It had been a couple days since Dave exploded at us in the bus. I wasn’t expecting him to be that enraged. Hillary had to calm both of us down, and she was the one that was supposed to be taken care of. I didn’t really know how he would react from that point forward, and I didn’t expect it to be pleasant.
After Dave stormed off the bus that night, Hills and I were just watching the hours pass, slowly drifting off to sleep. I wanted to hold her close forever. There was a feeling inside me aching for her body against mine, but I knew that taking this too far too fast would be wrong. I hadn’t even talked to Cassie about it…
When I woke up the next morning, Hillary wasn’t in bed. I rubbed my eyes. What time was it? 11am? Maybe, I hadn’t slept well, and I missed sound check. So they had to move it to 12. In the middle of this groggy state I was in, coming towards me was a goddess in pyjamas. This woman never failed to impress, and man did she know how to rock an outfit. Even if it was an old shirt and some track pants. Hillary bounced over and handed me some coffee.
“I didn’t want to wake you, so I started some coffee and thought I’d just wait until you were up! You know, surprise you!” “Thanks darling. You sure know how to brighten up a morning”
Hillary blushed and scurried away smiling to herself.
“By the way, Sound check is in 35 minutes because somebody didn’t want to get up for 10am. I’m gonna get changed, these pjs are way too hot for the temperature outside. See you in a bit!”
With that, she was out the door, but still on my mind. I only realized now that the bus had been empty. Where were all the guys? Usually they come in to eat breakfast with all of us. Whatever, nothing about the last little while made sense?
I finally decided to get up and fix myself before seeing everyone. I passed by the bathroom, and I knew I needed a shower. As I was undressing, I caught a quick glance of my hair. Wow, what a mess. Nothing even happened last night and my hair made it look like I had slept in a tigers cage. Regardless, I jumped into the shower, and made myself somewhat presentable.
During sound check, the room had an eerie feel to it. It was like everyone was watching me, and they knew what happened. I tried to stay focused, and brush off the fight Dave and I had. He was the weirdest of all. Indirectly dropping hints about telling Cassie. I almost stormed off stage at one point, but other than that I held it together pretty well.
I was just about to go talk to Dave, and then my phone rang. It was Cass. I had no idea what to even say. So I just let it go to voicemail.
“Hey baby. I miss you so much, hope you’re having fun on tour! Our garden is growing like crazy these days! The roses look absolutely stunning. Well, my girlfriends are coming over for drinks and a night out, so I’ll be around till 8 if you want to call back. I love you! And I can’t wait to see you in a week!”
“Our Garden…” The words haunted me. I had to delete the message. There was nothing I could call ours anymore, because in my mind, there wasn’t even an “us”. Hillary was my missing piece now, so how could I break that to a woman I’d fallen in love with 3 years ago. It’s not like I could have waltzed right in and said I don’t love you anymore. I texted her instead of calling, maybe not hearing her voice would make things easier.
Hey Cass, sorry I missed your call. We’re swamped at the venue today… Turns out some of our stage equipment is still on its way over here, so were delayed a while. Plus, Hillary fainted last night, so she has to take things slow, but she’s fine, don’t worry. I miss you too… See you soon. – ck
Hopefully that would hold down the fort until I got up the courage to tell her everything. I threw my phone on my bed, turned it on silent, and just forgot about it for a while. When Hills walked by, chills ran down my spine. I yearned for her body close to mine every moment.
“Dude, what the hell are you doing?” Dave startled me, and I opened my eyes.
“What are you talking about? I’m just standing here…” “Well from where I was standing, you looked like your whole body just tensed up, and you bit your lip… not suprising, seeing as your GIRLFRIEND just walked by”
“HEY… Why don’t you keep your mouth shut… I told you I was going to talk to people about it when we were both ready!!” Dennis and Jono were standing close and noticed me pinning Dave against the bus. I didn’t even realize how aggressive I’d gotten. He was my best friend and he didn’t really deserve that.
