SETTING: A large club/concert venue, rather stereotypical, it could be in Omaha or New York or Paris, black floors, black walls, right now it is well lit due to the sunshine and open doors, but when the show starts in an hour or so it will be dark, lit by theater-style track lights on the ceiling over the stage. The crowd has begun to arrive, mostly guys in tighter girl fit dark jeans and band tee-shirts accidentally matching each other, their hair in their eyes, and girls in tiny denim skirts and converse high tops and fishnet tops. They flirt or smoke or just stare at the wall looking drugged. On stage a mix of techies and band members check amps and set drum sticks and water bottles in place, looking like the boys in the audience, except somehow cooler, their jeans look more well-worn, their tee-shirts a better fit, they are more confident in them. Everyone in the audience half watches them, eyeing the band members they recognize, wishing they had the courage to say something monumental.
ENTER STAGE RIGHT: A young girl, a few months prior to her 20th birthday, she is long legged and confident as she strides across the stage in a short-short black skirt and bright blue silk halter top, the heals or her spindly-high black satin sandals are metal and her hair is long and stick straight nearly black down her back. She stops and says something to the bassist in an undertone, so the audience hears her voice but not the words. The girls stare jealously, and the boys jeer and cat-call, but the look on her face, the way she holds herself says that this is nothing new, that being onstage just before a major concert doesn't phase her in the least, this, this is every day to her. As she straightens up from her conversation with the bassist, the door to the venue opens and a young boy walks in, he looks about 21 but is really only 18, with his black dress pants well fit and his black polo not quite too fitted. He's all sinew and muscle in a thin way and his dyed black hair hangs in his sea foam green eyes. At first the girl does not notice him, but then she catches his stare and even a few of the audience members notice the pause as everything seems to freeze, they wonder momentarily how the two know one another, brother and sister? Enemies? Sex buddies? But they don't have long to wonder, the soul repents itself to God and begs forgiveness cleanly, the mind bows to its failures and the body asks the souls forgiveness for its flaws. It's only a second before the girl imperceptibly nods to the boy, turns, and saunters off stage, their sins forgiven, hearts and bodies cleansed.
At least that is the way I imagined it, whenever I thought of it, in each new city, beginning three years ago when I first met Emery and when I first left home.
Home, weird word. I'm an upper-east-side girl by birth, palatial marble, wood, crystal apartment of antiques looking down on the Met. I grew up, like all New York kids, in the sort of daze that both eliminates and lengthens childhood. In inability to drive due to age was cured by car services, taxis, and the subway, the first Fendi was a gift for my 12th birthday, and I was raised by a string of women, usually foreign, always CPR/first aid trained, hired to play mommy to me. Elementary school in little red and white gingham uniform dresses gave me a dedication to all things Lacoste, yet an appreciation for Roberto Cavalli, if only because he was so against everything I was brought up to believe in. Wine was served to me in cut-crystal goblets at family dinners and later my parents' cocktail parties for as long as I could remember. Home then, was the cavernous and crystalline world of the cradled New Yorkers.
When I was fourteen I chose to run off to boarding school in Connecticut. Berk had its own ski hill on campus; a male dominated student body, and promised the Ivy leagues. When I walked in I was a skinny legged, mousey, naïve little girl in a slightly rumpled Ralph Lauren gray pleated skirt, and a Cynthia Rowley oxford with only the top button open wearing Kenneth Cole black patent leather flats. Within my first years I had learned that I preferred boys to girls, living on my own to having a maid and nanny, and at least 80 ways to make required Sunday mass more interesting, and nothing whatsoever about social issues, the conjugation of Latin verbs, or the history of Mexico. Mostly because I really knew everything I needed to. I found that the best things to do in boarding school were shun the other girls in favour of males, go dancing in New York every weekend, smoke French cigarettes (a habit I quit the day I left school), ski race, and learn to mix drinks.
Of course. That was all before I met Emery Dalsen and ran away to be his muse. No, I'm not a groupie, an obsessed fan, or a sex fiend. Then night I met Emery he was headlining Eris, before they were famous, and I had never heard of him. The story, the way the fashion magazines enjoy telling it, is a Cinderella romance, if Cinderella was an Upper-eastside princess, and Prince Charming an illustrious rock star. And if it didn't end in an engagement ring, but rather in a rock band.
The truth is, of course, that we met at a gig. I wasn't a fan. I was there because I was bored and wild and seventeen.
"Why if it isn't Alice in Wonderland." Camden said putting his arm around my waist from behind and his hand up my red satin halter top. I spun around so my white cashmere skirt and then strawberry blond hair would twirl perfectly with me and smiled at Camden, who I didn't very much like, but who had invited me out that night.
