The Brat

Chapter SEVENTEEN

“Legend.  Man.  I need a favor.”

Jeremiah had lost the girls behind one of those damn parked SUVs that had nearly cost Nori her upright life earlier that evening.  He knew that she’d keep running, but he also figured that she’d go home and pack first.  Jeremiah also knew that he didn’t have to chase her.  Nori would come to him eventually, but first he’d have to make sure that she came alone.

“You’re not going to hurt her?”

“No.  No.  I’m going to help her.  She needs help, Legend.  She needs to know that I forgive her.”

Time was against him though.  After he convinced his old touring buddy that his band had agreed to continue to play once he left the country to be with his family, he offered Legend his spot on lead.  Everything was cleared with his band mates already; he just needed this one favor out of him first.  Or so he said.

“I’m your man, Jer’.”

Legend had stayed away from the death metal scene since his band’s unfortunate breakup, but if anybody could fake Jeremiah’s mainstream melodies with the best the underground metal scene had to offer he was that guy.

“What do you want me to do exactly?”

Jeremiah told him.  He had almost told Legend to heat the oven, but that was his adrenaline talking.  There was no way those girls would have outrun him had he kept chasing them.  Not when he had just been onstage just half a refrain ago. 

Jeremiah felt untouchable onstage, but Nori had gotten to him.  She always did.  He had never connected with anybody on that bandstand quite like he had with what the guys considered to be his most faithful groupie. 

That was why he still made music, right?  For the groupies?  Or for that instance where he became so musically intertwined with a conscience-clearing vision in the pit like Nori Brooks that she led the band places he never possibly could himself?

Jeremiah’s music did matter after all, because Nori continued to matter to him.  For better or worse.  Once she stopped looking for him to lead her somewhere nobody else in her life could and realized that their death metal dance was as refined as a weekend of wine-tasting in Geneva, they perfected their craft in public sight without the pressures of peer review.  Jeremiah’s band mates would have understood if they saw her wandering in and out of his hotel room at all hours of the night.  Nori’s friends from college and her design office would have highly encouraged her to pick up a musical instrument if she really wanted to relive that high every night.  That was all understandable, but who could ever understand how much Jeremiah needed so much more than a muse at the mouth of the stage?  More than a blind sheep in thrasher’s clothing to acknowledge his place in the world as equal to hers?

They fed off each other like wounded cannibals too crippled to move through anything but the music.  Nori had never hurt Jeremiah, not really, until now.  Until she came after his wife, a woman they both knew would never understand their unspoken bond.  A bond that had instantly taken a hold of Jeremiah when he placed Nori in the crowd earlier during his set. 

Maybe she was just trying to blend in so he wouldn’t notice her there, but he saw his words form on her lips again.  Words that would always mean more than “I love you” when they instructed the seemingly inconsistent realities that reveled around a declaration of contrived personal attachment such as this how to behave as to not disturb neither rock star nor orbiting groupie.

Jeremiah felt those familiar chord progressions lead them both onto the two-way stretch that their sexless sanctum of dichotic intercourse had become during a more peaceful time in their lives. Now, they were only at war with themselves, because Nori hadn’t meant Jeremiah a lick of harm at any point during that night.  Nor had Jeremiah planned to kidnap her friends, but he did expect some retaliation at some point.  He just hoped he didn’t lose any more friends in the process.

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