“You got everything?” Kayley watched me pack my bags to head out for the summer now that graduation had come and gone. Both of us felt a sense of dread in parting ways. We had been roommates since the first day of college and our recent graduation made us a little nostalgic.
“Yes, I think so. Those boxes over there should be picked up to head to New Hampshire tomorrow. Brandt only allowed me two suitcases because he said the tour bus we shared is too small for all my stuff. I don’t even know if I can live out of two suitcases for a whole summer.” Understanding my love of clothing, not to mention shoes, she nodded her agreement.
Looking over at the nightstand in my bedroom, she grabbed my package of birth control pills. “Hey don’t forget this.”
Handing them to me, I instead threw them in the garbage. “I left them on purpose. I won’t need them anymore.”
She looked at me as if I sprouted two heads. “What exactly do you mean by that? Just because Erik turned out to be an asshole doesn’t mean that there aren’t more eligible bachelors out there for you.”
“That is exactly my dilemma Kayley. I spent the last four years fucking my way through college only to find the one guy I thought was decent turn out to be a real asshole. No way. No more assholes and no more guys.”
Her wide-eyed look was almost comical. “Bite your tongue. What the hell are you going to do to amuse yourself? What about those nights when you get a little randy?” Kayley had sex with a British guy once and loved to use the term ever since.
Rolling my eyes, I confessed, “Nope, no more guys. I will just need to use my vibrator from now on.”
“And how will that work closed up on a tour bus with your brother and his wife?” Shit, she was right.
“Well, maybe I will get at least a little time for myself. I still think the idea is strong.”
Kayley rolled over to my side of the bed and sat down closer, “You think the idea of getting pregnant from a one-night stand is a strong idea?”
“What you fail to consider is the fact that getting pregnant scares the shit out of me.”
Standing up, she scooped the prescription out of the garbage can handing it back to me. “Exactly. Here. Don’t go all crazy on me.”
I shoved the pills back at her. “No, you see I would never want to get pregnant so therefore I would never have sex until I am back on the pill and had at least a month under my belt.” Well enough protection and long enough to find out if the guy I dated turned out to be a snake.
“No, what you fail to see is that you still might not know if your man is an asshole in thirty days. You were dating Erik for two months.” She still didn’t understand my methodology.
“Yes, but I don’t plan on ever having sex without a condom.”
Narrowing her eyes, she studied me before muttering, “And that changes things how? Wouldn’t you rather be safe than sorry? Or should I say better safe than pregnant?”
Nodding my head, I tried to elaborate. “I am already sorry. I slept with Erik thinking the worst I could get was pregnant. What I didn’t take into account was the fact he could have given me a disease or something. I already suspect he didn’t stay faithful. No, thank you. I plan on being without kids and STIs. My tests came back clean this week so I am not taking any more chances. Next time is just good old fashioned condoms, and not being on the pill will guarantee I won’t be tempted to go without them .”
“Don’t you think you would miss the feel of going bare with a guy? Maybe you should think of asking for them to get tested on the first date.”
I rolled my eyes, “What guy would want to date someone demanding proof their dick wasn’t riddled with disease. Especially on the first date. He would think I was psychotic. Besides, it won’t give me enough time to figure out if they are a louse.” I sighed. “If a guy isn’t enough of a gentleman to use a condom with me then he doesn’t seem like someone I would want to date regardless of how good it feels to go without one.” Throwing my pills back into the trash I looked down at them determined I wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. Talking to myself, I added, “Even if he was tested, it will be torture going a month using a condom.” Condoms were fine, but having sex in the raw was exciting, and Kayley knew it just as well as I did.
Her frown rose into a smile, “Maybe you could ask them to pull out. You know, the pump and dump method.”
"Kayley, that doesn’t work. You can still get pregnant.”
She shook her head like I was the one insane, “Of course it works. My older sister is using it with her husband until they want to start their family. They got married two years ago now and still don’t have one of those little buggers planted in her vagina.”
There was no more time to debate as the doorbell rang alerting me to my brother’s arrival. Knowing how protective Brandt was of me and my virtue, I dumped a wad of tissues on top of my pills in the wastebasket. Heaven forbid he thought his baby sister had sex.
Brandt stood in the hallway wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses smiling at me while I lunged for him. “Hey, big brother.”
After a comforting hug, he leaned back, “You ready to go? You didn’t pack your whole wardrobe now did you?” He gave me a cheesy grin as he teased me.
“Nope, just the two suitcases you limited me to.” I nodded my head to the luggage by the door. They were two of the largest ones I could find.
He groaned, “Rebecca! It really wasn’t a challenge for you to pack your whole wardrobe in two of the biggest suitcases in the world.” Rolling my eyes twice, I laughed at his gloomy expression. Once for the complaint about my packing and once again for the use of my full name. I hadn’t gone by Rebecca since high school.
“Brandt, it is a whole summer. I just wanted to be prepared for anything.” He shook his head giving in like I knew he would.
Kayley stood behind me with stars in her eyes. "Hi, Brandt!” She had a crush on him, but I was used to the attention afforded to him as most of the girls in the US and part of Europe were also in love with him. It was a little weird. Brandt was just my big brother, not the sex symbol talked about on social media.
