The sun has already set by the time I wake up, and the
noises coming from the living room let me know that I’m not alone anymore. I
grab a blanket and wrap it around me, starting to walk outside the bedroom.
“Emma? What the hell are you doing?”
The kitchen island is covered with different kind of
ingredients, and I can see at least two pans in the stove. When Emma hears me
call her name she turns around with a big smile on her face.
“Oh, you know, a little something for the best roomie
in the whole wide world!”
The smile, the treat… Oh no. “Emma…” I try to get her
attention, but she’s already turning around to continue with her task.
“Did I wake you? I’m so sorry, I’ll cook more quietly
and when it’s ready I’ll let you know”
“Can you just tell me what you are planning?” I say,
crossing my arms over my chest, “If anyone knows you in this world, that’s me.
She turns around again, guilt clear on her face, “The
guys told me we are going out today, and there’s this guy that I really like
and he’s coming with us. I need friendly back up” She sighs, like she’s been
holding this up for days.
“You know your friends and I don’t get along…”
“You get along pretty well” Emma interrupts me, now it’s
her turn to cross her arms.
“Do I really have to recall that time certain friend
of yours got me so angry I had to leave my own apartment?”
“Jared likes to tease you” She mutters, getting back
to her cooking, “Don’t listen to him”
“I’ll think about it”
I return to my room, lying back on my bed. Memories
from the night Emma invited all of her friends to the apartment come back to my
head. Jared has always been a pain in my ass, every time he comes around he’s
always trying to pick a fight with me, dropping annoying comments, but that
night he really got on my nerves. The following day I had a job interview, and
Emma thought that having a couple of drinks would lose me up for the next day.
All of her friends came to the house, and we were actually having a good time
till Jared started picking out on me. He started giving me ‘advice’ on what
clothes I should wear so I could ‘impress’ my future boss; that the company was
garbage; and so, so, so on. I told him a hundred times to stop, and he didn’t,
so I left.
Emma comes into my room with a tray, a bottle of white
wine and two glasses. I get up to help her with the tray and we sit in the bed.
We eat and drink talking about how our day went, Emma
tells me about Jared, and I hear about her annoying boss with the best smile I
can offer her. She hears about my day too and, as we finish eating, I know
she’s waiting for my response.
“Ok, but you owe me one, you hear me? A big one”
Emma jumps from her side of the bed to hug me and kiss
my cheeks, “You’re the best! THE best!”
“Ok, now leave me alone so I can pick my best
Wednesday Addams clothes so nobody gets close to me tonight”
Emma leaves with all the dirty dishes and I’m left
alone in my room. I quickly pick a dress, put on some make up and fix my messy
hair. In no time I’m leaving the apartment with a really nervous Emma that
cannot even stop thanking me for being with her tonight.
The place chosen by Emma’s friends is a bar close to
Beverly Hills. We get off the cab and get in the bar with no problem at all,
since there aren’t much people around yet. It doesn’t takes us long to see
where the rest is sitting, and I notice how Emma starts to get nervous.
“Ok, let’s go, is now or never” I pull her to the
group of men.
Everyone seems pleased to see us, even Jared, that
reserves all comments to himself and just greets me with a quick “hello”. I let
Emma sit with her special friend, and I sit next to Shannon, who immediately
starts asking me about work.
As the night goes on, Emma disappears with her friend,
just as the rest of the people from the group. I end up in the bar, asking for
a beer, when Jared finds his way to sit next to me.
“You look really nice” It’s the first thing he says to
me since he greet me an hour ago.
“Not too slutty?” I ask him, recalling one of his
words from the last time we saw each other.
“Hey, you remember” He laughs, “I was joking; you
didn’t have to take it that seriously, you know?”
“Not a nice joke, Jared” I mutter, receiving my beer.
“It was a good one. Anyway, did you get the job?”
I take my time to take a sip of my beer, play with my
cup and bite my lip before I decide to answer.
