“Hey…so…this green dress works right?” Emme asked walking in front of him in a short long sleeved glitter dress on New Year’s Eve.
“Oh yeah.” Aubrey answered twirling her around. “Get it girl.” he sang to her watching her playfully back into him dancing on him. “So tonight huh?” he said wrapping his arm around her while he wore a pair of long basketball shorts and a white sleeveless shirt.
“Yeah. Tonight.” she said with a laugh stepping away from him taking off the dress. “But I don’t need to wear this right now.” she said grabbing a crop top and her flip flops. “We’ll be at the beach.”
“I think we’re going to go to the studio for a bit before….” he said to her sitting down on the bed.
“Are you sure?” she asked him a bit confused. “You have a schedule, babbyyy…” she whined wrapping her arms around his shoulders.
“The more you try to keep me were the less time I have here…” he smirked at her.
“Hey, I’m just looking out. You get sucked in and can’t get away and I know this event is a big deal to you….why don’t you stay home today and start tomorrow? I’m leaving on the second and then you get all this to yourself…”
“Hmm….” he thought. “I think we got this.”
“Ugh. Whatever.” she sighed letting go of his shoulders.
“Woah…Em….” he sounded surprised by her reaction. “Are you really going to play that way? I thought we were okay….”
“We are.” she shrugged. “I just don’t want you to miss tonight because you got sucked into something at the studio. I know that’s how you get.”
“How do I get?” he asked her starting to get frustrated. “This is crap, Em. Why are you like this?” he didn’t wait for her to answer.
“What do you mean?” she asked him.
“Em! God damnit. I’m going to the studio. Whatever.” he got up and started to walk past her.
“Are you really leaving?” she said with her teeth clenched following behind him.
“Yeah. They’re already there. Why wouldn’t I?” he turned looking at her a few steps above him on the stairs.
“Because I fucking I told you why. Because you’re not going to get back in time for your show. And you know it.”
“Emanuelle….shut up. God.” he rolled his eyes at her.
“Do you not care about tonight? It’s a big fucking thing that you’ve been talking about for ages and it’s going….should go well but if you’re not going to be there then whatever. I guess it’s not that important to you.” she yelled at him.
“I care about tonight, Em! What makes you think I don’t?” he asked watching her rush past him on the stairs.
“Whatever. I’ll be at the beach with the girls.” she said almost running out the door.
“Emanuelle! Get back here!” he exclaimed chasing after her completely confused about why they were arguing watching her start to run away from him running the almost half mile to the beach I her flip-flops with him trailing behind her catching her as she stopped where Stephanie and Rosie were sitting.
“Where’s Luc?” Emme asked taking a few breathes to get back to normal.
“Behind you.” Lucy said seeing Aubrey running behind her.
“What’s going on?” Stephanie asked turning to look at them.
“I don’t want to talk about it.” she said holding back her tears as he reached for her back.
“Many….” he paused. “Come talk to me…”
“Why? You’re going to do what you want anyway. Go. You only have a little bit….if you’re going to make it back.”
“That’s not why you’re upset.” he told her firmly knowing that all the girls were watching.
“Then why am I upset?” she asked. “You seem to know me soooooooooooo well.”
“You’re leaving in three days. I’m staying here, you’re going home….” he said to her raising his eyebrow. “Isn’t that when this usually starts?” he watched her look down at her feet kicking the sand around.
“Em….” Rosie tried to get her attention.
Emme shook her head watching several tears fall from her cheek onto the sand. “Yeah.”
“Was that a single tear?” he asked her looking at the few drops of tears on the ground. “You’re out Draking Drake, Many….” he said hoping to make her laugh reaching for her hand not getting a response.
“Go to the studio. That’s where you need to be.” she said sliding her hand out of his turning around to her friends feeling Rosie give her a hug. Reaching for Emme to hug her Rosie rolled her eyes at Aubrey reacting to Emme’s breakdown. Go. She mouthed to him watching him start to walk away from them.
“What the hell?” Rosie asked her friend letting go of the hug.
“Are you fucking serious? He just laid it out for you. He just straight up said why you’re upset at him and you didn’t even answer? God. Em. You’re going to…oh nevermind. Whatever.” Rosie told her.
“What are you talking about? He literally is not going to be back in time for a show he’s headlining downtown. He’s not going to be back.” she answered.
