Chapter 4 - And yet
I'd developed a habit over the past couple of years of putting my phone on silent before I went to bed. It took me too long to realize that if I didn't it would do nothing but ding at me all night long. But apparently, after dropping Della off last night and taking a quick shower, I crashed without a second thought about my phone or the noises it would make.
I woke up to the faint sound of my mama's ring tone coming from somewhere else in my hotel room. I pushed myself up and groaned. My least favorite thing was to wake up early and even though the alarm clock on the nightstand said it was 10 am I still considered it early. Old habits die hard.
I stood up and walked in the direction of the noise, I found it on the bathroom floor, still shoved in the back pocket of my jeans from the day before. I slid my finger across the screen and put it up to my ear.
"Hey, mama? That's what you have to say to me? What on God's green earth made you think that texting me about your relationship status was a good idea?"
She was trying so hard to sound mad and I almost laughed. She was too sweet for her own good.
"It was late, I figured if I called you it would wake you up. Hold on, I gotta pee."
I muted the phone and sat it down on the bathroom counter while I relieved myself.
I told her after I washed my hands.
"Jameson, I could strangle you."
"No, you don't. You're my baby boy and you're in love. I've never even met her."
Hearing my mama say those words worked my nerves. I knew I had made the right decision when I agreed to all of this but I hadn't realized until that moment that I would be lying to her too.
I sat down on the edge of the bed and cleared my throat.
"I know. I'm sorry."
"Tell me about her. Is she sweet?"
She asked, perking up a little bit.
I had to hold back a laugh. I was pretty sure Della was sweet, she just didn't want to show me.
"Yeah mama, she's sweet. She's beautiful too and has more talent in her pinky finger than most people have in their whole body."
"That's high praise coming from you, " She laughed before continuing, "I've read a lot about her, not all of it was good."
Della had been drug through the tabloids more than anyone else our age in this business simply because of who her parents are.
"Doesn't mean any of it is true."
"I assumed it wasn't, can't trust anything you read these days."
I figured if my mama met her, they would hit it off. I wasn't sure why I had that feeling but I knew that I wanted to find out.
"Hey what do you have going on this week? I'm here for a few more days doing radio interviews. Want to come out?"
"Yeah, I could take a few days off."
She worked for a medspa in our hometown even though I told her countless times that she didn't have to anymore. I had more than enough money for the both of us but she wouldn't hear of it.
"Okay I'll let Casey know and she'll book your flight."
"Leave your assistant alone Jameson, I can just drive it's not that far."
She was right it would take less than seven hours to get from Athens, Georgia to Orange Beach, Alabama but still.
"No ma'am. You're flying, Casey will email you the information. Love you, mama, bye."
I hung up before she had the chance to argue and texted my assistant. She immediately responded with a thumbs up before I got into the shower.
My phone dinged continuously as I finished my shower and I ignored all the random texts once I got out. I scrolled to the number that I programmed into my phone last night before passing out. I debated what I was doing for about half a second before I did it.
Della's voice was a little groggy which only amplified how nice it sounded to my ears.
More grogginess plus grumpiness from her end which did nothing but amuse me.
"I just talked to my mama about us."
"Congratulations, you want a cookie?"
She said. I heard her ruffling her covers and I closed my eyes imagining what Della wore to bed. And God knows it wasn't the first time I'd done it.
The first time I ever saw her I was just a sixteen-year-old kid sitting in front of a tiny TV watching the CMAs. She came on stage to sing with her dad and I was hooked. I was mesmerized by her. So much so that once I finally found my way to the spotlight and was put in the same room with her at events, I more or less avoided her because anytime I got too close I'd psych myself out. I always kept an eye on her but never enough to form any sort of friendship.
"Jameson, did you need something?"
Della asked, breaking me from that flashback.
"Want to meet my mama?"
"Well, I've met yours. It only seems fair."
I told her as I secured the towel around my waist and waited patiently for a smart comeback.
She asked surprising me.
"I'm flying back home Sunday night. We could have lunch, maybe?"
I wasn't sure why but the sound of Della on the other end of the phone being cooperative did something to me.
"You're flying to Tennessee Sunday night?"
I asked as I mentally went through next week's schedule.
"I'll be there Tuesday recording a few new songs."
"Okay," she sighed before continuing, "look, Jameson, I have no idea how to do this. It's one thing to fake smile for strangers but I'm not sure how to lie to people that we actually know."
I took a deep breath before responding. I weighed my thoughts carefully before responding to her.
"Truthfully, I don't know either. I don't want to lie to anyone but after last night I think I sort of sealed the deal and I'm sorry for that. I should've made sure you were 100% on board before I did it. We were just both there and-"
"No, I think that was the right time. I would've come around eventually anyway, I always do."
I nodded like an idiot because it wasn't like she could see me.
"I don't wanna lie to your mom. My parents know the truth, can we just tell her too?"
She asked sounding so hopeful that I almost said yes instantly.
"I wish but she's not going to understand. Us trying to convince her that this is a marriage of convenience won't work, it would probably break her heart."
"I don't wanna do that. This is all so weird."
She sighed and I heard a plop and imagined it was her falling back onto her bed.
I agreed as I racked my brain wondering how in the heck to navigate the situation we'd found ourselves in.
"Did you talk to your manager? I guess, your radio interview today has been changed to a radio interview with both of us."
My manager had probably called, texted, emailed, and tried to telepathically reach me but I hadn't noticed.
"Well, I guess if we're going on a date, I better get ready."
I said as I stood up, walking over to the hotel room's closet.
"It ain't a date."
She argued just like I'd hoped she would and I laughed.
"Don't worry darlin, I'll play my part but the second you want a real date, all you have to do is say the word and I'm yours."
I hung up and set my phone down on the dresser with a shaky hand. I'd been so hesitant with her for too long and I couldn't bring myself to feel bad about taking advantage of this fake relationship for even a second.
I'd waited a while to take Della out and I decided then that I'd settle for fake until she asked me for something real.