“Are you sure you still want to go through with this?” Brandon asked as we stood in some offices that were a part of the record label. “You can still change your mind now.”
I nodded my head, looking forwards. “Yeah, I still want to do this. It’s too perfect to put to waste. And it’s just what they were looking for,” I said as I referred to the record company.
Brandon nodded his head in thought, taking a deep breath. “Alright, but you know there’ll be questions about production and its history—“
“I know that,” I stated in a calm tone. “And I’ll work something out for those.”
“I just don’t want to rise any controversy,” Brandon replied in a soft tone, taking a sideways glance at me.
I nodded my head in agreement, understanding where he was coming from. “It’s not like I have to explain everything. The media will get over it. They always get over it.” I slowly walked over to a large table that had many papers and templates laid neatly around it. I glanced down at one in the corner, picking it up to get a better view.
“Phil,” I said as I looked up across the room towards him as he talked with several people. He glanced over in my direction as I held up the paper, raising an eyebrow. “This one?”
“That’s what we decided on I believe,” He replied as he walked over to stand beside me at the table. I looked down at the colorful red and orange design, nodding my head. Just how I would have wanted it.
I turned back towards Brandon as he finished up some paperwork, holding up the paper in my hand as I slightly shook it. He glanced up at me, shrugging his shoulders before handing me the pen in his hands. “You ready for all of this again?” He asked with a raised eyebrow.
I smiled softly, nodding my head. “More than ever,” I slightly mumbled as I signed my name on a few of the sheets. “So how long until this is all processed?” I asked as I stood up from over the table.
Brandon stacked the papers on the table, pausing for a moment as he thought. “Well, it’ll take a couple of weeks to get the paperwork filed, so I’m thinking we should be ready to release the song in the first week or two of December,” he said, grabbing the artwork of the single from the table, adding it to the pile.
“I’m sick of trying,” Ryan said through the phone later on that day with a sigh. “You’re going to come out, and you’re going to enjoy yourself. You need it.”
“I don’t know,” I said almost with a groan. “I’m not sure if I’m really up for it.”
“Trust me, you are. You need to move on with this, and tonight’s the perfect night for celebration for the finishing up of that single,” he insisted, not taking no for an answer.
I let out a sigh, walking over to the fridge. “Eh, I don’t know,” I said as I opened the door, finding nothing but some cheese and a few bottles of beer.
“Grow a pair and snap back into reality,” Ryan said in a rather annoyed voice. “Now come outside.”
I closed the door of the fridge, slightly walking out of the kitchen. “Why are you here? I said I’m not going.”
“Jesus Christ…” Ryan cursed before hanging up the phone. It was only several seconds later that I heard my front door open, hearing Ryan quickly walking down my hallway.
“Let’s go,” He said as he threw his arms out to his sides.
I was silent as I glanced down at my blackberry, beginning to go through my messages.
“Why does it feel like we’ve been through this before?” Ryan asked sarcastically, his eyes watching my hands as I moved them. “Honestly,” he said when I didn’t answer him, “why is it that you don’t want to go so bad?”
I glanced up at him, shrugging my shoulders. “I’m just not up for it. Is there something wrong with that?”
“No, but I know that’s not why you don’t want to go,” he said as he leaned against my counter. “It’s about Abigail and I know it. You never say anything anymore, but you still let it get to you,” he said as he shook his head. “You need to move on, Bruno.”
I reached my hand up to scratch my head. Fuck, how in the hell does he always know this shit? “I am over it. I’m not dead now, am I?” I replied in a sarcastic tone.
“See, that’s the problem,” Ryan said in a thinking manner, shaking a finger at me. “You want to get over it, but you’re never going to if you never get out.”
“That’s not necessarily true,” I conversed back, shaking my head. “I’ve been fine these past few weeks.”
Ryan let out an extremely loud laughter as he shook his head, smiling. “That’s not how I would describe it. You’ve been inside too long, and are sexually deprived. Let’s go.”
“Bullshit,” I said, slightly smiling at him.
“I mean, come on, it’s almost been a month. You need to get laid.”
I shook my head, laughing slightly. “I don’t see how that would solve anything.”
Ryan let out a dramatic sigh as he scratched his head. “You’ll never get over Abby if you keep your sex life this dull. You’ve got far too much sexual tension. So let’s go out, find some hot chick, and then you’re golden!”
I stared at him with a raised eyebrow, still holding my phone.
“I’m serious! Stop wasting time and get your shit!”
I shook my head as I walked over to the breakfast table, grabbing my hat from it. I can’t believe I’m actually going to be social tonight, I thought as I put it on my head. “I hope you know I’m only going because you’re not going to leave me alone,” I said as I walked past him, heading to his car.
