Sweet Evil

Page 4


“Dude, you ain’t gonna believe this,” Gregory said in his thick Georgian drawl. “I was just talkin’ to Doug—you know, one of the bouncers—and he can get us backstage!”
My heart danced an involuntary jig all over my insides.
“No freakin’ way!” said Jay. “Where’re the CDs?”
Gregory held up two CDs of their compositions and lyrics. They were good songs, but I cringed at the thought of their being given to Lascivious. The band probably got that kind of thing from fans all the time. I didn’t like to think of Jay and Gregory’s hard work tossed aside as if they were some desperate posers. But the two of them were shrouded in such happy yellow auras that I could do nothing except be supportive.
As the current song ended, I watched Kaidan shush the cymbals with his fingers, then tuck the drumsticks under his arm and swish his damp hair from his eyes again. When he leaned down to pick up a water bottle, our eyes met. My breath stuck right where it was in my lungs, and the loud voices around me turned to static white noise. The drummer’s lustful starburst throbbed for one gorgeous moment, and then his forehead creased and his gaze tightened. His eyes searched all around me before coming back to my face. He broke eye contact and took a swig of his water, tossing it back to the floor in time for the next song.
The brief encounter left me unnerved.
“I’m going to the bathroom,” I told Jay, turning to go without waiting for a response. I noticed that the crowd moved much easier when one was moving away from the stage.
The air in the girls’ bathroom was stagnant with smells of urine and vomit. Only one of the three stalls was unclogged, but that didn’t seem to stop girls from using them anyway. I decided I could hold it. I reapplied my lip gloss at the mirror and was about to leave when I overheard two girls who had crammed themselves into one of the tiny stalls.
“I want Kaidan Rowe.”
“I know, right? You should throw him your number. I want Michael, though. He can do to me what he does to that microphone.” They squeezed out of the stall, giggling, and I recognized their voluptuous chests as the ones that had been in front of the stage. Both of their auras were faded.
I adjusted my hair clips. Jay’s sister, Jana, had wrangled my mass of thin strands into well-organized disarray, which I was successfully ruining. I had let her dab a little makeup on my face, but she’d freaked out when I asked her to cover up the pesky freckle at the end of my upper lip. Are you crazy? Don’t ever cover your beauty mark! Why did people call it that? A freckle was not beautiful. It was a small, dark attention grabber. I hated the way everyone’s eyes went to it when they talked to me.
I snapped the last clip in place and scooted over so the girls could wash their hands. They shared the faucet and complained about no soap, then moved on to primping. I looked at them, so comfortable together, and wondered what it would be like to have a female friend. I was about to leave when something in their conversation stopped me.
“The bartender said Kaidan’s dad is one of the head honchos at PP in New York City.” My stomach lurched. PP stood for Pristine Publications: a popular, worldwide corporation that included pornographic magazines, videos, and I could only imagine what else.
“No way,” her friend said.
“Yes way. Hey, we should try to get backstage!” She got excited and somehow lost her balance, stepping on my foot and grasping my shoulder. I reached out to steady her.
“Oh, sorry,” she said, leaning against me.
When she seemed to have her balance, I let go of her.
Out of nowhere there was a murky tugging within me, an urge to open my mouth and say something that I knew was neither true nor nice.
“I heard that guy Kaidan has gonorrhea.”
And there it was, out of my mouth. My heart pounded. I knew most people lied on some level, sometimes on a daily basis. But for whatever reason, I’d never even been prone to tiny fibs. I didn’t tell people I was “fine” if I wasn’t. Nobody had ever asked me whether something made their butt look big, so I suppose I’d never been truly tested. All I knew was, until that moment, I had never purposely deceived anyone. The look of shock on their faces mirrored the shock I felt at myself.
“Ew. Are you serious?” asked the girl who had called dibs on him. I couldn’t respond.
“Okay, that’s nasty,” said the other girl.
There was an awkward pause. I didn’t really know what gonorrhea was, except that it was an STD. What in the world was wrong with me? I flinched when Kaidan’s girl reached out and touched my hair.
“Hey, oh my gawd. You have the softest hair. It looks like honey.” Her emotional colors were so muddled from alcohol that I couldn’t get a good reading, but it felt like she was sincere. Guilt soured my stomach.
“Thanks,” I said, feeling terrible. I couldn’t leave that ugly lie sitting out there like that.
“Um, I didn’t really hear that about Kaidan.” They both looked at me with confusion, and I swallowed, forcing myself to continue. “He doesn’t have gonorrhea. I mean, not that I know of.”
“Why would you make that up?” The friend was more sober, and she was looking at me with deserved contempt. The drunken girl still looked confused. I contemplated playing it off like I’d been joking, but that would also be a lie, and who jokes about STDs anyway?
“I don’t know,” I whispered. “I just... I’m sorry.” I backed up and slipped out of there as fast as I could. It was a good thing, too, because Lascivious’s last song was ending and all the girls were wobbling toward the bathroom now. It was time for the bands to switch. I wrung my hands and bit my lower lip, looking for Jay as the crowd surged around me. I wanted to go home.