This was all my fault. I had let Emmy kiss me, I had led her on by not telling her about Lucy soon enough. And now I had possibly lost the only person I could truly say that I had loved.
I went to find Lucy awhile later after she had ran off, I had to go back and set things right with Emmy and possibly let Lucy cool off a bit.
Emmy was still in my hotel room with her arms crossed and an annoyed look on her face, “What just happened?”
I sighed and ran a hand through my hair, “Look Emmy…What I was trying to say before, well-before…Lucy is my girlfriend”
Emmy’s jaw dropped, “Your girlfriend?” She shook her head when I nodded in return, “Wow. I thought-” She laughed to herself, “I actually thought you were singing for me! But it was her all along!” she accused. I stood there feeling ashamed.
“What happened Gerry? Before I left you said that you loved me!” she demanded, standing up.
I ran an aggravated hand through my hair and shook my head, “Emmy I was not expecting this to happen. What do you want me to say? I cannot control who I love…”
“Love? You love her?” She scoffed.
“Yes! I love her! I do! I…” I paused, what if I had just lost her? I had to find her! “I have to go…”
Without a second thought I hurried out of the room, ignoring Emmy as she called after me, sounding like a spoilt child who had not gotten her way. I shook my head, what had I ever seen in her?
I caught the elevator down to Lucy’s floor. It seemed to move even slower than usual, as if it took pleasure in my agony, my stomach fluttered as I watched the numbers tick by slowly. Once the doors opened I hurried out and knocked on her door.
“Lucy?” I knocked again, “Lucy?” I remembered the key card she gave me and pulled it out slipping it through knowing that she would never let me in willingly.
“Lucy?” I hurried in to find the room completely empty.
Panic gripped me as I ran into her bedroom to see it perfectly straight and to my despair-empty. Her luggage and belongings were gone!
“No! No, no, no!” I pulled out my phone and dialled her number over and over again, always getting the dial tone, “Shit!”
I ran down to hallway and caught the elevator just before the doors closed to the lobby. She couldn’t be gone! It had only been an hour… but if she had hired the hotel staff to help her, she could easily have been gone in forty-five minutes.
Completely frantic I ran right up to the counter as soon as the elevator doors opened, “Lucy Burns, where is she!”
The man at the counter seemed startled for a moment before he shook his head, “Sir she checked out nearly ten minutes ago”
“Where is she going!” I demanded.
“I…I don’t know-” said the boy at the counter, leaning away from me slightly, seeming scared.
I gripped the counter in frustration! How was I to find her? I couldn’t’ let her leave! I nearly screamed in frustration… Andrew! I had to find Andrew. If anyone knew, he would.
I hurried to the studio where I knew he would be. Normally I would have been nervous to confront him but not when it concerned the woman I loved. Yes loved. I knew that now more than ever.
I found Andrew looking over a score at his desk, a phone to his ear, “No, no, I want Seirra for something else” he said, he looked up slightly when I ran in, seeming almost bored.
“Where is she?” I demanded, “Where’s Lucy!”
Andrew sighed, “hang on Cameron I’ll call you back” he said calmly, taking his time to hanging up the phone, folding his hands and sitting back in his chair as I huffed in front of him.
“Let me make this extremely clear Gerard” his tone sounded far to menacing for a man on his age as he stared at me with a somewhat pensive expression, “From the beginning I knew that you would end up breaking her heart” he paused for a moment as if daring me to interrupt him, even in my aggravated stated I didn’t. I couldn’t.
“I warned her and tried to protect her and yet no matter what I did I knew she would lose herself. I knew it was a lost cause once she surrendered to you!” He shook his head, looking down for a moment he seemed upset and tired.
“Please” I said quietly, the weakness in my voice startled me, “tell me where she is” I pleaded.
Andrew snapped his eye up, fixing me with such a glare with his steely gaze that I could feel the anger radiating off him, “She is gone now. No thanks to you” he said harshly, “And I will not tell you where she is”
I was about to protest but I knew he wouldn’t budge. But perhaps, I could make him understand. If he knew the truth, perhaps he could tell Lucy.
