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The Last Time

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The Actress

Again, I am auditioning for another role which I probably won't get, because of the career I picked, with the one audition song I know back to front. As I sat in the room, I knew that Jamie would be on the couch, writing, like he usually does, but not at my home.

Last month, he left because he thinks he fell out of love with me and we both know that that is some bullshit he's made up from the top of his head. It's not my fault. In fact, the main reason I decided to do this today was to get the fuck over it. Five years of my life wasted on him.

I'm still Wellerstein by legal name, so it's the name I give when prompted. I sing that piece and get out of there rather quickly.

When I get home, I open the door and realise that his things aren't here anymore. My heart feels like it is burning within my chest.

Every day I yearn to perform on a stage in New York, and I know I will get there. The stage is waiting, but then again on the other side, so is Jamie. It was that that totally pulls my heart out of whack and I'm now on the floor.

A few weeks later, I get a phone call from the casting agency. Call backs.

While this production may not be in New York, Ohio is close enough for now, right?

Wrong Cathy. WRONG! Ohio is hell, and you know it.

I sit down in the chair and grab onto the sides. He sat here every night whenever he was here, and now I don't know what to do.

An actress, living on her minimal wage from performing wherever she could, that was all I am.

The walls which were once covered by pictures, of him or of us, were taken down and pictures of: my parents, my pregnant sister, and Carole-Ann and her child were hung up.

Cathy Hiatt, I would be.

The next time I hear his name is when his next book hits it big time, expected of him but it hurts me. It hurts me so much that I almost have to run to the toilet to hide from it. To hide from everyone else. To hide from what I'd been a part of for so long. The first tear reaches my bottom lip in record time.

By the time I walk out of the bathroom, I walk to the payphone, and I go to reach for the change in my back pocket. I feel guilt surge through me and I stand next to the phone. "Mrs Wellerstein?" Gary asks.

"It's Ms Hiatt. Anyway, what is it Gary?" I reply.

He looks towards me and I look towards him. "You cue is half a minute."

I run towards the stage and perform the part, staying near stage for the rest of the show.

At the end I sat in the green room, waiting for the director and such to come into the room and yell at us that we can do better than that. The clothes I'm wearing are among the only ones he didn't buy for me, and that don't hurt me when I look at them.

He and I are over. He left me, and pretty much told me that the problems were mine. This is not right, and I know it. He has the problems, but he doesn't tell me what they are.

I know what it is. He thinks that because I was trying to pull him away from his work and from his parties that I was trying to pull him out of the limelight. I was not. I was trying to save us. I need to have somebody. I need for him to support me.

The director and his crew walked into the room, and he sat in the chair saved for him. "Well, what can I say? It's the best yet," he says. He looks around the room, almost smiling at me. "James, you're going great! I like the masculine qualities you bring to your interpretation of…" Blah blah bla...

I must have zoned out for a few minutes because by the time he said, "Cathy." I am not paying much attention until I hear my name. "You're going great, you've got all of your lines down and your timing is almost perfect, but today you seemed a bit… distant."

I look up to see his smile wider than usual. I may have been 'distant' but he is creepily… happy.

When I get out of there, I sit in my empty apartment and breathe slowly. It's night time now, and the dim light of a dying lamp accompanies me as I continue trying to read this book I got sent from Richard. I wish he would leave me alone but then again at the same time I need him right now. He's not grilling me with the whole Jamie Jamie Jamie that everybody seems to be.

Richard understands me a little more than I want to be understood. However, when the package sent me for an insanely high postage price turns out to be his book. Why did he buy this for me didn't I tell him last book that I didn't need to buy it no matter what? I hadn't told him that Jamie and I split or anything.

I place the book under the rocking part of the table for a few minutes before I pick it back up. I mustn't have checked the package properly, since the book was addressed from Random House, it is not from Richard.

It was from Jamie.

For Cathy, the front page reads under the Acknowledgement heading, the woman I loved, who is one of the most amazing people I have met. I look at the page for a few minutes before I decide to place the book down on the table. Upon looking at the blurb on the book, I know that this is something I would read, like it was almost made for me, written by him.

He left me, and yet he still cares about me a lot. That scares me because I don't know what to do, or feel. Should I go after him, or should I just let him go.

Opening night of the show, after the end of the show, I notice somebody who looks like Jamie in the crowd, holding a girl by the hand proudly. I stand in the foyer, unable to force myself out of the place.

He's laughing, and probably showing off his new girlfriend. If it was him, or wasn't him, he looks close enough for her to not like my odds of outside.

"Cathy, you coming outside?" James asks.

"No," Cathy says. I see the poster again, and the billing of Cathy Hiatt at fourth. And when he looks towards door, he slowly leads me away.

As I walk outside, Jamie turns to me. I almost expect him to turn back around, but he stands there, still. His eyes are admiring me again, like he used to.

"Well done, Cathy Hiatt, big time star," he says to me.

He then turns and then walks away from me. When I go home, I pick up the book which he had left me. I read for about half an hour, before I remember I need to be up early tomorrow morning. As I start turning off lights and such, I hear a knock on the door.

I walk towards the door, and then open it.

Jamie.

He walks into the apartment and tries not to smile.

"It's different here," he says. I walk away slowly, and he screams, "Wait!"

I don't pause until I get to my bedroom door. "You should not be in here. You left me. You can't come back here now. For the record, you're the one who continues to blame everything on me," I say.

"We need to talk, one last time."