Lick, p.34
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       Lick, p.34
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         Part #1 of Stage Dive series by Kylie Scott
Page 34

  Author: Kylie Scott

  At least I didn’t flinch at his name anymore. And it had been days since I’d felt the urge to actually vomit. Definitely not pregnant, just getting annulled.

  After the first few days of hiding in bed, crying my eyes out, I took every shift the café would give me to keep busy. I couldn’t mourn him forever. Pity my heart remained unconvinced. He was in my dreams every night when I closed my eyes. I had to chase him out of my mind a thousand times a day.

  By the time I surfaced, the few lingering paparazzi had cleared off back to LA. Apparently Jimmy had gone into rehab. Lauren switched channels every time I walked in, but I couldn’t help but catch enough news to know what was going on. It seemed Stage Dive were being talked about everywhere. Someone had even asked me to sign a picture of David striding into the treatment facility, head hanging down and hands stuffed in his pockets. He’d looked so alone. Several times, I’d almost called him. Just to ask if he was okay. Just to hear his voice. How stupid was that? And what if I rang and Martha answered?

  At any rate, Jimmy’s meltdown was much more interesting than me. I barely rated a mention on the news these days.

  But people, customers, they drove me nuts. Outside of work, I’d become a complete shut-in. That had its own issues on account of my brother basically living with us now. People in love were sickening. It was a proven medical fact. Customers with speculation shining bright in their beady little eyes weren’t much better.

  “You’re mistaken,” I told the nosy woman.

  She gave me a coy look. “I don’t think so. ”

  Ten bucks said she was working her way up to asking me for his autograph. This would make the eighth attempt to obtain one today. Some of them wanted to take me home for intimate relations because, you know, rock star’s ex. My vagina clearly had to be something special. I sometimes wondered if they thought there was a little plaque on my inner thigh saying David Ferris had been there.

  This chick, however, wasn’t checking me out. No, she wanted an autograph.

  “Look,” she said, speculation turning to wheedling. “I wouldn’t ask, it’s just that I’m such a huge fan of his. ”

  “I can’t help you, sorry. We’re actually about to close. So would you like to order something before that happens?” I asked, pleasant smile firmly in place. Sam would have been proud of that smile, as fake as it was. But with my eyes I told the woman the truth. That I was all used up and I honestly had no fucks left to give. Especially when it came to David Ferris.

  “Can you at least tell me if the band are really breaking up? Come on. Everyone’s saying an announcement’s going to be made any day now. ”

  “I don’t know anything about it. Would you liked to order something, or not?”

  Further denial generally led to either anger or tears. She chose anger. A good choice, because tears annoyed the living hell out of me. I was sick of them, both on myself and others. Despite it being common knowledge that I’d been dumped, they still figured I had connections. Or so they hoped.

  She did a fake little laugh. “There’s no need to be a bitch about it. Would letting me know what’s happening really have killed you?”

  “Leave,” said my lovely manager, Ruby. “Right now. Get out. ”

  The woman switched to incredulous, mouth open wide. “What?”

  “Amanda, call the cops. ” Ruby stood tall beside me.

  “On it, boss. ” Amanda snapped open her cell and punched in the numbers, leveling the woman with her evil eye. Amanda, having moved on from being my high school’s sole lesbian, was studying drama. These confrontations were her favorite part of the day. They might have sapped my strength, but Amanda sucked all of her power from them. A dark, malevolent force, to be sure, but it was all hers and she reveled in it. “Yes, we’ve got a fake blonde with a bad tan giving us trouble, officer. I’m pretty certain I saw her at a frat party doing some serious underage drinking last week. I don’t want to say what happened after that but the footage is available on YouTube for your viewing pleasure if you’re over eighteen. ”

  “No wonder he dropped you. I saw the picture, your ass is wide as fucking Texas,” the woman sneered and then sped out of the café.

  “Do you really have to stir them up?” I asked.

  Amanda clucked her tongue. “Please. She started it. ”

  I’d heard worse than what she’d said. Way worse. Several times now I’d had to change my email address to stop the hate mail from flooding in. I had closed my Facebook account early on.

  Still, I checked my butt to be sure. It was a close call, but I was pretty sure Texas was, in fact, wider.

  “As far as I can tell you’re living on a diet of breath mints and lattes. Your ass is not a concern. ” Amanda had long since forgiven me for the bad kiss back in high school, bless her. I was beyond lucky to have the friends I did. I really don’t know how I’d have made it through the last month without them.

