Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worse kind of suffering.
“Can you write ‘for my biggest fan ever’? Oh and my name, it’s Alice….”
“Sure.” Esmée smiled and did as requested, then posed for a few more Selfies with people until she managed to sneak away.
This was so ridiculous to her. She had been in one single movie, only had a few lines next to some chick magnet, who was a very insufferable jerk in real life to the point that Ezzy was done with acting forever already. Between that and the impossible producer, she had made up her mind. This was NOT for her.
“Can I get a Selfie with you too?” she heard from behind her back, rolled her eyes, but forced a smile as she responded as friendly as she could.
When she turned to the presumed fan, her smile gave way to a shocked face.
“I would have bet you’d say ‘You again’, but I’ll take my name. Hi Ezzy.”
“I told you, nobody calls me that anymore.” she told him impatiently.
“Well, I am nobody then. You will always be Ezzy to me.”
“You seem … fine. I mean, recovered. You seem like you have recovered fully.”
“There are still a few hitches, but yeah, I am pretty close to what I once was. Unlike you, Ez….”
“What do you want?” her tone changed to hostile after his apparent criticism.
“For starters, the promised Selfie with the big star.” he smirked.
“Good luck finding them.”
“Don’t play coy, Miss Acolades Nominee.”
“Luck of the draw. I am not going to win. I just happened to be in the right movie at the right time pleasing the right people. A nomination means nothing.” she shrugged.
“You won’t get nominated for an award for optimism, that’s for sure.”
“What do you want, Nick?”
“For starters, dinner with you. And that Selfie.”
“Dinner? I have a boyfriend.”
“That’s why I asked for dinner, not wild sex in my hotel room. Or is dinner you guys’ safe word?” he smirked again, angering Ezzy.
“You are … appalling.”
“So which restaurants do you recommend?”
“Ask your concierge. They know this type of thing. It’s their job.” her words were hostile again.
“I am asking a local. Although, you look like you forgot what food even looks like.”
“Did you come to Del Sol Valley to insult me?”
“Insult? Ez, look at you. You are so frigging skinny now that you have to hop around under the shower to even get wet. There is such a thing as too thin …” his words sounded like a joke, but his face remained dead serious.
“Why are you here?”
“We have more lawyers than sand on the beaches. This place invented suing. Why would we need a San Myshuno attorney?”
“Well, I am meeting with outside council. Some of your local businesses seem to think we need them in San Myshuno too. How are you doing? And what about that dinner now?”
“Ok, dinner. But if and when you get annoying, I am leaving!”
Same night, few hours later in Nick’s hotel room.
“OMG! What did we just do?!” Ezzy sounded panicked.
“Whatever you want to call it, I want to do it again, once I have recovered for another moment.”
“Nick, we are both in relationships! What the hell were we thinking?!”
“I still love you, Ezzy. I have told you that many times now.”
“Nick, you know this won’t work. We can’t….”
“Evidence would prove that we can. Exhibit A and B …” he pointed at their naked bodies, still intertwined.
“That was …. lust … we … I am going to take a shower.”
“I’ll join you.”
“No, you won’t!”….
The had round two in the shower.
This was the beginning of a very strange relationship between them. Nick pursued her, she declined him, but they would end up in his hotel together every time he came to Del Sol Valley. They would talk, have dinner, then end up in his hotel room for a special kind of ‘dessert’.
And he suddenly seemed to have a lot of business there.
One night, after their usual ‘dessert’ in bed together, he felt brave and asked her straight on.
“How come nobody has ever seen that ‘boyfriend’ you always talk of?”
“He is a very busy man.” she tried to deflect.
“Too busy for a Selfie with his girl? Literally takes two seconds.”
“We have photos. Lots and lots of photos.”
“I’d love to see one.”
“You want to see who we are cheating on?”
“It’s only cheating if it is real. We are real, you and I. Eventually you’ll quit being stubborn and admit that. I’ll wait.”
“Have you always been this arrogant?”
“It’s called confident. Yes, I have, when I know I am right. And I AM right.”
“Fine, I will show you a picture of him.”
She tapped around on her phone, then held it up to him.
“Ok, now I know I have nothing to worry about.”
“What is THAT supposed to mean?!”
“Means: no competition.” he roared out laughing.
“For one, he is not your type.”
“Oh, really, Dr. Phil? So what is my type? Let me guess: you?”
“I am sure your girlfriend would love to hear that.”
“There hasn’t been a girlfriend ever since a few weeks after the baby shower.”
“Do you actually sleep with that ragdoll in the pic or is he just your beard? Just asking because of the name tag of his uniform. Very busy bell hop or whatever he does. Nice try though Ez. A bit insulting if you really thought I’d buy that, but okay. So you are single after all.”
“That is none of your business!”
“Ezzy, I am famous for not giving up if I want something bad enough. We both have been through hell, and I cannot believe we are back to me chasing you and you playing hard to get, when you know very well we belong and fighting it is futile. But fine, I’ll play and act like I believe that Selfie is not some fan pic, but your so-called boyfriend, although even just calling him that that out loud for fun made several of my brain cells commit suicide.”
