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Baby Rock

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Her fingers were stained with ink.

Blots of dark puddles smeared around the tips, bleeding through the paper in front of her. She’s writing fast, she’s not writing enough. Her breath hitched in her throat, instantly folding the paper into the palm of her hands into a tight ball, discarding it with a careless grunt. The words are never enough, too overused. A fucking cliche. Just like you. Shaking her head clear, Carmilla ran her palms over her face, the exhaustion in her shoulders weighing her down like an anchor being dropped into the bottom of the ocean. She was never going to find the right words. The right way to make anything come out.

She hadn’t been able to write anything new in almost two years.

The sounds of the world around her slowly hit her ears. A car alarm blaring from somewhere down the street. Strangers feet stomping down the hallway. An elevator dinging open and a distant group of laughter creeping from underneath her door before quieting down. The sound of the television she left on all night echoing from the bedroom. She had forgotten, that time always somehow slowed down when she was trying to write and always sped up the moment the fog in her brain lifted. Curling her back, Carmilla stretched her arms over her head, elbows bending in relief at the cracking in her joints. The disconnected parts of her slowly snapping back together as she pushed herself from the paper littered desk. Boots crunching over words that she scribbled on paper and wanted to flush and forget about. She’d clean that later.

Reaching the bedroom, Carmilla tore her shirt over her head, needing a shower to wash the filth of her disappointed cliches down the drain. She’d start again tomorrow. Or maybe never. Her ears picked up the sound of the television again, listening to the all too familiar pop song that was playing. Her eyes lingered on the screen, watching the music video, cringing at the awkward dancing and lip synching. The glitter eyeshadow. The bright colors that S C R E A M E D bubble gum POP.

Her hand slammed the tv off.
She fucking hated that song.
She needed a hot shower.
The lyrics would have to wait.


“Tell me why we’re here again?” Eyebrows raised above a pair of dark sunglasses, Carmilla scowled slightly into her whiskey. This was not her idea of going out, sitting in a dank bar that smelt like vomit and piss. unwashed bodies and sweat. “and I don’t want to hear anything about any kind of sisterly bonding bullshit.”

“I’m not interested in your brooding dramatics Mircalla.” Barely touching the glass of wine sitting in front of her, Mattie’s threat cut through Carmilla’s scowling. Too busy fiercely typing away on her phone without so much as a glance towards her sister and her growling into her nearly empty cup at the name.

“How many times have I told you not to call me that?” Slamming the empty glass down on the table, Carmilla ignored the looks from others around them in the dark bar. She was still far too sober to be dealing with her sister that night. Her head was aching, eyes burning from the lack of alcohol and sleep in her system. “Mattie, if you have no better reason for us being here I’m going to-”

Calmly placing her now forgotten phone on the table, Mattie took the glass of wine between her fingers, regarding her younger sister with an unamused look. “You’re going to what? Throw another rockstar fit and throw the table over? Maybe break a few glasses? Or better yet-” Leaning across the table, Mattie’s voice dipped dangerously low enough to make the other girl curl back in her seat ever so slightly.” Do your own interpretation of Coyote Ugly on the bar again? Because that was a fun mess I’d rather not clean up twice.” Easing back into her own chair, Mattie’s eyes flickered back towards the stage, her own irritation growing. “I might be your sister and manager but sometimes I get sick of wiping your ass all the time Mircalla.”

Breathing out, Carmilla shook the melting ice in her glass around, biting down hard enough on her tongue to almost draw blood. She was in no mood to get into a full fledged argument with her sister in the middle of satan’s pit stain of a bar. Ignoring Mattie’s previous words, Carmilla changed the subject, leaning a leather clad elbow on the table. “Are you at least going to tell me why you dragged me into this grease pit?”

Pressing long fingers to her temples, Mattie kept her eyes on the stage, as if she were willing someone to magically appear. Carmilla narrowed her eyes on the other woman, watching the delicate tapping of her nails against her face, her long fingers swiping over her mouth. This wasn’t some sisterly night out. No this was…

“Mattie, no.”

“Excuse me?” Droning out a tired sigh, Mattie barely glanced at the girl next to her. Carmilla instantly whipped her sunglasses off, tossing them face up as she pointed her finger against the table top. Growling each word underneath her breath.

