|How To Be Something You Miss
Author: RezBratOnna PM
Jenne's a rising MMA star. But her relationship with her boyfriend fell apart - his insecurities with her changing status had him looking for other options. Things start to look a little more interesting when a couple of actors drop in - one of them might be just the chaos she needs. COMPLETEDRated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Chapters: 20 - Words: 99,415 - Reviews: 12 - Favs: 11 - Follows: 9 - Updated: 07-26-12 - Published: 02-25-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3000208
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
: 10 :
That afternoon, when I returned, he was nowhere to be found. But his stuff was spread out in front of the television, and looked as if everything had been examined at least ten times over. Cash lay everywhere, papers and documents in some curled mess, and his laptop was sitting on the kitchen counter, facing a blank part of the wall near the fridge and the living room. My DVDs were lying in a skattered mess near the shelves they were stacked neatly on, and the cushions in all the sitting areas were upended, dropped on the floor. The bookshelves were obviously rifled through, with books and magazines pulled and/or dropped where they were.
It looked like I was robbed, or something. I felt pissed immediately.
Went into the kitchen to wash out my drink container when I heard Kevin's voice emerge from nowhere, "Stop being such a fucking baby! I can hear you, stupid."
Looked around myself with a start, wondering where he was. Stopped what I was doing and turned off the tap, whirling around. My apartment was empty – I'd already looked in all the rooms for Chase, so I know I would've ran into Kevin somewhere if he were here. I heard him give a noise of exasperation, and realized it was coming from the laptop nearby. Chase must have been Skypping him, or something.
"Look, quit fucking around, Chase. Just come back to the city, stop with the drama queen act. Megan's furious she's having to cover for you. This isn't as big of a deal as you think it is. C'mon, man, it was obvious from the start what was going to happen!"
It was none of my business but it was all of my business at the same time. I listened to Kevin's tired voice, the exasperated tone, and realized that he'd been talking this way for awhile. I had no idea who 'Megan' was, I didn't know why Chase was hiding from Kevin, what had been 'obvious', but – I kind of felt that if Chase wanted to hide from people and he chose me to do so with, then something significant must have spooked the idiot.
Or maybe he was just being a 'drama queen'. I didn't know him enough to know what his real personality was like, but I did feel like he trusted me. Because what else could it be?
"I'm sorry, all right? I've said that a few thousand times, now, I don't know how else to say it. It was stupid. I knew what was happening – I just thought you were cool with it. See, you don't ever say shit, and then – how am I supposed to know? C'mon, where are you?"
Curiouser, and curiouser, I thought, biting the inside of my cheek. But I reached over, and slowly closed the laptop from behind, hearing his rough protest as I did so. I waited for a few minutes, because I had no idea how Skyype worked. Opened it back up again, saw that Kevin's screen was gone, and rounded the counter to click out of the window. Saw that email he'd been working on pop back up, and I couldn't help but read it again. It was a different set-up from last time, with similar and obviously copy-and-pasted text, but everything assured everybody he was still this fictitious act trying to cope in the real world.
I didn't know what his deal was. I didn't know what Kevin meant with his apology. I didn't know anything about Chase Stanton – but I do think that he needed this time away from everything to recover a part of who he was. I didn't know what, I didn't know if that was even it – but there was that protective instinct again.
I selected everything. Deleted it. Typed out, "I need time alone. I'm in a safe place, I'm catching up on sleep. I'll contact you when I'm ready, to. I'd appreciate it if all of you would allow me this time to relax." Then added a smiley face because…I don't know, it seemed appropriate. Sent it without a second thought, exhaled as if I'd just completed a heavy task, then closed up shop, wondering where he was.
He came back after a few hours – I'd cleaned up, put all his shit away, and was busy doing some push-ups, some situps while catching up on recorded shows I'd missed during the week. He looked like he'd been rolling around in mud, cement and barbwire fence – I stared at him in mid-sit-up, and he stared back at me, as if I was intruding into his home. Looked confused for a moment, then wandered off to the kitchen, where he said nothing as he sat down on the floor in front of the cabinets and peered into one of them.
