Fully Automatic

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“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.”

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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.”

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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.

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“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.

Almost.

He grabbed my hand to shake it, and noticed me eyeing him. “Like the ink?”

“Um, yeah,” I blushed.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

 

 

Get a Little Closer

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It was just after midnight when we came crashing through the door, still talking and laughing. I guess I just assumed Julie would be out for the night, she usually was on the weekends. Yet there she was, looking pretty pissed that not only was I back – but that I had a guest in tow.

“Julie,” I practically giggled out, high on the excitement of my night. “Sorry, I didn’t think you’d be here. This is my friend Jamison. Jamison, this is my roommate Julie.”

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“That’s riiiiight, you went to a concert or something, right?” she cocked her eyebrow at me in a way that I knew this wasn’t going to be a normal conversation.

I nodded, grinning, “we did, and it was awesome.”

She sniffed in disapproval, “and this is how you dress for this kind of thing? What’s with the all black – not that I don’t like it…especially on men.” She eyed Jamison from head to toe knowingly. “But you guys look like you went to a funeral, not a concert. Actually,” she smirked. “Lorelei you look like a little girl who went to a concert.”

“Whatever Julie,” I shook my head. I was pretty sure she was trying to upset me or embarrass me in front of Jamison and I wasn’t about to let it happen. “I think we’re both appropriately dressed for the occasion, it’s not like I dress like this for class.”

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Jamison took a seat at my desk, silent. Perhaps he sensed some sort of epic battle. I glanced over at him and he just grinned a cocky smile at me. Maybe he was hoping for a catfight?

Julie raised one eyebrow, “I just don’t get the appeal.”

“Whatever, it’s not for everybody.”

“And thank God for that,” she spat out.

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” I could feel my temper rising, even though I was doing everything I could to stay cool.

“You look awful,” she sneered.

Jamison didn’t even let me get in the next word. “I think she looks fuckin awesome.”

“Only because she is the exact replica of you,” she went on. “Did you guys plan this, it’s adorable.”

I was so tired of being insulted daily from this little bitch – that’s what she was. I was angry. I knew I was angry enough to say something – anything – to get her attention and show her how rude she was. “At least I’m not so desperate for attention that I parade around on campus in my underwear.”

Her disinterested look turned into a glare, “you little bitch. You have some nerve, that was low even for you.”

Even for me? As if I were the one constantly bashing her? “And your crack about me being a little girl were so nice?”

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That was it. I struck a nerve, although I didn’t really see how – I wasn’t being ruder than she was. But she lunged at me anyway, pushing me against the dresser with her fist poised to blow. Jamison snagged her wrist just in time. He stared at her for what seemed forever, like he was trying to burn something into her brain without words. Finally he growled, “you touch her…or her stuff, and you’ll have to answer to me. He was still staring at her when he barked out, “come on L, let’s go.”

He let go of her wrist, and she clasped it to her chest. I started to follow Jamison to the door. “Don’t bother,” she snarled in response. “I’m leaving, I won’t stay in this room with this little whore for one more minute.”

It was all I could do to stop and take a breath. Whore? I let my breath out and decided to let it go – the damage was done. She grabbed a bag from beneath her bed and started violently shoving clothes into it. She really was leaving…it was so weird. I couldn’t place what I’d done with what she was doing now.

“I’ll be back for the rest tomorrow,” she shoved past me and Jamison to the door. “Can’t wait to have your sickly sweet cheery fake self out of my life.”

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After the door slammed, Jamison pulled me into his arms and held me tightly to his chest. I was still reeling at what a strange night this had been. “You okay?” he murmured into my hair.

I nodded, “yeah. I’m still just trying to figure out what the hell just happened.”

“You guys fight a lot?”

I shook my head, “not like that. I mean we don’t exactly get along…”

Jamison chuckled, “I guess you really can kill with kindness.” I didn’t want to think about her anymore. Especially not with Jamison’s arms wrapped around me like that. He was quiet, almost a whisper, “I wonder where she’ll go?”

Why did he even care? I knew I shouldn’t let it bother me, but I did. Still I didn’t say anything about it. “Probably one of her boyfriends.”