“Well, Charlie” He said that as if he knew she called me that… “If you aren’t going to tell the boys soon, I’ll do it myself. Slim was asking me what was up with you today. You were a little odd at sound check. But me being a good friend, I didn’t tell him. But I will, I swear. I’m not hiding things from these guys. They’ve been here since the beginning. Don’t be getting all self-conscious for your own well-being. It’s pathetic.” “Well as I recall, I wasn’t the only one who had a crush on Hillary when this whole thing started…”
That really set Dave off.He grabbed me by the collar and threw a swing right at my nose. I had enough reaction time to stop it before it hit me, but the man knows how to pack a punch. He tried a couple more swings, and even bruised my shin. He also knows how to kick…
“YOU KEEP ME OUT OF THIS MESS CHARLES. IT’S NOT MY PROBLEM YOU’RE A CHEATER. DON’T TRY AND SWITCH THIS AROUND TO MAKE ME FEEL GUILTY”
I had nothing to say, but then Chris came running over.
“GUYS ! Cut it out! Since when did you too hate each other? What in the hell is going on?!” “Why don’t you just ask Charles, he can probably explain the WHOLE thing” “Why don’t you just mind your business… Both of you!!”
I stormed off, slammed the bus door and went to the couch. I was so mad that Dave almost caused another problem. I hadn’t even had the chance to talk to Cassie, and he thinks I can just bring it up in casual conversation with CHRIS? After all is said and done, he will probably want to kill me.
“Charles? … Charles where are you?! Oh, Charles, what happened! Chris just came in and told me you and Dave got into a fight? Why were you fighting with Davey?” “It was because of us again. He almost told Chris” “Oh no… This is so much harder than I planned for it to be” “What are we going to do? The guys are starting to notice my change in attitude. And ‘Davey’ sure isn’t helping the situation” “I have an idea, after the show tonight, say you’re going out to shoot some midnight putts. I know you guys do that sometimes” “Okay, but how is golfing going to help any of this?” She came in close and stroked my hair back. “You really are dumb sometimes, but it’s why I love you. Now can you just listen to me?” “From where you’re standing, it’s pretty hard to resist.” We kissed very softly, as her lips left mine I just wanted to grab her and finish what I’d never had the chance to early on.
Well, the show was definitely amazing. The crowd knew every word to Need You Now, and they had Wanted You More pretty down pat. I was a sweaty mess, but I knew that Hillary had something planned for us tonight, and I didn’t want to waste a minute getting there. All went as planned. I told the guys I wanted to get some air while we on the bus, said I was going to shoot some midnight golf. We were pretty close to one of those driving ranges; only this one was open 24hours. You just had to bring all of your own equipment at night and you were good.
I got to the course almost an hour after the show, and it was pitch black. I got up to one of the starting booths and saw a note. It read Follow your dream, and you’ll find me. At first I was confused, but then I saw the trail of golf balls, leading me into a secluded area of the beach about half a mile away. I knew singing was my real dream, but I’d always loved golf. I loved that she knew that about me.
I ended up tripping over a log, and almost did a face plant into the sand. I could just barely see a light in the distance when I got up and dusted myself off. It was a candle lantern, with a large blanket and champagne in an ice bucket. Man, I thought to myself, does she ever know how to plan a date. Taking in the beautiful scenery, I’d never seen a more picturesque woman until Hillary Dawn Scott walked up to me in a long strapless dress with a beaded pattern along the neckline. The flow of the dress accentuated her body, and I was left speechless when she came up to me. I’d never seen someone so quickly turn into the most beautiful woman in the world.
“I’m glad you found your way” “You said to follow my dream, so I kept focusing on seeing you” “Mr Kelley, where have you been all my life?” “Right beside you, well since 12th and Porter at least”
I kissed her very passionately. It was almost as if I was angry at myself for giving up this opportunity for all these years. I knew from the start she was amazing, but I guess song writing got in the way of building up a romance.
“So, what do you have planned for us darlin’” “Did you bring your bathing suit?” “Well I had to make it look like I was actually golfing… So all I have are these shorts. Speaking of sneaking out, how did you manage to get out here so fast?” “I told Chris that my best friend from high school was at the concert and she wanted to have a girls night. So as far as he’s concerned I’m at her hotel eating junk food and crying over the Notebook” “My excuse probably should have been something overnight too…” “Well you don’t owe anyone an explanation, so why not make it overnight?”