It was only Ryan and I this evening, so things seemed a lot less complicated. We went to a different part of downtown LA than the place I had last been at, which was a much nicer club. As we walked up to the doors, flashes from paparazzi nearly blinded me while they shouted out what seemed to be never-ending questions that were somehow related to my personal life:
”Are you and Abigail still together? Did you cheat on her?”
“Are the rumors true about the arrest?”
“Who was the man you fought with?”
They all shouted the same things within the ten foot radius of the pathway and the door. I felt my shoulders tensing up at each of their shouts, trying my best to keep a calm face. “Ignore it, Bruno,” Ryan said quietly as he noticed my tension.
When we made it through the doors and they shut behind us, blocking out the paparazzi, I felt myself relax slightly. I took a small breath, telling myself that I was going to be fine.
“I need a drink,” I said as I realized how stressed out I was. I headed over to the bar, ordering several shots and another drink to wash it all down with.
An hour later I sat on a bar stool with Ryan, staring off over across the club. “Damn, look at the blonde over there,” Ryan said as he nodded his head towards some girl who stood by her friends.
I followed his eyes to where she stood, smiling at a friend. “You think I still got it?” I asked sarcastically with a wink and a laugh.
“It wouldn’t hurt to try for that,” He replied, still checking her out. I smiled before finishing off my drink and standing up. Shit, the room’s already spinning, I thought as I struggled to keep focus in front of me as I walked.
I moved up behind her, gently touching her hip as I walked up beside her. She turned towards me slightly shocked at the touch, but smiling when she looked at me. I flashed my teeth at her, trying to keep my eyes focused on her face. “And what might your name be?” I asked sweetly, smiling politely at her.
“Madison,” She said with a smile, reaching her hand out towards me.
“Such a beautiful name,” I said as I took her hand, slightly shaking it. “I’m Bruno.”
“So I’ve heard,” she said with a smile, taking a sip of her drink.
“Let’s go dance,” I said with a smirk, raising an eyebrow to her.
She turned towards her friend, lifting a curious eyebrow to her as they mentally exchanged a goodbye. She allowed me to take her hand as I led her through the crowd of sweaty people, weaving my way between them.
I placed my hands on her hips as music and lights flashed through my tipsy body. I felt myself slightly struggling halfway through a song when I realized how much she reminded me of Abigail. Her body was almost a replica of hers, along with her small size. I tried to shake this thought from my mind, but my brain overpowered me with memories of the first time I took Abby out dancing after dinner.
Shit, I thought as I squeezed my eyes shut. I need to forget about this. She seemed far too familiar that I hated it. I needed to snap myself out of it.
I quickly turned Madison around to face me as I lowered my hands to her sides once more, pressing my lips against her. She seemed taken aback by my action at first, but quickly loosened up as she allowed me to slip my tongue into her mouth.
I felt my shoulders relax at the touch of her mouth pressed up against mine. She tasted so much different from Abigail and I loved it. Every thought of similarity I had between the two diminished the longer I made out with her for.
After a few minutes I pulled back, breathing heavily as I tried to catch my breath. She stared back in my eyes as she bit her lip, her breathing quickened as well.
“Why don’t we finish this up at my place?” I asked, still looking in her eyes. She simply nodded her head once, allowing me to step back from her as I grabbed her hand, leading her out of the club.
I opened my eyes to be rudely welcomed by the bright sun shining through my window. I blinked a few times before rolling over to face the opposite way. My heart nearly stopped when I saw a mess of blonde hair facing the opposite direction from me. Who in the hell?
I sat up as I stared at her, slightly nauseous. Oh shit, Madison. That’s her name…I slowly relaxed as I remembered the events of last night, slumping back down against the headboard. Phil probably won’t be too happy with me about this either,I continued to think as I watched her small body sleep.
After several minutes I quietly rolled out of bed, throwing on a pair of boxers and a t-shirt, careful as to not wake her up. I walked over to my balcony, opening the door to the cold November air. I stepped out onto the cold tiling, resting an elbow on the railing as I lit a cigarette.
I stood in thought for a good twenty minutes as I watched the sun rise further up over the hills, waking up downtown Los Angeles. I heard a shuffling behind me as Madison stirred in her sleep. Walking back into my room, I closed the doors behind me, blocking out the wind.
I decided I would be nice and make some breakfast for the girl. I mean, I hardly knew her, but I would have done it for anyone who stayed the night. So I eventually managed to cook some eggs and toast, but nothing too far over the extremes. Madison found her way downstairs and insisted that my cooking was alright although I personally thought it tasted like shit.
