Chapter 1: Prologue(?)
I yawn, my coal black eyes fluttering open. Mornings kill me, but I was awake. I lay motionless for a bit, then crawl out of bed, my head pounding and my vision blurring as I stand up. I pull on jeans and a T-shirt before quickly brushing my teeth. I open up my medicine cabinet in my bathroom and sigh, deciding to only take a tylenol.
I look down the stairs of the house and timidly walk down. I try to slowly distribute my weight, listening for Murdoc. He was out last night which means he he’s either asleep and hungover. Or maybe both. I’m not really sure. Either way I wouldn’t even dare to risk irritating him.
I start the kettle and pour myself a bowl of cereal. I realize as I start eating that peppermint tea and cereal aren’t the best combo but oh well. I eat slowly, the calm Sussex morning blanketing me in near silence.
I sat and ate for what felt like forever when I heard a creak on the stairs. I freeze, my grip on my spoon becoming unnecessarily tight, my cereal still partially chewed in my mouth. My heart raced and my stomach dropped.
The steps were delicate and quick. Noodle. I think? I sit, my whole body tense until she hops quite cheerily into the kitchen and I exhale a sigh of relief.
“Oh, 2D, g’morning!” Noodle smiles, dropping into the seat across from me, “Did you hear the news?”
“Uh, no what news?” I ask, not really thinking much into what she meant.
“Murdoc got arrested.” She says and I freeze, “He’s in jail and he won’t be back for a while. I didn’t pay attention to how long, honestly. I was just glad he- 2D?”
I notice only after she does. Tears are streaming down my face. A wave of emotions hit me and I can’t help but cry harder. Noodle seems confused until I crack a smile.
“He’s really gone...” I laugh. I was free. Finally. How long have I put up with him? I knew he was terrible and abusive but part of me missed him. Maybe it’s because I’m not really the best at thinking but he did make me who I am. He’s changed my life for the better but he’s also done awful things to me. He’s why I flinch when someone lifts their hand, why I’m timid. Because of him my eyes are a glossy, unforgiving black.
“I’m full.” I mumble quickly, throwing away my half-eaten breakfast and running back to my room, laying on my back and staring up at the plain white ceiling.
I have conflicting memories of Murdoc. Some days he’d yell at me and throw things but other times I’d sit between his legs on the couch and we’d watch TV together. It felt peaceful and loving. A true cheesy phrase never escaped his lips. Never has, never will, but he showed it in his own way. I love that side of him. There was one time where we were sitting together and he was just berating me, not really to my face, just saying that I’m a dim bulb and stuff then he just gets all quiet. He just mumbles “You make me feel all heavy and weird in my chest, I fuckin’ hate it!” and then he grabbed my face, all rough and turned my face to his and he just kissed me. It wasn’t even a rough kiss, he just pressed his lips to mine and I felt my heart swell. It was the best feeling. Even thinking about it makes my heart feel light and fluffy. Like a pancake or a blow-dried sheep or something.
It’s like I miss one side of Murdoc and not the other. I miss the Murdoc that sits and plays his bass, an almost spent cigarette resting in the corner of his lip that’s got such a pillar of ash on it you just want to lean over and flick it. The Murdoc who saw the 2D that he made and said I looked like a “blue-haired, black-eyed god”. The Murdoc whose whiskey-stained breath spills out stories that sober Murdoc wouldn’t; of his father’s cruelty, his lack of a mother figure and the hell that was his childhood. The Murdoc who stayed with me when I had the stomach flu, feeding me ice cubes, gatorade, and pepto-bismol before leaning against the bathroom wall and watching me throw it all back up. The Murdoc who lets me come into his room at late hours of the night and listens to my dumb musings. The Murdoc who’s called me prettyboy, angelface, and any other compliment he could pass off as sarcastic.
It almost disgusted me that Murdoc was also the Murdoc who regularly bruised me because of the things he threw at me, whether he meant it to hurt that bad or not. The Murdoc who put me in a vegetative state and only got me out of it because he was doing donuts in a Tesco parking lot. The Murdoc who got my ex-girlfriend to give him a blowjob in the fucking bathroom. The Murdoc who called me faceache almost as much as he called me by my real name. The Murdoc whose body has touched mine over and over, whether I felt like it or not.
The bittersweet, sickly memories flooded my mind for the next week.
It was a Thursday night. I went downstairs. I think I was going to eat some leftover fried rice but the second I reached the kitchen I looked over into the living room and spotted him next to Noodle.
