They’d all eaten well and taken their times doing so. It was now around nine o'clock and Chester had accompanied Nik back to her place so she could get her stuff.
‘Did you mean what you said earlier?’ Nik asked as she collected her stuff.
‘Did I mean what?’ Chaz wasn’t entirely sure what he’d said earlier.
‘The bit about you singing the way you did cos I asked?’ Nik explained.
‘Yeah, you’re opinion and wants mean a lot to me. You asked, I obeyed. I didn’t want to disappoint you,’ Chaz replied, his eyes resting everywhere but on her.
*If only my want for you meant a lot to you* Nik thought. Instead of saying that allowed she replied differently. ‘That’s amazing. I didn’t know you felt like that about me.’
‘Of course I do. You’re one of the best friends I had, I respect you more than anything. Like I said you mean a lot to me.’
‘You didn’t say that,’ Nik pointed out.
‘Well, I meant it,’ Chester looked straight at her as he said this to her.
Her heart melted as his eyes locked with hers. Why didn’t he love her? She questioned herself.
She walked to him and wrapped her arms round him in a tight hold. ‘you mean everything to me Chester. I love you,’ she whispered. Tears pricking her eyes.
He pulled away first, ‘You good to go?’ he asked, picking up her bag.
‘Yeah, let’s get outta her and back to the hotel. We got an early start tomorrow,’ she exhaled. She’d wanted that hug to last forever.
She said goodbye to her place, an odd thing to do but she did it anyway, and the two of them set off back to the hotel for the first part of Nik’s tour with Linkin Park.
‘I like to watch you sleep at night
to hear you breathe by my side.
And although sleep leaves me behind
there’s nowhere I’d rather be’
Nik lay by Chester’s side in his hotel bed again. She loved watching him sleep. Watching the way his chest rose and fell with each breath. His breathing was deep and hypnotic, it took her into a totally different world as she lay, listening to it.
They’d returned to the hotel after leaving her place, finding everyone in the bar. They’d had a beer then departed to his room. They had an early start tomorrow, they were leaving at three - sleep was needed.
Nik, however, hadn’t been able to sleep. She just kept hearing Chester’s words over and over again in her head ‘You’re one of the best friends I had, I respect you more than anything. Like I said you mean a lot to me.’
She loved Chaz with all her heart, and it killed to know he saw her as nothing but a good friend. She wanted him to return her love. She knew he never would, he was so caught up with all this divorce shit and he still loved Samantha. She figured he always would. He’d eventually get over her and move on but Nik felt she wouldn’t be the one he moved on with.
She turned over, turning her back to Chester’s gorgeous form. She needed to sleep, to keep her mind away from her feelings. It was too hard though.
These feelings weren’t going to just go away over night. They’d built up over the time she’d known Chester and now they were as strong as ever, possibly stronger.
She sighed deeply and closed her eyes as a headache took over her brain. These thoughts were to much for her. She allowed her mind to clear slightly and an uncomfortable, empty sleep took over.
‘Nik, Nik honey,’ Chester’s voice penetrated the veil of sleep that held Nik as her eyes opened.
Chester was lent over her, shaking her lightly to wake her.
‘Ugh,’ a groan escaped Nik’s lips as she woke properly.
‘It’s time to get going, babe,’ Chester pulled the covers off her and disappeared into the bathroom with a load of clothes.
*This is it* thought Nik, pulling herself into a vertical stance. She pulled on some clothes and decided there was no point in make up. It was to damn early and she was to damn tired. Who would care anyway? She was just going to get on a bus, then on a plane. She could do the make up on the plane before they landed. She wasn’t even sure where their first destination was.
They made their way down to the lobby when they were both clothed, the guys were all there except Brad.
‘He can never get up on fucking time can he?’ Mike was complaining as Rob phoned brad’s room.
‘Morning Nik,’ said Joe, walking to he and slipping his arm around her waist.
‘Why the fuck can’t he just be on time for once!?’ snapped Mike, he was obviously very tired.
‘Why don’t you tell him your leaving time is half an hour earlier than it really is? Then he’d be waiting for you and you would be pissing us all of with your incessant whining!’ Nik told Mike as she used Joe for support to stay standing.
Mike went red, realising he was being a jerk.
Brad came out of the elevator looking as dead as the rest. They all made their way out to the bus and got aboard.
Nik sat down with the rest and rested her head on Joe’s shoulder.
‘Welcome to your Linkin Park tour experience,’ Phoenix said to her as she lapsed into a stage of unconsciousness better known as sleep.