I noticed myself becoming quieter as the morning progressed, a strange feeling overcoming me. I didn’t have any one thought that stood out, but something drug me down. Still feeling like shit, I offered to give Madison a ride home.
The ride was generally quiet as neither of us spoke much. I could tell she was curious about my sudden drop in personality from the previous night, but I didn’t mention anything to her. By the time I got to her house, my mind was far off from where it was several hours before.
I pulled out of her driveway, my hands and feet shakily taking control of the car. I knew where I was going before I even saw the place, but I couldn’t help it. I didn’tthink about it, I just did.
When I pulled up to the beach, I got out of my car to the almost unpopulated, popular-during-the-summer surf bay. I shoved my hands in my pockets as I rested my head down, allowing my feet to choose where I was going.
My life seemed to be just one big déjà vu; I always found myself repeating things over and over again. I shook my head at the thought, a small headache beginning to form behind my left eye. Like I’m not used to this either, I thought as I rubbed the side of my head to relieve the pain.
I continued to walk for a few hundred yards as sudden emotions filled my mindset. I didn’t know what was going on in my head, even I couldn’t explain myself. I scrunched my forehead up as I felt my ice cold hands beginning to shake as they rested in my pockets.
I took a hard swallow, my throat dry. What’s going on? I kicked the sand as I continued to walk, nearing the same rock formation I had been to more than a few times.
I suddenly began to feel lightheaded, the blood rushing from my face as well as my hands. Chills struck through my body and I tried hard to keep my mind focused on one specific thought, but I couldn’t manage to do it.
I stumbled as if slightly tipsy from alcohol even though I hadn’t had a drink in over twelve hours. I didn’t know what was going on at that moment, but a wave of fear lashed through my body as I steadied myself against the side of the rock wall.
I stumbled some more alongside the rock, staring at the ground. The pounding in my head became more intense as I heard yelling screaming through my ears, causing me to look up as if the shouts were real. I stopped moving alongside the rock when I found the area I had sat by a while ago, when I stared at the waves as I tried to think of a way to redo the past.
I turned so I faced the wall, my hands at shoulder’s length apart, palming the rough surface. I rested my forehead against the scratchy material, staring at my feet as I dug my shoes into the sand deeper. I squeezed my hands against the rock, breathing heavily as I squinted my eyes shut.
I shook my head over and over again, feeling extremely weak. When I opened my eyes again, my vision was blurry and I felt a cool breeze against my cheeks that had stains of wet streaked down them. My head screamed with pain and I clenched my jaw, squinting my eyes shut as several more tears escaped them.
What’s the matter with me? I thought as I began to feel anger towards myself building up. I couldn’t remember the last time I allowed myself to cry, and now, I didn’t even know why I was crying like this.
I clenched my hands into fists, breathing through my teeth as I tried to steady my shaky breaths. An ache beneath my chest filled me with even more pain despite the throbbing I felt from my head and from the irritated stitches placed on all four knuckles on my right hand.
For the past few weeks, I convinced myself I was fine; I was going to be alright. I didn’t need anyone to tell me what I was doing was right or wrong; I knew exactly what was going on in my own mind. But as I stood, face against the rock, the more it dawned on me that something wasn’t quite right.
There was no specific thought that ran through my mind, not even Abby. I didn’t know why I felt so emotional, but I was. I couldn’t help it.
I’m not okay, I thought as I felt my jaw slightly tremble. I’m not okay, I’m not okay, I’m not okay.
I’d been lying to myself the entire time. Covering up everything to my friends and family just so I could prove to myself that I could handle it. And clearly I was wrong.
Point blank was I wasn’t fine. And I wasn’t going to be fine, either.
I walked into the venue an hour later, moving at an extremely slow pace. I felt the drag of my eyes, as if from lack of sleep. Phred walked up to me as I adjusted my microphone stand on the stage.
“Hey man are you going to—“ He stopped himself as he got closer, watching me intently as I avoided eye contact, still messing around with the mic. “Are you alright?” He asked in a concerned tone, giving me a slightly anxious look. “You don’t look so well.”
I shook my head, picking up my guitar. “I’m fine,” I replied, knowing I was kidding even myself. “I’m just a little tired.” I put the guitar strap around my neck, reaching my hands down to tune the strings.
He watched me for a moment, nodding his head. It was obvious he didn’t believe me, not that I expected him to. I knew my argument was pretty weak, but I didn’t have the energy to try for even that.
