Just One Night - Josh & Bailey

By: Melanie Shawn

“Josh,” she whispered.

Hearing her say his name aloud burst the bubble that he’d been floating in. Just like that, the magic spell was broken.

“Let’s go,” he snapped.

She stepped around him and marched back toward his bike. It was clear that she wasn’t happy about the turn of events, but that made two of them. He followed behind her and lifted the storage compartment.

The next few moments passed in a blur of déjà vu. He’d had his bike during the final year of their relationship and he couldn’t count the number of rides they’d gone on together. They had their routine down to a science.

Without saying a word she placed her bag in the box. He let the lid drop and took off his jacket. She threaded her arms through the sleeves and slipped on her heels as he got on the bike. He closed his fist around the brake, lifted the kickstand with his heel, firmly planted both feet on the ground, and tilted the bike slightly to the right before giving her a nod. She gathered up her dress, placed her left hand on his shoulder, her left foot on the peg and then her right leg went up and over. He saw a flash of white between her legs as she did and his entire body tensed at the sight then he automatically scanned the area.

They were alone on the deserted road but he still felt a rush of protectiveness that he instantly smothered. She wasn’t his to protect.

He was still grappling with that truth when he felt her arms wrap around him and her inner thighs grip his hips. Josh couldn’t fight the feeling of rightness that welled up in his chest. He used to believe that if Heaven existed, being on this bike with Bailey on the back was his version of it. The bike represented freedom and independence, and the woman on the back represented love and hope for the future. He’d thought he’d had it all figured out.

He’d been wrong.

Bailey was a genius. Not the way people use the term casually, she literally was. She’d been recruited by two Ivy League colleges before most kids hit puberty. She’d been invited to join Mensa at fourteen and earned her high school diploma at just fifteen.

Since before he knew her, she’d planned to graduate early and start college at sixteen. Her home-life was less than desirable and it had been her way out. Once they got together the plan was for him to finish high school and go to a trade school near whatever college she picked. They were going to get married after she completed her degree and live happily-ever-after.

What hadn’t been the plan, though, was for her to stop speaking to him and cut him out of her life completely when she left Harper’s Crossing.

But that’s exactly what had happened.

He took a deep breath and tried to push the past from his mind. They were ready to go, but when he looked down as he began to push off, he froze. There was a high slit in her dress, exposing her knee. His eyes locked on the moon-shaped scar beside her kneecap. Memories of the night she injured herself flooded back to him.

She’d picked up her diploma and they were down by the river goofing off to celebrate. She’d grabbed his hat and threatened to throw it in the water and he chased her. She tripped over a fallen branch and went down. He caught up to her and saw blood everywhere. Her leg had been impaled by a piece of scrap metal that had washed up on the riverbank.

He panicked. She calmly told him to rip a piece of his shirt and tie it around her upper thigh to use as a tourniquet. He’d done that and called 911 from a callbox close by. He’d followed the ambulance to the hospital and spent hours waiting with her. Her mom came and went after signing some paperwork. Her dad never showed up, they assumed he was off drinking somewhere.

He’d never forget when the ER doctor pushed the curtain to the side and asked Josh to go to the waiting room. Bailey had gripped his hand and said that she wanted Josh to stay. Then he’d told them the news that no teenagers want to hear. They were going to be parents.

“I’m ready.” Bailey prompted, snapping Josh out of his haze.

He released the brake and pulled back onto Firefly Road and promised himself that he wouldn’t let his mind go there again. It was in the past. That’s where it needed to stay.

Chapter 3

As they flew down the road, Bailey’s heart was pounding so fast that if she didn’t know that it was medically impossible, she would’ve been sure that it was going to come right through her chest. Honestly, she still wasn’t wholly convinced that it wouldn’t.

She hadn’t been on the back of Josh’s bike, or any bike, since she was fifteen years old…but her body remembered it as though it were yesterday.

The wind blowing in her face. The vibration beneath her legs. The solid sensation of Josh’s body pressing against her inner thighs and up her torso and chest. The muscles in his abs flexing along her forearms as she gripped him.

Perfect. That was how she would describe riding with Josh.

She closed her eyes and she was fifteen again, not thirty-four. The only thing that mattered in her life was being with Josh. He’d been her everything. She was transported to a night of firsts that would forever be seared into her memory.

She was working her part-time job at the grocery store when he showed up riding a motorcycle. It was like a scene straight out of a movie. He leaned against it like some sort of sexy James Dean and Charlie Hunnam hybrid. He hadn’t even been old enough to have a driver’s license, much less a motorcycle license and somehow that made the entire scene even sexier to her at the time.