Home > Bad at Love(2)

Bad at Love(2)
Author: Karina Halle

“You’re here to see Magic 8 Ball?” the sexy stranger asks, smoke spilling from his mouth. He has this British accent that makes me want to melt into a puddle right here, right now.

Naomi sighs. “Our friend Jane is the drummer.”

“You do realize it’s just a shitty cover band, right?” the guy says. I could watch his lips move and hear him talk in that sexy accent all night. He says “shitty” without pronouncing the Ts in the middle.

Naomi laughs, and she rarely laughs with strangers. “We know it’s a cover band. Whether it’s shitty or not, that remains to be seen. We haven’t seen them play before.”

“I’d save your money,” he says. “Though I guess if you’re on the list, you could get in for free…if you’re a sucker for punishment.”

“Not on the list,” the bouncer interjects.

“That bad, huh?” I joke to the sexy stranger.

He shrugs and looks off. He has this cageyness to him that only adds to his mystique, like he’s too cool for school but not even trying. “Their singer is a real arsehole. Total wanker. I’d stay away from the likes of him. Thinks he’s better than David Gahan.”

“Well, it is a Depeche Mode cover band, so I’ll give him a pass on that.” I pause, remembering that it’s actually Jane’s brother who is the singer of the band. I had no idea he was an…arse. “And anyway, like we said, we’re here for Jane. To support her. Be a good friend.”

He nods slowly, looking between the two of us with a look I can’t quite figure out. “Then she’s going to owe you a mad favor.”

“She’s worth it.”

His expression turns. It’s like he’s approving of me now.

I like it. I want his approval. God knows why.

Oh yeah. The dangerously handsome and edgy thing.

His lips twist into a smirk that somehow only turns on the charm. “What was your name again?”

“I never gave it. It’s Marina,” I tell him and shrug my shoulder back toward Naomi. “And that’s Naomi.”

“And you are?” Naomi asks him pointedly.

He grins. “Just an arsehole,” he says, taking a long drag of his cigarette and looking off down the street at the passing cars, their headlights briefly running over us.

“Well, it was nice to meet you, arsehole, but—” Naomi starts to say.

Suddenly the door to the venue opens again, the sound of instruments tuning, sound check in progress, ringing out into the night air. A guy with a Magic 8 Ball shirt and red handlebar mustache sticks his head out and waves at Mr. Arsehole.

“What the fuck are you doing, Laz? We’re going on, now.”

Laz?

“Your name is Laz?” Naomi asks. “You mean, like Jane’s brother, Lazarus? Like the singer of the damn band?”

He manages a tiny smile and takes out the pack, stubbing his cigarette out on it. “I’m coming,” he says to the ginger-mustached man, who makes a huffing sound and disappears back inside.

Then Laz taps the bouncer on the shoulder and points at us. “They’re with me.”

The bouncer looks like he’s about to ask him who he is but decides against it. He sighs and turns away, his bald head gleaming in the overhead light. “Fine.”

Laz looks back at us, gestures to the door. “You girls coming or what?”

“Your name would be Lazarus,” I remark.

His brows raise, eyebrow ring glinting. “What?”

“You have to pardon her. She says the wrong things,” Naomi says, putting her hands on both my shoulders and trying to steer me inside.

“Hey, he called himself an arsehole,” I point out as she pushes me inside the venue. “He could have told us he was with the band. Or is the band. Instead of playing that little game.”

“I’m with the band,” he corrects me, walking slightly ahead of us, his eyes right on me. “I play guitar, I sing, and they aren’t even my songs. And you’re right. I guess Lazarus is kind of a douchey pompous rock star name. I like to think it’s because my father listened to a lot of Nick Cave and not that my mother has an obsession with myths.”

The room is crowded and very dark, even the closer we get to the stage. “I’d buy you girls a drink,” he says, “but it will have to wait until after. I’ll let Jane know you’re here.”

And at that he walks smoothly through the crowd and gets up on the stage, grabbing his guitar from the stand.

“Break a leg!” I call out after him, but my voice is lost in the crowd and that’s a good thing because I sound like an idiot.

The Mint is a small place. The stage is barely a few feet above the ground. The lights are low and everything smells like beer, and it’s already too loud in here and they haven’t even started playing. But still, I feel like this night is becoming the beginning of something. What, I don’t know.

“I can’t believe that’s Jane’s brother!” Naomi yells at me above the noise.

“Stepbrother!” I correct her, watching as he walks across the stage and says something to Jane. I can barely see her behind the drums, just the top of her pink head, until she stands up and waves at us with both hands, enthusiasm turned up.

We wave back.

“Still!” she says. “I’m surprised we haven’t met him already!”

I’m not. Jane, her brother, and the two other dudes, only formed this band five months ago. Before then, Laz was apparently studying abroad, though I’m not sure where. England, I’m guessing. Jane hasn’t really talked about him much, either, so I assumed they aren’t really close. I do remember her saying that she was honored that he invited her to play drums, especially since a lot of bands won’t give a female drummer the time of day, even those as talented as Jane. Anyway, she has a younger brother, Noah, that she’s a lot closer to, so Laz has always had this mysterious air to him. Which, after meeting him in person, I can totally understand.

“Hiya,” Laz says into the microphone after he gives his guitar a hard strum that fills the room and makes my teeth vibrate. “We’re Magic 8 Ball and we’re here for your pleasure.”

All the girls in the room erupt into rising waves of giggles and cheers, and it’s only then that I’m noticing how many of them are crowding the stage, staring up at him with heart eyes, vying for his attention.

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