Little Things #64



“You knew this was going to happen, did you?”

Even before L and I entered the café, a bevy of girls were already following us. They were trying to take a peek of who I was, but I was covered by his security Dex, H’s hoodie, and my shades. But when we got into the café, there wasn’t any escaping it. I had to take off the security blanket.

I dropped the hood, just in time to catch L shrugging. I turned to the small crowd of girls forming outside of the café, and I smirked at the shocked look on their faces when they realized it was me. It was just a few weeks after H had come out to the public about our relationship, and I was getting used to the (unwanted) attention, as well as the death threats sent through Twitter. I almost wanted to delete my Twitter account, but as H said: “Do not give them the satisfaction. Don’t.” I actually do think I’m going to miss these death threats when they’re gone—if they ever will be.

And going out with L right here, in public instead of our previous house visits, it’s different. I think this is just going to add up to my death threats count.

“Well, we have to toughen you up against these girls,” Landon answered, holding up a hand. He went to the counter to order our coffees, and he waited at the bar. After a few minutes, the barista called out, “One Earl Grey and one hot chocolate for Layla!”

I winced at the name—it was T’s idea, a ‘ship’ name for me and Landon, one born from jest one night when he realized that L and I had really grown close and it wasn’t just a passing thing. H found the shipper name funny, especially after T said, “For the record, am still riding the Kayden ship. Just sayin’ that Layla is kind of getting along nicely.”

L slid my drink across the table, very nonchalantly, as I gave him a raised eyebrow. “Really? Layla?” All I got in return was a mischievous smile that makes me want to throw something at him. God, I wish we were at his place where there are a lot of pillows to throw at him. L picked up where he left off, saying, “They spot your weakness—say, not being to carry yourself well in public in the face of their scrutiny—and they will lunge at it.”

I took a sip from my hot chocolate and just sighed. After that night at the cabin in the woods, L has been this person who pops up and disappears in my life. He just resumed contacting me when he got too homesick for his own good. That was why I set up that diner reunion, and ever since L has been something constant in my life. He’s been pretty helpful too, in my dealing with the backlash of H going public about our relationship (like today, for example).

He’s a solid rock I can lean on. Well, another rock to lean on, because H is the solid rock to lean on.

“Danica called me up the other day,” L said, switching topics. I tried not to show him my irritation—after seeing L break down at the cabin, I prefer not to hear about Danica. She makes my heart ache because I could still feel L’s pain—from that night at the cabin and as I watch him trying to recover.

Does she know how much L has hurt?

“And…?” I prompted, and L peered at me with those gray eyes.

“She wants to meet up.”

I paused, studying his reaction. He looked loose and easy, like it was just an ordinary day to have his ex that he has been pining for call him up just out of the blue. He was smiling a bit, enjoying his Earl Grey, and as I was silent, he mentioned that he wanted a cinnamon roll.

“You’re asking me if I’m okay with it, or you’re just gonna tell me your decision?” I settled, trying to go easy on him.

“I told her she and I don’t have anything to talk about anymore. I know she and Daryl had broken up already, and while I’m not one for making assumptions, I’m thinking she wants to get back with me.”

I grinned. “Ooh, too much for your ego there, Petersen,” I teased. He laughed, and his eyes crinkling. I turned serious just as he did, and then he whispered, “But in all honesty, I’m okay. I’m already okay. I’m happy. And I don’t need her anymore.”

“Sure you don’t.”

He looked at me, frustration written all over his face. Cracks started to appear in his armor that he placed around himself.  “Jesus, Kayla.” He ran his hands over his face like he was washing it underwater. When he emerged, the coolness that I saw earlier was gone. Back was the conflicted Landon that H and the boys and I had straightened out and nursed back to life.

“Shit, L,” I said under my breath. “I am not gonna let you backslide.”

“I am not backsliding, Kayla.”

I looked at him pointedly, narrowing my eyes at him. “You’re about to.”

L rolled his eyes, pouting. “It’s kind of scary how you know me so well.” I winked at him, saying, “Well, I’m named ‘Bestie’ with that smiley with two hearts as eyes on your phone, so I should know you very well.” I crumpled a piece of tissue and threw it at him, the ball hitting him on the forehead, and he was about to make one for himself when I stood up.