“I love her Andrew” I said quietly, though he looked as though I had insulted him as he turned back to the score in front of him, “Emmy kissed me not the other way around” I pleaded, he did not look up, “I know you hate me-I am quite aware of that but that doesn’t change how I feel about her”
Andrew shook his head, “If I had my way, you wouldn’t be in this film and I’d make sure you’d never work in this town again” he said before he looked up, “But I can make sure you never go near Lucy again”
I felt as if I had been struck. He could take my career, banish me from Hollywood, I wouldn’t care, as long as I had Lucy. But now that she was gone and promised to be kept away, I felt as if a part of me had been ripped out. One of my ribs perhaps, close to my heart.
“Your confession doesn’t change a thing” he said harshly, “Now leave my office”
I glared at him, angry beyond belief at not only him, but myself, before I left and stormed out of the building and began walking the boardwalk of Coney Island without ever making the conscious decision. I felt aimless. Lost.
As soon as I reached the end of the dock I gripping the railing in an attempt to hold myself up, but the hurt in my chest was too much, the pain felt as if it would crush me. I sunk to my knees and let the grief engulf me entirely.
I had lost her. The best thing in my life. The one girl who I had ever loved and I had no idea how to get her back.
I didn’t know a lot of things. I didn’t know when Emmy had gotten back. I didn’t know when she and Gerard had gotten back together. I didn’t know if Gerard had been planning this from the beginning, or made it up once he knew I felt something for him. I didn’t even know how I left Andrew’s hotel room.
All I knew was that I had to go. I couldn’t stay in Coney anymore, not even the country! There were too many reminders here. Too much of…him. And I needed to feel safe. I needed to be in a place where he wasn’t. I had to leave.
My heart was in a thousand pieces and I was not sure if it would ever be repaired. Right then it didn’t seem possible. Andrew had organized everything while I sat sobbing. He called the airport first and ordered me a flight, then a car to the airport, then he ordered half a dozen maids and bellhops to pack up all my stuff.
I wasn’t sure how I got back down to my room, Andrew must have taken me. As I watched them all flutter around my room, I felt slightly guilty that I hadn’t cleaned up before they came. How strange…
After that Andrew and I said goodbye quickly, knowing I would see him soon enough as he had insisted I spend Christmas with him. I got in the car to LaGuardia and got on the quickest flight to home. Australia.
I didn’t cry on the flight. I went into an oddly…catatonic state. I kept replaying everything over in my mind. Trying to find some warning that Gerard would do this to me. Some sign or clue… but there was none! All I remembered was a blissfully happy relationship… All of which had been a lie.
And it was that thought which kept me up; long after many others had turned off their lights. Eventually though, I fell asleep out of pure exhaustion.
When I landed at Melbourne Airport I expected to simply grab my bags and grab a bus home. But as I went to the luggage carousel I saw Anna. The tears threatened to come the moment we embraced but I held them back. I had missed my friends terribly.
“Andrew called me” she said as she stroked my hair, the two of us hugging for so long, we were beginning to draw attention.
I barely remembered grabbing my bags making our way to her car; I was so lost in my emotional turmoil. On one hand I was feeling numb, cold. Unable to react. But on the other hand, I was feeling everything, all of the pain twisting inside me…
Eventually we made it home to the sea-side house Andrew had brought whilst here in Australia. If anyone asked, I said the house was his. But in truth, I knew it was mine. I knew he brought it for me. Once he had left Australia, finishing what he needed to for Love Never Dies, he had insisted that I move it.
And I did. The House was modern and had far too many bedrooms and bathrooms, but it was mine.
Anna and I headed upstairs to my bedroom. I dumped my bags on the floor and stood looking around the slightly unfamiliar room. It was still mine. All my pictures, papers, belongings were still here… but it felt like it belonged to a different girl. A girl that wasn’t me anymore.
“Are you alright?” asked Anna, seeming concerned.
I nodded unable to speak quite yet.
“I’ll go make some coffee” she supplied turning on her heel she headed back downstairs.
I heard the kettle flick on and my cupboards open, but I was still unable to move. Why did this room feel so foreign? Why did I feel so different? Did I look different?
Suddenly concerned, I rushed to the bathroom, snapping the light on as I did; I looked in the mirror frantically. The girl in front of me was the same.
