I’m still sitting in Thomas’s trailer as he is off doing the second interview for the day. I guess the nice part of this whole trip, we aren’t being carted all over Vancouver today. The sucky part, I’ve been stuck in this damn trailer all damn day, and I’m starting to get cabin fever.
Thomas was able to sneak back to the trailer between his interviews, and Travis left us to stand outside so we could have alone time. Alone time that consisted of us cuddling up onto the couch. His arm wrapped around me as I laid my head onto his chest. Listening to the soothing rhythm of his heartbeat. The moment only lasted for an hour before Travis was knocking at the trailer door because Thomas was being summoned for his second interview.
A knock we both ignored. I didn’t want him to leave, and Thomas wasn’t in any rush to go answer, I’m sure, the same twenty questions.
Lucky for us, the next time the trailer door opened, it was Andrew coming into the trailer to resummon Thomas after he ignored the first call. It was almost a somber moment as Thomas kissed me before leaving. I could sense that something was off. Telling me he’s not having a good day today, and with his schedule, I’m not sure when I’ll be able to sneak us away for a private moment to speak. I hope that with Andrew with him, he’ll be able to talk to Thomas and keep his sobriety intact while I’m stuck here in the trailer.
Maybe I should leave and find out which studio the interview is being conducted in. I mean, my excuse for leaving could be because I’m starving. But I know I won’t make it out of the damn door, not with Travis sitting nearby.
Rummaging through Thomas’s mini-fridge in his trailer, I find a small bottle of sparkling water, a yogurt, some protein snack packs, and a protein shake, which looks disgusting and slightly moldy. On second thought, that could be a usual look for this brand of protein shake.
Grabbing the sparkling water and the protein snack pack, I inhaled the food with ease. It’s barely enough to curb my sudden onset hunger, but it will have to do until I can grab something at the airport.
Sitting back down on the couch, I take a swig out of the sparkling water before sitting it on the side table beside the sofa, and I bring my laptop back to life. It’s been a few hours since the last time I checked my email, and I’m sure the mailbox I emptied is, once again, full.
It’s a never-ending cycle. Empty out the inbox. Two hours later, you have three hundred unread messages from execs always wanting something from Thomas and some D-list entertainment show wanting an exclusive. An exclusive that they’re not going to get. Opening up my email, there are just over four hundred.
Groaning out, I catch Travis’s eyes before he diverts back to his cellphone, and I notice an interesting email from Pearl. She’s not one to usually contact me by email. However, if she feels the need to reach out, she goes through Valerie.
Opening the email, it’s short, sweet, and threatening.
You’ll retrieve what belongs to me, or I’ll release what’s on this beautiful black USB that I was gifted. The choice is yours. If you want another media storm, I’ll be happy to assist.
My stomach twists in knots. Pearl has them. She has the god damn photos, and she’s going to release them. I have no idea what the hell she wants or why she wants whatever it is she thinks belongs to her. Nor do I have any plans on retrieving the item. I’m not stupid. I know whatever she wants, she believes she’s entitled to because of something Thomas’s dad has told her. But I will not be blacked mail not again.
I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for the pictures that could potentially be released, the videos. The world will see it all. I can already see the headlines and immense shame and sudden stardom I’ll catapult my family into. My dad once asked me how much more I could drag the family name through the mud; well, how about nationally.
Suddenly, tears of fear and panic start to gloss my eyes, and my stomach twists and flips on itself, forcing itself up into my throat. Shit, I’m going to be sick.
Throwing my laptop to the couch, I bolt into the tiny little bathroom and hurl up the snack pack I just ate. My hair following around my face as I attempt in a sad fashion to keep it out of the bowl as every muscle within my body contracts. I feel someone behind me, pulling my hair out of my hold and keeping it out of the way. I know it’s Travis standing behind me because if it were Thomas, I’d feel this warmth, this pull pulling me out of my retching.
Hugging the toilet, I rest my head against the ledge, trying to catch my breath.
“Ryann,” Travis’s voice is soft as he squats beside me. “Are you okay?”
Nodding my head, “Sorry, I’m just queasy. Haven’t eaten much.”
I watch him get back to his feet and hear the faucet being turned on before a glass is shoved in my face, “Liar. This is coming from the woman who swears coffee is a food group. What’s going on?”
Leaning against the small confines of the bathroom wall, I take the water cup before downing it. The water is cool and soothing, and welcoming. “If I tell you, you’ll tell Thomas.”