“No” It’s the only thing I say, not wanting to
continue and give him the satisfaction of knowing he was right all along, the
company was garbage.
“They didn’t give you the job?” He asks, really
“They did, but I rejected it” I shrug, sipping my beer
one again, “What are you doing here anyway? Don’t you have some girls to woo tonight?”
All the time he has been sitting by my side, he’s
been switching his eyes from mine to the television behind the bar. But now
that I’ve decided to talk more, he turns to face me.
“You are really talkative tonight, I like it”
“And you are drunk when it’s not even midnight yet”
“I rather be drunk than pissed” He shrugs calling the
bartender, “Can I have another beer?”
I shake my head, leaving my empty cup aside, “Whatever,
it was nice talking to you”
I start walking away, but Jared grabs my wrist to stop
me. I look at him impressed, since this is actually the first time we touch each
“Why don’t you stay for a while? I’ll buy you another
drink. Hey!” He calls the bartender again, “Another beer”
I pull to set my wrist free, but he looks at me with
pleading eyes. I end up rolling my eyes and getting back on my seat. The
bartender puts a new beer in front of me as he gives me a quick smile and gets
back to his duties. Jared drinks his beer in silence, giving me quick looks, like
he wants to make sure I’m still there.
“I wasn’t joking when I said you look pretty
tonight” Jared mutters, his eyes fixed on the television.
I turn my head to try and catch a glimpse of his eyes,
but he doesn’t look at me. Jared is complimenting me, but I can’t take him
“You are really drunk” I laugh.
“I’m not” He complains, finally looking at me in the
“Yes, you are. You should stop drinking and go home”
“Whatever” He says, standing from his stool, “I
shouldn’t have ask you to stay, you are as unpleasant as ever”
“Nice talking to you!” I shout at him as he disappears
among the people.
After a while of walking around, talking to a few
people and lose track of everyone who I came to join tonight, I decide it is
better to go home. Emma looks really happy with her friend and I feel it wasn’t
even necessary to bring me for support, since she left me alone 10 minutes
after we arrived.
I walk towards Emma to say goodbye, but she walks
towards me too. When I have her in front of me I notice she looks worried.
“I need a favor” She says holding both of my hands.
“I’m drunk and my mom is already asleep, I can’t leave
the apartment, sorry” I talk way too fast, raising my hand to silence her.
“What? No, it is not that” She sighs, looking at me in
the eyes, “It’s Jared, he’s drunk and Shannon already left. I can’t take him
home, everything is on track and I think I may get a kiss tonight!”
“A kiss? Wow, when do you announce the wedding?” I
mock at her, being my annoying drunk self.
“Please, it’s the last thing I ask you” Emma looks at
me with puppy eyes, and I can’t say no to my best friend. I end up nodding,
“Thank you, thank you! I haven’t drink, so I’ll take his car. Here, take some
money for a cab, I’ll text you his address”
“You owe me two now, Emma, two huge ones”
“I know; but you really don’t know how thankful I am.
He’s at the bar trying to get a drink”
I walk towards the bar and it doesn’t take me much to
see Jared trying to convince the bartender to give him another drink. I sit
next to Jared without saying a word, but when he acknowledges my presence, he
“We need to go” I tell him, turning to face him, “You
are too drunk”
“You already said that”
“Yeah, an hour ago. You are wasted now”
I see him rolling his eyes, and if it is hard to deal
with Jared when he’s sober, dealing with him drunk is going to be hell.
“Jared please, don’t make this hard”
“Hard? I’m not hard” He affirms standing from the
stool, I look at him serious as he gives me a smile, “Come on, I haven’t even
see you smile tonight”
“Well, you haven’t said anything that can make me
smile, only get angry”
“I’ll go if you show me a smile”
“I’ll smile when we are already at your house, ok?”
He wraps one of his arms on my shoulders walking me out
of the bar. Outside, he starts heading us to the parking lot of the bar, but I
stop him midway.
