s e v e n t e e n
"There's always an eerie calmness in the wake of a storm."
"Elizabeth..." Jackson starts, placing a few folders into his briefcase, "Harry's outburst was not your fault. He's been under a lot of stress lately with everything coming up in the next few weeks and I guess he just finally cracked and let loose some of the weight on his shoulders."
But his attempt of reassurance was not ceasing the whispers of guilt swirling around within my head. They strongly utter how my confrontation with him was the wrong decision, that my choice of words had pushed him off of the cliff. The tormenting tone is making me want to scream as their voices are getting louder and louder, and no matter how many times I repeat to myself that it wasn't my fault they mock me with sarcastic laughter.
I want to believe that it wasn't my fault, but from the very depths of my core I know it is.
I pace around the conference table, my fingernails nearly bitten raw as my anxiety starts to kick in more. Harry was pissed, so mad that he could probably crush an entire city within the palm of his hand and not feel an ounce of remorse. His anger, if he lets it get this far, could start a deadly storm for anyone standing in it's wake, a hurricane of emotions that are unstoppable at this point. The cold and warm front are meeting, chasing each other around and around in a constant game of ring around the rosie, and I'm just waiting for the climax where we all are knocked down.
Harry was right though, in a way, I really don't know him all too well, but I still understood him in a strange way, and in this moment my heart was pulling in such a way that could only be known as worry. Worry for how he was currently doing and if Clark had caught up to him. If those two were together right at this very moment, then the storm that I fear will happen is beginning its wave of destruction.
My tummy was in knots and my head was beginning to ache from the internal screaming battle and the way my thougts were meshing together into an incoherrant blob was confusing me more then it probably should be, but confusion sometimes held the biggest breakthrough. All I had to do now was figure out was this great breakthrough was.
"You don't understand," My voice comes out wavery and I hate that my messy inside is starting to drip out exposing how sloshy I feel, "Harry - Harry and I argue so much, he always has outbursts in front of me, but with Clark here today something was different. I just can't place my finger on what was odd about it. Watching Clark handle Harry in that manner concerned me, and I wanted to make sure he was okay, but my nagging set him off. It was my pestering him with questions that made him upset and barge out of here on a rampage." I admit, my head hanging low in regret.
It was my stupid questions, my stupid curiousity that ignited the match, and now the match was barrling towards the gasoline, and once that catches on fire nothing can put it out.
"How Harry acted is just a part that comes with being a pop-star, they're going to have breakdowns every once in a while but that will make them stronger. He will overcome this little blip and the rest that follows after todays, but just know that it wasn't your fault for him cracking." I hear his footsteps striding over and within moments I feel his hand on my shoulder, gently pulling me to stand up and turn to face him.
His eyes are soft, holding care and gentleness within them, but the smile he has on his lips is as fake as a spray tan, being forced to be there, however eyes never lie as they are the gateway to the human soul.
"It's going to be okay, I promise. Once Harry mellows out and has some rest all will be back to as it should be," He softly tells me and I have to refrain myself from bursting into a full blown laughing fit in Jackson's face.
With Harry and I, this - this whole epidemic that just took place is our version of normal, but Jackson isn't aware of the continuous conflict Harry and I seem to have. How we manage to go at each others throats on a daily basis and how he has burried himself so far under my skin that he has somehow became a part of me. A daily dosage that I seem to need in order to function properly. All the screaming and costant neediness, it's a strange but that's how we are able to communicate and get our points across to one another. It's so sick and twisted how we feed off of each other in that way, and I wish it wasn't like that, but that's the only way that seems to work for the two of us.
"Will it be okay?" I ask him, but I'm not sure if the question I just laid out is more for him or for myself and the relationship Harry and I have between each other. Will it ever be okay for us? Will we ever resolve our differences and actually communicate as civil human beings for once? Or will this be it and it be a dead end at that?
My thoughts never seem to be silent, always bringing something back that is dwelling on my heart.
"Everyone will be fine in the end, it just takes a bit of time on all of our parts to get through this until we make it to the finish line. There's always a light at the end of a dark tunnel." Jackson quietly says , placing both of his hands on either of my shoulders, bending down a bit to be at eye level with me. Jackson was like a mighty oak tree, so strong and stable, and here I was a mere little shrub, so small and easily pushable. "You're a very strong person, you'll make it, don't worry."
But would I? Or most importantly would Harry make it?
I try to smile at Jackson to give him the hope that I wish I actually had in me. If I can't be hopeful myself might as well try to make others feel the smallest ounce of hope that I wanted for myself.
He smiles back at me nodding his head for affirmation that I was on the same page as he was and I solomnly nod my head along with him, even though I was still a few pages behind him, maybe even a few chapters.
"Good!" He cheerfully says, "Now that that is cleared up, why don't we head back to my office for a quick cup of tea and a little chat over the new demos we recieved in the mail this morning. You can help me pick out one or two artists to come in for a meeting."
