Bad Boy Rock Star

By: Candy J. Starr

I needed those clothes. I needed them to look good and to smell good. Imagine if I gave off an odour of fried onions or garlic? I'd never fool anyone into thinking I was still a princess. But already I had a basket of things that needed dry cleaning and dry cleaning cost money.

Someone shuffled down the hallway to the bathroom. I'd stay in my room until they were done.

A draught blew through the gaps in the floorboards, chilling my feet when I got out of bed. The walls had traces of bright pink shining through the chipped white paint and a speckled pattern of mildew. The woman in the room next door muttered to herself and I could hear her at night when I tried to sleep. And sometimes I could hear the girl down the hallway and her thug boyfriend making weird noises. I'd cover my head with my pillow and try not to think about what they were doing.

But one day, this would be over. One day, I'd back in the house where thick carpets muffled all sounds and the sun reflected off the pool and everything I wanted would be mine with just a snap of my fingers. This would be a nightmare.

I should call Tom. If he didn't hear from me, he'd get worried and the last thing I wanted was for him to come down here looking for me. All he knew was that I'd dropped out of school to find myself and had moved back home for a while. I'd give him a ring later when he'd finished classes to keep him happy. Lately, he'd been busy when I tried to call him. I didn't have much to say to him anyway.

Until then, I had to get out of this place. If I sat in this room all day, staring at those four walls, I’d go crazy. I needed to at least go out and get coffee and forget for a moment that I didn’t really have any place to go.

When I heard the footsteps shuffle back to a room and the door close, I grabbed my stuff and headed to the communal bathroom, carefully locking my room behind me. The bathroom was none too clean and I thought one of the losers in this place could at least give it a scrub.

The hot water in the shower washed away all the grime, the places that Jack Colt's hands had touched me, thinking that his slight attention would be a way to make more sales, it seemed. The spot on the back of my neck where he'd caressed me, I didn't care about that at all. I let the soap and water carry away any traces. And I scrubbed the place on my thigh where his leg had pressed against mine. I didn't need any reminder of that.

I planned on turn up to the meeting on Tuesday all business-like and professional and like I'd forgotten he'd even kissed me. That would teach him a valuable lesson. I'd put my case to them and hopefully they'd see sense. Then I'd walk away with a bundle of money and could go back and finish my degree and wait for Dad to return. I'd even forgive him for dumping me in this mess.

I dried myself off then popped my head out the door to make sure no one was around. I really didn't fancy running into anyone in the hallway and standing around having a chat about their back pains or what boringly awful things they'd been doing all day.

The floor creaked as I ran along the hallway to my room and I thought I heard a door open but I darted into my room so quickly no one saw me. I began getting ready to go out.

I picked up a bottle of moisturiser and shook it. Nothing came out. I squeezed and a dollop splattered onto my hand. I shook it some more. It was almost empty. No way. I needed that moisturiser. It made my skin soft and glowing and it was one of the few brands my sensitive skin could handle. How much was a bottle of moisturiser anyway? About $300.

Then I realised I could not afford to buy more. How does a person get to this state? Not being able to afford life's essentials. Surely poor people need moisturiser too or they'd all have dry, flaky skin. I had to find out about this.

Once I was clean and dressed, I got out the folder Frank had given me. It was fat and packed full of notes – all the records and financial statements of Megastar Management. I packed it into my bag and headed out to the café on the corner to make sense of it all. I had $500 in the bank, which meant I could afford to pay rent for the next few weeks and eat and maybe buy one coffee a day. I'd make that coffee last for a long time and not even look at the bagels or the fries.

I'd never really thought before about the concept of afford or can't afford, just want or don’t want. Now, I had to scribble away on pieces of paper, working out budgets and how to survive. I could do this. Like Dad said, I had to be stronger than anyone and living for two weeks on a budget couldn't be too bad. Surely it wouldn't be any longer. The end of those two weeks loomed in front of me like a closed door. If Dad didn't come back and open it… well, I wouldn't think about that.

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