I came home to my mom’s place around noon so that I could start preparing for my interview on Monday. I laid on my bedroom floor studying when my mom entered my room.
“Oh, you’re studying?”
I nodded, “I have an interview for a research internship on Monday. Want to make sure I’m prepared.”
She nodded, “what time did you get home?”
Am I still under curfew and I didn’t even know? “Um, I came home today.”
She watched me without another word.
I shook my head, “I-I didn’t know there was a curfew. I-I thought- I mean, I didn’t do anything bad, I was just-”
“With your boyfriend?” She cut me off.
I bit my lip not knowing what more to say.
She shook her head, “you know boys only want one thing from you, right?”
That’s not entirely true. Nick lets me go at my own pace. I’m the one pushing us forward.
“You’re an adult now. I expect you to act like one. Make an appointment with your doctor.”
She gave me an incredulous look. “Because I don’t want any more grandkids right now and you can’t afford to raise one either.”
I shook my head, “but I’m not-”
“I don’t need to know. Just get it done so that we both have peace of mind.”
I stared at her in silence. I didn’t know what to say.
“I’m serious, right now.”
She watched me for a minute longer before leaving my room altogether.
On Tuesday, I sat in my doctor’s office fielding extremely personal questions in the hopes of obtaining birth control.
My doctor spoke to me with a smile, “Okay, Nessie, everything looks good. I’m going to give you a 3-month prescription. Just make sure you make an appointment for a pap as soon as you become sexually active. We really need to check down there and make sure everything is normal because birth control can exacerbate cancerous cells if not caught early.”
I’m sorry, cancer? I’m signing up for possible cancer? Do I have to? Is there a birth control that doesn’t cause cancer?
She must have noticed the concern on my face, “no worries, you’re not at high risk. You don’t have a family history of cancer so you should be fine, we just want to be sure. For someone like you, the benefits greatly outweigh the risks. Plus, we’ll be getting you in as soon as you become sexually active to double-check and make sure you’re staying healthy.”
I nodded and sighed in relief. She rubbed my arm.
“I probably should have started with that given that you struggle with anxiety, huh?”
I shook my head, “no-no I’m fine.”
She smiled, “don’t worry, you’re young, you’re healthy as a horse, you’re gonna be okay, sweetie.”
She handed me my prescription and sent me down to the pharmacy.
The pharmacist spoke in one breath; quickly and without hesitation. “So you’re going to take one pill daily, at the same time every day. If you forget one just take it as soon as you remember. If you forget multiple, just take the one for the current day, or you could risk making yourself sick. Take the whole month before engaging in unprotected sex. If you need a refill, you would need to schedule an appointment with your doctor first. Any questions?”
I stared blankly, still trying to catch up, “uh, n-no.”
I shook my head before he handed me my medication.
Thursday Nick picked me up for a museum date. I tried ignoring the dull headache that I’d been fighting the last two days.
“Hey partner, you look amazing.”
I wore a white strappy summer dress that had an open back and a keyhole front. I paired it with nude strappy sandals and a nude purse. “Thank you.”
He opened my door for me but stopped me before allowing me into the car. He pouted his lips at me asking for a kiss. I smiled and happily complied.
We ended up at the MOMA taking in the artwork. We separated as soon as we entered a new room. One, because we wanted to observe different pieces, and two, because every once in a while, a fan would approach and ask for an autograph or picture. When he was ready he’d place a hand on the small of my back and lead me into the next room.
I kept hearing cameras snapping behind my back and my anxiety got the better of me. What if they’re taking pictures of me? Am I conceited for thinking they might be? What if my pictures end up online again? Should I have worn something else? Should I have done my hair up nicer? Is my eyeliner smudged?
My stomach began to turn at the thought of being surrounded by people who judge me for not being good enough for Nick. My headache was becoming more difficult to ignore. I felt his hand on the small of my back before I felt his breath on the back of my head.
“Hey, partner, you ready.”
I forced a smile and nodded. He could tell.
I shook my head, “nothing, I just have a headache.”
His brows pressed together in thought, “how about we get you some food?”
I tried to protest but then I realized that food would get us far away from here. I nodded timidly before he led me out of the museum back to his car.
We sat at a bistro downtown looking over our menus. My stomach had started to turn with a bit of anxiety wondering how long it would take before my images were splattered across social media again.
“What looks good to you?” Nick asked as he mulled over his options.
I realized I wasn’t actually looking over my menu, my eyes were set on it but my attention was elsewhere. “Um, I’m not sure. I don’t think I’m all that hungry.”
