“I don’t mind him protecting me, I just can’t cope with the jealousy.”
Claudia gives me the kind of smile that says I’m missing something here and she’s sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Sighing, she says, “You may not escape it, Presley. That’s part of Jett’s way of protecting you. In a roundabout way, of course.”
She’s lost me now. “I don’t get it.”
“When I was sick, he took it hard. Our parents were amazing throughout it all, but they were struggling to make ends meet to pay for my healthcare so Jett took it upon himself to be there for me at all times. I guess you could say he kinda took ownership of me, if that makes any sense. He didn’t want to face the possibility of me dying, so he focused all his energy on getting me well again. Then when I did get better, he struggled to let me go. He wanted to keep me wrapped in cotton wool so I could never get hurt again. And sharing me was a big part of that struggle for him. I had to learn how to handle him; how to let him believe he had some control over my security because it’s not really that he doesn’t want to share us, he just wants to know that all is right in his world and all is right with the ones he loves.” She takes a breath and I notice the tears in her eyes. Leaning toward me, she says more, this time a little choked up. “He just doesn’t want to lose us. And that’s probably why his jealousy has reared its ugly head.”
It’s like a light bulb moment and I get it. I get where Jett is coming from. And at the same time, my heart breaks a little for him that this is how he’s learnt to live his life; that the illness his sister suffered from when they were kids has shaped him this way.
Taking her hand, I squeeze it and smile at her through my own tears. She smiles back at me through her tears too. “Thank you for coming here and sharing that with me. It’s really helped me understand Jett.”
Her smile falters and her eyes turn sad for a moment. Just when I think she’s about to start crying, though, she runs her fingers through her hair and regains her composure. “I’m glad I could help. Seeing Jett happy and in love is the one thing I want to see before . . . well, it’s the one thing I really want to see, and I hope that can be with you because I’ve never seen him happier.”
Something weird just happened, and I’m not sure what it was, but I don’t have time to analyse it because Claudia grabs her bag and says, “Okay, I have to go now, but it was so good to finally meet you after hearing so much about you from Jett.” She’s gone from sad and teary to overly bubbly in less than a minute, and it feels like she can’t get away from me fast enough.
I follow her outside and say, “It was great to meet you, too. We’ll have to have dinner when Jett gets home.”
I watch her head towards the lift on my level and wonder if I said something to make her leave in such a rush. She was so lovely and seemed like the kind of person I could sit and talk with for hours so I’m a little disappointed she left so soon.
I close my door and go back inside.
And I wait for Jett to call back so I can fix this mess I’ve made.
Jett doesn’t call me back, however I do receive a phone call. From Lennon.
“Did you see the news about your boyfriend?” His words are slightly slurred and full of nastiness.
“Lennon, go away, I don’t want to see you or hear from you. Can you not understand that?”
“Oh, I got that message, babe, loud and fucking clear the last time you fucking told me, but I just wanted to make sure you knew the new guy you’re all fucking wrapped up in is no better than what you think I am.”
God, how could I have ever thought I loved this man? The venom in his words sting, but not because of what he is saying but rather because I wish I’d never let him be a part of me. “Jett is so much better than you and nothing you tell me can make me change my mind.”
His laugh is full of sarcasm when he replies, “Well, maybe you should check the news, baby, because it seems your man has gone off the rails. Turns out he’s a pig who doesn’t respect women and likes to punch people. So much better than me.”
I don’t give him another moment of my time. Ending the call, I grab my iPad and search for the news he’s talking about.
“Lead Singer of Crave Goes On An Alcohol Fuelled Bender – Assaults Reporter”
“Jett & West Take Whatever They Want From Women Around The World”
My hand flies to my mouth in shock. Where is this all coming from?
Scrambling for my phone, I dial Jett’s number again, and am frustrated when I can’t get through to him, again.
I hate being so far away from him.
I have no idea what’s happened, but I suspect most of these allegations are rubbish.
I can’t let Jett go through this alone.
“How the fuck did you manage to cause such a shit storm in such a short amount of time?”
I stare at the rep from our band’s label and wonder the same fucking thing. Shaking my head, I answer, “I have no fucking idea.” The news has gone crazy with stories from yesterday; stories that mostly aren’t true. And I don’t know how the hell we are going to even begin to fix all this.
The rep is pacing my hotel room, anger clearly written all over his body. He seems as flabbergasted as I am. Turning to me, he orders, “You have to find a way to sort this out, and fast, because we don’t want to push the release date of your album.”