“We are way too drunk to drive, we are getting a cab”
“You are drunk?!” He asks me, way more surprised than
I would expect, and I blame his drunkenness, “You are not drunk, you don’t look
“Jesus, Jared, keep it down” I ask him, leading him
outside the bar again to catch a cab.
“What? I’m not shouting!”
“You clearly are, just stay quiet for 5 minutes, ok?”
“You are not my boss” He mutters, crossing his arms,
“Am my own boss”
“Sure, whatever you say”
I decide to ignore Jared, but always keeping an eye on
him in case he decides to get back inside the bar. He walks around restless
while I look for a cab. Fifteen minutes pass, and Jared is really starting to
“How come you don’t have a boyfriend?” All of the
sudden, my private life became the topic at hand, “I’ve known you for two years
and you’ve always been single”
“I like being single; stop talking about me and shut
“But you are pretty and intelligent; guys should make
lines to date you”
“They don’t. Shut up, Jared, or I’ll punch you in the
Jared raises both of his hands starting to back away,
looking at me a bit scared.
When a cab finally appears, I throw Jared inside and
give the driver the address Emma texted me a couple of minutes ago. Jared rests
his head on my shoulder and keeps quiet for the rest of the trip. I thank
whatever god helped me to finally shut him up, but I pray that he doesn’t fall
asleep before we arrive, or I’m not going to be able to get him out of the car.
“I think I’m drunk” He mumbles when we arrive.
“You really are” I laugh, “Good to know you finally
Jared gets out of the car while I pay the driver. My
door suddenly opens and Jared is offering me his hand to help me out of the cab.
I roll my eyes and take it. He doesn’t let go of me as he takes me inside the
I’m too drunk to push him away and head back home, so
I just follow him inside, wondering why all of the sudden he looks so happy to
be by my side. But I’m also surprised by my attitude; I promise him that I’ll
make sure he is in his bed before I go, but I’m actually not certain that I
want to leave him.
“I’ll brush my teeth first, wait here”
He gently makes me sit on his bed and holds his hands
on my arms to stabilize me. When I see him walk to the bathroom I notice how
drunk he still is, and how he needs to use the furniture to stay on foot.
“I have to go, it’s late” I tell him when I see him
come out of the bathroom.
But he does not say a word and walks towards me to lay
me on his bed, resting all his weight over my body. My breathing turns heavy
when his face gets too close to mine and his eyes are in full display just for
“What are you…?”
His lips silence me and I find myself responding to
his kiss. His hand starts stroking my cheek, pulling away my messy hair that
insists on getting in the middle. His breathing turns heavy too, and my hands
find their way through his chest to get to his neck and pull him closer to me.
“We shouldn’t” I mutter between kisses.
“We should” He corrects me, still kissing me, but with
a smile on his lips.
The same hand that stroked my cheek now starts to go
down. He traces my arm, waist and hip, ending up in my thigh, using it as a way
to switch places with him.
A minute ago I didn’t know what I was doing, and now
all I wanted to do was to be with him. The sudden thought makes me pull away from him and get
up from the bed.
“No, where are you going?”
Jared gets up too, holding my arms to stop me from
leaving the room.
“We are too drunk for this” I mutter, trying to pull
away once again, “Jared, please, just let me go”
“I can’t” He mumbles, and I’m afraid he’ll start
“What are you talking about?” I ask him cupping his
face, “Are you alright?”
“I love you” He mutters.
Both of my hands fall as I start to back away.
“Ok, I’m done” I laugh, “Bye, Jared, have a good
I’m laughing as I get out of his room, but he runs to
stop me again.
“I’m serious” His hand holds mine and I decide to
focus my eyes on this rather than his eyes, “I love you, why do you think I was
being so annoying with you?”
