Raven didn’t just drop out of school. Not right away, at least. She actually enjoyed some of the classes she was taking that semester, and Acid Monsoon needed to ride out the contract they had with Lucrezia Romanov.
“But then you’re leaving?” Declan asked.
“Wouldn’t you?” she countered.
“No. Actually, I wouldn’t. I would stay in college, get my degree and then—“
“College can wait. You know it can. I mean, come on, how many twenty-five-year-olds have you had class with since you got here? I can always come back, but you know this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity thing.”
The worst part was, he did know it. This was Acid Monsoon. The bigtime. And they wanted his girlfriend. It would catapult her to fame. And then? Then she could take him with her.
But no, he’d remind himself. That’s not how these things work. She’s going to run off to fame and fortune and leave me pining here in the dust.
“Baby, no,” she’d reassure him. “How could I leave you? You’re the one who found me. You were the first person to really, you know, understand me.”
He knew now, though, that that just wasn’t true. He didn’t understand her nearly as well as he thought—as she thought—that he did.
And that really freaked him out.
But what freaked him out even more was the jealousy. He was in love with this woman, but rather than being jealous of all those men she’d be hanging around, who’d be hanging aorund her, it was her he was jealous of.
“Of course you are,” said his new friend Jeffrey from college. Jeffrey was kind of a smart-ass, calculating and detached. “She is getting what you want, what you’ve always wanted. What she wouldn’t have wanted, if it wasn’t for you.”
“Are we going to break up?“ It was a question that he didn’t want to ask her; he felt weak asking it of her, like he’d lost something, like he was giving up on the relationship.
But he felt even worse when she answered so casually that yes, of course she would stay with him—they would make long distance work because they loved each other.
It made him feel worse because it made him realize he didn’t trust their relationship, he didn’t have faith in it the way she did. Why did he think that? Did he not trust her, or did he not trust himself? Either way, what did that say about him?
“I’m sure a long-distance relationship could work out,” said Jeffrey when he confided in him again.
“Have you tried it?”
“I’ve never really had occasion.”
“It just makes me feel…” That was really all he had to say, yet he felt like saying more.
“I know,” Jeffrey consoled him.
“Why does it have to be this way?” was Raven’s question to him. “I mean, why does this even…”
“I’m sorry. I can’t tell you why, because I’m not even really sure myself, but I don’t feel comfortable with this. I don’t feel comfortable and goddammit, it is… it’s tearing me apart. I feel weak and I feel… ashamed.”
This, by the way, was around about the time that Declan wrote what would become the #1 hit “Tears on Weekdays”.
“Listen to me,” Raven told her boyfriend. “I am not goign to cheat on you out there. OK? I love you. I have always loved you. Distance? All that gets in the way of is sex. I can handle that, I can handle… not having sex for a while. Can you?”
He couldn’t. He knew he couldn’t (or thought it, anyway) but still he smiled at her and kissed her and agreed. Better to lie now and risk fucking up later than to just give up, right?
To be fair, it took three months for Declan to break down and sleep with this girl Michelle they went to school with. That was five days longer than it took Raven to throw herself at Caspar June—not that the one had to do with the other. They were both young and bad at communicating, so they both felt awful afterwards.
But they both recovered and moved on.