Rock Bottom

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Rock Bottom Page 1

by Josephine Traynor

  Rock Bottom

  Josephine Traynor

  Copyright © 2017 by Josephine Traynor

  Updated © 2018 Josephine Traynor

  All rights reserved.

  No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

  Cover design by Emmy Ellis of Studioenp

  Edited by Ultra Editing Co

  Proofreading by Kim Ginsberg

  ISBN -13: 978-1977786555

  ISBN-10: 1977786553

  ASIN: B01I7Q2T1G

  To Ashleigh - without you, there would be no story.

  Thank you is not enough.


  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32

  Chapter 33

  Chapter 34

  Chapter 35

  Chapter 36

  Chapter 37

  Chapter 38

  Chapter 39

  Chapter 40

  Chapter 41

  Chapter 42

  Chapter 43

  Chapter 44

  Chapter 45

  Chapter 46

  Chapter 47

  Chapter 48


  The Rock Bottom Series Continues With SKY HIGH

  Also by Josephine Traynor

  A Note From Josephine


  About the Author

  Chapter One


  My ears are ringing. The dull drone is amplified by the drumming of blood thumping in my head. This is not from the hordes of people singing along to our songs at a sold out concert. No, no. This ringing is from the understanding of the conversation that just went down. My bandmate Sean is nowhere to be found. He’s dropped off the face of the Earth. That means, without him, I have no band. Without a band, I have no tour. Without a tour, I have no career. And without a career, I’m nobody. My band is my life, now that the other half of the band is gone, I have no life. A little voice in my head is telling me ‘I’m Reece fucking Ashton, and I’m a superstar.’ Well, I was a rock God until about twenty-four hours ago. Standing to stretch my legs in the jeans I’ve been wearing since yesterday, and start to pace my manager’s office in the heart of London. My hands make a fist and shake my fingers open. This sick to the stomach feeling hasn’t left me since I found his letter of ‘I’m sorry. I’ll make it up to you’ in my dressing room yesterday. My stomach roils again, but my anger tampers it down just for a moment. I close my hands over my ears, but that just amplifies the ringing, and let out a long frustrated sigh when I move my hands.

  “There have to be options.” My gravelly voice doesn’t sound like my own. A couple of hours of hard drinking and trying to find the answer at the bottom of a bottle has left me feeling less than stellar. “What about a replacement?” My hand rubs over my stubbly chin before grabbing at the back of my neck to try and loosen the muscles. When I push off the chair, it causes it to knock into the coffee table. I turn and catch a glimpse of myself in the window’s reflection. My normally styled blond hair is a floppy, lank mess and in serious need of a wash. Everything about me needs a wash. The dark circles under my green eyes highlight my tiredness. My Hendrix shirt has trapped the smell of sweat and alcohol as I’ve been too busy trying to call Sean to get answers and getting drunker with each dial. My hand slides up to my bicep and touches the tattoo peeking out from under my sleeve. It’s a picture of sheet music wrapping around my bicep. The first few chords of my first number one. It’s my reminder that hard work will pay off. It’s about the only thing that hasn’t been taken from me. As tired and as seedy as I am, I’m itching to go out for a run. It might have been an hour’s sleep on my manager’s couch. This was the same couch that I punched and kicked the shit out of when no one could answer me and the rotting truth had been confirmed. The last twenty-four hours have been my version of hell and sorting this is my top priority.

  “And even if a replacement was an option, what are you going to pay them with? Hugs? You have no access to any equity. The company isn’t going to comp you on this,” David, my manager says while holding his palms up to me. Even when everything has gone to shit, he’s optimistic about the future. “Besides, it was a done deal. Either the pair of you or nothing. That’s what the contract says.” So much for optimistic.

  Taking David’s advice, Sean and I pooled all our assets under the business name. My bank accounts, bar one, are all managed under that umbrella that is now being checked over by the fine-toothed comb that is the taxation department. That equals all my assets, even the money in my accounts tied to the business, are frozen. I have one credit card that’s in my name and was set up for emergencies. I’m meant to be rehearsing on a stage that sits in the middle of an arena getting ready for our first world tour, not chewing my nails in an office watching it all disappear before my very eyes. My fingers dig into the back of the material covered lounge chair, and I lift it off the ground to bring it down sharply. If all eyes weren’t on me before, they are now. The jolt satisfies only a tiny part of me, and I fight the urge to toss the chair out of the window. Knowing that I would have to pay for the damage to be fixed is the only thing stopping me.

  “I can’t fucking believe this!” My left fist slams into my right palm. I pivot on my foot and pace in front of David’s desk. My knuckles rap twice on his desk before I turn to face him. “Truly. All fucking gone?” My right eye starts to twitch. I throw my fisted hands in the air and yell out ‘fuck’ 'til my lungs empty. The two younger executives make for a quick exit following my outburst. I wait for them to scurry from the sinking ship that is my life before David turns back towards me. I’m fighting the urge to punch someone in the throat. “How in the fuck did this happen? How could this happen? You’re my manager, tell me how this happened! I trusted you that this would be the best decision. Where does this leave me? I can’t leave the country. I have a house I own outright back in Australia, but I can’t leave here to go back to it. What am I supposed to do?”

