Life After Dark

Chapter 9B

"Uh oh. Did you hear that reaction?" Jordan asked. The second band just finished their last song and were leaving the stage as the crowd went wild with cheers and applause.

"Yeah. It was pretty wild. Way better than what the first band got," Sly added with a frown.

"Well, just because the crowd liked them, doesn’t mean they won't like us, too," Dawn reasoned, peeping around Lucky's shoulder to see if she could get a glimpse of the crowd.

"Maybe. Maybe not. We've got to come out with something better," Lucky said.

"How, man? It's too late to go back and rehearse new material, you know?" Jordan said, nervously tapping his drumsticks against the wall.

Dawn grabbed the drumsticks from him and said, "It may not be too late. Surely, we can come up with something."

"Yeah, but what?" Sly asked, taking the drumsticks from Dawn and giving them back to Jordan.

Jordan nodded his thanks to Sly and began to tap the wall again.

Lucky rubbed his temple and said, "Jordan chill."

Jordan looked at him with a raised eyebrow and continued tapping. Dawn looked from one boy to the other and added, "Please."

Jordan rolled his eyes and stopped tapping. Folding his arms across his chest, he asked, "Well? What should we do? We're up next. I don’t want us to go out like suckers."

"We won't, man. We can't," Lucky said, trying to think of something they could do to make their set original and memorable.

"Hey. I just realized something."

All eyes flew to Sly expectantly. Loving his role as center of attention, he took his time with his idea.

"Sly, we don't have all day. Out with it," Dawn said, slightly irritated.

"The first act and the second have set a pattern of only playing dance tunes, right?" Sly replied.

"Yeah, so?" Lucky said.

"Yeah, so what? We have two slower jams," Jordan said.

"Wait a sec. I think I know what Sly is taking forever to say. Maybe we should play our slower songs first," Dawn said.

"Wow. Brains as well as beauty," Sly said with a grin.

Dawn bowed her head in acknowledgment of his compliment. Then, she frowned and said, "We have two to choose from. Which one should we do first?"

"Eyes, first," Lucky said.

The other three band mates thought about his suggestion and agreed. 'Eyes' was the best choice to sing first. The beat was strong enough to dance to, but not too strong that the entire essence of the song was lost. "You guys are up. Places," the stage manager said to them.

When the stage went to black, DJLS moved to their places onstage. Jordan went to the back to sit behind his drums. Sly moved to the keyboards. Lucky took his place with his bass guitar. Dawn moved to center stage and grabbed the mike.


"That was fun, Nikolas," Emily said, as she and Nikolas left the dance floor. "I didn't know you liked to dance."

"Yeah, I do. Dawn likes it so I've begun to enjoy it, too," Nikolas said as he sat down.

Emily felt herself become tense as she asked, "Who's Dawn?"

"My girlfriend," Nikolas said.

"Do I know her?" Emily asked.

"Oh, I'm sorry. I forgot. She moved here while you were in France. She's in the band with Lucky, Sly and Jordan. She's the 'D,'" he said, with a faraway smile.

As Gina and Tommy returned to the table and sat, Emily remained quiet. Suddenly, sitting at the table with Nikolas wasn’t as much fun as it had been. She abruptly stood and said, "I think I'd better go see how AJ and Keesha are doing."

"Are you sure? DJLS are up next. We have the best seats in the house," Nikolas said, as he moved to stand up, too.

"Yeah, I'm sure," she said with a tight smile. She turned to Gina and Tommy and said, "It was nice meeting you both."

"You, too," Gina said with a smile. Tommy smiled and nodded his agreement.

As Emily left their table, she swallowed the lump in her throat. For the last two years, she'd been in love with Nikolas, but her timing had always been wrong for the feelings to be returned. Watching him as he spoke of this Dawn person, she knew that once again, she was too late.

"Hi, AJ. Keesha. Would it be okay if I joined you again?" Emily asked, as she stood beside their table.

"Sure," AJ said. "Maybe you could help me out here."

Emily forced herself to smile and said, "What do you need?"

"A dance partner. The one I have now says she's too pooped to shake her groove thang anymore," AJ said.

"Um, I don’t know," Emily began tentatively.

Keesha leaned forward and said, "Please, Emily. He's driving me crazy."

Emily laughed and held out her hand to AJ. As he took her hand, she said, "I'm doing this for you, Keesha."

"Oh, I'm hurt," AJ said as he and Emily left the table.

Keesha smiled at AJ and Emily as they moved to find a spot on the crowded dance floor. Closing her eyes, she leaned her head against the back of her seat. She smiled to herself as DJLS was introduced as the next band.


Jason barely acknowledged Robin as she left their table and went in search of Brenda. His mind and his eyes were glued to the table that was less than twenty feet away from him. Despite the people who kept moving back and forth, his eyes never wavered. His complete concentration was centered on Keesha, who sat with her eyes closed and a small smile on her face.

Jason forced himself to remain seated. He wanted to go to her, but after what happened last time, he was hesitant about doing so. Instead, he sat back and savored Keesha's beauty from afar as DJLS began their first song.

