Love can consign us to hell or to paradise, but it always takes us somewhere.
~ Paulo Coelho
“What the fuck is your hussy ass doing in my bedroom?! I told you to wait in the living room!” Blake’s voice was deep and throaty with anger.
“But this is much, much more private and romantic …” purred the attractive woman as she tried to unbutton his shirt with obvious intend.
Roughly he plucked her hands off himself, stepped out of reach, his facial expression was revolted.
Not that spiel again.
Women really were mostly gold digging whores in his book. At least the ones he has been exposed to over the past years.
Their numbers doubled when his nomination to the Starlight Accolades was announced.
“Do you not like me? Am I not pretty enough?” the woman cooed, apparently fishing for compliments.
“You’re all right, I guess, in the grand scheme of things …” Blake shrugged disengaged, hoping that would discourage her enough. Women like her constantly wanted to be complimented, wined and dined, anything less usually sent them running for the hills. No luck for Blake with that tactic this time.
“Just all right? I bet if I took my clothes off you’d change your mind – fast …” she purred, suggestively rubbing her hands over her breasts, her sparse clothing already left little to the imagination.
“Keep your fake utters wrapped up. I am not in the mood to burn my junk trying to screw some nasty brainless hoes with every STD known to mankind tonight! Today. This morning. Afternoon? Screw it! Not anytime of day. So, take your hussy friends and get the fuck out!” he barked at the woman as he passed her on his way back into the living room.
Three other women were lingering around the living area of his penthouse and looked up at him rushing by, they and the one in the bedroom were the last remnants from a party at his place that had started sometime during the course of the previous day.
Everyone else had left by now and Blake had woken up still dressed, laying in his shower. Alone.
Thank goodness, as he could not remember one little thing, least of all how he got there or why.
All he knew was that he had a raging headache from a monster hangover, so he grabbed a handful of pain meds and went to get coffee then looked with disgust at the models scattered across his living room.
He was pretty rude to them, then tried to get away from them and get a shower and fresh clothes. When he got back into his bedroom, one of them was there, which upset him tremendously.
Naturally the other girls had heard him yelling at their friend in the bedroom and were really upset, which he ignored as he poured himself a drink ignoring their tirades entirely, while slamming one drink and already pouring another. Someone once said the quickest cure for a hangover is to drink more. Blake was gonna put that to the test.
He decided on a big water glass for his whiskey instead, poured and chugged down, drowning out the insults of the angered model and her friends, who were collecting their things, then left, not without leaving Blake another tirade, finishing with a resounding
“I hate you, you arrogant asshole!” yelled before slamming the penthouse door shut.
“Makes two of us. And don’t forget to pick a number, line is getting longer by the day.” Blake mumbled to himself, then downed another whiskey shot.
He gazed at his guitar, sighed.
The quiet in his home was now suffocating him, so he shrugged and called his driver. Alone at home was not a good place for him tonight.
Not with all the whiskey in the world.
Better get drunk in public, that would give his manager and his PR team something to groom to keep his shitty reputation nice and horrid.
Tonight was a good night for that, he had felt this inner unease, built-up anger boiling within. Maybe he’d get into some brawl or something too. He could blow off some steam and it would give his manager’s legal team something to do.
Blake heard the typical bar sounds echoing back from the front of the building, as he snuck into one of his favorite hangouts. Since he was a celebrity, he was allowed to enter through the backdoor to avoid the crowds and paparazzi.
Right as he entered he heard a new talent being announced, but paid no attention. It was amateur night at the bar, Blake liked to watch it, reminding himself how he got started. Music was still his biggest passion, while acting paid the bills.
He heard a nice tune, a familiar one, while he was talking to one of the bouncers, when the crowd – by now most were already very drunk – yelled crude remarks at the performer about singing too quietly.
Blake remembered how that felt. Takes a lot to belt out in front of a room full of people who don’t know you, and being jeered didn’t help.
“Take off your clothes!” he heard one man yell.
“Yeah, give us something!” another chimed in.
“You look like a fish underwater, mouth moving, nothing coming out!” came another voice.
“I’ll give her something to put in that mouth!” another bawdy remark came.
Laughter roared, totally drowning out the performance.
Poor girl, Blake thought and decided to peek through the curtain at the pitiful newcomer.
After he did, he told the bouncer standing behind him.
“Hey Joe, you mind if I borrow one of your extra strings?” he asked pointing at one of the guitars usually standing around backstage.
“Knock yourself out, boss.”
“Not your boss, dude, and thanks.” Blake told him as he grabbed the instrument, plucking a few strings to check the tuning.
Suddenly the jeering stopped, a surprised silence freezing the audience, the sounds of a guitar played by someone who had mastered it and Blake walking on stage taking a seat on a bar stool, then started to sing along with her, making her quiet song a duet – and significantly louder.
The girl turned to him, smiled, recognition in her eyes as they began to perform together with an old familiarity. Her confidence level rose significantly.
This wasn’t the first time Blake and Hailey made music together, just the first time on a stage, if you didn’t count their karaoke duets as teens.
