This week, in honor of Valentine’s Day, Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge was all about twisted love. I took this opportunity to add another layer to my work-in-progress novel, Florentine Tragedy: A Rock Story. Thanks, Chuck! You really know how to help boost a word count when an author feels like they’ve run out of things to say about their characters. xxx
Moe Alvarez stood outside by the stage door and watched the road crew load the instruments into the van. The band brought the house down tonight, the years of polishing their onstage persona culminating in a triumphant end to their cross-country tour. Florentine Tragedy never failed to blow him away with their performance, every time like the first time.
He could still remember that first time, clear as day. The band had performed at a small venue with just fifty people in the audience but they had played as if the place was packed. After that day, he went to see their shows whenever they were within a sixty-mile driving distance. he wanted to see the band more, especially their lead singer.
God he’d never seen anyone like her, a tiny woman with a big voice that sent chills up his spine, belting out the notes she sang. In between lyrics, she tumbled, somersaulted, and danced around on the stage as though she were determined to give those fifty people their money’s worth. He loved the way she would strut across the stage as though she owned the venue and every living soul in it, commanding the audience, holding them in the palm of her hand. She was the queen of that venue and they were her loyal subjects.
After the fifth show he attended, she had walked right up to him. “Hi, I’m Daisy Carter,” she grinned, flicking her long, dark hair over her shoulder, sticking out her hand to shake his hand. “I keep seeing you at our shows. Thanks a lot for the support.” Her off-stage persona was just as energetic as it was onstage, and twice as friendly. He had let her do most of the talking that night, just so he could keep staring into her hazel eyes. When he asked if she had a boyfriend, her smile froze. Had he said something wrong?
“I don’t have it narrowed down to just one,” she winked at him, and left it at that. After a few months of friendship, he asked again. “I don’t have time for a boyfriend,” she said, “my band’s trying to make it.” Two months later, just before she spent the night at his place for the first time, she said with a half-smile, “Moe, this doesn’t mean I’m narrowing it down to one.” He was okay with that. At least, that’s what he had told Daisy. He would satisfy her in bed and one day she would satisfy his heart.
The stage door opened, interrupting his thoughts. There she was. Fans swarmed around her the moment she emerged from the venue so she didn’t see Moe standing there. That gave him the chance to watch her talk to her fans, which he did until there were two or three people left. He was proud of the way she handled herself in the face of so many requests for photos, autographs, and questions, knowing she hadn’t always felt comfortable with strangers wanting something from her. He smiled every time she threw her head back and laughed. She had such a great laugh; people always joined her even if they didn’t hear the comment or joke that amused her.
Unable to wait anymore, he walked over to her, touched her back and whispered in her ear. “You coming to my place tonight?” He raised his eyebrows, pleased to see her eyes widen in surprise at his sudden materialization, a big smile lighting up her whole face.
“Yeah,” she murmured, making sure only he heard her, “I’ll see you there in about an hour.”
“Can’t wait.” He winked and walked away, running his hands through his long, dark hair. Perfect. That gave him plenty of time to go back to his place, light some candles, and put on some nice music. He wanted the atmosphere to be perfect tonight. After they made love, he was going to tell Daisy he loved her and didn’t want to share her with other men anymore. After all the support he had given her over the years ― the emotional support, the financial support, the massages to any part of her body that was sore after a performance ― she could see how much cared about her.
Three hours later, Moe wrapped his arms around Daisy and kissed her on the cheek. Being inside her always felt fantastic, but holding her in his arms afterwards ran a close second. She usually complained that she didn’t like cuddling after sex, but tonight she lay still in his arms. He smiled at her and she looked up into his small, dark eyes. She put her hand on the back of his head and pulled him closer, with soft kisses, but her kisses became more intense, more heated. They made out that way for several minutes until Moe broke away. He couldn’t resist taking one last little taste of her lips before he spoke. “Hey, you know Divine Condemned is in town tomorrow night?”
“Of course I know!” she beamed.
“Are you going to the show tomorrow night?” Moe asked.
“I wouldn’t miss it. We know the guys in the opening band, so they’re putting our band on the guest list.”
“Oh.” What was he going to do with those two tickets now? He had paid quite a bit of money for them.
“Well, I thought I’d take you with me.”
“How about if you come with me? You can be my plus one.”
“Cool.” He settled her in his arms again and closed his eyes. His plans had changed, but at least they’d be there together. After a few minutes, Daisy tossed the covers back and sat up. He lifted his head up. “Where are you going?” He tried to pull her back into his arms, but she eased herself out of his embrace, got out of bed, and started dressing.
“Babe, I’ve got a lot to do tomorrow before the concert. I’m going to head home now, but I’ll pick you up at five.”
He frowned at her in silence for a few moments until Daisy turned around and saw the expression on his face. “Just once I’d love to wake up next to you in the morning,” he sighed, sitting up.
She bent over to pick her jeans up off the floor, turning her back. “Were you going to make me breakfast?” He could hear the faint sarcasm in her voice.
“Is it so wrong to spend some time with me when we’re not fucking?” He hated that word for the act of love, but when she got up and left in a hurry this way, there was no other word for it. He made an effort to keep from losing his temper, but he could feel his plans for the evening slipping out of his grasp.
She turned to face him again, smiling. “Don’t be so dramatic, Moe. The band has a lot going on right now, you know that. I don’t have time to lie around in bed spooning all night.” Ah, so her old excuse ‘I don’t have time’ made its comeback. She walked back to the bed and leaned over to kiss him. “I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?” She patted his cheek. “Get some sleep. You’ll need it. We’re going to rock our asses off tomorrow night.”
He watched her walk out the door. The moment she was gone, a string of profanities left his mouth. He flopped back down on the bed and punched the pillow where Daisy’s head had just been. How much more did he need to give her before she finally cut him a fucking break and let him into her heart?