After the song ends, I pull away from Josh. Wordlessly, we walk off the dance floor and toward the entrance for the after party. As we exit the building, we’re greeted by a slew of paparazzi. He turns to me and says, “My car is around the block. Follow me.” The paparazzi pursue us as we walk toward his car. They shout out questions like “So are you two officially dating now?” and “Where are you off to now?” I hide my face as best as I can and pick up my pace. When we reach his car, we jump in and Josh starts the motor and speeds away.
For the first couple of minutes, its deathly silent in the car. He finally breaks the silence and says, “So where do you want me to take you?” I don’t respond. He sighs and continues to drive. After a few more minutes he says, “Jenn, we need to talk.” I nod in agreement. Then he says, “The paparazzi will probably be parked outside both our places. If its okay, there’s a place not to far from here that I like to go to when I need some time to think. Mind if we go there?” I spend the rest of the time we’re in the car staring straight head at the road in front of me. Neither one of us tries to engage in any kind of conversation.
He drives us up into the hills and stops at spot that overlooks the city. He turns off the motor of his car and steps out. After a few minutes, I open the passenger door and step out of the car too. It’s cool outside and so he offers me his jacket. I shake my head but he places it around my shoulders anyway. I tell him thanks and stare wordlessly at the city below.
After what feels like an eternity, I turn to him and say, “I’m sorry.” He turns to me and says, “What are you sorry for?” In reply, I say, “What I did was wrong. It shouldn’t have happened.” He nods his head and says, “I’m not sorry.” At that point, tears start streaming down my face and I feel myself choking up.
“You deserve better than this. You deserve…” He cuts me off by saying, “someone who’s free.” I can’t look at him anymore. I head back to the passenger seat door, open it, and say, “Please take me home.”
He walks over to the car door, places his hand on it, and says, “Jenn, we’ve always been honest with each other. If there’s anything to be said, we should do it now.” I know he’s right.
After a few moments, I look up at him and say, “What good would it do? Anything I say now is going to hurt somebody.”
“Probably,” he replies. “But isn’t it better to talk things out. Get things out in the open. What’s the alternative? Pretend nothing happened. That’s no good for either of us.”
“I’m so confused. I don’t know what I feel.” I pause, then say, “That’s not true. I do know and its killing me inside.” He places his hand on top of mine and I instinctively pull my hand back. “No, Josh. Please.”
He takes his hands off the car door and places them at his side and looks down for a moment, then looks at me and says, “I care about you. I’ve cared about you for a long time but I won’t do anything to make things worse for you now.” He pauses and says, “Take sometime to think. Sort things out. We don’t start filming Catching Fire until August. We’ll see how things are then.” I nod in agreement. “But I can’t promise you that I’ll still be free if you wait until then.”
My heart feels like its breaking into a million pieces. I look at him and say, “I know. You’re right. I’ve got no say about who you see or what you do. I just wish…” I feel myself choking back tears again and I can’t finish the sentence.
“What do you wish for?” he gently asks. After I wipe the tears from my face and regain some composure, I say, “I just wish I could be the kind of person you deserve.”
“How do you know that you’re not already there?” he replies. “Don’t I have some say about that?”
I look at him and blurt out, “I love you Josh.” He looks at me and says, “I love you too Jenn.”
“If it were only that easy.” He replies, “I know.” Then he turns and walks toward the driver side door and says, “It’s getting late. I better take you home.”
We don’t speak on the way home. We’re both lost in our own thoughts and trying to process what just happened. But I can’t help feeling more and more apprehensive as we got closer to my house. I ask him to park a block away just in case photographers are still in the area. I’m about to open the door when I feel his arms pull me towards him. I don’t resist when he kisses my lips and holds me in his arms.
I can hear that he is starting to choke up as he releases me from his embrace. After a moment, he says, “Take care of yourself, Jenn.” I nod then he kisses my forehead and I get out of the car.
As I walk to my house, I think about tonight and the important choices that I’m going to have to make…soon. How am I ever going to decide? Who do I choose?