The course of true love never did run smooth.
“Hold your horses, goddamn it, I am in the can! I am coming, all right!?!” Blake yelled through his bathroom door at whomever kept trying to seemingly beat down his apartment door.
Whoever they were, they were relentless. Blake tried to play dead, hoping they’d go away if he didn’t react, but that plan failed. They must have heard his TV on. If this was one of those neighbors again about some random BS, Blake would have serious words with them, he mumbled angrily to himself while washing his hands.
The building his apartment was in wasn’t the best and not in the greatest of neighborhoods. If he traveled less and were home more, he would have probably moved by now. Something was always broken, neighbors were noisy or grumpy and always up in your business, which is why he wasn’t in too big a hurry to answer his door.
He was making decent money, but only spend what was absolutely necessary, no frivolous expenses, instead saving all he could so he could pay back his grandpa, father and uncle Nick for bailing him out of the old contract with the film studio. They may have moved on and forgotten, but Blake hadn’t. Once that was paid off, if he ever got there, he’d start saving for a house or at least a more decent place to live than this one.
Since he traveled a great deal and spend a lot of the time he was not on the road with his family, he really didn’t worry about this place too much.
Now he was undoing the deadbolt and opened the door
“So what the hell was so goddamn urgent to warrant ‘shittus interruptus’?! Better not be some tipped over trash can again. I am not a raccoon and I have no kids!” Blake blurted out.
Much to his surprise instead of an annoying neighbor he found a sobbing, very distressed looking young woman outside.
“Hailey?!” It was a question and an exclamation.
She turned towards him, but another bout of sobs stopped her. It was heart-wrenching to watch for Blake.
“Hailz?” he asked gently.
She swallowed hard, then turned to him.
“I am so very sorry, Blake.”
“What happened Hailey? You are worrying me!”
“I … I … it …. umm…” more sobs made it impossible for her to finish.
“Hailey, are you hurt? Injured? Did someone hurt you?” Blake had no idea what to do, but was careful not to overstep his boundaries.
“Can I come in? Please?” she sniffled.
“Of course!” Blake stepped aside and pulled her inside with him.
He could feel her entire body trembling and it was obvious that this wasn’t a show to obtain pity. This was real. This was a girl at the end of her rope. Blake instinctively knew to tread lightly and handle with great care.
Unsure what to do when she started sobbing hard again he just pulled her into his arms, pressing her tight against his chest, closing his eyes. He missed this. Despite of all.
She cried into his shoulder for a while, he didn’t interrupt her.
After some time she began to calm down, pulled away a little and looked at him.
“You were so right. About everything. I am a complete fool. An idiot. And so sorry for what I said to you …. and what I did … so, so sorry….” she sobbed and the rest was incoherent as she went into another bout of crying.
“Hey, no bad-mouthing my friends on my watch.” Blake said gently, making her crack the faintest hint of a smile through the curtain of tears as she followed his lead to the couch. They sat down before she asked
“We’re still friends then? I wasn’t sure, but didn’t know where else to go …” she looked up at him, hopeful.
“As far as I am concerned that never changed. OK, how about some coffee? Let’s get you settled down for a moment and then you’ll tell me what happened.” Blake sounded unusually mature and confident. Hailey just nodded gratefully.
Shortly after Blake returned with the promised coffee, handing it to her, she took it and after a big sip she sat the cup down on the coffee table, inhaled and began
“Tonight I was supposed to meet one of my friends for dinner and a movie, but she canceled last minute, so I went straight to Reed’s to surprise him and … and … he … wasn’t alone … a woman ….” Hailey sniffled hard.
“Hailz, can’t believe I am saying this, but maybe it was harmless. Maybe she’s his friend, you know, like you and me … ahem ..” Blake realized that his example was flawed …. and she was shaking her head.
“I saw them! And they were both naked!!! They were screwing, Blake, no doubt. And I don’t think that was the first time … it looked so ….. routine … I think she works with him … looked so familiar … she’s probably his secretary or something. Oh my gawd, I have become such a cliche!”
“Want to go over to his place and watch me beat his ass?” Blake offered.
“Blake .. he is more than a head taller than you …. and works out every other day …”
“Want to go over to his place and watch me getting my ass beaten?” Blake smiled.
Hailey stopped crying and burst into laughter.
When she calmed down she put her head against his shoulder, only for a moment, and told him.
