41: h a t e i s a s t r o n g w o r d
Muttered words. Angry glances. Disapproving stares.
For the past week, that is the reaction when I walk into a room. The longest conversation I’ve had since the accident was with Patrick. It lasted less than a minute.
“Pete, I can’t fucking believe you…”
“I know I screwed up—”
“Forgetting to pay a phone bill is screwing up,” he said, seething. “Fucking Audrey while Sophie was pregnant with your kid is—”
“I didn’t know she was pregnant…”
“That’s your excuse?!” He got out of his seat, knocking it over in the process. “Sophie still doesn’t know she’s having your kid! She’s on life support, Pete! And doctors don’t know if the baby’s gonna make it! I—” Fists clenched at his sides, he stared at the floor. “I can’t even look at you right now…”
“I’m sorry, Trick.”
“You shouldn’t be apologizing to me, Pete. You should be on your fucking hands and knees begging for Sophie’s forgiveness… But to tell you the truth, I don’t think you deserve it.”
With that, he left me alone in the waiting room.
It’s safe to say that all of the guys hate me.
Sophie’s brothers have openly threatened my life.
My mom bitched me out over the phone.
Hell, even Hemingway hasn’t looked at me the same way.
The sound of the doorbell temporarily brought me out of my depressing thoughts.
Then glancing at the clock, I remembered the message that Joe had left on my machine.
Me and Andy will be over at around 1 to pick up Sophie’s stuff...
It was 12:52.
Prepared for a punch in the face, I got up and opened the door. As expected, the two men were standing on my porch. They were carrying large cardboard boxes, meaning that my face was momentarily safe. But by the looks on their faces, I made sure not to agitate them.
I stepped aside and they wordlessly walked through the living room and up the stairs to the bedroom.
While Joe and Andy packed Sophie’s belongings, I sat on the couch and placed my head in my hands.
Helpless didn’t begin to describe what I was feeling.
Nothing that I did or said would change what either of them thought about me.
Remorse hasn’t fallen on deaf ears, rather ones that just don’t care…
For the next hour, Joe and Andy walked up and down the stairs, in and out of the house, slowly filling the Range Rover parked in the driveway.
“Could you at least give this to Sophie?” I quietly asked as they approached the door with the last of the boxes. Andy turned around and took the slip of paper from my hands. It was a check for $100,000. “It’s for the baby… And tell her to send all the medical bills to me.”
He silently nodded and tucked it into his pocket.
With that, both men walked through the front door and closed it behind them, leaving me with my thoughts.
“This is all my fault…”
The phone started ringing, but I didn’t bother answering. Whoever was on the other line was just going to rip me apart.
“Hey it’s Pete—”
“And Hemmy.” -Laughter- “We’re busy taking over the world, so leave a message and we’ll get back to you ASAP.”
I sighed as the answering machine did its job once again.
“Pete, it’s Audrey. I know I’m probably the last person you want to talk to right now, but I really needed to let you know that last week… I never meant for it to happen. It’s redundant, I know, but I’m sorry. I’m an idiot for drinking so much and I’m a douche bag for waiting this long to apologize…”
There was a long pause before she spoke again.
“You probably know that I won’t be coming back to Clandestine, so I guess this is goodbye… I hope to God that you can fix things with Sophie, because the last thing I wanted to do was fuck things up for you guys.”
After listening to her message, it took about half an hour to find enough will to get up from the couch and survey what was left.
Walking around the house, no one would have been able to tell that Sophie ever lived with me. Her dresser was empty. Her make up was gone. Even the raggedy pair of Chucks she’d kept under the bed were nowhere to be seen. Joe and Andy made sure that I’d feel alone.
Still, there was one place they wouldn’t have looked.
I opened the closet and carefully reached for the large box marked TOUR JUNK.
Despite the label, its contents were probably the most valuable things I owned. Curious of my actions, Hemmy scampered in from the hallway as I set it down.
Inside were random things I’ve accumulated after years of touring: bingo cards from Knights of Columbus, gas receipts from before we got a bus, original footage from Release the Bats, every single tour pass I’ve ever gotten, guitar picks, handwritten setlists, postcards I never sent and a lot more stuff that I’m too lazy to mention.
After emptying the box onto the carpet, I found what I was looking for. Underneath a notebook of unfinished lyrics was a ratty white envelope. On the front, the words ‘forever golden’ was written in Sophie’s handwriting. I opened it pulled out the Polaroids it was holding.
A group picture of us sitting around in Andy’s basement circa 1999.
Joe doing the robot.
Me chasing Andy with a plate of hotdogs.
Patrick, Andy and I sleeping in the back of a bus.
Patrick, Andy and I covered in shaving cream after Joe and Sophie decided to wake us up.
Hemmy on a skateboard.
Brendon and Patrick playing acoustic guitars.
Sophie and I jumping off the roof and into her parents’ pool.
Dirty, Charlie and Travie trying to make a human totem pole.
The first kiss Sophie and I shared in Chicago.
With the last photo still in hand, I grabbed my Sidekick off the top of my dresser.
As I scrolled through my list of contacts, I was only reminded of how many people wanted me to disappear from the face of the Earth. Then I reached it.
Over the past week, hers was the only name highlighted on my phone. I had dialed and redialed her number at least a hundred times, but her voicemail greeting was the only response I ever received. I knew every word by heart: “Hey, you’ve reached Sophie. I’m probably out somewhere breaking things or putting glue on your seat cushions, so leave me a message and I’ll—” Laughter. “Peeeete, stop tickling me! I’m trying to record—” Beep.
The chances of her picking up were 1 in a million, but I nonetheless hit the call button and anxiously held the sidekick to my ear.
I’m sorry, but the number you have dialed is currently out of service—
She changed her number.
I threw my phone across the room and sank to the floor.
Scared by my actions, Hemingway ran out into the hallway once again.
I’m fully aware that she hates me.
But there’s no one on Earth who could hate me more than I already hate myself.
Please rate, review, and of AIM me @ disast3rous with your feedback. Comments = smiles = UPDATES.
If you haven't already checked them out, I posted the first few chapters of "Press Play" (Patrick fic) and "Lasting Impressions" (All Time Low fic). There's not much feedback from either at the moment, so it's up to you guys to tell me if you want more chapters posted.
Anyways, happy new years to all. Don't hit the happy juice too hard, yo!