Chain Letters

Chapter 12

"You know the media can make up a lot of lies and they distort the reality. Always. They take a misleading picture and from there they distort the real facts. It's not completely true all they wrote in the article. Dammit. I knew something like this would happen." Darren said upset and really edgy. His body was still slightly trembling and he couldn't look at you into your eyes. You were just looking at him in silence and serious, while tears were still falling down your face.

"Right." You answered coldly, still shedding some tears.

You knew there was something more, otherwise Darren wouldn't be so nervous. Darren looked up at you and he looked at you with teary eyes and sadly. He got closer to you, but you drew away. You didn't want Darren to touch you, to caress you; because you knew that way you were going to forget about the article. Darren tried to grab your hands, but you moved your hands away, looking away; Darren looked at you hurt and then he looked down.

"Please, believe me. They already made up a lot of stories and lies about me. I warned you before, that they were going to invade our privacy, that they were going to start talking about us, that they were going to start saying lies about us and all that involves us. It's because this way they earn money, because things like this are what people like to read. The mercantilist techniques of media are very cunning and deceptive to achieve their goal: to be one of the most recognized companies in the market. They are like a Mafia and I'm not overstating." Darren said nervous and desperate. You were just looking at him the same way. At some point you knew he was right and he indeed warned you, but in that moment you couldn't tell what was true and what was lie.

"I don't wanna hear all of that. I only want to know what is true and what is lie." You said gloomy and with a monotonous voice, looking at Darren with empty eyes. Darren looked at you sadly and nervous before looking down.

"Well, what they said about you...that's all true. You gained people's approval; you're beautiful, charming, sympathetic, perky and gracious. See? Everybody sees you like this. They actually took us real photographs." Darren said, now looking at you but still nervous when he saw your very serious face.

"I know what about you and me is true or is a lie, because I've been there and I don't need you to explain it to me, I remember perfectly all those moments. I'm talking about Mia and you." You said coldly, looking at him cheerless; and Darren got even more edgy.

"Well, you know. Yeah, Mia was at the after party, that's true. You saw her there, but that thing we spent all night long together, that's bullshit. And yeah, I had a love affair with her, but that was a long time ago and you know it already. I told you my whole story with her. But I don't have a love affair with her now, I'm with you and I'm not that kind of guy who cheats on someone he loves, changing the person he loves for a fling with another person. Yeah, it's like that." Darren said frowning still nervous, and looking away but not into your eyes.

"You're lying." You said harshly, looking at him. Darren looked up to you, raising his eyebrows and even more nervous and startled.

"What? Why are you saying it?" Darren asked shakily, this time looking into your eyes.

"Because while you were saying all that; you didn't even dare to look into my eyes. I know you, I know you're lying." You said sullenly, looking fixedly into his eyes; and Darren only gulped, trying to look away. "I don't want beat around the bush, so I'm gonna go straight to the point. Have you been with Mia when we were distant?" You asked harshly and forthright, and Darren looked at you with eyes wide open and edgy.

"I…look, that was a bad moment for the two of us. What happened that time we were distant…" Darren started to say slurred, his voice trembling.

"I only want you to answer me that. I don't wanna hear any excuses, any explanation. Only answer me sincerely, even if I won't like the answer. I deserve to know the truth, Darren. You said it, we cannot keep going if we are surrounded by lies. Just answer me and don't try to evade the topic of conversation. I won't get mad if you tell me the truth, I just need to know." You said with chocked voice, looking at him with teary eyes; while Darren looked at you sadly. "Have you been with Mia while we were distant?"

"Yeah..." Darren said, looking down.

Darren answered what you were afraid to hear. He and Mia were together while you were thinking how to fix things with Darren, how to make work your relationship. He was spending time with Mia while you were alone, thinking the way to make Darren see that you loved him, trying to find the way to tell Darren all the truth about your past. And you never noticed this, not until you found the magazine and you realized why Darren in that time didn't want to see, why Darren was very cold with you and why he wanted to start over again without you. Unable to contain yourself, tears started to fall down your face again, in silence and looking down. Darren got closer, trying to wipe away your tears, but you moved away.

"But hey, listen...it's not what you're thinking. I...that was because...we were going through a shit moment and..." Darren started to say with chocked and trembling voice, looking at you anguished.

"No, it's alright. Don't give importance to how I look, I'm fine. And just answer my questions, I don't want you to excuse all your answers." You said, wiping away your tears and trying to remain strong. "Have you been with Mia in a friendly or loving way?"

"Well..." Darren said looking down and frowning, apparently distressed. You looked down because you knew his answer judging by the way he paused. "We're friends but...that time, we were kind of..."

"Have you kissed? And you know I'm not talking about friendly kisses." You interrupted him when you noticed he was going to ramble.

"Yes." Darren answered trembling, sighing and pained. You tried to hold back your tears, you needed to be strong to know all you were asking hours before, even though it was breaking your heart.

"Have you had sex with her?" You asked roundly, with choked voice, and looking at Darren with teary eyes.

"Why are you asking all of this?" Darren asked dismally, also with choked voice and teary eyes, looking straight into your eyes.

"Because I deserve to know!" You exclaimed, this time letting your tears to fall down your face.

"But this is gonna hurt you and it's gonna hurt me. It was in the past, I love you and I'm only with you. I want to be only with you." Darren said desperate, still with teary eyes and trying to hold your hands, but you curled up on yourself.

"I already know the answer, Darren. I only want to hear it from you; I want you to be honest with me." You answered closing your eyes and feeling downhearted.

"Yeah, I had sex with her. I'm not proud of what I did! But that time we weren't together, please for god sake, forgive me! I regret it and I don't know why I did it, it was just sex, no love involved!" Darren said this time crying and desperate, looking into your eyes; while you were just crying heartbroken.

"Do you still love her? Do you still think about her?" You tried to ask as you could, because it was really hard when you had the lump on your throat.

"Please, stop this, boo." Darren said broken and with choked voice, looking at you desperate.

"I need to know, Darren! If you still love her, I won't get mad. If you feel that you still love her, I'm gonna give you space, so you can find out what is what you want. I'm gonna still be here, waiting until you decide what you want, heartedly. But you need to tell me." You said heartbrokenly and shedding tears. But you knew this was what you needed to do, what you needed to say; even though it'd break your heart in million pieces.

"No, I don't love her. I love you with all my heart; I don't need any time, any space. I'm sure of what I want, more sure than ever. I fucking love you and I always did." Darren said, looking deeply into your eyes and grabbing your hands. You let him to grab your hands for seconds because you were feeling too weak to draw them away, but then you moved away again.

"And why did you have sex with her if you loved me as you said?" You asked looking at him with teary eyes. There was something else, nothing had sense to you.

"Dammit, boo! This is not gonna get us anywhere." Darren said looking at you distressed.

"Just answer me, Darren." You said roundly, with choked voice. You needed to know everything.

"Because that time I was so upset, I was so confused. I didn't know what to do. And Mia was there, while I was at my lowest point. I found on her a way to keep my mind away from all the mess and grief I was feeling. I didn't even know what I was doing; I let myself be manipulated by her. But you need to believe me, it was just sex, no love was involved." Darren said afflicted and shedding some tears with contrition. "I beg you, please forgive me. I was a complete dick."

This was being really hard for you; it was really rough to hear all of that. You were completely heartbroken. Even though Darren explained you the reasons, you couldn't avoid that feeling. Because while you were thinking of him that time, trying to find a way to get him back in your life and suffering because you couldn't be with him; Darren was having sex with Mia. With Mia, his ex-girlfriend, the woman who was very important to him; not with anybody else. That was what hurt you the most. You remained silent and looking down for a while, trying to set down all things on your mind; but then you looked up to Darren with a blank stare.

"So...It was only sex?" You asked frivolously and Darren looked at you crestfallen.

"It was only sex." Darren answered and the he looked down.

"So, was it the reason why you chose Mia? Because of sex? Is that what you wanted? Is that the reason why you preferred her instead talking to me?" You asked frivolously again, now you weren't shedding tears, now you were looking at him blankly.

"What? That has no sense." Darren said raising his eyebrows, unable to get what your point was.

"Sex? Is only that? You've been with Mia because I'm a stupid girl with whom you can't have sex? I can do it, you know?" You asked harshly and insensibly, standing up. Darren looked at you frowning and completely astonished. You started to take your clothes off, abruptly and fiercely. "Is this what you want? Is this what you can't get from me?" You said with trembling voice because of your welter.

You sat on Darren's lap half-naked and you started kissing his neck fiercely, touching his lower belly underneath his shirt. Darren was completely astonished and he wasn't expecting this, so he couldn't stop you. Then you kneeled on the floor between Darren's legs and you started rubbing his inner thigh, Darren still didn't do anything. But when you started unbuttoning his jeans, he placed his hands on yours, and you looked at him to find Darren looking at you with a sad stare.

"What are you doing?" Darren asked confused and anguished.

"Giving you what you want." You answered frigid and bleak, trying again to unbutton his jeans, but Darren stopped you.

"Cover yourself, boo." Darren whispered distressed, grabbing your clothes and covering you with them. You, still kneeling on the floor between his legs, stood up; covering you half-naked body with your clothes.

"Why do you stop me? Because you think I'm not good enough at sex like Mia?" You asked bleak, looking at Darren, still standing.

"What are you saying?" Darren asked even more distressed, now he also standing up to place his hands on your arms.

"Why do you have sex freely with Mia and you don't want it with me now?" You asked now with trembling voice.

"Because this is different!" Darren exclaimed, looking at you with a glum stare, still grabbing your arms.

"Is that the reason why you rejected me earlier? Is it because I'm not good at sex? Is it because Mia is better than me? Why do you reject me?" You asked this time with choked voice and weeping.

"Hey, no!" Darren said with ravaged voice, now wrapping his arms around your waist; and you dropped your clothes to cover your face with your hands so Darren couldn't see you crying although it was obvious. Darren grabbed both of your hands and then he caressed your cheek gently, staring at you with a tearful look. "I never rejected you."

"You did, Darren! Why you don't want to have sex with me?" You asked still bewailing, and now resting your head on his chest, so he wouldn't see you crying. Darren started to caress your hair softly.

"I don't wanna have sex with you, that's right. Instead, I want to make love to you. That's why is different, it's not because Mia is better than you or shit like that. I know what I'll have with you is gonna be even better than what I had with Mia. You know why? Because now, love is gonna be involved, because I love you so fucking much. It doesn't matter if you have experience or not, because what matters is gonna be what we both are gonna feel in that moment. And I haven't rejected you; I don't know why you think so. I only said that it wasn't time yet." Darren said kindly and gently, still caressing your hair sweetly and reassuringly.

"That's rejecting, Darren! Do you have any idea how it feels to be rejected?" You cried on his chest and Darren kept caressing your hair softly.

"It's not rejecting! My intention never was to reject you. My intention was to wait for the right moment, so that moment is gonna be the best moment for the two of us. Because you're so fucking important to me that I don't want to turn our first time into a moment we both were sexually aroused. I want to wait for the right moment, in the perfect place; not here and not now. First I want to make you feel all the love you always deserved, first I want you to feel as flawless as you are; and you didn't get it yet. Once you get it, and once I helped you to get it; that's gonna be the right time. And the perfect place isn't in a hotel room; it needs to be in a place where we both feel identified and comfortable. I'm sorry if I made you feel rejected; you need to understand that it isn't like that." Darren said sweetly but with a hint of desperation, now caressing your cheek while you were still burying your head on Darren's chest and shedding tears.

"I just don't get it, Darren. I don't get why you say all of this to me; but then when we were distant, instead listening what I had to say to you, you went straight to Mia's bed. Why? I was heartbroken that time and you were having a good time with her." You cried again on Darren's chest, completely desolate.

"Because I was a dick. I really regret what I did and I felt terrible after we had sex. All I could think was how asshole I was to be with Mia while I could've been with you. I chose the easy way instead of striving to get you back. But we weren't together, please understand it. I would never cheat on you." Darren said anguished and desperate. "Please, forgive me. Please, I need to hear that you forgive me that you aren't giving up that you still want to be with me and be my girlfriend. Please don't break up with me because of my stupid mistake; I swear I'd do whatever it takes to compensate for my misdoing. But I don't want to be without you, now that we were doing right!" Darren said with choked and desperate voice, now with watery eyes. Darren was showing a point of weakness you've never seen.

"I don't have anything to forgive you. We weren't together that time; you were free to do whatever you wanted. I understand you didn't cheat on me, so I don't have anything to forgive you." You said bleakly, wiping away your tears. Of course you were hurt and knowing that Darren was with Mia while you were distant broke your heart; but Darren was right. You weren't together that time and he didn't have to apologize.

"Please, I know you. I know you aren't fine and I don't want to see you like this." Darren begged you afflicted and desperate.

"I'm fine, Darren." You said, looking down and not crying anymore.

"Please, don't break up with me." Darren begged looking into your eyes with watery eyes.

"I won't." You answered looking into his eyes with blank eyes.

"Do you believe me when I say that I love you so freaking much?" Darren looked deeply into your eyes.

"I do." You answered shortly.

"Do you still love me like before although the stupidity I did?" Darren asked desperate and expectant.

"Yes, I do." You answered honestly, but a bit dejected.

Darren hugged you tight whispering some words in your ear before kissing your lips sweetly. Then you went to bed and he snuggled up to you, caressing your cheeks and looking deeply into your eyes. He told you beautiful words and he kissed your lips several times. Soon he fell asleep wrapping his arms around you and resting his forehead on yours. But you couldn't sleep. You remained looking at him sleeping peacefully; looking at the boy you loved but who broke your heart unintentionally. You knew that Darren loved you and he was really remorseful of what he did with Mia. You understood you and he weren't together that time and he never cheated on you. You still loved him and that was completely true. But now you were feeling different, now it wasn't going the same. A huge insecurity grew up within you. You didn't want to break up with him because you really loved him; but you couldn't avoid this feeling of being strained next to him, of being strained every time he hugged or kissed you. You shouldn't be feeling like this, but now you couldn't be as close as you were with him before. You've regressed instead progressing. And that was a really bad thing.


"Good morning, boo." Darren whispered in your ear and you opened your eyes to see Darren smiling brightly in front of you.

"Good morning." You answered with hoarse voice. Darren leaned to kiss your lips but you, instinctively, turned your face; so Darren kissed you on the corner of your mouth. You glanced at him and you saw Darren's sad eyes and you felt really bad. "I'm sorry, it was a reflex. I guess I'm still a bit sleepy."

"It's fine." Darren smiled slightly at you, but he had still sad eyes. "Do you want to have a huge and totally delicious breakfast?" Darren said smiling, snuggling up to you. You strained and shivered at his touch. Damn, why? It seemed that Darren noticed this, because he softened his hug, feeling a bit uncomfortable and looking down with a bewildered look.

"Yeah, I'd like it." You said softly, trying to smile. You were feeling really bad because of your reactions, but you couldn't avoid it.

"Let's go, then. Chris and Matt are there already. Today is really a wonderful day. Cold, but sunny." Darren said smiling brightly and then he pecked your lips. You let him doing it, but somehow you couldn't kiss him back. Darren smiled sadly at you and then he stood up, waiting for you.

"Go ahead. I'm gonna dress up and then I'm gonna go there in a few minutes." You said shyly and still strained. Darren nodded looking down, a bit joyless.

"Okay. See you there, boo." Darren said sadly and then he left the hotel room in silence, head down.

It took you a few minutes to dress up, but it took you more minutes to try to understand why you were feeling like this with Darren. You needed to change your attitude; you were making him feel really bad. He was still being the same boy you fell in love, he didn't change. So you needed to be more affectionate with him. After several minutes, you left the hotel room to go to the restaurant and find Darren, Matt and Chris sitting on a table and talking. Matt and Chris seemed cheerful and they were happy and laughing. Darren, instead, was just looking down sadly and thoughtful, with a slight smile on his face because Chris and Matt were joking. You walked to the table and sat next to Darren, who looked up at you when you arrived.

