"Let her take a cab," Nick replied coldly, staring down at his Gameboy.
"Don't you want to know that she gets there okay?" Brian asked, his eyebrows knitting in concern.
"I really don't give a damn," Nick said. He turned off the Gameboy and rolled over so that he was back-to Brian, his chest rising and falling as he breathed.
Brian hesitated, "Well... I'm going to walk her down to the lobby at least."
"Whatever," Nick said.
Brian frowned and closed Nick's door just as Amanda came out of Brian's room. The duffle bag was slung over her shoulder, and she held out the money to Brian. "I don't want your money," she whispered.
He looked at it, and counted off three hundred. "At least let me pay for the plane," he said, handing the wad to her.
Amanda shook her head, "I'll charge it on my company card," she answered, "I'm not a whore." Her voice was shaking, and she wasn't sure she believed her words herself. She felt tears threatening her eyes.
Brian's arms were gentle around Amanda's shoulders as he walked with her to the elevator. They were silent. The scenario playing and replaying in both their minds. Nick's livid face, the glow of his eyes, the sound of the wall breaking... When the elevator door opened, they walked across the lobby slowly. Each step made Amanda's eyes and throat burn with more emotion. She couldn't believe this was it.
When they got to the door, she spotted a cab waiting out front. Brian had called for her. Amanda looked up into his gentle blue eyes, and realized she couldn't speak to say any words. She wondered if she'd ever see him again, and realized just as quickly as the thought went through her mind that no, she probably wouldn't. He was staying in Georgia to die.
"Brian, I-" she gasped.
"Shh," he said. He held out a piece of paper with his cell phone number on it. "When you get back to Los Angeles, call me and let me know that you made it there safely, okay?" Amanda nodded. Brian forced a smile, but she could tell it was hard. His eyes, too, were starting to mist. "I'm sorry," he said, "That it had to end like this." He stuffed his hands into his pockets.
"I'm sorrier," she whispered. "But I got nothing less than what I deserved. In fact, he went too easy on me."
Brian didn't answer. It wasn't a statement he could either confirm or deny. It was just a fact, something that they both knew. He sighed, "I called and there's a flight that leaves in three hours for Los Angeles," he said slowly, "It's a United."
"Thank you Brian," she said.
Brian reached out his arms and wrapped them around her softly one more time. He could feel tears falling from her face onto his neck, and she shook as she started crying.
"I don't know how to say good bye to you," she whispered.
Brian shook his head, "So don't say good bye, just... see ya later... or 'gotta go'." He sang the last part as he often did in interviews, but his voice broke just a little.
Amanda felt her heart swell as he did his familiar little sing-song voice, "But, I'll probably never see you again," she whispered.
He squeezed her extra tight. "Look me up in Heaven." Amanda's tears flowed even harder at this. She didn't want to break the hug, but she felt his arms loosen, felt him back away. "You're gonna miss your flight," he said.
Amanda nodded, numbly, and turned, stumbling toward the cab. Her feet felt like cement, her head a lead balloon. She opened the door to the cab and threw her duffle bag inside on the passenger seat before climbing in herself. "Where to?" the cab asked.
"Airport," she answered.
Amanda unrolled her window to stare at Brian. He was standing there, hands balled into fists, staring back. He looked so small, and pale. Amanda noticed for the first time that he did actually look like he was sick.
As the car started to move, she quickly cupped her hands to her mouth, "Did you find it?" she yelled.
"Find what?" he asked.
But the cab had moved too quickly, and whatever he had yelled for an answer was drowned out by the sound of the engine and the rushing air.
Brian let himself back into the hotel room and found Nick sitting on a chair looking out a window onto the parking lot. The spot where Brian and Amanda had been standing was below there, and Brian had a feeling Nick had watched them saying good bye.
"Are you okay?" Brian asked carefully.
Nick turned to look at Brian, his face was red and tears were pouring across his face. Nick so rarely cried that the sight rebroke Brian's heart for about the millionth time in the last twenty-four hours. Nick shook his head slowly.
Brian sighed and walked over, pulling up a chair beside Nick's.