Shattered Hearts(5)

By: Marissa Farrar


We caught each other’s eye across the room, and she gave me a grin. I lifted my hand in a wave, and then wound through the people to find a spot at the bar. I ordered a bottle of beer from the bartender and perched myself on a stool to watch the rest of Hannah’s set. Several men scooted up closer to me, trying to catch my eye, most likely to offer to buy me a drink, but I relentlessly ignored them.

The band reached the end of their set, and everyone cheered, hollering and clapping. The band ducked their heads in thanks then lifted their instruments into the air before making their way off stage. Hannah disappeared out the back, taking her guitar with her. I figured she’d be freshening up and then would come and join me for a drink.

Several minutes passed with no sign of her. I spotted Jonny, one of the guys she played with, but couldn’t see Hannah anywhere around.

“Hey, Jonny.” I jumped down from my bar stool. “Where’s Hannah?”

He looked around and shrugged. “Hi, Jolie. I dunno. She was here a minute ago. She went out the back to grab her stuff from the office, but I thought she’d come back out with us.”

“Okay, thanks. If you see her, tell her I’m looking for her.”

I fished my cell phone out of my purse and checked it for any missed calls. The screen was blank. I fired off a quick text.

Where are you?

Weaving my way through the people, I spotted a doorway on the side of the stage. A black curtain hung over the front, but there didn’t seem to be any security around telling people they weren’t allowed through. I checked around again to make sure I hadn’t missed Hannah, and then pushed my way through the curtain and into the back passage beyond.

The lighting was brighter back here than it had been in the bar, and the place stank of stale beer and old cigarette smoke.

“Hannah?”

My voice sounded too loud in the sudden quiet, and my ears rang with tinnitus after the noise of the band. What was Hannah doing back here, if she even was here? A couple of doors led off the passage, and I debated taking one.

A muffled cry came from somewhere nearby.

“Hannah?”

Alarm ricocheted my heartrate, and I picked up my pace. Had that been her, or was it just a coincidence?

“Hannah?” I called out again, my voice louder this time.

A scuffle from behind one of the doors came in response. The door looked as though it led outside, perhaps onto the back alley at the rear of the building. A fire exit sign was positioned above it, and a metal bar across the middle of the door acted as a handle.

I didn’t even pause to wonder if pushing through the door would set off the alarms. If Hannah needed my help, I wasn’t going to worry about a little embarrassment. Hannah was always getting hounded by creeps after her gigs, and I was angry at Jonny and the others for not sticking with her and making sure she was all right.

I burst through the door to find myself in the alley outside. A couple of dumpsters were on the left of the dimly lit space, but I couldn’t see any sign of Hannah. Of course, I was now holding the door open, so there was a chance I’d find her on the other side of it.

I stepped farther into the alley, allowing the door to start to close behind me.

Movement came out of the shadows, and I stifled a scream.

It wasn’t Hannah who came into view, but the dark hair and square jaw of the suited man who’d questioned me earlier that night. Now he was standing, I could see my impression of him being tall had been correct. He was easily six feet two, towering over my tiny frame. His suit must have been made to fit him, as it hugged his massive chest and wide shoulders. But it wasn’t so much his size that stole my breath, but the beauty of his face. Even in the dim light, the color of his eyes—green with golden flecks around the irises—drew me in, and his mouth, with its pouty lower lip made me want to reach up and touch him.

Confusion threw my fight or flight instincts off base. “You?”

What was he doing here?

Then I noticed he wasn’t alone. Hannah was slumped against the wall behind him, sitting with her backside on the dirty ground, her chin against her chest as though she’d suddenly decided to take a nap.

“Hannah!”

The realization I was in a dangerous situation suddenly shot through me. Though I wanted to help my friend, I automatically spun back around, planning to lunge back through the door and into the bar.