Rock Bottom

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Rock Bottom Page 10

by Josephine Traynor

  If my personal details being splashed around wasn’t shameful enough, my stepsister Caitlyn tried to say that it was her on the tape. Yeah, she’s that unhinged that she thought it would be good publicity for her to try and drag it out to say that it was her on the tapes with my boyfriend and that the attention needed to be on her. Yep. Unhinged. It was bad enough to have two lawyers working to sort this out, mine trying to keep it quiet, his trying to say that this was a plan for us both to get media attention. Add in Caitlyn’s lawyer trying to get her a chunk of airtime, made for very messy and irreparable relationships. Standing us side by side, we had a lot of similarities. The blonde hair, the height and frame. We both benefited from dad’s genes heavily. To have to sit through the footage and point out that it was me was a soul-destroying experience. Something I wanted to be shared with one person, was now being picked apart by me saying ‘no - that freckle is on my back, not on Caitlyn’s.’ James telling his lawyer that it was me was probably the only true thing he said.

  I became the flavour for the media to follow. This is how I know all too well what Reece is going through and what it’s like to be a pariah. To be the focus on the lynch mob that is the media. Daughter of legendary journalist shames her family. This was another reason for dropping the Worthrington part of my name and took up my mother’s. I changed everything I could to get away from my past. My blonde locks are now dyed dark. The high-end clothes are now swapped for functionality, and I avoided society as a whole. How do I do my journalism job? Easy. Everything is electronic these days. I can phone people, video link with them and email. I don’t have to travel the world. The world can travel with me via technology.

  As much as my father helped me put a stop to James putting anything further out there, the damage was done. I have a false reputation that enters the room before I do. One of the conditions of settlement is that James and his family are not to contact me in any way shape or form. I drive past Reece’s street and a wave of guilt washes over me.

  I instantly feel bad for making him pay for the wrongdoings of James. This is one of the character traits I’m aware of and want to change. It’s that realization that has me spinning the car around. I’ve made everyone pay for James. Even myself. I told Reece I would keep him away from people, and I just left him there. I push over the speed limit and head back for him. Within minutes, I’m pulling back into the carpark. Stupid rockstar, he’s exactly where I left him. He’s staring at the ground, holding onto our food. Creeping towards him, I slowly put down my window to give him his options. “I’m sorry, Reece. Want to apologise for being rude and you can get in, or I can drive behind you so you can see where you are walking?”

  His face catches me off guard as he lifts his head and looks right at me. “Madelyn, I’m sorry.”

  That’s all he says, and I allow him into the car. I wonder if this is the first time he’s had to admit he’s done something wrong. Or he just didn’t want to walk home. Either way, the ride back to his place is quiet. I pull into the parking outside the front of his house, and I see him turn to face me.

  “If you must know, I wasn’t trying to boss you around like an employee. If I wanted to treat you like an employee, I would be telling you to wash this shirt I’ve been wearing for three days,” he spoke quietly. “I needed you away from me so I could take care of my boner.”

  Pulling the handbrake on and turning the key to shut the engine off, I say, “Your what?”

  “I know, I don’t see women for sexual preference, but for what they are. Have to tell you, the thought of you between another woman’s legs …” I turn to mirror his position as I’m confused by what he’s saying.

  “The thought what?” I ask. His tongue darts out and swipes his bottom lip. God, I want to taste that lip but I desperately want him to finish that sentence. “The thought what?”

  I watch him shut his eyes and can see he’s flexing his hands into a fist and releasing. “No. I just got rid of it, and now you are bringing it all back. Unless you’re planning on coming to the dark side and doing something about it, I’m not going to share.”

  I reach my hand out and cup his cheek, his eyes flare open at the intrusion of his personal space. “Reece,” I deliberately lower my voice and move closer. “I’m not gay.”

