Even before that fateful meeting with Kim Fowley at the Sugar Shack, they had known of each other. Cherie had always been in awe of the Suzi Quatro lookalike and reputed badass that was Joan Larkin. Unbeknownst to the said girl, the guitarist had always maintained a slight crush on the cute, blonde teenaged rebel who often came with her sister and danced to Bowie like he was her life. It was more than that though. When their eyes connected, it somehow felt like they had always known each other.
At first, Cherie didn’t understand why Joan looked at her like she wanted to devour her sometimes. The look of intensity in her dark eyes made her shiver, feeling as if she were prey about to be pounced on…sometimes she wondered if she maybe she wanted to be pounced on. When they were alone together, Cherie would avoid her eyes, feeling some sort of thick tension immediately fill the air and swallow her up completely, Joan’s hungry eyes on her, burning into her. She would blush, glancing at the guitarist out of the corner of her eye in time to catch her licking her lips and then she would turn away quickly, the only sound in the room coming from Joan’s heavy breaths.
Deep down, Joan wasn’t all the tough-as-nails, hardened, seemingly devil-may-care type that she gave everyone the impression she was. Sure she was that too but Joan was also the very shy girl with brown hair hiding her face who she first met, the sweetest human being in the world who sat by her bedside all day and night when no one else would, holding her hand when Cherie was in the hospital, who took care of her when she was throwing up and burning with fever during tours. Joan liked all kinds of people and little children and animals. She was sensitive, sweet, kind, perceptive and soft-hearted. Joan cared about other people.
Cherie realized that she probably could never have loved her had she not been this way.
In 1976, the biggest thrills of Joan Jett’s seventeen year old life were performing on a stage, Glam Rock and being with Cherie Currie. Years later, she could never shake off the wistful feeling she got when she thought of those beautiful hours, days, weeks, when she believed that both the band- and herself and Cherie would always last.
Joan had always been naturally paler than the other four girls. It was probably because of her Irish background. Her white skin contrasted perfectly with her jett black hair, giving her the most striking appearance in the band, at least in Cherie’s opinion. There were moments when Cherie woke up, naked in a white motel bed and found herself facing Joan’s strong, pale back, remembering how the raven-haired girl had made her feel hours ago. She couldn’t help but blush, trailing the tips of her fingers over her defined shoulder blades- she didn’t know how was her back so muscular for someone so skinny- and down that perfect, white skin until Joan would shudder slightly and roll over to look at her questioningly before closing her eyes and leaning in to kiss her, smiling through it.
On the outside she seemed diplomatic, a little shy and always, if nothing else, controlled. Unlike Cherie, she knew when to stop drinking and when to lay off the Quaaludes and the coke. But there was another side to her that didn’t come out often. Joan could be rough and sometimes Cherie wasn’t sure whether it excited or terrified her. She decided that the thrill outweighed the fear. Joan would never hurt her voluntarily…but she could be pretty wild. Drugs had the added effect of making Joan lusty and animalistic, all her previous inhibitions suddenly lost. Cherie got to experience that firsthand, when the guitarist shoved her against walls, biting into her neck savagely as her hands clawed at the blonde’s thin body. And she enjoyed it way more than she should have.
Red was the colour she usually associated with Joan. A vivid, aggressive, deep red…crimson….That was her, active, lively, passionate, powerful, and determined.
Joan thought bright colours suited Cherie well. That was her personality: delicate yet dramatic, vibrant, loud, outgoing, youthful, energetic, adventurous…She noticed how the girl automatically gravitated towards an orange jumpsuit as naturally as Joan chose darker colours for her own self.
Joan was a jealous lover.
Cherie soon discovered that the girl was territorial to say the least. Once or twice, her Bowie records were found thrown out of the windows of motel rooms and one or two Aladdin Sane and Ziggy Stardust posters had mysteriously been shredded into pieces. Cherie had been more shocked than angry, to even her own surprise, and maintained her suspicions- surprisingly not of Lita- on these particular occasions. One mention of her undying attraction to Scott Anderson earned her scathing looks and if any man in the crowd got a little too grabby with her, the raven-haired girl would thunder over and scare the living daylights out of him, her Gibson held in her arms like a weapon.
What surprised her more was how much she herself had become quite the green-eyed monster. Granted this happened a lot more rarely than her raven-haired bandmate’s own temper tantrums- or rather blowups. Joan had way too many female groupies for Cherie’s liking and she definitely didn’t like that Lisa “Devil Worship” friend Joan had introduced her to- and not just because she, herself was a Christian.
