“I love you both so much” I told my boys sincerely as I hugged them tightly.
It was the last time I would them for a few months and I was having a difficult time letting them go but I had a flight to catch. I kissed them each on the head, looking up to see Renee with her arms crossed and her usual look of disappointment.
“Goodbye Renee” I said formally, all traces of familiarity and love had disappeared between us.
It was odd, saying goodbye. It was awful, I couldn’t lie but it almost felt as though years had passed between my arrival and my departure.
She nodded and spoke softly, “Goodbye Patrick”
I sighed, picking up my bag and looking back at my boys one last time before heading to catch my plane.
A weight sunk onto my chest as I went through security, I did not want to leave my sons. They were my only source of happiness at the moment and I had to leave them behind with my now ex-wife and her damned boyfriend.
I hated her for ruining our marriage-ruining our sons lives and I wanted to blame her for everything! I wanted to but I could not. I played a major role in this…
We had filed for divorced yesterday. We spent the last few weeks settling all of the legal matters and deciding on living arrangements. It would be hard to see my boys but I would try as much as I could with this job. I only hoped that they would not grow to see Renee’s ‘man‘ as their father.
The plane ride was uneventful. I wanted to sleep but I seemed to be in this constant daze somewhere between consciousness and sleep.
I had not spoken to any of my co-actors in the weeks passed. I wondered what had happened in my absence. I wondered if Emmy was back or if Lucy had missed me.
Lucy. How anxious I was to see her! To hear that splendid voice of hers, to gaze upon her beautiful green eyes, to hold her in my arms and press my lips to hers. I had missed her more than I cared to admit.
I planned to visit her the moment I arrived back at the hotel. Now, we were free to start a relationship. She could feel safe in the knowledge she was not a home-wrecker and I didn’t have to feel guilty about my life.
I landed in LaGuardia and caught a taxi down to Coney. It was a long drive and my excitement abated as I nearly fell asleep as we pulled up to the hotel. I paid the driver and quickly made it up to my hotel room.
The emotional turmoil and jet-lag had finally caught up with me and I knew seeing Lucy would have to wait until tomorrow. So I sent her a text just before my head hit the pillow and I fell fast asleep.
“I don’t want you to go” said Gerard firmly as I continued to flit about the apartment grabbing notes.
“It’s just a recording” I said simply as I gathered the last papers that had somehow escaped from my songbook, “It’s not like we’re going to start making-out on the piano” turning to look at him, I fixed him with a sceptical stare.
Patrick was back in New York and I had to record ‘Dear Old Friends’ with he, Miranda and Jennifer. Something Gerard was not happy about.
“Why didn’t you tell him we were dating?” he demanded.
“I haven’t spoken to him other than the text I got last night” I defended, shifting my book in my arms.
“Let me tell him” he said, standing abruptly, “Where’s my phone?” he asked absently as he began searching.
Rolling my eyes I placed the book down of the piano and went to him, snatching the phone from the coffee table before he could grab it.
He glared at me, but I held my ground.
“Gerard” I said sternly, “I am going to tell him when the time is right. And that time is not over the phone when he has just broken up with his wife!” a small note of disgust crept into my voice at the thought of revealing something like that over text.
He sighed in aggravation through his nose, continuing to glare down at me, “But you’re going to tell him?” he asked uncertainly.
“Yes” I sighed.
If that was his only concern he needn’t worry. Placing a hand on his chest lightly, I reached up and kissed him lightly, which I could feel worked to sooth him immediately.
Smiling I broke away, turning on my heel I went back to the piano and grabbed the songbook before turning back to him, “I’ll be back around six” I said simply, “I want the popcorn waiting” I warned.
Every Wednesday night Gerard and I would watch a movie together. Starting the tradition from our third date together. We also had the tradition of going for a ride on the motorcycle up the coast every weekend.
The two of us could talk for hours on end. And it was through the talking that I was able to open up to him. I told him more about my life than I had ever told anyone. Except Andrew.
Even though I had known Andrew for years, I felt as if I had known Gerard for so much longer. I began to trust in him more than I thought I ever could.
So far, Gerard and I had been dating for six weeks and they had been six weeks of pure bliss! I couldn’t actually remember ever being this happy.
You’d think it would get tiring, being so full of joy all the time. But it was amazing!
I walked with a bounce in my step that was unintentional, but impossible to stop.