“I should probably go,” he pulled back. “You’ll be alright?”

“Yeah.”

“Call me if you need anything,” he kissed my forehead lightly and squeezed my hands. “I’ll text tomorrow, okay?”

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Julie did move out.

In the following weeks Jamison never came close to laying a hand on me other than in a friendly way. And this lips never got near mine again. We did hang out a lot. Daily actually.

We went out to eat, went to a football game, studied (even though we talked more than we studied) and hung out in my dorm binging on Heroes and The Walking Dead. In fact we spent so much time together, I started to consider him my best friend. Not that I didn’t want more. But we had each other, we had a bond – our friendship was growing stronger all the time and I was okay with that.

I was becoming more anxious to see his band play since he finally talked to me about it all the time. His bands name was Bullet, a name I had been suspecting was already taken. One afternoon we were at Coffee perk and I did a Google search on my phone – Bullet was taken by more than one band.

Jamison was bummed, so we started searching for other band names since he was so intent on having a band name that went along with ammo. He said that’s how their music was – deadly, fast and dangerous. When aimed straight at the heart, it was lethal.

“I dunno how I’m gonna tell the guys,” he shook his head. I just looked at him, probably with just a bit too much eagerness. He started laughing, “yes…I’ll introduce you, okay?”

I started giggling and wrapped him in a hug that made him blush. Why he couldn’t get a clue, I have no idea. I knew I’d just have to find the courage to be more forward.

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Finally he gave in to my incessant demands to meet ‘the guys‘. One afternoon he texted me to meet up with him at Skyline Diner – this super fun 50’s style place that had the best burgers this side of the state. That’s where I met Enzo.

Enzo was  Jamison’s roommate, and his bands bassist. I shook his hand and wondered to myself why I’d never met him or heard anything about him before. I found out he and Jamison had not only gone to high school together, but had pretty much known each other their entire lives.

Enzo had dark, soft looking hair cut into a trendy style I’d seen tons of guys on campus wearing, it made his pale blue eyes stand out in stark contrast. Against his light olive skin and dark eyebrows – it made his eyes seem magnetic and seductive. He was tall, muscular in a lean, youthful way. And damned if I do say so myself, a gorgeous specimen of a man.

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There was something sweet about him. He was talkative, animated and open. He chatted about everything and anything – making Jamison practically blush and shake his head several times.

He told me he’d heard a lot about me – something that shocked me. He told me all about their band and the other two guys who lived in their hometown still, working jobs and how they eagerly waited opportunities for them to all get together and write and play music. He told me how they’d all known each other forever, and how it all came to be.

Enzo was easy-going and carefree and a bit of a jokester. I could tell just in that short amount of time that we were going to be friends.

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From then on it became me, Jamison and Enzo. Though Jamison became a bit more intense where Enzo was concerned. Making sure to throw his arm around my shoulder,  or grab my hand when we were walking somewhere – I felt like it was to silently tell Enzo I was off limits.

I was still so confused. But I didn’t argue. I had my best friend, who yeah…I was madly in love with, and another good friend to boot. They were both easy on the eyes and incredibly fun to hang out with. I wasn’t letting that go anytime soon.

 

It was Electric

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I’ll admit I was a ridiculous mess of a nervous wreck all day. Mostly about what to wear. All my dates back home were boys I’d grown up with, and pretty much consisted of the three things to do in town – bowling, pizza or movies. Heck sometimes I’d just throw on a hoodie with some leggings and call it good.

I didn’t want to look like a little girl going to the bowling alley. I wanted to look good. No. I wanted to look hot – but hot was not something in my usual repertoire. My bank account was startling low, so I hit up a second hand store and found a leather vest I liked for ten bucks and a stack of bracelets for three dollars. I convinced myself I could make a metal show worthy outfit somehow.

At first I was pretty impressed with my resourcefulness – cutting off a pair of old jeans dangerously short, some fishnets from last Halloween and a black tank top with my standard short boots. I darkened my normal makeup and tousled my hair around…a buzz on my cell phone snapped me out of my daze.

He was here and waiting in the lobby.

