The Love of My Life

A Meeting Gone Awry

”Hey guys!” Brian said as he opened the door to Zacky and Mia and let them in.

”Hey, I love your house,” she said as she hung up her jacket.

”Thanks, I kind of love it too, ” Brian laughed. ”Come on in, Michelle’s in the kitchen and everyone else is… well, they’re somewhere around here.”

Zacky took hold of Mia’s hand. ”Should we go say hi to Michelle first?”

Mia smiled nervously and nodded. ”Let’s go.”

Zacky led them to the kitchen where a blonde woman who looked a lot like Val was making a salad.

”Hey Michelle, what’s up?” Zacky greeted her.

”Hi Zacky, how are you?” Michelle smiled at him and then looked at Mia. It may not have been enough for just anyone to notice, but Mia instantly saw how Michelle’s smile faded a bit when she looked at her. She quickly tried to cover it, but she wasn’t quick enough. ”Who’s this?” she then said, her tone a lot less cheery then it had been a couple of seconds ago.

”Michelle, this is Mia. I’m sure Brian’s told you about her,” Zacky said as he gave Mia an encouraging nod.

”Mia, Mia, Mia, hm… Oh, of course! You’re the new girl Brian hired. Hi, nice to meet you,” she said as she took a couple of steps forward and shook Mia’s hand.

”Hi, nice to meet you to,” Mia smiled at her.

Michelle returned to her salad. ”I’m sorry, but I really need to get things ready here. I think everyone else is in the backyard if you want to go say hi to them. Mia, maybe you and I can talk more later? I’d love to hear some of your ideas and you know, all about your love for designing and everything. I’m sure we have a lot in common. Especially since we both seem to be dating guys from the same band now,” Michelle laughed.

”Yeah, definitely,” Mia replied and she and Zacky then left the kitchen.

”See, that went well,” Zacky whispered to her.

”It did, right?” she said. Michelle had seemed a bit unsure about her at first, but her smile had seemed genuine once she knew who Mia was. And she had said that she wanted them to talk more later. Mia doubted Michelle would have done that if she completely hated her.

”Definitely. She seemed to like you,” Zacky said. ”Let’s go outside, see who else is here.”

They walked through Brian’s gorgeous living room and out to the patio where she saw some familiar faces and a couple of unfamiliar ones.

”Mia!” Val yelled out to her as soon as she saw her and came their way. ”Hey, how are you?” she said as she gave her a hug.

”What’s up, Baker?” Val said and she and he nodded, the way they always did when they greeted each other. It was another one of the silly little things they did together, just like the wrestling.

Zacky looked at Mia to make sure that she felt comfortable and when she smiled at him, he smiled back and walked off to talk to Matt who was taking care of the barbeque.

Mia and Val sat down on a couple of chairs. ”So, how is everything?” Val asked her. ”Did you get everything in order back home?”

”Yeah,” Mia said. ”It went surprisingly well actually, but then again, I don’t really have a lot of stuff so it didn’t take me very long.”

”That’s good,” Val smiled at her. ”Did you meet and talk to Nikki like you wanted?”

Mia had told Val while they were in England that she and Nikki weren’t currently talking. She hadn’t gone into details much but she had mentioned that the fight was sort of about Zacky and her going with them overseas.

Mia nodded. ”Yeah, I did. We worked everything out. I think we both realized how silly we were being about all of it. Neither of us wanted to fight, it just happened but it’s fine now. Although we almost started fighting again but thankfully I managed to stop that one,” she said with a laugh.

”Really? What was it about this time?” Val asked.

”I don’t even know. We were talking and then the talk seemed to turn less friendly all of a sudden. I don’t know. I wouldn’t tell her this, but I think that maybe she’s feeling a little jealous…”

”Jealous? Why?” Val asked with a frown.

”Because she was the one who was the huge Avenged fan, you know, and she was the one who won tickets to the show. Now I’m the one who’s friends with you all and going to work for one of the guys and I’m together with another one and… stuff like that,” she explained.