“Getting you a cinnamon roll. And in case you don’t know, it’s also to give you time to reconsider backsliding.”

He still threw the ball of tissue at me when I turned, as I felt this soft thump on my shoulder. When I returned, he had already finished his tea and was drumming his fingers on the table.

I passed him a fork, setting the plate of the cinnamon roll between us. We dug in, L still wrapped in his thoughts, and as we did this fork fight for the last bit of cinnamon roll, he said, “I’m not backsliding.”

I looked up and he held my gaze, and I saw the truth in his eyes. “Good. I’m not up for a trip in the cabin anytime soon because it’s getting kinda cold there right now,” I said, and he smiled.

 — Continue reading


Little Things #63

I felt someone rubbing my shoulders, the rolling motions making me moan. The hands moved up my nape and did the same rolling motion, and I finally woke up. I sat up and H’s hands slid forward, and he was draped behind me, snuggling.

“Did you really just fall asleep on your desk?” he whispered into my ear, and I nodded. He kissed me on the temple, and then stood up, pulling me up next to him. I looked at the desk that I had just vacated, and there was a ghost of a smile on H’s face when he touched my cheek.

“You have a J, a K, L, and a bunch of other keys etched on your face, luv.” His finger slid to my chin, and I just gazed up at him. He poked my chin. “And you have a space bar too.”

I rolled my eyes at him, at this man poking fun (no pun intended) at my sleeping at my desk for what felt like the third night in the row. Coupled with H’s gigs all over the country (and the world), my job was weighing me down. I have reports due and video conferences to attend. I knew I was going to get it when I go back to the office on Monday.

Frankly, I’m amused I haven’t been fired yet.

“You’ve been at it for days already, K. I think you deserve some rest.”

I shook my head, feeling that this suggestion isn’t boding well for me. “I have a lot of things to do. Reports to finish. Proposals to write. Emails to reply to…” My voice trailed as I heard it quiver. H hushed me but I refused to be shh-ed. I am too panicky for that.

And then H says the one thing that has been on my mind lately.

He placed his hands on my shoulder, rubbing, and then said, “Luv, I think it might be a good idea to just quit your job.”

I pinched the bridge of my nose, shaking my head. “And do what after that, exactly?” I countered. “Be a professional fangirl to you and your band? Taking the stage girlfriend to a whole new level?”

“No!” H gently removed my hand from my face and then I gazed back into his green eyes. There was some sort of determination in them, which puzzled me. “Look, I just want you to rest first and then we figure things out. I know I’ve asked a lot from you—attending my gigs, showing your support—”

“Jesus, Hayden. You didn’t ask for me to those things. I wanted to do those things.”

“In place of what? Sacrificing what you loved to do?”

I paused, closing my eyes momentarily as Hayden plowed on. “You make me do what I want to do, Kayla. And you’re supporting me all the way. And I want to do the same thing for you. Watch less shows, I’m fine with that—”

“I am not sure anymore if this is what I wanted to do, Hayden,” I cut in, defeated. I leaned back against the desk and he followed my suit, standing next to me.

“You’re just tired. You shouldn’t make hasty decisions when you’re tired.” There was a glint in his eyes when he said that, and I know he had heard it from me at some point. “You love what you do, Kayla. I’m not going to make you stop doing it just because you have this bump in the road.”

I felt his hand over mine, and he gave it a slight squeeze. “Ambition,” I whispered, and I saw a frown crumple his forehead. “You said in an interview that you wanted your lady to have ambition.” He paused, as if thinking if he really did. I didn’t give him any more time to recall as I continued, “What if what I really wanted was to just have a small bookstore with a coffee shop next to it? What if what I wanted to do was to just write, Hayden? What if I am fine without all these numbers and reports, as long as I am in the comfort of my books? Is wanting that not ambition?”

I heard him draw a deep breath. “I think it’s ambition already that you think you want something, Kayla, no matter how simple that may be.” He faced me, his hand reaching up and resting on my shoulder, his fingers playing with strands of my hair. “And I don’t think managing a business is anything but simple.” I stayed silent, mulling over his words.

