Notorious womaniser Jack got his nickname, The Reaper, for a reason. Enjoying the crazy rockstar life with sex, drugs, and rock and roll, he doesn't feel the need to settle down and be an adult despite the fact that he's not getting any younger. That is, until he meets a woman who makes him feel like an awkward and inexperienced 15-year-old, and his reputation and less than perfect health catches up with him. Suddenly the man, who can have anyone he wants except the only one who sparks the butterflies inside of him, has to grow up and take responsibility for his own life, his actions and his not always very thought-through decisions. But with no family left and his friends settling down with their own families, can he do it on his own? And does he want to?
Sequel to Don't Do Anything Stupid. You can read this without reading the prequel, but there will be spoilers.
Rated M for language, alcohol/drugs, and sexual content. The sexual content isn't very explicit (I've left out the fun parts to comply with the rules on Fictionpress), but it's there, so don't say I didn't warn you.
The characters' views on different topics are not necessarily my own views. Please keep that in mind when reading, as the characters aren't angels and once in a while they will pass offensive remarks.
None of the characters are based on real people, and all High Maintenance songs are my own.
The entire story is complete and will be uploaded with one or two chapters a week depending on how busy I am. I apologise for the many, many times I begin a paragraph with "Jack woke up..." - I'll remember not to use that line too often in future stories. :D
I think that's it. Enjoy reading!
Oh, one more thing. English isn't my native language, but please do let me know if you come across any really bad errors. Thank you.
Now, enjoy reading! :)
Somewhere far away Jack thought he heard Theo yelling at him. He tried to tell him to stop, but no sound came over his lips. He also couldn't move. Or he thought he couldn't. He wasn't really sure. And then, finally, the yelling stopped. Everything stopped. There was just...nothing.
Chapter 1 - Unexpected Encounters
"I'm sorry, what was your name again?" Jack asked taking out his phone to save the girl's number onto it. When he looked up at her, she looked slightly disappointed, so he put a hand on her side and pulled her close for a kiss. "I was just so drunk last night that I don't remember. But I had a really nice time, and," he hesitated and continued in a whisper, "I'd kinda like to see you again." He was still drunk, and he wouldn't be able to remember her name later, either. That wasn't just from being drunk, though.
"It's Rebecca. And I had a really nice time, too," she said and gave him a small smile. "You're gonna give me your number as well?"
"Of course, Becs. I'll send you a text in a minute. What's your number?"
The 20-something girl with the long, blonde hair and the blue eyes gave him her phone number, and he saved it onto his phone. Then he kissed her again, and she clearly didn't want to let go again. After a moment, though, he pulled back and flashed her a smile.
"I'll call you," he promised and took a couple of steps down the stairs.
"Remember to text me your number," she called after him, and he looked up at her with another smile.
"Doing it as we speak," he said and held up his phone to show her that he was just about to text her, while he continued down the stairs. When they could no longer see each other, he heard her close the door, and he unlocked his phone to find her number again. There were a couple of Rebecca's in his address book, and for a moment it confused him. Then he recognised the number and clicked on it. He pushed delete and went out into the street to get a taxi.
He still had time to catch up on a few hours of sleep before rehearsals in the afternoon, and if he were lucky, some of the others would be up for going out again tonight.
Jack's phone beeped from an incoming text message. He wiped the sweat off his forehead with the back of his left hand while checking the text message with his right.
Lunch meeting tomorrow?
It was Kevin. Jack put the phone down again and took a swig of water from the bottle, before he used a towel to wipe the sweat off his neck. He should probably mix a protein drink before the next round of lifting. Then he texted Kevin back.
Sure. When and where?
It took less than a minute for the manager to reply.
I'll let you know. Waiting for the others to get back to me before I make reservations.
So, it was the four of them and Kevin. It would be about the upcoming tour, then, and it was about time, as they'd be leaving in only a couple of weeks. Kevin doubled as tour manager for High Maintenance this time, as their regular tour manager quit recently.
"You're using that?" a very broad-shouldered, blond man in his mid-twenties interrupted Jack's string of thoughts and made him look up.
