Love Struck (Miss Match #2)

By: Laurelin McGee

“The Blue Hills! Just one shot? Come on. You never wanna have any fun.” The other girl pouted.

“I really shouldn’t.” She stood up to leave.

Onstage the song finished and immediately launched into something else. Something somber and emotional that made Lacy look back at the stage. Then the lead singer began the verse, and the timbre of his voice drew her in. It was tortured and raw. Honest. But it was the lyrics that caught her up entirely, forcing her to sit back down and listen.

Flying out of Boston

December in mid-morning

Watching the world disappear below me

As I leave

Flying into background

In the air, an incomplete

The sun is rising right behind me

As I go

And so I journey from this place

Creating one more space

Leaving this galaxy for a new one

Hoping to find harmony

God, they hit home. From the haunting melody and arrangement of the words against the background instruments, it was obvious the song was a metaphor. It wasn’t really about a flight but about someone feeling her whole life changing, her whole existence fading away below as she is jetted into a new state of being. A new journey. A new galaxy. She loved the dual meaning in some of the lines. Mid-morning, for example, also could mean mid-mourning.

It felt like a song that had been written about her. It was the mark of a truly exceptional lyric—capturing a universal emotion so adeptly that everyone could relate. This band wasn’t just good. They were really good.

She studied the lead singer. He was enchanting with blond hair that had probably been highlighted, styled forward and up, à la James Dean. His face was scruffy, like all the alternative folk male musicians these days, and his deep-set blue eyes were wildly expressive. Yeah. He was hot. Rumpled in all the right ways. His pants were a little tight for her taste, but they still did the job of putting her hormones in overdrive.

Whoa. That was new. She hadn’t been attracted to a man in … well, since Lance. Maybe it was time she thought about getting back out there.

Or maybe this guy just knew how to play to the women.

She continued to watch him, and when his gaze circled the audience, it landed on her and he winked. It startled her, but she gave him a half smile and looked away, not sure she was ready to give him the wrong impression.

And that’s when she saw the musician playing the banjo.

Her mouth felt dry, and she was suddenly aware of every breath that entered and left her lungs. He was different than the lead singer. Just as eye-catching, but not as enigmatic. He was easier to look at, somehow. Softer. More real. His hands danced over his instrument, and the intent expression on his face conveyed his total love for what he was doing. While the lead singer was giving a performance, this guy was playing for himself. And in a way, it made for a more interesting show.

Now that she’d discovered him, in fact, she found her attention stayed on him nearly as much as the lead. Both of them were incredibly attractive, but unlike the singer, the banjo player was more cute than hot. He had that artsy look going on—dark disheveled hair, dimples visible even beneath his closely trimmed goatee, and penetrating brown eyes.

Oh, shit. She’d thought the word “penetrating” just as he looked up from his fingerpicking. Now she was thinking about penetration. And his fingers. She was certain her face gave away her inappropriate thoughts, but his eyes locked with hers and she couldn’t look away, no matter what he saw. A shiver rippled down her spine at the intensity in his gaze. It was more than simply reading the lust on her face. It was like he was looking right into her mind. Into her soul. Like he was seeing something in her that she’d been certain didn’t exist anymore.

It was unnerving and strangely intimate. It stirred her. Made her feel … things.

She shook her head, forcing herself to look away. She wasn’t ready for an onslaught of emotion. She was just getting used to being numb.

It was definitely past time to go.

In front of her was a shot Kat had slipped over, despite the refusal. Lacy stared at it. If she took that, another would follow, and next thing she’d be trying to pick up one of the sexy men onstage. Not a good plan, even if she didn’t have the wedding thing in the morning. She caught the eye of another girl sitting nearby and nodded to the small glass of dark liquid. “Cheers.” The girl grinned her thanks and grabbed it.

“Good night, Kat.” Lacy grabbed her purse and tossed a few bills on the bar. “See you at work Monday.”

“Night, Anti-fun!”

Lacy rolled her eyes as she stood to leave. On her way toward the door, she threw one last glance over at the band. The singer was on his knees with the mike like he’d been practicing in front of a mirror. But the banjo player was still staring at her, with his dimpled half smile. She turned away quickly, before she started having capital-E emotions again.

Anti-fun. That wasn’t what she was. Anti-feel, was more like it. God, she used to be so different. She had been the girl who loved to sit around getting wasted in a bar with a coworker, hitting on delicious, talented musicians.

But now she didn’t know how to flirt without crying, how to talk without depressing people. Didn’t know how to engage or relate or connect. So she’d simply stopped trying.

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