“And a toast, to the end of the first night of your world tour,” Zahara cheers, holding out her glass. We sat in the hotel suite, May and Lorelei long asleep. Geo, Laila, Calum, and Alec still buzzed from the drinks they had at the concert, and Zahara and I still buzzed about the concert.
“And now that it’s just us,” Alec says, after we hit our glasses together and take a sip. “What were you and Braum talking about before the show?” he asks, I scoff rolling my eyes,
“Carson and his parents are filling his head with this belief that I’m this bad guy that’s trying to keep his daughter away from him,” I say. “He wanted me to rethink Lorelei coming on tour with me, and instead suggested she stay back with him and his Fiancé,”
“That’s ridiculous,” Laila says.
“Are you joking?” Zahara says. “Before your performance, how selfish!”
“It’s Carson, it’s calculated, she knows how to get under girls’ skin,” I say, “She knows how much it hurts, she knows that I still love him,” the room fills with silence. “It’s really hard guys, I see him everything, every song, every book I read, I see him in her face every time I look at her, and I know that no matter what…. I will always love him,” I set down my glass, running my hands through my hair. “And I always wish that things will change, and somehow things will work out with us, like Rachel and Ross,” that earns and a sad laugh.
“You’ll get through this,” Calum nudges me. “Everyone has that someone,”
“What if Braum is my someone, he’s going to get married to Carson and act like the 10 years we had together were nothing when it’s literally all I can think about when I look at him, our first kiss, our first date, the day he told me he loved me all of it just replays in my head over and over again like a fucking record,” I say. “I’m sorry guys, I’m being such a Debby fucking downer,” I mutter, before sliding out of the seat. “See you tomorrow for night two,” I say, before shuffling into the room. Lorelei is curled on the bed, SpongeBob flashing on the screen, I crawl in beside her, wrapping my body around her.
In the morning we have breakfast in the hotel, and then we’re on the road. The second performance in Texas. Before leaving, we waited for Braum in the hotel garage so he could say goodbye to Lorelei before we had to the bus lot. I waited in the car, trying to forget about last night, when Braum arrives, Carson waits in the car.
“We’re going to talk everyday right?” Braum asks.
“Yes,” Lorelei says.
“Yes,” she chirps.
“And you’re going to take a lot of pictures for me, right?” he questions, and she nods before peppering his face with kisses. “I’m going to see you very soon baby bear,” he says, before helping Lorelei back into her car seat. When she’s buckled in, he closes the door and walks up to the passenger window where I sat. “I want to apologize,” he says. “I know how much work it is to put stuff like this together, and to incorporate a child is a lot of work and I’m sorry,”
“And I’m sorry if I’ve seemed insensitive towards this parenting thing, I’ve been doing it on my own for so long I just don’t want to share, and I know how selfish it sounds and terrible but I’m getting used to it,” I say.
“I will see you in New York,” he says.
“See you in New York,” I say. We don’t leave until they do, it’s straight to the bus lot where Zahara is waiting and the other buses are already gone. Lorelei is immediately given headphones and a tablet, and I’m forced to do vocal warmups.
“So, how are you?” Zahara says.
“I’ve had better days,” I say, lying back in my bed.
“Well you have 5 whole shows before you have to see him again, and you don’t have worry about Facetimes or anything,” Zahara says, lying down beside me. “And I’m sorry,” I look over at her and she’s staring at the bus ceiling. “I keep telling you to get over it, and move on, and I know how much Braum means to you, I mean I saw you the day after he broke up with you, I mean you were so fragile and sad but you’re so happy now,”
“You don’t have to apologize,” I say.
“No, I shouldn’t have to get over Braum, he was a big part of your life and you have his child, he’s back in your life now and it’s not fair for me or anyone else to tell you how you should get over this, take your time,” Zahara says. “If Calum broke up with me, I’d be pretty fucking lost, he’s been a part of my life for so long he’s been pretty much the light of my life,”
“I’m glad you understand,” I say.
“But don’t forget how far you’ve grown! You gave birth and raised Lorelei on your own for 5 years granted he didn’t know but you did it, all while being a highly awarded recording artist, you did it all without Braum and you can continue without Braum,” Zahara says.
“So, I was talking to the Clifford’s,” My mother says, taking a hesitant sip of her coffee.
“I don’t want to hear it mom,” I say.
“You kept her away from him for 5 years Adeya,”
“We’re seriously not having this conversation right now,” I say, running my fingers through my hair. “Listen, I appreciate your input mom but Braum and I are adults and can make decision on our own,” I say, before pushing out of seat walking near the stage exit outside. I step outside to take a breath, and I can hear the screams of the fans. I wave and smile and take cover behind the security van, while my guards take a smoke break.
“Mic. Check in 15 minutes!” someone shouts out the door. I decide to walk back inside, ignoring my mom who sat with May and Lorelei at the lunch table. Zahara incepts me before I step on stage, but I don’t feel like answering questions.
“I’m fine, I’m just sick and tired of people telling me how to take care of my daughter,” I say,
“Parents in the V.I.P suite? Got it, just head in the game,” Zahara says, pushing me onto stage, I’m distracted for the next 4 hours before my break. When I do get a break, my mother is waiting for me off stage again, to my annoyance.
“Can this wait?” I ask.
