Wrong Side of the Bridge Ch. 01byWillScarlett©
I'd been going to hardcore punk shows since I started university three years ago.
There were two totally different hardcore scenes in my city -- the river divided the bright shopping centres from the seedy industrial complexes and there was a distinct culture for each side of the bridge.
The scene I was introduced to, had an emphasis on clean and moral living. Most of the guys were vegetarian at least and quite a few, like me, were straight-edge -- entirely sworn off alcohol and drugs.
The other side of the bridge had a rougher scene; no all-ages venues and a reputation for drugs and violence. There was a large skinhead population and, although I knew in the modern day it was rare to meet a true racist thug I still knew those guys weren't the kind of people I wanted to be friends with.
Every few weeks an international -- or at least not local -- band would come to town. For that night the two scenes would converge on a single venue, No Way Out.
It wasn't a way to mingle and make friends, it was a way to size up opposition. You couldn't be friends with guys from the wrong side of the bridge. That's just how it was.
I was at No Way Out the Friday night when I had my first kiss.
A major American band were headlining and a couple bands from down South had come up for the occasion. The first two bands were local, a ska one from the other side of the bridge and a straight-edge one from ours. The organisers try and keep representation equal to reduce the risk of fights.
It was the third band of the night so the crowd had passed through the awkward standing phase and were now dancing like maniacs. A healthy fight pit had developed, the crowd pulling back from the stage to leave a semi-circle of free space where guys were throwing punches. I was proud to see they were all guys from our side of the bridge -- straight-edgers are always the first to rock out because they don't need beer to get them in the mood.
I was feeling really pumped, and it was my friend Pete's band up next -- I wanted to be in the mood by the time they got on stage, all warmed up and ready to fight. Pete was at the front of the crowd, not throwing punches in the fight pit -- not yet, that would come after he'd played and was on a high from the music -- but he was moving his whole large body with the beat and surging forward to chant along during the chorus or break down.
I edged my way passed him, bouncing my head up and down and rocking my body with the beat, then threw myself past the protective boundary of the crowd and out into the fight pit. I ran forward, spinning my arms like a windmill, two-stepping with my feet. I felt pretty proud of myself for all of five seconds before someone else windmilled passed and knocked me straight backward.
Before I could hit the ground my head and shoulders were caught in strong hands, and a guy was hauling me back into the protective ring of crowd. He had me in a headlock with his other arm around my waist and was actually dragging me like I was a dead weight.
I scrabbled with my feet trying to get standing and he helped me, straightening up so my body was hauled upright. In the process his hand around my waist dropped down inside my shorts and I felt his fingers brushing the top of my boxers. My cock instantly jerked to attention.
What the hell? Was that deliberate or an accident? I glanced down and saw the bright intricate tattoos across his arm -- a full sleeve from what I could see. I really like tattoos and I pay attention to them, especially since I got an apprenticeship at a tattoo parlour, and I was sure I'd never seen these before.
"You okay there little guy?" He grunted against my neck and I could smell the cigarettes and stale beer on his breath.
"Yeah," I muttered, twisting my head away from the smell. I realised his fingers were moving, gently stroking across the sensitive skin of my abdomen. What? Right here in front of everyone?
Two fingers slid under the waistband of my boxers. My whole body trembled. I was having trouble breathing, totally focused on the hand which seemed to be sending electric shocks through my groin.
I twisted my head around to see who this guy was, and nearly choked. There was no way we had ever met before, he was totally hot. I would have remembered him.
He was looking down at me with a smirk and the most intensely blue eyes I had ever seen. His eyebrows were dark and heavy, framing those gorgeous eyes. I felt a tug in my stomach, something like nerves. He was staring straight down at me, looking right into my eyes and his expression changed as if in surprise.
I heard a yell over the noise of the band and the crowd -- "Let him go." I looked up to see my friend Pete pushing his way through the crowd, skimming around the edge of the fight pit to get to us. He looked pissed.
My captor immediately let go of me, and I took a small step away from him, hunching my body and tugging down the hem of my loose shirt in the hope that I could hide my erection. I heard him mumbling, "Settle down."
