“Will you stop micro-managing me. I know how to make grits.” Jared told his girlfriend, Jenny. Once again he was over at her house and they were in the kitchen whipping up something to eat. “You know you have to keep stirring the grits once you put them in the boiling water.” explained Jenny. Jared sighed in annoyance. “I know. Make yourself useful and start grating the cheese.” “Fine. I’m nothing but a lackey.” She proceeded to grate the cheese quietly while staring at Jared’s back.
’How the Hell did this happen? One minute Jared was just the guy I had a crush on and the next he’s my boyfriend. I hope he doesn’t turn out like others. Jared’s different, I can tell. He’s not like most men. Hell, he’s not like most people. He’s very unusual and kind of strange. There’s something very dark about him but very sweet as well. Like he’s fighting a battle between wanting to be good yet has to show that he’s bad because that is how people expect him to be.
’It has to be a facade. I need to show Jared that he can be himself and that he doesn’t have to act when he is around me. I only hope that I don’t mess this relationship up.’ ”Cheese, please.” Jared said with a smile on his face as Jenny gave him the bowl of cheese. She stood behind him and rubbed his back while planting kisses on his neck. Jared seemed to not mind at all.
Jenny Reilly’s life had been anything but normal. Since both her Mother and Father were in the ministry, her family moved around a lot. They never stayed in one place for more than 9 months to a year. Making friends was very difficult when she was younger, being very shy and all.
”Jared, did you have trouble making friends when you were younger?” Jenny asked. Jared was plating the grits into bowls. “Um…a little but I was a weird kid. Was it hard for you?” “Yeah. Kids would always make fun of me or ignore me.” she confessed. “I don’t believe that. Who wouldn’t like you. Your Thumper, remember.” That made Jenny smile.
”Its too bad our paths didn’t cross back then.” Jared snorted and replied, “No, you wouldn’t have liked me. I was such a little devil.” He kissed her on the lips and gave her the bowl of food which she took. She took a bite and said, “Your lucky this is good or else I would have to end this relationship right now. I’ve done it before with my last boyfriend. He thought that he could get away with using Velveeta cheese.” “That’s fucking disgusting.” Jared said making a face. He sat next to her on the couch. She was flipping through the channels trying to find something to watch.
”Remember when MTV use to play music videos? Those were the days.” Jenny commented. “Jenny, what were you like in high school?” Jared asked all of a sudden. He really wanted to know who she was and who she hung out with. “I was a drama geek, remember.” “Yeah, that I know but how did you become a drama geek? I mean I can’t fathom anyone wanting to join drama class for the fun of it.” uttered Jared. “Well, when my parents decided to move back to Texas permanently I knew that I would be attending the local high school…”
”Why didn’t they send you to a Christian school?” Jared interrupted. “I don’t know. The weird thing about my parents is that they love God but they don’t always care for some of his fans. You know the crazy evangelical people.” “My family, right.” Jared said with a giggle. “I think they wanted to give me some sense of normalcy.” Jenny pointed out. “That’s understandable. So how did you wind up in drama?” Jared asked as he took of bite of his grits. “It was by accident. It was the first day of ninth grade and I looked at my schedule and saw that my 7th period was drama class. I freaked cause I could never talk in front of people.” “But you sing in front of people. How is that different?” he asked her.
”Singing is completely different. You can get lost in the music. You don’t have to pay attention to the audience but the teacher, Mrs. Parsons explained to me that no one would make fun and that the class could help me come out of my shell. So I decided I might as well give it a shot. At first I only participated in behind the scenes stuff like costumes, sets and props.” “When did you…you know…sum up the courage to actually audition?” “It was when they couldn’t find a lead for the production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I went up there, I sang and I got the part.” Jenny described like it was no big deal. “Did you get every part you auditioned for?” he asked as he was playing with the tips of her hair. “Yes.” she said with a sly smile, “But some of the kids were upset about that so I kind had to take step down and allow for the other kids to shine.