Chapter 2: Welcome Home.
“Oh, Toochi!” Noodle grins, turning around and waving me over, “Come, come, meet our new bass player, Ace!”
Ace stands up and turns around, quickly catching sight of me and smiling.
My heart flutters and my chest tightens. Was it because he reminded me of Murdoc? His smile was crooked and pointy-toothed, similar to Murdoc’s, but it didn’t feel cruel at all. His eyes were bloodshot, but the corners of his eyes crinkled with genuine happiness. His skin was green and smooth like wasabi. I walk over and shake hands with Ace, his rough, strong palms pressing against my smooth, deft ones.
“Nice to meetcha, I’m 2D.” I grin, lightly nodding.
“Noodle’s told me lots of good things about you and I must admit, I’m a big fan. Ace D Copular at your service.” He grins, pulling me in for a hug. I inhale, his whole body smelling like cigarettes and cool mint gum. Murdoc can fuck right off, I’m team Ace.
I make eye contact with Noodle who smiles and mouths, “Do you like him?”
I nod softly and somewhat jokingly mouth back “Too green.” Noodle snickers a bit and grabs the remote before plopping back down onto the fairly large couch.
Ace pulls away from the hug and sits down on the couch, leaving some space for me. “Want to watch a movie with me and Noodle?”
I nod, deciding to put away the leftover takeout away and instead microwave some popcorn.
“So are you moving in?” I ask, standing beside the microwave in the somewhat messy kitchen.
“I think so, just not today.” Ace replies, fiddling with a switchblade, opening and closing it repeatedly with satisfying clicks.
“Well, make yourself at home, Ace.” I nod to him and the microwave beeps. I quickly take the bag out, pour it into a bowl, and hop onto the couch next to Ace.
As I sit down in the empty space he left or me, my leg presses against his. I pull away quite quickly out of impulse. My skin away from his, I’m still on edge. I felt each breath, each jolt, movement and shift of his weight. I quietly hold the popcorn out to Ace and Noodle. Ace takes a handful and I smile at him. I eat a bit of the popcorn as well, not really that hungry anymore.
I wasn’t afraid of Ace. Maybe I was? I couldn’t help but act around him the same way I acted around Murdoc. I was to be seen and not heard. I grab a blanket from the arm of the couch and throw it over my cold shoulders, trying to wrap my body in it.
“Chilly?” Ace asks. I look over to him and quickly nod. My thin build made me get chilly quicker than others. Ace puts his arm around my shoulders and rubs my shoulder lovingly. He pulls me in to his embrace and I can’t help but feel safe in his clutch. He was warm, and his scent was warm yet cool at the same time. He made me feel warm and fuzzy and everything felt sleepy and blurred until-
My eyes flutter open. Ace was asleep on the couch, and I was curled up in his embrace. The scent of breakfast draws my eyes to the kitchen where Noodle was making breakfast.
“So you two really hit it off, eh?” Noodle says, quietly enough not to wake up Ace.
“Wha- No!” I say, her words shaking me awake.
“You were giving him such lovey-dovey eyes, don’t lie.” Noodle laughs, flipping a pancake deftly.
“He was keeping me warm, thas’ all.” I sigh, trying to peel myself away from Ace. He groans, his eyes slowly opening. He slowly pulls his arm off of my shoulder and sits up.
“Mornin’ Acey!” Noodle giggles at his complete unawareness of the previous conversation.
“Mornin’ Noods.” He asks, gently rubbing my arm and moving off the couch. I nod at him and he replies with a kind, “Mornin’ 2D.”
I get up, looking down at my arms that were imprinted with the folds cushions on the couch and Ace’s shirt. “If you wanta clean up, you can use my shower, I don’ mind.” I offer to Ace as I stretch my arms.
“No no, it’s fine, I’ll have breakfast then go home.” Ace stands up, walking into the kitchen and looking over Noodle’s shoulder at the stove.
I bite my lip hard enough to leave a temporary bite mark. I definitely liked Ace, no doubt about that. He wasn’t as mean as Murdoc, but I felt something similar. The same jitteriness, the jumpiness, the nervousness. The feelings I felt were different somehow.
“I’ll go clean up.” I mumble, waving gently to Ace and Noodle who wave as well. I rush up to my room and furthermore into my bathroom. I open my medicine cabinet and grab a medicine bottle. I take a few and hop into the shower. The warm water runs over my skin in hot streams. I rinse my skin and hair of the heady scent of Ace, replacing it with the scent of body wash. I didn’t smell like Ace anymore but it still felt like the overwhelming feeling of “This little whore cuddled up with Ace while his boyfriend was in jail!”
