Chapter 1

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"I completely and totally blew it," I said between sobs. I couldn't believe it. After everything I had given up, everything I had worked for, it was all gone.

"The audition, everything," I continued. I stood there, letting Jason's strong, muscular arms surround me.

"What do you mean, babe?" He asked, concern edging his voice. Jason gently lifted my chin with two fingers, so my eyes met his. When they did, I saw compassion and concern, and maybe even a hint of something else. But I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

"I mean everything. I don't know how I could have let this happen." I knew I was starting to whine, and though I hated whiny people, I couldn't bring myself to care.

My boyfriend cocked his head. "So there's no chance of them taking you now?" He asked, clarifying his question this time.

"I highly doubt it," I scoffed, pouting. I tried to take deep breaths to stop the hysteria that was bubbling up, threatening to set loose a fresh wave of sobs.

Jason tucked a stray stand of hair behind my ear. "I'm sorry I wasn't there," He murmured.

I had stopped sobbing now - Jason's presence comforted me, and now only a few tears leaked down my face.

I shook my head. "I can't believe I blew my chance. It sucked, I'm glad you didn't see it," I said, playing back the scene that had unfolded just a few minutes earlier in my mind.

I expected Jason to say something reassuring and tell me that everything was going to be okay. That this was just one audition in a string of auditions, and maybe that I'd look back at it years from now and laugh. But he didn't.

Instead, he said, "You know," I think it's time we talked."

He released me from his hug and looked down at his feet, at his hands, anywhere but at me. Alarm bells sung in my head.

They always say that your heart drops when you know something bad is about to happen. I always thought I understood what that would be like. But it wasn't just my heart that stooped. Time stopped. My lungs stopped working. My world stopped.

"Okay," I squeaked out, lucky that I could manage anything at all, what with my body slowly shutting down.

I stared at Jason, who still wouldn't (couldn't, maybe?) meet my eyes. I studied his face, trying to figure out how serious this was. I willed him to say something - anything - I felt nauseas.

"I don't know how to say this," He began, but didn't finish his sentence. He thrust his hands in his pockets and stood impassively still.

I couldn't find my voice, couldn't tell him to just get on with it and tell me whatever he was going to say.

Jason sighed heavily and finally met my gaze. And in that instant, I knew. His eyes were cold, a steel gray that sent a shiver down my spine. I had never seen him look this, well, mean.

"All of this," He said suddenly, motioning at the space around us, "just isn't working."

All I could do was look at him. I was rooted to the spot where I stood, and even though I knew what was going to happen, even though I knew it was inevitable, I couldn't stop my brain from spitting and sputtering and trying to come up with any other possible issue Jason could have.

"What's not working?" I asked nervously, taking a step closer to him. I reached out to touch his arm, but he pulled away.

"Heather, I just can't hold you up anymore. It's all too much." He said, shaking his head.

I stared at him in disbelief. My body had started to shake and my mind was racing. After all, he wasn't wrong. I hadn't landed an audition for anything serious, and let the ones I did land slip by. I needed more from him than he need from me.

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