Rock Stars. Part Seventeen

The final opportunity to rescue Dim Screw and his job with them falls on Click's shoulders.

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Everything had fallen oddly silent, and this was a sign that could have gone either way. There has been no police, no law enforced and certainly nothing that seemed even remotely like definitive action. In this building, or at least on the floor where Danny lived, it seemed as though the mob ruled. This, for Click, was unsettling. This, for Julia, was strangely common.

He had eventually grown impatient of waiting and decided to get to the allotted task of making tea for Bob's return. Julia had fallen silent - examining her foot whenever a twinge of pain became too much to ignore, and otherwise occupied herself on her mobile phone.

A chance to renew conversation, or at least try and find out what was making her so silent, came in the offering of a fresh cup of tea. "What do you think's going on up there?" asked Click as he passed her mug over.

For a moment, she only looked at him with empty eyes. Then, as if realising late that he had spoken to her, she focussed in on him. "Maybe they're all making friends again with congratulatory cock sucking and woman beating?" Julia replied, her voice thoroughly lacking emotion.

This was a disgusting image, and one that Click tried desperately for several weeks to get out of his head.

"Are you okay?" was the next question that occurred to him.

The first response was something of an angry growl. This was a fair indicator that something bad was going to follow. "Well, I'm more than a little physically damaged, if you haven't noticed, but it's okay. I have your pity and concern. It makes such a difference knowing that somebody like you, a desperate little coward who dragged me over here to sort out all of his problems for him, is worried about my well-being now. Obviously I've done a wonderful job at being heroine to cover your flaws."

Unsure of how to react; Click chose not to.

A couple of minutes passed in silence once again. They passed time staring at Bob's elephant ornaments and his randomly placed stamps from around the world. It was an odd time to realise that he was now just bored enough to start finding stamps interesting.

He was extremely grateful when there finally came a calm little knock on the door with Jerry on the other side. Even though he was still drunk, more so in fact than he had been, and had a guitar over his shoulder, Jerry was both entertainment and protection. He was certainly a man who knew how to cause physical damage, even if he might have no intention of doing so in the defence of either Click or Julia.

"What are you doing here?" Jerry slurred as he came into the door. He did not come through the door; he really did just come into it as it was opening and barged it out of the way. Click's rush of cheer at the sight of his guitarist evaporated quickly. "This is Rock's place. He's supposed to be here with some beers and stuff."

"Bob's upstairs sorting out a fight," Click told him, keeping a wide berth to avoid the stumbling steps that Jerry was taking. "We kind of f--ked up in coming here. Bob's all for sorting this whole band out and making something of it, but Danny told us to get out and never wants to see any of us again. He's about given up. He just wants-"

"Who the f--k are Bob and Danny?" interrupted Jerry, confused and barely even looking in the right direction.

It was difficult to tell whether Jerry was being serious or not, but the idea that he was being seemed the most likely, since Click had had very little recollection of either of their names. "Rock and hard Plaice," he filled in. "Bob lives here, and Danny lives upstairs. You know, the rhythm section. They were hanging out to make music in your garage earlier? Do you remember either of these people at all?"

"Is there beer in the fridge?" Jerry asked. Ignoring Click, he swept by and moved into the kitchen without a moment of thought. It was most likely that he had run out of beer not long after the two of them had left him, and this resulted in either a dangerous drive or a desperate march across town in search of more alcohol than his budget would allow. There was a yell of triumph from the kitchen, which was followed by the sounds of multiple bottles being placed roughly onto a counter. Things were going to get worse before they got better.

"Has he just not noticed me, or is he intentionally trying to ignore me?" questioned Julia, looking thoroughly annoyed with everything from Jerry's presence to his demeanour.

Click had no answer to offer, so he gave none.

Unhappy with this, Julia decided to announce herself, just in case. "Don't drink all of those," she shouted through. "Bring me a couple. I'm hurt; drunk could be a big help for me."

"Sure," Jerry replied happily. "You want some, Click?"

Julia cut in before Click had a chance to answer. "There's only so much beer. Josh is driving; he has to stay sober. You can focus on getting me drunk instead."

"I can do that. I'm good at it."