”Even in high school I had trouble making friends. I was always that freak with the big voice. Whatever.” she rolled her eyes. “Thank God, I only went to high school for a year. I don’t think I could have handled all four years. I was considered a nerd incase you were wondering. I hated everybody cause they were just so stupid and ordinary.” “Were you like the male equivalent of Juno?” “I guess you could say that but my boyfriend at the time didn’t knock me up, thank the lord.” Jared laughed at his own joke and Jenny laughed right along with him.
“How did you wind up in New York?” he asked resting his head on her shoulder. She put her arm around him and started running her fingers through his hair. Jenny sighed. New York was and would always be a tough subject to talk about but she wanted to be honest with Jared. He’s been honest about everything with her so far. “I told my parents that I wanted to go to New York instead of college. My Mother was so upset. She explained to me that it would be a more wise decision to go to one of the colleges where I received a music scholarship but I said that I didn’t want to cause I thought I new everything there is to know about music and performing. I was very cocky. Oh, man. I was in for a rude wake up call.”
”So you went to New York all by yourself?” questioned Jared. “Thankfully no. My old high school friend at the time, Ashley, came with me. She was attending Pratt Institute, an art college in Brooklyn. That’s where we set up shop. That place was such a culture shock for us. It looked like Halloween everyday but we had fun, at least for the first year.” rambled Jenny.
Jared was unsure if he should press any further. He already new what happened to Jenny while she was living in Brooklyn at that time. She told him that she lost sight of who she use to be and that since nothing was happening with her career she needed an escape. “Just one more question. I promise. Did you ever go to rehab to get off the drugs?” “No. I white knuckled it. I can’t believe that my Dad had to see me in that state. Pale and disgustingly skinny. I had only used Adderall so I could stay awake and make it to work or auditions that I had lined up for the week.
”However, since Adderall kept me awake I needed something to help me get some sleep at night. That became a routine; uppers in the morning and downers at night. I was becoming just like Judy Garland. I was out of control. Ashley was fed up and called my parents. She told them everything. To this day she still won’t talk to me. I try but she won’t listen to what I have to say. Too bad cause she was my only friend at the time.
” I was so alone. I really wanted to just die. I thought about it, suicide but couldn’t go through with it. I couldn’t do that to my family. I couldn’t go out like that. When my Dad said that I should just come home, I agreed but that didn’t happen. I didn’t go back with him. In the middle of the night I packed my stuff and left a note saying that I needed to figure some things out. I got in my car and drove. I just needed that time by myself. I was planning on going home but I stopped in Nashville instead. Mom and Dad were so mad but what could they do, I was 20 years old. I was an adult. They said that I still needed help with my addictions but I assured them that I would be fine.
”To make them get off my back I started attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings. I went when I could. It was painful having to sit and listen to the other addicts stories. I couldn’t handle it so I stopped going after two months, that was back in 2007. Sometimes though, I just feel…so… ” Jared looked up at her. For someone who is so full of life and energy, in that moment Jenny looked small and broken.
She looked at him. “You should get out while you still have the chance Jared. I’m still messed up. I know people are worried that you’re gonna hurt me but it should be the other way around. I’m scared that I’m going to end up being the one that disappoints you.” Jared cupped her face in his hands and kissed her on the lips. “You could never disappoint me. I’ve been there. I know what its like. You don’t have to be alone in this.” he reassured Jenny. She kissed the palm of his hand, then his lips.
”You’re too good for me Jared. You know that right?” Jared put his forehead against hers and replied, ”That’s honestly the first time a girl has ever told me that.” “Well you know that I’m not like most girls.” Jenny stated with a smile. For the time being, Jenny was happy with where she was at in her life. Music was her drug. Touring was her escape. She didn’t need to take the easy way out even though every now and then she felt like she was going to slip and be back where she was four years ago but now things were different. She had friends who cared about her, who loved her. Her parents always told her that they would always be there for her whenever she needed them and so were her siblings. Despite how they made Jenny feel at times, her brother and sister loved her and would always protect their little sister.
Now she had Jared. He understood Jenny where other guys had failed. He understood where she came from cause he could relate. They were the same yet different. ‘Please God, don’t let me mess this up.’ Jenny told herself as Jared and her went back to watching TV.