“Stop saying I’m too drunk!” He shouts and I can’t
help but stay quiet, finally fixating my eyes on his, “I’m not joking, nor
lying. I love you”
“I have to leave”
“No, please stay” He asks with pleading eyes, “I won’t
kiss you again; I just want you to stay the night… please”
I impress myself by nodding to his request. We head
back to his bedroom, but I’m the one who breaks the promise of no kisses. I
can’t hold myself and I pull Jared by his shirt. At first, he asks me to stop
and I consider it for half a second before I decide that the idea is complete bullshit
and push him to the bed.
I roll on the bed, bumping onto something that
shouldn’t be there. My eyes take a few seconds to adjust to the light and, when
I’m finally able to see clearly, something is not right. I know I’m screaming before my brain decides
if it’s a good idea or not.
“What?” Jared opens his eyes scared, looking around
for the source of the noise.
When his eyes finally lay on me, a big smile appears
on his face as he lies back on his bed again, “Shit, I told you”
“Wait, what?” I ask him confused, starting to get out
of bed, “Oh, God, I’m naked”
“Of course you are” He laughs.
And as if something suddenly hit my head, I start to
“You seriously don’t remember?” He asks me, eyeing my
naked body from his position.
“I think I do”
“Good, because I’m not going repeat it. And I think
your bra is over there” He adds pointing at his television on the other side of
I run to catch my bra, hearing how he mumbles from his
“God, you must have been so drunk. You fucking hate
“And apparently you love me, so shut the fuck up”
“That’s not a good way to start the day” He says,
kneeling on the bed, “Come here”
His hand reaches for my arm, dragging me towards him,
making me fall over his naked body.
“Jesus, you are naked, let me go!!” I shout, trying to
escape, but his hands are already on my face, steading me to kiss me again.
“That’s better” He mutters, when my body starts to relax
and give in to his touch, “I like it when you hate me like this”
“You are going to pay for this” Is the last thing I
say before I finally give in, grabbing his hair to get him closer to me and
start my day in the strangest way possible.
I stopped throwing things forcefully into the case on the floor, looking up at Jake with an expression angry enough to make him flinch. “Did you read it?” I exclaimed, gesturing at the laptop on the table in front of him. “It basically says I’m a whore!”
“Actually, what it does is contradict everything that’s been said about you and Jared,” Leigh chimed in from the sofa, her legs tucked under her as she calmly watched me stomping around the room. “Which is a good thing. It gives you much more room for manoeuvre – the new rumours basically discredit the old ones. Makes it look more plausible when you deny all of it.”
“What she said,” Jake agreed, pointing at Leigh.
I turned back to my case, shaking my head at them both as I tried to shove things in tighter to make more space. “It’s so bad. As if the trolls weren’t bad enough already – have you even seen some of what’s being said online?”
“Why are you even looking at it?” Leigh frowned.
“Because I need to know what people are saying – how am I supposed to defend myself if I don’t know what the accusations are?”
“That’s the whole point hun, you don’t. All you need to know is people are suggesting you’re sleeping with one, if not both, Leto brothers. You say nothing, unless they tell you to, and even then all you do is repeat the fact that these are working relationships with people you consider to be your friends.” Leigh said firmly.
“It really doesn’t have to be a disaster.” Jake said calmly. “It’s only gossip sites that are desperately trying to create a story out of nothing. You and Jared know the truth, and that’s all that matters, right?”
I sighed, sitting back on my heels and rubbing a hand over my face. “Well if that’s true, why won’t he reply to any of my texts or voicemails?”
I watched them exchange a glance, my two best friends who had spent the best part of an hour trying to calm me down since I had gotten home. I had been so horrified when Leigh had sent me the web link – photographs of me rescuing a drunk Shannon in a cab had been splashed all over the internet, a flurry of stories either saying that I had moved from Jared to Shannon, or that perhaps Jared had just been a cover for the real relationship I was having with his brother. None of the stories painted me in a good light. I was a fame whore, I was easy, I was just trying to use them both to boost my career. I was mortified.