"No, go ahead," the latter replied with a smile and got up from the bench. He liked it here. Everybody knew him, and nobody cared who he was. If he wasn't mistaken, the young man's name was Robbie. He ran into him at least a couple of times a week.
He just replied with a small smile, and Jack left to go mix that protein shake.
In the hallway he bumped into a couple of women, who were probably around the age that his own mum would've been.
"Ladies," he greeted them with a nod and a smile, and despite their age they became a little flustered. Okay, so maybe some of the female cross-fitters did care a little about who he was. Or maybe they just weren't used to younger men flirting with them. Either way, if he kept to himself, they would keep to themselves as well.
He didn't mind the interaction, though. He rarely did. It gave him some sort of mental boost to make other people smile. It just felt so good to be the reason why someone else's day might brighten, even if it was only for a few minutes.
"Where's Hemingway?" Mick asked as he joined the others a little late for lunch at the small, cosy restaurant with the tiny windows and the wooden wall panels. They wouldn't be disturbed in here at this time of the day. Mick looked as if he had just thrown on a pair of worn jeans and a washed out red t-shirt and then rushed out the door. He probably also had. Jack and Scooter had been there on time. How long Kevin had been waiting, Jack had no idea.
"Running late, apparently," Kevin said and beckoned for Mick to sit down. He, on the other hand, was in a black suit and white shirt just as usual. With his short, dark hair that was turning grey on the sides, he and Mick couldn't possibly be any more different. "What do you wanna drink?"
"Just a beer," Mick replied with a look at the waitress, who gave him a smile before she left. Jack watched her walking away from the table. She was sort of cute. Short, but cute. She had a pretty smile that reached the eyes with the long, dark eyelashes.
The door opened, and Theo entered carrying his daughter, Lily, in his arms, and Jack couldn't help smiling. He hadn't seen her for a while, and she had definitely grown. So had her angelic, blonde curls. Someone, probably her mum, had put a pink hair-clip in them.
"Uncle Jack's favourite girl!" Jack exclaimed and got up to say hello to Lily. She reached out her arms for him, and Theo let him take her.
"Don't get too close to her. She's got pinkeye," he told him. "The child minder didn't want her to come in."
"Dack," the girl said with a happy look at Jack, before she focused on the tattoos on his arms. Theo didn't have any visible ones, and Lily always seemed fascinated by Uncle Jack's colourful arms.
"What about Lena?" Kevin asked. Lena was Lily's nanny. And also her cousin on her mother's side.
"She has her first English class today. And Clara couldn't get the day off." Theo looked at Kevin. "It's not a problem, is it?"
"Of course not," Kevin replied and beckoned for another waitress to come over. They weren't very busy at this time of the day, so it didn't take her long to find a highchair for Lily.
Jack placed the girl in the chair and sat down again.
"We'll be doing the first gig in Stockholm, right?" Mick asked, when everyone had ordered their food.
"Yes, we won't be adding anymore dates this late," Kevin replied. "At least not to the European tour."
"No, I just didn't remember," Mick said and took a swig of his beer.
"I'll be going home as often as I can this time," Theo said with a look at Jack. Yeah, he got it. He'd have to do without him, though they were known to be partners in crime. But Theo had a family now, and of course he would want to be with them as much as possible. Still, it wouldn't be the same to not have him around all the time.
"No wonder," Scooter said quietly. "I'd do the same if I were you." The tall Italian looked at Lily. They all did. A few months ago they nearly lost her. She had had some kind of infection - Jack never really found out exactly what it was - and she had been to the hospital and nearly died. Of course Theo and Clara had had a really hard time letting her out of their sight again afterwards, and going back on tour would have to be difficult for Theo. It was also the reason why they hadn't done much promotion ahead of it this time.
"I'll drink for both of us," Jack said with a smile and raised his glass to Theo. The latter raised his own as well and shook his head with a small smile.
"Talking about going home," Kevin said with a look at Theo, "I'm gonna have to cancel two of your days off in October."
"Why?" Mick asked and looked displeased. He, too, had a family to go home to.
"Well, someone mentioned on Twitter that you would do a video for Dangerous Confessions," Kevin said, and everyone looked at Scooter.