On the plane, Nik had been sat with Chester in two seats and across the aisle, the rest of the band sat together. They all spent the first part of the journey sleeping. However, when they awake, Chester barely spoke, he kept himself quiet and very much to himself. Nik ended up leaning across the aisle to talk to the others. Lucky for her, whenever she finished her drink, Joe would get up and get her another.
Now Nik was sat on her bed in the room she was sharing with Chester. They were in Boston and they had nothing to do.
‘Smoke?’ Chester offered Nik one from his packet and she accepted without hesitation. The rooms were non smoking so they had to go out on to the balcony into the freezing Boston air.
‘Can I ask a favour?’ Chester said, lighting his stick of nicotine and then lighting Nik’s.
‘Of course you can, Chaz,’ Nik shivered in the cold, Chester’s arm instinctively wrapping around her shoulders.
‘When I go to court will you, um, will you come with me?’ he asked nervously, he seemed unsure of whether or not to ask her.
‘Sure I will. I wouldn’t want to see you go along anyway. I promise you, I’ll be by your side,’ Nik told Chester. He squeezed her tightly.
‘Thank you. You're are my lifeline. I don’t think I’d truly be able to cope without you,’ Chester squeezed her once more and let go, moving away.
The date for the court hearing had approached very quickly. Nik was now sat listened to the whole thing as it was played out infront of her. She and Chester had flown out to LA that morning from Delaware and would fly back again straight after.
The hearing finished and the final one was announced for the following week. Chester walked to Nik, they hugged and silently walked hand in hand out of the court room.
‘What the fuck is this?’ Sam’s voice was heard behind them.
Nik and Chester turned to see Sam staring at the two holding hands.
‘Sam…’ Chester began but was cut off.
‘So, how long’s this been going on? Is it a new thing or did it start while we were still married?’ Sam accused them of things that weren’t even half true.
‘Sam, calm down, please. this isn’t what you think it is,’ Nik tried to explain to Sam.
‘C’mon, Chester. How long have you been fucking this whore?’ asked Sam.
Chester just looked at her, in total shock of the hurtful words she was giving out.
‘Sam, we’re not together! I’m here to support Chester as a friend! Your making hugely false accusations here,’ Nik tried to get a hold of the situation.
‘Don’t you fucking tell me what I’m doing, you bitch!’ Sam’s hand connected hard with Nik’s cheek. A loud smacking sound echoed through the hall upon impact.
Sam then stormed off and Chester followed close behind her. Nik turned to watch them, her hand covering her reddening cheek. She watched the two have a heated argument further down the hall and tried to assess what had just happened. Sam used to be her friend and she had just slapped her! In the middle of a courthouse! Nik couldn’t believe this.
Chester soon returned to her side. ‘You OK?’ he asked.
‘Yeah, I um, yeah I’m fine,’ she finally removed her hand from her swelling cheek. ‘More to the point, are you OK?’
‘Yeah, let’s get outta here, we got a plane to catch,’ Chester began walking and Nik followed. Their hands never met as they left the building.
Chester was pretty silent during the plane journey. He hardly spoke, and when he did, it was only in one syllable phrases. His eyes were pricked with tears that he either would not or could not cry. Today really hadn’t gone well.
They got to the hotel and as soon as they were in their room Chester broke down. An anguished sob escaped his lips as his tears fell.
‘Chester,’ Nik went to Chester taking hold of his arm.
‘Get the fuck off me!’ Chester cried, flinging his arm back, causing Nik to slam into the wall and for her head to bounce on it. ‘Just keep away from me. I can’t be around you right now. She thinks I’m fucking you! She hates me!’ he screamed.
‘I… I’m going,’ Nik whispered, tears rolling down her cheeks as she slowly moved out of the room, leaving Chester sat on the floor balling his eyes out.
When she was out of the room, she let her tears fall. How could he say those things to her? It wasn’t her fault. She walked straight into Joe, not realising he was there.
‘Nik, hun, what’s up?’ Joe wrapped his arms around her form and moved her into his room.
She collapsed in a heap on his bed, her tears taking over her entire body. Joe got a glass of water and some tissues and sat beside her on the bed.
‘Here,’ he said gently, giving her the water and a tissue. ‘Now tell me, what’s happened?’
‘Sam thinks…me and Chester…fucking…she slapped me…Chester upset…won’t speak to me…sent me out…knocked into wall…’ A heavy sob took over her body as she finished choking out the few words that explained what was wrong.
