3 years ago
After all of that.
The secrets kept.
The promises made.
All that he had done for her.
Mike pushed his thumb and index finger into his eye sockets and breathed against the pain. The physicality of the burn in his eyes was nothing compared to the soul pulverizing drum of his pulse roaring in his ears.
The darkness was smothering. Or maybe that was his own thankless breath that was killing him. His chest was heavy. Like someone had filled the empty spaces between his ribs with lead. It was dragging, pulling him forward. He hunched over his legs, letting go of his face and allowing his head to hang unseeingly towards the floor.
It was still too easy to breathe. He tried to squeeze the air from his lungs, wondering at the brown edges around his vision. Wondering if he could follow the pattern and figure out it's path.
He jolted from his position when he heard someone walking down the hall.
He stood slowly, listening for an indication of identity.
The suite he occupied was massive, plush, beautiful. He had gotten it for her. Just like the spray of blue cornflowers on the table by the entry. Gifts. Distractions. Things to fill the void that threatened to swallow them—him—whole. He'd known he was grasping, scraping desperately at the fabric of his sanity. Or what was left of it.
It didn't matter what gifts he threw at her, the words he promised, the images he pretended weren't there. None of it mattered.
Nothing was the same.
His heart stuttered briefly and he wondered if maybe it wouldn't restart. That would be okay, he decided. But then it continued beating and he moved his attention back to the sounds in the hallway.
A soft feminine laugh rippled through him, and, like an undertow, he was pulled unwillingly to the door. The knob felt cold as he acknowledged the easy way it fit in his hand, the lack of resistance it gave him as he opened the door. Like it had conspired with the universe to bring him to this moment.
The hall opened up before him and his heart did the stutter again. Just as the door across the hall from him was falling closed on Ilsa's long porcelain legs, black skirt swishing just above her knee, her elegant figure hooked around the waist by a man's arm. Her elongated neck highlighted by the short and flirty cut of her iridescent blonde hair tilted to the side as her head rested on the shoulder of...
They'd talked about this yesterday. At least, Mike was pretty sure it was yesterday. He'd lost track of time when it had all happened. And there wasn't a whole lot of talking. It was mostly Ilsa crying and explaining, Mike realizing too late what she was saying. Something about him being different. Or was it distant? He remembered thinking how odd that one moment, one breath—or lack thereof, could alter their lives so intensely.
Then she'd left.
He knew she wasn't coming back. Somewhere in his center, he just knew that it was well and truly over.
Hadn't it been over already, though? Hadn't he felt the distance for weeks, maybe even months? Hadn't he seen her talking and laughing with Sway? Laughing.
God, he loved her laugh. He was going to miss that.
The final moments, the death rattle of their love (in a very literal sense now) came suddenly but not unexpectedly. They'd been decaying for weeks. She'd finally put it to rest with her broken words falling from her chapped lips.
He must have stood in the hall for several minutes. He wasn't sure. But he knew he had to do something.
She was gone. And with his band mate—his brother—no less.
Mike wasn't capable of living with that. Not an overly morose person, this feeling of utter devastation and loss was foreign to him. Yes, he'd been broken up with before; yes, he'd experienced the pain of a relationship tearing apart like flesh ripping from bone. But something about this moment was different. Something darker and far more lethal was threatening to take over his mind.
His thoughts skittered to the obvious solution. Though Ilsa had claimed that his recreational substance use was what had pushed her into Sway's arms, he now saw them as his only outlet. His only source of control in this unfair and unpredictable world.
He wasn't an idiot. He knew it wasn't his friend. He knew the risk. But didn't all reward come with risk? He most definitely was acquainted with the reward. The bliss of darkness, of calm. Like crashing into a giant pillow and finding sleep.
He hadn't slept in a week. How could he? All he saw was the accusing eyes of the hospital staff. All he heard was the abundance of heartbeats in his own chest and the lack of them in another.
His door slammed shut on his right. He looked at it briefly, then slid his phone out of his pocket, texting his contact on the crew who would no doubt get him exactly what he needed.
He needed to think. He could figure out how to be okay with all of this if he could just find some time to think and plan. This would help. It always helped. Made him feel connected to the bigger picture when he was usually so wrapped up inside himself.
Besides, the show wasn't until tomorrow. He had plenty of time.
This would help.
That's all he wanted.
Just a little bit of help.