This was the moment she loved most of all. When her skin was sticky with sweat and the atmosphere sparked with tension – when the whole audience was fixed on her, waiting for her next move.
Kara kicked at the speaker in front of her, scuffing the black surface with the toe of her kitten-heeled shoe. There were whoops, a couple of whistles. In the black mass of the club, eyes and teeth glinted, people watched. They wanted her to get on with it. Behind her, she knew the band was waiting too. Tam restlessly strummed the E string on his guitar, a little nervous, a little agitated.
Good, she thought. She liked to draw the moment out. Silently she paced across the front of the stage, ignoring everyone. The click of her heels sounded hard in the tight hush of the packed room, like a metronome marking out time. Kara stood still, closed her eyes, and swayed her hips from side to side. She felt the roughness in her throat, the beat of blood in her veins. She felt, too, the slick of wetness in her knickers – her body oiled and aroused like it always was when she performed. The next song was the one she loved the best, the one she needed to really feel in her bones before she could sing it.
Turn on me. It was a song about fucking and jealousy and getting turned on even when you were angry. About bodies thrashing against each other, locked in passionate battle.
She looked into the dark of the auditorium. Dust motes danced in the beams from the stage lights – white floods whose heat she could feel on her bare arms. Then Jon started playing a looped sample – a buzzing electric bassline. It made her teeth rattle, gave her dark shocks every time she heard it. The audience picked up on it instantly and the cries started up again, building this time, gathering speed.
Kara smiled, wrapped the mike cord around her arm and lifted the silver head to her mouth.
“This one’s for Tam,” she said, her voice low and hoarse.
And then they were moving. The music swelled, the stage lights became a dazzling white halo and Kara was immersed in sound with reverb clanging in her ears.
She sang, letting her voice wash over the crowd like a velvet tide. This is where she felt most alive, up on stage exposing herself, shameless and breathtaking. Tam played a bone-shaking bass note, Ruby thrashed hell out of the drums, and Kara held onto the moment. No matter that they played loud - her voice rose above it all. The critics called it her gin-and-tonic voice, sweet with a twist.
Singing made her high; she'd be out of breath and dizzy afterwards and her throat would rasp for two days. But it also made her horny. Kara sang with her whole body, closing her eyes and running a hand over herself, her fingers snagging in the slashed holes in her T-shirt and tripping over her bare midriff, digging under the waistband of her skirt and tugging it down. There were shouts from the crowd as she lost herself in the thrill of exposure, showing them the swell of her belly and the shaved, pale swell of her pubis. God knows what stopped her from stripping and playing with herself. She was close enough to it.
Just as she was squirming around and wishing for something to rub up against, Tam drifted up behind her. He leaned in to her back, pushed his shoulder against hers. His fingers strumming out chords on the fretboard didn’t falter, as though he’d already rehearsed this movement and knew exactly how Kara would respond.
She unrolled her spine against him, felt the neck of his guitar dig into her hip and the muscles in his wrist tensing against her side as he plucked a few fat, dark notes from the bass. Kara turned and clung to him, sticking her neck in the crook of his shoulder.
The lyrics were for him, he knew that.
‘In the morning we’re going to scream
Her voice rasped as she sung, half to Tam and half to the audience. She could smell the mix of sweat and spiced aftershave at Tam’s neck, feel the music vibrating through his bones as they stood crushed against each other, playing together, performing for each other as well as the crowd.
When Jon picked up the middle eight on the keyboard Kara pressed herself closer to Tam, letting the tips of her bra-less breasts brush against his arm. Nobody but her would have noticed the slight stumble as he played – one missed note, nothing more. It was enough for Kara. She gave him a little nip – just a small bite on the exposed skin of his neck as the piano break came to an end -and smiled as he flinched, spinning round to swear at her.
‘Fuck,’ he spat, murmuring low so the mike wouldn’t pick it up. Still perfectly in time, she winked at him and turned back to the crowd to belt out the chorus, feeling the tingle in her nipples as they stuck out proud and stiff under her T-shirt. Perhaps the fabric was damp from her sweat, or Tam’s, and that’s why the crowd surged forward, hands reaching up towards her. Maybe they were just feeling the music. Kara didn’t care. She liked the attention either way.
The rest of the band would tease her about it afterwards, but she knew their eyes were fixed on her when she danced, just as bewitched as the audience. And they certainly didn't complain about the crowds that had started to appear when The Rakes played, ever since Kara had re-invented herself as Lady Lick and started practically frigging herself onstage.
The Rakes had been causing a stir in the past few months. At first people had come to see if it was true, that the front girl got off in front of everyone while they played. But when they came, they got into the music as much as the show, the dirty electro stuff with the sugar sweet melodies.
Because nobody could deny it was good. Lately, they’d been selling out every gig. The bigger the audience, the wilder Kara got. She could feel them watching her, knew they appreciated a glimpse of her tits under the see-through T-shirt. And the others made a pretty sexy backdrop. Tam, with his cheekbones and his scowl, just standing there hanging onto his Rickenbacker and jutting out his hips. He was a rock-star wet dream in the making. A couple of student girls hung as close to the stage as they dared, staring at him intently through kohl-rimmed eyes.
