They were singing for almost an hour now, so I figured it wouldn't be long until it was over. I checked my phone, but I had no messages or missed phone calls from Thomas.
"Super Friends" was starting and I knew this was the song they usually closed their performances with, so I texted Thomas: "Last song, where are you?".
I hoped he had enough time for himself to cool down. This possessive side of his was new, although when I thought about it, it had been hidden there from the start. He didn't like it when I talked to other guys and he was delighted when I told him that my boss had resigned and I was getting a new boss, a woman this time. All my colleagues were women, so we had an all-female office. And from then on, he stopped going with me on after work drinks. So he has always been a bit jealous I guess. But he was more aggressive this time. He truly scared me a bit.
I had to find him in order to get home. We were in an entirely different part of the country than our hometown so I couldn't call anyone else. We would drive home tonight, but spend the night in a hotel on our way so this trip was in fact a weekend, sort of.
I felt my phone buzz in my pocket, but ignored it because they finished the last song. When they descended the stage, I looked at Thomas' message. "Car".
What did that mean? Was he in the parking lot, waiting in the car? Or was he already on his way home? The panic I felt was quickly replaced with anger.
How dare he treat me like this? He knew how much I loved Starkid and if he couldn't handle my enthusiasm, then screw him! He really needed to curb his jealousy because this was getting out of hand. I answered him: "Thank you for abandoning me." If he really was on his way home, he might feel guilty and come back. Or if he was in the parking lot, he'll come back in. I was not planning on telling him where I was, he could come and find me on his own.
But hey, on the bright side; until then I was completely free! No longer a whining, jealous, grumpy guy who was tailing me.
And that was maybe for the best, because I got to the part of this day where I was looking forward to the most: the signing session. I brought my Starkid sweater so they could all sign it and I was hoping to take pictures with them. Since Thomas was no longer with me, I might be able to chat a bit if I could find the courage to do so.
After the show, I went to stand in line to go to the bathroom. I lost a lot of time there and I was worried I would miss the whole session. And I nearly did, because when I got in line they closed it right behind me. The Starkids took their time with each fan but I didn't mind. I could watch them interact, laugh at stories people told them, the occasional photograph they had to pose for, and I truly had a great time. When it was almost my turn, I took my sweater out of my bag and while I grabbed it, my cell phone fell on the floor. As I picked it up I saw I got a new message from Thomas. "Where are you?"
I rolled my eyes, he always had perfect timing. A part of me was glad that he came back for me, but I caught myself wishing he wouldn't find me… yet.
I tried to think of a good answer, but before I could reply, someone tapped my left shoulder to signal it was my turn. I put my phone back in my bag and went to the left side of the table, where Clark was sitting. He signed my sweater, asked me something about the show but I somehow lost my ability to speak and could only produce the biggest smile ever. He laughed at me and said, "It's been a long day for us too."
I went down the table and let every Starkid sign my sweater, they asked me a ton of questions to try and get me to feel comfortable and after a couple of minutes I found myself chatting away with them. When I got to the end of the table, where Joe and Joey were, I saw Clark and the other Starkids get up from their seats and stretch. They must feel really tired and are probably all ready to go to their hotel.
I handed my sweater to Joe and said to him and Joey, "If you could please just sign it then I'll be on my way. My name is Anna. You all had a very long day and I'm the last one so I don't want to take too much of your time…"
Joe took my sweater and signed the left shoulder on the front, while Joey signed the right shoulder. Joe laughed, "Hey, we love doing this Anna. No worries. Did you have fun today?"
I looked at Joey, to see if he recognized me but he was still busy finishing his autograph, which he apparently took his time for. I didn't want him to start asking questions about Thomas. This was something I had to handle myself.
So I answered Joe with the same smile I gave the other Starkids, but if you knew me, you would see that this time it didn't reach my eyes. "I had the best time. Thank you."
Joey finished his autograph and looked up at me. He tilted his head to the side and I saw he recognized me. Shit…
"Hi!" He smiled that adorable crooked grin at me. "You were that girl I sang for during Sidekick, right?" And while he was talking, I saw something shift in his eyes and his features softened. He remembered what had happened because of that. Double shit.
He was polite enough to not say anything about it, but I wanted to leave as fast as I could before he changed his mind. I thanked them for their time, but when I was almost out the door, someone called my name.
I turned and saw Joe waving towards me, telling me to come back. Did Joey told him what happened?
"Anna, come back. We still have some time left, you want to take a picture with us?" He looked at the other Starkids and they all nodded their heads. Jaime agreed, "Yeah, come on up. You should wear your sweater, you'll fit right in with our blue shirts!"
I walked back towards them and pulled on my sweater, ignoring the pain in my right shoulder. When I was in the bathroom, I had a look at it and noticed it was starting to bruise.
I put my bag down in the corner of the room and went to stand with my idols, the people I had admired for so long. They put me in the middle, with the girls on both sides of me and the guys behind us. Joey stood right after me and when Julia, who was so nice to take the picture, told us to laugh, he put his hands on my shoulders and gave a friendly squeeze. I winced and whimpered before I could help it and tried to pull my right shoulder down.
"Everything okay?" Julia asked.
"Yeah, nothing's wrong. Joey just startled me, that's all," I quickly reacted. Everyone looked at him and yelled his name, he raised his hands in surrender and laughed. But I caught the worried look he shot towards me. That's the last thing I wanted, Joey pitying me.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to," he told the others. When we repositioned to try and take another picture, he put his hands back, but he was much gentler this time around. As if he was afraid that he would break me. We took a couple of photos and after I gave her my e-mail so she could send them to me, Julia said it was time to gather their things in the dressing room and go back to the hotel. I thanked them all for the best day ever and went to grab my own bag. I was stopped by Joey.
"Are you sure you're okay?" he asked softly.
"Yeah, positive. Why wouldn't I be? I got a chance to hang out with you guys!" I said, a little too forced. He didn't buy it.
"Anna, I saw what your friend did to you at our concert this afternoon. It obviously still hurts," he said, while reaching for my shoulder. I stepped back. "See what I mean?" He raised an eyebrow.
"It's just a little sore, that's all. You don't have to feel guilty about it, it was not your fault." I looked behind him and saw the other Starkids leave the room. "You should probably go, I don't want you to be late."
He put his hands in his pockets and sighed. But he didn't leave. It looked like he was debating what to do next. I felt my phone buzzing in my bag… Shit, Thomas!
"I euh… I should go. I have to find my boyfriend before he gets…" I couldn't finish my sentence. What could I say? Worried? That wasn't wat he was lately… Angry, jealous, irritated was more like it.
"That was your boyfriend?" he gasped. "And you're fine with this?" He placed his hands on my arms and bend down a little to get on my level. "Anna, this isn't okay, he should never hurt you, ever!"
At that time, the door to the dressing rooms opened and Lauren's head popped out.
"Hey JoJo! We're waiting for you!" She had a curious look on her face when she saw us, but said nothing.
"You have to go," I said to him. I really wanted to leave because I felt tears stinging in my eyes and the last thing I wanted to do was cry over my boyfriend in front of Joey Richter.
"Okay, but… please, think about what I said."
I nodded and hung my bag over my left shoulder. "Bye, Joey," I said and went towards the exit.
"What?" He asked, spreading his arms. "No hug? I'll be careful with your shoulder this time, I promise."
The dream of many fangirls, and the fangirl in me couldn't resist either.
I went back to him en went into his personal space. The moment his arms went around me, I heard someone yelling…
"What the FUCK do you think you're doing?!"
Thomas… Perfect timing as always.