‘Ding! Ding!’

The mobile gave forth its annoying ring, and Josh reached across to turn it off. He raised his head, and a sharp chink of light pierced his eyes, causing him to blink rapidly. He felt a dull ache at the back of his head. As he pulled across his bed cover a movement to the left of him confirmed his worst fears; Anna’s unruly curls were poking out from under the bedclothes.

He groaned inside. Why does she always end up in my bed? Slowly and stealthily, he pushed his legs down onto the floor, trying to make as little sound as possible. He could not face her needy looks this morning…. Let’s save that until I’m awake, he thought.

His feet touched a soft object, and he grabbed his socks and placed them on the bed. He could see his jeans splayed out on the chair in the corner – he was nothing but not neat, even when drunk! He stood up in just his boxers, and pulled the denims over his legs, buttoning them at his waist. A sudden movement, followed by a soft snore, told him that Anna had not woken yet. Maybe the huge bottle of wine she’d demolished last night had something to do with it. He could see a sock jutting from her side; bright pink with yellow pineapples on them.

Josh opened the bedroom door, making sure not to disturb his bed companion. Another one night stand with Anna! He groaned to himself. It’s becoming a habit now, I have to break. She’s a nice girl and all that, but those cow eyes are the the death of me!

The door creaked slightly, and he found himself on top of a pair of narrow stairs. He could hear sounds from below; muffled talking and the clinking of glasses, sporadic spurts of music permeating the air. A door to the left of him opened, and the ruffled face of Luke appeared.

‘Josh mate! Where did you get off to last night? Me and the lads have dossed down in here, but you’d had a few. Did you get off with Anna again? She had a room to herself, paid for by her daddy. What’s a rich girl like her doing with us bunch of ruffians, that’s what I want to know! But I think your the attraction mate!’

Luke walked behind Josh, pulling on a crumpled t shirt with a picture of The Beatles on the front. Paul McCartney had a red wine stain across his face, and there was a blob of ink running across the sleeve. Josh headed downstairs, suddenly feeling famished. The smell of bacon frying hit his nose as he entered the kitchen. The other band member John, known as Jazz, was sat at the large wooden table, shoveling a large forkful of eggs into his mouth. John grinned when he saw him.

‘Can’t take you nowhere, Josh; you grabbed the girl again!’ John lifted up his mug of tea as if in salute. ‘Is she still asleep up there? You’ll have to tell her that we have an early start. Got to hit the road to the North this morning or we’ll have to leave her behind. Grab yourselves some breakfast, mate, we have to be heading off.’

Half an hour later, and Josh had finished a hearty fried breakfast washed down with a mug of tea and some painkillers. No hangover in the world had put him his food; he was proud of that. Outside, the roar of an engine told him that the van was being tested for its long journey to the edges of Scotland. They had four gigs around the pubs of Glasgow, and three further south. The band was getting more and more popular, and had radio play last week. They were aiming high. Josh was their front man, with a booming powerful voice that sent the women wild.

Jazz popped his head around the door of the pub kitchen door. The pub had become their local, and they had a free bed and breakfast as long as they played. Josh gingerly made his way outside, still feeling the excesses of the night. He was fine with beer, but he vaguely remembered someone passing around a bottle of vodka….:(

Luke and the lads were already in the van or loading up.

‘Come on, get yourself in gear! We have to hit the roads.’

Josh climbed into the front seat. Just then, a cry could be heard coming from the pub.

‘You’ve left me behind again! That’s it – we’re through!’

Josh turned to see Anna standing on the tarmac outside the pub. Her hair was a mass of curls and her eyes looked black as if  she’d been crying. She was wearing a t shirt that his mum had bought him for Christmas; The Rolling Stones brazened on the front with the familiar red mouth as their moniker. Why do women always want to wear our clothes? was his first thought. He would have to get another one now!

‘There’s some bacon left for you Sleeping Beauty! See you in Scotland!’ Luke called out from the back of the van.

Luke sunk further into the shiny front seat, and pulled a cap over his eyes. Within moments he was asleep….

Copyright Suzanne Bowditch, 2016