Rock Bottom

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Rock Bottom Page 2

by Josephine Traynor

  David raises a hand and shakes his head. “No, all good here Deni.” Deni! That’s it.

  “Hi, Deni.” I effectively cut David off with my best voice to distract from the way I currently look and smell. The quick glance she gives David doesn’t go unnoticed.

  “Um, Mr. Ashton. Is everyone okay in here? Can I get you anything?” Oh yes, I’ll just have you over your desk thanks.

  “It’s not a drink I need.” I let my eyes drop to her chest.

  “Reece! Stop sexually harassing my staff.” David moves to the door, dismissing Deni with a flick of his wrist and turns to face me. “Stop that. She’s not one of your groupies. The last thing you need is to let that head—” He points to my crotch. “—do any thinking for you. You need to focus, and we need to come up with a plan, which reminds me.” His finger is still trained in the lower body area. “You need to get to a doctor for your next check-up. In fact, Deni?” He calls and waits for her to pop her head back in. “Can you get Dr Cameron here for Mr Ashton as early as possible please.” And there go any urges to get on with Deni while she disappears to book an appointment to make sure my cock is clean. Talking about a disease check is certain to shrink any erection. “Yeah, you sold your home here, but that’s the least of your worries. I have a place you can stay. It’s a drop down in size from what you have been used to and definitely a change of scenery, but it will do 'til we know what’s going on. I used it while I was getting my third divorce. I know you were gearing up for the tour, but we have to face facts. That’s not gonna happen now. So, take this time to rest, write, channel this …” he says while gesturing in a circle in front of me. “Whatever this is and put it into a song or twelve.” It’s my turn to start pacing again. The feeling of flitting between pissed off and freaking out has merged, and I just feel on edge and disconnected. I don’t dare take a peek out of the window to the waiting media below. The shit fight trying to get the car into the building was indication enough. I haven’t been on my own –– ever. How can everything I have worked for be suddenly gone? I’m livid that this happened, and I can’t seem to shake off this horrid sense of impending doom.

  David grabs hold of my shoulder and forces me to stop. “It’ll all work out. I’ll have my driver take you to the house. It’s out of the way, off the radar. People respect privacy there because they want privacy. You have the house to yourself, it’s not too far to the next town over.” Next town over?

  “Where is this place, David? Sounds like it’s at the back of the boonies.” I notice that he doesn’t answer my question and that evasion spikes my anxiety more. Even though I’ve lived in England for five years, I haven’t dropped any of my Aussie rocker speak. It’s when he shakes his head and asks me what the hell I’m saying, I have to translate. “The boonies. The middle of bum fuck nowhere.”

  “It’s not. It has a shop with everything you’re going to need. Publicity is going to be a nightmare so this will do you good.” I watch David walking around the desk and to the window and look out to the street below. “I’ll send a decoy car to distract the masses.” He motions to the front of the building. “I think it’s for the best. And here—” He moves back to his desk and lifts up a cell phone. “Take this. Leave that other one here, you will have no peace. I’ve told the police this is the number to call you on if they have any further questions for you. I’ll handle the media, you just … be. I know it’s tough, you will get through it.” He appears confident in his plan to tackle this. I, on the other hand, feel like I’m about to vomit all over the gold records lining his walls. “Yep, we can make this work. It’s a great place. Everything is there, all you have to do is cook your own meals and wash your clothes.”

  Fuck me. The news just goes from bad to worse. “Cook? Clean?” my voice comes out higher than I expected and I’m sure my eyebrows are up near my hairline. “I haven’t cooked since … fuck knows how long. And clean?”

  David tries to hide his smile, but fails miserably, “Yeah, you’re going to have to fend for yourself. Think of it as a learning experience. Welcome to how the common people live, princess.”

  Fuck … my … life.