H leaned his forehead against mine. “You don’t have to fit into whatever standard you think I have set for the person I want to be with,” he whispered, his breath warm on my face. “Because you are the standard now, Kayla. You are the one I want to be with. Possibly until forever.”

I touched his cheek, and he cuddled closer to it.

“Hayden,” I whispered after a long while.


“I don’t want to know ever how I’m going to live this world without you, you get me? I love you.”

His lips brushed against mine, soft and sweet. “Won’t let that happen, luv.” He blew on my ear just as he whispered, “Whatever you decide, I’ll be here.”

I thanked him, and he laughed because just as I did, my stomach let out a loud grumble. He placed his hands on my shoulder, pushing me to the kitchen, telling me he’ll make the best French toast I will ever taste in this lifetime.

Little Things #62

I gazed at him, at my 21-year-old boyfriend of almost three years. I’ve known him for four years, and he and I have been through a lot, so much so that I could compare it to the twelve I’ve had with J. I guess it’s a recurring theme with my boyfriends: if the relationship’s not challenging, it’s not an option for me.

He was poured over a book, one that I probably won’t read since I wasn’t really into his kind of books. If I was into fiction (fantasy and YA, mostly), H devours non-fiction and (auto)biographies. His chosen read right now is Scar Tissue, an autobiography of Anthony Kiedis, frontman of Red Hot Chili Peppers. Previously it was Walter Isaacson’s biography on Steve Jobs, which he wants me to read, so much so that he had propped the book on my bedside table. (For the record, I have touched it, reading through three chapters already. Nighttime read.)

H looked so intense, chewing his lower lips, eyebrows bunched together. There were no signs of fatigue on him—the couple of days’ rest has been enough for his body to recuperate from the twelve weeks’ worth of tour that he and the boys had. Thankfully, they are on a break for some mere five days, and we’ve spent three of those quietly at home.

I smiled as images flashed in my mind, the montage almost similar to what was in the first ten minutes of Up. I could see me and H ten years later, giving our son a piggyback while our daughter is tugging his hand, demanding equal attention. He won’t probably be in a band anymore but I was certain that he would still be involved in songwriting and producing albums, which he really loved doing. Twenty years later and he and I would be dancing in front of our fireplace, waltzing to our nameless tune, our thirty-second dance tradition still alive. Maybe his band will have a reunion and they’d have one last tour and our kids and I will come along with him so we can explore the world as a family. Thirty years from now and his crazy hair have streaks of gray and white in it, which he and I will have fun dyeing to go back to the its old color under the supervision of CF, and he’ll be carrying our grandkid proudly in his arm.

I want to grow old with H. He’s good with kids; hell, he’s good with me. He handles me and my shit (excuse me for that term, but I can’t find a better description for it) so well. After our ‘break,’ he became better at balancing me, his career, his family, and his other extracurricular things (e.g., songwriting that is not involved with the band). Our communication lines were more open than ever, and we became closer. I’ve proven how much of a man he is and how much he loves me when he didn’t leave me and he stuck by me when I miscarried. He showed me that he could love me more despite and in spite of my imperfections.

He’s that guy. He’s that man I was waiting for.

I opened my mouth to speak but was unable to formulate the words, ending up closing my mouth instead. I think he saw me move because he looked up, an easy smile on his face. “Yes, luv?” H said tenderly, and I breathed deeply, totally going for it.

“Ask me,” I said, my voice unwavering but filled with emotions. “Ask me again.”

H looked confused for a moment, but it was replaced with a smile as the realization sunk in. He held up a finger, telling me to wait, and then he scrambled up the stairs to our bedroom. I heard him rummaging upstairs, and then thundering down a few minutes after. I waited with bated breaths, and when he emerged he was holding that trinket in his palm.

H’s run slowed to a walk when he got to me. He knelt before me, drawing huge gulps of air. He popped the trinket open, and I sensed some sort of familiarity with the ring even if I had only seen it once before. It still looked the same—the band encrusted with turquoise, the diamond at the center. I still haven’t quite asked him yet why he chose turquoise instead of our birth month’s stone amethyst, but there is another time for that.

I reached out and ruffled his hair, smiling at him as I whispered, “Hun, relax.” H nodded, trying to calm himself, taking three deep breaths.

