This post is an immediate continuation of where the previous one left off.
After Blake’s call he got back into the passenger seat and told Hailey to drive to wherever she was taking him.
No surprise it was the woods. One of their favorite campgrounds, only few people even knew this location, it took quite a hike to get to.
They set up camp, made a fire, ate and then sat down to talk.
“You’re one crazy girl, Hailz.” Blake looked lovingly at her.
“Possibly.” she shrugged with a little smile.
“The good kind. And beautiful. So beautiful.”
“Are you hitting on me now? You really cannot stop being Drake anymore, can you?” she smiled, obviously just teasing.
“Can you blame me? But this is all Blake and I wasn’t … but now that you brought it up, I just might, just to see where it leads. Hope dies last and I wouldn’t mind a repeat of the beach in Sulani, not gonna lie.”
“I am not going to make it that easy for you again, not after you just ditched me after our last night together.”
“That’s not fair, you left me first, I came looking for you the next morning and I thought …”
“No, you assumed! Just like you assumed you should break up with me – over the phone – when you began to whore around for fame.”
“I did that to protect you, and had to do it over the phone. I could have never gone through with it in person.”
“So that Drake you are so proud of is really just a chicken?”
“No, but Blake is.”
“So which one are you now?”
“With you I am always me. Always boring ol’ Blake.”
“I never thought Blake was boring and you weren’t the Blake I know at the bar. You were such an ass to me, I felt the urge to wipe you.”
Blake couldn’t help but laugh, even an angry Hailey was indescribably cute, her anger dissipated and she joined in, until both got serious again.
“I was trying to protect you, Hailz. From what I knew I had to become. I had no way back, no other options.”
“I never asked you to protect me. I do not need protection. At the very least you should have discussed all that with me, I should have been included in the choice. I should have had a choice and if we were to break up, that should have been my choice, not yours. Anything but some brief, cold phone call by you and then ghosting me after. I cannot tell you how much that hurt me. How come you didn’t feel the urge to protect me from that, huh?”
“Oh god, Hailey, I am so sorry. It wasn’t supposed to hurt you so much. I .. thought … you’d just be real angry, then get over it and move on. Be happy again. Like you have moved on. And you are happy again. Right?”
“Are you happy, Blake?” she asked him, sniffling.
“No.” the answer came without thinking.
“And you think it’s different for me?” her eyes met his.
“Hailz, this … we … it just cannot work. This is great, just us camping in the woods, but we both know it won’t last. I have to go back. So do you … then all is how it used to be. I have a signed contract that states that I cannot autonomously change my status, so no girlfriend, fiance etc. without the studios sanctioning it. Which they won’t. If I break that, I get sued for all I own and more, probably end up in jail too.”
“What flavor of idiot do you have to be to sign such a thing?”
“This kind, evidently. It’s just for a few more months – less than a year – that they own me. After that, I am my own person again. For better or worse. Until then, they want me to be seen with crowds of women and cause drama, on and off camera. If I don’t, they instigate some and that is even less pretty. Not that again.”
“Okay. Fine. You are an actor, so when you get back, just act like all is as it has been. Make sure to schedule in holes in your engagements, and we meet here as often and for as long as you can. I will wait for you, Blake Cameron. On my little island, saving little turtles, far away from the news – and by ‘news’ I mean all the stories and images about you doing the nasty Drake-stuff – for my own sanity sake. When you can, you let me know and we come here, together.”
“Hailey, I could never ask that of you, baby.”
“Good thing you don’t have to, seeing how it is my idea. I am not the frail little doll everyone treats me as. Everybody misunderstands my kindness for weakness. I am strong. This is worth it to me.”
“All right, but how can I get a hold of you? Send you a sea turtle with a message stapled to its shell?”
“If you were to staple anything to any turtle I would personally knee you in your jewels. We have phone service on the island. Spotty for the most part, but I can get texts. So text me.”
“This could actually work …”
“It will work. Now let’s rest, abducting actors and driving hundreds, if not thousands of miles in barely a day takes a toll on a girl.”
“I love you, Hailey. I am sorry things have to be so messed up for us.”
“Just promise me you’ll be careful not to knock any of those girls up. I always wanted to be the first and only one to have your child one day. Many years from now. If things can change again for us, that is. If not, best to know soon and move on.”
“No worries, grandpa hammered that into my head early on. I am extremely careful. I want that even less than you … And truth be told, I don’t really sleep with all those girls. Like everything else, it’s just smoke and mirrors for the most part. That being said … if you were to offer, I’d definitely make an exception. It is pretty chilly tonight and I have suggestions on how to keep each other warm.” Blake grinned, purposely ignoring her remark about babies. He loved that girl, but even with her there wouldn’t be any offspring if he could help it. Not now, and likely not ever.
“About that … no more sex with the ex. I probably shouldn’t have done that in Sulani. I guess I am impulsive sometimes too. Love is a finicky thing.”
“No more … ever? Or just not tonight.”
“Less Drake, more Blake, please. You and I, we are just friends right now. You broke us up, remember? Until that changes, meaning you begging me to take you back as my boyfriend, hugs are as far as this goes. Once bitten … ”
“Oooh, you are cruel, Hailz. And you know I’d be begging on hands and knees after crawling here from Del Sol Valley, if only I could. But that contract … we’d still have to keep it a secret and that is just wrong.”
“I call that self preservation and keeping what’s left of my self-respect. I am not the type for that ‘friends with benefits’ idea.”
“Hailz, I hope this, what we have right here, never ends.”
