Rock Bottom

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Rock Bottom Page 12

by Josephine Traynor

“Just wanted to say thanks so much for everything. I honestly can’t imagine how my stay would have been like if I hadn’t met you.”



  “Can we try that kiss again now?”

  “I think we should,” I say, and I lean forward in the seat. I see Madelyn’s shadow shift forward and just when I’m about to touch her face. There is a loud bang on the back windscreen that causes someone to scream so loud my ears start to ring. I’m not sure if it was me or her screaming.

  “Jesus Christ, Trent!”

  The drivers door opens, and I come face to face with her brother. “Hmm. You’re not Madelyn.”

  “Keen observation. No. I’m Reece.” I thought better to face this front on and man up. I stretch my legs out of the car, and we are pretty much eye level when I come to stand. “Nice to meet you, Trent.”

  Trent’s clearly as happy to meet me as I am to meet him. He tosses a hand towel over his shoulder and takes my hand. His grip is firm and gives it a firm shake before letting it go.

  “What are you doing all the way out here Madelyn?” he asks but doesn’t take his judging gaze off me. “Was getting calls you were being driven around town.”

  “Reece wanted to learn how to drive, and I thought parking out the back here was going to be more private for him. We’d like to come in for dinner if that’s okay.”

  “Probably best you don’t. We have a darts competition on tonight. Lots of people. People who want to get to know people. They’re a chatty bunch.”

  “Oh okay. Well, thanks. I’ll be back tomorrow then. Reece. Can you drive us home or would you like me to?” I take my seat behind the wheel and pull the door closed. Trent doesn’t move from his spot as I turn the key. “Hey, I’m sorry about this. I didn’t even think there was something on tonight or I wouldn’t have suggested it.”

  “No, it’s fine. I’m sure your brother doesn’t want you leaving with me though.” I grip the steering wheel and say a silent prayer that I don’t bunny hop away.

  God must have been in the shitter because I cannot catch a break. Not only did I bunny hop, but I stalled the car not one, not twice, but three times. I could hear Trent laughing over the groaning engine, surprised he didn’t piss himself. He still managed to pull out his phone, and when the flash of his camera goes off, I plant the foot on the accelerator and roar out onto the street. All the confidence I’d just mustered up was now forgotten.

  I drive the car back to my home in silence. Madelyn has apologised several times, but didn’t try to make any further conversation until I pulled into park outside my house.

  “Trent’s a good guy. He was the one there for me when all the shit started to go down. We lost our mother when I was thirteen. He’s been more like a father figure to me so it’s no wonder he’s stepped in and then steps over the line. And the bunny hops were pretty funny. When I first started to learn, I was asking why the car wasn’t moving, and I hadn’t even started the car, so everyone has their war stories.”

  “Look, I appreciate all you have done. I don’t want you to be the cause for town gossip. Seriously. I didn’t see a fucking body on the street, it’s like out of that zombie show on TV, yet they were on the phone telling your brother you were with some guy.”

  “It’s a small town, Reece. Small minds need entertainment. Be thankful they were ringing my brother and not the media.”

  I snap my head to look at her as I pull on the handbrake. “Would they? There’s a bounty on my head pretty much.”

  “No. And Trent certainly wouldn’t. I would maim him if he did. Believe me. Trent is the least of your worries.”

  “Well thank you for tonight. It’s been enlightening.”

  “Oh no. We’re not done. I said I was going to help you and help you I shall. We have to put that stuff on the walls.” I’d forgotten all about it the wall, and now I’m not in the mood.

  “Mind if we take a rain check?”

  “I do mind actually. I have to work a double tomorrow, and if we are going to get another lesson in, then this is the only time I can get it done. Hey, don’t let someone like Trent put a dampener on the night. He’s a really nice guy. He’s just … protective of me. So, you have me for another half an hour, and I’ll have to get going.” She follows me up the front step and walks in behind me. “Where did you want to get set up?”