I stood up, staring over at him while he examined my pots and pans with a confused expression. It happened for so long that I eventually walked over to see what it was he was actually looking at. He instead rose from the floor and wandered over to the fridge to look in there, saying nothing the entire time. I continued to watch and wait until he finally looked over at me and said shakily, "I think I'm having a total mental breakdown. I don't even know where I'm at."
"You know who I am."
He wiped his face with exaggerated movements, smearing dirt everywhere. It even dripped from his hair. "I'm not stupid!"
"Then you know where you are. Opposite of where you live."
"That's like saying you live right across the street from me, Jenne. There's no way you could. Not on your earned pennies."
"Where were you, today? Why do you look like that?"
"I was looking for my phone. I could hear it ringing. I still can. I was looking everywhere for it."
"You said you threw it – "
"I know! I did! I know I did! But I can hear it ringing," he insisted, in this mad sort of way. Not the angry sort of mad, but the insane sort. "Constantly ringing! I just want to answer it, but I think it finally did disappear! Now nobody can find me, and I kinda want that, because now there's no one there to tell me that they even want me around!"
"You need to go somewhere better equipped than me to handle this," I muttered, resting against the counter. "Check yourself in for exhaustion, or whatever it is you celebs claim when you've lost it."
He finally shut the fridge, exhaling heavily. Then looked over at his laptop, realizing that something was different about it. Opened it, fiddled with it, then shut it again. Without warning, he picked it up and flung it against the floor, causing me to jump in surprise. When that wasn't satisfactory, he kicked it a few times, then got down on his knees to continue tearing it apart.
It looked so sad and pathetic. I walked over, pulled the destroyed thing away from him, and helped him to his feet. He was all muddy and had some sort of weed clinging to him – I pushed him away from the kitchen, and he just stumbled away, mumbling something about a ringing phone. I wondered if I should call somebody to come get him, but he just sat down on the couch, curled into the fetal position, and stared at the television screen for a long while.
My facial expression spoke volumes, I'm sure. I was pretty confident that this wasn't an act of his. There was just too much going on in those eyes of his. I was also pretty sure he wasn't on anything – there was no outward indication of it. I'd seen enough of druggies to know what they were on – Josh had tried almost everything under the sun to cope with his physical and mental issues – so I was confident of this.
I sat down on the other side of the couch, picking up the remote. Surfed through the channels for awhile until I found something interesting enough to watch. He eventually shifted position to stare up at the ceiling, and I looked over at him to judge his coherency. I noticed he was getting mud and such all over the couch, but I said nothing because I don't think anything I said would reach him at this point. Is this what happened to people like him when they 'break down'? I wouldn't even compare it to Josh and his return from Iraq because they weren't the same thing, but I did recognize some similiarities in their actions.
I figured I'd just wait it out, see what happens next. If he grew too out of control, then I'd call for somebody. If he could keep it like this, where I could handle it, then it was fine. I'd let him stay until he felt better. But I definitely wanted to know what was going on.
The next morning, I made him come out to the track with me, because him wandering off in this state of mind was sort of, I don't know, dangerous? He didn't want to, thinking he'd be recognized easily, but a hat, sunglasses and a hoodie, along with more of Norman's clothes, rendered him a different person. No one looked twice at him as I pulled him along, spying Hudson nearby. I introduced Chase to him by first name only, said he was a friend I was 'taking care of', and since Hudson didn't really pay attention to celebrities, he had no idea who Chase was anyway.
I worked out, happily, for a couple of hours while the morning sun warmed the city up. I noticed that Chase wasn't talking much – only saying a few things here and there to Hudson that required a nod or a shake of a head – but I think he was just trying to keep himself low-key, too. Hiding his face away from the joggers that were taking advantage of the astro-turf nearby, avoiding the curious look of people that knew and approached Hudson for a friendly word. By the time I was finished, he was that eager to leave.