“Oh well I was going to see if you were up for getting some drinks later, but you’re not looking too well…” he slightly trailed off as his eyes glanced down to my hands as I ran them over the tuning pegs.
I stopped for a second, thinking. Maybe I should go, I thought as I bit my lip slightly. I’ll end up being alone at home anyways. “No,” I said after a moment. “I’m alright. It sounds like a good plan.”
“Really?” Phred asked, raising an eyebrow questionably.
I hesitated for a second before nodding my head. Give me one more chance, I thought as I half talked to myself, give me one more chance to try this all again. One more time to forget.
“Yeah,” I finally said, forcing myself to look up at him with a fake smile.
“He’s beginning to worry me,” Phred said as he leaned his head in close towards Eric’s face, nodding over to Bruno’s direction.
Eric looked up from his spot at the bar, following Phred’s glance. He let out a small sigh, shaking his head as he spotted his younger brother. “I’m not in the mood to be babysitting him tonight,” He said, slightly annoyed as he took a drink from his glass.
Phred shook his head as he watched Bruno from a few seats down, ordering some more drinks. It was only lately that he began drinking so heavily, which is what ended up getting him into a few issues several weeks ago.
“He just seems a little off tonight,” Phred finally replied as he kept his view on Bruno.
Eric shrugged his shoulders. “I’m not really sure what’s been going on in his head lately, to be honest,” He said in a soft tone.
“You don’t think he could be—“
“No,” Eric said, quickly cutting him off as he already knew what Phred was going to say. “He wouldn’t,” he stated simply, ending the conversation quickly as a tipsy Bruno walked back over towards them.
“Alright! I think you’re good for now,” Phred said as he grabbed my drink from my hand before I spilled it. He set it down next to a few men at the bar, giving me a concerned look.
I slightly stumbled as a few people brushed past me in the crowded building, nearly losing my balance before I grabbed the side of a table.
“Maybe we should go,” Phred said as he glanced from my eyes to his watch. “It’s getting late anyways,” he added as he glanced towards Phil and Kenji.
“No,” I said whilst shaking my head. “I’m not ready to leave yet.” I reached my hand over to the high top table in which the rest of the guys sat at, grabbing my phone and my pack of cigarettes.
I saw Phred exchanging a glance with Phil as I walked past them, going outside while I pulled out a cigarette and my lighter.
When I came back in, I felt slightly dizzy, but other than that, I felt surprisinglygreat. I walked back up to the table with a smile as I sat down in one of the chairs.
“You look happy, what’d you do, meet a stripper out there?” Ryan laughed as he looked up at me.
“I wish…” I replied as I shoved my things back into the pockets of my jacket.
“I’m sure you’ve got enough of that last night,” Ryan added as he raised an eyebrow to me. I glanced up at him, shooting him a quick glare as a few of the guys looked up at me as well.
I quickly stood up as I avoided any questioning, suggesting that we move more to the back where it was less crowded. I saw Ryan trying not to laugh as he agreed, standing up.
I walked back over to the bar, remembering Phred had taken my drink and put it there a while ago. Several glasses were sitting on the bar, some near the two men that were there twenty minutes ago too. I felt slightly confused as I tried to remember what it was I had, so I simply stared at the glasses for a few minutes while I pondered.
Pointing to one that seemed reasonably right, I turned to the man sitting on the bar stool. “Is this drink yours?” I asked as I motioned to the light red-tinted one. He grumbled a few words beneath his fluffy beard, inaudible to me.
Shrugging my shoulders, I grabbed the drink, turning to follow Kenji back to where the guys headed.
I rolled my head around my shoulders, trying to keep my eyes open. I stopped moving, staring blankly in front of me. “Why do I feel so weird?” I asked in a funny voice, now looking down at the palms of my hands.
“Maybe because you’re drunk,” Ryan stated matter-of-factly.
I shook my head as I looked down at my tingling limbs. “No, I don’t feel normal.”
“Maybe you should go sit down,” Phred suggested as he gave me a concerned look.
I nodded my head with a blank look on my face, agreeing. Maybe, I thought as I walked over to a booth, sliding into it. I placed my head in my hands, trying to regain a normal thought pattern. I kept my eyes open as I stared at a scratch in the table, concentrating on keeping my attention on it.
Black spots restrained parts of my vision, suddenly making me nervous. I reached my hand forwards to grab my drink, taking a large gulp of it. “That’s not going to help,” Phred stated as he watched me. I ignored him as I finished the drink off, putting the glass back down on the table.
I squinted my eyes as I looked at my glass, my head buzzing. As the blacking out of my vision became more severe, the more I felt perspiration building up on my forehead. By now several of the guys who were still around the area noticed, and I saw them giving me disapproving looks.