"Get your fucking hands off him," Pete spat out. He hadn't looked at me, had walked up to the guy who grabbed me and was getting right up in his face. It was my first real chance to look at that guy -- he was tall, in bleached skinny jeans and a ratty white wife beater. He had a shaven head. Oh fuck.
People were watching. I saw the fight pit had broken up and the crowd was slowly gathering around us. The band were still going. It was loud and probably the crowd wouldn't hear what Pete was saying. But everyone could tell a fight was about to break out and they were picking sides.
I really didn't want to start a fight. I was feeling sick just thinking about it. "Pete," I said, leaning into his ear so he could hear me over the music and I wouldn't have to yell. "It's okay, he was just helping me up."
"I saw the way he was handling you."
"What?" I stammered, feeling my face flush. He'd noticed? I glanced over at the skinhead who had helped me up. He had his chin ducked so he was glaring out from beneath his dark eyebrows -- it was a popular pose with guys from their side of the bridge, defiant and insolent without being openly hostile. It made his eyes even more hypnotic.
"I was just helping your little friend up before he got stood on," The skinhead growled. I grabbed on to Pete's beefy arm and tugged, wanting him to head back to our side of the hall. The crowd was tightening up, skinhead guys gathering behind their friend, glaring at Pete. "Maybe next time I won't bother."
"You keep your filthy hands off him," Pete spat back. I could feel his body stiffening with anger, and his face was dark red and blotchy. I wanted to think he was angry because he was defensive of me, but truthfully he was just always looking for a reason to start something with the skinheads
When I looked behind me there was a bunch of our guys getting ready to fight, too -- Pete's band, Rob and a couple of my other friends. I swallowed. How could I stop this?
But then the band finished their song and the lead singer -- not one of our guys, they were a band from down South who had come up in support of the main act -- growled into the microphone, "Break this shit up." He was pointing at us. He was probably only a couple years older than us but he was on stage and that gave him authority.
Pete continued to glare as if he hadn't heard the singer, but his drummer Skeeta put a warning hand on his shoulder. The skinhead jerked his head in the direction of the stage with raised eyebrows, as if to say 'can't argue with that', and turned his back. His gang of friends left with him. I lost sight of them in the crowd.
Pete drew in a long steadying breath and turned to me. "You okay Eli?"
"Of course. He wasn't hurting me, you know that."
"Skinhead cunts," He grumbled, but his heart wasn't in it. His face was red and blotchy with anger but he also was chewing his bottom lip which he only did when he was really stressed. "That guy's no good, I don't want you talking to someone with a rep like his."
I didn't know what to say to that so I didn't say anything. I was feeling awkward, not wanting to make things worse but not really knowing how to making anything better.
Pete threw an arm over my shoulder and led me away from the stage. "Come out back and help me get ready?"
Pete would let me hang out with his band at practices and backstage. I couldn't play instruments worth a damn but I loved hardcore music and being part of the scene -- Pete had introduced me to it in my first year of uni and I'd been hooked ever since. I thought of him as my best friend and, even though big guys weren't my type, I'd been nursing a crush on him for years. I loved hanging out with him and his band.
We had to edge around the crowd to get to the stage and the door, but once inside the back area it was empty and the sound of the crowd was shut off. I followed Pete down the narrow corridors to his band room. There were some of their instruments in the room and a lot of stored junk.
"Eli, I need to talk to you," He said as he closed the door behind him and leaned against it. I just stood there in the small room, looking around at the band posters.
His voice sounded strained. "Listen, you know when that skinhead guy was touching you..."
"Forget it, he was just helping me up, it's not worth talking about," I gabbled. I didn't want to be the cause of a fight.
"He had his hands all over you and it made me really angry, and - "
"I know," I cut in. "But I don't care, he's just a jerk and not worth starting a fight over."
"Listen to me, Eli," Pete demanded. He took a step forward and rested his meaty hands on my shoulders. He was a lot taller than me, my eyes were level with his collar bone and I had to look up to see his face. He was looking at me with a slightly glazed expression, still biting his lower lip. I could feel his body trembling. "Eli, it's not that. When I saw that guy touching you, putting his hand down your pants."
