By: Jacquie Underdown

Rachel and Roslyn pushed through the doors of the bar spilling the music onto us. The beat found me and vibrated my heart. The scent of artificial smoke and booze slipped out the entry to mingle with the air and wrap around me. Brendt held the door open, not meeting my eyes.

Why can’t he look at me? Then the sinking feeling of guilt as it knotted in my guts returned. Oh, right, because of that weird lip-rubbing, chemistry-popping, eye-staring moment back there. Last thing I needed was more guy trouble, especially with a guy that was my best friend’s boyfriend. I strained a smile and stepped through into the dim club, heaving with bodies.

I headed to the bar: long and made of sleek marble. A showcase of spirits on mirrored shelves sat against the wall behind. I sidled in between Rachel and Roslyn. Their hips were rocking to the beats, arms pumping in the air. I threw my arms around their shoulders and yelled, ‘Who’s up for shots?

Rachel grinned devilishly.

‘Hellz yeah,’ said Roslyn. She threw her attention left and right, behind her, weighing up the quality of men in the room. Her eyes landed on one at a table behind us, tall with brooding brown eyes. ‘And then I’m going to find me some action,’ she said grinning at the man. He smiled back and winked, a cheeky dimple flashing.

I often wished I was more like Roslyn — able to conjure a strong sense of detachment from love and romance, and simply feed one’s healthy appetite for mind-blowing sex. I thought of the singer back at the other bar, how he managed to fuck me with his eyes. Did I have it in me to do away with this ridiculous ideal of love and commitment and take the chance on a one-night-stand? Could I simply give in to my body’s basest needs, no strings attached? Just like Leith did.

My heart ached with that familiar sensation and I pushed my hand to my chest. Longing, as deep as a bottomless lake, crashed into me and caressed me roughly with chastising hands and sharp teeth. I wanted to scream. I was sick of this, the always not-so-subtle reminder that I was built differently, and the constant yearning for that something I could never quite place.

I could ignore it, but look what happened the last time I ignored these feelings. Leith — his hands running over my bare skin, body grinding against mine, grunting and panting in my ear as he pushed himself hard and deep inside of me, like he was an animal and I was nothing. Filling me with his bad intentions, over and over until he pulled out and pumped his pungent evidence of conquest all over my belly.

Acid frothed again in my stomach leaving a bitter taste in my mouth. I didn’t want to be thinking about this anymore. About Leith. But these thoughts were insidious.

My hands trembled. I buried them deep in my pockets. Brendt’s words from this morning as he told me the news, rang loud again in my head. ‘Leith was bet one thousand dollars that he’d be able to fuck you… He filmed the entire event on his phone… I broke his nose and his phone, but he’d already sent the video to others… I’m so sorry I didn’t know about this sooner.’

Tears tightened the back of my throat. I shook my head and motioned to the bartender. ‘Four tequila shots. Hurry. Please.’

The shots were lined up on the bar, along with a wedge of lime and shake of salt on the back of our hands.

‘One, two, three,’ said Brendt and we each licked, shot and sucked. Warmth slid down my throat, burning, followed by a chaser of jaw-aching sour lime.

I winced and squirmed as I slammed the shooter glass back onto the bar. ‘Another,’ I said to the bartender. He slopped more tequila into our glasses. I threw it down, then another, and another, until I felt Leith finally slipping away.



I was packing the band’s gear into the van I’d parked out the back of the bar. As I mindlessly rolled electrical cord, I thought about seeing Anthea earlier — how I knew she was there before I saw her beautiful brown eyes staring up at me, as though we were connected by an ethereal cord that tingled when in close proximity. She was breathtaking. I could barely remember the chords I needed to strum, the words I had to sing, despite her being their inspiration.

My heart paced, veins surged with adrenalin and hope.

‘Fuck, man, what’s with the goofy grin on your face all night,’ said my bass guitarist, David.

I shook my head and looked at him, forgetful that there was anyone else even around. ‘Um…’

David laughed, loud and deep. ‘Hasn’t got anything to do with that chick you were eyeballing during the set?’

A smile danced across my lips as I shrugged and threw the cord into the back of the van. ‘Na, just…you know…’

David laughed again. ‘Man, you’re losing it. And if it was, maybe, about that girl, then you might wanna go talk to her.’

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