“If it does, we know we can always come back to somewhere only we know.”
A few weeks later.
Del Sol Valley.
Blake sat down on the couch, a hot chocolate on the table before him, while grabbing the TV remote and pressing the cell phone to his ear.
“Yeah, just about to turn on the TV. Got the fireplace going already, kinda weird, it’s still pretty warm here, this is the first time this year I turn it on. I’ll just imagine it were cold out, like it is back home now, then it’s almost as if we were sitting on your couch together watching Autumn leaves fall.” Blake said, giving himself a sting into the heart. Autumn back home was so scenic. Harvestfest was in a few days. Just another day for him, again.
They spoke, giggled, laughed … and stayed on the phone throughout the movie, while getting ready for bed, finally beginning to inch towards hanging up when both got too tired to continue, hours later.
“Night Hailz. Tomorrow is a busy day, but I’ll send you a text if I get some time to talk. I love you. Good night beautiful. Yes, I remember, we’re just friends right now. Can I not tell my best friend I love them? There you go. Good night Hailey…”
Blake fell asleep with the phone still in his hand as if this would bring her closer, a smile on his face – but no nightmares anymore. Not for weeks now, ever since they started doing this.
This was a new routine, Hailey’s idea, and it had already helped him tremendously with his unease and loneliness. Whenever he’d be home alone with no prior engagements, rather than drinking himself into a coma to numb the feeling or throwing parties which often ended up bordering on orgies, he’d call her instead and they’d stay on the phone till it was time for bed.
Next best thing to actually being together.
As friends. Still. Just friends.
Del Sol Valley.
Blake wore the biggest smile ever since he spotted her coming towards him through the ‘Arrivals’ gate. They didn’t linger long, so he wouldn’t be recognized, but hugged and talked in his car. Finally they arrived at his apartment building in the hills.
“So this is it, huh? The bachelor pad of a big movie star.” Hailey said as they entered.
“Well, it’s my home anyway, not sure about the rest.” Blake was always a bit uncomfortable when Hailey referred to his fame.
He watched her look around, apparently deeply impressed by his penthouse.
Unlike most other women who have been up here, mostly during some parties he had to throw to keep up appearances, she never once attempted to open any closed doors.
“The bedroom and bathroom are through there. I’ll let you have the bed, I’ll take the couch. There is a guestroom, but only has a desk in it.”
“Aren’t you the gentleman if you want to be. I’ll just get a cheap hotel room.”
“There is no such thing is this town, at least not in any part of town I would be comfortable letting you stay at. You can stay here. Please. Or I will get you a nice suite at a hotel nearby.”
“I am not one of those girls, Blake. I pay my own way. Always have.”
Hailey just smiled, shook her head and looked out to the patio.
“Wanna go outside?” Blake followed and opened the door for her. They went outside.
“Blake … this is … amazing. Incredible. I cannot believe I am standing here.”
“Yeah. A lot prettier at night. Unlike you. You are pretty no matter the time of day.”
“Blaaaaaaaaake. And you wonder why I think I should stay at a hotel.” Hailey smiled at him.
“Hailz … come on now. Let me do this for you, sleep on the couch and you stay here, with me. Please. At the very least so I feel like a real host.”
“You know as well as I do that we both are completely incapable of sleeping in different areas when in the same home.”
“Would it be so bad …? We’ve done that before, as just friends …”
“You also know very well that I had a major crush on you even back then and truth be told, I had hoped you’d get the hint and make a move.”
“What? At the cabin in the woods? You are kidding me?! Back then I had the most outrageous dream about just that … but was afraid if I were to act on that, you’d be upset and leave or something.”
“Blake, I moved back to Windenburg.”
“Oh. You didn’t tell me you were even thinking about leaving Sulani …”
“Because I wanted to make sure the purchase goes through before I do. I bought a house. With my parents help obviously. Nothing fancy, just a little old shack, but the location is beautiful. Way outside town, near my parents’ farm, right by a fishing pond. I have been working on fixing it up, with Lyle and dad’s help. You’ll have to stop by. Soon.”
“Hailz, I cannot go to Windenburg. It’s small, densely populated and touristy. People will recognize me right away … and some scenic old-worldly town is not the right backdrop for the asshole womanizer Drake. That would be a shit storm from hell from all sides for me.”
“My home is way outside downtown. I can sneak you in. Nobody will ever know you’re there. All you have to do is get to the airport.”
“Say you will!”
“What do I get if I do?”
“What do you want?”
Blake smiled and raised an eyebrow.
“Really Blake? You got me confused with one of your … ”
Blake just grabbed her and kissed her.
“Blake Cameron! We have a deal! Just friends!”
“I am sorry! Sorry! Really! That was Drake then. Sorry. I’ll be good now.”
“Make sure Drake doesn’t do that again or I will kick him where it hurts!”
“Are you so sure?”
“Hailey … why can’t be be somehow secret lovers or something … just until all this is over. I have less than a year left on that contract. After that we are free and I will yell it from the rooftops that I love you and only you. Just help me get through …”
“I am helping you through. I am here, aren’t I? What you need right now is a friend, not another lover to warm your bed. I am a friend for you and care so much that it hurts, but what I am never going to be is a convenient addition to your nookie buffet.”
“Hailey! I would never think of you that way. Not ever.”
“Maybe not. But like I told you, what you need is a friend. Just a friend, but a good one. And that I can do. Now you host, entertain me! And Blake – or Drake – keep it platonic.” she smiled.
-to be continued-