“Em, he’s a big boy. He can work on his own schedule. He’ll be back.” Lucy answered her sitting Emme down onto the beach. “You know that.”
She didn’t answer for a few minutes sitting in shock about the argument they had gotten in.
While Emme sat at the beach completely in shock about what was going on Aubrey went to the small studio a few miles away. “God damnit!” he exclaimed throwing himself at a chair reaching for his blackberry. “This girl is the death of me and we haven’t even gotten married yet.”
“I think we all knew you two were either fighting or getting it on. We weren’t sure which.” Noah said reaching for the blackberry. “You done?”
“Yeah. With that one I think.” he said standing up. “Are we going to get at that track?”
“Yeah. Let’s do that…” Noah answered.
By eight in the evening the emotions of the last few hours had died down and Emme and her friends were sitting around a table eating whatever was left over in the house. “I’m sorry about earlier, y'all.” Emme said biting into a piece of bread.
“Em, you know why you’re acting like that.” Rosie said.
“Why?” she asked.
“You’re leaving. He’s staying here. You’re little time together is over. What are you going to do next? You acted like this when your dad left. Remember when you spent the night at my house that one time and your mom called my mom and then she came over and we were spying on them and she said your dad left again and you threw a 12 year old temper tantrum? God, you’re doing it now.” she finished her statement waiting for her best friend to answer her. “Many….come on…”
“I can’t help it.” she said looking at her friend trying not to cry.
“Oh god. I didn’t want to make you cry.” Rosie said taking a sip of her wine. “I just…you have to see it, Emme. You have to see….”
“I know. A normal person should see it. They should realize what pisses them off and then stop…but I just can’t…” she told them.
“”Many, what are you talking about?” Lucy asked. “You’ve done it up to now…what makes now different?”
“Nothing.” she shrugged. “Not a thing.”
“Then tell him you’re sorry when he gets back.” Stephanie answered. “Just tell him you’re sorry.”
“I will.” she said starting to stand up. “I need to take a shower.”
“Yeah. Okay.” Rosie said watching her best friend walk up the stairs. Emme went into the bathroom dropping her clothes looking into the mirror seeing her tanned face and long curly hair framing her face. She looked deep into her brown eyes seeing her mother’s incredible control of her actions mixed in with her father’s incredible passionate outbursts of emotions fighting inside of her. Instead of standing in front of the mirror like she usually would making faces in front of the mirror she dragged her hand along the counter looking at her medicine. “Why do I do this? None of it ever helps…” she said to herself holding a bottle of pills glancing at the toilet. He won’t notice….she thought hearing footsteps coming up the stairs. She glanced to the side to see that Courtne had walked past the room. Shit I only have a few seconds…she grabbed two more bottles clutching them considering dropping them into the water.
“Many….” Aubrey whispered standing at the door. “What’s wrong baby?” he asked not moving.
“It never changes.” she said to him holding onto the bottles. “No matter what they give me, or who I talk to or what I do…no matter how good I do, no matter how bad I do…it never goes away. I’m always like…just…”
“Em….” he reached from behind her to take her pills.
“Do you….” he paused trying to find the right words. “do you…..do you want it to change? When you get to a point where things are going well you stop. You just stop dead. Like when the emergency stop of a treadmill and it just stops completely and your feet are still moving. You keep moving for that few seconds and then you just stop. Just fucking stop. Em, you have to keep going. You have to keep going, baby.” he said hugging her tightly. “You just have to keep going.” ’
“But what if I don’t want to?” she asked him.
“I don’t know.” he said to her reaching for her chin to look into her eyes. “But whatever you decide I’ll be here for you.”
“But except not really…” she answered watching his face change from caring and concern to the frustration she always saw in him when she got upset. “Don’t yell at me. Please.”
“Many…I’m not.:” he replied placing her medicine on the counter leading her to the bedroom. “Even if I’m not literally there, baby…I’m still there for you….you call me and I’ll be there…you gotta trust me. This is kind of it. We’re getting married. I’m always there..even when you don’t want me to be.”
She smiled at him trying not to laugh. “For better or for worse, huh?”
“For better or worse, Emanuelle.” he said leaning in to kiss her lightly.
She moved her finger from his mouth watching him open his lips to say something. “Em, you said it was like doing everything for the first time again…..so let’s fall in love for the first time….”
“Use that for your song, Aubrey. That was beautiful.” she said not turning around getting in her car.
