Just a one-shot I was desperate to write despite my hiatus!
It was partially inspired by the song 'A Bitter Song' by Butterfly Boucher - check it out, it's beautiful.
BTW, all the parts in italics are flashbacks, with a date to say when they were. Everything else is in the present.
Hope you enjoy it, and please leave a review.
A BITTER SONG
This is killing me.
I'm used to saying goodbyes, but she's making this way too difficult. Now, here I am, in my hotel bathroom, 'freshening up' whilst she packs her bags, because in all honesty, it's too hard to watch her even fold her clothes. If she cries, she knows I will too. I know when it's about to happen; her eyes go all cloudy with tears, and her bottom lips trembles when I look at her, and all I want to do is kiss her and tell her everything will be alright. I'm supposed to be this big, tough wrestler, and somehow, this woman has broke me down, and showed me I'm not as strong as I thought I was.
The worst part of this is that I'm married, and my wife isn't the one that's making me feel this way.
Outside the bathroom, I can hear the radio, and she's singing along. She's had a beautiful voice.
- X –
September 15th 2008
"Remind me again why we're at a karaoke bar?" I sighed, as Randy and I walked into the dark, tiny joint in St Louis. It genuinely hurt my ears to be in here; some guy was absolutely murdering 'We Are The Champions' and the drunken audience was hollering appreciatively. Were they deaf, or just really hammered? I wasn't sure.
Was this what I had come to St Louis for? A shit karaoke bar? I was suffering from a neck injury, and was on leave from WWE at the time, due to rehabilitation. I'd decided to take a trip to Missouri – leaving my fiancée at home - to visit Randy; he was my best friend – and still is.
"There's someone I want you to meet." Randy signalled for me to follow him over to the bar. "Hey, Talls!" He called to the barmaid, who had her back to us. She quickly spun around, and I was stunned at how beautiful she was.
She had long dark hair that cascaded down her back, and the most intense brown eyes I'd ever seen. She wore a simple black dress that hugged every one of her curves to perfection, and her black heels just topped off the ensemble. I noticed a small star tattooed on her wrist, and that her nails were painted a deep plum.
"John, this is Talia." Randy introduced us. "She's a friend of the family, and she's a big fan of yours."
Talia's cheeks turned the colour of her nail polish. "Way to make me sound like a stalker, Rand," She grinned, and walked out from the other side of the bar to wrap an arm around Randy's waist. I noticed that her eyes were firmly fixed on me. "You gonna get up and give us a song?"
Now it was my turn to feel embarrassed. "Oh, I'm not much of a-"
"Come on," She grabbed my hand and pulled me towards the stage; she was deceivingly strong. "I know Rand's not gonna sing with me, so you're the sacrificial lamb." She had amazing smile. I could hear the opening bars of the song played, I knew exactly what it was – how could you not? The amount of people that had murdered this song in karaoke...and I was about to be one of them. I couldn't run off stage. I was here now, and I had to go through with it.
"Now I've had the time of my life. No I never felt like this before," I couldn't help but grin back at her; I was terrible. "Yes I swear it's the truth, and I owe it all to you." And then she started singing, and everything changed.
"'Cause I've had the time of my life and I owe it all to you." She had the most amazing voice; it was soft, and sweet, and it sounded as if she were singing to you and you alone. I didn't think about much else while I was singing, it went by in a blur until the song ended, and the drunken ruckus started up again.
- X –
I take the plunge, and stick my head outside the bathroom door, and catch a glimpse of her.
"I've been roaming around, I was looking down at all I see, painted faces fill the places I can't reach." She's got an acoustic cover of 'Use Somebody' playing on the radio, and she's completely entranced in the music. "You know that I could use somebody, you know that I could use somebody..." She's dancing along, but it's not choreographed, more just swaying as she walks, and she's wearing one of my orange t-shirts, and it absolutely swamps her frame, making her look even smaller than she already is.
I cough politely, and her head snaps into my direction. "Did I make you jump?" I chuckle.
"You did," She replies, beginning to walk towards me. Her eyes are cloudier than I've seen them before. We're just inches away as she rests her hands on my chest. "You don't have to go yet, do you?" She whispers.
"No, not yet." I say, pulling her in so I can hold her close. I can smell her coconut-y shampoo, as I gently kiss the top of her head.
"So we've still got time?"
There's the Talia I know.
- X –
September 15th 2008
"I had a lot of fun tonight." I told her, as we drove down the road towards her house. I wasn't entirely sure where I was going, but every so often, Talia would tell me 'left' or 'right' or 'just down here'. We'd dropped Randy off at his house, and I agreed to take Talia to avoid her catching a cab.
"Me too." Talia agreed, turning her head to the side so she could look at me. "You have a nice voice; I'm impressed."
"Whatever you say." I agreed, sarcastically.
A hint of a smile crossed her lips. "I'd never have thought of you as much of a singer."
"Honestly, I had no idea I was even coming here. Randy just told me he was going out and he dragged me along." I laughed.
"It's just in here." She pointed at a house across the road from us; it was dark outside, so it was hard to see what it looked like. "It's modest, but it fits all of my clothes." She paused. "Just. Besides, a barmaid's wages aren't gonna be enough for a palace."
