EffortlessBy: S.C. Stephens
My Boyfriend, the Rock Star
According to the channel four weatherman, it was the hottest summer on record in Seattle. Since I'd only been here a little over a year, I took the kind man's word for it. As I was smashed into and bumped up against, I felt that heat in the skin of every person that touched me. It was a little revolting to have strange people rubbing up against my body. It was even more revolting when some of those strangers decided that being crammed together in a group like we were, gave them the freedom to invade my personal space. I'd smacked more hands off of my butt in this one afternoon than in the entire time I'd been at Pete's bar.
Sweat poured down the back of my t-shirt and I momentarily cursed my fashion choice. As I glanced up at the cloudless, azure sky, the midday sun hit me square in the eye, blinding me. I rolled up the short sleeves of my black-as-night shirt, then went to work tying a knot above my bellybutton, just like MaryAnn from Gilligan's island.
But then I smiled, remembering why I was wearing it and what I was doing in this crowd of sweaty bodies. As I stared past the few rows of glistening people in front of me to an empty stage, a nervous energy flooded into me. Not for me. No, for my boyfriend. Today was his big day. Today was his band's big day and I bounced a little on my feet as I waited for him to bound up onto that stage. I knew that at any moment he was going to rush to that microphone and the awaiting crowd was going to scream ear-splittingly loud.
I couldn't wait.
Hands next to me grabbed my bare arms. "Can you believe it, Kiera? Our boys are playing Bumbershoot!"
I looked over at my best friend, my coworker and my confidante-Jenny. Her face didn't have sweat pouring down it like mine and she only looked gloriously dewy, but the sparkle lighting up her eyes was exactly like mine. Her boyfriend was playing the Seattle Music Festival for the first time too.
Squealing a little in my growing eagerness, I clutched her arms back. "I know! I can't believe Matt actually got them booked here." I shook my head, impressed that my boyfriend was playing in the same venue that Bob Dylan was playing on later tonight. Hole and Mary J. Blige were playing in the next couple of days.
Jenny looked over when some stranger ran into her; he seemed completely stoned. Glancing back at me, her blonde ponytail lightly flicking my face, she shrugged. "Evan says he worked really hard to get them this spot. And it's prime! Saturday afternoon on a perfect summer day, smashed right in-between two great acts. It doesn't get any better than that."
She tilted her head up to the sky, the rays of the sun glinting off the white lettering on her matching black t-shirt, a t-shirt glorifying the full name of our favorite band-Douchebags-although, they shortened it to D-Bags, for marketing purposes.
I nodded when her face returned to mine. "Oh, I know, Kellan said he-"
A sudden eruption of sound disrupted my conversation and my eyes automatically darted to the stage. Smiling broadly, I watched what had the getting-raucous crowd's complete attention. Our D-Bags had finally decided to grace the crowd with their presence.
The assemblage before the outdoor stage started jumping and hollering as Matt and Griffin hopped on stage first. Matt was his normal, contained self, acknowledging the fan fest with a small smile and a slight wave. He quietly walked to his microphone and strapped on his guitar. I hollered for him, but it was a mess of noise and people around me and the guitarist didn't hear my voice. His light blue eyes scanned the crowd nervously as he adjusted the strap on his shoulder.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Griffin, his attention-seeking, horn dog of a cousin, ran up and down the front of the stage, smacking people's hands and pumping his fist in the air. His pale eyes scanned the crowd, and even though I wasn't yelling for him, he actually did hear me. Spotting Jenny and I back a ways from the front, he pointed at us. Then he lifted his fingers up to his mouth in a V position and did suggestive things with his tongue that made my cheeks flame hotter than the steamy sunshine I was standing in. I immediately looked away.
Several people around Jenny and I laughed and looked at us. My embarrassment tripled. Jenny beside me saucily exclaimed, "Ewww, Griffin!" then started laughing with the crowd. I shook my head, wishing my sister, Anna, hadn't been at her photo shoot for the Hooters calendar today, so she could, maybe, attempt to keep her pseudo-boyfriend in line.
Evan had come up during the middle of that display, and seeing Griffin sexually harass us, he looked over our way. He smiled and waved, blowing a kiss to Jenny. She snatched it in the air and blew him one back. His warmhearted smile got even bigger, but once he'd acknowledged us, he twisted to take in where he was, and his dark eyes seemed awed. I laughed at the look, happy that the good-spirited man was taking a second to enjoy his success.
Then the scream got so loud my ears started ringing. I actually half-closed my eyes it was so painful. The girls right next to me, looking all of fourteen, started clutching each other and chanting, "Oh my God, there he is. Oh my God, he's so hot. Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!"
I grinned and shook my head, amazed and amused at how my rocker boyfriend could affect people. Of course, I completely understood. Lord knows he had completely affected me in the beginning. Still did, honestly. Even just watching him confidently strut onto the stage, the stage he owned with every fiber of his being, my body tingled for him.
Kellan walked up to his microphone slowly. Or maybe it was a regular pace and my mind was just on the slow-motion button. Whatever the reason, it seemed to take him forever to get to where he was headed. He had one hand up, waving to the mass of people clamoring for him and he ran the other back through his thick, bed-head hair. The heat and sweat made the sandy-brown mess stick out even more crazily and he looked just completely edible.
I bit my lip as he finished his saunter to his mic stand. He scanned the crowd as he adjusted the height on it. I knew from experience just what the front row was feeling as those midnight-blue bedroom eyes washed over them. He had a way of looking at you that made you feel like no one else existed in the world, even if a crowd was around you. Add that to the sexy half-smile on his face, and you got a man who could ignite you with just a glance. He was igniting me now, and he hadn't even spotted me yet.
As his face turned away, hopefully looking for me out in these masses, I studied his jaw line-strong, masculine, so freakin' sexy it hurt. The girls behind me seemed to think so, too. From amongst the screaming, I clearly heard, "That is going home with me tonight," and, "God, that man is completely fuckable." I resisted the urge to turn and tell them that he was taken, keeping my gaze focused on him instead. I shouldn't be jealous or irritated by fans, but their comments were a little less cute than the fourteen-year-old's.
As Kellan's eyes finished with one half of the crowd, they swung over my way. Like magic, he spotted Jenny and me instantly. She waved then whistled with her fingers in her mouth. I flushed and smiled as those amazingly intense eyes locked onto mine. He nodded at me and mouthed, "I love you."
The stupid girls behind me started moaning that he'd said it to them. I again ignored the desire to acknowledge that I knew him and to tell them that he was mine. It wouldn't change their feelings towards him one tiny little bit and I'd only end up opening myself to endless questions about our personal life. Questions I did not want to talk about with complete and total strangers. I'd gotten enough of that at school before Kellan and I had even gotten together.
Instead, I discreetly mouthed that I love him too and gave him a couple of thumbs up. He laughed at my move and shook his head, clearly confident that he'd completely kick ass on stage. And he would. If anything, Kellan had been preparing himself for a moment like this for years now, playing small bars and clubs down in L.A. and then up here, after his parents had died. He'd sort of been preparing for this his whole life.
Slinging a guitar over his shoulder, he wrapped his hand around the microphone. The screams intensified again when it became obvious that he was going to speak. Over the sound system, I heard his warm laugh, then, "Hello, Seattle!" The girls around me jumped and screamed his name. I laughed and tried to move away from some of the more revved up girls, although, with nowhere to go, I only ended up bumping into a couple of guys in front of me.