“No More Kisses in the Rain: Hollywood Power Couple Breaks Up”
Audrey Porter almost snorted as she clicked the trending story on her Facebook newsfeed. There were only two couples in Hollywood known for kissing in the rain and neither of them had broken up. She was definitely still dating the gorgeous man that was Henry Mancuso and there was no way that her brother had broken up with the girl that was literally perfect for him in every way. James and Lily had a kind of love that was so perfect Audrey didn’t even realise could exist in real life. There was no way they could have broken up. Still, the news article didn’t sound completely satirical, and she hadn’t seen that picture of Lily leaving James’ house before, and surely it couldn’t hurt to call James and make sure things were alright…
RING. RING. RING. RING. RING. RING. RING. RING. RING
Audrey hung up without leaving a message. She wasn’t worried about her call going to James’ voicemail; her brother was notorious for leaving his phone in his room whilst he was at home, where he wouldn’t see it or hear it for hours. She was more surprised when he answered her call than when she went through to voicemail. She tried Lily.
RING. RING. RING.
It wasn’t that getting Lily’s voicemail was worrying, but getting Lily’s voicemail on the third ring? If Lily’s phone had been off, she would’ve gone straight to voicemail. If Lily hadn’t been able to reach her phone then it would’ve rung for at least eight rings before going through to voicemail. Voicemail on the third ring meant Lily had seen her call.
And she had rejected it.
Audrey showed up on James’ doorstep at 6:30pm that evening, two hours after reading the headline, with a suitcase in one hand and an open umbrella in the other, because of course it was raining on the night her brother had maybe broken up with his girlfriend. James’ still hadn’t called her back and although part of her knew that her brother might just have not had time to check his phone, she still remembered the day he had come home from school after a break up and had locked himself in his room, isolating himself from people for days – and that was from a relationship that hadn’t lasted nearly as long or been nearly as perfect as his relationship with Lily. Still, there was a chance that she was overreacting, and James would laugh at her for months if it turned out they hadn’t actually broken up. So, she left her suitcase at the door and wandered around to the side of his house. Audrey peaked in to James’ living room window to see her brother lying on the couch, glass of whiskey in one hand. Listening closely, she realised that her brother was singing quietly to himself, his words soft, offkey and punctuated by sobs.
“Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone,” James was singing quietly to himself, “It’s not warm when she’s away. Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone, and she’s always gone too long, every time she goes away”.
Audrey felt her own heart split in two as all doubt vanished from her mind. The unthinkable had actually happened. James and Lily had broken up and her brother was lying there broken on the couch. She charged back up to the door of his house, threw her umbrella to the ground and pounded on the wood, willing herself not to cry because how was she supposed to help him feel better if she had tears streaming down her face?
“JAMES! JAMES! IT’S ME! PLEASE OPEN THE DOOR! I NEED TO SEE YOU! JAMES! PLEASE!”
It took almost two minutes of her banging and yelling before James opened the door. It took all her resolve not to launch herself at her brother, to wrap her arms around him and tell him it would all be alright. But she knew James and James wouldn’t have liked to be consoled like that. So she just stood in the doorway and looked at him.
“Hi,” she breathed.
“Hi,” he responded.
“I was wondering if I could maybe stay for a few nights?”
James’ eyes flickered down to her suitcase and then back up to her. “How did you know?” he asked.
Audrey paused. She wasn’t going to tell him that his break up had already reached the tabloids.
“Because I know you, James”
Her brother held her gaze for a few more moments, before stepping out of the doorframe to give her room to walk inside.
Upon entering his living room, James resumed his position on the couch. Audrey dropped her suitcase next to the staircase (she could always take it upstairs later) before moving to the window and drawing the curtain shut, blocking the rain from view. She moved around the room, straightening everything and picking up trash from the floor. She considered taking James’ glass away from him, but James’ might get mad at her for that, and she wasn’t willing to risk it. She took the armchair opposite him.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” James mumbled.
“Okay,” Audrey nodded. She reached for the remote on the coffee table between them and turned the television on. Staying clear of any news channels, she landed on a game show. She watched her brother for a few minutes, allowing the sounds of the television show to fill up the small, dark room. James stared at the ceiling, unresponsive. Audrey couldn’t bring herself to stay with him, couldn’t stand seeing him like that, so she stood up and stalked off to the kitchen to make some of Mama Porter’s famous chicken soup.
It was his favourite, after all.
The soup was set on the stove when she heard a large crash from the living room. Audrey quickly turned the heat down on the stove and rushed out to see what had happened. James was curled up on the ground next to the couch, completely silent. His glass of whiskey lay shattered at the ground next to the television. The game show had ended and a movie had started. Her brother’s face filled the screen, his mouth firmly attached to Lily’s, the damn rain beating down on them.
Sighing, Audrey swiped the remote off the couch and turned the television off, before carefully kneeling down next to her brother. She put a hesitant hand on James’ shoulder and, when he didn’t flinch, carefully wrapped both her arms slowly around his body. James and Audrey had always been close, both closer to each other than with any of their other siblings, but this was new for them both. James wasn’t one for hugging; he wasn’t one for physical comfort. Audrey felt him stiffen under her touch, but before she could decide whether or not to back off, James’ arms came up around her and he buried his face in her shoulder as the tears finally fell from his eyes.
“I… Lily…” he choked out between sobs.
“Shhhh,” Audrey whispered, stroking his back gently. “It’s okay, James. I’m here. I’ve got you. It’ll be okay.”
James didn’t want to talk. He couldn’t talk. Audrey didn’t mind. There would be time for talking later. She held her brother until his body stopped shaking, then she carefully lead him to his room and helped him into his bed. She placed a glass of water on his bedside table and turned his phone off.
“If you need me, I’m just down the hall, okay?” she said.
“Okay,” James echoed, his voice gravelly. “Thank you, Audrey.”
Audrey smiled at her brother before walking down the hallway to James’ guest room. Even though Lily probably slept in his room when she stayed over, James’ guest room looked like it belonged to her, with her forgotten belongings messily strewn throughout the room. Seeing all Lily’s things made Audrey wonder how Lily was feeling. She pulled out her phone and dialled Lily’s number.
It went to voicemail without even ringing.
“Hey, Lily – it’s Audrey, uh, Porter. Umm, look, so I don’t know exactly what happened or anything but I hope that you’re okay. And if you need to talk about it or anything, please call me. Or if you don’t want to call me, which is completely understandable by the way, please, just, like call Pam or… someone! Just… Just, please be okay, Lily. Okay? I’ll, uh… see you soon?”.
Audrey buried her face in her hand as she hung up the phone. This was a mess.
and she had no idea how to fix it.