“I’m sure you’re fine, honey. We are all here for you. Don’t be sad.” Leighanne had said, kissing him gently one afternoon.
“It’s not you guys, everyone’s been great. I just thought that maybe Nick or one of the other fellas would have at least tried to come and visit or checked up on me, that’s all. Do you have my medicine? I need to take it before I have dinner.” Brian asked.
“Sure, it’s on the dresser. I will go and see how your mom is doing with dinner, if she needs any help.” Leighanne replied, hugging him and kissing him on the cheek. Brian had a couple of medications that he took daily, and then one as needed for pain. He had bought a pill organizer for them which they kept in the bedroom on the dresser, and moved it as Brian moved around the house. He was advised to keep moving around and not stay in bed, although most days all he felt like doing was sleeping. He chalked that up to the depression that was slowly taking over. He hated feeling like this but there was nothing that seemed to help it. He tried meditation and everything else that was recommended but he still felt empty. Part of him wondered if it was performing that he missed, being out on the road and seeing his fans...seeing the other guys in the group who he’d spent the last few years on the road with. They were like his family.
Brian slowly walked into the bedroom and bumped into the dresser, knocking over Leighanne’s purse and the box containing his medication. He picked up the medication first, luckily none of his pills had spilled out. However, when he went to grab the purse something caught his eye. A blue envelope with his name in Nick’s handwriting, he would recognize Nick’s sloppy scrawl anywhere. Looking to make sure Leighane wasn’t coming, he set the purse down and took the envelope with him over to the bed. He sat there for a moment, feeling nervous. Why did his girlfriend have a letter from Nick in her purse?
Brian stuffed the letter under his pillow on the bed and stood up slowly when he heard his girlfriend calling from the other room. She stopped in the doorway, noticing that his face was red and he was breathing a bit heavily.
"Dinner is ready. Is everything okay?" Leighanne asked in concern.
"Yeah, everything's fine. I was just sitting down for a minute to do my calf exercises. I'm coming now." Brian lied.
All the way through dinner, Brian thought about the letter. How would Leighanne had gotten it? This raised so many questions. The letter had no address on it or stamps, meaning she had to get it in person. He knew he had to read it because it was all he thought about all evening even after he'd gotten ready for bed. It was under his pillow, taunting him. Leighanne was asleep next to him, and she didn't stir when he got up to reach for the letter under the pillow. He tiptoed softly to the bathroom, locked the door behind him and sat on the toilet seat, staring at the letter he held in his shaky hands. He tore it open and took a breath, opening his eyes again to read it.
I’m sure you are wondering why I wrote you a letter instead of coming to talk to you at the hospital. You need to know the truth. I flew all the way from France to talk to you. Your girlfriend won't let me near you. She's made it clear that she doesn't want me around and you do not need me. I didn’t know how else to get you a message where she won't see it and prevent you from hearing what I have to say.
I know you and I have been through a lot in the last year, and I know half of this is my fault. I want to apologize. I am sorry if I ever made you feel like you didn’t belong. I’m sorry if I ever made you feel like you were any less than normal, or made you have anxiety because you didn’t know how to feel or what to think. I’m sorry that I made you start looking at yourself and start searching for answers. I’m sorry that I made you feel like I feel. Believe me, I am going through it too, more than you know. One day, I will tell you everything...the full story. I just wish I was strong enough to do it now. I wish I was strong enough for both of us.
I know you think I'm trying to make you be like me. I know you don't love me. I know we won't be together. None of that matters to me. All that matters is that you are happy. You won't be happy if you stay with Leighanne Wallace. I don't care about anything else. I want you to be happy with yourself and be able to look at yourself and love yourself. I know that is scary to think about because believe me, I'm going through it too. It scares me too. I don't love myself, and I’m not happy- but the closest I have ever come to feeling love is when I am with you. When we are alone together, talking until we fall asleep. I know this might be a surprise to you because you always say that you wish you were half as comfortable as I am, but the truth is that I'm terrified. Admitting to myself what I want scares the crap out of me. I may not love myself, Brian- but I know one thing-
I love you.
“Brian, are you in there?”
Brian almost jumped out of his skin when he heard the doorknob jiggle.
“Y-yes. I’m in here.”
