I sit with Mart and John. I thought hearing about Jay would be a shock and they might need someone. I need to give Peter time to calm down.
“Alexander, how lovely to see you.” Mart says.
“Is Peter with you?” John asks.
“No, he’s pretty mad at me right now. I’m letting him cool off.” I say.
“Well let him know everything has gone well and Jay is cooperating. He’ll be out soon.” John says.
“What do you mean?” I ask.
“Peter warned us what was happening so we could get a legal team ready for Jay. He’s helping make a case against the man he hired to help unlock your files, who tried to blackmail you.” Mart says.
“He trusted you but not me.” I say defeated.
“He knew you’d never forgive him if Jay’s life was ruined. We agreed not to warn Jay if we made sure he got out of your lives. We’ll help set him up somewhere new.” John says.
“And Peter knows all this?” I ask hopping mad that Peter was just playing games with me, testing me.
“Yes. He wouldn’t let us hush it all up, he needs Jay to lose his position in this town and out of your social circle.” Mart says.
“But you need him to take care of you.” I say.
“We have nurses and cleaners and cooks. We love Jay, he’s always been a son to us but we spoiled him and we need to make amends for that. Alexander why did you never tell us how much he’s hurt you?” John asks.
“I always handled it, until now.” I sigh.
“And so have we, you’re not the only one he’s gone after. Never this badly, never police involvement but you really shouldn’t blame yourself. Go back to Peter, he needs you.” John says.
“We’re getting married soon. I hope we have a long relationship like yours.” I say.
“You will, he loves you more than anything.” Mart says with a smile.
“Do call me if you need anything, I’m only a couple of hours away now.” I say.
“Thanks. We do okay. Just be sure to call more often.” John says.
I make my way back to the hotel feeling terrible. I should have put Peter first. He was right to test me. I failed him. I failed.
His stuff is gone and there is no note. He’s not answering his phone so I try Tom.
“He needs some time.” Tom says.
“Please tell him I’m sorry and I know I failed.” I say.
“Honestly he just needs time. He is way more together than I expected.” Tom says.
“Please just ask him to call me. Is he here or home?” I ask.
“He’s taking a few days away. He’ll call when he’s ready. Don’t push him.” Tom says.
“Is he safe? Are you going to be with him?” I ask trying not to cry.
“I need to stay in the city a few more days. He’ll be fine. He’s safe.” Tom says.
“Is it over?” I ask Tom scared.
“I really don’t think so. He loves you too much. The last few weeks have been really stressful with this video stuff and finishing at school. I know your weekends at the house have helped but you must see how wound up he’s been.” Tom says.
“I know. I was just letting him get on with it, knowing it was almost over.” I say.
“I know. Me too. I’m sure he’ll call you tomorrow.” Tom says.
I check out and later at home the house feels so weird and empty. There was no press at the hotel or here. Figuring I’m safe for a while I head out and buy food to last for a while. Between the Jay situation and Eric I’m not likely to be able to go anywhere for a while.
I contemplate taking off somewhere but I want to be here so Peter knows where I am. I don’t want us to have any of the confusion we’ve had in the past. I leave him another voicemail begging forgiveness. I call Mom but she doesn’t answer either.
I can’t believe I’ve fucked up so badly, twice in just a few hours I didn’t put him first. Peter must hate me. I was so blinded by him not trusting me, by my worries about my reputation that I failed him.
The week goes by. I try and call him every day, send him messages and emails. I think about the hell I put him through when I went to the island. Here I am under siege, just like he was. Eric’s show and our interview are shown, Felix recap is published full of stories about us all at school, more than the show.
Eric and Max are everywhere. They have a lot to say about Jay even though no charges have been brought. Both of them blame Jay for their careers going off track which is untrue but in a way I’m glad, it is helping to ruin Jay professionally and it isn’t me doing it. I don’t feel any more guilt. Well not towards Jay, I feel guilt for Peter, if I’d dealt with Jay properly years ago Peter wouldn’t have had to go through this.
