Jared starts to remember things he didn't even know had happened but things slowly start happening to prevent him from recollecting.
He rolled out of bed and walked on over to his bathroom. He looked the same as he always did. Exactly the image that the world had always seen. Wide blue eyes that sometimes seemed so haggard he nearly worried himself, dark hair tied at the nape of his neck, and a newly shaven face. He was as he always saw himself. The same man that he woke up being everyday. But the man inside was nowhere near himself. He was feeling empty, terrified of the world around him. A great feeling he wasn’t quite used to at all.
He mentally told himself that he had to get over it. Today he had to get on over to the label to meet somebody who they wanted him to take under his wing. He knew little of his new appointed protégé. All he knew was she was an inspiring singer, keys heavily influenced her music and that she was a rather strong personality. He wasn’t really so psyched about this new project. He was used to working with himself, taking his own ideas and making them solely for himself. He was an artist, someone who didn’t work too well with others unless they had proven themselves. But he had promised he would do it, had promised the same label who had endangered his entire music career. He just didn’t want the bitter blood flowing there between them anymore.
He dragged himself into the shower and cleansed away the feeling of sleep before toweling himself off. He threw on a blue sweater and black pants, zipped up his boots and left the house, placing his hat on his head as he did. The drive was slightly long and all he could think of the entire way was the disturbed and nearly pained sleep he had been having. Dreamless sleep was the worst thing to have ever happen to him. The emptiness it left him with in the morning killed him.
Once there he got out of the car and made his way into the large building that loomed over the parking lot in a dark shadow. The sun was bright beaming down on him strongly. He rode the elevator up stopping at the 16th floor and stepped off.
He passed several doors before finally stopping at the large oak one and knocked. A voice called him inside and he entered.
The room smelled of new wood and brewed coffee. There were four men in suits sitting at a long table and a woman that was standing near one of the men.
“Jared, I’m so glad you could come. So glad you agreed to this.” One of the men, older nearly sixty, stood from his chair and held his hand out to him.
Jared would have scoffed, rolled his eyes had he been a younger version of himself but now he wanted peace and he knew that blowing them off wouldn’t do any good at all.
“I’m glad too.” He gave a tight smile before he took his hand back.
“This is Audrey Kensington.” The same man gestured his hand to the woman standing beside him and for the first time Jared got a good look at her.
She stood there striking in her black dress, the black boots she wore making her legs look amazing. Her hair fell in blonde curls down her back and there was a unique look to her face. A strange beauty that he hardly ever saw in a woman.
“Hello.” She said softly, holding her slender hand out, the red of her nails glinting in the light from the window.
“Nice to meet you.” Jared replied matching the low tone of her voice. He gave her a small smile before settling his gaze back beneath the brim of his hat.
“What exactly are we supposed to be doing?” Audrey questioned, leaning back on the empty chair she stood by. Her figure was stunning, she was stunning.
The old man who had first spoken looked back at her with a private smile before he snaked one of his arms around her waist. Jared noticed an intimacy there and he understood all of this clearly. Girl sleeps with mogul, gets herself a deal, and scares the world with her lack of talent. He could have left the room right then. Was he really supposed to waste his time on something like this? He knew what he had agreed to and he knew that he couldn’t simply walk out. It wasn’t that easy anymore. He hated the reins he had around his neck, hated obligations but it was required he supposed.
“You go on with him Audrey…he’ll show you the ropes…maybe he might even work a bit on your record?” The old man hinted at it with an obvious meaning.
Jared again smiled just as tightly. “Yeah I just might.” He nodded before turning his attention to the woman. “Let’s go.” He made a point of sounding less than enthused before he turned on his heel and made his way out of the room. He heard Audrey shuffling to follow after him and he nearly laughed. They both stopped at the elevator and he gave a glance to her.
“Couldn’t you have waited?” She complained, her silk voice nearly raising the hairs on the back of his neck.
“I’m supposed to show you the ropes and I don’t have all day.” He replied.
The elevator doors dinged open and Audrey made her way inside but Jared stopped. A sharp pain struck him. It rang sharply in his head causing a gasp to escape his lips. His hands shot up, adding pressure to his temples.
“Hey? Are you alright?” Audrey’s voice was nearly muffled once she noticed how he had shrank back from the elevator. He was in obvious pain, his hands shook as they held his head and his mouth was opened in labored breaths.
She rushed to his side, placing her hand on his back but he pushed at her to move away. She stumbled a bit at his use of force but held onto the wall for support. Her brows furrowed as she watched him. She knew that she should call for help but seeing him this way was a definite shock.
A short time passed and just as Audrey got sense into her head and pull her cell out he found the strength to straighten himself. The pain echoed loudly in his head but he was able to get a hold on himself. His vision was blurred for a moment as he waved at her to put her phone away. He added pressure to his head for a moment longer before he managed to look up at her.
“Are you sure you’re alright?” She asked, her brows knitting together.
“I’m fine.” He snapped, pushing his way past her into the elevator. He leaned against the wall, shutting his eyes on his loud surroundings and tried to tell himself to calm down. He opened his eyes when he noticed that she hadn’t followed him in. “Are you coming or what?”
She came back to the moment after shaking off the surprise over what she saw and hurried into the elevator. He slammed his hand on the button causing the doors to close and to take them down to ground level.
Shannon looked out the living room and saw that Jared’s car was gone. He swore under his breath having wanted to tell him something before he left. He was doing some work today for the label, easy but completely unnecessary. He knew that Jared didn’t want to do this but they both knew they had to.
He left the window and poured himself the coffee he had brewed before sitting down at the table. Tiredness still hung in his eyes and exhaustion weighed heavily on him. He wasn’t sure how much more of this any of them could take. The sheer force of it was so much that he wasn’t even able to define it, to explain it. He had never wanted this for his brother, the pain that came after a hard and cruel suffering. But keeping it all from him was possibly the best way for any of them to live.
A knock on the front door stole his attention and caused him to stand up, leaving his coffee steaming on the table. He walked to the door, opened it and smiled weakly once he saw Emma’s face.
“He’s gone?” She asked, the mirrored exhaustion on her face as well.
“Yeah…must have just left.” He left the doorway giving her leave to come in after him.
“You don’t think he remembers?”
They both settled in at the table before Shannon lowered his forehead to his hand and shook his head. “Not at all.”
“You still think it’s better this way?” She was concerned and so terribly afraid of breaking the foundation they had built beneath their secret. Every move of theirs was carefully planned in fear of something being broken.
Shannon sighed, looking off for a moment with a heavy expression in his eyes before he looked back at her and nodded. “I do.”
She took that silently and then rose from the table. She got herself a cup of coffee stirring in some cream and sugar before returning to her seat. She looked across at Shannon, her eyes softening from their previous harsh worry.
“I wish I could tell you things would be alright.” She said softly, her hands letting go of the mug.
“I wish for that too.” Shannon breathed out, raising his cup to his lips.
“What happens if he ever remembers?” She asked, dancing along the one thing neither of them wanted to think about.
He looked at her with the weight of the world hovering over them both. Their worry was mutually for the same person and their fear was echoed with familiar exhaustion. They stood by each other for Jared’s sake alone and that was breaking them apart on the inside. And yet still they strove for it to be kept secret, that was the only thing they could do to keep everything together.
“I don’t even want to know.” Shannon said breaking through the exhaustion and refusing to be put down. “But it isn’t going to happen. He won’t remember a thing.”