Chapter Five - Scarlett

The plane ride to New York was uneventful. The inflight movie was some sickly romance, and it only made me miss Xavier more so I didn’t bother watching. I looked over the itinerary DJ had set me. My tour manager, Ben was going to pick me up and take me to the hotel. Then tomorrow it was all on.

When the plane landed I resisted the urge to run and hide in the bathroom and walked off like a normal human being. Somehow media had been alerted to my arrival. The minute I walked through the gate I was smothered by cameras.

“Scarlett. Did Xavier dump you?

“How pregnant are you?

“Did you know he was cheating?

“Have you thought about plastic surgery?

The ridiculous questions kept coming, and the flashes caught me off guard. I’d never felt more regretful of my decision to make music until right then. Usually I had Xavier to shield me from it, but he wasn’t here, I was on my own.

“Back the fuck off.” An unfamiliar voice exclaimed.

I looked up, searching for the kind voice in between a tsunami of crazy. “I said back off and let the girl breathe.

The voice belonged to a tall man, he had dark brown hair that was softly spiked, intense blue eyes and one of those million dollar smiles. I instantly felt safe. “You must be Ben.” I whispered, ignoring the clicks and flashes around us. He nodded and wrapped his arm around my shoulder. “I am. Let’s get you the fuck out of here huh.

He led me out of the madness and straight out the front door of the airport.

“My bag?

“I sent someone to grab it. I anticipated a bit of fuss. Someone leaked your flight details.” Ben said ushering me into a car. “Never mind. I guess it’s all a bit of positive publicity for your album.

“Are you kidding? They only wanted personal information.

“They always only want personal information… and to invade personal space. I’m sorry I didn’t get there quite in time to save you from the rampage. But you’re safe now.

The boot of the car flung open and someone placed my case inside. “Looks like we’re ready to go. I’ve booked a room at the Plaza.

“The plaza.” I repeated. “I’d be okay with the holiday inn.” I muttered. Over the tour with Going Nowhere the number of times we’d stayed in 5 star places, sure… But they were Going Nowhere and staying in flash places was understandable because their level of fame far outweighed mine.

“Scarlett. You’re Emperor’s next big thing. They plan on pampering you. So deal with it okay.

“Fine! Ugh. Please tell me I have like the cheapest possible room?

Ben shook his head and pointed toward the sky. My stomach dropped. I’d spent enough time in hotels in my lifetime to know that the higher up, the more expensive a room was. “Look. We get to live in luxury, and don’t take this the wrong way…” He looked me up and down then shrugged. “But you look like you could do with some relaxing.

“I guess so.

Ben smiled and looked out the window. “And with cold like this, a Jacuzzi and a glass of wine is just what is needed.” He tutted.

“You sound like you want to be a bad influence on me Ben. Drinking and Jacuzzis.

“Bad influence would be suggesting you head out to a club. Believe me. This is as crazy as we’re going to get.

“If you had met me a little over 6 months ago, this probably really would have sounded crazy.” I mused.

Ben shook his head and laughed. “Well you’re about to be a rock star for real Scarlett… You’d better get used to a little crazy.

I rest my head on the seat headrest and looked outside at the wintery day. People walked up and down the roads freely without a worry. It hadn’t quite hit me that freedom was gone for me.

I tried hard not to think about everything I was giving up, just for a spot on a stage. I’d worked hard for my obscurity.

“You look perplexed.” Ben exclaimed finally. “DJ mentioned that you were a bit of a home body before the Going Nowhere tour. That you purposely hid from your family’s successes.

“Yes.” Gees… How much did this guy know about me?

“I get it. You’re scared. But, believe me Scarlett the benefits will outweigh everything else. You’ve got a mind-blowing talent, a fiancé who loves you and a following already. We can deal with the paparazzi and bad press.

“Just keep me away from the internet and we’ll be fine.” I replied.

Finally we pulled up to the Plaza. Our driver got the bags and loaded them on to the bell boy’s carrier. It all seemed a bit extravagant, but I soon found that it was nothing compared to the lobby of the hotel. I stood there dazed as Ben checked us in. The room was over the top beautiful. I fell back on one of the queen beds and sighed. “I feel like orphan Annie.” I murmured. “Or a Disney princess.

The mattress curved beneath me like it knew me personally. A wash of tiredness came over me almost instantly.

“I’ll leave you to get comfortable. I’ll uh… Make coffee in the kitchen?

I frowned and shook my head. We were going to be sharing accommodation the span of the US, and the guy had mentioned Jacuzzi and wine. It really did sound good.