I had all but dragged Shannon out of my mum’s house, waiting until we were in a cab before I exploded at him – I couldn’t believe he hadn’t told me. He had tried to explain that it was nothing to worry about, that Jared and Emma had it under control, but that just made me feel worse. Jared knew. I had been trying to get hold of him since yesterday and he had ignored my calls; I had thought he was just busy working, but now I was worried that he might actually believe some of the stories flying around. He’d had time to speak to Shannon, but not me.
I had dropped Shannon round the corner from his hotel, shaking off his offer to collect me on the way to the airport and telling him I would just meet him there. The last thing we needed was to get spotted turning up to Heathrow together like some sort of happy couple off on holiday. Within half an hour of being back at my flat, Leigh and Jake had arrived with their voices of reason, attempting to talk me off the ledge. But despite their best attempts at putting a good spin on it, trying to convince me I could use this to my advantage, all I felt was sick. I just wanted to get to Perth, without any more unwanted attention, and talk to Jared.
“Can I offer you a drink madam?”
I hooked one ear bud out of my ear, smiling politely at the air hostess. “No, thank you.” I shook my head, watching her move along the aisle to the next seat. I shrank back down in my seat again, putting my ear phone back in and turning the music volume up. The long haul flight to Kuala Lumpur had been half empty, meaning I had three seats all to myself without worrying about some stranger cramping my space and snoring loudly while I tried to concentrate on not freaking out about being stuck in this metal box for over 12 hours.
I tugged at the seatbelt tight across my lap, reassuring myself that I was still buckled in even though we had been in the air for over seven hours, and the seatbelt sign had been off pretty much since take off. I leaned my head back and closed my eyes with a sigh, willing the next five hours to go past quickly. I really hated flying. I had arrived at the airport as late as I could, leaving it to the last minute to check in and then loitering around the shops until I absolutely had to go to the gate. It wasn’t that I was avoiding Shannon. I just couldn’t face anymore photographs that would fuel the angry mob that seemed to be gathering against me online.
When it came down to it, I needn’t have worried about seeing him. I assumed he was flying business class and was in a different departure lounge, because he was nowhere to be seen before we were called up to board. I wondered briefly whether he had missed the flight, but ten minutes after take-off he had sent me a message to tell me there was a spare seat with him and that I should upgrade courtesy of the Mars expenses card. I had replied to politely decline, and told him I would see him on the other side. I wasn’t angry with him. I was just annoyed that I had allowed myself to be caught in a position where I looked bad. And I still hadn’t heard from Jared.
I felt movement to my left as someone flopped down into one of the spare seats beside me, and I squinted one eye open to glare at whoever had been rude enough to take away the rare and welcome space I had been enjoying. Shannon was sat in the aisle seat, leaving an empty seat between us, gesturing to the stewardess with a smile as he summoned her back towards him to ask for a drink. I scowled at him, glancing around me nervously at the other passengers as I waited for people to start recognising him.
“What are you doing back here?” I mumbled, pulling the earphone out again so I could hear him.
“Well you wouldn’t come and sit in the posh seats so I figured I’d come and sit with you instead.” he shrugged, sipping at his drink while he flicked on the TV screen in front of him and started skipping through channels.
“I don’t really like it in business class. Too posh.” I shrugged, watching him settle on an episode of Family Guy.
“Sure. Who needs a proper seat that lays down and some decent food while you’re trapped on a flight for twelve hours. It’s overrated.” he said, still not looking at me.
I sighed quietly, turning my head to look out of the window and seeing nothing but blackness. I had to sit next to a window when I flew, needing to see the outside, or I got panicky; the idea of being stuck inside a tin container was enough to make my lungs feel like the air was too thin. But looking out of the window and seeing nothing but black, just knowing how high up we were and how far it was to fall… it was almost worse.
“Are you pissed at me?”