Nick’s head shot up as he redirected his attention to me, “are you okay?”
I shook my head, “I’m fine. Just a headache.”
Nick squinted at me while he observed me, “are you getting sick?”
“I don’t think so? Maybe it’s just a heat headache?”
“We’ll get you some ice water,” he raised a hand to call a waitress over and order some water for the two of us.
The waitress placed two glasses of ice water in front of us before reaching for her notepad, “what can I get for you?”
“Can I get a tuna melt on rye?” Nick asked, pointing out the menu item.
“Certainly, sir. And for you, Miss?”
“Oh, um… can I just, um I’ll have... The vegetable soup?”
“A cup or a bowl?”
“Uh, just a cup.”
“No, thank you.”
“Are you sure?” Nick asked, seeming concerned.
I nodded, “yeah, I’m just not very hungry today.”
I ended up playing with my soup more than anything. My stomach felt like it was squeezing together trying to force out whatever small amount of soup I had consumed.
Nick eyed me nervously, as he eyed the half-eaten soup and my steadily decreasing mood.
“Did you want to eat something else maybe?”
I looked at the food before me with disdain. “I don’t think I could eat anything right now.”
My tone was snobby and rude and so unlike me. Nick leaned back in his seat away from me clearly feeling uncomfortable with my response.
“I’m sorry,” I blurted out, instantly.
Nick shook his head without a word.
“I don’t know why I reacted like that. I’m just not feeling my best.”
Nick studied me carefully.
He must think I’m an awful person. He probably thinks I’m finally showing my true colors and he’s looking for a way out.
“How about I get you home to get some rest?”
His voice sounded genuinely concerned. But my doubts had me convinced he was just looking for a way to get rid of me.
I shook my head, “I swear I’m not usually like this. I just-“
Nick smacked down a few bills onto the table before quickly standing.
“I feel just awful right now and-“
Nick reached a hand out to me, “Ness, I’m not mad. I’m really worried about you right now.”
He took my hand that rested on the table and began to lead me out of the restaurant. We were halfway to his car when I felt it.
The sick feeling in my stomach slowly started to travel up my stomach to my esophagus. My mouth began salivating excessively.
“Nick, wait-“ I feebly tugged against his grip trying to get his attention.
Nick turned to look at me and his face turned to horror before I hunched over right in front of him and released a mix of soup, water, and bile.
Nick held my hair back as tears rolled down my face. My stomach continued to squeeze together even as all the fluids had left my body. I continued to retch in the middle of the parking lot in broad daylight in front of my boyfriend. If I could even call him that anymore.
I couldn’t tell if the tears were caused by the vomiting or the absolute humiliation that I felt at that moment. Nick began to rub my back soothingly.
“Hey, are you okay?” The concern in his voice was clear as daylight.
“I want to go home,” I whimpered through my tears.
He was gentle with me as he loaded me into his car and handed me some tissues that he kept in the glovebox.
He patted my leg and squeezed it reassuringly but I couldn’t find the nerve to face him after what I’d just done.
The drive home was primarily silent, barring the hum of the engine and the whispered songs coming through the speakers. My headache was back to a dull throbbing while my entire body quivered with unease.
“Ness…” Nick looked into the rearview mirror before initiating a lane change. He seemed to be struggling to put his words together. Almost like he was searching for the most delicate way to dump me.
“What’s going on? Is everything okay in New York?”
I looked over at him confused, “what?”
Nick looked over at me briefly before turning his eyes back on the road.
“Are you… is your depression… have you been hurting-“
Wait, what? “No! No, I’m not, I don’t do that!”
Nick looked at me with uncertainty.
“I’ve been doing good. I have friends and I have a therapist- I’ve been doing the mindfulness practice.” The last thing I wanted was for Nick to think I’d gone off the deep end especially considering how well life had been for me as of late.
“I just thought I’d ask since I have a friend who-“
He stopped mid-sentence and his brows pressed together in thought.
“You have a new therapist?”
I shrugged, “um, well Dr. Park recommended that I find one out there since- distance and… it’s just a precaution. But I’ve been good.”
“Did your new doctor prescribe you any new medications?”
I shook my head, “no, I told them I didn’t want anything. I just-“
I froze in my tracks.
“Just what?” Nick asked.
I looked down sheepishly. I felt wrong for admitting that I’d even gone to get them.
“I- this week… I went to the doctor and she- she gave me stuff.”
