This is the seventh part of a twelve-part story called Ten at the Trio. It takes place in and around the Chicago area in the Spring of 2000. It is dedicated to everyone I have ever gone to an Alkaline Trio show with. For previous parts go here.

Brandywine Blue room

Ten at the Trio

VII. Tuck me away from everything

Just 24 hours ago she was here, lying next to him on his bed. Less than 24 hours ago…leopard print underwear and a blue bra – wash day she said. What the hell did he care? Less than 24 goddamn hours. He had had a crush on her when they first met two years ago and here they were, lit only by the streetlight coming through the window, no one else in the house, a CD she made him playing in the background. Dawn. In his bed. Close to naked. He had seen this image float through his waking hours time and time again. He was afraid to touch her lest she disappear, but he did, running his fingers gently over her face, through her hair, across her lips.

And then came the shouting and knocking on the front door. Damn it. Kevin. Of course. Now he shows up. Charlie had called him earlier in the night to see if he was up for doing something, but he only wanted to go to the bars and Charlie didn’t feel like going to the bars. Shortly after that conversation Dawn had called, looking to come over. She showed up with a six-pack of sugar-flavored malt beverages and a freshly made mix CD on which she had written “Charlie Rocks!” in black ink. They went up to his room to listen to it. She admired the upside-down American flag and the painted over poster of Uncle Sam that read “Big Brother is Watching You.” The night was hot and the air was still. He tried desperately to get the air-conditioning to work but all it did was blow hot, stale-smelling air, making it worse. He threw open the windows and she started to strip down. He remained fully clothed but slid beneath the sheet with her. It had been several months since she had broken up with Lewis, who just happened to be one of Charlie’s best friends as well as his housemate. Clavicle was playing as she took off her t-shirt. The conflicting desires of respecting his friendship and indulging his long-time fantasy converged and exploded in a fit of inactivity.

And then Kevin showed up.

Charlie feigned sleep, but Kevin didn’t stop pounding and yelling, so Charlie went to the window, rubbing his eyes, speaking as if he had been far from this world, but it was useless. Kevin was drunk and wouldn’t leave. Charlie went downstairs to let him in. Kevin insisted on a drink. The only thing in the house being the untouched malt beverages, Charlie offered the entire six-pack if he would simply leave. Giving no acknowledgment to the offer, Kevin opened a bottle, using his shirt to remove the cap, and settled in on the well-worn couch that had began its life white but was now an ashen grey. Finally, as Charlie stood staring wordlessly, Kevin had a revelation.

“Wait. Do you got a girl up there?”

“Well, yeah.”

“Why didn’t you say something? Sorry man, I’ll catch you later.”

As Kevin was halfway through the door Dawn strolled down the stairs wearing only a t-shirt that ended at the tops of her thighs. Kevin was also friends with Lewis and Charlie. Dawn played it cool, but who knew what Kevin made of the scene.

After he left Charlie and Dawn went back up to bed, but it had become only a place to sleep. The CD had ended and so had any possibility.

“Damn! Damn! Damn!” Charlie said though clenched teeth, slamming his fist into the mattress.

There was a knock at his bedroom door.

“Hey, are we picking Dawn up on the way to the show or is she meeting us here?” Lewis asked.

“I don’t know. You might want to call her and check.”

“Cool.”

Lewis left Charlie staring into the mirror, shaking his head. He laid back in the bed and pressed play to start the CD from the beginning.

End of Part VII

Part VIII

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