That clenched it. I really did belong in a mental institution. My mind had turned to mush and my eyes betrayed me. I saw Rose everywhere. In the hotel lobby, at the red light and now this girl in the clothing store could pass as her twin. I thought seriously about checking myself into the funny farm.
I’d made another trip to the mall because Seyer saw a commercial for some amazing new and improved gaming laptop and it instantly snagged him.
I needed to get out and clear my mind anyway, so I’d tagged along, but it wasn’t helping. If anything it was getting worse and I was thinking that I probably should have gone back to bed … then again that other girl looked a little like that Tori Storm woman.
Would it hurt to take another look? Would it damage anything to indulge in this crazy mirage? What the hell? I spun around. If it wasn’t her, all I’d have to do is sign a couple of autographs. They’d called out my name after all, so they’d be thrilled if I walked up to them. I could get away with being bold. I was a famous wrestler. Right? It worked for Seyer. All the time.
“There you are.” Cady tagged my cheek before I could take action. Her hands possessively laid upon me. “I like this one.”
“Girl, you don’t get the point do you?” I spat, trying to sidestep her grabbing hands. “Did you not hear anything I said today?”
“I’m just doing my job.”
“We’re not at work!” I growled. “You don’t care whose life you screw up, do you? As long as you get what you want.” I felt suddenly terrified. Trepidation consumed me when I thought about what Rose would think. If that she was there, I didn’t want her to think I was cheating on her.
Cheating? Would it be cheating? She was someone else’s girl. I’d never dated her. Yet, I still felt like I was committed to her.
“Do you like your job, Ethan?” Cady’s evil brown eyes penetrated.
“Not at the moment.”
“You know the entire world can see your posts. You could at least keep it private. You’re screwing around on me. In front of all our fans. Do you know how embarrassing that is?”
“There’s not a whole lot of people left to give a shit about what I post on my page at the moment Cady.”
I craned my neck past her. Barely, catching what she was saying. Crap! They were gone! Surely, if it had been Rose, she would have approached me. Right? She would have wanted to answer the ‘is he or isn’t he’ question. Of course, she would! And what better way to resolve the issue than just walking right up to me?
No. It couldn’t have been her. Just another blonde.
“Baby, let’s go get something to eat.” Cady continued, massaging my shoulders, and pressing her bosom against my back.
“Damn it, Cady!” I used a little force to shove her away. Enough was enough. “That woman on Chatter … she is my girlfriend. And I’m not talking about some TV script. She is my real-life woman and if you screwed it up …”
“She’s nothing but a wannabe, Ethan!” Cady screeched. “She’s not like us! She could never understand your life the way I do!”
“She’s not like that and nothing you say will ever convince me otherwise.”
“Ugh! I can’t believe I spent a whole day with that oily headed tech guy! And you’re still obsessed with her. She left you like everyone else and you still want her!”
“What tech guy? What are … are you the one who …”
“All I needed was your I.D. and a good hacker … You really shouldn’t leave that lying around.” She smirked.
“That is the craziest … most …”
“Oh, come on Ethan. I had to do it. It was the only way to prove that she only likes you because you’re famous.”
“Seriously! You have the nerve to accuse her of that shit when you’re the one …” I growled in frustration and bit my fist, until I could calm myself enough so I wouldn’t cause a scene in public. “You’re a selfish, spoiled brat and you’re delusional!” I spat and left her standing with mouth ajar. “Leave … me … alone!”
Oh, I bet no one dared had ever dared yell at the princess before, but I would and I’d do it again and again until she got the point.
“You just flushed your career, Ethan!”
“Good riddance then!”
I hurried to pay for the two choices I’d made and rushed out, leaving the princess with no audience to witness her tantrum. I had just seen those matching crimson uniforms so they couldn’t have traveled too far. Maybe if I called out to her.
“Hey!” I yelled through the crowd as I caught sight of them once again. “Rose!” They walked through the revolving doors and into the parking lot. I quickened my pace. “Rose!” She didn’t turn around.
“What’s up?” I passed Seyer coming out of the electronics shop a few stores down.
“Give me your keys.”
“What’s going on?”
I dipped my hands into Seyer’s jacket pocket without an explanation and kept going.
“Ethan! What the hell, man!”
Geeze! I really should check myself into the looney bin, I thought as I started the motor and engaged the transmission. Who in their right mind would pathetically … desperately, steal their friend’s car and strand them at a mall … just to follow complete strangers?
I diverted my attention between the road and my phone. It was a dangerous move, but I didn’t want to risk losing the vehicle I followed. The Hellcat behind the wheel maneuvered around slower cars as if she was on a freaking race track.
I pressed the lever a little more … a lot more, the vehicle kicking hard as it moved into the next gear. Damn that four-door monstrosity. It was no match for that little black T-top.
I slammed on the brakes, nearly missing a stop sign. That was the last straw. One way or another I had to end this obsession before I turned into a full-blown psychotic stalker.
I thought about asking Rose if she had been in that clothing store at the mall, but doing that would expose my location to the entire world and I thought it a bad idea to tell her I was trying to follow her … if it was her … I didn’t want to scare her. But I had to do something. If I told her, I thought I saw her at the mall … if I told her it was me trying on jackets? Maybe … I had nothing left to lose.
I pulled up the menu to send my message privately, but a line of cars had formed behind me and their operators had run out of patience.
I punched the steering wheel. Damn it! Why didn’t Rose approach me in the store? Maybe it wasn’t her after all and if I sent that message and it wasn’t her at the mall … what would she think? She’d think I was as crazy as I thought I was, I answered my own question.
I gazed left, then right and maneuvered the vehicle through the crossroad. I had to find that car. I needed a closer look. Just to be sure, but they seemed to have just vanished.
2VelvetRose: Please, choose a place for us to meet. I’ll come to you right now.
I laid my head on the steering wheel and let a tear escape. People stuck behind me sounded their horns or revved their motors as they passed, yelling obscenities, but I couldn’t make myself move.
I swallowed hard, but it didn’t stop the tears from falling down my cheeks. Why was love always so difficult and why did I always have to fall apart when it ended?
My phone rang and I sniffed back the sob and cleared my throat.
“Dude, you better be in the middle of a mental break down because I am about two seconds away from kicking your ass.” Seyer seethed. “I had to take a taxi back to the resort.”
“Yeah, I’m sorry about that … I’m heading back now.”
I regained my composure, moved forward and turned around at a gas station. I drove down the main street of Beau Reve slowly. Thinking about the way I behaved every time I was involved with a woman. I tended to latch on as soon as hello. My tried to recall past relationships. Had I fallen for them as quickly?
I had. Maybe I was in love with the idea of being in love. Maybe I wanted it so badly that I always confused it with lust or friendship.
My behavior towards Rose … the searching, the chasing … I couldn’t call it healthy and I knew I had to get a hold of myself. I was not the type of man that couldn’t take no for an answer. If she didn’t want me then … that was that.