Eric and Max turning their attention to Jay isn’t stopping the press attention on me. For once I’m scouring all the sites and watching E! and the like to see if they’ve tracked down Peter. I just need a little glimpse of him to know he’s okay, but I don’t find anything.
I miss him so much and I worry so much. I’m in complete limbo, I can’t make any decisions until I know what he wants. I want to work on our wedding and house but I can’t. What do I do if he doesn’t want me?
I stare at our bank accounts to get a clue of where he is but nothing. I only have Tom’s word for it that he’s okay. None of the others are really talking to me. They can’t come round and I can’t go out but phone calls are strained. I know they’re all on Peter’s side and they should be. I actually love that my friends are taking his side, not that there is a side.
I can’t sleep or eat, I’m not taking care of myself at all. I want to get out and run and swim and I wonder about going up to the house and swimming there but I’d hate for anyone to follow me there. As time goes on I can go out again no problem but I don’t want to. I should be making myself as hot as can be for when he gets back but I can’t. I give up and spend most my time in bed. I stop taking calls and just will time to speed up.
I know he needs me as much as I need him, I know he does. I am certain he won’t throw us away over this, not without seeing me at all. I sleep most of the time. I don’t know what else to do. I give up even checking in with Tom. I just try Peter twice a day, message and email him just in case. I remember how much his messages to me meant when I was away. He knows how much this is hurting me and I hope he’s getting all the help he needs to work through everything. That it’ll all be worth it.
About a month after the interview I’m as usual in bed like a slug, not sure how long I’ve been there, no idea if it’s day or night.
“Come on into the tub. You stink.” Peter says standing at the end of the bed.
“Are you real?” I ask remembering when Peter thought I was a dream and smiling to myself.
“Yes, come on you need some Peter hugs.” Peter says calmly as if he’d only been gone a day.
I struggle out of bed and follow him to the bathroom. He has already run a bath and is climbing in. I follow and sit between his legs, he hugs me close and I start to cry, relief, anger, joy, everything hits me all at once.
“Where were you? Why didn’t you call?” I ask.
“First I am so, so, sorry. I didn’t know you didn’t know where I was until today. I would never, ever have stayed away if I knew. That they let me put you through this is killing me.” Peter says.
“Who? I don’t understand.” I say quietly I feel okay now he’s back, more than okay. I can feel my strength returning as I lean against his soft skin.
“Let me tell you everything. Then we can decide what to do. First I love you, I always loved you and my feelings for you have not changed at all. I really hope you feel the same.” Peter says.
“You know it.” I say quietly, I feel his love filling me back up and I just can’t stop the next wave of tears.
“After I left the TV studio Mom and Tom were waiting with a car, they’d already packed up my stuff from the hotel, we really need to have words with the hotel about that and had a bag for me from home. They took me to a treatment center they’d picked out for me. They said you’d okayed it and liked it.” Peter begins.
“I said it was okay to look in case you needed it. I didn’t know they’d found one. I didn’t think you were that bad, I knew you were stressed but it was temporary.” I say. Feeling terrible that I’d not been there for him.
“That is exactly it. You knew I needed a break and I thought we’d take it together when everything was over. I was a mess that day and they convinced me it was best to go alone initially because the press intrusion was bound to be high after the blackmail and Eric’s show. I wanted to be somewhere out the way. I thought you’d join me. It was like a spa really, a bit of a celeb place not much real treatment, I just had group and individual therapy and relaxed a lot. No TV, no internet, it was really good for me. I missed you every day, I really did. My heart ached for you. I got over being mad after the first day. I love your big heart, how you don’t want those less fortunate to suffer, even if less fortunate is a Hollywood agent who had everything handed to him.” Peter says.
“I didn’t stay mad either. I am really mad at Tom now, he never said once he knew where you were or how to get in contact. I would have visited or checked in to be with you, even if that meant therapy.” I say.
