Chapter 2

	Gina locked herself in the count-out room where it all
happened.  Tears were already rolling softly down her sorrowed
face as she thought of what she'd done.  It was in this room that
she betrayed the person closer to her than anyone; this is the
room in which occurred her ultimate defilement of self.  God,
even after these few months and the divinity of forgiveness on
Corey's part, she still hated what she'd done.  She quickly wiped
the streams of salty water away from her eyes and focused hard on
the paper in front of her.  She was no songwriter, but she knew
that she had to write this.  She needed personal vindication...
she needed forgiveness from herself.
	The white, rubber-shafted Bic pen shook in her hands as she
remembered what happened and how she felt after... and during. 
Never in her life did she EVER feel like a whore until that
moment.  Sex for payment: revenge.  FOCUS!!! She beat herself up
again, getting more and more angry with herself.  Good, she
thought, I need the anger... the hate... the rotting disgust.
	She sat upright in the comfortable, black office chair, leaned
over the table and began to write.  She wasn't a big fan of punk,
metal, or anything like that... but she had a feeling that this
would only fit that sort of music.  She laughed out loud as she
pictured her song being sung onstage by Enya.  Finally the words
formed in her mind. 
"Say No More... EVER AGAIN!!!"
	By Gina Coulette.
Why do I talk?  Why do I scream?
Just 'cause I listen to you again!!
"Say No More"... you're Goddamned right!
Next time we meet there'll be more'n a fight!
I used you and you used me; can't stand the fucking hypocrisy!
Can't believe I let you inside me,
I'm rotting in my core 'cause of one bad deed...
You'll know pain... You'll know hate...
If I had to do it again, I'd just masturbate!!!
Say no more... EVER AGAIN!!!
The World's a better place without your pain!!
Say no more... EVER AGAIN!!!
We look at you with total disdain!!
"Lips are for Kissing, Baby"... that's a joke!
Your lips'll turn blue when you fuckin' choke!
The sacred parts of me I let you touch,
I'll never hate myself again so much,
As I did that day when I betrayed a friend,
Just to get even... you're just means to an end!!
I'm lucky she loves me... I'm lucky she forgives,
But you... YOU!!!  I'LL HATE AS LONG AS I LIVE!!!!!!
Say no more... EVER AGAIN!!!
The World's a better place without your pain!!
Say no more... EVER AGAIN!!!
We look at you with total disdain!!
I've got no "Canopy Bed" so suck on this!!
"Run every red" if you like... you can fucking piss!!
You're totally washed up, a stinking "Fuck Me",
You'd turn a punk or a skater onto Country,
You're a joke, a loser, a total fraud...
Your death would prove the existance of God!!!
The worst of it is, when all's said and done...
You aren't worth the paper this song's printed on!!!
Say no more... EVER AGAIN!!!
The World's a better place without your pain!!
Say no more... EVER AGAIN!!!
We look at you with total disdain!!
Say no more... EVER AGAIN!!!
The World's a better place without your pain!!
Say no more... EVER AGAIN!!!
We look at you with total disdain!!
Say... No... More...
Say... No... More...
Fuck you, you dirty whore!!!
	The tears were gone now, her black, silk blouse was wet from
them, but she could care less.  It felt good to let go... to be
free of the guilt.  At least it's a start, she thought calmly to
herself.  Trying to rise, she noticed her legs quivering with
anger and fear.  She sat back down, quickly, to gather her wits
about her and take another breath.  Then she started thinking of
Corey and AJ.  God I miss them.  I can't wait 'till they catch a
long enough break to come see us.  All of these thoughts lifted
her spirits enough to stand.  Straightening her skirt in an act
of dignity; an act made to spit on the object of her ire, she
slowly unlocked the door, smiled to herself, and thought: I think
	Taking his hand, AJ used it to make a big circle on the mirror,
clearing the enormous amount of steam that had accumulated after
his shower with Corey.  Still in complete rhapsody of the events
which had occurred over the last several hours, AJ just couldn't
wipe the smile off his face.  He turned to look at the still
running water trickling from the showerhead.  But more
importantly, he was gazing at his "muse", his reason for being...
the beautiful, glistening body which was still wrapped in it's
own arms, enjoying a moments peace from her schoolwork.  Eyes
closed, Corey, just rocked back and forth underneath the steady
stream of hot water... letting it clean her soul; purify her. 
She hated her classes... and she hated that AJ knew it.  She
smiled, though, as she thought of how they just couldn't seem to
keep secrets from each other.  It's as if they thought as one. 
