I beat myself up over the comment I had made, wishing I had never said anything at all. When I got nervous, I really just jumbled a bunch of words into a sentence. Sitting so close to Ariana made me shake and quiver. I hoped the smile was real, but if you looked in her eyes, you knew it wasn't. Luke shot me a look while Ari pretended to be too busy playing around with the radio. I felt that I had hit a nerve, but I knew bringing it up would make it worse. I just shut up, and gave her room. I looked out the window, hoping my rosy cheeks weren't noticeable.
"Calum," I heard Ari's voice sound from my ear. She must have been calling me a few times, because she almost always calls me 'Cal'.
"Oh, uh, yeah?"
"Don't you have a girlfriend?" She asked, raising an eyebrow.
Why did she want to know? Did Luke tell her something? Oh, God, she was only down the hall, she heard! A million of thoughts raced through my mind but I tried not to look suspicious.
"Umm... no," I shrugged. "I've been on dates with a few girls, but none of them were really... keepers."
In all honesty, I did want a girlfriend. But I knew I would just have to wait for the right one. I didn't want to rush into anything- my whole life has been sped up recently and I've had no time to smell the roses. It was normally concert after concert, but the band recently had a longer break. We'd be going back on tour in a little less than a month. I dated girls; one red head was a bit on and off until I finally put it to rest. It's not like I went around breaking hearts, though, the feeling was almost always mutual. Neither of us had been putting the strength into the relationship, like we were supposed to. Besides, I didn't really want to try on relationships I didn't want to be in, in the first place.
The only girl I'd ever want was Ariana Queens.
"You okay, Ar?" Luke murmured lightly, his voice barely reaching my ear.
I shrugged, ripping my eyes off the radio. "Yeah, sure," I said, forcing the smile back onto my lips.
When people ask you if you're okay, they don't expect you to say no. So you just smile and nod, while thinking of jumping off a building. When they ask you if you need help with anything, they mean simply solved stuff. Like assistance with homework, or help with shopping. They don't mean your demons. When they say they're always here for you, by that they mean- if you ever need a ride home, or if you need someone to hang out with. They don't expect to be there when you're sobbing at 2am, pleading for help. Because, the only person who can save me from myself, is me. If you haven't already noticed yet, I am broken. My ribs are chipped and my bones are fragile. I am not a beautiful type of sadness. I am a torn heart; a tired set of eyes. I am a string of 'I'm Okays', and I'm still waiting until I can truly be mended.
Calum almost literally jumped out of the car when we arrived at Nando's. I thought that maybe I was taking up too much space, or that something was wrong with me. I slid out a bit slower, and then shut the door. Paparazzi were already forming. I reached for Luke's hand not wanting to be left in the swarm of people arriving. Luke gripped my hand roughly, knowing what was about to happen. He held me close, guiding me as the entrance began to flood with people. Calum was a few dozen people in front, but I still managed to make out his black hair. L
It was weird, even among all these people, I still felt alone. I felt like no one there really cared about my wellbeing. Out of all the hundred people that were swarming around us, I could only guarantee that one boy wanted me breathing. In all honestly, I wasn't even for sure that's what he wanted, though.
Luke pushed me through the door first. I let out a pent up breath I didn't know I was holding, and glanced over to Calum. He was getting seats and apologizing to the manager. These boys were so nice, polite. I followed after Calum and the waiter, knowing Luke wasn't far behind. A fan or two said happy birthday to Luke and got a signature. I knew he was always shy about fans coming up to him, it was so cute.
I took a seat across from Calum, Luke sitting next to me. After a few moments of the two boys having small talk, my boyfriend left and went to the bathroom. Calum and I were left alone, the silence around us filling each and every gap. It was awkward, it always was. I fail at any type of conversation I tried to have.
"I haven't seen you in a while," the boy started, looking up at me. "What have you been up to?"
I hated this conversation. Everyone always tried to have it with me, too. It was like they wanted some insight on the hell I'd been through. The rehab, and then the fall all the way back down to my lowest point. I was literally still digging; too, I was going deeper and deeper. What scared me the most was that I didn't even care.
"Just a little this... and that..." I shrugged, trying to show him that I didn't want to get into much detail.
"That bad, huh?" he chuckled, as if trying to lighten the mood.
I shrugged once more, not entirely sure how to respond. "Things are worse than what they were."
"But you seemed fine..?"
His comment enraged me, anger boiled my blood. "Yes, I may have 'seemed' fine. And yes, you may have seen me smile at someone, or wave hello; but I can guarantee you with every inch of flesh in my being that there is nothing even remotely 'fine' about me. Seemed is such a stupid word, for nothing is ever what it 'seemed' to be."
The silence from Calum was a sign that I went too far. I felt a bit bad, and I wished I had bit back sooner.
"I-I don't know how to apologize... and I'm sorry for that," he murmured watching Luke saunter over and back to the table.
"What are we being sorry for?" Luke asked wrapping his warm hands around my cold ones.
Calum's deep brown eyes met with mine for a split second, maybe wondering if he should even say anything. "Nothing," I laughed softly, trying to pull it all off.