  Chapter Two


  My thumb rubs the small bruise that’s slowly appearing in the crook of my elbow where the doctor took my blood. There are only a few things in life that I consider degrading. Being so drunk that you shit yourself. The other is being on top of the world and losing it all and having an elderly man come at you with an extra-large cotton swab to wipe around your eye. And I’m not talking about the eye on my face. Yeah. STI checks are a sure measured form of contraception. Thankfully, even in my most inebriated states, I always managed to put a coat on my man. With my stupid fear of needles, I’d never be a drug user. I can’t stand a trained professional coming at me with one, let alone trying to do it to myself. Drugs are rife, and I’ve had people pull stuff out and suck it up their noses right next to me as if they are asking for the time of day. A shudder courses my spine and prickles my skin at the thought of it. My highs usually came from writing songs that gave me chills, and women. Usually, there wasn’t a woman who could resist my charms. Usually, the mention of my name or my accent had them all hot and bothered and as if I was going to disappoint them living out their fantasy of sleeping with a rockstar. Yes, that sounds shallow, but this way both needs are met, I get to have an outlet for any frustrations, and my sex life is never boring.

  David sent me to his personal bathroom that I didn’t even know existed, next to his office and let me freshen up with a shower. I stayed in there 'til he started banging on the door asking me if I was alright. The fresh soapy clean smell was quickly forgotten as I pulled on my manky clothes. I literally only have the dirty clothes on my back and my phone to my name. Tapping my back pocket to ensure my pick is there, it’s weird how a stupid little piece of plastic can calm my nerves like nothing else is beyond me.

  David shakes my hand as we get to the back door. Most of the paparazzi have gone to follow the decoy car. “Now, ring me if you need anything. You will be okay. Have faith in yourself. I had Deni pick up some clothes for you, they’re already in the car. I’ll be in contact if I hear anything.” He must be able to tell from my slumped shoulders that I’m trying to prolong the inevitable as he gives me a push towards the car. I’m devastated that everything I’ve had is now slipping away. I just want to wake up with some chick spread across my face, and we can get stuck into getting ready to tour, now I am being shipped off to avoid this mess, and my manager is buying me clothes.

  My car and driver are waiting at the back of the record company’s building. The perks of being a celebrity. People come to you to get stuff done, not the other way around. I haven’t taken a car drive … ever. Well, never for fun. I haven’t had a holiday in years. There was always something to be working on. I never went on trips as a kid, growing up in the city with my mother and then when we made it big, it was private planes all the way. Short car shuttles were necessary, but I gave up watching the city getting smaller and smaller before I couldn’t fight to keep my eyes open anymore. When I wake, the concrete jungle of the city has been replaced with vast sweeping green plains. Where the hell are we? I turn in my seat to see more open lands behind us and note there’re two lanes to this road. I lean forward to look over the front seat. More of the same with the scenery. I wipe the drool off my chin before I ask the driver where we are going.

  “We shouldn’t be much further,” he said, without taking his attention off the road. “Maybe another hour.”

  With that news, I adjust myself in the seat belt, let my head loll onto the headrest and let the car motion rock me back to sleep. A cough rouses me, and it feels like I’ve had my eyes closed for five minutes. I flinch from the glaring sun as I become aware of my surroundings. My right forearm is numb, and my hand has a healthy grip on my cock. Somehow in my sleep, I’d managed to undo my zipper. The waistband on my jeans was cutting into my arm. Dreaming of Deni and that damned tight penc
il skirt of hers. I’m pretty sure the driver can’t see what I’m doing, and my erection deflates. Normally, I wouldn’t be bothered by it, it’s just now I’m pretty much meant to be invisible, I don’t want the first image to be of me taking matters into my own hands. The driver seems like a decent guy, but I don’t know him, and I don’t know if he’d sell a picture of me. Celebrities are commodities when money is involved. I pull my hand away and give my forearm a rub before zipping back up. The driver pulls the door open as I bring my hand up to wipe my mouth to ensure there’s no drool. I look along the street to the right of me. Suburbia. I turn my gaze to the left. More of the same cookie cutter houses. All the terraces are painted white with black trim and metal veranda work. David’s house is smack bang in the middle. Waiting by the car, I take in my surroundings. There goes the last of my erection.

