Home > The Idea of You(15)

The Idea of You(15)
Author: Robinne Lee

“It’s okay, you can wash them. Use cold water. But do it now, okay. Don’t wait.”

“And I don’t have any, like, stuff here.”

“We’ll take care of that. Where’s Daddy?”

“He’s out running.”

“All right. He can swing by the drugstore before work.”

“I’m not telling him.”

I could feel her getting worked up again over the phone. “Isabelle, he’s your father.”

“He’s a guy.”

I smiled at that, looking over into the alcove. A guitar case was propped up against the far wall. Hayes was in the same position on the daybed, eyes closed. I wasn’t sure if he was sleeping or just lying very still, listening. “Honey, he’s your dad. He’s not just a guy. I promise.”

“No, I’m not telling him.” She paused. “You tell him.”

“Okay, I’ll tell him—”

“No, don’t tell him.”

I laughed. “Where’s Eva?”

“In the shower, I think.”

I hated going this route. I hated knowing that she would be the one to hug her first, to share knowing looks and nudges and traipse with her through the aisles of CVS in search of Always with Wings. Like some chummy big sister or cool aunt and not the intellectual property tramp who was fucking her father. But it was not to be avoided.

“Do you feel comfortable talking to Eva?” I asked.

She was quiet for a moment. “I don’t know. I guess…”

“She’s not a guy.”

“She’s not my mom.”

That hurt and felt good at the same time. “I’m sorry I’m not there, Izz. Truly. I’m sorry. I love you.”

“I love you, too. Hurry up and come home, okay?”

Just then a black Range Rover came pulling up the drive followed by two smaller cars. Simon and Liam were back. The thought arose that maybe they could see into this window.

“I’ll see you Thursday, in Boston. And we’ll celebrate. Promise.”

“Okay,” she sighed. “Have fun. Don’t work too hard.”

The last bit was like twisting the knife.

“Bisous,” she said.

“Bisous.”

“Everything okay?” Hayes asked when I sat beside him on the bed.

“Yeah.”

“Girl stuff?”

I smiled, nodding. “She would die if she knew you knew.”

“I won’t tell her then.” He reached up to stroke my hair, his movements slow, lethargic.

“Your friends are back.”

“Yeah. The match is starting soon.”

“I don’t think this is going to happen right now,” I laughed, awkward, my arms still across my breasts. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t apologize.” He smiled. “It couldn’t be avoided. I’m sorry for Isabelle that you weren’t there.”

I felt my chest tighten then, and for a second I thought I might cry. “I’m sorry, too.”

“Come here.” He pulled me onto him. “Come lie down with me for five minutes. Before the madness…”

“The madness?”

He nodded. “There’s always madness.”

* * *

Hayes was right. There was a certain level of madness. Simon and Liam were loud, crazy. They’d returned from their jet-ski outing with two girls. Apiece. I wasn’t certain whether they’d just met them or they were prior acquaintances. I did not want to ask. But I had this moment of “What the fuck am I doing here?” followed by “Where are these girls’ mothers?” And I felt an intense need to chaperone them all.

Much later, when I had the gumption to ask Hayes if it was typical of his bandmates to entertain two women at a time, he laughed, amused. “No. Usually they’re interested in one and the other is a friend or sister who tags along for moral support. A wing woman, if you will. Except for in extreme cases … like Rory. Or … Ibiza.”

For those who cared, the Netherlands v. Chile game was a nail-biter. For me, it was an opportunity to down rosé and oysters on the terrace while the others hooted and hollered and yelled indecipherable Britishisms in the salon.

When the match was over and Netherlands had triumphed, the gang descended on the lobster spread and then, after, engaged in an impromptu soccer game and frolicking on the lawn.

“Do you have everything you need? Are you all right?” Hayes insisted on checking in every ten minutes or so. He’d swept his hair back with a headband and changed into a jersey and shorts to play, and there was something so boyish about him that it almost felt wrong. Almost.

“I’m fine. Watching you and your friends have fun.”

“All right.” He kissed me, the sweet smell of sweat on his skin. “Let me know when you stop being fine, all right?”

