I know it's been done before, but everything has. It's never been done by me before, though, and I hope you'll enjoy it. I'll be updating at least a couple of times a week, as the story is already finished. I just need to do the last round of edits right before posting.
English is not my native language, and if you find any really bad errors, please, let me know. The same goes, if you notice the same error everywhere. I'd be happy, if you'd let me know. I'm trying to improve my English.
Constructive reviews will be much appreciated.
Don't Do Anything Stupid
High Maintenance I
Chapter 1 - Breaking the News
The world had never turned so slowly before, but Theo's heart was beating faster than ever. He stared at the note in his hand, but the blue ink blurred before his eyes, and the letters became unreadable. He glanced up at the young woman in front of him and noticed something familiar about her. Was it the eyes? She had green eyes, and they did not stop staring at him.
The screams around him vanished as he focused on the note again. If he focused really hard for a moment, he might be able to read it and realise, he was being ridiculous. It was just a revelation of her undying love for him, just like all the other notes. Right?
August 26th, Cologne, Germany. We need to talk.
No matter how hard he focused, though, the note kept saying the same thing. He looked at her again, and though his brain tried its best to deny it, he did know her. Well, know was probably a bit of an overstatement, but they had met before. In Cologne. On the 26th of August.
They had had a gig that night, and, afterwards, they had gone to a local pub. Theo had been so drunk already before they got there, that he had wanted to go home early. And he had, but he hadn't been alone.
"Theo, seriously!" the blonde woman's voice brought him somewhat back to the present. It was shrill - almost desperate. "I need to talk to you!"
Was there any chance that she was just a fan? Theo didn't remember seeing her around the tour bus or the hotels before, but it was a long way from Cologne to Manchester, just to stand outside a hotel and catch one glimpse of them.
A fan took advantage of the situation and grabbed Theo's arm, and he stumbled back trying to get away from her and hit something or someone on the way.
"What's the matter?" Jack's voice brought him further back to reality, as he supported him with his left hand, while signing an autograph with his right.
"I have to..." Theo trailed off. He felt like throwing up. The whole world was spinning, and he felt the temperature rise inside along with his heartbeat. Some of the closest fans had grown silent, watching and waiting for his next move. The young, blonde woman, who had handed him the note, was waiting, too. But waiting for what? An answer? To what, exactly?
"What is it?" Jack stopped signing autographs to focus on Theo. A bodyguard took a firm grip of the latter's arm and dragged him away from the crowd. It all happened very fast, and yet Theo felt, as if he saw everything in slow motion. The young woman was still there. He couldn't take his eyes off her, as she tried to push her way through the security line.
"Let her through," he finally said with a nod in her direction. The bodyguard, Scott, looked at him with a puzzled frown. "Blonde hair, blue coat, red scarf. Let her through."
Scott went over to talk to her, and a moment later she joined Theo. He grabbed her arm a little too violently and pulled her with him to the hotel foyer. The other girls grew louder outside, but he couldn't care less right now.
"Is there anywhere we can talk?" she asked and pulled her arm away from his grip. "I think you'd want to talk about this in private."
"Yeah. I just need the key to my room." Theo felt faint. There had to be another explanation. "Then we can talk."
"Who's she?" Kevin looked very displeased, as he handed Theo his key card.
"She's... Uh... Caroline?" Theo tried.
"Clara," she corrected him. Oops. But at least he got the first letter right.
"And what's she doing here?" Kevin asked, definitely not approving of Theo taking her to his room.
"I just need to talk to her," Theo replied. "It's private."
"You gotta be ready at 3.30. The interview's at 4.30."
"I know," Theo replied a little annoyed. Sometimes, Kevin treated them as if they were still teenagers, who needed their mum. They had been in this business for almost 15 years. They knew the drill.
"Come on," he told the young woman - Clara - and grabbed her arm again. She pulled it away from his grip again, but she did follow him.
None of them said anything in the elevator. It was rather awkward, but they weren't alone, so they just stood there. At least Clara didn't seem too fond of the situation, either. In fact, she looked sort of scared. Just like Theo felt. Could she bring anything but bad news?
"No need to search her," Theo told the bodyguards outside the elevator, when they stepped out onto the fourth floor, which had been closed down to the public. One of the bodyguards, a huge man named Rodriguez, nodded and let them both through.
Theo opened the door to his hotel room and took a deep breath, before he entered.
"Come on in," he said and beckoned for Clara to follow. She did, but she looked very uncomfortable. Theo closed the door behind her. "Do I need to sit down for this?"