“Hi Kayley. Congratulations on graduation.” He turned back to me as she swooned.
“I hate to cut this short, but we need to get to the airport.” Nodding, my eyes met Kayley, tears forming behind the lids.
“Oh Kayley. I’m going to miss you. Have fun in Aruba and I will try to get out and see you at the end of summer for sure.”
She opened her arms for a hug, just as verklempt as me. “Yeah, you have fun out on the road with big brother. Text me when you get there.” We embraced and I left before it got too emotional. She really was my best friend and it felt wrong we wouldn’t be meeting up for another year of college after summer.
Ever the gentleman, Brandt took hold of both of the suitcases as I grabbed my purse to head out to the rental car. Once the suitcases were settled in the back, we hunkered in for the ride to the airport, talking the whole way about my graduation party and the family gossip. We made it all the way to the plane and sitting in first class before a pair of sisters spotted him ruining my one on one time with him. Brandt took it in stride posing for them and signing their shirts, but I sulked in my seat. I got so little time with him it bothered me to share him.
“Excuse me, but he doesn’t have time to chat with you for the whole flight.” Giving them a stern look that said beat it, Brandt nodded and asked them to give us some privacy. They both flashed me a snobby glare before heading back to their seat.
“You didn’t need to be so rude to them.”
“How does Chelsea put up with it?”
He shrugged. “Chelsea understands the business. She doesn’t necessarily like it, but she knew what the lifestyle involved when she got mixed up with me.”
“She seems so reserved and quiet. I find it hard to believe she would have signed up for this willingly.”
He chuckled as he leaned the seat back. “She didn’t have much of a choice when she fell madly in love with me.”
I laughed, “Pretty conceited of you to acknowledge it. You make it seem like she ran after you.” I knew it to be the opposite. Although I didn’t know all the details of how they met, Brandt did say he had to pursue her making me feel as if he fed me a line of shit. Especially when I saw how protective he was with her.
“Yeah, you are right. I practically had to beg her to follow me to California. She was the only woman alive who didn’t want anything to do with the fame. But without her, I wouldn’t be where I am today. She really believed in me.” I smiled at the thought.
“Are you saying that you fell short in the talent department?”
My sarcasm made his whole face lit up, “Talent will only take you so far. This was a dream of mine since I got my first guitar.” He leaned in by me, growing serious, “But I’ll tell you what. I would have given it all up for her. Almost did. When she didn’t come back with me to California, I was all set to go back to Wisconsin and try to make my career work from there if I couldn’t beg her to return with me. It was the only time I ever let it cross my mind to give up the band.”
My eyes widen in shock. “You would have given up your dream for Chelsea?”
He reclined the seat all the way back placing his head against the back of the headrest with a full smile on his face, “I thought about it but Chelsea would never let it happen. She was always a better person than me. A good person will never let you give up on something you want. No, instead Chelsea stood by me, and she is the reason we are selling out concert halls as we speak.”
His admission warmed my heart. I always knew they loved each other by the way they looked at each other. I could only hope to find something like that someday.
“And it is also the reason why I need you so badly this summer.”
“And what exactly do you think I can do? I don’t know much about kids Brandt. I never even babysat when I was little.”
“You will be a big help. Chelsea is too stubborn to let me get her a nanny. With you there hanging out with her the whole summer, she will have to let you help.”
The way he said ‘hanging out’ bothered me. “Brandt, does Chelsea know I am coming purposely to help her with the kids?”
He shook his head, “And she will never know. Chelsea would pitch a fit if she knew I asked you to help, accusing me of not thinking she could handle it when in all reality she is overdoing it. Christ Rea, you should see her. She lost even more weight with running after the twins, now with the morning sickness, and still trying to breastfeed? She is running herself into the ground. No, she thinks you are taking the summer off before you find a job and that is exactly what I want her to know.”
“Brandt, you know I don’t like lying to her.”
He stopped my whining, “You aren’t lying to her. I’m lying to her. Lying to her to protect her. And I will do it again.” Settling back in my seat, I felt uncertain to be placed in the middle of a lie. “Don’t worry.” He sensed my discomfort and reiterated, “She can take it up with me if she ever finds out.”
“Does she really look that bad?” Brandt must really be worried to lie to her all summer.
His sullen face said it all, “Yeah, kind of. It is just taxing on her body. The doctor said it would be okay to continue breastfeeding but I don’t think it is good for her to try to eat enough calories to nurse and keep her weight up for the new kid she is brewing. Weaning the twins isn’t as easy as it sounds. She is pumping around the clock even though they are both on solid foods. And it turns out Cole is a breast man and is rejecting a bottle.” The sigh he gave tugged at my heart. “She can’t lose this baby. Not again.” I looked away as the sadness rolled through me.
Brandt was right. I could lie for a little while and try to help out as much as possible. Chelsea lost two children in the past, one of which was Brandt’s and it nearly killed her. Killed both of them, if I remember correctly. He was worried about his wife and unborn child and I shouldn’t be so selfish. It wouldn’t hurt me to help out my super cool brother.
Maybe the adventure would be the best thing for me. It might even keep my mind off my despondent love life. At least it couldn’t hurt.