“Ouch!” I exclaim with what sounds like a small whimper just as my older brother puts a band aid on my left cheek, the place where Bacchus’ fist first hit me a short time ago. There’s a dull pain left in cheek, on the outside as well as the inside, which make me growl quietly in discomfort and irritation.
I’m stuck at my workplace for now - my older brother’s record store; Iron Records, a store that specializes in vinyl records and other music. I have managed to change into clothes way more fitting for my surroundings, a black Ramones T-shirt and a pair of dark jeans with a single chain hanging from them - not to mention to leather bracelet, of course. So overall it’s a completely different style from what I wear to school. My hair, on the other hand, is still pulled back in a pony tail since I like it that way, though my bangs are still covering just about half of my face - my right half.
However, as I changed my clothes, my brother walked in on me and saw all my fresh bruises.
So now I’m sitting here, on a chair by the counter, while my older brother takes care of my visible bruises.
“How did you say this happened, again?” my brother asks with a skeptical look in his red eyes that match my own.
“I already told you! I fell down the stairs, okay,” I mutter as I avert my glare somewhere else - anywhere else but my big brother, really. He knows me better than anyone else, and he is probably the person in this world that knows when I’m lying.
“Well, with your clumsiness that’s no surprise to me, really,” he points out as he closes the box with the first aid kit once again, “I swear, I know no one else who is half as clumsy as you, not even Levy.”
“It’s the truth, buddy,” he says with a small grin before he shrugs his broad shoulders a bit, while I just watch him in silence for now. My older brother is merely seven years older than me, but he’s way bigger, stronger and taller than me. He looks like he could kill, really. His hair is black, just like mine, and it’s way longer - all the way down his back, in fact, in some kind of wild, untamed hairstyle. He has a tons of piercings, not only in his face, but just about everywhere on his body - as far as I know. He wears pretty much nothing but black clothes, something I would also do if it didn’t mean an even bigger reason to pick on me at uni - I had been called “emo” for the first year because I wore nothing but black and dark gray for a year.
“Anyway, I have an errand I need to run, can you take care of the store while I’m away?” he asks as he stands after having sat down on a chair while he tended to my wounds. I just blink my eyes a few times while I comprehend what he just asked of me - he’s usually very overprotective when it comes to his store, and he’s never left me all by myself in it before.
“Eh, are you sure?” I ask with a raised eyebrow, “I mean, this store is like your baby, Gajeel.”
“Yeah, and you’re my baby brother, shouldn’t I be able to trust you with my store for just half an hour?” he points out while he puts the first aid kit away somewhere behind the counter, “You’re nineteen, not seven, I’m sure you can handle it.”
I’m somewhat flattered that my brother actually trusts me enough to take care of the store. We’ve never really been the best of friends, since we’re both stubborn as hell, and have temper - but I’d like to point out that Gajeel is worse than me, he once threw a chair through a window in anger - the window was closed, for your information, which left us a massive bill.
Since our parents died seven years ago, Gajeel has been the one to take care of me, and I keep believing that I owe him everything, because without him I would have been sent to the orphanage where I could have spent my days looking out a window, whilst no one was going to adopt me - because who wants a Scarface?
No, okay, I haven’t had this scar my whole life, I actually got it five years ago.
“Alright, I think I can handle it, it’s not like there’s a lot of customers today anyway,” I say with a cocky grin on my face, which just makes a small vein pop on Gajeel’s forehead.
“Hey! What’s that supposed to mean?! People just don’t understand true quality when it comes to music!” he claims, with a voice that completely drowns out the music that’s being played in the store.
“Oh, I didn’t mean anything by it,” I say as I raise my hands ever so slightly in defense, though my brother is well aware that it’s a lie.
“Tch, don’t make me regret leaving my store with you, Rogue, I’ll be back in half an hour! You better not have burned it to the ground meanwhile…” He grabs his black trench coat hanging on his chair and puts it on, even though it’s not exactly cold outside.
“Yeah, yeah, you can count on me,” I sigh heavily as I wave my older brother off. The bell rings as he leaves out through the door, leaving me behind - just me, and the music blasting from the speakers hanging everywhere in the store, playing Lithium by Nirvana for now - some music I can actually handle, apart from the songs playing in the radio lately.
I stand up from where I’m sitting and stretch my back a little bit, though I’m feeling kinda numb in all those places that I’ve been beaten up by Bacchus and the other jocks, something I could never tell my older brother. I have no idea how he would react if he actually knew that I was being bullied, so whenever something happens, I just blame it on my clumsiness, and I’m amazed that he still believes me.
I’ve come home with bruises from falling down stairs, rice in my bag from me buying a pack of rice, only to find it ripped inside my bag as I brought it home - oh, not to mention being soaked from head to toe by a sudden downpour on my way back from school, just to mention a few incidents. Sometimes I’m glad that my brother has a thick skull.