She had green eyes and slightly pale skin. Her hair was messy and there were bags under her eyes as if she hadn’t slept. The rims of her eyes were red and so was her nose. It was still me… yet there was something different. Something…lost.
Something I knew I wouldn’t get back.
Had my life been ruined thus forth? Would I always look at my face now and see betrayal? Hurt? How could I live my life and not ever look in a mirror? Would I spend my days dodging any reflective surface? Would that fear always be there in the back of my mind?
With that realization, I felt as if all the air had been squeezed out of me as and no matter how hard I tried, I could not breath in. My knees buckled and I fell to the floor. Pressing my back to the bathtub and hugging my knees to my chest.
I felt as if my entire chest was a giant blender. All of my emotions, pain, betrayal, loss, sadness and despair all mixing together to cause me to feel nauseous with turmoil.
Time passed. I wasn’t sure how long I sat there when I heard someone knock at the door. I assumed Anna answered it as I could hear hushed voices talking indiscreetly. It was only when I heard the creak of the stairs that I could make out what they were saying.
“She said anything?” asked a deep voice.
“No. She’s pretty shaken up though” said Anna.
There was another loud creak and I looked up to see Ben as well as Anna standing in the doorway of my bathroom.
“Hey Luce” he said quietly, offering me a sad smile.
I couldn’t smile back.
Anna came and sat next to me, wrapping a comforting arm around me, I rested my head against her shoulder. It felt nice to have someone to lean on. Both physically and mentally.
Ben bent down and sat on the floor in front of me. Reaching out, he gripped my hands, staring at me with large brown eyes filled with concern that seemed to stare into me, not just at me.
“What happened?” he asked.
Staring at the floor. I told them everything.
About Patrick, his wife. How I had slowly began to feel for Gerard. Trust him. Love him. How I had broken all the ice around my heart and let him in…
In a way it was refreshing, being able to let loose and talk about the pain that clenched at my heart. Anna stroked my hair in a motherly way and Ben simply listened, never letting my hands go. As I finished the story, he gripped my hands tighter, going ghostly white, his jaw clenching. Anna too, seemed to hold me tighter, though I couldn’t see her.
“You know what hurts the most?” I said eventually after what felt like a long silence, I didn’t give them time to answer, “It’s not fact that I loved him, I mean that hurts but” I stopped short as a lump formed in my throat and my chest heaved, making my eyes sting, “it’s the fact that I trusted him” my voice broke, choked with tears, “I trusted him with everything”
Most people when they broke up with someone, hurt because they had been in-love. I hurt because of that too, but I so seldom trusted. I never let anyone into my life or know my story. But I had trusted him- and he had betrayed that trust.
“How stupid is that?” I asked as large tears fell down my cheeks and I started to feel giddy, “isn’t that just stupid?”
I tried to breath, but I couldn’t as the tears fell. My chest seemed to open up as the pain consumed me.
Anna hugged me close for a moment before Ben placed his arm under my knees, another one behind my back and lifted me off the bathroom floor. A large sob racked through my chest as I continued to cry.
I wasn’t sure how, but somehow, Ben had laid me down on the bed before hugging me to his chest, pressing a quick kiss to my forehead as I continued to cry, clutching his shirt, my tears staining it.
Anna joined us, stroking my hair, she hugged me from behind.
I wasn’t sure how long we stayed like that. I felt better with them there, like I was remotely human and capable of feeling something other than pain.
After my tears had stopped, Ben stayed with me for a while before he suddenly got up, pressing his lips to my forehead again, I looked up at him sleepily, reaching out and grabbing his hand to stop him, “Where are you going?” I asked, feeling suddenly scared that he would leave.
I was exhausted from crying but I needed him. And Anna. They seemed like the only people I could trust anymore.
“Just going down-stairs, I’ll be right here if you need me” he promised.
Satisfied I let him leave, shifting slightly, I stared up at the ceiling, leaning my head against Anna’s chest now as she held me and stroked my hair.
“I wish I was a rock” I said suddenly after the two of us had been laying in silence for what felt like a long time.
“Why?” she asked shifting so she could stare at me and I her.
“That way I wouldn’t have to feel anything. I’m feeling so much right now, I can’t really react to any of it. There’s just so much…pain” I explained, wincing as I said the last word.