He looked over at me quizzically for a factional second, “stuff?”
“I- it’s not- I wasn’t going to use it. I just- because…”
Nick glanced over at me again, “well what is it?”
I tucked my hands under my legs and focused my eyes on my knees
“Birth control,” I whispered.
Nick’s head snapped in my direction instantly. “What?”
My face felt like it was overheating and the blood rushing to my face seemed to make my headache more apparent.
“I didn’t- I wasn’t- I’m so sorry…. my mom said that I had to and I thought I could just do it but it wouldn’t matter. I didn’t mean- I wasn’t going to-“
Nick reached for my lap again to stop me, “hey, breathe. Don’t work yourself up about this. I’m not mad.”
I looked over at him shocked. What does this mean? Is he saying he wants me to be on it? But he wouldn’t do that. He’s not-
Before I could finish my thoughts he was speaking again. “I can’t tell you what medication you should or should not be on.” He took a deep breath, “if you… if you want-“ he cleared his throat. “Look, I don’t expect anything from you, please don’t do it because of me. I just… if it’s making you sick, maybe it’s not the right kind for you?”
Nick pulled up outside his house and we both sat in the driveway while he held my hand.
“I’m sorry I was being such a horrible person earlier.”
Nick breathed out a soft chuckle, “horrible is a bit excessive. Besides, I think everyone is entitled to be a little cranky when they’re not feeling so good.”
I forced a smile at his kindness but the headache persisted still and my stomach was still on edge.
Nick’s brows pressed together in confusion, “everything okay?”
I nodded quickly before analyzing my condition and realizing that I really wasn’t okay.
“No, actually. I still feel kind of sick.”
Nick took my hand and stroked it lovingly before placing a chaste kiss on the back of it. “How about we get you inside and get you more comfortable?”
Nick grabbed a carbonated ginger ale from the fridge in his kitchen while he directed me upstairs toward his bedroom.
I walked in and just stared around the large room trying to pretend that my brain wasn’t screaming at me, ‘you did a dirty thing in here!’
Nick walked in behind me and handed me the drink, “this might help settle your stomach. I’ll run a bath for you so you can relax a bit, hopefully it can help soothe your headache.”
I sat on the edge of the bed like a small child waiting for her parent to help her with bath time while Nick ran the water and then zoomed out of the bathroom and back downstairs. He came back up moments later with an ice pack and rushed past me into the bathroom without a word. I felt invisible for a moment but not necessarily in a bad way.
Watching someone care for me in such a detailed way… there’s something so innately wonderful about it. I felt like a fly on the wall observing someone I care for dearly, show me without telling me just how much they cared for me.
The water shut off and Nick came out shortly after, “um, I don’t have girl products, but mine aren’t too scented. You know cause the alcohols are bad for your-“
I smiled as Nick realized he was focusing on the wrong details. “Anyway, use as much or as little as you want. Take a minute to relax. I also- there’s an ice pack if you want to use that for your head. I dimmed the lights a little because I thought it might help. Um, towels. There are clean towels in the cupboard.”
He stared at me blankly, “I think… that’s everything.” He motioned toward the bathroom door inviting me to step into it.
I smiled at him as I got up from his bed and moved toward him. I stood in front of him and wrapped my arms around him with a quick, “thank you.”
I thought to kiss him but given that I’d been sick earlier today, I decided it’d be best not to. I rinsed my mouth out with water and mouthwash before hopping in the tub.
I sat in the tub with the ice pack at the base of my head and drifted in and out of lucidity before the water started to turn cold.
I grabbed a clean towel and dried off before realizing I didn’t have anything to wear. I peaked my head out of the bathroom to find an empty bedroom. I couldn’t hear him nearby so I dashed from the bathroom to his walk in closet. I grabbed the first big sweater I could find and slipped into it quickly before Nick could return. I pushed the sleeves of the sweater up slightly so that I wouldn’t be completely drowning in it. I brought my hair down from the makeshift bun I’d put it in before jumping in the tub and decided now would be as good a time as any to go off in search of Nick.
I opened the bedroom door to hear Nick’s voice coming from somewhere in the house.
“How soon can you get it down?”
I went down the stairs following the voice that slowly became louder.
“No, it wasn’t even like that. It was 3 o'clock for crying out loud.”
Nick sighed as I rounded the corner, “I don’t care about what they’re saying, just get it down!”
He caught sight of me and stopped immediately. “Phil, I got to go. Just take care of it please.”
Nick hung up the phone before giving me his full attention.
