“I hope you had a nice time,” Sky said.
Leah’s words came out mechanically, as if she’d been rehearsing them for hours. “I just came to pick up a few things. I’m moving out. Don’t be too upset.”
“Our marriage has become a charade, and you know it as well as I do,” Leah said.
Sky gaped. “How do you know about that?” she demanded.
“You’re a celebrity,” Leah said. “Your fans keep a forum about your sex life. You’re very popular.” She spit out the last word with disdain.
“You’d made it pretty clear you were going to leave me by then,” Sky said sullenly.
“It doesn’t matter,” Leah replied. “You’ve been faithful to make me happy, but as soon as you could justify it, you started fooling around again. You’re never going to be happy being faithful to me, and I will never be able to trust you.”
Sky couldn’t think of anything to say to that.
“Look,” Leah said, “My, ah, friend is waiting for me in the car. I need to go. I’ll be in touch about, you know, the divorce.”
Sky watched silently as Leah threw a few personal items in a bag and excused herself. Then she quietly closed the bedroom door.
Hunter was in his garden when he saw Leah leave. He made his way up to Sky’s room and found her sobbing into her pillow. “Hey hey,” he said, sitting down on the edge of the bed. “I’m so sorry.”
“I’m broken,” Sky sobbed. “I don’t know why I wanted to cheat on Leah. I’ll never be able to be the kind of person who can be loved.”
Hunter pulled her up and gave her a hug. “I love you,” he said. “I know it’s not the same thing, but it’s a start. I know you’re not a bad person. I just don’t think you can get what you want out of a relationship until you know what you want.”
She looked at him with red-rimmed eyes. “And besides,” he said wryly. “Now you have no place to go but up.”
Later, when she felt a little bit less raw, she looked up the Ghostwriter fan webpage and found the forum on her. Leah was right. She was very popular. Not only were there pictures of her flings with Xia and February, there was speculation about her and several other people, most of whom she didn’t know. There was even speculation from fans about how to get her attention to be her groupie.
Sky spent a few days focusing on her family. She sat down and explained to Dylan that things were going to change, but that both his parents loved him. Once Leah was settled, Dylan could split time between them. She tried not to put him under pressure to affirm his feelings for her. Dylan took the news quietly and was withdrawn for a while.
But one thing she wasn’t getting enough of, the one thing she’d always felt she could really do right, was music. Whenever things got complicated in her life, she stopped pursuing gigs for Ghostwriter. Clearly she was not very good at publicity. It was time for the band to have an agent.
She met with a few well-reputed music agents and decided to hire one.
“Ghostwriter is a very popular band around here,” the agent pointed out. “You’re giving me an easy job. What I want to talk about is YOU. Your music is magical, even without a band. Have you ever considered launching a solo career?
“Solo?” Sky said. “No, it never even occurred to me.”
“Leave it to me,” said the agent. “I know just the thing to get you going.”
What the agent had in mind was not exactly what Sky expected.
Sky rolled through a series of private appearances for parties and celebrations.
It was kind of embarrassing, but the money was good, and it did seem to get her name out there.
On evenings when she was out, she sent email to Leah to tell her it was all right to drop by to be with the kids.
Just so long as Leah was gone by the time Sky got home, it was a decent interim compromise.
Some evenings, she’d finish up at Honeydukes and chat with Amie Engel.
“You know,” Amie said one night. “That offer I made still stands.”
“The what?” Sky said, blanching.
“The offer of some naughty fun. You always look like you could use a chance to relax.”
She leaned in and described in more detail what she had in mind.
Sky dropped her eyes. “I’m not very good at relationships,” Sky said. “I wouldn’t want you to get hurt.”
Amie laughed. “Who said anything about a relationship? I’m not looking for a girlfriend. I’m just looking for some fun. Give me a minute to close up.”
Sky looked around, unimpressed. “What are we going to do here?”
Amie gestured to the wardrobe in the corner. “That, my dear,” she said, “is the magical looove machine.” She took Sky’s hand and led her inside.
And she was right. It was pretty magical.
Afterward, they laughed and played dress up with the old clothes in storage.
Amie even did her hair.
Sky couldn’t believe how much fun she was having. It was like that night with Xia, when the weight of the world was lifted off her shoulders. Only this time, nothing came crashing back down.
She realized what was missing.
She wasn’t hurting anyone, and she wasn’t failing to meet anyone’s expectations. She could just be herself.
“Thanks,” she said to Amie. “That was great.”
Amie winked. “I know I’m pretty amazing.”
I have two more posts of pictures, and after that they’re going to get kind of sparse. I’m considering re-staging some stuff with the kids, but I guess it’s a matter of how much time I’m willing to put into it.
I had visualized Sky as being a self-employed band, but that hasn’t gone terribly well. I had to download a mod to get any gigs at all, and then they’re ALWAYS at Honeydukes. So Ghostwriter will still be around, but I decided to try out the Showtime singer career with her. Sing-a-grams are the funniest thing ever.