At some point in the evening, Rory headed up to the terrace with the French sister wives and a guitar and began serenading them. By the time he launched into a startlingly good rendition of “Hotel California,” the lot of us had joined him, Simon and Liam chiming in with some impressive harmonies. I felt like I was in college all over again. Except these guys actually got paid to do this. I drank in the moment: Cap d’Antibes on a balmy June night. Close to ten and the sky a pale orchid, the immense stretch of green, the smell of the sea, the wine, and “a lot of pretty, pretty boys…”

I chose not to stay for the second match. Hayes insisted on driving me back to my hotel but did not press to come upstairs when I pled exhaustion.

“Come with me to Saint-Tropez tomorrow,” he said. “We’ll have lunch.” We were sitting in his Bentley Continental cabriolet, a rental, in a parking space on the Croisette, a few doors down from the Hôtel Martinez. Stalling. “It’s just going to be a handful of us on the boat. Much less madness.”

“I don’t mind the madness.”

He smiled, reaching out to finger my hair. “I do. You were stellar. We’re a lot to take on, I know. I promise tomorrow will be different.”

“Did I say I didn’t have a good time? If I didn’t want to be here, I wouldn’t be here.”

“I didn’t really give you a choice,” he laughed.

“I always have a choice, Hayes.”

He let that sit there for a moment. “God … It’s really too bad you’re so knackered. It would be nice to finish what we started…”

“If you were to come upstairs now, you’d miss all of the Croatia-Mexico game.”

“Somehow I think it would be worth it.”

I took his hand from my hair then and held it to my mouth, inhaling new car leather. “I will … see you … tomorrow,” I said, and kissed his palm. Twice.

He grinned, his head reclining on the headrest. “Now you’re just teasing me.”

“Tomorrow,” I repeated.

“So you’ll come to Saint-Tropez?”

“I’ll come to Saint-Tropez.”

* * *

Not that I couldn’t have enjoyed a day alone decompressing from Art Basel at the hotel’s beach club, downing Campari and orange juice and luxuriating in all that was good about Cannes in its off-season. But that was not the purpose of this trip.

And I was reminded of that again, sailing through the sapphire waters of the Mediterranean under a cloudless sky. The jagged coastline bathed in Riviera light stretched out alongside us, offering up lush pines and terra-cotta rooftops. The extravagance of endless Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial aboard a sixty-three-foot crewed yacht. The indulgence, the beauty—made all the more so with him.

It was just us, Oliver, Charlotte, Desmond, and Fergus. The others had opted to drive the Grande Corniche to Monaco and take their chances in the casinos for the day. And so, as Hayes had promised, it was tranquil. We took our time getting there, drinking in the sun and the views. And when we passed Saint-Raphaël, the town where I’d spent every summer from one to twenty-one, I felt not just a little nostalgic.

Hayes and I separated from the others in Saint-Tropez, sharing a quiet lunch on the Place des Lices and strolling the narrow cobblestoned streets. It was almost like having him to myself. And the dozen or so times he was stopped to pose for a picture, he was so gracious and his fans so adoring, I could not begrudge them the moment.

It became apparent that this, whatever it was we were doing, would never truly be just the two of us. So long as he was in August Moon, Hayes was someone I would share with the world. And I understood then why it was so important to him that I separate Hayes from Hayes Campbell.

“How do you do it?” I asked. “How do you always say yes?” We were leaving Barbarac, a gelateria, where we had been stopped by a Belgian family with two teenage girls. Hayes had obliged them with photos and autographs while I attempted to be inconspicuous, selecting gelato flavors until they were done.

He shrugged then, licking his cone. “I figure that a gesture that might take two minutes out of your life could be a much more significant moment for someone else. So you kind of don’t want to ruin it for them.”

I peered over at him: backwards baseball cap, sunglasses, dimples. That he was this sensitive, conscientious soul only sweetened the deal.

“What are you thinking?” He smiled. “You want a lick of my ice cream, right?”

“Yes,” I laughed. “I want a lick of your ice cream.”

* * *

The plan was to meet up with the others on the boat at four. England was playing Costa Rica at six o’clock, and the guys did not want to miss it. We had just exited Rondini, the handmade leather sandal boutique, where I’d purchased matching pairs for Isabelle and myself, and were heading down Rue Georges Clemenceau when Hayes stopped short at the corner in front of Ladurée.

“Fuck.”

“What? Did you forget something?”

“Fuck,” he repeated.

   
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