I can’t believe he’s here. Conrad is here, in my room with me. He’s on top of me, kissing me and it feels so good. There’s a part of me that knows that I need to stop this right now, to tell him to go, but I can’t. I know this is basically cheating on Dane right now, betraying him in the worst way possible. I’m warring within myself between what is right and what I want. Oh damn it!
“Conrad, stop,” I breathe, making a weak attempt at pushing him away.
But it’s just enough that Conrad stops kissing me and pulls away. His eyes are dark and full of need, surely mirroring my own right now.
“What’s wrong?” he asks softly.
“We can’t do this, not tonight,” I say, even though I hate to do it.
Conrad sits back on his heels, and nods.
“Okay,” he says simply.
“Okay? That’s it?”
“What more is there to say Syd? I understand why we can’t do this.”
He nods again and stands up and then puts his jeans back on. I try not to stare too hard at his body, it’s still as beautiful as I remember it. I need to be tough here. I get up and start putting my clothes back on before I change my mind.
“You’re with Dane.”
“Well...yeah,” I say, “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be. I knew there was a chance that you would have moved on, though I never thought it’d be with him.”
“It’s new. We reconnected a couple months ago. He’s changed a lot,” I explain, feeling guilty, but I’m not sure if I should feel that way. I’m so freaking confused.
Conrad shakes his head and chuckles, but its humorless.
“I’d bet good money that he hasn’t, in fact I’d bet everything I have.”
“That’s quite a bet, you’ll go broke,” I offer.
“No, I think I’d double down.”
I frown at him then, he doesn’t know Dane like I do.
“You don’t know him,” I argue, “People change, grow and mature. He’s learned from his mistakes Conrad. He knows he was wrong back then but it’s water under the bridge now.”
“Is it now? So what, do you want to be with him Syd?”
I want you, Conrad, but I’m scared, and I want to make you squirm a little bit. I know it’s unfair but...
“I don’t know,” I say instead. Conrad’s expression looks like I just kicked him in the stomach.
“You don’t know?”
“Well it’s just that Dane is steady, I know I can count on him to stick around.”
Gut kick number two. Conrad doesn’t say anything, instead he just stares at me like he doesn’t know what to say.
“I’m not going anywhere,” he finally says.
“Really? I’ve heard that before, Conrad. And what about your band? You’re going to have to go back to them eventually and then you’ll be gone again for who knows how long.”
“Forget the fucking band, Syd,” he growls, “I’ll quit right fucking now if that’s what you want from me.”
“No, that’s not what I want from you, Conrad. What I wanted was for you to never break up with me in the first place. What I wanted was to still be with you despite you being away a lot, I told you that, and you still left me because of some stupid idea in your head that I needed some type of college experience that didn’t involve you. Well, that was a big ol’ bust.”
Conrad starts running his hands through his hair.
“Sydney please, you can’t choose him,” he pleads, “I’m here, I’m yours. I always have been, I made a mistake, a horrible judgment call.”
I think I see moisture forming his eyes, but he blinks it away. It hurts me to hurt him this way, but I want him to feel even a tiny hint of how much he hurt me.
“I just...I just have to think about this Conrad. I owe it to myself, I owe it to Dane...”
Conrad snorts in disgust.
“Fuck him, you don’t owe him shit.”
“Really? I think that I do. I can’t just blow him off, just like that.”
“Let him down easy, whatever you gotta do Syd, but I don’t think that you actually want to be with him. I think that deep down you know exactly what you want and when you decide to admit that let me know and I’ll be here, because like I said, I’m not going anywhere. If you think I’m just going to step aside and let Dane fucking Phillips have you then you are very wrong,” Conrad steps towards me and grabs me around the waist, and all I can do is stare into his intense dark eyes, “I love you Sydney Chase, and we have some lost time to make up for, and if it takes forever to do that then so be it.”
Conrad kisses me then, and I’m blown away by it’s intensity, of the kiss and by his words. He’s back, he’s really back. Hell, who am I kidding? It’s always been him and it always will be.
When Conrad pulls away, my lips feel tender. He just smiles down at me before turning around and pulling his t-shirt back on.
“I’m going to go, give you some space and let you think about things,” he says.
“Where are you staying?” I ask.
“Not sure yet. I came here straight from the airport.”
“Where were you before that?”
“We were in LA.”
“When do you have to go back?”
“Probably a day or two. We have one more show to do before we go on break.”
“How long is your break?”
“Not long, a few weeks maybe. It’s a fucking circus, I’m actually getting a bit tired of it to be honest.”
“The poor life of a famous rock star?” I quip, and Conrad frowns.
“It’s not as glamorous as everyone thinks it is. I just don’t think I’m cut out for it, but I’m also on contract.”
