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Authors: Candy J Starr

Angie (2 page)

BOOK: Angie
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"You were brilliant.
Stop being such a sooky-la-la," I said and punched him on the arm.

"Angie's right," said Hannah, opening a beer and handing it to him.
"Not a single person in the crowd even noticed."

"Well
,
I
noticed," he said, taking a mouthful of the beer. "I don't want to be just good enough."

"To be honest," said Eric, "I didn't even notice myself."

"Anyway, you have to put on a clean shirt and get your butt down to the media room. There are a couple of interviewers you have to meet with." Hannah threw Jack a clean t-shirt.

"Why is it just Jack?"
Spud asked. "We're a team. Shouldn't they be talking to us all? I never get to do interviews."

He flopped down on the couch, infesting it with his sweat-drenched body.

"Because you say stupid shit, that's why." I shouldn't even have had to tell Spud that. He should’ve had enough self-awareness to know he was a dick.

"
Hey, Spud, you can do it instead of me if you want," said Jack. It seemed like his moment of self-doubt had disappeared.

"You can both do it.
You too, Eric?"

Eric perched
on the seat in the corner. He didn't look very keen.

"You guys go ahead.
I'm fine here."

Jack grabbed another beer and the three of them headed off to the media room leaving Eric and I alone.

I wasn't really sure what to say to him once we were alone together. I looked at the beer can in my hand and tried to think of something to say while my pulse raced.

"Great gig tonight, huh?"
Yeah, that was really witty and exciting.

Eric grinned.
"Jack's a total perfectionist but I thought it was great. I never dreamed we'd be playing somewhere like this, even if it is as the opener."

"Yeah
, and then all that time on the road. It's going to be a real trip."

Then he went silent and I thought of all the things I wanted to say like how I loved the intense look of concentration he got on his face when he played bass but I couldn't say those things so I just fussed around, pretending to clean things up in the room.

He came over and stood beside me. I wanted to move away rather than start a conversation I didn't want to have. It was easier to just not have feelings. He still looked at me and the feelings got so intense, I looked away.

"I'm starving," I said.
"Is there a vending machine or something around here?"

"I have an energy bar in my bag if you want it."

"Fantastic," I said.
But, when he handed it to me, our fingers touched just a minute too long and it sent a chill through me that I tried to ignore. This was not a guy I could just have a casual fling with, I knew that. I wished he was. That would be so much easier. A few nights of pleasure and then we could say goodbye with no feelings hurt. But he stirred up something in me that had never been stirred before. The core of my being quivered with him nearby.

A knock at the door saved me from further eye contact.

It was Bastian from Monkey Bride. He popped his head around the door and looked at me with his piercing blue eyes.

"Ah, it's just the two of you?
I dropped by to tell you I really enjoyed the set. You guys are great. You know about the party at Freddy’s Bar after the gig? Hope to catch up for a chat then."

"Yeah, we'll be there," said Eric.

After Bastian left, Eric groaned.

"Why did I say we'd be there?
I just want to go home and sleep, not go to some fancy bar. Jack really wants to go though."

"I want to go too.
Come along, it won't kill you."

He grinned.
"I guess, but I dunno if I'll stay long."

Before long
, Hannah and the guys were back.

"Do we get free drinks at this party?" said Spud.
"The Monkey Bride guys are swell. You should see their room. Nothing like this shithole. It's all groupies and a whole fridge full of booze. Dealers hanging around giving out free samples too. Like proper rock stars."

I bet Spud had had his hands out for all that was on offer too.

We headed back up to the stage area to watch Monkey Bride play. I was happy to stay at the side of the stage for their set. I didn’t think I’d fit anywhere else anyway. The whole floor looked jammed to capacity. It’d been a sell-out show.

I
got so lost in the music, I hadn't noticed Eric move behind me until his arms wrapped around my waist. I wanted to pull away. I wanted to send him a signal that he couldn't go there but Monkey Bride were playing that ballad that they were famous for. The one about true love healing. It made me a bit smishy inside and I felt safe with Eric's arms around me. I leaned back against him and he rested his head on my shoulder. It felt so right. The kind of right that made alarm bells go off in my head but it was only for one song and maybe that would be okay.

When they moved on to the next song, I pulled away so I could dance but the feeling of his arms stayed with me.

After the gig finished, we got our stuff together and headed to the bar for the after party. We flashed our VIP tags at the girl on the door and she gave us wristbands for free drinks. You know, they could be my two favourite words in the English language – “free drinks”. Drinks you didn’t have to pay for tasted so much sweeter.

I stumbled into the dark cavern of a room
. Seriously, I’ve been to clubs with dim lighting but this place was something else. The only thing I could see at first was a string of lights glowing around the bar. At least that made the bar easy to find. The rest of the place was a blur of black. Black walls, black floor, black-outfitted people. And really, the choice of music? That cheesy pop song had better be the DJs idea of ironic, ‘cause if I had to listen to that all night, I’d be hijacking the turntables and playing something decent.

My eyes adjusted just seconds before I barrelled into a group of girls standing around near the door.
I grabbed hold of Hannah to anchor myself.

“Are you right?” she asked.
“You haven’t even started drinking yet.”

"Who are these people?" I asked Hannah.
“Isn’t it a private party?”

"People from the record label and media, some of them are crew from the tour and then just randoms.
That guy over in the corner is from the tour promotion company. I should go over and talk to him. Probably should talk to the label guys too." She sighed. "No fun party shenanigans for me. I have to be totally on my game."

