Dear Hunter: From, Your Privacy
I’m in the midst of not really paying attention to the reality show on the television when a small pillow hits the side of my head, causing me to sit up straight and glare at Ian in irritation.
“What’s with you?” Ian laughs.
I pretend I have no idea what he’s talking about, slumping back against the couch once more. “What do you mean?”
He plops down next to me and keeps prodding, not letting my sour mood pass. “Isn’t Mia coming to visit this week?”
“Yeah!” I instantly grin at the thought of Mia. “She should be here in like, an hour.”
It’s been a month since we’ve seen each other in person. We text every day and call each other as much as possible, which is hard to coordinate considering our busy schedules, but we’re making it work. Still, I miss her, admittedly more than I thought I would. Not because I don’t really, really like her, but because we haven’t really known each other very long. It’s strange that someone you just met could have such a hold on you.
So when she asked if it was okay if she came and visited me on the road, I immediately agreed, and now I was t-minus fifty-three minutes until I got to kiss her again. I would have loved to pick her up from the airport, but every one of our security guards thought it was too much of a risk, so she’d been sent a car that would bring her to our hotel and given instructions on how to find us where we were, currently all lounging around Ian’s suite.
“Then why are you all moody?” Ian asks pointedly.
I suppose that’s a fair question, considering I’ve been scowling the majority of the morning. Since I got off my wake up call with Bennett, to be precise. I sigh, tangling my fingers in my hair and tugging my curls out of frustration. “Once Bennett found out that Mia was coming, he booked an exclusive with World of Music.com. They’re gonna be following the band around all day to show what a typical concert day is like.”
It’s not like it’s uncommon for us to do extended interviews, but they don’t generally affect anyone but us. I might not like having every single aspect of my life recorded, but I know that sometimes it’s just part of the job and I’m doing what I love, so I put up with it. But Mia didn’t sign up to be stalked by a man with a camera and I feel guilty for continuously putting her in such situations.
“Oh,” Ian nodded in understanding. “Awkward.”
“I get it,” I say, “We’re on tour, we have to promote the album, so we have to do press. I was just hoping to keep her out of it.”
She doesn’t deserve to have her entire life disrupted because of me.
“You can’t just hide her from the camera?” he suggests.
I glare at him. “I’d rather not have to sneak around just to spend time with my own girlfriend.”
“I mean, it’s not like people aren’t aware that you guys are a couple,” he points. “Weren’t both your first kiss and your first date in the tabloids?”
That is true, but neither situation was intentional. Neither of us knew there was anyone taking pictures of our first kiss and the first date…well, we probably could have avoided going to such a public place. Still, it wasn’t as though I called the paparazzi and told them where we would be. That was entirely Bennett’s doing.
“Yeah, but no one really knows who she is,” I argue. “They just see her picture, but there’s no names associated with it. And she doesn’t publish her picture with her article, so it’s not like people who read her column know what she looks like either. But once this whole exclusive backstage pass thing airs, she won’t be able to escape the press.”
I’d seen it happen with Ian’s girlfriend when they first started dating. As soon as the first tabloid picture of them holding hands in public was captured, she became a household name almost overnight. Things calmed down once they’d been dating for a few months, but that’s time that Mia and I don’t necessarily have. I can tell Ian is having flashbacks to the day his girlfriend called to tell him there were about a dozen paparazzi camped across the street from her family home because he grimaces and nods sympathetically. “Gotcha. Yeah, I get why you’re anxious about it.”
“It just sucks because she didn’t sign up for the chaos, you know?” I sigh, thinking it’s a little unfair that she has to put up with all the chaos that comes with being associated with me in any way.
“That’s true, but she’s not stupid, Hunter,” Ian points out. “She knows that the press comes with the territory of dating a celebrity.”
“Maybe,” I shrug. I know she’s not completely naïve, but that doesn’t mean she’ll be prepared for whatever happens next. “I guess we’ll see.”
My downtrodden mood isn’t going to help my stage presence and Ian knows this, so he suggests we get our minds off of tomorrows problems for a bit and challenges me to some Mario Kart. I agree and it doesn’t take long before I’m laughing hysterically and Ian and I are hurling insults at each other as we race down the rainbow road. I’m in the midst of unleashing a particularly nasty string of curse words in Ian’s direction when he smirks at me and nods over my shoulder. “Oh, hey, Mia!”
I instantly grin at the sound of her name, wondering how I didn’t even hear a knock on the door, and turning my head to face the doorway and feeling my heartbeat spike at the sight of her standing there, having been let in by Graham, looking so lovely and perfect.
“Hey, babe!” I breathe out, pausing the game and tossing my controller aside so that I could walk towards her and make sure she was actually here.