”Would Nikki want to be with one of the guys too or something? Does she like have a crush on one of them?”

Uh-oh, Mia thought. This was not the way this conversation was supposed to go. What was she supposed to say now? If she said that Nikki liked Brian, would Val start to piece things together and realize that the two of them had both gone missing more than once when the band was in San Francisco?

Val laughed. ”Is it Matt? You can tell me if it is. It’s not like I can blame the girl. Hell, look at him!” She and Mia both looked at Matt who seemed to be deep in conversation with Zacky about who could make the best burgers. ”I’m amazed that there are people in this world who don’t have a crush on him,” she continued.

Mia shook her head as she laughed. ”No, it’s not Matt.”

”It’s not Zacky, is it? That would be awkward.”

Mia shook her head once again.

”Oh, it’s Brian, right? That’s why you don’t want to tell me since it’s my sister who’s dating him.”

This time Mia didn’t shake her head, this time she nodded.

”You can tell me that, it’s not like I mind,” Val said. ”Just, you know, don’t tell Michelle about it because she has a slight tendency to get jealous when it comes to things like that.”

”Yeah, I won’t.”

”So, Nikki has a crush on Brian, huh. I could kind of see that. Women are suckers for those brown eyes. Did they actually spend any time together at all? I barely remember even seeing them talk to each other.”

Mia inwardly groaned. Why was Val asking her stuff like this? She had become her friend, so she didn’t want to lie to her. But she wasn’t going to do something that might complicate things for Nikki either. ”Uh, I think they did talk, at least a little. She was talking to him and Jimmy the first night if I remember correctly.”

Val seemed to be thinking it over. ”You’re right, I do remember that.” Then she shrugged and said, ”But even though she likes Brian, that shouldn’t be reason enough for her to be jealous of you. It’s not like you can do anything about the fact that Zacky happened to be single and liked you right away, and Brian didn’t feel the same way about her.”

”Brian didn’t feel what way about who?” a voice said behind them.

When Mia and Val turned around, Michelle was standing right behind them, an annoyed look on her face. Mia wanted to scream. There was no way she knew how to explain her way out of this one. All she could do was hope that Val did.

”Hey sis, didn’t hear you walk up,” Val said as she smiled at her twin sister.

”Well, I’m sorry I don’t announce myself in my own home,” Michelle replied, her annoyance becoming more evident with each second that passed.

”Calm down, that’s not what I meant and you know it.”

”Whatever. Now answer my question. Brian didn’t feel what way about who exactly?” Michelle looked from Val, to Mia and then back to Val.

Mia was starting to feel the panic rise inside her. She knew coming here was a bad idea. She should have stayed in Zacky’s house, where she was safe from crazy girlfriends of guys her best friend had slept with.

”No one important. Just some random girl we ran into on tour,” Val explained.

”Oh,” Michelle said as she pulled out a chair and joined them. ”You know, I hate those random skanks who show up backstage and expect the guys to be all over them. It’s trashy, so fucking trashy. Don’t they see how they are embarrassing themselves?” She laughed at her own comment.

Val looked at Mia with an apologetic smile. ”You know, not all girls who are backstage are skanks. Most of them are actually really nice and just want to get a picture and an autograph.”

”Of course they aren’t all skanks. I’m sure some of them are strippers and whores too.” She laughed even harder at this while Mia and Val were becoming increasingly uncomfortable.

Michelle then focused on Mia. ”So, how exactly did you and Zacky meet?”

”Well, I guess you could say we met when I was one of those random skanks who showed up backstage after a show. Now, if you would excuse me,” she said as she walked away to where Zacky and Matt where standing with Johnny and a dark haired girl she didn’t know, leaving a laughing Val and an embarrassed looking Michelle sitting at the table.

Zacky put his arm around his girl when she joined them. ”How did your talk go?” he asked.