As much as Click would have enjoyed getting more alcohol into his system, he would most certainly be the taxi service for the rest of the day, so he had no choice but to hold back. As aggressive as their earlier confrontation had been, Jerry and Julia suddenly seemed to get along brilliantly under the affects of alcohol. Julia made a point of aiming to catch up quickly. While Click sat on the sidelines, watching her tea go cold, he served as the silent witness to the flirtations of the drunk and the escapist pair. There was still a certain tension in Julia's posture, but she was laughing like a young girl and kept asking revealing questions about Jerry's life. Reminded of the very particular sigh that she had made as Click had driven her up to Jerry's home, it seemed to make perfect sense in a way. Nevertheless, in every other way, it made no sense at all. It was Julia, but it was also nothing like Julia.

Night was drawing in, and seven empty beer bottles were laid out on the table before there was movement at the door again. Bob was home, sporting a heavily bruised jaw, but otherwise no signs of damage. Danny, dried blood making a thin right around his left eye, was with him. He had a slight limp in his right foot, but quite a malicious smile on his face.

An idea presented itself to Click quite suddenly. "I'm glad you were there, Danny," he said quickly, before anybody else could dare to interject. "I was always glad to have somebody like you and Bob around when we were playing the rougher bars too. No security is anywhere near as good as you guys."

"Oh, we're your security now, are we?" Danny countered with a growl. "The plot thickens with your bullshit."

"Hey, come on man, relax," Bob advised, wrapping an arm around his friend's shoulder. "He's trying to give you a compliment in his own weird little way. You've got to remember: he's a little shit, isn't he?"

"Dude, you're running out of beer, and the lady wants more," added Jerry from across the living room. The pokey little flat was starting to become extremely full, and uncomfortable because of it. Bob and Danny, the only two still standing, were looking down over the strays who had wandered into their building. Bob made no answer in reference to the consumed alcohol, but Jerry continued drinking anyway. It became quite obvious at this point that Julia was not actually trying to get drunk, but just trying to put her drinking companion at ease. Her eyes were as alert as ever.

"So, who started all that anyway?" Danny asked of the room. "I know the bastard deserved to get the crap kicked out of him, but I'd have preferred to do it on my own terms instead of having to charge at him while he was stamping on somebody else."

"It was me," admitted Julia straight away. "There was a woman up there who was getting treated horribly. I'm not going to stand around and-"

"Betty Greene has been sleeping with his brother for six years, and every now and then she tells him one of her most disgusting stories so that he'll lash out and she can have him arrested," explained Danny. His tone was as sceptical as his expression, but Julia mirrored the same. "It's been the same story since I moved in. There's some shouting, somebody hits somebody and it's not always him on her, then she calls the police as soon as he lays a finger on her and he gets arrested again for a while. While he's locked up, she invites his brother over and they make new and disturbing stories."

"That's horrible," Click announced.

"Sounds like a bitch," added Jerry.

Julia said nothing, choosing to remain stony faced and impassive.

"Well thanks for the help anyway, we didn't know," tried Click, but this also seemed to make Danny more angry than not.

"He told me he tried to quit by the way," Bob told the room.

"What?!" Jerry shouted, rushing to his feet and losing much of the mouthful of beer that he had been drinking. It was not the most endearing display. "You can't leave. We've got a bloody band to worry about, and who says we even stand a chance of getting a good deal after this?"

It was funny hearing Julia's words come out of Jerry's mouth.

"It can't get much worse, can it?" replied Danny, but he was quickly outnumbered.

"I don't know man, I've been in some pretty pathetic outfits before I ended up here," added Bob. "I know Dim's a c--t but it really could be so much worse."

"Yeah, you can't just leave when we've barely even gotten into our stride," came more slurred words from Jerry. "We all have to make sacrifices and stuff to get where we want to go. We just need to get a singer who isn't a complete bastard is all. Give it a bit of time, man."

"Alright, fine, but you know Dim will never go for it," Danny finally conceded.

With a little smile on the edge of her lips, Julia turned her attention back to Click. "Well," she began, "we have a sober, fresh and confident manager here who can drive on down and talk to your singer all about this."

"Wait, is this-"

"No complaining. It's your job. Bugger off."

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    The_Raven
    The story is getting really good. Goddamn, I hate ****ing everyone but Josh. They're such ****s to him. I mean, I can understand why they are but damn...grr. I wonder if there will ever be more crossing-over with Disbelief? Come to think of it, is this set before Disbelief, during, or after?
    blkdtr
    for a second there, I thought the plot was going to unwind where Julia and Jerry were going to hook up in a drunken stupor lol. definitely a good chapter