30 | Mario Kart
"Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.”
— Carol Burnett
“Oh my gosh baby, I’m so proud you did it.” Mom gushes, her blue eyes glimmering with pride. I wave her off, modestly. All I did was quit the place that gave me a second chance. The place I thought was my whole world.
“What are you proud of?” Dad butts in, stepping through the door, arriving home from work. I leap out of my seat and launch myself at him. He kisses me on the cheek, smiling like a proud father. he thinks I don't notice how his eyes briefly glaze over with sadness but I do. This feels too good to be true.
“She quit that agency,” Mom answers for me. Dad’s eyebrows shoot up in surprise and he drops his briefcase down, ready to hug me again if I need comfort.
“What? Why?” He questions, flickering his eyes between mom and me.
“My boss was a b*tch. She was controlling every aspect of my life. I needed to leave.” I tell him honestly, leaving out the details. “It was the right choice. Plus, Casey told me that if I ever wanted to go back into acting, any agency would be willing to accept an A-list actress.”
It’s true though. Because of my reputation, most would be open to taking me under their wing. But not now. I want to spend the next few months alone. I don’t want to be tied down to anything yet - I want to spend some time with my friends.
“B - But still...” Dad stutters, his eyes bouncing between me and mom, “Why quit now?”
Truthfully, I think it’s because coming back here made me realize what I missed. Running away from your problems doesn't make them disappear. It doesn't help you. You are simply avoiding the problem. This whole ordeal has caused so much pain and hurt - for me, my family and friends.
Lulu was a problem and instead of letting her bully me into doing whatever she wants, I took away the problem. And boy, it was one of the greatest choices I ever made.
“Because I found a reason to be free again.”
After my announcement, my mom ushers me into the lounge so she can cook tea. Now that I don’t have Lulu on my back, I can eat whatever I want and not care. Since both of my brothers are out god knows where my dad and I decide to spend some quality time together alone.
So, we put on Mario Kart and battle against each other. I used to love playing the game when I was little. I'd play against Callum and Brock. Since I played so much, I was the best.
Thirty minutes into the game, both of us are sat on the edge of the couch, hitting buttons on the WII remote like crazy madmen. It's a very intense game.
My dad is Donkey Kong whilst I’m Dry Bones - my favourite character.
“Come on you stupid machine! I’m pressing two like mad and still, I’m going slower than you!” I yell to the TV, angrily. I swear Mario Kart is the game where you can make enemies. It brings out my competitive side.
“Anastasia, it’s the car. You picked a slow car,” My dad informs me, solely focused on the TV. Scowling, I brush off his answer. I picked a good car! Or at least, I think I did. “The acceleration sucks,” He adds spitefully.
Dammit. I curse mentally.
“Oh - wait!” I shout, holding my breath as a blue shell hits my dad right out of first place. ”Ha!”
Jumping up out of my seat, whilst driving, I speed past him into first place and push the two-button with every bit of power I have, speeding over the finish line. Thank god it was the third lap.
With a smug face, I boast into dad’s face how I’m a better driver than he is. He laughs but doesn’t argue.
And that’s when the doorbell rings. Knowing mom is in the kitchen with her seventies music on full volume, I head out into the hallway to answer the door. Thinking one of my two brothers, I swing the door open with a smiling face that instantly vanishes when I see who is actually at the door.
Standing there, with his hands in his jean pockets, is Jason. He peers up at me when he sees me, his eyes hooded.
“Hi,” He greets, sheepishly.
I don’t know whether to scowl at him or hug him for coming over. On the one hand, I am beyond pissed that he just walked off the other day without letting me talk to him but I am also so happy he told his agent to stop the shoot. Ugh! The troubles with being me.
“Do you want to come in?” I decide to be polite. There's no point arguing. I'm tired of doing that.
Jason doesn’t say anything but steps into my house, his eyes roaming around the hallway and the pictures. I see them landing on a picture of me on a table that I never noticed before.
“Nice house,” Jason comments, ruffling his hair nervously. A habit he does, not that often since he’s Jason, the smooth, charismatic person.
“Thanks,” I reply, wistfully. I can’t really call it my home since well, I don’t live here anymore - only visit. “If you want, I kick my dad out of the lounge so we can talk?” I suggest, hearing the theme tune of Mario Kart.
Heading into the room, I enter to see dad gone. Hmm, he must have known I wanted to have a private talk with Jason so he left. I knew my dad had the brains of the family.
Jason follows me into the lounge and makes himself comfortable on the sofa, or tries to at least. His posture is stiff and uneasy. Whilst his face is unreadable, the wall covering his emotions in his eyes is now gone so I can see the hesitancy and fear. An emotion Jason didn’t normally show to others. Along with nervousness.
Lowering myself on the couch next to him, I wait patiently for him. He fidgets on the couch, the sound of leather squishing together filling the room along with the Mario theme tune. My hands jumble together as I twirl my fingers around. I know something isn’t right. I know something big is going to happen today. The possibility of losing a close friend is the main headline in my head.
No matter what Jason says though, I will be fully supportive. If he needs time like Callum, I will happily give it to him. If he wants to leave and focus on his career, I will accept it.
“So,” Jason begins, clearing his throat. Peering at him, I sense the inner turmoil he’s having. “I only have five minutes until my car will be back around to pick me up.”
Wow, he really wasn’t planning on staying long. “Okay.”
“I just wanted to say Whitney that I love you. And I know you will never love me in the way I want and that’s okay because I shouldn’t make you feel pressured to. Really, I wanted to say that I’m going to be shooting another film next month and I think it will be a great opportunity for me to get over you.” Jason says, catching and holding my eyes.
“I understand,” I reply quietly, my voice cracking slightly. His next words will be the answer I’m looking for.
With a deep breath, he continues. “I still want to be friends with you but I need time - like your friend Callum.”
Mentally, I release a long sigh of relief. Time. I can wait. As long as at the end, I’m still in contact with him.
“I completely understand. And I wish you the best.” I tell him, in a formal manner. Since when did I talk like that? We're friends. Friends don't talk like that.
“Thanks, Whit,” Jason smiles genuinely and stands up from the seat. His posture is now relaxed. It's like the weight holding him down is gone. I feel the same as well. Everything is falling into place. The jumbled pieces of the puzzle are putting themselves together to create a brilliant and flawless picture.
“Anytime,” I smile back. We embrace each other in a brief, parting hug. My eyes flutter closed as I relish in this comfortable moment, enjoying the hug. All too soon, we are pulling away from each other and Jason is heading off towards the door. He opens the door, walking out without giving me a second glance.
I watch him enter the car and drive off, without any feeling of nostalgia. Instead, my head is focused on the future and what is to come. For the first time in a long time, I have no idea what I will do and well, I don’t care.
We are nearing the end of this book. Sorry, this is a short chapter. I hope you enjoyed this chapter though. My next update will be soon.