”It went well. Michelle pretty much called me a skank but other than that, it was fine.”

”She did what?!” Zacky and Matt said at the same time, both looking over at the table where Michelle was staring at them.

”Not directly, but she was saying how she hates girls who show up backstage and how they are all skanks, strippers and whores. And then I informed her that that is exactly how the two of us met.”

Zacky kissed her on her forehead. ”I’m so sorry about that. She can be a little harsh sometimes with the way she speaks. I’m sure she didn’t mean anything by it.”

Mia shrugged. ”I’m sure she hates me and I’ll probably be without a job any minute now, but it’s fine. Or not…”

”She doesn’t hate you and she will apologize, I’m sure of it. She’s probably impressed by the fact that you told her off. Anyway, let’s focus on happier things, okay? Mia, this is Lacey, Johnny’s girlfriend.”

”Hi, I’m Mia. Also known as the skank,” she laughed and Lacey did the same.

”Nice to meet you,” Lacey said. ”And don’t worry about Michelle. She’s probably had a few drinks by now so she most likely thought that she was being hilarious. You’ll learn to deal with her soon enough. We all have,” she smiled.

”Thanks, I hope so.” Mia liked this Lacey girl right away. Zacky had said that she was nice and Mia could definitely see that. She was glad that there was at least one more band girlfriend who didn’t instantly hate her. All that was left now was Jimmy’s girlfriend, but if she was anything like Jimmy, Mia was sure they would get along great.

”Hello, hello, hello! The party has arrived!” a voice called out and everyone looked in the direction that the voice came from. Standing next to Brian was Jimmy and a very short girl who Mia assumed was Leana. She couldn’t deny that the girl was pretty, very pretty. She just hoped that she was nice too.

Jimmy and Leana said hi to Val and Michelle before they came over to the gang standing by the grill.

”Hi! You must be Mia, I’m Leana,” the girl said and gave Mia a hug. She was a little surprised by this welcome, but also very relieved. This meant that she had three girlfriends on her good side and one on her bad. That was something she could live with. As long as she ignored the fact that the one of her bad side was also her soon to be boss.

Soon they were all eating and enjoying good conversation. Well, most of them that is. Mia and Michelle hadn’t said so much as a word to each other but since there were so many people there, it wasn’t like they needed to go out of their way to ignore each other. Yet Mia couldn’t deny that the whole situation was very, very uncomfortable. She didn’t know when her first work day would be, but it would without a doubt be soon and when that day came, she would have to speak to Michelle. Even though she knew this, she also felt like Michelle had been the one in the wrong here so she should be the one to take the first step and apologize. It was almost so that she regretted accepting Brian’s job offer in the first place. Almost… As soon as she looked to her left where Zacky was sitting, it was impossible to regret it. She would be able to handle any amount of uncomfortableness as long as it meant that she would get to be with him.

Once they were finished eating, everybody started to really get their drink on. Zacky stayed true to his promise and didn’t leave Mia’s side. He felt really bad that he had left her earlier and then the whole thing with Michelle had taken place. While they were eating, he had whispered his apology to her but she had told him that it wasn’t his fault. She may be right but he couldn’t help but feel like it was. He also couldn’t help but feel incredible anger toward Michelle for making this so uncomfortable for Mia. He almost wanted to stick it in her face that Brian had cheated on her again, but that would put Brian in a bad position, so he wasn’t going to do that. Not that he would do it anyway, he would never want to intentionally hurt anyone, but he definitely felt like it would be exactly what she deserved for being such a bitch. Zacky desperately hoped that she would apologize soon, because things were going to be very tense until she did.

”Hey, I’m just going to go the bathroom real quick. I’ll be right back,” Mia said to him as she stood up.

”Alright, do you want me to go with you?” The question was out of his mouth before he even had time to think about it.

She laughed. ”To the bathroom? Zacky, I’m twenty-two years old. I’ve been taking myself to the bathroom for quite a while now. But thanks for the offer.”