"Morning guys!" You greeted Matt and Chris with a bright smile on your face. "How did you sleep?"

"Morning, lady!" Chris said cheerful and politely. "How did we sleep, Matt?"

"Pretty well, I'd say." Matt winked and both Matt and Chris laughed. Darren looked at them with a slight but sad smile.

"Something tells me that something happened." You looked at them amused and curious.

"Well, things that happen." Chris said mysteriously and winking.

"Pretty good things can happen." Matt said also mysteriously and winking.

"Is what I'm thinking?" You looked at him amused and curious, and they looked at you with a bright smile and amused. "No fucking way!" You burst out laughing.

"Woah! What the fuck did I miss here?" Darren asked, now he seemed more cheerful.

"Oh, come on guys! As if we were twelve." Chris said exaggeratedly and sarcastically, amused.

"Yeah, it's pretty clear you aren't twelve. If we had to judge by how fast things happened between you both, I'd say that you both have an average age of thirty." You said jokingly, raising your eyebrows. You were making fun of them playfully, but actually you were super happy for them.

"You are more like fuckin' stallions." Darren said raising an eyebrow and also making fun of them.

"Preach." Matt said mystically and then he winked at Chris, reason why you all laughed out loud.

"We have to make a toast. Too bad is the morning and drink champagne wouldn't be appropriate at this time." Darren said, shaking his head.

"What the hell happened with that thing of being risky, Criss?" Chris asked disorderly and wayward, but amused.

"Woah!" Darren exclaimed loudly, raising his eyebrows, leaning back in his chair. "Who are you and what did you do with Christopher Paul Colfer?"

"The same I could ask. Who are you and what did you do with Darren Everett Criss?" Chris asked opening his eyes widely and exaggeratedly.

"We seem to have exchanged our bodies." Darren said serious, shaking his head and you all burst out laughing.

"That would be kinda disturbing, actually." Matt said frowning. And Darren looked at him mischievously.

"Hi love. Would you mind to meet me in our room in about five? I want to show you some wild fantasies I have in mind for the two of us." Darren said pretending Chris's voice, with a mischievously smile and he winked at Matt. You all looked at Darren completely amused and you tried to hold back your laughter when you saw Matt with an expression of disturbance.

"Hey...BOO." Chris emphasized, pretending Darren's voice and looking at you in a sexy way. He had to hold back his laughter when he called you the way Darren used to do, and you let out a low giggle. Darren looked down amused, shaking his head; at this time he was used of people making fun of him because of the way he was used to call you. "I have a totally awesome plan! We should totally throw cupcakes at walls and drink apple juice, then we can do sparkly things at the wall, you know we can go all the way and get all kind of love explosions. That would be so fucking organic, man!" Chris said overexcited, imitating Darren's voice and the way he was used to talk moving his hands, always very excited and intense. You couldn't hold back your laughter any longer, so you burst out laughing; that was hilarious, it was awesome how good Chris imitated Darren. Even Darren laughed out loud.

"Matt...Should we run away now? I think we found a pair of creepy men." You whispered to Matt, but loud enough so Darren and Chris could hear.

"Yeah. I'm gonna bring this knife, just in case. We need protection and we must to be cautious." Matt said, grabbing the knife and hiding it on the hem of his jacket.

"It's too late. You guys are totally screwed." Darren said raising an eyebrow amused, but grimacing a creepy face.

"Oh fuck. Well, now really I could use that champagne." You said shaking your head, pretending to be screwed.

"Don't count on me for the champagne at this time. I'm a civilized guy." Darren said, raising his hands.

"Yeah, sure, Mr I'm gonna hunt a harmless animal and eat it like a cannibal." Chris made fun of Darren.

"Hey man, what's your problem?" Darren asked serious, frowning. "The cannibalism is a serious and sanguinary job. It's not a simple thing, dude. The pieces of human meat stuck in your teeth and you have no idea how fucking uncomfortable it is; not to mention the rotten breath." Darren said still serious and you all laughed out loud.

You missed that hilarious and quirky sense of humour of Darren and you totally loved it. But...were you really comfortable with Darren now or were you just being like this because you were in front of Matt and Chris?

Darren, Matt and Chris were outside playing in a basketball court, laughing and competing to see who the best was. Of course Darren was losing because of his height; and Matt was the one who was winning, they didn't know that Matt played basketball for five years when he was younger. You had no idea of basketball, so you just decided to stay inside and read a book in the lounge. But you actually couldn't focus on reading; your mind was thinking a lot of things. After several times you read the same line, you gave up and stopped reading. You had a lot of things to do in that hotel, but you didn't know what to do. You thought of going to the health and fitness center, but you weren't feeling so good to workout. You also thought of going to the Spa, but you knew that there your mind was going to start thinking things you didn't want to think. It was cold to go to the pool, and even though there was also an indoor pool, you didn't want to swim. Maybe you could go to the Arcade game room, but you totally sucked at it. You looked around to find a thing to do and keep your mind busy; and there you found the answer. Near you, there was a piano. It's been a long since the last time you played the piano; you kept practicing since Darren taught you that through letters, and with time you were doing it better. Then you decided to play that song Darren taught you, that song you were practicing all the time, one of your favorites songs; and a song that meant a lot to you, because it was the song Darren chose for you to teach you how to play piano, the instrument you loved the most but you never learned how to play it; because it was the song that was in his letters, the letters that changed your life. You placed your fingers on the piano keys and you started to play the song with a huge smile on your face. It brought to you memory a lot of moments. You forgot everything that was around you to the point you started singing out loud. You didn't even notice that now some people were around you, watching you; and some of those people were Darren, Matt and Chris.

"Can I play with you?" Darren's voice asked and that was when you realized you weren't alone, that actually about fifteen people were around.

You got nervous all of a sudden because you didn't want anyone to see you; you tried to stop playing the piano. But people were looking at you smiling, as if they were enjoying seeing you playing the piano and singing. It actually gave you encouragement; maybe it was time to forget your fears and just play the song. After all, that moment wouldn't last forever, maybe you could do it. You looked up at Darren, who was smiling brightly and looking at you with sparkly eyes. You smiled back at him and nodded. Darren, smiling even more widely, sat next to you and he started playing the piano with you. First, you started singing and Darren was only playing the piano with you. But then, Darren joined you to do a duet. The very first duet you had, without counting that time on that eccentric bar when you were influenced by the powers of the aphrodisiac food. During the song, Darren and you couldn't stop looking at each other with bright eyes and a lively smile. That was your song, the song you heard the first time you met Darren in person. And now, finally, you were playing and singing that song with the person who taught you it through letters; a moment you were wishing for a long time. It wasn't as you imagined, it wasn't like you thought it'd be; but the feeling was the same you thought: pure joy. And that moment was perfect.

"When's it my turn? Wouldn't I love, love to explore that world up above?" You sang, still playing the piano and looking only at Darren.

"Out of the sea, wish I could be." Darren sang, still looking at you with joyful eyes and smiling brightly.

"Part of that world." You and Darren sang in unison, looking deeply into each other's eyes, at this time it was with teary eyes of joy.

As soon as you and Darren finished singing and playing the piano, all the people around began to cheer with joy, and you and Darren hugged each other very tight. This time you didn't feel strained, you were just happy to finally have achieved one of your dreams: to sing and play this song with him.

"Thank you. I wanted to do this for so long." You whispered with choked voice in Darren's ear because you were very touched.

"Me too. You were amazing, your voice...Goddammit! Is like a reverie, so sweet and wonderful. For a moment I thought you were Ariel, but then I didn't see the mermaid tail." Darren laughed softly in your ear, still hugging you. He broke the hug to kiss your forehead really sweetly and then both Darren and you thanked all the people who were still cheering at you.

It was a weird moment, a moment you never imagined would happen. But it felt good, really good, to know you could make true one of your dreams. And making dreams come true was the best you could feel.


It was a sunny day, so at the afternoon; Darren, Matt, Chris and you were sitting on the grass, enjoying this wonderful day. You thought there was nothing better than feeling the heat of the sun's rays on a cold winter day. Matt was lying on the grass, his head resting on Chris's lap, while Chris was softly caressing Matt's hair with a sweet smile on his face. Darren and you were sitting next to each other, but you weren't being cuddly. At a time, Darren rested his head on your shoulder for a while; you let him doing so but for some reason you couldn't caress him as you'd have done before. So Darren just sat upright and he started playing with the grass, focused on his own thoughts; while you just lay down on the grass, looking at the sky, also focused on your own thoughts. You glanced at Matt and Chris; they seemed to be happy and in love and that made you smile. But at the same time, you felt a weird feeling, something you shouldn't be feeling because it was selfish; you wished you could be them, you wished you could be as happy as they were feeling, and you wished not to feel the way you were feeling with Darren. You should be happy for them because that was what you were expecting to happen, and that was all. But seeing them being very affectionate to each other was hurting you somehow. You needed to go away for a while to stop feeling like that. You suddenly stood up, and Darren, Matt and Chris looked up to you; Matt and Chris still smiling and Darren slightly frowning.

"I'm going for a walk. I'm going back in a few minutes." You said softly and smiling slightly, trying to avoid Darren's eyes.

"I'm going with you. It's a nice day for a walk." Darren said, also standing up.

"No, I'd rather go alone. If you don't mind." You said looking away; you didn't want to see Darren into his eyes.

"Oh." Darren exclaimed with bated breath, and it sounded dreary. "Yeah, I don't mind. Just be careful and...Enjoy it." Darren smiled sadly and he sat on the grass again, this time head down.

"Yes. I'll be back in minutes." You smiled faintly and then you turned around to leave behind Darren, who now was playing with the grass again, slightly frowning; and Matt and Chris, who looked at you frowning and confused.

You walked too far from where they were, looking all the wonderful landscape that was around you. You walked for several minutes until you arrived at the shore of the lake. That was a wonderful lake. You rested your body on a tree near you and you remained looking at the lake, still standing. You plunged in thought; it was a perfect place to think alone and peacefully, where you could be quiet and just think and relax. You remained thinking for a lot of time; you had no idea since when you were there, but it seemed it was a lot of time because it started to get dark. You knew that soon you needed to come back because you had to come back to NYC. But somehow you couldn't leave that place; you just needed more time there to clarify your thoughts. You were scared to come back and find Darren; you were scared to find him sad because it'd break your heart but in that moment you couldn't act in a different way with him. You really wanted to be with him because you still loved him, but you couldn't be with him while you were feeling this way, very insecure and sad because of what happened. Once again, you turned off your phone because you didn't want to be interrupted, so you had no idea if someone tried to call or text you. You looked at the lake once again and you plunged in thought again, but this time you grabbed a cigarette to smoke it, something you haven't done in months, but now you needed it. After few seconds, you heard some steps and you felt how someone stood next to you; but you didn't look at the person who stood next to you, you remained looking at the lake, still smoking the cigarette.

"Smoking is not good for your health." Darren's voice said next to you. You glanced at him and then you returned your gaze to the lake. Darren was also staring at the lake, with his hands on the pockets of his jeans, serious and slightly frowning.

"Whatever." You answered faintly, still looking at the lake and smoking. Darren didn't do anything to take the cigarette away from you. He only remained looking at the lake, in silence.

"Soon we have to come back to NYC." Darren said softly, still with his hands on his pockets and looking in the same direction than you. "I tried to call you to tell you this, but you turned it off again. So that's why I came here to look for you, not to bother you."

"Yeah, I know. You're not bothering me at all. I'm sorry that I turned off my phone, I guess I just needed to be quiet for a while." You said, now putting out the cigarette.

"It's alright." Darren smiled slightly and then he finally looked at you. "Are you okay? Shit, that's a totally stupid question." Darren said raising his eyebrows and shaking his head. "What's going on, boo? Why are you being like this?" Darren said looking deeply into your eyes, with a sorrowful stare.

"I'm fine. I just...I feel weird." You answered looking down and frowning. Darren also looked down sadly, as if he knew the answer but he didn't want to hear it.

"I want you to be fine; it's all that I want. If you aren't feeling comfortable with me like before, I won't force you to keep being my girlfriend; even though is going to hurt me deeply in my heart if you decide to break up with me. But I'm gonna take it, if that is gonna help you to feel better." Darren said looking into your eyes distressed, but understanding.

"What? No Darren, I said I won't break up with you." You said, now looking at him disturbed and frowning.

"But why are you being like this with me? Like totally distant and cold. Every time I want to hug you or kiss you, you just... draw away; you barely talk to me or look at me. It seems you want to be as far as you can from me. And it hurts to see you so distant because I know you're like this because of my fault, but I cannot do anything if you don't talk to me, if you don't tell what can I do. Because you told me I shouldn't be apologizing, but I have the need to do it, because you wouldn't be feeling like this if you really don't think I did something wrong. So I'm on a tightrope, not knowing if I should apologize, if I should give you some space, or if I should keep being as we used to be. Tell me what I should do! Help me to understand you and help me to help you. But be honest with me, please." Darren said with trembling voice and looking deeply into your eyes distressed and not knowing if grab your hands or not. "Dammit! I cannot even grab your hands because I have no idea if you're gonna move them away or not. I'm shaky all the time!" Darren exclaimed distressed, hitting the trunk of a tree near him, with frustration.

"I'm sorry." You said with watery eyes, looking down. No, you shouldn't shed more tears, you needed to be strong; but it was hard. Darren's words made you feel really bad because you were making him feel miserable.

"No, hey..." Darren softened his voice and he looked at you with pity. He hesitated a few seconds and then he wrapped his arms around you, making you rest your head on his chest, while he started to caress your hair reassuringly.

That was your point of weakness, when you broke down and you fell apart. You were being so rude to Darren, very distant and elusive. But he was always there to comfort you, to be sweet and warm you up. No matter what you did or how you were with him, he was always trying to make you feel better; while you just were harsh on him. How could someone be as Darren was after the way you treated him? You felt a terrible person and it made you cry even more inconsolably.

"I didn't mean to say all those awful things." Darren whispered in your ear remorseful, still caressing your hair.

"No, you don't get it, Darren!" You cried on his chest. Darren's heart was beating fast and his body was slightly trembling.

"Then help me to get it." Darren whispered anguished, but still caressing your hair smoothly.

"You're always like this with me and I..." You tried to say with choked voice, and you felt how Darren's heart started beating faster.

"What do you mean with that I'm always like this?" Darren asked after several seconds, a bit jumpy.

"Like this! Always so affectionate and warm, after I treated you in a shitty way. And I'm a crap of person! Why? Why? You shouldn't be like this!" You said upset with yourself, still sobbing on Darren's chest. "Look! You even let me cry on your chest, now your hoodie is full of tears and snot. And that's disgusting, but you're still here!" You said still sobbing and with your nose runny. Darren let out a giggle and then he lifted your chin to look into your eyes, with a smile on his face. "And you're smiling! Why are you smiling? You should be mad at me and be making a grimace of disgust!" You said wiping your runny nose with your hands and Darren smiled even widely, grabbing you by your waist.

"This makes you look like more human." Darren said smiling and covering his hand with the cuff of his hoodie to wipe away your tears and your runny nose.

"See? That's so disgusting! Now the cuff of your hoodie is impregnated of tears and snots!" You said shrilling and frowning and Darren giggled.

"It's not disgusting to me. I can wash this hoodie later, not a big deal." Darren said shrugging and smiling. "You're not at all a crap of person. It's understandable you're being like this, I only want to know what I can do to change it."