“You know it can’t sweetie,” she says, leading me towards the craft table. “I remember when you were a little girl, and you first met Braum and you spent every day together, I could barely pry you apart, and I thought wow I have never saw my baby girl so happy and then you had Lorelei,” my mom says, giving a supportive squeeze. “And I know you’re an adult, and can make your own decisions but whenever I look at you I see my little girl curling her hair in her bedroom, and singing way to loud in the shower and all I want is what’s best for you,”
“And what’s best for me is to figure all this out on my own mom, and Lorelei is perfectly fine on this tour with me,” I say, before pulling her into another hug. “I have to stuff figured out mom, thank you for the help,”
“I love you; you’ll always be my baby girl even if you have a baby girl of your own,” she says, squeezing me. I pull away pecking her cheek.
“And stop talking to the Clifford’s about my business alright? They can control their son, but they don’t control me, okay?” I say.
“Got it,” she says. She leaves my side going back to my Father who sat chatting with the stage crew, I make myself a plate of food, and moving towards the dressing room. I push into the room, where I find Zahara crying on the floor.
“What’s happening?” I say, setting my plate down and dropping on the floor with her. “What’s wrong?” I ask. She doesn’t say anything, just silently shakes before pulling away, wiping her face.
“I’m 2 weeks late,” she says, before revealing the pregnancy test.
“Holy,” I say.
“I thought it was the stress, it’s almost always the stress and I forget about it, but I’ve been feeling sick lately,” she says.
“Have you told Calum?” I ask.
“No, I’m terrified,” she says, putting the pregnancy test on the ground. “We’re already over our head with the wedding and giving time for each other during the tour if I’m pregnant they’re going to send me home,” she says. I pull myself into a seating position, before picking up the pregnancy test.
“What if that’s not a bad thing?” I ask. She looks like I just fire her, the thought making her red. “Zahara, you’re probably the hardest working chick I know, from the day I’ve met you I’ve never seen you take a break,” I say. “And now you’re getting married, and we have another addition coming you need to start thinking about yourself,”
“But what about you?” she says. “What about the tour? And the press?”
“I’m sure Jacob can assign me someone,” I say.
“No one knows you like I do,” she says, her eyes brimming with tears.
“You do know me best,” I say, before pulling her into a hug. “But everyone deserves to take a break,” I say. She pulls away wiping her tears away.
“I’ll tell Calum and Jacob…” she whispers.
“Congratulations!” I shout, pulling her in and peppering her with kisses. A knock pulling us away, I turn Laila and Geo stepping into the room.
“Are we interrupting?” Laila asks.
“No, No,” I say, standing off the floor, helping Zahara off. “Hair and makeup are in 30 minutes,” I say, grabbing my plate of food and taking a seat. “What’s going on?” I ask.
“We kind of have an announcement,” Laila says, hopping in front of me. “We were going to tell you this on the first night, but for obvious reasons we didn’t want to bring the attention on ourselves,” Laila says.
“No, Laila didn’t want the attention,” Geo says.
“What’s happening?” I ask.
“Geo and I are moving to California!” Laila says, hopping up and down excitedly.
“Are you serious?”
“And we’re getting married!” she adds, making me choke on my food. I toss the plate on the counter, catching my breath.
“Oh my god congratulations guys,” Zahara says, I fall out of my seat, scooping Laila into my arms.
“Are you kidding me, oh my god,” I scream, spinning her around.
“That’s not all,” Geo says, I pull away.
“There is more?”
“I’m pregnant!” Laila says.
“You are not!” I shout, looking at Zahara who looks equally shocked. “No one knows how to use condoms, huh?” I say, before pulling my best friend into a hug. “I can’t believe this,” I say, she squeezes me.
“I’m 2 months, I’ve wanted to tell you, but we just wanted to finish everything up,” Laila says, I pull away and pull Geo into a hug.
“This is so amazing guys, I’m so happy for you,” I say. The door opens and hair and makeup walks into the room. “We have to celebrate after the show!” I say.
“Celebration!” Laila shouts.
Both of my closest girlfriends were pregnant and getting married at the same time. It felt like a reality check slap in the face. I was finally going to have all the pieces of my life together; I had wanted Laila and Geo to move to California one year after I moved there. They had different plans however, and none were transferring to California which was something I just had to deal with. Now I was getting them both, plus a niece of a nephew and someone for Lorelei to grow up with, along with Zahara kid it was everything I wanted and more.
No longer would I be the only mother in the group, the only one with gross nursing stories. And tips for Doctors appointments, this was finally happening. After the concert we celebrate in the hotel room, Calum practically shouting from the limo about the news. Everyone was bubbling with excitement, and until this very moment I hadn’t had one thought about Braum. Thinking of not only Zahara’s wedding announcement and now my closest friend since childhood, brought on the thought of Braum marrying someone that wasn’t me.
It might have sounded cliché, and after 5 years you’d think I’d move on. But Lorelei had his smile, his laugh, his eyes, his mannerisms. She reminded me of him every day, and then I had to see him. When she video called him, whenever he was going to visit, or pick her up, or anything, and all I was going to be forced to think about was the one that got away. The boy that I wrote songs about and sung to in his bedroom. The boy was my number one fan, before there were any fans at all.
I was still in love with Abraham Clifford, and I had do something about it.