“First new voice message: I’m wondering why it’s getting harder and harder to reach you lately. Is tour really that rough on you this year? Or...or are you ignoring me? Phasing me out? Don’t phase me out, Caleb.”
Never, he thought. I’d never phase you out. His head hung low as he somehow managed to keep a grip on his cell phone that was in his clammy and shaky palm. Caleb stumbled into their room and only managed to make it as far as the desk before he collapsed into the rolling chair.
“Next message.” The phone was on speaker, and while he laid his heavy head back onto the chair’s headrest cushion, Caleb let the sound of her voice sweep over him.
“What’s with you? How can you be this hateful? Does it make you feel better to run away and ignore me? Go to hell!” The angry, female voice growled over the speaker.
I’m there, baby. I swear I’m there, now.
“Next message: Caleb, please. You’re the only p-person I can think of to help me right now.” Her voice was rushed and quick, her breath ragged with each word. “There’s so much...so much...” It was her sobs that broke him. She was so upset. So distraught about...something. What? He wasn’t sure. He hated himself for not noticing it before. It had taken him way too long to realize that something serious was going on with her. But, for her sake, he stayed away; for his sanity, he kept the distance between them. He regretted every moment of it now. All the time and miles spent away because of an irrational fucking fear that tangled the neurons of his brain causing him to completely shit-out on his life. He only made it all worse.
“Next message: This can’t be happening...answer your phone! I NEED YOU, CALEB! A technicality. Technicality! Bull shit. Caleb whenever you get this-as soon as you get this, call me. I need to talk to you. Damn it, I need your help-” and as her voice whispered off, her breathing low and hushed, a chill hit his spine at the whisper of her next words. “...what the hell...” Something was wrong. It was there in her voice and he felt it every time he listened to the old message. There was movement, a rustling as the sound of her keys clanged around. Then a gasp and her breath quicken...The slam of the door still made his shoulders flinch up.
Nothing at all.
She was gone.
Why didn’t he see things sooner? Why didn’t he pay attention and suck it up instead of finding numerous escapes to take the edge off? When did he lose all sight of reality and go totally screwed out of his mind with the disrespect he’d shown her? Who knew it would cost him this much- so much pain.
But…he had tried, hadn’t he? Only at first. He still remembered the first time he looked down at her name flashing across the screen of his phone, and how he declined it like she didn’t mean a thing.
She meant everything.
What had he been doing those nights?
What exactly had she been doing? His heart clenched, at the thought. An ache that left him harrowed and empty. She had been scared…and alone.
He sure as hell hadn’t been.
The haziness of some of those nights being pumped full of loud music, fans, and alcohol all ending in a mass tangle of naked limbs, dark hotel rooms, and random girls. Endless amounts of alcohol were readily at hand for him to pacify his problems with.
Where had he been that night?
The thought angered him. Caleb didn’t like the memories that rushed to the surface of his mind. Murderous rage flooded through him and it was something he didn’t know how to handle anymore. He didn’t know where else to focus it other than out on himself. He deserved it. Every fucking bit of it. The hatred he had for everything he’d done, it ate at him like a rat scurrying from the heat with no way out.
There was no way to fix it. No way to change what was said and actions that were made and promises that were always broken. So, he drank it all away. Snuffing out his grief the best he could. Weeks had gone by, a month, maybe two. The days blurred together construing his sense of time, but it really wasn’t something he cared about lately.
After the phone call from the police, there were multiple bottles of whiskey. Before her funeral, Caleb attempted to sober up, but vodka wanted to subdue his emotions, and he caved easily. After her funeral, the vodka’s ass got kicked by the tequila. And every day without her, whatever liquor he could get his hands on, became like water. Proved how strong he was. He could barely make it a day without breaking down. Pathetic...worthless. Not only was he not enough to be there for her, but he couldn’t even get himself together enough for anything, anymore. He knew he was letting the guys down. Elwin’sRevenge was on a bit of a hiatus at the moment because their lead guitarist couldn’t get his life together. He was barely enough to help himself.
He felt nothing anymore. And that was okay because if the alcohol numbed him enough to feel nothing than that meant there was no room for the pain to seep back in. He just couldn’t take it. Lennox was supposed to be able to rely on him and he failed. Utterly failed at protecting the only true thing in this messed up world that mattered most to him.
Somehow, Caleb found himself stumbling from the chair, which made him lose his balance several times in his drunken stupor as the wheels gave away. With heavy feet, he staggered to the bed, every aching memory rushed into him like a freight train and he could barely stand the malice and hateful thoughts that soon followed as he cursed himself for all the stupid things he’d done. She should be here. Lennox should be here but instead, the emptiness lingered and was slowly rotting away at all corners of his being.
Rubbing at his worn and heavy-lidded eyes, his vision tunneled, darkened slightly as he slammed down onto the mattress of the bed. Suddenly, holding his lids open felt more like an obligation that he just wasn’t up to doing. With his eyes closing, and that dark void in his soul swallowing him whole, Caleb cursed at the unforgiving world and gave into the darkness.