"I don't know, Darren. I don't even know why I'm feeling like this, I shouldn't be feeling like this. It's just I can't avoid it. I feel weird every time I'm with you, I feel weird every time you touch me or you kiss me." You said confused yourself, looking down and Darren stopped smiling.

"What I did...It changed everything, didn't it?" Darren asked downhearted.

"I don't know." You answered honestly, looking down.

"But...Do you want to make this work? I mean...us?" Darren asked a bit scared and nervous.

"I do. But I just...I don't know, I can't control what I feel. I don't wanna hurt your feelings but at the same time I can't avoid treating you like this." You said distressed and displeased with yourself.

"You don't want to break up, do you?" Darren asked with trembling voice and looking deeply into your eyes.

"I don't want it. But...I'm gonna hurt you, Darren and I don't want it. I thought I could clear up my mind by coming here alone, but it didn't work! And I have no idea what to do to change this feeling I have." You said almost desperate and frustrated.

"I could take any kind of way you treat me. I could wait for you until you clear up things in your mind and I could help you. You don't have to do it by yourself. But only if you tell me frankly you still love me. If you don't feel the same love you had for me, I'm gonna set you free. But if not, I won't give up." Darren said with trembling voice, still looking into your eyes, his heart beating fast.

"I still love you. But..." You started to say.

"Then, there are not buts. That's all I needed to hear." Darren said looking fixedly at you, more relaxed now. "We should go now, it's kinda late and it's not so very safe driving in the highway at midnight."

"Yeah, we should." You nodded and you and Darren started walking.

"Can I hold your hand?" Darren asked while you were walking and you looked at him with sad eyes. He shouldn't be asking this, but he was asking that because of your fault.

"Of course you can."

Darren held your hand and he kissed it softly, then he looked at you with a sweet smile and you smiled back at him, slightly. While walking, Darren caressed your hand with his thumb; it was a silent walking and you were a bit nervous and sad, but you were willing to make this work as Darren asked you. It was going to be hard, but you needed to give it a try. After all, Darren was the guy you loved.


ONE WEEK LATER…

From Darren: Despite everything that happened, it was nice to spend a weekend with you somewhere else. I hope next time it can be more than a weekend!

From Darren: I'm lying in bed and it feels totally weird not being with you. Man that totally sucks. What if I sneak in your apartment? I could climb through your window, but damn. Why do you have to live in a high-rise?

From Darren: I give up. Maybe tomorrow I could sneak into your apartment but using your front door. Then, I'd sleep with you, snuggling up. Yeah, it's a cool idea.

From Darren: Goodnight, boo. I love you so much.

From Darren: Good morning, beautiful girl! Guess what I dreamed last night?

From Darren: Do you get my texts? Cause I think I'm not receiving yours.

From Darren: Do you know what's totally awesome? To drink a totally delicious coffee while going to the rehearsal. It'd be even better if today I get to see you!

From Darren: Are you at your apartment? I'm bringing food for two! Not sushi, I promise; not quirky foods I swear. Today's menu: fucking delicious Italian food.

From Darren: I'm here, outside your apartment. Hurry up! You really don't want to eat cold Italian food or you'll end up locked in the bathroom!

From Darren: Are you there? I can see the lights on. Don't you want to open me the door?

From Darren: Are you mad at me or something?

From Darren: Hey, if you need time to be alone or you just don't want to see me; just tell me, I'm gonna understand. But please at least reply my texts or calls!

From Darren: It has been three days and I don't have any news from you. I'm starting to get worried. Has something wrong happened?

From Darren: Hey boo! Chuck asked me if you want to join us. We're going to Madame Tussaud's New York. Huzzah!

From Darren: Boo, it has been five days! I went to your apartment almost every day and you don't open me the door and I know you're there. The other day I heard your voice! I text you and I didn't get even a damn text back! I call you and you hang up! If you don't want to be with me, just tell me. Just text me: "Darren you're so fucking annoying and you can suck my ass!" I don't know, just text me.

From Darren: Did I do something that bothered you? Am I annoying you?

From Darren: I'm at some random bar with Joey and I want eiowqoeoq

From Darren: Sorry, Joey took away my phone. Have you heard that song? I like that song is like you know, hey! We should sing this song.

From Darren: Did you know centipede don't have a hundred feet? Awesome, man!

From Darren: Joey told me I should stop texting you. It's funny, I got my phone back and he didn't notice it yet!

From Darren: Sorry for last night texts. I guess you already found out I was a bit drunk. Well, you surely found it out if you even read my texts. I'm not sure of that.

From Darren: Can you at least text me "fuck you"? Something. Just something.

From Darren: There's an option in your phone that is "Reply". You won't destroy the world if you press it, I swear.

From Darren: I hope you're doing fine. I love you.

From Darren: I miss you like hell, boo. Please, text me or call me back.

Darren texted and called you all the week long. You felt bad not answering him, not texting him back, not calling him back, not opening the door of your apartment. But you weren't feeling good to talk to anybody. You spent the whole week lying in bed; you didn't even want to eat. Not only because you were feeling bad emotionally, but also because you were sick. Not having been wearing warm enough clothes on the weekend, made you catch a cold. That's why you didn't even go to work. As for Darren, you didn't know what to do. You wanted to see him, but at the same time you weren't sure if you'd be fine with him. You still couldn't stop thinking about him and Mia; you couldn't take it out of your mind. Anyway, you were a stupid and a really bad person because you didn't even answer a damn text.

"Damn! I have to force your door to get into your apartment! Where are you? We need to talk, now." You heard a voice from the living room that made you startle and get extremely scared. You covered your whole body with all the blankets.

"Not now. Go away." You answered weakly from your bed.

"Yeah, sure. The fuck I'm going away." Matt said, entering in your bedroom and walking toward your bed.

"Am I in troubles?" You asked under the blankets.

"Hell yeah." Matt said harshly, uncovering you.

"Fuck you! I'm cold, Matt!" You grumbled, frowning and surly.

"I don't care a shit. Get dressed, now." Matt said bossy and strictly, crossing his arms and looking at you serious. He seemed really angry.

"Matt, it's supposed when you're in love you're sweeter, not grumpier." You huffed, still frowning and sitting in bed.

"Well, you're the last person who can say that. Get dressed now, we need to talk." Matt said raising his eyebrow and upset.

"What the hell is going on with you? I'm sick! I don't feel like doing anything." You grumbled, grouchy.

"We're not going anywhere. We're gonna stay here, you're gonna take cough syrup for your cold, and we're gonna go to your living room to talk." Matt said bossy. "Do I need to dress you or can you do it by yourself?"

"Screw you, Matt. Fine. Give me few minutes." You groused and got up to dress.

"Just ten minutes." Matt said harshly and he turned around to go to your living room.

"Screw you!" You yelled from your bedroom and suddenly a book hit your bedroom door, making you jump.

You dressed up bad-tempered and feeling very cold. Why the hell Matt was there and why was he so mad at you? And he forced your front door! You didn't want to talk to him, whatever he wanted to talk to you. You didn't feel good to see anybody and he was really bothering you. Anyway, once you got dressed, you walked to your living room, still surly. Matt was there with coffee for two, patiently waiting for you sitting on your couch and still angry. You sat next to him, cross-legged and crossing your arms.

"I don't feel like talking, Matt." You grumbled, looking away.

"You're so stupid and childish." Matt spilled out.

"Excuse me?" You asked him in disbelief, raising your eyebrows.

"Don't play dumb. What the hell are you doing? What's on your mind?" Matt asked looking at you upset.

"What are you talking about, Matt? You came here all grumpy and bossy and you didn't even tell me of what do you want to talk about." You said bewildered.

"I'm talking about you and Darren." Matt said roundly and you looked at him bemused.

"What? Why are you bringing Darren to this conversation?" You asked, playing dumb. How the hell did he know? Chris, you thought.

"Give me your phone." Matt requested bossy.

"I'm not gonna give you a shit." You said defensively and getting a bit nervous. Matt couldn't see your phone; otherwise you were going to be screwed.

"Well, let's see. Where could you leave your phone?" Matt asked and both of you stood up quickly to run to the nightstand. But Matt won you and he grabbed your phone.

"Give me it, Matt! It's my phone!" You yelled angry, but Matt raised his hands so you couldn't reach your phone.

"Look! Twenty-five texts from Darren, texts that you haven't replied. Thirty missed calls from Darren! Six times Darren came to your apartment and you didn't open the door. Interesting." Matt said sarcastically. "What the hell is wrong with you?"

"I'm sick, Matt! I didn't want to talk to anybody." You answered angry, crossing your arms and frowning.

"You don't need to talk to text him back. That's a very lame excuse." Matt said gruffly, looking into your eyes. "Would you tell me the truth now?"

"What are you now? Darren's best friend?" You asked ironically and huffily.

"No, I'm your friend and I want to know why the hell you're acting like this! All of a sudden you disappeared and no one got news from you. How am I supposed to be calm?" Matt reproached you. "Tell me what's going on with you."

"I don't want to talk about it." You said coldly, looking away.

"Damn! Just tell me why the hell you're being like this!" Matt yelled desperate and angry.

"Because I'm so fucking down and dejected!" You yelled with choked voice and now with teary eyes. Matt looked at you puzzled, raising his eyebrows.

"But why?" Matt asked now softening his voice and you burst into tears. Matt left your phone on the nightstand and he hugged you.

"I don't know what I'm doing, Matt. I don't know what to feel. I tried to forget it, but it keeps popping up into my mind!" You said sobbing.

"Forget what?" Matt asked softly, still hugging you.

"Darren was with Mia while we were distant. Like they went all the way. He was with her while I was doing my best to get him back. And I know he regrets it, I know he loves me. But I can't stop thinking that he was with Mia. Mia, Matt!" You sobbed, trying to contain yourself. "And I can't be with Darren even though I love him. Because I feel weird when I'm with him. I can't even hug him because I just can't. And every time he hugs me or he kisses me, I can't avoid this weird feeling! And the worst part is that I found it all because of a magazine! I'd never have found it out if it wasn't for that magazine!"

"Calm down, Shorty." Matt said reassuringly.

"What can I do Matt?" You sobbed, now looking at him desperate.

"You should talk to him about this." Matt answered calmly.

"I already did it, Matt. And I can't, because... He's this charming and adorable guy, and it breaks my heart to see him so sad. And I love him, Matt! But I don't know...I don't know anything." You said with choked voice, tearing up.

"Listen, Shorty. Darren is a good guy and he truly loves you. He's really down right now; he doesn't know what's going on with you. He told us that you had a kind of argument when we were in Lake George, but he hasn't explained us the reason; he was blaming himself, is all that we knew. He couldn't stop saying that he was a fucking asshole and because of a stupid thing he lost the person he loves the most. We couldn't get why Darren was saying all of that; and then he told us that he spent the whole week trying to talk to you, but you were ignoring him; and he was saying that he deserved it because he was a dick but he couldn't give up on you, that he needed to see you. He even cried in front of us, although he denied it." Matt said with soft voice, looking into your eyes. "That was why I was so mad at you. Because that day I got to see a new side of Darren I've never seen. He was so heartbroken that it made me feel pity. And I imagined him suffering while you were here, ignoring him and disinterested to know how he was feeling. And I couldn't get it because you always told me that Darren was the guy with whom you wanted to spend your life. I'm sorry to have been so rude to you, but I didn't know this that happened between you both."

Matt told you a lot of things that made you feel even worse. Darren was very distressed and you never thought about his feelings; you only focused on what you were feeling. While Matt was telling you all of this, you started crying even harder, but in silence. You were selfish; but at the same time, you still weren't ready to see Darren again. You wished that you could be more self-confident, because this way you'd be with Darren in this moment; because deep in your heart you knew that the reason why you were feeling weird was because you were insecure, because you were feeling that Mia was better than you, that she was a better option for him, because you were just a stupid and ordinary girl. But you couldn't deal with those thoughts.

"If there's something I can suggest you, is that you should come back to Darren. I never saw anybody to love in the way you guys love each other. Yeah, something really shitty happened while you were distant, but let it go! It was a mistake and all human beings make mistakes. You cannot throw to hell all you got for one only mistake. What you have to think is that Darren chose you, he's only with you and he'd never cheat on you, because he told us you're the girl he always imagined spending his life. So give him a chance. And if you aren't ready yet, at least tell him so and ask him to give you some space. But don't leave him like this, because he's really down and he doesn't deserve it. You have no idea all he's doing for you; he's so devoted to you. And, as your friend, I'm telling you that no one else would do all he does for you. I don't even know if someday I could do for someone half of the things he does for you." Matt said raising his eyebrows and stunned while he was thinking about something you couldn't tell. He was being really honest with you. "Don't let him go, that's my advice."

"What do you mean? Why do you say that I have no idea of all he's doing for me?" You asked muddled, now you stopped sobbing because you really wanted to know what Matt could see of your relationship with Darren.

"I won't tell you, you need to find it out by yourself. Someday, you're gonna see all of that and you're gonna realize that Darren is the guy who practically changed your life for good." Matt said looking at you with a kind smile. "I'm so happy that you found someone like him."

"I'm happy too." You said with a slight and sad smile, looking down.

"Hey! If you aren't ready to be with him again, just give each other some time and space. Then, when the two of you get to feel better, you can come back together and be happy as you deserve. This doesn't mean breaking up." Matt said clearly, looking intently at you.

"Yeah, maybe you're right."

"So, what are you waiting for? Text him!" Matt encouraged you and you hesitated, but then you grabbed your phone and Matt smiled proudly.

To Darren: I'm really sorry to have acted as a totally dumbass. I wasn't going through a good moment and I didn't want to talk to anybody and I know that's stupid and lame. I should've replied you, you didn't deserve it all. Please, forgive me.

You pressed the option "Send" and suddenly you get really edgy. Maybe Darren was really mad at you and now it was he the one who didn't want to reply you. And you had no idea of what Darren would answer. You were nervous because you knew you acted as a child, and you knew that you were in some kind of trouble, because you did something you shouldn't have done. What if Darren was going to think you were playing with his feelings? Matt noticed you were nervous, because he placed a hand on your shoulder and squeezed it reassuringly, looking at you with a smile on his face. After few seconds you sent the text, your phone started buzzing and you got even more nervous.

"He's calling me!" You told Matt with wide and disturbed eyes.

"Relax and just answer him. I'm gonna be in the kitchen." Matt said soothingly, kissing your forehead and turning around to leave your bedroom. You took a deep breath before answering.

"Hi?" You said with trembling voice. Damn, your body started trembling.

"Hi boo." Darren said gently and almost in a whisper. Darren called you boo, maybe he wasn't so mad at you. You both remained in silence for a while; you didn't know what to say, it seemed your mind was blank.

"I'm sorry." You finally said in a very low voice. Now you were feeling ashamed of yourself.

"No, don't be sorry. I was kind of annoying, texting and calling you all the time. You surely thought I'm a stalker." Darren giggled, but you could notice it was a giggle with a hint of sadness.

"No, you weren't. You just wanted to know how I was and I was the jerk who was ignoring you. I'm sorry, I feel terrible." You said with remorseful voice.

"Don't." Darren said softly. "I'm glad you texted me. I missed you like bloody hell."

"Yeah...I'm sorr..."

"Please, don't apologize anymore." Darren interrupted you. "I shouldn't have texted you that much; you needed time and I, like a douchebag, didn't respect that. Have you missed me?"

There was an uncomfortable silence that lasted several seconds. You couldn't answer that question. All the time you haven't talked to him, actually you were busy on thinking about what you found out on Lake George that you didn't stop to think about Darren and how you missed or not him. Now you felt even worse.

"Never mind." Darren finally said wretched and it broke your heart. "Are you feeling any better now?"

"I guess so." You answered, still feeling bad because of Darren.

