Invisible Love Letter(3)

By: Callie Anderson

Tonight I would say goodbye to my favorite pub and to all my new American friends, that I would cherish for the rest of my life.

The drive to Yorks—our weekly hangout spot—was short. The hole in the wall was only a few minutes from our apartment. Tonight it was filled with musicians, college students, and groupies. The beer was cheap, the seating was abandoned picnic tables, and the music was good. Listening to the local cover bands, sipping cheap beer and saying goodbye to my friends was the best way to spend the evening.

As my parents’ only child, they had left me enough money to afford a semester abroad and be able to buy a car while I stayed here. It was an old Honda, and most days the air conditioning didn’t work, but it served its purpose. I dangled the car keys for Leslie to see and tossed them to her. “It’s all yours.” The keys landed in her hands. I had officially passed my car over to Leslie.

Gravel from the road flew over my feet as Axel sped up from behind us in his POS. Axel Arrington was a rotund guy with milky skin. He reminded me of a polar bear with his pitch black eyes. He had come to the States through the study abroad program from England and loved life in LA so much that he’d transferred the following semester. We had become friends instantly—kindred spirits. He was a drummer in a cover band and idolized everything rock, so we would sit in the courtyard after class where he would pick my brain for hours about life on the road. At first I was hesitant to talk about my parents, afraid that remembering them would cause too much pain. But once I began to tell him what it was like to shower over the toilet on the tour bus, I was reminded that as long as I spoke about my parents, they would live within me.

“You’re in luck tonight, love.” Axel squeezed between Leslie and me and placed his arms around us.

“Oh really? Why is that?”

I looked up into his big brown eyes and noticed the new barbell that had found its home in his eyebrow. At least it was a barbell and not a safety pin like the one in his ear. His hair was styled as a Mohawk in the front and a mullet in the back with the ends dyed blue so it cascaded like a waterfall down his shoulder.

“Your favorite band is performing tonight.” He winked before leaning down and kissing my lips.

My hands slapped to his face and pushed him away. “Gross, Axel. You taste like cigarettes.” I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand.

“What? You’re leaving tomorrow and I wanted to give you a proper goodbye,” he said, his hand still coiled around Leslie’s neck.

Axel paid our cover fee and headed towards the makeshift backstage to meet up with the rest of his band mates. Unfortunately, I had yet to hear Axel’s band perform. The excuse was that they were missing a lead singer. There were times I thought Axel was full of crap, but I loved him like a brother.

Leslie’s frail arms waved in the air. “Let’s get you hammered!”

I threw my head back and laughed. “Nothing like a hangover and a nine hour flight.”

“Who gives a shit? It’s your last night here, girlie, and your ginger butt needs some shots.”

Kate and Monica had arrived early enough to scrounge up some seats at the bar. Five minutes in and I had two shots, a SoCo, and a lime shoved down my throat. I wasn’t a big fan of drinking, but occasionally I’d let my hair down, and tonight was those occasion.

“What took you so long to get here?” Monica asked. Monica was stunning, a natural beauty. She was blonde with long, lean legs, piercing green eyes and a smile that could draw any guy in. She wasn’t vain, but she was materialistic. Her clothes were name brand, she never wore the same thing twice, and she only dated men of a certain caliber: trust funds, country club memberships, or any man with a lot of money.

“This one over here,” Leslie jabbed her finger in my shoulder, “took forever getting home. Then she took even longer getting ready because she’s all smitten over some guy she met.”

My face burned and I smiled as I reached for my beer. “It’s not a big deal.”

“Not a big deal?” Monica’s Texas accent made my smile grow wider. “Emmy, you have spent your whole semester avoiding boys.”

First, I hadn’t avoided boys. I was focused on school, and what would be the point of getting involved with someone when every day was a day closer to me going home? Second, the boys I had met were . . . well, boys. But he wasn’t a boy. Nope, he was definitely a man: tall, tan, and with a smile that would make most girls in this dingy bar drop their panties. Not to mention the sound of his voice. What I wouldn’t do to hear it once more…

“It’s seriously nothing. And besides, I leave tomorrow. What would be the point?” I lifted my beer to my cheek to cool off my heated flesh.

“It would be nice to go home with a bang, pun intended!” Kate shouted over the emcee who had appeared on stage to introduce the first band. Her Boston accent was thick over the speakers. Kate was from Irish decent, we had that in common, and her red hair was a lighter shade than mine.

The bartender lined up another round of shots in front of us. I looked over at Leslie, who pushed hers towards me. Why the hell not? It was my last night, after all.

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