Soundtrack song - Kings of Leon, "On Call"
I didn't know when I should expect to hear from Sidney, so I turned the volume on my cell phone as high as it would go and kept it with me at all times. My phone was in my pocket everywhere I went. I was anxious to hear his decision about how we were going to move forward and deal with this latest turn of events.
When I returned home Sunday night, I immediately turned on my laptop and scoured the internet for YouTube clips of the game and recent news articles about Sidney. About me. About us. I still couldn't believe I was in this position in the first place. I was just an ordinary girl, but I was getting nationwide attention in the least flattering way imaginable.
The broadcast of the game wasn't bad; the producers even replayed my kiss several times, noting how Sid's face lit up when he spotted me behind the glass. They even said how his playing had improved markedly from the previous two games. No one went as far as to say that it was because of me that he was doing so well, but I like to think it was implied. Television-wise, I had nailed it.
It was those damn bloggers! Everyone had an opinion, and apparently, those damn opinions just needed to be shared with the world. Those worthless opinions, good for nothing, pieces of shit....
Ugh. This was so frustrating. People who didn't even know me were quick to point out my faults. I was a bitch, and I was selfish; I wanted to deprive Sidney's youngest and biggest fans of the experience of meeting him. I was flipping him the bird and throwing a fit in the hotel lobby, ignoring him. Supposedly.
I knew better than that. I was there! But it still bothered me to think that people wanted to be so vicious. Deep down, I knew that I shouldn't be paying any mind to what anyone else was saying. This was between Sidney and me, not between us and the public. I wished everyone would just realize that, too.
The worst part of my evening was waiting for Sid's call. I figured that Sidney would need some time, but I didn't know how much time. When would I hear from him: tonight? Tomorrow morning? After he traveled to Boston?
I was being incredibly patient. At least, it felt that way to me. Every minute seemed like an hour, and every hour felt like a lifetime. How could Sid be this inconsiderate? How could he just leave me in the dark for so long? I hoped he realized that this was affecting me just as much as it was him, even though it wasn't my reputation on the line.
It was after midnight before I turned off the light and turned in for the night, but I couldn't sleep. I tried every trick I knew—counting sheep, thinking of nothing, picturing just a white wall. Eventually, I fell asleep, only to wake up before my alarm. I just couldn't catch a break.
I proceeded through my day as routinely as I could. Showered. Dressed. Grabbed a yogurt, an apple, and Starkist tuna salad kit and threw them into my purse. Out the door for work. I didn't even brush my hair. I didn't care.
At 8:25, I pulled into the parking lot at work. Still no call. Okay, maybe he's flying to Boston now. He'll call during my lunch break. When he didn't call by one, I thought maybe he took an afternoon flight. By five, I had no clue what was going on. Why hadn't he called at all? This was so unlike him. I wanted so desperately to know what was going on in that beautiful head of his, but I didn't want to feel like I was pressuring him either. This was tortuous.
At six, my phone rang and I practically jumped out of my skin. "Hello?"
"Oh, hi Max," I mumbled, sinking back into my chair. I should have realized that it wasn't Sidney's ringtone, but I was so excited to hear from him that I didn't pay attention to the minor detail that it wasn't actually him calling. I tried to hide my disappointment. "What's up?"
"Do you have some time?"
"Yeah, Max, are you ready to talk?" I was no longer interested in Max's girl troubles because I was caught up in my own boy drama. But I owed it to my friend to be there for him, just like he had put up with me during my times of need.
"You'll keep this to yourself, won't you?"
"What is going on that this is so hush-hush?"
"I just don't want Charlotte to find out that I'm talking about this to anyone. She won't like it."
"I promise, Max, I won't tell her."
"Okay. I really need a girl's perspective on this. Flower's just been useless. You know how we met, right?"
"No. I hardly know anything about her, Max."
He went on to explain how they'd met. Max had been rehabbing at a UPMC-sponsored clinic that had a little gym attached to it. The clinic was small, which is why Max liked it so much. Rehabbing was embarrassing; he was always quick to heal, and the struggle to get back into shape was straining him mentally as well as physically. One day, there was a girl working out on a stationary bike, and once her saw here there, he saw her everywhere.
Charlotte initially wanted nothing to do with him, but Max persuaded her, somehow, that they could be friends. Until suddenly, she jumped on him and they had wild, passionate sex. And now she won't return his calls or answer her door, and he hasn't seen her since.
"I don't understand her, Noelle. I don't know what I did! Was she trying to test me?"
I chewed on my bottom and thought about what I knew of Charlotte. "She told me that she was in a bad relationship, Max. I think she likes you, but she's scared."
"Scared of what?"
"I don't know. But I think you're probably freaking her out even more by stalking her."
"I'm not stalking her!"
"It was a joke. Just back off a little bit. Let her see what she's missing out on, and she'll be back."
"You're telling me just to wait for her to come around?"
The advice that I hated hearing was the same advice I was doling out. "Yeah, Max. Just give it some time. I know that this isn't what you wanted to hear, and it pains me to tell you that."
"Yeah, I know that it's killing Sid, too. You know, the waiting."
"Don't repeat me, Max. What are you saying about Sid?"
"Haven't you talked to him?"
I was unsure of how to answer him. If I said I hadn't spoken with him, I would give him the impression that something was wrong or off between us. In reality, I didn't know if there was anything wrong. Sid was frustrated and needed space and time. I knew what that was like, and I was willing to give it to him.
Trying not to lie, I came up with my best evasive answer. "I just didn't know if he said something to you that he didn't tell me."
"Probably not, Noelle. He showed up this morning for practice and hasn't said a word to anyone. I thought after this weekend, that things were going back to normal. He seemed so happy. But he's just as upset as ever, if not more. Did something happen?"
"Just more people, shoving their noses into our business, where they don't belong. He took it really hard this time. I don't think I helped matters either, because I started yelling at Pat."
"The Kid's under a lot of stress right now."
"I know," I said, trying to get off the phone with him. "Listen, I hope I helped—"
"Merci, Noelle. I guess you're right, I should just wait."
"It'll work out, Max, I promise," I said, knowing that I shouldn't tell him things were going to be okay if I couldn't guarantee it would happen. "Take care of yourself."
"You too. I'll see you in a couple of days."
We hung up, and I couldn't help but wonder what was going through Sid's head. He was in Boston, and something was still wrong. If he hadn't figured out the best course of action, why wasn't he calling me to talk about it?
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Physically, I felt like I had been slammed into a brick wall.
Maybe he had made up his mind. This was his decision. The best way for me to stop ruining his career and his life was to keep me out of a position where I could do some damage. If I wasn't his girlfriend, he wouldn't have to put up with me and the bad publicity I caused him. And that's why he wasn't calling or talking to me.
If he had in fact wanted to end things, I couldn't very well go calling him and pestering him. But he should have at least been man enough to tell me. I thought about compromising by calling Pat. Pat was there on Sunday night; he would know what was going on. But I couldn't bring myself to call him, either.
I was pissed. First, I couldn't believe Sid would just leave me hanging like this. Second, he promised he wouldn't hurt me. And that's exactly what he was doing.
I pulled on his black Reebok hoodie and curled into a fetal position on my bed. I didn't cry; it was the first time in a while that my first physical reaction was not to weep. No, I was in shock and numb. I couldn't do anything. I never expected Sid to chose this.
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