Rock God: A Rockstar Romance

Bristol

I walked through the door of my apartment, sweaty. My backpack tried to tug my shoulders to the ground. It was a long day at school and I still needed to work on a paper due next week. Valerie, my best friend, came down the hallway with a wide smile on her face just as I dropped my bag.

Her pale blonde hair was up in a messy bun with new pink ends hanging over her face. “How’s it going?”

I shot her a skeptical glance. I could already tell she was up to something.

“Exhausted. Been in class since eight and still have a ton of work. I’m really looking forward to graduation.” There had to be circles under my eyes as I wiped them and probably smeared mascara all over the place in the process. I didn’t care.

“No, you’re not.” She used her annoying singsong voice as she clapped her hands.

“Huh?”

She sat on the couch next to my backpack. “I scored free tickets to the Nine Muses concert tonight. They’re opening for The Years. You have to come!” Her dark brown eyes pleaded with me to agree with her.

I frowned and shook my head. “No way. I have a paper to work on. I don’t even know their music.” I dropped onto the arm chair that faced the couch, pushed a hand against my bobbed hair and sighed.

Valerie was going to push this until I agreed. She’d been this way since middle school. “You need a night out. You study too much.” She leaned forward. “Come have a few drinks. Check out the band. Loosen up for once.” She waggled her eyebrows. “I’ll make you coffee.”

I was too tired to argue, but not too tired to surrender completely. “I don’t know.” I looked at my watch. It was just past five. “What time’s the show?”

“Eight. I have great seats, and Miller can’t go. He’s covering a shift at the bar.”

I rolled my eyes.

“He’s a huge fan so he’s pretty bummed.” Valerie shrugged with a smile, not looking too upset about it. Her and Miller weren’t serious as far as I could tell but they were definitely more than friends. “I can’t go alone. Please?” Her big, round eyes practically begged.

I blew out another exasperated breath and stared at my bag then back at her. “Fine. But I’m not staying out all night. I want to go running and work on my paper tomorrow. Okay?” I stared at her.

Valerie nodded dramatically, barely holding in her enthusiasm. “Deal.” She stood up and smiled. “Want me to make that coffee? We can grab dinner before the show.”

“I’m going to take a shower.” I grinned. “But, yeah, coffee sounds amazing.”

I knew Valerie would want to help me get ready and make a whole production of tonight. Sometimes, I wished that I was more like she was. I preferred to go to the movies or maybe a coffee house, even stay home.

I walked down the hallway and into my bedroom, yawning half the way. I stripped my sweats and t-shirt off and stared in the mirror, hating my pale skin that highlighted every sign of exhaustion. I took way more classes this semester than I should’ve.

Valerie got us the apartment. While I paid some rent, she covered most of it with her parents’ help. I’d be eternally grateful for that and told myself to suck it up and go out. It was the least I could do. I turned on the water and stepped in, letting the steaming liquid sluice over my sore back.

I loved showers. They were relaxing and one of the few times I was alone. The stress practically flowed out of my body. I washed up, wrapping a towel around my head and drying off before I pulled on my robe and tied it in a knot. I brushed my hair quickly and headed out to the kitchen, inhaling the fresh aroma of coffee. She always made it strong and a little sweet, just the way I liked it. I slipped onto one of the barstools and reached for the cup as she slid it across the marble countertop.

“Thanks.”

She smiled and nodded. “I’m going to shower too. Then we can get ready.” She grinned once more before going back to her room.

I took a long sip. I hadn’t had coffee since this morning before class. It was a miracle I made it through the day. Come to think of it, I hadn’t eaten anything more than a protein bar either. My stomach growled, and I set the cup down and went to get another one to hold me over.

Valerie hollered when she was ready, and I headed into her room. She was blow drying her thick, straight hair in her bathroom. Music blared through her Bluetooth speaker.

“Is this one of the bands?”

She nodded, looking into the mirror. “Nine Muses.”

I had to admit, they had a great sound and his voice was raspy in that sexy way. I was a sucker for good music, but I didn’t see bands too often. I just used it as background noise if I was working on something.

“Aren’t they great?”

“He’s got a nice voice.”

She flipped her hair up to run a brush through it and smirked into the mirror.

I smirked back.

Valerie dried my hair and used her straightener to give it a sleek look before glancing at the makeup on the counter.

“Sit.” She pointed at a chair.

Within the hour, I looked like a different girl with black liner in a pointy wing and heavy mascara. She added some shimmer to my face and slipped a dark pink lippie into her purse for later.

I wore a black dress with cute cap sleeves and a ruffled skirt that ended mid-thigh. Valerie insisted that I wear some of her chunky Mary Jane shoes as she slipped into a gray dress with thin straps and a loose skirt that flowed around her thighs. She was gorgeous, I had to give her that.