When I walked into the recording studio the high that I had been experiencing immediately dropped as soon as I saw Patrick behind the microphone singing.
“Why does she love me…”
The way Patrick sung with such heart-ache, such passion. I admired that greatly. But the thought of what I had to say to him, that would certainly hurt him, made me feel so very guilty.
Looking away I turned to see Jennifer and Miranda on the couch, “Hey Lucy” said Jennifer happily.
I waved silently before I sat down. Everyone here knew I could speak and sing, we were in a recording studio after all, but I still felt uncomfortable around the majority of them and didn’t speak unless I had to.
“Alright let’s do ‘Dear Old Friends’ now” called Stan.
Miranda and Jennifer headed into the recording booth, I reluctantly followed behind. The two of them immediately went to Patrick and congratulated him on the song. I immediately went to my microphone and busied myself with putting the headphones on.
I could tell Patrick was trying to catch my eye, but I deliberately kept my gaze downcast as I put on the headphones and waited for us to begin.
“Alright, go for it Jen” called Stan.
Catching my eye, I smiled at Jennifer before she began.
“Look at you Christine! Regal as a queen and beautiful” she sung.
I couldn’t help but smile at the faces Jennifer pulled. She obviously sensed my tension and was trying to ease it.
It worked somewhat, “Look at you as well! Meg, I could hardly tell it was you!” I sung, letting the last note sound out, my vibrato worked to cover my uneasiness.
“My dear old friend, can’t believe you’re here old friend” we sung together.
“After all this time” I sung.
“Christine you came. You look sublime”
“You look the same”
“My sweet old friend, never thought we’d meet again” we sung together.
All in all the recording went well. We only stopped a few times and it was not long enough for Patrick to come near me. If he even glanced my way, I turned to Jennifer.
I wasn’t going to have this conversation in a recording booth. Not where others could hear.
Soon we were free to leave. I had chosen the microphone closest to the door for a reason, as soon as Stan said “We Got It”
I was out of that room.
What I was doing was beyond cowardly. It was down-right weak. One look at Patrick and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t hurt him like that.
Going to the couch I grabbed my bag, leaving my music notes with Stan, I was out the door and walking down the hallway. I was almost at the door that lead to the street…almost able to delay what I had to do…almost home-free…
“Lucy” called Patrick.
Turning around with dread, I finally faced him.
“Hey” he said happily, smiling slightly, “Mind if I walk with you?” he asked.
I was truly a despicable human being. Putting my gaze to the floor I shook my head and pushed the door open and the two of us began walking.
“How have you been?”
“Fine” was my curt reply.
“That’s good” he said somewhat awkwardly.
The streets were practically deserted and we walked in silence for a moment. Each step made me feel nauseous. I felt physically sick as I contemplated what I was about to do.
“Look Lucy I-” he began.
It was now or never.
“No, Patrick listen” I said as I came to a stop in the middle of the pathway, he stopped somewhat abruptly and turned to look at me curiously.
His eyes were such a beautiful blue. So pensive as they stared at me. Could I not keep him this way a little longer?
‘Just do it’ I thought, ‘like a band-aid, rip it off!’ I sighed internally, if I did it quickly, apparently that was supposed to hurt less.
Closing my eyes, I let the words tumble out of my mouth uncontrollably, “I’m with someone else”
Opening my eyes, I stared at him.
He seemed not to believe me at first as a somewhat amused look came over his face. Then confusion… “What?”
God I felt terrible. There were knots in my stomach and a lump in my throat that refused to move, “I’m with Gerard” I said quietly, feeling so ashamed I could barely stand it.
“Gerard?” he demanded, anger crept into his voice.
This I had expected. The anger. I deserved it.
“I’m sorry” I said as tears stung at my voice, “I wanted to tell you” I all but pleaded as he looked away, seeming to deliberate whether or not to leave, but I grabbed onto his arm, he needed to hear this now because I would not say it again, “But I thought you might be able to work things out with your wife” I said in a swift panic, “And I didn’t want to ruin anything by calling”
He pulled his arm out of my grip as he turned away from me. He didn’t walk away, but placed his hands on his hips as he stared up at the sky.
I felt stung. But it was no little than I deserved.
“I’m sorry” I said as tears began to escape my eyes I looked at the ground again, “I never wanted to hurt you” I said quietly, hoping he would believe it.