"Did you do your interview, yet?" Hudson asked me, referring to some press requirements I had to fulfill before my match in Las Vegas.
"Over and done with. I hate those things."
"Did you at least attempt to look pretty taking your mugshots?"
"Nope. No effort was made," I said, wrinkling my nose.
"Fantastic. We don't need money made off those guys, anyway. Keep reviewing her groundwork, Jenne. She's got you beat if she's able to put you down," he reminded me needlessly. With that, he ambled off towards his car, while Chase and I walked towards mine.
I looked over at him, reaching over to pull the bill of his hat a little lower. "Josh left some green in the car. You want it? You can smoke it here before we leave."
"No. I just want to go back to sleep," he said tiredly.
"You sure you don't want to call anybody? What about your family?" I asked, fiddling with the keys.
"No, it's okay. I call them, like, once a week. Anymore than that, they'll get suspicious."
"But if people are looking for you, do you think they know by now you aren't where you're supposed to be?"
"I'm working on this email."
"You don't have a laptop, anymore."
"I'll just use yours."
"Yes, you may borrow mine from time to time if you really need it," I clarified. I waited for a few moments, then said, "Besides, despite what you said, I know what email you're talking about. It wouldn't work. It didn't say anything about you – it said things that were just 'deliberate misconceptions'."
He gave me a disgusted look, throwing himself back in the seat with this kid-like impatience. "You and Josh are so fucking snoopy! Does this trait run in your entire fucking family?"
"You think I shouldn't know if there's trouble coming to me in anyway? I should just continue to turn a blind eye to whatever it is you're running from? How do I know that you haven't pissed off any drug dealers or anything back there in New York?" I asked, turning to face him.
He gave me this exasperated look, saying low, "I'm not running from drug dealers! Did you look at everything on – "
"I just saw that email you were working on for hours," I said needlessly. "I revamped it, a bit."
"'Revamped'? What's that supposed to mean? What did you write?" he demanded, his voice starting to rise.
"We'll go home, I'll make some breakfast, you can check it on mine," I said. "But if you break it, I'm breaking you. Is that clear?"
"Why are you always going through my stuff, Jenne? God, you're like – so snoopy!"
"I just told you why," I reminded him as we climbed into the car, where he continued to grumble, ripping off his sunglasses and removing the hat. I looked over at him, clinging to the steering wheel for a bit before starting up the car. He didn't give any other protests, he didn't say anything else – just slouched low in his chair and glared down at the floor.
At that moment, I thought about how sad it was that this total stranger was relying on another total stranger to help him. But then again, who was actually helping who? The more time occupied by Chase, the less I thought of Norman, and I definitely didn't feel lonely, anymore. So I guess we were helping each other out, but how odd of a situation was it?
Later on, he was scowling at my laptop and I was finishing up the concoction I'd spent some time scrambling to perfection, and mixing us both fruit and protein smoothies. He didn't say anything for a long time – just sat there with his head in his hands, scowling. But he finally shifted to click on the mousepad, to look at other things, and he straightened away from the laptop to surf, or whatever it was he did.
Served him his breakfast and then ate mine nearby, ready to move in case he decided to do my laptop like he did his.
"What's your mailing address, Jenne?" he asked, tapping away.
"Because I'm ordering a new phone. I don't want to go out and get one."
I told him, watching him warily. He then ate quickly, resumed tapping away, and then finally pushed it in my direction after he was done. He left the kitchen and wandered off to my bedroom, where I heard the bed protest his flop. I figured he'd go back to sleep, and I let him, cleaning my keyboard of crumbs. Then entered my Facebook account, catching up on things and responding to messages. Reviewed a few clips of Shania, then looked in the direction of my bedroom.
Surfed the media sites for any information on him, and spied one of Kevin shot recently in L.A., with an actress that Chase once starred with. They were linked as good friends, her and Chase, so I figured those two were looking for him. Kevin's response to the media was that he was in L.A. to visit with family and ran into her, so they were 'hanging out'. Of course people would link them as being together, being that she was pretty and single, and he was pretty and single.
