Fifteen: Silences

I, for a few moments, cannot believe what I’m hearing.

I’ve never changed my email addresses or numbers; why would Tina tell them that I had?

“I’ve never changed my number or email address,” I frown.

“Well, that’s what your agent told us; I did think it was a bit weird but, seeing as you never called us...She told us you’d had a stalker incident and had had to change the numbers.”

“No, no, I’ve never had a stalker!” I exclaim; I’m beginning to get mad now.

“Calm down, love. I realise there’s been a huge mistake.” My mother’s voice is oddly soothing. “Like I said before, I’m really sorry about that...article.”

I’m silent.

Mum’s silent, she realises how much it hurt me.

“I will get her to apologise, love,” Mum suddenly whispers down the phone. “So, now...When do we get to see you?” she then says cheerfully. “I’m really anxious to know what’s going on with you! And it will be so much better than a phone call or a letter.”

I bite my lip and consider it. “I don’t know, Mum,” I confess. “I don’t know when I’ll be able to see you.”

“Oh. Is the job going well, then?” Mum asks curiously. “After...?”

“No. I haven’t been working.”

Mum is silent. “Well, I’ll...”

“I’ll stay in touch this time, Mum,” I promise. “In fact I’ll ring tonight.”

“Do you want to speak to your sisters? Your brother?”

“Oh – go on then.”

“Layla!” Giselle’s voice screeched down the phone. “Oh my God! I missed you! I saw you in a lot of magazines – like that one in ... Oh I forget the name, but the one with the fairytale theme – you looked dead pretty in that!...” She babbles on a bit more and then she says, “...could you lend me any dresses from any shoots?”

It’s only then I get a word in edgeways, and my eyes feel teary. “I don’t think so,” I laugh, “but I have some dresses if you’re interested.”

I can practically hear her grinning.

“Anyway, Callum wants to speak now. Love you!” and then my brother was speaking excitedly down the phone.

“Hey,” he grins, “Long time no...Speak?”

“Hey, Call.”

“Y’know, I should have tried the other email address,” he said seriously. “Your old one.”

“Well...I don’t know.” We chat a little bit more and I find myself asking if he wants any dresses from photo shoots; he’s silent, and then he says, “I did like the one you wore in the fairytale shoot.”

“Well – um. I haven’t got that one.”

“I was only joking, Layla,” Callum grins again, and then he says, “Anyway, see you.”

“Layla, I hate to –”

“I’d need to go anyway,” I say softly. “I’m meeting someone later.”

“Well, okay, love. I love you.”

“I love you too, Mum.”

I put down the phone and sigh slightly; I close my eyes. My head is beginning to hurt and I feel like crying, for some reason.

Then something else sparks, and I know one thing: my agent has a lot of questions to answer.