  Chapter Sixteen


  I hear ‘I’m not gay’ and it’s like some paranormal force propels me forward. Her hand is on my face, and I want her all on me. I lunge forward, but the seat belt snaps me in place. An ‘ooph’ escapes and her pretty blue eyes light up as she starts to laugh at me. Unperturbed, I fumble for the seat belt latch, one click, and it’s off, and I dive for her again.

  My arms are outstretched, ready to scoop her up and pull her tight when I’m stopped again. The hand that was on my face is firmly on my chest, holding me back.

  “Reece.” I’m not familiar with her tone and I don’t like it. “Reece. You need to stop.”

  Not gay … stop … what she’s saying and how she’s saying it is bringing my racing mind to a grinding halt. “But you said … that pretty much means I can ...” I rest my hand on her thigh and give it a gentle squeeze.

  She scoffs and the hand is gone from my chest, only to be tucked across hers. “I don’t know on what planet I gave you permission to try and kiss me.”

  What the fuck? She’s turning me down? I can’t help but huff. “So you’re turning me down.” I huff again as I process this. “Seriously, you’re turning me down?”

  Madelyn drops her hand from her chest, and I want to grab hold of it to put it back on mine. “I don’t think you know what you want.”

  I have to catch my jaw as it drops. “Oh, I’m pretty sure I know what I want. I’ve wanted it since I laid eyes on you. I was trying to show you what I wanted the other night before you ran screaming—” Her hand comes up to cut me off.

  “Urgh, let’s not speak of that again.”

  I take her hand in mine and revel in the softness of her skin. I want so badly to feel his hand all over my body. “Honestly, I know what I want.”

  She returns my gaze, and I’m glad she doesn’t pull her hand away. “I’m going to sound like such a prude, because believe me, I want you too, I don’t want to be just another one of your many women.”

  I nod in agreeance and pride. “Well, there have been many.”

  And in the next second, I’m left holding my own hand while she turns back to face the steering wheel with an unpleasant groan. “Good night, Reece.”

  The front door closes behind me and want to punch myself in the nuts. I didn’t mean it the way it sounded. And if I’m truly honest, she’s the first one to ever give a shit. Most women use me as the conquest, happy to be one of my numbers. They wear it like a badge, most of them use it as a meal ticket. Not her though. It makes me even more curious to know why. I don’t detect a wedding band, and I certainly don’t see a boyfriend on the scene. It’s a mystery, and I’m keen to solve it.

  I shuck my shoes off and walk over to the lounge, not before snagging it on the same bloody end that I kick it on every single time I’m near it. Rage boils up and over as I shove the seat with all my might and push it three feet from where it was placed. A barrage of expletives flow out of me after the first “Fucking Christ”. I’m resisting the urge to punch something. That’s what I feel like I need. To punch something. I kick the lounge. I kick the lounge for hurting my toe. I kick the lounge for tonight and the bomb that it was. I kick the lounge for Madelyn rejecting me. I kick the Christ out of that chair over and over for all the things that have pissed me off. I snag one of the pillows and pull on the edges while I continue to swear.

  My thoughts move to Sean. My fingers grip into the corners one more time, and I hear the stitches break. I keep pulling 'til the innards of the pillow are now dancing around the room like snowflakes. I’ve been thinking all day about what David said and needing a plan for the rest of my life, and I have come up with exactly zero ideas. If I’m honest, I’m not
even inspired to write anything. Not even interested in picking up a guitar. Nothing. Zip. Nada. The fact was that I was too busy thinking up fantasies of Madelyn to even put my mind to what I wanted to do with my life. Shit’s getting to crunch time and all I can think about is sex. This alone makes me wanna punch myself again.

  I need to get out of this house. My jeans come off and I head to my runners. I pull on my shorts and tie my laces. I need to get out of here or I feel like I’m going to lose my shit, and the house will be nothing but a wreck. So I spin on my heel and head to the door. The door slams behind me, and I cross the paved front courtyard and out past the fence line. I cross the street and just walk. I have no idea where I’m going or where I’m going to end up, but I just need to move.