I put Chase's name in the search engine that I used, but the only information that came up was what I'd been looking at previously – nothing new, nothing that screamed out "Missing!"
I guess he was right. Nobody noticed that he was gone. If Kevin were in hiding for a few days, people would notice immediately and start throwing around theories. That was sort of sad.
I clicked onto a fan-based website of Chase's, and the forums were alit with theories as to why he hadn't been updating his Twitter, Facebook and other accounts the past few days. At least they'd noticed. Most of these theories involved fan sightings of him in the airports he'd mentioned, looking 'unkept' and sad. Many thought he'd had a fallout with Kevin, their secret homosexual relationship taking a turn for the worst because Kevin was an asshole.
All sorts of things were mentioned, and I had to be amused. Clicked out of there, and reset my password so that Chase wouldn't get on and start snooping. Then I started reviewing all the symptoms for a 'mental breakdown', and was really apprehensive because most of the stuff mentioned was exactly what Chase was displaying. So I had to think about what to do with this aspect of him, wondering if it was really okay for him to just…stay here in that condition.
"Everyone has one of those," Josh said in exasperation when I called him. It was really annoying because while I was talking to him, I heard Ashley in the background, hissing at him to hang up the phone. I wanted to knock her out, because that skank has no right to keep my brother from me. "It's only when it gets, like, y'know, when guns come along then it gets real. Why? Are you having one? Getting all freaked out because you're afraid of getting knocked out again– "
"No, I'm not," I said in response, cutting him off. "Because it's…I think someone close to me is in the middle of one. So I don't know whether to call it in, or make him go, or – "
"Don't be scared. Just try not to get knocked out this time, okay?"
"I wasn't - ! Did you even hear me?"
"G-t-g, Jenne, Ashley finally has…so I got to – "
"Josh, you aren't – " I hung up in total disgust, tossing my phone away from me. My brother is so disgusting sometimes. Looked in the direction of my bedroom, then wandered in that direction. He was sleeping heavily, looking less like the maniacal freak I was used to and more normal. I couldn't mention enough how much I liked this normal side of him. I figured I'd just go along with Josh's advice and let things go as they were, and if they turned into a bigger situation – it'd be a quick call for the mental health services to come get him. I'd feel bad about it, of course, but then again he wasn't my responsibility.
I still wondered what happened to make him leave as he did.
It sounded like a betrayal of some sort, something Kevin did. And that other email was chastising – it made sense, a little, why he was talking about 'sampling products', because maybe he was in that situation. Maybe he was the cause. Maybe he was the Norman in the Jenne-Norman situation, and he really fucked things up with his twenty-five other contacts.
Or maybe he was me. Maybe he was the one fucked over by somebody that had gotten insecure. Maybe his ego had been so grand that he'd messed up, too, just like I had with Norman. Not seeing it until the last minute, driving somebody away because he was too focused on his needs. I don't know.
Since he wasn't really telling me anything, I had these theories that went no where and everywhere at once. Guess I just keep trying when he woke up to get the real story from him.
Since he wouldn't get up to go with me to the track, I went and did that on my own, returning home with some groceries. He was still in bed, not moving much, and sort of zoning out – it was kind of creepy. I put everything away, threw some stuff into a rice cooker, and then wandered into my bedroom. Opened the windows, let some sunlight in, watching him pull the blanket over his head in response.
Since he wasn't moving anywhere, I kicked off my shoes and stretched out on my side of the bed, folding my hands atop of my stomach and watching the ceiling for awhile. It was so weird being in this situation – every time I reflected on it, I kept realizing how we were strangers towards each other. I didn't know personal details about him, he didn't know too much about me, yet we were existing in this small apartment together. It almost felt scripted, or something.
"Norman didn't want to get back together with me after he realized I was training, again," I said aloud, glancing in his direction. "I think he was ready to, but I think he was reminded how much I ignored him back then. I was too focused on my goals. I didn't give him enough time to get close to me."