Neither of us knew what to say next, as an awkward air of silence filled the car. The engine stopped, and I decided to be the first to speak up. "It was great to meet you." I didn't want to say goodbye just yet. "I just wish I wasn't-"
I never got the chance to finish that sentence, as Talia leaned over and kissed me on the lips. At first, I didn't attempt to stop it; it was too good. As I felt her deepen it, I melted; she tasted of tequila and cherry lipgloss, and her hands massaged the back of my injured neck. It should've been painful, but it wasn't. The kiss was messy; our tongues fighting each other, and her sticky lipgloss smearing over my mouth, but in that moment, it seemed perfect. It wasn't, though. Liz was back in Boston, and there I was, making out with someone I barely knew.
"Are you okay?" Talia asked, as I pulled away from her. I didn't want to...but I had to.
"Talia, I can't do this. I'm engaged." I admitted.
She nodded slowly, backing away a little from me. "That's not good, is it?" She laughed a little.
"No, it's not-"
"And I know I should care more," She continued, leaning over to rest a hand on my knee, and pressed her lips against my ear. "But right now, all I want to do is invite you inside." She shrugged, taking her hand of my knee, slinging her handbag over her shoulder and getting out of the car. All I could do was watch her, as she sauntered around to my side of the car, before opening the door. "Are you coming, or not?"
She didn't have to ask twice, as I got out of the car, and followed her inside.
- X –
She is peaceful as she sleeps; her eyes flitter slightly, and every few seconds, her chest rises, and then falls again. Every moment I spend with Talia, I fall a little bit further for her, falling for the little things, like the way she sleeps.
I wish I could say that after that night in St Louis, I never saw her again, but it was quite the opposite. I extended my stay, and we didn't leave her house for almost a week. I learnt everything about her in such a short space of time, and we connected. Attachment is a strong thing, and after meeting Talia, I never wanted to leave her. In between that first meeting with Talia, and this moment, a lot happened. I got married, Talia started working for the WWE as Lilian Garcia's replacement, and Liz is now pregnant with our first child.
Things have moved on, and I know I have to as well. Somewhere deep down, Talia knows as well.
Leaning over, I kiss the top of her forehead, still able to smell her coconut shampoo. She stirs slightly, only to turn over on her side, and pull the covers tightly around her bare frame. I often joke that she could sleep through an earthquake. I get out of bed, and put on my clothes again, remembering the conversation we had a couple of days prior.
- X –
20th April 2010
"What're you doing?" Talia bounced into my hotel room, and jumped onto the bed behind me, wrapping her legs around my waist, and her arms around my shoulders.
It would've been impossible to describe how I felt in that moment, so I dropped the photo of the ultrasound scan on the bed, and put on my head in my hands.
Talia picked it up tentatively, and slowly ran her fingers over it. "Did Liz send you this?" I nodded, my eyes fixed on the ground. I felt Talia untangle her limbs from around me, and get to her feet. She knelt down so she was looking at me at eye-level. "Is it a boy or a girl?"
I look up. "A boy."
She slowly walked across the room, and looked out of the window. "You're gonna be a great father." We were both silent; an indication that something was seriously wrong. "We can't do this anymore, can we?"
"I'm gonna be a father, Talls," I walked towards her, and wrapped my arms around her, resting my chin on her shoulder. She places her hands on mine. "I need to be a good father, and what we have-"
"I get it." She spun around, so her eyes met mine, and our bodies pressed together. "I get it. I just...I never expected this day to come."
"What do you mean?"
"In the end, I thought we'd end up together." She admitted. "I assumed Liz would find out, and you'd come running to me. I'd tell you that you were stupid, but I'd forgive you for ever juggling two women. I never thought I'd be watching you dance with Liz at your wedding and I assumed it would be my baby you'd be fathering." She paused, and pushed me off her. "But hey, a girl can dream, right?" She shrugged, picking up her handbag, and going to leave.
"Talia!" I called, and she stopped at the doorway. "This is gonna be hard for me, you know that, right?"
She swallowed. "Not as hard as it'll be for me."
- X –
I'm stood in the doorway of our hotel room, looking back at her as she sleeps. I can fill my eyes brimming with tears, but I use the back of my hand to wipe them away. Like I said, I'm a big, tough wrestler; I don't cry.
"Goodbye, Talia." I say, before leaving the room.
I'm stood outside, and I'm wondering if I've made the right decision. I love my wife; Liz is my childhood sweetheart, and now she's carrying my baby. And that's why I've got to get out of this hotel, and get back to my wife. I'll always care about Liz, but then there's Talia. I've known her for almost two years, and she's managed to change her in more ways than I could ever imagine. When I'm with her...I can do anything. She makes me into a stronger person.
The worst part of this is that I can't think of myself; I've got a child to think about. An innocent child that shouldn't be torn apart by my mistakes...not that Talia was ever a mistake.
"Are you still out there, John?" I hear Talia sobbing through the door, her throat hoarse from a combination of tiredness and tears.
I don't respond, instead choosing to walk away, despite the fact it's killing me inside.