With a small breath at his own words he walked through the living room, peeling off his coat and going to find a shirt and pulled it on to fight the cold. It was so quiet that everything began to make a sound. The sound of silence often had that effect on you. There were a million things that he could do right now, a million thoughts to lull over. He could sit there, put some words on a page, throw some music to layer it and he would have everything he was on the inside laid down into something mortal and something living. He wouldn't do that though, he couldn't find the will to.
Finding the newly issued phone, an exact replica of his previous one, laying on one of the tables he smiled a little. Emma was always on top of everything, fixing things, making things right. He ought to thank her more often. Lifting the phone into his hands he scrolled through the messages. There were tons, hours without checking it will do that. Terry asking if they were going to meet up, staff asking opinions, advice, etc and then his mom, asking if he was alright, if the weather was too cold, how was his asthma? The tone in the text itself sounded too worried, like she had been up all night asking the air these questions before she finally gave herself peace of mind and allowed herself to ask him.
Resolving to call her in the morning he dropped himself down on his bed and let out a tired breath. He was actually surprised that no one was waiting outside the door for him but then Shannon had a pretty good idea where he had gone and had told them to give him some space, that's what he needed, some time alone. Everyone would listen to that, although somewhat unsure of it. Jared never took time off, his work was his life and his life was everything he worked for.
Of course Shannon would know where he had gone. He had been part of planning this whole thing, making sure that Essie was just perfect enough, just broken enough for him to fall for her, for him to want to somehow rescue her. That's what he did, wasn't it? He wanted to somehow save people, wanted to make sure that everything was taken care of for them and he wanted to make them better, make sure they were loved. That's what Essie was. A broken myth and he was left picking up the pieces that he thought would never be recovered. Shannon had done this, who else didn't matter. His own brother had encouraged him to believe in a lie that he had paid for. The thought was more than upsetting because now he knew what everyone thought of him. Now he knew that people were still looking at him with pity after all this time. He thought he had gotten over that obstacle when he had proven that he was alright now. He guessed that trust was hard to come by.
His eyes closed, letting the trickle of tears descend down his cheeks as he tried to banish the thoughts from his mind. He was alright. Things were going to be fine. He was going to forget about tonight and tomorrow was a new day. This was a one night thing, having a woman again was just the stress reliever that he needed. Tomorrow after all was the start of their break, an entire two weeks without traveling, except for the flight back to Los Angeles. The idea wasn't something he wanted but he swallowed it down. He supposed he could just hide away make things the way they ought to be.
Before he knew it morning had arrived and his eyes were opening again. That was his phone ringing beside him. Even the same ringer. Groaning a little he felt around for it before answering it and bringing it to his ear. He didn't check who it was, didn't bother. He had only slept for a few hours, tiredness was still clinging to him but he brushed it off. Sleep would come at another time.
"Hello?" "Jared? You answered..." "Hey mom." A breath escaped his lips as his hand pushed back through his hair. He hadn't prepared himself to talk to her and just getting up didn't seem like the best way to handle this. But he couldn't just hang up on her. "I'm just checking to make sure you're alright." Her voice was laced through with worry, she had probably been awake all night. She'd been doing this to herself since everything happened, since his life had spiraled away from him. He listened to her continue with her worries as he got out of bed. Of course he was alright, of course he was taking care of himself. But then she mentioned something that made him tense up, leaning on the counter in the kitchen he let out a sigh. "What was that mom?"
"We're all thinking about going up some place, maybe a place up in the mountains. Everyone's going and I was hoping you would show up. We'll be there a week, not too long." He made to answer but she started speaking again. "Maybe you could bring your girlfriend? Shannon said that you met someone. Essie, her name was?" And that was when everything made guilt rise up inside of him. He wanted to tell her that everything was just a botched up lie, that Shannon and everyone else who had done this had only made it up but there was a hope in her voice and he felt like he just couldn't let her down. Not after everything he had put her through.
"That sounds- yeah that sounds great." He said, trying to match her tone of hope, her tone of comfort when really there was an anger beneath the surface, there was a touch of betrayal lingering inside of him as well. The thought that they had told her, that they had been so comfortable in their plan- that's what upset him most. Everyone, it seemed, knew him too well.
