Chapter 10

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If there's one thing I'm ashamed to say it's that when Jake Turner called me in the middle of the night I picked up.

"Hello" I said, my throat already cleared.

"Hey V!" he said cheerfully "I hope I didn't wake you"

"Actually you kinda did" I said harshly.

"I'm sorry" he said, and he sounded genuinely so " I've really been busy trying to sort something out these past few days. I just wanted to hear your voice as soon as possible afterwards.".

"Well, you did".

"V? Did I do something wrong? I know I should have at least texted you that I was busy but I got so caught up. I'll promise I'll make it up to you" and I could feel the softness in his voice.

"I don't think you can" I said. And it took everything in me to not scream a plethora of swear words into the phone.
"I'm not a mistress, or a concubine or a side-chick or whatever they call it.".

"I take it you heard about Katherine coming here?" Jake sighed.

"I didn't just hear about her, I met her! And she is too beautiful and too kind for you to string along every girl that you meet along the way behind her back".

Jake sighed " I didn't string you along. Katherine's not my girlfriend. She used to be and she was confused about where she stood for a while but that's all sorted now".

"Oh" I paused "okay".

"You don't sound too convinced" he said chuckling. "Why don't you go to your door. I'll be there in 10, I don't want you to have to sleep thinking about this" and with that he hung up the phone.

I sat up in my onesie, turned on my light and watched as the glow made real to me what I had only seen as shadows before, kinda like what Jake did. As I got out of my bed I began to wonder what was wrong with me. Seriously Vee? Getting out of bed at 1 a.m just to see some guy? It sounded crazy. But as I was soon to learn, everything about love was.

Jake was standing under a Jacaranda tree a few meters away from my house. He took in my purple onesie and began to smirk.
"Aren't you dressed for the occasion" he said.

"If you mean the occasion of me slapping you then yes, yes I am ".

"Woah" he said raising his eyebrows. "I don't think that'll be necessary once you hear what I have to say. Come on" he said, he took my hand and we began to walk towards the lake. Once again we could see the sky reflected in the sparkling liquids of the lake. As we sat down he let out a sigh.

"I met Katherine when I was 14. We were both in some stupid candy commercial but we clicked right away. I guess it was because we had both grown up in the business but somehow had both managed to stay level headed". He looked into the lake "When I was 18 and she was 16 we started dating. And in the beginning it was really nice. When I started shooting the Zombie Slayer movies I began to have some trouble. I was so engrossed in the movie, in my co-stars and the crew that I developed what I guess you'd call a destructive lifestyle. But unlike most stars I couldn't handle it. I wouldn't leave a party at the party. The party continued to my house. I would down bottles of vodka routinely . My fridge would be empty but I would always have alcohol. I did horrible horrible things that I don't even want to remember. It's a miracle I managed to finish the franchise. Katherine was beside me the whole time though. She kept trying to get me out of it. Eventually something happened which made me want to get help. I got into rehab got sober and now I'm here. But through all of it I leaned on Katherine".

"And now that she's served her purpose you're getting rid of her?" I said quietly.

"No" he said firmly. "The romantic spark between Kathy and I went out a long time ago. It's taken some time for her to realize that. I'll always have Katherine in my life but only as a friend. As much as I know Katherine stood by me it was me who made the decision to get sober, it was me who went to rehab and to therapy . It was me who gave up alcohol. Katherine didn't save me. I saved myself".

"But what about the photos of you two at the baseball game?" I said suspiciously

"Keeping up appearances" he said with a ghost of a smile." The last thing I want is to be hoarded by reporters asking why we broke up so for now we're still playing the happy couple".

"Why was she here though" my line of investigation continued.

"Katherine insisted. She was still unsure and I was trying to make her get it".

"Oh" I said again "Do you mind me asking" I said slowly " When all this happened?".

"I got out of rehab a month ago" he said matter of factly "and then a week ago I came here".

This was something I didn't quite know how to process, that someone I was beginning to be so in love with was so damaged. Especially since all I'd ever seen him do was smile. Day in and say out he smiled and I, stupidly enough, had never tried to uncover what he was hiding behind it.

"Well I know this sounds really lame but I'm super sorry you had to go through that" I said tentatively "and more so I'm really sorry I accused you of keeping me as your concubine".
Jake laughed "that's a good word for it".

"I have a confession" I added " while Katherine was here I may have taken your advice. I applied to some photography schools in New York."

"That's great" he grinned.

"Yeah, well if everything works out I'll have to leave in September".

I let that phrase hang between us for a while. That reminder that despite being two people who really liked each other we were royally screwed by timing and circumstance.

"Well" he said cheerfully "I guess New York is closer to L.A. than South Africa is"

"I guess" I said, knowing in my heart the sad truth. That no matter how much we willed it to push us together life was doing it's best to pull us apart and we as humans were to powerless to do anything but submit to it.

 That no matter how much we willed it to push us together life was doing it's best to pull us apart and we as humans were to powerless to do anything but submit to it

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