I sighed heavily as I unlocked the apartments door. Mason had been gone for three days, back on tour, and I already missed him so much. His apartment smelt like him and I walked into his bedroom and laid on his bed, where his fragrance was still lingering with his pillow. Mom and dad didn’t say anything anymore about me living here when he was gone. I cleaned it for him and I liked having my space. I was a reserved person, I always had been, I was amazed sometimes that I had the nerve to fight for Mason so much when I was a freshman, but I loved him, even then.
School had been a killer, tons of geometry homework I didn’t understand and an essay due at the end of the week. I walked around the apartment looking for something to do, something to keep me occupied. I settled on the living room floor with a basket of clean laundry and began folding them. I had a mixed CD playing in the background and I subconsciously hummed along. Mason didn’t have a television, which was fine with me, but I needed some noise or I thought I’d go insane.
I smiled as I looked around, I had his apartment memorized by now. It was a small, one bedroom apartment. You walked into a living room and a kitchen/dining room. Then there was a small hallway with a bathroom to one side and a bedroom to the other. In the bedroom there were two doors; one was Mason’s closet and the other was a smaller room. It was where he kept his music he was working on, it was painted a dark maroon and had soft, fluffy carpet. That room was easily my favourite in the house. His bedroom was painted an off white with the walls decorated to reflect Mason. There were old records he had collected and framed, autographs of some famous singers and band members, and directly over the headboard of his bed, a picture of him and I.
The picture was beautiful. Despite the fact that I hated getting my picture taken, I loved this one. It was the night of homecoming this past year and I was wearing a navy blue dress. It was short, cut right above my knees with a slit on the right side up to my thigh. The neckline was a slight ‘v’ and it was strapless. I was wearing the necklace I had received from Mason and silver high heels. Mason himself was beautiful. He was wearing black dress pants, black shoes, and a white button up shirt. His tie was navy blue to match my dress and he had black suspenders on. I had brought my digital camera along to his parent’s house, where his mom had taken dozens of pictures with her camera. His sister, Lauren, wanted to take pictures to so I handed her my camera. The setting was black and white and she took it from an excellent angle. The picture is totally unplanned and accidental, it quickly became Mason and mines favourite.
The picture is taken at an odd angle. Lauren was much shorter than us and was standing directly in front, and in between us. The camera was pointing up when the shot was taken. Mason had his arms around my waist and was gazing in my eyes. A slight smile was on each of our lips and my hands rested on his shoulders. Lauren is forever proud that she took that picture.
The CD ended as I finished with the laundry. Then I cooked me some macaroni and cheese and took a seat in his living room. I had insisted he paint it orange and he did. The trim was a cream colour and he had a white futon for a couch. His coffee table was black and white in a big, overdramatic, pattern of boxes, and for other chairs he had beanbags. His apartment stayed rather tidy with him and I both around. I was a naturally neat person, and he liked knowing where everything was.
I closed my eyes and lay on the futon, right when I got comfortable, my phone rang.
“Mmm, hello?” I asked sleepily.
“Bella? Are you at the apartment?”
I smiled at Mason’s sweet voice, “I am,”
He coughed and I realized it sounded like he was sick, “I’m on my way back, I decided to cancel this tour, it’s only a four day one and I really need the sleep,” he sounded disappointed in himself. He pushed himself too hard.
“Do you want me to leave?” I asked honestly.
He laughed and then coughed again, “No of course not, I would love for you to stay,” he said.
Less than an hour later he walked through the front door. I ran up and hugged him and he picked me up and swung me around. I could tell he was tired and getting sick, a common cold. I kissed his lips and worriedly asked him about how he felt.
“Much better now that I’m with you,” he answered.
“Yes, me too, I miss you so much, I wish I could go with you,” I knew I sounded childish, but in that moment I didn’t care, I wanted Mason back, lately he had been gone a lot.
He smiled sadly, “Soon,” was all he said.
I instructed him to go to bed early and let him sleep till eleven the next day. I surprised him with breakfast in bed, which resulted in a long make-out session, unfortunately interrupted by his cell phone ringing.
He answered and his voice immediately grew more important.
“Of course I’m interested,” he said officially.
I waited patiently, but curiously for him to be done talking. When he hung up I asked, “What was that about?”
“A record deal, music video, and tour for the summer,” he said.
I frowned slightly, “But your summer’s already so busy, recording and festivals in June, July you were supposed to be opening for that band you like so much, and August…” I trailed off. August was supposed to be our month together. I had planned to stay at his apartment with him. He wanted to take his sister’s and I to the beach a few hours away for a weekend, and then midway through the month him and I were supposed to go to a cabin in the mountains for a week.
“He agreed to work around my other obligations, he was hoping for about half of August,” Mason said slowly. I could tell he was excited, but worried to how I would take it.
“Mason…that’s great,” I said with as much fake enthusiasm as I could muster.
He looked at me and his expression was soft, “Bella, it’s such a good opportunity,” he began.
I cut him off, “I know Mason, I know. It’s just that you have been on the go ever since your first CD was a demo, and that was two years ago, I miss having you around. And you are constantly getting sick and always tired, a month off may do you good,”
He glared at me, “Bella, it’s not always about you, I do everything I can to make our time together special, I wish you’d understand,”
My eyes involuntarily began to water, “I never said it was about me-“
“Bella don’t deny it, you just don’t want to cancel our plans,”
I knew he had heard the accusation behind my voice when I had tried to persuade him to stay, “Yeah, it is partially about us, is that so bad? That I care about our relationship? One of us has too, but it’s also about you, you are overworked Mason,”
He stared me straight in the eyes and said, “I’m not overworked Bella,”
Even as he spoke the words I heard the strain in his voice. The way he sounded much older than he was. I saw the frown lines that were constantly on his face and the dark circles under his eyes. His breath came out ragged and his constant cough kept him up for hours. Music was becoming his job now, not his hobby.
I sighed, I wanted to argue this with him, but I didn’t want to stress him anymore. Tears came down my face as I walked out of the bedroom and into the bathroom for a long hot shower.