Chapter 27

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In October Brian and the guys had a three week bus tour coming up. When filming for the season had ended they had had a three week break before getting back to work writing. Writing was far less tiring than filming so Brian didn't mind once again hitting the road. Although he didn't want to leave Melanie and his cats for that long.

He had once again invited her to fly out for the last show, which would be in Chicago. The night before he was to leave for the tour she spent at his house. They stayed in, ordered take out, watched a movie, and enjoyed each other in the bedroom for a few hours.

He was tired when he woke up but he didn't care. Being with her had been worth the lack of sleep and he could always sleep on the bus. She drove him to the terminal where the other guys were waiting.

"Try not to have too much fun without me," she said, turning to face him.

"Trust me, I won't. It'll be all work. I'll call and text you when I can."

"I need to go stock up on batteries," she said, smiling at him, giving him a knowing wink.

"I never thought I'd be jealous of a toy," he sighed.

"If it's any consolation it doesn't hold a candle to you."

He leaned in and kissed her, his tongue immediately finding hers. It lasted for what seemed like an hour, neither of them wanting to break it.

He finally pulled away from her and said "I have to go. Believe me when I say I don't want to."

"I believe you." He kissed her again before saying goodbye and getting out of the car. He grabbed his bags from the back seat and said "I love you" before closing the door. She stayed until he was out of sight before driving away.

While he was gone they spoke on the phone daily. They had phone sex almost every other day, but only when he was in a hotel room, not on the bus. Everything was going fine until a couple of days before she was supposed to fly to Chicago.

She was at work and her friend Emma sent her a text asking to meet for a drink after work. She had agreed and they decided to meet at a bar in Manhattan near the hospital.

When Melanie got there she found Emma already at a table drinking whiskey. "Wow, going straight for the hard stuff," she said as she sat down. Emma gave her a nervous smile. Melanie immediately picked up on this. "Everything ok?"

"What? Yeah, fine. Just been a long day.

"I'm getting a beer. Do you want anything?"

"Yeah, get me a double shot of Jameson."

Melanie went to the bar and returned with a bottle of beer for herself and the double for Emma. Emma drank half of it in one gulp. This didn't go unnoticed by Melanie.

"Ok, what is going on?"

Emma sighed. "I have to show you something. I don't want to do it. I don't want to be the one to have to tell you but I think you need to know." She took her phone out of her purse and scrolled through it until she found what she was looking for. "Before I show this to you, I want you to keep in mind that this could just be a misunderstanding, not what it appears to be."

She put her phone face down on the table and slid it across to Melanie. She was nervous to turn it over. She had no idea what she was about to see. It must be something big judging by Emma's behavior and what she had said.

When she turned it over her mouth fell open and her heart immediately sank into her stomach. It was a series of pictures. Brian and Sal at what appeared to be a bar, standing with a group of women. What caught her eye was the blonde standing next to Brian. She was close. Too close.

In one of the pictures he had his hand on the small of her back and was talking directly into her ear. In another she had her arm around his shoulders. But it was the last picture that really made her feel sick. He and the girl were kissing. When she saw it all of the air left her lungs and her eyes welled with tears.

Emma reached across the table to grab her hand but Melanie brushed her away. "I'm so sorry," Emma said. "I just thought you should know." Melanie put the phone down on the table and got up suddenly.

"I have to go," she said.

Emma called after her but it was no use. Melanie was already out the door. She walked back to the hospital at a furious pace. The tears were still in her eyes but she refused to let them fall.

How could he do this to her? He knew that she had been hurt before by this sort of thing. She had thought he was different. He didn't seem like the sort of guy who would cheat. Then her mind flashed back to the day she met him. His friends had certainly made it sound like he was a player. Maybe he was finally showing his true colors.

When she reached her car she got in and threw her purse on the passenger's seat. She gripped the steering wheel and stared ahead. Why? Why would he do this to her? The tears began to fall and she started to sob. She was startled when her phone started to buzz. She ignored it. There was no one she wanted to talk to in that moment. There was nothing anyone could say to comfort her.

Her phone buzzed again. Then a third time. She took it out of her bag and looked at the locked screen. One text from Emma. And 2 texts and several missed calls from Brian. Seeing his name on the screen was like another kick to the gut. She threw her phone back in her purse and started her car. She wasn't sure she was in the right frame of mind to be driving, but she just wanted to get home.

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