“This isn’t like that. She had no idea who I was, let alone that her life would become a fucking nightmare. Do we know if they found her address yet?” I ask as my phone lights up with incoming texts. My mother, my father, Andrea, and Gillian, but nothing from Emma. “I want a security detail on her till this blows over,” I add, right before my phone starts to ring and I put it to my ear.
“Brother, you sure know how to fuck up and draw attention to yourself. I thought you said you were chilling out and working on the scripts I sent you?” I hear Andrea exhale and know he is smoking, and he’s probably drinking to ease the headache that is my life.
“I was until I met her a few months ago.” I scrub my hands down my face.
“I need to run a check on her,” he mutters, and my hand balls into a tight fist.
“That’s not necessary. She’s innocent and had no idea who I was.” With her, it was easy. I was finally able to just be me without all the extra drama. “How bad is it?”
“Shit, you made TMZ, Entertainment Tonight, US Weekly, that Perez guy’s blog. Fuck, even CNN had the ticker at the bottom during the Republican Debate. This isn’t going away any time soon, even if I wanted it to. You fucked up, and now the only thing we can do is damage control.” He sighs then asks, “Why couldn’t you just fuck her in private?”
“Andre, you’re my best friend and have been with me from the beginning, so I’m going to give you that one time slide. But if you ever talk about Emma like that again, we’re done. She isn’t going anywhere, so you do whatever it is I pay you to do and make sure she isn’t touched by this,” I order.
“Not only is she touched by this, there are also already four websites dedicated to your new tag name ‘ROMA.’ I’m pretty sure it’s even trending on Twitter.”
I look up right when we arrive on the tarmac, the steps to the plane already out.
“I just got to the plane. When I land, I expect to see this taken care of. Call in favors; I don’t give a shit. Turn it around on me. Start a rumor I’m gay. Whatever you have to fucking do.”
I press end without hearing what else he has to say, getting out of the limo and grabbing my bag. I leave the door open for Skylar, who is working and doing something on her phone, and I see that whatever it is, her eyebrows are pinched together and her eyes are almost bugging out of her sockets.
“What now?” I ask, thinking it can’t get any worse than it already is.
“I don’t know how to sugarcoat this for you, but I know you’re going to freak. So before I tell you, you have to promise me that you won’t flip out and you’ll get on that plane regardless.” She stares at me, waiting for my answer. I just nod. I don’t know why, but my mouth is dry, my heart beating so fast it’s echoing in my ears.
“According to the media, Emma is with child.”
I throw my bag down on the ground, shove my hand into my hair, pull at the roots, and scream out, “Fuck!”
Nion picks up the bag, muttering, “We gotta go. Security said they just stopped a news truck at the gate.”
I hang my head in defeat. How could I be this stupid? How could I think this beautiful thing wouldn’t be tainted by the dark cloud that follows me?
Jogging up the steps of the plane, I throw myself down on the couch, slouching so my neck rests on the edge of the seat. I pull out my phone and dial Emma. Not unexpectedly, it goes straight to voicemail, which is full.
Then I do the only thing I can right now. I send her a text.
Don’t give up on me.
Pressing send, I take my phone and place it on my chest, closing my eyes and seeing her face.
Don’t give up on me.
Lying in bed, I stare at those words on my phone and fight back tears. I wish it was as easy as me just being with him and not giving up on him, but in just twenty-four hours, my life has turned completely upside down. Somehow the media found out where I live, and every single news station has been camped outside of my apartment building since the story broke.
My mom is freaking out. My dad is on his way, his plane arriving in the morning. And my school told me that I need to stay away from campus for a few days until they can get some kind of security worked out for me. The only plus-side to this jacked up situation is that my boss, who is part crazy, told me he would give me three dollars more an hour as long as the media is around.