Just One Night - Josh & Bailey

By: Melanie Shawn

He strode up to her with the confidence and swagger of someone much older than his fifteen years and without saying a word he placed a helmet on her head and secured the clip beneath her chin.

“What are you doing here? Whose motorcycle is that?” she remembered asking.

“I’m here to pick you up and it’s mine,” he answered casually.

Then, he took her bag and secured it in the storage compartment. He got on the bike first and told her how to mount it. Once she was in place, he’d said, “Hold on. Tight.”

The first roar of the engine had startled Bailey and she’d slammed her eyes and thighs shut. She’d squeezed Josh so tight that she’d worried that she would crack his ribs. Not worried enough to loosen her grip, but worried nonetheless. Thankfully, she’d overestimated her own strength and she hadn’t done any damage.

After ten minutes, her white knuckles had relaxed and by the time they’d arrived at “their spot” down by the river, she was having the time of her life. He led her down to the moonlight picnic he’d set up for them. They ate and laughed and when they started kissing and fooling around, she’d been the one that had initiated their first time.

“I’m ready,” she’d told him.

“We can wait.” he’d replied, between kisses. “We have forever.”

That was always his line. He’d tell her they could wait because they had forever. But she’d known her own mind and she’d wanted that night, that special, perfect night, to be their first time.

“I’m done waiting,” she smiled up at him.

She stood then, and started taking off her clothes. First her shirt, which was already half unbuttoned. Then her bra. Then continued until there was no more clothing to take off.

Until the day she died, she’d never forget the look on his face as he stared at her totally naked. It was a look of awe and reverence. A look of worship and wonder. Then, without saying a word, he pulled her down on the blanket and they had their first time. It had been everything she’d hoped it would be and more.

Her mom had always told her that her first time was going to be awful, painful, and something that she just needed to get over with. But, like so many other things, her mother had been wrong. Her first time had been amazing. At the time, she’d felt so mature, so adult. Compared to other teenagers, she supposed that she was.

Besides her part-time job, she’d attended summer school, night school, and had taken a zero period so she could complete all four years of high school in two. She’d been accepted to Columbia and Brown before she was old enough to have a driver’s license.

She’d always known that the ticket to not turning out like her parents was her brain. From the time she could tie her own shoes, she’d been planning her getaway. The fighting. The name-calling. The constant moving. It had been a world of chaos, and she knew that the only way to survive was to plot her escape. College would be her escape.

But it turned out not to be her only one. When she moved to Harper’s Crossing she met Josh and nothing that was going on in her house mattered. He’d been her escape, her safe place, her home. From the moment he’d asked her if she wanted to be his girlfriend, they’d been inseparable. They spent every minute they could together.

Bailey felt her eyes start to water as a black cloud settled over her. It was the same black cloud that she’d been running from since the day she left Harper’s Crossing and Josh and every shred of her childhood behind.

Sense memory was a powerful thing. Without permission from her brain, feelings that she’d been stifling for two decades exploded within her with the same force as a confetti gun sprinkling tiny shreds of paper on every surface in its immediate vicinity.

Bailey was a master compartmentalizer. It was a skill that she’d learned at a very early age as a way to cope with her less than picturesque home life. Looking back, it was clear to her that as a young child her mind couldn’t begin to comprehend the instability of never knowing if she was going to come home from school and there’d be an eviction notice on the door and having to sneak in back windows so landlords didn’t know that they were home, which was how they’d lived until they’d moved into her grandfather’s house. Or being awoken by screaming matches and finding a new hole in the wall when she ventured out in the morning.

All of that changed when she’d met Josh. As odd as it sounded to her now, they truly had created their own family dynamic. Josh had lost his mom two years prior to their meeting, so it was just him and his dad. Stan Scott was a good man, but he was dealing with the grief of losing the love of his life.

Josh had told her that she’d filled a hole in his heart that was left after his mom died. And she’d told him that he’d filled a void in her life that had always been there. She knew to most people what they had would be considered puppy love, but that’s not what it was. It was real. The most real love she’d ever shared with anyone.

And her choices caused her to lose it. Forever.

When they went over a bump, her eyes opened and she saw that Josh had driven past the front entrance of the country club to a small, secluded area at the side. She was grateful for the privacy. She had flashed him when she got on the bike, a moment she knew he hadn’t missed. Even in the dark on that desolate back road, she’d seen his jaw tighten and his eyes dart around.