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I made sure that creep was well away from the club before I left. Violet didn’t guys like him hanging around her and I sure didn’t want him around. He’d taken off and I need to kill some time before heading back to the club. I could go back and make sure I rubbed out any impression that guy had made. Who was he and where had he popped up from?

I didn’t like surprises. I didn’t like my plans being thwarted either.

I headed to the guitar shop. That was my place. The place where everything was happy and my heart felt at ease. Who wouldn’t feel like that in place full of guitars?

Heat rose from the pavement in waves that went through the rubber soles of my boots. A day like this would almost melt the rubber. Some kids on the street threw water balloons. I kept to the side of the footpath so I didn’t get accidentally hit. One of those little buggers had a devilish look in his eyes and I had no intention of ending up saturated.

I hated that my plan had failed. It’d been a good plan. I’d get into Violet’s office and she’d have no chance but to give me some of her attention. The woman had to feel the sparks between us. Hell, those sparks were flying out in all directions, worse than the time Bill plugged his bass into a faulty amp and ended up at the hospital. The air crackled around us and she did that thing where she lowered her head so I couldn’t see into her eyes.

She just had some crazy prejudice about dating rockers. And, I won’t lie, most rockers I know aren’t good enough to be the dirt under her feet. Not that I’m top notch or anything, but I worshipped that woman. She’s the sun to my star, the words to my melody, the jam to my peanut butter. All I wanted was a chance to prove myself and I’d be everything good – kind, loyal, loving. I’d make her breakfast in bed and massage her feet. I’d never even look at another woman.

Since the day I first met Violet, she’d been the only one for me.

Sure she went on with all that “get out of my office” talk but she didn’t mean that. Well maybe that bit about her hating to be woken up was true. I rubbed my head. That boot had hit hard. But she’d been coming around to the idea when that knob jockey turned up.

The one thing I loved in this world almost as much as Violet was that guitar. Maybe I loved the Les Paul more more. If Violet showed some sign of returning my love, she’d make it to the number one slot for sure. But there’s only so far you can get in a man’s heart when you don’t requite. My baby, now she requited. She requited like a bitch on heat, responding to my touch and giving back as much as I gave her. On a good day, the best of days, she was my world.

Still, there’s only so far a man can go with a guitar. And I knew if I got half a chance with Violet, she’d requite too.

Phil’s Music World. Not only full of fucking sweet axes but also air conditioned. I wandered around the shop, taking my time, not overly anxious, working my way up to my baby. The one guitar I coveted. That bitch hanging on the wall, I’d kill a man if I could make her mine.

Just the smell of the place comforted me. Those fresh, virgin guitars. The wood, the metal.

You couldn’t walk straight in and go to her though. There was a system, a way of working up to it.

It’s called foreplay.

It took me a full hour to look around the shop before approaching her. Phil, the owner, had no beef with me getting her down and playing her. He’d offered to let me have a payment plan but I didn’t hold with that kind of thing. I’d save and I’d work my guts out but I couldn’t let her be packed off to some back room for who knows how long until I got my shit together. I just don’t do it like that.

A girl like her needed to be on display and appreciated.

She had the curves that fit my body perfectly. The smell of her, that mix of maple wood and metal, and the cold, smooth surface.

A shudder of anticipation went through me. I reached up to touch her, easing my way in with a gentle touch, when the shop bell rang. Instinctively, I turned.

Holy fuck. It was that poser. Alex Shithead. In my guitar shop.

For some reason, I retreated. I didn’t want to see that guy and I definitely did not want to talk to him. I’m not the kind of man to run and hide but he’d got my back up and I didn’t want trouble. I left my baby and hid behind a shop display. I’d watch him, wait for him to leave then get back to business.

He strode through the store. That’s the kind of poser he was, the kind that strode, not walked.

I hoped he just wanted to get some strings or something and then leave. He’d be off my turf.

The creep barely looked around the store, just went straight to the back. He obviously wasn’t a man who knew about foreplay.

He stopped just before the counter. Near my baby. Awfully close to her.

My heart jumped up to my throat and my fists balled. Get away from her, I wanted to scream. I kept pretending to look at oboes though. Fixed my gaze on them and tried to control my breathing. I could see him out of the corner of my eye though. You should never take your eyes off a snake in the grass like him completely.

That poser reached up. His hand was near my baby. He grabbed her, like she was nothing. Just went straight in for the grope. What an animal.

He picked her off the wall. His filthy hands all over her. He held her like she was nothing.

I wanted to rush him then. The inaction made my blood throb in my veins like fuel through a V8. I’d smash that fucker to bits.

Except I couldn’t hurt him without harming my baby. My baby was in his arms.

Before I could do anything, he was at the counter, wallet out. He hadn’t even played her. He’d not caressed her. He’d not known the gentle joy of her. How could you even buy a guitar without playing her first?

That traitor, Phil, smiled and nodded. He didn’t care that she was going to bad home. A home where she’d never be loved like she needed to be loved. A home where she’d not be precious.

The fucker just handed over cash and took her, like she was some cheap whore on a street corner. My baby should be treated better than that.

I’m not a man who cries easily. I’m not a man who cries often but, when I saw that wanker walk out with my baby, I had to wipe a tear from my eye.

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