Author's Note: Hello all! I was hesitant to do the whole author's note thing, but I feel that the prologue at least deserved a bit of an explanation; I have cannibalized this prologue from the prologue of another one of my stories, "Hide and Seek." I had this jolt of inspiration years ago for that story, but it quickly dried up and was left to rot. I think that it kicks this story off pretty well though, and I have always loved how it turned out soooooo…in order to give it purpose (and in some way maybe pay penance for not finishing the first story?), it is used here with a tweak or two. I've mapped this story out start to finish, so I'm hoping that I can see this to the finish! Instant Star is available to watch in its entirety on Youtube, so I binged the whole series and now I have a couple of stories to tell. Enjoy!
Tom sat slumped against his kitchen cabinets, his legs sprawled out on the cold tile floor and an almost empty bottle of Jack Daniels tucked against his side. The ceiling plaster created swirls and patterns, and he followed them with his eyes until the lines and shapes blurred together into an indiscernible soup of tears and intoxication.
Months of complete and utter denial, countless days of the deepest possible depression, and the past few weeks steeped in a numb haze of nothingness. Everything that he saw was blackened around the edges, and the light became harsh and cruel to his eyes. He kept the curtains shut all the time now, his pain easing just the slightest bit when he was immersed in darkness. Voices were too loud for his ears to handle, so he locked himself in his apartment most of the time. Food felt foreign and bitter in his mouth, and soon he couldn't stomach anything at all. The only substance that had passed through his lips was alcohol, strong enough to burn his throat and soften the sharp pain of loss. There wasn't enough alcohol in the city of Toronto that could erase his pain, but he'd be damned if he wasn't going to try.
His apartment was a disaster area, papers strewn about on the hardwood floors and furniture upturned. Broken glass and the remnants of every lamp in the place littered the floor as well, making the walk to the front door a perilous journey. The phone had long been disconnected, the nonstop ringing driving him insane until he finally ripped the cord from its socket and smashed it against the wall. Tom didn't care; he didn't care about any of it. He ignored the persistent knocking against his front door that had begun to reverberate through the air, taking another swig from the bottle at his side. The dark brown liquid stung his throat, but had ceased to warm his insides. He'd grown cold again, and it had nothing to do with the temperature.
The knocking finally stopped, only to be replaced with the click of a lock being turned. The door opened slowly, and footsteps clicked against the floor. Tommy closed his eyes, wishing fervently for them to go away. Please, just leave me alone to die.
Tom heard Sadie's gasp as she stepped into his living room, joined by Kwest's low swearing. He'd known that they would come for him eventually once he'd stopped answering the phone, but he didn't think it would be so soon...or was it? It had been at least a week since he had locked himself away from the rest of the world, but time was easy to lose track of when you weren't looking forward to the minutes, hours, and days that loomed ahead.
"Tommy? Tommy...oh my god!" Sadie cried as she walked into the kitchen. Her eyes teared up as she took in his dirty, disheveled appearance. He hadn't showered in god knew how long and his wild, neglected hair hung limply in his face. Blood had dried on his hands and arms where the shattered glass had cut him, and even from four feet away she could smell the alcohol on his breath. Kwest stepped past her, crouching down to take the bottle from his clenched fingers. Tom's eyes opened blearily, lighting up with anger.
"Leave me alone, man," he growled, holding the bottle tighter. Kwest reached for it again, and Tom didn't even think before throwing his fist out. It connected with Kwest's chest with a solid 'thunk', knocking him flat on his ass and forcing a grunt from his throat. Tommy lunged forward and continued to pummel him, driving his fist weakly into flesh again and again until the tears started to burn his eyes and the sobs rose up from deep within his throat. He let them come unhindered, shoulders shaking uncontrollably with the force of his cries. He felt Sadie take his fists in her small hands, pulling him away from Kwest with barely any effort at all. Her warm arms encircled him, and Tom buried his head into her sweater and finally let the emotions that he'd been trying to bury rise violently to the surface. "Oh god, oh god...she's gone! She's gone!"
Sadie let Tommy cry, rocking him back and forth slowly. She looked up at Kwest as tears threatened to run down her own cheeks, and he shifted towards the pair and tentatively interlocked his fingers with hers. They sat there together on Tom's kitchen floor, letting his grief and pain wash over them both.
Jude was gone, and there was nothing Tommy could do to bring her back.