“Shh, we’ve been here before. No biggie. Three times over, if I may add,” I teased, and he exhaled loudly. His eyes never left mine, and I waited, holding my breath, for him to ask me that question for what seemed like the fourth time.

“What made you change your mind?”

I frowned, and he laughed at the exasperated look on my face. He closed his hand around the ring, repositioning himself so that he’s Indian-sitting on the carpet. He was enjoying this moment, and I don’t really blame him—he did, in fact, propose to me thrice and I turned him down each time.

“Really? You’re doing this now?” I asked him, and he gave me a silly grin, wiggling his eyebrows, signaling yes.

I grumbled, and then I reached towards him, his face in my hands. “Because I’m ready for this now, bozo. I am ready to get married into your life, whatever that entails. You’re the man I want to be with, the man I want to have kids with, and I want to grow old with. I have always known that—I just wasn’t too ready to grasp everything,” I explained, and the smile on his face slowly disappeared, turning serious. I watched as he absorbed each of my words, every letter and meaning sinking in.

“I mean, the first time you asked me to marry you, we have just moved in together. The second time was during our second anniversary, which was in the middle of a crazy tour that you guys are having. The third time was because I was pregnant. They weren’t the right times or the right reasons, H, but now today, it is.”

I leaned in, touching my lips lightly against his. “I love you, and I always have and I always will. That’s why I want to marry you. That’s why I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”

H touched my forehead against mine, and then I felt his hand reached down to my left hand. He slid the ring into my finger, the new ring clicking against our promise ring, resting comfortably atop it.

I had a moment to examine how perfect this felt, but H already pulled me to a stand, his lips finding mine as I wrapped my arms around him.

When he released me, I finally checked the ring, and then I narrowed my eyes at him. “Will this be a theme, even for the wedding rings?” I asked, and he surveyed the rings with me. “I can make that happen,” he whispered into my ear.

He twirled me, hugging me from behind, his mouth still near my ear. “Can we talk dates now? I really want you to me Mrs. Smith as soon as possible.”

“Pick a date, hun.”

He whispered the date into my ear, and I grinned. “I have an idea,” I told him, and I twirled in his arms to face him, and we swayed in each other’s arms as we discussed our wedding plans.

Little Things #61

Oh dear.

The minute H and I stepped out of the boys’ hotel two days after their Staples concert, it was chaos. He held my hand tightly, his fingers gripping mine because I knew he could feel that I wanted to go back inside the hotel. I exhaled loudly, the crowd closing in, the cameras flashing and clicking with every step that we take.

It was two days after his ‘announcement,’ two days after people had started researching me. Two days of wanting to put my world on a constant mute because of all the noise that came with that announcement.

“We can’t hide forever. Besides, they already know who you are,” I remember H telling me when he asked me if I wanted to go out. It was his day off, after all. The other boys are planning to head to the beach, while H has other plans.

He wanted to go shopping.

“We have stores back home, H!” I remembered arguing, but he said something about the stuff being far cheaper here than back home.

“You are killing me. Virtually and literally,” I whined when he was pulling me out of the hotel room. The number of death threats that I have received since two days ago were countless. I think someone wishes me dead every three seconds. That’s roughly 57,600 death threats in two days.

H cupped my face in his hands, pressing his lips on my forehead. “I am with you. You’re my girlfriend. And we should have done this a long time ago already. So no, you are not getting out of this. We are going to have this first ever public appearance ever as a couple.”

I shook my head, bumping my nose against his. “Honestly, I don’t think we could have survived this long if we went public earlier,” I said softly.

“I think you’re right, but I’m getting tired of hiding. I’m tired of lying to people and saying I’m single when I’m not. When I am proud of you. When I just want to tell the world that you’re my girlfriend and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

That was what made me do it, you know? That despite my flaws and shortcomings, he loved me—wholly and fully—and he’s proud of me.

That’s H for you. That’s Hayden Edward Smith: seeing the best in people every single time. Silver linings through the dark clouds kind of guy. Half-full, not half-empty.

“Okay,” I finally agreed. “Okay. Let’s go.”