“Let’s find the Jacuzzi.” I grinned.

It wasn’t long before we found the Jacuzzi. Once we were changed we walked in and the staff brought us wine. I put my phone out of the way of the water, but close enough so I could answer it.

“So Ben… You’re really young to be a tour manager right?

“Yeah.” He replied. “I’m only 22, So DJ wants to make sure I’ve got what it takes, he’s sent me on three promo tours. He promises once I successfully get you through this one I’ll be fully fledged…”

“22! You’re a baby.” I teased.

“You’re all of 9 months older than me. So cool it.

I took a sip of my wine before sinking further into the water. “Okay, well either way. DJ doesn’t take chances on people he doesn’t believe in. So you’ll be fine… Just you know save me from a burning building or a crazy maniac… you know to really seal the deal.

Ben laughed and rolled his eyes. Before he could say anything my phone rung. I turned around and dried my hand before picking up the phone and answering the call.

“Hey baby.” Xavier’s voice crooned down the phone. “How’s New York?

I smiled. “It isn’t too bad. Cold, but I’m making do.” I teased.

“Are you in a pool?” He asked.

“Jacuzzi actually.

“Well that’s a mental image I’m not going to be able to wipe from my memory anytime soon.” Xavier sounded far too excited, like a repeat of the antics from the night before were a possibility.

“Relax tonto, I’m wearing a bathing suit.” I replied looking over at Ben. “And I’m not alone.

Xavier breathing hitched, He let out a little grunt then sighed. “You’re not alone?

“I’m with Ben. He’s my promo tour manager. This was his idea actually.

Xavier said nothing for a minute. Then finally he muttered. “Of course he did. You’re so innocent Scarlett.

“Huh?” I mumbled in reply, what was his problem?

“I have to go Scarlett. I’ve got band practice. DJ wants me to duet with Arabelle, so we need to go over the lyrics of Not Alone.” His voice was terse. He was angry. I felt my heart twinge as he mentioned Arabelle’s name and the song he had written for me in the same sentence. Surely not?

“Not Alone?” I croaked. “You’re doing a duet with her?

“Yeah. Well the crowd is used to seeing you, and our last couple of shows have lacked something when it comes to that song. So this was his idea of a compromise. I was against it, but I guess if you can have Jacuzzis with other guys, I can sing romantic songs with other girls.

Shit. He was angry about the Jacuzzi. “Xav…”

“No, don’t bother. I get it. You were worried that you couldn’t trust me, so you needed to get in there and make it so I couldn’t trust you either.

I frowned. I trusted him. I trusted him with everything. With my heart, my life, everything. I didn’t trust Arabelle. It hurt to think he couldn’t trust me. Anger rose in my cheeks.

“I trust you Xavier.” I grumbled. “I don’t trust her.

“Same difference. Now I have to sit here worrying about some guy cracking on to my girl. Well you know what. I can’t go crazy over this. I’ve got concerts to put on. I’ll call you when I’m not so angry anymore.

I huffed. I was angry too, but that didn’t mean I wanted days before contact. The idea of not speaking to him until we had both returned to a place of inner peace scared me. Sometimes talking was the one thing that got rid of the anger.

“When do you think that will be?

“I don’t know…. But try not to be in a Jacuzzi with another man next time Scarlett… Please.

“You once said you wouldn’t get jealous. You once said I was allowed to live my own life.

“It’s fucking different when we’re thousands of fucking miles apart.

My stomach dropped. I hadn’t thought about how this would affect Xavier. Mostly because I didn’t look at Ben as anything more than my Tour Manager. The feelings were entirely platonic. But we were thousands of miles apart, and the thought of Arabelle anywhere near Xavier ate away at me. It had before I’d even left. Still Ben didn’t give off the same horrible vibe Arabelle did.

“It’s not like that is it?” I replied.

“I’ll go have a Jacuzzi with Arabelle and we’ll find out huh.

Bullseye.. He had me. The thought made me shudder.


“Scar, I love you so much that the mere thought of ever losing you does my head in. I’m sorry. But I have to go before I say something stupid. Bye.

Xavier hung up the phone before I could answer. A mixture of anger and frustration at not being able to sort the issue rolled through my veins. I slammed the phone down on the towel and let out an exasperated groan. Ben lifted the wine bottle and refilled my glass.

“That sounded intense.

“Yeah.” I placed my glass down and made a move to get out. “He’s jealous… I get it.