Looked at my nails, chewing the edges off so that they'd stay short. Then refocused on the ceiling.
"I was mad. I was pissed and hurt because he never supported me, then he went and cheated on me with somebody else. But I think I deserved it, y'know? I still think he's weak. I still think he's an asshole. But if he ever gave me a chance, let me come back to him, I think I'd go for it again."
I wondered if Chase was even listening to me, but he really had no choice. I was lying right there, so it wasn't as if he could shut me out. At the same time, I didn't expect a response from him. I was just talking aloud just to talk.
"I still miss him," I admitted. "Little things make me miss him. Seeing his clothes again, if I come across something that was his – or seeing somebody that looked like him on the street. When I told my mom and dad he was gone, they were really…relieved. I could hear it in their voices. I'd asked her why – she said it was because they knew he couldn't handle what I do. I guess they were able to see what I couldn't."
Chewed on my nails for a while, spitting off to the side – reflecting on mom's relief in the situation when I'd been so lost and angry. I wondered how they were able to see that me and Norman were going to fail. Was it in our faces during our last visit? Was it in our voices when we spoke to them together? Something on Facebook?
Folded my arms behind my head and stared up at the ceiling, listening to the sound of traffic outside. People were yelling at each other in the other complex parking lot, and if I strained myself, I could hear the rushing waters of the canal. Sirens in the distance, airplanes moving about – the world was busy outside of my bedroom. Here, it was like nothing moved, and the air was stale with lingering sadness.
Finally, the blanket shifted and Chase peeked out with that celebrity-make-up-less face that made me wince. "Do you always have conversations with yourself?" he asked snidely, sniffling.
"Since I'm alone most of the time, yep. I like hearing what I have to say," I said calmly.
"I'm just so tired," he whined softly, pulling the blanket back over him, curling it tightly around himself by rolling on the bed. "And you're talking to yourself."
"So what'd Kevin do to make you run away?" I asked curiously, using a knee to push him away when he bumped into me.
"Hacked my Facebook account and told the world I was a no-rate actor," was his muffled answer, and I knew that wasn't it.
I shrugged because I obviously wasn't going to get a straight answer, and focused up at the ceiling. From my peripheral vision, he rolled around just to get the blanket pulled from his head, looking at me with this squinty expression.
"How could you focus on him, anyway?" he asked. "You're busy, you're focused on things – it's not like you're not doing anything and waiting on his every beck and call. Guys don't like that, not when it comes to their wives. But it's different when it applies to girlfriends. Girlfriends are expendable."
I wrinkled my forehead. "What's that mean?"
"When you have a number one, but there's also two through seven, number one just has to accept that they aren't the only one," he insisted.
"Uh…well, not in my case."
"But once number starts ignoring you in order to service number eight because number eight had always been the goal, then there's fucking problems," he huffed. "When you realized you and your heart has been had and nothing seems right because you just have to give up because there's no other chance, that's when you get swallowed up."
"Sounds pretty selfish if there was never just one," I said, wondering what applied to him.
"In my world, that's how it works. It just happens."
"So, someone broke your heart. Which is pretty tough, because you don't ever seem to let your guard down for anybody," I added before he could say anything. "There's no way anybody could fall in real love with a fictitious character."
"The first mistake I made was thinking that it would work," he muttered. "Because I thought – anyway, I just think that things aren't always about one person."
"But you just – "
"In your situation, it's all your fault. Guys have the ego, they need it stoked all the time, and you weren't around to remind him of it. So of course he found somebody else. Nobody feels sorry for you, Jenne, because it's all your fault."
"What about your situation?" I challenged.
He grumbled something that I couldn't catch, burying himself back into the darkness.
"Her fault," I verified. "It's always the girls' fault because the guys don't want to admit that it was them in the first place."
"Why should it have been?" he then asked, peering out indignantly. Then realized he was revealing too much of himself, retreating back to, "Anyway, this is a stupid subject. I don't want to talk about something that belongs to one my scripts. I'm sick of those lies."