She walked into the house and headed straight for the bathroom. She was thankful that she had already been here once with Val earlier so she knew where to go, because otherwise it would have been easy to get lost in this very big house. She had called Zacky’s house a mansion when she first saw it, but it was nothing compared to this place. It kind of fit Brian’s over-the-top personality though.

When she was finished with her business and she opened the bathroom door to return to the party, she almost walked right into someone.

”Oh. Sorry,” Michelle said.

”No problem,” Mia said with a smile as she looked at her. If Michelle wanted to apologize, now would be the perfect time since they were alone.

”Sorry about before. I really had no idea you met Zacky that way.”

Mia looked at the expression on her face, wondering if she was being sincere. She didn’t know her well enough to judge, but she decided to believe that Michelle was a nicer person than she had seemed like so far.

”It’s okay,” she said. ”Misunderstandings happen.”

Michelle smiled. ”Yeah. So, how exactly did you sink your claws into Zacky?”

”Excuse me?” Mia said, hoping that she had heard her wrong.

”I mean, it’s obvious to everyone that he’s still not over Gena, so I guess you saw your chance to bag a rich guy when you found out how vulnerable he is right now.”

Michelle still had that ugly smile on her face and Mia couldn’t believe what she was hearing. That’s what she got for giving her the benefit of the doubt. ”I don’t know what you’re implying but-”

”Oh honey, relax. I don’t really care as long as it’s not my man your after. Besides, he’ll go back to Gena eventually so you better enjoy it while it lasts.” With that, she turned around and began to walk away. Then she stopped and looked at Mia again. ”I know that Brian hired you and, while I have no idea why he did that, I really hope that whatever it is you’ll be doing, will be better than that thing you have on right now. Okay? See you at work. Bye bye, sweetie!” She waved and walked away, leaving a dumbfounded Mia standing outside the bathroom.

One thing was certain, actually, two things: Michelle was a bitch and there was no way in hell Mia would be working for her.

She quickly walked to the hallway, grabbed her jacket and purse that she had thankfully left there and walked straight out of the house. When she felt like there was enough distance between her and the home belonging to that crazy bitch, she picked up her phone and called Zacky.

”Mia? Where are you?” Zacky said as he answered the phone while he looked around the backyard, trying to find her.

”I left and I need you to come with me,” she said.

”You left?” He stood up and walked away a little, not wanting the others to hear this conversation. ”What do you mean you left? Where are you?”

”I don’t know. I’m… down the street, I guess. Zacky, I’m being serious, I talked to Michelle and it was horrible and I really, really need you to come right now.”

”Okay, okay. Don’t worry, I’m leaving right now. Where exactly are you?” he asked.

”By some ugly yellow house? It’s huge and tacky and-”

”Yeah, I know what house you’re talking about. Just wait right there and I’ll be there in a minute. Whatever it was that happened, it’ll be okay.” He hung up the phone and without saying a word to anyone, he left the party and went to go find his girlfriend. He didn’t know what it was that had happened, but considering how drunk Michelle was by now, he knew that it had been bad. Zacky gritted his teeth as he thought of his friend’s girlfriend. She had done some stupid things while drunk but never before had they had any effect on him and his life. This was different. Now she had hurt someone he really cared about and all bets were off.

As soon as Mia came into view, he started walking faster. When he finally reached her, he hugged her right away.

”What happened?” he asked.

She just shook her head and held on tight to him.

”Mia?” He was worried about her and that worry grew when he realized that she had started crying. ”Mia, talk to me. What happened? What did she do?”

”I want to go home. I want to go home now,” she said through her tears, making him tighten his embrace around her.

”Shh, don’t cry. I’ll call a cab and we’ll be home in a few minutes.”

She shook her head again. ”I can’t do this. I have to go home.”