Like hell Murdoc was my boyfriend. I wasn’t his boyfriend either, I was his toy and he didn’t care about me at all. He was cruel and unforgiving. I’ve been held down by the neck, tied by my own belt, burned by cigarette embers, pulled by the hair and god knows what else. As horrible as all those things may be, I would be a liar if I said I didn’t like them sometimes.
I shake the thoughts of Murdoc out of my mind. Not today. He’s gone. I don’t have to worry about him.
I turn the shower off, grabbing a towel and drying off. I lightly dry off my hair and slip some fresh clothes on. A patterned button-up and some light jeans. I comb through my hair a bit, brush my teeth, and head down the stairs.
The kitchen was full of the lovely scent of Noodle’s cooking. Pancakes, eggs and bacon sat at our dining table. Everyone sat at their spot, save for my empty spot and Ace replacing Murdoc.
“Toochi!” Noodle waves, and I wave back, sitting down at my spot.
I take a bite of the food and smile. Soft, fluffy pancakes and eggs cooked the way I liked them. “Mmm. It’s good like always.”
Breakfast goes on without a hitch. I don’t talk much, but Noodle, Ace and Russel talk about the new album, getting to know Ace, et cetera. Before I know it, all our dishes are in the sink and Ace is on his way to the door.
“It was really nice to hang out with you guys.” Ace smiles, taking a hefty leather jacket off a coat rack.
“Yeah.” I smile, noting the irony that I cuddled him more than I hung out with him.
“Well, I think I’ll have my stuff ready to move in my next week.” Ace says finally, and Noodle smiles, telling him he’s welcome to start moving in whenever.
And just like that, Ace was a part of the band.
Chapter 3: Mummy Ace
Before I knew it, Ace was moving in. He didn’t bring too much for his bedroom. Just a bedframe and mattress, a couch, bedside table, a mini fridge, a table, and some other possessions. Hauling his things inside was a pain but I hardly cared because my mind was abuzz. His room was across the hall from mine and his room was fairly normal, albeit decorated with warm, dark hues. His door had an ace of spades sign on it. It smelled like cigarettes and cocoa. After helping him set up his room, we all went our separate ways for the day.
I went back into my room and sat down at my desk, writing. About feelings. Then they became lyrics. My heavy, rainy feelings about him. Missing Murdoc.
Just as I had finished writing, I hear a knock on my door. I open it to see Noodle and the rest of the band, all dressed up.
“We’re going out, come with us!” Noodle grins, already dressed up in a glitzy dress.
“Oh. Sure.” I mumble, looking down at my outfit. “I’ll get changed.”
I throw on a printed dress shirt, a leather jacket and dark wash jeans. I slip some shoes on and head out to the car where the rest were waiting.
Russ parks and we get out. It’s a bustling, loud club. Usually I can only stand going to clubs when I’m high out of my mind and in the mood to bring a girl or two home, but it was different this time.
Ace stood next to me instead of Murdoc. He said something but I couldn’t hear it. The bass shook the walls and everything that could possibly make sound seemed to be making sound. Anyways, whatever Ace said wasn’t directed towards me. His hair was slicked back and he wore his usual gaudy sunglasses, a button-down shirt that was partially open, straight leg jeans, and shiny black riding boots. The grin plastered on his face made me smile.
“2D!” Noodle says, elbowing me.
“Ah- uh- Yeah?” I stutter, realizing how long I had been staring at Ace.
“I was asking if you wanted to go sit at that big table.” Noodle asks, giggling at the fact I was captivated by Ace.
“I don’ care, Nu’. Never have, never will.” I sigh, staring down at the chipped pink nail polish on my fingers and flicking a little loose flake off.
“Okay, biiiig table then!” She says cheerily, leading the way. I plop down between Noodle and Ace.
“First round’s on me.” Ace says, and I nod.
“I don’ really drink anything other than mojitos.” I tell Ace, who nods. Noodle starts to tell Ace what he wants. I try to focus on their conversation but focusing with all of these sounds and lights and feelings around me was hard. I zone out a bit, somewhat anxiously tracing circles on the top of my thigh, deep in thought.