“Depends, but considering what’s been going on, yes.”
Rolling my eyes, I exhale out in frustration. I don’t want any more added stress being placed onto Thomas. I don’t want him to do anything drastic, and I know he will once he finds out what Pearl just sent me.
Shaking my head, “Then, no.”
“Fine, I’ll just find out,” I watch with horror as Travis gets to his feet and walks out into the central part of the trailer, plopping himself down on the couch and opening up my laptop. I scramble out of the bathroom after him in an attempt to....well, I don’t know because I can tell by the way his eyes are moving from left to right that he’s reading. And with his jaw ticking and his face forming hard lines, I know he’s pissed, and I know he’ll tell Thomas.
“Ryann, I have to tell Thomas.”
Tears start falling from my face, and my head starts shaking frantically, pleading with him not to. “No, please. I’m begging you. Don’t tell Thomas. I’ve put him....”
“Ryann, enough,” Travis states firmly. “I have to tell Thomas, and he will do what he needs to done. But, I cannot keep this away from him, and neither should you.”
Shaking my head again, “He’ll do something drastic. He’ll ransack her house, her office. He’ll....”
“As he should, and I’ll be right there with him too to make sure he doesn’t get into any legal trouble. But Pearl is grasping at straws, and she’s looking for any way to regain the control that she no longer has.”
“I did that,” I say with a sullen tone. “She blames me. Why? I helped Thomas. I’m helping him. I don’t understand Travis. Why do these things keep happening to me?”
Travis sighs as he closes my laptop and sets it off to the side, and pats for me to join him on the couch. Taking a seat next to him, I collapse my head into my hands as the familiar feeling of needing to run takes over again. “Ryann, you didn’t do anything that wasn’t already in the works. Pearl sees Chad in Thomas, and she’s trying to hold onto that or was attempting to conform him to be more like his dad. Thomas is nothing like his dad, and I think you know that.” From what Thomas has told me of his father, he is nothing like him. Thomas looks so much like his mom. And I know with how his grandparents talk about their daughter and Thomas; he is so much like Helena. “This is Pearl’s sad attempt at seeing how far she can go, and unfortunately for her, she crossed the line long ago. Now she’ll have to deal with Thomas.”
The line was crossed the moment she started sleeping with Thomas’s dad. Helena tried to do what was best for her family by getting her and Thomas out of California. I’m petrified that Pearl is desperate enough that she’ll do anything to keep Thomas in her life.
“Travis, you can’t tell him. Not while we’re traveling. He’s gonna....” I’m full-on freaking out trying to develop a plan that doesn’t involve Thomas finding out about this email. I’m trying to figure out how to convince Travis not to tell him either. But I can tell by the look in his eyes, no amount of convincing will change his mind.
“Ryann, I know how Thomas is going to react. It’s the same way I want to react, but I can’t. Not unless I resign. I can’t promise that Thomas won’t do something substantial. But what I can promise you is that I will make sure he comes back home to you.”
I try to hold back my tears, but it’s useless. “Is that supposed to help ease my mind? To make me feel better?”
Travis sighs, “No. But it’s the truth of what’s going to happen. When we get back to California, I’ll tell him about Pearl. Or you can. That is the best I can do for you. After we get back, he needs to know.”
“Thank you.” Is all I can manage to whisper because I wasn’t expecting him even to consider waiting to tell Thomas about the email.
“You’re welcome, but I’m only agreeing to this because I can tell Thomas is having a rough day today. I know you see it too.” I nod my head in agreement, and I want to find Thomas and pull him away from the rest of the day, to take away the stress of whatever is going on away. “And no, I don’t know what’s going on. He wouldn’t say, and neither would Andrew.”
Great. Just fucking great. Something must have happened on set.
Leaning back on the couch, I crane my head up at the ceiling and count to ten. Over and over again until I’m interrupted by a loud knock at the trailer door, startling me and making me jump off the couch. Travis arches a brow at the door; clearly, visitors weren’t even on his radar. “Are you expecting someone?”
I shake my head as Travis gets to his feet to answer the door just as another round of banging rings out. “Oh, TomTom, we need to finish what we started. You can’t leave me all wet and bothered.” I know that voice. I recognize that voice. “Come on, TomTom. Open up. I know you’re in there, baby.”
