Getting Over Edie Ch. 02bynerd4music©
"I know you and your strange feelings, but how about we just let this one happen? Besides, I'm the only one allowed to be a miserable son of a bitch."
Tony chuckled, his brown eyes back to their normal sparkle. "I gotta say, man—you do seem less tool-like today. Think we might be seeing normal Grady" sometime soon?"
It was Grady's turn to shrug. While he certainly didn't feel one-hundred percent like old Grady, there wasn't that total encompassing feeling of empty that plagued him for the past three months.
"I don't know," he replied. "I guess I could say the article has had an effect on me."
"Article? What article?"
"My article for the March issue of EDGE. It's about Her. If it's successful, Nell wants me to write a few more."
Tony's eyes widened slightly. "Whoa. Dude, that's kind of...whoa."
"Yeah," Grady said with a nod. "That was my exact reaction. I wrote some bullshit when I was schwasted and sent it to her. Turns out, it was some really good bullshit."
"You think you're ready for whatever consequences may come from it?"
"Like what? I'm pretty sure things can't get any shittier than they are now."
"Can we get our asses inside?" Grady interrupted.
"It's fucking freezing out here."
Tony studied him briefly before nodded. "Yeah. Whatever you say, man."
Turning, they both headed into the club. The atmosphere was considerably different from Trinity. There was a huge stage at the far end of the club. It was packed, with people milling around the large bar in the corner, to the throngs of people culminating on the balcony above the main floor.
It was loud, it was dark, and it was smoky. In short, it was Tony's kind of place. Hipsters wearing trendy throwback shirts and skinny jeans sipped non-descript beer from bright cans and bottles.
Grady felt a little out of sorts; he preferred a laidback bar with a jukebox and old dudes named Paulie or Jimbo. After handing their stuff to the coat check girl they headed to the heart of the club. Tony was clearly in his element, while Grady felt like he was on another planet.
Tony waved at someone he knew. "Hey man. I'm gonna go check out the band's manager. I'll meet you back out here for the show." Giving Grady a quick fist-bump he moved through the crowd, leaving Grady to stand around looking like a lost child.
Overwhelmed didn't begin to cover it. With a shrug, he made a beeline for the bar. He ordered a Bud Light, opting to stick to beer, as he didn't want a repeat of the last time he drank hard liquor.
He sipped his beer and watched the groups of people interact, a numbing ache of loneliness spreading like a dull throb throughout his body. It was getting to him, that glaring realization that he really was alone.
It was annoying to feel this way, but he couldn't turn it off. He didn't want to feel lonely. He didn't want to feel anything. He just wanted to sit and wallow his way through beer after beer, getting so fucking lit that he wouldn't feel a goddamn thing but dizzy.
"Stop it, Kade" he said aloud, gulping down a large swig of Bud Light in the futile hopes it would wash out the negativity. This night wasn't going to go like this. He refused to be a damn party pooper.
"So do you always make a habit out of mumbling to yourself or is this just something you like to do in bars?"
Grady snapped to attention. "You," he said.
"Listen I'm starting to think you're stalking me."
Arden scoffed. "Stalking you? Please. I think I have better things to do than to follow your mopey ass around."
He wasn't in the mood for her fuckery. Grady couldn't put his finger on it, but there was something positively annoying about her. She wasn't bad looking, especially tonight in dark skinny jeans tucked into black stiletto boots, a blindingly bright yellow v-neck shirt, and a black vest. A black pork pie hat perched on her head, reminiscent of a young Jon Cryer a la Ducky. However, her incessant chattering and her constant need to be all up in his business was putting her straight to the top of his "Choke a Bitch" list. "Why are you here?" he asked, not caring if she was offended.
Arden was unfazed by his snappish tone. "I'm stalking you."
Grady wrinkled his nose. "Get real."
Her dark eyes gleamed mischievously. "Oh no, really. Didn't you hear? I'm MADLY in loooooove with you." Clapping her hands together, she squealed in a delightfully girlish way before batting her eyelashes dramatically.
Grady gave her a serious side-eye glance. "There is something wrong with you. Like medically."
Arden clutched her heart as if wounded. "Ouch. Grady Kade, you really know how to break a girls' heart." She chuckled before straightening up. "If you must know, I'm here to check out the band."
"Oh. Did Tony invite you?" he asked before lifting the bottle of beer to his lips.
"No. My girl Stevie did."
"Yeah, you know. She came with us the other night. Tall chick, short dark hair. You know...the one you kept referring to as Ballbuster."
Grady nearly choked on the sip he just took as he eyed her. She was looking at him, her face a mixture of irritation and amusement. "Ahh so you heard that, huh?"
The look she shot him was pure 'no duh'. "You're kind of a shit. But you're absolutely right. Stevie could kick your ass seven different ways from the Bronx to Brooklyn."
"So what, you two dating or something?"
