Home > The Mixtape(9)

The Mixtape(9)
Author: Brittainy C. Cherry

The chatter grew and grew, and it was clear that they were all annoyed beyond understanding. I glanced outside the window, and it looked as if the streets were littered with people—something that only happened after a concert or a game ended, but it was only eight thirty. The late-night crowd shouldn’t have been out already.

“I can’t believe that. I paid over four hundred bucks for those tickets!” one hollered.

“What a piece of shit. I can’t believe he didn’t show,” another barked. “They better be giving refunds.”

“Oliver Smith is complete trash. I can’t believe you talked me into even thinking about going to that lame show.”

At the name “Oliver Smith,” the man’s head tilted up, and I caught his eyes. Those caramel-colored eyes that I’d been obsessed with in my past. His eyes widened and looked a bit panicked as he heard his name mentioned. Then he curved his shoulders more, tugged on his baseball cap, lowering it even more over his eyes, and wiped his finger against the bridge of his nose.

I was frozen in place.

More people entered the bar, and still, my feet were superglued to that very spot.

“Don’t stare,” he whisper-hissed, his voice becoming even more clear. That deep smoky sound was something I’d listened to over and over again on his albums. Oliver Smith was wasted in my bar, and a storm of upset concertgoers were surrounding him without any idea that it was him they surrounded.

“I’m, I’m sorry. I, it’s just . . .” I was stuttering like a lunatic. Holy freaking crap. I’d had dreams like this. Dreams where I’d run into my idol in a very low-key way and pour my heart and soul out to him while we shared a drink. Then, of course, we fell in love and he wrote a song about me, which I shared with our great-great-grandchildren years down the road.

Though this wasn’t exactly the perfect dream.

Reality never is.

That night Oliver was unwelcoming.

And maybe sad?

Most people who drank that much alone often had a little bit of sadness in them. I couldn’t blame him for that. I’d be sad all the time if I’d gone through what he had, especially in the public eye. After Alex passed away, I read some of the hateful comments people made about Oliver. If it were me, I would’ve wanted to die myself. I was sure he blamed himself enough—the last thing he needed was the whole world to blame him too.

“I’m sorry, I just . . . how can I help you?” I asked with my shaky voice.

His shoulders rounded forward even more as if weight was being placed against him every few seconds. He nudged his glass in my direction.

“Right, of course. Another one. I’ll be right back.”

I hurried over to the bar and grabbed the bottle of whiskey, then took it back to his table, set it right down, and poured a glass. “There you go.”

He didn’t reply, so I awkwardly stood there, gawking like a fool.

It wasn’t until he looked up toward me with a cocked eyebrow of confusion that I shook out of my stance.

“Right, of course. Okay.”

I hurried off back behind the bar, flustered and nervous as I tried to get all the new customers their drinks. Business was busy to the point that it was almost impossible to keep up, and I would’ve killed to have Joey there to assist me. But then again, I powered through as I thought about the tips I’d receive. Plus, Oliver freaking Smith was fifty feet away from me. Drunk, sad, and still, somehow perfect.

The fangirl in me wanted to ask him a million questions about what made him write certain songs, but I kept myself together. The last thing I needed was to make a scene.

As the night went on, people started putting their dollars into the jukebox machine. Even though it was refreshing to hear different music, I wished the crowd didn’t have such awful taste for bubblegum pop.

Each time I glanced over to Oliver’s booth, more of the whiskey in the bottle was missing.

What happened to him that night, and how did he end up at Seven?

The crowd kept talking complete crap about Alex & Oliver—mainly Oliver—and I couldn’t imagine what it must’ve felt like to sit there and listen to the putdowns. If it were me, I would’ve snapped—or, well, cried. The more and more Oliver drank, the more tense he became. Hours passed, and people still kept bringing up his name.

It was as if they had nothing better to talk about than the superstar who’d crashed and burned.

“Honestly, it pisses me off that Alex died and Oliver didn’t,” a big, broad-shouldered man commented as he took a shot. “He was the better brother. I always thought Oliver was odd. Besides, their music was trash.”

“As if you know shit about good music!” Oliver barked before he downed the remaining brown liquor in his glass.

The big man tilted his head toward Oliver. “What did you just say?”

“I said”—Oliver stood up, rolled his shoulders back, and stumbled a bit before removing his hat and wiping his hand across his lips—“that you don’t know shit about good music. You’ve been playing the same clichéd bar songs for the past two hours.”

Oh boy. This can’t be good.

The room instantly broke out into shouts as people realized the drunken man in the corner booth was indeed the very Oliver Smith they’d been shitting on for the past two hours.

“I mean, r-r-really,” Oliver slurred, picking up the whiskey bottle and taking a long swig. He walked in the direction of the guy, who was at least twice his size, and poked him in the chest. “I’m s-sick of listening to your bullshit.”

Oliver was smashed, and him approaching the guy talking to him made me nervous. The man was a freaking rock. He had muscles on muscles that were probably growing baby muscles. The guy was a beast, and if Oliver had been a tad bit sober, he never would’ve challenged such a man.

People stood around on their cell phones, recording the whole interaction, and I hurried from around the bar because I knew things were about to get worse before they got better.

“You’re sick of me? I’m sick of you, asshole!” Big Guy shoved Oliver, who went stumbling backward; the only reason he didn’t hit the ground was because the table caught him. “You must think you’re a big deal, huh? Because you’re rich and famous, you think you can fuck all of us out of our time and money, man?” he hissed at Oliver.

Oliver scrambled to his feet and shook his head as if he was trying to unblur his vision. Yet, based on the amount of liquor flowing through his body, I doubted any amount of head shaking would make things clear.

“I don’t”—he pushed Big Guy—“appreciate”—shove—“being pushed.” Both hands landed on Big Guy’s chest, and Oliver pushed with all his might and got nowhere. “Geez, what are you made of? Steel?”

“Muscle, you dick.”

“Oh. Well, fuck. You got me beat on the fighting avenue,” Oliver concluded, which made me happy. The last thing I needed was to tell Joey how a brawl broke out in his bar between a rock star and a rock.

I was glad Oliver was stepping down and that he realized the fight wasn’t worth having.

At least that’s what I thought.

Oliver nodded toward Big Guy’s lady, and a smirk hit his lips. “You might be stronger than me, but I bet I’d screw your girl better than you.”

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