A few days later I was dragging myself to the kitchen after noon in search of something to help me with another horrific hangover. Before I even opened the cabinet where we kept medications, there was a knock on the door.
"Who the fuck is that?" I muttered as I made my way to the door. "Mikey. You never come here. What do you want?"
Michael invited himself in and walked past me. That's when I noticed he was carrying a ton of food from Panda Express. My stomach suddenly felt better.
I followed him to the kitchen, where he started laying out the food. "Hello to you, too. Oh, and you're welcome for the food."
Without another word we sat down and stuffed our faces. Calum joined us as well.
But really, Michael never did just come over out of the blue. Something was going on. So I asked, "So you really just came over out of the kindness of your heart to feed us?"
Michael perked up and shook his head, "Uhn uh," he said with a mouth full of noodles. He held up his finger, signaling me to hold on, and got on his phone, apparently in search of something. He finished chewing his food and took a drink of water to wash it down. Then he sat his phone on the table and slid it to me. "I'm glad you asked. I almost forgot."
He had it open to his text messages, specifically, messages between him and Aubree. Holy fuck. I was almost afraid to read them. I looked up at him before I started reading. He nodded to the phone, encouraging me to go ahead.
To Bree: hey, bree. in case you don't have my number anymore, this is mikey. i was just thinking of you and thought i'd say hi.
From Bree: Mikey! Hi! It's good to hear from you. I've missed you terribly. How are you?
To Bree: couldn't be better. and yourself?
From Bree: I'm okay. Are you enjoying your break? Any big plans?
To Bree: my plans include sleeping as much as possible, which isn't much because i can't sleep. but i'm enjoying my time off, yes. what about you? anything going on in your life atm?
From Bree: Nope, just the same old routine, work and being a mom. I haven't even been to a concert since the last time I talked to you. I've become a boring old lady. LOL
To Bree: we need to do something about that. are you going to any of our shows?
From Bree: I hate to say it, because you know I love you guys, but no. It would just be too hard. I hope you understand.
So she did still have feelings about me. Maybe they weren't necessarily good feelings, but it was something. That was better than nothing, right?
To Bree: i understand. but i hope you'll reconsider. i'm not the only person who would like to see you.
From Bree: If you're talking about Ashton, that ship sailed a long time ago. He made a decision, and I respect it. Seeing him would just make me sad all over again. It's been so hard. I don't keep up with anything anymore, except what little Traci tells me. She's the only reason I know you're on a break right now. That being said, mind if I ask how he's doing? Is everything okay with the baby?
To Bree: just gonna be honest here and say that the reason I was thinking of you is because ash is having a rough time right now and thought you might be able to help.
Oh, great. That's exactly why I didn't want her to know. I didn't want her to feel sorry for me, even if it was the only way to get her to talk to me. Fuck.
From Bree: I'm not sure I can help, but what's going on?
To Bree: it's something i think you should hear from him. but ultimately, he's not with brandi anymore, and never will be again. she's trash, as far as I'm concerned. ash never loved her, you know that, right? and he didn't put me up to this, I swear. i just know how much he still loves you and i know he could use a friend right now besides us idiots.
From Bree: Now you have me worried. Is the baby okay?
To Bree: again, that's for him to tell you. but i know he's never going to be the first one to make contact. you can tell him I asked you to talk to him if you want. but will you please just let him know you're there for him, if you want to be, of course. don't feel like you have to be. i just thought you'd want to know that it's not all good in the hood. lmao. sorry for the bad pun.
From Bree: I don't even have his number anymore.
I saw that he gave her my number, and there were a few more messages, but I didn't want to read anymore. I was completely humiliated. I gave the phone back to Michael and kept my mouth shut, afraid I'd say something I'd regret.
"So you don't have anything to say?"
Okay, I couldn't keep my mouth shut very long. I kept my eyes on my food and said, "Yeah, thanks for making me sound pathetic. But I guess I am, so whatever."
Calum said, "What is it? Let me see."
Michael gave him the phone so he could read for himself. Then he said, "Okay, well not too long ago you were begging me to find out if she was dating anyone. I still don't know, but when she talks to you, ask her yourself."
Calum interjected, "She's not dating anyone."
Michael asked, "How do you know?"
Calum smiled and said, "Because I've talked to Traci. She told me."
Michael looked impressed. "Oh? Well, there you go, Ash."
I dropped my fork in the plastic container and pushed myself back in my chair in frustration. "First, I was drunk and stupid when I asked you to see if she was with anyone. Second, you make me sound like I'm about to harm myself or something. It's not that serious, Michael. I'm sad, yes. I'm pissed the fuck off, yes. And I'm still stupidly in love with her, yes. But do I want her to talk to me out of pity? Fuck no! That made me sound desperate, and I'm not."
Michael looked at me incredulously. "The fuck? I'm just trying to help you out because you're too much of a pussy to make the first move. I get that you don't want her to feel sorry for you. But hell, Ashton, we all feel sorry for you. You didn't deserve for Brandi to go and do that! The only thing that seems to make you happy is Aubree, which is why we haven't seen you happy in like a year now, unless you're drunk. Fuck, man, even if you just become friends with her again, I think you'd be happier, wouldn't you? If she calls you, it's not going to be because she feels sorry for you. Maybe you should get over yourself before you lose her for good. God." He shook his head and went back to eating with an annoyed face.
Calum asked, "Did you even read all the messages, Ash?"
"No. The more I read the more embarrassed I got."
Calum slid the phone across the table. "Read the last one."
From Aubree: To be honest, I've been looking for an excuse to talk to Ashton for so long, even just to say hi. But I didn't want to interfere with him and Brandi. And I was also afraid he didn't want to talk to me anyway, since I cut him out of my life. So thank you for this, Mikey. I really do miss you. All of you. I don't want to get my hopes up, but maybe I'll see you again soon after all.
"Okay, so I'm an asshole. I guess I should apologize to you, Mike." I couldn't help the smile that spread across my face, even though I didn't want Michael to see it. I hated when he was right and I was wrong. Aubree really did want to talk to me. "But when was that? She obviously isn't in any rush, because I haven't heard from her yet."
Michael answered, "After you nearly crying on my shoulder again last night, I decided to text her as soon as I got up this morning. That last message was right before I came over here. Give her a minute, damn."
I kicked him under the table and smiled to myself. I was feeling hopeful for the first time in a long time. Now to wait impatiently.