I sat in my black Range Rover and watched as Seth sped off down the road with Caitlin in his passenger seat.
I sighed to myself as I drove off in the opposite direction.
How could I have even allowed myself to believe that she’d come back to me? I should’ve known that she would have already moved on.
I parked my car and locked it before entering the hotel.
I boarded the elevator and couldn’t help noticing the excited whispers coming from the two teenage girls behind me.
I glanced at them and realized they must be twins.
“Hey,” I said.
“Hi, Justin!” They giggled in unison. “Can we have your autograph?”
They both held out a Sharpie and their cell phones.
“Sure.” I smiled.
I signed both of their phones just as the elevator reached my level.
“Here you go, girls. It was nice meeting both of you.”
“Thanks! It was nice meeting you too.” They said at the same time again.
I smiled at them and began to step off the elevator when I felt myself being pulled back.
“Can we get your picture first?” they asked.
“Uh,” I paused unsure. I was kind of ready to get back to my room. “Sure.”
“Yeah!” They cheered.
They took picture after picture as we kept riding the elevator up and down.
I was beginning to get a little ticked off.
Once we reached my floor for the 3rd time, I finally spoke.
“Okay, girls. No more pictures.” I said.
“Just one more!”
I pulled away from them and stepped off the elevator.
I loved my fans, but sometimes they were a bit overbearing.
I walked down the hallway until I reached my hotel room.
I slid my key into the slot and opened the door to reveal my mom sitting on the couch kissing a guy.
The sight made me feel as if I was about to puke, on top of that, I hated the thought of any guy breaking my mom’s heart.
I cleared my throat loudly.
My mom and they mystery guy pulled away from each other startled.
“Justin!” My mom said, surprised. “What are you doing here so early?”
“Who are you?” I asked, ignoring my mother and turning my attention towards the dude who’d had his tongue down my mother’s throat.
“I’m Kevin Allen. Nice to meet you.” he said extending his hand towards me.
I crossed my arms.
“What do you do for a living?” I questioned looking him over.
“I’m a Pediatrician during the day and a youth pastor at night.”
“Really?” I asked.
Uh. Huh. Likely story.
“Actually, I use to teach your Sunday School.”
After he said that, I remembered him. He’d been my favorite Sunday School teacher.
“Well, maybe you should go work on lesson plans or something.”
“Justin!” My mom scolded.
“No, no. It’s alright.” Kevin said. “It’s getting late anyway. I’ll see you around, Justin.”
I stared at him.
I didn’t care how ‘understanding’ he was. I just wanted him to stay far away from my mother.
“Bye Pattie. I’ll call you tomorrow.” he winked at my mother.
I watched as she blushed like a 15 year old on her first date.
I could tell Kevin wanted to kiss her, but my death glare caused him not to.
He left out of the hotel room and closed the door behind him.
The minute the door shut, my mom came unglued.
“Justin, how dare you behave that way? That was absolutely disrespectful and totally uncalled for!”
“Well, I’m sorry for caring.” I muttered, marching into my adjacent suite.
I heard the sound of my mom sighing.
“Justin,” she said following me. “Look, I know that had to be awkward for you and I should have told you, but Kevin and I have known each other for years. We considered dating before, but you were younger and I knew you probably wouldn’t like the idea of me dating.”
“I don’t like it now either.” I mumbled.
My mom sat down on the hotel bed.
“This isn’t just about me dating, is it?”
“Sometimes I just wish I could go back to before the fame.” I admitted.
“What makes you say that?” she asked.
“I don’t know. Sometimes it’s just gets to be a bit much.” I sighed.
“That’s why I thought it’d be a good idea to come up here and take a little break from all the madness.”
“Yeah.” I agreed.
“How’d Caitlin’s party go?”
“Fine, I guess. She seemed to enjoy herself.” I said. “And her boyfriend’s infatuated with her.”
“I’m sorry, Justin.” My mom said giving me a sympathetic smile.
