“Wonderful.” I throw my phone down onto my bed and scrub my hands over my face. No good deed ever goes unpunished, at least not for me. It always seems I’m put in a sticky situation I have no intentions of ever getting into.
None of this would even matter if I wasn’t hung up on Natalie. No, hung up isn’t the right word, I’m certain that what I’m feeling is love. I loved her once and when I lost her, it took me a while to get over her. A clean break was what we said we’d do, and for a year or longer I regretted it. When I moved to Los Angeles, I would’ve given anything to have her by my side, traversing the muddy waters of fame. She had dreams though, and hers were as important as mine.
I pick up my phone and my thumb hovers over her name. I want to call her back, to tell her how and feel, and remind her that not everything she sees on the internet is the truth, but she’s not going to listen. I could sense it in her tone, the way she spoke. There was a finality there, an ending. One I don’t want to happen, but I’m left with limited options. I decide to text her. She’ll be done eating breakfast with Emerson soon enough, she can call me on her way home.
Natalie O’Brien: Nat, can we talk when you get home?
I wait for the message to be delivered, but the blue bubble sits there, which means she’s shut her phone off.
“Fucking great,” I mutter aloud. I put my phone down and bang my head against my headboard before giving up and trying to get some sleep. But even as I close my eyes, I only see Natalie. Normally, thoughts of her help me rest, but I see her crying and being consoled by someone who isn’t me.
It doesn’t matter what I do to try to clear my thoughts, my mind is focused on Natalie and the tone of her voice. I hurt her, even though it was never my intention. I would never do anything to hurt Nat, not in a million years. I search for my phone and bring it to life. No notifications, and the text bubble is still there, lingering somewhere in cyber space, waiting for her phone to acknowledge the message.
Rolling over onto my back I put my hands behind my head and stare at the ceiling, almost as if it holds all the answers. It doesn’t. It’s white, non-descript, and boring. If I owned my apartment, I’d paint it. Maybe navy blue or something equally as bold. Anything but white.
After a restless nap, I finally give up. I get out of bed and start to pace. I ask myself, is Natalie worth this? Is she worth being this upset over? Is she worth feeling the pang in my heart?
I know she is.
Am I worth it to her? That’s the big question. Does her future include someone like me? She’s already been down the path of being cheated on and I hope she’d know I would never do anything of the sort to her. But does she? Or does she battle with trust issues? I go back to my bed and grab my phone. The battery is low, and I can’t have my phone dying, not while I’m trying to figure out my life. I plug it in and check my messages even though I know she hasn’t responded and by now, she’s sleeping. I could try to call her, but I’d feel even worse for waking her up.
Is Natalie worth it?
Yeah, she is.
I press Vance’s number and put him on speakerphone. It’s early, he’s likely still sleeping, but I don’t care.
“Hello,” he grumbles. Honestly, he’s used to all hours of the night calls because his clients can’t be trusted not to get into trouble. As much as he probably wished for a nine to five job, he doesn’t have one. Besides, what a boring job that would be.
“Vance, I need help.”
“Oh, God. What did you do?”
“Nothing. I’m at home. By myself,” I say before he gets any ideas.
“Can’t this wait, until like noon?”
“No, I won’t be here. I need to take some time off.”
“Hold on.” Vance is moving around and there’s a female voice in the background, complaining about the hour. “What is going on, Brennan?”
“There’s some business I need to take care of back home.”
“Can it wait until after the album is done?”
“No,” I tell him. “I can record in Boston. There’s a studio there or down in NYC, it’s only a three-hour drive or so, but I need to be home for a bit. I need the time off to figure some shit out.”
“Are you in some sort of trouble?”
“No, Vance. I promise, everything is on the up and up.”