Bree bit her bottom lip. She turned to Bryce, her boyfriend, the love of her life. Her manager.
It was time for brutal honesty. It seemed like they held disdain for her feelings and thoughts, leaving her needs utterly neglected. Like she was their puppet, their pawn.
She had been acquiescing to what they wanted for years. At first it had made her successful beyond her wildest dreams.
Lately, it had made her into a doormat for their greed. At first, she wanted to make them happy. Then she wanted to avoid confrontation. And lately, she was merely worn out, exhausted. Burnt out.
As she left the stage a few hours earlier, she realized she was drained. She gave of herself to everyone. To Bryce, to her mother, to her fans, to her record label, to the media.
She loved being Aubrey Diamond. She loved performing. She loved music, but she couldn’t keep going. There had to be something more in life. She was ready to be a little more settled.
At the very least, she wanted leisure. To enjoy all her money, the condo she purchased. She had a million song ideas in her head, she wanted to write at least some of the songs for the next album.
She shared her desire to write with her mom and Bryce before. They told her it was a bad idea she was no writer. She could sing her heart out, but she couldn’t write music, therefore she’d never write songs.
She brushed it off at the time. She promised herself when the tour was finished, when they returned home, she’d press the issue. Or just write her damn songs and ignore the naysayers.
She twisted her engagement ring on her finger while she paced the length of the room. Bryce was used to her anxiety, so he looked unaffected as he lounged on her suite’s leather sofa.
She picked up her wine glass and tapped her fingers on it.
“I was thinking, now that we’re getting married next year. After that we would take some time off and move into a house, maybe have a baby or two.”
He sat up and looked at her. That was something. He might be taking her seriously this time. She had brought up babies and settling down a few times with him in the past weeks, since the last leg of her tour started. Hope blossomed in her chest.
“Having a baby takes nine months, Aubrey. And then time to raise it. You’re only twenty-five. The whole world wants you and if you disappear for two years, they are going to find someone else.”
“So what? I don’t really need to ever make another album. We could live nicely off everything we’ve made in the last eight years. I could do a few small tours. I could write my own music.”
“Your own music? Bree, you are a singer. You need to focus on that.”
A pin jabbed into her hope. She wanted to crumple as it deflated inside her. She turned away to hide the tears that threatened her eyes.
“Fuck, I don’t want to focus on singing. I mean, I do want to focus on singing. But I need a new challenge. I feel like a fucking trained monkey, lately. Or a puppet. No one gives a shit about what I think.”
She downed her glass of wine as she paced the room. She stopped at the side table and refilled her glass.
“I think you’ve had enough.”
Bree felt her rage start to replace the hope that he would understand. Or at least that he would take her seriously and listen to her desires. She turned around and stared at him while she gulped half of the wine.
She got very quiet. Was he serious? She wanted to punch him. Right in his beautiful face. Hopefully she would break his nose and it would be crooked for the rest of his life.
Except that she’d end up in jail. There was bad press you could get out from under, but going to jail was something that you never lived down while you were in the spotlight. Even if the bully deserved to be punched.
“Get out,” she said. She kicked her heels off so she could get to the door faster. She hoped they’d hit the wall but she was too far away to get a satisfying thud, they merely skittered across the shiny floor.
Instead she grabbed the door handle and flung the door open, letting it smack into the wall. She cringed, hoping there wasn’t any damage. She’d check later. “Get the fuck out of my room.”
“It’s our room.”
“Not anymore. It’s over, Bryce. You don’t love me. You love Aubrey, the world-famous, rich singer.”
“Aubrey, if you stop being such a drama queen for one second—”
“My name is Bree.” Seeing he wasn’t going to leave, she turned on her heel and went to the bedroom. She slammed the door behind her and locked it.
“I’m going to talk to your mother,” he shouted.
He was going to tell her mommy? That was his big plan to change her mind?
She heard the door open and close. She sat on the bed staring at her purse and small bag of personal items she had at all times. She thought about crawling into bed or the bathtub. All she could think of was her new apartment back home, in one of the most exclusive buildings in Vancouver. Filled with souvenirs from traveling and personally decorated.
She had to get out of here. She could control herself in an argument with Bryce right now. If her mother got into the fray, she might capitulate over again.
If she endured this pace any further she was going to end up drunk at a beauty salon shaving her head. Or with a drug and alcohol problem.
She changed into her most comfortable pair of jeans and sweater.
She scribbled a note, dropping the ring Bryce gave her ontop of the paper. She grabbed her bags and walked out of the hotel room. She went down the backsteps, in case her mother was heading her way.
Outside, she looked up taxi companies on her phone. Her heart pounded as she waited for the car.
Where was she going?
She could try to get a plane to Vancouver, but then Bryce and Donna would hop a plane and follow her. If she took the bus, then she’d have a day at least of solitude. She could use the space to
A yellow car came to a halt. That was fast. She tossed her bags in the car. “Uh the bus station,” she said. “Or actually a hotel near the bus station, I don’t think I’ll get a bus this time of night.”
The driver appraised her in the rear view mirror. “You okay?”
Bree realized she still wore her concert make-up. Which was probably running after her talk with Bryce, since she shed a few tears.
Fuck Bryce. She turned off her cell phone phone tracker as they drove. She had a habit of losing her phone seconds after setting it down. Bryce had installed one of those phone track apps, so they could figure out where exactly she had left it.
After she figured out the bus schedule, she turned her phone off completely. She scheduled a wake-up call with the front desk, and she crawled between the rough sheets.
In a day or so, she would be home, sleeping in her own bed. She would go home and find her serenity.