Suddenly feeling hot, I tore off my outer jacket, rolling up the sleeves of my under shirt. I felt a small drop of sweat moving down the side of my cheek as I wiped it off with the back of my hand. I glanced up at Phred who sat across from me, giving him a concerned look.
“I’m not okay,” I slurred, fidgeting with my phone as I remembered what happened earlier today.
“It’s fine, Bruno,” Phred stated in a calm voice. “You’re alright. Do you want to leave?” He sounded really worried by the way he glanced up at me. I clearly didn’t look very well.
I shook my head. “No,” I stated in a louder tone, catching the attention of the other guys. “It’s not that,” I said, insisting I wasn’t drunk, “There’s something wrong with me,” I said, feeling my voice choke up.
“Are you alright there?” Eric asked as he stood next to our table.
“No,” I said, taking off my hat and putting it on the table. I shook my head over and over again, feeling a strange anxiety taking over.
“What’s going on?” Eric asked, glancing to Phred as if he knew.
“I love her,” I softly whispered through my lips, staring at the feather in my hat as a realization came over me. My eyes were wide when I said the words, not knowing that I was even thinking about her. But it was true.
“What?” Phred asked, giving me a confused look.
“I l-love her,” I repeated in a louder tone, feeling my eyes beginning to burn again. I squinted them quickly, avoiding any possible tears from escaping.
“What are you talking about?” Eric asked, staring at me.
“Abby.” I plainly stated, standing up from the booth suddenly. I paced in a small circle around the table we sat by, holding my hands above my head as I mumbled her name over and over again. My vision continued to black out as I still paced; my heart beginning to race.
“Come on Bruno,” Ryan said as he put a hand on my shoulder, trying to calm me. “Let’s go.”
“No,” I stated in a gruff tone, shrugging him off. “Maybe, maybe I should call her,” I said, reaching for my pocket.
“Bruno, look at me,” Ryan said as he shook his head. “You don’t want to do that.”
“But I gotta tell her,” I said in a panicked tone. “I have to let her know…” I began pacing again feeling the stress building up inside of me again.
“Calm down, Bruno,” Eric said in his soothing voice. I ignored him as only one thought ran through my head: I need to talk to her.
I reached for my phone, turning on the screen, but only staring blankly at it. I couldn’t remember her number, not to mention I could hardly see the screen I was blacking out so much.
“Don’t do something you’re going to regret in the morning,” Phil said as he watched my hands.
“Well it’s a little too late to be saying that,” I said half-irritated, wishing they’d just leave me alone. “I need to talk to her,” I whined, wrinkling my forehead. “I just need to talk to her and then,” I continued, pausing for a moment as I thought of what to do to. “And then she’ll understand.”
I nodded my head at my thoughts, quickly stepping around the guys. “She can’thate me then,” I mumbled, feeling a deep ache running through my chest. If I can’t call her, I’ll head over to her place, I thought optimistically, leaving my hat behind at the table as I headed to the door.
“Are you shitting me?” Eric mumbled angrily as I began walking off.
“Bruno, don’t,” Ryan stated firmly as he followed close behind. I got out into the cool air, looking around the busy streets.
I ignored him as well, walking off onto my own direction, looking for a cab to call. I stumbled between people as I tried to walk as straightly and productively as I could, but was failing miserably.
“Bruno!” Ryan yelled out as I neared a busy intersection. I’m not going to be okay until I hear her voice. “Bruno!” He yelled again, still not catching my attention.
My vision suddenly blacked out again, and I stumbled once more, nearly toppling over. I panicked as I stood up, begging my body to comprehend everything I was doing. “Can we not have a normal night out ever?!” Ryan asked angrily as he came up behind me. I hardly listened to his angry words; my mind more worried about what was wrong with me and where I needed to be going.
“Then let me be,” I stated as I faced Ryan, beginning to walk backwards. “I don’t need any more people telling me how bad I’ve fucked things over, or how everyfucking thing I do is only going to make it worse,” I stated almost too loudly, my face wrinkling up in stress and sudden sadness. “I never asked for anyone to help me through this. I never asked anyone to tell me what’s right and what’s wrong. So don’t tell me it’s my fault you never have a normal night, because you don’t evenhave to be following me.” I quickly turned around before he could say anything, my feet taking off as sweat dripped from my forehead, my senses completely fucked up now.