Anna’s face softened for a moment before she reached forward and placed a comforting hand on my cheek, “You’ll be ok” she promised.
In many ways Anna had been the older sister I always wanted. And Ben, the older Brother I needed. I loved and trusted both of them beyond any doubt and now, here in my time of need, they were here. Making me appreciate them all the more.
“What will happen before then?” I asked quietly.
She sighed, “You’ll feel sad for a while, pain. Then you won’t feel anything at all. Then, you’ll start to get angry and that will give you a drive to keep going, to recover. And eventually you will”
How would I recover from this? I had given him everything! I knew one thing, I would never forgive him. For as long as I lived.
But that wasn’t what troubled me. What kept me awake, when my body so clearly cried out for sleep.
A while later, Ben came up stairs, “Luce?” he asked quietly, Anna jumped awake, seeming startled, I wasn’t sure when she had fallen asleep, only that I was still awake.
“You need to come down stairs, there’s someone here to see you” he said.
I shook my head. I didn’t want to see anyone. But I also wasn’t dressed for company. I was wearing track-pants and a thread-bare singlet. My hair was a mess. I was a mess.
“I really think you need to come down stairs” said Ben simply, a somewhat mischievous smile crossing his face.
Frowning at what he could possibly mean, I sighed as my curiosity got the better of me and I got out of bed. My legs felt like they were made of led, my throat was sore, my head was groggy and my hair felt disgusting as I walked down stairs, Ben and Anna following close behind.
Sighing as I rounded the corner, coming to the last flight of stairs I looked up. I barely had time to register that there was at least twenty different people in my lounge-room when I heard a chorus of, “SURPRISE!”
I stood, frozen on the stairs as I stared at all my friends from the Australian production of Love Never Dies. I turned to Ben, wanting an explanation, “I called them” he smiled, “I thought you could use some friends”
For the first time, in what felt like far too long, I smiled. He was absolutely right. Descending the stairs, I was engulfed into a crowd of friends, all of which played a somewhat family role in my life.
Sharon Millerchip- My Surrogate Mother.
Maria Mercedes- The Cool Aunt.
Simon Gleeson- The Older Uncle who is not Cool but thinks he is.
Paul Tabone- The Over-the-Top Cousin.
Dean Vince- The Cool Uncle.
Emma Hawkins- The Cool Cousin, yet doesn’t realize it.
As well as all of the chorus members. And Ben’s Girlfriend, I recognized her from the Orchestra.
Each one of them hugged me for at least five minutes each. And with each hug, I felt a little better. A little more like myself.
Soon drinks were poured, music was playing, the twister mat was brought out. But what really made me smile was when my Christmas Tree and decorations were brought out- in the midst of everything I had forgotten it was Christmas. Twenty different people all trying to decorate one tree was interesting to say the least.
“No, you can’t put baby Jesus next to a Reindeer!” complained Paul, “What’s that saying?”
“It’s saying there’s an empty spot on the tree and it needs filling!” said Sharon pointedly, snatching the ornament off him.
“When in doubt, more tinsel!” called Anna throwing a bunch of tinsel onto the tree.
“I’ll drink to that” called Maria as she poured herself a glass of wine, on her head was a tinsel halo.
But the smile that spread on my face was as Ben and Dean lifted me up to place the star on the top of the tree was one filled with hope and, even if it was just for a little while, I forgot about my troubles.
I knew then and there that I would survive this. Surrounded by my friends and being with Andrew and his Family over Christmas? How could I not survive? These people who really love me, who I trusted, would pull me through.
The only thing that worried me was how much of me would survive? And would I ever be able to regain what I had lost? What was I supposed to do if I didn’t?
“Lucy! Come do a tequila shot with me!” called Simon as he lifted Emma up onto my kitchen counter, Maria was by his side, pouring liquor into a line of shot glasses.
I smiled, there was always that. Stepping over the human pretzels that were Paul, Dean, Ben and Sharon attempting to play twister I enjoyed my time with my heads.
But the hurt was always there- far away, almost forgotten. But it was still there as the ice began to form around my heart again. Protecting me from trusting, or loving ever again.