One night, Cherie had been up until the wee hours of the morning, waiting on Joan to return to their motel room after a concert and had fallen asleep before she got back, all the time worrying and fretting over what had happened to the guitarist. It was quite unusual for Cherie to be this worried over Joan- the blonde was usually totally wrapped up in the drama of her own life and the fact was that she always sort of felt that the older, rough and tough guitarist could handle herself.
She woke up the next morning and frowned, still not seeing Joan there. A trip to Sandy and the others’ room and the drummer led her down the hall to another room where she found Joan Jett asleep, naked with a bottle of something behind her head and four, equally naked and buxom blondes with Farrah Fawcett-esque hair sleeping around her.
Joan awakened, looking sheepish and a little red-faced when she saw Cherie and sputtered, her jaw hanging open. The singer slammed the door on her and marched away furiously. “Cherie?! Wait-“
“What else did you expect?” Sandy put to her frankly, when Cherie reluctantly confessed her dilemma after the drummer found her bawling her head off later that day, not even understanding why she was so upset but unable to stop the endless sobbing and blubbering she was doing. “She’s a rockstar now. Rockers have groupies. That’s just how it is”
Still, Cherie refused to speak to Joan for a week after, rebuked her advances and violently rejected the raven-haired girl from any bed she was in, to much protest and childish whining from said girl.
She noticed with a peculiar feeling of satisfaction that it was the last time she had ever found Joan with other girls- skanks- during their time together.
Joan told herself she wasn’t upset. She was just pissed. Cherie didn’t give a damn about their band and probably never had in the first place…to think she would bail on them when they needed her most. Well fuck that. Fuck everything. She didn’t feel cold and lonely in empty motel rooms. She didn’t eat because she just didn’t feel like. She drank more because she felt like. She cried on the rare occasion because she was just angry.
“Joan!” Lita shouted, “For Godsakes, stop moping around every day, you’re fucking pining over her like she fucking broke your heart or something. Gimme a break!”
“Shut the fuck up” Joan heard herself growl in a deadly voice, sending the lead guitarist a look that made her back away fearfully, “You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about”
She told herself it was okay. It was just like her mom used to say. She was feeling the blues.
Cherie had never imagined she could find brown eyes so attractive, so beautiful and so downright...sexy. When she was a young girl, she imagined falling in love with some guy who had shining green or blue eyes. They were obviously the prettiest and the most stunning, or so she thought.
All of that changed when she was fifteen. No pair of blue eyes could compare to Joan’s dark, soulful, penetrating gaze. She would never think brown eyes were boring again. When Joan was happy they were golden caramel…when she was angry they were piercing amber and dark mahogany red…when she was depressed they were bottomless pits of blackness…and when she was lustful they were smoldering coals burning into Cherie’s skin.
Sandy was the first to know about them. Neither of them had ever explicitly told her but it was sort of an unsaid fact. Joan and Cherie were fucking. It was old news for anyone who knew the band well.
Sandy was a good friend. She never tried to put labels on them. She loved them both and if being with each other that way made them both happy, well how could she tell them not to be together?
Lita’s reaction was the most shocking. At first, as they expected, she was not at all receptive. She told them the last thing the band needed was to be called a “Gay” band, that she didn’t want to be called one for associating with them and explained that they could both catch GRID for engaging in such a acts and die an early and painful death.
Then, one day the redhead arrived for band practice with a bloody lip, a broken nose, a black eye and quite a few scratches. She explained that she had overheard some teenage girls talking about the two of them behind their backs and had refused to take it lying down.
“Those high school whores” She spat, in a furious tone, “Those fuckers called you two-” She looked pointedly from Cherie to Joan, “-fucking faggots...so I showed them!”
At that point Joan realized that Lita might have been a bitch but she was still a friend in her own, violent, unusual way.
Joan knew that technically, you could call them lovers. They were friends-with-benefits so to speak...but she often wondered when she had also, inadvertently become Cherie’s sort of boyfriend- girlfriend- some fucking thing, fuck if she knew. She wasn’t sure why or when it happened but suddenly they were holding hands in public and Joan was carrying her bags and they were wearing each other's clothes and overly-rowdy males who tried to grab at the singer in concert were being kicked in the head.
And the strangest part was that she liked it.