"I'm sorry!" the latter exclaimed in frustration. "I thought we had all agreed."
Yeah, they had had this conversation before. No one blamed Scooter. They just liked to tease him. And when he had made that slip, they had agreed to do it. They just hadn't heard anything from the video producer yet.
"We have," Kevin said with a teasing smile at Scooter. "Matthew sent me the script. I'll pass it on to you tonight. He said they need two days for the video shoot."
"When?" Theo asked.
"And where?" Jack added.
"Toronto. The 28th and 29th."
"I won't be going home from Canada for two days, anyway," Mick said, "but why Canada?"
"He wants to use the Canadian fall," Kevin replied, "but check out the script when you get home. It makes sense."
"What about actors?" Jack asked and earned an amused look from Theo.
"Don't you mean actresses?" the latter said with a snort and made the others chuckle.
Jack rolled his eyes at him. Until Theo had met his current girlfriend, he hadn't exactly been short on women himself.
"He only needs one," Kevin replied and ignored Theo's remark, "and he's waiting for you to accept the script, before he makes the arrangements."
"Male or female?" Theo asked.
"Why are you so interested in that?" Jack asked with an amused smile.
"Because if it involves romance, I'll be the one who has to deal with it, and I'd rather not snog a male."
"I was that bad?" Jack asked pretending to be hurt. They had kissed a couple of times in the past when they had been drunk, and they knew they were being filmed. The fans loved the bromance.
"I'd rather not get into that," Theo said with a pitiful look at Jack. "I don't wanna hurt your feelings."
"No one's gonna snog anyone," Kevin said with a sigh, before Jack had a chance to get back at Theo, "but there will be romance, so yes, it's a female."
"That's too bad. I would've loved to see Clara's reaction if Theo had to snog someone else," Jack said and made Mick and Scooter chuckle. Theo just rolled his eyes at him, but he didn't reply.
"Theo, I got a proposition for you from ITV," Kevin said, as the waitress brought them their food. He waited until she left, before he continued. "They want you on Britain's Got Talent."
Jack and Scooter broke into a laugh, but Theo and Mick didn't even look amused. Huh. That was strange.
"But we'll be away in the spring," Theo replied. Did he seriously consider it?
"Not one and a half years from now, you won't." Kevin replied and took his cutlery from the table.
"You're not seriously considering it?" Jack asked, positive that his best friend was joking.
"Why not?" Theo asked and looked slightly offended.
They had joked about all those successful artists degrading themselves to taking part in talent shows as long as Jack could remember. Theo probably worst of all.
"It's a talent show," Jack stated with a shrug. "You don't like talent shows."
"But I'd be able to go home to my family every night."
"But you don't exactly need to go to work every day if you don't want to."
"Maybe some of us actually want to do something a bit more meaningful with our lives than just drinking and hooking up with strangers," Theo replied without a trace of a smile.
Ouch. What had he done to deserve that one? Jack noticed the others looking at Theo with surprise on their faces, not really knowing how to react.
"Jack, I wouldn't laugh at Theo, if I were you," Kevin said, possibly trying to change the subject on purpose. "BBC want you on Strictly Come Dancing."
Scooter gave a laugh, and Theo flashed Jack a victorious smile.
"Not gonna happen," the latter scoffed. "I'm not gonna make a fool of myself on national television."
"And you would!" Mick said with a chuckle. His long, blond hair was in a ponytail down his back. When they were performing, he always let it down. It was a leftover from their teenage years when they had done a lot of head-banging.
"I would," Jack agreed, and Mick's smile faded a little. His only point had no doubt been to annoy Jack.
"I thought you'd say no," Kevin said and changed the subject back to the upcoming tour. It was only two weeks away, and Jack was really excited about it. Month after month of music, women, and booze... Yeah, okay, so maybe he got Theo's point. There was probably more to life than sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
"Hey, Theo, wait up," Jack said and caught up with him. It wasn't that hard, really, as he was letting Lily walk on her own, only holding on to her hand to prevent her from running out onto the road. He stopped to wait, anyway.
"Is everything okay?" Jack asked and slowed down.
