Okay, so i know that it's been... forever! and I hope that i havent lost too many of you... this has been sitting in my computer for months and I just completely forgot about it... but here it is, in time for the new year :P
The first voicemail is casual, the result of calling about ten times and not getting an answer. Camille's voice barely registers in her mind as she listens to it in the lonesome dark of her bedroom, her eyes drooping in the haze of exhaustion.
Hey, Scar. I'm just calling to check in on you, make sure you're doing okay. Where are you, anyway? Haven't heard from you in a while, and it's starting to worry me. My dad still wants to know why you moved out in the first place. I mean, you loved the Palm Woods. Some of your stuff is still piled up in the corner of your room. We miss you, want you to come back. Why don't you start by calling me, yeah?
The second one starts the same way, only this time she can hear the improvement of her best friend's breathing patterns. She's getting better. For that, she's relieved.
Scarlet, come on, it's been three days. None of us have heard from you. Last time we saw you was at the funeral. You couldn't have gone far. I've called countless times. Are you even eating? Call me.
It's voicemail, after voicemail, after voicemail. All the same: Camille trying to get a hold of her, wondering what she's been doing. She thinks of calling back, but she somehow always changes her mind. Her wounds are closed, the stitches dissolved and removed, and yet, she still finds herself being yanked from her restless sleep in the middle of the night, her insides burning, her dreams plagued with the bright light and shattering glass and sharp metal. She can still feel the blood sliding down her arms, even though her skin is clean.
She cries at night, when she manages to stumble into the only apartment she was able to find with the money she had saved up from past jobs. She cries for the mother she lost to cancer, for the father that forgot about her, for the brother she lost to war, for every failure she's had since she arrived to this city. She cries for the promise of hope when Carlos kissed her for the first time, because somehow that promise has been shattered. She rolls around in a bed full of tears every night, and is barely able to force herself to leave it in the morning in search of work. She sobs for Katie Knight, wailing her apologies to the deceased girl. All she can see is the glint of metal behind her eyes, the pool of blood around her, Katie's small body laying only yards away from hers. It should have been easy for her to simply reach out, to help her, lift that car off of her. But instead she let her own pain overtake her, and she left the poor girl to die.
No, she answers Camille's question mentally, she hasn't eaten—unless you call water and a couple of crackers every other day eating. She doesn't have much food in her fridge, and she can't really afford much more. She can't seem to get a job, no matter how many parts she auditions for, how many demos she hands out, no one wants to hire her, and her savings is starting to dwindle. Camille wonders why she won't come back, why she won't answer anyone's calls, and why she doesn't want to be found, but she can't seem to find the answers to those questions. All she knows is that she can't go back. She needs to breakaway, escape the pain. She was tired of pain and loss constantly following her around. This time she brought upon her bad luck to people she loved. The only way out of that was staying alone, pulling her own weight, taking care of herself.
But how was she supposed to do that if she couldn't even get a simple job?
When her savings runs out, she takes her guitar out into the streets and hopes that people will sympathize and give her a couple of dollars and coins. She's already behind on rent. But the generosity of the people of Los Angeles is small, and it doesn't cut it.
She's alone and confused and helpless, and it pains her to think that she's the only one struggling. Camille was able to get a role in a sci-fi TV series, and word out was that Big Time Rush was to release a new single. Seems like Scarlet is the only "NIGHT OF FUN GONE WRONG" survivor who wasn't moving on with her life.
Seems like people are starting to find out too.
The rusty lock of the front door to her apartment puts up a fight when she slides the jagged key in, and after a long day of rejection and disappointment, it's the last thing Scarlet needs. With a heavy sigh, she looks up into the heavens and asks God why everything unfortunate happens to her. She shakes the rotting wood and gives it equal struggle, growing more frustrated by the second. It had to open, it always did.
Her fingers are dented and red when the key decides to give out and snaps in half, leaving Scarlet with the head with the rest stays jammed in the hole. With small hope, she tries the door.
She takes her cell phone out of her pocket, ready to contact a locksmith so she can throw herself on her bed, swallow a couple of painkillers, and sleep.
That's when her eyes catch the red letters.
She admits, there were nights when she stayed up and thanked the sky for allowing her to stay despite the several months of rent she owed, but seeing the eviction notice taped to her front door was something else entirely. It would have been uplifting to know she had a day to collect her stuff, but considering she couldn't even enter the apartment, every ounce of hope she could have gathered diminished, just like that.
An odd, far-away sound escapes her as she slides down the wall. What is she supposed to do now? She didn't have money for a hotel room, she didn't have car to sleep in, and the streets were too dangerous.
Her cell phone beeps. Scarlet groans. Another message.
She picks it up just for a distraction to steer her away from her current situation, and immediately regrets it.
Scarlet, this is enough. I need to hear from you, it's driving me crazy. You're out there somewhere, and I'm gonna find you. You can't just drop off the face of the earth like that. Call me.
It's not Camille's voice floating out of her phone. It's not James, or Logan calling to ask if she needs anything. It's not her agent telling her to prep from "just one more audition, I'm sure you'll get this one". There's a sliver of hope for Kendall, who can't seem to forgive himself when she was at fault.
No, she's been ignoring those voices for days. And every voicemail they leave makes her miss them more. But there's one voice that she hadn't heard since Katie Knight's funeral, belonging to the one person that understood her enough to not call, to give her space. Carlos' voice does something to her, opens her eyes.