I turned back round at his question, his head resting against the back of his seat but tilted to face me, watching for my reaction. I smiled, shaking my head gently. “No, of course I’m not pissed at you.” I said quietly.
“Well considering we’re on the same flight, you’ve done a fairly good job of avoiding me.”
“I’m not avoiding you, I just didn’t want to give anyone else a photo opportunity. I… don’t know how to deal with that sort of… attention. It’s horrible.”
He flinched slightly, still watching me. “I’m sorry.”
“You don’t have to be sorry, it’s not your fault…”
“Yes, it is. I’m the one that got wasted, I’m the one that called you. If I hadn’t done that you wouldn’t have ended up in that cab getting your picture taken…”
“People were already talking about me after Jared’s little comment at the meet and greet,” I shrugged. “I’m just not used to it like you guys are. All the lies.”
He nodded slowly, pursing his lips for a moment. “You know that it will blow over though, right? People like to have something to gossip about, and for the moment that’s you - but that will change the second a new face pops up. One of Jared’s friends will join us on the tour, or I’ll do something drunk and stupid again - you’ll be yesterday’s news before you know it.” he smiled.
I smiled back, shaking my head at him. “Well, as long as I can count on you being drunk and embarrassing again soon…” I grinned.
The plane shook around us, a momentary burst of turbulence that rattled me to my core, and I sucked in a breath as I shot my glance forwards towards the stewardess.
“Hey, easy London, it’s just turbulence.” Shannon laughed, watching my reaction.
I wanted to laugh back. To come out with something witty and behave like a normal person - like every other person on this flight who was seemingly completely unaffected. But as the plane shook again, hard enough that I could hear the trolley rattling from the other end of the cabin, I gripped hold of both arm rests tight enough that my knuckles went white. With my heart beating so hard in my chest I thought it might actually fight its way out, I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to think of something else, something that didn’t involve concentrating on being thousands of feet above the ground in a tin can. But the floor beneath my feet carried on shaking, the erratic jerky movements of the plane sending my stomach into somersaults, and I felt my breathing start to pick up.
“Hey - you okay?”
His voice had moved closer, and I could feel him sitting in the seat beside me now, the smell of his aftershave wafting over me as he shifted himself closer to me. “Fine.” I bit out, keeping my eyes closed as I tried to control my breathing again.
“Yeah… this doesn’t look fine. You wanna open your eyes for a minute?”
I shook my head vehemently, frozen in my seat, clutching at the edge of the arm rests while my seat shook underneath me like I was on a roller coaster. I felt his hand cover mine, an impossibly large palm completely swamping my left hand, wrapping around my fingers and prising them away from their grip on the plastic until I opened my eyes and looked at him. His face a mask of concern, he tucked his fingers underneath mine so that I was squeezing the pads of his fingers rather than the arm rest. “Breathe, London. It’s just a rough patch of air - it’s fine. It’s absolutely fine.” he said calmly, staring straight at me and not giving me the option to look away.
He took a few deep, exaggerated breaths, nodding along with me as he encouraged me to do the same, and I let myself be led by him, sucking in some deep breaths and holding them for a second before blowing them out slowly, watching his face the whole time until I felt my pulse begin to slow down. The rattling stopped, the plane going back to its smooth, motionless flight, and I realised the only thing shaking now was me. I covered my face with my right hand, swiping over my eyes in embarrassment as I realised how close I had just come to a panic attack in front of this man.
“So… were you going to mention you had a fear of flying?” he asked quietly, ducking his head towards me to catch my attention again.
I glanced sideways at him, cringing. “Not flying - just turbulence. More like a fear of crashing.” I explained.
“You should have said.” he said, squeezing my hand gently.
I looked down, startled to realise my hand was still wrapped up in his, my fingers squeezing his, and I withdrew my hand quickly as I smiled up at him. “It’s not normally an issue. I usually take a pill and sleep through this shit.” I said, a nervous laugh bubbling out of my throat.