I blushed in shame and turned my head but Pete kept talking.
"I got so angry I wanted to punch him, I wanted to hurt him real bad. And it's not because he's one of them touching one of ours. It's because... Because I don't want anyone to touch you like that. Anyone but me."
He drew a deep breath and put his hand on my chin to turn my face back toward him. When he spoke again his voice was very soft and there was a note of pleading in it. "Eli, promise me you won't let anyone else touch you. The thought of it..."
"Are... Are you saying you want to be my boyfriend?" My voice was so strangled I didn't recognise it.
"Yup." Pete made an odd choking noise and, suddenly, he was lowering his head to mine and I felt his lips against mine, the prickling of his beard and moustache and the big swoop in my stomach which told me yes, at last, I was having my first kiss.
As soon as Pete's lips touched mine there was a loud banging in the corridor, and he leaped away from me. The door to the band room opened and the rest of the band members walked in. I looked at Pete and he was blushing furiously but not looking at me. He turned to greet his mates and I, confused, bent over the bass case and fiddled with the buckles.
Skeeta was complaining about leaving his best drum sticks in Pete's car so I grabbed the keys off him and headed out, wanting to get away from that tiny room and clear my head.
The back stage area let out onto the car park so I headed out there.
I knew Pete's white Corolla well, even though he lived on the other side of town and didn't give me rides often. I headed straight to it, found the sticks in the backseat and turned back to the hall.
"Hey, you play drums?"
It was the skinhead from before. He was leaning against the wall, smoking. Alone.
"No, my friend Pete. My boyfriend," I amended. My belly had done a flip when I'd looked at him, and I was very aware that we were alone here with no-one else within shouting distance. Maybe I was as paranoid about skinheads as the rest of my friends were, or maybe it was those deep blue eyes which were making me shiver.
"That fat hairy guy is your boyfriend?"
"He's not fat," I defended instantly. I glared at the skinhead. He was smirking. That was pretty rich coming from him, he wasn't the skinniest guy himself -- he had muscular, defined arms but that ratty singlet clung to him and showed a distinct pot belly. That stupid singlet, with its frayed hem and clusters of little holes revealing smooth pale skin beneath...
I didn't want to stare at his belly so I drew my eyes up to his face. I noticed for the first time that he had stretched ears, flesh tunnels through his lobes about 000 gauge, a centimetre wide -- smaller than mine, but as big as you'd want to go with a shaven head and no hair to stop your ears looking like cup handles. Perfect. He was so hot.
I forced myself to look away, thinking of a skinhead like that was a good way to get myself bashed. I adjusted my grip on the sticks and hoped the guy hadn't noticed me staring at him.
There was an awkward silence, then I heard him say, "I'm Damien. Like The Omen."
I looked back at him, to see he had extended a hand to shake. His right arm, the one without tattoos. But I did notice some scabs on his fingers and inner elbow.
It seemed oddly formal to shake hands, but I reached my right hand out too. "Elijah, like in The Lord of the Rings," I felt my face going red as I stammered, "I mean, like the actor who plays in the Lord of the Rings."
Damien gripped my hand in his and shook once then pulled out to turn the handshake into a fist pump. I realised what he was doing and mirrored the movement but a moment too late, I was gripping air for a few seconds and I fumbled the fist pump. I felt myself blushing even deeper -- I was such a loser!
I gabbled to hide my confusion. "I'm sorry Pete was acting like a jerk before, he was just worried you were hurting me."
Damien barked out a laugh. He tilted his head forward in that characteristic way, all intense blue eyes under dark eyebrows. "That's not what he was worried I was doing to you."
I coughed and looked down at my battered Chucks, not at all sure where this conversation was going. "What do you mean?" I asked, because I knew that's what Damien was waiting for.
"Your friend was worried I was going to lay a hand on that virgin ass of yours. He's damn right to be worried, too."
Suddenly my heart was beating too fast and I felt dizzy. I gaped at the sexy skinhead I had never seen before tonight, wondering what kind of game he was playing. Was he baiting me into a gay bashing? I thought I'd kept it pretty well hidden. For that matter, was it obvious I was a virgin?