As much fun as that sounds, I don't think I want to have any involvement on the selection of new artists when I am in such an unstable state. I won't be able to think properly and I might end up picking the most horrible one out of the bunch. Jackson wouldn't be too happy if I did that. But a hot cup of tea sounded so lovely right now I couldn't pass up his offer for that.
"Tea sounds absolutely wonderful at the moment. Maybe with a hint of raspberry flavoring mixed with lemon?" I ask, shying away kind of like a small child would.
Jackson chuckles a tad, "Of course, whatever flavoring you want you shall have." He grabs his briefcase off the table and I turn to gather my things as well. Amongst the noise of rustling papers I hear the door to the room slam against the wall, startling me so much I nearly drop everything I was holding in my hands. A couple papers floated to the floor here and there, but at least it wasn't the entire stack; that would have been an utter disaster.
"Elizabeth Scott!" Roars Clark, loud and shrill. I feel myself begin to shake and the knots in my stomach begin to form along with the bubbling anxiety that Jackson managed to calm down not even five minutes ago.
I turn to look over my shoulder, seeing Clark come barrling in the room, his face twisted in a disgusted form and I know that he is angered and since he was coming after me, I was the lucky person whom he was going to dispose his anger upon.
His strides are long and quick and before I have any time to react he is standing directly in front of me. his nose scarcely touching my forehead. His breathing is rough and ragged and as it hits my face in abrupt spurts I can't help but cringe from the repulsive smell of coffee and garlic onions dancing in my nostrils.
I look up at him just for a brief moment to meet his hard, cold stare with a snarled lip and I quickly look down at my shoes, wanting to find something or rather anything to distract me at this very moment. I want to be somewhere else in this second, I want Jackson to pull him away from me before he even has the chance to utter a delicate syllable, but no matter how many times I wish upon a star or click my heels to go home he is still fuming in front of me.
Averting my attention fails when he legit growls - oh yes, growls - at me, and when his thumb and forefinger grip my chin pulling my face upward in a rather harsh manner my eyes widen as our eyes meet and my breath nearly catches in the middle of my throat. With how I witnessed him handle Harry earlier fear started to creep through my veins, speedily coursing as my heart rate speeds up and my breathing becomes shallower and shallower.
He's manhanding me, but Jackson can't see it because Clark is taller than I am and he's broader, allowing him to shield petite things.
"Clark," Jackson's voice is stern and hard, sharp yet clipped , and I'm silently begging that he will call security or ask him to leave, "What is your business of returning?"
"Step outside, this doesn't concern you in the slightest possible bit," Clark snips back, his tone of voice similiar to that of Jackson's but his has a twinge of furry burried within it.
"Well when you barge in here and make a beeline for one of my employees then I would have to say I have the right to be involved and will intend to stay involved until the matter is resolved. So I will ask you again; What is your business of returning?" I hear Jackson stepping closer to the two of us, and honestly I don't think I have ever felt more suspense in my entire life, even when watching a horror film the suspense isn't as thick as it is right now.
It honestly felt as if there were two hands gripping the air and squeezing tight, slowly cutting off the oxygen supply until the very brink of unconsciousness.
But there were no imaginary hands, and no one was falling unconscious; it was just the thickening lump in my throat that was causing my breaths to come out short and choppy.
"Step outside this damn conference room or so help me I will pull every single last client of mine from this fucking label." Clark bitterly seethes to Jackson, his teeth gritting together out of pure frustration and seething rage that was vibrantly radiating off of him. If you could somehow channel your anger to form a light source he would be the damn sun by now.
It's silent, an eerie quiet that settles around the three of us, so still you could hear the traffic from passing cars nearly forty stories up. The bubble of silence is so chilling you could stick a thousand pins in it and the popping sound wouldn't startle us in the tiniest bit.
"You have ten minutes, Clark, and that's it. Once the clock runs out you are to leave in peace," Jackson compromises and I want to scream at him for being so utterly stupid for agreeing to leave him alone with me for a solid ten minutes. I want to kick and hit him for putting me in a situation where I have no voice in it and the sad part is the decision is concerning me and how my subconscious is feeling. Judging by the palpitating sound of my heart in my ears and the feeling of it surging in my chest, it doesn't want to be left alone with this man. "Are you alright with that, Elizabeth?"
"Say yes, and I'll make this confrontation short and simple," Clark snarls to me in a harsh, hushed whisper and I swallow the hard lump that settled within my throat. "Sell it, sweetheart."
"I'll be fine, you can step out now, Jackson." I muster the strongest voice I can, and even it wavers a bit.
"Alright then. I'll be right outside in the sitting area, yell if you need anything," The clock of the door echoed throughout the room, signaling that we were officially alone and that I was pinned here until the time on the clock ticked out. And once the door shut, that's when hell broke loose for me.
"I'm going to ask you once, and one time only, what the hell did you discuss with Harry?" Clark leans down closer to my face his voice very harsh and menacing, sending chills up my spine and I don't know if it's from fear or from his breath hitting my ear.