"That's a shit of answer. You should say. Yeaaaah Darren, I'm feeling totally awesome, let's go kick ass!" Darren laughed softly, trying to sound funny and not sad. "That would be nice to hear."

"Soon you're gonna hear that and the first ass I'm gonna kick is gonna be yours." You also tried to joke and it seemed it worked because Darren laughed softly. His laugh was something glorious to hear; it was cheerful, contagious and sexy.

"I'd rather if you caress it. It's not a good thing to have a bruised ass; it's so damn painful when you try to sit somewhere."

"Seems that you've experienced it before." You said a bit amused, joking.

"No fucking kidding. When I was a harmless little boy, Chuck kicked my ass because I didn't want to give him my ice-cream. Not only I ended up without my ice-cream, but I ended up with a bruised ass. I couldn't sit anywhere for a whole damn week. My classmates called me the fatty ass because no kidding it was swollen. Since then I learned that I always have to give Chuck my ice-cream." Darren told you amused and you started laughing out loud.

"Oh holy shit! That's so hilarious! Poor little fatty ass!" You made fun of him playfully, still laughing.

"Hey! I don't have a fatty ass any longer." Darren pretended to be offended.

"Yeah, sure. Haven't you checked your ass in a mirror? It's like very bulky." You made fun of him again.

"I think someone has been looking at my ass." Darren said amused.

"What can I say? It's very striking; it stands out in your body." You joked and Darren laughed.

"Then I'm gonna compress it and I'm gonna have a bony ass."

"Please, don't! I'm gonna lose my lifeguard ring whenever I'm drowning!" You exclaimed exaggeratedly, mocking him.

"Hey, you!" Darren exclaimed stunned and amused. "Then... Would you want to meet my ass one of these days?"

"Wouldn't you get jealous?" You mocked him.

"No, I'm just gonna hire a private eye so he'd check if everything's going well."

"You goober." You laughed softly.

"So, what do you say? Tomorrow night?" Darren asked and you pondered about it for few seconds.

"Yeah, tomorrow night is fine."

"Great!" Darren exclaimed, more lively now. "See you tomorrow night, then."

"Guess so. Don't forget to bring your ass." You joked.

"Noted." Darren laughed. "I love you."

"Love you, too."

You finally hung up and you lay down in bed. That was a weird and unexpected conversation. It was uncomfortable at first, but then you felt really comfortable, as you used to feel before. Once again, Matt was right. That was you needed, talking to Darren. Now you were feeling better and suddenly you didn't feel so sick.


From Darren: I know I asked you out tomorrow night. But, can we change plans?

You were lying down in bed, working on some papers of your work after Matt left your apartment, when Darren texted you. Why was Darren canceling your plans? Was he retracted?

To Darren: Alright, I don't have any rush. Whenever you can, then.

From Darren: That's the problem.

To Darren: That you don't have time? Is okay, I understand.

Yes, you replied that to him; but you actually were feeling disappointed and languid. You really wanted to meet him, and just when you wanted it; Darren didn't have time. You should be named the unlucky girl.

From Darren: Not at all.

To Darren: Are we playing the guessing game?

From Darren: Hey! That would be fun! But I can't right now. I'm working and everything is a mess here.

To Darren: Okay, I got it! You can't tomorrow night because everything is a mess on your work. What happened?

From Darren: No, yes I can tomorrow night! Apparently you didn't get it. Good luck, next time!

To Darren: Go straight to the point because you're messing up my brain.

From Darren: Bossy woman! The problem is that I need you to rush. Could you come over here?

To Darren: What? Like, right now? But you're working.

From Darren: I'm gonna explain you everything later. Please, I need you to come over here as soon as you can.

To Darren: What if not? Are you gonna die?

From Darren: Something like that. So please, bring here your wonderful ass asap. I really need you.

To Darren: But you're working! I wouldn't want to bother you and I wouldn't want to intrude there.

From Darren: Oh fuck, screw my work! Imagine you're coming only to see me at some random place. Just please, come over here.

To Darren: Fine. Gonna be there in half an hour.

From Darren: Thank you a lot, you're the best!

To Darren: Bla, bla, bla. See you there!

You sat on your bed, putting aside the papers you were working on. Why was Darren so desperate to see you right now, and at his work? That was really weird and you started suspecting. The last thing you needed was some kind of surprise. Anyway, you got up to dress something suitable, wondering why Darren wanted to see you in that moment. He never before asked you to go to the place he worked.

As you said, it took you half an hour to arrive where Darren worked. A polite man stopped you at the entrance and asked your name. Once you told him, he smiled politely and led you to where Darren was, right when he was at rehearsal. As Darren said, everything seemed to be a mess. People around were running strained and yelling, there were a lot of clothes and papers on the floor, there were people arguing and bad-tempered. What was going on there? You never imagined that working on a Broadway show would be like this. Why Darren wanted you to be there? It didn't seem a good moment. Finally the man led you to a room you recognized. It was the stage, but behind the curtain. The man indicated you to go to the stage, that Darren was there waiting for you, and then he turned around to leave that room. You heard Darren's voice arguing with another man, but you couldn't hear why they were arguing. Shyly, you entered in the stage. Darren was with the other man who was one of the main characters of the show. When you entered, Darren and the other man stopped arguing and Darren looked at you with a bright smile, walking towards you.

"I'm so fucking glad you came here." Darren said cheerful, pecking your lips softly. He also seemed strained and it seemed Darren hadn't slept for days, because he had tired eyes and under eye dark circles. "It's a fucking damn mess; surely you saw it on your way here."

"Yeah. It was kinda disturbing. Is everything okay? Are you okay?" You asked concerned, looking into his tired eyes.

"Yeah, kind of. We have a big problem here. But hopefully we can solve it soon." Darren said huffing tiredly. "How are you? Are you better? Damn, I hate the fact of meeting you again in this situation."

"I'm fine, chill out. Are you sure that you want me here in this moment? I don't want to bother you. You seem really busy." You said nervous and uncomfortable, looking at the man who was behind Darren, who was looking at you suspiciously.

"Hell yeah. I needed you here. This is more like... Okay. First of all..." Darren turned around to call the man who was behind him. The man approached you slowly and still looking at you suspiciously. Why was that man looking at you that way? It was intimidating. "This is Michael McKean. Michael, this is the girl I talked you about."

"It's a pleasure." Michael greeted you politely, nodding his head.

"No, the pleasure is mine, Mr. McKean." You greeted him also politely, but now you were stunned. Dammit, it was Michael McKean and you didn't recognize him in the distance! You were a fool.

"Well!" Darren exclaimed raising his eyebrows. Was he nervous?

"This is not gonna work." Michael said, shaking his head. "Not to underestimate you, young lady." Michael said looking at you and you frowned, completely confused. Obviously you missed something there.

"Oh, come on, Michael! Don't be so pessimistic!" Darren exclaimed a bit upset, looking at him frowning. "You didn't even see anything and you're already dismissing the chance to solve things."

"I'm not dismissing anything. But it isn't possible to get the same result. It took us months to get what we got and we're not gonna get it with a few hours of rehearsals." Michael started arguing and Darren got very upset. Meanwhile, you were feeling out of place.

"Do you have any other idea? Because you were complaining all the time, but you didn't give any solution. It's done, they're not coming back, we cannot change it, and we need to find a solution." Darren argued very angry.

"We should cancel the show." Michael answered calmly, shrugging. "That's the best solution."

"Oh no, that's not gonna happen. You heard the producer. We got into this mess, we need to solve it. He won't like the idea of canceling the show and lose money." Darren said raising his eyebrows and looking at Michael sternly.

"Is gonna be the same if we don't cancel the show. People won't like a bad show. Again, not to underestimate you, young lady." Michael said looking at you, but this time he seemed upset too. Why the hell he repeated so? Why were you involved in their conversation?

"You'd never know if you don't see it. Maybe this is gonna work. She's talented, and I'm not exalting and praising her because she's my girlfriend. Just give her a chance and then you can decide." Darren said persuasively.

Oh fuck no. This wasn't what you were thinking. No, Darren would never do something like this to you. Suddenly you got extremely nervous and you wanted to run away from there. You shouldn't be there and you didn't want to think you were there because Darren thought you could be the solution of his problem.

"Fine. I'm gonna give her a chance." Michael agreed and Darren smiled proudly. Then Michael looked at you and he gave you some papers. You grabbed them in shock and scared and you took a look. No way. "This is the script. You need to take the part of Maria. Let's see what you got for us."

"Yeah, wait, Michael. We need to explain her why she's here." Darren stopped Michael.

"What? Haven't you told her why she's here? What a way to do things well." Michael exclaimed in disbelief, smiling acidly.

"At least I'm doing something to find a solution." Darren said harshly and serious. Then Darren looked at you a bit nervous and with pleading eyes. "Well, we had a very harsh argument with the main female character and she quit. And that's not all; we also had a harsh argument with the woman who was here to replace the main female character. The point is that both of them quit and we don't have any actress for the main female character. So...that's why you're here! So, this is like an audition, to see if you can play the part of Maria. Awesome, isn't it?" Darren exclaimed trying to sound excited, but he was completely nervous because he knew he did something he shouldn't have done.

You looked at Darren terrified and with eyes wide open. There was no fucking way you could do it. You couldn't play in a Broadway show in front billion people; you couldn't take the role-play of a character you had no idea how to personalize and interpret. You have no idea how the show was, which were the lines you had to say, how the whole acting was, how you had to move on the stage, when to appear. You had no idea. And they wanted you to do this for the show of that night. It was fucking impossible! And it was a main character, not a secondary one! You wanted to kill Darren.

"I won't do it." You said in shock, and Darren sighed, looking down totally strained and desperate.

"Please. Just try it." Darren begged you, looking appealingly into your eyes with desperation.

"I can't." You said still in shock. Everything around you was blurry and you knew it was because you were panicking.

"Yes, you can do it." Darren said still looking appealingly into your eyes, now grabbing your hands and encouraging you. "Imagine you're alone. Just focus on you and your passion that is theater. This is like your lifetime chance. Don't let it go."

"But Darren, the show is in a few hours. No one can carry forward a character without practicing it before, not even the best actor in world. And I'm not an actress; I was never on a stage. I can't do it, I'm really sorry, I can't." You said panicking and breathing fast. Darren placed his hands on your shoulders to reassure you.

"Calm down. I won't force you, I won't press you. I only want you to give it a chance. You don't lose anything by trying it now. Try it and if you don't feel comfortable, you can let it go. Deal?" Darren said convincingly.

"Okay." You answered shyly and still scared. Darren smiled brightly and then he kissed your lips sweetly.

"Remember. You're alone, imagine as if you were at your home alone, just fooling around. Don't feel strained, just relax and take it as if this were a game. Imagine as if you were that little girl you were, excited to perform that show in your school you always wanted but you never could. Imagine your..." Darren started to say, but then he gulped because he didn't know if he was being inappropriate. Darren's eyes were teary.

"My father." You completed what Darren tried to say. Was Darren trying to give you the chance of all the things you always wanted to do in your past but you never could? Because he could have called any other person to do this, people really talented; but he called you. Was this what Matt was talking about earlier? Was this one of the things Darren was doing for you? Suddenly you were very mushy. "Okay, I'm gonna do it."

"Do it for yourself. Not for anybody else." Darren smiled fondly at you and then he pecked your lips. "Feel comfortable, I'm gonna sit over there."

You nodded and Darren sat next to where Michael was sitting, waiting for you to perform and show them what you got for them. You read the lines and you tried to get on character. But you weren't going to perform for them, you didn't want to show them if you were talented or not. You were going to do it because you were imagining your father was sitting over there with his huge smile, looking at you proudly, finally watching you performing. Indeed, you could see your father there. You did the best you could have done; it was only you, your passion and you father. You said all the lines and you were internalized with the character. When you finished, you saw your father with a huge and proud smile, cheering you. You felt really happy, a happiness that you never felt before; finally you did it. You tried to hold back your tears; you were feeling weak, but weak because of this huge joy. Then your father disappeared when you heard some claps. Darren and Michael were clapping at you. First, you looked at Darren. He was looking at you with a wide smile and proud shinny eyes. You wanted to run to Darren's arms, you wanted to feel the warmth of his body to find there some comfort. Your feelings were a mess of joy, happiness, fears, shame and jitters.

"Could you do exactly the same tonight in front of billion people?" Michael said from his seat, smiling and stunned.

"I don't know." You answered shy, nervous, and scared.

"Come on, young lady! If you say yes, you're hired. Your performance was outstanding considering you never practiced it. I must admit I'm really amazed. Good job, Darren." Michael said joyfully, still stunned.

"I told you to give her a chance, Michael. She's talented." Darren said smiling proudly and then he winked at you with his thumbs up.

"No doubts!" Michael exclaimed excited. "Let's get down to work! We have to present a show tonight!" Michael exclaimed, standing up and grabbing his script. Darren also stood up and grabbed his scrip, but he walked towards you with a huge smile.

"I'm so fucking proud of you." Darren said sincerely when he was close enough and the he hugged you tight. "You shone; you totally shone on that stage."

You shed some tears of joy on Darren's chest before starting the rehearsal. This was a very happy moment for you, a moment you could never forget. And this was thanks to Darren, the guy who was trying to make all your dreams come true.


Before the first show you were going to perform in your whole life; you were freaking out, completely nervous and scared. It wasn't any show, it was a Broadway show and this was something you never expected in your life, but it was happening. Everything around you was blurry and you couldn't focus in anything. Behind the curtains, you heard a lot of people talking before the show started. You had the worst idea ever of spying how many people were there. The room was full, there were no empty seats. You heart started to beat really fast and you were having difficulties to breathe; a huge sense of panic invaded your body and your body started trembling. You couldn't do it, it was crazy to have accepted the role-play; you only practiced ten hours and that wasn't enough; this was going to be a mess and a failure. But also it was too late to retract. You'd have to go out there and embarrass yourself on stage. You were alone because everybody was getting dressed for the show or they were practicing their lines. You needed to keep your mind busy, but you couldn't move because your body was still trembling and you felt you were going to faint. But then you felt how a firm but warm hand rested on your shoulder and squeezed it reassuringly. You turned around to find Darren looking at you sweetly and with a bright smile.

"Ready for your debut?" Darren asked still smiling cheerfully.

"I'm gonna faint, Darren. I'm not feeling good, everything is blurry and I'm feeling dizzy. I wanna go." You said in shock with trembling voice and panicked eyes. Darren looked at you amused, raising his eyebrows and then laughing.

"You're not gonna faint. I had the same feeling the first time I was right there, where you're standing." Darren said calmly with an amused smile. "Do you remember my letters?"

"Yeah. But damn, Darren! It's not time to talk about our letters! I'm so fucking freaking out and I'm gonna pass out soon!" You exclaimed terrified and jittery.

"Chill out, boo. You're gonna be fine and you're gonna rock that stage. I'm gonna give you some good advices and you'll see it's not that hard." Darren said with a reassuringly smile, grabbing your hands. "So, do you remember my letters? Do you remember when I told you my experience of being on Broadway? Actually I haven't mentioned it was Broadway, because in that moment I didn't want you to know who I was, because it'd change everything. But I told you it was a super important event to me; well, I was talking about my debut on Broadway. Do you remember what I told you, how I was feeling in that moment?"

"You were scared the fuck outta you but you pretended not to be." You answered automatically and without thinking, still in shock.

"Have I said that with those words? Damn, I need to be more mannerly." Darren laughed and you laughed along with him, but it was a nervous laugh, you couldn't calm down. "So yeah, I was scared the fuck outta me and holy shit! I was freaking out. The room was just as full as now. It's like right now, you are me in my debut. But I could do it, you know why?"

