Scene from Romeo’s POV
I’d always planned on adding this scene in Romeo’s POV at the end of the book. However, things just got too busy during the last weeks–a certain homecoming float took up way too much time, but it was fun working with the kids. I have added the scene to the Kindle edition, but B&N is having technical difficulties. So hopefully it will be there soon. If you haven’t read the book, some of Romeo’s internal dialogue may be confusing, but an explanation wouldn’t sound right and might be spoilerish.
Anyway this is the third chapter, or the audition scene, from his point of view.
Hope you enjoy!
I’m rolling my guitar pick through my fingers when she comes up the stairs. At first, I’m just irritated some idiot would bring his girlfriend to an audition. And this girl is hot. Small and sexy, she’s dressed in tight black shorts with henna swirling on her arms. She needs to go. It’s hard enough keeping Justin in line and focused.
I watch them set the pieces of a kit down. She looks around the room then says something to the guy next to her. He gives her ponytail a light tug. I suddenly recognize them. It’s that Marcus kid from our dorm and the girl from the concert. The girl from the alley. The girl with the sad eyes and the sadder laughter. The girl who was crying like her life was over. Over this boy.
All done up, she looks different. Not sad and reflective like she did in the alley, rather sensual and proud. Stunned I can’t pull my eyes from her curvy little body. She notices me staring and steps closer to Marcus, the boy who obviously took her back. I wonder if she remembers me calling him ass as she steps even closer and he wraps an arm around her.
My eyes narrow. I’m aware other than her deep sadness, I know nothing of this couple, but for him to bring her here…It just pisses me off. Like he’s using her to boost his appearance or something.
Before I know it, I’m moving across the room and standing in front of them. “We’re going to get started.” From the corner of my eye, I notice shocked caramel eyes ringed in black flick to me, but I keep my eyes on her asswipe boyfriend. “Sorry but your girlfriend can’t stay.”
The guy grins and pulls her closer until her face is smashed against his chest. “She’s trying out, not me.”
What? My jaw stays tight but I can’t help an eyebrow rising at that news while unwanted, unexplained jealousy flares through me at the sight of him holding her tight. “Then I guess you need to leave.”
“Come on,” he says. “I know Justin.”
I didn’t like this guy when I saw him walking out of the theater with her last weekend. I dislike him more now. “I don’t give a shit if you’re his long lost brother.”
Suddenly Justin’s at my side. “Dude, you trying out?” he asks Marcus.
“I wish. But no.” Marcus turns to his girlfriend, smiling wide. “Justin, this is Riley.”
Justin’s gaze slowly roams over while her asswipe boyfriend just stands there smiling. “You play?”
Marcus lets out a high pitched laugh. “She was supposed to play at—”
Riley nudges him in the ribs and nods.
“Cool,” Justin says in a low tone that borders on flirting while she watches him. “We’ve never had anyone so hot audition before.”
Annoyed that I’m annoyed with his flirting, I roll my eyes and snarl, “We’ve never had a girl audition so who exactly are you referring to?”
Justin scowls at me before turning to the girl again. “We’re waiting for at least one more guy, but we’re going to start without him.”
At the girl’s continued wide eyed doe look of wonder at Justin while standing next to the boyfriend who broke her heart last weekend, I say, “Why don’t you go first, Riley?”
“She doesn’t have to go first, Romeo,” Justin says.
“I can go first,” she says lowly as those golden eyes flick to me.
The fact that I’ve been wondering about this girl for the last week, and that she’s just like all the other girls who parade themselves before the band has me saying, “We don’t want to waste time.”
Her lids lower. “Hopefully I’m not wasting mine.”
Justin looks between us with a baffled expression before asking, “Do you need to warm up?”
“No,” she says while her eyes spit fire at me.
Angry at myself and my response to her, I look away from her ire. “Listen up.” The other drummers stop talking. “We’re going to get started in a few. We’re assuming you’ve practiced. You’ll be playing two songs with us. Two, maybe three, of you will make it to the next round for a longer set. You’ll have five minutes to warm up,” I glance down at Riley, “if needed.”
“What are the two songs?” she asks tightly.
Looking above her, I say, “Midnight and Trace. Riley here is going to go first. The rest of you can wait in that adjoining room.” I point to an open doorway.
“What the hell, Romeo?” One of the other drummers whines. “First this cattle call bullshit, but the competition on the other side of a wall?”
Another wave of irritation hits me. I’m more than aware this audition isn’t normal. “We lost a drummer without warning. Bullshit breeds bullshit. If you want to try out, deal with it. But we need to get started so get your kits partially set up and against the wall.”
Riley and her boyfriend set up her kit while I try to get myself under control. What the fuck is wrong with me? Emotionally, I regressed to the age of fifteen the moment I realized who she was. So I’d been thinking about her and she’s nothing like my first impression. It wouldn’t be the first time my idiot ass interpreted a girl wrong.
As I strap on my guitar, Marcus plops down in one of the chairs across from where the instruments are set up. I give him a level look. He’s up in seconds but gives her a cuff on the shoulder as he passes. “Go get em’ Rile.”
Ignoring him, she drops on the stool. “Which one are we doing first?”
Always wanting to be the front man Justin says, “How about Midnight?”
Since I want to get this shit over with and her hot little ass out of my sight, I say, “No, Trace has the slower transition in the middle. Drummers have a harder time with that.” Her eyes flash to me. I can’t help a slight smirk escaping at her obvious anger.
Her expression tightens, but she says almost nonchalantly, “Okay. After four?”
Her attitude has me raising a brow, but I just nod.