Jon, too, had his admirers. With his doe eyes and his long, delicate fingers, he attracted the sensitive types - male and female. They might have known he was Ruby's boyfriend, but it didn't put them off. Probably encouraged them - even stuck behind the drumkit, little black-haired Ruby got her share of attention. Raucous whistles when she did her solo, and a string of guys buying her drinks after each gig.
Sex fuelled their performances. While The Rakes played, Kara could feel the tension zinging about the stage, brimming under the surface of every song and driving it forward.
After a show the band would be bathed in an aura of longing. Sweat soaked and exhausted, they'd still be high from adrenaline, ready for drinking and fucking their way through the night. The after-parties were almost as much fun as the gigs, nights leaching into days full of wildness and electric moments – everything loud and urgent and reckless and accompanied by a soundtrack of Kara’s own devising. When she thought about it, Kara felt as though she was caught on the crest of a wave that was gathering energy and threatening to crash in glorious slow motion at any minute. She felt unstoppable. With the band behind her, anything was possible.
At the back of the club, Mike Greene sat on a barstool and watched. His shirt was undone at the neck, partly to cool himself from the fetid air of the club, and partly to look less like a middle-aged guy at a gig where everyone else was under twenty-five. It didn't matter anymore, though, because now he was watching Kara and the only thing he could think of was sinking his cock into her sweet, open red mouth.
He hadn't intended to stay long. Just long enough to satisfy his curiosity, to see what had become of his most difficult student since she'd dropped out of music lessons. As he watched Kara writhe and pout on stage, he couldn't help but admit she would have been wasted slogging away at the piano, learning her classical composers by painful repetition. This was her natural habitat, this dark and electric world.
He took a swig of his drink and let the glass dangle from his hand. He wondered where her wild, sexual energy had come from. In lessons, she'd always been taciturn and slightly moody, a goth girl in too much eyeliner who hunched on his piano stool and stared back at him through a badly cut fringe. Up on stage she was a different story. A dazzling creature that he couldn’t take his eyes off. She was, he realised, a woman that he’d give almost anything to fuck.
He looked at his watch. Lina would be waiting for him at the party, he was missing a glorious opportunity to schmooze, and his car was parked in a dodgy alleyway round the corner. There were a thousand good reasons not to stay.
And then, onstage, Kara turned to lock her eyes on his. Something flared in her expression, a shock of surprise as she recognised him. Mike held her gaze. His cock was half-hard, springing upwards and pressing against the front of his trousers as he watched the sheen of sweat on Kara's neck, imagined licking it from her skin. Tasting the sweet salt of her. She was biting her lip as the guitarist on her left played a solo, marking time with a bump of her hip. And staring straight at her old teacher like she knew exactly what he was thinking.
When she came offstage, Kara's voice was hoarse, her ears were ringing and sweat stung her eyes. Adrenaline was fizzing in her veins, and the others were full of it too. Under the harsh strip lights of the backstage corridors everything seemed slightly unreal. Kara looked at Tam – his eyes wired, a tiger’s grin plastered on his face and his hair drenched with sweat – and knew she had the same dazzled, half-crazed look.
The dressing room - a glorified store cupboard with a harsh strip light and a battered old sofa along one wall – was quiet, but the music still pounded in Kara’s ears, ringing and echoing and making her itch to keep moving.
Ruby and Jon had their tongues down each other’s throats almost before the door had swung closed. Kara watched with a skewed smile as the two of them sank into the red cushions on the sofa, oblivious to everything but each other.
'Ain't love grand,' she said, turning just as Tam pulled his soaking T-shirt over his head. As he stretched up she admired the light gold of his skin, the gentle ripple of his muscles and the fuzz of black hair that trailed from his stomach to the top of his trousers. The glory trail. Kara bit her lip.
Tam glanced at Jon and Ruby, and he gave a shrug. He fetched a bottle of beer from the coffee table and cracked it open with his Clipper. He carried attitude in every movement, the way his hips rolled and his arms swung loose by his side. His muscles rippled like a panther’s.
'Well, it does tend to make you horny,' he said, pushing his hair back from his forehead. 'Doesn't it?'
'Oh come on, you coy bitch,' Tam insisted, moving closer to her. 'It's pretty obvious what's going through your head when you're up there.'
'Fuck off, Tam,' she said mildly. But her body betrayed her – she felt an inevitable, horrible, hot pink blush creeping up her cheeks. Guilty.
'Hot?' Tam said, standing right at her shoulder. 'Allow me.' Before she could stop him, he had pressed the ice-cold bottle of beer to her neck. The shock made Kara gasp, and she felt her nipples pinch as Tam rolled the chilled glass down over her chest, his fingers brushing her skin as he did so.