“Don’t stop because of me,” she laughs as I approach, clearly having caught the end of my ranting in Ian’s direction.
“It’s okay, I was about to show up Ian and you really don’t want to see him cry.” That’s not true at all, because he was actually about to beat me. But I haven’t seen her in a month and I’ve missed the feeling of her lips against mine, so I cup her cheeks in my hands and whisper, “Come here,” before I kiss her firmly on the mouth, not caring that all of my bandmates are scattered around the room, snickering.
I can’t get over how much kissing her feels like coming home, so I make sure I savor each kiss, keeping them slow and deep and leaving her blushing beautifully when we pull apart and she whispers. “Hi.”
“Hi,” I smile, feeling completely invigorated. “Good flight?”
“It definitely felt like it lasted forever,” she nods, squeezing my hips lightly. “How are you?”
“Better now,” I say, dropping my hand to intertwine our fingers and pull her into the hallway, reaching down to grab her suitcase as I tug her towards my room. “Come here, I need to talk to you about something.”
Her eyebrows furrow in concern as she follows me down the hallway. “Everything alright?”
I don’t answer until we’re safely inside my hotel room. Placing her suitcase in the closet beside mine, I pull her towards the bed, keeping our fingers intertwined as we sit cross legged, facing each other.
“Sort of,” I say slowly, trying to figure out the best way to explain the situation to her and finally deciding that just blurting it out is the best way to go. “As part of the promotion for the tour, we’re gonna have cameras following us around all day tomorrow.”
“Okay…,” she responds, seeming unperturbed at first, before she fully realizes the implication of that statement, at which point her eyes widen in horror, “oh, you mean, they’re gonna follow me as well.”
“Not at all times,” I offer, trying to sound positive, “just any time you’re with me.”
“I see,” she whispers, the color draining from her face.
“Look, if you wanna just hide out all day so that you’re never on camera, I totally understand,” I say. It would suck because we wouldn’t get to spend much time together, but I’d rather she not be completely uncomfortable the entire time she’s here. I want her to enjoy herself a little bit.
“No, I don’t wanna do that,” she says immediately and I let out a sigh of relief. “I mean, I’m here to be with you; I don’t want to spend all my time here trying to stay away from you.”
I’m glad she feels that way, because I’ve missed her while we’ve been apart and I don’t want to miss her while she’s here as well. Squeezing her fingers gently, I say, “As long as you’re sure. I feel like you should have a choice whether or not you experience that part of my life.”
“Hunter,” she replies slowly, making sure to keep her eyes locked on mine. “I want to be there for every aspect of your life…I just…I’m not gonna keep my distance from you, but I’m also probably going to stay off camera as much as possible, if that’s alright with you.”
“That’s fine,” I assure her. “I just want you to be comfortable.”
As long as she’s by my side, I don’t really care whether she actually acknowledges the camera. And if she wants me to, I’ll do my best to make sure there’s not too much footage of her captured.
“Thanks,” she says softly, her entire body relaxing.
Her eyes flutter slightly, as though now that we’ve settled that matter, she can rest peacefully. I can tell she’s probably on the brink of falling asleep, so before she does, I say, “I have something for you.”
That perks her up immediately and she grins. “What?”
“I got you a present,” I say, lifting myself off the bed and dropping one of hands so that I can make my way to the dresser and dig through my sock drawer to find her gift, “since we weren’t together on Valentine’s Day.”
“You didn’t have to do that,” she pipes up. “I mean, you got me those beautiful flowers.”
I’d been on tour for about two weeks when Valentine’s Day rolled around and I’d felt bad that we’d only just started dating and I wasn’t even around to celebrate with her, so I’d sent her a bouquet of her favorite freesias with a note saying I’d make it up to her when we saw each other again. I fully intend on fulfilling that promise.
“I know, but you’re the first real Valentine I’ve ever had,” I smile softly when I find the small silver box and turn back towards the bed, “you know, besides my mum, so I wanted to do something special.” I sit down beside her again and push the box in her direction. “Go ahead. Open it.”
She pulls the lid off the top of the box and sets it aside, her eyes growing wide with wonder as she gently lifts the delicate silver necklace with the music note shaped pendant from the tissue paper within, looking at me in awe and whispering, “Hunter, this is gorgeous. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” I grin widely, glad that she likes it because it had taken me hours to pick out, much to my shopping buddy, Graham’s, chagrin. She twists her torso so that I can slip it around her neck and once the pendant is positioned over the center of her chest, I lean in to press a soft kiss to her lips and whisper against her mouth, “Happy late Valentine’s, baby.”
She repeats the words back to me, speaking her thanks once more and I relish in the feeling of being with her again, thinking that it’s great to be home.