“Okay, boys,” Tom rounds us up, “you’ve got fifteen minutes before the next interview. I’ll see you back here then.”
We’re holding the interviews in a hotel room in the same hotel we’re staying in so I head back to my room. I’m craving some quiet so I can try to work out everything running through my mind. I make it to my room and am closing the door behind me when my phone rings.
Goddamnit, I just want ten minutes to myself. Is that too much to ask?
I’m sure it’s Tom or one of the guys but when I check caller ID, I’m happy to see it’s Claudia. She suffers from insomnia and often calls me at weird times when I’m overseas.
“Hey, sis,” I greet her with a smile on my face.
“Hey, big brother, are you kicking some ass over there or what?”
“More like I’m getting the band’s ass kicked,” I mutter as I sit down.
“I’m in a mood over Presley today and it’s interfering with our interviews. Tom’s just told me to sort myself out so that’s what I’m trying to do.”
“Why are you in a mood over Presley? Did you have another fight with her?”
“No, I’m just worried about her because when I rang her earlier she was so drunk and I’m concerned she mightn’t have made it home. And of course she wouldn’t answer her phone when I tried to call her back and now she’s sleeping . . . fuck, I hate being overseas and away from her.”
“Okay, settle down because you’re working yourself up and that’s not going to help. Do you want me to drop by her place today and make sure she’s okay for you?” Claudia offers.
I sit up straight. “Yeah, I’d love you to do that if you’ve got time.”
“I’ve always got time to help you out, and besides, I want to meet this woman who has got you all messed up.”
She’s so right, Presley does have me messed up. Groaning, I thank her and throw my phone down on the bed in frustration. I drop my head into my hands and scrub my face. How the hell am I going to make it through however long we stay in the States when I’ve barely made it through the first day?
My irritation with the reporter climbs another notch at her latest question. She’s been goading us with her uncalled for comments about West and the rape accusation, and we’ve been holding it together like Tom has coached us to, but this woman is testing my patience.
“So you guys don’t think your female fans deserve more from you and from other men in public positions? Especially the younger fans who are still learning about sexuality and their rights to be respected when they say no?” she throws at us. She’s been banging on about well-known men thinking they have the right to take whatever they want from women, and I can’t hold my tongue any longer.
I lean forward in my seat and glare at her. “I think women all over the world deserve to have their right to say no respected, from all men, not just from men in the public eye. For you to sit there and insinuate that we don’t think our fans deserve more is fucking ludicrous. For one, this rape allegation against West is complete bullshit, and for two, we’ve been involved in efforts to educate on this topic numerous times over the last decade, so I suggest you get your facts straight about us before you waltz in here and make allegations that we don’t give a shit about women.”
Her eyes widen. “I see how much you respect women, Mr Vaughn, by the way you just spoke to me. If you think it’s okay to speak to women that way, I shudder to think how else you treat the women around you.”
That’s it. I’ve had enough.
I stand and ditch the microphone attached to my shirt. “I don’t give a fuck what you think about me. You’ve come in here with an agenda and you haven’t even taken the time to listen to what we’ve had to say, so as far as I’m concerned, you can go - ”
Tom steps into the interview and cuts me off before I can tell her where to go. “I think we’ll have to cut the interview there,” he says. I don’t hear what he says after that because I’ve already left the room by the time he gets those words out.
I stalk down the hallway to the lift and jab the button for it to let me in. We’ve got two more interviews scheduled for today, but I’m bailing on them.
“Jett!” West calls out as he jogs toward me. “Wait up.”
“I’m sorry, man, but I couldn’t sit through that woman any longer. She had no intention of listening to anything you or any of us had to say.”
“Fuck it, Tom will just have to deal.”
Tom catches up to us, a shitty look on his face. “No, you’re the one who has to deal,” he directs at me.
I give him my full attention. “I’m beginning to think coming here and doing all these interviews was a bad idea.”
He shakes his head and jabs his finger in the air at me. “No, it wasn’t. The bad idea was obviously you hooking up with a woman because you coped a lot fucking better with being away from home when you weren’t pussy whipped, my friend.”
My fury at the whole situation takes over. Stepping forward, I get in his face. “Did you ever stop to think my problem might be the fact that one of my best friends has been accused of something he didn’t fucking do, and now the world thinks they have the right to lump us all in as fucking criminals who think it’s okay to disrespect women?”