“Are you okay? It sounded like you were crying. Why is the door locked?” Leighanne asked from the other side of the door. She sounded very worried. Brian realized he indeed had been crying while reading Nick’s letter. He quickly wiped his eyes then washed his face in the sink. He put the letter in the pocket of his pajama pants.
“I’m fine, baby. Go back to bed, I’ll be there in a minute.” Brian sniffled, drying his face with a towel that was on the counter. He heard Leighanne’s footsteps going away from the bathroom door and heard her get back into bed. Standing in the bathroom and looking at himself in the mirror, he was becoming angry at the fact that Leighanne had purposefully kept Nick from visiting him. She had kept his friends from finding out if he was okay, and here she was putting on an act. How long had she been doing this for was the question now. Was she ever fully honest with him? He wanted to burst through the bathroom door and tell her off right then and there. He was all ready to do so, but something made him stop and think.
It suddenly dawned on Brian that he hadn’t exactly been honest with her either. Nick had been right in telling him to tell her the truth. He'd been lying to Nick and lying to Leighanne, lying to himself and it was all catching up to him. His chest started hurting because he made himself upset.
Walking out of the bathroom, he took some pain medication and went over to the bed. He was tired. Confronting Leighanne would have to wait until morning.
“Good morning, sweetheart. How are you feeling today?” Leighanne asked, helping Brian get his breakfast. He sat at the table, thinking about the letter in his pocket. It had been on his mind since he woke up.
“I’m fine, but I need to talk to you about something.”
“Sure, what is it?”
“When were you going to give me this?” Brian asked, holding up the letter. Leighanne almost dropped the plate of food she was holding and her face paled. Brian could tell she was quickly coming up with a lie.
“Tell me the truth.”
“Wh-where did you get that?” Leighanne stammered. Her eyes gave away that she was panicking.
“It doesn’t matter where I got it. Why have you been keeping Nick from visiting me? Have any of my other friends tried to visit or talk to me? How long has this been going on?” Brian demanded. He was trying not to lose his temper because he knew that he had to keep his emotions in check.
“I was just looking out for you. You told me that you and Nick had that fight and I didn’t want him to upset you by coming here. You have to watch your blood pressure and stress.” Leighanne said almost a little too calmly. She was right about that but it didn’t matter.
“Leigh, don’t start that crap. What is your problem with Nick? Tell me the truth.” Brian asked, as she set the food in front of him and sat down next to him at the kitchen table.
“I saw you kissing him. I'm not stupid, I put two and two together and I was afraid you would leave me. You've been lying to me, Brian. Why am I not enough? Why didn't you tell me you were cheating on me?" she asked, her eyes watering.
"Don't put this all on me. I was trying to figure things out…"
"You still cheated on me. I don't blame you, I blame Nick. Nick is the one with the problem. Nick made you do all of that. He pushed his abnormality on you. That's why I was willing to be with you, because it's obvious that you're confused and he manipulated you."
"Manipulated? You mean like you're doing to me now? Did you ever love me? Or am I just a prize to you because you chased him away?" Brian asked, still trying to stay calm.
"I don't want to do this right now." Leighanne said, rubbing her temples.
"Me either. You need to go." Brian told her as he tried desperately not to make eye contact.
"You need to go. You need to leave. This is just not going to work, Leigh. I need to figure some things out, and I can't do that if I stay with you.This relationship is holding me back."
"So you're dumping me for him? Are you in love with him or something?" Leighanne spat at him.
"Yes. I think….I think I am. I'm-I'm in love." Brian smiled, feeling a new wave of emotions washing over him. It felt so strange to say it out loud but that was how he felt. He loved Nick. That was what was missing. He was missing his other half. Without Nick he felt empty.
"I love him. That's why I've been feeling so down on myself. I miss him."
"I can't believe this!" Leighanne shouted, storming out of the kitchen. She ranted something about him regretting what he was doing and that he was making a huge mistake, but Brian didn't hear her. His breakfast had long gone cold but he didn't care.
Leighanne ended up leaving before lunchtime with her suitcases all packed, without saying goodbye. Brian smiled as he watched her from the bedroom window getting into the taxi for the airport. For the first time in a while, things were definitely looking brighter.