A/N: Hello dear dear readers new and old! I am back with a series! This is something tht hit me halfway through Steel and I have talked about it before in the Steel an's and here it is. This story is pretty much something that came to me while listening to my music on my mp3. The boys screamed at me for a long long time and I kept notes and things morphed and here we have the strt. There will be many musical refs and some twist in characters that might not be everyones cup of tea but it is what they are telling me. So I hope you stick with for the ride. I am seeing a good 30-40 chapters (you all know I am long winded) so let do it! I want to say I love you Min! My beautiful pre-reader you have been an amazing support and I trust you will tell me when it is crap! And To the hubs Joe~~ your devotion to edit me after long hours of taking on the news of the town! 3!
Fuck this crap! I am done with them all! Walking into a sleazy-ass bar down the street from my crap-ass Super 8 room, all I want to do is drown myself in booze and forget it all.
"Time to grow up, son. Time to take over and step up and fill your right full place." Fuck that! My mother has been pushing too fucking long and hard and this little jaunt into the heart of the company is a crock. I could be living it up in L.A. or settling into a dance groove in Seattle.
Po-fucking-dunk Texas, where the height of excitement is a pie bake-off, is crap!
The bar is exactly what I thought it would be from looking at the outside. The floor is pitted wood. The walls are lined with neon signs and drink special posters and the paint is faded and chipped. I pull up to the bar on the least-rickety stool I can find.
"What can I get ya, buddy?" Well, the accent fits. Glancing at the too-tight Levis and the heels of the boots confirms it - I'm in hell.
"Scotch, whatever you have is fine, as long as it is not Beam." Putting the glass of amber in front of me, he busies himself with random bartender crap.
I down the first drink quickly. It's Jameson not scotch, but I will deal with the decent whiskey. A second and third go down just as easy as the first. By the time I am on my fourth, I slow down and I guess the bartender decides I must be in a chatty mood.
"So . . . not from here obviously. I know everyone here." He dunks a few glasses through the water cycle that bars call clean.
"Not even close." Not in the mood for chit-chat, I let my eyes dart to the ESPN on the big screen.
"No accent, so not even from the state. Why the fuck would you be here?" I snort. That is the million-dollar question.
I bark out a laugh at him, "Not by any choice of my own, that is for sure."
"So what's the story?" Is he fucking serious? Is this a movie?
"Really gonna play bartender psychologist with me? Is that in the handbook or something?" Really? Do they live in movie cliches down here?
Now it's his turn to laugh. "No, man, it's just a matter of making small talk. It is after nine on a weeknight. Most of the town is in bed. Hell, if you hadn't come in, I probably would have closed up by now."
"Sorry to make you do your job. You could always kick me out. I am sure you have a hot little 'honey' or 'sweetheart' - no, you are more the 'sugar pie' type - to get home to." Ya, I am being a dick. I probably should just go, but honestly, I want to stay and be a dick and get some things off my chest.
"Actually I am more the 'Darlin' type." I could have sworn he winked at me as he turned to pull a bottle of beer out of the cooler. "So, gotta story or you want silence?" He smirks as he turns back to me.
I narrow my eyes at him and get a good look. He was quite a good-looking man, that's for sure. He had piercing green eyes and a straight nose, plump red lips and a firm square jaw, and dark hair that had streaks of blonde and reds from the southern sun that hits his chin. He was stunning really. Not even the series of fine-lined scars down the left side of his face could deter from his good looks. There are tattoos peeking out from under the rolled sleeves of his chambray shirt. Something about him has my attitude chilling out a bit. What the hell! It's customary to spill your shit to the bartender, right? I never thought one way or the other about what I prefer as far as sex goes. I can see the beauty in both the sexes. I have never had a complaint.
"Family sucks sometimes, that's about it. You live how you are brought up, then all of a sudden life stinks."
"Sorry, man. Wish I could empathize, but I ain't got none." Great, now I feel like shit. Not sure why, I could care less about a random sob story, but there was something in the tone of his voice.
Downing the last of my amber-colored therapy, I slide it forward and hand him a tip. "Thanks man, have a good one." He taps his knuckles on the bar.
