And The Story Goes... Chapter 38

I leant against the balcony wall with my elbows, taking a drag of my cigarette as I looked out across the city skyline.  It was 5:30am, and Perth was on the verge of waking up, the sky starting to brighten around the tops of the buildings.  People would soon be switching off their alarm clocks, refreshed after their nights’ sleep and ready to face the day.  My body, however, was still on English time.  It was 10pm back at home, and every aching muscle and joint in my body was screaming at me to go to bed.  I hadn’t slept in about 37 hours.  I couldn’t tell if I was hungry, nauseous, or just plain exhausted.  The only thing I had been able to do since I had walked into this hotel room was change into fresh pyjamas, throw on a cardigan, and stand on this balcony so I could have a cigarette.

A car had collected me and Shannon from the airport, bringing us straight to the hotel where we checked in and disappeared to our separate rooms.  I knew Jared was staying in the hotel somewhere, but I had no idea which room, or even which floor.  I didn’t feel as though it was appropriate to ask – and no one had told me.  I told myself I would see him tomorrow afternoon at the press junket they had booked, after I had had some sleep and a long, hot shower.  Once I was ready to face the world again.

My phone vibrated in my cardigan pocket and I jumped, fumbling through the fabric until my fingers closed around it, pulling it out to see Jared’s name on the screen.  I sucked in a little breath, opening the message quickly.

‘Are you still awake?’

My heart thudded in my chest a little as my fingers flew over the touch screen.  ‘Yes, can’t sleep.’

I debated adding more to my reply, to ask him why he was up so early or why this was the first time I had heard from him in days, but my pride wouldn’t let me.  I took another drag of my cigarette, watching my phone screen waiting to see what his response would be or if he would even respond at all.  Maybe he just wanted to check that I was here?

‘Get the lift to the top floor and take the stairs to the roof.’

I frowned at the phone as though I were glaring at him; I hated it when he gave me instructions, and he knew it.   ‘The roof? It’s 5:30am, what’s on the roof?’


His single word reply was enough to flood me with nerves, the same nerves I always got when I knew I was going to see him after some time apart.  It was like meeting him for the first time, every time.  He made me feel so unsure of myself.  Only this time the excitement was coupled with those niggling thoughts that had been chewing away at the back of my mind since those photographs of me and Shannon had found their way on to the internet. Was he angry?

I put out my cigarette and closed the balcony door, grabbing my wash bag and quickly brushing my teeth as I looked at my reflection in the mirror.  I looked terrible.  It would take me at least an hour to not look as though I hadn’t slept in two days, and so I settled for some concealer under my eyes before I grabbed my key card to the room and headed out the door. I would have to do.

The hotel was quiet, guests still sleeping and too early for staff to be moving around, and so I slipped in and out of the elevator unseen, pushing my way through the door to the staircase and heading up the small flight of stairs towards the metal fire escape door slowly.  I tugged my cardigan around me as I pushed open the door, greeted by the warm morning air as I stepped out onto the hotel roof.  The floor was gravel, potted plants and little lights embedded across the flat surface, taking the attention away from the air conditioning units scattered across huge expanse of roof and making it a pretty space.

I saw him straight away, standing against the wall and looking out across the city lights, his back to me.  I paused as I watched him, wanting to try and collect my thoughts.  He was wearing a big black coat, but his jogging bottoms looked like pyjamas and I wondered whether he had gotten out of bed to come up here.  I wondered how long he’d been awake; if he’d even been to sleep.

The sound of the door closing behind me caught his attention, and he turned to look at me, his eyes locking with mine instantly. There was a moment, a heartbeat, where I couldn’t read him.  I had no idea if he was standing in front of me as the man I was sleeping with, pleased to see me, or as my boss who was about to fire a misbehaving employee.  And then he smiled at me, a slow softening of his features as looked me up and down where I stood, turning towards me properly.

“Are you wearing your pyjamas?” he said, his eyes travelling back up to mine.

Every muscle in my body relaxed at his playful tone, and I tilted my head to the side with a smile of my own.  “Are you wearing yours?”

He shook his head gently, not looking away from me. “Still answering questions with questions, I see.” 

“I know how much you like it.” I grinned, lifting an eyebrow.

He sucked in a deep breath, blinking slowly before tilting his chin up.  “Get over here.”

