Home > My Night with a Rockstar

My Night with a Rockstar
Author: Michelle Mankin

Maribelle

 

Walking up the dingy stone pathway leading to my apartment, I spot my neighbor on a lawn chair near the foot of the equally grimy stairs, her mangy dog tied up with a rope.

“Hey, Mrs. Lorenzo. How are you today?” I crouch to scratch under the dog’s chin, but the old woman shoos me away.

“Your music is too loud.” Her pruney face twists in a scowl. “I can’t even watch Wapner with that racket.”

My eyes widen, then immediately roll. Lizard must be home.

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Lorenzo. I’ll take care of it.” I slip my thumb into the shoulder strap of my backpack to hold it steady as I jog up the steps to our second-floor apartment.

The screaming cry of Vince Neil rattles the walls. I stop at first, my lashes fluttering as I take in the scene: An empty whiskey bottle tipped on its side trickling onto the glass coffee table. The small sink in the kitchenette filled with dishes. And the denim-clad legs of my on again/off again bedmate dangling over the sofa’s arm.

That asshole.

Lizard’s shirtless chest rises and falls with each sleeping breath. I pull the plug on the stereo, and a deafening silence follows. “Wake up,” I grumble, kicking the cushion.

Lizard startles awake. “What the fuck, Belle?”

“I was about to ask you the same thing.” I narrow my gaze, cupping my jutted hip. “You don’t come home all night, you don’t call, now here you are asleep on my couch at three thirty in the afternoon blasting my neighbors into oblivion?”

He sits up and runs his hand through his hair before angling forward on both elbows. His long, lean body curves with the movement, his sinewy back pulling taut.

I’ll be honest; when I first met him in that small, New Jersey nightclub two years ago, I didn’t think much of him. Tall and slim, with a shock of platinum hair that hung down to the middle of his back, he wasn’t usually the kind of guy I’d look at twice, but something about him spoke to me that night — and it wasn’t that evil tongue that gave him his nickname — it was the way he carried himself. His devil-may-care, I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude lit a fire inside me, and that was it. I was done for.

But now, I see him staring up at me with that same arrogant blue gaze, and I just want to scratch his gorgeous face off. I hate that aloof look with the passion of a thousand dying suns, and I hate that I’ve let him use it to weasel under my skin, but most of all, I hate myself every time I fuck him. I should have ran the moment I saw that stupid, sexy smile, but I sat on it and fell in love instead.

“I crashed at Slade’s after the show.”

I don’t dignify his haughty response with an answer. I know what staying at Slade’s means. It’s code for I got hammered atop a pile of naked groupies. I spin on my heel and stomp into my bedroom but stop short at the sight of the laundry basket spilling onto the floor. “Didn’t I ask you to put these away, like . . .” — I make a big show of dropping my backpack and staring down at my Swatch — “twenty hours ago?”

“I didn’t get to it yet.”

I grind my teeth, swiping the once-folded clothes back into the basket. Two years. I’ve been living with this idiot for two fucking years, and we’re still in the same spot we were then. He blows in like a hurricane, then leaves me to deal with the aftermath. “Of course you didn’t. Why am I even surprised?”

Lizard’s body fills the open doorway, and I’m immediately flushed with fury over how mine heats at the sight. Flaxen hair spills over his broad shoulders, his naked torso tight and toned. He’s beautiful. I know it sounds trite, but better words haven’t been written to adequately describe him. He’s chiseled perfection, and I’m a damned parishioner at his feet.

“What’s with the attitude?”

Resting the basket on my hip, I turn to face him. “Oh, I’m sorry, princess? Is my attitude hurting your hangover?”

He narrows his gaze. “You know, I didn’t come home to get bitched at.”

Baring my teeth, I fire back, “Then why did you? I had a shit day, and it would be nice to come home and not have to refold and put away your laundry on top of it.”

His lips twist in a sneer, but his crystal gaze sparkles with delight. I swear he pisses me off on purpose. It’s as if he gets some sick thrill out of seeing me burn and warp in the blistering heat of my ire.

Of all the things we do together, fighting is what we do best.

“I was busy today.”

“Let me guess,” I scoff rolling my eyes. “You woke up around noon and drove your Harley past the local middle school just in time to impress all the underage girls spilling out for recess?”

Lizard crosses his arms and squares his stance. “C’mon, babe, it’s just clothes. What’s the big deal?”

“The ‘big deal’ is that I’m doing all the grunt work while you’re living the rock ʼn’ roll lifestyle!”

He steps toward me, his nostrils flaring. “You don’t think staying out all night playing clubs for peanuts is grunt work? Coming up with fresh, new material, selling my soul on the fucking stage night after night?”

“Playing with your friends, sleeping late, and nailing groupies? No, Chett, I don’t. We’ve been out here for two years, and you and your little garage band have done zilch. Maybe it’s time to give it up and find a job.”

Lizard winces at my use of his real name. “This is my job. Meeting managers, record executives, club owners, practicing night and day, dealing with the rejection. It’s hard work. At least you get to sit on your ass in a nice classroom all day.”

Rage pops inside me like fireworks. I hurl the basket in his direction. A flash of colorful undergarments explodes in his face, my current weapon of choice bouncing off the bridge of his nose.

“What the fuck, Maribelle? I have to sing tonight.” Lizard cups his face and turns toward the mirror.

The audacity of his behavior pulls the Latina right out of me. I raise my hands in fists of frustration. “Qué carajo hago yo aquí en esta porquería con un hombre qué no sirve? . . . merezco más qué esto.” Loosely translated: What the hell am I doing here in this shit with a man who is useless? . . . I deserve more than this.

“What?” He pulls his brows together with a smug chuckle.

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