Frankly, I was quite surprised when Niall was ringing me. We hadn't talked in almost a year. Niall told me everything that had happened when Jamie disappeared from the hospital. And I hadn't talked to Jamie even longer. Of course I missed her. She is-was-well it's complicated best friend. I was miserable without her. But life had to go on. I had to move on.
The band has taken off which is great. We've been on tour. We made a music video with Demi Lovato and sang with her on Ellen which was fantastic. We recently dropped an album which seems to be doing really well. Connor joining us was a good move. He's a great lad, that one.
And I met Taylor Swift. Yep, the one and only. I was completely starstruck when I met her. Couldn't even speak.
It's been mad!
"That's amazing, JayJay. I'm so happy for you," Jamie smiled. Her lips formed a smile but her eyes were empty of emotion. She was completely worn out. Her alabaster skin shadowed her usual rosy cheeks, the bags of her eye bags indicated she hadn't slept well in a while.
"Are you alright?"
She snorted. "I've been asked that many times and honestly," she breathed in deeply. "I don't really know."
"You'll get through this." I affirmed her, lightly squeezing her upper arms. She studied my eyes. "I've known you forever and I have no doubt that you'll be fine." She tried to smile, to show some amount of confidence in my words. With my index finger, I pulled her chin up. "I know I haven't always been there for you. But you have people who love you. We're counting on you to be okay. So take however long it takes. But we NEED you to be okay."
If there's one thing I know about Jamie, it's that she always puts others before herself.
"I will." Her words were renewed with a sense of confirmation. With a promise.
"Right. So come on then," I chirped.
"What?" she asked, clueless.
"You need to get out of this room before you go insane. We're going clubbing."
She let out a laugh, clearly in disbelief. "No,we're not."
"Yes we are," I declared with a sense of finality, sauntering over to her closet to pick out some appropriate clothes to wear.
"No, James. We're not." This time there was no humour in her voice.
I wouldn't let her off that easily. "Jamie, I will drag you out of this room, kicking and screaming."
"You don't get it! I can't!" She was freaking out, hyperventilating. She was physically shaking. "I can't. I can't..."
I rushed over to her, taking both her hands in mine. "Look at me. Hey, look at me. Breathe. I won't let anything happen to you."
"I can't, James."
"Yes, you can. I promise you, nothing bad will happen. I will be right beside you at all times. And if you need to leave, we'll leave. Now, go hop in the shower. I'll wait outside."
I left her to it, not waiting for her to refuse anymore. She needed to get out of the flat. Being confined in the flat for months wasn't helping her.
Niall nodded his head once as I walked into the living room as acknowledgement of my presence. "We're going clubbing at the Sun Tavern...if you'd like to come." Yes, it was an Irish-influenced pub, one of Jamie's favourites, even before she met Niall.
I asked him out of courtesy.
"Are you sure she's going? She hasn't gone out of the flat since-"
"Okay, I'm ready." The both of our heads immediately turned around. And she was ready.
"Right. Uh...well, let's go then." I offered her my arm. She hesitated before walking over to Niall and kissing him on the cheek.
"I'll be fine."
Niall nodded, his lips in a tight line. We were halfway out the door when I felt a tight grip on my upper arm. "You take of her. If anything happens to her, I'm holding YOU responsible."
From the look on his face, he was not joking. "I'll keep her safe. Whatever it takes."
An hour later, Jamie and I were partying away. And for the first time in a long time, she actually looked like she was enjoying herself. She didn't look worried, she didn't look as if there was anything else on her mind.
Perhaps the liquor was helping her with that. But don't worry, I was controlling her intake. Nothing too strong.
I needed a break, a drink - the dance floor was intense...a crowd of moving, gyrating bodies closing in on us wasn't the most comfortable experience. Although Jamie didn't seem to mind. She waved at me from across the room, a smile plastered across her face, her teeth showing. I waved back, grinning at her. I took my eyes away to make a furtive glance at a pretty brunette who'd been eyeing me ever since I'd got here. I pushed the thoughts out of my mind, forcing myself to lock my eyes back on Jamie. Just in time to watch as a shady-looking lad passed her a shot glass which she downed quickly, coughing and sputtering at the strong taste that must've burned her throat. I was already pushing my way through the throng of bodies when he pulled her by the waist until his body was pressed to hers and she was obviously uncomfortable.
"Excuse me," I slipped through the crowd hastily.
Jamie tried to push him away but he pulled her back. Satisfyingly, I watched her slap him across the face. One more line of people to push through.
"You little bitch," he spit. He attempted to grab a fistful of her hair. He was a lot bigger when I was closer. I stopped his hand and punched him square in the jaw. Within seconds, two more big chaps surrounded us and grabbed my by my arms, holding me in place as he recovered and began using me as his punching bag.
"Stop!" I heard Jamie plead through my dizziness. A second later, I found myself on the floor, the two men holding me were no longer there.
"Yeah," I mumbled. "Jamie."
'"She's fine. Paramedics will be here soon to patch you up."
Jamie was almost in hysterics as I escorted her out of the pub. Some clubbers had begun to notice me but the bartender, a good friend of mine since I visited this place quite often, showed us to the back door.
'Thanks," I shook his hand, a neatly folded twenty pound note enclosed between our hands.
"Cheers," he mumbled huskily, quickly hurrying back inside.
"I'm so sorry, it's all my fault," Jamie apologised, her eyes glassy. "James-"
"He's going to be fine. Let's take a walk," I suggested. Perhaps the cool night air would clear my thoughts. I slipped on my thick coat on Jamie who was chewing on her pale lower lip. "Did you enjoy yourself?"
She let out a strangled laugh. "Yep. Right until James came in to defend my honour."
I grinned, getting a glimpse of her sassiness was refreshing. The smile on my face disappeared quickly. We were about to cross the road. There weren't any cars.
She must've realised because she suddenly stopped walking, a hand on my elbow. "What's wrong?" Jamie. Always worrying about everyone else except herself.
I couldn't look at her.
She walked to face me and got on her toes to kiss me, the familiar pressure of her lips was something that I would always remember. "Tell me, Ni. What can I do to make it better?"
"That's just it!"
"What?" her eyebrows furrowed.
"Stop worrying about ME and think of yourself, Jamie."
"Where is this coming from? Look, I'm trying to be better, Ni. I don't know what you want me to do!"
I grabbed both of her shoulders. "I don't want you to do anything, Jamie."
"I don't understand," her voice breaking. My chest still felt tight. And it was getting tighter. "I don't know why this is happening to me and I don't know how to make it go away. And I feel like I'm trapped in my own body with no idea what to do. I don't know what the hell is wrong with me." She exhaled, tears of frustration running down her cheeks. I held back the instinct to wipe them away. "The only thing I DO know is that I love you, Ni. I'm insanely in love with you. I don't know what I'd do without you. Perhaps I'm melodramatic but, I feel like I can't live without you."
"Well I can."