“No, no.” I said. “It’s good, she deserves a good guy who’s going to take care of her and be there for her. I know I can’t do that and be a pop star.”
I sat cowering in a corner of Seth’s bathroom while he beat on the door.
“Cate, if you don’t get your ass out here right now, I’m gonna beat the crap out of you. You understand me, damnit?” he yelled.
Tears streamed down my face. I never pictured myself as the kind of girl who’d be in this situation.
I have a loving, supportive family and great friends.
Yet, I couldn’t tell them that I was terrified of my boyfriend because he abused me.
“Alright, that’s it. I’m coming in.” he announced gruffly.
I gulped as I heard the sound of the door unlocking.
Seth whipped the door open and stumbled into the room with a beer bottle in his hand.
“Just what did you think you were doing locking yourself up in here? Did you think you’d hide away and then leave once I’d fallen asleep? Huh?” he asked, screaming.
“Answer me, bitch!”
He threw the beer bottle on the tile floor causing it to shatter into a million little pieces.
“I just want to go home.” I whined.
“I promised you we’d have a romantic night and that’s what we’re going to do.”
He pulled his shirt up and over his head.
I felt my heart begin to pound in my chest.
I knew what was coming.
I stood up off the floor and backed away from him until I ran into the wall.
Seth’s eyes were filled with lust as he walked towards me.
“Seth, please.” I begged. “I, I’m still sore from earlier.”
“Well, you won’t try and fight me, will you?” he smirked coming towards me.
He pulled my shirt over my head as I cried.
“You know you want this. You love me.” he said, the heavy stench of beer on his breath made me nauseous.
“Seth please, please.”
My body shook as he ignored me and unbuttoned my jeans.
He pulled them off of me before undressing himself until he was only in his boxers.
He began to run his fingers over my body squeezing and touching me forcefully.
“Let’s make this interesting.” He said smacking my hips as he turned on the shower water.
He unlatched my bra’s clasp and pulled my underwear down.
He ran his hands over my naked body gruffly.
He took off his boxers and threw me into the shower.
“Happy birthday, baby.” Seth winked at me as he dropped me off at my house.
He placed a forced kiss on my lips.
I didn’t say anything. I climbed out of his car feeling sick as I made my way to the front door. I could barely walk.
Luckily all the lights were off meaning my parents and brother were all asleep.
My parents were like that they were one of those ‘enjoy life while you can’ type of people.
I always contributed it to the fact that they’d been in a near-fatal car accident the day before their wedding.
They’d both realized that life is like a vapor in the wind and you should live it to the fullest.
It was nice in some ways, but when it came to a boyfriend who’d rape me twice on my birthday, I’d rather have super-strict parents who made sure I was home by a decent hour.
I went into the house and opening the freezer, I took out one of the ice packs that Christian used for the bruises he got playing ice hockey.
I went up to my room, wincing with every step.
I slid out of my clothes and placed the ice pack between my legs.
It was really cold, but it felt good against my bruises.
I went over to my closet and slid on an over-sized t-shirt.
I climbed into my bed and bawled.
I ached from head to toe and for all I knew, Seth would beat me again tomorrow.
It was a vicious cycle with no signs of ceasing.
I cried myself to sleep.
The next morning, I awoke to the sound of my mom on the phone.
She was giggling, so I assumed she was talking to Kevin.
I took a quick shower and put on a red hoodie with white skinny jeans.
I ate some of the fruit and french toast that had been provided my room service, told my mom good-bye and climbed into my Range Rover.
I pulled out my cell phone and dialed Christian’s number.
“Hey, Biebs.” Christian answered.
“Hey. Are we still on for today?” I questioned.
“Yeah, man. C’mon over.”
“Alright. I’m on my way. See ya in a few.” I said.
I hung up the phone and drove up the familiar streets of Stratford.
I spotted the bakery, Grandma’s Goodies and I pulled over.
When we’d lived here in Canada, Grandma’s Goodies had been one of my favorite places. My mom would always take me to get a doughnut or cinnamon roll whenever we had a little extra money.