The phone call didn't last much longer as he set down his phone and let out a shaky breath. He knew that he could easily call one of his actress friends, pick up a girl he didn't know, anything at all. Tell her to answer to Essie. He could even take a page out of his brother's book and pay someone. Anything to make his mom happy for this vacation. This time of year was always her favorite time, large groups of people they all considered family joining to celebrate, not just Christmas or anything like that but just celebrating being together, each other. This was too important to her. So finding anyone at all to 'fill the role' would be especially easy except all that he could think of was seeing Essie again. Somewhere inside his ruined heart he wanted her, wanted to look into those eyes again. He had yet to fully admit to himself that she was indeed someone he could see himself with. Shannon, or whoever had found her, had been more than right. Could he do that though? Put himself through that? Feeling as strongly as he felt for her and knowing that she was married? It was pretend wasn't it? And if Shannon, and everyone else really went through all that trouble to simply find her and have her entrance him then why let it fall to waste? It would also give her reason to obtain her fifty thousand.
Jared knew that he should have thought it out, knew that he shouldn't have tested his already fragile self by throwing himself into the fire but what could he do? He'd fallen for her just the way everyone pegged that he would. He needed to make his mother happy, needed to wipe away her worries.
Forgetting breakfast he tucked his phone into his pants and threw on his leather jacket, tucking a scarf around his neck and pulled on his boots. He was rushing out the door and heading down towards a taxi. He heard someone call his name but he didn't answer which made his phone start to go off. He looked down at the name as he hurriedly told the cabbie the address to that falling building. Shannon was calling and Jared turned his eyes out the window to see his brother standing there outside the front of the building with a bit of confusion in his eyes. Let go. He silenced the ringer and tucked it away again, watching the city pass him by outside the window. He wasn't even sure if she was still there, why she would linger behind like any of it had mattered. Everything I said it was real There was no way that she would stay there in that sorry room waiting for him to come back. Because what if he never did? Unless this was something that everyone had anticipated too.
The cab pulled up alongside the curb and Jared stepped out, putting bills into his hand before heading inside the building. The steps were taken a couple at a time before he reached the small and makeshift room. He didn't step inside, only peeked in through the slight ajar door. She wasn't inside. He was beginning to feel like he didn't want to see her again, didn't want to be faced with his mistake all over again. But despite the internal argument with himself he headed up to the roof and there he found her.
She looked so tired as she sat on the ledge, red hair blowing about her. She was alone, wasn't saying a thing, her chest rose and fell beneath the shirt that he hadn't bothered to take back.She looked so small against the backdrop of the massive city behind her. A lost and fallen soul that couldn't find her way, the same as him. He remembered her telling him that she had once thought about throwing herself down, that there had been a pact. No that was probably a lie too.
"Essie." He called out, hands burying themselves into his pockets. "If that's even your name."
She looked up and tried so hard it seemed not to look relieved, overwhelmed by him standing there. Everything she did was a lie, he didn't believe in any of it. "It is." She whispered, her voice so level. What the hell was she still doing here? Didn't she have a kid and a husband to go home to? Why was she sitting on the ledge of a roof carrying around evidence that she had been crying? Had she been hoping that he would come back? Had she seen the cab pull up, him step out? Was there relief in her heart because she was holding his eyes now? No, he couldn't and wouldn't believe that.
"Surprised to find you here still." He stated, blue eyes looking around the surroundings. Nothing felt alive anymore because inside, in this moment he had made himself run cold. She didn't entrance him, didn't let himself fall into her spell- or that was what he simply told himself. He knew that if she came over to him and wrapped her arms around him, bringing him close then things would be different. He would fall back into it, abandon everything including the truth.
"Surprised you came looking." She whispered, tucking her hair behind her ear. She looked ready to leave however, shoes were on, pants were on. Maybe she wasn't waiting for him at all. Maybe she just needed a breather from the life that she lived. Or maybe she needed to cope with the fact that she had just earned a whole shit ton of money for doing something so simple and so easy.
He nodded, hand reaching up to smooth out the tied strands of his hair. "I have-" he stopped, hesitating. She had a kid, why would she agree? He took a breath and took a couple of steps closer, holding her eyes. "How would you like to make fifty more thousand?" He asked and her eyes filled with confusion, brows tensing and lips parting to say something but he wouldn't let her question it. "Could you leave your daughter for a week?"