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With a deep gulp of breath I ran out the door, a nervous excitement creeping all across my body. That was until I saw him.

How on earth did he do that? Just leaning up against a door frame like he’d just been hanging out here all day – looking cool and sexy as all hell in a vintage Pantera shirt, jeans and combat boots. He looked like a rock and roll God if you asked me, though I might not have been able to answer you with the nervous pounding of my heart threatening to burst right out of my chest.

“Hey,” he smiled, and silently appraised me.

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“Hey,” I grinned, bouncing a bit on my toes anxiously. “Cool shirt.”

“Thanks, you ready?” he seemed surprised that I was on time…or maybe I didn’t look ready? But one more sweep over me with his eyes told me he liked what he saw. “You might need a jacket, it’s chilly.”

I shook my head and crossed the distance towards him, “I’m always warm. Am I gonna need ID to get in? I didn’t grab my purse…”

He grinned and winked, “taken care of.”

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Jamison’s car was everything I had expected it to be. A black Chevy Nova, most likely from the 70’s. A giant tank of a car really, one door painted in a flat black primer like a project that had never been completed. With a turn of a key the engine didn’t purr, it roared, rumbling loudly to life, and the souped up engine growled loudly over the music blaring out of a stereo so old it took cassette tapes. Piles of them were at my feet amidst soda cans and wrappers.

Slayer. Black Sabbath. Pantera. Danzig. Ozzy.

“You don’t have to say it,” he said loudly so I could hear him over the song that played. “It’s a piece of shit,” he laughed. “I could have cleaned it I guess.”

I shook my head laughing, “it’s perfect.”

He shrugged it off, “if you say so.”

“So who’s playing tonight?”

“Hell Fist, Black Sky and Last Five Seconds,” he stared out at the night over the steering wheel. “You’ll dig LFS for sure, they’re amazing. Lotta hype about them.”

“I’ve never heard of any of them,” I bit my lip with embarrassment.

Jamison looked over at me. If blue eyes could smolder, his did and it made my breath catch in my throat, “that’s what you have me for.”

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He parked behind the bar, which at first I thought was weird until he led me to the back door and I figured it out.

Jamison knew someone who worked there who snuck us in the back door with a nod of his head after he scanned the area to make sure no one saw us. He looked me over quickly, holding a stamp pad out in front of my face, “you drinkin?”

I shook my head no.

“Too hyped man,” Jamison told him. “Thanks bro.”

I followed Jamison through the dark bar, and I felt completely out of place. There were more guys than girls for sure – but the girls who were there were insanely sexy in a way I knew I wasn’t. One girl in particular I eyed with envy – her sleek white blond hair was in stark contrast to her skimpy all black outfit, black lipstick and heavy black liner. She would have looked like a black and white portrait with her porcelain skin, except for her brightly colored tattoos that covered her arms and chest.

When first band started playing I forgot that I felt awkward and got lost in the music. Jamison grinned and grabbed my forearm, moving us closer to the stage. By the time the second band played we were all but lost in some serious head banging and dancing- which really just consisted of a lot of jumping and banging into each other.

“This is Last Five Seconds,” he leaned close and said in my ear while it was silent while the final band took the stage.

A tall, fit man – and he was definitely a man – kept his eye on me as he took the stage. He swaggered to the microphone stand, his guitar slung across his back and a slow, sexy grin crept onto his face and he winked at me. I couldn’t help myself but to smile back despite being there with Jamison. He was that damn sexy.

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“Hey,” Jamison’s husky voice brought me back to him.

When I turned to face him, his eyes did that smoldering thing again and I could see his pupils dilate even more than they already were in the dark bar. His hands were under my hair, touching my neck softly and I felt it. I felt the thing.

It was electric, like a current racing through my body. ‘He’s going to kiss me, ‘ – I thought to myself and I sucked in a sharp breath and I could feel my lips part in wait. He leaned closer, his lips parting too.

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It was the growl of the guitar on stage, shredding a beat so fierce and melodic right out of the gate that split us up – leaving our lips untouched by the others. I smiled a wide smile. “Holy crap,” I yelled in his ear.

“I know,” he yelled back.

