“Pick up. Pick up. Pick up,” he muttered under his breath before his call went to voice mail. “Shit,” the word exploded from him.” He hadn’t expected Eddie to still be mad at him. He had expected the blond to come out and see him off before he left. Instead Rory had found himself glancing over towards Eddie’s trailer every so often hoping to catch a glimpse of him before he left. Maybe he should have gone over and said goodbye but it was Eddie who was being unreasonable not him. “Fine. Just Fine. If he’d rather sulk than talk that’s just fine.” The more he thought about it the angrier he became. It wasn’t his fault their plans were messed up. If Eddie hadn’t said he loved him none of this would be happening. Why did he have to go and make things complicated? A low moan escaped his lips as he tossed his phone down and flopped in a chair cradling his head.
The door opened into the meeting room and a young girl walked in. “Oh” she exclaimed in surprise to find someone in there.
“What are you doing here?” he snapped at her.
“I…I” she groped for words. She dropped the bundle she was carrying and scurried from the room.
Rory watched her retreating figure dimly aware he was taking his anger out on her. How could Trent like her of all people? His so-called sister. The one responsible for his current predicament. If it weren’t for her he’d still have two parents who loved each other. If it weren’t for her he wouldn’t have pushed Eddie away. Yeah it was all her fault.
Absently he inspected the T-shirts the girl had left behind. “They’re good aren’t they?” a familiar voice said behind him.
Shrugging Rory tossed the T-shirt aside “could be better” he mumbled refusing to acknowledge she had done a good job.
“What are you talking about?” Trent asked stepping further into the room “they’re great. Gayle did a fabulous job.”
“I don’t like them,” Rory snarled. Retrieving his phone from where he had tossed it he turned and left the room. If he had stayed another minute he would have had to listen to Trent expound upon why Gayle was doing such a good job. If he allowed himself to be honest the merch girl, his sister, was doing a good job. It irked him to have to admit that even to himself. He just wanted to hate her not find a reason to like her.
His finger jabbed the key that would dial the number that caused his heart to race in a mixture of anticipation and anger. He hoped that this time the blond would pick up. He needed to hear his voice. The irritating tone of his call going to voice mail had him wanting to smash the phone into the wall.
Liono and Milo were walking down the hall heads together talking in low tones. Rory was ensconced in grumbling at his phone, head down unaware of his surroundings knocked into Liono sending his band mate to the floor. “Hey watch it,” Liono yelled picking himself up.
Milo observing how distracted and irritable Rory was asked in concern “is something wrong?”
“Lover’s quarrel,” Liono quipped dusting himself off glaring at Rory.
“Oh is that why…” Milo slapped a hand of his mouth before he could say anything that would further push his friend over the edge. He had known something was up when Rory had shown up alone when previously he and Eddie had been inseparable.
Smirking a little Liono incautiously said “better watch it or Ramsey will swoop in and take that delicious blond off your hands.”
“What did you just say?” Rory demanded stepping closer, hands itching to hit someone even one of his oldest friends.
“Don’t get mad at me if you can’t keep your boyfriend satisfied. Bet he hasn’t even spoken to you since you left.” Liono knew he skating on thin ice but sometimes he just couldn’t help himself.
Rory bunched his shoulders curling his fingers into fists. The urge to hit was strong. If Milo hadn’t been there tugging on his arm. He might have given in to the urge to wipe the smirk from Liono’s face. Instead he stepped back breathing hard, he shrugged off Milo’s restraining hand and walked towards his room. Searching his pockets for his room key he could hear Milo and Liono talking.
“Did you have to do that?”
“Do what?” Liono asked making a pretense at innocence.
“You know. Rub it in that Eddie isn’t here…”
“I’m just returning the favor,” Liono said walking away.
Rory stood outside his room trembling. He understood Liono’s animosity towards him. He had been relentless with his jokes and witty quips when Liono had broken up with his then girlfriend. What did he know about Ramsey? Was he right that the guy would make a play for Eddie?
Turning from his door he found himself going towards Bruce’s room. He had insisted that Bruce come to acquaint himself on how they did things so that when he had to sub for one of them he would know what to do. He pounded on the guys door until someone opened it to him. He sucked in a large breath upon sight of the disheveled appearance of the blond. His eyes were bloodshot and swollen, hair going every which way and standing on end.
“If the hotel isn’t on fire…” his voice faded “oh it’s you.”
Rory attempted to look over Bruce’s shoulder into the room beyond. Giving up he asked “where’s Ramsey?”
Crossing his arms Bruce shrugged “how the hell should I know?” He moved to close the door in Rory’s face.
“Wasn’t he supposed to come with you?” Rory demanded blocking the door.