“I Know, Tom is dead to me. After completing 28 days I earned email privileges and got your messages, checked out and came home. I thought you were giving me space to heal but you didn’t know. I hate that you’ve been through this, it is the worst thing ever to not know.” Peter says letting his tears flow.
“I knew you loved me and I knew you’d forgive me. You are so strong, I knew you’d get over me supporting Jay and Eric. It wasn’t putting them ahead of you it was supporting them as well as you.” I say feeling a bit lame.
“I know. Babe I worked through all that on the way to the center. I made sure it wouldn’t be too bad for Jay. He was on a runaway train and couldn’t stop it without outside help but he was too scared to ask. Gavin and I worked it out pretty quickly. We think it was Jay who got the rumor to Blair in the first place. We had to get the police in, the guy he hired was so dodgy, into really bad shit. Gavin and I had to do what we did.” Peter says.
“I went to see John and Mart after you were done and they told me you had done all you could. You didn’t have to.” I say.
“I did. I couldn’t deal with the guilt you would have had otherwise.” Peter says.
“You knew I would support Jay, that didn’t send you over the edge.” I say.
“I was never at the edge. Exhausted yes, utterly washed out unable to do much. But we knew that. Fuck I should have come home. I thought I was doing the right thing getting myself in the best possible shape for you, physically and mentally. I didn’t know, baby, I promise I didn’t know.” Peter says.
“You’re here now and you still love me and that is all that matters.” I say.
“I want to get married as soon as we can. I don’t want any guests, our friends didn’t even check in on you. None of them. I’m not talking to Mom either. Dad helped me today, he didn’t know where I was either and is super mad at Mom.” Peter says.
“You can’t cut your mom out.” I say.
“I can for a while. Anyway how about it. Vegas wedding, just us, a fancy hotel chapel. I need to be your husband, show you, you are everything.” Peter says.
“I do.” I say with a smile. Peter crushes me until I can’t breathe.
“We’ll sleep in a guest room tonight, sort out your pit tomorrow.” Peter says as he dries me off. I can’t believe he’s home. He’s here with me. He loves me and I’m floating on air.
“I didn’t do too well without you.” I say.
“No nights apart is a rule I need to remember.” Peter says.
“Naughty Peter.” I say.
“I missed you so much. I love you.” Peter says.
“I love you too. I never stopped.” I say.
We lie naked facing each other. Enjoying the view.
“You’re getting skinny.” Peter says.
“Lean like you.” I say.
“Same.” Peter says smiling as I nod.
I’ve been sleeping for weeks but feel exhausted. We kiss gently, carefully for a while and then fall asleep clinging to each other. Waking in his arms is as ever the best thing ever. I lie for a while trying to take in the previous days news. He wants to get married now, this minute. I smile to myself, I do too. I want to be married now, right now.
“Hello sexy.” Peter says looking at me for a second before kissing me like crazy.
“You’re beautiful.” I say kissing him back.
“Want to get married?” Peter says.
“Yes please.” I say.
“Let’s put ours rings in the box and not have sex until we’re married.” Peter says.
“Yes. What shall we wear?” I ask.
“I hadn’t thought. We have some nice suits. I’ll make coffee and then we can look.” Peter says.
I nod and smile. I am sooooo happy.
“Babe the milk in the fridge expired 3 weeks ago. When was the last time you opened the fridge?” Peter asks handing me a cup.
“When did you last eat at all?” Peter asks and I shrug, I have no idea.
“Baby, how can we have champagne and a fancy dinner if you’ve not eaten in days?” Peter asks.
“I missed you. I forgot. I had some crackers. Maybe yesterday.” I say.
“I’m going to clear up the kitchen and throw everything out. You book us a beautiful hotel for a few days. I want fancy. Then we’re going to stock up and get on the road.” Peter says bossing me in the best way. I nod and he kisses my nose.
