Hey guys, just wanted to give y'all a head's up that Wolfsong is going to fluctuate between points of view. Every chapter will begin with a marker to indicate who's talking. It's only between the two main characters, though, so don't worry. Enjoy. :)
"That's what you're gonna wear tonight?" Ricky asked incredulously. He quirked a brow and screwed his face up in repulsion, as if I appeared decidedly too Amish for his approval.
"We can't all be fabulously queer like you, Rick," I deflected, swiping a little waterproof mascara on my top lashes.
"True... but that's also no excuse for you to look like a homeless girl, especially since I'm your roommate."
I stopped what I was doing and took a long look at myself in the mirror. My blue jeans were ripped almost clear up the entirety of my left leg and my Led Zeppelin t-shirt, which was once black, was now so faded it was practically blue. There was a bleach stain on the hem, but it was nothing a sharpie couldn't fix and I thought it gave my shirt some character. It had seen a multitude of rock concerts and I was not even close to willing to depart with it. Ricky inspected me from head to toe once again, grimacing at my old Chuck Taylors whose doodles I had scribbled on the rubber were chipped and hardly recognizable anymore. He rolled his eyes and shrugged, defeated.
"At least your hair is naturally fab," he stated, smoothing his pin-straight black locks with freshly colored streaks of blue in them. "Now hurry up. I don't wanna be late. Lucy said these dudes are like, totes gorge."
I tousled my unruly waves a little more with my hand, wrinkling my nose at him in the mirror. He never really liked my choice of dress, but there was one thing he never failed to compliment- my long, crazy hair.
"I'm assuming what you just said means they're attractive..."
"Ugh! Jacks, you are like, so prehistoric," he complained, taking his iPhone from a miraculous pocket in his skin tight black denim pants and typing on it. "Okay, so... Lucy wants to meet us at the pier in twenty minutes. Can you please hurry?"
"Alright, alright! I'm done!" I quipped, grabbing my keys and following him into the kitchen.
"Should we pregame?" he asked happily, opening the refrigerator and pulling out two lagers.
"Driving, Rick, remember?"
He shrugged and followed me outside, locking up behind us. The night was chilly, but not intolerably so; the sky was dark and the moon was halfway full, casting a gentle glow wherever the lights of the city didn't reach. We made our way to the vehicle we shared: a beaten up white Grand Wagoneer I bought off a couple of hippies a few years back. It still had bong water stains in the back seat and God knows what other things forever imprinted in the interior. Every so often the distinct skunky smell of weed could be detected of smoke sessions past. But we loved that thing anyway.
It took almost all of the appointed time we had to reach the Santa Monica pier, where Lucy was already waiting, pacing around like a vulture in her tight pink v-neck and micro-mini skirt. Her wispy platinum blonde hair was as straight as Ricky's and of course her makeup was runway ready, solidifying her place in our little trio as the best looking of all of us. She jumped into the car before she even acknowleged us, but when she did, of course she reprimanded our tardiness. Ricky, however, was quick to avert the blame to me with an exaggerated expression and heavy eye roll.
"Ugh, Jackie, you are going to die when you meet McKinley," Lucy crooned, settling against the seat and stretching like a lazy cat so that the plunge in her shirt revealed more of her generous cleavage. "But back off, 'cause he's mine. And so is Quinn. And Oliver. But you can have Leo. He's kind of a choir boy."
"Oh, that's like, so totally your type, Jacks!" quipped Ricky in agreement. "But what about me, Luce?"
"Don't you worry your pretty little head, Ricky Booby, I've got someone extra special for you."
"Oooh, I can't wait!"
"So the magic number tonight is 3, huh?" I retorted, pulling up to the crowded venue called Harvey's. "That's a stretch even for you, Luce."
"Trust me, when you see these guys, you'll understand."
"Yeah, but is their music even good?"
"Would I have dragged you along if it weren't?"
"Yeah, Jacks, we already know you. Just be cool, 'kay?" said Ricky with a wink. "Dear Lord, how are we ever going to find a parking space?"
"And this is where your favorite blonde works her magic," responded Lucy, wedging herself between the driver and passenger seat. "Anselmo said to swing around back and park near the vans. He's letting us in behind the stage."
"SHUT. UP." Ricky cried, and I could see it took a massive amount of strength to keep himself from hyperventilating. "We get VIP access?!"
"Don't you just love me?"