He was there the whole time and I was too blind to see him, she
chastised herself.  She shuddered at the thought of AJ never
confronting her on the rooftop those months ago.  I wonder what
would've happened?  Would he have given up on me?  I wouldn't
blame him.  All these thoughts floated about her psyche as she
heard a voice part the pleasant darkness and let in the beautiful
	"Hey, how long you planning on being in there, Corey?" AJ asked
her with a smile on his face.  His long dark bangs were still wet
and looked black through the steam.  She stared at his deep brown
eyes and realized that it was as if staring into the sun without
being blinded.  This can never end, she thought.  Pulling the
shower curtain back, revealing just enough of her slim features
to AJ, she flashed a smile and tilted her head.
	"Forever, silly," she teased him, her hand moving slowly across
her moist, shiny skin, "if we never left this room, it would be
too soon for me."  AJ, heart pounding in his chest, had to hold
back an exclamation at the show being put on before him.
	"Jesus, Corey, are you trying to kill me?"  With that, AJ
stepped slowly into the shower, his smile replaced again by the
look of absolute love.  Corey shifted slightly, letting the water
stream down her flat stomach, as AJ kissed her navel softly, then
he kissed her an inch or so lower, again, and again... lower and
lower.  Corey closed her eyes and bit her lip in sheer exctacy. 
Her head leaned down, dark brown hair falling over her face and
breasts as she held AJ's head in her arms.
	"Never..." she gasped, "never ever in the world."
	Lucas straightened himself in the chair across from his boss and
best friend, Joe, and glanced around.  He looked at the posters,
the messy desk, the well-worn drum set (which he had, earlier
that day, been thrown into), and finally at the man across from
	"Joe, you have got to learn to contain that aggression.  I say
this as both employee and friend.  One of the most common causes
of early deaths is heart failure, Joe.  You need to channel that
anger into a healthy outlet - maybe a hobby - knitting or
crocheting perhaps?,"  looking up at Lucas, Joe raised a single
eyebrow in dazed amusement.  He loved Lucas as his own son, but
sometimes wondered why.  Shifting through papers and ignoring
Lucas' diatribe on aggression, Joe, finally found what he was
looking for.  He leaned back in his big, comfortable, leather
chair, put his hands behind his head and kicked the file over to
Lucas across the desk.
	"What's this," Lucas pondered, "another promotional idea?"
	"Nope," Joe stated, he spun once in his chair, and came back
facing Lucas, "this is our new employee," he stated with a
finality Lucas knew all to well.  Lucas flipped through the
resume, the file, and the small criminal record.  Perusing the
information and locking it away in his near perfect memory, he
gently slid the documents back into the folder and placed it
perfectly square in front of him.
	"She's cute," Lucas said softly, wondering where he fit into
this.  Then it hit him, "not me?"  Lucas nearly stood, started at
the revelation.
	"Yes, you.  I'm going out tonight with Jane, we've been planning
this for weeks and it's time you started learning more about this
business.  All you have to do," Joe continued as he stood up and
slipped on his leather jacket and shoes, "is interview her, get a
feeling if she'll fit in, and welcome her to the 'family'".  Joe
smiled, knowing Lucas was quite uncomfortable with such
responsibilities (got 'im).  He started out the door and Lucas
veritably threw himself at Joe's feet,
	"Please don't leave this up to me, Joe.  Let Deb or Gina do
it... why me?"  Joe looked at his friend with a caring smile,
bent down to face Lucas and simply stated,
	"Because I know you can do it; I believe you can do it; I want
YOU to do it.  You saved the damn store and now your nervous
about hiring a new clerk?  It's time to step up to the plate,
Lucas," he put his hand on Lucas' shoulder and squeezed, "I know
you'll hit a homer," he smiled and walked out the door.  Lucas
pulled himself up and sat down in Joe's big, comfy chair. 
Looking at the file again he read more closely.  Minor rap sheet,
he said to himself, Hell, mine's worse.  Assault, resisting
arrest, solicitation, assault... poor kid, Lucas thought.  I
think she's just the kind of person we could use here; another
one of Joe's "reclamation projects" right from City Lockdown.
	"Hmmmm..... Lisa Dannolit."
	"Gina, this is... this is unbelievable!!!  You wrote this just
now?"  Mark was staring at the words with a look of awe.  He new
how much Gina hurt Corey and how much she hated what she had done
to her best friend... but he had no idea it went this deep. 
Gina, biting her nails while looking over Mark's shoulder,
stepped back and started pacing in the back room they occupied
	"So you like it?" she said, almost pleadingly.