"You're just too good to be true
I can't take my eyes off of you
You'd be like heaven to touch
I want to hold you so much
At long last love has arrived
And I thank God I'm alive
You're just too good to be true
I can't take my eyes off of you"

Jason's heart began to come alive in his chest as Keesha slowly opened her eyes. Maybe because he wished it, or maybe because of fate, but whatever the reason, Keesha's eyes found his.

"But in the way that I stare
There's nothing else to compare
The sight of you makes me weak
There are no words left to speak.
But if you feel like I feel
Please let me know that it's real.
You're just too good to be true
I can't take my eyes off of you."

Brown eyes and blue eyes became entranced as neither moved from the other.

"I need you baby
If it's quite alright
I need you baby
To warm the lonely nights
I love you baby
Trust in me
When I say ok (it's ok).

Oh pretty baby
Don't let me down I pray.
Oh pretty baby
Now that I've found you stay.
And let me love you
Oh baby let me love you oh baby."

Keesha's felt her mouth go dry as Jason continued to hold her eyes with his own. Her tongue darted out to moisten her lips. As Jason's eyes left hers to follow the movement of her tongue against her mouth, she felt as if he had physically caressed her.

"You're just too good to be true
I can't take my eyes off of you.
You'd be like heaven to touch
I want to hold you so much.
At long last love has arrived
And I thank god I'm alive.
You're just too good to be true
I can't take my eyes off of you."

She wanted to look away. Her mind screamed at her to do so, but her heart wouldn’t allow it. Her soul demanded that she obey her heart and her eyes remained locked on his.

"I need you baby
And if it's quite alright.
I need you baby
To warm the lonely nights.
I love you baby.
Trust in me
When I say it's ok.

Oh pretty baby
Don't let me down I pray.
Oh pretty baby
Now that I've found you stay.
And let me love you
Oh baby, let me love you, oh baby."

When the song ended, the spell was broken and Keesha forced herself to look away. AJ. She needed AJ, not Jason, she reminded herself.

As the intro to the next song began, she abruptly stood and moved towards the dance floor. If she could just feel AJ's arms around her, everything would be okay. He would make her forget the treacherous longing in her heart for Jason.

"Can’t remember why we fell apart
With something that was so meant to be
Forever was the promise in our hearts
Now, more and more I wonder where you are…"

Her feet touched the dance floor, and her eyes began to scan the space. She was sure that AJ and Emily were on this side of it. Avoiding the dancing bodies, she continued to make her way through the crowd. Someone grabbed her hand. As the tingling sensation flowed through her body, she instinctively knew who had found her.

"Do I ever cross your mind, anytime
Do you ever wake up reaching out for me
Do I ever cross your mind anytime
I miss you…"

"Jason, what are you doing?" she asked, turning to face him.

"Still have your picture in a frame
Hear your footsteps down the hall
I swear I hear your voice, driving me insane
How I wish that you would call
To say…"

"Dance with me, Keesha," he asked, his voice husky with unleashed passion and pent-up emotion.

"Do I ever cross your mind, anytime
Do you ever wake up reaching out for me
Do I ever cross your mind anytime
I miss you…"

"Jason…" she began, but couldn’t finish. Her eyes begged him to…what? Leave or stay? She wasn’t sure and in the next moment, she was in his arms.

"Oh, loneliness and heartache
Oh, cry myself to sleep
Oh, wondering about tomorrow
If you’ll come back to me, come back to me…"

He pulled her close to him and in her ear, breathed, "Thank you."

She wrapped her arms around him and rested her head on his chest.

"Do I ever cross your mind, anytime
Do you ever wake up reaching out for me
Do I ever cross your mind anytime
I miss you…"

With ragged breath he whispered in her ear, "Do you ever wake up reaching out for me, Keesha?"

Her mind vividly recalled her earlier dream and all of the others since their last time together. Refusing to betray herself, she tried to pull away.

"Keesha, don't. Do you? Please. I need to know because I do, Keesha. I wake up every morning, reaching for you…needing you…wanting you," Jason said, his eyes pleading with her and mesmerizing her with the raw passion she saw there.

"Jason, please. Let me go. You have to let me go!" she begged him. When he released her, she ran from the dance floor. Her feet took her to the terrace and she felt relief in the solace she felt there.

She moved further outside and breathed in the night air. As she leaned against the railing to look down on the street below, she willed for her heart to stop racing. For her body to stop hating her for abruptly leaving the gentleness of Jason's touch.


God, when will it end, she silently begged.

"Keesha" came the whispery quiet voice.

She felt herself stiffen as tears began to blur her vision. She softly said, "Jason, please."

Jason felt his heart swell at the quiet plea and he gently pulled her into his arms. A single tear escaped and went unchecked down her cheek. Jason wiped it away with his thumb as he tenderly caressed her cheek.

Endless silent moments began to pass as they simply stared at each other. Then, ever so slowly, Jason lowered his head to take possession of her lips. He felt his entire body tremble as she gave in to his passionate demands. His tongue raked across hers, as they surrendered to the longing that consumed them both.

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