"Yeah, why wouldn't it be?" Theo asked and looked at him with a puzzled expression in his eyes. The pretty blue eyes, which all the women fell for. Theo was the tall, good-looking one of them with his brown hair and dark eyelashes. The rest of them had to turn on their charms for anyone to notice them. Well, that was before they got famous, of course. Now they all got more than enough attention from the ladies.
It's not that Jack considered himself ugly, but he wasn't exactly tall, and his blond hair and ditto eyelashes made him look sort of pale. He compensated with spray tan and daily gym sessions, and, well, he knew the chicks loved his smile.
"You just seemed a little...hostile." Jack replied and walked with them towards the parking lot. His own car was parked there as well.
Theo sighed, before he said anything.
"Yeah. Sorry. I'm just having a bad day."
"So, we're okay?"
"Is everything okay at home?"
"Yeah. I just argued with Clara this morning. Nothing serious."
"You'll let me know if something's wrong, right?"
"It isn't. We just don't always agree."
"Why am I not surprised?" Jack asked with a chuckle. Theo's girlfriend definitely had her own opinion about things, which Jack found very refreshing. At some point he had been attracted to her, but that was before she and Theo got together. He had had no idea that Theo was in love with her, but when he had finally admitted it, Jack had backed off. He wasn't even remotely in love with her. She had just been a welcome challenge.
Theo chuckled as well.
"Yeah, well, I would love for her and Lily to move in with me, but she thinks it's too soon. But come on... We've known each other for two years!"
"But you've only been together for two months."
"But we're a family."
"But you only have been a family for two months."
"That's where I don't agree. I feel like we've been a family since the day Lily was born."
"It's not that I don't get that, but I also get why she would think it's too soon."
"Yeah, well, I can't make her move in with me if she doesn't want to."
"You're right. You can't," Jack said with an amused smile and put on his sunglasses. She was even more stubborn than Theo.
"Are you gonna go out tonight?"
"Probably. Wanna come?"
"I think I'll pass," Theo said with a fond look at his daughter.
"Yeah. I thought so. You know, after you settled down I've got more chicks to choose from out on town."
Theo gave a laugh and put on his own sunglasses, before he unlocked his grey Volvo with a click on the key.
"Glad you won't be lonely without me," he said with a teasing smile and lifted Lily up. "Say goodbye to your Uncle Jack."
"Bye bye, Lily," Jack said and waved at her with a smile.
"Ba-ba," the girl replied with a giggle, before Theo put her into the safety seat in the car.
Jack walked to his black Maserati and got in. Yeah, he was glad that he didn't have to switch his car to a family friendly one. And there was nothing holding him back from going out every night if he wanted to. And he most often did.
"Hello ladies," Jack said on his way towards the bar and flashed a smile at the two girls who had been eyeing him for a while. They were pretty, but much too young for him. So young, actually, that they were too intimidated to reply, it seemed.
Jack chuckled to himself and beckoned for the bartender to come over. It was Larry tonight.
"Good evening, Jack," the tall man with the dark blond hair and the huge circles under his eyes said with a smile and put both hands on the counter. "What can I get you? The usual?"
"Yes, please. And make it double."
Larry poured him a double Scotch and placed the glass in front of him.
"You don't have company tonight?" he asked and put the bottle away.
"Not yet," Jack replied with a sly smile and looked around to check out the selection. A few young women were staring at him, but there were plenty that didn't.
"Good luck with that," Larry said with a chuckle. "Not that you need it."
Someone else asked for a drink, and Larry left Jack to his own company. He downed half of the drink and put the glass on the counter. It would've been more fun with Theo or Scooter there, but fortunately, he didn't mind drinking alone. He rarely left alone, anyway.
The two young girls from before had been joined by a third at the opposite side of the square bar. She looked familiar, though Jack didn't recognise her immediately. She was sort of tall with long, straight, blonde hair, and even from a distance it was easy to tell that she was wearing a lot of dark make-up around the eyes. She turned her face and noticed him looking at her, and then her face lit up in a big smile. She obviously recognised him, but did he know her? She was definitely much too young to be one of his past conquests. She was probably still a teenager. She raised her hand to greet him, and he definitely knew her. He just didn't remember where from. He gave her a nod and a smile and then downed the rest of the Scotch.