"You said you saw your family and friends, that they gave you the courage to do it because they were proud of you. Therefore you performed for them." You answered automatically again, you could remember exactly all he wrote in that letter and you got surprised because of this.

"Whoa! You have a good memory. Well, now look out there." Darren said pointing you the curtain.

"I already did! That's why I want to go, I'm not ready for this and I'm gonna suck! I'm gonna screw everything!" You exclaimed panicking again very altered.

"Hey, no!" Darren said still grabbing your hands and making you look at him. "Look out there, trust me."

You looked at Darren frightened to the point you were feeling distressed; but you let out his hands to walk to the curtain and peer covertly through the curtain. It wasn't a good idea again because you started to freak out even more and your body started trembling again. But then, Darren stood behind you and he wrapped his arms around your waist, resting his chin on your shoulder.

"Look at all those people. They're waiting for you to go out to the stage and see you shine. They came here to see you, this is your moment and no one is gonna take it away from you." Darren whispered. Now both of you were peering covertly through the curtain and your body was still trembling.

"They didn't come to see me." You said with trembling voice.

"They did. They came to see the show, and you're a main character. There are strangers; but look over there, to the first row." Darren said kindly, pointing you some seats were some people were waiting. "Do you recognize them?"

"I do." You said with chocked voice and teary eyes.

Now you were feeling very touched and emotional. Matt, April and Nick were there, with big smiles on their faces. Chris, Grant and Joey were there too; Chuck, Cerine and Bill too. You looked more intently and you also saw some of Darren's friends you met in Dockweiler Beach; like Joe Walker, Brian Holden, Joe Moses, Dylan Saunders, Lauren Lopez, Meredith Stepien, Bonnie Gruesen, Jaime Lyn Beatty and Julia Albain. All of them were talking excited and expectant, all of them seemed happy. You had no idea they were coming. But also there was an empty seat and you wondered for whom was that reserved seat.

"They all came to see you. Look how damn happy and proud they look!" Darren exclaimed cheerfully, looking at you with bright eyes and a warm smile. "All your friends are here boo. For you. They're waiting to see your peak moment; they're hoping you to share that moment with them. Now look at 'em straight into their eyes. What can you see?"

"They seem happy." You answered with choked voice, still emotional because they were there for you. They wanted to be in this moment very important to you and until then you never realized how much they loved you.

"They are. Because they're so proud of you, they're proud of how much you achieved since the time they met you. They're happy because they know this is what you always wanted to do and now you got it. Do you realize how fucking amazing is that?" Darren exclaimed encouragingly and with a wide smile.

"I know this is craziness. But..." You started to say with choked voice but still a bit nervous.

"I know you're so fucking scared now and it's completely natural. But do what I did in my debut. Perform for them. Whatever you do, they're gonna proud. If you forget your line, if you forget what you have to do, where to look, where to move; it doesn't matter. They're gonna be just as proud, because what they care is that you achieved your dream of being on a stage, your lifetime dream." Darren exclaimed looking at you fondly and brightly.

"But..." You started to say insecure, even though Darren was making you feel better.

"If you forget something, look at them and only at them. They're gonna encourage you to keep going. And if you forget something, I'm gonna lead you. But enjoy this moment as much as you can, because is all you dreamed. And I know it because you told me so in one of your letters. It's not Les Miserables, but is a Broadway show." Darren said smiling and then he placed his hands on your cheeks, looking at you fondly. "All of your friends are your family. And in this important moment, now more than ever, also perform for those that now aren't here in this world but surely would be proud and happy to see you in your lifetime moment."

"You're gonna make me cry and I'm gonna screw the make-up!" You said with choked voice and very touched, trying to hold back your tears of joy. Darren giggled softly and then he hugged tight.

"Let's go rock that stage. It's time." Darren said smiling cheerfully and pointing you the blinking light.

You got nervous, but then you remembered Darren's words. You could do this and this was your lifetime dream. You needed to enjoy that moment because you didn't know when it'd happen again. You were going to perform for your friends who were there to see you as happy as you've never been before. Before going out to the stage, Darren grabbed your cheeks and looked deeply into your eyes.

"You got this. I fucking love you." Darren whispered and kissed your lips deeply before going out to the stage.

Darren hugged you very tightly as never before when the show ended and you were behind the curtain, while you started shedding tears of joy. You did it without forgetting your script and what you had to do. You still were shocked because of all those cheering after the show ended; you couldn't take away from your mind all those people standing to cheer you all, and you couldn't express all your happiness and gratitude. Everything seemed a dream, too good to be true. Your heart was beating fast in excitement and your body was trembling with a mix of nervousness and liveliness. You did that what seemed impossible to you to achieve.

"You've come so far, boo. As your fellow worker, I'm so honored to have performed with you, as a team. As your best friend, I can say that I'm very happy for you. And as your boyfriend, I feel so fucking proud of you, of all you've got; and your happiness makes me so damn happy. You were born for this and I'm the happiest guy to have done this together."

Those were the words Darren told you once the show finished and you were in the dressing room, getting ready to go to the after party since this was the last show of the play. Indeed Darren seemed as happy as you were and he couldn't stop looking at you with bright eyes and commenting about some things of the play, very excited. Before going out to go to the party, Darren stopped you in the front door.

"We're gonna go out now and surely people are gonna ask for autographs and pictures. Don't freak out! You need to start getting used at this." Darren winked at you with a bright smile.

"Don't be ridiculous, Darren. It'd be odd if someone ask me for an autograph, that's not gonna happen; so I'm gonna wait you in the car because is so damn cold outside." You said nudging him playfully.

"Well, then don't tell me I didn't warn you." Darren said amused and mysteriously, raising his eyebrows.

Darren went out first and you stopped behind him shyly when he started to say a few words, thanking all people who were there. A lot of people started to take pictures and you just looked around with a happy smile on your face to see how excited those people were to see Darren, as you'd be if you were in their place. When Darren finished talking, he started to sign autographs and taking pictures with those people as he also talked to them. In that moment, you started to walk toward the car and wait for Darren there, but people also stopped you to ask you some autographs. What the hell? That was super odd and you honestly couldn't believe it. Why would someone ask you for an autograph? Why would they want it? That was nonsensical, you weren't anyone famous. But anyway, you signed those autographs and you took pictures with people around. In the distance, Darren glanced at you very amused and raising an eyebrow, with an expression of "I told you"; and you only looked at him frowning, confused and astonished because of this. While you were signing those autographs, people were flattering you, telling you that you did a great job and that they enjoyed very much the play; some of them also asked you if you really were Darren's girlfriend, some of them told you that they liked the idea of you dating with Darren, and some of them told you that they hoped to see you in another play; they also asked you few random things about your life. This was crazy, totally crazy. Of course you got in the car before Darren and you waited for him patiently, still thinking how weird and crazy all of this was. Years ago you were hopeless, thinking that your life would suck until your death. Months ago, you thought that finally you got to have a normal and stable life; with a job, an apartment and friends, and, oddly, with an extraordinary boyfriend. But this was beyond of what you expected for your life. This only happened in your dreams and it always seemed so hard and utopian to achieve. "Dreaming is something that keeps us alive, giving us the strength to carry on, the reason that gives us a goal to fulfill. And when you're aiming too high on the moon and then you can put your feet on the ground, it'll be a wonderful thing." You remembered what Darren wrote in one of his letters. Indeed, this was being a wonderful thing, something beyond belief. After several minutes, Darren got into the car and he looked at your with an amused look and smile, wrapping his arm around your back.

"So, missy I won't sign autographs cause that won't happen...How did it feel?" Darren asked amused and making fun of you, with a smile on his face. He was full of happiness.

"You, Mr. dork. Stop making fun of me." You nudged him playfully, giggling amused. "I'm still waiting to wake up."

"What are you? The Sleeping Beauty?" Darren laughed and you shook your head amused. "This is happening. You're a star, my dear love." Darren winked at you and you giggled. "You rocked the stage, you rocked out there and now you're gonna rock the after party. Hey man! You rock like a whore." Darren joked.

"Oh, you're calling me a whore." You said looking at him roguishly, raising an eyebrow and getting closer.

"Not that look again. It'd be embarrassing for me to bring to the party my friend I have down here." Darren warned you jokingly and you laughed out loud.

"Just because I'm a nice girl, I won't do anything now." You joked, looking at him seductively but amused.

"I appreciate your attitude. But I could use a kiss now and let's leave the cuddling and necking for later." Darren winked at you seductively, flirting.

"Seems a good idea." You smiled seductively and then you chuckled before kissing him sweetly.

You kept talking and laughing as you used to do when you were completely fine; because in fact, you felt as if everything was alright now, you couldn't get why you were being distant with Darren if what you needed the most was to spend time with him. When you finally arrived to the after party, you looked at Darren, feeling happy to have a boyfriend like him, a boyfriend who was giving you the best moments in your life. When you got into the place where the after party was taking place, a lot of people started to take pictures and cheer. Again, this seemed very weird for you and you felt a bit dizzy and not knowing where to go, but Darren linked his arm with yours and he led you. Suddenly, still dizzy because of all the flashes of the cameras, you felt how someone hugged you by your legs. Sami was looking at you with a big smile on her face. Your eyes filled with tears because of the thrill you were feeling to see the little girl you loved again. You let out Darren's arm to kneel and hug Sami as tight as you could. Since you went to the hotel room where Darren was staying when you were distant, you never got the chance to see Sami again and you missed her very much. It was hard for you to be so distant from her after half year you lived together, you could say that she was like your daughter if you had to express how much you were fond of her. You didn't want to move away from her again, you didn't want to let her go, you wanted to live with her again and spend time with that little girl who changed your life.

"Are you crying auntie? Why are you sad?" Sami asked with her sweet voice, a voice you remembered pretty well but you missed to hear.

"No, I'm not sad Sami. I'm happy, very happy" You answered with tears of joy, looking at her fondly and smiling as warm as you could. "I just missed you."

"I missed you too, auntie! I want to come back to my room. When can I come back?" Sami asked innocently, looking at you expectant and hopeful.

That touched you deep in your heart. Walking in your apartment and see Sami's room empty and in silence, without any toys on the floor and no papers and pencils around all the apartment; were one of the things that broke your heart when you and Darren were apart. It was very sad and weird for you to wake up and not to have to wake her up and make breakfast for her. Simple things that you were used to do when you lived with her that you missed so much as you never thought you would do.

"You know, that bedroom is gonna be always yours. So you can come back whenever you want. I'll be happy if you come and visit me." You smiled touched, kissing her cheek fondly.

"I don't want to visit you, I want to live with you again, auntie. Can I?" Sami asked expectant.

"Sami, we'll talk about it later. Now let your auntie to have fun with you and all the people who are here." Darren suddenly said gently, behind you and Sami.

"But uncle! You told me last week that we were going to come back to live with her and we never did so!" Sami complained frowning. You giggled because you knew that Sami, sooner or later, would say something she wasn't supposed to say, as she was used to do, and that was one of the things you loved the most about her.

"Sami..." Darren said with a warning tone, looking at her serious, as he was used to do when this happened. "What do I always tell you about saying things we talk in private?"

"That I don't have to mention those things in public because is our secret." Sami said looking down and as if she was feeling bad because she was scolded. "But you told me you also wanted to live with her now, the three of us together, like a family! Why didn't you...?" Sami started to complain again and you looked up to Darren a bit amused because of what Sami said.

"Gosh, Sami!" Darren exclaimed loudly and looking at her sternly. "Why don't you go to get some sodas for us? We'll talk about this later."

"Fine. You looked so wonderful tonight, auntie." Sami said with a big and sweet smile on her face and she kissed your cheek before turning around and leaving. You stood up and looked at Darren really amused.

"So...living together the three of us, huh?" You said with a mischievous grin.

"Yeah, well. You know how kids are..." Darren started to say a bit nervous but trying to sound funny and you laughed out loud.

"Just let's go get some drinks, Darren." You laughed, making fun of him playfully.

"Good idea." Darren said embarrassed but with an amused and cheerful smile.

The room was full and you couldn't see anyone when you walked to the table where the drinks were. When Darren was about to give you a glass of champagne, you felt how someone turned you around abruptly to pull you into a tight hug. At the same time you felt how other people joined the hug. Matt was burying your head on his chest while April and Nick were hugging you by your sides. You started to laugh along with them and then you looked at them all brightly. It was very special for you that they were there with you in that important moment for you. They seemed really happy and you stopped to think how amazing friends you had in your life now.

"You should have seen yourself tonight! For a moment I thought you actually were pretty!" Matt joked while chuckling. He was very excited and jaunty.

"Excuse me? I thought you were going to say something... kinder." You answered pretending to be offended, but actually you were amused.

"I'm your friend! Friends are supposed to tell the truth!" Matt said shrugging and grinning.

"That's right, Shorty! You should keep that wig! Can you imagine how many guys would fall for you like that?" April joked winking at you.

"Oh you too, April? No doubts you and Matt are cousins!" You said shaking your head but smiling goofily.

"Hey guys, that wouldn't be a good idea. We don't want Darren to kill all the guys who are gonna fall for her with that wig." Nick warned pretending to be serious and scared, but you could notice how he was trying to hold back his laughter.

"You have a point there, Nick. Darren and the wig are gonna be a problem." Chris said serious, suddenly appearing behind you. "I can imagine the breaking news: Glee's Darren Criss in his attempt to kill a red wig is now jailed. Sources informed that the actor was running in the street with the wig yelling: Get out of my head, sneaky evil wig!" Chris pretended a voice of a journalist. "It's disturbing, guys."

"Did someone say wig?" Joey suddenly appeared, wearing the red wig you wore on the play and you all laughed out loud. "Do you think I'm sexy?" Joey asked with a seductive but dork look.

"That's a hot lady!" Joe Walker said with a voice that reminded you when he played Voldy in AVPM.

"Hey, you! You have your Quirrell squirrel. That lady belongs to Draco." Lauren said pretending to be jealous and you laughed again. "What a nice red wig! I can draw, you know? Not like that Hermione."

"But... I'm reading a book!" Bonnie pouted behind Lauren.

"Yeah, thanks Hermione!" Joey said taking off the red wig.

"Hey! Kill the spare, kill the red wig!" Darren finally talked, looking at the red wig as if it were something terrific.

You all laughed out loud, so loud that people around turned to see you. It was amazing being around all of them. It was amazing seeing your friends getting along with Darren's friends, as if they all were friends for a long time. You felt really comfortable and happy, thinking that you wouldn't change this for anything in the world. They all kept joking and talking while you just were looking at them, happy to be part of all that you never imagined to live.

"I'm gonna take advantage that you're very lost in thoughts to congratulate you for your incredible performance." Grant said with a big smile, suddenly standing next to you.

"Thank you a lot, Grant. Long time I don't see you." You looked at him with a warm smile.

"That's true. My fault!" Grant giggled softly and he wrapped an arm around your back, rubbing your arm warmly. "Sami has told me you've done a good job. She's even more fascinated with you. What do you do to people?" Grant giggled and you did the same.

"I don't know. Maybe I have powers and I haven't found it out yet." You said shrugging, amused.

"I'll be careful, then." Grant joked and then he hugged you, something that surprised you. "Thank you for what you did. And I can honestly say you deserve this moment, your moment of glory."

"It's not like that, Grant! I just performed this night, not a big deal. Well, it is for me...but you know." You said shyly and feeling very flattered.

"The way you did it...I have no doubts that soon you'll have to hire a manager." Grant winked at you and smiled kindly.

"I'm sorry to interrupt you guys. But, if you excuse me Grant, I need to hug my before long sister-in-law." Chuck said next to you with a bright smile. You looked at him cheerfully and Grant stepped back, letting Chuck to hug you very tight.

"I thought you wanted to hug me, not to strangle me!" You chuckled while Chuck was still hugging you.

