Page 49 of RoomHate

There were two buses, one for Calvin and the main band and one for Justin and the rest of the crew. According to Justin, each bus slept about twelve people. I never asked him which bus Olivia slept in, because I was afraid of the answer.

Blind faith.

Okay, well even though I chose to have faith in him, I still discovered a little window into their world that would satisfy my episodes of paranoia. It came in the form of Olivia’s Instagram page.

Back when Jade lived at the beach house and used to complain about Olivia’s commenting on all of Justin’s posts, I searched his page to check out Olivia’s profile. I’d stalked her online occasionally even before Justin left. Now, each day, she would post pictures from the tour. Many were just scenic shots, like the sunrise taken from the bus as they entered a new city or whatever the band and crew happened to be eating. Other shots were of Calvin and his band backstage.

One particular night when Bea was sleeping, I opened up Instagram. Olivia posted a picture of Justin performing. It was just a standard shot of him leaning into the microphone with the spotlight shining down onto his beautiful face, which was framed by that five-o’clock shadow. It made me long to be there, to see him perform on the big stage. When I looked lower, I noticed the hashtags.





Despite the fact that it bothered me, I refused to bring it up to him, refused to play the role of jealous girlfriend, especially when he hadn’t labeled me his girlfriend at all.

A knock at the door startled me. I shut my laptop.

Who would be coming by this late?

Thankfully, in addition to the alarm system, Justin had drilled a peephole into my door before he left.

A woman with long brown hair like mine was standing there shivering. She looked innocent enough, so I opened the door.

“Can I help you?”

“Hi.” She grinned. “Amelia, right?”


“I wanted to introduce myself. My name is Susan. I live in the blue house next door.”

“Oh. Did Roger move?”

“No. I’m actually his wife.”


“Oh. I thought he was—”

“Divorced?” She smiled.


“He is…technically. We reconciled when he came to Irvine to visit our daughter recently. It was supposed to be a one week visit, but it turned into three weeks. Alyssa and I ended up coming back here with him.”

Really surprised by this news, I said, “Wow. I had no idea. That is fantastic.” I waved my hand. “My gosh, where are my manners? Come in. Come in.”

“Thank you,” she said, wiping her feet and entering the house. “Our daughter is sleeping now, but I’d love for you to meet her as well. She just turned eight.”

“My daughter, Bea, is also sleeping. She’s almost nine months.”

“Roger mentioned you had a baby.”

“I’ve heard so much about Alyssa as well.”

“Roger also mentioned that you and he were friendly.”

“We’re just friends, in case you were wondering.”

She hesitated. “It’s okay if it was more than that. We weren’t together at the time.”

“No. It wouldn’t be okay. At least for me, it wouldn’t. I would want to know. I understand what it’s like to wonder about stuff like that when you care about someone.”

A look of relief washed over her face. “Well, thank you for clarifying. I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t wondered.”

“I’m sort of in love with my roommate, actually. He’s currently on tour. A musician. I totally understand jealousy.”

She pulled up a chair and sat down. “Oh man. You want to talk about it?”

“Do you drink tea?”

“I do. I’d love some.”

Susan and I became fast friends that night. I opened up to her about my history with Justin, and she offered to help me out with Bea if I ever needed a babysitter. She said Alyssa would get a kick out of watching Bea with her. It made me thankful that nothing ever did happen between Roger and me, because that would have made things awkward.

I had to admit, when she first showed, finding out that Roger was back with his wife made me feel even more alone. But that selfish thought was quickly replaced by the happiness brought on by a newfound female friendship, something my life had been seriously lacking.


Susan and I hung out regularly. She encouraged me to try new things and to get out more. I joined a Mommy and Me class with Bea and started utilizing the daycare at the gym to be able to work out a few times a week. I was doing the best I could in developing a new routine with Justin gone.

The daylight hours were becoming more bearable; nighttime was the tough part. With Bea asleep and Justin busiest in the evenings, I always felt the most alone when darkness fell.

Late one night, around midnight, a text came in.

Justin: We’re in Boise. One of the crew members is from here and brought his baby into the bus before the show tonight. It made me miss Bea even more.

Amelia: We miss you too.

Justin: The tour is stopping in Worcester Massachusetts in a couple of weeks. What are the chances you could come see me?

That was only a little over an hour away from me. It would be the closest and only tour stop anywhere near Newport for the remainder of his time away.

Amelia: I don’t think the noise and environment would be good for Bea. But maybe I can find a sitter.

It was likely that Susan could watch Bea for me, but I specifically hadn’t told Justin about her for selfish reasons. I quite liked his jealousy toward Roger. It was the only upper hand I had at the moment. So, I decided to keep the information of their reconciliation to myself for a while.

Justin: I agree. It would be too loud and crazy for her.

Amelia: I’ll work on it.

Justin: It’s only one night unfortunately. The bus leaves for Philly sometime after the show.

Amelia: Fingers crossed I can make it.

Justin: It’s not just Bea I miss.

My heart fluttered.

Amelia: I miss you too.

Justin: Sweet dreams.

Amelia: xo


Since it was unclear whether I would be able to secure a babysitter in order to see Justin in Massachusetts, he’d sent me a laminated backstage pass that would allow me exclusive access in the event something came through at the last minute. He said he wasn’t sure he’d be available to greet me if and when I arrived. Having the card would be a safer bet in case he was in the middle of a sound check or even in the middle of performing depending on how late I got there.

I wasn’t going to know until the last minute whether I would be able to make it, since my only babysitter option was Susan. She happened to have an important appointment in Boston that day that she couldn’t cancel. Depending on traffic, she wasn’t sure if she’d make it back in time.

It was the day of the concert, and I was getting really antsy. I’d toyed with the idea of driving up there with Bea during the day, but that was no longer an option, since she’d come down with a cold. Taking her out in the freezing weather and to a crowded venue like that was not a good idea; she could catch pneumonia.

By the time evening rolled around, Susan called from the road to say that she’d gotten stuck in traffic and hadn’t even made it out of Boston’s Ted Williams Tunnel yet. At that point, I knew I would miss the start of the show if I were lucky enough to make it at all. I was honestly heartbroken. This was my one chance to see Justin for the entire tour. It didn’t seem fair.

Tags: Penelope Ward Young Adult