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Chapter 14

Under the luminous red glow of the spot light, Layne maintains his steady eye contact with me. His naked torso glistens with sweat. His leather pants are slung dangerously low and criminally tight.

The band start another song.

’The more that we take
The paler we get
I can’t remember what it is
We try to forget...′

Bryan leans closer to me so I can hear him speak over the loud music.

“These guys aren’t half bad!” I swallow and nod, unable to tear my eyes away from the enigmatic front man. Bryan slides his arm round my shoulders, drawing lazy patterns on my shoulder with his fingers, then leans towards me again to press a kiss on my cheek. “I’m really sorry about earlier. Didn’t mean to act like such a dick.” I try to smile at my husband, and raise my shoulder into a half shrug.

On stage I see Layne smirk. He points towards me through the crowd, Trent Reznors' lyrics pouring from his mouth;

'Hey, the closer we think we are Well it only got us so far Now, you got anything left to show? No no I didn’t think so Hey, the sooner we realize We cover ourselves with lies But underneath we’re not so tough And love is not enough...'

I feel myself blanch as I listen to the lyrics. Mumbling an excuse, I rush outside, relishing the cool air and the silence.

"Rosa? You okay girl?" Janey follows behind me a few minutes later, her brow furrowed in worry. I nod, then shake my head, suddenly unable to stop the hot tears from running down my face. "Shit. Shit, Rosa. Come with me."

Janey grabs my hand and steers me towards her car. Once we are sat in the back seat I bury my face in her offered embrace. We sit for a few minutes, the quiet only disturbed by my sobs.

"Tell me what's wrong. Is it Bryan? Is it about what he said earlier?" I sniff wetly and shake my head.

"I've been so bad, Janey." I draw in a shakey breath. "IfooledaroundwithLayne." My words all run into each other as I force them out. Janey pulls back from me, incredulous look on her face.

"You..fooled around...with our student Layne?" I nod, fresh tears coursing down my already slick cheeks. "Fuck! Rosa-Lee that is really bad." She sits back, trying to take in what I've just confessed.

Through my sniffles and hiccups, I spew out all the sordid details, including the full history of mine and Bryan's tempestuous relationship.

Janey is silent when I finish.

She blinks a few times.

"Well. Jeez." She pauses and clears her throat. "At least you haven't slept with the kid, that's one thing. But Rosa, you really have to call it quits on this...thing."

"I know. I know!" I let my head flop back onto the head rest of the car seat. "It's just felt so nice having someone be interested in me again. I've felt invisible for so long."

"If you really feel that way then fucking leave Bryan, find some new guy, but you can't jeopardize everything you've worked for in your career just have it taken away by some eighteen year old punk!"

A loud smash of glass next to us makes us both jump.

Standing, shaking violently, next to the car is Bryan, a pool of broken and glass and dark liquid at his feet. In one swift movement he yanks open the door and pulls me out by my arm.

"You've been going behind my back with that little snot nosed kid up there?!" Bryan's eyes are thunderous, so dark his usually brown irises look black. I can feel the rage coursing through his body as his hand tightens painfully around my bicep and will myself to lie, to try to diffuse the situation, but feel my head nodding in answer. His jaw tightens, and he shoves me back as he releases my arm. I stumble into Janey's car with a bang and slide down to the cold asphalt feeling numb. Bryan stands for a minute glaring into the night, before turning on his heel and disappearing down the street.

As soon as he is out of sight, Janey appears from the other side of the car and helps me up, her shaky voice betraying her shock through the soothing words she's telling me.

I don't remember getting home.

I don't remember getting undressed.

I don't remember grabbing the bottle of whiskey Bryan keeps stashed in his work bag.

I just remember the darkness.

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