"Some people tell me I'm very effusive. I'm still trying to find out the reason." Chuck joked and then he looked at you brightly. "This is my way to say that you rocked the stage tonight."

"Thank you, Chuck! But I wasn't..." You started to say shyly again. It was a bit uncomfortable being flattered this much, more than you've been flattered in your whole life.

"Oh no! Stop with that modesty. You were stupendous, so embrace it and be proud of that, exalt it!" Chuck exclaimed encouragingly and you giggled amused, still feeling very flattered.

"Chuck is right, sweetheart. You were wonderful tonight." Cerine said with a big smile and then she hugged you.

Tears of joy filled your eyes when Cerine hugged you. You couldn't tell why you felt it was as if your mother was the one who was hugging you. A hug from a mother that you always needed and you were always hoping to get someday. It felt really weird, but really good. Was this the way how it felt? Was this what people were used to call mother love? She was very sweet with you and you could never express her all the love you felt for her, even though you haven't spent much time together. Somehow, you found in her the mother you never had.

"We're proud of you, and we're very happy and delighted that Darren has found someone like you." Bill said kindly, also smiling warmly at you and you felt even more touched.

"Yeah, I don't know how that asshole got you. What did you see on him?" Chuck joked and you all laughed. "Better if he doesn't let you go or I'm gonna kick his ass for being so stupid."

"Well, maybe I am the lucky one." You said blushing because of all the flattering.

"What have we agreed about the modesty? He's a damn lucky guy. The way things are." Chuck interrupted you quickly and then he glanced behind you. "I think someone wants to talk to you."

You quickly turned around to see a man who was standing there, looking straight to where you were. Your older brother was standing there with a little girl on his arms. That empty seat you saw before the show started surely was for your brother and that little girl. Your body started to shake as soon as you saw him and you started to walk toward he was. You looked into Jack's eyes with teary eyes and then you looked at the little girl. You saw her resemblance of Jack. The little girl had his eyes and his hair; she was a really beautiful little girl. She was definitely Jack's daughter and you were finally meeting her, your niece.

"Hi, pretty girl." You greeted the girl caressing her cheek and looking at her sweetly, very emotional.

"Hi, aunt." The little girl greeted. Her voice was soft and sweet, like an angel; and she was smiling lovingly. Your heart skipped a beat when you heard she called you aunt; and this time you couldn't avoid the tears of joy falling down your face. "My daddy told me you were beautiful, but you don't have red hair." The little girl said frowning confused and you giggled softly and it was a choked giggle.

"Amy, that was a wig." Jack said with a soft giggle, kissing Amy's forehead.

"Amy is a wonderful name, like a princess." You said sweetly. "In my house I have a lot of dresses for you, princess dresses. I'm sure you'd love them."

"Really? I'd like to have a princess dress and I'd like to go to your house, aunt." Amy said with a bright smile and sweet voice. "We could play as if we were princesses like that movie! The movie we watched daddy! Where the princess sleeps a lot!" You and Jack laughed out loud because of her sweetness.

"The Sleeping Beauty!" You exclaimed looking at her brightly.

"That one! Do you also like that movie?" Amy asked innocently.

"Of course I do! Ask your daddy how many times I watched that movie when I was a little girl like you!" You said chuckling and looking at her amused and lovingly.

"We could watch that movie together!" Amy exclaimed looking at you very excited.

"We're gonna do it soon, Amy. Now go play with your new friend Sami so your aunt and I can talk a bit." Jack said kindly and Amy nodded excited, going to where Sami was and they both started playing around.

"So this is Amy, my niece. Is so marvelous to have met her finally!" You said thrilled, still with tears of joy in your eyes. "Why are you here Jack?" You asked overjoyed, looking at your older brother who you missed a lot; very happy because of the fact he was there.

"How would I miss the debut on Broadway of my little sister?" Your brother answered, also thrilled and looking at you proudly.

"How did you know about this? Everything happened so fast that I couldn't…" You started to say but Jack interrupted you.

"I got a call from your boyfriend. But the important is that I got to see you shine tonight. I'm so proud of you and all you got!" Jack exclaimed with choked voice and moved.

"Oh Jack!" You also exclaimed with choked voice and watery eyes before hugging him very tight.

This moment was even more special to you. Not only was our debut on Broadway, but you were surrounded by all the people you loved so much and who loved you. That was the moment when you realized how loved you were and how many people you truly loved , people that made you feel as if your life was complete as long as they were part of it.

"Even though we aren't completely blood brothers, you're gonna be always my little sister and I'll always be proud of you." Jack whispered thrilled in your ear, still with choked voice.

"What? What did you say?" You broke the hug to look at him very confused. Why did he say you weren't blood brothers? What was that?

"Yeah, that was what I wanted to talk to you about. But we never had the chance to see each other again." Jack said with a slight smile on his face and you frowned, still confused and starting to freak out.

"Jack. Why did you say it?"

"Well, there was a reason why mom never loved you the same way she loved us." Jack said a little nervous.

"Jack, just tell me what's going on because I can't get this and I'm very confused." You said with trembling voice, not sure if you wanted to know the answer in that moment.

"This isn't the right moment. You should be enjoying…" Jack started saying, trying to be calm.

"Jack, just tell me." You demanded exasperated.

"Well…Haven't you ever asked yourself the reason why I'm extremely older than you?" Jack asked nervous and you shook your head, a bit terrified to hear the answer. "Well, mom and dad got married when they were very young, but before you were born, they divorced. They were divorced for eight years and dad married with another woman. Dad and the woman divorced and he got married with mom again. In that time dad had you with that woman, so you aren't mom's daughter. So we're like step-brothers."

"Are you telling me that I have another mom? That I have a real mother? What are you telling me? Where is she?" You asked with trembling voice and your body was shaking because of your nervousness and confusion.

"Yes. You have another mother. But unfortunately she's dead now, so that's why you came to live with us and that's why my mother never loved you and always treated you the way she did. I'm really sorry; I found it out recently and..." Jack started saying remorsefully and nervous, looking down.

"No, it's fine. I...Oh my God." You said with choked voice and completely messed.

This was something you'd never expected to happen. Everything started to make sense now, but anyway you were feeling extremely weird, as if something very important to you was taken away. You had another mother, your biological mother that you never met. A mother that maybe loved you; a real mother. You weren't supposed to be feeling this way, but suddenly you felt relieved. That was a really odd feeling. The mother you had in your whole childhood wasn't your real mother that was the reason why you never felt how's to have a mother. Far away, you had a mother you truly loved you and the memory of that in your unconscious surely was the reason why you felt odd when Cerine hugged you, because you were remembering the love that your biological mother gave you while it lasted. You felt relieved to know that the terrible and awful person that was your step-mother wasn't your real mother; you had nothing to do with that flint-hearted woman. Of course this was very intense and stunning, but it was a good thing to know. Your brother hugged you tight again, still feeling remorseful.

"I'm happy to know she wasn't my real mother, Jack. I shouldn't be feeling like this. But I'm really happy. There was a time when I had a true mother who gave me all her love while it lasted and I'm blissful for that." You said with choked voice and shedding some tears. "Thank you for telling me this, Jack. And you're gonna be always my brother of heart and nothing's gonna change my love for you. You've always been a true brother, my support."

"Aren't you mad at me? Don't you feel anything different for me now?" Jack asked a bit insecure.

"Not at all. Whether or not my blood brother, you always acted as if you really were, and that's what matters, that's what makes us real brothers." You said looking into his eyes, touched and with a warm smile.

"And I'll always be like that if you let me."

"Of course! We're gonna get back all the lost time, and now with my precious niece." You smiled at him and kissed his cheek.

You and your brother continued talking as real brothers, getting back all the lost time. This moment was one of the best moments in your life; it shouldn't be like that, but it was how you felt. But suddenly you saw something that changed your mood and that turned this good moment into a really bad moment. Darren was talking to Mia. But they weren't talking normally; Mia was grabbing Darren's arm with one of her hands and with her other hand she was caressing Darren's hair; and Darren had placed a hand on her waist. They were very close, laughing intimately. You felt how everything around you was collapsing, feeling extremely down while you felt how something intangible was piercing your heart. Why were they doing it? Has Darren taken advantage that you were distracted to get close to Mia? After all that happened Darren was still doing it, something that he knew it hurt you deep in your heart. You couldn't understand it; you thought you were fine now, but seeing that made you feel as you felt those days in Lake George. Maybe Darren was still confused with Mia. You couldn't stand seeing that situation; you couldn't pretend in front of everybody that you were fine. You felt really sad and dizzy, you needed fresh air. Then you saw it. You saw how Mia kissed the corner of Darren's mouth. It was too much to you to bear. Without saying anything to anybody, you left the party in silence, trying to sneak out inadvertently. No one noticed that you left the party and you went straight to your apartment walking in that cold night in NYC, crying in silence. Everything was a mess again. Once again, you felt weird and insecure. Maybe this time the best was to be apart from Darren for a while for your own good.


TWO WEEKS LATER…

"Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday, happy birthday, happy birthday to you!" You heard the voices of Matt, April and Nick singing to you.

Slowly, you opened your eyes and looked at them all around your bed. Surely Matt forced your door again to sneak in; you really needed to take safety measures in your apartment or soon a thief would break in. But this time you smiled when you saw Matt, April and Nick standing there with a birthday cake for you. Your birthday never was an important day for you, it was just a normal day that you knew you were going to spend alone and you would get no greeting, no cake and no gift. You never had a party and you never celebrated it. Usually, in your birthday, you were used to go to your dad's grave; when he was alone things were different and he was the one who always celebrated your birthday but since he was gone, all that disappeared. And now it was different. Your friends remembered it and you haven't even reminded them it.

"What it is?" You asked with hoarse voice, sitting in your bed, still sleepy but smiling surprised and happy.

"Well, since you don't go out your apartment since weeks and you haven't talked to anyone, we thought we could pretend is your birthday, so we all can eat cake and get fat. Good idea, isn't it?" Matt joked, sitting in your bed next to you with the cake in his hands.

"Are we gonna pretend is my birthday? Then where are my presents? I want a car." You joked, looking at them all amused. You'd never get tired of your friends and their sense of humor, always trying to make you feel better.

In fact, you haven't talked to anyone and you haven't gone out your apartment in weeks, since the time it was your debut on Broadway and you saw Darren with Mia. Once again Darren tried to talk to you and to see you, but you ignored him. You haven't ignored him because your intentions were to make him feel miserable, but it was because you weren't ready to see him again and talk about all you wanted to talk to him. Obviously, to have seen Darren with Mia made you feel terrible after you read that damn magazine and you needed to clear things, you needed Darren to be honest with you and you needed him to tell you all he actually felt for Mia; but you weren't ready to hear his answer. The worst was that soon Darren needed to come back to LA and then you wouldn't see him for months. That was another thing that was making you feel terrible. Even though things between you and him could be solved, it'd kill you to be so far away from him. Yes, you could be apart from him for six months before, but now you weren't sure if you'd be able to be in a long distance relationship; you needed to be close to him, to feel him next to you, to feel free to snuggle to him every day; but that wouldn't happen. Summing up, you were a mess.

"It's not a car, but we cooked this cake with all our love. It counts, doesn't it?" April said, also sitting next to you and resting her head on your shoulder with a smile.

"And we planned all you're gonna do today. It's gonna be a mystery!" Nick winked and smiled mysteriously.

"Oh no. I must admit that your plans freak me out. I think I'm gonna say I'm busy." You joked, pretending a terrified face.

"Yeah, sure. You, busy! Busy being lazy in your bed all day long? Two weeks were enough! It wouldn't hurt you to see the sunlight." Matt said, uncovering you and giving you a box.

"What is this?" You asked intrigued, receiving the box.

"Shorty, I'm pretty sure you have hands to open it and figure it out by yourself." April joked and you nudged her playfully.

"Well, happy birthday!" Nick, Matt and April said at the same time when you opened the box.

Inside the box there was a beautiful dress you wanted to buy long time ago but you never could. Once, when you hung out with them, you mentioned you loved that dress, but you only mentioned it and they remembered it. It was really nice form them. This was your first birthday gift in years. Actually you didn't care about material gifts; your best birthday gift was to be with them. You hugged them all in a group hug, thanking them for all they did for you, not only now but always. You were feeling very mushy and they made fun of it, but you knew they were feeling exactly like you.

"Come on, stop with this entire twee thing and get dressed! We have a lot to do today!" Matt said enthusiastically, still making fun of you, but however he hugged you very tight and kissed your cheek before standing up to leave your bedroom and let you get dressed.

April and Nick also hugged you before leaving your bedroom. Indeed, they knew how to make you feel better and how to make you feel forget about all the things that were making you feel down. Suddenly, this seemed a good day very different from the last two weeks. Somehow, you had a good feeling.

You got dressed and they took you out your apartment without saying you a word even though you insisted. It was crazy to go out your apartment after a long time. The day was very sunny although it was cold. Everything seemed really nice and positive, feeling you haven't felt in a long.

Everything seemed normal, but in a moment you found out there was something odd. It came a moment when you stopped in a place because April wanted to buy something and everyone got distracted, and in that moment a man came close. You didn't know that man, but that man seemed to know you. Oddly, he smiled at you and without uttering a word he gave you an envelope and then he left. You tried to stop him and tell him that probably that envelope wasn't for you, but the man got away very quickly. When you looked around to see where Matt, April and Nick were, they disappeared. You looked for them inside the store where April was going to buy something, but they weren't there and they weren't in any store near there. Where were they? Few minutes ago they were near you; they couldn't be so far from you were. You called each one of them, but you only got their voicemail. What was going on? You didn't know what to do. For the first time, you felt lost in NYC. Nervous, you sat on a bench near where you were to wait for them. Sooner or later they'd find out you weren't with them and they'd look for you. But several minutes passed and they didn't arrive. You looked the envelope you had and, intrigued, you opened and read it.

"Confidential mission: The birthday project. Objective: To make this day the best day for the birthday girl that from now on we're gonna call the beneficiary. Instructions: The beneficiary must follow all the clues and be very sharp-eyed to find all the hidden clues and atypical events along all day. First clue: The beneficiary must follow the man who's wearing quirky clothes. The beneficiary must not talk to the man or the consequences are gonna be severe. Estimated duration of the first phase: Five minutes to find the man. With this, the mission has started."

You looked at the note frowning because this surprised you. Now, you were feeling really amused. So this was the plan plotted by Matt, April and Nick. In fact, this was very different from all the birthdays you had in your life and you were liking it. How come they could be so creative? You stood up to look for that man who was wearing quirky clothes. It took you two minutes to find the man who was dressed as TinTin. Was Darren involved on this? Because it made you remind of him, when he sent you a picture of him wearing those clothes on one of his letters. The man looked at you and he started walking; quickly, you followed him and you tried to ask him something, but the man didn't answer you. That man led you to a Starbucks coffee. When you got in, the man left and you looked around, not knowing what to do. There was nothing unusual. You sat on a table, looking very intently around you to find some kind of clue, but there was nothing. A waitress came closer, that was weird. It was supposed that you needed to order your coffee in Starbucks, no waitress would walk to you to ask your order. And the waitress gave you a coffee you haven't ordered. You tried to tell her it was confusion, but coincidentally, it was your favorite coffee and it had a note.

"The beneficiary has found the second clue. Free coffee for a cold morning. Estimated duration of the time the beneficiary has to drink the coffee: Ten minutes. If the beneficiary doesn't finish drinking the coffee in that time, the beneficiary would be forced to drink her coffee in her way. Next instructions: Find a significant person. The significant person will guide the beneficiary. The significant person is gonna talk to the beneficiary but the beneficiary must not talk to the significant person."