“Em….grab your stuff….” Christal, one of Emme’s co-workers said to her early in the afternoon before they left the studio to get to a station sponsored 3 day music festival. “Are you going to be okay?” Christal asked seeing Emme stall a bit.
“I’m going to be fine. We’ll see each other in passing and say hello and move on.” she said.
“I just worry….” Christal told Emme.
“I am going to be fine. It’s been months. It’s been 3 months since we’ve seen each other. He’s with some other girl and I don’t even have time to deal with boys.”
Christal sighed leading them out the door and into heavy LA traffic to get to the venue. Emme ran around the venue interviewing people and facilitating small meet and greets for up and coming artists completely stable and unaware of any stress that she would have felt a year ago. By 6 in the evening things were slowly settling down, still busy with artists like Wiz Khalifa, Kid Inc and Iggy Azalea showing up to rehearse for their sets. Emme stood by a table reaching for a cookie trying to get away from all the noise.
“You know those aren’t good for you.” she heard a small laugh and a familiar hand hit her side gently.
“Don’t care.” she shrugged turning around to see Aubrey with his hair bigger than she remembered and his body slimmer than she would have wanted to see it.
“You look amazing, Em.” he said pinching her side making her smile a little.
“Thanks.” she half smiled pushing his hand away from her body. “You’re too skinny.”
“What?” he asked touching his face. “I look fabulous.”
“Nah. I’m over it.” she shook her head.
“Don’t care.” he mirrored her response shrugging his shoulders.
“What are you, who are you performing with tonight?” she asked him grabbing a piece of celery to eat.
“Nicki.” he said pointing to their crew that was in the distance. “And maybe a lil somethin’ somethin’ after. If you want to come….”
“I’m good. Thank you.” she said starting to move away from him. “I have a thing to do….” she hesitated waiting to see if he would try to get her to stay with him.
“We’ll talk later, Emanuelle.” he said kissing her cheek. “Have a good night.”
She turned around seeing Eric, Paul, Christal and Adrienne watching their conversation. “What?” she asked with an annoyed laugh.
“Nothing. We could just tell you still like him.” Adrienne told her.
“Just because we’re not fucking anymore doesn’t mean that I can’t like him.” she answered rolling her eyes walking back to where she needed to be for her next meeting.
While Emme continued to work Aubrey worked the back of the venue talking to others without a care in the world. “Hey, bro….” Chubbs said sitting at a table across from Aubrey.
“Yeah?” Aubrey asked.
“Did you see Emme?” he asked him.
“Yeah. I saw her. We talked.” Aubrey replied.
“Oh.” Chubbs said not sure how to react.
“You’re going to do that song, right?” Chubbs asked.
“I don’t know. I was going to tell her about all of it but she had to go. I may just change it a bit because surprising her like that might not be the nicest thing to do to her.”
“Surprise me with what?” they heard her voice behind them.
“Where the hell did you come from?” Chubbs asked laughing at her.
“I’m always here….” she said with a smile.
“Do you have some time, Emanuelle? I wanted to talk to you, but I know it would be hard to get to you….” he replied.
“Yeah. I have a bit.” she said following him out toward trailers and cars weaving them toward an empty space of grass sitting down pulling her with him.
“If you wrote about me, Aubrey, it’s okay.” she said stretching her legs out pointing her exposed toes peeking through a pair of black sandals.
“Yeah. I did that. And I might do one of them tonight.” he said placing his hand away from her avoiding the touch he so desperately wanted.
“That was it?” she asked him starting to stand up.
“No. It’s not.” he told her.
“Then what else?” she asked a bit annoyed.
“Oh come on, Emanuelle.” he answered her frustrated. “This is the longest we’ve talked since April. I just wanted to see how you are.”
“I’m fine.” she said to him moving her feet to get up feeling his hand reach to pull her down.
“Not yet. I have a captive audience and I intend to take advantage of it.” he told her turning her toward him.
“I don’t know what you want….” she said a bit worried about what was going on. “What did you write about me?”
“A lot.” he told her. “After you left….and then the few days after….you were all I could think about. And it didn’t help that I hear you every….Em, how did you just walk away from us?”
“I don’t think I’ve had time to think about it.” she told him. “I’ve just been going and going and going.”
“Are you sleeping, Emme?” he asked her concerned about her glancing at her to see her tense the same way she would get before she would get angry in the past.
