Madness! The Whole World Over - Chapter 7 - sailor_mooooon (2024)

Chapter Text

Dinner was a late, cheap affair. A pre-packaged sandwich from a small grocery found its way into her hands. Normally, Roslyn wouldn't touch deli meat; it was so strangely sour, and left moisture on the bread it touched. Today, however, what was allegedly turkey and cheese brought strength with every swallow.

By now, it was getting dark, the long days of summer still a ways away. In an act of abandon, Roslyn threw twenty bucks towards a taxi to the show venue. She had no pretensions of walking past sundown, even if the venue were close enough to do so.

It was a large for a bar and small for a music venue. The windows were tinted, or maybe just stained, a splotchy grey and the inside was as grimy and dark as expected. Concrete floors barely peeked underneath easily a couple hundred pairs of feet. Maybe the concrete had once been pale grey; now it was nearly black.

On one end there was a bar, lit as dimly as could be, facing a stage large enough for a band and their instruments but not much else. There was a drum set and mic, pedals and amps scattered around them. Wires tangled and crept along the base tiles.

Roslyn admired the place with an almost illicit glee. She hadn't been to a bar since college — at Kerri's behest. Her soul was at home among these strangers, scantily-clad and fidgeting in anticipation of the music they would hear and dance to.

Men hung about the bar, leaning against it and eyeing up the night's prospects. Women had gathered closer to the stage, in groups of two or three or four.

Julian, along with his band members, walked out casually to make a few adjustments before the show. Although it was meant to be somewhat of a hidden gig, it was clear word had gotten out. People were packed like sardines and spilling out the door. Through the small, translucent window at the opposing wall, he could make out figures crowding the sidewalk, outlined in the newly fallen night.

The stage lights illuminated above him, two of the three a deep blue. Nick and Albert's hair caught the light in a faint corona as they each bent over to plug in their instruments. He approached the mic feigning a swagger, his expression set hard in the face of pressure.

On the tip of his tongue was some arrogantly cool line for the crowd, but as soon as he caught sight of one particular face, he forgot it. Roslyn was against the right wall, her eyes hung attractively wide as they met his. Forgetting himself for a moment, he smiled at her.

Julian missed the count and came in a beat too late on the first song. Nick shot him a dirty glare — a tacit warning to collect himself, as if he was ever really composed on stage. It was loud enough that nobody noticed when he fudged a couple of lyrics.

As soon as Julian had seen her — assuming he wasn't making conspiratorial eye contact with somebody else in the crowd — Roslyn realized how silly she must look. She was alone at a concert, swaying vigorously to rock music when she was supposed to be enduring the first day of a long honeymoon.

The music was good enough to bring out a longing, almost compelling her to close her eyes and throw up her hands in strained euphoria. Those drums; they nearly shook her with every strike.

Julian's jaw flexed as he groaned out a particularly long, guttural note, a few beads of sweat forming on his neck. His shoulders, outlined in stage lights, were broad, attached to equally strong arms. His fingers strained at the microphone as he held it with all his might.

She wanted him terribly. Lust was such a wonderful, exhilarating thing.

The end of the set came all too soon, given there was only one album's worth of material to work with. Roslyn had become sweaty herself in the heat of what little dancing was possible among so many people.

Some had been shimmying around with drinks in their hands, but as the music faded out, those that hadn't now crowded the bar to partake. Their bodies were flushed and sweaty.

Roslyn tried to slip through them, hoping to solicit a cup of water. It was nearly impossible, but she managed to fight her way to the front, shouting her request just barely loud enough to be heard.

The group behind her, who had been pressing on her back, suddenly stepped away. Roslyn paid it no mind until someone tapped her on the shoulder.

It was Julian. His hair was damp with sweat, and his jacket was on his arm. Breathlessly, he took her by the wrist.

"I didn't think you were coming," he said.

"Neither did I," she replied. "You were wonderful. Seriously, I've never had so much fun at a concert."

"sh*t — we weren't that great, but thanks." He laughed self-consciously, fiddling with the chain around his neck. "Can I buy you a drink?"

"Nope. I still owe you for the last one, remember?" she said, holding up her water. She took a long gulp. Julian watched a drop of water roll down her chin, and in that moment he wanted her. Before he could stop himself, he wiped the drop away with his forefinger.

Roslyn wasn't quite sure what to make of that. Julian stepped past her to ask for a couple of beers, pressing his shoulder against hers. It was strong and broad.

"Lemme show you something." She took one of the beers from him and popped the cap off with her incisor.

Julian whistled. "Damn! That doesn't hurt?"

"Not if you do it right," said Roslyn, running her tongue over the tooth. It did hurt a little.

"So what brought you here tonight? I mean, I'm glad you came, but still. Don't you have, like..."

"sh*t to sort out? It can wait. I wanted to come. It's been so long since I've been to a show. Years."

"Years? That's f*ckin' tragic. Have you even been living?"

Roslyn didn't know the answer to that question. "I'm going to go to a million shows," she said, promising herself. "To make up for lost time. Tonight just happens to be the first."

"And you decided to start with mine, huh? Terrible idea. No, uh, I'm just kiddin'... it's an honor. Seriously."

"My favorite one is still Someday. Not that I could really hear the words, but what a fun song! I'm sure I looked so stupid dancing, but-"

"I'm sure you didn't."

Oh. Well. Roslyn laughed, a little flustered. "You didn't see me. Not well, at least. I swear, the poor girl next to me accidentally got elbowed like, five times. But that's the thing — I was so into it I barely noticed."

It was probably wrong, or at least questionable, to want to sleep with a woman who had run away from her own wedding less than twenty-four hours ago. Leaning against a bar counter, Julian reflected that he didn't particularly care. Roslyn was trying not to let herself get pushed into him.

After taking a long swig, he asked, "What happened to your nose?"

Madness! The Whole World Over - Chapter 7 - sailor_mooooon (2024)
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