  If today hasn’t been frustrating enough, bloody Baxter Colson’s new song is stuck in my head. It’s catchy, it’s upbeat and it’s annoying that I didn’t write it. Allowing myself to sing another round of the song before I promise myself to cut it out.

  I don’t know how long I’ve been jogging by the time I’ve calmed down, but I definitely feel better. I tell myself to shut up about Sean and start singing some songs from other artists as well as my own when I come across Madelyn’s car. I look along the street, and I have to say, the houses don’t look to be as well-kept as the one I live in. The street is dark all bar one light coming from the most derelict house on the block. I pull my phone out and see that it’s two am.

  Quickly typing ‘are you up’ on my phone, my finger hovers over the send button. Just as I’m about to press the message, the light in the house turns off. Either way, I have my answer. Dejected, I set off for my own house again. Tomorrow is a new day, and I’m determined to prove to Madelyn that I’m not who she thinks I am. I’ll show her first and then the world. I have a new resolve, and I quicken my pace to get home.

  Ideas for songs and musical arrangements that were lying silently in my head are now screaming to be let out. I’m breathing hard as I push through the front door and wipe the sweat from my brow and strip off my shirt. I see the destruction of the front room, and I shake my head and curse. “Fucking Christ, such a cliché, Reece.” I close the door and tell myself that it’s tomorrow’s problem. Scooping up my abandoned jeans to shove them and the shirt in the sink next to the washer.

  Removing my underpants while the sink fills with water, the air feels cool on my skin. I am normally itching for a shower, instead, I reach for my notepad that’s on the kitchen bench and start scribbling what’s swirling around in my head. I fill the biggest glass I’ve been able to find in the cupboard, which I actually think is a vase, with water and set it on the bench top next to my writing pad. After taking my seat, I write 'til my hand cramps and then I pull out my phone. I record a couple of melodies and when it’s all out of me, I feel like I’ve run a marathon. I’m mentally and physically exhausted, but I’m on such a high. The mental block is now out of the way, and I’m feeling good. Dropping the pencil onto my notepad, I’ve come up with a plan to cover the walls with paper to put my notes up where I can see them. Turning, I make my way up the stairs and have a shower. My body is tired, my mind is firing on all cylinders. I return to the kitchen wearing my towel as it’s the only semi-clean and dry thing in my wardrobe and look over my notes.

  I sing a bit of the tune while making some adjustments that came to me in the shower. When I’m happy with what will become a chorus, I start to make a mental list of things to get to set up my writing area when I remember Madelyn said there was a bigger store the next town over. Madelyn. My thoughts always come back to her. It’s like the lights were turned on when she said she wasn’t gay, but the outcome posed a new question for me. Why is Madelyn not into me? Before when I thought she was gay, she was unobtainable. Now that I know she’s not, it’s her rejection that hurts me, but what she said gives me a glimmer of hope. She said she wants me too. That I can work with. And so I start the merry-go-round thoughts of her again. I always start with the first night I saw her. She wasn’t star struck. She wasn’t after me for the famous me. She’s kept my presence here a secret because I haven’t been hounded or found out, and that certainly wasn’t the case again tonight. If anything, she’s kept me away from possible prying eyes. My pen taps aimlessly on the bench as I come back from my drifting thoughts.

  The boner I’d worked so hard to suppress through the night is now making a painful reappearance. Looking at the time, I’m surprised at how awake I am considering it’s three-thirty. Like an automatic reaction, I can’t stifle the yawn as I turn off the lights and make my way upstairs. I eye the bed as I walk past it and think how good it’s going to be to have Madelyn in the middle of it. Shit. I make my way into the shower to take care of business.