“That was the plan…”
But he’s not here..”
“Obviously,” Bruce rolled his eyes “look if you came to gloat or to say getting involved with him was mistake you can just leave.”
Scratching his head Rory sighed “I didn’t know I’m sorry.”
“My dad tried to warn me,” Bruce stepped aside allowing Rory inside “I didn’t want to listen. I thought I finally found someone as into me as I was into him.”
“You and Ramsey broke out?”
Waving his arms around the room “he’s not here.” A surge of panic swept through Rory. Was that why Eddie wasn’t answering his calls?
“Said he wasn’t ready to be in a relationship yet,” Bruce replied needing to tell someone “I hadn’t realized anything was wrong or that he and Eddie had been that serious. Eddie never mentioned anything. Next thing I know Ramsey wouldn’t even answer my calls.” He wiped a hand across his face “I should have known I was just the rebound guy.” He snapped his mouth shut as if realizing he who he was talking to. “Where’s Eddie?”
“Wish I knew,” Rory mumbled “I think we broke up.”
“What do you mean you think?” Bruce demanded angry on behalf of his childhood friend.
Staring at the floor Rory mumbled “he said he loved me. I couldn’t say it back. I told him I didn’t want him to come with me this even though I knew he had taken time off to be with me. I told him I needed time alone. That I’d make it up to him.”
“You really are stupid,” Bruce glared at the guy “Ramsey kept saying you didn’t know the gem you had. That you wouldn’t see it until after you broke Eddie’s heart.” Laughing bitterly “I guess he was right.” Shaking his head Bruce laughed at Rory’s pathetic stunned expression “whether you intended to or not you just opened the door wide open for Ramsey to waltz right in and take the prize.”
Eddie stared at his phone as Rory’s name popped up again. Sighing he tossed his phone on the bed lacking the energy to deal with him. Not after the sleepless night he just had. He had spent most of the night hoping Rory would call or knock on his door to apologize. Groaning he tossed the tangled blankets aside. Standing he stretched his tired muscles before shuffling off to take a shower. He hoped the hot water and steam would be enough to either wake him up or relieve the pressure inside his head.
Feeling no better after his shower he listlessly searched the refrigerator for something to eat lacking the energy to cook. He didn’t feel like eating but his stomach was rumbling, telling him that he should eat. He settle upon leftover lasagna. While he waited for it to heat up in the seldom used microwave, he wished he had the brain power to reinvent the lasagna into something else, like the episode of Chopped he watched once.
He took a couple of bites before he pushed the plate away unable to take another bite. Memories from the day before flooded his mind before everything turned to shit. He could he Rory’s enthusiastic praise of his cooking abilities. It hurt to look at the congealing lasagna. He got up muttering to himself about the nonsense of tossing out perfectly good food just because of the memories it brought up. It didn’t do any good as he emptied his plate into the trash and retrieved the remaining lasagna from the refrigerator and tossed that as well. He probably wouldn’t be able to eat lasagna again. It would forever remind him of Rory.
Sighing he flopped on the couch turning the TV on. He spent several minutes flipping through channels only to wind up on the same channel he started from. The Food Channel. It was some episode he had seen before about a bunch of chef’s competing for their own show. He wondered what it would be like to have his own show. To be filmed and watched not only for his cooking skill but for his personality. Snorting he knew that would never be him. He’d never be able to stand in front of a camera without turning into a bumbling idiot, stuttering and choking on his words. He envied Rory and his band their ease of performing in front of large crowds.
Moaning he turned the TV off unable able to watch others doing what he could only dream about. He laid on the couch hiding his face in the crook of his arm. Rory was right he was unlovable, too needy. The wrong fit for just about everything that made Rory who he was. He could feel the oppressive silence of the house as it sucked the life right out of him.
Jumping to his feet the silence and his thoughts that kept replaying the words he said the day before haunting him. He couldn’t stay there. He had to get out. No matter what he wished had happened nothing would change the reality. Rory had left. No apology. No second glance. No regret. Who would have thought saying “I love you” to someone would cause so much damage? He may never say them again. He may forever doubt his feelings and cringe upon hearing those words in the future. He had never felt so rejected or stripped raw before. He had nothing left to cling to.
He grabbed his keys as the need to get out of the house overwhelmed him. He didn’t know where he was going until he found himself parked a block or so from the beach. The same beach he and Ramsey and spent a magical evening together at. It had been their first date. He allowed his feet to take him along the same path they had walked that night. The memories of that night brought a temporary smile to his lips. Had he made a mistake in choosing Rory? He should just leave before he allowed himself to think along those lines. He turned to leave when behind him a familiar voice called his name. Sighing he turned saying “what are you doing here?”