When I come back out of the bathroom fifteen minutes later, Jamie has fallen asleep where I left him on the floor. I know that his intention was probably to force me to take the sofa, but it doesn’t feel right so I carefully pull out the folded quilt, and lay it down on the floor beside him. I settled down, and I can smell his perfume, oh sorry, not perfume, he’d kill me if he knew I’d called it that. It is apparently “eau de toilette” , thank you very much. I close my eyes and try to get to sleep, but the softness of his breathing makes me ever more aware of his presence, despite the fact that I’ve turned the other way. I want so much to turn over and hug him, but I know that I can’t and it’s killing me which makes me question why I chose to just be friends, but it was all for the best. For him, and for me.
By the time I wake up the following morning, Jamie has already left and Mark is preparing to open the book shop. I know because I can hear him clattering about and swearing. Probably at the box of books I left down one of the side aisles.
“Morning.” Sam beams from the dining room table in the far corner, as she notices that I’m awake, “How did you sleep?”
I rub my eyes wearily, “Yeah, pretty good.”
“You should have nabbed the sofa.” Sam insisted, but I dismissed it, I couldn’t even be bothered to get into that conversation, and was thankful that Sam dropped it after that.
“There’s some toast here if you fancied some.” Sam said, stuffing some toast in her mouth and flicking through some paperwork.
I stood up, with the quilt wrapped around me and sat opposite her, before taking a few pieces of toast, “Mmm, yum. Thanks. Jamie gone out?”
“Yeah, he went to sort out his flights.”
“He’s definitely leaving then?” I felt disappointed, but I knew that it was going to happen.
“Yeah, I think he got a bit down about the whole Holly thing, he’s decided to leave on Friday.”
I sighed, and stared at my toast, “Who do you think the father really is?”
Sam looked at me, and shrugged “I wish I knew,” she shrugged, “Flick said Jamie wasn’t, but was she protecting him? I dunno.”
“All seems really weird.”
“Flick was weird back then. She kept a lot of secrets.”
“Like Mark…” I commented frivously, without really thinking about what I was saying, but fortunately Sam didn’t really respond to it.
We sat at the table munching toast, and I couldn’t help thinking about Jamie. He’d only been a part of my life for a short while, but in that time, well, it was magical. And yeah, I know that sounds cliché but it really was…
Eleven months ago…
“Well look at you!” I cooed, pushing my sunglasses to the top of my head. Jamie had met me at the airport, and had evidently dressed for the occasion.
“Alyssa?” His mouth literally dropped as he saw me, and I couldn’t help but pose a little. “Wow. All grown up and looking hot.”
“Oh well, y’know!” I laughed. Modest as always. “Aren’t ya gonna help a lady with her bags?”
“Oh…oh, of course. Right.” I watched as he struggled with my suitcase, and chuckled when he realised that it had wheels. I could tell that he was so nervous, and that was when I knew that I’d made the right decision.
Coming to Rome had never really been part of the plan. The plan had been to skip Europe entirely and travel around America and Asia. It wasn’t really snobbery, but I’d seen a lot of Europe as a kid, so y’know. My parents had been pretty pissed about my ditching Uni to go travelling, but I’ve always been a bit free spirited, and it was something that I needed to do. But, me being me, I’d felt guilty about upsetting them, and not wanting to look like I was caving in to them, I’d opted to keep strongly in touch with Mark instead. And of course, the greatest part of the modern age is social media.
It was actually Sam that emailed me telling me that Jamie was in Rome, and that it might be nice to catch up with him. I always got the feeling that the words might have been written by Sam, but they were more likely to have come from Mark. He’d always been overprotective. I think I’d agreed for the same reason that I’d stayed in touch with Mark, but also because I’d spent the last three weeks, in San Francisco with my old school friend Ebony and her new boyfriend Eduardo, and yeah, that hadn’t been much fun.
“So, first time in Rome huh?” Jamie asked, hauling my bag into the boot of a clapped-out car that I haven’t a clue what it actually was.
“Indeed.” I said, climbing in the passenger side, “My parents brought us to Italy a couple of times, but for some reason never Rome.”
“You’re gonna love it.” Jamie chuckled, sitting beside me, “We only arrived a couple of days ago, and wow, this is a beautiful city.”
We drove through the busy city streets, and I couldn’t help marvel at the beauty of the place. Jamie really hadn’t been lying.
“You’ll be staying in my hotel room, that’s okay right?” Jamie looked genuinely concerned, so I was quick to ease the worry.
“So, now you’re a famous rock star do you get to stay in the posh hotels, in the penthouse suites?”
“Of course. Well, not always. You’re lucky to have found me in a hotel that actually isn’t too bad.”
When Jamie said that the hotel wasn’t “too bad”, he was making an immense understatement time a gazillion, because the hotel was bloody amazing, and his room was the size of a small apartment.
“Holy crap!” I exclaimed as he led me into his hotel suite, “This is all yours?”
“Too right. Apparently we’re pretty big business over here, so they treat us like Royalty and of course we don’t complain.”
I threw myself onto the bed, and bounced on it a little, “Well, I don’t think I ever imagined that I would be sitting on a rock star’s bed. Kinda kinky. Kinda weird.”
“Ha.” Jamie said and sat down in an arm chair beside the bed, before pulling a bottle of beer out of a mini fridge, “You want one? It’s free.”
“No thanks.” I really didn’t fancy Mark’s best friend seeing me drunk, that would have been too weird, “So, do you have like groupies and stuff?”
“Some. But they’re a little bit weird, so I tend to leave it to the other guys most of the time.”
“Of course.” I mocked, feeling evermore curious as to whether he was a real groupie-obsessed rock star or not. “I mean you read all sorts of shit about groupies in magazines don’t you?”
“It’s all true.”
“And that doesn’t tempt you?”
“Not really. To be honest, it’s a bit boring.”
I study him as he chugs on his beer, and I genuinely believe him.
“Do you always drink at 11 in the morning?” I asked, not meaning to sound rude but totally aware that I probably did.
“In this lifestyle, it’s the only way to survive.”
“Do you miss home?”
“All the time. How about you? You’ve been away for some time now.”
“Yeah, I miss it sometimes, but then I remember why I’m doing it.”
“Experience. To say that I did it. What about you? What keeps you touring in a big-shot rock band?”
“We’re hardly big-spot…”
“Are you kidding me? When my friend Marcia found out that I was friends with her rockstar crush, she practically wet herself, and I mean literally.”
“Being a rockstar isn’t all people think it is. It’s kinda….boring, and….lonely…”
“Well then, you’re lucky that I got here to brighten the place. Is this the bathroom?” I jogged over to a door and pulled it open before Jamie even had a change to reply, but luckily it was indeed.
DAILY WORD COUNT: 1,382
TOTAL WORD COUNT: 29,482