. “He’s gonna be OK. He’s strong. He’s a fighter. He talks to me, you know.”

  It took Angel by surprise. “About his childhood?”

  “Yeah. Mostly he tells me how he felt as a kid, but sometimes he recounts some of the ugly things his mother said to him.” She fought to steady her voice. “It breaks my heart.”

  “Mine, too. It’s good that he’s talking to you, though. He always held everything inside him . . . which is probably why he turned to drugs and alcohol.” Angel sighed and hung his head again. “I should have been a better friend to him.”

  “It wasn’t your fault, Angel. It was hers. He got the pills from his mother’s stash when he was a kid. She’d leave them lying around the house when she was passed out. He got curious and took one. That’s how it all started. That’s how he got through his teens.”

  “Oh, God. I can’t even imagine what it was like for him.”

  They slowly started walking down the street together and Alyssa turned to Angel. “How did you know I was at The Quadrangle tonight?”

  “I didn’t. I was coming to see the show. I was on my way inside and just happened to see you following Jerry down the street. I knew exactly what you were up to.”

  She didn’t like that Angel thought she couldn’t take care of herself, but realistically, she was no match against Jerry if he attacked her – other than poking his eye out with the stiletto heel of her boot. “Thanks for making sure I was OK.”

  “You’re welcome. Do you want to check out the band at The Quadrangle with me?”

  “No. I have to get home before Damien closes the shop. He doesn’t know I came here.”

  Angel flagged a passing taxicab, and it pulled up next to the curb. “Next time, please call me before you do anything as brazen as threatening a drug dealer in a dark alley.” He shook his head. “I swear you’re as crazy as Damien. You two were made for one another.”

  She smiled at him. There was never a more true statement.

  Chapter Twenty-Eight

  Damien was on his 40th day of sobriety. He had plowed through the show at The Quadrangle without a moment of indecision, and Alyssa felt foolish for doubting his willpower. He had more strength and tenacity than anyone she knew.

  She sat on the carpet with her legs folded beneath her and coddled Elvira. The little rat reminded her how soft and sensitive Damien was on the inside, which contrasted drastically to his tough-as-nails exterior. He seemed really happy since they moved in together, and she knew they had a bright future ahead of them.

  Damien burst through the door so quickly it made Alyssa jump. There was a lightness to his step and a radiance shone from his smile. She put Elvira back in her cage and went to him. “Good news?”

  He stood there, beaming at her, then held up an envelope. “I’m Damien Diamond.”

  “It’s done? Already?”

  “Yep. It’s all right here.” He waved the envelope in front of her.

  She ripped it from his hand and pulled out the paperwork. She wanted to see it for herself. Laughter marked her excitement as she read the legal document, and she threw her arms around him. “I’m so happy for you, Damien.” She knew how much changing his name meant to him. It was important to sever ties with his past so he could leave the heartache behind and move forward. Their nightly talks didn’t always involve revisiting his childhood, but he often reflected on the need to break the connection. Changing his name disassociated him with his mother so he was free to be the person she had tried to oppress with emotional trauma.

  Alyssa deposited the paper on the dining room table for safekeeping. The heels of her boots clicked on the hardwood floor as she slowly walked toward Damien with a seductive grin. She stood in front of him with her hands on her hips. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Diamond,” she said in a breathy voice. “Welcome to Piercings by Alyssa. Can I interest you in some of my work?”

  “Yes, ma’am.” He took her by the waist and pulled her into his body. “I’ve wanted a Prince Albert for the longest time, but my regular piercer keeps stalling. I think she’s afraid.”

  She gave him a crooked smile and tilted her head. “Why would she be afraid?”

  “Well, my cock’s been known to cause incredible mind-blowing orgasms. I think she’s afraid to handle it.”

  Alyssa leaned closer and whispered in his ear. “You’re the one who should be afraid.” A knock on the door made her burst into a short fit of laughter. “That’s my mother!”

  “Your mother? Why didn’t you tell me she was coming over?” Damien jumped back and tried to tame his erection by moving it around in his jeans. “I’m standing here with a raging hard-on and your mother’s at the door?” The look of sheer panic on his face was hysterical.