And we’re here, out in the open, where the phones were whipped out and cameras were clicking. The paparazzi stationed outside the hotel ever since the boys came here bit the bait and are following us, along with a bevy of fangirls. They formed a circle around us, and as we moved, the circle traveled with us, and I struggled to breathe.

I gripped H’s hand tightly, and we finally turned at the corner where the rows and rows of shops were. It took a couple of minutes before R and a couple of H’s security team managed to clear the people around us, and I finally breathed.

H placed his arm over my shoulder, and he dipped his head low, his face mere centimeters away from mine. “You okay?”

I nodded, and I saw the first of the three shops that H wanted to go to. It felt like a light at the end of the tunnel, a welcome sight. But he pulled me into another store, and I was going to protest when I realized where we were.

“Of course. A bookstore,” I said, looking up at him in amusement.

“You looked terrified for a moment, and I wasn’t sure if you’re going to survive this. So… bookstore first.”

He pulled me behind one of the bookshelves, his hands wrapped around my waist. I looked up at him and smiled, and I thought he was going to lean down for a kiss but instead he reached out behind me, showing me a copy of Daniel Handler’s Why We Broke Up. “I don’t want you writing a version of this for us, alright?” he said, and I grinned, nodding. He kissed me on the forehead, and then twirled me around, and then playfully pushed me towards the aisle of young adult fiction—or new adult fiction, call it whatever you want.

I started scanning the shelves, with H just behind me, our hands locked together. He waited patiently as I grabbed one book after the other, reading the back covers and the endings (yeah, I like getting spoiled like that). I didn’t know how long we were there in the bookstore, but as soon as I looked up, swarms of fans are looking through the window, watching us, like we were dogs through petshop window or specimens under a microscope.

And then that’s when I realized how much H knows me.

And that I didn’t care anymore about those people out there—at least not as much as I did when we left the hotel a few minutes earlier.

“I love you,” I said as I twirled around and pulled him towards the end of the bookstore, behind one of the shelves. I pinned him against one of the bookshelves, and he chuckled. I planted a big one on him, and his grin was as wide as ever.

“Now, let’s go. You have some shopping to do.”

I pushed back the left sleeve of my blouse, exposing my tattoo, and then took his right arm, our tattoos linking together. He nodded, as if in approval of this, and we headed out of the bookstore and straight into the pit of fangirls and paparazzi.

But I didn’t care.

Because I proud of the man I am holding hands with right now, and I am proud to be called his woman.

Little Things #60

S is in London.

I grinned at this text from CF. It’s not the first time I heard that H’s ex is back in town—the number of mentions that I get over at Twitter from both concerned fans and haters can attest to how many times I’ve heard she’s here. I really don’t know what the concern is over this—I don’t think H would get back with S because he’s with already me because if he does I’m going to kick his ass to the all of the circles in hell and make sure he never comes back. But then again, he left me one New Year’s Eve to be with her (and then subsequently realizing that it is me he wants to be with, so maybe I’d have to thank S for that).

I do know that that leaving her during the New Year’s Eve party left a bit of a scar on S—she has a song that mentioned that. I KNOW. I SPAWNED ONE SONG FROM HER, I SHOULD BE HAPPY ALREADY. LIFE PURPOSE #365 = CHECK.

Anyway, I thumbed in quickly my reply to CF: So I heard.

She replied just as fast: You’ll be there at the awards night?

CF knew that S was here because of a couple of Europe-based awards shows that nominated her. In some categories, she’s going up for the award vs. the boys, and I don’t know how strange awkward that would be—if it would still be awkward, which shouldn’t really be the case considering how far back H and S as an item was already. They had managed to ‘miss’ awards shows—S would appear in this awards show and the boys won’t be there, and vice versa. But eventually their paths are going to cross, considering the relatively small world that they move in.

Yeah. I’ll be there. Skipping the red carpet though. E, Amy, Natalie, and I will wait for the boys + P and her band inside :)

It’s H’s and my 18th month together (if you’re the kind of person counting like that—I’m not, but H does it for me). He and I still aren’t public, and the world doesn’t know that one of the guys touted as one of its prized bachelors is already taken. We have long debated as to whether or not I should attend this awards night with him—it was one of the few times they were given a go signal that they could bring plus ones—and after asking the boys, they said they were all bringing someone. In N and L’s case as they both told everybody that they’re single (and they are), they’re bringing friends—real, genuine friends that they don’t have any romantic involvement with, but I am pretty sure that the media would think that they brought along their soon-to-be-girlfriends.