“Yeah. I’m sleeping. I’m fine. Christina and my doctor know about it.” she told him defending herself.
“I didn’t ask if the doctors knew about it.” he told her.
“Then why did you ask?” she asked.
“Em, don’t get defensive. I just….I saw you earlier today and you looked rushed and you never look rushed at work.” he told her. She avoided eye contact with her starting to stand up. “What aren’t you telling me, Emanuelle?” he asked.
“You’re not my mother.” she said jumping up from where she was standing. “I don’t need to defend myself.”
“You aren’t! Em! Oh my god!” he said getting frustrated with her.
“I’m safe. I’ve made it the last three months I think I’ll be okay tonight.” she said turning around looking at him.
“Fine, Emme. Whatever. I’m glad you’re okay. Have a good rest of the night….” he told her following her back toward the rest of the crowds.
“Wait….” she stopped pushing him back to where they were before.
“What?” he asked her.
“I’m taking more medicine….” she told him almost about to burst into tears.
“Em….” he pulled her into his chest feeling her start to cry against his shirt. “What’s going on baby girl?” he asked pulling her chin up wiping away her tears.
“I’m not sleeping. And I’ve come really close to just fucking everything up by taking my dad’s Xanax and putting it all in a drink of whatever I can find just to make this whole thing stop. And then I….I’m doing better. But it’s just like I don’t know what’s going on. Everything is like outside of me. Like even us right now….like I’m watching it. I see your eyes and I know what you’re thinking. I know you’re thinking that I’m still crazy and that you want to make it better….” she told him stepping away from his touch for a second. It’s June. I’m at work. I’m with Aubrey. It’s okay. Everything is okay. Look at his eyes. Holy shit. His eyes. God damnit. How did I fuck this up so badly? She thought to herself trying to use her coping mechanism.
“Em, are you okay?” he asked her reaching for her hand.
“Yeah. Oh…I’m fine….” she shook her head trying to figure out what happened between the time she was eating a cookie to the moment that they were standing next to each other. “I’m sorry….I’m…..I don’t even know….”
“Emanuelle…..sit down….” he said sitting her down backstage. “Here, baby….” he handed her a bottle of water trying to calm her down feeling her stand up.
“I need to get away….” she said feeling him grab her hand.
“Where are you going? Are you going to be okay?” he asked her.
“No, don’t leave me….” she felt herself start to cry almost running away from everyone who was in the room with them.
“Come on, Em….” he said wrapping his arms around her so tightly that she was almost wrapped inside his body. He leaned down into her ear to ask her a question. “Where do you want to go?”
“Just over there….” she said pointing to the edge of a parking lot. “Just somewhere quiet. Somewhere where I can’t hear anything. It helps me.”
“Okay, Emanuelle….” he replied sitting next to her watching her close her eyes trying to cope with their conversation.
Monday afternoon Emme sat across from her father and her younger sister Stella while she held onto Xavier in her lap. “How was your trip, Emanuelle?” her father asked.
“It was really good.” she smiled.
“He does good for you, baby girl.” Benny said watching Stella grab some of the food on the table.
“I know he does.” she smiled reaching for her food the same way Stella did. “Dad….” she paused watching him stare back at her. “I want to move to Toronto with him.”
“Noooo. You can’t leavvveee.” Xaxier whined. “Who is going to go swimming with me? Who is going to hide with me when we play hide and seek?” he asked.
“I’ll have to talk to Everlee. I’m sure she’ll play with you, X.” she answered her.
“I don’t know if that’s the best decision, Emanuelle.” Benny answered her.
“I have to take a chance, Daddy. I’m not going to be his side chick or just to lay around with him. I can get a job there. It’s better than what I’m doing now. It’s a morning show. And it would make my schedule more normal. And there’s nothing there that would suck me in. Everything here can suck me into whatever…” she told him. “You had to leave to get better. Maybe I have to leave to get better too.”
“Oh. Mi amor.” her dad said with a sympathetic look on his face glancing at his youngest set of twins. “Stella, Xavier…take your stuff in the living room.”
“What?” Stella asked. “Mom said not to.”
“She’s not here. We can break her rules.” he smiled at them handing her her food. “Goooo. Before she finds you!” Benny watched them run away.