A moment later Larry came back and refilled his glass.
"Cheers!" Jack said and took a sip of the drink before he put it down again. So, maybe he didn't mind drinking alone, but it would've been much more fun to have Theo around. He didn't blame him, though. Of course he wanted to spend time with his family. Jack would've, too, if he had had one. Not that he wanted one - he wasn't cut out for it - but if he had had a family of his own, he would've wanted to be with them.
And Theo had a great family. His girlfriend, Clara, was smart and attractive, and their baby girl was the cutest thing ever. They even had Clara's niece staying at the moment. Apparently, she had had a hard time back in Germany - Jack didn't know the specifics - and as Theo and Clara had needed a nanny for Lily, they had asked Lena to come and stay.
Jack looked up at the blonde girl again and frowned with surprise. Was she...Lena? No way! She couldn't be. Lena was only 15!
She noticed him looking at her again and gave him another smile, and if he didn't stop staring at her soon, she would probably think he was being creepy. He'd better just go over there and say hello.
"I almost didn't recognise you," Jack said and gave Lena a quick hug. Her two friends looked gobsmacked. Yeah, he had that effect on women. And girls.
"No, I could see that," Lena said with a chuckle.
"Your hair..." he trailed off and looked at her blonde locks. She usually had pitch black hair.
"I looked too much like emo Theo," she teased. "This is what I've looked like most of my life."
"Have you met my parents?"
Jack thought about it for a moment. Yeah, he had. A few times, actually. They were both blonde. And so were Lily and Clara.
"Does your aunt know you're here tonight?" he changed the subject and felt really old.
"Not...right here," Lena replied with a frown. "She knows I'm going out. Why?"
"Really? Clara let you go out?"
"Jack, I'm 17!" she exclaimed with a chuckle.
"17? But you were 15 only yesterday?" Jack said and wasn't sure if she was telling the truth. Besides, 17 was still just a kid.
She didn't reply. She just looked amused.
"Yeah, sorry," Jack added. "I think I'm getting old. Just take care, okay?"
"Will do," she said, still with that amused smile on her face. She also sort of looked as if she were waiting for him to leave.
"See you around," he said and gave her friends a smile, before he left them to themselves. He really should find a place with people his own age. When he looked around, quite a few girls were watching him. Girls - not women. Just one more drink, and he'd find someplace else.
Someone put a hand on Jack's right shoulder, and judging by the lightness of the touch it belonged to a female. He turned his head to see who it was, but he didn't see anything but fingers with long nails polished with a dark crimson. Then he turned around to face the woman on his left and was caught by surprise. He knew her, but they definitely weren't friends. Nor friendly in any way.
"Debbie?" he asked with a frown at the woman with long, curly black hair and light brown skin. The way she eyed him with her - he had to admit - very beautiful, dark eyes made something stir inside of him, and he had to swallow.
"Looking good tonight, Jack," she said and removed her hand from his shoulder. "Surprised to see me?"
"I'm just surprised that you think we know each other," he mumbled and took a swig of his drink, "that's all."
She gave a short laugh and beckoned for the bartender to take her order. It wasn't Larry. Apparently, he had left and been replaced with a somewhat younger, female bartender.
"Don't worry, I know your secret," she said with an amused smile.
"Which one of them?"
"That you can't stand me."
"That's hardly a secret," Jack mumbled and regretted immediately. No one deserved that.
She just laughed and gave her attention to the bartender.
"Three tequila shots, please."
"Tequila? That's sorta last year, isn't it?" Jack didn't even know why he kept talking to her. She was hot, but she was a bitch. She had treated Theo's sister like crap once for no apparent reason. She also wasn't very smart.
She looked at him again, and somehow Jack got the feeling that she pitied him. But why would she? He was a rock star, and she was a nobody. Okay, maybe that was a little harsh, but she definitely wasn't a very good actress. Could she even live from what she made on it? Or did she have a 9-5 job as well?