When we weren’t dancing or banging our heads, his arm was around me protectively – telling me I wasn’t the only one who noticed the man on stage watching me and smiling a wicked, seductive smile for the entirety of their set. But that was the closest his lips got to me again that night.

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“I’m starving,” Jamison complained when we finally left the show and crawled into his car. “I think there’s a McDonalds close.”

“I’m starving too,” I agreed, still feeling the tense electricity between us – I really just wasn’t ready to end my time with him.

“So tell me stuff,” he suggested before stuffing a handful of french fries in his mouth.

I scrunched my brow up, “like what? I thought you were the one who said you would tell me stuff, remember?”

He chewed in deep thought before I saw it register across his face, “oh yeah. You’ll think it’s stupid like everyone else.”

“Try me.”

He chewed off a bite of his burger, washing it down with a sip of Coke. “I wanna be like those guys. I wanna be a rock star.”

“Like..a real rock star?”

Jamison shrugged, “yeah, a real rock star. I have a band.”

“No you don’t!” I said in shock. Why hadn’t I heard this before? “Can I hear you sometime?”

He grinned and took another swig of his Coke, “sure, I guess. We’re not as good as those guys, we need to get our shit together…but it’s you’re turn. What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I laughed, “when I grow up? Um…a writer.”

“Whattayou write?”

“Poems mostly,” I said sheepishly. “Short stories.”

“Do they have your deep dark secrets?” he teased. “Think I can read something?”

“Maybe,” I shook my head. “I don’t really let people read my stuff.”

“So you’re a writer who doesn’t want people to read her things,” he laughed. I just rolled my eyes and shrugged. “So what else? I feel like I’m missing something with you. I never hear you swear.”

“Nope.”

“And you don’t drink or anything…” he said watching me carefully. I shook my head no. “You have to have a vice.”

“Music?” I stated, though it came out as a question. “Dunno…I was just raised a certain way and it stuck I guess. I’ve never even…” I trailed off.

“Never even what?” he pressed.

“No, now you’ll think I’m stupid.”

He cocked his head to the side and eyed me, “try me.”

I took a deep breath. I’d never just said it out loud before. “I’m still a virgin. By choice.”

“Get out,” he looked genuinely shocked. “But you’re so…” he shook his head. “The way guys look at you…”

“My parents were really strict. Always preaching about drinking and drugs and sex before marriage.” I could see him shrink away at the word marriage. “I’m not really waiting til I’m married. I tried once, to have sex I mean. Then I realized I didn’t want my first time to be in the back seat of a Toyota at a drive in movie theater,” I laughed anxiously. “Now I’m just waiting until I find the right person. I want it to be special, it’s stupid I know.”

“It’s not,” Jamison shook his head. “You’re cool as shit L.”

“L?” I laughed. “Is that my new name?” He winked and grinned at me.

“So,” he stood up and stretched languidly, a permanent grin on his face. “If fucking, drinking and drugs are off the table tonight, how about a movie or something? I’m still fuckin hyped from the show.”

I laughed loudly, “sounds great.”

Waiting

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In the two weeks that followed my first day at The Tattered Cover, Jamison and I started to become pretty good friends. We’d exchanged phone numbers and would text back and forth between classes and after work. Pretty normal stuff, nothing flirtatious or anything that would suggest he was as in to me as I was into him.

I started noticing little things about him. Like how on days when he was really hyper and talkative, his eyes seemed like they were a deeper blue with a hint of a sparkle. I noticed when he smiled one corner of his mouth lifted up higher than the other. I noticed the husky, gravelly way he said ‘hey‘ with that same crooked smile when ever he would see me. I noticed on his quieter, more introverted days his eyes looked gray. His casual slouch was deeper and the ‘hey‘ was barely audible.

Today was one of those days.

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He was watching me study. An act he found humorous. Apparently my face is quite animated when I read, and until now I never knew I muttered things under my breath as I wrote, erased and rewrote things.

“Yer probably  the smartest fucking person I know,” he stated flatly.

“Hmmmpf” I huffed. “I doubt it, I have to work pretty hard just to keep my average around a 3.0”

Jamison shifted in his seat and raised his eyebrows, “better than me, that’s for sure.”

