Wicked End

By: Bella Jeanisse

When people saw them together, even in high school they looked confused. Him in all black garb, and her in semi-colorful clothing. They looked like complete opposites. He had always been into heavy metal and got a new piercing or tattoo almost every month since he was sixteen. She hardly noticed the hoops and bars in various parts of his face anymore.

Mackenzie, on the other hand, had only pierced her ears, and all her tattoos were under her clothes. She didn’t hide her love of rock music or kinky ways on purpose. It just didn’t occur to her to dress the part.

Brandon never cared what other people thought of him or his look. At fourteen, he started dying his hair black and never stopped. It had been varying lengths, once in a Mohawk, but at that time, it was about shoulder length. She felt the black eyeliner he wore throughout high school and on stage, made his soulful light brown eyes even sexier.

He was one of the hottest men she knew. Even at sixteen, he had a strong, defined body that he worked on whenever possible. His features were hard, but softened when he smiled. Every Goth girl in high school and college wanted him, as well as some of the popular girls. He was fussy though. Most were sorely disappointed.

Mackenzie wiped a tear from her eye. Even when he was miles away, he affected her. A brief thought of a terrible day many years ago came to her. The day she knew her father was gone. If not for Brandon, she had no clue how she would have gotten through that day or her teenage years. She shook off the memory, not wanting to cry alone. She glanced down at her phone’s the screen.

How was your trip?

She smiled and sent him a message back:

It would’ve been better with you instead of Brett.

They made you go with that asshole?

She frowned and told him:

Yes and he grabbed me again. I should’ve broken his nose.

One of these days, I’m gonna kick his ass.

Regretting complaining, she sent back:

Then you’d be in jail on an assault charge.

Is your flight on time?

Brandon was supposed to pick her up in Baltimore. She was more excited than ever before. She replied to him and smirked, knowing he would get a kick out of that response.

At times, she wished Brandon’s band, Wicked End, was not so famous. It made him go away for long periods. He had spent most of the last few months in California, and she had not had the time for more than one visit. However, he was living his dream. A dream she had supported since they were teenagers. She was his only groupie for a while. He had thousands at that point, which she did not like to think about.

The first time he left for California, she cried. She swore the lure of fame would change him, and he would never come back. He assured her they would stay just as close. She knew he would be back at least for his mom, but she didn’t think she had as strong a hold on him. He proved her wrong, time after time. He always returned and blew her mind in bed, just after soothing her heart. She lived for those days, the ones where there was nothing but them.

Brandon had told her the story of his band’s beginning. It was not something that happened every day. The original members of Wicked End, Jake Thompson, Nestor Ortiz, Austin Reese, Scott Mason and Chico Rivera, met at the NAMM show in Anaheim, California eight years before. All of them were in different bands that were starting to or had already failed. They decided to form a new band and stay in California. Touring non-stop with anyone who would have them, helped establish them as an opening band. Two years later, Nestor, the lead guitarist went into rehab then quit.

They found Brandon when they saw him playing in a video online. Scott, the bassist, posted a comment. That led to a long conversation about what they both wanted in life. Brandon had the same goals as the rest of the band, so they offered him Nestor’s spot.

It was the reason Brandon was much younger than the rest of the band at 27, a year older than Mackenzie was. Once he joined, their careers went in a slightly different direction. He was more creative and talented than Nestor. He also wrote their first single to air on mainstream radio, “The Fires of Hell.” That got them signed to a major record label and changed everything for them.

When he told Mackenzie the band’s name, she assumed they got it from the Avenged Sevenfold song, “The Wicked End,” but they hadn’t. It was because Nestor said the word “wicked” constantly. The original name was Wicked Ending, but they shortened it when Nestor left.

Meanwhile, Brandon Knight sat on the couch in his living room, awaiting her reply. There was a football game on the widescreen television mounted to the opposite wall, but he didn’t even know the score. The large house was lonely with just him in it. He was glad Mackenzie could share it with him for a few hours.