As I drove around the building, the enormous line that started at the entrance wrapped all the way around and well into the parking lot of the moderately sized building. It was alot less prestigious than I had assumed having been suggested by one of Lucy's peers. Like the House of Blues, its sign was a flamboyant work of spraypainting illuminated by spotlights, with a giant boar head resting above the threshold. The thunderous bass echoed out into the night above the excited chattering of the people waiting to purchase tickets. I then wondered how many were there to support the band Lucy had been gushing about all week, since a good majority of the audience was female in scanty outfits.
"Park here, next to these guys," Lucy said, her big blue eyes becoming even larger as she spotted one of the band's tour buses.
She and Ricky were already out of the car before I even had the chance to put it in park. They were jabbering enthusiastically amongst themselves, not unusual to keep me out of the conversation most likely centered around the level of hotness these guys were being measured by. I stepped out of my Jeep and into the night, observing the bustling musicians scrambling to unload their gear. Some of them were hanging back, drinking beers and smoking cigarettes while others still were taking pictures with groupies that had lingered into their territory. All of them, however, were tall, lanky and shaggy-haired, covered from head to toe in tattoos and piercings and sporting other band t-shirts in the form of v-necks and tank tops.
I rolled my eyes. I had had more than enough of this scene back in high school. That didn't seem to phase Ricky and Lucy, however, as they both were catwalking through the congregated bands and up to a bouncer guarding the back door with a clipboard in his hand. I followed after them quietly, unnoticed by the others whose attention had been inevitably snagged by Lucy and her provocative sense of style. By the time I reached them, Lucy was batting her doll eyes and schmoozing the living daylights out of Anselmo, the huge dark man with rope-like dreadlocks that swung around whenever he moved. Like always, her antics worked, and soon we were being ushered backstage where even more commotion was unfurling.
"Alright, where are they?" Ricky asked, barely audible above the noise of the club as he tugged on Lucy's arm like a child. "Is that them?"
"Oh, God, that's them," Lucy replied, her frame becoming rigid as she restrained herself from screaming. "Look, there's McKinley! Oh, God, isn't he beautiful?"
Indeed, the stocky musician was a sight to behold: he wasn't gangly like the rest, but tall and well structured. The seams of his black v-neck hugged every sculpted muscle on his frame as if it was designed to do such for his likeness, and he was arguably the only man whose tight red skinny jeans actually flattered his bulky legs and perky behind. His long, moppish mohawk fell over his eyes, which elicited a swoon-worthy head toss to move it out of his face. He had tattoos galore all over his arms, and a lip ring I knew both Ricky and Lucy were just dying to suck on. I had to admit, the dude was a work of art, but I still wanted to see what he was made of.
"Okay, so McKinley is the lead singer and guitarist," Lucy explained, watching him like a hawk as he moved around backstage. "You see that other gorgeous man right there? That's Quinn, the bassist. And that guy? The drool worthy drummer, Oliver. And this guy..."
She paused for a moment as a smaller guy in a tank top and cut off jeans walked past, carrying a huge rectangular case with cords wrapped around his shoulder. He had a nose ring and impressively sized earlobe plugs, and I could tell Ricky was ready to pounce him the second he laid eyes on the lad. Lucy grinned, feeling extra smug with her personal selection for her friend.
"That's Ronnie, the keyboardist. I can get Leo to introduce us after the set."
"Oh, Luce, you've really outdone yourself this time," Ricky enthused with a sigh. "He's pretty."
"So do you like, actually know any of these guys, Lucy?" I butted in, searching among the amplifiers and instruments scattered all about.
"Well, I know Leo," she responded, though her tone was unimpressed. "We went to college together. But other than that, I'm seriously hoping to get to know the rest of them... if you catch my drift."
Ricky giggled, but I was too unamused to really pay any more attention. I rolled my eyes and walked away, having caught sight of a beautiful white Gibson I had been admiring for weeks since it came out on the market. My heart stopped briefly as I approached it, sitting primly on its stand with its gold hardware gleaming beneath the stage lights. It looked so virginal that I was afraid to even breathe on it, but my fingers were just dying to touch the shiny strings.
So this guy thought himself a Page with a flashy signature Gibson, and a Hendrix with classic nickel strings. I couldn't help but smile as I bent over to inspect the godly instrument further. That's when I noticed a Mexican peso tucked in between the strings on the fretboard. Oh, boy. So whoever played this beauty was a mixture of guitar legends bundled up into one individual. I had to admit, I was suddenly looking forward to meeting the man behind the instrument.
"That's Joan," came an unrecognizable voice, though it was clearly heard above the noise.
I straightened immediately, feeling caught and naked even though I hadn't dared to touch the guitar. When I turned around, I was staring into the thin chest of a willowy, shaggy haired musician in a green beanie and t-shirt obviously purchased from Urban Outfitters. I had to crane my neck upward to a ridiculous angle in order to see his face, which was very Greek-looking and actually quite handsome. His big brown eyes threatened to outsize even my own, and a very warm, attractive smile unearthed pretty white teeth from behind full, Cupid's bow lips.