I didn't know what to do or think, but I sure as hell knew it wasn't a good idea to come out to some angry skinhead from the wrong side of the bridge when there were no friends around to protect me. So I just stammered a rebuttal, "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Oh yes you do," He growled in reply, and cupped his crotch in the hand that was holding a cigarette. I felt my stomach tightening and my body involuntarily shuddering in arousal as I looked at that intricately tattooed arm, the hand cupping the large bulge in his tight white jeans, the way the cigarette tip glowed and drew attention to his crotch in this dim light. I was sure the image was one which would be seared on my mind forever.
"I gotta take these sticks in, my friend's band's up next," I stammered, and I bolted past Damien to the hall's back door.
He called out my name as I reached the door, and I saw him moving like he wanted to catch up with me, but I just ignored him.
He was hot, there was no denying it. But he was also trouble, and my best mate had just kissed me. I tried to just forget about him -- I'd probably never see him again anyway.
But a part of me hoped I did. Oh, he was hot.
The day after the show, after my first kiss, Pete called me to chat. I thought he'd want to explain what happened but he didn't mention it and I didn't know how to bring it up. But he did invite me to band practice the next day.
I loved going to band practice at Pete's house. I'd sit around while the guys jammed, bringing over food and they'd teach me cords and show me stuff they were working on -- I think they really liked having an audience.
Pete lived in a room detached from his parents house and his parents were cool with him playing loud music. There were four members in the band, and with all their equipment including a complete electronic drum kit it was a tight fit in the small room.
I'd normally sit and watch from Pete's bed, really just a mattress on the floor of the room with a heap of blankets on it. The tv was propped up at the end so you could sit on the bed or lie flat on your stomach to play PlayStation.
After practice I stayed behind to help clean up -- that was normal enough, but I was feeling nervous because it was the first time I was alone with Pete since he'd kissed me. We tidied up chip bowls then he challenged me to a game of Tekken. I flopped down on the bed and grabbed a controller.
I was sitting with my legs tucked in front of me so I could rest my chin on my knees, and Pete lay down beside me on his belly. I could smell his sweat from playing the bass so hard in the warm room, I realised he smelled really manly and it was turning me on. I tried to ignore it but I was getting a bit of an erection just smelling him, so I was glad I was crouched up and my dick was hidden.
We played a couple rounds then Pete put his controller down on the bed and lifted up onto his forearms, and wiggled out of his shirt. He had to wriggle around to get the shirt off from that uncomfortable position and I couldn't help but glance down, watch as his skin got exposed. His track pants were slung low and I could see the top of his butt crack.
I made myself look back up the screen and willed myself not to do anything embarrassing in front of my buddy. He picked up his controller and we resumed play, then he said, "You could get more comfortable, if you want."
I missed a button and his character got in beneath my defences. I tapped pause. Nervously, I started struggling out of my tee shirt. I pulled it off and dropped it onto the mattress beside me. I picked my controller back up and looked at Pete. He was looking at the screen, trying to win, but he kept glancing at me to check out my tanned chest and arms.
We played a couple more rounds and I kept winning. Pete wasn't very good. Despite the fact he owned the game he didn't seem to have learned any moves and seemed to just be button mashing. At one point he started wriggling his hips, like he had an itch on his belly he wanted to scratch but didn't want to take his hands off the controller. I looked down and saw that his motion was edging his track pants down further, exposing more of his butt crack with its smattering of dark hair.
I only realised I was staring when Pete caught me at it. He met my eyes and I felt myself blushing dark again. I tried to discreetly move my hips to ease the pressure on my dick which was now definitely hard. I could feel my palms getting slippery on the controller with nervous sweat and my heart was beating so fast I could feel it in my throat. It suddenly seemed like the room was very small, and very hot.
I looked back at the screen in time to see my guy getting knocked straight over, solid KO. I wrinkled my nose up in annoyance but Pete started cheering, he leaped up onto his knees and did a kind of victory dance with his arms up in the air. His chest was covered in dark curly hair and there was a thick bush of hair beneath each arm pit. He was standing on the knees of his trackies and they were now so low on his hips that I could see the top of his pubic bush.