Trembling fingers are finally dialing digits that feel foreign and lonely as she
taps out the number. She's uncertain, unfeeling, tentative; she's confident only in the knowledge that she didn't want to
call, but needed to call. Necessity is dialing the number for her.
Surely he'll understand. The
absence of his voice for the past five days is enough to make her do crazy things like dialing his number at two o'clock in
the afternoon. Crazy, stupid things, because she's sure he's not going to pick up, and she'll just get his manager, and all
of this business of trying to talk to him for a mere minute will have been a complete waste of everyone's time.
hers. Including his.
One sharp intake of breath, and she can feel her nerves unraveling.
isn't going to answer the phone. His manager isn't going to answer the phone. She's going to get his answering machine and
feel inclined to leave a message, and then she'll end up sounding exactly like all of the whiny girlfriends he's had and hated
in the past.
She's ready for the answering machine. She's ready to be the cool, calculating,
doting-but-not-hopelessly-devoted girlfriend that he needs her to be.
I must have the wrong number."
A pause, and then... "Sam? Sam, is that you?"
Somewhere, she can hear the faint
sound of her brain flatlining. "Yeah. Yeah, it's me. Listen, Irving, I'm sorry to bother you, but is he there?"
No, not Nick. I called to talk to Tommy fucking Lee! Isn't this his number? "Yeah. Yeah, Nick."
Another pause. "Is this an emergency or something?"
"Not...not really. I just hadn't heard from him in a few days,
"Wait. Sam? He's coming. Just a second."
She covers her face with her hands, knowing that he's going
to be pissed because she bothered him in the middle of the day, wanting him to miss her as much as she misses him, knowing
that he never could.
She closes her eyes, hoping to memorize the sound of his voice in case he chooses
not to call for the next five days. "Hey."
Her eyebrows can barely climb fast enough. "Forgotten me
"Oh, baby...no. I've just been busy. What's up?"
"I was hoping you could tell
me. I hadn't heard from you in awhile, so I thought I'd start picking up my end of the long-distance bill."
A pause in which the silence is enough to suffocate the both of them, but it doesn't. Not yet, at least. There are nine months
left in the tour and they are determined to survive. "Listen, babe, can I call you back? This is a really bad time."
I'm sorry. I just...I'll let you go."
Shit. And it's quickly becoming the word of the day. Soon, the word
of the year, he's sure of it.
"I'm glad you called, I'm just in the middle of a photo shoot right now, and they want
me back in front of the camera."
"Of course." She should've known. She did know, and she hates how much she doesn't
He flinches at her tone of voice. Mentally, he's crawling back into the dog house, hoping their Labrador retriever
won't mind sharing the space with him.
"Will you be home later tonight?"
Of course I'll be home. I'm always
home. Where else do I have to go? "Sure."
"Great. Super. I'll give you a call tonight, then."
knows that she's mimicking him, but he doesn't have the time and she doesn't have the patience.
"Until tonight, then."
tonight." A pause in which uncertainty takes over, and then... "Love you."
"Yeah. Yeah, me too."
rushes to the front of the camera, and she forces herself to listen to the sound of the dial tone.