Bar Crawl
Author:Andrea Randall

 

We ended the first half of our set with the smooth sounds of “Californication” by Red Hot Chili Peppers. I was grateful for the break. The drum beat is march-like and allowed me to practice my counting precision while giving me a slight break at the same time.

 

She came. I can’t fucking believe she came.

 

Part of me assumed that our lunch together was the last time I’d get to see her one-on-one. She’d seemed awfully skeptical of me—and my intentions. Though, who could blame her? really? I don’t exactly have the most upstanding reputation. I’ve never tried to have one that’s different.

 

I like women. So sue me. They’re beautiful, intriguing, delicious, and, for God’s sake, could they smell any better? Jesus. It’s not always about the sex at the beginning, but I can’t help it if it ends up there.

 

Still, as I watched Frankie through the slow end of the song, I found myself caring exactly where we’d end up. And that freaked me the fuck out.

 

“Thank you,” I said into the microphone. “Back in thirty. Someone buy me a drink!” I winked at the giggles of a string of bleached blondes in the front row. Though, on second glance, I rationalized that I shouldn’t let them buy me a drink since I questioned their legal drinking status. And, really, their legal adult status.

 

No one needs that headache.

 

Sliding my sticks into my back pocket, I gave quick nods and smiles to the girls in the front row who tugged playfully at my t-shirt. Shaking them off was hardly an issue as I kept my eyes on Frankie and her obviously gay friend. He was always as manicured as the lawns on Nantucket. Bradley, I think I’d heard her call him before.

 

“You came,” I said when I reached the bar.

 

As she tucked her hair behind her ears, I allowed myself a quick look over her entire body. She had on a fitted tank top with thin straps. Hot pink. Her skirt sat just above her knees, flared out slightly, and was black with tiny white polka dots. Every piece of fabric on her body intentionally hugged her skin in all the right places.

 

Sweet Jesus, those curves will be the death of me. Yes, please.

 

“You’re staring,” she murmured dryly. Thankfully, she was smiling.

 

I pulled out a playful grin as I accepted a Guinness from the bartender. “Can you blame me?”

 

Frankie rolled her eyes. But she blushed. Thank God. “You sounded great.”

 

Now it was my turn to blush, though I kept it pushed down. The thing was, I knew I was good. I’d spent my whole life playing and singing. But there’s something about when a girl knows it that catches your eye. When you realize you caught her ear…it must be what girls refer to as “butterflies.” I’d never say that. It’s just what they say.

 

Frankie’s friend was peering mischievously at me from behind her shoulder. I decided to head that off.

 

“Hey, man,” I extended my hand, “I’m CJ. What’s up?”

 

He arched his eyebrow, a surprised smile on his lips. “Bradley. Great lineup. Best decade for music. So much of everything rolled into ten tiny years, huh? Got any Alanis? That’s Frankie’s favorite.”

 

He laughed as Frankie smacked his arm. “Bradley!”

 

She seemed mortified, and I stifled a chuckle. “There’s nothing wrong with Alanis,” I conceded. “You just don’t strike me as so…angry.”

 

Frankie tilted her head and quirked the corner of her mouth. “And you don’t really seem like ‘The Road Not Taken’ type.”

 

Frost.

 

I’d been prepared to have her question me on the book I’d looked at when I found her at the library, but I hadn’t really prepared my response. I wouldn’t lie, but I couldn’t talk about it here.

 

I took a deep breath and clanked my glass with of hers. “Here’s to impressions.”

 

She allowed a soft giggle and sipped her drink. “I didn’t realize you could sing so well.”

 

“Thanks…I think.”

 

Frankie’s eyes widened. “Oh, no, I didn’t mean it like that. I just meant…don’t drummers usually just…drum?”

 

I nodded. “We do. Some of us get lucky, though.”

 

The truth was, I knew I was lucky. Not only to be able to sing on a technical level, but to be part of group that didn’t mind an extra vocal lead from time to time. It gave us more depth, since we all sounded slightly different. And, frankly, it’s exciting to watch a drummer sing while they’re playing. I know this because when I was in high school and saw it myself at a Metallica concert, I quickly made a plan to learn how to sing. And well.

 

Frankie looked over her shoulder and seemed to note, as I did, that her friend was engaged in conversation with another group of people. I watched her shoulders rise and fall as she took a deep breath before looking back to me. She didn’t seem like the kind of girl who needed social security blanket.

 

Maybe it was me. I didn’t mean to make her uncomfortable, and I wanted to change that, but time was running short on our intermission between sets. “Come with me for a minute.” I nodded my head to the back of the deck.

 

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