By the time the song was done, the crowd called for more, Blake shrugged, which was a question aimed at her, Hailey smiled and nodded.
They agreed on a real duet quickly.
When that ended, they got standing ovations as they exited the stage.
Blake returned the borrowed guitar, then just left Hailey standing there without another word or glance.
“Where are you going?!” Hailey asked in that soft voice, giving him chills. Pleasant ones.
“Bar. Need a drink. That’s what I came here for.” his tone was purposely detached.
“You don’t want to talk?” she asked.
Blake turned and walked off.
She didn’t catch up with him until he already ordered, standing at the bar.
“Why are you being so rude?” she asked.
“How? The reason I came here is to drink. Which is what I am doing.”
“Why did you help me?”
“Cos you needed it. Badly.” his tone was purposely sarcastic.
“Uh – seriously? Can you stop being Drake for a moment, please?”
“Nope, not tonight, honey.” Blake said oozing sarcasm, downing an entire shot of whiskey, then another, ordering a third with a small hand movement, but Hailey held his hand before he could drink, pulled the glass from him and poured it out on the floor.
“Stop it!” she urged.
“Don’t ever do that again!” he warned, glancing at her angrily, then waved at the barkeep for a new drink.
“Why are you …”
Hailey was interrupted by women piling up around Blake/Drake, throwing themselves at him, asking for pictures, autographs, giving him unmistakable looks and some even straight-out offers.
Hailey looked angry, watching it for a while, hoping it would seize, but never did.
“Can we go now? You promised to screw me all night!” she said loudly, everybody froze, staring at her.
The words just did not match the girl who said them.
Even Blake stared on, when he didn’t move, Hailey began to undo her top.
Blake stopped her, then pulled her along out back, roughly, by the arm to a quiet hidden and dark spot in the parking lot.
“What the hell do you think you are doing?” he asked her roughly.
“Matching my company.” she looked at him defiantly.
“We are not ‘company’. You sucked at performing, so I helped out. Far as that goes. The end.”
“You know that is a fucking steaming heap of horseshit!” she went off on him.
“Did you spend a year with sailors? Or is that new boyfriend of yours the captain on some cruise liner for hippies with Tourette’s? You don’t even sound like yourself. Since when do you curse or get undressed in public like some cheap lot lizard?!”
“Neither do you, Drake/Blake or whoever the heck you are trying to be now! And what boyfriend?”
“Don’t try that, Hailey. The dude you live with. Boyfriend, fiance, fuck buddy, whatever you call that among you tree hugging retards! That one! You women really are all the same. Even you!”
“Are you too drunk to get anything anymore? Or is sex literally the only thing you can think of these days?! He is a friend. That’s it. Some of us are capable of controlling their primal urges!”
“Oh yeah? A friend who knows your shower habits in great detail?”
“So does my brother, my mother, my father … you wanna accuse me of stuff with them too? Little incest for good measure? Since everything is sexual now for the big Mr. Superstar?!”
“If the boat floats. I gotta go now.” Blake turned to walk away.
“I am coming with.”
“Like hell you are.”
“Is everything all right over here?” a cop had taken notice and approached them.
Blake was fuming, apparently weighing off his response to make sure the office didn’t notice how many whiskeys he had inhaled by now, when Hailey smiled at the policeman and told him.
“Oh absolutely, thank you for checking, officer. My date here and I forgot where we parked, and it is so scarily dark here, would you mind seeing us to my car, for safety?”
“Of course, Miss. Was it this parking lot?”
Blake was upset, but a small grin appeared in one mouth corner when his and Hailey’s eyes met, as if telling her, nicely played, as he got into the passenger seat of her car, the police officer still standing by until she drove off.
None of them spoke for a while, him trying to process his very unusual night through the alcohol fogging up his brain, when he realized they had been on the highway and were now way outside Del Sol Valley.
“Hailey, where are you driving to?”
“Just relax. Long drive ahead. Here, have something non-alcoholic to drink to help you out.”
Blake shook his head, but took a big gulp from the bottle she handed him. He did feel parched from all the whiskey shots, those at the bar were only a continuation of what he got started before leaving his penthouse.
Watching the scenery fly by on the highway made him very sleepy.
When he woke up it was light. Morning. The car was not moving.
He was in the passenger seat, his back and neck stiff, as he realized when he shot straight up. He heard a metallic clank and realized it was the gas pump turning off automatically, right as he watched Hailey coming out of a convenience store with a plastic sack.
She undid the pump and entered on the driver side, handing the sack to him.
“Food and beverages. Their coffee looked pitiful, not in the mood to have us get diarrhea so I passed, sorry. We’ll only stop when we really have to. If you gotta pee, do it now, or you’ll have to hold it out the window on the highway later.” she giggled.
“Hailey what the hell is this?! Where are we?”
“Almost to Oasis Springs. But we’re not going there. Got another 3-4ish hours left. Drove all night like a crazy person. Lucky we didn’t get a ticket. You would be a bit tough to explain.” she chuckled as she fastened her seat belt and started the car.
