Chapter tune: Def Leppard – Pour some sugar on me
The day came that the band would meet their potential new singer for the first time at Tony’s dive bar, maybe play a couple of songs with her to see how they fit.
As always, Jesse was late again.
This fact, along with his love for blasting music while driving and breaking the speed limit, made him not realize fast enough that he was heading towards a crossroads – where he did not have priority.
“Are you blind?! Didn’t you see the stop sign?” he heard a female voice yelling at him.
He stepped out of his car and saw a beautiful girl approaching him, one who was also apparently very mad at him.
“Well, I…” he began to say, but she furiously interrupted him.
“Look what you’ve done, you smashed my headlight you asshole! You could have killed me with that monster car of yours!”
“Hey, there’s no need for this” Jesse said “I said I’m sorry. I’ll pay for the damage, but maybe that accident is a chance for you to, I don’t know, maybe buy a new car? Where did you get that old jalopy from, your great grandpa?”
This was a very poor attempt to lighten the mood and of course, didn’t work.
“What? How dare you! You know what, I don’t need your stupid money jerk, you can keep it. Just get out of my face!”
A beautiful face, but damn… that mouth, Jesse thought.
“Hey… come on, I’m sorry. Please, let me pay for the damage. Although you must admit it wasn’t entirely my fault, if you were driving at the centre of the lane, this would have been avoided”
“You’re kidding me, right?” the girl was fuming “I was exactly where I was supposed to be! You think you’d be doing me a favor? Well think again. I told you I don’t want your money asshole!”
“Suit yourself” Jesse said and left. In his mind he’d made a simple mistake and that girl was being overly rude over nothing.
Since he was still pretty mad when he arrived at the venue, he snuck at the bar to grab a couple of drinks before he met with the other band members. I’m already late, ten more minutes won’t hurt, he thought.
When he made his way back to the main room, he couldn’t believe his eyes. The girl from the accident was right there, talking with Vito in what seemed like a very friendly manner.
She can’t be… oh fuck, he thought. But everyone had seen him already, so he reluctuntly approached Vito and the girl.
“Jesse, where have you been?” Vito exclaimed “I swear, that boy can never be on time. Come, I want you to meet your -hopefully – new singer, Skye!”
“You have got to be kidding me” Skye muttered.
“The feeling is mutual, trust me” Jesse replied “Look Vito, I don’t think this is going to work out…”
“You two have met and already hate each other?” Vito said “you’re breaking every record here boy! But since we’re all here, just do a couple of songs and see how it goes, ok? I won’t take no for an answer by the way! Ok kid?” he turned to Skye.
“If her highness pleases, I’m fine with it” Jesse said.
“Again with that attitude! Don’t think you’re doing me any favors! I need this job and I will not quit because of you, especially since everyone else here is so polite!”
“Ok, sheesh…” Jesse said “I’m sorry… although I honestly have no idea what I did wrong this time!”
Skye scoffed. If this comment had come from anyone else, she might not be that mad. But that boy, apart from what happened during their previous encounter, was making her really nervous for some reason she could not explain. And somehow tonight, that feeling had taken the form of anger. His attitude didn’t help, if she wanted to be completely honest with herself.
Soon, the band gathered to play. Vito was right, Skye was really something else. She had an angelic voice, along with a charismatic presence on stage.
She wasn’t as fierce or energetic as her predecessor, Amanda. There was a much calmer, earthly quality about her. But something made people sit down and listen. And guys like Jesse, look as well.
It was one of those rare times the band received some applause by the bar patrons.
After the show, they all ordered drinks to celebrate the arrival of the new member. Owen, especially, was very excited about this collaboration, praising Skye about her performance and making plans for the future of the band with her. He had always been the excitable one, always quick to invest himself in other people.
“She’s good. It’s not the way I would perform those songs, but still. You got lucky this time Jesse” a deep female voice said.
Jesse turned around. “Amanda” he said.
Standing right there was his ex-girlfriend, ex-bandmate, sexy as always. After their last encounter, he was pretty sure he’d never see her again. His heart clenched for a second at the sight of her.
“Hey… what are you doing here?” Jesse asked.
“I heard about your new singer and thought I’d check her out… and, well… can we talk for a while?”
“Yeah, sure” Jesse replied.
“So how have you been?” Amanda asked as soon as they sat somewhere more private.
“You know…” he said awkwardly “It’s a surprise to see you here actually, after what happened… And I wanted you to know, I’m really sorry for everything…”
“I’m over it actually.”
“Oh, yeah? Because I’m not. I ‘ve been thinking about you… a lot. Can we start over? I’m still in love with you Amanda, and I can feel that you’re in love with me too.”
“What’s so funny?” Jesse asked.
“If you’re so in love with me, why did you have to wait for me to come find you?”
“I’ll tell you why. Because you’re like a child Jesse. You’re easily distracted by what you see, each time something – or someone – different. I saw how you were looking at that new girl. At every girl actually. No, I didn’t come here to listen to the same crap”
“So what did you come here for?”
“I was curious to see your new singer… and to tell you that I’m in a band now. The guitar player is my boyfriend and… we’re close to signing with Rusty Light Records any day now.”
“What?! But that’s the label we were close to signing with! Together! And they sign just one rock band every couple of years! How could you do this to me?”
“To you? I’m equally entitled to this as you are… I came to tell you just so you wouldn’t hear it from someone else. But I guess you can’t appreciate it. Classic Jesse.”
“Nah… you just came to gloat. Classic Amanda. Well thank you for your consideration, I don’t need it. Goodbye.”
“Come on Jesse, don’t be like that…”
“I said goodbye!”
Dylan saw that Jesse’s and Amanda’s conversation had turned sour – he wasn’t very surprised really – so he approached his buddy right after Amanda left.
“Hey man… what was Amanda doing here? Are you ok?”
“Man, I’m fine. I don’t care about her anyway. She came to uh… check out that new girl, Skye. You know how she is” Jesse lied.
“Yeah… she didn’t even bother to say hello to us. I bet she didn’t expect to be replaced so soon. And that Skye man, she’s a gem. Just please don’t mess with her too man.”
“There’s no fear in that” Jesse said indifferently “although she already hates my guts”
“Yeah, I’ve heard” Dylan laughed “But seriously, I trust you dude. Don’t let us down, that’s all I’m saying”
Jesse grabbed a beer and sat alone the whole night. He was usually fun to be around, especially in a bar. But sometimes, when things would get tough, he’d completely shut down. This was one of those times.
How could he explain this mess to the others? They would surely give him hell. And Amanda… she was right that he had no serious intentions of apologizing to her. But did she have to be so damn hot tonight? He wanted her back. If she agreed to be with him, then everything – the band, the label, his ego – would be alright again.
Lost in his thoughts, he didn’t notice that Skye was right next to him.
“Hey” she said “I know we started out on the wrong foot. I came to apologize… I’m sorry for losing my temper… both after the accident and in here. I want us to be able to work together. Truce?”
Jesse stood up. “You know what I want? I just want to enjoy my beer alone and without any distractions. Is that ok with you?”
“Oh wow, you really are an asshole after all!” Skye said “Please, don’t let my presence bother you. Enjoy your beer!”
She was mad at him, but also mad at herself. Why did she feel the need to even talk to that jerk? There was no way they could like each other.
He can go screw himself, she thought. She would not quit however, no way. She needed the money. Those gigs were not supposed to be a permanent thing anyway. She would get the hell out of Sunset Valley as soon as she raised enough cash. She had already stayed long enough.