Sara didn’t know this girl, not really. She had come to this grungy bar every damn Friday night just to get a glimpse of her, though. There was something about her that drew Sara in. Her aura? Sure, if you believed in that sort of thing.
Every Friday, through the thick blanket of cigarette smoke and the stench of stale beer, Sara knew that the girl with the messy mop of cherry-red hair would be there, under the stage lights. Eventually, anyway.
She wasn’t sure how she did it. Her name was never anywhere on the gig posters or on the blackboard outside the bar that advertised the set times. But, she knew that despite the constant line-up of guys in shitty metal bands, this girl fought her way onto that stage every week without fail. She took the spotlight, without a band to back her up like the rest of the guys that played before her. She would wrestle with the sound guy, the manager, the rowdy crowd that had begun to move out the door and onto the street if she had to. She argued and swindled until somebody would either cave in defeat, or actually take her seriously. All she wanted, Sara knew, was for someone to take her sound and her guitar seriously. Sara watched the determination set across her face every fucking week.
Sara took her seriously. Perhaps a little too much, she could admit that. She never sang her own songs, they were always covers of the people that clearly inspired her. The Breeders, The Runaways, Sonic Youth. At best, this girl could probably start a Joan Jett cover band. She had fight in her though, and she could stand her ground in the scuffed-up combat boots she always wore. She had strength and spark. She was stubborn. She was not afraid to push until she got what she wanted. Bossy, some might say. Bitchy, others might add but, to Sara, she was neither.
Sara was struck by it. She watched in awe every Friday as the redhead executed everything she did with passion and skill, whether or not anyone was listening. Sometimes, it was just Sara that stayed to hear her set.
This wasn’t really Sara’s scene. The other girl wasn’t exactly ‘her scene’ either, she knew this. Sara wore a Lita Ford shirt while the red-headed girl wore a Bikini Kill crop top that she had obviously handmade herself. There was a difference, okay? But, Sara wanted to be pushed and she wanted to forget life outside the Bar’s shop front in the shitty town she lived in. She longed to be on the list of things that this fiery-haired girl wanted and wouldn’t stop until she had.
She wanted to be hers.
She wasn’t sure what happened exactly. She wasn’t sure what it was that lead Mila to come walking over to her. Of all nights, she wasn’t sure what had made this one any different. She supposed Mila had seen her every week and wondered why she kept coming back. It’s a fair enough curiosity. What she especially was not sure of though, was what had given her the courage to actually speak to Mila in the first place. She had been watching for months and had never said a word. She wasn’t shy exactly, but she wasn’t the type of girl who could just ask for what she wanted and get it like this Mila seemed to be. It was… intimidating. Mila was intimidating.
Mila sidled up next to her at the bar. The smell of tobacco and White Musk immediately enveloped Sara in a non-physical embrace that just made her want. She wanted to get closer to this girl. There was no way she could get closer, but the light, cloudy scent that drifted along with her put Sara’s brain into a dizzy spell. She wanted to fall and she wanted this stranger to catch her. There was no way to explain it and no time to sit and deconstruct it. She just had to speak. Speak now, Sara .
“Buy you a drink?” She had aimed to sound confident but her question had come out as hesitant and soft, turning up an octave at the end which she knew would indicate that she was unsure. Fuck. Fuck this overthinking and just speak.
Mila let out a soft chuckle. “I don’t hardly know you,” she smirked. Sara noticed that she looked different under this light and up close, not washed out by the red-tinted hues surrounding the stage near the back of the building. Her skin was pale, much lighter than her own. She had a couple of light freckles spattered across her cheeks, peeping out from below a light covering of makeup and her red-painted lips were rosebud, rounded perfectly at her cupid’s bow. She didn’t want to stop staring at that mouth. God.
“ You sat next to me ,” Sara half-heartedly accused.
“And you think I’m the kind of girl who will accept a drink from a stranger?” Mila raised a perfect eyebrow in question.
“Maybe not from a man…” Sara offered, giving her a soft and hopeful smile.
“You may be right, there.” Mila half-admitted. She looked Sara over, not even trying to hide her lingering gaze. Her icy blue eyes dragged down-up-down and back up again to meet Sara’s. Sara wasn’t sure that she would ever breathe again. “Tell you what, I’ll pour the drinks myself and you’ve got yourself a deal.” Mila spoke so freely as she gave a devious-looking smirk. She was suddenly up off of her bar stool and grabbing glasses from behind the bar.
Sara must have looked bewildered and a little worried. That’s nothing new, really. She was often worried. But Mila let out a laugh that was a musical tune in and of itself, Sara thought. “I work here,” Mila explained, half-shrugging and pulling the tap on the bar so that beer would stream into one of the glasses. She set one drink down in front of Sara before joining her again with her own drink.
“Is this how you end up there every week?” Sara slightly gestured with her eyes towards the stage.
Mila shrugged again, “Sort of. I’m also the only bartender that willingly works holidays and weekends. I help keep this place standing, they owe me.”
Sara simply nodded as she drank.
“What’s your name?” Mila cocked her head to the side, unabashedly curious.
“Oh, I’m Sara,” she said, her lips and nose halfway in her beer-glass anyway.
Mila smiled and in the dim light of the bar, Sara swore that her eyes fucking sparkled . “I’m Mila,” she stated matter-of-factly.
The tanned tones of Sara’s face tinted pink, reaching her ears as her heart flipped a little inside her chest. “I know,” she just about whispered.
Mila was a whirlwind of a girl. Sara wasn’t exactly sure how but, she was now standing in the living room of Mila’s apartment and she had undoubtedly agreed to this. She stood somewhat shyly in the doorway as Mila flicked lights on. The light revealed the scene of two flustered boys looking back up at Mila, blinking and gaping as if she had committed a heinous crime. Mila pretended to gag at the sight of the slight, blonde shirtless boy with smudged eyeliner smeared down his pale cheeks and his… boyfriend? Sara guessed. The other boy who had muscles and an undercut had a gag in his mouth and seemed to be the more bashful of the two, his cheeks flushing a slight pink tone. He averted Mila’s gaze, while the blonde challenged her.
“Mila, what the fuck?” He stood, grabbing some thin fabric from the living room floor. His shirt?
“You know the rules, kiddo. In your room, don’t disturb me, I won’t disturb you and your weird kink-fests that go on in there,” she rolled her eyes as she moved throughout the room and through an archway that lead down the main hall. “You coming?” She raised an eyebrow as she asked in Sara’s direction.
“It’s your job to make sure that she does,” The blonde boy rolled his eyes and dragged his partner down the hall.
“I’m sorry about that,” Mila half-whispered once the sound of a door slammed at the other end of the apartment. “I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable or anything. But, that’s Yuri. You just had the pleasure of meeting my best friend and roommate. Ignore him.” She gave a genuine, apologetic smile. Sara hadn’t realised she was as tense as she had been until she felt herself begin to relax a little.
“I’m okay,” Sara gave a small smile. She couldn’t really believe that she was standing here, in front of her, in her home . “I’m okay, if you are,” she added.
“This way, gorgeous.” Mila outstretched her hand. Sara took it, lacing her fingers though Mila’s. Her hands were cold from the night air outside, but they were soft. Like velvet. Sara’s own skin felt tingly as flutters flew rampant within her stomach and heart.
Mila lead the way to her room.