She hits her sticks together four times and we all break into the song perfectly. And I’m blown away. She plays like a fucking pro. But more than that, is the sight of her playing. She’s graceful and quick and sexy as she moves around the instrument like she’s connected to the damn kit. She’s also beautiful. A musician’s wet dream, a musical centerfold come to life, with her long ponytail flying behind her and the top of her breasts giggling to the beat. Luckily, having written it and played the song so many times, I don’t have to concentrate too hard, even at the guitar solo, because I’m entranced all over again by this girl. Fuck, ten times worse than I was in the alley.
After the song is over I’m still shocked to my core as Riley looks up at us as if coming out of a trance. Sam introduces himself, flirting with her at the same time while Justin stares at her with a gleam in his eye. I know what that gleam means. Fuck boy wants to get her in bed. There is no way I’m dealing with this shit inside of the band. Especially with her. I don’t care if she can even out play me.
I clear my throat and wipe the shock from my face. “Why don’t you start us off again, Riley?” The question comes out more snidely than I meant it to.
Indignant thoughts roll across her eyes. “Midnight then?”
“That would be the other song,” I say tightly.
She hits her sticks together with a touch of fury and we break into the song. Again she’s like some rock goddess come to life behind the set. I can feel my temple pounding to her beat as Sam and Justin continue to peek at her in awe.
At the end, Justin whistles lowly. “Damn that was some straight playing.”
Sam shakes his head as if to clear it. “Um, after you break down your kit, send the next one out.”
Unable to help myself, I give her beat up kit a sneer as I set my guitar in the stand. I march to the far end of the room and Justin and Sam follow.
As soon as they’re grouped around me, I simply say, “No.”
Justin rears back. “What? Are you insane? She’s fucking awesome.”
Sam nods vigorously.
Sam knows a bit about drumming. Justin doesn’t know dick. “The music or her, Justin?”
Justin slowly grins. “Both.”
I shake my head. “Exactly.”
Justin crosses his arms. “Just because you’re a fucking monk, I shouldn’t look?”
“Look all you want, she isn’t joining this band.”
Sam steps between our heated gazes. “Let’s just audition the other drummers and then make a decision. You two assholes can fight later.”
Though I concede to let it drop for now, I’m not letting that girl in my band. Even though my little boy crush died when she cuddled up to her boyfriend then made big eyes at Justin, after seeing her play I’m aware all three of us will be like dogs around a bitch in heat with her.
Unfortunately, most of the drummers suck. One is decent though. If I work with him, he could be good. Not as great as Riley, but then he won’t have us at each other’s throats. Harmony outside of the music is something we’re always striving for, but if Justin isn’t pissing me off, then Sam is irritating me. And I’m more than aware my arrogance irritates both of them.
After a heated argument, I allow them to vote her in for round two. But this band isn’t a democracy. It’s mine.
Once the cut drummers leave, I pick up my guitar from its stand. “So who wants to go first?”
It’s quiet for a long moment until, of course, Riley says, “I’ll go.”
I pause adjusting my guitar to look at her firm expression. I’m going to make this audition so difficult, there’s no way she won’t trip up. Her eyes narrow on mine before she finishes setting up her kit then slides onto the stool. “What song?”
Justin and Sam look at me. “Gone Baby,” I say, picking the hardest of my originals. It has to be played exact or she’ll lead us into chaos.
She lifts a thin dark brow at me. “This one starts with a riff, right?”
So intent on getting her to fuck up, I’m fucking up. I nod before strumming out the loud riff. She leads us through the difficult song like we’ve been all playing together for years.
“Damn that was fucking perfect, Riley!” Justin says as soon as we’re done, bouncing in front of his microphone.
She grins at him.
My lip curls. She’s going to be harder to break than I thought. “Okay, you’ve mastered that track, but can you do anything to add your own creativity?”
“Sure,” she says lightly but her eyes spit fire at me again. “Same one?”
Searching for a song that will be difficult to alter, I adjust my guitar strap. “Let’s try At the End of the Universe.”
She smirks at me like I just gave her a gift before she counts us in.
She adds little things to back up the vocal, not too much and I’m thinking I got her until she slowly breaks into a stronger beat at the half time full, which astoundingly works. She adds a double kick, and damn if that doesn’t work even better than the original. At the final chorus, she brings the drums down so low, we have no choice but to follow. Then she slowly brings us back up, ending the song with an energetic air that was never there before.
She just rearranged and improved my work in one play through.
Sam whips around to her. “Man Riley, you got it going on.”
“I think that’s enough,” I say tightly, pissed my plan backfired. “Move that piece of shit kit out of the way and send the next drummer in.”
She just grins and tears down her kit. The girl is more than aware she just kicked my ass.
The next two guys are like playing with old drummers plucked from a nursing home after the energetic perfection of Riley. But I’m still thinking I could improve the last one with some work. He might never reach Riley’s talent, but he won’t destroy the band from the inside.
When we sit down to decide, I’m not shocked that both Sam and Justin want Riley. However, I am shocked when first Justin then Sam threaten to quit unless I let her in the band.
They stare at me while I grind my teeth together. I’m pissed they’re going against me. But I’m also pissed at the thought of constantly being around her. After seeing her play, I want her in a physical way I haven’t felt in years. Fuck. Even a non-musician would want her after watching her play. And the idea of controlling that unwanted yearning while Sam and Justin go after her has my blood boiling, more than it does in the middle of a boxing match.
“Fine,” I say through clenched teeth then let out a deep breath. “But only if you both agree to some guidelines.”
After I explain, they reluctantly agree to my demands, but I still don’t want her in my band.
When I hear her happily chirp her agreement to Justin, I decide Riley needs to realize she doesn’t want to be in the band either. A bit of aggravation on my part and she should quit before the end of the first week. Not my noblest plan, but I can’t be around that girl while she plays. It will drive me insane.
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