If you haven't read the previous installments, here's what's going on:
Cassidy is the least singer of a band called the Damage. They're on a summer tour promoting their first album and having a great time. They played a show and met some fans, and as they were heading back to their bus, a fan stopped Cassidy and said that she hooked up with Sebastian (Cassidy's boyfriend, the guitar player in the band) at a previous show. Cassidy isn't sure what to think.
The van ride to our hotel room was difficult. I didn’t want to sit by Sebastian. I didn’t want to look at him or talk to him. But at the same time, I wanted him to verify in some way that what that girl said to me was untrue – that he loves me as much as ever and there is no way he could have done something like that to me.
I ended up sitting by Circe in the back of the van – in all not too strange of a decision, but I didn’t talk for the entire drive – that’s strange for me. Sebastian didn’t notice; he was leaning forward in his seat the row ahead of mine and was talking to Danny and Christian. Circe noticed. After ten minutes of trying to engage in conversation, she gave up. Or at least that’s what I assumed because she grabbed her phone from her pocket and started texting someone.
I stared out the window. We could not get to the hotel fast enough. I did not want to have to look at Sebastian right now.
The boys unloaded the necessary equipment from the van as soon as we pulled up to our hotel. I lingered behind.
“Is everything okay?” Circe whispered. “You’re acting weird.”
I shrugged. “It’s just been a weird afternoon.”
“And?” She prodded.
“I don’t want to talk about it.” I slid out of the van and grabbed my bag.
If all went well I could escape into the shower or a bed and not talk to anyone until this entire situation was magically resolved. I knew that was not going to happen. The second Sebastian saw that I was upset he would want to know why.
I followed our caravan of stuff up to our suite. Whenever we got to stay in a hotel, which wasn’t often, we got a suite so all of us could stay together and have a bed. We always rotated who got to have a bed to themselves, but I typically shared with Sebastian.
The second we got in the door Danny dove onto one of the beds and yelled, “claimed it!”
Christian set his stuff down on the other side of the bed. “I call first shower!”
And then there were three.
“Do you want in here with them or the fold-out?” Sebastian asked me.
I still couldn’t look at him. “I’d actually rather share with Circe tonight.”
Four sets of eyes stared at me. Aside from when it was either my or Sebastian’s turn to sleep alone, I never gave up my spot with him.
“Okay?” Sebastian seemed confused.
“Fold-out?” Circe suggested. I was grateful that she didn’t pry.
I didn’t look at the rest of the band. I simply nodded and put myself down there. I could feel eyes on me and I could hear whispers but I didn’t want to think about it yet. I couldn’t say the words. It was killing me, but I couldn’t admit it yet. Avoiding it meant that there was still a chance it wasn’t true.
Sebastian touched me on the shoulder. “Is everything okay?”
I let out a breath. I wouldn’t be able to keep everything inside any longer. “Not really.” I still didn’t want to look at him. A part of me knew it was true – people didn’t lie about stuff like this – I just didn’t want it to be true. I didn’t want to hear him say it.
“Is there anything you want to tell me?” I tried. That’s what people in movies usually said in situations such as these. It seemed like a good a place as any to start. I was lost enough.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He actually sounded sincere.
I allowed myself one last vane hope that all of this was some huge misunderstanding. I was hoping the rest of the band was unpacking or showering or something and wasn’t listening in on this conversation, but I knew that wasn’t the case. I’m sure they were all curious about why I was acting this way and why I was being so icy towards Sebastian when everything was fine only a few hours ago.
I could feel a lump forming in my throat as I forced myself to say the words out loud. “Can you explain to me why a girl came up to me after the meet-and-greet and told me that she hooked up with you while we were in Florida last month? Last time I checked, we were still dating then, so I don’t really understand why you would sleep with someone else.”
The hotel was silent. That whole notion of being able to hear a pin drop – that’s for real. I had never heard anything so quiet in my life. Sebastian stared at me while the other three switched their stares from me to Sebastian and then back to me.
“Cassidy,” He said simply.
