“Dude, your clothes are way too tight on me.â€? I bitched.“V, you look fine. And hurry up! This place is awesome. I haven’t seen you in five years and it’s not every night I get to rock out with my best friend, so let’s go!â€? Yeah, Sass and I have known each other for a while. Sometimes I think for too long. She walked up ahead with her guitar on her back while I hauled her amp down the alley to the backdoor to the club. Sass never misses an ‘open mic’ night in this town. They had us set up and gave us our number. We were up third out of seven groups. The sun started to set and the club began to fill with people. I started to get nervous. I never sing in public. Sass convinced me by saying, “It’s not like you’ll ever see them again.â€? After a girl group, a “Weird Alâ€? impersonator, and two tequila shots, Sass and I took the stage. She took her guitar pick out of her mouth, “Hey, what’s up people? I’m Sass and this is my friend V. We’ve been friends since we were kids and this is her one time in this town, MY town, so we wanna rock out with you!â€? The crowd cheered. Sass upped the volume on her guitar and began playing Sweet Child O’ Mine and the crowd cheered louder. She was no Slash and we didn’t sound like Axel, but the crowd didn’t seem to care. I couldn’t help but smile.“She’s got eyes of the bluest skies/ As if they thought of rainâ€? and someone caught my attention, and I seemed to catch his. Damn. Smile faded.“I hate to look into those eyes/ And see an ounce of painâ€? Watched him drink a shot awfully quick. We wrapped up the song and got a mighty applause, but I couldn’t wait to leave. Getting off the stage I tugged on Sass’s arm to follow me into the bathroom. “Don’t you feel like a rock star?!â€? she asked, all enthusiastically. “Not really. I saw Asher out there.â€? I told her.“Oh, shit… But we can’t leave, V! After everyone else performs, they get the best group to do an encore. I think we have a shot! We have to stay! Just… avoid him.â€?“Avoid him? It’s fucking high school all over again.â€? “It doesn’t have to be! Your little ‘break up’ was mutual, wasn’t it? Hell, you weren’t even dating!â€?“I know, but it’s just weird to be around him after everything…â€?“V, all I know is that after high school, you got swallowed up by work and disappeared for five years. You get stabbed, lose your kid, and end up travelling here. Who the hell cares if you see someone you knew? You’re a rock star tonight! Now, let’s get a drink. I know a lot of guys are willing to buy.â€? She winked at me and walked out. I took a deep breath (eww, bathroom air), and looked at myself in the mirror. Heavy eye make-up, pulled back hair and Sass’s clothes to match Sass’s rock and roll sound. Yeah, I felt like a rock star. Walked out of the bathroom and walked over to the bar. The group up wasn’t too bad and had the audience on the dance floor. Almost reached the bar unscathed, until ‘Mr. Memory Lane’ walked up to me, drink in hand. “Uh, hey V. Got you a drink.â€?“Hi… uh, no thanks.â€?“More for me then.â€? He drank it down awfully fast. I looked around for Sass but she was chatting up some guys. Typical.“Well, it’s been nice seeing you Asher, but I gotta get over to-““Wait, wait. Look, I just wanted to say sorry for… everything back then.â€?“Heh, none of it was your fault.â€?“Yeah, actually, a lot of it was. I just… Can we go outside and maybe talk?â€? Ugh. “Sure…â€? We went outside. It was warm out, and reeked of people smoking. We found a table on the club patio further away from people. Asher signaled to the server to bring us drinks.“Anyways, I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. Saw the news about Kay committing suicide. They said he attacked his girlfriend and caused her to miscarry their child. They never used your name, but I saw Sass in town a few days later and we got to talking. I told her I was wanting to apologize and she said you’d be coming to town.â€? The lady brought our drinks. “Well that’s awfully nice, Ash. But I’ve had enough to drink.â€?“Well then, even more for me.â€? He drank it down. “So I came down here to the club to see you. Watching you perform was an added bonus.â€?“You’re drunk.â€?He laughed. “I may be, but that doesn’t make me any less sorry for being a jerk in school. Especially when you needed me the most.â€?“It wasn’t just you. It was anyone.â€?“I’m still sorry for not being around.â€? He looked me in the eyes, waiting for me to search my soul with an answer.It took me a good minute before replying, “It’s okay. It was my choice too. Thanks for saying something.â€? I smiled at him, and he smiled back.“Aw hell! This deserves a drink! What do you say, V?â€?“Make mine a bellini.â€?