The walls around me were white. The smell of everything was sterile. My clothes were no longer on my body, but replaced by a hospital gown. I slowly sat up and could feel no pain, which was good…that meant I didn’t get hurt…but I couldn’t remember what happened. I remembered dancing, and then I couldn’t breathe…and then I passed out. But this hospital looked different, it wasn’t exactly like a normal hospital…and I couldn’t exactly figure out why. Things seemed a lot more, people-proofed. Kind of like they made sure there wasn’t shit in this room that a person could hurt themselves with. Not that I was going to, anyway.
I stood up and made my way over to the door, but it wouldn’t open. Alarmed, I pulled and pulled, but it was locked. I started screaming and pulling harder, banging on the door and screaming for someone to help. I saw nurses walk past and do nothing. I backed up and started breathing heavily, feeling an attack coming on. I noticed a wrist bracelet, and I immediately read it aloud;
“Patient: Roxanne Mays. Case: 03958. Warnings: Violent, Hallucinatory, Allergic to Latex. University of Southern California Psychiatric Hospital.” I backed up slowly and sat on the bed, running my hands through my hair. This was unreal, there was no way I could be in a mental ward. I wasn’t crazy, I couldn’t even remember what had happened! And hallucinatory?! Where the fuck did that come from!?
There was a click at my door and a nurse came in, followed by Bruno. She seemed like she was in a daze, much like the man from 7-11 the other night after Bruno had 'glamoured' him. “Here she is Mr. Hernandez…the doctor will be in momentarily with information regarding her release, as well as her new prescription. She’s under red-light care, so if there is an issue, please use the call button and someone will be in immediately.”
“Thank you Miss Johnson.” He nodded in understanding. She smiled politely and closed the door. Bruno leaned against it, his fedora tilted low as he stared at the floor with a hard expression.
“Thank God you're here…I didn’t know what was going on, I don’t even know why I’m here–”
“You don’t?” He asked, his voice low…venomous…and sarcastic all at the same time. I instantly quieted…he was angry for some reason. “I’ll tell you then.” He continued, “You were nowhere to be found at the apartment, so I assumed your practice had gone on later than usual. I figured, no big deal, I’ll see you tomorrow night. Then I get a call from Phil. He says Dave called him and said you flipped a shit at dance practice and started talkin all this mess about me being a vampire.”
I hoped he hadn’t heard the little gasp that left my throat. There was no way I could have said all that…I wouldn’t go that far…would I?
Bruno smile and gave a little chuckle, all in sarcasm, “That’s not even the best part. He asked Phil to have an intervention with you because he was truly worried about your mental state now that your swearing up and down that I’m still alive. He asked him Dave feels like you would listen to him better. Not only that, but you told Dave about how you ended his engagement. So now, you’ve scored yourself a psychiatrist visit every Thursday afternoon and a trip to the psychiatric ward.” He gestured to the room around us.
“I–I–” I tried to talk.
“No, there’s nothing you can say right now that would fix this. You were admitted to this place for a month, but I glamoured them into letting you go. I’ve had to glamour seven people who recognized me and started screaming in terror.” He tossed me a pair of sweatpants and a tshirt. “Get your clothes on so we can go.”
I looked down at my clothes, about to put them on…my eyes tearing up, when I felt something snap inside of me. “Fuck you Bruno.” I said, the tears retreating far back into my eyes without me trying. I felt the fuse that had been inactive inside me for so long, finally cut back on. The one thing that drove me more than anything else, my anger.
“You really don’t want to cross that line right now.” He said, adjusting his jacket.
I did want to cross that line, so I said it again, “You know what, fuck you! You selfish son of a bitch! How can you just treat me like shit after you came into my life and turned everything upside like I’m supposed to be cool with this?! How is that shit supposed to just be okay?! You're a vampire!” I ripped my hotel gown off and quickly put the clothes on. I stalked over to him like a panther ready to pounce upon it’s prey. I was beyond pissed.
“I accepted you, and I didn’t have to. I could’ve rejected you and told you to stay the fuck outta my life.”
“Key word: Could’ve.” He said smugly.
I cocked my head at him, “You little bitch. You think you have some kinda control over me? I don’t give a damn who or what you are, you come at me like that and I’ll have a stake sharpened with your fuckin name all over it. How dare you come to me like I did this shit on purpose, I had an anxiety attack! You know why they’re so bad now? Because I’m hiding the fact that your a fucking vampire from everyone I know and love! I’m switching my schedule to be nocturnal for you! I can’t even remember to eat anymore because of you!”
