He was tired, so damn tired and had been for quite some time. His eyes were watery and his body felt simply exhausted. His fingers hovered over the keys as his mind tried to go to work. Anything at all, any words but nothing came. He had gotten through the recording of the new album. The searing nights that lasted forever with his mind at work and the world around him disappearing. He lasted through the arguments that seemed to always happen every time a song was near completion. He never liked any of the changes, any fresh cut, he always wanted something different. He knew he drove everyone crazy but he couldn’t help but want perfection. He was giving this to people and they deserved perfection. And now he was down to the announcement of a record completed and it was going to go up on his website. He was supposed to express his sincere happiness that the record was finally over, that the labor or love was completed but now that he was here he couldn’t bring himself to write a thing. He had never suffered writers block before but somehow he was feeling the pressure now.
Perhaps it was because he couldn’t write what he was really feeling. He couldn’t really let out what the truth was that he was holding inside. He had so much pain inside, the kind that burned itself inside of his soul. Every time he closed his eyes he felt it, every morning that he awoke he was burdened by it. It was his new existence and he couldn’t shake it. He couldn’t really lay that out for the world to see though, he didn’t want to. It just would have been so easy to write it all out and let the truth be known. Everyone always wondered who he was anyways, what would they do if they saw the truth?
Jared shook his head of the thought and set his laptop aside. Letting out a sigh he pushed his hand through his hair and stood up from the chair. He tried to stretch the tiredness from his body. Nothing made it go away. He was hungry. He knew that they were all out there wondering when he was going to come out and eat something. He hadn’t eaten all day. But just looking at that door and letting the thought of going out there cross his mind overwhelmed him. He didn’t want to be around people, no matter how excited everyone was over the completion. He would find another way to thank them all.
He was sick of his self inflicted isolation but what else could he do? He was alone, more than alone. Everyone knew it. Shannon sent him texts when he was just in the other room asking how he was, what he was up to. But no one else dared to cross the wall he had set up in front of him, brushing it off as a creative bout of abandonment. Or perhaps they really did know the truth. He didn’t doubt that they did.
Him locking himself away had little to do with creativity and everything to do with Bianca. The thought that she was here, marking the house with her pained presence was just too much for him. He couldn’t go out there and face her, didn’t want to hear her voice, didn’t want to fall back into that twisted spell he had felt himself being released from as the months passed. He didn’t know what she was telling people, what tears she shed at the retelling of a doomed marriage he didn’t bother to save and he didn’t care. Why should he? If they were going to believe her that was their deal.
After that first night with her he hadn’t gone near her at all. He had done his best to steer clear of her completely. He had even called up his lawyers. Of course they could set up the annulment papers and immediately too. He had them drawn up, set a date for the delivery and then everything had changed. He had been out when she called, her silk voice coming from the other end tearfully. “Jared, I’m pregnant.” She had whispered regretfully. She had never wanted children and that night when he had come back home she had made that clear. He had convinced her out of an abortion, out of giving the baby up for an adoption. This was his child and he didn’t care how many angry insults she flung his way either. He had held his lawyers off and had allowed himself the liberty of taking the walk to Rowan’s apartment building. He had stood outside for the longest time, weighing whatever possibilities he had. He would tell her the truth about everything and also about the pregnancy. He could be with her and still take care of Bianca while she was pregnant and take the baby afterwards. He had prepared himself, readied his thoughts before going inside and climbing the flight of stairs. He knocked once patiently, then again, and then for the last time with a bit of panic. A man came out of the neighboring apartment and noted that he was waiting there. He told Jared she had moved out a short while ago, slipped out with her sister in the afternoon. It all came crashing down on him with such pain he wasn’t sure how he was going to handle it. She was gone from him and with her the hope of ever truly living again.
