Home > Bad at Love(3)

Bad at Love(3)
Author: Karina Halle

But for one moment, when he looks across the room and meets my eyes, I have it.

Then the band launches into a rolling, bass-heavy version—“Policy of Truth”—and our moment is over. If it ever was a moment. You see, I tend to have these moments with guys where I think, yay maybe he’s actually into me, he’s been giving me some good eye fucking. But then it turns out that he actually has something in his eye.

For a cover band, they’re really good. Color me surprised. Jane is great, of course, and everyone holds down their instruments really well, but Laz steals the show. Not only does he have the swagger, this panther-like domination of the stage, but his voice is amazing and completely on point. Even with the shitty sound system and acoustics in the venue, he brings the songs to another level, like they were always his to begin with.

“They don’t suck!” Naomi yells at me as they go into their last song.

“No, they don’t! I’m so glad we don’t have to lie to Jane now!”

We had come up with our straight faces back at the house, prepared to tell Jane how awesome she was and all that, wrongly assuming they weren’t going to be any good. I mean, you know how it is when it comes to your friends and art. You want to encourage them at all costs, even if they’re terrible, and while we knew that Jane was talented, you never know how a band will perform as a whole.

When the show is over after a blistering forty-five-minute set, my ears are ringing and Naomi is telling me we should go say hi to Jane and then leave. I should listen to her. I have to be up early for work tomorrow and I’ve only been working at the garden center for a week, so I’m still trying to make a good first impression.

But while Jane works her way through the crowd to come and say hello, I’m watching Laz, the girls in front of him parting like Moses parting the Red Sea.

“I’m so glad you came,” Jane squeals, even though she’s not the squealing type. “God, I hope the sound was okay? It wasn’t shit, was it? It’s so hard to tell from up there.”

“You were amazing,” I tell her, my eyes going to Laz who has stopped just behind her. “Both of you.”

“So, I see you all know each other,” Jane says, looking between the three of us. “That should cancel out any awkward introductions.”

“You should have seen the awkward introduction we had before you played,” I tell her. Laz raises his brows at that but I plow on, “Anyway, you were both awesome. Band is awesome. Sound was…loud. I’m glad we came.”

“Yes, totally,” Naomi adds. “But we really shouldn’t stay out so late. You have work in the morning, Marina, remember?” She’s giving me the let’s go look.

“You’re not going anywhere. I promised I would buy you both a drink,” Laz says. “What you havin’?”

I try not to smile as I look at Naomi, silently pleading for her to stay.

She sighs, giving me a dirty look before she says to Laz. “A beer. Cold.”

“Not very picky,” he says. “I like that. And you, blondie?”

My smile widens. I’ve heard that nickname a million times before but with his accent, it’s to die for. “Anything.”

He cocks his head, considering that before looking inquisitively at Jane. “Drink?”

“Vodka soda,” she says to him, and as soon as he walks off to the bar, her attention is on me, one brow raised.


“You know he’s my brother, right?” Jane says.

“Yeah, we got that part,” I tell her, hoping she’s not going where I think she’s going with this.

“So…” Naomi adds.

“So, I’m just saying, don’t get any ideas.”

“What, about Laz?” Naomi says, looking disgusted. “He smokes, Jane. You know I can’t stand that.”

“He’s in the process of quitting,” she says. “But I was talking to Marina here with her googly eyes.”

“Googly eyes?” I repeat, but I’m blushing. “Oh, come on.”

“I know he seems like your type,” she goes on, totally ignoring me. “And I think you guys would get along well. You’ve both got a lot in common and you’re kind of…well…odd. But—”

“Jane,” I interrupt her, trying not to be bothered by the odd thing. Actually, I’m more intrigued now that she called him odd. Like he’s more attainable now. “You’re jumping to conclusions. I just met him. He seems nice. And yeah, he’s cute, but he’s your stepbrother. That shouldn’t gross you out.”

“Oh, but it does,” she says, making a face. She looks over the crowd at him as he gives cash to the bartender. “And anyway, I’m not saying this because I’m protective of him. I’m protective of you.”

“Why?” I ask. “What’s wrong with him?”

She rolls her eyes as if to ask, what isn’t?

Then he’s back beside us, holding out three drinks with perfect balance.

“Here we are,” he says as everyone takes their drink from him. “Blonde ale for the blondie,” he says to me, handing me the beer.

“Thank you,” I tell him, hyperaware now of the way I’m acting around him.

“Where’s your drink?” Jane asks him.

“I’m driving home after,” he says.

“Where’s Shannon?”

Who is Shannon?

Laz gives her a sheepish smile. “No Shannon. It’s Vanessa.”

Who is Vanessa?

“What happened to Shannon?”

He gives a slight shake of his head and covers his smile with his beer. “Shannon was months ago.”

“Shannon was at the last show. Two weeks ago. And you were together then.”

He shrugs and gives me a mock apologetic look. “You’ll have to excuse my sister here, she lives to give me a hard time.”

“Only because you deserve it,” she says, but she’s smiling, so apparently this is just good old-fashioned sibling ribbing. Which is cute and all, but I can’t help focusing on the fact that Laz has a girlfriend. Named Shannon. Or Vanessa.

And of course he does. I mean, look at him. He’s dressed like a rock star, has great hair, devious dark eyes, and I’ve seen a flash of a tongue ring. He’s tall, over six feet, and he’s got some mad thick arms and pecs that are straining against his T-shirt. He’s the real fucking deal.

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