‘Hey, it’s OK,’ Joe held on to, letting her cry into his shoulder. ‘Stay here, I’ll sort this.’
Joe let go of her and left the room. Nik calmed herself slightly, feeling slightly embarrassed by her outbreak. She drank some water and then went to the bathroom. She looked at her reflection, disgusted at what she saw.
Mascara lines covered her cheeks, she looked a mess. She wiped her face with a tissue and blew her nose. She then returned to the room and sat on the floor beside the bed.
The door opened and Nik looked up, expecting to see the return of Joe.
Instead, she saw Chester. She stood in his presence as he looked at her, his eyes full of pain and apology.
‘I’m sorry. I reacted badly. I shouldn’t have said those things. I didn’t mean them. I need you. It’s just, I was so upset by what Sam did. She accused of those things and, and she slapped you! She had no right, you’ve done nothing wrong. When I spoke to her alone she told me she couldn’t believe I would do that to her and wouldn’t believe me when I told her the truth. That hurt, you know? She was my wife, she should know me better than that. It all got to me and upset me a bit much. Like I said I reacted badly.’ Chester explained himself well.
Nik moved to him and let him take her in a hug, she took comfort in his arms.
‘I understand, your words just kinda hurt me.’
‘As did my actions, I didn’t mean to knock you into the wall. I didn’t hurt you too badly, did I?’ Chaz grovelled, still holding her tightly.
‘No,’ Nik breathed her reply.
‘I want to thank you for so much. I want to thank you for being there, for putting up with me, thank you a thousand times the world over. You’ve given me a great deal of strength, I wouldn’t have got through any of this without you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I never want to lose you,’ Chester told her, still not loosening the hold he had on her.
‘It was my pleasure, Chester, it was my pleasure.’
A week later they back in court again for the final hearing. Chester was ordered to pay a reasonable amount to Sam and he also got the house. The case was adjourned and the divorce was now totally final.
Chester went up to Sam after it had finished as Nik watched on.
‘You can have the house if you want it, it's yours,’ Chester told her, he wanted to make peace with her.
‘Thank you but no,’ Sam said, her eyes full of unshed tears. ‘I’m gonna live with a friend or whatever, and then get a place of my own. I’ll go home now though, get some stuff and then I’ll get out. It’s your house now.’
‘But it can be yours,’ Chester said once more.
‘No,’ she paused, lifting a hand. ‘Goodbye Chester,’ she then turned and walked away.
Chester made his way over to Nik.
‘It’s over,’ he said solemnly.
They sat together on the end of Chester’s bed that night. Both with a beer in their hands.
‘I just gotta get used to it being over now,’ Chester whispered, swigging his beer.
‘Time will help with that problem,’ Nik answered in all honesty, drinking her own.
‘What would I ever do without you,’ Chester smiled, his first smile of the day.
‘Shrivel up and die?’ Nik joked, putting her empty beer bottle on the floor.
‘What should I do?’ Chester was uncertain of how to approach his situation.
‘I think, I, ugh, I think you should call her,’ these words hurt Nik - she was telling the man she loved to call his ex-wife. It made no sense.
‘I do. Call her tomorrow and try and make friends,’ Nik advised him. It was the right advice, it just hurt her to give it.
‘I just wanna thank you again and tell you that you truly do mean the world to me,’ said putting his own beer bottle down.
‘Thank you,’ Nik blushed slightly, thankful for the darkness of the room as Chester pulled her into a hug.
Their foreheads rested on each others as they held tightly on to each other’s forms. Both had their eyes shut as they rested there, neither moving. Chester’s eyes opened slightly and he looked at Nik’s face. He tilted his head, bringing his lips to hers.
His flesh connected with hers as he kissed her. He moved his head so that he had a better angle on the kiss. The tip of his tongue brushed lightly over her lips causing her lips to part. Their tongues battled out for space as they shared their first kiss.
Slowly and gradually the kiss finally ended. Chester rested his forehead back on to Nik’s.
‘I’m sorry, I-’ He began.
‘I understand,’ Nik spoke to him very understandingly.
‘No, I have to say this. The reason I can’t do this is that I’m worried that I’d mess it up. That it’d be a rebound relationship because that’s not what I want. These feelings that I have for you are not new, they’re quite big and are still growing. I just think we should wait awhile, you know, till when we can do this properly.’ Chester explained.
‘Sure, that’s a sensible idea.’ Nik didn’t agree with it but hey, Chester had feelings for her!
Chester moved his way up the bed, pulling Nik with him. He kicked off his shoes, prompting her to do the same and pulled her close. Nik removed Chester’s glasses from his face as he made sure they were close together.