This was very fun and intriguing. Who would be that significant person? You started drinking your favorite coffee and you haven't finished it when you saw a guy entering the coffee shop. You recognized him instantly. It was Joey and he had a packet in his hands. You stood up to go where he was and he hugged you when he saw you.

"Happy birthday, girl!" Joey exclaimed cheerfully. "This is one of your birthday gifts. Don't open it now. Here, you'll need this to put all your birthday gifts." Joey said, giving you a big backpack.

"What?" You asked intrigued, receiving the backpack and putting the packet in it.

"You aren't supposed to talk to me, and don't you dare to ask me anything because I ain't telling you a shit!" Joey exclaimed amused and then he linked his arm with yours. "This is gonna be a special birthday for you and you have no idea all the people who are involved. So, you just enjoy because this is gonna be totally awesome, girl! Let's go."

You nodded amused and you and Joey got out the coffee shop and started walking peacefully. You had no idea where he was taking you, but you kept walking in silence but happy. Finally you arrived to Manhattan Mall and you entered there.

"So far we have come to my part of the mission. Now you have to find someone who's gonna guide you. Good luck!" Joey winked and hugged you before turning around to leave. You tried to stop him, but he ignored you.

Once again, you didn't know what to do in that place until a few minutes you saw that someone standing in one of the shops. Chris was standing with a big smile, looking at you fixedly. You walked towards him and he hugged you.

"So is your birthday and every birthday girl deserves a great present. Let's start shopping as insane people! I won't accept any complain and you'll take all I'm gonna give you. Important thing, you can't talk to me!" Chris said mysteriously and joyfully, linking his arm with yours and leading you inside the clothing store.

Chris started to look all the clothes of the store and he grabbed a lot of things for you, to mention some dresses, shirts, jeans, skirts, coats, jackets, scarfs, purses, hats, shoes, heels; of all the colors and fabrics. It was crazy all the things that Chris was choosing and you had no hands to grab all of those clothes, beautiful clothes you never imagined to have some day, it'd be hard to choose one of them.

"If there's something I learned from Kurt is about fashion. I think you'll look flawless with all of those. Do you like them?" Chris asked, seeing a crochet beret and grabbing it. "This one too."

"You're crazy if you think I'm gonna try on all these clothes. I have no idea what to choose." You said frowning looking at all the clothing that Chris gave you.

"You don't have to choose. You're gonna take all these clothes and I know your clothing size thanks to a confidential information source." Chris said mysteriously and amused and you looked at him stunned with eyes wide open.

"No way! I won't take all these clothes. I don't need all these clothes and it's gonna be super expensive. No, I won't accept it, Chris. Thank you a lot for your intention, but I can't." You refused strongly, starting to leave the clothes where Chris took them. It was insane and you couldn't take it all.

"I forgot the part you couldn't talk to me and now I realized why you couldn't talk to me. They warned me you'd do something like this." Chris said thoughtful and grabbing all the clothes he grabbed before.

"Who are they?"

"I won't tell you. Let's do something. Wait for me in those seats there." Chris said pointing you the seats. "It won't take me so long to buy this. Give me your backpack."

"I won't give you the backpack. You're not gonna buy all these clothes." You refused strongly again, grabbing your backpack to avoid Chris to take it away from you.

"You're not able to talk to me and you have to take my orders. The mission is like this, after the mission is finished, you can complain or whatever. But now, lady, you're under my orders." Chris said firmly and amused, taking your backpack and you looked at him frowning and not pleased for this. "Go and sit, I'm gonna join you soon. A little advice. Relax and enjoy this special day. Today is all about you and we all are glad this to be like this." Chris said determined with a big smile on his face. You grumbled and huffed before going to sit in silence.

It didn't take to Chris so long to come back. He returned with you backpack full. You looked at him not so very pleasant of what he did, but really happy and thankful. You had no idea how you'd pay back all of your friends were doing for you.

"Fine, this is when I have to go. But first I need to tell you two things. First, I wish you the best birthday and I hope you can enjoy it as much as we enjoyed planning it, otherwise we're gonna fail with our missions." Chris joked looking at you amused and you smiled nicely at him. "Second, your next clue is that you have to find inside this mall something that you really like since you were a kid. There you'll find a note. Good luck!" Chris exclaimed joyfully before leaving the clothing store.

You left the clothing store and you looked around the mall to try to find that something you liked since you were a kid. That was hard, you liked so many things that you actually didn't know what to look for. Even though this was hard and the mall was huge, this was really exciting and something really unusual so you were loving it. After several minutes you walked around the mall, you finally found it. Near the fountain of the mall, there was a toy and it wasn't any toy. It was Ariel. You walked to the toy with a huge smile on your face, but there was no note. Instead, there was a button that said "Press me". As obedient girl, you pressed it. Ariel started talking loudly and you blushed and got nervous when people around turned to see what was happening.

"Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday, happy birthday, happy birthday to you." Ariel sang and you laughed nervously when people around started laughing and seeing intently what was happening. "You found the clue, congratulations! This means you're getting closer to your final surprise, but first you have to do some things. I'm here to tell you the next clue. You have to go somewhere where you can listen to pleasant sounds. Part of Your World should tell you something. Also think about Steinway & Sons. You have fifteen minutes. Good luck!" Ariel said and stopped talking.

You started thinking where you should go. People around you seemed to be entertained with this, so they started helping you until finally a woman yelled something.

"It's Steinway Hall! In West 57th Street in Midtown Manhattan! Hurry up!" The woman exclaimed excited.

You thanked the woman and quickly you left the mall to go to the Steinway Hall. Why would you go there? Obviously it was the finest piano store, worldwide recognized. You only hoped that your friends haven't come up with the idea of you playing the piano in public because it'd be embarrassing since you didn't know how to play it well. You arrived there as fast as you could and you entered the store. There was an immense silence. You looked around, fascinated with all those amazing and refined pianos. It was like a dream being there. You went to the third and last floor and you got into one of the showrooms.

"I think this one would be perfect for you." A man's voice that you recognized said in the distance. You couldn't see him, so you started to look for him.

"I agree. This one is the best I saw." A woman's voice that you also recognized said in the distance.

"We should wait until she says her opinion." A second man's voice that you recognized also said in the distance.

This was really funny and you were feeling really happy. You finally found them. Chuck, Cerine and Bill were sitting in a black Steinway model "D" Concert Grand piano. That was the most beautiful grand piano you've ever seen. When Chuck, Cerine and Bill saw you next to them, they all hugged you warmly.

"I heard this piano is the perfect medium for expressing the performer's art, drama and poetry. You could give a good use of it." Bill said with a big smile.

"And I heard that this majestic musical instrument is the overwhelming choice of the world's greatest pianists." Cerine commented also smiling widely.

"What do you think? Do you like this one?" Chuck asked playing some keys.

"It's wondrous. I remember that when I was a little girl, my dad and I used to pretend we had one of this; we played it every night before going to sleep. It's like a dream seeing it in person." You said amazed with a dreamy voice, looking at the piano. "But I won't play it if that is your intention. I'm not good at it; I have a lot to practice since I'm a beginner." You said blushing and ashamed.

"That's not a problem. We could go anytime to your apartment to hear you playing this amazing piano." Chuck said smiling brightly.

"And I'm sure that soon we'll see you playing this piano in a concert since you'll have this preciousness to practice." Cerine said smiling warmly.

"I...I don't get it..." You said frowning and getting nervous.

"Well, it's simple. You liked it, so we'll take it so you can have it in your apartment." Bill said simply, looking at you brightly with a big smile.

"What? No, no, no. No." You refused energetically in shock. "This is too much and I won't accept this. No, I can't have it. This is like a relic and it goes beyond everything. I'm fine with my keyboard that Darren gave me."

"Not in dispute. Anyway, we already bought it. What are we gonna do with this piano in our houses? It'd be more useful in yours. And it's our birthday gift for you, you cannot reject a gift." Chuck said standing up and wrapping an arm around your back.

"No, I don't want any gift. I'm happy just spending this day with all of you. You can keep..." You said nervous and uncomfortable. You didn't deserve that luxury and expensive piano, the piano you always dreamed to have. You couldn't afford it and you didn't want anyone to spend all that money for you.

"You talk too much sometimes. No wonder why you're the perfect couple for Darren." Chuck joked squeezing your shoulder with his hand, and Cerine and Bill laughed but you couldn't laugh because you were in shock.

"Sweetheart, just enjoy your new obtainment. I know you're gonna enjoy it more than any of us." Cerine said caressing your cheek softly.

"And we don't wanna feel as you didn't like our gift. It'd be frustrating." Bill said trying to make you smile. "The piano is in its way to your apartment now. It cannot be returned."

"But this...this is too much, you shouldn't have spent..." You started saying with choked voice because of the thrill. "I don't deserve..." You started shedding some tears, feeling really mushy.

"Money comes and goes. Now we have the opportunity to give you this. Something that you really deserve, even though you can't see it. We know you more than you know, considering all that Darren told us about you, what Sami and all your friends told us about you and considering the way you are when you're with us. You showed yourself in front of us since the first time we met you. And you're part of the family; so, as a family, we want to see you happy. This is a little thing we can give you compared to all you gave us." Chuck said gently and lovingly, looking into your eyes while Cerine and Bill were nodding in agreement. Those were one of the most wonderful words someone told you and this time you couldn't avoid shedding tears of joy and thrill. This was hard to believe but Chuck said it frankly.

"Thank you! I can't express..." You tried to say but you couldn't talk anymore. Cerine, Bill and Chuck hugged you at the same time.

"We know, sweetheart." Cerine said smiling sweetly.

"But hey, it's not time for crying! You have a lot to do today yet and time is running!" Chuck exclaimed energetically.

"That's right. Here, this is what you have to do now and you don't have much time! So hurry, hurry!" Bill said excited giving you a note. "Go, go! We're gonna see you later. Now enjoy the rest of the day, full of surprises!"

You smiled at him and then you read the note.

"If the beneficiary is reading this note, is because she's completed her mission correctly. If the beneficiary did her missions in time; it should be noon, right time for lunch. The beneficiary would find the place where she's gonna have lunch from the following riddle: What are very sloppy, has vegetables and meat, comes from Mexico, and if you can, eat it neat? Some people say that Chuck and 140 7th Ave S has something to do. Estimated duration of the time the beneficiary has to find the place: Twenty minutes. Instructions: Find the restaurant and find a significant person who's gonna guide the beneficiary. Same rules as above will apply."

"What is this? Oh my god. I never was good at riddles. I'm screwed." You frowned when you finished reading the note. You couldn't get anything at all. The only things you understood of the note were Mexico and 140 7th Ave S, but you had no idea what Chuck has to do with this and you had no idea which was the answer of the riddle. "What does it mean?" You asked looking at Chuck, Bill and Cerine. "Why the riddle spells your name?"

"We cannot say anything. Just read carefully." Chuck said amused. "But only because it's your birthday I'm gonna help you a little. But no one has to find out that I've helped you."

"Okay, it's a deal." You said nodding, trying desperately to get some help.

"The riddle says which kind of restaurant you have to find, that's the question you have to find out. You read 140 7th Ave S. Of course it means where that restaurant is located. It says Chuck but...What's my complete name?" Chuck said amused winking at you.

"Oh my God! I think I got it! I think I got it!" You exclaimed excited, happy to have found the answer of the riddle.

"So?" Bill asked looking at you amused because of your excitement.

"It's a Mexican restaurant, isn't it? And it's talking about tacos, right?" You asked still excited and Bill, Cerine and Chuck laughed.

"That's right, but you still have to find out which Mexican restaurant is. There are a lot of those in NYC." Chuck said looking at you fixedly.

"That's the hard part. Obviously is in 140 7th Ave S. And you mentioned something about your complete name. Is it Charles?" You asked curious and thoughtful.

"Ding, ding, ding!" Chuck exclaimed and you smiled brightly, even more excited.

"So it's a Mexican restaurant in 140 7th Ave South between Charles and...W.10th St.?" You asked realizing there was a Mexican restaurant. "Agave!"

"Go, go, go!" Chuck exclaimed enthusiastically.

You greeted them quickly to go running to the Mexican restaurant, excited. You didn't have so much time to go there. This game was being really entertained and full of adrenaline. You arrived to the Agave restaurant and entered it. You looked around to find someone who was waiting for you. In the most distant table, Jack was sitting with Amy. They remembered your birthday even though it has been years since the last time you spent it with your brother. A feeling of happiness and thrill ran through your entire body. You walked to them and when Jack looked up and he saw you, he smiled brightly.

"Happy birthday, aunt!" Amy exclaimed out loud when she saw you.

"Thank you my princess Amy!" You answered sweetly, kissing her forehead. Jack stood up to hug you tight.

"Happy birthday, my little sister." Jack whispered in your ear and it made you feel very touched. After years, finally you had your brother to spend your birthday like you used to do in your happy moments of your childhood.

"Thank you, Jack. I missed so much spending this day with you. I remember the attempts of cakes you gave me for my previous birthdays." You laughed with choked voice because of your emotion, and Jack laughed along with you.

"That's why we're here and I haven't tried to bake a cake for myself." Jack made fun of himself and then you and he sat. "I remember you loved Mexican food. And guess what? This little girl here also loves Mexican food." Jack said looking at Amy who smiled excited.

"Is that true? Well Amy, we need to hang out more often to eat a lot of Mexican food. What do you think?" You asked looking at her and then you winked. Amy giggled and nodded cheerfully.

You spent a good lunch with Jack and Amy talking about a lot of things, experiences that they had lived, how Jack met Amy's mother, remembering old times when you and jack were kids, among other things. Years ago, you'd have thought that meeting your brothers again would be a bad experience; but it was the opposite. You haven't met Ethan, your other brother; but Jack was the brother you loved the most, who always has been with you, not like Ethan. In that lunch with Jack, you felt as the same way you always felt when you were with your family in those good times. You and Jack were the same little kids once you were and nothing could take that feeling away from you. You spent hours together, knowing more things about your niece, what she liked and what not and it amazed you how alike Amy and you were; although within you, you wished that she doesn't have the same fate as you had to go through in your life. When it was about 4pm, Jack gave you a note.

"What is this?" You asked curious grabbing the note.

"Have you already forgotten the missions you have today? This is your next mission, little sister." Jack said smiling mysteriously.

Indeed, you've forgotten those missions. Quietly you started reading the note.

"The missions are coming to the end. If the beneficiary is reading this note is because everything is going as planned. The birthday project wouldn't be a cool project if there's no games involved. As we grow, we forget how much fun and great it is to be a child. We don't want the beneficiary to forget it, so for the next mission the challenge is to be an adult but think like a child. The question that the beneficiary has to answer to find the next place to go is: Where would a child go to play outdoor without having to spend money to have fun? Two significant people will be waiting for the beneficiary. Estimated duration to find the place: Fifteen minutes."

You read the note and you chuckled thinking that the mission was very appropriate for the situation, considering that you were feeling as if you were a child being next to older brother. You started thinking which place it would be. It wasn't so hard to guess. The favorite place of a child is the park. The problem was to guess which park it would be. If you were in NYC and you had to go to a park, you surely would go to Central Park. That was it; you had to go to the Ancient Playground of the Central Park. You looked up to Jack and Amy to see if they were going to join you.

"Are you coming?" You asked.

"No, we'll have time to go together there. Now it's your day and your surprise and you have to find it out by yourself. Enjoy it as much as you can and good luck!" Jack answered with a bright smile.

