CHAPTER ONE: IN WHICH THINGS HAPPEN
My aunt Mary was so excited she could hardly hold herself in.
"We get to meet Ganguro!" She sang. "We get to meet Gan-guuurooo!"
I adjusted my T-shirt. It was tight-fitting, to comply with my secret dreams of finding romance that always accompanied venturing into a public venue, but was also comfortable, to go with the undoubtedly active atmosphere of the concert. "You do know that 'ganguro' is a Japanese term for girls who tan themselves, dye their hair blonde, and wear lots of pastel makeup, right?"
Aunt Mary hesitated in her enthusiasm. "So, it's like a Valley girl?"
"Yes." I snorted. Very few other people my age knew what a valley girl even was, much less that the eponymous song had been my aunt's very favorite back in college. (Also, very few other people my age used the word "eponymous," but that was worse.)
"Well, then it's ironic!" Aunt Mary rolled her eyes at me. "You should be the one being excited here, not me! These guys are pretty popular!"
I just sighed. Being backstage for a band you didn't know and as far as you know is as blasé as the rest of the mainstream music industry can suck.
Ohh, but here the band came, accentuated by my aunt's increased feverishness. I just saw a boring congregation of big, burly men in black suits—Oh God, that wasn't the band, was it?!
Oh. Bodyguards. Right. The tiny scrap of a thing I called "faith in Aunt Mary's taste" was restored.
Once I could see the band, I had to admit, despite my doubts, they looked…unique. Aunt Mary named them for me as my eyes went from one to the next: Elway-Benjamin "Elway" Kamar, drummer, dark and exotic (except for the fact that he was busy stashing a book that looked a lot like a Dungeons and Dragons creature manual); Fred Kinniburgh, guitarist, with what looked like the vestiges of twenty dye-jobs in his hair; Darby Melman, bass guitarist, with complicated Pict tattoos going down her arms and maybe other places I couldn't see; and—
"Shard Linnard," Aunt Mary said, in an almost reverent tone.
Amazingly, I agreed with the sentiment.
Shard Linnard, lead singer of Ganguro, was gorgeous. Tall, with long blonde hair that suited his rockstar-yet-also-Anglican-like face. The kind of gray eyes that bored into your soul and told you that whatever they were looking at was worth their while. Tight black jeans. You know, that sort of thing.
In a word, gorgeous.
The band dispersed throughout the room, and while the people already in it didn't move, per se, since they were almost all upper-middle class and found it to be terribly rude to act like the members of the band were anything more than normal people. But there was a sort of—shift, in which each person
turned on their axis and sought out the most famous person nearby, so that they could wander and drift and be introduced to people further and further up the ladder, until they had an audience with a band member themselves.
I, for one, headed to the buffet table set up along one wall, which was, bliss of all blisses, neither attended to by any hired help nor particularly popular with the group meant to enjoy it. I grabbed some tortilla chips and retreated to the nearby corner to watch everyone else waste their time.
All the smiles, all the hair dyed blonde and the pleasantries about vacation homes. Even with a band that looked different, they were still there. Of course, as this was a place of rock and roll, things like sex, drugs, and this particular musical genre were discussed, but that wasn't necessarily any better. Each thing fit in its place, all the conversations were the kind you would expect. There was no one yelling out curses at the genocide in Darfur, and there wasn't anyone extolling the virtues of fondue cheese dip. It was generic. Bland.
The tortilla chips had made me thirsty, but the conversations going on around me had made me too glazed-eyed to notice or care what I was drinking. I grabbed a can, popped its lid, put it up to my lips—
And a pleasant male voice cut through. "I don't think you're supposed to be drinking that."
I blinked a couple of times, then looked down at the can in my hand, just realizing how unusually tall and slim it was.
Oh. A Heineken. I shuddered and immediately threw it away. I turned to look at my savior, saying, "Thank you—" I stopped talking.
Because, it was Shard Linnard, smiling faintly. "You're welcome." He grabbed past me to my right, picking up a Dr. Pepper. "What're you doing, tending the table all alone?"
I fumbled on the table until I found a Coke (the legal kind). "I'm…not very good at parties."
Shard raised an eyebrow. "Well, you're talking to one of the hosts now. Most people only dream of achieving that."
The joke was sort of stupid, but I giggled anyway, making the Coke in my mouth bubble, so that I had to cover it with my hand. Once I could speak, I choked out, "Er, sorry, sorry!"
"It's okay." Shard looked like he was about to say something, but a bell tolled, and his face shifted into another gear. "—Well, that's the signal for the band to vamoose. Are you going to be backstage after the show?"
I nodded. Where was he going with this…?
"Good. I'd like to continue talking to you, if you don't mind."
"I don't." Was he crazy? He was gorgeous. Anyone gorgeous was welcome to talk to me anytime. (Unless they were, like, demons from Hell. Then, no thank you.)
"Cool. See you!" Shard turned and trotted off into an alcove of buff, suited men, and he was gone.
Aunt Mary suddenly found me, yattering excitedly away about how she'd been three feet away—three feet away, did I realize how close that was—from Elway, who was her second-favorite member of Ganguro, in terms of both personality and looks. To her, this was amazing. Of course, she would've liked it much better if she'd been near Shard, her first-favorite, but she'd take what she could get.
I just smiled behind my hand and went to go hear what I could hear.
I discovered Ganguro wasn't really all that bad, and that they'd been behind a few of the more tolerable songs on the top 40 radio stations. They were rock, certainly, and that was really enough to have everyone forgetting their good little inhibitions.
At one point, I remember stopping, pausing, and looking at the can in my hands, which had mysteriously turned itself into some obscure brand of beer, and thinking, I've had about a can and a half already. Then shrugging and continuing to drink.
I'm pretty sure I didn't smoke any pot, although there were plenty people around who had it. I had sound enough principles to refuse that.
By the time we reappeared backstage, I was a little drunk, and Aunt Mary was more than a bit sloshed herself. I think it actually sobered me up a little to realize that we'd need to call a cab in order to get home safely.
Then Shard reappeared.
I'm not sure what we talked about, but I think music entered in it at one point, and I do remember Shard laughing when I told him how I wasn't even a fan of his band. He was something like drunk, only different; I figured out later that he'd been high off of music, off of having just sung his heart out.
I remember sneaking, giggling, through dark corridors.
I distinctly remember making out with Shard.
I remember being pulled off of Shard by Aunt Mary, who was plaintively crying, "Our taxi's heeere!" without even realizing whom she was pulling me off of.
But most of all, I remember the last thing Shard said, as I was pulled out of the room:
"I'll call you!" Shard had cried. And for a moment, his face was serious, his eyebrows unsure, and he'd bitten his lip just a little bit. As if this random makeout session had been the tail-end of a date with a girl he genuinely wanted to see again.
(But then, I was drunk. I probably misheard him.)
A/N: Welcome to the one story that I will ever post completely up on FictionPress, primarily because I've already got it all typed up already. Just need to edit the chapters a bit so they flow right.
EDIT: The aunt now has a name! Glory glory hallelujah.
Disclaimer: The main character is somewhat thick in the head, and as the story is told from her point of view, the story is thick in the head. Please be patient, she'll start to figure out that something important has happened next chapter. Also! I don't own any of the name brands in this chapter. So.