‘G’night Nik,’ Chester said, nestling his head in his pillow.
‘Night Chester,’ Nik replied, closing her eyes as she lay against his chest.
The following morning, Nik left Chester alone in their room so that he could call Sam and make friends. She found Joe, who looked as bored as she felt, and the two had decided to go to the cinema together to fill the afternoon.
They came out of the movie theatre, discussing what they had just seen. Joe had taken hold of her hand as they walked back to the hotel. She felt kind of uncomfortable holding his hand. She did like Joe but her feelings for Chester and the revelations made the night before stopped her doing anything. It wasn’t fair on Joe leading him on like this but she really didn’t want to hurt him right now.
Nik pulled her mobile out of her pocket and switched it on.
‘Oh, voice mail!,’ she giggled, thankful for an excuse to let go of Joe’s hand as she called her machine. She smiled weakly at Joe as the familiar voice of Chester filled her ears:
‘Hey Nik. I, um, wanted to call you to tell you what happened with Samantha. She’s moving back to Phoenix to live and she- said she,’ he paused before telling he the rest. ‘She said she can’t be friends with me and doesn’t want to ever see me again.’ He paused again, his tears could be heard as he explained. ‘I just can’t live without her in my life you know? And so I guess I just wanna say I’m sorry.’
Nik began running before the message had even ended.
‘Nik! Hey, where are you going?!’ Joe called after her, but before he’d had chance to finish she’d gone.
Nik ran as fast as she ever had done in her life, her destination clear in her mind. She ran up the stairs of the hotel and finally came to rest outside her and Chester’s door.
‘Chester!’ she shouted, banging hard on the door. ‘Chaz! Chester open the fucking door, please!’ she pleaded with him as she fought her pockets to find her room key. Tears of frustration poured from her eyes as she finally found the key.
She opened the door and ran in. nothing could ever have prepared her for the sight she saw.
Chester was hung from the light fixture by his own chains, his eyes closed, his limbs limp. No colour remained in his face, no life remained in his body. She ran to his hanging form and tried her best to hold him up, hoping to god that she could save him. She was weak though and had no strength within her. she lost her balance and fell to the floor, pulling him slightly, bringing any last pieces of life from his soul.
She hit the floor, her hand landing on a piece of cold metal, through her tears she could clearly see that it was his wedding ring. Suddenly the room was filled with voices and people. They went to his body, pushing him up. A pair of arms pulled her from her position, she didn’t know who it was but at that moment she really didn’t care. She sobbed into the person’s shoulder, her body shaking uncontrollably, her balance lacking. Nik looked over the person’s shoulder and saw a piece of paper on the dressing table. Pulling away from the from, she picked up the paper, her name written at the top:
I’m sorry. I know I’m weak, but I can’t live like this. How can I live if Samantha doesn’t want me in her life? I can’t. I being selfish, I know but what do you expect from me? Sam was my whole life and now she’s gone I really don’t have anything left to live for.
I want to thank you again for everything you’ve done for me. You truly have been a wall of strength for me in this difficult time in my life. Your words and care have kept me going, but not even those could save me now. You kept telling me these wounds will heal but a wound of this magnitude doesn’t hold that power. I don’t want you to ever think you could have done anything to prevent this, you couldn’t. This is all I have left in life there is only one certainty.
I wasn’t lying to you last night, and I wish I could have told you earlier or may not even have told you at all. I doubt either would have made this situation easier on you. I’m sorry, I can’t apologise enough for myself. All I can say is that without you, I would have done this long before, you gave me so much happiness in my last part of life. I don’t think smiling would have been a function during this divorce if it wasn’t for you.
I ask that you don’t let this stop your life, I’m not worth that. I just want you to know how much you mean to me. I want you to have my wedding ring, if I could, I’d give you the one tattooed on my finger but I can’t. I know this should go to Sam, but I would much rather you have it. She may be the reason I am ending my existence and so therefore seems more important than you but that’s not true. You helped continue my existence and make the last part bearable. My life really would have been hell without you. Again I say I’m sorry but this is the only way it could be.
Live your life your life to the fullest as the future is scarce Nik. You were the truest friend that has ever grace my life and I promise you, I will never leave your side.
Love always and forever till the end of eternity
Nik’s legs buckled and she landed hard on the ground, her body rocking back and forth. She heard Mike’s voice speak to her and his hand land on her shoulder.