I loved her spontaneous attitude.
“Anything for you sweetheart” “Well, okay I wanted to go swimming, and then maybe enjoy the lakeside view with some champagne?” “I couldn’t ask for something more amazing, oh and the idea is great too”
The view was pretty indeed. It was pretty dark around this time of night, so you couldn’t see well. The only flash of light was across the lake. Some part of the city lit up right along the coastline, and it made the water glisten. The scenery took my breath away, and Hillary was usually the only one who could do that. I felt like I was living in a movie, and I never wanted it to end.
After admiring it for a moment, we decided to jump in the water. Hillary had brought a 2 piece bathing suit, and perhaps some people think differently, but I’d never seen a body quite so sexy. I threw off my shirt and shoes, grabbed her by the waist and ran into the water. We both fell into the small tide coming in and laughed the whole time. It was chilly that night, but the warmth of our bodies against each other made me forget about the weather. It could have been a hurricane and I wouldn’t of noticed anything but her.
“I feel so free! I’m queen of the world, ha-ha!” “I’ve always loved your free spirit Hills. This is my favourite side of you” “Well… I think there’s another side of me you like better”
She swam towards me and wrapped her slender legs around my body. Both hands were gently pressed against my face, and she came in for the one of the most romantic and rough kisses I’ve ever had. She grabbed my hair and pulled herself tighter to me, never breaking lips. We got so lost in ourselves I opened my eyes and we were underwater. We both came up for air, but continued to hold each other close. Tonight was the night everything was going to change. Hillary and I were already so close, so taking things further wouldn’t be too fast. I love her, and she loves me. So there’s only one thing left to do, and it was the perfect night.
In that instance, Charles seemed confused, like he had no idea what he’d just said. “My heart, beating with yours Charles. I could feel our love between us, I was about to take you around the arms and kiss you” “Hillary… I just meant that we had a great show, but I never knew you felt this way”
All of a sudden I felt my heart sinking down to the bottom of my soul. It was like the feeling you get when you dry swallow a pill, a big lump in my throat. As soon as he said this I ran to the bathroom. I just started to cry, and I could hear him banging on the door
”Hills, what’s the matter?… C’mon talk to me, I didn’t expect you to be this upset!” I burst the door open and let it all out
“ You didn’t EXPECT THIS?! Charles I almost poured my heart out to you right then and there. Every word of every song we’ve ever written has been real and honest, straight from my heart. I’ve always found some sort of reason to hold onto that love I have for you. People expect us to sing with passion and love, and I’ve now discovered that I NEVER have to put on an act for you… I just… I can’t hold any of this inside anymore” “… What about Chris? He’s your husband, and you love him”
At first I didn’t know how to respond…
“He… Yes I do love him. I wouldn’t have married him if I didn’t. But you… you’ve had my heart longer than anyone could ever vouch for. It sounds awful but I married Chris because he was the closest thing I had to the beauty I saw in you… “
Charles seemed tense when I came out, but once I said what I needed to, I could see his frame relax.
“Hills… I… There’s a lot to think about… I mean Cassie, she’s been there for so long, but I always thought what we… had at the start of all this would move on, just like I did”
I knew it, he didn’t feel the same way. I felt like such an idiot for exposing my heart like that, I ju–
“Or… tried to.” “ Tried to?” “Sweetheart, I never got past the idea of moving on with other people. For a while there, I really only pictured us. You and I growing old together making music with our goofy crew. Sittin’ side by side each and every night and wondering how it could get any better” “Wh… Why didn’t you ever tell me how you felt?” “Because, I always wondered, ‘What if we didn’t work out, how would that affect us as a team, and would there even be a band if something went wrong’”
He was right in a way, being the gentle, caring man he is I figured he’d be looking out for the other people he loved.
“Well you said Cassie was a big factor in all of this, so what now?” “Tell anyone I did this and I’ll soulfully deny it. But I heard this quote once, which kind of relates to the feeling I get when I’m with you girl” He cleared his throat, and began to sing to me; ‘Love only comes once in a while; it knocks on your door, and throws you a smile. It takes every breath, and leaves every scar. Speaks to your soul, and sings to your heart’ I was at a loss for words after what just happened, but he filled the space perfectly.