  Looking up at the two-storey terrace, I ask, “Is this it?” Getting a quick nod from the driver, David was right. Not what I’m used to at all. It’s small. Like, ‘the first house I lived in as a kid’ small. Most of the hotel rooms I’ve stayed in over the years have wider frontages than this. I drop my head to look at the footpath. That little voice is yelling ‘well, what’s your alternative? Here or the hotel for another week and then couch surf?’ I really should be grateful, but I’m just still too pissed off. My throat starts to constrict, and I feel like my reality is looming down on me. I hate being confined. The only thing I don’t mind being confined in is a music studio, and even then, the door has to stay open. I force myself to step out onto the footpath. “Very good, Sir, I’ll open the door and get your bags for you.”

  This is what hell looks like. This is going to be the last time anyone carries my bags anywhere for me, so I’ll let him do the last honours. Suddenly aware I’ve been standing out in public without being approached, it’s unsettling sensation. I’m meant to be in hiding. I take long strides to get to the door, and I’m glad my driver sensed my urgency because he didn’t keep me waiting. He waits 'til we are inside before speaking again. “For what it’s worth, Sir, I really do enjoy your music and hope this doesn’t stop you from doing what you do,” the driver says as he places my bags just inside the doorway. I have countless compliments thrown my way, but you develop a knack of what’s real and what’s silicone.

  “Thanks, man, really means a lot. Guess I have a lot of time now to come up with new stuff. What’s your name?” I thrust my hand out towards him. The driver glances down at my hand and makes a thin line with his mouth.

  “My name is Steven, Sir. Please don’t be offended, but I saw where your hand was earlier. All the best.” I watched Steven tip his hat and return to the car. Well shit. He did see me, but I’m thankful he didn’t make a big deal out of it. With each of his steps, I feel a sense of panic rising. For the first time in … hell, I can’t even remember. I am on my own. No commitments. Nowhere to be. It’s unsettling. A total free agent. Taking the key out of the lock and closing the door, my back presses against it. My head drops, and it hits me. This is what rock bottom feels like. I know I sound like such a wanker when I say that, but to me, this is a low point, and I never want to be here again. I feel lost. I take David’s advice and will myself to make the best of it. I start my self-guided tour of the house that took all of five minutes.

  Bottom level has the kitchen, spare bathroom, laundry, and entertainment. Everything is whitewash and the flooring is dark timber. Upstairs has the bathroom and two bedrooms. One bedroom has a king-sized bed with a small balcony. French doors covered with plantation shutters for every exit. The only reason I know that is I recently decorated my own house. My own house. It’s no longer my house. I prettied it up for someone else to live in it. I don’t think I’ve craved anything more in such a long time. David said I could stay here as long as I needed and if I’m truly honest with myself, this is more than enough space for one person. How long is the question that lingers in my mind.

  I am bordering on OCD when trawling social media sites and accounts for any contact or answers. I sit on the edge of the bed and come up empty again from my searching and dig my hand into my pocket for my lucky pick while I check on his Instagram. How can it be lost? It started out as a cool trick to impress people. Having the pick roll across my fingers, it’s quickly turned into one of my many idiosyncrasies. I have a quick look around the room and search my pockets again but with no success. Looking to see what Sean’s friends are saying on his Facebook, they all appear to be as concerned for him as I am. Sure, I’m pissed off, I’m also worried about him. I just need to know that he’s okay. Logging out, I fist my shirt at the back collar and pull it over my head. Fiddling with my buckle to loosen my jeans, I let them fall to the floor. My thumbs slip under the elastic of my underpants, and within thirty seconds, I’m under the spray of the shower.

  I run the hot water cold. My skin’s wrinkled on my fingers, but I’m feeling a hell of a lot better. Water beads off my skin as I reach for a towel and start drying my hair. It’s shorter at the sides and longer on top. The sleep in the car coupled with the shower has perked me up, so I set myself with the task of unpacking my clothes.

  Thirty minutes later, I have the shopping bags unpacked and the clothes on the floor. I’ve pulled on a fresh pair of jeans, and I’m zippering up my grey hoodie when my stomach makes a loud growl. The fridge inspection resulted in a bottle of water and an open packet of some powder stuff. Not that I or David are into drugs, but I thought for a second how brazen he was for keeping his stash in the fridge. There’s fuck all in the cupboards. Christ. I jab at David’s speed dial icon on my phone and don’t even bother replying with his hello. “Where’s the food?”