Kara gave him a crooked little smile. That was the trouble with Tam. He was moody, unpredictable and frequently obnoxious, but he knew how to make a girl feel good. And Kara still remembered how he tasted.
'I bet you're wet right now,' he whispered in her ear, his breath tickling her. His mouth connected with her skin and Kara fought to keep herself steady. She should push him off, she thought, only the feel of his lips against her neck was delicious. His tongue flickered over her pulse point, sending jolts right through her bloodstream and making her knees weak. Kara closed her eyes. Tam held the bottle against her breast, rolled it over her nipple. The cold and the pressure was such exquisite torture she couldn't bring herself to move. Behind them, Kara heard a clink that was unmistakably a belt buckle being undone, and remembered Jon and Ruby on the couch.
She flinched and pulled away.
'We agreed, Tam,' she said struggling to breathe normally.
'One fuck can't hurt,' he said, leaning in to kiss her. Kara's eyes fixed on the twist of his smile and she allowed herself to imagine how it would feel to have that mouth against hers for just one moment. His lips, she remembered, were lithe and quick. His tongue was skilled. Then she shook her head.
‘Worried you might like it?’ Tam said, slipping his free hand round to grip hold of her arse. He gave a squeeze, and Kara arched her spine before she could stop herself.
‘More worried about the aftermath,’ she murmured, but her hands were slipping around his hips and she was pulling him into her so that his belt buckle and the bulge of his cock under his jeans bumped up against her stomach. She let their bodies press against each other so that she could feel his heartbeat against her chest. ‘Get out here,’ she said finally, throwing open the door and pulling Tam into the corridor.
She shoved him up against the white-painted breezeblocks with a force that made him raise an eyebrow and smile at her, even as she was slipping a hand inside the waistband of his trousers and groping for his cock. The shaft sprung up to meet her fingers, plump and promising and already leaking a little drop of pre-come.
It was always a slight shock, feeling Tam’s prick in her hand – like discovering an old friend in an obscene pose. Which was exactly the situation, she decided, letting him grip her wrists and pull them up, swinging her round until she was the one with the hard scrape of the wall at her back.
‘My turn, I think,’ he said, sinking to his knees in front of her and burying his face in her lap. Through the thin fabric of her skirt, the heat of his breath scorched her pussy, turning her molten and making her thankful for the hard wall at her back.
Meanwhile she could feel the wiry strength of his fingers working their way up her legs, pawing at her skin like a cat working its claws. He pushed her clothes aside, shoving her skirt up and tugging her knickers down simultaneously to reveal the light fuzz of her pubic hair and the little deep pink bud of her clit, which he kissed, softly.
Tam knew the power of contrasts. The strong burn of his hands kneading her arse versus the lightest of feather-kisses on her burning clit was enough to make Kara feel she was being turned inside out. She wanted to fuck his face, right there in the basement corridor, wanted to feel his tongue plunge inside her and bring one quick, dazzling, hard orgasm before they were discovered.
‘Quick, for fuck’s sake, quick,’ she gasped, squirming in his hands. And then wished she hadn’t spoken when Tam pulled back to look at her.
‘In a hurry?’ he asked, and Kara saw the glint in his eye - the warning sign - as well as the shine of her wetness on his lips. But more than anything she felt her buzzing cunt - the awful lack of his mouth against her and the cold air that did nothing to ease her desire.
She knotted her fingers in his hair and locked her eyes on his – something she usually tried to avoid. There was too much trouble waiting in their gaze. Like flint striking against flint, when they looked at each other sparks would fly.
‘Please,’ she whispered, knowing that one simple word would work quicker than any explanation about the time that was pressing on them and the night that waited for their presence. As Tam nodded and buried his head back between her legs, his tongue working vigorously now on her clit to wring an orgasm out of her, Kara silently let her thoughts drift. While Tam lapped at her, letting the point of his tongue dance and slip back and forth, winnowing between the folds of her lips and touching the mouth of her cunt just enough to make her sigh, she thought of the guy in the audience, sitting right up at the back of the bar.
Tam’s tongue was replaced by his finger. His tongue slid back up to flick at her clit and give a starburst of sensation while he wriggled one, then two fingers inside her. He brought her on like an expert, knowing exactly how much pressure she wanted and when, working his hand into the rings of her cunt while his mouth fired up the burn of her clit. Kara felt the beat quicken, like music playing louder. Her body tensed and she remembered the figure at the bar, his lean frame and the familiar angle he held his limbs in.
She was full and brimming with her orgasm now, devoured by Tam’s mouth and invaded by his fingers, doubled over and rushing towards a climax with blind, wild, unstoppable need. It hit her like an avalanche and images flashed into her head unbidden as she jerked against Tam’s mouth.
As she came, she thought not of the boy on his knees in front of her, but of a man in a quiet room, standing next to a piano. His hands on her shoulders and his breath on the back of her neck, both of them watching the keys, Kara’s hands moving steadily faster, listening as the music grew louder and flowed over them, drowning them in furious sound.