Three Days Ago 3

Thud.  Thud.  Thud.

His heartbeat beat against his chest and reverberated in his ears.

After all these years, fear never had been one of the emotions that comes to mind when he saw her.

Never.  Not once.  Not even a little bit.

Not even that time when they'd taken a break for the summer when she'd moved to Maine to work at a summer camp with the condition that they'd take time off while she was away.  He'd taken it all in stride knowing that whatever was to come for them couldn't be stopped and if the end came then it should be faced with dignity and remembrance instead of fear and loathing.

It hadn't happened though.  He'd spent almost the whole two months trying to brace himself for a break up and all he had gotten was a cheery faced girlfriend that returned home to the city with a hug for him and bunch of friendship bracelets and clay pots for the apartment.

So why now?  Why was he sitting there, looking and feeling comfortable, or as comfortable as one can feel while being broadcast over the radio and internet broadcast, with his guitar in hand feeling his mouth turn dry and his skin turn clammy at the sight of her?  Why in the middle of Cheyenne Wyoming was he staring at her through the studio glass and feeling nothing but the whites of his eyes getting bigger and all sense of moisture leaving his mouth?

Logically someone who had been away from their significant other should have felt nothing but joy and relief and happiness.  He should have been jumping up and running out there to kiss and hug her and welcome her into his arms.  The thought of doing all those things caused his arms to tighten on his guitar leaving no room for any of that.

He'd forgotten about the headphones on his head and subsequently jumped at the voice in his ears.  "Looks like you've got a visitor."

Again, he was dumbstruck by her image in front of him.  She looked ok.  Her eyes were a bit tired and her cheeks were a bit pink, but she looked like she had the last time he'd seen her.  He tried to count a little and see when that day actually was.  It had been forever ago.

Wait.  Why was she here?

He'd spoken to her last night.

Late last night and she'd been in New York, in the apartment, curled up in her pajamas under a blanket on the couch talking to him and watching a rerun of the movie Annie eating her favorite.  Popcorn and pepper.  He'd never been into it, but she loved it more than candy, licking her fingers to get the extra pepper the way that he tended to lick the bowl of guacamole.

His eyes scanned her again and he finally saw it.  She wasn't tired.  Well yes, she was tired, but it was more than that.  Her shoulders dipped very low where she stood and there were bags under her eyes.  When he took in her whole face, after checking her lips, and her nose and her cheeks he could see that she was watching him with wide scared looking eyes wearing a heavy jacket that made her look as if she was drowning in it.

It was real.  She was really standing there in front of him.  If it hadn't been real she would be wearing that little outfit that she'd gotten when they'd gone to Hawaii for her parent's anniversary celebration.  He loved that outfit.  The wavy green skirt that he'd joked should have been grass instead of fabric and the tank top that he'd said needed to be traded for a coconut shell bikini top.

"Well, I can guess from that look that you know her?" the DJ asked in his ear.

Breaking eye contact with her, he turned back to the conversation.  "Ummm."

"You must be in love with her if you're this dumbstruck," the guy joked.

"Yeah."  He itched for a cigarette.  His thumb and finger rubbed together, the callused pads of his hands, distracting him for a moment.  He had run out of smokes the night before.  Maybe that's why he'd been so pissy on the phone.  He'd been trying to stay calm and entertain himself, but without a cigarette in his hand and a beer to clam his nerves, the bus ride had been a long one.

When he'd finally fallen asleep after getting off the phone with Kelsey, he'd slept through the gas stop and hadn't gotten another pack and this morning he'd been half asleep and rushed so he hadn't thought to bum one off anyone at the radio station.  He was pretty sure that he could smoke in doors here, but when he'd been introduced to the DJs, they'd rushed right into the show and he hadn't had a chance to ask.

"Should we invite her in?"  The DJ was looking at him and suddenly Tony realized just how much tension had just built up in the small room.

The other DJ finally clicked into the system and spoke into his microphone.  "We're back in seven, six, five, four, three two--"

Taking a deep breath, he turned back towards Kelsey and smiled.  She forced a smile and motioned that she'd be waiting for him.  He motioned for her to come inside the studio and she nodded that she didn't want to.

The DJ had been talking about his album for a moment, but finally turned and said, "Bring her in here."

"What?" Tony asked.

"Bring her in here," he repeated.

"I don't know," Tony said and looked back again.

Alexis cracked the door open.  "You want Kelsey in here?"

When he saw Kelsey stick her head in the door his breath caught in his throat.  "Really," she said, "I don't need to be in here."

"Naw," the DJ said, "Come on in."

Tony sat still.  It was a dumb idea, but it crossed his mind to not even blink and see if that worked to keep him out of trouble.  He knew she was going to be upset if he forced her into the studio, but at the same time he wasn't sure that she would take "go away" without getting a bit offended or hurt by the instructions.

"Are you sure?" she asked looking at Tony.

"It's up to you baby," he said softly, away from the microphone.  He saw her eyelashes touch her cheeks in embarrassment and hoped that he hadn't started anything with her.  He'd wanted to be gentle with her, unsure of how she was going to come into the situation, but he feared instantly that she wasn't going to be happy with his use of the nickname.

"I should just go wait in the bus," she said with a sigh,  "You're working."

"You can come in," the DJ said.

"Really, it's ok," she said.  "I'm tired anyway and need a nap."

Tony couldn't say that he wasn't relieved that she was leaving.  Situations like this didn't come up that often and he was glad that she knew enough about his career to know that while she was more than welcome to be there, that it was probably easier on everyone if she wasn't in the room.  Not that she didn't belong there, but DJs tended to joke a little too hard and a little too long about girlfriends and lovers and gossip and it wasn't the place for her to be.  He was there to promote the album.  "Ok."  He smiled at her then put a hand out to her and waved her in for a second.

She stepped in slowly and he grabbed onto her hand, tugging her a little so that he could lean to kiss her cheek.  "I'll see you in a little bit?" he said softly.

"Yeah," she nodded, keeping her eye on the DJ.

"You ok?" he asked.

"Yeah," she nodded back at him.  "I'll be outside.  Ok?"

"Yeah," he said, "Have a good nap."

She nodded again and pulled away.  "I will.  Have a good interview."

He watched her pull further away and walk out the door and knew instantly that the rest of his interview as going to be a wash.  His head was swimming with thoughts about her.  His obsession over the last few months had been his album and at the moment he didn't think he could even remember the name of it.  His brain was definitely not on the task at hand.  He didn't know how he was going to get through the next half hour, but he was going to have to do it if he was going to not embarrass himself.

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Last updated: 09/19/04.