“Oh well, guess I could do my brother a favor and sort some of the new vinyl records that just came in from the last shipment. This store mainly sells vinyl records, but we do also have quite a few CDs and music instruments and parts. The floor consists of dark wood that is a little bit sticky from time to time, which is disgusting and I swear, if I hadn’t been working in this store then my brother would never have his store cleaned and it would be a complete mess. I find myself washing the floor every other day lately.
Anyway, the gray walls in the store are decorated with old concert posters, framed autographs and pictures from some of all the concerts and signings my brother has been to. I do, in fact, envy him just a little bit. I enjoy music quite a lot, and I would love to be able to go to more concerts than I already do, but it’s no fun when the only person you know who could go with you is your older brother, who would rather go with his tiny girlfriend.
I don’t feel like being a third wheel, no thanks.
I make my way behind the counter to pick up an unopened box of new vinyl records that Gajeel still hasn’t found the time to check out and sort into their rightfully places in the store. I place it on the counter and rip it open only to let my eyes gaze over the stack of beautiful, untouched Ramones vinyl records. They’re completely new, and I do find it quite funny that vinyl records have become a trend again, even though CDs are way more practical - there’s just something about these vinyl records that just can’t be replaced by anything.
“Alright, let’s find a place for you guys,” I say to myself as I pick up the box and bring it to the section for punk rock vinyl. I stop in just about the middle of the store where all our other Ramones vinyls are stored and a small sigh leaves my lips. I like Ramones quite a lot, so it’s a joy for me to know that they’re not stored away somewhere in the back of the store.
The music from the speakers changes to The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance, and I quietly start humming along almost instantly while I put the vinyls in their rightful places in the record racks in front of me. I’m thankful that I’m all alone in the store right now, because it would be embarrassing if anyone saw me humming along, as well as moving my body a little bit to the rhythm while storing the vinyls.
There aren’t a lot of customers in the store at this time of the day, so I usually take the opportunity to clean the shelves, the floor and the racks - of course I can’t exactly do that now, since I’m the only one in the store - apart from the sound of Gerard Way’s voice.
I suddenly hear the bell ring as someone enters the store, and first off I’m confident that it must be Gajeel returning from his errand, though it has barely been ten minutes. I furrow my brows a little bit as I turn around, “That was fa—…” I immediately shut up as I see an all too familiar face of the person who just stepped into the store, and I instantly kneel down behind the record racks I have just been sorting vinyl records into.
“There’s no way,” I whisper quietly to myself as I carefully look forward from my hiding place as I try not to be noticed by the blond guy standing at the door. He seems to look around, as if he’s looking for something or someone - he probably needs assistance, but I refuse to let him see me. Hell, I don’t even know what he’s doing here, him of all people, the alpha male, Sting Eucliffe. He is still carrying his guitar on his back, so my guess would be that he needs help with something regarding that instrument of his.
He’s wearing a pair of dark, ripped jeans, a black leather jacket with countless of rivets on it, and a T-shirt underneath with some logo that’s hard to distinguish from my given position. He’s wearing quite a lot of accessories, including piercings in his lip as well as his left eyebrow - opposite to the side where a small scar is running across it. His shoes consist of a pair of black army boots, completing the whole outfit.
“Shit, shit, fuck, crap,” I hiss at myself as soon as the alpha male starts making his way around the store, looking around with a pair of curious, blue eyes, like he’s never been in a record store before - well, I’ve never seen him in this record store, at least, but then again; I don’t hang around here all the time.
I don’t understand why, but he seems to have a smile on his face for some reason, and something that seems like small stars in his eyes, as he makes his way around the store. However, as soon as he gets somewhat close to the place I’m hiding, I sneak my way around the record isle, thanking God that I didn’t trip over my own hands and feet since I am, very much, crawling on all fours in order to not be noticed.
“Hello? Anyone here?” the alpha male then calls out, even though he doesn’t seem to mind waiting a little bit longer, since he’s like immersed in the many different kinds of CDs, vinyls and whatnot around him.
“God dammit, Gajeel wont be back for another fifteen minutes,” I cuss at myself.
Of all people in the whole world, I didn’t expect the alpha male to step into the store, yet alone since he’s always swarmed by other people wanting his attention. No, as I might have mentioned before, I have never spoken to Sting Eucliffe, and I most definitely don’t want to, because from what I have experienced from his so-called friends, they do all seem to like to make fun of me by calling me by my oh so famous nickname.
“Aw, come on! There has to be someone in here, man?!” Sting groans as he runs one of his hands through his all too sparkly, blond hair, and he undoubtedly looks like someone from a L’Oréal commercial.
I’m about to hiss quietly and reposition myself since my foot is slowly falling asleep - however, clumsy as always, I manage to fall over, even though I was already crouched down on the floor. My body collides with the floor, as if I haven’t gotten enough bruises today, and my cover is blown since the music from the speakers wasn’t loud enough to drown out the bump.
“Ugh,” I growl quietly as I sit on the floor on my ass, glaring at my leg that betrayed me by falling asleep at the worst time imaginable, and now I’m completely sure that that I’ll be found out by Sting - everyone will know that Scarface works at Iron Records, which is fucking great! It wouldn’t surprise me if the jocks at the school would use it against me, or maybe even let their anger out on my brother’s store - which would be a dick move.
