Gigi Gunshot was born to be a star.
Everybody knew it, and nobody questioned it. She'd always had a look-at-me quality. She had eyes the color of cut ice and hair like moon kissed gold. She was tall and slender, with just the right amount of curves and dips to distinguish her as a female.
At twelve she had discovered Guns N Roses, Aerosmith, Twisted Sister, all of the greats. She watched them twist across the stage, drag the microphone up between their legs. They oozed sex and raw power, and she couldn't look away. It took her six months to master the guitar, weeks of blistery, bloody fingers and red hot frustration.
At fourteen she started wearing The Pants. The Pants were a pair of skintight leather jeans (more like leggings) she'd found in a vintage shop. Her mother, a former debutante, had been completely appauled and wrenched them from her hands. "These are disgusting." She'd snapped. Gigi had snuck back the next day and bought them, wearing them only after she was out of the fifty mile radius of her house. They gave her strength. She felt sexy and cool with her long legs encased in the glimmering material, her hair flowing down her back.
At sixteen she put together her band, The Escorts. She knew the name hinted prostitutes, but she didn't care. She was wild and free and the rest of the world would just have to deal with it. At their first gig, a birthday party for a spoiled brat from her school, she'd thrown up, jetted on stage, and sang her own lyrics.
"Blank as a page
fill me in with your pen
too hungry to go,
too starving to bend
The stars are for me
they're giving me light
you don't want to steal me
I put up a fight."
They had went crazy, ballistic for her lyrics. They begged for more, and she gave it to them. That was the night that The Pants finally ripped, at two in the morning when she was helping Chess carry his amp back to their van.
"Nasty, G, did you just let one go?" Chess had laughed when he heard the seams coming undone. "You're a gross chick, dude."
"Shut the hell up." Gigi's eyes were welling up with tears. The Pants had molded her, they had helped her become who she was. Without The Pants, she would have been on the preordained path designed by her mother. God.
"It's okay, Giggle." Her drummer, Link, bent down to expect the damage, oblivious he was staring straight at her underwear. Link was usually unaware of most things, naive and sweet. He was not the typical musician. "My sister can fix these."
A week later they were as good as new. Gigi had folded them up and stuck them in a glass case, safe from everything else. She was okay with never wearing them, as long as they were whole and safe.
On her seventeenth birthday, they got scouted by a local record label. The woman who'd discovered them, who told them to call her Lacey Loveless, invited them to the studio to sing. After a week of nailbiting, The Escorts had decided to perform "Wouldn't You Know", a song Gigi had written about Link. Nobody else knew that except she and him, since the moments entailed in the lyrics had happened in private.
Gigi had stepped up to the booth in a leather skirt and sky high heels, feeling like the world around her was underwater. She was in her element. She put her mouth close to the mic and cleared her throat.
"These days don't grow on trees
Life's no fun
without the birds and the bees
you call me sweetheart
and then you smile right at me
Your eyes glow bright
and your heart bleeds red
You say forever
I think forever is dead
I want to love you
But you don't see what I see
You ask me for love
and I shoot you down
I want your touch
But I still back down..."
Gigi had looked over at Link for just the briefest of moments, their eyes meeting. He was urging her to go on, to finish. She looked to Lacey in the sound booth, leaning closer to the mic. Lacey was bobbing her head along, a satisfied smirk on her lips.
"But the night is young
we're too old to be this age
you go to leave
but i ask you to stay
you're the pillow
that helps me sleep
the blanket that
I hide beneath
you're the light that turns the day
you're telling me I always get my way
but you're the one
who hooked me with your hands
I fell to you
I never stood a chance."
"Gigi, stop right there." Lacey's voice blared in through the room, screeching and uneven over the speaker. She was smiling, her grin going from ear to ear. "This **** is good. Really good. Too good for this small town bullcrap. I know a guy in Kannes. Would you want to meet him?"
A beat of silence passed.
"Hell yeah!" Chess had burst out for all of them. Sora and Remmy had slapped hands so hard their palms were blood red, but they didn't seem to notice.
They had left the studio walking on air, completely high on life and music. They wanted to celebrate, match the sweetness of life with the sweetness of...
They'd went to Baskin Robbins, cramming into a booth hip-to-hip. Link had sat next to Gigi, his hand resting hesitantly on her knee. When she didn't swat him away, he relaxed, squeezing lightly.
Sora had begged one of the workers to snap a picture of them. "We're about to be famous." She'd chirped, handing him her Nikon.
He'd smiled, infected with their enthusiasm, and held the lense up to his eye. At the last moment, when the flash had went off, Link had pulled Gigi to him, kissing her on the lips.
Sora took the camera back, eyebrows raising when she saw the picture, but she didn't say anything. "You know what, Gigi? You need a stage name. Like that Lacey chick. Lacey Loveless is catchy. Gigi Shane... isn't."
Gigi rolled the idea around in her head, but she was only pulling up a phrase from their song. You ask me for love, and I shoot you down.
She took a sip of her drink. "Gigi..." she started slowly. "Gigi Gunshot."