  “You came home with news about your name and I forgot. She had a meeting at a gallery in the city this afternoon and called while you were at the courthouse.” Alyssa walked toward the door and paused with her hand on the knob. “Ready?”

  He was still trying to hide his erection by pulling at the crotch of his jeans, but he was only making it more obvious. “No, give me a few more—”

  “Mom!” Alyssa flung open the door. “What a nice surprise!”

  Her mother gave her a questioning smile. “It’s not a surprise, honey. I called. Remember?”

  “Yeah, yeah. Come on in.” She gave her mother a hug and glanced at Damien. His I’m-gonna-get-you-for-this look made her laugh.

  “You’re in a good mood,” her mother glanced back at her, then gave Damien a kiss on the cheek. “How are you? Is my daughter driving you crazy yet? When she lived with me, we had a daily feud over the bathroom mirror.” She glanced up at Damien’s hair. “I bet you two have the same problem.”

  He gave her a crooked smile. “Nice to see you, Melanie.”

  Her mother shed her black leather trench and smoothed down her long, blonde hair. She nodded her approval when Damien took her coat and hung it in the closet. “Such a gentleman.”

  “How did it go at the gallery, Mom? When is your show?”

  “Not for a few months. I need to finish a few pieces first.” She lightly smacked her forehead with the palm of her hand and rolled her eyes. “I left your present in the trunk of my car!”

  “Another painting?” Damien perked up at the idea of another sugar skull. He loved them almost as much as Alyssa did.

  “Yes, but don’t worry. It’s not a big one. It’s only half the size of the others. I know you’re running out of wall space.” She headed to the closet to retrieve her coat but Damien called to her.

  “Wait, Melanie. I’ll get it. Where’s your car parked?”

  “Half way down the block to the left.” She dug in her handbag for her car keys. “You sure you don’t mind?”

  “Course not. I don’t want you to carry a package down the street.” He gestured toward her ankle boots. “Especially in those heels.”

  “Thank you. You’re very sweet.” Her mother waited for Damien to leave the apartment before she spoke again. “He looks good, but how’s he doing? Really?”
r />   “He’s doing fine,” Alyssa answered honestly. There was never a need to keep anything from her mother. She held onto her parental concern, but she wasn’t judgmental. Whether or not her mother agreed with her decisions in life, she was always there to show support and offer advice. “We talk every night, and he tells me that he didn’t take any pills or drink any alcohol that day.” She knew Damien still felt guilty for allowing her to believe that he had completely stopped taking the pills, but she was just as much at fault. If she had asked, she knew he would have told the truth. “We’re taking the one-day-at-a-time approach.”

  “I’m happy to hear that. I’m very proud of both of you.”

  “Me? I didn’t do anything.”

  “Of course you did. You stuck by your man. You believe in him, so he believes in himself. I know I don’t know Damien that well, but he’s a good man, and he loves you, Alyssa. You should marry him.”

  “What?” Alyssa leaned back with surprise.

  “I’m serious. You two are good for each other.”

  “Mom, I’m 23 years old. Me and Damien have barely known each other a year, and we just moved in together. Most people would tell their daughter to slow things down, that they’re moving too fast, and you’re telling me we should get married?”

  “I’m not like most mothers.” There was a mischievous twinkle in her eye. “I painted your nails black when you were five years old and taught you how to apply winged eyeliner when you were 13. Remember that?”

  Alyssa laughed at the memory. She had been called to the principal’s office because she refused to wash it off, and her mother came up to the school in a rage, ranting that they were inhibiting her daughter’s artistic freedom. Growing up under her mother’s tutelage was a lot of fun.

  “And don’t forget, you pierced my nipples two years ago.”

  “How could I ever forget? Not many people get to say they pierced their mother’s nipples.” It was another fun memory. They had shared a bottle of wine and her mother wanted to do something crazy. Still, the idea of marrying Damien at this crucial stage in their relationship was ludicrous.


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