“I never see you study,” I shook my head and laid my pencil down on my book. “What’s your major anyway.”

“Undecided,” he shrugged.

I pursed my lips and sighed, “me too.”

“I wouldn’t even be here,” he shifted again, this time his body looked tense even in his relaxed posture. “…’cept my mom insisted on it. Said I needed to make something of myself, break out of the Wolfe mold.”

“So what do you want to do?” I asked.

His face went from blank to alive in a millisecond and that slow smile crept onto his beautiful face, “I’ll tell you sometime.”

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I thought I was alone in my room that night. Julie was usually out anyway. I was feeling unusually homesick and decided to scroll through my brother’s Facebook page to see if I recognized any of my friends back home in his pictures.

“Who’s that?” Julie’s voice behind me startled me out of my daze.

I closed the screen I was on and spun around in my seat to face her, “you scared me.”

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“He’s cute,” she nodded towards my computer. “Who is he?”

I frowned and shook my head, “my brother?”

“Does he go here?” she smiled in a way I could only describe as devilish and immediately I was set on edge.

“Yeah I don’t think that’s gonna happen for you,” I said as firmly as I could.

Julie flung her red hair around her shoulders and cocked her hip to one side, placing her hand firmly on it. “I’m not good enough for your brother? Like, just because you’re such a goody two shoes bitch who can’t find a guy, doesn’t mean he wouldn’t like me. You’re just jealous.”

Now let me just say this. In the last month and a half, she and I had been going at it, fighting and bickering back and forth. Most of the time I just let it slide right off me. This time I couldn’t . She’d called me a goody two shoes, a prude, a bitch, lame, stuck up, snobby – you name it. She made it blaringly obvious that she had a problem with me in general and I was over it.

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“For your information Julie,” I made sure to put extra sugary sweet fake emphasis on her name, just like she usually did mine. “I’m in no way jealous of you.First of all, you are not God’s gift to teenage boys no matter what you think. Sprinkling the treats out for free and they come running…not exactly a no brainer on how you get some many guys. Second of all he’s in high school, a junior in high school and that’s gross, even for you. And I did meet a guy. A really hot one – and we’re going out next Saturday.”

“Whatever,” she crossed her arms across her chest in defeat. “I don’t care.”

“So I have to sit and listen to you fucking guy after guy in the bed next to mine and you don’t care?” I could feel the heat in my cheeks flaring in anger. “I know about half the guys dicks on this campus because you tell me every detail as if I’m supposed to care. I listen to you talk about your dates and you show me all your texts, and then you get upset when they don’t text you back…and I’m supposed to care? But I meet a guy I like and you don’t care.”

Julie turned to leave. “You’re such an infant,” she said over her shoulder.

“You’re ridiculous,” I shouted out as she slammed the door behind her.

It took me two hours afterwards just to calm down enough to go to bed.

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It was the day before our date – well I was under the assumption it was a date. But I had no idea if he thought it was a date. I could barely put a finger on how he felt about me, if he felt anything at all.

I never saw him with any girls, so I was certain he didn’t have a girlfriend. He never talked about any other girls, and he always seemed genuinely happy to see me. We talked non-stop around each other and we texted constantly. He knew my Coffee Perk order and sometimes he’d be walking out with two cups in hand, just as I was about to go in and get one before work. He’d smile that crooked smile and hand mine to me.

But that thing wasn’t there. That thing that told me he was into me. He never asked me out except for the concert. He never asked me to go eat after we closed up the store or swing by his dorm or even study. Mind you, I’m a strong independent girl, fully capable of asking a guy out – but I was afraid. He seemed perfectly content with what we were, and mostly I was too.

I was also falling head over heels for him.

Firsts

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I was eighteen, and three weeks in to my freshman year at college. It was my first time away from home – unless you count my summer trips to my grandparents ranch in Washington.

Four hours. That’s what separated me from being under my parents thumb. You’d think I’d have gone wild right? Isn’t that what you do when you’re young and away from home? I should’ve gone to some wild keggers or an epic frat party or two by now.  Skipped study sessions for bar hopping or at best a toga party or something.