Arden let out something between a chuckle and a snort. "So because she doesn't take shit from guys and because I defend my friend that automatically makes us a couple?"
"Girl, dial it down; I was just making a joke."
"Did you fuck that meathead friend of yours?" she asked snidely, referring to Benny.
"No," Grady replied. "However, your friend did," he added smoothly.
"W—what?" She seemed truly shocked. "No she didn't."
"It's what Tony told me."
Arden made a face of pure disgust before shaking her head. "No...that can't be true. Stevie would never even look at that Neanderthal."
It was Grady's turn to be irritated. "Why does he have to be a Neanderthal? Because he likes women and sex? I think someone's a little repressed. Maybe a little jealous. You sure you aren't feeling the ladies?"
"Okay, okay" she said, holding up her hands. "We have officially reached grade school territory. So before one of us busts out with 'Nanny-nanny-boo-boo' I'm gonna call a truce."
Grady rolled his eyes, but conceded. "Alright. Sorry for implying that you liked girls. But the thing about my boy and your girl? It's legit."
Arden visibly shuddered. "I just can't...it's just too much to take in."
"That's what she said."
"Oh EWWW!" she exclaimed before slapping him on the arm. "That's just wrong!"
Grady chuckled. "Ouch! Anyone ever tell you that you hit like a linebacker?"
"Yeah, well you're a jerk. And you look like a frat boy reject." It was true. He was looking a little 'I Love College' with jeans and a hoodie on. At least he wasn't wearing a hat, his thick blonde curls akimbo all over his head.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize there was a hipster dress code. I wasn't informed."
Arden rolled her eyes. "You're making it difficult to maintain this truce."
Grady was about to reply when the sizzle and crackle of the microphone caught his attention. It was then he realized it was Tony on stage.
"Can I have everyone's attention? It is my honor to introduce one of the hottest up and coming bands on the scene. For your viewing and listening pleasure, ladies and gentlemen may I present...Love in Chains!"
The audience cheered loudly as the opening notes of a guitar riff blasted through the club. The light went up and Grady could clearly see the band. "Holy shit! Your friend is in the band?"
"Yeah" Arden yelled back. "Stevie is like one of the best guitarists I've ever seen!" She waved madly at Stevie, who smiled back at her.
Thirty minutes later, Love in Chains was still going strong. Grady had to admit, he was enjoying himself. This was just what he needed to take his mind of his troubles. He was even enjoying Arden's company, though she was dancing around like a maniac and screaming like a banshee. Tony had joined them earlier and they were both bobbing their heads to the music. At the last note the crowd applauded and roared for more.
The lead singer, a dark haired fellow grinned like a true rock star. "This next song, I wrote it for a very special woman. She came into my life like a whirlwind, and she hasn't stopped the room from spinning ever since. This song is for you, babe. Edie, love...come on up!"
Grady's heart plummeted straight down, exploding in a massive pile by his feet. No, it couldn't be. This wasn't happening.
And then he saw her.
She breezed to the stage, climbing the steps in such a carefree fashion. She accepted his outstretched hand, allowing him to take her into his arms before kissing him hard on the lips. The crowd screamed, shouting and clapping for more. Pushing the singer away, Edie grinned and waved at the crowd.
No. This wasn't fucking happening. She wasn't here, in the Ballroom, KISSING another guy. He felt sick, the beer seeming to rise from his stomach, into his throat, threatening to spew chunks all over the floor.
Arden glanced over at him. "Hey—are you okay? You're looking kind of green."
He couldn't breathe. He needed air, goddammit! Why wouldn't his feet move? "You...you knew about this." He stared accusingly at Tony.
Tony shook his head, the surprise evident on his face. "No man. You know I'd never do that to you."
Arden looked back and forth between the two friends. "Will someone please tell me what the fuck is going on?"
The music once again began to thunder and Grady felt awash in a sea of emotions. He didn't know whether to scream, rage, cry, or punch the fuck out of Tony. Instead, he opted to run, but his feet still weren't trying to cooperate. He could barely make out Tony and Arden's voices beneath the roar of the music and the earth shattering revelation that Edie was here, in the same club.
After three months of her absence, he was finally able to see her in the flesh. And what glorious flesh; the golden caramel of her Afro-Brazilian skin perfectly complimented her gold tube dress and matching sequined heels.
"It's Edie. His ex. She's onstage."
Arden glanced at the woman, the Glamazon currently hogging the spotlight onstage. That was his ex? Jesus, no wonder the guy was a wreck. "Is he gonna be okay?"
Tony shrugged. "Dunno. He looks like he's gonna blow chunks."
Arden decided she was gonna take charge. "C'mon." Grabbing his arm, she practically pushed Grady away from the throngs of people.
"I just...I can't believe it," he mumbled as she steered him towards the exit. "She moved on."
Yeah, Arden thought with a grumble. Maybe it's time you did, too.