I finish my coffee and start making calls. I finally get to organize our wedding. It isn’t what we dreamed but it is what we want. We’ve been waiting on too many arbitrary things. We just want to be us forever, we don’t need a beach or a party or anyone else. We just both needed to realize this at the same time. Time apart was hell and I am never ever letting him be further away from me than the bathroom ever again.
After a few calls I book a hotel chapel under a fake name and a suite at a different hotel. I want us to move around, there is a risk the more people we come across, more chances for our location to leak but if we are not in one place we’ll be harder to find.
“I’ve done the kitchen and your pit of a room. Seriously its not like you to stop even doing laundry. I’m really sorry.” Peter says.
“I gave up. How did you cope when I went to the island? How did you carry on at school? How did you get out of bed?” I ask.
“I don’t know. Hardest time in my life. Even worse than you getting married I think, thinking you might be dead.” Peter says.
“I admire you so much. I love you.” I say.
“Same. So you took to your bed. So what. That was your way of coping. And you made it and I’m here and you are okay.” Peter says.
“Better I’m marrying my man and that is all I ever wanted.” I say with a huge grin.
“So lets choose some clothes.” Peter says and I smile and take his hand.
“Wow you cleaned up fast.” I say walking through my room to the dressing room.
“Yeah you didn’t make much mess, you just festered. Sheets in laundry and windows open. We’ll leave the bed unmade to air properly.” Peter says.
“Mrs housekeeper.” I laugh.
“You love it. You love that I’ve swooped back in to take charge.” Peter says.
“I do. I really do. I’m so fucking useless without you.” I say.
“Rubbish. You were useless utterly unsupported. You’ll be fine now.” Peter says.
“Because you’ll never leave me.” I say.
“Never ever.” Peter says with a smile. I can see he’s excited at the thought.
“How about these?” I ask holding up two dark grey suits.
“With these shirts. No ties because we both hate them.” Peter says.
“We’ll buy shoes when we get there. All ours are too scruffy. Do you have the ring box?” I ask.
“Yes here, ready to take it off for a day?” Peter asks.
“I am. I want it to be special.” I say.
“It will be.” Peter says zipping the suits into a hanging bag and throwing other clothes into a bag.
“Swim stuff.” I say.
“Yup and nice shirts for going out to dinner.” Peter says.
“Anything we forget we can buy.” I say.
“We can.” Peter says.
“How did you pay for your spa? I was checking our accounts a lot to see if I could find you.” I say.
“Mom and Tom. I’ll pay them back. I didn’t even think of that. I think they’d prepaid and were just waiting for when I needed to go. I wish I’d just said no but I was too tired to fight.” Peter says.
“It was the right thing, you needed somewhere. It was just wrong to go without me.” I say.
“I know. I know.” Peter says sadly.
“We’re ready to go?” I ask.
“Yes. Can your stomach take breakfast somewhere or shall we get you something at the grocery store?” Peter asks.
“I don’t know. I think we shall stock up at the grocery store and eat on the way.” I say not really feeling up to a restaurant.
We buy stuff, fun foods and healthy stuff that I might be able to face. Even with Peter back I’m not hungry yet but if I don’t make an effort he’ll not be happy.
“So tell me all about your trip.” I say as we settle in for the drive.
“I didn’t talk in group much, never about you, just in case. I talked about Eric and Jay though.” Peter says.
“So if anyone wanted to break the rules and sell a story it was a bitchy one about them?” I ask laughing.
“You know me too well. Mostly I worked out and hung out by the pool missing you. I read practically the whole library and slept a lot. I missed you a million times a day. I was so stupid not to come home. I just felt like when I got there I had work to do. I thought you’d be okay, working on the house and wedding.” Peter says.
“Any juicy gossip?” I ask.
“So many wronged wives. Oh my goodness no one is faithful in your industry.” Peter says.
“I am.” I say.
“That’s why I’m locking you down.” Peter says.
“You sure are baby.” I say with the biggest smile on my face. He’s back, he loves me and were getting married.