“So you can’t just quit then?”
Conrad shrugs, and starts walking out of my bedroom towards the door and I follow him.
“Not without jumping through a few hoops first, but I’m considering it,” he then says.
“Really? You’d just give up your music? I thought you loved it?”
“I love music, but not like this. Besides, I love you more so if quitting means I get to settle down with you...”
“What? Settle down?”
“You heard me,” he says with a smile as he reaches for the doorknob, “Anyway Syd, I’ll talk to you later okay?”
“You don’t have to leave,” I say without thinking, but he just shakes his head.
“Yes, I do. You have some thinking to do, remember?”
With that, he leans forward and gives me a chaste kiss on the forehead before turning and walking out the door.
I wander over to my couch in a daze. What the bloody heck just happened? I woke up this morning with Dane, and then suddenly Conrad is here and we almost slept together and now he’s gone. Conrad is back, for good? It’s everything I’ve been dreaming about since he left, but I have to keep my head about this. I want to believe that what he says is true, that he’ll never leave again, but he was so sure that he’d never leave me the first time as well. I need to talk to someone. I need to call Desiree.
I find my cell phone and press speed dial for her. She picks up after only two rings.
“Sup Syd?” she says, sounding cheerful.
“Conrad is back,” I tell her, getting straight to the point. She’s silent.
“Hello?” I check.
“Holy shit. When?” she finally asks.
“He showed up at my door this morning, and Dane was still here. It was a mess.”
“Oh geez, that’s crazy Sydney. What did he want?”
Desiree knows all about how hard it was for me to get over my breakup with Conrad, and she knows that I never really have gotten over it still. I used to tell her about all of my dreams and fantasies that one day he would come back, until eventually I realized that it was never going to happen. Until now that is.
“And we almost slept together, but I stopped it. I can’t cheat on Dane.”
“Fuck Dane,” she snorts.
“What? I’ve only tolerated him for your sake Sydney. I still don’t trust him and I don’t know why you do. Haven’t you been wishing for Conrad to come back for years, and now he has?”
“Why are you so forgiving of Conrad but not Dane? If anything, Conrad hurt me worse than Dane did.”
I hear Desiree sigh loudly, then she pauses before I hear her take a deep breath.
“Syd, I need to tell you something.”
“What is it?” I can tell by her tone that I’m not going to like it.
“I’ve been in contact with Conrad for about a year or so now. We’ve been emailing back and forth every once in a while.”
I don’t say anything, I’m too shocked, and I want her to continue, so she does when she realizes I’m not going to say anything.
“He contacted me just after you moved out of the dorm. Apparently he was checking in on your school status every now and then and they told him you left the dorm but they wouldn’t tell him where, so that’s when he called me.”
“And you didn’t think you should tell me this?” I whisper, angry tears begin forming in my eyes. How could she not tell me this?
“He begged me not to tell you that he called. He just wanted to know that you were okay. He never asked about your love life or anything, and I wouldn’t have told him either, even if he had asked. He only ever asked about how you were coping in school. I figured if I told you, it would set back how much progress you made to get over him.”
“So that’s how he knew where I lived,” I say, feeling the anger subside, but it still stings a little. I suppose I understand her reasoning. I know Desiree would never do anything to hurt me on purpose.
“I’m so sorry Sydney.”
“No, it’s okay. I probably would have over obsessed and over analyzed why he was calling. I just wished he had asked me directly, and we could have both saved ourselves a lot of trouble and misery. He said he still loves me.”
“Of course he does Sydney. I knew he must if he was still checking up on you. I told him once that he should just call you himself, but he said he didn’t want to interfere.”
“Interfere? in what? I was miserable. Part of me wishes you had just told him that.”
“Yeah, maybe I should have...but I didn’t want to meddle when you were just beginning to heal and I wasn’t really sure if he’d ever come back. Un-Classic Heroes are so big now that I didn’t think he’d ever have the time to come back. I don’t see too many stories about rock stars that just decide to settle down and focus on having a normal life.”
“And what would his career mean for you? I don’t see you being very happy tagging along with them while they tour. Maybe that’s what he wanted to protect you from. He set you free so you could grow and thrive and do what makes you happy instead of being stuck on some tour bus or an airplane all the damn time. Night after night, show after show, around a bunch of superficial, phony people.”
“Gee Desiree, put much thought into this?” I ask dryly.
“Well, ask him for yourself. That’s my theory.”
“It’s a good theory. He said he’d consider quitting the band for me, but I don’t want him to do that for me. I’d only want him to do that if that’s what he really wanted for himself.”
“It sounds like you two have a lot to talk about.”