“You better tell me that you didn’t drag me out here to this shit hole for some open mic night.” When Mattie pressed her lips further together around her glass of wine, Carmilla took another deep breath. Slowly counting down to calm her nerves and whatever gods above to keep her from losing the last thread of patience she had left. “You’re unbelievable. The last thing I want to be doing is spending my night listening to a bunch of whiny children plucking at three chords covering Taylor Swift songs.” Gathering her glasses and phone from the table, Carmilla shoved them into the pockets of her leather jacket, chair scraping on the grimy bar floor. Mattie’s voice however, stopped her from even taking a step backwards.

“Make like a magnet and drop your ass back into that seat. Now.” Speaking through gritted teeth, Mattie spoke in a deep voice that still made Carmilla almost piss her pants. Even as an adult, it was enough for Carmilla to rethink her exit towards the door and slowly plop down into her seat. It still didn’t stop her from curling her lips up at the back of her sisters head, instantly shoving her sunglasses on, grumbling underneath her breath. She sat through five (as she predicted) Taylor Swift covers, one decent Nirvana song, and something Carmilla could only describe as “a fucking goat screaming in pain.” Pissed pants or not, she was ready to leave. Mattie’s anger was more appealing to deal with than the headache pounding in her temples. She was about to open her mouth, when she noticed her sitting up straighter as the lights dimmed again. Carmilla squinted her eyes towards the small stage again, watching as a tiny brunette stepped out. She held an acoustic guitar that was almost comically bigger than her.

“Hello, how’s everyone doing?” Clearing her throat, the small girl spoke nervously into the mic, laughing in her own clear discomfort. Her hands ran over the cords a few times, clearly trying to find her own ease on stage, sitting on a tiny stool that squeaked everytime she squirmed. “My name’s Laura and this song is called Adore You. I uh, I hope you like it.” Clearing her throat once more, Laura, strummed her guitar, closing her eyes to seemingly block out the unenthusiastic crowd in front of her, all the bunched up nerves in her arms slowly relaxing. Leaning forward, she sang into the mic, her small voice echoing off the walls of the bar.

I'm just gonna stand with my bag hanging off my left arm
I'm just gonna walk home kicking stones at parked cars
But I had a great night, 'cause you kept rubbing against my arm
I'm just gonna stand with my bag hanging off my left arm.

Laura’s eyes remained closed, but Carmilla was drawn to her face. The raise in her eyebrows at certain words. The small sway in her shoulders as she ran her fingers up the neck of her guitar smoothly. The way her face scrunched up slightly as she lost herself in the simple sound of her acoustic. Her chipped nail polished fingers pulling at the strings so effortlessly. Carmilla’s own fingers itched against the ripped jeans of her knees, mimicking the chords over her legs easily. She didn’t notice the look her sister gave her as the small brunette on stage continued to play.

Get me a drink, I get drunk off one sip
Just so I can adore you
I want the entire street out of town
Just so I can be alone with you
Now go when you're ready
My head's getting heavy
Pressed against your arm
I adore you

All of my money is spent on these nights, just so we can hang out
Squeezing in and out of these dresses, I wanna be found by you
Found by you
I kick the gutter in tight shorts, basketball courts
Watch me, watch her talk to girls
I'm known as a right-hand slugger
Anybody else wanna touch my lover?

Carmilla watched as Laura’s eyes finally opened, honey eyes blazing a little brighter than before. Comfort sat on her bones, her body more relaxed as confidence shot through her. Fingers gripping her guitar with more ease, taking a breath as her eyes scanned the bar at all the faces, almost ghosting over Carmilla’s. Small voice growing swallowing the small bar over the end of the chorus.

Get me a drink, I get drunk off one sip
Just so I can adore you
I want the entire street out of town
Just so I can be alone with you
Now go when you're ready
My head's getting heavy
Pressed against your arm
Just to adore you, I adore you

Licking her lips, Laura’s face scrunched into a shy smile, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear as she thanked the crowds enthusiastic applause. While Laura talked, something instantly hit Carmilla as she turned towards Mattie who had yet to be moved from her seat, her fingers stroking over her lips in thought, whispering to her. “Mattie, I just realized something. Is that…”

“Laura Hollis? Yes.”

That Laura Hollis?”

“Mmmhmm.” Keeping her eyes on the stage, Mattie crossed her legs easily, holding her wine glass in her hands. The wheels clearly turning in her head as Laura started to play another song, a smirk growing across her lips.

“She’s going to be your new opening act darling.”