Now Zacky got even more worried. When she said home, did she mean his home here or did she mean her home back in San Francisco? He didn’t want to ask because he felt a bit too certain that her answer wouldn’t be the one he was looking for.

While he still hugged her, he called a cab and luckily, one was near the area and would be there within a few minutes.

They didn’t speak while they waited, nor did they speak during the car ride to his house. After a while she had stopped crying, only letting small sobs escape every now and then. Once they walked upstairs and he led them to the room that she was occupying, she finally spoke.

”I want to stay with you,” she whispered.

”Alright,” he said and changed direction, leading them to his bedroom instead. She kicked off her shoes and got under the covers, not bothering with taking her clothes off. He sat down next to her on the bed and stroked her hair.

”Can you tell me what happened?” he asked.

She nodded and started speaking. ”I was walking out of the bathroom when she showed up.” Mia didn’t even want to say her name. ”First she pretended to be all nice and said that she was sorry for what happened before, but then she turned into this drunk lunatic and asked how I got my claws into you and said that everyone knows that you’ll go back to Gena so I should enjoy my rich guy while this lasts.”

”What?” Zacky was shocked. He knew that she could be a bit of a bitch at times but this? This was more than he could have ever imagined. And to sweet, sweet Mia who hadn’t done anything wrong…

”That’s not all,” she continued. ”When she was about to leave, she looked at my clothes and said that she hoped my designs wouldn’t be anything like this ’thing’ I’m wearing.”

”I’m sorry, Mia. I’m so, so sorry. I can’t believe she would do that. I don’t get why she would say something like that to you.”

”I can’t work there, Zacky. I can’t work for her.”

”Of course not, I don’t expect you to,” he said as he continued stroking her hair.

”But then,” she started crying again, ”then that means that I have to go back home.”

”What?” he said surprised. ”No, it doesn’t.”

”Of course, it does! I-I can’t just hang around here and live off of you.” She wiped away a few tears.

”You could, if you wanted to. I want you to stay, whatever happens, I want you to stay. We’ll find you another job. I will find you another job. I just want you to stay here. Stay here with me.”

”But I can’t… If I hang around here and do nothing, she’s right. Then I’m just living off your money and then she’s right. I can’t let her be right. I won’t.”

”Look at me, Mia. Mia, look at me.” He cupped her face, making her face him. ”I don’t care about her and you shouldn’t care about her either. She’s bitter and mean and… whatever she says, doesn’t matter. I want you to stay and be with me. Don’t think about her, don’t care about her. Think about you and me, about us. Stay for us and everything else will work itself out, I promise.”

”Zacky… I wish I could but-”

He interrupted her. ”But nothing. No, I’m not letting you go, it’s as simple as that. Do you want to know why?” When she didn’t answer, he said it again. ”Do you want to know why?”

This time she nodded.

”I’m not letting you go; I’m not letting you leave me because… I’m falling in love with you.”

She looked at him surprised. Before she had the chance to say anything, he continued speaking. ”I’m falling in love with you, Mia, and it might be way too soon to tell you this and it might actually scare you away, but you have to know that I’m falling in love with you and I need you here. I don’t want to be without you.”

”Okay,” she whispered.

”You’ll stay?” he asked.

She nodded. ”I’ll stay.”

He bent down and kissed her. ”I just need to go and take care of something real quick, but I’ll come join you as soon as I’m done, okay?”

She nodded, again, and he kissed her, again. Then he walked out of the room, carefully closing the door behind him and went downstairs. When he was in the kitchen, feeling certain that Mia wouldn’t be able to hear him, he made a phone call.

”Bri,” he said when his friend answered, ”that crazy bitch you call your girlfriend has crossed the fucking line.”
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Okay, two very important things: one, I absolutely do not dislike Michelle in any way, and two, things aren't always what they seem. All will be explained, I promise.

You guys are amazing! Seriously, I was so surprised by your comments and support and overall awesomeness. Thank you so much! Hope you enjoyed this chapter! =)