  The prick’s laughing at me as my stomach growls again. “Well, you can get takeout, go to a restaurant or do as the cavemen and women did - cook it yourself.”

  Not even attempting to hide the scoff, “Don’t even joke about that shit. Where’s the closest restaurant?”

  “Have you heard of the term ‘first world problems’? You have Google on your phone, Reece, best get acquainted with it. Man has been doing things for himself for a long time, I guess this is the way of natural selection, who can figure things out and who can’t—”

  Running my hand through my hair, I grip the phone tighter. “You know I only use my phone to ring, text, and porn.”

  “Good God, I’ll send someone around in a week, no doubt you will be dead from starvation or masturbatory dehydration.”

  Holding the phone away from my ear and yell, “Laugh it up chuckles. You’ll see. I don’t need any fucking help.”

  I need help.

  I’ve walked for ten minutes, and all I’ve passed is more suburbia. I’m sure I’ve seen this same house three times. I’m ashamed to say that I’m pretty useless with my sense of direction. I can get lost just turning in a circle. The first five minutes of walking was hell. Sweat dampens my shirt. My pants were clinging to my legs, and the rank stale odour of my body was blowing up wind. The longest I’ve had to walk was from the door of the hotel to my waiting car on the street, or from the tarmac to the airport. I don’t include the hours across the stage a night. That was fun. This is as boring as batshit. No headphones, no car, and no driver. I don’t have anything that I took for granted. The houses are all blending in, and I don’t know which one’s mine. I’m waiting for David to text me the address, I know he’s taking the piss. Bastard. Teasing me about first world problems. I know I sound like a whiny little bitch, but my life is in stark contrast to what it was forty-eight hours ago, and I need to adjust. My mind starts to wonder about all the things I now have to do for myself, and all I want to do is run and hide. I don’t want to deal with it, even though I know I have to. I just don’t know where to start, and that feeling makes me feel overwhelmed. I do what I know I can do. Put one foot in front of the other and hunt down this bloody supermarket. I said this place was the boonies, but it was also desolate. I haven’t seen another person or a car driving past while I keep walking and then fina
lly, like a mirage, the glow of the supermarket shines brightly in the darkening sky. I pull my hoodie up over my head and send a silent prayer that it’s like the streets and not filled with the whole township. Being six foot two, it’s hard to go unnoticed. My form can already be noticeable without my status announcing it first. I think Thank fuck when I see the shop is all but deserted, and there’s food just inside the door. My stomach feels like it’s eating itself from the inside and it’s bordering on painful. I make my way through the doors, and my hand grabs the first thing that’s a food substance. I barely get the wrapper open before it’s shoved into my mouth. Thank God, it tastes like chocolate and not some dog food product but in saying that, at this point, I wouldn’t really care. Pulling on the edge of my hoodie to ensure it’s covering my face and turn my face down to the floor. Channelling my inner duck, I don’t even bother with chewing.

  “Hope you’re gonna pay for that!” Some male voice snarks at me. I give him a curt nod as I scoop up a basket and throw the wrapper in. The two people he’s serving move to look as I turn my back to them and head down the first aisle. The drone of the scanners beeping screeches in my ears, the bright as all fuck lighting has me squinting and my hangry emotions are all over the place, and I’m reaching for random packets of food. This is another anomaly for me. I had someone to cater to my every whim. If I wanted something, all I had to do was say the word, and it would be found. My eyes flit from shelf to shelf with all the brightly coloured packaging. I eat pretty clean because I have someone else sorting that for me, and I want to keep my strong physique. I didn’t get these abs from eating peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Hmm. Actually, that sounds pretty good. All I have to do is ask for what I feel like, and it would just appear. Eating was my effort put into food. The sugar from the chocolate bar assaults me and has me instantly craving more. I grab a bag of chips as I pass the end of the aisle.


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