I fucking hate the nickname she calls him. It’s seriously nails on a god damn chalkboard.
Storming past a frozen Travis who seems to be debating if he even wants to open the door, I throw the trailer door open. Startling an overly dolled up Martha. Her hair curled to perfection, with her lips painted in a nude shade of pink. She’s wearing a tight spaghetti-strapped leopard print tank top with the front slightly tucked into her torn tight jeans. She must have just gotten done with a scene or an interview. Though, I wasn’t made aware of her being in the same damn vicinity as Thomas today. I was under the impression that I had until tomorrow to get my jealous rage under check.
And this would be the reason for his mood. Martha.
“Is there something I can help you with?” I snark. Hiding my dislike from her is pointless. I don’t like her, and I don’t like the fact that she keeps throwing herself all over Thomas. He’s not interested. He was never interested in her, and she knows that.
“Ohh,” Martha says, slightly surprised to see me, and then points to me with a slight smile on her face. “Ryann, right? I’ve read so much about you.” And I’m sure you have. “Is TomTom here? We need to talk.”
“No. THOMAS is not here.”
“Oh, come on. I know you’re his gatekeeper and all. Just let him come to the door.” She says slowly with a sickeningly sultry tone.
How much trouble will I get in if I actually through my shoe at her? I mean, I shouldn’t get into too much trouble, they’re only flats.
“Like I said before, Martha,” I spite her name out with my annoyance. “He is not here. And when he comes back to the trailer...” She starts to smile, waiting for me to say I’ll let him know you’d stop by, but the bitch is sadly mistaken. “I won’t tell him you stop by.”
That smile on her face falls. “Huh, excuse me? This is urgent.”
“The blowjob you’re only dreaming of performing won’t happen,” I say with so much enthusiastic sarcasm that I feel Travis move closer behind me. Ready to stop me from jumping from the trailer steps and tackling Martha to prove a point.
Martha snarks out a laugh, “Oh, honey, honey. This whole fad thing Thomas has going with you is just that. A fad. He’ll get bored with you just like he does with all his other fuck toys.”
“Fuck you,” I spit. “You don’t know shit. You’re so consumed with the false narrative you can’t see what’s in front of you.”
Martha lets out an indignant laugh, “Aww, this is so sad. The poor assistant from a back wood town where her only achievement was becoming Easy Anderson.” I can feel the color in my face partially drain as I attempt to keep myself standing. “What? Is that still a hard truth to swallow? But you should be used to swallowing. A pro, really from what I’ve read.”
“Martha!” Her name is barked from across the studio lot with harsh warning tones. I watch her jump as her eyes go wide. She knows she’s not supposed to be here, and she knew Thomas was at an interview. I’m not sure what her purpose was in coming here.
To insult me? To see if she could piss me off and that I’ll strike. Well, she hit the nail on the head with the latter option.
“Oh, there you are, TomTom. I’ve been looking all over for you.” She coos as he approaches. She attempts to wrap an arm around his neck only to have Thomas swat her arm away like an annoying damn fly that won’t leave you alone.
“And I told you to stay away,” he warns. “Leave. I will not ask you again.”
Martha pouts her lips as she closes the distance between them. Thomas stops her by taking hold of her forearms firmly. “But baby, don’t you want to finish what we started?”
I nearly choke on the air I’m breathing, causing a devious smile to dance across Martha’s face. I’m ready to wedge my way between her and Thomas and plant a fucking kiss to his lips. To make it known that he’s mine and for her to keep her fucking hands-off.
I feel Travis hand me my bag filled with my belongings. I look at him, slightly confused, “I need to get you to the car.”
What? Since when? “I’m not leaving without Thomas,” I say loud enough for all parties to hear.
“Ryann, go with Travis.” His voice is deep and filled with an authoritative, demanding tone. A tone he very rarely has ever taken with me.
“Thom....” I start, but I’m immediately cut off.
“Damn’t, Ryann. For once, do as your fucking told and don’t argue.”
Feeling dismissed and brushed back into the closet with such ease, I follow Travis out of the trailer and towards the awaiting black sedan off in the distance. I can feel Thomas’s gaze on my back, urging me to look at him, but I refuse. If he wants to keep me hidden, keep us hidden, then that is his choice. But I’m not sure how much longer I can keep us a secret. Not with people like Martha throwing themselves at him.
I need to stake my claim because I will not sit idly by any longer. I’m done playing and feeling helpless.