	"Like it?  Hmmm... hmm ..hmmmm... heh... it's totally rad!  I
thought I'd have to write all the songs and you turn out the best
one we've come up with yet!  This is great!!!" he was so excited,
he almost forgot to ask her a very important question, "Gina," he
looked up at her with sad blue eyes, "are you gonna be okay with
this, I mean, you know, like, with all the things that happened
and stuff?"  Seeing the true concern in her friend's puppy-dog
eyes, Gina smiled, leaned over and kissed him on the cheek
	"You're sweet, Mark.  Thank you for asking; yes it's something I
need to do," she smiled again as he grinned from ear to ear. 
Leaping up he grabbed her by the waist, spun her around, and as
they both laughed, he spoke,
	"Alright!!!  We got ourselves our first song!  Yeah!!!"
	"Okay," Chris crumpled his brows in concentration, "from fifty,
the change is thirteen seventy-three," he handed the cash over to
the pretty young girl in front of him, and smiled at her, "you
have yourself a good day, 'kay?"
	"Thanks... I will... thanks a lot," the young brunette stammered
as she blushed, backing away from the counter, turning to her
friends; all four of whom started to giggle profusely.  Chris
wasn't paying any attention, though, as he scratched his goatee
in confusion.  Now, he thought... nine ninety and seventeen
twenty... his thoughts were interrupted suddenly by a smack on
the head (this was becoming somewhat of a signature greeting). 
Debra, having skipped up the till and seen the transaction, had
to tease the poor lad.  She leaned over and said, while staring
at the small throng of teeny-boppers that were finally getting
ready to leave,
	"Looks like you got a fan club," she grinned and waved at the
girls as they quickly exited the store at Deb's appearance by
Chris' side.  Squinting through the light of the midday sun, he
stared after the girl he'd just helped.
	"She's, like, fifteen, Debra, that's sick!  I'm almost ten years
older than 'er," he replied in a tone of voice that would suggest
a spider had landed on his food.  But Debra couldn't resist,
	"Yeah, she is now, but wait five years, she'll be twenty, you'll
still be your studdly self...." she stopped and laughed that low
throaty laugh that made Chris weak in the knees.  This time,
though, Chris was ready.
	"Yeah, maybe you're right.  Five years ain't that long after
all... I mean, Berko only left like, what, three weeks ago, and I
know you'll be waiting for 'im when he gets back from his tour,"
this time it has his turn to laugh.  Chuckling under his breath
he continued, "you could be his main groupie!!  Think of the
possibilities, you could..." he stopped instantly as he looked up
and saw the expression on Debra's face.  It was hard, cold, and
void of any emotion.  She just stood there, arms crossed over her
chest, staring at Chris for an uncomfortably long time.  In time
she stepped right up to his face, looking him straight in the
	"Don't ever talk to me about that again... it's none of your
fucking business," she said in a low, harsh monotone voice Chris
had never heard from her before, "we broke up months ago and I'm
not his 'chippie', waiting desperately until he comes back.  I'll
never be like that again... EVER!!" she yelled, punched her
terminal, grabbed her till, and walked off.  Chris watched her
leave, even after she booted open the doors to the back room,
almost knocking over a poor, and highly confused, Mark.  Almost
losing his till, Mark, spun around, looked after Deb, then looked
up at Chris with a "what-the-hell's-the-matter-with-her"
expression.  Chris, trying to force down the lump of regret and
mild anger in his throat, just looked down at his keyboard, and
then smiled at the next customer.  The man was buying gifts for
his daughter and just wanted directions around the store as to
where he could find a compact disk by some group called "The
Spice Girls?"  By the time he'd pointed out the whereabouts to
the next brilliant British Invasion band, Mark had reached the
counter and was cashing into his till.
	"So, like, what happened to Deb, huh?" Mark asked in a concerned
voice.  Often playing the roll of the "Store Peacekeeper", Mark
was always worried about his friends.  He had a cheery and
happy-go-lucky disposition, which belied most people into
thinking he was just a burnt-out goofball.  But his pals knew him
better.  He was one hell of a smart guy, and he could see right
through a lie as if it was a glass pane.  He looked up again at
Chris, who hadn't said a word, and simply shrugged to himself. 
Chris finally answered, clearing his throat first,
	"I dunno, I think I pissed her off.  She was teasing me about
this group of high-school girls, and then I tried a comeback:
telling her she could be Berko's..."
	"Oh, hmmm.. heh.. you shouldn't talk to her about him, Chris. 
There's some really bad mojo between them and, in case you
haven't noticed, Deb isn't the type of person who you can just,
like, spark up a personal conversation with.  She has to start
it, you know?  Otherwise, she feels put on the spot and trapped,
'n stuff like that.  She's always been like that, though.  But
she's gettin' a lot better.  Just a hard habit to crack is all." 