I crossed the space towards him, forcing myself to concentrate on my movements and not just run at him, grinning as his hands shot out and grabbed at me as soon as I was close enough.  I was pulled into him with a thud, his hands in my hair as his lips crashed against mine, kissing me fiercely as I clung on to his coat to try and keep my balance.

He moaned into my mouth as he turned me round, resting my back against the wall and pulling open my cardigan, his hands pushing at my top until they found their way under the fabric, squeezing my breasts as he pushed himself up against me.  I pulled away from his kiss as his hands slipped inside of my cotton pyjama bottoms, grabbing my arse to pull me tighter against him.

“Wait, Jared…” I said, my breath coming in short bursts as I tried to control the situation.

“What?” he said, looking at me with a wicked grin before kissing me again.

“We can’t do this here!” I laughed, trying to turn my head away from him unsuccessfully, trapped between him and the wall.

“Why not?” he whispered, his face inches from mine, forcing me to look him in the eye as his hand slipped in between my legs.

“Jared!” I choked out, trying to squeeze my thighs together to stop him, glancing around the roof space in a panic in case someone else was up there.

“We’re alone,” he whispered, his hand pushing against me and moving my legs apart forcefully until he could move to cup me, pushing a finger inside of me and watching my mouth as I moaned. “And I am going to fuck you.”

His mouth was on mine again instantly, his tongue invading my mouth as his finger pulled out of me only to be replaced by two, the slow torture of his movements enough to almost bring me to my knees.  Without stopping, his free hand grabbed at the fabric of my trousers and pushed them down around my legs until I could kick my way out of them, my own hands desperately grabbing at his so I could return the favour.  Within seconds we were both naked from the waist down, panting like teenagers as he grabbed my right leg and hooked it round his waist, pushing into me with one solid thrust.

I cried out, the guttural noise ripping from my throat at the force of him, the suddenness of having him inside me again, and he buried his face in my neck as he began to move.  “For someone who doesn’t want to get seen,” he panted, his hand clutching my arse to pull me against him with each thrust. “You sure are loud.”

I let go of his shoulders, stretching my arms out along the wall behind me, using it as leverage to lift myself and arch my back, changing the angle so he could move deeper. “Just… shut up and…oh, god…” I moaned, closing my eyes so I couldn’t see him looking down at where he was pushing himself in and out of me, the visual almost too much to take.  I felt like I was going to explode just sixty seconds in.

“Don’t close your eyes,” he growled, and I opened them again instantly, remembering that he liked it when I watched him.

I tightened the grip of my right leg round his waist, ignoring the feeling of my arms scraping along the brick wall and watching his jaw fall slack as I moved against him.  I loved knowing that I was the person who had put that look on his face.  He moved forwards, leaning his right hand on the wall beside me and crushing his lips back to mine, grinding his pelvis against me with each thrust until the friction drove me over the edge and I came against him, my cries swallowed in his mouth.  He caught me as the strength in my arms gave way, using the wall for support as he pumped harder, tilting his head back just enough to look me in the eyes as he buried himself in me and let go.

Trying to catch my breath I let him lower us to the floor, my legs around his waist and my back still against the cool brick wall as he kept me on his lap.  I smiled at him, reaching forward to hold his face between my hands.  “Hi.” I grinned, pulling him towards me to kiss him.

“Hi yourself.” He smiled back. 

“What are you doing up here?” I asked, glancing around us again at the massive roof terrace, the sunlight starting to light the whole area up.

“I found it last time we stayed here.  I knew it would be private – I wanted to see you, without all the eyes, you know?”

He studied my face for a moment, and I swallowed the urge to ask what he had been doing up here the last time they had stayed in this hotel; the thought that I wasn’t the first girl to have seen this roof terrace making my mouth go dry. I didn’t want to know.

“You could have just told me what room you were in.” I pointed out, watching him open up his coat.

“Too many people around,” he said quietly, pulling me against him so that my face was pressed against his shoulder, wrapping the open coat around me as best he could. 

“It’s not even 6am!” I laughed. “There’s no one around at this time of the day.”

“You’d be surprised.” He said against the side of my head. “And I would have thought you’d had enough unwanted attention for one week.”

I stilled against him, my face resting against his neck, realising we were going to have this conversation sitting on a hotel roof, half naked, with him still inside of me. “I didn’t know there were going to be people there taking photos.” I said after a while, feeling as though I needed to justify myself.

