Hi, Hey, Hello!
Today is my best friend’s birthday and we are spending the day at the Science Museum, drinking cocktails and eating food, which are a few of her favourite things. So in keeping with birthdays and stuff, today’s piece is related to a birthday, kind of…onwards though.
‘Is that not your birthday party going on downstairs?’ Dylan asked as he lightly knocked on the door and looked at where Lizzy was lying on the bed. She tore her gaze away from a spot on the ceiling and flicked over to him as he entered the room.
‘It should be ours. Or we should be in a restaurant somewhere steadily heading towards the destination of being drunk.’ She scoffed and rolled her eyes back up to the ceiling.
‘Meh we’re doing that next month. Why are you up here?’
‘You know I’ve been with Ryan for nearly a decade?’ She asked suddenly as Dylan settled on the empty side of the bed.
‘Yeah I do.’ He looked down at her skeptically.
‘Ten years. I’ve been going home to him for nearly 7. I’ve loved him for nearly 9.’ She continued.
‘Yeah I know. What’s your point?’ He shrugged gently.
‘David is downstairs.’ She flicked her eyes across to him.
‘As in your ex?’ He clarified.
‘Yeah, I don’t know why I’m surprised his Dad is Dad’s best friend.’ Her hand started absent-mindedly tracing the dark lines on her wrist.
‘He’s a big shot lawyer now.’ She smiled weakly and her eyes slipped shut as she took a deep breath.
‘I was gonna do that you know? In the early hours of the morning when we were both a little tipsy and tired we talked about how we were gonna be the best damn lawyers ever and then go home to our fancy London penthouse and gloat.’ She laughed humourlessly and her hand stilled momentarily.
‘You would be a terrible lawyer Liz.’
‘At 19, I didn’t think so.’ Her eyes opened and she fixed her gaze on Dylan pointedly.
‘Okay, why are you bringing this up?’ He settled onto his back and focused on the sole remaining glow in the dark star on the ceiling.
‘I was talking to him like a half hour ago and he said he was glad I found someone who could open the right door for me in that “silly writing thing I do”.’ Her words sounded wet and stuck in her throat.
‘So, he was always an idiot.’
‘You know 3 weeks after Ryan flippantly mentioned that I’m always writing, a book agent finally got in contact with me and I signed my book deal?’ She dropped her head to the side to look at Dylan’s face and her hand started stroking again.
‘No, don’t you dare.’ Dylan pushed himself up quickly and stared down at her profile.
‘Don’t what?’ She cast her glance upwards.
‘Don’t you dare belittle everything you’ve achieved over the past 7 years.’ He said harshly.
‘You have to admit, it came at a pretty convenient time.’ She closed her eyes again.
‘A pure coincidence. If it had been in direct correlation with a flippant comment he made than it probably would have happened sooner.’
‘Not necessarily. I might have cottoned on and refused then.’ She replied easily.
‘It had nothing to do with him.’
‘But what if it did? What if my entire career stemmed from the fact that I was publicly fucking the “it” boy at the time?’ Her voice raised and she pushed herself up, crossed her legs and faced Dylan directly.
‘Then you would have fizzled without a trace.’ He tried quietly.
‘You don’t know that.’ Her voice broke.
‘Yes I do.’
‘How?!’ She asked wetly.
‘Because if he really thought you’d used him to get a book deal he wouldn’t still be around. Think about it. When you first met he was terrified that you were going to sell a story and then he realised that you didn’t care so he let you in, knowing if you hadn’t had tried then then you probably weren’t ever going to. You then worked your ass off to get your Masters and fell straight into that first book and worked even harder, which I honestly didn’t know was possible. You sent out letters to agents and you worked. So hard. And he let you. He supported you working for it completely. He mentioned what you wanted to do once and it happened to be around the time that things fell into place. He intentionally only mentioned it once and even that was an accident.’
‘How do you know that?’ She whispered.
‘He told me. He didn’t want you thinking it was because of him that it all worked out, he never would have forgiven himself for that, but think about it Liz, he mentioned you after you went public, sure, but he only ever called you Elizabeth publicly. By some force or another you were only given Mum’s maiden name in the media. You were almost a completely different person to the one that existed in letters to agents and to the rest of the world. You didn’t use him and he never tried to give you anything you didn’t work for.’
‘Right now I can’t help but think I kind of did.’
‘He has been with you for 10 years, loved you for 9, gone home to you 7. He has kept your laptop charged, the snack cupboard full, the coffee aplenty, the notebooks and pens always at hand. He has listened to you reel off story ideas and let you bounce character traits off him. He has made sure you sleep and helped you out of writing slumps. He has held your hand for two film premieres where you name is proudly displayed under the words “screenplay by”. He has accepted that you and the word “break” don’t really mesh well. He is the person whose opinion you hold out for, even if it’s the last, with every proof copy you send out to us. He sees just how hard you work day in, day out and the only thing he is guilty of in terms of your career is supporting you unconditionally. I know you Liz and I know that if he hadn’t been there you would still be sat here having achieved what you have because you earned it.’
‘No I wouldn’t.’ She sniffed after a short silence.
‘Liz.’ He pleaded but she shook her head and scrubbed a hand across her nose.
‘No, I just mean you’re right. Having his support is everything, it makes this all easier, knowing he’s there to catch me when I fall. I would probably have crashed and burned without him.’
‘You’re the same for him you know. And David is an idiot.’
‘He broke up with me because my head was always in the clouds or some shit like that.’ Her voice was full of badly masked disgust.
‘That’s because he has to be super practical all the time, it’s the lawyer in him.’
‘He wasn’t one at the time.’ She pointed out.
‘But he always wanted to be one. That was his end goal.’
‘He’s married with a kid now. He’s all settled in a stupidly large but family friendly house and his wife is a stay-at-home-mum.’ She twisted and lay back down on the bed.
‘Like I said that was his end goal. It could never be yours.’ He mirrored her position.
‘You know there was a time where I could picture him on the Front Porch.’
‘And?’ He dropped his head to look at Lizzy’s profile.
‘Well it was all messed up back then because Lola wasn’t there, but something always felt a little off. It doesn’t now.’
‘Well duh.’ His head turned back to the ceiling.
‘God I am such an idiot.’ She laughed wetly and shook her head.
‘Nah you’re just freaking out about this 7 years later than I thought you would.’
‘You really thought so?’ Her head turned to look at him as did his.
‘I was prepared and everything. My argument is stronger now than it would have been then.’ He smiled.
‘I suppose I should go back to my party now?’
‘It might be an idea. You can rub your relationship in his face.’ He joked.
‘He seems pretty happy you know.’
‘Oh he probably is, but just think how weird It must me to see your ex-girlfriend be a worldwide best-selling novelist, have two films be box office hits and have her dating an actual pop-star who looks at her like she hung the moon when you told her more than once that she wasn’t going to get very far if she put all her faith in a pen and some paper.’
‘Very true.’ They both laughed as a figure appeared in the doorway.
‘Oh hey, there you two are. Everything okay?’ Ryan said as he smiled at them both.
‘Yeah I think so.’ Dylan looked at Lizzy and she pushed herself up to look at Ryan where he was propped up by the door frame. She focused on him fiercely and said,
‘I love you.’
‘You too.’ He smiled fondly as his eyes danced with confusion and love.
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