Looking down at my hands, which I had rung into knots, my tears continue to fall. How long I stood there I don’t know, but eventually I felt a tender finger placed under my chin and tilt it up. There was Patrick staring down at me with unreadable eyes.
He was sad yes. But there was a sympathy and heart break as well.
“Do you love him?” he asked seriously.
I thought on that question for a moment. Determined to give him the best answer I could, “Yes” I admitted with some surprise.
Meeting Andrew, becoming his student, that had been a dream come true. But why relationship with Gerard? That was something so much more. I had never dared to dream anything as wild as that!
While I had always wanted what I had with Gerard to be more than a casual fling, I thought that I hadn’t allowed myself to love him because I was more careful than that. Apparently not because when faced with the question, I knew I had.
It had happened without me even realizing it!
Patrick sighed, “He doesn’t deserve you” he said seriously as his hand came away from under my chin, “But neither did I” and with that, he pulled me into a hug.
The way both he, Gerard and Andrew all seemed to hold me in such high esteem would forever baffle me.
Wrapping my arms around him, I tried to convey just how sorry I was as my tears continued to stain his shirt.
Once they stopped and I was able to think clearly, I broke away and wiped my eyes quickly, “Are you alright?” asked Patrick quietly.
That made me laugh. Here I was, breaking his heart and he was asking me if I was alright.
“Yeah” I sniffed and looked up at him; Patrick was such a great guy. I still wanted him in my life. We had been friends before all of this had started, I hoped we could go back to that, “I know I have no right to ask but, can we still be friends?” I asked quietly.
He sighed, seeming to struggle. I would understand if he never wanted to see me again. I wouldn’t want to see me again after this.
“With benefits?” he asked eventually with a lopsided smile.
“I may not be your boyfriend, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be in your life” he said simply.
I smiled in relief. It was so sweet it washed over me so strongly that I suddenly felt giddy. And before I could stop myself, I wrapped my arms around him and hugged him.
He laughed and placed a tender kiss on my forehead before he broke away, “What are you doing tonight?” he asked seriously.
I balked, “Um…watching a movie” I had plans with Gerard. He would not be happy if I cancelled them to be with Patrick, “with Gerard” I added.
“I’m coming” he said simply.
“Patrick I don’t think that’s a good-”
“Hey! I just broke up with my wife and girlfriend. I don’t want to be alone right now” he said seriously, I looked up at him suddenly worried, “I could be prone to suicide via bad television and donuts” he said with a smile.
I smiled as I linked my arm with his and together, as friends, we walked up to Gerard’s Hotel room.
The popcorn continued to pop in the microwave as I continued to pace around my hotel room.
The last few weeks with Lucy had been some of the best with my life. Being with her whenever I wanted, how I wanted was heavenly.
Andrew’s disapproving gaze didn’t matter to me. But I knew it mattered to Lucy, so I had been nothing but pleasant and had tried to prove, as much to him and myself, that I was good enough for Lucy.
And seemed now, that all my hard-work was beginning to pay off as my only rival was no longer a rival.
Lucy was all mine.
There was another two weeks of recording before we broke for the Christmas and New Year break before we all came back in early January to finish filming and re-dubbing the scenes.
Walking out onto the balcony I glanced down at the pool, remembering when Lucy and I had taken a midnight swim there…
I was so wrapped up in her all the time that the thought of parting from her for the Christmas break seemed more like a curse rather than a blessing.
Going over to my desk I glanced at the tickets I had brought for the two of us to go to Scotland for Christmas. Having no family, I didn’t think Lucy would have plans.
But I wanted her to meet my family and for them to meet her. I finally had a serious girlfriend that my Mother so wanted me to have and I was eager for her to become a part of my life in that way.
I was yet to tell her about them though. I had planned to tonight, after the movie.
Hearing a knock on the door I smiled. She was back. She had broken whatever delusion there could have been for a relationship between her and Patrick. She was all mine.
For some reason, that was such a huge relief, while she had assured me there was nothing between them, I knew there had been at one stage. But that knock assured me that my worries had been for naught.
But why was she knocking? I had given her a key-card to my room.
“Did you forget your keys?” I asked jokingly as I opened my door.
I felt as if I had been sucker punched when I saw who was behind it, “Emmy?” I choked.
“Hello Gerard” she said with a smile.