“Is something wrong?”
Nick’s lips pressed together while he pondered something beyond my grasp. He finally shook his head, “don’t worry about it. It’s all taken care of. Nice sweater.”
I blushed. “I didn’t- I don’t have any clothes. I just thought- I’m sorry. I should have asked.”
He shook his head, “don’t even worry about it. I just want you to be comfortable. How do you feel?”
I shrugged as I took a moment to assess my current condition. “My stomach is okay. My head still hurts but not as much.”
He offered me an understanding smile before opening his arms to me. I didn’t hesitate, I walked right into them. His arms wrapped around me tightly while mine looped around his waist.
His question made me realize that now that the nausea wore off, I was much more receptive to food.
“What are you in the mood for?”
Nick’s grip around me loosened as he stopped to look down at me, “Ness, you gotta eat more than that.”
“I know, I just- cause my stomach- I don’t want to push it. If I feel good I can do something heavier later.”
He seemed to ponder the validity of my explanation before finally agreeing and pulling the bag of baby carrots from his fridge.
“You want some ranch to go with that? Peanut butter?”
I shook my head, all too eager to take the bag from him, “nope, I like carrots. They’re really sweet.”
He smirked, “that’s not really a common descriptor for carrots.”
I shrugged, “my mom didn’t have candy in the house, really we only had it for birthdays and Halloween. The rest of the year we made do with cherries and mangoes and sugar snap peas…” I took a giant crunchy bite of the first carrot, “carrots.”
Nick smiled at me, “you’re too…” he paused trying to find the right word before shaking his head. “You’re too pure for this world.”
I tilted my head in confusion, “is that bad?”
He chuckled lightly, “it’s different.”
Am I doing something wrong? Should I be tougher? How do I do that?
“It feels like a blessing to know you. There’s just… I can’t explain it.”
A blessing? That’s unexpected. I didn’t even bother hiding the blush anymore.
“I don’t know what I’m supposed to say to that.”
Nick smiled and leaned in to kiss my nose, “your face already says it all.”
Nick and I cuddled on the couch watching a movie. My hands idly played with his on my lap.
I heard Nick giggle before pulling his arm out of my grasp. “That tickles.”
I looked over at him surprised. “What does?”
He rubbed his arm roughly, “when you tickle my forearm.”
He shook his head, “I don’t know what you’re doing. I just know it gives me chills.”
I smiled sheepishly before testing my abilities. I placed my hand on the back of his head and began lightly stroking my fingertips against his skin from the collar of his shirt to the crown of his head and back.
It wasn’t long before he malfunctioned and crumpled in the strangest way, “what are you doing to me, Ness?”
I grinned, “what do you mean?”
He looked over at me and instantly knew I was lying.
“You’re killing me!”
His lips made contact with mine quickly and adamantly. I did not expect this response and giggled as his hands wrapped around my waist to pull me into him. I feel a strange thrill in knowing I’d brought this side out of him coupled with slight trepidation.
My touch was more gentle than his as my fingers gently ran through the curls in his hair. His fingers dug into my ribs as it felt like he was trying to absorb me through touch.
It wasn’t long before I was suddenly sitting on his lap. I pulled away slightly, feeling a bit unprepared for the sudden turn of events. He pulled me back in quickly before his hands reached for the hem of my sweater. Feeling his hands on my bare thighs gave me pause. I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t at the same stage as him and I wasn’t entirely certain that I was ready to repeat the events from earlier in the week.
I pulled away again, “Nick?”
He kept kissing my neck as the fabric of my sweater was covering less and less skin by the second.
There was an odd shame in admitting that I wasn’t ready for what was coming next. I felt like given what we’d done before I had no right to say no. I tried to think of another way to stop what was happening without admitting that I was a little scared.
“Um, I think I’m ready to eat… maybe I could cook for us?”
It took him a few seconds before he froze. He stopped and looked up at me. I tried to pretend that I was fine, but I felt like I was failing miserably. He sighed, “uh, yeah, dinner. We can do that.”
He pulled the fabric of the sweater back into place before releasing me. I hopped off his lap quickly before rushing toward the kitchen.
“Do you have any preference for dinner?”
He was silent for a bit longer than I was comfortable with.
I opened his fridge to find the options fairly limited.
“Um, is a sandwich okay?”
“Yeah,” he finally stood up from the couch before walking into the kitchen. “That’s fine.”
I made two sandwiches and grabbed a water bottle and juice.
“Do you have a preference?”