  “I eat. ”

  “Really? Whose jeans are those?”

  I started cleaning the coffee machine because it really was getting on closing time. That, and for reasons of subject avoidance. Fact was, getting cheated on and lied to by rock ’n’ roll’s favorite son did make for quite the diet. Definitely not one I’d recommend. My sleep was shot to shit and I was tired all the time. I was depression’s bitch. Inside and out, I didn’t feel like me. The time I’d spent with David, the way it had changed things, was a constant agitation, an itch I couldn’t scratch. Partly because I lacked the power but also because I lacked the will. You could only sing “I Will Survive” so many times before the urge to throttle yourself took over.

  “Lauren doesn’t wear these. Said they were the wrong shade of dark wash and that the placement of the back pockets made her look hippy. Apparently pocket placement matters. ”

  “And you started wearing that skinny cow’s clothes when?”

  “Don’t call her that. ”

  Amanda rolled her eyes. “Please, she takes it as a compliment. ”

  True. “Well, I think the jeans are nice. Are you wiping down the tables or would you like me to?”

  Amanda just sighed. “Jo and I want to thank you for helping us move last weekend. So we’re taking you out tonight. Drinking and dancing ahoy!”

  “Oh. ” Alcohol and me already had a bad reputation. “I don’t know. ”

  “I do. ”

  “I had plans to—”

  “No you don’t. This is why I left it to the last minute to tell you. I knew you’d try to make excuses. ” Amanda’s dark eyes brooked no nonsense. “Ruby, I’m taking our girl out for a night on the town. ”

  “Good idea,” Ruby called out from the kitchen. “Get her out of here. I’ll clean up. ”

  My practiced pleasant smile fell off my face. “But—”

  “It’s the sad eyes,” said Ruby, confiscating my cleaning cloth. “I can’t bear them any longer. Please go out and have some fun. ”

  “Am I that much of a killjoy?” I asked, suddenly worried. I honestly thought I’d been putting on a good front. Their faces told me otherwise.

  “No. You’re a normal twenty-one-year-old going through a break-up. You need to get back out there and reclaim your life. ” Ruby was in her early thirties and soon to be wed. “Trust me. I know best. Go. ”

  “Or,” said Amanda, waggling a finger at me. “You could sit at home watching Walk the Line for the eight hundredth time while listening to your brother and best friend going hard at it in the room next door. ”

  When she put it like that … “Let’s go. ”

  *

  “I want to be bi,” I announced, because it was important. A girl had to have goals. I pushed back my chair and rose to my feet. “Let’s dance. I love this song. ”

  “You love any song that’s not by the band who shall not be named. ” Amanda laughed, following me through the crowd. Her girlfriend Jo just shook h
er head, clinging to her hand. Vodka was doubtless as bad an idea as tequila, but I did feel somewhat unwound, looser. It was good to get out and on an empty stomach three drinks went a long way, clearly. I did suspect Amanda had made at least one of them a double. It felt great to dance and laugh and let loose. Out of all of the getting over a break-up tactics I’d attempted, keeping busy worked best. But going out dancing and drinking all dressed up shouldn’t be mocked.

  I tucked my hair behind my ears because my ponytail had started falling apart again. Perfect metaphor for my life. Nothing worked right since I’d gotten back from LA. Nothing lasted. Love was a lie and rock ’n’ roll sucked. Blah blah blah. Time for another drink.

  And I’d been in the middle of making an important point.

  “I’m serious,” I said. “I’m going bi. It’s my new plan. ”

  “I think that’s a great plan,” yelled Jo, moving next to me. Jo also worked at the café, which was how the two had met. She had long blue hair that was the envy of all.

  Amanda rolled her eyes at me. “You’re not bi. Babe, don’t encourage her. ”

  Jo grinned, totally unrepentant. “Last week she wanted to be gay. Before that she talked monasteries. I think this is a constructive step toward her forgiving every penis-possessing human and moving on with her life. ”

  “I am moving on with my life,” I said.

  “Which is why you two have been talking about him for the past four hours?” Amanda grinned, throwing her arms around Jo’s shoulders.

  “We weren’t talking about him. We were insulting him. How do you say ‘useless stinking sheep fornicator’ in German again?” I asked, leaning in to be heard over the music. “That was my favorite. ”

  Jo and Amanda got busy close dancing and I let them go, unperturbed. Because I wasn’t afraid of being alone. I was action-packed full of single girl power. Fuck David Ferris. Fuck him good and hard.
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