I only took in four steps before I heard Ryan’s panicked voice shouting out my name and a terrifying sound of screeching tires. I began to turn around before I stopped halfway in the streets when I saw two bright white lights heading for me. A howling squeal filled my ears while I shut my eyes tight, hardly having any time to react before a sudden silence and darkness took over.
My eyes flickered as I attempted to open them, a bright light trying to fight against my vision. I squinted them several times before I finally opened them, blinking to clear my vision. I stared at a white ceiling, tiny holes puncturing the tiled area above me.
A small beeping came from my left side, but I didn’t want to move to see what it was. I stared at the ceiling for several minutes before I finally turned my head down. A white blanket covered from my chest down, and I turned to my side to see a black and green monitor beeping to a slight rhythm.
I looked down at my arms by my sides, realizing I wasn’t wearing the same clothes I had been. I touched the IV that was taped to my right wrist, running my fingers over the small tubing. I propped my elbow up behind me, struggling as I attempted to sit up. My entire body ached as I slowly pulled myself up to face the room completely.
No one else was in there besides me, and I began racking my brains to try and remember what happened. I’m in a hospital, I thought, slightly beginning to freak out. Why the hell am I in a hospital? This isn’t right.
I squeezed my eyes shut as I forced a headache upon myself while I tried to remember anything. We were at a bar, I thought, remembering when I walked in. My mind flooded with events suddenly as I collected the memories from the night, many of which I couldn’t quite remember.
And then I remember seeing the sudden headlights as I stood in the middle of that busy street. Holy shit, I thought, feeling my breathing quickening. Did I get hit by a car?
I looked down at myself, feeling aches throughout my body as I sat. I didn’t have any apparent life-threatening injuries. I looked over my arms for signs of scratches, but the only thing I found was the cuts on my right knuckles.
What was I doing? I thought as I shook my head, throwing the blanket off of my body. I was wearing a hospital gown, but yet again, I found no injuries to my legs. I need to get out of here, I continued to think, feeling anxious. I swung my feet over the side of the bed, careful not to damage the IV that was still connected.
The monitor beside my bed beeped slightly faster as my nerves rose until a small red light blinked in the left corner. Within seconds, the door to my room flew open and an anxious looking nurse walked in.
“Mr. Hernandez,” She said in a calm voice as she looked at me. “Could you please lay back down?”
“No,” I replied stubbornly, wanting to leave. “I need to get out of here.”
“I’m sorry, but you can’t go now,” She said with a nervous expression. I shook my head as I heard a few more footsteps walking in. Another nurse and a doctor walked in, walking past the first nurse.
“Mr. Hernandez,” the doctor stated firmly. “We’ll get you out of here as soon as we can, but for now we need you to lie down.”
I shook my head again. No, I don’t need them telling me what to do. “No, I need to leave.”
“Mr. Hernandez, I am asking—“
”Bruno,” I looked up to see Eric standing in the doorway. He shook his head solemnly at me, somehow forcing me to shut up. I glared at the doctor as I sat back down, allowing him to check a few things.
“You’re fine, don’t worry,” The doctor said as he finished up. “We should have you out of here in a few hours.” He nodded his head at me once before walking past Eric, closing the door behind him.
I stayed silent as I stared at Eric, who looked deep in thought. I could tell he was mad; he’d been mad for the past couple of weeks, and I’m sure this didn’t help with that at all.
“I talked to dad,” he said in a soft voice. “And mom too.”
“Eric, no—“ I began in a small voice, giving him a begging look.
“They’re worried about you, Bruno!” Eric suddenly said, cutting me off. “I can’t keep telling them everything’s okay with you when it’s not!”
“Yeah? Well everyone should stop worrying about me,” I stated as I glanced down at the IV again. “I’m fine.”
“No you’re not!” Eric shouted, giving me a stressed face. “The arrest was one thing, but now this?! In less than a month apart?! Bruno, you’re lying in a fucking emergency room; it’s obvious you’re not okay!” He tossed his arms out to me as he made his last statement, motioning to the bed.
I grew silent at his words, knowing he was right. I was far from okay.
“You can’t keep living like this,” Eric continued, slightly pacing now, “It’s unhealthy. You spend your nights all alone in your house, drinking up your sorrow! You nearly killed yourself tonight, and you still have the decency to tell me that you’re fine?”
Once again I was silent as I refused to answer his question. I had nothing to say about anything. I didn’t know what I could say.
Eric grew silent himself for a moment as he let out a small breath. “They found traces of GHB in your blood,” he stated softly, giving me a questioning look.
