Rock Candy Kisses(7)

By: Addison Moore

I spot Izzy by the bar tying back her long, dark hair. She and Holt are newly engaged. She’s the one who introduced me to Marley. Izzy and Marley’s sister Jemma, have been best friends for years. Izzy actually used to teach my dance class when I was a kid. She always made sure that I never missed a beat. She taught me to count my way through the numbers and put me in the middle of the action so that no matter where I turned I could pick up on visual cues from the other girls. I couldn’t have chosen a nicer person for my brother. He let the family know last summer that the reason he never went to college was because he felt like he caused my parents’ divorce. It was a huge mess. Obviously my father’s infidelity with a girl who had hardly turned eighteen at the time had more to do with it than he did. And by the time Holt realized he wasn’t the bomb that detonated over my parents’ marriage bed, he had already paid an emotional debt he never really owed. He and Izzy help run the bars in addition to her newly acquired dance studio, Electric Lights. Bryson is busy working on his masters and does most of the behind the desk stuff that the business requires. Ironically, I’m sort of a silent partner in both the business and in life.

The lights dim a bit, and a swarm of bodies move toward the stage as one of the bartenders, Cole, introduces the lineup for the night. I’ve known Cole for as long as I can remember. He and Bryson were roommates for years. The sign above his head reads 12 Deadly Sins, and judging by the anxious looks on the droves of girls lining the edge of the stage, these sinners have quite the female following. I take a seat near the wall and pull out my camera, taking pictures of the sea of platinum curls, the short skirts that seem far too impractical for the arctic drop in temperature we’re experiencing outside. Gawking at their long, bare legs through my lens has me feeling a bit pervish, so I sneak in a picture of Cole heading off stage, kissing his girlfriend, Roxy. I love Roxy. She’s as straight to the chase as one can get. It’s hard to get her to smile, but she’s pretty nice to me overall. She’s been known to bring cupcakes to the bar at least once a week during staff meetings, and they’re fabulous in a zillion calories sort of way. Once I gain my freshman fifteen, I’ll know who to point the finger at.

The band takes the stage, and the bodies jump up and down—boobs are jostled right out of their safety nets as the girls in front go wild, thrashing their fists in the air, swinging their hips to the non-existent music. I know it hasn’t started yet because at a venue like this the vibrations tend to ride through my body. The energy in the bar skyrockets as the girls work themselves in a head thrashing frenzy. I take a seat up on the table to get a better look as the music gets under way. The baritone of the bass pulsates through my chest. I lean straight against the wall and feel the rhythm of the music jump up and down my vertebrae like a xylophone. This is one of the things I know for a fact I’m missing out on in life—music. I close my eyes a moment and try to imagine what it must sound like. My parents outfitted me with heavy duty hearing aids when I was a kid, and I still have them, but they made the world scary like what I’d imagine demons sound like, heavy, tired moans that I’m positive I want no part in, so I never wear them. Instead I feel the vibration that life has to offer. And on occasions like this, I ache to know what it must feel like to hear something so fierce and majestic. Back at Quincy we used to turn the speakers up as loud as possible and feel the top ten iTunes hits vibrate through the room. I guess that was our way of experiencing what seems to have everyone else our age so mesmerized all the time.

A light tap emits over my leg, and I open my eyes to find Laney and Baya smiling at me.

Laney waves. “Can I get you anything?” She over annunciates the words.

I shake my head and point to the stage. My eyes connect with the lead singer, and my mouth opens as if I’m about to say something, but really it’s from sheer surprise.

It’s him. It’s the gorgeous boy with marbled eyes who saved me from acting out a very real piece of performance art today—the red asphalt rendition.

He elongates a note and smiles right at me. My stomach fills with a fire that expands right up my chest. There it is again, that physiological response that makes every cell in my body sit up and pay attention.

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