"That would probably be a good idea." She glanced at him for a moment, before she looked away again. Theo took another deep breath and sat down in an armchair. "Please, sit down."
She sat down in the other armchair.
It was obvious that she didn't know how to begin, so she coughed awkwardly and straightened her scarf a little. Her cheeks were a very dark pink by now. It could be from the cold outside, but Theo figured there was more to it than that.
"You look as if you need a drink." Theo didn't mean to be rude. He felt sorry for her, but he really needed a drink. And a smoke, though it had been more than two years since his last cigarette.
"A glass of water would be nice," she replied politely without looking too much at him. He got up and fetched it for her, and when he came back, she got up to take the glass from him. She looked even more flustered than a moment ago. She accidentally touched his hand when reaching for the glass, and for what was probably just a split second but felt like forever, she looked him straight in the eye.
"I'm pregnant," she finally spilled, and Theo felt the colour disappear from his face. He had to sit down. It couldn't be true. It just couldn't. It wasn't supposed to happen. And what had it got to do with him, anyway? It couldn't be his. He was always careful. They had been careful, right?
He sat down in the armchair again without really noticing. He looked at Clara, but he didn't really see her. Pregnant? No, she had to be lying. She just had to. He couldn't become a father. He wasn't parent material. And how could she even be sure?
"I just..." He covered his face with his hands.
"I'll give you a minute," she said and left. He didn't know where to. He didn't hear the door slam. He just picked up his phone and dialed Jack's number.
"What's up? Who was she?" Jack answered his phone.
"I need you in my room. Now."
"I'm on my way. What's going on?"
"Then I'd better bring Kevin."
Clara took a big gulp of water and leaned against the wall for support. Two huge men in suits were standing by the elevator. She hadn't looked much at them before, but they looked ridiculous wearing sunglasses inside a hallway with no natural light. But that was probably just security dress code.
She had left the door to the hotel room a little ajar, so she could go back in a moment. She heard Theo speaking on the phone, but she couldn't make out the words. She had played all possible scenarios in her head over and over again, and she was glad that he hadn't yelled at her. At least he hadn't yelled at her yet. Although this was far from over, she sort of felt relieved. She had finally gotten through to him, and she had told him the truth. The secret was out. It felt right, though she was still scared of what was to come.
The door to the elevator opened, and the short, blond man, whose name was Jack, if Clara wasn't mistaken, stepped into the hallway. He headed towards Clara, and she wasn't really sure how to react. Was he the one that Theo had talked to on the phone just now?
"Hi, I'm Jack," he said with a smile and reached out his hand to her.
"Clara," she replied and felt relieved. At least he wasn't angry at her.
"Wanna come back inside?" He pushed open the door and entered Theo's room, beckoning for her to follow. She did.
"So, I hear congratulations are in order," he continued with another smile at Clara, who must've looked confused, as he explained. "You're expecting?"
"Oh, yes, thank you," she muttered.
Theo was still sitting in the armchair, where Clara had left him. He looked up at them. Were those tears in his blue eyes? If the situation hadn't been so serious, she might've laughed to herself. Not because he was crying, but because the tears might very well make his eyeliner run.
"Won't you sit down?" Jack looked from Clara to the empty armchair. Then he sat down on the coffee table, though there was an empty couch as well.
"Thanks," Clara said and sat down in the chair again. Then she looked at Theo. "I know it's a bit much to take, but I didn't know how else to tell you."
"How do you know?" Theo asked, his voice faltering. He looked hurt, as he brushed a hand through his black hair. Or frustrated. She wasn't sure which one. Probably both. "We were careful. I know we were."
Clara gave a quick glance at Jack. She was a little uncomfortable talking about what had happened with someone else present.
"I'm just here for support," he said with a smile. "Pretend I'm not here, if it makes it easier."
"Nothing about this is easy," Clara mumbled. Theo looked at her again, a little more softly than a moment ago. "But, I know, because I haven't been with anyone else. I mean, obviously, I have..." She stopped herself, before she would say anything too awkward. It was awkward enough as it was. "Anyway, around that time, I didn't...sleep with anyone else."
"But we used protection. I remember that very clearly. You even told me you didn't want to get pregnant."
Clara looked at Jack again, before she looked back to Theo. This wasn't exactly something she liked discussing in front of a stranger, though Theo was sort of a stranger, too.
"Which is why I didn't suspect anything until recently," she replied quietly.
"What? But you must've...missed your periods."