What in the hell? I thought, feeling a small sweat breaking out on my forehead as nerves kicked in. “But I didn’t Eric,” I said, slightly tripping on my words. “Why would I—“
“I don’t know,” he stated flatly, not believing me. “I don’t even know what to do anymore,” he said as he ran a hand through his hair. “I keep getting phone calls from everyone asking me what the hell is up with my little brother and I can’t even answer the question! This whole thing is a mess, and you need to start getting your shit together!” He began yelling again at the end of his words, raising my guard at his last statement.
“I don’t need you telling me how to live my life,” I replied back, feeling offensive. “I’m trying to figure this out on my own, believe it or not. It’s hard for me, and I most certainly do not need your input of the matter.”
“You don’t get it, do you?!” Eric shouted back as he tossed his arms up. Oh how many times have I heard that statement in the past month? “You’ve drug this thing on way too long. This isn’t just about you anymore. You’re taking a toll on the whole family, along with everyone else. No one should have to put up with your shit. No one should have to be thinking, where’s Bruno and what’s he doing? But you’ve made it so that nobody even knows where you are anymore, or even if you’re still alive for that fact!”
Eric’s voice came off as stressed, and I knew he’s had this on his mind for more than quite a while now. “You need to move on, Bruno. Nobody’s gotten the nerve to tell you, but I’m going to be the first to flat out say it. She’s not coming back for you. And the sooner you realize it, the sooner everyone else can move on as well.”
I stared at him in shock, how could he say that? Eric was never like this. He was always one to stay calm and solve things the simple way; without fighting. “Stop being so selfish and thinking only about yourself,” he continued, now throwing a finger at me. “We’re not going anywhere until you’ve put the past in the past.”
I shook my head at him, still in shock. “You think I haven’t tried figuring this out on my own?” I asked, shaking my head still. “You act like I’m the one making your life hell. I didn’t ask for anyone to help me with this. I never drug any of you into this. I’ve gotten my ass chewed and slaughtered more times in the past month than I have in a lifetime. Do you even know what that’s like for me?!” I asked, my voice cracking as I spat out the last few syllables.
I took a small breath, trying to steady myself. “Everywhere I go, this follows me. Every public place I go, someone with a camera is shoving it up my face, and I’m sick of it. Haven’t you figured out that I might just want to be alone?! Like I said, I didn’t ask for your help, Eric, so don’t go off saying I’m the one dragging you into it. You don’t have to be here.”
Eric bit back his lips as if trying to hold himself from yelling. He took a small pace into a circle before he took another breath, turning towards me. “I don’t give a shitabout who you are in the public eye,” He stated in a calmer voice, his jaw still slightly clenched. “But at the end of the day you’re still my little brother. You’re a part of my life and I’m a part of yours.” Although his voice was calm, his tone and face showed the anger that he really felt. “And I’m going to be around critiquing your choices and actions for the rest of your life, so you better start getting used to it.”
He spat out the last words as he locked his eyes on mine for a moment before turning and walking out the door, letting it close with a loud bang.
I ran both my hands over my face stressfully, shaking my head. I need to stop this,I thought as I took heavy breaths. I need to figure this out.
“Can you just explain to me what happened?” I asked as I sat in the passenger seat of Ryan’s car, pulling out from the emergency room parking lot.
He shrugged his shoulders, looking in front of him. “I’m not really sure what happened to be honest,” he replied with a sympathetic look as he glanced at me. I nodded my head, understanding if he couldn’t quite explain at all. “It’s just—I don’t know,” he continued, scratching his head in thought. “You weren’t quite yourself, I guess you could say.”
I turned to give him a confused look. “What do you mean?”
Ryan seemed hesitant at my last question, taking a small breath as he ran his hand through his hair several times before he spoke again. “You were talking about Abby,” he said in a soft voice, as if it would offend me or something.
I sat in thought for a moment, looking out the window as we drove in the still-dark, early morning. I nodded my head, not even bothering to ask what I said. I knew it would probably just embarrass myself further from knowing those details.
“Do you even remember anything?” Ryan asked as he looked at me after a few moments of silence.
I stared forwards, looking down the street as I thought. “Not exactly,” I replied after I tried to remember. I glanced down at my wrist which still had the ER bracelet on it. I looked at the check-in time: 1:56 AM. As far as I was concerned I didn’t remember being conscious anywhere from standing in the street until waking up a couple of hours ago.
The doctor claimed I had no serious injuries aside from a few cuts and bruises. Apparently I full out passed out several seconds after the car screeched to a startling stop, missing me by only a few feet. I still didn’t see the reason behind taking me to the emergency room when nothing serious happened.
“What’d they say about the GHB?” I asked suddenly, remembering the doctor mentioning something about it.