“No! You're being ridiculous!” I yelled, but in a rush of wind, I was pinned to the bed, his hand over my mouth.
“I said…..quiet…down.” He repeated. Before I could blink, he was off me and the doctor came into the room, unaware of the exchange that had just occured. I glared hatefully at Bruno as he behaved normally.
“Alright, I’ve got your prescription here…as well as the phone number to your new psychiatrist, Doctor Harold. He’s really good with your kind of case, the death of a loved one.” The doctor explained, handing the papers to me. I took them, faking a smile for my own sake.
“Any questions for me at all?” The doctor looked from me to Bruno, and then back to me.
“No that’s all, are you ready love?” Bruno asked brightly, taking my hand.
“Born ready darling!” I cheerily replied. “Thank you so much doctor, I appreciate the help.”
“Not a problem Miss Mays, have a nice night.”
“You too!” I called, following Bruno as he led me through the busy crowd of sick patients and doctors and nurses, his head down so he remained inconspicuous. I was sure someone was going to notice me, when in seconds time, we were outside. I wrenched my hand from his own and looked at him, tears in my eyes.
“I guess you really don’t have a soul, huh?” I wiped my eyes viciously. “The old Bruno, my Bruno, he would have never talked to me so lowly.”
“Roxanne, I–” I saw a flash of guilt pass over his features and his expression softened, he reached out to me, but I pulled away, taking the engagement ring off my finger and letting it fall to the ground.
“No. Your not who I thought you were. When Peter Hernandez died, he died and he’s not coming back. I don’t know who you are.. I’m catching a taxi home, it’s what humans do.” I said, turning around and briskly walking away from him. I stood on the corner and flagged down a taxi, getting inside and going home.
I arrived at my apartment and locked my door…twice. Which was something I never did. Usually I would casually lock it and not care, but I wanted everything and everyone out. I rushed over to my couch and brought my knees into my chest, tucking my face down and crying. Shit just got real, and I didn’t know how to deal with it.
I neither saw, nor heard from Bruno after that incident. The first few nights were hard to get through. Forcing myself to get my schedule back on track without being haunted by my thoughts…that was the worst. When I finally did, I went obediently to my psychiatrist meetings. I went to dance practice and my focus was back, and after a month of training, I was ready to go back onto the last leg of my tour for the year. Everything that had happened was like a really bad dream that was a figment of my imagination.
“Careful, careful! That’s Xavier, and he’s expensive!” I called out to the men that were hired to pack away the band gear into the plane. They were beginning to get a bit careless with my guitar, which I didn’t tolerate. I sipped my Red Bull, walking around aimlessly in the takeoff area where our tour jet was being loaded and inspected. We were traveling to Europe this time, doing a big tour in Spain and the surrounding areas. I had a lot of loyal fans over there. I invited two of my close friends, Robyn and Ashley to come with me. Robyn was also known as “Rihanna”, a international pop star who was a handful, but I loved her. She was like a long lost twin sister to me, we understood each other. Ashley was better known as Alice Cullen from the classic vampire crazed Twilight movies. Ironic, right? Yeah. Those two were some of my closest showbiz pals. It seemed as though all my friends from before my success just assumed I was different, when I wasn’t. They did some shady things behind my back, and it was Robyn and Ashley who let me know that things like that happened in Hollywood. It was normal.
“Joe’s upset I’m leaving.” Ashley rolled her eyes as her fingers went a mile a minute, texting on her cell phone.
“Tell Joe to suck it up. You two hang out anymore and he’ll he halfway up your ass.” Robyn shot, glossing her claw-like chocolate brown fingernails and checking them out for any mishaps. Joe Jonas was Ashley’s beau of many years now. He was a rockstar I guess…in the Disney Channel world? But who was I to judge?
“Bite me Rhi.” Ashley flipped her off. Robyn laughed. I sipped my Red Bull, eyeing the loading that was taking place.
“Rox, babe, you gotta relax honey. Europe is a place of relaxation and romance.” Robyn called out as she watched me pace.
“I know, I’m just excited I guess…the last time I was in Europe was….well, I don’t know.” I shrugged, shaking off the memories.
“Sweetie.” Ashley cooed, coming over and wrapping her arms around me. “You know you haven’t opened yourself up to anyone in a while…this will be good for you.”
“In fact, I’ve got something for you when we hit our first stop.” Robyn smirked. That made me feel uneasy, Robyn’s surprises could really “surprise” you.
