Gone

JC sat at the foot of the bed, staring down at the intricate patterns swirling about on the comforter while thought of last night danced through his head, she was gone. 

            What had he done? Where had things gone so wrong? He thought to himself, “When did I change?” He heard himself say to the room where he now sat alone. He lay back against the pillows, threw his hands over his eyes, and replayed the scene from last night over in his head.     

            “Josh,” Alex, his girlfriend of over 3 years began, and JC felt himself tense up.  This definitely wasn’t good if she was calling him Josh.  He knew that something was up.  “We really need to talk.” Alex managed to get out, trying her hardest not to look in his eyes and see what she knew was there, love and questions.  God, how she didn’t want to answer all the questions burning in his mind, and how she wished that for just one night he didn’t have so much love for her.  It just made everything harder. 

            “Alex, babe, what’s wrong?” JC asked as he walked over to where he could sit on the couch beside her.  He casually put his arm around her shoulder, and was more than surprised when she shrugged it off, and stood up to get away from him. 

            “Just stop it Jayce, you knew that this was coming,” Alex began, flustered that everything she had rehearsed had just flitted out of her mind without a second thought. 

            “Stop what? And what did I know was coming?” JC asked, trying to keep his temper in check while his heart was trying its best not to shatter at what he was sure was to come. 

            “Our relationship for God’s sake.  I can’t keep doing this you know, following you around the country, traipsing around your tour like some little tour,” She was interrupted by JC, desperately trying to stop the words from getting out of her mouth. 

            “You know I love you more than anything in the world, right?” He began questioningly, she just looked at him with an unreadable expression.  “I would give up everything for you in a second, don’t you see that?  I need you here with me, that’s why you’re here.  I want you here with me.  I know that you are the one for me, can’t you see that?” JC asked in vain. 

            “God, Jayce, don’t make this so hard.  Don’t you see, that’s the problem,” Alex said, her voice beginning to rise.  “I can’t take it anymore.  You act like I am the only thing in your life.  You’ve neglected your music, your four best friends, and more importantly your career ever since I came into the picture.  Can’t you see that this isn’t the way it is supposed to be?” Alex asked, frustrated because what she was trying to say wasn’t coming out right.  She loved JC with all her heart, but this was something she couldn’t do anymore.  She had a life she needed to get back to, she was an independent person, and if she was going to have any kind of relationship with JC she was going to have to do something that she was positive she wasn’t ready for; give up her identity. 

            “Don’t you see it Jayce, if we continue with this relationship, not only will your fans go crazy and the media continue to have a field day, but I will lose myself, the one thing that I rely on for stability will be gone, and I can’t let that happen,” Alex said calmly.

            “But why can’t you use me for your stability?  That’s what part of falling in love is, you lose yourself in the other person, at least that’s how it is for me,” JC finished softly.  “I love you Alex, I can’t lose you over something like this.”

            “No, no, no,” Alex cried frustrated, “You’ve changed so much in the past three years.  I mean, three years ago you could walk down the streets of New York City and not have a person notice you as anything other than normal.  A year ago it was a little worse and you brought one bodyguard with you, but now, now JC,” She began, her voice getting progressively louder, “Now we have a mob of teenage girls that follow us all over the city and a hoard of reporters and photographers chomping at the bit to get a picture or story from us.  Don’t you see that if I stay I will lose myself in all of this?” 

            “But Alex, we never knew that things were going to get this big, and you know that it always dies down after the hoopla of the album and tour goes away.  Just give it a few more months and it will all go away.”

            “No, I’m sorry JC, but that just won’t work anymore.  No Strings Attached was huge and it did wonderful things for your career.  People will recognize you now forever, wherever you go, and I just can’t do this anymore.  There are reporters camped out on my front lawn, and there are photographers climbing the fire escape to get to my apartment.  I made the decision to date you, exclusively you, and have private time with you, and it’s not fair to me, for either of us,” She quickly corrected herself, “To have to make our relationship the next headline for the National Enquirer.  I don’t want my life on display for the world to see.  Like I said, I made the choice to date you, and only you.  If I stay in this relationship then I’ll just be saying goodbye to my life as I know it.”  Alex made the mistake of pausing to look up, and saw JC’s eyes clouded over with pain, all caused by her.  “I just can’t do this anymore Jayce.  You always knew how independent of a person I am, and I just can’t give up everything I’ve worked for, my job, my apartment, and hell, my life.  I had a life before you, and I’ll have one after you,” She managed to get out before any sobs could make their way to the surface.  Her eyes were red and rimmed with tears, but when she glanced up again at JC, what she saw there was more disheartening than anything.  Those bright blue orbs that just a few minutes ago were thriving with love for here, now were a color like that of the deep, deep, ocean, and she felt like she was drowning, not in them, but because of them. 

            “Get out,” JC managed to say, his voice flat and unreadable.

            Alex just nodded and grabbed her coat.  On her way past JC she hesitantly stopped to place a quick kiss on his cheek, closing her eyes, and remembering his scent, everything, before stepping back. “Goodbye Jayce,” Alex whispered, her voice choked with emotion. 

            JC heard the door close behind her, and that sound alone caused his whole body to fall limp.  Putting his hands over his face, JC allowed himself to cry.  So rarely did he let his guard down to allow someone in, and never had he allowed anyone into his heart the way he had allowed Alex.  He was certain that she was the one.

            That thought still plagued JC as the scene continued to replay in his head, haunting him, causing him to question everything she had done.  He knew that she wasn’t in this for the fame, but why now?  Why would she want to do this to him, just walk out of his life as things were getting serious?  Her words came back to him, “You’ve changed over the past three years Jayce,” He remembered hearing her say.  His body felt lifeless, like there was no sense of meaning left in anything now that she wasn’t there.  No more would there be late night chats on the phone about crazy things, just to make him happy, no more would he catch flights out to Seattle to go visit her whenever he had a couple of days off.  These things left a giant void in his heart, one he was fairly certain would never be filled again.  She had given him unconditional love, something that was hard to come by in his celebrity world.  It would take a long time, JC knew, before the healing would even begin, and what hurt even more was that he knew despite whatever desperate attempts he might try, she wasn’t coming back.  She was gone.  

 

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