Page 75 of The Keeper


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“Um, my agent. Well, the band’s agent.”

“Oh, okay.”

We haven’t talked much about the band’s big break lately. Billie has gone back and forth for recording sessions and said everything is going well. She seems lighter about the whole thing these days, and I’m truly happy for her, though I don’t know what it will mean for her if the band hits it big from their participation in this movie.

When her phone rings, she holds up a finger and walks out. I turn to watch the kids and when she returns, she stands next to me, watching the kids skate for a long time. Her silence is heavy.

“So?” I finally ask because I don’t think she’s going to tell me without prompting.

“We got a really good offer to make a whole album. Twelve songs, none of them repeats from the movie.”

“Wow.” Not what I was expecting her to say.

“Yeah. I mean, it’s a huge deal.”

“So, how will you do that? Will you guys work here and then go to LA to record?”

“Um…”

I know that “um” from her. I know what it means, and my stomach sinks like a rock. “You can’t leave me, Billie.”

“We have to be there Monday to start working. They’re ready for us,” she says with a sigh and eyes that tell me the rest.

“You can’t leave me,” I say again.

“I mean, I don’t know how long it will take, but it’s not like I’m leaving forever. And it’s not that far away…”

“Billie, you make this place bearable. You’re part of my life now. This is not what I need right now.”

“Well,” she says, stiff beside me. “This isn’t about you, Calum. It’s about the band and the opportunity we have to really make something happen.”

“It wasn’t what you wanted just a few months ago.”

“And we’ve talked about this. It’s been going well. It is going well. This is a good thing that’s happening.”

“For you.”

“Yes, for me. And I’d appreciate it if you’d be supportive.”

I don’t have anything to say. I feel sick at the thought of her being in LA for the next however many months. We’re still in season, and I’ll go back to play after the holiday break. The holiday break when I planned to take Billie to meet my family in Montreal. I guess that won’t happen now.

“Calum,” she says sharply, trying to get me out of my own head. All I can hear is roaring. “Calum,” she says again more insistently. “Talk to me.”

“I can’t believe you’re going to leave.” I say it more to myself than to her. I back up, move away from where she’s standing. “I’ll get someone down here to help with the kids until it’s time to take them back. I—I need some space.”

I can feel her stare at my back as I walk away from her.

I can still feel it long after I’ve left the building.

It’s then I recognize that broken feeling within me.

Billie has a bigger, brighter life to lead, something that doesn’t need me in it.Soon, she’ll press pause and eventually decide being my girlfriend is more like being a caregiver.

And I’ll be alone once more.

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indecision highway

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