Tapping the bar, he pockets the money. "Catch ya around, man." I looked back briefly and he was facing the mirror, but his eyes were on me. Our eyes met briefly, but he then shook his head and turned away so I couldn't see the what? Sad look? Disgusted? Shoving a hand in my pocket, I blow the joint with a who-gives-a-fuck attitude. Some of the pissy attitude is gone, but not all of it, especially after I stop to light a smoke and take a look around.
This is the shit that I escaped. This is the life that if my father hadn't been so successful, I would be still living in. And let me tell you, it is crap. The main - and I am sure only - drag has classic signs of small-town hick town. The asphalt street is pitted and covered in the gravel and tar meant to fix it. The stores all scream small-town, from the Piggly Wiggly at the end of the street to the five and dime next to the diner that probably hasn't seen an update to the decor since the
'50s. Taking a deep drag from my Camel Wide, I head down the street back towards my own personal hell of cheap carpets and itchy blankets. Six channels and the smell of hundreds of others that have been in the same room.
The walk takes no time at all. In fact, I bet my Rolex that no where in this town takes more than fifteen minutes on foot. Grabbing my card key out of my pocket, I let myself into my room and throw the window wide open. Everything said nonsmoking, but fuck it! Putting a little water in one of the cups from the ice bucket, I light up a Camel. If they don't like it, screw them! I will buy the fucking place. Tossing my coat on the bed and kicking off my shoes, I whip the comforter off the bed and toss it in the corner before flopping down and grabbing the remote. With a late night talk show droning on in the background, I fire up my laptop to go over the next day. The hell that will be my everyday until my dear old mother thinks I have learned my lesson or some shit like that.
My email is first and I bypass all of the emails that look like invites and updates. It will just put me in a crappier mood and remind me of what I am missing out on. I don't need the reminders of what I could be doing and what I have to do to get back to that life. I see the ones that are dealing with work. I try to wade through it all. I have been working in the company since I left college, but really, I just was there. I'm not a dumbass, but as far as I was concerned, there were others that knew the job. Why not let them do it? I had money to spend and fun to have. Yup, well, one stroke and I pretty much blew my fun out of the water. Now it is time to buckle down or there would be no more fun. After about 50 emails, the booze, the stress and the long day blur my eyes, so I shut the lid and strip down to my boxers. I hope to god that the sheets are clean as I slide in and lay back.
Tomorrow is going to be the official start to my stay in hell and I feel the headache on the way as I drift. But the last image I remember surprises me, it is of intense green eyes, a southern drawl and fine silver scars. It is a flash, but I recall it several times through the night. It haunts my dreams.
The glaring sun and layer of sweat covering me has me waking up in a bitch of a mood. I forgot how hot it is right away in the mornings down here. Back when I was a kid visiting, Nana would always remind me to close the curtains and turn on the fan. I, in my mood from yesterday, forgot both.
Scratching my sweaty balls, I shuffle over to the coffee pot and flip it on and stare out the window. My view is a half-empty lot full of steaming asphalt and dust. "Welcome to hell, Eddie Boy."
Climbing out of bed at the crack of dawn was never me - OK, rarely me. But after replaying everything in my head for the hundred-thousandth time, I give up on sleep. The guy was - well, hot as hell, if you go for the obviously handsome and rich type. But, WOW, what a complete ass. It was like he had "trust fund" stamped on his forehead and "party boy" stamped on his ass. Not to mention the crown on top of his head that screamed "I am a fucking sex GOD." From his perfectly messy hair to his Rolex and expensive suit, he had that rich party-boy air about him. Everything I loathe - that and the fact that he seemed to blame everyone for spoiling his life. I should have been happy when he walked out of my place, but something about him - something. The smart part of me yells "RUN." But the risk taking side says, "Go ahead and bite. You know you want to know more."
"Fuck it, he screams 'daddy issues.' " Tossing the covers back, I pad naked to the bathroom and take a long piss and splash water on my face. Checking the clock as I grab a Coke out of the fridge, I see the ungodly hour. I groan at the glaring green 6:45 on the microwave as I take a long pull from the cold can of sugary caffeine and it slides down my throat. This is gonna be a long-ass day.
After grumbling and groaning through my wake up routine, I grab my keys and head out to do the only thing I can ever think to do when I wake up this early.