Theo obviously didn't like discussing the details, either.
"But I didn't. Sometimes everything just seems normal, and in my case, it did. For a while, anyway."
There was a knock on the door, and a moment later, a man somewhat older than the three of them entered the room. He was wearing black trousers, a white shirt and an angry expression on his face.
"Clara, this is Kevin. Our manager," Jack introduced them to each other. Theo wasn't looking at anyone of them. He definitely wasn't too happy about the situation, but who could blame him?
Clara got up and reached out her hand to the tall man with the black sunglasses on top of his dark hair, but he just ignored it.
"What do you think you're doing?" he spat at her instead. Clara took a step back in surprise and sat down in the chair a little faster than she meant to. It made her feel a little dizzy.
"What do you want? Money? 'Cause you're not gonna get a cent from him!" Kevin continued.
"What? I... I don't..." was all Clara could say. This was a scenario she hadn't thought of. She hadn't pictured an angry manager at all.
It was rather hot in the room, and she was still wearing her winter coat. She unzipped it and took a sip of water to collect herself. She was beginning to feel a little nauseous.
"Are you even pregnant?" Kevin asked with an angry glance at her belly. It wasn't really showing yet, but it was definitely there. She had gained weight, though she was the only one who could tell, so far.
"Okay, Kevin, there's no need to yell at her," Jack tried. Theo was staring at her belly, too, as if he was trying to look through her blouse. He didn't say anything. He just looked as if he could start crying any moment now. Much like Clara felt, but she refused to let them see her cry.
"I've got these," she said instead and took out an envelope from her bag. She tried to give it to Theo, but Kevin snatched it from her.
"Hey!" she exclaimed in annoyance, but he just ignored her.
"Ultrasound?" he said in surprise, as he took out the pictures. Theo looked up too quickly for Clara not to notice.
"Let me see them," he said and reached out for them, and Kevin handed him the pictures. Theo looked at them for a while. Then he looked at Clara, and then back to the pictures. "But... It's already..." He looked at her again. He definitely had tears in his eyes now.
Jack had moved behind Theo's chair to look over his shoulder and have a look at the pictures as well.
"It's a little person," he said and looked at Clara with a bright smile.
"It is," she said and tears were in her eyes, too, now.
"Is it a boy or a girl?" It was Jack again, but Theo looked up at her, too, and was obviously waiting for the answer.
"I don't know yet."
"Theo, it's not yours," Kevin said. "I don't believe it. She wants money, or 15 minutes of fame, or whatever. She wants something from you."
"You bet I want something from him," Clara exclaimed and got up. She had had enough. And she was also very emotional. She was supposed to be talking to Theo, not an angry, overly protective manager. "I don't want money. I couldn't care less about your money. I just want my child to have a father. That's what I want from him!" The nausea grew worse.
The manager took a step closer, towering over her. He was trying to intimidate her, but she wouldn't let him. She had come this far already, and she could go the distance.
"Kevin, I need to talk to her alone," Theo said and got up. He stepped in between the two of them, making both of them take a step back.
"I don't think that's wise," Kevin replied. "I'll give Norton a call."
"I don't care if it's not wise," Theo spat. "If she carries my child, I think I'm entitled to talk to her. Alone."
Clara felt a pang of relief at his words. There was a small chance he believed her. That would make things a lot easier, while waiting for the results of the paternity test.
"Yeah, come on, Kev, let's give them some privacy," Jack said and turned away to walk to the door. "Kevin, now!"
The manager followed him, though clearly very reluctant.
"We're not done here," he said with an angry scowl at Clara.
No, she knew that. They were only just beginning.
"I'm sorry 'bout Kevin," Theo said and sat down again. Clara looked very pale. No matter the situation, there was no need for anyone to yell at a pregnant woman. Or any woman.
"You don't need to apologise," she replied and didn't sit down. "I figured, that me showing up here would cause some...disturbance."
"That's mildly put," Theo replied with a small snort. "Won't you sit down again?"
"Yes, it's just that...where's the bathroom? I need to..." She covered her mouth with a hand, as if she was about to throw up.
"Oh, it's in there." Theo pointed to the bathroom and got up, when she hurried out there. A moment later, he heard her throw up. He didn't really know, if there was anything he could do to help, but after a few moments, he followed her anyway. "Are you gonna be okay?"
"Mm-hm," she replied and tried to keep her long, blonde hair from falling into her face. Theo found a cloth and wet it, before he gave it to her. She got up and took it from him without really looking at him.
