Why so much hostility? Read on, my lovelies.
The overwhelming stench of anti-septic met us at the entrance of the hospital and followed us as we made our way through the labyrinth of hallways and corridors. After getting lost, then redirected by a gracious orderly, we arrived at our destination: Room 493. My hands shook and twitched as my mouth ran dry./ I can't do this. /
Dirty opened the door and stood aside, waiting for me to stroll right on in.
"C'mon." He urged, slightly agitated.
"You first." Came my quick response. He rolled his eyes and followed up with a sigh before heading in. Meekly, I trailed in after him. The small TV perched in the corner quietly displayed some cheesy Lifetime Original Movie, no doubt depicting the tale of an abused woman who overcomes her tyrannical husband. As I expected, his mother was by his side. Her dark, aging face showed signs of stress and grief, magnified by fatigue. Her brown eyes widened upon seeing me. Pete followed her gaze and mimicked her surprised expression.
"Lola Renee Trohman, you get over here and give me a hug." The plump woman stood and embraced me warmly. "How have you been? Look how thin you've gotten, are you getting enough to eat?" I smiled and nodded. Typical mother.
"Don't I get a hug?" My eyes darted over to Pete, who was sitting up in his hospital bed and adjusting the angle with a remote control.
"Uh, I'm going to the cafeteria. I'll be back." Dirty said as he shrugged out of his winter coat. Um, no. You're not leaving me here.
"I'll go with you."/ What!?! Traitors!/ "Lol, will you stay with Peter?" I nodded. It was clearly a double, if not triple, team effort. Dirty and Dale left, leaving Pete, myself, and a whole lot of silence. I shed my jacket and placed it on a chair in the corner of the room before sitting down. The soft purr of the TV did little to mitigate the awkward, wordless void.
"So...how are you?" The question tumbled carelessly out of my mouth, immediately sounding stupid.
"Well, I'm not strapped to the bed anymore, so that's a plus." I frowned.
"Is this some kind of joke to you?" He shook his head. "Did you have a wonderful time making everyone worry about you?"
"Listen, I've gotten the same fucking speech from every single person who walked through that door. And I'll probably get it three more times when the guys get back from England. So save it, Lo." I crossed my arms over my chest, a defensive mannerism I adopted early in life. I knew this would happen. Why did I think we'd be civil considering how the relationship ended?
"Fine." I said simply.
"Fine."/ Aren't we a mature bunch. /Awkward silence seemed to scream at us, something neither of us were too familiar with. It was unbearable.
"Why Pete?" His hollow, dark eyes sunk into his gaunt face. The natural tan he usually sported was gone, replaced by a pasty, lifeless complexion.
"Do you know what's better than the next big thing?" He asked quietly, those eyes piercing mine. I shook my head. "The next big flop. People hold my words in their hearts. They expect great things from me. What if I can't deliver? What if I let them down? What if I let the guys down? My family, my friends, the fans...they're all depending on me. I can't do it, Lo, I can't fucking do it. It's too much for just one shitty kid from Wilmette." I sighed.
"You're not just some shitty kid from Wilmette, but you're certainly not the Messiah either. You can't believe your own hype." He grimaced.
"You don't understand."/ We can't have a nice conversation, can we?/
"You're right. I don't understand. I don't understand why you feel the need to turn everything into a production. You didn't have to consume an entire bottle of Ativan. You could have sat down with someone and talked it out."
"Talked it out with who? My someone headed for the West Coast." My mouth dropped.
"You heard me."/ That cocky piece of shit. /
"No. Absolutely not." I stood and frantically threw on my jacket.
"What are you doing?" He asked, panic blazon across his face.
"I'm leaving. I will not sit here and let you do this to me/ again." /
"Again? Lo, wait." I stopped, my hand on the door knob.
"When we broke up, you played the victim."
"What was I supposed to do? You broke up with me for Christ's sake."
"Because you were fucking Jeanae!" I screamed, flailing my arms like a lunatic. He seemed surprised by my outburst "To this day, people still treat me like a criminal for what I supposedly did to you."
"Like who?" He challenged.