I closed my eyes. “Just tell me the truth. Did you or did you not cheat on me in Florida? That’s all I need to know.”
The silence returned.
It was true. I could feel it.
The feeling of silence being so profound that it presses all around you – that’s for real too. It was like I was in some sort of compression chamber and the walls were pressing in around me making it difficult to breathe.
The silence was ominous. Dark. Unfriendly. It was nothing good.
“Who told you that?” He finally said, not confirming or denying anything.
“The girl you had sex with,” I said plainly. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Circe put her hand over her mouth in shock.
“Cassidy,” He tried again.
“Just tell me the truth Sebastian. That’s all I’m asking here.”
He let out a long breath. “Okay I did. I slept with her. It was a mistake. I told her that. I told her it meant nothing and that she couldn’t tell anyone. It seriously meant nothing, Cass. I love you.” He tried to reach out and touch my arm, and I recoiled.
“Do not. Touch me.” I was fighting tears. I could not give him that satisfaction. Not yet. “Are you serious right now? Why? Am I suddenly not good enough for you? You needed to seek out another girl and cheat on me? If you didn’t want to be with me anymore, you could have just said so you fucking coward. How dare you. Oh it didn’t mean anything? Thank you that makes me feel so much better. Wow. How kind of you.
“I honestly can’t even stand to look at you right now. Like seriously Sebastian? Seriously?” I couldn’t fight the tears anymore. They poured out faster than I could stop them. “What about me was so unsatisfying? What is so wrong about me?”
“Nothing. Cassidy, I promise. I don’t know why it happened or how it happened. I should have stopped it. You are perfect. I don’t deserve you.”
“How can you do that to someone you say you love?” I asked in a soft voice. “If you really loved me, you wouldn’t have let that happen. Guys flirt with me after shows all of the time. I don’t flirt back. I don’t invite them back to our hotel or go over to their place. I don’t hook up with them.”
“I know. God I know. I know I messed things up. I know I did something wrong. I just didn’t want you to find out because I didn’t want to hurt you. What happened doesn’t even mean anything.”
“It means something to me!” I yelled. “Okay? I’m hurt. I’m pissed off at you. I kind of want to punch you right now because I’m so angry. Stop trying to pass this off as something that isn’t a big deal. It is. Okay? It is. You cheated on me. That is wrong. You don’t cheat on people that you love. Okay? You just don’t.
“How would you feel if you found out I slept with some random I met after a show? You would be pissed. I know you would be pissed. You would have every right to be pissed because I did something wrong. You would probably break up with me because being around me would make you feel physically ill. You would no longer be able to imagine being with me because you wouldn’t be able to get the image of me with someone else out of your head. So stop saying it means nothing. It means everything.”
“Cassidy,” He tried to reach out to me again.
“Stop!” I yelled again. “I don’t want you to touch me! I don’t want you to hold my hand and tell me everything is going to be okay! It’s not! You can’t snap your fingers and fix this.”
“Well then what do you want me to do?” He yelled. “I messed up. I can admit that, okay? I really messed up. And I’m sorry. I am so sorry that I hurt you. I am, Cassidy. So what do I do to make it better?”
“You don’t do anything. I really can’t think of anything you can do. I don’t trust you. I’m not even sure if I love you.”
“So you’re just going to give up then? You’re just going to throw in the towel after all of this time because of one mistake?”
“It was a pretty big mistake, Sebastian.”
“And I want to get past it! I want to be with you!”
“Maybe you should have figured that out sooner.”
“Sebastian, I don’t know what you want me to say. I can’t be in a relationship with someone that I can’t trust. I can’t be in a relationship with someone I can’t stand to look at or touch. I can’t pretend I don’t know what I know. It doesn’t work that way.”
“Cassidy, I’m sorry. Please. We can figure this out.”
“There is nothing to figure out. You cheated on me. End of story. I don’t want to be with you anymore.”
Just like that. After years of being in love and planning our futures – it was over. All of the love and all of the plans and all of the dreams washed away with one simple act.
My up-and-up was over.