“You really are one of a kind, Blake. Thank you for … this … and for not hating me. You don’t hate me, or do you? You’d have every reason to …”
“There is nothing you could do to make me hate you, Hailz. Not after all I have put you through in the beginning.”
“Umm, Blake….. there is more. I have to confess something to you that may change your mind. About hating me, I mean. Umm … not sure how to say this … okay, I am just going to be brutally blunt: you remember that pregnancy scare? Yeah, that was not as much of a surprise to me as it probably was to you.
That night of the wedding … when you were at my house and so drunk, but cute and … Blake-like … I purposely slept with you without using birth control.
But then when I didn’t get my period I got scared … and called you. If this really happened I wanted you to be with me when we found out. But then I got serious cold feet and was glad it was a false alarm. It would have been wrong, I knew that.
You are still on the road so much and I could not stop thinking about how it felt when you were in Del Sol Valley, so far away, I was alone so much, missing you. I cried so much for you and about you, and now it’s just the same all over … but … when I ended up in your bed again, here at your apartment, I did it again.
I so much wanted a child by you, a part of you that would be always with me. I lied to you about birth control so you wouldn’t worry, while fighting with my own guilty conscience.”
“Hailey …” Blake started but Hailey stopped him with one look.
“No, wait. I am not done. It gets worse.
That time it worked.
I really got pregnant.
When I found out, I panicked. You were on the road again, and I was not going to tell you over the phone. I kept thinking myself into more and more of a tizzy, but didn’t know what to do.
You know my parents. They are great, but very conservative. If I wound up pregnant without being married to the father, they would be very disappointed and angry, and no telling if they would even still talk to me ever again. Couldn’t tell Lyle, and most of my friends cannot keep a secret if their life depended on it.
I felt so alone.
Then there was that guy who had come into the real estate office a bunch of times, a client, he had asked me out several times. Reed. Next time he did I just agreed and things happened fast, I encouraged it and he bit.
Fast forward some months and countless pretty obvious hints by me, plus him mentioning a few times that he was tired of being the only one of his friends still without a family.
When he proposed I gladly jumped at it. I thought I’d just pass the baby off as his. Everyone would be satisfied. You didn’t want kids and would never know, my parents and Reed would be none the wiser, but I would know and I would have that piece of you always with me.
I wasn’t showing and hadn’t told anyone about the pregnancy, but then suddenly around week 9 or so – not long after you and I ran into each other by the grocery store – yes, I was carrying your baby then, when we argued about Reed, which was so very hard for me and the reason I was so mean to you, just couldn’t deal with you, but at the same time didn’t want you to leave.
Well, that night I had really bad cramps and started bleeding. Went to my gyn first thing the next morning and it was a miscarriage. My doctor said if you are under a lot of stress that can happen and man, I was stressed beyond belief.
Instead of relieved I was destroyed. Felt so alone and lost that one piece of you I thought I would have. When the initial shock and pain subsided, I realized there I was, engaged to a man I didn’t love. But I couldn’t just dump poor Reed.
So as horrid as it was to catch him in the act, the feeling of having been betrayed, I am almost relieved. I have a feeling the reason he cheated was because I withdrew from him so much. Not an excuse, maybe an explanation. At least that problem sort of solved itself …”
“Damn. Wow. Damn.” Blake was the next best thing to speechless.
“I am so very sorry to tell you this way, but if I didn’t say it fast I wouldn’t have had the heart to say it at all anymore. I am so sorry, Blake.”
“Uh … I don’t even know what to say …”
“There is nothing to say. And whatever you could say to me, I have already thought it, I am sure. Maybe I should go …” she got up, he followed suit.
“No, stay.” Blake held on to her hand gently.
Blake pulled her back, they faced each other, each reading in the other’s eyes, both processing the recent turn of events, when he suddenly smiled and said
“Hailz, there is one thing though: Your taste in men … really …”
“I know, right …? But their taste in girls isn’t much better.” she said.
“But those guys you pick, especially that first boyfriend of yours, he was the pits.” Blake joked about himself.
“He sings pretty and has a nice butt though.” Hailey continued his attempt to lighten the mood.
“I heard the entire guy is one big ass.” Blake winked.
Both laughed. This was their way of breaking the ice, eliminating the tension.