Ben let out a loud laugh, which caused me to turn and sit back down. He placed the wine bottle down on the marble floor with a clink. “He has nothing to be jealous of.

“I said that.” I replied picking up my glass.

“Quite literally in fact.” Ben smiled. “I’m a guy, who happens to like guys.

A smile crossed my face and I splashed Ben with my free hand.

Ben being gay relaxed me again. Xavier’s worries were for nothing, and while he didn’t know that yet. I did. I let the water surround me again as I sunk into it. But as I closed my eyes all I could see was him and her. It was killing me.

He had succeeded in his attempts to make me feel jealous as well. “Your love is the sickly sweet kind of love that would survive the apocalypse. Don’t worry. That floozy. The one that replaced you. She has nothing on you.

I smiled and pushed Xavier from my mind. Ben was right, Xavier and I had been through so much already and it had only ever made us stronger. There was no reason that this time wouldn’t be the same.

“Do you have a boyfriend?” I replied, making conversation, trying to help my attempt to change my fraught mind path.

“No, we broke up when I took this job. He couldn’t handle only seeing sporadically.” Ben looked slightly emotional. He shrugged then sipped the wine from his glass. “It was for the best.

I frowned. Sporadic flights and infrequent downtime was the prescription for the next 6 months of Xavier and I’s downtime.

I sipped on my wine one last time before the phone run again. I turned and placed my glass down and picked it up. It was DJ. I answered and held the phone to my ear.

“I’ve been trying to call Ben for ages.” he replied exasperated.

“We were relaxing. What’s up?

“The album… It’s gone gold already.” He shouted, an abnormal amount of glee wrapped DJ’s words.

“It’s only been out 12 hours.” I croaked, disbelieving what he was saying, what it meant.

“I know. All signs point to platinum by tomorrow. So work it, and work it hard.

“Okay, well thanks for the heads up.” I replied, completely dumbfounded. I think I was even in shock a little bit. Or a lot.

“Not a problem. I’d better go. I’m overseeing the band practice.

I withheld the urge to ask about the duet. I knew better than to interfere. DJ didn’t do things without a good reasons. Even though it was killing me, the Going Nowhere tour needed it.

“Seeya DJ.” I replied.

After I hung up I relayed the good news on to Ben. He was ecstatic, but knowing Xavier was angry at me made it almost impossible to enjoy the achievement.

When we returned to the room dinner was waiting. I ate it silently, then walked into my room and booted up my laptop. This time I didn’t even need to google myself to see the latest tabloids there in full color. There to tease me. The headline was about my album, but the photo didn’t reflect that. No the photo was from the airport, Ben’s arm was around my shoulder. Guiding me from the madness.

This was what I had always been afraid of.

I pulled my phone out and called Xavier. It wasn’t much surprised that he didn’t answer. I left a message, asking him to call.

Then I pulled out his lyric book and began to write.

You scratch for scraps, hoping to maul and kill

Taking the smallest piece of whatever you find.

And turn it into a thrill.

Two faced demon, wanting more than you deserve.

Sharp clawed behemoth, you won’t get my soul tonight.

I see you watching me, waiting to pounce

To dig your talons in and suck my insides out.

When I’m exhausted and have nothing left to give.

You’ll move on to your next unwilling victim

The flashes and clicks that escape from your lips

Don’t fool me.

I’m stronger than this, I’m stronger than this

Just wait and see

You’re a demon in disguise, but you don’t fool my eyes

I won’t lay down and die.

I’ve got a life to live, and you’re not invited in.

You break down a door, hoping to see it all.

But you only see yourself, and the sickness you’ve become

So starts your inevitable fall

Two faced demon, failing to capture what it needs

Tamed and trapped, you don’t fool anyone.

I see you watching me, waiting to pounce

To dig your talons in and suck my insides out.

When I’m exhausted and have nothing left to give.

You’ll move on to your next unwilling victim

The flashes and clicks that escape from your lips

Don’t fool me.

I’m stronger than this, I’m stronger than this

Just wait and see

You’re a demon in disguise, but you don’t fool my eyes

I won’t lay down and die.

I’ve got a life to live, and you’re not invited in.

I spent the next hour putting music to the lyrics. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to deduct that my song was about the paparazzi. I wondered if I’d be allowed to record it. It was darker than most of my music.

“Scarlett…” I heard Ben call from outside the door.

I put the guitar… Xavier’s guitar down and sighed. “Come in.

“DJ just called.

“Again?” I huffed. God maybe he should have come.