I should. In some ways, I kind of want to. Want to break out of this good girl shell and just go wild – live it up. Be young and reckless, just once. Something about my upbringing just stuck with me like a ball and chain. Be a good girl. Don’t drink, don’t smoke. Let’s not even talk about sex.

Instead I focused on my grade point average. Over achiever? Yep. Hyper obsessed with being the best? Yep.

I had plenty to rebel against, believe me. I’d been raised in a strict Christian home. My parents fed us gospel like some parents fed their children meals. I’d always been too afraid to go against my parents beliefs. My only transgression? Metal. Yeah, like hardcore heavy metal music. It started when I was fourteen, really just as a way to piss my dad off – which worked by the way. I couldn’t stand the stuff, but I blared it on my tiny stereo in my room anyway. Pretty soon it started to feel good. I found the brilliance in the noise, the poetry behind the screaming. I was hooked.

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All of this was a great disappointment to my dorm-mate Julie. Julie was the exact opposite of me in every way. She was gorgeous and super confident. She was a social butterfly and a total guy magnet. She lived to party – in three weeks I had yet to see her so much as flip open the cover of a text book.

Our only thing in common? We’re both speak out minds and don’t put up with bullshit. It just so happens that our ideas of bullshit are different…

Julie called me a prude. A goody-two shoes. She’d huff loudly and grumble under her breath about me studying yet again, or how could she have gotten stuck with such a stuck up stick in the mud like me. She’d stand in the mirror for hours, curling her hair and gluing on eyelashes singing Ariana Grande songs off key. At first she would ask if I wanted to come with her – now she just left.

In three weeks, five different guys had come home with her. Some nights she didn’t come home. her business was her business. I just hated having to lay in my bed pretending to sleep while she was going at it with some random guy she came stumbling home with.

I’m making it sound like I don’t like guys. Oh, I do. I’ve just never met one who did that thing. You know? Like, the one who makes your heart flip and fills your belly with butterflies. That guy who you think about all the time and think of ways to bump into him casually without seeming like a total stalker? That guy. I hadn’t met him…until I met Jamison.

 

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“Excuse me?” I cleared my throat politely.

He shook his head and looked at me bewildered. “Oh shit,” he scooted to the side of the steps he’d been sprawled on. “Sorry.”

“S’okay,” I smiled and walked past him, feeling the heat build in my cheeks.

He looked up at me as I made my way up the steps and I suddenly felt childish with the braid in my hair and the silly cardigan I’d worn that day.

All through my humanities class I thought about him, shaking my head at myself. Guys like that didn’t notice girls like me. He was cool. Effortlessly cool like a punk rock James Dean. Those brilliant blue eyes and his warm brown hair hanging over his eyes…I shook my head again and tried to focus on the lecture.

STOP IT.

I wrote in my notebook to myself. I sighed deeply, he probably had some tall, gorgeous girlfriend who was effortless and cool like him. One who didn’t have to study all the time to fulfill some ridiculous notion of who she was. She probably wasn’t worried about paying for books and starting a new job today like me…so STOP IT– I wrote again in heavy, deep lines of blue ink.

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I rushed to the used book and music store right after my third class. ‘Being on time is being late’, my dad would stress to me about work ethic. I looked at my cell phone, it was quarter till and I sighed with relief as I pushed the heavy wood door open.

I tilted my head to the side in disbelief and squinted a bit. “Are you Jamison?”

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“Yep,” he smirked.

I could feel the blush rising in my cheeks again and I wanted to slap myself for it. “Oh uh,” I bit my lower lip and shook my head in and effort to snap myself back to reality. “I’m Lorelei…it’s my first day? Mike told me you’d train me?”

“Cool.”

Cool? 

“I’ll show you where to clock in,” he lifted off his barstool behind the register slowly, as if it took great effort to do so. “You got any shit you need to put in a locker?” I shook my head no and followed him. “Cool,” he stated again.

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He gave me a quick tour of the store. Comic books were here. Books were here. When we got to the records he slowed down a bit, dissecting how they were arranged and where to find what kind of genre. As customers trickled in he directed them to where they wanted to go, helping them find certain things. He showed me the basics of the cash register and the phones.

