August 24, 2014

Excerpt from Because the Night

Instead of bringing us out to seats in the audience, Tony led us to the side of the stage to a spot just behind the curtain, feet away from the band. When Tristan spotted me, he winked at me like we shared a private joke, and continued playing.I sucked in my breath and held on for the ride.

Being so close to the band was much more intimate than the first time we saw them. The heat of the flash pots made the faces of the background dancers glow. We moved out of the way as the roadies scrambled to change instruments for the band. I peeked around the curtain every so often to get a look at the crowd, who were completely enthralled with everything the band did.

But mostly, I just watched Tristan. Tonight he wore his signature black leather pants, which clung dangerously low below his hipbones. They ended in black combat boots that were casually untied. He topped the outfit off with a black T-shirt adorned with an intricate white pattern that clung like a second skin. His eyes were heavily rimmed with black liner and his hair hung in his face, down on his chest and back. It swung around him as he roamed all over the stage. His fingers moved over his guitar seductively, teasing it, bringing it to the brink of hysteria then coaxing it back down to a purr. Almost as if he was making love to it.

The thought made me flush all over. I could hardly bear to watch him, but I couldn’t look away.

Tristan left the stage before I was ready to stop watching him. He came right to me.

“Look who’s my date tonight,” his eyes moved down my body.

“You have a date tonight?” I glanced behind me before I realized he meant me.

“Yes.” His hands were on my hips. Even after running around on stage under those bright lights for over an hour, he hadn’t so much as broken a sweat. His stage makeup was still perfect. He leaned in so he could whisper in my ear. “And she looks fabulous in her little black dress.”

“Thanks,” I managed, but it didn’t seem like enough. We might as well have been in another universe. The music started again without him. “Don’t you have to go back out on stage?”

He shook his head, his eyes never leaving mine. “It’s just his solo. And truthfully, Callie,the show will start whenever I decide to go back out there. They can wait.”

“Oh.” I gulped so hard it hurt. What was he going to do?

“But I am going to go back out there, just for a few minutes. I want this part of the night to be over so I can spend the rest of the evening with my date.” He leaned in,kissing me chastely on the lips, like we had just done this yesterday, like he hadn’t ever walked out of my life, then he turned to walk back out on stage. I wrapped my arms around my stomach and half leaned, half fell against the equipment case next to me. Every time I looked at him, I slipped in deeper over my head.

Keisha brought me back to reality by whacking my arm. “Girl. That was hot.”

Tristan hooked his guitar strap back over his shoulder and tapped the pedals in front of his microphone. The crowd roared as the spotlight came back up on him. Satisfied with his adjustments, he began to make the guitar sing again. This time he didn’t take his eyes off of mine.

kristenstrassel