“It’s just getting worse, daddy.” she told him. “Sure I’m not drinking and I’m not getting upset at people anymore. But I went off on him when I was there. I had no idea what was going on. I wish you knew what the up and downs were like now. It’s so different. It’s not the same. It’s so different.”
“We’re getting you help, Emme…..” he said reaching for her hand. “You’re getting help here.”
“I am. But maybe I need to leave to get help. And if it doesn’t work it doesn’t work. And then I can come home. What if Meme and Pops told you not to come here? Would you have listened to them? Or what if I was okay and I just said that I might have a job in Toronto? Would you support me?” she asked trying to get upset.
“But you’re not, Emanuelle.” he told her.
“You didn’t answer my question. If they said you couldn’t go, would you? Or what if you came home?” she asked.
“Yes, Emanuelle. I would have gone.” he told her.
“Then please. Please be okay with me going. Please be okay with me taking this giant leap of faith. I need this, daddy.” Emme told her father.
“But it’s so cold.” he said letting go of her hand. “So cold.”
“I know. But I won’t be as dark as I am now and I get to buy pretty coasts.” she told him. “It’s going to be okay.” she told him.
“Just know you can come home whenever you want, Emme.” he said to her getting up from his seat. He walked over to his daughter kissing her on the head. “You can do it, Emanuelle.”
The next day Emme sat outside in her backyard stretched out on a chair near the pool in the backyard holding onto her phone listening to Tina talk to her about her vision for a good morning show. “I like you, Emanuelle.” Tina told her. “I think you would be a breath of fresh air to our studio. Can you come up sometime next week to test with us?”
“I…. I don’t..” she felt her heart start to race. “My contract. I don’t know if it’s something I can do.”
“When is your contact up. Emanuelle?” Tina asked.
“A year and a few months.” she answered. “My father’s lawyer is going to look at it. But I need maybe the next week for him to look at it to see what can be done…”
“Let’s plan on maybe doing something within the studio. We can record it. Maybe in the afternoon. We can do that, Emme. This would not be on air.” Tina suggestion. “Maybe next Thursday if you can get away.”
“Yes. I think I might be able to do that.” she took a deep breath sighing in relief.
“I will e-mail you some information later today, Emme. You let me now if you can fit all this into your schedule.: Tina said.
“Yes ma'am. I will be in touch. Tank you for talking to me today.” Emme said hanging up the phone screaming out of excitement. She quickly redialed her phone calling Aubrey getting his voicemail. “Hey babbbyyyy. I’m going to come visit on Thursday. Tina wants to meet with me about the job. I’m so excited! Call me when you have a second. I love you.”
By late in the evening Aubrey had found a point in his day to look at his phone. When he was working on something he would ignore the world. He was at a place like that during the day. He glanced to see that Emme had left him a message. “I’ll be back.” he stood up walking out the door to call her. “Hey Emme.” he heard her pick up.
‘Did you listen to me message?” she asked him with an excited tone.
“No. Not yet. What’s going on? Are you okay?” he asked.
“I’m fine.” she scoffed at him with a giggle. “Fine…..” she paused. “And if you had listened to my messsaggggge….” she drug out. “You would know that I talked to Tina today.”
“Oh. Right! How was it, did she love you like I thought she would?” he asked.
“Yeah. She liked me. She liked me enough to want to see me on Thursday.” she told him.
“So I get to see you this weekend too?” he asked her.
“Yeah. Well Thursday early and Friday. I don’t think they’ll let me have the whole weekend. But I can swing those two days.” she told him.
“I’m so happy for you, Em. I can’t wait to see you. We’ll have to celebrate.” he said in a sweet voice.
“Celebrate? Like with cake or?” she asked to get some clarification.
“Both, bae. Both.” he answered.
“I’ll get extra fancy for you.” she answered him.
“Oh God, Emme, stop.” he pleaded.
“I wish I could keep going and tell you that I’m wearing my black lacey boy shorts and pink bra with the blue bow on it…and I’m stuck in traffic and I have that little thing in my car and I’m thinking about using it but imagining you kissing all over me while I’m waiting in this horrible traffic and the people on either side of me can see me make that face you love….” she flirted with him. “But I have to get back to work. So I’ll see you on Thursday.” she said to him.
“Emanuelle. Holy shit.” he pleaded. “Are you sure you can’t be late?”
“Nope. I have to go.” she laughed at him. “Have a good night, baby.”