Welcome to Me
Myles is a mess: he's an actor with an alcohol problem, a drug problem, and a life falling apart problem. When the studio heads give him an ultimatum, Myles reluctantly agrees to go to rehab. If he doesn't, his problems are going to get a whole lot worse than rock bottom.
But despite a rocky start, life in recovery isn't as terrible as he feared—among other things, there's Diego, whose little brother is a fan and also in recovery. And while Diego isn't exactly impressed by Myles' show or fame, he doesn't seem to hate Myles either. Slowly, Myles starts to appreciate all he could have if he can manage to leave his biggest problems behind him.
Myles squinted into the lemon-yellow sunlight that poured through his bedroom window. He focused in on the little specks of dust that danced in the beam and tried to dull the headache that rampaged through his skull. He inhaled deeply and felt sick when he smelt the air. The smell of last night’s cigarettes and beers seemed to hang over the room like a rancid cloud. The lines of the world seemed blurry as his vision came in and out of focus, and his mouth was so dry that it felt like all the moisture had been pulled from his body overnight. The sound of Seth’s deep, guttural snores seemed to take up physical space, making any more sleep for Myles impossible, no matter how much he wanted to escape into the blackness behind his eyelids for a few more hours. He kissed the skin between Seth’s shoulder blades and pulled himself from the bed with a sigh before pulling his pajama trousers out from under a pile of half-finished beer cans.
Standing up made the headache even worse, and blood seemed to rush around his body like it was somehow confused as to where it was needed the most. Myles fought the urge to fall to the ground and sprawl his tired body out like one of the piles of clothes on the bedroom floor. He stumbled into the bathroom—even the act of opening the door felt like pulling at some heavy luggage—and pawed at the medicine cabinet. Butterflies winged in his stomach when he poured a mix of prescription and store-brand painkillers into his open palm. His hand quivered at the mere sight of the little pills as if they were something miraculous. A half-finished glass of red wine stood on the side of the bathtub and Myles grabbed it with his free hand. He swallowed the pills with as much wine as he could tip into his mouth and slid down the bathroom wall. The remaining wine sloshed out of the glass and soaked into the fabric of his trousers so that it looked like he had been shot. Myles blinked hard when he felt tears bunching in his eyes. He pulled a handheld mirror from his travel toiletry bag and glared at his reflection.
The face staring back at Myles looked like the face of someone who had survived a battle. His lips were puffy and dry, red with wine and dried blood, and his eyes were blood shot. Thin little lines settled under his eyes, making the skin look like paper that had been scrunched up. It was the face of someone who had forgotten to take care of himself: a roadmap of all the bad decisions that he had ever made. There were still glimpses of the handsomeness that had gotten him cast in Lime Tree Heights, one of the longest-running teen dramas in television history, but the years of abuse were definitely taking their toll. The difference between the face in the mirror and the face that beamed from countless magazine covers was startling and sad. Myles tried to smile, as if he was taking part in a photo shoot, but he couldn’t make it look right. he couldn’t rearrange his features to look anything other than tired and desperate.
His eyes gave him away, hollow and tired, and his teeth were stained with wine, making him look like a horror-movie villain. He swallowed hard and stood up when he felt the painkillers finally kick into action. They made him feel a little like he was floating, or like he was swaddled in cotton wool and the world had somehow become a softer, kinder place. Myles had done this enough times to know that the feeling of wellbeing would not last for long; he would be thrown from his cloud again and thrust back into the harsh light of day soon. But he also knew that that he had three more tubs of painkillers that he had forced his assistant to get for him from a dealer that all the young Hollywood actors used. He planned to spend the day in a chemically-induced haze.
The kitchen was as messy as the bedroom, with clothes strewn over appliances and cigarette ends everywhere, like victims of a miniature car accident. Everything smelt dank and old, as if the debauchery of the night before had become a ghost that was haunting the room. As he waited for the coffeepot to heat up, Myles remembered brief flashes of what had happened. He remembered the nervousness that he had felt before meeting Seth at the bar, the intense flash of paparazzi cameras, and the sharp pain of the granite when he had fallen from the taxicab. He looked down at his right elbow, and saw that it was turning an inky purple, as if the bruise was taking over his whole arm, like drops of paint in a cup of water. Myles winced as he lifted the coffee pot and poured himself a mug. even through his painkiller smog, he could smell the deep, rich aroma as the black liquid hit the side of the white cup. Seth walked into the kitchen as Myles was about to take his first sip.
“I’ve taken a bunch of those black-market pills you bought. And I’ve taken an extra packet to get me through the day,” Seth said, heading towards the door. He was dressed in the suit that he had been wearing the night before, and it was slightly crumpled, but other than that, he looked okay. His face was not puffy, and his greying hair was parted in the neat, business-ready way that it seemed to fall into regardless of the circumstances.
“Oh,” Myles replied, “I thought that we could maybe have breakfast together. Last night, you said that you didn’t have to work today, so I guess I assumed that we would do something together? Once I have a shower, I’ll be good to go.” Myles put his coffee on the counter and rushed across the room, suddenly desperate to stop Seth from leaving.
“That sounds good, it really does. But I have things to do today. Things that I forgot about last night. So, I need to go. But I will see you around, kid. You know how much fun I have with you.” Seth’s voice was like a rumble of thunder, almost otherworldly. It was the first thing that had made Myles attracted to him. he had heard Seth’s baritone from the other side of the bar.