Taylor twists a long blonde curl around her finger then let’s go of it quickly to watch it spring up, something she’s fallen into the habit of doing in boring meetings where she doesn’t really have a say in what’s happening anyway, so she focuses her attention on more important matters like such. She’s been sitting here for forty five minutes and has not been asked into the conversation once. Her whole team is present, blabbering away at some promotional deal and arguing over the most frivolous things like how her nails should be painted for this or that. She used to control her own career in the beginning, but sometime last year she just stopped caring about executive decisions and the salaries of those under her. She stopped caring about everything really, well except the fans. They were the only reason she hadn’t burnt out yet, though she could feel her stardom beginning to fade as a dull slow moving figure called depression came into her life. It killed her from the inside out, eating away at her soul like vultures to a corpse. She may as well be a corpse.
She heard them speak but she wasn’t quite listening. It was like she was in a Taylor-sized glass jar, looking in on them and being seen but not acknowledged. The melancholy set in and she became numb to it all. It happened quite often now, the numbness. Her brain moved in slow motion, circling around the concept of dying and solemnly making its way back to Jake, as her hollow figure slumped into a deep sigh. It wouldn’t be so bad to just fade from existence, but she couldn’t do that. She couldn’t do that without hurting anyone. Did she ever really love him? Could she have? She doesn’t know. All her emotions have become as dull as the razor blade she is tempted by so often. Except she isn’t fifteen anymore, she couldn’t get away with that. She’s an adult. She has to be a role model for all the little girls out there. That means she has to be brave.
The only time she had actually felt something this whole year had been a few weeks ago with that young model, Karlie. It couldn’t happen though. She is a pawn in the Hollywood game, and dating a girl? That would ruin people’s perception of her. Imagine what the magazine headlines would be. All the moms’ of those little six year olds would shun her or send her hate mail. She couldn’t show her face in Nashville. It’s too much. The walls are closing in. She can’t be here right now. It’s like the glass jar holding her captive is filling with water and she’s forgotten how to swim. She’s desperate for air, yet somehow obtaining it might just be the equivalent of drowning.
Just as she was about to lose it completely, the sound of sharp heels clicking against a tile floor enters her subconscious. An awkward fourteen year old is wobbling down a runway in stilettos, her laughter ringing out loudly as she stumbles over her own two feet. “I think you have the wrong girl, Marco. I only know how to be graceful in ballet slippers.”
“Nonsense,” a chic looking man in an eccentric pantsuit quipped, “You just have to learn to channel your inner swan. Dancers are the best at this, but it takes concentration”. With that, the determined teenager stood up straight and delivered the fiercest, most elegant strut the small time model manager had ever seen. As she neared the end of the catwalk she turned to strike a pose and ended up stumbling again, but she got right back up as if nothing had ever happened. Returning back to where the flamboyant man stood, a forest fire reigned free in her heart, tearing down everything in its path and shining boldly through her searing eyes. She did it. She had mastered her walk.
Taylor focused on the wall. The wall was not moving. The wall was real. She snuck a look at her watch to find herself completely dumbfounded with its reading. Had she truly been sitting in this room, staring at this wall for the last half hour? She touched her forehead to find she had broken out into a light sweat. Something had happened, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on it. Limpid voices carried on around her as she unraveled her brain searching for an answer. In favor of not driving herself mad, the ruminative wanderer decided to hone in on the present conversation happening around her.
They were talking about some Kennedy boy who has apparently already been contacted and has agreed to staging a fake romance with her from July to September of next year. They will meet privately in June for a formal introduction, though the requirements of both parties will be set in stone in the form of a ‘fair and compromising contract’ prior to said meeting. Looking at Taylor’s current situation, it sounded like hell, but if she denied the offer her team may suspect something. When it comes time to sign that document she tries not to think about what just flashed through her mind earlier in the meeting, whatever that may have been. She pushes it away and focuses on something else, anything else. The fans. She was doing this for the fans.
The cold wind stings against Taylor’s face as she makes her way out into the chilly October air, curls tucked away under her warm pink, rosy colored knit beanie. She had signed the contract, hoping for the best, yet ultimately, her decision was fueled by fear. She tried to convince herself it couldn’t be that bad. He was supposedly a really nice guy, though he did agree to date a girl just for fame and money. Not that she’s really in a place to judge, as she was pretty much doing the same, just for much more important reasons. The main one being that it was the safest option for her and Karlie both. That girl is so young and already has such a successful modeling career. Taylor couldn’t take all that away with some lesbian scandal. If only there was a way to just stop thinking about her.
While climbing into a private cab she didn’t deserve to own, Taylor thought about the way the sun first felt on her bare skin as a child when her family took trips to the beach in New Jersey. She would say “Mommy, why does the sun hurt us?” and her mother would respond, “Because sometimes the things that shine the brightest can’t help but burn things, like your skin if you don’t let me put sun lotion on you!” That’s what being famous was like. She would put everything she has into her music, and be able to stand on that stage and shine brighter than any star in the universe, but it came with a list of people she would burn, including herself. She didn’t want to burn Karlie, ever. It’s better to just let go before she can become too attached, because there’s no amount of sun lotion to protect the model from Taylor’s harmful rays.
Just as the pretty brunette began to fade from her thoughts, she arrived to a bouquet of assorted flowers on her doorstep that seemed to be handpicked. There was even a note written in the same handwriting as the phone number on the month old plane ticket Taylor kept in her purse.
I’m not the best poet
Honestly I suck at this
But I know you like poems
So I’m trying my best
To do what I can
So maybe I can see you again
She couldn’t help but laugh at the feeble attempt at writing the girl had shown, though it warmed her heart that she would remember such a small detail brought up in conversation. She reread it over and over again, her blue clouds spilling raindrops down her lonely cheeks. They longed to be pecked by those soft pink lips she had the pleasure of meeting. She wanted to see her again so badly, but she knew her boundaries. She was to remain single until next summer when she will ‘fall in love’ with Conor Kennedy and date him publicly for at least two months, possibly three. This was a game and she had to play fair. Though she couldn’t help but wonder, why was everyone else allowed to cheat? In that moment, she broke the rules for the very first time in her entire life, and it felt incredible.