When was the last time she had seen him? Touched him? Smiled at him? She can't remember. Katie's funeral was a hazy fog that she couldn't remember, and even then she doubts she even looked his way, no matter how many times he attempted in approaching her. The sound of his voice on the recording makes her realize how lonely she really is, and how much she actually misses him. It makes her realize how much she needs to have him with her, soothing her and telling her that everything was going to be okay, even if it wasn't
Suddenly, she finds the solution to her current problem.
She sighs and bites her lip as she dials his number, admitting defeat. As the phone rings, she considers hanging up, finding another solution, even though she knows there wasn't one. She tries not to picture his face, because that would only fuel her need to see him again. It's an ongoing war while the receiver trills in her ear, an inner battle between her ego and her conscience.
Finally, it stops ringing.
She doesn't know what to say when she hears that voice on the other end of the line.
They're listening to the finalized track when it happens, a muted vibration hidden in his back pocket. It takes a minute for him to realize that it's him ringing, and another to decide whether the call would be worth missing the song. Everyone is silent as the four voices flow from the speakers, harmonizing with Kendall's acoustic, listening, smiling, mouthing along. There's a sense of calm, the first taste they've had in days, and Carlos isn't sure if he wants to mess it up by taking a call.
But his phone is still vibrating, the buzz loud and annoying. He sighs and takes it in the next room.
There's silence, complete and utter silence, and he wonders if he's getting prank called. He didn't think of checking caller ID. He pulls away from the phone, checks the screen, brown eyes widening at the name written over the numbers counting the minutes of the call. She still hasn't said anything, and he wants her to.
It takes a moment, but she finally speaks, her voice small and far away.
"I got evicted."
Its late night early morning within the apartment of 2J, the moonlight casting shadows as the only awake inhabitant paces around in the living room, struggling to keep quiet so as not to wake the sleeping household. The last week had been hard on them: trying to get those notes perfect, getting the right feel, keeping it as organic as they could get it, recording and re-recording, swallowing back the emotion of being crammed in a studio singing to a girl that they all longed to see. Wrapping up was the most relieving experience for all of them, and the members of Big Time Rush were ready to turn in early.
Usually, Carlos would be the first one in his bed, blanket up to his chin, helmet on his night table, and mind far away in dreamland. But tonight, he was wide awake.
If he thought he was worrying about her before, it was nothing compared to how much he was worrying now. She had called in the late afternoon, her sentences short, answering his questions. He knew she was caught between hanging up and staying on the line, and he had been determined to keep her on long enough to convince her to come home.
"All my stuff is in my apartment."
"You just told me you got evicted."
"They gave me a day to collect my things."
"Then collect them and get over here."
She paused, and he pressed the receiver closer to his ear, as if that would somehow bring him closer to her. He was tired of calling, tired of listening to everyone around him leaving voicemails, not knowing if she was alright, where she was, not hearing her voice. That phone call was the closest he had been to her in weeks, and he needed to make it last.
"My key broke."
Now, in the dark of the apartment, Carlos can't help but chuckle. Leave it to Scarlet to rent some piece of crap apartment and not do anything about it until she gets locked out. They had agreed that she would stay in 2J until they found her a new place, but she still hadn't showed up.
The girl didn't have anything to pack, so where was she?
He picks up his phone, ready to dial 911 and file a missing person's report, when he hears the faintest of knocks on the front door. He's unsure why, but suddenly he's extremely nervous. Tip-toeing too quickly to the block of wood separating them, the Latino yanks the door open and takes a deep breath.
She's standing there and she looks like she's been having a rough week. There are dark bags under her eyes, making her eyes seem that much brighter and bigger. She has a single bag hanging off her shoulder, her clothes wrinkled and worn. She bites her lip when she sees him, wondering if what she did was right. She considers turning around and running out the same way she came in, but the smile that busts out on Carlos' face is enough to paralyze her.
"Hi." He breathes, chocolate eyes drinking her in, horrible as she may look.
Scarlet swallows, fidgets with her bag. "Hey."
In one swift move, his arm reaches out and she's inside the apartment. Her bag falls to the floor and she's staring at him, nervous and afraid. His eyes flicker over her face, and he's grinning like an idiot. The happiness of having her here with him is enough to block out Katie's death for a little while. He wants to kiss her. Just grab her and kiss her senseless on those plump lips she insists on biting into.
But he doesn't. She doesn't look like she's up for it. Honestly, she looks like she's in need of a hug.
They haven't really said anything yet. She doesn't know what to say. He's waiting for her to speak. Green eyes dart around the apartment, noticing small changes. The stack of boxes in the doorway. Scarlet knows where they came from. She doesn't want to think about that.
Carlos breaks the ice, curiosity getting the best of him.
"What took you so long?"
Scarlet bites her lip, it's driving him crazy. "I wasn't sure about coming."
Her confession hurts him, she can see it. "Why?"
She sighs, then she shrugs. Carlos shakes his head. He doesn't want to go over this right now. His arms wrap around her. Through her clothes he can feel the weight she's lost, her ribs stabbing into his skin as he pulls her against him. Her head falls onto his shoulder, and suddenly she's crying.
She didn't know she could miss someone this much.