The bartender brought back the tequilas, and Debbie shoved one of them in Jack's direction. Then she downed one of the remaining two with salt and the juice from a slice of lime.
"You don't want it?" she asked with a look at Jack, who took the tequila and eyed her suspiciously. "Relax, I didn't poison it."
He downed the tequila and watched her drink the next one. The way her tongue wet her lips in search for remains of salt and lime made her mouth look so inviting. Jack shook his head to make those thoughts go away. It was Debbie, for fuck's sake. He wasn't going to take her home. Ever.
"You sure about this?" Debbie asked and let her coat drop to the floor as Jack pushed her up against the wall. He shut her up with a kiss, and she responded by opening her mouth to let his tongue in. Did she just ask him, if he was sure about it? Who did she think he was?
Jack's right hand found its way to her thigh and the black nylon tights. From there it went upwards underneath the dark blue silk dress, while his left hand was very much entangled in her hair. The last time he saw her, her hair had been short, hadn't it? It had been at Theo's birthday party a little more than a year ago. Could it have grown this much since then?
She withdrew to get some air, and Jack moved his mouth to her neck and felt the arousal as her hands started unbuttoning his tight, black jeans. No need to waste time on foreplay, apparently. He could agree to that. His hand underneath her dress found the edge of her tights and pulled on them. He hated tights. They were always in the way and so annoying to pull down, and Debbie's were no different. He let go of her hair to use both hands, and a moment later she kicked the tights off her feet, while pulling down Jack's jeans just enough to be able to put her hand in his grey trunks. Oh God. She definitely knew what she was doing with that hand, and he let out a sigh of pleasure.
He moved his hands quickly up her now naked thighs, pushing up her tight dress on the way trying to find the edge of her knickers.
"You're not wearing any..." he said, but she cut him off with an impatient kiss. Jack didn't waste anymore time searching for her knickers. There were much more interesting things under that dress, and oh, was she wet! He let his fingers play around for a moment, and she automatically separated her legs a little for him.
She pulled down his trunks with the hand that wasn't inside of them, and he pushed her up against the wall again.
"You ready?" he asked in a whisper and felt her nod as she breathed a yes into his ear.
They were both very drunk, and everything happened very fast. It was also over very fast, and Jack let go of Debbie to put his hands on the wall behind her for support, afraid he'd collapse any moment. He wasn't 18 anymore, that's for sure, and his back wasn't what it used to be. Encouraging her to wrap her legs around him had probably been a bad idea for someone his age.
She put her feet to the floor again and made a movement as to make him withdraw from her.
"Just a few more moments, baby," he whispered with a hand on her cheek and kissed her ear and then her cheek, before his mouth found hers again. Somehow, she didn't seem to respond as eagerly as she had done a few moments ago. Huh? That was new. Most chicks always wanted him to shower them with kisses before and after sex.
Well, Debbie wasn't most chicks, that's for sure.
Jack pulled his coat a little closer around the neck. The nights were getting colder, and tonight was rather windy, too. He hadn't expected to be walking the streets of London at this hour, but he needed to find a taxi stand.
Debbie had asked him to leave. She had actually thrown him out. He had no idea why, and he wasn't used to it. Nothing had happened that could've caused her to think that he was a jerk, they hadn't had a fight, they had just had sex. And afterwards - as in only a few minutes later - she had told him that he had to leave.
"Are you at least gonna let me get dressed, before you kick me out?" he had asked with an amused smile. He still hadn't caught on to the fact that she wasn't joking, but she had just replied by helping him pick up his clothes from the floor.
He had gotten dressed and looked at her with a puzzled smile, still waiting for her to say it was just a weird joke or something like that, but she hadn't. She had just opened the door and waited for him to leave.
He hadn't bothered to kiss her goodbye. She probably also wouldn't have let him. But it felt wrong to leave a woman like that. Dirty, even. Empty. He may have had a lot of lovers, but he'd like to think that he always treated them with respect. At least when they let him. Debbie hadn't.
A/N: If you liked it, please let me know. If you didn't like it, please let me know how I can make it better. Thank you. :)
Oh, and those of you who have read the prequel, do you remember Debbie?