"Thanks," she said and cleaned her face. "It should be over soon."
"The throwing up. At least I hope so."
"Oh. You've been doing that a lot?"
"Only for a few weeks. That's why I began suspecting something wasn't right."
"The ultrasound...is the baby...?"
"The baby's doing fine. Everything is just as it's supposed to be."
"That's good." Theo went back to the front room to sit down, making sure that Clara followed. "I'm sorry, if I don't seem super happy about the situation. I don't really get it."
"You seem rather calm, though."
"I've had a few weeks to get used to the idea."
"I still don't get how it could happen. I'm 100% sure we used protection."
"So am I, but it must've broken or something. I don't know. I just know it happened."
"But you know we'll have to do DNA tests, right?"
"Of course. I've already had it done. The papers are in the envelope."
Theo took the envelope from the table and took out the rest of the papers. The ultrasound pictures were still on the table.
"I had no idea they could test so early."
"They can. From week 8, I think."
"And you're how far along? I should be able to figure that out myself, but I can't really think clearly right now."
"Almost 16 weeks. I found out three weeks ago."
"Why did you wait this long to tell me?"
Clara sighed. And did she roll her eyes a little?
"I have tried to contact you. But you're not exactly the easiest person on Earth to get in touch with."
"I guess not, but..."
"I messaged your Facebook page, I messaged the band's Facebook page, I called your manager, and I emailed him as well. I even thought about messaging your girlfriend, but then I was afraid I'd mess things up between the two of you. And no one would let me through to you, as long as I wouldn't say what it was about. And I didn't want you to know through someone else."
"You thought about contacting my girlfriend?"
"Well, no, I never really considered it. You do have a girlfriend, right? I've been doing some research."
"Yeah. Yes, I do." The question was, would he still have, when she found out that he was going to be a dad? A dad! The thought was freaking him out.
"Can I ask you something?" Clara brought him back to the present.
"Were you...were you two together, when...I mean, when you were in Cologne?"
"What?" Thank God, no. "No. We only started going out a few weeks later." Cathy would be furious enough as it was, when she found out that he had made someone else pregnant. If he had.
"Okay. I'm sort of glad to hear that."
"The DNA test...do I just take these papers to the doctor and ask for a test?"
"Yeah, you should probably make an appointment for a paternity test. Though I'm sure your manager has made that appointment for your already." She gave a small smile. The first one he had seen.
"I'm really sorry about his behaviour. He's just looking out for me."
"I know. And, for your information, my dad will be furious at you, when he finds out." She gave another smile.
"When he finds out? You haven't told your parents yet?"
"No. I wanted you to be the first one to know."
"So, you've been dealing with this alone?"
"Well, my doctor knows, and, ehm..."
"Who else?" Theo was curious. To whom would you tell this sort of secret if not your parents?
"Eh, I've sort of talked to a lawyer about it. Not that I want anything from you, I just figured, it would be the smart thing to do, as I have no doubt your manager will be calling your lawyer as we speak."
She was right. Kevin would have talked to the lawyer already.
"So you told your doctor and your lawyer, but no one else? Not even a friend?"
"I..." She sighed. "No. I wanted to, but I figured no one would believe me anyway. At least until I had talked to you, and the DNA test came back, and..." She looked away a little shyly like all of a sudden.
"You don't think your own friends would believe you?"
"Come on!" She looked back at him. The small smile was back on her face. "Who would believe the father of my unborn baby to be the lead singer of High Maintenance? It's not like I told anyone, we hooked up."
"Most girls would've." Theo could have bit his tongue. That sounded so arrogant.
"Yeah?" She gave a small laugh. "Well, I'm not most girls, and I don't brag about sleeping around."
"Fair enough." Theo smiled back at her. She took out her phone and looked at the display.
"I should get going," she said and got up. Theo jumped to his feet.
"Right now? But we haven't really talked yet."
"No, but you were supposed to be ready for some interview at 3.30, right?"
"It's 3.33, so I should get going. Or your manager will kill me."
"I don't think I'll be doing any interviews today."
"Of course you will." She zipped her jacket again and put her bag over her shoulder. "You can keep the ultrasound pictures. I've got copies."
"But...you can't leave yet!"
"My contact details are on those papers. I'll be in town until tomorrow."
"Tomorrow? But, will you be going back? To Germany?" Theo couldn't think clearly. He knew they still had so much to talk about, but he also had the band to think about. He didn't really know what to do right now. At all.
"Can't you stay here? Just for now. Until we're done with that interview."