Seeing Chris look over to the back room, then out the window
towards the sun, something dawned on Mark, that had been nagging
at him for a week or so, about Chris, but he couldn't nail it
until now.  "You really love her, huh?"
	"WHAT!?!?!?" Chris spun around looking to see if anybody noticed
his nice calm reaction.  Satisfied that everyone was ignoring the
two clerks in search of the perfect CD, Chris just gazed at Mark
in awe, "how... w.. what would make you think that, man?  I don't
even know her that well?  Why would I fall for some chick who
keeps smackin' me on the head back of the as a 'hello, how are
you'?  Who constantly teases me? Wh... who... is so absolutely
beautiful, sweet, and perfect that I can hardly speak in her very
presence?" he said as he let his head fall against the monitor of
his register.  Banging it again and again, Mark finally grabbed,
Chris' head and lifted it off the monitor.
	"Don't, like, freak out about it, dude.  It's not like anybody
knows or nothin', and I sure as hell ain't gonna tell anyone -
even if Debra asked me to my face," he looked over at Chris, with
an upturned eyebrow, and said, "unless you wanted me to tell
her?"  There was silence for a bit, Chris looked at Mark and
smiled a crooked smile, replying,
	"ONLY if she asks you!"
	"You got it, dude," Mark wore the biggest grin Chris thought
possible of a human being, "Ah love... Thou dost call me..." 
Both young men started laughing so hard the customers, once
again, wondered if they shopped at Empire Records for the prices,
the great service, or the great entertainment on the part of its
	"Fuck!! Fuck!! Fuck!!!"  Deb was hitting her head hard against
the mirror repeatedly.  Hard enough, in fact, that when Gina
locked the door behind her so they could be alone in the
bathroom, she was afraid Deb would break it.  God knows she's had
enough bad luck, Gina thought, seven more years would kill her. 
Gina came up slowly, behind Debra, taking soft deliberate steps
as not to frighten her.  This situation would have been unheard
of three months ago, but since "the day" - the day Lucas threw
away $9,104 in a desperate (some would say insane) attempt to
save his favorite place on earth - the day Debra came in, shaved
her head, and revealed the attempt to kill herself - the day they
all pulled together and helped Joe and Lucas get the store from
that asshole, Mitch - since that day, Debra and Gina had steadily
been growing closer and closer together.  When Corey left, all
three of them had been friends, but Gina was Corey's best friend
forever.  Debra and Gina gradually became even better, then the
best of friends.  They understood each other.  The darker side
that seemed to follow them around.  Debra understood why Gina did
what she did with Rex; Gina understood why Deb shaved her head
and tried to kill herself.  Both understood that self-destructive
side of themselves, the hidden secrets and shames - and neither
judged; they just accepted and offered support.
	So when Gina finally had gotten behind Deb, who had stopped
banging her head, and was just holding it against the mirror,
cradles in her arms, Gina knew what had happened.
	"What'd you say to him?" Gina asked calmly, sitting down on the
toilet seat lid.  Deb shook her head as if to avoid the question
and the reality of what happened.  Gina pressed.  "You know he
won't hold it against you, Debra.  He's too sweet.  He never says
anything bad about any of us, even when we're complete jerks to
each other, and to him."  Deb let her arms fall.  Sighing, she
turned around, head still leaning against the mirror and faced
her new best friend.
	"I think I scared him off.  He brought up Berko as a joke,
'cause I was teasing him, as usual.  But hearing Chris say his
name just didn't sit right.  It fucking sucked!  Berko is not a
bad guy, but he really hurt me Gina, you know that.  I just don't
want to fall into any traps again."  Deb closed her eyes, thought
softly of Chris' beautiful crooked smile, his sweet sense of
humor, his honesty... I don't want to get hurt again, she
thought.  Rising off her seat, Gina strode towards her friend and
brushed back the newly growing brown hair, she smiled,
	"It's coming in nicely, Deb," she mused, but continued with what
she new needed to be said. "You know damn well that you're going
to get hurt one way or another, if not here then somewhere
else,"  Gina reached her hands out and Debra fell into them, her
head resting on Gina's shoulder, "that's why we have friends to
look out for us and love us."  The two friends rocked back and
forth in their embrace until Debra's soft sobbing came to an end
and she could smile again.