"Okay, okay," I said, hands up. Stared up at the ceiling for a long while, then asked vaguely, "So why those movies if you don't believe in them? You must because you do a lot of them."
"Because no one thinks I can do anything else."
"You did another type of movie. Three others. I think you were good, I didn't really watch them," I admitted.
"You wouldn't. You have none of that genre in your collection. You have westerns, sci-fi, action – comedy. I am easily forgettable. I'm not your type, so that makes me safe," he then declared, a little unhinged.
I looked over at him unsure of how to take that comment. "You act like you're a teenager. People allow this in show business?"
"I've…no idea what you mean. I'm…me. I handle my own decisions, I – "
"Yet you behave this way in front of powerful people? Other celebrities? Go out of your way to – who do you feel you have to impress, or get the attention of?" I then asked, rising up on my elbows. "That's what you make me think of when I listen to you. You try too hard to get attention, and you really don't have to. It makes me think that when Kevin's around, you think you have to stretch out harder and faster just to get some of that spotlight on you – "
"Why do you do this?" he practically yelled, rolling over, flopping off the bed with a heavy thump. He battled his way out of the blanket he'd wrapped himself in and stalked in this agitated pace. "You go on and on about how attention starved, how worthless I am, and you just - !"
"Because I don't like this act! And it's just an act, because once we started interacting, I saw way too many exaggerated sides of you to think that this was how you really were!"
"You think you see it all, huh Jenne? You know everything? You think you know me? You don't know shit about me!"
"I don't, because you don't tell me anything, and I don't ask, because you know why? You're never going to give me the straight answer!"
"I don't need to answer to you! Ever! About anything!"
"Then don't," I said calmly, resting back. "Continue to live the lie that is you. Continue to let it take over you because you think it's working. I think this breakdown says otherwise, Chase. Is that even your real name? It can't be, can it?"
"How did Norman stand you?" he asked, tone rising with his agitated expression. "How did he fucking cope with you?"
"Norman had control over me that nobody else ever could," I admitted. "I think I was the child in that relationship. He had a way of taking control of a situation that made me feel safe and okay, and…I only acted out the way that you do because I had no other way to compete with that."
"Bullshit. I saw him. He's…like…geeky. There's no way someone like him could – over something like you."
"He did. He always did. I was under his spell, and he didn't have to try hard to keep me," I continued. "I'd always be the overreactive one. I couldn't help it. It just came over me. Irrational impulse."
"I don't need to compete for attention," he then muttered, stretching back down onto the bed, because his earlier actions had been taxing.
I let that comment hang over both of us for a long while. I think it made him think, because when I glanced over at him, he was seeing something far away from us and not realizing that I was seeing him at that moment. Kind of like making himself think that over and over – much like how I used to. I reached over, to brush my fingertip over the fringe of his lowered eyelashes and making him recoil.
"You have such pretty eyes," I said. "You should let them talk more."
"Eyes can't 'talk' Jenne, that's ridiculous."
"Sometimes, when you're sleeping – "
"That's creepy, that people actually do that, you know…"
" – I see this normal person there. And I want to know who that person is, because he seems way more interesting than the one that I know," I finished.
"Never knew you to be this creepy person, Jenne. You sounded so normal when we met – "
"When you say my name, it sounds funny. You're originally from the south, right?"
"No. I was spawned from the imagination of others," he said sarcastically.
"That's the Chase I know. But there are flashes I catch here and there that aren't him. That's who you need to reconnect with. You've forgotten who you are, and that's why you were broken," I said, rising from the bed. "I am cooking lunch. Eat it when I call for you. Then we'll go for a walk. You arne't just going to lie around all day, you need to exercise. You're losing your muscle tone."
"You're like that chick from 'Misery', Jenne."
"I will break your ankles if you attempt to do anything stupid," I admitted. Then walked off, hearing him grumble into the pillows again.