“So you see darlin’, I always knew you were the story behind those lyrics. Never in a million years did I picture us being the ones who missed that opportunity. But we have people in our lives that can’t change as fast as we can”
“I just can’t wait for this anymore Charlie. I know, I know Cassie and Chris are in our hearts. But what you just did for me, doesn’t compare to any other love, and I need you to do something for me”
“What is it?” “Kiss me” “ But…” “No, look me in the eyes” I grabbed onto that luscious head of hair and brought him close “It’s just a kiss”
And he did. In the most graceful way possible, Charles leaned in and kissed me. He wrapped his arms around the small of my back. His body held against mine, like missing puzzle pieces finally finding their perfect spot. Our kiss was so passionate, like fireworks going off. It was beautiful and romantic, but smothered with danger and risk. I couldn’t have asked for a better kiss. I left my eyes closed at least a minute after. I didn’t want to open my eyes and face reality. I was currently on Cloud 9.
“Catch me, I’ve tripped in love” I giggled at his wit. No matter how serious the moment, you could always count on that goofball to lighten up the mood. I mean, we win a huge award; he jumps in a pool, fully clothed. We finish a great show, he runs around asking if anyone wants a cantaloupe. Nothing crazier I know of.
“I really wish I could have spent the time secretly wanting you actually being with you. It’s like I was blinded for a bit there, but now I realize what a jerk I was for missing out, and especially for letting a beautiful woman like you slip away” “Charles, this is all I’ve wanted for so long. I just don’t understand how this could work. We’ve got spouses that love us, care for us, and are most definitely in love with us. I hate hurting people like that. What are we gonna do?”
For a while we just lay there, Charles right by my side holding me close. The warmth of his body helped mask the disappointment I saw in myself for letting things get so real with Chris. If I had known that we were meant to be together, Charlie and me, I wouldn’t have even started another relationship. And then, Cassie. One of my best friends; how could I watch her heart get broken, and not be there for her? Well, I sure as hell couldn’t be there for her in this situation. It was killing me. Charles broke my train of thought.
“I think we should just be honest with them. This love is real, and it’s like a fire that’s been burning for so long, but only now are the sparks flying again. We can do this, together. But we have to be simple, and not hit them too hard” “How did I get so lucky? Meeting a man with such grace about the most ungraceful of times?” “We southern boys were raised right ma’am”
He leaned in to kiss me, and I could feel the love coming right from his heart onto my lips. He brushed my hair behind my ear with those gentle, yet firm hands.
“Have I ever told you I have a thing for girls with outstanding green eyes?” “Now you have”
We were so close to each other, and then we heard the door slam.
“Sorry!” Dave yelled out cheerily “I forgot one of my—… What the hell is going on in here?! You guys look like the couple I saw swapping spit in the pit tonight! You weren’t just…”
Charles began to speak but I interrupted him.
“What did you see?” “Well I walked in here and… you two were… kissing… Why were you kissing??” “It’s a lot to explain…” “You’re just lucky I didn’t send Chris in here instead. I’m sure he would have flipped. Was it an accident or something? AM I DELUSIONAL OR DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?”
We could tell Dave was angry, but more or less confused than anything.
“Dave, dude. Just calm down, okay? We’re going to tell everyone in the morning. We just don’t know how…” “Charles. This is so low. What happened to all those amazing things you said about Cassie? What, does she mean nothing to you now? And Hillary, this is crazy! Chris adores you and you go and treat him like this? You two are pathetic! I never thought I’d see the day… When you two… sneaking around…”
That’s when it was all a bit blurry. Charles got up and started yelling at Dave, telling him that love makes you do crazy things sometimes. They were fighting, two of the most important men in my life, fighting over all of this.
“BOYS!!! STOP IT! JUST STOP IT, OKAY? This is NO way to handle this. I’m sorry you found out this way Dave. But if you could please respect our wish in waiting to tell everyone at our own pace, I’d rather not have any more of these kinds of reactions. None of this will change who we are as a band. I can promise you that. Charles knows it too”