“So did L tell you she completely ruined the band?” Jamison asked Enzo.
“Oh did she?” his brows furrowed up like he was angry, but his smile gave him away. “We’ll have to do somethin’ about that.”
I gasped in shock, “what? What did I do?”
“You know what you did,” he teased me. “Miss innocent.”
Enzo laughed loudly, “what’d she do man?”
“Our band name is taken,” he shook his head in defeat. “Turns out Bullet is fucking taken, like, over and over a hundred times.”
I sank back into my shoulders and nodded, “well, I did you a favor really. You wanted to be original right? Besides, I helped come up with a new one.” Enzo was just looking at me expectantly, so I spilled, “Fully Automatic?”
“Fully Automatic,” Enzo said slowly as if he were tasting the words. “Yeah…that’s pretty fuckin cool L.”
“And I checked,” I assured him. “No one else has that name.”
“It’s awesome,” Enzo agreed. “But…” he glanced at Jamison. “We might need some help convincing Harley and Gunner.”
“L should tell Harley,” Jamison bumped me with his elbow. “It’ll definitely soften the blow at bit.”
I just shook my head in confusion while Enzo took a long look at me. “Oh yeah, she should tell him,” he agreed.
“I’m not agreeing to anything,” I protested.
“Well,” Jamison teased me. “We’re headed up tomorrow morning, and you keep saying you want to see us play.”
That night we explored the fall carnival, taking part in all the silly festivities. A haunted house, corn field maze and hayrides. Soon our legs were tired from all the walking and our bellies were full of caramel apples and popcorn.
Jamison and I snuck off to the side of the haunted house so he could smoke. I myself got caught up in thinking.
“So I’m meeting your friends?”
Jamison nodded, a puff of smoke curling from between his lips. “And my mom.”
My eyes widened in terror, “do you think they’ll like me?”
“L,” he chuckled. “Everyone loves you.”
The next morning Jamison picked me up, Enzo was already in the car waiting with a cup of hot coffee, which is was grateful for since a snowstorm decided to hit in the middle of the night. Even though the roads were bad, the trip itself was fun. Between myself, Enzo and Jamison there was enough banter and conversation to fill the three hour drive until suddenly we pulled into the streets of a sleepy, quiet little town.
Jamison pulled to a stop in front of a run down looking apartment building and my nervousness came to a boiling head. I could feel myself gulping over and over as we climbed the staircase up four floors. Jamison just pounded on the door rather than knock.
“S’open..” I could heard someone on the other side call out.
“Lorelei right?” a tall dark haired guy jumped off the couch to greet me. “Jamison has told me so much about you, I feel like I already know you.” He must have seen the look of shock cross my face, because he kept talking. “I’m Harley.”
Ah. Harley. Jamison had told me he had an eye for the ladies. Though I’d never met him and made a judgement for myself. He was taller than Jamison, but not by much, with shiny black hair – longer than any of the other guys. His eyes were light, but full of mystery and secrets and the way his lips curled when he spoke – like he was going to smile at any second made me feel like he was fun – or like he wanted to share his secrets with me. Harley could almost make me forget about Jamison, I could feel it. With his tattoos and smoldering good looks, yeah, I could get lost in a guy like that.
He grabbed my hand to shake it, and noticed me eyeing him. “Like the ink?”
“Um, yeah,” I blushed.
Jamison, Enzo and the guy I assumed to be Gunner all had moved to the back bedroom and were sound checking their instruments. Not letting go of my hand, Harley led me out to where they all were. `The brick room was tiny, egg cartons plastered to one wall I guessed so the neighbors couldn’t hear too much, empty but for a set of drums, a mic and a keyboard – and it was freezing cold. `
I was just trying to figure out how these guys fit together. Jamison was so moody and sullen sometimes. Enzo was hilarious and outgoing. Gunner was quiet, shy. Harley was…well, he just was enigmatic. How it all worked, I had yet to figure out.
He found me a chair to sit on in the chilly room, and seemed determined to keep talking to me even as the other guys got lost in their own little rock and roll worlds.
“I play guitar,” he told me, not tearing his eyes from mine. “Like James, I do lead vocals and he does some too.” He winked. “James’ voice is probably better than mine, but we both sing for shit when it comes to clean vocals.” He started to tune his guitar, but he kept looking up and smiling at me.
I looked over at Jamison. I totally did not exist right now. Only his guitar mattered in this moment.
“We do a lot of covers,” Harley went on. “We have about five originals. We’ve played a few gigs here and there, but we wanna go big.” I just nodded like I totally knew what he was talking about.
“So,” I mused with my eyebrow cocked. “Do you actually play? Or do you just talk about it?”