She stopped and looked up at him.
"Would you trust me to stay in your room, while you were gone?" she asked quietly.
"Well, yeah, if you don't tell Kevin about it." He didn't have anything here that she wasn't supposed to see. He always carried his phone with him, and his computer was still on the tour bus. What was there for her to pry her nose into, if it turned out that he had misjudged her? Clothes? Yeah, he didn't really care about those.
"To be honest, I wouldn't mind that," she replied. "I have at least 45 minutes back to my hotel, and if we're to talk again later, I'd have to go back anyway. Or one of us would have to."
"Then it's settled. I'll have some food brought up for you."
"No, you don't have to. I'll just take a nap on the couch, anyway."
But Theo did have food brought up to the room, and Clara was grateful for it. She usually didn't throw up this late in the day, but all the stress had taken its toll on her. Now, as the nausea had passed, she felt hungry. It was no wonder, really. She had just emptied her stomach a few moments ago.
So, this was another situation she hadn't expected to find herself in. Her, alone, in Theo Hemingway's hotel room. She could fangirl a little, couldn't she? Just until he came back? If the situation hadn't been so serious, she would've found it very comical. He was a rock star, for goodness' sake. Why did she have to go and get herself pregnant with him?
Why had she gone back to his hotel with him that night, in the first place? She wasn't even a fan, so why did she do it? Because he was hot? She laughed a little at the thought. He had never been her definition of hot. With his black hair, black clothes, black nails, and black around the eyes he was the prototype of a punk rocker. Like a kid that never grew up. She had never been attracted to that.
But then why? Because he was famous? She would hate to think so little of herself, and she also hadn't told anyone afterwards. She would've, if it had been for the fame, wouldn't she?
He had been rather sweet that night. She and a couple of friends had been at a pub, but they weren't supposed to get drunk and stay out late. They had just had a couple of drinks, and that was it. They had left early, but Clara had forgotten her handbag somewhere, so she had come back to find it. Her friends hadn't come with her. She wasn't drunk, and it wasn't late, so there was no need for them to look out for her. They often went their separate ways when going out, so there was nothing strange about that.
Back at the bar, she had gone directly to the table, where she thought she'd left her bag. Jack and the other two band members (she didn't know their names back then - it was always Theo and Jack in the media) had been there, and she had recognised Jack immediately. It had made her stutter a little when asking, if they had seen her handbag, and they had laughed at her. Not that they were being mean, they had just had a good time - drunk as they were. Theo had come back to the table carrying beers for all of them at that moment, and he had told the others not to laugh at the lady. Besides, he had found her handbag and given it to the bartender. Clara had thanked him and then walked up to the bartender, but Theo had followed. He had wanted to make sure that she got her bag. He had bought her a drink, and then he had bought her another drink, and then he had bought her a lot of drinks.
They had both been so drunk, when they got back to his hotel room, that they could barely stand. The sex hadn't been great, but he had been sweet, and the next morning hadn't been as awkward as it could've been. They had kissed each other goodbye, and Clara had left. That was it. She thought, that she would never see him again, and she didn't really care. Until recently.
What a mess that night had caused for them. She was still freaking out every now and then, but she was getting a little more used to the thought of becoming a mother with every day that passed. Was she happy about it? No. She wasn't happy about the situation. She would've preferred to create a family with a man, whom she loved, and who loved her back. Mum and dad living together as a couple. But was she looking forward to the arrival of the baby? She might be crazy, but, once in a while, she couldn't help but touch her belly and feel excited, even if the baby would be brought into this world under less fortunate circumstances. It was a life. A little human being inside of her. And she already cared more for it, than she had ever thought possible.
She was happy, that she had finally gotten through to Theo. Carrying a secret like that alone had been very hard, even if it was only for a few weeks. She had cried, and laughed, and then cried some more, and the throwing up had been hard to hide from her colleagues. One day, a female co-worker had told her to go see a doctor, because she was always sick. She probably suspected something, but she had been kind enough not to press the matter. Now Clara could finally tell someone. She probably wouldn't start with her colleagues, and she would probably have to keep the father's name a secret for a while, but at least she could tell her parents and her brother. Florian would laugh at her, when she told him who the father was, and say that she was more blonde, than she ought to be. But he would be there for her. She actually looked forward to telling him.
It had been a long day already, though it was only late in the afternoon. Clara had left Cologne at 4 in the morning to make sure she got a chance to meet Theo today, and so she was very tired. If she could just close her eyes for a few minutes, before he would be back...