“Oh God.” I moaned, “Just tell me, please?”
“Nope. You’ll just have to see.” She said, standing up and switching her way past Ashley and I.
Our first stop? London.
I had been to London before, of course. I was fairly familiar with this part of Europe to an extent. It was nice out because it was summer. The sun shining, a pleasant temperature, and plenty of people milling about. I had a show tonight at a big venue, The Moonlit Fessare. Right when our jet landed, we were rushed to the hotel and I was rushed into hair and makeup. For my concerts, I was often in this part for hours at a time.
Robyn went shopping on Bond Street…a high-class London shopping district. Ashley, on the other hand, decided to keep me company as cosmetic artists and stylist went back and forth in the hotel room, gathering things for that evening.
“So when are you and Joe planning the wedding for?” I asked, taking my seat in front of the mirror. Someone came over and placed a crystallized headpiece upon my head, adjusting it a bit before carefully taking it back off.
“We haven’t decided on a date yet! It’s driving me crazy, we’re trying to go by seasons…but both our schedules are so unpredictable right now that planning something would throw everything out of wack.” She shrugged, crossing her legs and adjusting her cute black skirt so her goodies wouldn’t show. Always a lady, that Ashley.
“Your driving me crazy, I want to get into my bridesmaid gown already!” I said excitedly. The makeup artist came over and wiped my face down with a makeup cleansing towelette and applied the base, beginning to work on my foundation.
“I know, I know. But we’ve been planning a lot, we’ve hired a wedding planner for right now to get the details worked out. The theme…which I haven’t told anyone, so keep this hush hush…the theme is Asian.”
“You thief-y bitch!” I exclaimed jokingly. I had always bragged about how I wanted an Asian wedding someday.
“No no! Not like yours!” She defended herself immediately. “I want gold and black tones, with details of red. I want it to be mainly Japanese inspired. I’m not stealin your shine babe.”
My face was tilted upwards as hands applied all kinds of shadows and blushes and lashes to my face. “Better not. I’ve still got a wedding to have someday.”
“Let’s find you a husband first.”
“More like a boyfriend first.” I rolled my eyes, even though the words stung. “I haven’t dated in so long, I don’t even remember what to do anymore.”
“Nobody dates you loser. You just find someone your attracted to and start acting all relationship-y with them. Then he buys you a gift and boom…your boyfriend girlfriend. Get with the new age.” Ashley waved her hand as she spoke dramatically. I loved that about her, how perky and energetic she was. She definitely always kept me smiling.
“Well excuse me for being old-school, damn.” I pursed my lips as instructed by the artist, who painted my favorite red onto them.
“When we go to Italy, you’ve got to have an affair. It’s like…required.” She added quickly, raising her eyebrows for effect.
“An affair with a rich, Italian man! He’ll whisper sweet, italian nothings into my ear.” I giggled. “Sounds like a cheetah girls movie.”
“Actually that was in Barcelona! Which reminds me, you’ve got to have an affair there too!” Ashley’s voice got high-pitched as she got even more excited at the idea of me having an affair.
“I’m not whoring myself around for the sake of your romantic novel fantasies Ash.” I said, shaking my head. A hairstylist began work on my short hair, combing it out while snipping off split ends.
“Oh don’t be such a wet blanket Rox, you deserve a man. You deserve…” She grew quiet, “Another chance.” She finally added. I didn’t say anything, I just blinked a few times, staring myself down in the mirror.
“No need to kill the mood. What happened, happened.” I tried to change the subject cheerfully.
“You still think about him?” Ashley squeaked. I could tell she didn’t want to ask, but she had been wondering for a long time. She instantly drew back, feeling she had crossed the line. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s ok.” I sighed, readjusting myself in the seat. I never took my eyes off of my reflection. “I do think about him sometimes. I loved him, you can never truly forget someone you loved. But I know he’s dead.” I said the last fact very sharply. “I know he’s gone forever. So…I deal, it’s the only thing I can do. Deal.“
“Oh…” She said quietly. “You excited for tonight?” Immediately, she had switched back to her original self…much to my appreciation.
“Absolutely wired.” I grinned, running my tongue across the front of my teeth with a trouble-making grin.