“You were there when he told you…” Ryan said in a confused tone, giving me a sideways glance.
“I didn’t care to listen.”
Ryan let out a slightly annoyed sigh as he thought for a second. “Well they didn’t find anything on you—“
“Yeah, because I’d slip myself something,” I said sarcastically with an irritated tone.
“I’m sure they were just doing it for precautionary sakes,” he replied in a calm voice.
“I don’t get it,” I stated as I returned my glance out the window. “Why in the hell would someone do that?”
Ryan shrugged his shoulders as he continued to drive. “It probably wasn’t meant for you. You didn’t take anyone’s drink at all, did you?”
I racked my brain for several moments as I thought before shaking my head. “Not that I can think of—ah shit,” I said as I suddenly remembered the two guys sitting at the bar. I shook my head in my hands. “There were some drinks at the bar by these guys, but I couldn’t remember which one was mine and…” I let out a loud groan as I mentally kicked myself for being so stupid. Fuck that, I did this to myself.
He nodded his head as he understood what I meant, not saying anything as he pulled up in front of my home. I tilted my head back so I was staring at the roof of the car, taking a few deep breaths as I gathered my thoughts about last night’s events.
Finally looking back down, I opened the door. “Thanks for dealing with all of my bullshit,” I said as I glanced back at Ryan, nodding my head to him with a sad smile.
He returned my look with a smile as he nodded his head once more. “That’s what I’m here for,” he stated with a shrug before I thanked him once more, closing the door.
I took my BlackBerry from my pocket as I walked through my front door, flipping through my missed calls. There were several from my mom, one from Phil, and a couple of more from my sisters. I let out a small sigh as I walked upstairs, putting it back into my pocket.
A sudden buzz vibrated through my leg as I opened the door to my room, causing me to take out my phone once more, seeing Brandon’s name on the caller ID.
“Hello?” I asked in a tired voice, finally realizing how much sleep I lost last night.
“We’ve got to work something out,” Brandon said in a calm voice, sounding as if he were shaking his head, “because clearly this whole thing isn’t working for you.”
I took a hard swallow, sitting down on the edge of my bed as I softly nodded my head. “I’m starting to think that this whole break idea is sounding pretty good.”
I walked into the studio with a sigh, not exactly wanting to be there. We had to finalize a few more things before we could officially set the song up for release, and Brandon insisted we finished things up today.
I took a confidently deep breath as I steadied myself, keeping my head high as I walked down the hallway. Brandon and I agreed that I took a break from things for a while, until I got myself back together. I was ready to get everything back on track to how it was before. Because Eric was right; I was holding everyone else back and it wasn’t fair.
Just one more song and then I’m out of the public eye for a while, I thought as I readjusted my hat before opening the door, trying to boost my spirits. Everybody else was there, already waiting around or busily writing on some things.
After another hour Brandon concluded he had everything ready to go and it should be the last of the paperwork. Everybody ended up leaving as I lingered behind, waiting on Phil as he did a few things in the studio.
“Hey Phil?” I said a asked minutes after the last person left, leaving just him and I alone.
He looked up from where he stood, giving me a questioning look. “Hmm?” He replied as he looked back down, busily shoving some equipment into his bag.
“I’m really sorry, man,” I said as I shook my head, giving him an apologetic look. He quickly glanced back at me, staring at me for a moment before standing up and walking over to where I stood.
“I’m an asshole, and you were right. About everything,” I said as I gave him an apologetic smile, shrugging my shoulders. “I’m a shitty friend,” I added as I took a small breath. “But I’m working on it.” I shrugged my shoulders again, glancing back up at his neutral face.
Phil nodded his head, a small smile appearing on his lips. “Don’t worry about it,” he said as he gave me an encouraging pat on the back. “One less thing you should have to stress yourself about,” he added as he reached down to grab his shoulder bag, throwing it over his arm.
“So things are good?” I asked as I stood there like a lost puppy, watching him as he collected his things.
“Things were never bad,” Phil said with a small smile as he opened the door. “I’ll talk to you later,” he added with a nod and a wave, leaving me to myself.
I nodded my head as the door clicked shut, letting out a sigh of relief. I can do this, I thought as I walked over to where I set my hat down. Picking it up, I placed it on my head as I pulled out my phone, walking to the door myself. Scrolling through my contact list, I stopped a few names down, pressing the ‘send’ button.
It rang for a few seconds as I continued to the door. When she finally picked up, I let out another small sigh of relief. “Hello?” She asked in her usual calm, relaxed tone.
“Hey mama,” I said as I closed the door behind me, feeling a small smile creep up on my lips.