Nick looked between the two, “um, let me check my levels first.”
He excused himself from the room for a moment before coming back in, “juice, please.”
I reached into the cabinet to get a glass for Nick while his eyes remained trained on me.
I poured it for him and offered him the juice and sandwich before putting the juice away.
I sat on the other side of the island across from him as we ate in silence.
I was about halfway through my sandwich before he spoke up.
I looked up at him confused. Sorry?
“I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable. I guess I just thought because-“
I shook my head, “I wasn’t. I’m fine.”
His eyes met mine. “Ness, this isn’t going to work if you lie to me. This is all new territory for me from every angle. I’m trying to get this right.”
I looked down at my water bottle while he lectured me.
“I’m sorry,” I apologized. “It’s new to me, too, and I don’t know why it doesn’t just- I thought that since we already… did stuff. I thought I’d be fine. But I just got scared, I guess? I don’t know why. I just felt like it was fast and it was beyond my control and I just-“
“What do you mean beyond your control?”
I paused to think over my words. Why did I use that specific word?
I shrugged, “I don’t know. Just because I never- like no one gets to. But you’re different and then you kind of ask me? Or you don’t ask me but you like, offer? Not offer, but you give me options. No, not like…”
I sighed, and looked up at Nick hoping he understood what I was trying to piece together. He looked just as confused as I felt.
“You always say, it’s up to me. You let me decide when we stop or go or whatever. I think- I think because that time I didn’t have that. I don’t know, it was overwhelming… a little bit. But then I felt bad because we’d done it before and I thought I wasn’t supposed to feel like that anymore.”
Nick nodded, “I’m sorry I made you feel that way. I sort of assumed you would know to just stop me if it ever was too much. I mean, of course I want you to feel comfortable around me and I don’t want you to ever feel pressured. But, like I said, this is all new to me, too and I guess I just got carried away.”
My brain focused on the words, ‘stop me if it ever was too much.’ Almost like I was trying to train the response into my brain for future reference. I almost missed out on the rest of the conversation until I heard:
“It's not easy when you look the way you do and I want you as bad as I do.”
My head snapped up in response.
“And that’s no excuse. I know that. Which is why I want you to be honest and tell me….”
I zoned out, still focused on his previous words. ‘You look the way you do and I want you bad.’
I blushed all over again and took a sip of my water trying to pretend his words didn’t pique my interest.
I put the rest of my sandwich down trying to craft the perfect plan for how to proceed.
Nick’s face looked concerned, “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”
I shook my head and bit my lip to try and keep my smile from spreading. “You didn’t. I’m okay.”
Nick took the final bite of his sandwich and washed it down with the last of his juice before grabbing his dishes and moving to the sink to wash them.
I shoveled the remainder of my sandwich into my mouth when he wasn’t looking before picking up my dish and setting it on the counter beside the sink.
Nick reached for it instantly without question.
“I can wash mine,” I offered, reaching for the sponge in his hand.
“I’m already here, Ness. Don’t worry about it.”
I thought to protest, but given that it was only one dish and he was essentially done before I could react, I figured it’d be pointless.
I hopped up onto the counter to sit while Nick reached for a dish towel and began drying the dishes on the drying rack.
Nick looked over at me with a small smile, “gotta put this away behind you, Ness.”
I ducked to the side slightly so that Nick could open the cabinet behind me without smacking my head, “you dry your dishes?”
He smirked, “am I supposed to hire someone to dry them for me?”
“Um, I think if you ask nicely, time will just do it for free.”
He shook his head, “I like when things are exactly where they’re supposed to be.”
My brows raised in surprise, “so you’re a clean freak clean freak. I didn’t see that coming.”
Nick chuckled, “what do you mean?”
“Well, I knew from the first time I walked in here that you were a clean freak. I just, this is a whole other level.”
He rolled his eyes at me. “I just like it better when everything is in its place.”
I watched him momentarily while he finished putting away the plates we used. He stood before me with a small smirk when he finished and placed his hands on the counter on either side of me.
“Does it bother you when things aren’t exactly right?”
He shrugged, “kind of, I just sleep better when I know things are as they should be.”
My brows pressed together in question, “do you get anxious?”
He pondered it for a minute, “not- not necessarily at the same intensity that you are familiar with but… yeah, a little, I guess.”
I was shocked, “I forgot that anxiety could be just a normal emotion for people. It’s always been this big thing that I have to tiptoe around. I just sort of forgot that normal people get it, too.”
“You don’t think you’re normal?” Nick asked with concern.