I parked my car and climbed out.
I went opened the store’s door and I heard the sound of the door chimes ringing announcing my arrival.
The sweet scent of cinnamon rolls and other sweets filled my nostrils.
I breathed in deeply my mouth watering.
“Justin!” smiled Mrs. Jones, the store owner’s daughter-in-law. “How are you?”
“I’m good. How are you?” I asked.
“Just fine. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you, well, in person that is. I’ve watched you on t.v. and the internet many times.” she chuckled.
“What do you have that’s been freshly baked today?” I asked.
“Well, these cinnamon rolls just came out the oven.” she said.
I licked my lips in anticipation of the sugary treats touching my tongue.
“I’d like a dozen, please.” I said.
“A dozen, it is.” she smiled. “That’ll be five dollars.”
I handed her the cash and she handed me the box of pastries.
“Will I see you at church tomorrow?” Mrs. Jones asked.
“Probably.” I said nodding.
“Okay, see you then. Bye.” she smiled.
I took the box back out to my car and sat it on the passenger seat.
I started the car and pulled into the Beadles’ driveway.
I grabbed the box and climbed out of my car.
I walked up the porch steps and rang the doorbell.
My heart pounded slightly in hopes that I’d get to spend some time with Caitlin today.
The door opened to reveal Christian.
“Hey, Justin!” He said. “C’mon in.”
“Hey,” I smiled.
“Is that what I think it is?” he questioned, gesturing towards the white box.
“I drove by the place and I just couldn’t resist.”
“I know what you mean.” he said before running into the kitchen. “Mom, guess what? Justin brought cinnamon rolls!”
I followed him into the kitchen where Mrs. Beadles was busy wiping down the counter-tops.
“That was very thoughtful of him.” She smiled warmly as she turned towards me. “ Hello Justin. How are you?”
“I’m good. How are you?”
“I’m doing great. Thanks so much for coming up with the idea of throwing Caitlin a surprise party, I really appreciate it.”
“Oh, it was no problem.”
“How long are you going to be in town?”
“I really don’t know. My mom decided that we needed to take an extended break. So that we can refocus and look at my career again through a new set of eyes. We were so overwhelmed we were starting to lose sight of the whole purpose that we left and moved to Atlanta.” I said. “It was no longer me just living out my dreams; it was all about politics and no one wants that.”
Mrs. Beadles nodded sympathetically.
“Well, we’re all glad to have you around for a little while. It feels like old times.” she said a little teary-eyed.
“Mom,” Christian groaned. “Please don’t start that again.”
Mrs. Beadles dabbed her eyes.
“Sorry. Christian, your father and I are going to be at the church for a few hours.” She said. “So behave and Caitlin and Justin are in charge. Call us if you need us.”
“Okay.” he said.
“I’ll see you later, Justin and tell your mom I said ‘hi’.” Mrs. Beadles said.
“I will.” I smiled.
Christian pulled out two plates and glasses.
He poured us each some milk and we sat down at the table with the cinnamon rolls.
We talked for awhile catching up and sharing stupid jokes.
“So,” I said, clearing my throat and swallowing. “Is Caitlin here?”
“Yeah, she’s in her room sleeping, why?” Christian asked.
“Really?” he asked a knowing look on his face.
“Dude, you’ve got it bad.” Christian said shaking his head.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You’re such a liar.”
“Even if you are right it doesn’t matter, she seems perfectly happy with Seth.” I said. “She is happy with him, isn’t she?”
“I guess so.” Christian said. “But I don’t spend time interrogating my sister about her love life. In fact, it grosses me out. It took me awhile to get over the fact that you’ve kissed her.”
Christian stuck his tongue out.
“Yeah, it’s okay. Let’s play on my Wii.” he suggested.
“Yes!” I cheered.
“I can’t believe that!” Christian stared at the t.v. screen in disbelief.
“Read it and weep!” I laughed.
Christian sat on the couch with his arms crossed while I did my victory dance.
