The memories that flood through me as I walk through the door of Slim’s make me stop and smile. The smell of beer mixed with years of smoke and sweat is something that brings me back in time. Memories of my first few months in San Francisco normally haunt me but as I stand here all I can do is smile.
I can’t believe ten years have flown by. I was barely eighteen and living out of my car at the time. I had no money, and even though I’m not proud of some of the things I did, I had to do what I had to do to get by.
One night I pick-pocketed a man for his wallet, only so I could buy food, I swear. I’ll admit that I chose him, though, because I thought we looked a lot alike and I was looking for an ID that I could use. Everything in the City was 21 and over and it just flat out sucked being only eighteen. After that, Slim’s quickly became my new hangout. I wasn’t there to get drunk, like most teenagers would have been, I was only there to listen to the bands perform. Music became my solace and gave me a sense of home when there was no place left to go.
That’s how I first heard of Unwritten Law. They played at Slim’s the first night I was able to get in. They quickly became my favorite band, and even though I’m so far removed from the punk scene now, when I heard they were in town there was no way I was going to miss the show.
“No fucking way!” I hear someone yell through the crowd as a hand grabs my shoulder abruptly turning me around. Everyone inside Slim’s turns, staring at me, wondering if a fight is about to brew.
I clench my fist and just like old times, I’m ready to throw down with whoever it is in an instant. That is, until I see Mark, an old friend, standing behind me. A big smile comes across both of our faces as we complete our handshake combination from years ago without skipping a beat.
It’s been years since I’ve seen anyone from my old crew and seeing Mark here now, I’m reminded why. His hard life is getting to him and it shows on his rough skin.
“Where the hell have you been the last few years, man?” Mark quizzes me, looking me up and down, noticing the designer clothes and Gucci shoes.
Damn, I should have been more thoughtful with my wardrobe so I would fit in more.
I shrug my shoulders, trying to think of how to change the subject just as a guitar string squeals over the speakers, way too loud, startling me as the crowd erupts in applause as Unwritten Law takes to the stage. I know I’ve dodged a bullet, at least for the moment, as I turn to the band and start to sing along.
The song California Sky plays, reminding me even more of the good ‘ol days, where life was harder, but I knew nothing better. I was thrown into this life at such a young age and survived. Shit, I not only survived, I succeeded to where I am now. I smile at the thought as I start to sing along.
I glance around the room to see if anyone else I know is there and that’s when I spot her. She’s standing by herself and just the sight of her makes my chest ache and my dick twitch. I stare as my breath begins to rush. My heart starts to beat so hard that I quickly have to look away.
What the fuck?
I squeeze my now sweaty palms together and try to calm my breath. I have no clue what just happened. Shaking my head, I take a deep breath and tilt my head back in her direction.
Her hair lies long past her shoulders and falls down straight, splitting over her left breast. It’s straight, dark auburn in color and shinier than the punk rock, greasy haired people in the club. She looks to be in her early twenties with a slender face and a long, bare, sexy neckline. Her cheeks are lightly blushed with color and her pale, pink lips are making me want to bite her pouty bottom lip.
Her jeans are torn in just the right places and she’s wearing a black, fitted tank top that reads Unwritten Law with a red heart around the words and her red bra straps showing through. She’s trying hard to fit in the punk scene, but her black Christian Louboutin red bottom high heels are a dead giveaway. I look down, laughing to myself again at my choice of wearing my Gucci sneakers to a rock show.
I catch a glimpse of her again and my lips start to quiver as I watch her hold a drink up to her lips, taking a sip with the little black straw. My lips part, like I have no control over them whatsoever, as she holds the straw in her hand, twirling it around her tongue and sipping it like she’s playing a taunting game with my head, or my dick I should say.
I can’t take my eyes off of her as I watch her take another sip of her drink and dance slowly to the music. Just as I realize I’m totally staring at this chick, Mark hits my arm, motioning to go get a drink. I follow him as he walks to the L shape, New Orleans style bar that runs the length of the floor.
Mark leans up against it trying to get the bartender’s attention shouting, “Two beers!”
The bartender hands the beers to Mark who swings around handing me one. I nod in appreciation as we click the necks of the bottles and take a drink.
Looking over the neck of the bottle, I search for her again. Once I find her, I can’t help but stare in her direction. Like my body is totally disconnected from my mind, my lips part again as I slowly lick from one side to the other trying to imagine what it would be like to part her lips with my tongue and slip inside her sweet mouth.
Fuck! What is wrong with me?
I’ve never had this reaction to a girl. I quickly take a drink of my beer shaking my head, running my hand through my hair then readjusting my suddenly uncomfortable jeans.
I’m trying to enjoy the show but I can’t help my eyes from glancing her way so many times that I’m feeling a little embarrassed, like I’m a stalker or something. I just want her to look my direction because I am dying to see her eyes.
Even though she’s across the club, our line of vision is clear since everyone has gathered at the stage, jumping and singing with the band. I can tell she’s enjoying the show even though she is sitting near the back still tantalizingly sipping her cocktail and dancing by herself. A group of girls surround her, talking back and forth, but I can tell they’re not as into the show as she is.
CPK comes on, signaling the finale of the show. It was the band’s first hit and they always pay homage to their beginnings by playing it as their last set song.
I’m not one to pursue a girl, hell, I already have so many I can barely keep their names straight. There is something about her though, and I can’t stop myself. Slowly I start to make my way to her, having no clue what I’m going to say.
As I approach, a friend of hers grabs her quickly, pulling her away screaming, “Come on, this is the last song. Let’s leave before it’s too crowded.”
And that was it. She was gone. A frown fills my face as I watch her slip away, not knowing who she was.
About the Author:
Lauren Runow is the author of three Adult Contemporary Romance novels, Unwritten, Rewritten and Black Widow.
When Lauren isn’t writing, you’ll find her listening to music that speaks to her, at her local CrossFit, reading, or at the baseball field or skatepark with her boys. Her only vice is coffee, and she swears it makes her a better mom!
Lauren is a graduate from the Academy of Art in San Francisco and is the founder and co-owner of the community magazine she and her husband publish. She lives in Northern California with her husband and two sons.