And when you fall apart am I the reason for your endless sorrow?
There's so much to be said
And with a broken heart your walls can only go down but so low
Can you hear me when I call your name?
Oceanside - Palms Hotel: 2 PM
Kicking sheets aside, Cooper struggled up out of that old dream, sucking for air through suffocating dream smoke, fighting for breath, fighting past the fire it caught him burned pain god he was burning.... there was no smoke. He could breathe. The room was cool. A hotel. His thoughts blurred, where the hell was he, on tour, in a room he couldn't for the moment recognize. He'd dreamed it, it was another nightmare, he didn't go there in his dreams, hadn't gone there in years, she kept him from going there, she stood in the way.
He sat up on the the bed and peered out through a headache that wouldn't quit at sunlight in palm trees. He'd dumped the suitcases in a corner when he dragged himself here a few hours ago and literally fallen into bed. That was about four hours ago. It was quiet. The expensive quiet he insisted and paid for, couldn't hear the wind in those trees, couldn't hear a thing. Quiet. He clenched his hands in the pillow cases, damn, no I didn't dream it. Fuck. It's real. This time it's real.
Oceanside - Palms Hotel 4 PM
Arriving shortly after Cooper had finished eating, Slim took the chair opposite him and signaled the waitress for coffee. "Strange place to be meeting isn't it?" One look at Slim's expression was all it took to realize he had a pretty good idea why Coop was at a hotel. Still, he needed to talk to him, strategize, and formulate some kind of plan to deal with the Gemma issue. Slim was not only his trusted friend but a shrewd business partner.
"Beth tossed me out of the house yesterday." Cooper watched Slim's face for a reaction. He got none except for a slight tensing of his jaw. Slim merely sat back arms folded and Cooper wondered how much he may have already known.
Cooper told him everything from his fight with Rayne to the fight with Wyatt that drove him to leave for Gemma's house. Cooper detailed his encounter with Ryan McDermott and finished with his conversation at Chameleon with Melinda. "We've been at odds for awhile, always about McDermott. I should have let it go but I didn't. I promised her we'd start over but I didn't keep up my end. I pushed her too far Slim. I beat her down until she thought the only thing left was to let me go. It's the last thing I want."
Slim's face remained impassive and yet Cooper knew instinctively that his friend was not pleased with either him or his behavior. That reaction further solidified his anger with himself at having been too hotheaded and stubborn to see things clearly. "By now you should have figured out how to keep your damned mouth shut. You keep after her about McDermott and throw the whorehouse in her face, I see why she threw you out, no mystery there. If you want her back, man go do some groveling. Is there something else going on?”
This was it. Cooper leaned an elbow on the table and rested his chin in the palm of his hand. A vivid memory of that time so long ago when Slim believed Cooper had cheated on Julia came to mind. He winced slightly and then braced himself as he spoke in a quiet voice. "That's what I am going to need your help with. I went to Gemma Wilson's house. I was livid. At Beth. At Ryan. At my kids. At her for rekindling my memories of Jules. I took her that night. I slept with Gemma."
Slim leaned in, his mouth a twisted scowl. "Jesus fucking christ Coop: Gemma? Are you out of your mind? What're you telling me, that we've got to come up with a way to keep her from telling Beth? Give her what? Any damned thing she wants? Contracts for any piece of shit band she can dig up?"
Cooper frowned. "I know it's bad; I know I fucked up. Are you going to help me deal with this or not?"
Slim stood and looked down at Coop. "I'll make the call and set up a meeting." Hesitating as if he intended to say more, Slim released a deep breath. "I'll let you know the when and where." Turning he strode purposefully away.
Oceanside - Palms Hotel 10 PM
Restless, Cooper paced back and forth. He'd tried to write in between calling Beth. No one answered the house phone. He wouldn't leave a voice message knowing that the twins would more than likely intercept and erase any message he would have left. Besides, what he wanted to say was too personal, too intimate for their ears. He'd already left messages on Beth's cell telling her where he was staying and how to reach him. She hadn't called.
Cooper eased onto the couch in his room and plucked absently at his guitar, then set it aside and stared out at the ocean. It wasn't very late but he was in no mood to go out and deal with the club scene. Maybe a walk on the beach would help clear his head.
Rising he stood in front of the window and looked out at the lights and beyond toward where he knew his home was. Certain that Beth remained there with the kids he exhaled and tried her cell. One ring and it went straight to voice mail. It was off. She had turned her cell phone off.
Grumbling inwardly he snapped it shut and resumed staring out the window remembering the first time they met, the connection that was like electricity. He'd fought hard to make Beth his. They had been through so much, so many obstacles stood in their way but he persisted and won her heart. Then he managed to crush her slowly and painstakingly, something he never meant to do but his jealousy and pride prevented him from seeing that. She had been his touchstone and he let her slip away.
Swearing he picked up the cell once more and dialed. "Beth, baby it's me. Meet me for dinner tomorrow night at that restaurant on the pier in Bay View, you know the one. I'll be there at 7. I miss you baby. Please. We need...I want to talk about this. I love you."
Setting the phone down Cooper ran a hand through his hair absently and returned to the window more determined than ever to find his way home. He'd always been able to seduce her, get her to put everything aside for him. He had never lost a woman he wanted to keep, and damn it, this was not going to be the first time, not with the only one he'd ever really wanted.
South Beach - 11 PM
"I miss you baby. Please. We need...I want to talk about this. I love you."
Damn you, Coop...no. Just no.
NEXT CHAPTER: Passages 25