“Whoa, hey there!” I hear a rather cheery voice say and as soon as I look to the side, I make eye contact with the blond male, much to my dismay, “You work here, right? Oh, are you alright?”
I might or might not be just a little bit surprised that he actually seems kinda nice to me, even though I’m the infamous Scarface that everyone seems to talk about at school, but instead of answering him I just turn my face away as I somehow manage to get on my legs.
“Anyway, how can I help you?” I ask before forcing myself to look at the stranger, even though I do very well know his name, a little bit too well, in fact. Our eyes meet, blue to red, and for a few seconds he just stands and stares at me with much confusion in his eyes - bewilderment, or slight wonder.
“Oh! Right, you see, I’m in so much trouble,” he starts off with an annoyed growl, “I broke my last G-string earlier today, and I have a huge gig tonight with my band, so I just thought that maybe I would be able to—…”
By the time he stops talking I think he realizes that I’m just staring at him with wide eyes and burning, red cheeks for some reason, as I am pretty sure I’m misunderstanding something.
“Your… What, broke?” I ask in utter confusion, and before I know it, a wide grin spreads on the other male’s face which sends shivers down my spine - I’m sure I’m going to regret this.
“Mhm? G-strings not your forte, handsome?” he asks with a teasing grin on his face, and you can completely forget about the G-string part - did he just call me handsome, of all things?
He’s teasing me, isn’t he?
“What are you even—…”
“Well, that is a major development, maybe if you have a minuet we could step outside for a quick break?” he continues, and I find myself unable to say anything in return in order to stop him from whatever he’s doing, because this is probably the silliest thing I’ve heard all day - no, all week. I’m amazed that he doesn’t stop talking when he sees my unamused glare staring back at him.
“Oh, perhaps you’re having treble with your vocal chords? You’re not really in tune with what’s going on? O-boe-y!” he says with a cheeky grin on his lips, a grin that is starting to annoy me just a little bit, not to mention a lot.
“… Give it a rest with the music puns, geez,” I say and roll my eyes at him, not exactly interested.
“Ow, you catch on quickly, handsome!” he laughs just before he takes his guitar off his back, “No, but let’s be serious here, I need a new G-string for my guitar.”
“Why didn’t you just say that to begin with?” I ask with a skeptical look in my eyes.
“Well—… Wait, what did you think I was talking about?” he asks in confusion as he looks after me while I’m making my way up to our shelves with instrument parts, including strings for guitars.
“Damn, if there’s something I hate it’s when strings break,” I sigh slightly annoyed while I find a fresh pack of strings that would suit the other male’s guitar.
“Oh, you play as well?” he asks with a smile as I turn around to face him once again. I am still very much surprised by the fact, that he’s actually kind to me, and he hasn’t even called me by my nickname yet, which is amazing.
“I used to,” I reply as I hand him the pack of guitar strings, “These should fit your guitar, I believe you know how to string it, right?”
“Oh, you betcha’!” he grins widely, “Say, what’s your name, pretty?”
Now, this is confusing - does he really not know who I am? Maybe it is true that the fewest people at the school know my real name, but even so he should still be able to know that I’m Scarface, right? It’s not possible that he can be that dumb. Besides, what’s with the compliments? Does he just like to torment people? Make people believe they’re actually worth something before he tears them down and steps on their newly-found self-esteem?
“Rogue,” I answer shortly and cross my arms over my chest with the same, skeptical look in my red eyes.
“Why did you stop playing, Rogue?” he asks with a sly smile.
“None of your business, really,” I growl lowly at him before making my way up to the counter so that he will be able to pay for his strings and leave the store before I kick him out, or before he realizes who I am.
“Aw, why are you being such a party pooper?” he asks as he walks to the other side of the counter and fishes his wallet up from his back pocket. His wallet is a rather worn, black leather wallet with a chain in it, connecting it to the belt in his pants.
A small part of me might feel a little bit guilty at the fact that I probably haven’t been treating him fair, compared to the way he’s been treating me, even if he’s been teasing me about my looks ever since he laid his eyes on me, “Fine, what kind of gig are you having tonight?” I ask in order to maybe lift the mood just a little bit, and it seems to be working, because the grin is immediately back on his lips as he pays for the guitar strings, in cash of course.
“Oh, we’re playing at the Bootleg bar, you should come and see us,” he says with a small laugh, “I promise you, you wont regret it!”
There’s no way I’m going to show up to that gig, because if Sting’s band is there, then there will without a doubt be a lot of students from the school as well. Maybe Sting doesn’t recognize me, for some odd reason, but the other students at the gig will undoubtedly do it.
“I’ll think about it,” I reply with a small shrug of my shoulders.
“Great, then I’ll see you tonight, cutie,” he says and winks at me a single time before he spins around on his heel and heads for the exit of the store, leaving me behind in utter bewilderment as the bell rings and he disappears from sight - because there is absolutely no way that this was Sting Eucliffe, the alpha male, right?