“He wanted to go over some logistical things for our first promo stops. Scarlett he heard you practicing…. He made me, well he made me put the phone up to the door.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The song was about invaded privacy, and that was exactly what DJ had done.

“What did he say?” I replied finally.

“That you sounded like you were channeling Xavier.

I smiled. I guess I kind of had been. My heart hurt as I remembered how angry he was with me.

“I’m going to try get some sleep. You should too? We’ve got a big day tomorrow.

I nodded and looked at the time. I’d been writing for hours. “Yeah. Alright. Night Ben.

The moment I woke I dialed Xavier’s number again. This time the call picked up.

“Xavier’s phone. Arabelle speaking.


“Where’s Xavier.

Bile rose in my throat. I trusted him. I trust him…

“He’s in the shower.

The concert… the duet.

“I’ll wait then.” I replied.

“He could be a while. Things got sweaty.

I let out a snicker then shook my head. “Oh honey, I know exactly how sweaty you’d like to see Xavier. But truth is. He loves me, he’ll always love me. Your desperate attempt to snag him isn’t going to work. So give up… while you still have a career… okay?

I was aware my tone was semi sarcastic, and it was almost like I’d taken a listen in Isla’s class of standing up for yourself 101. But I didn’t care. There was only one reason she was in his room after a concert, and it wouldn’t be for the “duet practicing.” line she would have fed him.

“That’s where you’re wrong…honey. I always win. Always.

Something about the tone of her voice sent shivers down my back. The kind of shivers that told me I didn’t just have to worry about her stealing my man. I restrained myself from speaking to her again and waited until I heard Xavier’s voice.

“You can pass the phone over now thanks.

“Sure.” She replied. “It’s Scarlett. She made me stay on the line. I know you didn’t want to talk to her but she went absolutely postal.” Her tone was soft and sweet now. She sounded scared. I frowned.

“Scarlett?” Xavier’s voice was harsh. “What the hell is your problem?

“I didn’t force her to do anything.” I replied. “And I certainly didn’t go postal.

I heard Xavier move away, his footsteps carried him to a room. He closed the door.

“Why would she lie?

“Why would I lie?” The thought he might believe her over me hurt. I knew he was angry at me over the Ben thing, but I wouldn’t lie to him.

I heard him sigh deeply. “You wouldn’t. Point made.

I didn’t mention the crazy way the woman had been acting. It wouldn’t solve anything, and my trust in Xavier was stronger than her pathetic threat.

“Are you still angry with me?” I whispered.

“No, I’m sorry. I had no right. I trust you, 100 percent. I’m just jealous some other guy is spending time with you.

“I know that feeling. But you really have nothing to be jealous of. Ben isn’t like that.

Xavier didn’t speak for a minute. I knew he was recollecting his thoughts, calming himself. It was the same thing I had to do every time I thought about Arabelle.

“I knew this was going to be hard.” Xavier whispered. “I just underestimated how hard. It’s only been a few days.

I smiled and sniffed the shirt of his that I had pilfered. It was beginning to smell like me now, which made me frown. “How did we ever do it before?

“I didn’t… I was miserable without you.

Guilt bit me. I was making him miserable. My ambition was hurting him, us. My success wasn’t going to heal our relationship.

“Maybe I should renege on the contract. Dad can get me a good lawyer…”

“Whoa! Stop… babe, I miss you, but I love that you’re finally doing something you love. Don’t run from that.

“I don’t know if I can last three weeks without touching you.” I whispered.

“Dirty girl.

I huffed. I hadn’t meant purely sexual touching, although I knew the minute he did touch me I melt into a pool of want. I just wanted to feel his fingertips graze my cheek, or his lips caress mine.

“You know what I meant.

“You’re the strongest girl I know. You’ve got this. Besides. DJ said you’re gold already. I don’t think you’ve got a choice. The people want you.” He laughed then breathed out in a husky voice. “Not as much as I want you though.

“I can’t take all that sexy talk serious when Whoreface I mean, Arabelle is in your hotel room.

Xavier let out a stilted laugh. “She followed me back rabbiting on about practicing. I tried to shake her off… Maybe she’ll be gone when I walk out.

“Doubt it.

“I’ll deal with her. Have fun today okay?

“Fun? I’m doing like five TV spots. I think nerves are going to dissolve me before I even get dressed.

Xavier laughed and I heard him open his door. “Babe, you’ve opened our concerts numerous times. Answering some hosts questions will be easy. We’re leaving early tomorrow for Europe so I’ll email you when we land.


“I love you.

“You too.

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