  I lift my finger and point in the direction of the front room. “I was thinking that room up there. It’s a good space.”

  “Lead the way.” She gestures for me to set off first.

  Within fifteen minutes, we have the cardboard pinned to the wall, the toe-stubbing lounger and the coffee table set up for me to work off. The hutch is set up with the stationary while the alcohol has been packed away inside it. One of the first things she did was open the shutters and then open the French doors.

  “How do you feel about writing outdoors? When I get writer’s block, I have to have a change of scenery. Even moving to a different spot helps. You can’t stay cooped up inside, you’ll go stir crazy.” I nod at her suggestions. A sense of calm washes over me while I take some tentative steps out. “I just … I just worry about the neighbours seeing me.”

  I watch Madelyn stride across the deck to lift the chairs in the outdoor setting closer to my work room’s deck. “Ahh, well, have you heard anyone in that house?” She points to the townhouse. I shake my head. “Was going to say, I think the guy that owns this house owns that one. Might want to check it. So, unless you have some weird aversion to the moonlight. Come join me.” I ask her to just stand there. Right where she is. It’s not a full moon but it’s light enough to cast around her shadow and show some highlights around her face. A chorus for a song has just popped into my head, and I want to get it written down. She complies with my request, but as I pull out my mobile phone, she watches over me warily. “The way the sun’s shining, I just want to capture this moment so I can come back to this song.”

  “Do I have to face you? Can it be of my back?”

  “Sure, just stand right there.” I take three snaps, all of them showing the moon’s rays distorting the photo so it looks like there’s an overlay between Madelyn and me. “All done.”

  I watch her walk over to collect the small table and bring it over. Before I even realise, I’m out on the deck helping her move it. She gives me a smile that makes my cock twitch. Looking at her, and knowing that whatever she’s been through has made her this person, if she’s willing to help me, then I need to grab hold of that with both hands. And before I know what I’m doing, I have one arm looped around her waist as I gently pull her so her back is against my chest. My mouth lowers to her ear, and I ask my final question.

  “Can I kiss you now?”

  Chapter Twenty


  Before I could even register, the yes was out of my mouth, and my arms were moving down to rest over his around my waist. His touch was tender, and it felt like my bones were turning to jelly as I relished his hold on me. I desperately wanted to kiss him. Sitting and having lunch with him showed me the side that really appealed. He’s just a normal guy. The light and jovial way he moved while revealing pieces of himself and the hurt wasn’t lost in his voice when he was talking about his band and uncertainty of his future. His warm body pressed against my back, took me to a place where I would be happy to stay forever.

  I turn in his arms and link one hand around his waist. My other hand slides along his arm to take a firm grip of his bicep. I’m eye level with his chest, and I slowly wet my lips with my tongue. I can hear Reece’s breath as I lift my eyes to look at his.

  I’ve kissed a couple of guys after James, but for some reason – this felt different. Reece has no idea of who am I and he wants to kiss me. I’d always wondered what my first real ‘I want to kiss you because of you, not because of who you are associated with’ kiss would be like.

  “Hey, where’d you go?” Reece asked as he brushed my hair out of my face. His calloused finge
rs felt surprisingly gentle on my cheek. “You went on a bit of a trip.”

  I smile and rise to the tips of my toes. “Just thinking this is your lucky day.”

  Reece stops me from kissing him. “Funny, that’s what I usually say …” I slowly lower to my heels. “Fuck. See. You make me say stupid things. No, no. Don’t lower back down. Come back up here. I want those lips. Please.” I snicker at his enthusiasm, but bristle at his comments of being another number. “Look. Let’s get this sorted. You have a history. I have a history. We can’t change that, all I know is that I’ve never been a one-woman man, but that’s totally changed. I’d prefer to have no rules. No claims. Take each day as it comes.”

  “Actually, that sounds perfect and exactly what I want. No expectations. We both know where we stand, and we can just enjoy the moment without over-thinking.”