  “Reece?” David’s stern voice manages to permeate the ringing and bring me back to the now. He’s got thirty years on me and has pretty much been my father figure as well as my manager. He didn’t have many clients when he approached us to work with him, and he quickly became my confidante in a fickle industry. His guidance had always steered us in the right direction. “Don’t even think about throwing a tantrum and trashing the joint. That’s so clichéd. It’s understandable that you’re pissed.” I scoff at the notion of being pissed. I’m beyond livid. I’m like a thousand times more pissed off than when that two legged-guttersnipe took a chunk of my hair for her scrapbook. I guess these days, a scrapbook is a fancy and a more perverse little black book. My neck is tense, and I try rolling my shoulders to loosen it up, but nothing seems to be working. I try moving around, but being stuck in this office irritates me mor
e. I want to run. I want to run away from this big cock up. I pull out my guitar pick from my back pocket and start rolling it over my fingers. The motion of having to focus on the act of flipping this small piece of plastic between my fingers distracts me for a few minutes, 'til the anxiety of whatever was stressing me went away. It worked great before a performance, but I can’t seem to bring my temper back down. The plectrum falls from my fingers and tumbles through the air. “Fuck.” My other hand flies out to catch it. The air is hot as I force it out of my nose. I’m coursing with anger, and I don’t know how to get rid of it. I look around at what I can throw or kick, and David obviously senses what I’m about to do.

  I let out a deep breath and flop down into one of his office chairs. The room is modern, and I know it’s the money from my sales that allows him to decorate so elaborately. Leaning forward, my elbows hit my knees as I try to calm my breathing. I haven’t eaten, and my own odour quickly turns my stomach. I start rolling the pick over my fingers again as my foot refuses to stop tapping against the coffee table leg. The ding of leather on metal is surprisingly calming. I close my mouth that somehow fell open and swallow over the lump. David sits opposite me and pulls the coffee table away from my incessant foot. Clearly, the sound was not calming to him as he gives me a stern look. “It’s not gone. Huge difference. It’s still all there. You just can’t access it. They’ve frozen your assets until they have sorted out that there hasn’t been any fraud. If Sean’s been above board, they will see this, and everything will be fine.”

  The irony is, Sean was the one who set up all the accounts for me. He’s killer on the drums, but the guy is like the rain man guy when it comes to numbers. I was happy to let someone else deal with it. Now I’m kicking myself that I know nothing about the decisions that were made or how to fix it.

  “And how fucking long will that take?”

  “As long as it takes. I know this is not what you want to hear, but your assets being frozen is not the only thing you have to deal with. The bigger problem is Sean leaving.”

  “So, how did this happen?” My voice is shaky. “I mean, how the fuck did this happen? Have your assets been frozen too?” My hand rubs the scruff on my chin as I keep trying to stretch my neck again. David opens his mouth to answer my questions, but the shrill of his phone interrupts. “No. There’s been one promoter that is threatening legal action, but this is why we have insurance. Tickets will be refunded. I can look after all that. That’s not for you to worry about.” Seeing him glance at the phone, he lets out a sigh before heading to the door. “I have to take this. I’ll try and get you the answers, but that’s everything we know up 'til now. I gotta take this.”

  I wave him off while my foot keeps tapping. This is the first time I’ve been alone in my manager’s office. My phone buzzes again in my pocket. I pull it out hoping that it’s Sean, but when I see it’s another no-name caller, I press the button to send it to the other hundred messages sitting there. Scrolling through to find Sean’s number and wait for it to connect.

  This number is temporarily out of order, we are sorry for any inconvenience.

  Motherfucker. My hand tightens around the handset because I’m struggling to believe my best friend’s done this. Pushing my finger into my eye socket to stop the ticking from starting again. We’ve been friends for years, jamming together on the other side of the planet in Australia. We were going to take on the world and make it our bitch. Sean and I started music to get out of actual school work then we won a local radio competition, and as the people in the industry say it, we were an overnight sensation. Overnight these days was more like eight years of my mum’s garage and trying to play any place we could 'til we were legal to get into the club scene. A local radio station held a competition to get an interview with an industry rep, and the rest is history. None of this blind audition bullshit. We had our moments, but we were friends first and foremost, and we promised, if this is not fun anymore, we would speak up. Sean stayed silent though.