As for my case, H was hoping that Amy and Natalie would be nice ‘covers’ as N and L would tell the press that they’re bringing friends. Besides, I’m skipping the red carpet so hopefully there will be little pictures of me and H together.

This could have been a whole lot easier had H and I have been public.

Oohhhh. I wanna see this. Me and CW are calling dibs on your makeup and hair. We’re going to make S look like a slave next to you, the queen. HAHA :)

I rolled my eyes at CF’s reply. CW is also part of the band’s styling and grooming team. She picks the best attires ever—those clothes you see on the boys’ backs are partly CW. Going to pick dresses and shopping clothes with CF and CW means being on your feet for about eight hours—and that’s at the minimum. I did that. Thrice already. And each time I got home, I find myself waking up, wearing the same clothes the next day.

I sighed heavily. Why is everybody pitting me against S?

CF, there’s no competition here. I sincerely do want to meet her though.

For what? To thank her for penning Run Away because of you and H?

I laughed, and I felt arms wrap around my waist in a tender embrace. I leaned against H, his head perched on my shoulder. I locked my phone and turned my head slightly to the side.

“What’s the laugh for?” H said softly, his breath tickling my cheek.

“Well, apparently your old flame had just touchdown-ed at the airport and I’m getting tweets all over. CF texted me that she and CW are already thinking of how they’re going to style me at the awards night.”

I felt his lips touch my cheek, and I cuddled closer to him. “They’re still pitting you against her?”

“Uhhuh,” I whispered. “You do know it’s the first time I’m going to meet her, right? Ever since we got together and ever since that New Year’s Eve a couple of years back. And that hit single Run Away.”

H chuckled beside me, shaking his head almost in disbelief. “You guys have to let it go.”

“I have let it go. Did she already do the letting go part?” I asked him, and he released me from the embrace, a pensive look on his face.

“She’s already dating someone new.”

I nodded slowly. “And yet… she still sends you emails. And she has two songs on her new album that has clues linking to you.”

He took my hand in his, our tattoos linking together ever so perfectly. He licked his lips before speaking, and when he gazed at me, his eyes were intense. “Do I look like I still care?”

I returned his gaze, content flooding all over my system. “You don’t,” I said simply, and he turned his face, our noses touching.

“You seemed surprised.”

“I… I’m not.”

“Trust,” he reminded me in a whisper.

I puckered my lips and he touched his lips with mine. “Yes,” I whispered back. “Trust.”

Continue reading

Little Things #57

Call me, as soon as you can.

I just got out of a hellish meeting and as soon as I booted my phone, a bunch of texts from CF came in. Her text made me panic almost immediately, and I pressed 4 on my speed dial. She picked up even before the phone starts ringing (at least on my end), and then plowed through it before I could greet her.

“It’s H. He’s in the hospital.”

It was a very grueling and panicky eight-hour flight just to get to where H was. Counting the hours to get home to grab stuff and my passport, plus the drive to the airport, the immigration and other security circles of hell, I was at H’s bedside twelve hours post-CF’s call.

I have not slept a wink since that phone call, rounding up my awake hours total to 20.

H was sleeping when I got there, looking very peaceful albeit pale. An IV was hooked into his wrist, just above our first couple tattoo. The light drip, drip of his IV and the low hum of the AC were in a weird duet, and my heartbeat seemed to go in synch with them, its lub dub lub following the drip, drip and the hummmm. There were a bunch of handmade cards on the bedside table, a basket of fruits on the table at the foot of the bed, and H’s things strewn on what should have been the bed for the patient’s guest.

CF’s husband, TT, was at H’s bedside, asleep on the chair. CF, the crew, and the other boys must have moved on to the next gig, leaving TT with H just so he wasn’t alone. Totally understandable. While they’re all friends, it was, after all, still first and foremost a job. And secondly, the tens of thousands of fans that are waiting for them at their next destination will be pretty difficult to disappoint if they weren’t there.