I smiled at her again before I glanced into the mirror. I looked good but knew tomorrow it would all be nothing but a reminder of the work I didn’t finish.

We left the apartment and took her car to a little bistro down the road for a quick bite. It was decent and affordable for my budget from tutoring.

My parents paid for school and a small part of the apartment, but they couldn’t afford to give me a lot of pocket money. My brother started college this year in San Diego, so they had to make sure we could both get an education.

Valerie was always generous. I was lucky to have her. Her parents had a lot more money, and she was their only child—a spoiled one at that.

I sipped a dollar margarita as we waited for our food, listening to her talk about the night before with Miller.

“Are you really just friends?”

She nodded. “Yeah. We like to hang out. It works.” Miller worked nearly every night at a bar, so they rarely spent an entire evening together. “It’s fun. Maybe you need a ‘friend’ too. Work out some of that stress.” She laughed when I raised an eyebrow at her.

“I’m good. I’ll save that for after graduation.” I had too much to do to even consider something like that, though there were times I missed sex. It’d been a while. My second year at college with a guy I briefly dated. Not very memorable.

“Whatever you say.”

The waiter set our plates down. I was starving and dug right in. She stared at me and shook her head while I inhaled everything on the plate. Once it was cleared I looked up at her half-eaten meal.

“You done?”

I shook my head and slid a middle finger up at her.

“Come on.” She laughed and paid the waiter.

The venue was just a block over, so we joined the other people on the sidewalk heading that way. There was a crowd wrapping around the side of the building and down the street.

We did what we always did. Waited and people-watched. Valerie looked around at everyone. It was mostly college students and a few older couples.

I leaned against the wall, already tired and ready for a nap after the big meal.

We got to the front and Valerie handed the tickets to the man before they searched our bags. Once through security, we walked inside and figured out where our seats were before getting drinks at the bar.

The older theater was charming, and I loved the vibe as I glanced around. There was enough light to make your way through, but it was dark enough to feel the excitement. I followed Valerie into the main room. Everyone took their seats as the place filled with voices and laughter. Valerie led us to our seats just to the right of center stage, two rows back.

“I’m impressed. Where’d you get these tickets?” I had to lean in close to hear her over the crowd.

“A girl in my business law class had them but was going home this weekend. Bought them since I’ve been wanting to see these guys. She gave me a great deal.” She beamed as people wandered across the stage to set up.

I sat back and sipped my drink, taking everything in. Usually, if I treated myself to a concert it was in the nosebleeds or far away from the stage.

This was definitely better than working on a paper at home.

The lights went out.

Screams and cheers boomed through the room.

I shivered and looked around when Valerie gripped my hand. A blue light came on that barely lit the stage, and silhouettes appeared like shadows moving through the haze. I tried to see more as I leaned forward.

A slow drumbeat started as a light shone on a guy behind a large set, and the blare of guitars filled the room. When the man behind the mic began singing, I recognized his voice from the song playing at the apartment. It was even raspier and sexier in person. The lights came on all at once.

There he was.

A tall, lean body filtering through the smoke.

And then his face.

I couldn’t look away, like I was caught in a tractor beam.

I stared at the tall, muscular man behind the microphone.

My breath hitched as I looked him up and down slowly, longing to get my hands into his tousled brown hair. It was that look that was messy but perfectly styled. A look that few men could pull off.

He wore faded jeans and a thin white t-shirt as he leaned forward, singing something about a girl with turquoise eyes. She sounded beautiful the way he described her, and I smiled as I tried to see his face in the light. He had tanned skin and a great body. It stirred something deep inside me and I wasn’t sure if it was him or the music. Probably a combination of both.

He grew more interesting with every song. His voice had a huge range, and you could feel his emotion in every word. I was a shaking mess by the time the set ended and leaned back as I took a deep breath. I looked over at Valerie, who was giving me a knowing smile.

I laughed and leaned over to her. “I’m getting a drink. Want anything?”

“Yeah. Whatever you’re having.” She had to scream for me to hear her.

When I got back, we watched the headliner. They were a good band but lacked the soul of Nine Muses. I’d never been to a show where the opener overshadowed the headliner. Jesus, his voice and the music haunted me, and I imagined him in my head the rest of the show. When the lights came back on, I let out a slow breath and grabbed my purse to leave.

Val raised her eyebrows at me. “I know what bar they hang out at. Wanna go?”

My exhaustion was replaced with a low hum of energy flowing through my veins and I slowly nodded. She smiled and stood, slipping her purse over her body before walking to the door leading to the street.

My heart thumped in my chest as we joined the other people spilling out of the venue, wondering if I’d have a chance to see him again—or maybe even meet him.

Valerie shoved through a large crowd milling on the sidewalk, tossing a big smile over her shoulder.

I hurried to catch up.