I don’t know if Ace knew he had me fully invested in him. I’m still not quite sure what exactly I felt for Ace but it was strong. I hated how much I was invested in him. I wanted Ace to do something to cement how we felt about eachother. I’m slow at thinking, I’ve always been, so things like this aren’t exactly me forte.
My swarming thoughts are abruptly interrupted by the clatter of three drinks at our table.
“Aaand there’s your Mojito, 2D.” Ace says cheerily, “So, do you guys go out often?”
“Yeah, at least twice a month.” I answer before taking a sip of my drink.
“Noodle’s the big party girl here so it’s up to her.” Russel says, and Noodle laughs.
“He’s not wrong, I do kinda drag everyone out.” Noodle seems cheerful. She takes a sip of some girly drink I didn’t recognize.
“I don’t mind it.” Ace says, tapping his foot to the beat of the song, “It’s nice to hang out with the people you care about.”
I nod, looking at Ace who was already looking at me. We catch each other's glances and look away like flustered kids. There was a thick, heavy tension between me and Ace.
“God, just kiss already!” Noodle laughs, elbowing me.
“Heyy, cool it there, pasta.” Ace laughs, putting his arm around my shoulder in a friendly gesture.
My heart beat quickly and I felt hot with embarrassment.
“It’s not- we don’-“ I stutter, unable to find a proper way to express how I felt. I groan, giving up.
“Chill out 2D, it was just a joke!” Noodle laughs, her tone still implying she sensed a sexual tension between us.
Ace, Russ and Noodle start a conversation about some album or another. I loosely follow the conversation, my mind wandering. Ace’s arm felt hot yet icy against my body and my chest felt fluttery. Every time I felt Ace’s hand move as he gesticulated my heat soared and my breath caught in my chest. It was a euphoric feeling.
I reach down to take another sip of my Mojito only to realize it was empty. Just ice.
“All out, huh?” Ace says, lifting up my drink, gently shaking it so the leftover ice clattered.
“Yea, it was good.” I reply, reaching up and touching a spare mint leaf on the edge of the glass, my depth perception a bit off but not enough for me to completely miss.
Ace moves his arm, about to get up, “I’ll get you anoth-“
“I will! You guys relax.” Noodle says hastily, jumping up and grabbing the glass.
“She’s trying to play matchmaker.” Russ chuckles.
“Well-“ Ace puts his arm back where it was, “if she wants to play matchmaker then let her play matchmaker.” He looks down at me, catching my already existing gaze and grinning. “Maybe she just might be onto something.”
Oh. My face felt scalding hot, my cheeks beet red. Ace felt like that about me? I certainly didn’t mind it but maybe that was a bit much?
“Maybe.” I reply somewhat weakly. Ace snuggles a bit closer to me. His hand rubs my shoulder softly.
I can’t help but lean into Ace, snuggling closer to him. He felt so warm and soft and I felt cradled away from the loud music of the club.
Noodle comes back, sliding my drink across the table. “No more nudging for those two. My work here is done.”
I grab my drink, taking a big swig. Ace finishes his drink.
“Shit was strong.” He comments, coughing a bit.
I drink a bit more of mine, my already foggy brain becoming foggier with every drop. I finish the Mojito and clumsily put it down.
“I’m gonna cool it on the drinks.” I say, my words slurring together.
Ace silently slides the drink away. He stands up. “I’m getting you some water.” I nod, reaching towards Ace as he walks away.
Ace made me feel so weird. I’ve never felt like this towards someone, at least not this intensely. I felt like this towards Paula. Maybe I like him?
Before my foggy, slow brain can come to a conclusion, Ace sits back down, wrapping his arm around me again and putting a glass of water up towards my face. I open my mouth and he gently tips the glass.
“You’re kinda like my mum, Ace.” I laugh, snuggling up closer to him. “Mummy Ace.”
Ace laughs, smoothing my hair. “Well, I’m never going to lose that nickname and you’re never going to live this down.”
“This is why we never get 2D drinks until the end of the night.” Russ laughs. “The kid’s a lightweight.”
“M’ not a lightweight! Those Mojitos were jus’ strong!” I whine. Ace laughs, making me drink a bit more water.
“You guys good?” Ace asks, 2D and Russ both nod.
“Let’s head home and let 2D sleep. He’s gonna have a killer hangover.” Noodle says, standing up.
I stand up and Ace offers to help me but I brush him off.
“I’m fine!” I slur, stumbling but still standing. Ace grabs onto my wrist and I begrudgingly let him. The walk to the car felt like forever. Finally I sat down next to Ace in the car then woke up in my bed.