“I know we do.”
“So...about Dane,” she prods.
“I don’t know.”
“Yes you do. You know exactly what you need to do there. He’s not who you want Syd. I know it, you know it.”
“I just don’t want to hurt him.”
“I know, but the longer you wait, the worse it’ll be. Anyway Syd, I hate to do this, but I gotta let you go. My adorable hubby is taking me out tonight and he’s frantically waving at his watch telling me that we’re late.”
I can’t help but giggle.
“Tell Ivan I’m sorry for taking up your time. I just needed to talk to you about this.”
“I’m glad you called. I hope I helped.”
“Good. Okay, I love you Sydney. Call Conrad and talk to him.”
“Goodnight Des. I love you too.”
We hang up and I sit and stare at the wall for what feels like hours, trying to figure out what my next move will be.
After I left Sydney’s, I found a hotel just a few blocks away from her apartment. If she calls me, I want to be as close as possible. After I checked in and got settled, I laid down on the bed and now I can’t stop thinking about how the whole thing played out. From the moment I knocked on her door until the moment I left her apartment. I think about the expression on her face when she saw me. It was a mixture of disbelief, shock, hurt and happiness all rolled into one. And the look on Dane’s face was priceless. He knew as soon as he laid eyes on me that it was all over for him. At least I hope to god it’s all over for him. I can’t make the mistake of being too cocky or it could bite me on the ass. I know I hurt Sydney, and I know it’s going to be hard for her to trust me the same way that she used to, but I know she loves me and that’s all I need to know that it’s not over between us. The way she kissed me, the way she asked me to make love to her, even if she did stop it. I’ll do anything to let her know that I’m here to stay.
Pulling me from my thoughts, I hear my cell phone going off. I try to ignore it, but it won’t stop ringing. Figuring it must be important, I answer it.
“Conrad! What the fuck?” Harrison shouts into the phone. Shit, this is all I need right now.
“What?” I bark.
“You missed an appearance today.”
“So? Are you kidding me? We had to tell them you were sick. What are you doing?”
“I’m in Jersey.”
“Why? Wait, don’t tell me. You’re chasing her?”
“I thought that was over, long time ago.”
“Well it’s not.”
“Even so, you have responsibilities to us here man. How long do you plan on being gone for?”
“I’ll be back on Tuesday. Don’t worry, I won’t miss the show on Wednesday.”
“You plan on getting everything you need accomplished in two days? Why do I have a bad feeling this won’t be the case?”
“Like I said, I’ll be back Tuesday night. This is just something I have to do, Harrison. I’m sick of wondering what if. I couldn’t keep pretending anymore.”
Harrison goes quiet for a few seconds.
“I know. I thought that eventually you’d get over it and finally join in on the fun we were having but you’re just not the type. You’re forever a romantic, unfortunately,” he says with a chuckle.
“I’m sorry I took off without saying anything, but it was a last minute decision. I just keep watching all of you guys do what you do with who knows who, and I realized with extreme clarity that it’s not something I want or ever will want.”
“It’s too bad. You’d make a great wing man. Though, I have a feeling that if you decided to show interest in all the tail that gets thrown our way, we’d be playing second string to you all of a sudden. Whatever man, more for us. Do what makes you happy but just get your ass back here by Tuesday night. Lyle almost shit a brick when he realized you weren’t there today.”
“Lyle needs to relax.”
“It’s why we hired him, so he can do all the worrying for us. Tuesday.”
“Gotcha. Night Harrison.”
I knew Lyle, our manager would have never let me go, which is why I didn’t tell him I was leaving. Actually, scratch that. Even if he hadn’t let me, I would have come anyway.
A few hours go by, and I realize that it’s already past six. I’m starving, so I order room service. I take my time eating and just kick back, relax and watch some television. It’s been so long since I could just do absolutely nothing. The only thing I would change would be to have Sydney lying here next to me, tucked against my body right where she fits perfectly. I knew I missed her like crazy, but the intensity of it hit me like a Mac truck when she touched me. My sexy little bookworm. Ah! I can’t help it, I grab my phone and text her.
* I’ve missed you every single day.
I’ve missed you every single night.
And with each passing moment, I knew I wasn’t right.
You’re the only one for me, and that will never change.
I told you I would never run, but please my love, forgive me for what I have done.
Five minutes later, she responds.
*I’ve missed you every single day.
I’ve missed you every single night.
And with each passing moment, I knew it wasn’t right.
I was so broken and lost without you here, a pain like nothing I’ve ever felt.
It felt like the worst hand that love had ever dealt.
But still you have always possessed me, that much is true.
My heart does and will always belong to you.
My fingers type faster than they ever have.
*I need to see you right now.