I flipped my hair back, away from my face, with exaggeration, “no, I’m fabulous!”
Nick chuckled, “you definitely are.”
I wrapped my arms around his neck and pulled him a little closer. He stepped toward me as his forehead met mine.
“You’re my favorite person,” I whispered.
He breathed out a soft laugh before kissing my forehead. I reached up to meet his lips and tugged on his collar to keep him close. I could feel the smile growing on his lips before he pulled away.
“What was that for?” He flashed the brightest smile I’d ever seen.
I shrugged, “maybe I want you, too.”
The grin on his face was undeniable. His hands reached for my thighs before pulling them apart and pulling me toward him harshly.
I gasped in surprise before his lips met mine more forcefully. I giggled as Nick lifted me off the counter and carried me out of the kitchen. He began kissing and nibbling on my neck as we moved through the home. Before I knew it, Nick’s arms had disappeared from around me and I was crash landing onto a soft mattress. Nick pounced on me quickly and I couldn’t help the laugh that erupted from me as he reached underneath the hem of my sweater.
“Nick, wait!” I giggled.
He continued to kiss my neck as his hands stroked up and down my hips. “Where are your underwear?”
“I don’t have any,” I admitted.
He looked up to meet my eye, “Are you serious?”
Before I could respond my phone was ringing out from my purse on the nightstand. My head snapped up at the sound of it.
“Don’t answer that,” Nick begged.
“What if it’s about the internship?” I began to wiggle out of Nick’s grasp before he sighed in exasperation.
I reached for my phone to see Berry’s name scrawled across the screen. “It’s Berry.”
I answered the phone, “hello?”
“What’s up, party animal,” Berry chuckled, softly.
Usually she uses nicknames like buttercup and sugarplum. Party animal is not a name she has ever assigned to me.
“What are you talking about?”
“...What are you doing?” I could hear the smile in her voice and I wondered if it was possible for her to know what I had been doing when she called.
“Uh, I-I don’t- nothing…” I lied, terribly.
I looked over at Nick with a bright red face hoping he’d help me concoct a story. “I-I’m not, I was eating a sandwich.”
“Is that for the hangover?”
“Never pegged you for a day drinker.”
Wait, what? “I’m… not?” I answered with confusion and uncertainty.
“Well, maybe once doesn’t make it so. But, yakking in broad daylight, that’s a little excessive, isn’t it?”
“I- I’m just, my- I think I just, because of the birth control-”
“You’re on birth control? Since when?”
I blushed while Nick sat across from me on the bed, “Um, Tuesday?”
“What hormone level did they give you?”
“I-I don’t know.”
Berry was silent for a minute, “Did you have any symptoms beforehand?”
“I had a headache and then my stomach started… My headache is going away now.”
Berry sighed, “okay, go buy condoms and make an appointment with your doctor, they need to give you a lower dose. Don’t take any more birth control until you get your new prescription. And whatever you do, use a condom. If you’ve only taken it twice, it’s not going to protect you especially if you stop taking it.”
I was drowning in my own embarrassment while Nick just stared at me waiting for me to explain what was going on.
“I don’t, uh, how- how…” I stumbled through my words while Nick stared me down.
“How did you know I threw up?”
Nick’s eyes went wide and his demeanor changed very suddenly.
“You’re trending on twitter?”
“What does that mean?”
Berry chuckled, “oh, my little old lady! It means you’re a hot topic.”
“People are talking about me?”
“Your boyfriend didn’t tell you? I assumed his manager or publicist would be all over it by now. He’s a hot topic, too.”
I looked over at Nick with tears in my eyes. Did he know? Why wouldn’t he tell me? “I-I have to go.”
I hung up the phone and stared at Nick’s knee in front of me. “Did you know I was-”
“Yes,” Nick admitted.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
Nick shook his head, “I didn’t want you to worry.”
“Is it everywhere?”
Nick avoided my eyes, “I don’t know, Ness.”
I felt the knot forming in my throat and my stomach was wringing itself out as it wrapped around all of my other organs, “please, just tell me.”
He sighed, “It’s likely that it is, I have our management team working on getting it down.”
It felt like the room had been vacuum sealed. All air had vanished from my lungs. “I- I can’t-”
I pulled my knees up to my chest and buried my face in my hands.
Nick sprung into action and wrapped his arms around me. “Ness, I am so sorry.”
He ran his hands through my hair and kissed my forehead. “Breathe, Ness, you’re gonna be okay.”