“Get it all out of your system, Ez. Yell at me, scream that pain out. It helped me. And it cleared the clouds from my mind and heart enough to make me see what I needed to do.”
“What is that? Track me down and drive me insane?”
“More bedroom flattery, Ez?”
“You are so full of yourself. I am getting showered – ALONE – and you won’t see me again! EVER!”
He watched her leave, but followed when he didn’t hear her lock the bathroom door.
And he saw her again.
This visit and the next.
And the following ones.
“You want to move here?”
“Unless you get un-stubborn and move back home, where you belong. With your family and me.”
“Oh my gawd, I cannot believe I am even listening to you!”
“Too much truth?”
“Could you at least act as if you were asking me to come back, instead of just being arrogant and presumptuous?”
“Ezzy, the next time I am asking you something serious, it will be on one knee. You sure you are ready for that yet?”
“What?! No! Don’t you dare! Are you crazy?”
“Ez, I am getting dizzy from all the pulling me close and pushing me away again. You really need to find a happy medium, girl.”
“I am not pushing you away. Or pulling you in. We are just … friends with benefits. Like thousand others. Nothing unusual. Modern times.”
“Sure Ez. I only hope you get that beautiful head out of your ass soon, or I will bring your grandma with me next time to set you straight.”
“Quit being so vulgar. And leave my family out of it.”
“They will be my family at some point too.”
“Oh, you are marrying Ethan? Does Amy know?”
“Funny girl. I will marry you, Ezzy. As soon as you let yourself realize it. I still find the chase amusing, seems to be kind of our brand since we were kids, but it is getting old quickly. I may just propose to you soon and not wait till I know you are ready. I am ready, ready for you to come home. This place is not the right place for someone like you.”
“Are you high?!”
“No Ezzy. I have never been clearer. I will marry you, we will be a family and you will say yes.”
“Because you found out that you possess secret hypnotic skills?”
“No, because I love you and you love me. We have broken up so many times now, we have been through so much, and yet, we always end up back together. Look at us now, here we are, together again. If that is not the most obvious sign, I don’t know what is.”
“It’s coincidence. And … lust.”
“Coincidence? Do I really have to state the obvious? We have no outside council in Del Sol Valley. I came here to find you. And lust? I am not gonna lie, yeah, there is a healthy dose of lust. But it is also love, more than anything. Your mouth keeps saying no, but the way you hug me and hold me and kiss me and …. other stuff, sings a very different tune.”
“Nick … every time we try, we both end up hurt …”
“No relationship is without ups and downs. You know the saying ‘you always hurt the ones you love’. We may be on the more extreme spectrum, but that changes nothing. It’s just who we are as people, more intense than others. And I have learned my lesson. I have made a will. Since you have been unavailable, I have made Ethan my heir and nominated him as guardian of my estate and person, should I ever not be able to make my own choices again. So if I get that noggin of mine busted in again and can do nothing but drool on myself, Ethan will be making my decisions, not my parents. Until you come back to me. My mother will not keep us apart again. The only thing doing that right now is you, Ez. I’ll say it again: you do not belong here. No offense, but you suck at acting. The only reason you received an award nomination is because you are an unusual kind of beautiful, and because got so used to lying to everyone, most of all yourself, about everything. You may fool people who do not know you, but those who do, who love and miss you all know you are hurting yourself. Your family misses you. I miss you.”
“Have you slept with anybody other that that … woman?”
“If I answer that, will you come back home with me? At least for a week?”
“I can’t I …. okay fine.”
“I probably will have my man card revoked, but I honestly never did. I told her I was still too injured for it and wasn’t allowed sex yet. As long as my credit card worked, she wasn’t too heartbroken about just being my arm candy. So how about your bell hop? Was I right?”
She smiled a small smile.
“No. You were wrong. He is a hotel valet, not a bell hop. But just a fan. No boyfriend.”
“Need help packing?”
“Nick … this may be too much too fast …”
“Esmée! Give me a million breaks!!!”
“I’ll come home for a week. Staying at mom and dad’s. Not your place. Just because I am overdue for a visit anyway. Is that clear?”
“Sure, whatever gets your ass back home, I’ll agree to it.”
“You really are insufferable. Have you always been like that?”
“Always. You always LOVED that about me.”
“Yeah, about as much as a wart on my butt.”
“Oh, there are no warts. I would know, I inspected you carefully. Many times.”
“Gawd you are gross. And vulgar!”
“Heard no complaints during my inspections. Or immediately after.”
“You are disgusting.”
“Are you packing yourself, or do you want me to?” he asked as they got up and headed for the elevators.
“You keep your paws away from my stuff! You go and find flights or something. And let everyone know we’re coming. I mean, that I am coming. And you are going back to your home.”
“Do you want to script that out for me or am I trusted around a telephone on my own?”