	Lisa came up the side of the store she'd been "recommended" to
work at.  Her shiny, black Doc Martins, clumped in the dusty
gravel, as she looked up at the structure.  From the alley it
didn't look like much, that's for sure, she thought.  Several
paintings caught her eye, however.  At first she had thought they
were just graffiti, but upon closer inspection she noticed it was
much more.  The back entrance, or at least she assumed that's
what the door with the wastebasket full of cardboard boxes was,
looked steel, solid, and grey.  It was surrounded by many
paintings of various things, one was a cartoon devil, and she
could make out celebrities, musicians actually, that had been
rendered in perfect form.  Wow, I'm no fan of Gloria Estefan but
whoever painted that is amazing!!! she thought to herself.  By
now she'd stopped, her travel pack slung around her shoulder, and
was standing in the dust she'd recently kicked up.  She reminded
herself that it was only an interview... there'd be more if she
blew it.  But something inside her was really scared, scared she
wouldn't get this job.  Fuck this, she thought, and started even
faster around the corner, to the front of the building.  Again
she was taken by surprise.  Now this place has style, she mused
again, and smiled inwardly.  Just the sight of the huge, somewhat
ominous, neon sign at the top: "Empire Records" and just below
that "Since 1959", made her both scared and excited.  She hitched
up her faded bluejeans, which were too big for her slim 5'4"
frame, straightened her dark red T-shirt underneath her large
long-sleeved over-shirt, a dark grey piece, almost a sweater in
fact, that was also too big for her.  She'd also noticed that her
stupid, cheap underwear was riding up, so she had to subtly deal
with that situation as well.  In fact, she smiled, the only thing
that really seemed to fit her was her bra and boots.  "Oh well,"
she said out loud to herself as she edged around the corner and
peered in through the window to grab a look inside.  The midday
sun made it difficult, shining off the glass plate as it did, but
she managed to catch some shadow that allowed her to look in.
	"Holy shit...." she murmured to herself in awe, "this place is
great!"  Too loud, she knew she'd said the words as a couple, an
older lady and man, gave her a look of disdain.  Lisa just smiled
and ignored them.  She looked in again, searching for the people
she hoped she would be working for.  A couple seconds later her
eyes fell on the front counter area.  It wasn't too busy so she
got a good look at the three people standing around it, doing
various chores to kill time.  First she saw this huge black
dude.   He had dreadlocks down to his shoulders and a
well-trimmed goatee.  As far as similarities to most of the
"home-boys" she knew went, that's where they ended.  His muscular
frame was hidden underneath a large red T-shirt that said
something she couldn't make out.  What she could make out was the
bleeding cross and the death heads.  I wonder what band that's
from?  Lisa pondered to herself, interested in many forms of
music, she thought it looked like a death metal band shirt. 
Another look she could see his black combat-style pants (cool!
she thought), and as he came around the front of the counter, she
noticed his big, shiny black boots.  A pair of black suspenders,
that hung down around his knees, and a large silver chain that
went from his belt to his pocket, with all the slack falling in a
half ellipse past his pocket completed the ensemble.  Man, she
grinned, at least they seem cool.
	The next person she came across was possibly the most beautiful
young woman she had ever seen in her life.  She held her breath
at the sight of the very slim blond with a gorgeous red skirt and
a stunning black, silk blouse.  The top was almost a lacey-type
pattern, the fabric covering just enough, but also subtly
revealing more.  She wore big-soled, open toed shoes, which
probably added an inch or two to her height.  Lisa just gazed at
her.  The blond girl was so beautiful she wasn't too sure if she
could even work with her.  And then she saw the kicker of them
all.  A skinny, smiling, hyper guy who was constantly laughing
and keeping the other two in stitches!   He was wearing a blue
and green psychedelic shirt that hung almost to the middle of his
thighs, with long, wide jeans and white skater-style shoes.  He
had beautiful red-brown hair and she could see the gleam in his
happy, green eyes from here.  Lisa found her pulse veritably
racing!  She was breathing very deeply and too fast.  She felt
almost as if she'd pass-out, but soon she got her
hyperventilating under control.
	"I think I'm in love," she said aloud, not caring at the stares
she collected for the comment.  Now she was truly scared.  I have
to get this job!!!  She stood in the shadow for a couple more
minutes, building her courage and forcing up her "I don't take
shit" attitude she always used for protection.  She'd been hurt
too many times to let her guard slip now just because of a
beautiful blond and the most handsome, cute, and friendly-looking
guy she'd ever seen.  No fuckin' way! she yelled at herself
inside.  Hiking up her pack, she went towards the doors, pulled
them open... and started into what would be the most interesting
part of her life.
*********************** end chapter 2 ************************

Chapter 3: want more--go on!
Chapter 1: Go back to 1st
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