“Allright,” I said with confidence. “I think I got it.”

“Cool,” he muttered.

Cool? What was with this guy and cool?

“Fuck,” he blurted out suddenly. “You want me to change the music?”

I grinned and shook my head. “Nah, this is one of my favorite’s.”

“Get the fuck out,” his eyebrows furled up like he was confused. “You like Slipknot?”

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“Yeah…” I kept my grin intact. “Though I prefer Vermillion part two better.”

“Nah, harder is better,” he argued.

“Yeah for songs like Duality and Psychosocial maybe…but Vermillion actually has a lot of really cool lyrics and it’s haunting in part two, where part one is just regular old metal…you don’t feel it as much.”

“So you like metal?” his head tilted and he dragged out the word you a bit…Sometimes I loved this. The good girl who digs metal. Call me what you will. I love being the opposite of what the cover says about me. “Favorite bands?”

“God,” I put my hand on my hip, jutting it to the side and thought about it for a second. “Attila, Atreyu, Lamb of God…Slipknot obviously…Avenge Sevenfold…I mean gosh.

Suddenly he perked up. He hopped off his barstool and beckoned me to follow him to the record section. “Music is like church to me,” he said somewhat wistfully, letting his fingers drift across the covers of the albums. He turned to me with a wicked grin that made my stomach flip flop. “I’m gonna go grab us some coffee, you pick out some records yeah?”

“Yeah!” Had I really just bonded with this guy? Over music?

“What’ya’like?” he sputtered out all in one word.”Froufrou shit or what?”

I giggled and shook my head, “just regular old coffee is fine by me.”

“Cool,” and with that he was out the door and I was left to select music.

Do I impress him? Do I seriously just pick stuff I love? What exactly was I supposed to do?

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Jamison returned twenty minutes later with two paper coffee cups in hand. “So’what’d you pick?”

“Well,” I bit my lip again and took a deep breath. I laid my selections at his feet. “First, Pink Floyd – The Wall. No one can deny the rebellion and brilliance in that song. Then Crazy Train..I mean, Ozzy, come on.”

“Cool,” he nodded.

“Classics…War Pigs, Walk, Master of Puppets, Ace of Spades…” I looked at him to see that he was into my choices. “Then some of my personal favorites. “Bleeding Mascara, Circle, Middle Fingers Up…”

“No.”

“Yeah,” I laughed. “I know…I don’t look like your typical metal head – but this is my thing. I’m not passionate about a lot…but this is one thing I am passionate about.”

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Jamison sat and listened to all of my choices, nodding his head. Sometimes he closed his eyes and got lost in riffs and choruses just like I did sometimes. I jumped up to help the small hand-full of customers that came in while he jammed out and changed the records when it came time.

A few minutes before closing I sat back down with him to enjoy my final choice. An acoustic version of Wicked Game by Stone Sour. Not metal at all, just something I liked.

“You’re cool as shit Lorelei,” he nodded appreciatively.

“Call be anything but Lorelei,” I laughed. “And thanks.”

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“So you’re really into this stuff?” he asked again.

“I’m really into this stuff,” I nodded with assurance and perhaps a bit of annoyance.

“S’there’s this show,” he started. “It’s in Sacramento in a couple weeks. Mostly local bands. Would you wanna go with me?”

“Yeah!” I tried without much luck to hide the enthusiasm I felt in comparison to his flippant ‘cool‘ remarks. “That’s like, a couple hours from here right? I don’t have a car.”

He grinned quickly, “I’ve got one. It’ll be cool.”

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I walked back to my dorm in a bit of a daze. I grabbed my laundry basket and headed to the washing machines still smiling.

Had I just been asked on a date? By the hottest guy I’d ever seen in person? This couldn’t be real. I mean maybe he was just asking me to go see a show because we liked the same music, right? But what if it was a date? Already I felt panic.

I dumped all my clothes into the washing machine, pouring some detergent on top of it – my mind still reeling.

A date? With a super cool guy to a metal show? I looked down at my cardigan…what on earth was I supposed to wear?