As much as I think she is going overboard I let Emma cover the house with camera's and security systems. She has spent her entire life trying to protect me so who am I to stop her now. Julia was terrible to me, she was terrible to us, she almost ruined our relationship. I am thankful every day that Emma is so forgiving and loving because - had the roles been reversed - I cannot say there would be the same outcome. Emma thinks it was just Julia that night but I played my part. I was the one who called her: I went to her house. It was my fault she did it.
"Can we have pizza for dinner tonight mommy?" Tyler ask as he jumps into the pool.
"Of course we can, sweetie," Emma answered before I could even think. I shoot her a glance.
"No, we can't, mommy. Tonight is meatloaf night. I already have it in the oven! We will have pizza tomorrow," I tell them.
"But mommy!" they both pout.
"Pleaseeeee," Tyler smiles.
"Oh, come on, baby, we can keep it for tomorrow," Emma presses.
"No, Emma. I am sorry Ty but tonight is meatloaf night so we will be having meatloaf. Tomorrow we will go get pizza, okay?" I haggle.
"Okay," he cries.
I turn round to swim to the edge when I hear Emma whisper "We'll go get some after dinner,"
"I heard that!" I shout behind me.
The smell of the meatloaf had filled the kitchen. It smelled damn good if you asked me and they had better enjoy. It wasn't until I go to the oven I realised it was burning. The heat had been turned up full! One of the security team must have banged against it. Looks like pizza after all, I thought to myself. If there is one thing I hate it is being defeated. It was like Emma had known the meatloaf was going to burn.
"Okay, we can have pizza after all." I grimaced.
"Yay!" Tyler yells and dives under water.
"What changed your mind?" Emma asked jumping out of the pool and kissing my cheek.
"Look on the counter and you will see,"
And that is how we ended up in the same pizza place as Julia Phenderghast.
She stared over at us like she was seeing a ghost. It made wonder if it had all been a huge coincidence. Maybe it was just a stroke of bad luck that we had bought a house in the same neighbourhood as her. Maybe she had lived there long before us. Perhaps we were over-thinking this whole situation. Still, it seemed a little unreal to see her there.
She was with her daughter Amy, a kid in Tyler's kindergarten class, and a petite red haired woman wearing skinny jeans and a button down shirt. It struck me as strange that they had chosen such an open place for dinner given that Julia was a worldwide star now and at next to no time to spend with her daughter. I wondered who the woman was, perhaps her girlfriend or maybe even "Amy's other mommy" as Tyler liked to say, she didn't look overly impressed with the setting despite the fact she looked like a teenage girl who had just come from the skate park.
"Amy!" Tyler yelled "Mommy can we sit beside Amy and her mommy?"
"No, handsome, we can't come on, mommy has us a seat already," Emma told him.
"But there is a free table right there, look, we can go sit there,"
"Tyler, we can't! Now get over here." She pulled him over behind her. "I am sorry, honey, when you are older you will understand."
"Shall we just go?" I asked her.
"No, we are not leaving here because of her. Do not let her bother you," she answered.
It was hard. I could feel her eyes burning a hole in the back of my head and I could see Emma staring - and by staring I mean glaring - at her. We rushed through our pizza and told Tyler he could have ice cream if he ate quickly enough. We were in and out in 30 minutes. I felt sick and was unsure if it was the pizza or her. Emma was furious and she had every right to be. Her mortal enemy was but 20 feet away and there was nothing she could do about it.
"Bye, Amy," Tyler yelled behind us as we left.
The little girl waved through the window and Julia stared intently at Emma and I. What was she planning? I cannot help but be thankful that Emma decided to install the cameras in our home because I would not sleep knowing she lived around us. I would go insane thinking about it.
I am probably making a bigger deal of it than it is but Julia Phenderghast kissed me like 6 minutes ago and now, inside the bar filled with people, I am smiling so much it actually hurts. Who cares if I look stupid? No one else in this room was kissed by Julia Phenderghast 6 minutes ago. 7 minutes now. Then my paranoid inner voice kicks in and makes me think; What if she kisses lots of random girls whom she invites backstage to her gigs and after parties? No, my rational side tells me. That was a real kind of kiss and plus she wouldn't stop staring at me when I squealed this afternoon. Think about it some other time, Lucy.
The gig itself was completely and undeniably awesome. The guys played their hearts out and Julia, well, Julia was just beautiful. I could not take my eyes off of her. She was completely mesmerizing. I cannot believe I kissed her, I thought as we walked backstage to the after party. There were cheers and shouting and, like, a hundred people crammed into the room but Julia took hold of my hand and kept me with her the whole time. She would let it go for 10 seconds to sign an autograph and then, without hesitating, would take it again. I don't think she really noticed what she was doing until someone, a short stout guy in his late twenties, asked if I was her girlfriend and gestured to our intertwined hands and shouted "Julia, is she your girlfriend?" she looked at me quizzically and nodded, I nodded back, "Yes, she is. Her name is Lucy, though, not She." I don't think I ever had a better moment in my life. I felt like she actually wanted me, like I actually meant something. I had never felt like that before in my life.
We sat in a quiet corner of the bar, just the two of us, and no one bothered us all night. I was so nervous that I mostly tried to avoid contact most of the time, I counted that there were 34 bottles lined around the bar and that three quarters of them were empty, but she kept the conversation going.
"So, girlfriend," she giggled "I guess now would be a good time to explain to you what made me invite you here tonight."
"Yes, it would," I agreed.
"Well, um, I guess, when you squealed you caught my attention and from that second I couldn't take my eyes off of you. I was actually frozen wondering if I should talk to you or not..." she trailed off.
"Seriously," I asked "You were scared to come and talk to me? You do realize that that squeal of excitement was because of you?"
She blushed and that was it. We sat there, holding hands, for most of the night until it was time for the band to sing one last song. She pulled me up, kissed me quickly and dragged me to the stage. She jumped onto the stage with more energy than I had ever watched her display - on stage tonight or in the countless live videos I have viewed - and shouted "What's up, guys and gals! Thanks for coming tonight. I'd like to dedicate this last song to my girlfriend, Lucy." And they sang my favourite song "Back to Black" it was the perfect way to end the perfect night.
But Julia wasn't ready for it to end. She jumped from the stage and gestured for me to follow her which I did - I would follow her anywhere. We were in a part of the club I had never been in before. It must be where the bands hang out before they go on. It was dark and cold, I was suddenly worried about what might happened next, I could just about make out the posters and signed merch covering the disgustingly bright yellow walls. Julia flipped on the light, which was situated on the opposite side of the room as the entrance for no reason other than to be difficult, and smiled at me. It was a smile I had saw her give a million girls a million different times but for once it was me she was smiling at and that was all that mattered. I thought about where we would go after tonight, if she would go back touring the world and I would be left here alone as usual, what would become of us. I wondered, if she did get on with her normal life, if she would want to stay in touch with me. I wondered if I would still be her girlfriend after tonight. But for now, I would enjoy her company.
The green sofa was covered in pillows making it practically impossible to sit on yet we tried. Julia, being the smaller of us, sat practically on my knee as we made out. It was perfect. She was beautiful and kissing her was, like, completely incredible. If I died tonight I could be perfectly happy with how my life had ended. Julia Phenderghast was everything I had ever wanted, for the past 3 years I had fantasized of kissing her, of even being near her, and today she had told her fans I was her girlfriend. I have no idea how or why this was happening, but right now, nothing could bring me down.