  I’m waiting to wake up from this shitty dream, and we can get back to getting on stage. Millions of people own my songs. Men want to be me, and women want to fuck me. Hell, even some men want to fuck me, they’ve told me so. Children aspire to be me. Everyone wants a piece of me. The media certainly want their pound of my flesh to smear all over the papers since the news broke. I was on my way to the arena to set up for the first concert of our world tour, and people started asking me ‘Where’s Sean?’ For the last month, Sean’s been wanting to do his own thing time wise and me not being a fucking babysitter, I let him have his space. So there we are, no one coming up with an answer of his whereabouts, it was like a full on search mission. Police were called, airports were checked, hotels were scoured, and countless phone calls made. Nothing. He’d vanished into thin air. The police aren’t too concerned as he left willingly and there’s no crime against that, and unless I have a million pound retainer, no lawyer is keen to take me on. That was until he sent an email from a location that seemed to be set up. All it said was I’m sorry. I’ll try to make this right.

  Within seconds of reading that note, the media somehow got wind of it, and it’s been a fucking shit storm ever since. Frenzied hyenas doesn’t even begin to cover it. As I was leaving the venue in the back of a car, and I saw one photographer shove another trying to get my picture. I know there’s going to be a photo of me with my mouth wide open like a blow-up doll as I watched those two exchange punches. No one around them gave a toss. All they were focused on was the kill. That was me. I mean – I don’t mind being the centre of everyone’s universe, but this, this is beyond the pale.

  I stayed out drinking and then David brought me back to his office to try and sleep a bit of the booze off. I didn’t want to sleep. I needed to get back on track. Everything I’d been working for was gone. All but one of my credit cards bounced. Me? A pauper. Well, the one hundred thousand I have access to hardly makes me poor, but compared to what I should have access to, I’m fucking ghetto. I pretty much have the smelly shirt on my back and the dark jeans sitting low on my hips.

  My head restarts its steady beat as I try and process all this. Motherfucker. Until the tax department can prove that I have nothing to do with his little fuck up, I don’t have access to that money. This means for God knows how long, I have to survive off one hundred thousand pounds. I can blow that easily in a month. This shit is going to burn brightly when the tabloids get hold of that little tidbit. Twitter is already in a meltdown over it with speculation, with millions of people calling for our heads and answers. No tour, no money, no job. The more I think about it, the worse it gets.

  I’m twenty-seven years old and a fucking multi-millionaire. I thought I was making smart money decisions, so if it stopped being fun, I could quit, and my kid’s kids could live a comfortable life. They told me that they’d have more questioning and to not leave the country. The door hasn’t even shut before David starts up. “Right, the update is the police aren’t chasing him. As far as they are concerned, it’s not something they deal with. He’s an adult, he has every right to go where he pleases.”

  “I already know that, David. Give me the stuff I don’t know.” The frustration is evident in my voice, but David is nonchalant by my comments.

  “To answer your other question, I knew nothing of this. I certainly didn’t see any indication that he was unhappy, actually quite to the contrary, he was fucking keen to get going earlier. It just doesn’t make sense. No Sean, no explanation, no nothing.” My fist clenches around my plectrum and digs into my palm. David is pacing in front of his desk and tapping his finger against his lip. I hope he’s coming up with a plan because I sure as shit don’t have one. “My assets haven’t been frozen because they can see that’s it just yours and his accounts, so, first things first. I’ll handle the announcements. I’m going to make it very clear that it was Sean’s doing. I can hold a press conference and make the announcement that way. Thankfully this happened before the tour, could you imagine the f
ucking chaos if it was during?” My stomach bottoms out, and I don’t know if I’m going to throw up or pass out. Finally catching his eye, he opens his mouth again before I can share my thoughts. “It’s all workable, Reece. We will be able to spin this, so nothing sticks to you. Leave it to me. To be honest, even if Sean did come back, could you trust him enough to work with him again?” And there it is. Can I trust him? The answer is clearly a no. “That’s what I thought. Look this is shit, it’s just … shit. Truly, there’s nothing good about this. I want you to know I’m going to do everything I can to help you, you just need to …”

  I don’t wait for him to finish his suggestion. “I need to what? What am I supposed to do? I sold my house to go on this tour. I have no place to live, let alone pay for it. One hundred thousand. I can blow that in a few hours if I really wanted to.” Somehow in my outburst, I’d got to my feet, and my voice had gone from my normal tone to a shout. David’s receptionist pushed the door open and stuck her head in. A sexy woman can make any situation better, and today she is the silver lining on a sky full of clouds. Danielle? Donna? Shit. I’m a shocker at names, but damn she looks sexy as fuck. She’s helped fulfill many a librarian fantasy with her business attire, sexy glasses, and hot voluptuous arse. I have tried several times to get her to be a positive entry into the little black book of Reece Ashton, but she’s continually shot me down. Finally, something to smile about. She’s the only one that’s made me want to dip my wick into the business pool, and I’ve always resisted, but given the crap day, I’m willing to make an exception. I give her my megawatt panty-dropping smile, and I get a glare in return.


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