"My own brother for one. And you wanna know the truly fucked up thing about it? He thinks I have something to do with your botched suicide attempt."
"Don't call it that." He whispered, not bothering to look at me. Perhaps he was ashamed, embarrassed for what he had done. And rightfully so.
"What do you want me to call it, Peter?"
"I don't know. But not that."
"Well, whatever it is, I will not be your scapegoat. Not after last time and definitely not for this."
"No one asked you to be my scapegoat. I never asked you to take the fall for me." As much as I hated to admit it, he was right. I didn't have to take the blame for the break up. I made it my cross to bear--not to save Pete, but to spare Joe. He loved the band. It was the first group he ever really believed in. If Joe knew what he did to me, my ex would be a dead man. Exposing Pete for the cheating, lying, backstabbing cunt he was would mean the demise of Fall Out Boy. And I couldn't do that to my brother. As far as our friends and family knew, I broke up with him because I wanted to be on my own for a while...not due to any infidelities on Pete's behalf. Joe had his suspicions, knowing there was something more to the story, but he didn't push it.
However, keeping it under wraps also meant I had to be civil to Jeanae, even after what she did. It killed me to pretend that I didn't loath her very existence; that she was a catalyst in the break-up and I couldn't punch her face off. And the worst part was...upon being meeting that girl, I instantly liked her. We met when we both worked at the same local salon. I even introduced her to Pete, adding salt to the wound. Obviously, it was naÃ¯ve on my part to not to see her as a threat. And I paid dearly.
If I had known he would play the role of the heartbroken protagonist and cast me as the bloodthirsty villain, I never would have lied. I would have sold him out in a second. Unfortunately, what's done is done. I can't go back now.
"You're right. I didn't. And if I could do it over again, I sure as fuck wouldn't make that mistake again. Everyone would know what a dirty, deceiving, worthless piece of shit you really are. Actually, now that I think about it, you and Jeanae are one in the same. I'm so happy you found each other." And with that, I turned and left, letting the door close behind me.
"I knew this was a bad fucking idea." I mumbled as I stormed down the hallway, my feet pounding angrily against the tiled floor. As I rounded the corner, I found myself face to face with Dale and Dirty.
"Where are you going, hon?" She asked, tilting her head to the side. Away from your mentally fucked son.
"I was...just going to check up on you guys." They seemed satisfied with my response.
"Here, I got this for you." Dirty held up a small container of coffee and a paper bag with, what I could only hope was, a doughnut inside of it. I smiled thankfully and grabbed my treats from him. With much reluctance, I followed them back to Pete's room, silently cursing the whole way.
"You go on in. I need to speak with Lola." What? This is not good. Not good at all.
"What's up, Dale?" I asked, watching Dirty disappear into the hospital room.
"Let's go for a walk." She said, starting to stroll away. Without hesitation, I followed. We walked in silence, allowing only the hum of the florescent lights to be heard.
"I really appreciate you coming all this way to see Peter. And I know it means a lot to him as well." I nodded slowly, focusing on my beat up Converse. "You were good for him. I knew it when you were dating and it became more apparent when you left."
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to-"
"Let me just make it clear that you are in no way responsible for this. Sweetheart, Pete's a big boy now. It's about time he took responsibility for his actions." It felt like a weight off my chest. Of everyone, I held Mrs. Wentz's opinion in the highest regard.
"But I'm worried about him. I'm worried about what he might do when he's alone. Even though he's living at home, his father works, I'm working, Hilary and Andrew are on their own." I had an idea of where this conversation was going, but denial is a bitch. "Now, I have a rather large favor to ask of you,"/ Here it comes. /"Would you consider, perhaps, moving into the spare bedroom and watching out for him?"
"Dale, I don't know. I mean, I didn't plan on staying out here for very long."
"I know, I know. You have a job and a whole life in Long Beach. But I need you. I trust you with him. I know you'll take care of him, that's why I'm asking this of you."/ Crap. How could anyone say no to that? /
"You know I would never do this for anyone but you, right?" She grinned widely, reminding me of Pete's infamous smirk. She quickly pulled me into a warm hug.
"Thank you so much, Lola."