Arizona Wakefield was a beat without a melody. Living a half-breathing life in a half-finished neighborhood with parents who always wore half-hearted smiles, the high school senior only had one thing that let her color outside her family’s perfectly drawn lines—her drums.
Jesse Barringer was a song without a chorus. The son of a washed-up rock star who’s also one hell of a deadbeat dad, he was given two things from his father—musical genius and a genetic link to the bipolar disorder that drives him mad.
One night in a garage at the end of a cul-de-sac in the middle of a bankrupt California neighborhood, Jesse’s melody found Arizona’s rhythm. An angry boy with storm-colored eyes found a blonde angel in Doc Martens with missing lines in her own story. Where her rhythm stopped, his words took over, and together, they wrote one hell of a story.
** Drummer Girl is a mature YA/New Adult romance that touches on mental health, drug abuse and includes mature sexual situations.
Drummer Girl, Copyright Ginger Scott 2019
“That’s the first time I’ve played that song. I like it. We should add it to our set,” he says, pulling the strap from around his neck before setting his guitar at the foot of his bed. “What do you think?”
He twists so our knees are touching and our shoulders are squared.
“I think you’re a showoff, one. And two…I totally think we should close with that at our gig. People love retro shit like that at shows.” I don’t really know what people like at shows because the only kinds I’ve ever been to have been for high school marching nerds or jazz geeks. I probably don’t even deserve to utter the word gig yet. I’m a gig virgin. I do know movies, though, and if this life was a movie, our band would close with that.
Jesse’s eyes linger on my face, making me warm.
“Okay then,” he says, finally. “And I’m not a showoff.”
His lips pucker with his smirk and mine follow suit until a laugh seeps through.
“You so are!” I shove at him playfully, and his hands wrap around my wrists and shove back gently but don’t let go.
“No, I’m a great example. That’s a totally different thing,” he says, pulling me toward his chest until my fingertips meet the hard surface of his pecs under a well-worn white T-shirt.
“I’m pretty sure it’s just a synonym for showoff how you’re using it. In fact, now you’re just being arrogant!” I gripe back through laughter, a wry smile playing at one side of my mouth. Jesse remains quiet, though. His head leaned a tick to the right. My lips vibrate with this sudden change in atmosphere, and without even helping myself, I bite my bottom lip. There is just enough light in the room to see these small things we’re doing, these…signs. At least, I’m giving a sign. I hope I’m not imagining Jesse’s.
At least three full breaths pass between us without words. I count mine, and I guess how many he takes because really, I can’t see much beyond the dark centers of his eyes and the top curl of his lip. I wait for him. Even though I’m dizzy and happy and excited, I don’t want to be eager and desperate. I wait for him to move closer…to do something.