After I was finished in hair and makeup, they prepared me by fitting me into my first costume for one of the first songs I came out with, “Till The Stars Fall Down”. It consisted of a Bollywood-esque ensemble, complete with jingles nearly everywhere, and an elaborate diamond headdress. Hurriedly, I was rushed backstage at the venue, where they attached my microphone to the side of my face, and they tested it. I could hear the audience buzzing with what sounded like thousands of people. My adrenaline was pumping big-time, as I crouched down on the mini platform that raised out of the stage. I had done a soundcheck earlier, so I was pretty familiar with how things went. A technician backstage began holding up a countdown to me, I said a small prayer for God to protect me and allow me to do the best performance I can, and soon the lights cut off and I heard the chorus of singers begin the introduction to my song. The platform began to rise, and I was filled with the excitement of thousands of screaming fans. This is what I lived for…performing. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Hours later, I performed my final closing piece and I left the stage, feeling powerful…like I could do just about anything. I went to my dressing room and began peeling my extravagant costume off carefully, with the assistance of a few stylists who got the bigger pieces off of me. After they left, I changed into a pair of skinny jeans and a cropped top with a picture of the eiffel tower on it. There was a soft knock at my door and Robyn came in, grinning.
“You did great love.” She came over and gave me a hug.
“Thanks, but one of my dancers fucked up in I Don't Need You. I wanted to turn around and whack him across the head.” I shook my head in disgust as I finger-combed my short hair, trying to get the glitter out of it.
“Nobody noticed that and you know it. Accept a compliment every once in a while, sheesh.” Robyn helped dust the glitter off my shoulders after it fell out of my hair. “Someone’s here to see you.”
“I wasn’t gonna do a meet-and-greet until tomorrow’s show Rhi…who?” I said. She bit her lip and hurried out of the room. I turned around, confused, when the door opened and in walked Rupert.
My heart jumped into my throat as he gave me a sheepish grin, signature to his “awkwardness” that made him appeal to me to begin with. Rupert was taller than me, and he had shaggy orange-red hair. He had the most piercing teal eyes, and his skin was pale as hell, but he was British….did you expect a guido?
“Hey.” He said, his voice deep.
I opened my mouth and closed it again. I didn’t know what to say, and I probably looked like an idiot.
“Uh…you did good out there. I always did fancy your sets. I could tell you came up with the ideas.” He continued, feeling the awkwardness in the room more than me, I was sure of it. I loved his accent. It was thick, to where you couldn’t barely understand him if he mumbled…which he did quite often.
“Yeah.” I finally spoke, “I do.” I picked up my wristlet, “I didn’t know you were gonna…you know…be here.” I said, stumbling over my words.
He shrugged, “Here I am.” He said with a chuckle.
I sighed, “Rupe, it’s not like I’m not happy to see you. I am, really. It’s just been so long, and I wasn’t expecting this.” I finally came out with it. I knew it was no good whenever Robyn had a surprise for me. Rupert lived in London, I should’ve known she was gonna pull some shit like this. Ashley was probably in on it too.
“Right. I should probably get going then. Sorry about that–”
“Wait.” I stopped him, grabbing his arm. “Don’t go.”
He slowly turned around to me, studying my expression. I continued, “I’m here in London for three days…and I’ve missed you.” Did I really? Or was I truly missing Bruno?
“Can’t pick up a phone anymore, can you?” He asked. I could tell he was bitter. I couldn’t blame him…things didn’t pan out well between us. He was in the middle of touring for his Harry Potter promotional shit, and I was getting ready to debut back in America…so already we had the long-distance issues…and then I met Bruno and things faltered between us even more until the tabloids finally did us in.
“And say what?” I looked him in his eyes, “I’m sorry I left you? No. That’s stupid Rupert and you know it.” I slowly let go of his arm.
“I just…” I looked down at the floor, “Things have been hard on me lately, and I need someone, and I really think that someone is you.”
He lifted my chin and gave me a half-smile, “I’ve been wanting to hear that for nearly four years now.”
I leaned forward, as did he…our lips moments apart from each other, when I suddenly grew nervous. I turned my head away a little bit, exhaling. He moved closer and touched his lips to mine, and I returned it, softly, before pulling away.
“Too soon.” I breathed, my oxygen taken away by the moment.
“I’ll wait as long as it takes. I still love you.” He caressed my cheek gently, before he retreated from our kiss.
“I love you too.” I said, taking his hand in my own. I felt a newness with him, like it was something fresh….something I could do to redeem myself…but it was electric jolts and not fireworks that I felt between us. I was used to fireworks with someone else. For a moment…that crossed my mind, but I released it as quick as it came as we left my dressing room, together.