I’d beat him on Mario Kart five times in a row.
“Shut up, Justin.” Christian said, tossing his remote on the couch.
I simply chuckled.
The sound of the doorbell ringing sounded through the whole house.
“Can somebody get that?” Caitlin called.
It was the first sign I’d seen or heard of her even being in the house.
“No, you get it.” Christian yelled back.
“Ugh,” Caitlin sighed I watched as she stiffly walked down the stairs.
“This time, I’m gonna win.” Christian said, setting up another game.
“Oh no, you’re not.”
I glanced at Justin who was sitting on the couch playing some video game with Christian.
I bit my lip.
I wanted to hang out with him, but if Seth found out, I’d be dead and he ALWAYS had a way of finding out whenever I ‘disobeyed’ him.
I opened the front door to reveal some guy with a giant bouquet of daisies.
“Are you Caitlin Beadles?” he asked.
“Yes.” I nodded.
He stuck the flowers out.
I grabbed them.
“Who’re they from?” I asked.
“I dunno.” he said. “I’m just the delivery guy.”
He turned and walked down the pavement.
“Thanks.” I called after him.
I took the flowers into the kitchen.
“What, are those from Lover Boy?” Christian asked.
I just rolled my eyes and ignored him.
I opened the little card attached to the flowers.
I’m so sorry about last night. I was drunk and stupid. Please forgive me, it won’t happen again.
I love you.
Forever and Always,
‘Please forgive me it won’t happen again.’
I stepped on the pedal to lift the lid of the trash can and I threw the flowers in the trash.
“What, did you guys have a fight or something?” Christian asked taking his eyes off the screen and looking at me.
His eyebrows grew close together.
“What’s that on your face?” he asked gesturing to the bruise that I hadn’t been able to hide.
Justin turned and looked at me too.
“No, we didn’t have a fight. And we were playing flashlight hide and seek in his basement and I ran into the cement wall.” I lied.
“Oh, okay.” Christian said turning back to the t.v. completely unsuspicious.
“If you didn’t have a fight then why’d you throw his flowers away?” Justin asked.
“Okay, I lied. We did have a fight, but it was stupid.” I said.
“Oh.” Justin said.
I walked over to the fruit bowl to get an apple, but I spotted a white box.
I lifted the lid to reveal cinnamon rolls from Grandma’s Goodies.
“Mmm.” I said. “Who brought these?”
“Justin did.” Christian answered.
“Oh, really?” I asked. “Thanks, Justin.”
“You’re welcome.” he smiled.
I grabbed a cinnamon roll and a glass of milk.
I trudged over to the couch and sat down.
I could tell Justin and Christian noticed my stiffness.
“I‘m so sore from all that dancing.” I said in an effort to explain. “Justin, I don’t know how you dance and sing on stage every night.”
“You get used to it.”
I watched as Justin beat Christian game after game.
“C’mon!” Christian complained.
“Here, let me play against him.” I said holding out my hand for the controller.
“You sure you wanna do that?” Justin questioned. “It’s not a challenge for the faint of heart.”
“Bring it.” I grinned.
After a long, hard game. I finally won.
“Yes!” I screamed victoriously.
“I. Can. Not. Believe. That!” he said.
“Believe it.” I grinned.
“I want a rematch!”
“No can-do.” I said.
“Please,” Justin whined as his phone rang. “Hold on.”
Justin answered his phone.
“Hey mom. Yeah. Now? Okay, fine. Love you too. Bye.” he said, hanging up.
“That’s my mom. I’ve gotta go, but I still want a rematch.”
“Whatever Bieber.” I laughed.
Christian and I told Justin goodbye.
I couldn’t help wishing that things could go back to the way they were and I could be his girlfriend again because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t stay made at him and I couldn’t get him out of my head.
So maybe the saying’s true. You never forget your first love.
I heard the sound of the doorbell ringing. I opened it expecting Justin to say he’d forgotten something, but instead a very angry-looking Seth stood before me.