I gulp because I don't know what to say to him, I don't know how he wants me to respond or what the type of response he's looking for. I'm frightened that if I don't say what he wants to hear I'll be totaled, a complete and utter unstable wreck that will crumble and be left in a pile until the wind carries me away... or until the janitor comes through on his nightly runs.
What I discussed with Harry was actually pretty vocal and I'm wondering what him and Jackson talked about that held him, what captivated him as a whole that allowed him to miss Harry's small fit.
Clark wasn't the type to let his mind wander so this was highly unusual and questionable; he honestly heard and knew about everything.
"Elizabeth, I will not be bothered to ask you again," He's agitated, his voice low and his words spoken slowly to me, "So be wise and answer me then I will leave you alone, you want me to leave you alone don't you?" He teases his voice holding a bit of amusement, a vile amusement that is only considered that to the person who is being interigated.
There's nothing to really hide and keep a secret from what was said, but the part about me questioning Harry about the relationship between him and his manager could be a little offsetting in Clark's head. It wouldn't make him happy; it would set him off and it would only cause the swirling storm to grow at a more rapid pace.
"Answer me goddamnit!" He yells and I flinch, trying to cower away but his grip on my face is rock solid and how he pinches my face tighter inbetween his fingers making me want to cry out, but I don't because it'll satisfy the bastard in a demented way.
"Why are you all of a sudden so curious as to what Harry and I discuss?" I venomously say to him, my voice somewhat stronger than before. Now it's somewhat sturdy, like a chair, but the heaviest weight can break it once more, and knowing Clark he'll find a perfect time to strike.
"Harry is pissed off, he's madder than a bull chasing a red flag, so I'm trying to pinpoint what has him so riled up," He seethes, and if his veins on the side of his neck stuck out any farther they would surely pop like a balloon."
"What makes you think that I'm the reason behind his anger? You had a lot of nerve coming in here today and treating him how you did, I'm surprised he didn't spit in your face. So maybe it's you-" I am abruptly cut off by him pinching at the sides of my throat, pushing down ever so slightly. It wasn't much but it sure was enough to shut me up.
My eyes widen in realization that he could choke me, and he was warning me in a way that if I didn't straighten up he would do it without a second thought in the world. This man is derranged, he has problems that need desperate help, and I'm wondering who ever thought that he would be fit for this type of position with so much power in his little finger.
"Don't you dare step in to how I handle my clients you ignorant bitch," Clark's hateful spit lands on my face and I internally cringe at the disgusting feeling of it sticking to my skin, "You were the last person to talk to him, you were the last person he was with before he left here in a screaming rampage, so based on that you are the one who set him off."
"It takes a lot of hatred in order to send someone over the edge," I splutter to him as my words are coming out in short, gaspy statements. "If you think it was entirely my doing then you are sure as hell wrong."
"I want to fix this, but you're making it much more complicated then it needs to be."
"By fixing do you mean abuse Harry more than you already have?" The courage that pushed that sentence is crushed when his hand fully wraps around my neck this time, adding pressure, and my hands shoot up to his to try and pull it off.
"You have no right to speak to me that way!" He yells once more, "I do not abuse Harry, everything I do is to benefit his career and who he is as a person."
"Explains a whole lot then." I mutter but he still hears it.
"What did you just-"
"Times up, Clark, time to pack your things and leave," Jackson steps back into the room which causes Clark to release my neck from his hold. I've never been more grateful towards Jackson before in my life. I rub the sore spots on my neck briefly before adjusting the collar on my dress, just in case.
He is still standing very close, close enough for him to whisper to me, "You dare utter anything that has happened, your career will be over," He starts.
He steps away from me, his eyes glowing with rage as he keeps his gaze locked with mine, you could almost see the steam blowing out of his ears as his anger was bubbling within him.
"We were just finishing up," Clark says, gritting his teeth in annoyance.
"Good, I'll have Marissa escort you to the elevator then." Jackson is trying to rush him out as fast as he can and after a few tortorous moments of Clark's heated stare, he finally turns around to leave.
I let out a breath I was holding in ever since he stepped back into the room ten minutes ago, but I am quick to suck it back in when he makes one final statement to me, "You're fixing this mess, Elizabeth, and if you don't then I will, and you won't like how I take care of situations like this."
A/N; Very abrupt ending and I'm so sorry and I don't know if that even makes sense but oh well.
And I'm sorry that I haven't updated in a while, between dad coming home in late May to having to work at my school to finding time to even relax and sleep.
June 26th-July 2nd I will not be able to really write because I am going to Girls State, and they don't allow us to have our phones hardly, so because of that, I will try my hardest to get a couple more chapters out before I leave - but no set promises.
I hope you all like this chapter (: Harry will be in the next, I pinky promise on that one. This is where things are starting to take an odd twist, so pay close attention.
But please tell me what you think! Your feedback is highly appreciated! xx.