I gently shook TT’s shoulder, and he woke up very slowly, wiping the sleep off his eyes. He stood up, letting me throw my things on the chair he vacated before giving me a very big hug. He pulled me away, closer to the door, just so we wouldn’t wake H up.

“What happened?” I asked him, and TT crossed his hands over his chest.

“They were in the middle of singing Live in the Moment when he stopped and just went to the side of the stage. We thought he was just going to ask for his inhaler, but he just started throwing up. He turned into an uncomfortable shade of green, and R just got to him when he fainted,” he narrated, and I absorbed this. I’m pretty sure somewhere online there’d be a video of it, but it’s not something I’d want to see.

TT turned into a graver kind of serious, and continued, “Doc said he’s overfatigued. He’s running a high fever and they’re testing if he’s got an infection or something.”

“So he should rest.”

TT nodded. “For a week, tops.”

I winced. “That kills. I’m already feeling for the fans in the shows that he’ll miss,” I whispered, and TT’s eyes narrowed as he smiled. “You and H said the same thing after he heard what the doc said.”

“Well, fans are important to him,” I said, shrugging. It wasn’t that I didn’t care that H was overfatigued or that he’s sick, but I do know that even before he hit the stage last night, he already wasn’t feeling well. He probably had kept it from everyone just so he could get up that stage and perform in front of the fans that have supported them all throughout. He’s that kind of guy, and I love that and hate that in him.

He says I’m like that too, when it comes to my work. (I’ll disagree, but I do know he’s 95% right.)

TT and I both turned to look at the bed when we thought we saw H move. I walked over to him just as he stirred awake, and his eyelids opened in a flutter.

His eyes stared first to the ceiling, and then they drifted to me. His lips formed into a smile and then he reached up, gathering me in his weak arms. I buried my face in that nook between his shoulder and neck. “Oh H…” I whispered, and he moaned as he held me tighter against him. We haven’t seen each other for about a month—I was buried in my work (which I will be buried in again when I go back, for sure) and then his never-ending tour.

“I missed you,” I heard him whisper, taking me in, sniffing my still unwashed hair, making me back off.

“I haven’t taken a shower yet!” I said, and he laughed weakly.

“You and me both.”

I sat on the bed and he laid his hand on my hip. “You, mister, shouldn’t have gone up that stage if you weren’t feeling well already,” I said, my anger just boiling below the surface. He just nodded, knowing he was wrong in that aspect. He mumbled a sorry, and then lifted his head to address TT.

“You heading to Chula Vista?”

TT nodded, walking over to the bed and grabbing a backpack from all of the things strewn there. “I think the boys will be back after the show to see you—”

“No. Let them get their rest. Tell ‘em K’s here already so there’s no need to worry about me.”

TT just sighed, and then gave H a salute. He passed by me, giving me a cheek-to-cheek, and then was out the door.

“So we have a week in LA. What do you want to do, luv?” H said after a while. I grabbed the remote from the stand and turned the TV on, searching for something to watch. H whispered to me that TLC was on this channel something, and I pressed the numbers. As if on cue, Cake Boss was on TV, and I snuggled closer to H.

“Well, you and I are going to rest. That’s all I ever wanted to do.”

He nodded, letting out a “hmmm…” and giving me a kiss on the temple. We watched in silence for a few minutes, until H broke it.

“Luv, I think you need to get that shower.”

I jokingly pushed him, my laugh a bit louder than his weak one, and then hopped off the bed. “I am not going to complain that you smell, hun, but you do already. Too bad you can’t take a shower. A warm, bubbly shower with me.”

I started to unbutton my blouse, one by one, exposing my lacy bra underneath. His eyes widened, the fire igniting in them. He winked at me, his grin mischievous. “Oh luv, I’d take a sponge bath. From you.”

I gave him a wide smile, my eyes matching the intensity in his. “Consider it done.” I turned to sashay my way to the bathroom, H slapping my butt before I could take a step, and I heard his laugh reverberate around the room.

“Don’t keep me waiting,” he called out as I entered the bathroom, and I just grinned.

He’s gonna be fine. I know he’s going to be.