“There are always people there taking photos, Imogen.” he murmured. “If you don’t like all the negative attention you’re gonna have to be more careful than that.”

I blinked against his skin, the post-coital bliss being pierced with the first stirrings of annoyance in the pit of my belly.  “It’s not like I was careless on purpose…”

“You were in a taxi in the middle of town, in your pyjamas, with my drunk brother. What did you think was gonna happen?”

His arms holding the coat around me so that I wouldn’t be cold did nothing to take away from the bite in his words, and I pushed myself away from him a little so I could see his face.  “What was I supposed to do, leave him there?”

“It would have been better to have called a car to go pick him up.” He said evenly.

I tried not to gape at him, closing my open mouth as I shuffled a little further back on his lap, letting our bodies come apart.  “I’m not Emma – I don’t have a number for private car companies who specialise in rescuing drunk rock stars from nightclubs.” I said drily. 

I waited for him to say something, but he just sat in the same place, watching me carefully.  “For God’s sake, Jared – your brother called me in the middle of the night, drunk out of his mind in a public place.  I thought that going to get him and removing him from the centre of attention was the best thing to do – I’m sorry if that was wrong, but I guess I don’t have as much experience as you in the art of damage control!”

“I didn’t say it was wrong.” He said. “But my brother… he sometimes gets himself into… situations.  It would be better for everyone if you just… stayed out of the way. Of that.”

“Right,” I huffed, shaking my head a little as I looked away from him.  “No, of course.  The next time someone calls me for help, I’ll tell them I can’t because I need to ‘stay out of the way’.”

“You tell them to call me.”

“You were on a fucking plane!” I exclaimed, standing up and stretching over to grab my pyjama trousers from the floor, shoving my legs back in to them.  “And in my defence I tried to call you. I left messages that you never returned.”

He stood up beside me, correcting his own clothing as he looked down at where I stood with my arms folded across my chest.  “I’ve spent the last two days trying to smooth over this whole episode.”

“So you’re pissed at me?” I questioned. 

“There’s been a lot of negativity about you, and your intentions, since those photos went up – I’ve been a little busy.”

“So you are pissed at me.”

“I didn’t say that.”

“You didn’t have to.”

We stared at each other in silence for a moment, both of us waiting for the other one to say something, until eventually he sighed quietly.

“I’m not pissed at you.  It’s just a lot of bad press and nasty comments, which is not a good thing while we’re trying to get this project off the ground.”

“Seriously?” I exclaimed. “My accounts are being spammed by your fans who think that I am fucking you and your brother, hating me for being in your lives – the whole of the internet is basically calling me a whore, and you’re worried about the impact it’s going to have on your bloody tour book?”

He said nothing, and I turned away from him with a shake of my head, happy to walk away from this whole conversation.  I couldn’t believe how quickly it had deteriorated.  I made it about two steps towards the door before he caught my arm, gently pulling me back around until he could grasp my other arm, holding me in front of him.

“Imogen, I’m not arguing with you over this,” he said calmly, fixing me with that unblinking stare until he was sure he had my attention.  I glared back at him, my chin thrust out defiantly, and he let go of one arm to reach out and tuck a loose strand of hair behind my ear.  “It’s about controlling the situation. That’s all.”  

I could feel myself torn, caught between wanting to slap him for sounding so factual and uncaring, and wanting to throw myself into his arms knowing that he would fix everything, that out of everyone he was the one who could make it better.  

“If we want to take the focus away from you and put it back where it should be – on the book, and the tour – then we need to show you as a professional connection to us. Which means being very careful about where we are all seen in public, and how we interact.”

“Meaning you want me to stay away from you unless I’m taking your picture.” I said, feeling myself deflating.

Meaning that until it’s all blown over then this…” he said, pausing as he dragged a finger from the hollow of my throat down my chest and in between my breasts, trailing down over my stomach.  “…needs to be completely private.”

He traced his finger back up my ribs, circling my nipple through the fabric of my top, a small smile playing on his lips as it hardened instantly under his touch.  I bit my lip, annoyed that my body seemed to respond to him no matter how angry I felt. 

It wasn’t as though this whole thing between us was exactly public anyway, but he was making it very clear that we were about to put some distance between us.  He focused on my mouth, grasping my chin between his finger and thumb and tugging gently until I released my lip from between my teeth, his thumb brushing over my bottom lip.

“It’ll be okay.” He whispered, leaning forward to kiss me gently.  I wished I believed him.