From then on he had locked himself away, building his walls of torment he had no intention of bringing down. Bianca had taking to pounding on the studio door but he had never let her in, for awhile he had let Shannon in but that had only lasted a short while. He was broken and it didn’t matter how painful it was. He was lost in it, so terribly lost. He had no grip on it. It became a new sort of prison, a dark and dismal one that he had no key to. He saw nothing hopeful in sight and that darkness that seemed to know no bounds poured its way into what he wrote. It echoed sharply in each track he sent out, resonated in each chord he strummed, each key he hit. It was very much alive inside of him.
But now he was standing in front of the door, his hands pulling at each other nervously. Was he really going to go out there? What would he do once he stepped over that threshold? It had been almost 7 months since Bianca had sent him that phone call, since he found that Rowan was lost to him. He had been in here so long he wasn’t sure what it was like on the other side anymore.
Harshly he swallowed and reached his hand out for the knob. He twisted it but before he could pull it open there was a cry from the other side and then a pounding on the door.
“Jared!” Shannon called out worriedly.
Jared pulled open the door without thought, the panic in his brother’s voice worrying him. “What’s happening?”
“Bianca.” Shannon looked shocked to see Jared’s face but quickly recovered. “We have to get her to the hospital.”
Jared moved past him, a nervous heat rising inside of him. Once he saw her and let the realization that the baby was actually coming hit him he took her up in his arms and rushed past everyone out the front door. Carefully he set her in the car and got in himself, starting the engine and racing towards the hospital. She was crying, she was bleeding and he was trying not to let the darkest possibilities get to him. Once they were there they admitted her immediately and in the flurry asked him to please wait outside.
Shannon came and so did a couple of other people who Jared took little notice of. He waited for what felt like hours, days even. The minutes ticked away and each of them that did stole a piece of his heart with it. No one was talking to him, no one wanted to let him know what was going on and the fear that came with it was almost too much.
Morning cracked and the afternoon followed. The light was fading when the sound of shoes clicked off the ground. He stood up almost immediately and Shannon did too. The doctor looked grim and when he stopped he let out a shaky sigh.
“Mr. Leto. You have a girl.” He tried to give a smile but something dimmed it in his eyes.
Jared looked at him, a sharp pain making its way through his heart. “And Bianca?”
The doctor lowered his head. “She’s lost a lot of blood…She’s not likely to make it.” And with that he walked away leaving them to their solemn silence.
Shannon patted his brother on the back and then stepped away, knowing that he wanted a bit of time. Jared sank into his chair and lowered his head into his hands. Tears burned through his resistance and he felt his body shake almost too violently. He got up, forcing his way towards the room they had taken Bianca in.
It was quiet except for the beeping of machines. She was laying on the bed, her skin laden with sweat but otherwise cleaned up. He had never seen her in this sort of way before, so broken and uncertain. And yet she was still beautiful more so than she had ever been to him.
He sat on the edge of the bed, brushing her sweat drenched hair off her forehead. He wiped at his tears in time for her to stir and open her eyes to him.
“Did they tell you?” She whispered, her voice tired and strained.
He nodded and tried to take her hand in his. In that moment it didn’t matter what had happened before. All he felt was the sheer agony that she wasn’t going to be here anymore. He wasn’t sure if it was supposed to hurt so much but damn it it did.
She flinched away from his touch though despite how weak she was. “Don’t touch me. You have your daughter and she’s killed me. I knew this would happen and it’s all your fault.” She spat out her words and then turned away from him.
“Bianca…” He nearly pleaded but she wasn’t paying any attention. It was like a stab to his already bleeding heart. She was throwing him away again and in this moment too. The tears stung his eyes again as he stood up off the bed. “I’m sorry…” He made to walk away but stood standing there for a long moment. The minutes passed him by as more tears fell from his eyes. He was waiting for her to say something, waiting to hear her call out his name and tell him that she wanted him there in the last moments. After all everything that had happened between them was enough to make something of a permanent bond between them. It didn’t happen though, she stayed silent. He could feel everything falling away, could hear the chains dropping to the floor and with it came the sound of a flat line as he slipped out of the room.