“Did you … drug me?”
“I can’t answer that without my lawyer present. Worked though, didn’t it? It shut you up long enough to make it all the way here.”
“Hailey, have you lost your mind?! I cannot just disappear! What were you thinking?! I have things scheduled, contracts I am bound to. I cannot just up and leave! Take me to the airport in Oasis Springs. NOW!” Blake demanded.
Hailey already steered the car back towards the freeway.
“Hailey!” Blake called out to get her attention.
She shook her head and briefly looked at him with those eyes that still got to him, then shrugged, put on the blinker and pulled over.
“No.” she looked him straight in the eye.
“No, I won’t take you to the airport. Not now. You and I will talk, in peace, first. Somewhere where nobody will bother us, where nobody tries to get in your pants, somewhere where there is no cell phone coverage. Talk. Brass tax. If you still want to leave then, I will drive you to the airport right away. But not before. This is me being a friend, cos you need one badly Blake, and I need answers which only you can give me. Not more, not less.” she told him.
“This is still … kidnapping. And you drugged me, that’s illegal … singing publicly without any practice, you tried to get undressed in a bar … Hailey who the hell are you these days?” Blake was truly shocked.
“It’s not who, but what I am. And that would be desperate. I tried to do this the regular way. Turns out if your ex suddenly is a celebrity, that’s a lot harder. Your old phone number no longer works. Your chat account shows disabled, emails bounce back. I finally came to Del Sol Valley to see you, but I just couldn’t get to you. Even your damn apartment complex is gated and the security guards refused to even call you to tell you I wanted to see you. Whatever I tried, there was no getting through. But I remembered on the islands you told me about that club you still went to sometimes, the one you once took me to when I came to see you when I was 16. So that is where I went. Every damn night. Last night, through the window of the ladies room, I saw your driver drop you off out back. Since nobody else dared to, I took the stage, knowing you wouldn’t be able to resist helping. Do I know you, or what?”
“Why all that? All those men … the awful things they said to you … why did you do that to yourself? You knew you weren’t ready to perform like that.”
“I told you in Sulani that I still love you, and always will. I tried to hate you. Believe you me, I tried. Have every reason to. Tried to date. But I don’t want them. I want you. No worries there either, you sex pod, that’s not what this is about. Once bitten, twice shy. I am not going there again with you anytime soon, this is all platonic. But I need answers – or closure, whichever applies after we talked. So … desperate times call for desperate measures, as my mom always says. Hence the drugged drink knocking you out. All natural, so don’t worry. There is a plant in Sulani the natives use against insomnia. No side effects. For what it’s worth, you look a lot better this morning, guess your body needed good rest.”
Blake didn’t say anything, simply because he couldn’t. Was this a really weird dream? Him dreaming of Hailey wasn’t so unusual, but never like this. He smiled but then the memory came back and he asked rudely
“Wait! What about your boyfriend?”
“Don’t play coy. The dude you live with.” his tone was upset.
“River? He is my roomie.”
“Knows your shower habits pretty well after – and I quote – you two got busy all night.”
Blake had never forgotten those words. He could still hear River say them, the exact scene burned into his mind.
Hailey began to laugh, a pleasant, crystal clear sound, and usually very contagious to Blake.
“I do not see how that is funny!” he complained, jealousy raging within him.
“You’re right. Ironic is more like it. Firstly, you of all people are not one to point the finger, even if River and I were together like that. Which we are not. He has a girlfriend. And what he meant when he told you what he told you was that I helped him rescue sea turtle hatchlings from poachers after I left you. He sent me a text, and I couldn’t bring myself to wake you, you looked so peaceful, but I left you the jetski. The turtles, they’re protected, endangered, and saving them is a lot of work. I was filthy and exhausted afterwards. River is a sweetheart, but totally socially inept and not much into personal hygiene, so any shower is too long in his book. I think that is the one and only thing he and I ever fight about. And River is so chill, he never fights with anyone. Except water preservation.”
“Turtles?” Blake had a hard time processing.
“Yes, sea turtles. I can show you pictures from that night. Which is all our cell phones will be good for when we get to where we are going, so if you want to send your manager or whomever you answer to these days some excuse on why he shouldn’t file a missing person’s report, do it now, while you have coverage and battery charge.”
“You taking me to the moon?” he chuckled, giving in to his current fate.
“Even more remote. You’ll see.” she winked at him, smiling.
“Fine. Be quiet when he picks up, and I am going to dish up some serious tale when on the phone. Just roll with it, ok?” Blake dialed, shaking his head, a smile curling up the corners of his lips. Now he wanted to see where all this was going and what else Hailey had in store.
Somehow he really started to enjoy this and while he wouldn’t admit this, he was more than grateful she had done what she did. He needed to get out – if only for a few days – but was stuck in a riptide and hadn’t been able to, which was making him crazier by the hour.
Hailey was his lifesaver.
… to be continued in the next post, which will pick up right here.