"Uh, I'm sorry," I muttered, still suffering from self inflicted guilt. "I was just looking at it... er, Joan."
"It's cool. No worries."
"That is a sweet Les Paul, though. The new 2013 release, right?"
"Yes ma'am. You play?"
"I dream. I've wanted a Gibson since I discovered the genius of Jimmy Page. For now I play my uncle's old Fender strat."
"Nice. Oh, and, um... cool shirt."
I looked down at myself, immediately remembering the bleach stain I wish I had heeded Ricky's disapproval of. If only I had listened to his nagging about my choice of clothing.
"Yeah, uh... It's kind of my favorite."
"Totally understand how that works. I take it you're a Zeppelin fan?"
"That's an understatement."
He laughed, and it was quite the sound. It wasn't like any boyish laugh I had heard before; there was sincerity underlying its tone. Or perhaps I was just overanalyzing the entire thing, but he seemed genuinely amused by my wittiness, and that in turn made me smile. That also subsequently made me a little less embarrassed by the hideous discolored blotch on my shirt he was subliminally making fun of.
"It's cool, though. Sometimes I pretend I'm as good as Hendrix was with a stratocaster," I continued, and he laughed again.
"Don't we all, though?" he responded, equally entertained. "By the way, I'm-"
"Leo! Come on, man, their set is almost over," McKinley called from across the room. He waved around his guitar pick frantically until Leo nodded in acknowledgement. "Like now, Leo!"
"I'm sorry, you'll have to excuse me, er...?" he began, but was cut off by another barked order from his frontman. "Can I see you after the set?"
"Sure," I replied, with a grin much bigger than I intended. I could feel the heat in my face start to turn my skin colors, and I was suddenly grateful for the weird lighting. "I'll be here. Go shred their faces off."
He winked at me, then picked up Joan and started fiddling with the strap as he ran over to join his bandmates. I watched after him until he disappeared behind a curtain, and when I turned around I was greeted by the suspiciously-too-happy faces of Ricky and Lucy, beaming like two Cheshire cats in the wake of causing mischief. I rolled my eyes and walked past them, trying to avoid the inevitable onslaught of questions that would surely come my way concerning the brief conversation I had with Leo.
Curiously, he didn't seem anything like Lucy had described, but then again her choice in men was questionable to begin with. They followed me around the side of the stage, where I studied the sheer magnitude of the audience for the first time. They were roaring in approval of the act that had just ended the final song of their set, and as a fellow performer, that in turn made me a little nervous for Leo. A reaction like that from the crowd would be difficult to succeed, and I gnawed on my lip anxiously to await the outcome. Although, not just any man could don a Gibson and play with nickel strings and a coin.
"This should be interesting," I said beneath my breath, pushing through the throng until I reached the front of the stage.
I watched in anticipation as the closed curtains waved around with the movement taking place behind them. I searched through the thick material for Leo, who I could imagine being the only calm and collected among his bandmates, probably scrambling hysterically to get their instruments properly set up and tuned. I smirked at the thought, remembering his hipster wardrobe of black skinny jeans and Steve Madden combat boots with the laces wrapped around his ankle. And that ridiculous beanie that looked like an elf cap! All he was missing was wide rimmed glasses with plastic frames and no prescription.
Still, I couldn't help the smirk that never left my lips. He was definitely a cutie, nothing like the other tattooed metalheads lurking about backstage, drinking their beers and bagging hot groupie chicks as if it were a sport. It also made me wonder how he came about becoming part of a band like that, since they seemed to be two completely opposite subspecies of male.
"Sooo," came Lucy's voice, finally catching up to me after fighting off angry fans that had refused to let her to the front. "I saw you talking to Leo. What did he say? Did he ask for your number?"
"Relax, Luce," I responded, rolling my eyes. "He just asked if we were gonna be here after the show."
"And what did you say?" Ricky joined in, appearing on the opposite side of Lucy.
"I said yes? I mean, we're gonna be here, right? You wanted to meet the rest of the band."
"Okay, good. You know, I can totally hook you two up if you want."
"No, thanks, Lucy. I'm good."
"Suit yourself, girl. You know you can only stay single for so long..."
The conversation ended when the emcee announced the next act. There was an uproar from the audience, drowning out the name I was sure had been The Dead Poets, and then the curtain peeled away to reveal the silhouettes of the five piece rock band.
Song played: Girl at the Rock Show by Blink-182