“It doesn’t matter, Caulter.”
I tried to convince her to just leave everything and run away with me, but she didn't want to hear anything I had to say.
Ella and I had the blow-up to end all blow-ups -- her screaming at me, calling me the most irresponsible fuck-up that ever existed, me telling her I didn’t give a shit about the trust fund anymore. She could keep everything.
I left the same day. I headed to the airport and got the first flight I could find out to Boston. The next day, I had a ticket to Bangkok by way of Tokyo, where I planned to spend the next month drinking through my bank account and hitting on Thai waitresses. I had no plans for what I was going to do after that.
The first night I was in the city, I got good and shitfaced and passed out in my fancy hotel in the business district. And I woke up and nothing was different. I was the same immature, irresponsible dick I’d always been.
So I decided I didn't want to be a dick anymore. I wanted a change. I sold everything -- my designer watch, my electronics, all of the things that tied me to my other life, the one where I was the son of one of the biggest movie stars on the planet.
And I did something that I’d never done before.
Odd jobs, here and there. I scraped by, and I traveled, the way I’d never done before -- in a crowded bus in India, on a train in China. I made friends with people who didn’t give a shit whose kid I was.
I wasn’t like all Zen and shit, totally detached from everything back in the States. I kept tabs on everything, reading about it from the other side of the world.
It took a month for the Senator and Ella to split up, in the fallout from what happened with Kate and I. It wasn't entirely me and Kate's fault, of course; the relationship was doomed from the start, what with the Senator's political obsession and Ella's love 'em and leave 'em tendencies. Ella notified me with an email. She was busy redecorating the place in Malibu, prepping it for a fresh start. The scandal didn’t tank the Senator’s re-election campaign, which was pretty much uncontested anyway.
The media coverage of the incident was sweeping in the couple of weeks after it happened, but then they were on to some other more scandalous story. Kate refused to give any interviews. But she did go to UCLA, not Harvard.
I smiled when I read that. She was studying art.
She is studying art.
Sometimes I think about her in the past tense, like she’s a part of my prior life. And then I see someone who looks like her when I glance out of the corner of my eye, or a girl tucks her hair behind her ear the way Kate did...and she’s very much a part of my present again.
Six months ago, my mother emailed me, offering to give my trust fund back to me. I agreed, but on my terms. The first handful of investments I made were in the arts, to places I knew Kate would like. I vetted them, the same way I plan to do with the other business I want to help, start-up companies and people with good ideas who are struggling but don't have the capital to fund their projects. I didn't think any of the places I'd invested in had any connection to Kate.
Until a week ago.
It wasn’t luck that I stumbled on the tiny mention of the exhibit online. I had online alerts set up on the businesses I’d invested in...and on Kate. I guess I was never in any danger of getting her out of my head, even on the other side of the world.
When I saw the announcement about the art show, the name was what immediately caught my eye. But it was the picture of the artist’s work that made me go to the nearest travel agent and buy a one-way ticket back to California.
“It’s insane.” I spin around the gallery, my head as far up in the clouds as it can possibly be. “I can’t believe I’m seeing my work on the wall, in a real show.”
“Believe it,” the gallery director says. “There has been a lot of interest in you. You are an up and coming star, Katherine. You have such talent.”
“I’m just glad you were able to keep the gallery open,” I say. Three months ago, this place was under threat of going under, and given the gallery’s long history in this part of the city, that was tragic.
“Cheers to the angel investor that saved the gallery,” she says.
“You don’t know who it was?”
She shakes her head and shrugs. “He apparently prefers to do his good works anonymously,” she says. “Anyway, my dear, there’s a reporter here who wants to interview you.”
I groan. “Not about my personal life.”
She shakes her head. “Entirely about your art.”