  I rise again as my hand slides up behind his neck while he tilts his head to the side and our mouths draw nearer. In those split seconds before we make contact, thoughts cloud the moment. Open? Half-open? Closed? Tongue? I close my eyes just as I see his mouth open slightly and do the same. His lips press to mine and my hand slides into his hair. In the next moment, our tongues are touching and my jaw opens a little wider while I press my body flush with his. The kiss is tender, it’s passionate. It’s perfection. It’s like his mouth was made for mine, it melded so perfectly. I kiss him with the same intensity that he kisses me, and I hear a phone ringing back inside the room. I know it’s not mine, and Reece seems lost in the kiss, so I pull away first.

  “Wha— oh,” Reece says as he seems torn to let go of me and go and get the phone.

  “It’s fine. You might need to get that,” I say as I release my hold on him. I watch him back away and just as he’s about to reach the threshold of the deck to the house is when he turns away from me. My fingertips meet my tingling lips, and I can’t help but smile from the kiss. Damn I want to do that again. I look up to the sky, but it’s only for a brief moment when I hear Reece’s raised voice and look to him. He’s whisper yelling into the phone. When someone’s trying to make a firm point without actually yelling. It was that kind of tone and all I heard was ‘lose this number and don’t ever call again’.

  My breath hitches. I have no right to be jealous. I have no rank over him. But I certainly have developed feelings in the short time that I’ve known him. I tamper down the spike of jealousy in repeating that he told the person to pretty much buggar off. I watch him. He has his back to me, his head down and he returns his phone to the hutch before turning on his heel and making a beeline back to me. Within a few steps, I’m back in his arms, and his mouth is back on mine, but this time, it feels different. It feels odd. It feels wrong. I pull my mouth from his and bring my arms between us.

  “What’s going on?” he asked.

  “I want you to kiss me like you did before that phone call. Don’t take out on me what that person on the phone has done to you.”

  Reece lowered his head to rest his forehead against mine. “Sorry,” he whispered.

  “I don’t mind the rough kisses, I don’t mind the soft, but the frustrated or angry kisses—” I shake my head. I quickly lay a small kiss on his lips and pull back immediately as his hand slides down to my arse and grips tightly but briefly.

  “What was that?” he asks.

  “That’s all I can give you for now,” I say as I lower down and slide my arse out of his grip. “And your hands need to stay above the equator.”

  He raises his hands up as if surrender. “I’ll take whatever you throw my way.”

  “Oh no, Reece, I don’t throw things like this away. If you get my attention, it’s because I want to give it. So, it’s getting late. I have to get home and get some studying done.”

  “Can’t you just study here? I can work while you study.” His wandering fingers to my belt loops didn’t go unnoticed. I keep stroking his arm, absentmindedly tracing the tattoo poking out from under his sleeve. “I already know you’ll be a huge distraction. So, like you said. This is going to be done right. Because I know. Once I kiss those lips, I’m going to have a tough time in stopping.”

  “Oh Jesus, you can’t say things like that. I’m having a hard enough time just letting you leave.”

  “I’ll be around. You have some work to do to. I’d like to see your list so I can help you with it. So, I’m gonna go, get things done and I’ll see you soon.” I take a step back, but his arms extend with his fingers still in my loops. I need to keep my head around Reece. He’s a guy that could hurt me if I let him. He’s a guy that could also be the man that makes me believe in trust again. He’s also a guy that I could have a lot of fun with.

  Chapter Twenty-One


  A quick kiss on the lips. Like a grandma kiss. No. That’s not true. A kiss from Madelyn made my cock feel alive. Thankfully no granny kiss ever made me feel like that. Damn she felt good in my arms. I could keep her there quite happily, but she was pretty determined to get going with her commitments.

  Number seven hundred and eighty-two for the list of things that I’m not used to. I’m not used to anything other than being put first. To be honest, it gave me the shits to think that something else was more important than me. Why didn’t she want to stay with me?