Harley raised his eyebrows, a playful smile crossed his face. “Guys,” he called over his shoulder without breaking eye contact. “She wants to know if we can play.I think we have an impatient wanna be fan…shall we?”
With that they played. The first two songs I didn’t know, so I assumed they must be their originals. Then they moved on to covers (Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, Pantera) Harley was spot on. Neither of them could really carry a song, not fully anyway. Musically they sounded great – there was a unique edge to them. Something about the way they twisted the music, it had a ton of potential to move out of the garage. Jamison was totally into his performance – as if his mind were somewhere else and only his body was present – it added a dimension to him I didn’t know existed. But Harley…damn. He had it. Presence. He was charming, cute and sexy as hell – since I was the only audience member – I got treated to his full stage persona.
I wished I was the mic he was cozying up to. I didn’t give much thought to the hypnotic way his eyes pulled me in until I found myself totally drawn in and immersed in his voice – and the image of me and him making out filled my head. It was as if Harley were a vampire and I was in vampire mode. A completely willing, if not helpless victim.
I sat and listened to them play for hours and hours. I had no idea how they could do it. When they were done I gushed my praises repeatedly and I knew I sounded a bit like a groupie. Harley came up to talk to me again but Jamison grabbed my elbow a bit possessively and said he really wanted to see his mom. I knew I’d see them all again the next day so I just waved my goodbyes and we were out the door.
Sometimes I had no idea…actually, I never had any idea what was going on in Jamison’s head. He obviously had no interest in me romantically, yet he acted jealous and possessive of me in front of Enzo and Harley. It made no sense.
He drove us a few blocks to a tiny yellow house just after nine o’clock. Something in his eyes seemed frantic and scared – like he was a little kid – as he scanned the driveway and block. I realized he was looking for his mom’s car and didn’t see it. Whatever the concern was, he didn’t share it with me. He led me inside and I was startled at it’s bareness.
“Did you grow up here?” I asked.
He shrugged, shutting the door behind us. “One of many places. This one was around junior high I guess.” I just nodded in response. “You hungry? I can get a pizza.”
“That’d be great.”
“So…did you really like it?” he asked after he’d gotten off the phone with Domino’s and led me to the small formica table in the kitchen.
“I did,” I told him. “You guys were so amazing. I can’t believe it…you’re seriously SO good with the guitar. You’re gonna be a rock star.”
He grinned, “cool.”
After we ate, Jamison began frantically worrying about where his mother was. Out loud he wondered if maybe she’s traded shifts with someone. It was close to midnight when he started making phone calls – first to her work, then to his grandfather. He called his mother’s phone for the seventh time, “mom, where the hell are you? I’m getting worried.”
Quarter to one, we saw headlights through the window and Jamison made a beeline for the door. “Where’ve you been? I’ve been calling you, I called your work..I’ve been freaking out. Why didn’t you call? Where were you?”
The woman pulled him into her arms, “I didn’t know you were coming home this weekend sweetie, I would have been here. I think I lost my phone..who’s your friend?”
“You’re avoiding the question,” he accused her sternly.
“And you’re being rude,” she shut him down quickly with a glance.
“Lorelei this is my mom, mom – this is L,” he waved his hands between us. “We go to school together.”
She pulled off her coat and moved to the kitchen to brew some coffee. “I see you’re finally dating nice girls,” she smiled warmly at me but laughed in a nervous way that had me wondering what she meant.
“Mom,” Jamison look mortified.
I sat down at the table more out of a dutiful sense of manners than anything. There was some weird dynamic going on between the two. Finally she sat down with a cup of coffee and blew the top of it to cool it off and sighed, “Fine, I was with Jason. You remember him right?”
For whatever reason this name made the tension in Jamison seem almost touchable, like it was rolling off of him. “Yeah.”
“Enough about me,” she settled her gaze on me, changing the subject before it got too intense. “Tell me about you honey.”
I rattled off everything I could think of from where I was born to where I fell birth wise in my family to school. Jamison paced a bit, looking anxious while his mother ignored his obvious annoyance with her.
“L,” he blurted out. “I’m gonna go see a couple friends, you can sleep in my room. I’ll be back in a bit.”
He was just leaving me alone with his mother? Something was going on, I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Without another word he turned and walked out the front door. I watched him stomp out to his car, flinging the door open and jumping inside. As he took off into the snow, the tail lights became invisible about a half a block away.
“He’ll be back,” his mother assured me, watching me stare out the window where his car was pulling away. “You love him don’t you?”
“What?” I stammered out, furiously shaking my head. “No, we’re just friends.”
“Jamison hasn’t brought anyone home since tenth grade,” she smiled. “He loves you too, in his own way.”