I could tell Calum was surprised at how much I covered it all up. How good I was able to turn a bad situation into just a simple, light talk. I wasn't one for emotions. I didn't like show myself to anyone, it was easy for them to take a shot. I needed to just whole myself up- and now Calum knew just how good I was at doing so.
"Yeah, nothing really," the raven haired boy nodded after a moment.
Soon, the waiter arrived before Luke could press anything on us. Luke and Calum ordered the Chicken Butterfly while I just ordered a Caesar Salad, not feeling hungry. I hadn't eaten a full meal in a day, but I wouldn't die off of that. Luke did, however, try to make me get what they were getting. But, I knew he wouldn't force me to in front of his mate.
"...for nothing is ever what it 'seemed' to be."
I didn't know what to say, I hadn't meant for the small talk turn into a life lesson. Though, I could say that it was my entire fault. That I didn't think things through. I knew about her difficulties in loving life, in loving herself, the band knew. I just thought that maybe she was better. No, that's a bad way to put it, I thought things changed. You've got to understand, I love her either way. It just would have been better for the both of us if it was always unicorns and rainbows.
I felt the need to apologize, but nothing came out. What was I supposed to say? That I wanted to taste what he lips are like at 3am? That I wanted to run my fingers across each and vein along her hand, I wanted to know just how her hair looks when she wakes up? That I want to see the Moon's reflection shining in her eyes, I want to learn the shape of each birthmark dotted along her back; and I want to hear her laughter(both silly and hysterical.)? And that most of all I wanted to know what it would feel like to wake up to the light in her eyes?
But I can't, and I won't; nor will I ever have the pleas of such a privilege.
"I-I don't know how to apologize... and I'm sorry for that,"
The lunch seemed to lag on forever. The conversation that I always seemed to be half engaged in was going nowhere. There were some laughing involved, and I had tried my hardest to look like I actually cared. Sooner or later Calum had got up and excused himself to the restroom.
A few moments after his departure, the food was brought to the table. I moved around the salad around with a fork, sighing only softly.
"Do you want some chicken?" Luke asked, eyeing me.
"Hm? ... Oh, no, I'm fine," I said, stabbing a few pieces of lettuce. I knew he was going to press harder, interrogate me with questions; do you know what not eating does to you? Are you okay? What happened? Is it my fault? And, the truth is, I wouldn't know how to answer those questions.
"I just feel sick, okay?" I said, shrugging. However, this is the kind of sickness that isn't excused at school. This is the kind of sickness that no one ever notices. This is the kind of sickness that goes unnoticed until it kills.
Just in time, Calum reached the table, beaming as he saw the food. That sight made me giggle lightly, the fact that something so common made him so happy. The black haired boy looked up at me, pulling a cheery smile on his lips.
"Shut up," Calum said sticking his tongue out.
"I didn't say anything!" I said, eating a few pieces of pieces.
We chatted a while, and then we were all finished with our food. Calum and Luke fought for who would pay the bill- and ended up deciding that Luke would get the next one. As we rose from the booth, we soon realized that the crowd outside had not dwindled- only gotten bigger. I held onto Luke's arm, seeing his smile widened as he did so. Somehow, it made me happier. Knowing that something I did made Luke smile made butterflies gather in my stomach.
We swam to the crowd, Luke and Calum signing a few things and taking a few pictures. Once we got into the car, I jumped into the back. It was better than having Calum stranded out in the middle of the giant mob of people. Getting out of the parking lot wasn't as easy as you thought it might have been. We didn't want to run over any fan, so we had to call Nando's to get all the people out of the parking lot. Once that was done, we took off. The ride back to Calum's house was basically just all of us belting out the lyrics to a few Metallica songs.
Luke sat in the driveway for a few moments, still not moving as Calum went into his house.
"Ariana?" I frowned at the mention of my name and looked over to him.
I turned down the radio, biting my lip. "Yes...?"
"You didn't act like you were sick."
"Maybe I just don't like chicken... ?" I said, wishing he would drop the subject.
"Then why do you always tell me it's your favorite food?"
"Luke can you ple-"
"You are beautiful; forget what the TV shows you, or the magazines, or the commercials, or the posters when you walk into a store. You are beautiful; not matter the length of your hair, the size of your chest, the clothes you wear, the number on the scale. You are beautiful; there's no need for the makeup, or the plastic surgeries, or the Botox. You need to learn to love yourself without the cover up. You are beautiful; don't let scares acne and stretch marks stop you from feeling beautiful. Don't let what people say stop you from feeling beautiful. Don't compare yourself, don't lower yourself, and don’t make yourself feel worthless. Because to me, you are beautiful.
"I'm here. I love you. I don't care if you need to stay up crying all night long, I will stay with you. There's nothing you ever do to lose my love. So please, please, let me help you."
I stared at him the longest time, feeling his warm thumb against the back of my hand. He started to back out of the drive way, and down the long way home. We were both staying silent. I had a lot to say, but nothing came out. Then, when words did come out, it was all at once.
"Stop telling me that I am not alone. That you'll always be here for me. That you love me so much and that you need me. Because, when you're on tour, and its three am and I am crying my heart out; you are not here. When I look around the only person there is me, and my demons. In ten years; you won't be here. You will have moved on. And you'll forget about me. You won’t even remember that you even loved me so much, or that you even needed me at all."