“Is that why you've been so upset?”
Jonah held onto my arm as we stood behind the curtains, seconds away from his premier.
I just dropped the, “my ex-boyfriend, the guy who gave you a bloody nose, is now my mentor” bomb on him. Without a second thought I immediately threw my hands over my mouth. I felt like such an idiot. It was like word vomit. I was sick from holding it in, waiting for the right moment, that I just burst with the truth the minute he asked.
Why? I kept repeating in my head Why did you have to ruin the biggest moment of Jonah's life?
“7...6...” The stage manager continued to slowly count down.
I nodded my head as I, ironically, could no longer speak. Jonah laughed under his breath and let go of my arm.
I felt my body cringing from the inside. What had I done?
Because of me his show was going to be ruined. I saw it flash before my eyes: He would miss his entrance because he's so angry. His monologue wouldn't get any laughs because he wasn't delivering them in his normal charming way. The audience would hate him and his producer would be livid. He would get fired after the first day, and...and it would be all my fault! He would hate me forever!
“Oh my God, Lynn, are you okay?” Jonah whispered as he looked at my worried face.
I snapped back to reality, shaking off the horrible vision I just had. “Am I okay? Are YOU okay? You aren't upset are you?”
“5....4...” The stage manager shouted over us.
“Why would I be upset?” Jonah looked at me with a confused smile. “Unless he hurt you...then I would be upset.” His smile vanished as he spoke seriously.
“No, he didn-” Before I could finish a crew member yanked Jonah away.
“Seriously Jonah, take your mark! We're on in 3...2...” The dark shadowy backstage filled with a burst of light as the curtains were lifted. Jonah winked at me before he walked out. The curtains fell back down and the room once again filled with darkness.
I continued to stand where Jonah had left me. “What just happened?” I whispered to myself.
“You can go through those double doors and out the back hallway. It'll lead you to the side of the stage. Do not open the main doors to the studio until the recording light flashes off. You can watch through the window until then. Once you're in, Jonah's mom and sisters are sitting behind the camera men.” The crew member who pulled Jonah on stage directed me. I nodded my head and went on my way.
I watched Jonah's monologue from behind the closed doors. He spoke vividly, like he was catching up with an old friend after years of being separated. He engaged with his on screen “side-kick” and the house band. The audience seemed to be enjoying it. He was completely natural, like nothing was bothering him.
The red recording light turned off as the show strolled into commercials. A crowd of workers quickly surrounded Jonah. His hairstylist fixed his hair, a couple of makeup artists dabbed on more powder, while someone else fixed his tie.
I shuffled through the production crowd and sat in the private seating area with Jonah's family.
“Lynn, dear, how are you?” Jonah's mom stood up to give me a hug. “Where were you? You missed his monologue!”
“I'm fine. I was backstage with Jon.” I said as I leaned in to hug Casey then Mandy.
There was a cheer in the audience when I turned around to see Jonah walking towards us. He came straight over to his mom, “How was it?”
“It was so good!' She proclaimed. “Amazing! You did so well, Honey!” She started choking up the more she spoke. “I can't believe my baby's growing up so fast! Your dreams are coming true Joni!”
“Mom” Jonah laughed embarrassingly as he tried to quiet her down.
“Jonah, we need you at your desk. We'll be filming in 15 seconds...15 seconds...” A woman with a clipboard and headset shouted from the stage. Jonah ran back and got into place.
He was whisked away once again. We continued to watch the remainder of his show. There were a couple of funny bits proceeded by the interviews with his guests.
After the show was over the five of us headed downtown for dinner. There were a few interruptions along the way as people had slowly started to realize that the face plastered all over town was Jonah.
We ate and drank wine and chatted for a couple of hours. Most of the conversation revolved around Jonah and how proud we were of him. There was a moment of sadness when his mom brought up Jonah's dad. It was evident that each one of the kids was upset their father wasn't there to share this occasion with them.
After dinner Jonah's mom and Casey headed back to Long Island and Mandy back to Dartmouth. Jonah insisted that I stay the night at his place.
He sighed a huge sigh of relief as soon as we'd gotten inside. Within seconds Jonah had taken off his suit jacket and untucked his shirt. His body relaxed as he spread his legs across the couch.
“So, tell me again how this whole mentorship came about.” He asked as I handed him a bottle of water.
I told him the whole story from beginning to end. “Jonah, I'm sorry.” I dropped my head in shame. “I'm so sorry that I didn't tell you earlier. I didn't mean to freak you out, but when you asked, I just kinda froze and didn't know how much to say.” I shrugged.
“I don't want you feel like you can't tell me things Lynn. Especially things like this.” Jonah leaned off the couch to emphasis this tone. “I know you're used to him always getting angry with you, but I'm not like that Lynn. I'm not going to scold you for being human.”
“You're not mad that we're working together?” I peeked at him from the corner of my eyes.
“I'm upset that you're put in this position when I know you don't want to be. I'm not mad that it's him you're working with. I know you love me...through everything.” Jonah smiled.
“Through everything.” I repeated.