‘I need to speak to Chester,’ she said these words quickly and whirled round, bringing herself to a standing position. She knew the others would be puzzled by this but she knew what she was doing. She stood infront of the bed he was now laid on, his shins knocking into the end of the bed.
‘COWARD!’ she screamed at his corpse. His dead form was white, his tattoos and shaven head accentuated by his new skin colouring. ‘Damn right you should fucking apologise for being weak! You pulled out at the first sign of trouble. You make me sick. How the fuck dare you be so self-centred?!
‘Is this what you wanted? The six people who you mattered most to stood around your pathetic little excuse for a body? All of them in so much pain that they want to follow you to where ever the fuck you are?! I don’t think you realise what you're putting us all through! What you're putting me through!
‘I loved you Chester, I still do. I’ve never wanted anything so badly in all my life and you took that away from me in your selfish act. How could you do this? Sam is so not worth taking away your life! You could have worked through things, but no. You wanted to be the big man, you wanted to show how you felt and let everyone else suffer the consequences!’ Tears streamed down Nik’s face, impairing her voice slightly but that wouldn’t stop her.
‘You think everything’s going to be OK cos you left a note? This isn’t going to make anything better,’ she threw his note at him. ‘And neither will this,’ she threw the ring at him as well. ‘You selfish little son of a bitch!’
She walked out of the room then, her feelings expressed, her pain increased. She walked down the corridor, not heading anywhere in particular, she just wanted to get away from his body. Finally, Nik came to a dead end where she slumped against a wall, crouching on the floor.
The floodgates in her eyes opened and her tears took over her face. She held her head in her hands and just let it all out. A hand came to her shoulder.
‘Nik?’ a voice she recognised asked. She looked up and through the blurriness of her tears she could see Joe infront of her. He pulled her to him, letting her cry on his shoulder, his own tears soaking his skin.
After a while he pulled her to her feet and they walked back to the room, Joe holding Nik up. They entered the room as two EMTs zipped up the bag that now contained Chester.
Mike stood in the centre of the room, his eyes trained on the bed. Brad sat by himself against the far wall, his head in his hands, his body shaking as tears took over. Phoenix and Rob weren’t in the room but the door to the en suite was open so Nik figured one was sick, the other was comforting.
An EMT came over to her and asked if she was the young woman who had found the body, nodding she allowed him to lead her to the ambulance, Joe never leaving her side.
Nik stood infront of the congregation at the altar. Chester’s body lay in the open casket beside her, she wished it wasn’t open, she didn’t want to see him like this. The nightmares were enough for her, she didn’t want to see his corpse anymore. She wanted him here but that was an impossibility. Now she was stood infront of the people who collectively made up Chester’s family. She’d been asked to say a few words at his funeral. She was finding it hard not to break down there and then but she had to do this.
*Here goes nothing* she thought as she began her speech.
‘I never thought I’d have to do this. I never thought I’d be stood here, talking about Chester, telling people about him. I never thought I’d feel like this. I never thought I’d lose him.
I know many of you don’t know who I am. But those of you who do know me, know what was going on in those days of Chester’s life. I was on tour with Linkin Park because my best friend, the man I am not afraid to say I was in love with, needed me with him. He wanted me there as a friend. I helped him through as much as I could but obviously that wasn’t enough. Chester was always strong willed, and knew what he wanted but I didn’t think he’d ever want this.
I don’t know anyone who didn’t love him, whether as a friend, a family member or the way I did, and still do. Chester once told me there is only one certainty to life, and that is death.
The only thing is that death is supposed come to you, you're not supposed to go to death. So many things will be left unanswered now. we can never the things wanted to from him or about him. I mean, who would he have become?
What are all the things he would have done in the future? I have to wonder if he would have loved me and never let me down the way he has now. You know, would he have been stronger than his father? But I have to not punish myself and leave it well lone. I’m sure you all feel the same.
I didn’t want to stand here and give endless praises to this man. All I can say is, Chester I loved you and you left me here. Why? I don’t understand.
You were my best friend and the love of my life. I miss you and I promise to see you soon, to see you when it’s my time.
Rest in peace Chester Bennington. The man with more friends than enemies, and loved by millions around the world. Goodbye.’
Tears took over her now fragile body as she silently walked back to her seat beside the remainder of Linkin Park. Joe’s arm slipped round her shoulder as she sat there, crying for the loss of Chester. What could the future possibly hold now for her and Linkin Park, her six best friends and the band she thought would be there forever?
THE END | Fiction
|TOP | Last updated 15 February 2002 19:42 (AUS EST / +1000 GMT).|