  I leaned against the closed front door and savoured the other quick kiss she planted on my lips as she walked through it. I’m unsettled by my thoughts of ravishing her body the next time I see her. The way she balked at lunch about her background, it was obvious she had trust issues. If she’s done any research on me, she knows that I haven’t exactly had an exemplary dating history. Most of my bedfellows have gone on to sell the sordid details of our ventures. I never really minded, even the stuff that was made up, but now. For some reason now it bothers me. I reach for my phone and send Madelyn a text.

  Don’t believe what you read about me in the papers. If you want to know something about me, ask me.

  I set my phone down and grab one of the thick coloured pens from the stocked cup on the hutch. Pulling off the lid with my teeth, my phone chimes.

  As long as you do the same in return.

  I fire back another text with.


  What is she doing to me? But I have to admit, I do want to Google her. I just don’t have a last name to search. My searches have been reduced to two. Sean and Pinterest. I’m searching along with everyone else as to any hint of where Sean’s gone. Even though he’s done a prick of a thing, I just need to know he’s alright. The thought of him being in trouble makes me anxious. I would give just about anything to make sure he’s okay.

  I try to shake that unsettled feeling by focusing on my list.

  Find Sean

  Learn to drive

  Solo album

  Learn to cook – and cook decently

  Defeat the washing machine

  Kiss Madelyn properly

  By the time I’ve written the fifth thing on the wall, I’m mentally drained but physically bouncing. I get that this is my wishlist, I also have to be realistic as to what is going to help me now. I glance at my watch and see that it’s taken me four hours to come up with my list, and it’s made me agitated. I’m pissed off that it’s taken me that long for very little gain. If anything, it shows how much the lifestyle I was leading stole from me. Hindsight is a cruel thing. At the time, it was the bees knees. Looking at it now, it’s left me shackled, disadvantaged and in a way, depressed.

  I sit with the laptop on the coffee table and start my search. Pretty soon I’m rubbing my tired eyes as I trawl through hours of interviews with Sean and me. They start off with both of us talking and pretty soon, I’m the one doing most of the talking. In some interviews, it’s just me. Watching myself, it dawns on me. It’s all about me. There are some interviews where the journalist is asking Sean a direct question and I cut him off so I can get my two cents in. My phone ringing broke me from my trance.

  “Turn the TV on,” David instructs. I click t
he remote and I have to blink as the brightness fills the room.

  ‘And back to our breaking news. Missing half of band Backbeat has resurfaced after a questionable absence, and he’s now allegedly off the market. That’s right. You heard it here first, Sean Gillings has apparently married his girlfriend of one year.’ Girlfriend!? When the fuck did he get a girlfriend? “Are you seeing this?” David asks, and I tell him to shoosh. ‘The couple allegedly got married on a secluded island, with only a handful of friends and family to share the nuptials. Reports have been sketchy regarding fellow band member, Reece Ashton. Some guests said he was not invited, yet other reports say he was the best man. Fans have hit social media hard voicing their outrage that the tour that was going to set all kinds of records was postponed for this reason while other fans have come out to congratulate the newlyweds. Fans have been demanding to know where Reece Ashton is. Earlier reports said that Gillings and Ashton were linked to some money laundering scheme, and their assets have been frozen. The band’s manager David Steel was giving very little away.’

  The interview cuts to the media hounding David outside the company building and he’s trying to get to his car.

  “There is nothing I can tell you about the private assets of our clients.” The media scrum shouts questions at him. Did you know they were getting married? “No, I didn’t know they were getting married. Reece is obviously very hurt by this revelation and working hard on his new solo album. I think fans both old and new are going to be very happy with his new work. We’re working out details for release and that will be known soon.”

  What the actual fuck.

  “Reece?” David calls me as the news cuts to showing tweets by fans.

  “Where the fuck is he and what’s this about a solo album?”


  “No. Tell me where the fuck he is. I need to talk to him.”


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