“He can be, sometimes, but most of the time he is pretty awesome. Umm, Blake?”
“I have been thinking a lot, and been wanting to tell you this for a long time now, but .. well .. my pride got in the way. You messed up really bad in the beginning, made a lot of bad choices, but I took that ‘horrible-choices’-staff and carried it proudly into the abyss with me. For that I am sorry, Blake. Really. I swear on my life that I never, ever meant to hurt you. I just didn’t want to hurt anymore. I know I am asking much, but is there any chance of redemption?”
“Uh, Hailz, I am also the village idiot. I have no clue what exactly you are saying, and really do not want to jump to conclusions. But whatever it is, no need to apologize. We both made pretty big mistakes. Way I see it, as long as we’re both okay …”
Hailey lunged forward and kissed him.
When she let go, her eyes were affixed to his.
“What I was saying was that I messed up. I got so mad at you for signing another contract, that I couldn’t really hear or see anything anymore, totally defying all rhyme and reason. You would have never had that opportunity, had I not suggested to your grandpa and dad to pool money with me to get you the voucher for the demo tape as your Christmas gift. I even went with you to the recording studio, stood there cheering you on, telling you how great you sounded, how proud I was. I mean, what else would you need a demo tape for than to try to make a career in music, duh? And when you did get the chance you have been wanting for like a decade now, instead of being happy for you and supportive, all I thought about was what I thought I wanted.
I guess I was so disappointed when I thought you’d propose and you didn’t, that I couldn’t think clearly. Hurt pride is vicious circle, Blake. I thought I’d date and find a nice guy who would give me what I wanted. But whomever I met, they all came up lacking. None of them compare to you. All had that fatal flaw of not being you.
I knew I still loved you, knew it all along and you loved me for so long and I just … squandered something to valuable, so fragile trying to attain some dumb goal, while being mad at you for doing the same.
She looked at him, waiting for a response, a reaction, when nothing came she asked
“Love, not loved. You said that I loved you. Wrong, I still do. Never stopped.”
“Oh my God, Blake, just when I think you cannot melt my heart any more than you already have, you go and do or say something to out-cute yourself!”
“Cute wasn’t really what I was going for, but I’ll take it. But I am still not the smartest, so I gotta ask. What exactly does this mean now? Is your engagement off?”
“Yes, of course! I actually threw the ring at him before I left there. Definitely do not feel so bad about sort of using him anymore. And sorry for just showing up. I didn’t want to go home or to my parents, knowing he’d show up there for sure. I’d have called but got angry and may have tossed my cell phone out the window of my car while driving to your place when Reed wouldn’t stop texting or calling …”
“Remind me to show you how to turn off cell phones ….”
“The joking again … in the worst possible moment.”
“Sorry. So what do you say if we raid my liquor cabinet, get trashed and see where the night takes us?”
“Are you seriously soliciting sex to someone who just broke an engagement after catching her fiancé cheating on her? Someone who just confessed to you that on two counts I tried to get pregnant by you without telling you?”
“Wasn’t our engagement you broke off, so who cares? And I was proposing getting drunk first … but open to suggestions. Also, I got a pack of condoms around here somewhere … Hailey, if you really would have ended up with a baby by me, I would have been just as much to blame for not insisting on a condom. The fact that I didn’t care should tell you that I was willing to gamble. Grandpa raised no fool, especially not if it comes to procreation. I keep telling you, I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but if it comes to avoiding unwanted pregnancies, I am top shelf.”
“You’re impossible and incredible at the same time. Raincheck. I’d rather just talk with you, if you wouldn’t mind, no alcohol and no nookie, but maybe you could hold me? If you really are still interested in ‘us’, maybe we could start over fresh, but slow, and do it right this time. You know, just date. No labels. Maybe a kiss … see how we can work around your travel schedule and build up from there if we find it’s something we both can live with? If you still want to, that is. Wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t.”
“You are killing me, Hailey! But I’m game. Maybe you can come to one of my concerts and see for yourself that it is nothing like things were as ‘Drake’. Not the women, not the drama but unfortunately not the luxury either. However, I get to make music, people want to hear it and I get paid.”
“Would you go out on a date with me tomorrow, Mr. Cameron?”
“HELL YEAH I would! Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? What time? Is there going to be another…. kiss in my future?”
“Gentleman’s choice. And you can have that kiss right now. Come here, you.”