"Too bad Alice didn't wear Marc Jacobs, maybe then I'd have seen the movie." I pulled his hand out of my shirt. He looked defensive.
"Someone's not getting enough action at boarding school." Camden said kissing my cheek.
"No one's ever going to fuck you Camden. Give it up. And get me a rum and coke?" I smiled as prettily as I could and he hopped off to do just that. While he was gone I checked out the rest of our group, a few kids from the city I knew from elementary school, a few girls I recognized vaguely, not enough to know their names, but enough to know that asking for their names would seem rude. Everyone was discussing the band, Eris.
"They're going to be huge." I heard one of the boys, Parker, say to the guy next to him with a tinge of jealousy because every boy, no matter how upper-east-side WASP they are, secretly wants to be a rockstar.
"He'd be quite the investment." A girl nearby agreed with him. By investment she meant it could be very profitable to sleep with him. I pondered this concept while Camden waited for my rum and coke at the bar. I didn't believe in shameless social climbing at all. Sleeping with rockstars for the thrill, the reputation, and the press seemed incredibly shallow. Aside from maybe the thrill part. Camden reappeared with my drink and leaned close to me as he put it in my hand
"Dante is here. Don't cause a scene." I felt my nerves all go on edge. I stood up straight, felt my blood run cold.
"Show me." He probably didn't want to, but I was looking right at him, and I was determined, he grabbed my free hand and I took a big drink of my rum and coke.
Dante was leaning against the bar in a pair of well-fit black silk pants and a red silk button down. His mouse-y brown hair in his pale emerald eyes. He nodded without a word and pulled the lime off the rim of his own rum and coke and held it out to me, same as always, I took it with my mouth and sucked the juice out of it. He watched me do it,
"You always were a slut." His voice was measured and cold. I leaned forward to kiss his cheek near enough to his ear to hiss
"And you always liked it that way," tauntingly. As I pulled away he glared at me, his eyes steady. Camden put his arm back around my waist almost possessively and I looked up at him. I was weighing the pros and cons of kissing him, just for show, when the lead singer swaggered on stage. He looked like a rockstar, in fitted black pants and a black tuxedo shirt, complete with ruffles tipped in crimson, his lips were the same red colour, possibly natural, more likely not, and he had on a lot of black eyeliner, marring his pale complexion and framing his bright blue eyes. He wasn't young the way most frontmen are anymore, he looked to be in his midtwenties. Now I know that, because I was seventeen, he must have been 29, but then I could only guess. But the very first thing I noticed, my initial intake was that he looked like an older, paler, slightly shorter Dante. Same build, same hair cut, though Emery's was black, same features, they could have been brothers. I turned to look at Dante, and he was gone, probably to dance. The music was 90's alt, not emo, not punk, it was sexual, obviously, and by the look of Emery Dalsen, probably drug addicted. But no one moshed, I grabbed Camden,
"I want to dance." And half dragged him to the front. Camden wasn't a dancer, WASPs never are, he preferred to sit at a table and look calculatedly bored while nursing a grey goose martini. Up front the bad seemed more real, more electric, the music made my head spin, my body move, the set whirred by.
After the show I found myself backstage in the green room sitting with the bassist while a bunch of girls clad in the shortest skirts on Broadway and bikini tops did Bacardi shots.
"Where is your lead singer?" I asked Paul, which turned out to be the bassists name.
"Emery likes to sit in the dressing room after the show. Destress. Doesn't like to be bothered. But…" He looked me up and down, "Want to see him?" I did.
The dressing room was lined with counters below mirrors with those round vanity lights above them, and had one of the only windows in the club. All the vanity lights were on, save for a few that had burned out, and a streetlight on the corner provided a little extra light by allowing its pool to seep through the windowpane near the ceiling. He was sitting on the counter in a corner, his legs up on the counter, one knee bent up, with his makeup off and his hair, messy from being onstage, in his eyes, he looked younger, more real. He'd unbuttoned his tuxedo shirt and rolled up the cuffs. When we came in, without knocking, he looked up from his chain smoking,
"Thought you'd want to meet this one." Paul said simply before turning and leaving, closing the door. I crossed the room and pushed myself up onto the counter near him wordlessly,
"Je serai a vous." He said suddenly. Quoting his own lyrics, I'll be yours. I laughed,
"Mais, tu est vite." He smiled like a cheshire cat
"Of course." He held out a cigarette as if to show it didn't matter, I waved it away. "Do you really destress, or do you just come here to brood and make everyone think you're an artiste?" Now it was his turn to laugh, he leaned forward to push hair out of my face,
"You look like a fate."
"I'll be Psyche."
"And he can quote Fitzgerald." I smiled, and by the end of the night I was his Psyche.