Status: HIATUS. (apologies & many hugs to all; it is much appreciated)



Marina had been right about not going to a bar or a club. The venue where the Battle of the Bands was that night was more of a lounge. Beforehand, she told me that the drinks were lukewarm (barely chilled when the ice box wasn’t being temperamental) and that the snacks weren’t any better (and they were overpriced). When we walked inside, I noticed the décor inside was comprised of a bunch of mismatched chairs and tables. It’s not as if anyone would actually be sitting down during the show besides the judges anyway. There were small groups of people scattered around the room, as well as fans wearing matching t-shirts to support the band they were there to see. I felt out of place somehow as we maneuvered our way around the place.

When we were less than five feet away from the stage, Marina stood still, arms across her chest as people milled about, setting up equipment and ushering the first group onstage for a sound check.

“My friends are fourth on the set list. Feel free to tell them how much they suck,” Marina whispered, her hand reaching for my arm briefly before she pulled away.

“What’s their band called?”

“Noxious Wasteland.”

I probably had made a face at her response because she laughed. “I know, it’s not exactly the best band name out there. But you should’ve heard the names before that. One of them was Microchipped Corpse. They went through this phase, some experimental shit that they swore was---” She stopped talking and her face paled suddenly, my gaze sweeping the room to figure out what had thoroughly spooked her. I think I had an idea of what---or rather who---had elicited such a reaction from her.

Heads turned as he walked into the room, which meant he was probably a lead singer since he oozed confidence and charisma. He looked like the typical band guy with the messy hair that looked like he exerted no effort into it but it still ended up styled nicely. He wasn’t dressed in anything out of the ordinary either; plain black t-shirt, jeans, scuffed boots. Somehow though, I knew that this guy was a part of Marina’s life at one point. If I had to take a guess, it would be that he was her ex-boyfriend. It was only the beginning of our friendship (and possible relationship?) yet I was already minutes away from meeting her ex-boyfriend. What a treat.

Marina’s hand slipped into mine, giving it a quick reassuring squeeze. “I’m so sorry about this but I didn’t know he’d be filling in for Damien. Let me do most of the talking. He’s. . .a character.”

I didn’t have any time to prepare myself as he noticed us right away and walked over. “Marina, I didn’t know you’d be here. It’s been awhile.” He gave me a once over before focusing his attention on her. “Didn’t know you started dating someone new either. Dame didn’t mention that when he asked if I could fill in for backup vocals. Lucky for them, my band’s not playing tonight.”

Marina forced a smile and shrugged. “Right. How lucky. What a coincidence. And yeah, this is Tristan; we just started seeing each other. Tristan, this is Cedric.” The lie rolled off her tongue easily, which made me flinch. After all, we weren’t dating. In fact, we hadn’t really discussed what we were to each other.

“I see.” Cedric acknowledged me with another once over, which did annoy me a little. This guy seemed so sleazy and I wanted to get away from him. Plus, he was staring at Marina so intensely. I was beginning to think that he wanted me out of the room, along with everyone else. There was something off about the whole thing.

“Bro, c’mon, you need to get your ass backstage, Gus is having a meltdown over strings or some shit like that.”

Cedric sighed, as if this was an inconvenience in regards to whatever the hell he had planned on doing. “Alright, I’ll be over there in a sec, Dame.” So, the guy with the liberty spikes is Damien. Hm.

Then, as if we were in some sort of teen romcom, Cedric took Marina’s hand and kissed it. She didn’t bat an eyelash at the gesture. “Break a leg.”

He winked. “I’ll see you after the show.”

Once he was out of earshot, I crossed my arms over my chest and let out a breath. “I didn’t think we’d have to talk about our exes until at least our third date, but I stand corrected.”

Marina grimaced and shook her head. “He’s charming when he wants to be, ok? Not exactly my best decision, especially considering the fact that he has the worst temper. . .” Her eyes clouded over as the sentenced trailed off abruptly, her lips pursed.

“Don’t tell me he hit you or something.” I looked over at her for any sign of disagreement, but she averted her gaze and cleared her throat. “That---that fucking coward.”

“Just leave it alone. He’s not worth it.” That’s all she had to say about it, and I let her words sink in as the show started.

However, that didn’t stop me from feeling like I was seeing red whenever I’d catch a glimpse of Cedric backstage. I was able to remain relatively calm though, and when Noxious Wasteland came on, I noticed they received the most cheering and applause, as well as the cringe worthy cat calls. Although I would never admit it out loud, Cedric’s voice wasn’t like nails on a chalkboard and I had a feeling the band he was in had a similar following of devoted fans. Also, contrary to what I had thought upon first hearing the band’s name, they weren’t terrible. I was pretty sure that I’d want to listen to them again, actually. It was no surprise that they won the Battle of the Bands and I didn’t protest when Marina took my hand and led us outside.

We ended up driving to her apartment, and there was no denying the fact that Marina was well off. Or at least her parents were. It was slightly intimidating but I didn’t want to ruin the moment. She unlocked the door, one finger to her lips as she pushed it open slowly and carefully. The sound of a glass clinking caused her to stiffen. “Mom? Are you still awake?”

“It’s late, angel. Come inside and watch some TV with me. I have the soaps recorded and everything.” It was clear that Marina’s mom had been drinking for hours, and she was probably used to this sort of behavior.

Marina nodded, her body blocking mine from her mother’s view. “Ok, I’m just going to have a smoke and I’ll be right there.”

“Hurry back.”

When we had backed out of the apartment, Marina ran a hand through her hair. “I’m sorry, I thought she’d be out with her boyfriend. I didn’t know Charise would be out tonight too. And I know by the look on your face that you thought I’d live in some rundown shit shack.” Now it was my turn to look away, abashed. “Well, like I said before, my dad walked out on us. But in the last year, he wanted to ‘reconnect’ so he did just that by trying to smooth it over with gifts. The apartment, my bike, and a whole bunch of other things. He’s even offered to pay my tuition but that’s where mom drew the line. Plus, I have a scholarship that I worked my ass off to get.”

“So you’re just a regular girl after all, then,” I teased as she took out a cigarette, thought better of it, and put it back in the small carton.

“I’m anything but a regular girl, Tristan, just think about it.” Her lips quirked into a smile as she leaned in to kiss my cheek, no doubt leaving a purple lipstick mark behind. “I’ll call you. Goodnight.”


The whole drive home, I had the biggest grin on my face.
♠ ♠ ♠
I'm an asshole for not updating in so long but shit happens and life happens and whatnot. Anyway, I'm hoping to get this more active (even though it's slowly active but whatever). I think I sort of fell back in love with this story while figuring out the details and quirks of the characters. Thanks for reading. ♥