"Oh mama, I wish you could have seen it. Rose was all hair-flipping and eye-batting and then the guy used the Q-word and 'boom', he was flat on his ass." I chuckle to myself and pick at a few strands of grass, rolling them between my fingers. I always show up once a week to leave some flowers or say a quick "hi," but when I was having a rough day or was up early with nothing to do until I had to open the bar, I would come and catch up - maybe just to sort out things in my head. Growing up it was just Mama and I and I could always and did always go to her when I needed to sort out life. She would be cooking or hanging the wash. Whatever her task, she would just listen. I would talk - ramble really - and she never asked me to get to the point because she always knew it would come out. And it did, eventually, and with a few "hmms," and "I sees," she let me talk until I got to the point and came up with the solution. Mamma rocked like that.
Today, I told myself I was just killing time - catching her up on life and my friends, but there was that nagging feeling that told me to keep talking. There was more. I spend the better part of an hour telling her about Rose and her antics, going over the gigs I have played and have coming up, bar news. I even let her in on some of the town gossip. She always did love to pretend that she hated the hens spewing venom in among the frozen foods and canned goods, but she was always relaying it to me as I helped her haul the bags in.
"So then, I guess Miss Mabel claimed she was only helping get a stain out of the carpet under Pastor Clearwater's desk." I could almost hear her laughter and see her as she wipes the tears from her eyes. Then I fall silent, I now know this is the time. This is the time in the conversation to switch. Funny - with her alive, I never felt the switch but I feel it now. I feel when the time comes more and more lately. My hands land palm up on my thighs and I let out a held-too-long breath. Staring at the bluish granite in front of me, I look down and close my eyes. Another breath and my hands leave my thighs. My head raises to the sky to the heavens - where I know she really is - and my fingers pull at my hair. Then I plead to the only one ever to tell me like it is, the only person to not give me an inch no matter what I have been through.
"Mama, I'm just not sure anymore. I have been doing everything I ever wanted. I play my music. I run our bar. I have my friends." I pull my fingers through my hair and lift them to the sky before slapping them down on my thighs. "I just don't get it. Why the hell am I not feeling satisfied?"
I am looking at the ground trying to figure out life, when the wind blows hard and I am knocked in the head by an acorn. "Ouch! OK, Mama, what am I missing?" Then I look up and the first thing that I see are the words on her headstone. I read them out loud. " 'Love and determined.' Really, Mama? No . . . No way at all." Then a stray dead branch narrowly misses my cheek and I give in.
"Fine, but I promise nothing." Lifting off my knees, I place the same kiss as always to her stone and say my goodbyes. On the way to my truck, I think over all the signs then back to the things I rambled off. I really didn't realize I was missing anything until my talk with Mama. But just as I play back the end of our 'talk,' I come to the only stoplight in town and see on the other side a truck that most often is dirtier and driven by someone with dark skin and hair. This one is way too clean, way to shiny and the person behind it way to soft and styled to make it work. Shaking my head, the radio switches from the drone of the morning talk show to music.
"It's sittin' by the overcoat on the second shelf - the note she wrote that I can't bring myself to throw away." Rob's voice rings out loud and clear.
"Very amusing, Mama. I get it." I say into the open air. But as I do, I glance across the way and meet "his" eyes as his glasses are raised off of his face and placed on top of his head. There is about 40 yards between us, but I swear I see his eyes grow darker and him mouth a curse. I feel the pull - especially with the song filling the cab of the truck - and am overcome with the feel of how long it has been since I have had any action. Then I remember that he is everything I loathe. I hit the gas even harder and take off louder and harder than called for as I rip through the intersection. Blurring past him, I try for the first time in my life to block out Mama and her advice. There is no way in hell "pompous ass" will ever be more then scotch and tips.
"Sorry, Mama." Turning off the radio with an angry punch, I head out of town for what I hope is a relaxing drive on the back roads. Just past the town limits, the radio switches on again. This time a talk show.
"Love, how do we find it and keep it?" the sugary voice of the good 'Dr. Love' spews on.
"I'm not looking, Mama, and especially not him." I swear to god I hear her clicking her tongue. Driving a few more miles, my truck starts to sputter. Pulling over to the side of the road, I pop the latch for the hood. Straightening, I catch movement in my rearview mirror. A much-too-shiny and very unwanted sight greets me.
"Always pushing." I look up to the heavens and climb out, ready to tell "pretty boy" to keep on moving.
E/N: Okay tell me... this was a short one but the next one that will be up within 24 hours (fully written and chapt 3 almost done) so leave me some love?