  I’m not proud to say it, but I think I came in seven seconds flat. The water washing over my body felt like fingertips, and a flash of that tattoo had me coming undone. Now that that’s been taken care of, I was hoping I would be done thinking about her, but I can’t. Why does she appeal to me so much? She’s plain but classic with her fine features. She’s understated and quiet, that in itself is a complete one-eighty from what I’m normally into. God, no one has ever affected me like this. She’s the first woman that I’ve willingly given my phone number to.

  “Shit,” I let out as a groan and turn the shower off.

  As soon as I’m dried, I head to the bed and my phone. I saved her number the day she gave it to me. I pull open a new message and type. I wait and watch the clock tick by, minute by minute 'til it got to six. I felt like I was holding my breath 'til I pressed the send button. I’m putting myself out there.

  I’m sorry. I keep saying and doing the wrong thing around you. I don’t mean to. I’ve never met anyone like you, and I guess that scares me.

  I might not have a clue on what I’m doing, but ladies? Ladies I know. Apologise. Tell them what they want to hear and you are in. I couldn’t hide the smile when my phone chimed with a message.

  Madelyn: Shouldn’t you be washing your clothes? Filthy rocker is not a good look on you.

  Excellent. I have contact. I haven’t scared her off completely even if she does think I’m filthy.

  Reece: The machine is too hard for me. Speaking of hard ...

  The second I send it, I regret it. I wait to see the three dots to show that she’s writing back to me.

  I’ve been pinning up a storm on my boards while I wait another hour and check the message after I pin something. Still no dots. I’ve pushed too far.

  Wow. Dealing with real women is something I haven’t got a clue how to do. Wonder if Pinterest has a guide? Another thing for the list.

  Chapter Seventeen


  He wants phone sex out of me, and I’ve been burned by that before. Phone sex is an immediate turn-off. No way, no how am I doing that again, don’t care how far off the radar you want to be, I won’t be part of that. I had to physically put the phone down in another room and walk away from it, it made me that angry. Part of me was pissed off that he didn’t ask me over. Irrational, yes but if he’d asked me over, I would have said yes. I bite my thumbnail, toying with the idea of inviting him here, but I look around the room and instantly wipe the idea. If he thought my car was in bad shape, what would he say about my home? I only have one chair for God’s sake. The bathroom takes up part of the kitchen. He would take three steps, and he would have completed the tour.

  “Shit, what have you done to me, Reece?” All night, despite his shitty reminder that he’s a ladies man and has the social skills of a monkey, I still wanted him. If he’d just kept his mouth shut, he might have been in with a chance. A very good chance. How can he bewitch me and then piss me off so easily? He was truly masterful. So hot and cold. It got me thinking that I can’t be around someone who manages to piss most of my boxes off when it comes to being in my life. He’s heading towards the too hard basket. I don’t even know him, yet my stupid head goes to dirty thoughts of me ravishing his body while he explores
mine. Reece is something to look at for sure, but he will eventually go back to his world, and that’s a world I can’t be part of. I have to talk myself out of thinking ‘well, there’s no harm if we have some fun now’.

  I’ve had relationships after Arsehole, but they seemed to just run their natural course and fizzle out. I want that heart-stopping rush when they are around. That sensory overload where they just smell, taste, sound and feel just so good. Reece manages to frazzle my senses even when he’s not around. I want a guy that loves me for all my flaws, and I’m not sure even Reece can look past my history. I want a guy that’s independent and loves that I’m independent. Reece doesn’t know me that well, but I stupidly let my mind wander into what it would be like. “Stop it,” I tell myself. I’m getting caught up in my own fantasy that something is going to happen between Reece and I. One day he will go back to his world, and I’ll stay in mine. He’s all about pounds, and I’m struggling with pence. He’s itching for the spotlight, and I couldn’t get further away from it. The little devil on my shoulder pipes in again with an idea of ‘enjoy it while it lasts. There will be no harm done. Have a little fun’. If his actions last night were anything to go by, he’s definitely up for some fun.

  Finishing the conversation in my head by telling myself that we have very little in common and I’m possibly setting myself up for heartache.


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