She headed for the back of the room where the tour promoter guy sat.

Eric got us all a round of beers from the bar and we grabbed a table at the side of the room where we could watch the action without being in the thick of it. A couple of girls came over and asked for autographs but most of them were looking around, waiting for the Monkey Bride guys to turn up. I could spot a few other familiar faces in the crowd too – not familiar as in I knew them, but familiar as in I knew their bands and had seen them play. In a recessed pit near the DJ desk, a couple of girls tried to sexy dance but I didn't think they were getting the attention they were after.

A couple of Jack's friends turned up and sat with us and things were going well
, then Spud whispered in Jack's ear and the two of them headed off to the bathroom.

"Want to go and join them?" I asked Eric.
I didn't want to be holding him back.

Eric shook his head.

Jack's friends sat at the other end of the table, not really paying attention to us. I think Eric knew them but didn't want to get wrapped up in their talk. Instead, he began telling me about the project he'd just started.

"Isn't that tough, starting a new project when you
’re on tour?"

"It's probably stupid of me," he said, "but you don't know how long this is going to last.
It's the only project I'm working on, so I should have plenty of time in between playing."

I wondered how Eric ended up in a band with Spud, even with Jack, because he was so different to them.
Spud was all the stupid in the band and Jack was all the cocky arrogance while Eric had more than a lick of common sense.

As more people joined our table, Eric moved his chair over until our knees touched.
I didn’t know if he did it on purpose. I wanted to move my knee away but I wanted to keep touching him. The music had changed to some rock, thank goodness, an old Ramones song, and Eric tapped his foot in time with it. That meant he rubbed his leg against mine with every tap. The friction made me swell up with warmth inside.

It
was not the situation I wanted at all. I’d promised myself Eric was off-limits while his mother hated me. Eric-Mama was not the type of woman who’d sit back and let her son date a girl she didn’t approve of. She was the type of woman who’d do everything in her power to destroy that relationship – not just break it up but shatter it into tiny little particles so, no matter how hard you tried, you could never put it back into the love-shaped form it had been. That’s why she scared me. And that’s why I didn’t want this Eric thing to become a
thing
. Not until she approved of me, and it looked like that would be the day after we all went ice-skating in hell.

Jack came back looking more cheerful than he had all night.
He'd got us more drinks too and had just put them down on the table when Hannah rushed over, saying she needed to introduce him to some people.

Sometimes
, I thought that Hannah and Jack were the oddest couple around, that they were only together because of the whole opposites attracting thing – the rich girl and the bad boy rock star. But, at times like that, I could see how it worked. If Jack had been left to his own devices, he'd have spent the whole night drinking with Eric and Spud and his friends in the corner. He'd have never thought about networking or talking to the right people. Jack knew how to shine but Hannah was the one who focused that light so it shone in the right direction.

Sheesh, I’d only had one drink and already I was getting all sappy over the Hannah and Jack love.
I’d have to watch myself or I’d end up making a complete dick of myself before the night was over.

When the guys from Monkey Bride turned up, everyone in the bar went crazy.
Women poured out of every crevice to surround them and that wasn't even including the entourage they brought with them. Bastian, who'd just seemed like a regular guy before when he'd come into our dressing room, now walked through the bar as though he was something more than human. His long, leather jacket hung casually from his shoulders and flowed behind him. He had that rock star presence. People flocked to him, not just women but half the men in the room too. Like a little smidgeon of that glittery rock star magic would rub off on them and make them a little bit more special.

But he acted oblivious to them, heading straight to the bar and ordering a drink.

As he waited for the barman, a girl in red satin short shorts and fishnets lunged at him and attached herself to his lips. He grabbed her around the waist and moved her to one side.

"The queue starts here, darlin'
," he said and took a swig of his drink.

"Looks like the circus has started," I said to Eric.

Eric laughed. I think we were both happy to just sit in the corner and watch. Hannah and Jack came back to join us. After a few drinks, I heard a commotion on the dance floor. I looked over and saw Spud dancing with two girls. He had his shirt off, swinging it over his head. Let me tell you, Spud is not the kind of guy who should be taking his shirt off in public.

"Should we stop him?" I asked.

Jack shrugged. "Let him go. He's getting himself pretty messed up but he's having a good time."

To be honest, Jack
started to look pretty messed up himself, his eyes all glazed. I felt pretty much that way myself. After that, things got a bit blurry. I’d said I wouldn’t drink much but that went from not much to too much very quickly with all the free drinks flowing.

Then it was “want a shooter, Angie?” and I was all “NO! Shooters are the worst idea ever
,” but I drank it anyway.

Then we got a few bottles of champagne… I’m not sure how many, they just turned up on the table.

By that time, I thought I was bulletproof. The drummer from Monkey Bride came over to chat to Eric, and I told him his red boots would look better on me.

He grabbed one of the champagne bottles and handed it to me and then grabbed one from himself.

“Winner gets the boots,” he said, as he picked up the bottle in a drinking motion.

“You’re on,” I replied.

I grabbed the bottle and swilled it down as the bubbles rose up in my neck. Of course, I won.

“Hell, you can pack away the booze for a tiny chick,” he said as he pulled off the
boots. They were about three sizes too big for me and a bit sweaty but I wore them while he went barefoot.

BOOK: Angie
13.29Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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