“Oh… so… any reason why you’re awake today?”
I shrugged, glancing down at the phone on my lap. I didn’t want to tell him it was because I was hoping for a message from Jared. That I didn’t want to sleep in case he tried to contact me and I missed the opportunity to speak to him. “Thought I’d be okay today.”
“On a twelve hour flight?!” he laughed. “Way to test the theory!”
I scowled at him, knowing he was right. I should be deep in an Ambien-fuelled sleep right now instead of trying to drown out the fear with loud music.
“So what’s your poison?” he asked, changing the subject and reaching over to hook my spare earphone with his finger, lifting it to his ear to see what I was listening to.
“Oh… you probably wouldn’t have heard…” I started, cringing as I waited for his reaction to my taste in music.
“Oh man, that’s Powderfinger!” he exclaimed, looking back at me with a smile.
“You’ve heard of them?” I said, surprised, not at all the type of music I would have pictured him listening to.
“Sure. Apt choice, given we’re flying into Australia.” he winked, leaning back to listen to the rest of the song.
He stayed beside me for the rest of the flight, leaving only to pick up his things from his own seat and bring them back to where I was, setting himself up on the aisle seat and using the chair between us to put his flight bag and iPad. I wanted to tell him he really didn’t need to stay with me - I knew he was only doing it because he was worried I was going to have some sort of meltdown the next time we hit some turbulence. I was perfectly capable of having a meltdown all by myself. But there was something quite comforting about having him there, sprawling out in the space that I had been enjoying having all to myself, stealing one earphone from my ear and helping himself to my bag of free peanuts, pointing out the films that I had to watch on the in-flight entertainment.
Somehow, without me noticing, he made the rest of the flight… painless. We watched awful horror movies, laughing loudly in the places where we should have been scared. We skimmed through the music on my iPod until we ran out and switched to his. I breathed through the five minute bout of turbulence right before we came in to land, concentrating on watching him use the lap trays, arm rests and my knee as some sort of make shift drum kit while he demonstrated the drum beats from my favourite songs. I even managed to laugh when he caught my knee at a funny angle, making my left leg shoot out in front of me in reflex.
When we landed in Kuala Lumpur, I made us go in opposite directions. It was early evening local time, and the airport was rammed full of tourists running to catch their flights or people killing time shopping waiting for their connections. I blended in with the rest of them, dragging my flight bag, hair and make up looking like I had just spent an entire day cramped on a plane - but Shannon; he looked every inch the well-travelled rock star. Baggy black pants, sunglasses, a holdall slung casually over his shoulder as he slowly strutted towards the designer shops. Even if people didn’t know who he was, they were looking at him anyway. I was happy to avoid the second glances by staying a safe distance away from him.
I made my way through the terminal towards the next gate, eager to get on the next flight and get these next five hours done and get to Perth. I was exhausted; I needed a shower and a comfortable bed. I shuffled my way forwards towards the desk, holding out my boarding pass and passport for the woman to check, joining the queue of people as I waited to get on to the plane. I checked my phone while we waited - no messages. I still hadn’t heard from him.
I glanced up as a ripple of voices started to thrum around me, and spotted Shannon being escorted towards the VIP entrance to the right of the check in desk, a couple of security guys walking beside him and a trail of young Malaysian women skipping along behind him, giggling and calling out his name as they followed him. He stopped, turning to say hello to those closest to him and posing for a few photographs before one of the security guards opened the glass door behind him, gesturing that it was time to head through. He said his goodbyes through their disappointed protests, and briefly turned to let his eyes graze over the queue I was standing in until he focused on me. I shook my head at him, panicking that he was going to say something to me and draw attention to my presence in front of all those people, but he just grinned that lopsided smile instead. I caught the wink before he pushed the sunglasses back onto his face, and rolled my eyes at his retreating back as the rest of us were called to board.