You greeted them with a kiss and a hug and then you left the restaurant to go to the Ancient Playground. Once you arrived there you felt lost; not because you didn't know where you were but because there were a lot of child playing around and you didn't know where to look or whom to find there. A little boy reached you and he smiled at you; you smiled back at him even though you didn't know who he was. The little boy grabbed your hand and you got nervous and started looking around to see if there was someone in charge of the child. The last thing you needed was to be accused of something bad for being with a child you didn't know. But the little boy took you to one of the pyramids and then he left. You didn't understand why the boy had done it, but then you started thinking that maybe the boy was part of the plan and for some reason he took you there, so you started looking around for some kind of clue. And there you found it, a little note.

"Feeling lost? Forget about the missions for a while and enjoy the panorama. When you less expect, you'd find the people that are waiting for you."

That was a very different note than the previous ones. But, as you were doing, you did exactly what the note said. You sat on the ground, looking all the children playing around and having so much fun. It was lovely to see how kids could have an amazing time without the need to find the happiness in material and superficial things as adults were used to do. You smiled at the joy of children who have a whole future ahead, children enjoying life and every moment to the fullest and you wished to be a child at least for few minutes. Then you remembered the last note that Jack gave you. "Be an adult but think like a child." Maybe you weren't late to be as happy and genuine as children were. Maybe what your friends tried to make you see was that no matter how old you were, you were always in time to dream as children dream; and no one could tear off the inner child inside. That wasn't a material gift but however it was one of the best gifts. Deep in thought, suddenly you heard how someone yelled your name. Hurriedly you looked around and you found Sami running to where you were to hug you tight. You and Sami ended up lying on the ground and laughing.

"Happy birthday auntie! Very happy birthday!" Sami exclaimed merrily, hugging you very tight and you continued laughing of joy.

"Thank you Sami!" You said looking at her with eyes full of tears of joy, seeing the little girl you loved so much.

You were hugging Sami when Grant walked toward Sami and you were. You looked at him smiling happily and then, when you were about to stand up to greet him, he lay down next to you and looked at Sami confidentially; a look that made you suspect. Grant and Sami nodded in agreement and then they both started tickling you. You started laughing uncontrollably while they were tickling you. When they finished, the three of you were laughing. That was how it was to feel like a child.

"This is our way to wish you a very happy birthday!" Grant said smiling entertained. "Let's go to have fun. Do you remember the swings?"

"Oh yes!" You nodded amused and joyfully. "It was my favorite game when a kid."

Grant and you walked to the swings holding hands with Sami, to play as any child would do. You spent hours playing in different games and you had a blast. It's been a while since you played those games and you had so much fun. Nothing mattered but feeling amazing in that moment. But it was getting dark and you thought maybe this was your last mission so soon you had to come back to your apartment and feel completely happy for the awesome day you had.

"I think it's time for your last mission." Grant said mysteriously.

"What do you mean? Is there another mission?" You asked intrigued and thinking that there couldn't be another amazing thing.

"Of course yes. Maybe the best of all of them. Are you ready?" Grant asked in a mysterious voice.

"I think I am." You answered with a big smile.

"Well then, we have to go now so you can read this alone. Good luck and happy birthday again." Grant said giving you a letter and he kissed your cheek before leaving with Sami.

You looked at the letter and you sat on a bench to read it quietly. This was different from all the notes that you received along all day long, which were written in a computer; this one was handwritten. You recognized the handwriting, it was from Darren.

"Crazy, huh? We met through letters and now I'm writing you one in this special day of your birthday. This is my best way to wish you the best birthday you can have; not because I wouldn't like to greet you in person, but because letters is our thing. If you're reading this, mysterious girl, is because you did all your missions just as we all planned. Who are all the people who planned this? You'll find it out soon. This is the proof of how many people care about you, about making you happy just as you deserve. Two years ago from this day, you wrote me your first letter. I remember he girl you were in that time; a girl who felt lost, unloved and unable to imagine to be loved sometime, without hopes and dreams. And now I look the girl you are now; a girl who is loved by some many people, full of dreams, happiness and hopes despite all the little bad things that life brings up always, a girl who knows what she wants and who won't give up on the things she wants. This is you now. Have you realized how far you've come? Only in two years, and you did it by yourself. You've grown without forgetting to be as natural and cheerful as a child and that's something that amazes me. You're getting older and yeah, we all hate to get older; it comes a moment when the birthdays turn into something terrible to celebrate, but this isn't your case. This is a special moment to celebrate and we all want to celebrate it with you. For this reason is why we wanted to give you the best we could do, to make you feel as you make feel us: happy. We hope we could get it. My loved mysterious girl, this is your last mission. There's a place very important to us in Central Park. Go and meet me and all the people who love you and made this possible there. We're waiting for you. With all my love, the mysterious boy."

You finished reading the letter with tears of joy. It moved you deep in your heart. Darren was right; two years ago you sent him your first letter and from there everything changed gradually. You were very different from that girl you were two years ago and you never realized it. You had friends now, you had a family, and you had a house and something to live for. You had Darren, your friend of soul and your boyfriend. You were loved and you never thought about the magnitude that this meant. You wiped away the tears that were falling down your face to go to that place you knew where it was. The Gapstow Bridge. You were nervous but happy at the same time; you wanted to know who were involved on this. When you were walking towards there, you started to see a lot of people, people that you didn't know. But then you started to recognize some faces when they started singing happy birthday to you. Matt, April and Nick were there now. Chris, Chuck, Cerine and Bill also. Jack, Amy, Sami and Grant. Joey, Joe Walker, Brian Holden, Joe Moses, Dylan Saunders, Lauren Lopez, Meredith Stepien, Bonnie Gruesen, Jaime Lyn Beatty and Julia Albain. They all were there singing to you. You were very touched and in shock, you couldn't believe all they were doing for you, this was more than you could've ever imagined. This was like a dream, a really good one. All the people you loved were there. But you couldn't see Darren; he didn't seem to be there. Everybody started to hug you, greeting you as you were walking. Suddenly you heard how someone started playing the guitar. Darren, you thought. Quickly you went to where the sound was coming; you needed to see him. There was Darren with his guitar and with a microphone in a sort of stage. That was the reason why there were people you didn't know: Darren was about to sing in public. You didn't care about anything, you only looked at him straight into his eyes, wishing to hug him tight and tell him how much you loved him. Darren found you in the crowd and he smiled fondly, and from that moment he didn't stop looking into your eyes. Once he found you, he started singing.

When I look into your eyes

It's like watching the night sky

Or a beautiful sunrise

There's so much they hold.

And just like them old stars

I see that you've come so far

To be right where you are

How old is your soul?

I won't give up on us

Even if the skies get rough

I'm giving you all my love

I'm still looking up.

And when you're needing your space

To do some navigating

I'll be here patiently waiting

To see what you find.

Cause even the stars they burn

Some even fall to the earth.

We've got a lot to learn

God knows we're worth it

No I won't give up.

I don't wanna be someone who walks away so easily

I'm here to stay and make the difference that I can make

Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use

The tools and gifts we got yeah, we got a lot at stake

And in the end, you're still my friend at least we did intend

For us to work we didn't break, we didn't burn

We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in

I had to learn what I've got, and what I'm not

And who I am.

I won't give up on us

Even if the skies get rough

I'm giving you all my love.

I'm still looking up.

I'm still looking up.

I won't give up on us

God knows I'm tough, he knows.

We got a lot to learn

God knows we're worth it.

I won't give up on us

Even if the skies get rough

I'm giving you all my love.

I'm still looking up.

When Darren finished singing, everybody cheered but you didn't. You couldn't do it because you were trying to hold back your tears, because you were looking at Darren into his eyes while the song lasted and it was very intense to you. The song had nothing to do with your birthday, but it had to do with what Darren and you were going through.

"This song is dedicated to a very special person to me, the person I love the most. Because guys, today it's her freaking birthday!" Darren exclaimed enthusiastically and people around cheered while you were still looking into Darren's eyes, your body slightly trembling because of the thrill. "Come on, come over here." Darren said looking at you, but you couldn't move; you couldn't go there. "Hey, come on! I swear I don't bite." Darren joked, but you remained exactly where you were. People around started to look around to see who was the person Darren was calling and you tried to seem one of those people searching for the girl. "Come over here." Darren said one last time.

In that moment you were freaking out, a person went to where Darren was. Mia grabbed Darren's hand, pretending to be the girl Darren was calling. All the people around started cheering and Darren stopped looking at you to look at Mia frowning. Mia took advantage to kiss the corner of his lips and suddenly you felt cold and everything seemed dark. In silence and inadvertently, you turned around and walked away from there while all the people was cheering out loud, excited. The crowd didn't let anyone to see you leaving Central Park to go to your apartment.

You were sitting on your couch looking at nothing in particular, deep in thought and dreary. Everything was going so well and then Mia had to appear. Mia ruined your birthday, as she ruined everything you had. What have you done to her to deserve the way she was with you? You never did something to hurt her. You tried to remember the good things that happened hours before, all the things your friends did for you in your birthday; but Mia kept popping in your mind.


When you left Central Park and you arrived to your apartment, you got some texts from Darren but you didn't reply. You needed to clear things, to find a solution for this that was hurting you. You wanted to be with Darren but it was impossible as long as Mia was there. And you still weren't sure if Darren had feelings for her or not. If Darren didn't have feelings for her, he needed to do something to stop her because she and her attitudes were hurting you. And if Darren had feelings for her, he needed to tell you because you couldn't be thinking all the time about it, he needed to be honest.

While you were thinking about this in the last hours of your birthday, you heard the bell of your apartment ringing. Maybe it was Darren. You needed to talk to him, so you stood up and opened the door. It wasn't Darren.

"What are you doing here?" You asked coldly, looking at the person standing in front your door with anger.

"I came here to talk. We should've talked long time ago." Mia answered.

"I have nothing to talk to you." You answered coldly and tried to close the door, but Mia stopped you and got into your apartment, closing the door behind her. "Excuse me? What are you doing? Get out of my apartment."

"I will if we go somewhere else to talk then." Mia said looking at you coldly.

"What do you want to talk about? Do you want to tell me that I'm a piece of shit and that Darren is happier with you than with me? You made it clear several times already, so if you want to say all of those things again, please leave." You said coldly and turned around to sit on the couch again. After several seconds, Mia walked to where you were and sat next to you.

"No, that's not the reason why I came here." Mia said softly looking down and you looked at her frowning, surprised by the way she was acting.

"So why are you here? What do you want to tell me now?" You asked looking away and crossing your arms.

"I came here to apologize." Mia said quietly and you turned your gaze to look at her stunned, raising your eyebrows. Was Mia apologizing? "I'm sorry for all I did to you, it wasn't right. I acted like a bitch and you didn't deserve it because you never hurt me. I'm sorry for screwing your relationship with Darren."

You couldn't believe that Mia was finally apologizing, that finally she was accepting the fact of screwing what you had with Darren. The fact of her apologizing surprised you. The woman who was in front of you was being very different from the woman you knew as Mia. This was a side more merciful of Mia.

"Yeah. Anyway, Darren and I wouldn't work. He still loves you as you said several times. So, whatever. Your way is free, you can have him and you can be happy together." You answered looking around, coldly and dreary.

"Do you really think he loves me? Do you have any idea of why I did to you all the things I did?" Mia asked looking into your eyes and frowning and you shrugged, pretending to be indifferent. "I did all of those things because I couldn't stand seeing Darren loving you the way he does. Because when I saw him with you for the first time I realized what I missed. I could have it all, you know? I could've had Darren and I could've had his love; but I didn't take it. And I realized it when I lost him, when I saw him being very happy with you. I was jealous and I wanted to get him back, I tried it several times. I'm still jealous of what you have with him, of how much he loves you."

"Well, be happy because you can have him again." You said looking away, trying to hold back your tears.

"I can't. I came here to apologize and I came here to advise you to not to do the same I did with Darren. Darren loved me, but it was nothing compared to the way he loves you. I hate the way he looks at you covertly every time you're not looking at him, I hate the way he looks at you when you look at him, and I hate the way his face lights up every time he sees you or he talks about you. I hate all the things he does for you because I know I'd never get it." Mia said with choked voice. You finally looked at her and you saw that she had tears in her eyes. Was she about to cry? You'd have never expected this from her. "There's something you have to know about Darren. It took years to Darren to introduce me to his parents, it took years to Darren to appear in public with me and he never mentioned I was his girlfriend. It took a lot of time to Darren to look at me the way he looks at you now, and actually he never looked at me in that way. With you he's different. He introduced to his parents as soon as he could; he appeared in public with you in a little time, showing to everybody how proud he was to be with you. He mentioned in public that you were his girlfriend, for god sake! Do you still think he loves me instead you? And this entire thing about the missions for your birthday. Darren planned it all, he's been planning this for so long. He never did something like this with me."

"He proposed you. He wanted to marry you. So let me ask you the same. Do you think he loves me instead you?" You said shortly and harshly.

"I know he wanted to marry me and like a fool I screwed it. But that was a long time ago." Mia said looking down and then she looked up to you again. "And do you think he doesn't want to marry you?"

"He doesn't want." You said coldly and Mia sighed.

"You know already that when you and he were distant, Darren and I had sex." Mia said and you looked at her frowning and angry. Now she was being the same Mia you knew.

"I know it, thanks. You don't have to remind me it. And you still say he loves me more. I can see that!" You said sarcastically, raising an eyebrow.

"Yeah, the most I want is Darren to love me more than you but it isn't like that." Mia said bitterly, raising an eyebrow. "When we had sex, Darren started cursing himself for what he did. He was upset with himself, he tried himself like a shit, and he felt a terrible person and he couldn't stop talking about you. He was a bit drunk and I took advantage of that, he didn't want to have sex with me really. I feel like crap, because he was thinking of you while he was with me. When he realized he was with me and not with you, he told me to go away. He had a damn book with a lot of pictures of you and him in it on his nightstand." Mia said bitterly. "That was the time I tried to screw your relationship with him. I thought that in that way Darren could love me again. But I realized that I won't get it because even when you were apart, he still was thinking about you, he didn't want to give up on you. What else could I do? I have to admit that he won't love me again because he has you and you make him happy, you make him look as he never looked before, at all his splendor."

While Mia was telling you all of this you started feeling more calmed, you started feeling touched by realizing the way Darren loved you, realizing that Darren never tried to forget you because he never stopped thinking about you. You realized that Darren never had the intention to be with Mia again. He had that important book for the two of you on his nightstand.

"I have no reasons to hate you if you make him happy. What I did to you was because of jealousy and it sucks. But if you dare to hurt Darren sometime and you make him feel miserable, then I'm gonna make your life miserable. Because he doesn't deserve to be treated again the same way I treated him when he loved me." Mia said strongly looking into your eyes. "I'm going out of your way and I'm gonna let you and Darren be happy and if you get it, I'm gonna be happy for you both. But don't ask me to stop seeing Darren because he's the best friend I've ever had, because he forgave me things that no one would've done, he helped me a lot. I understand that you're his girlfriend and I'm just his friend. And if it's necessary, I'm gonna say it in public, so people would stop making up stories and love affairs. But I can't lose Darren as my friend." Mia said this time with choked voice and almost begging.

"I would never cut off Darren of being with his friends, and it includes you. Even though we didn't start in the best way. You cleared up how things are and you made it clear you want him as a friend. And I'm fine with it as long as you don't try to hurt me or to screw what I have with Darren. I just want to be happy with him, you have no idea all he means to me, and how much I love him. He helped me to go out of the blue and gave me all that I always needed. He's an extraordinary person and I love him with all his good and bad things. And I love the way I feel when I'm with him, he's everything to me." You said with choked voice and looking down, shedding some tears. Why were you telling all of this to Mia? "You're his friend and you're important to him. I'd never ask you to get away."

That was hard for you to say, because you still didn't feel sure with Mia around. But you knew that Darren loved Mia as a friend and you couldn't tell Darren to stop being friend with her because of your insecurity. After all, Mia told you that she understood you're Darren's girlfriend and she's his friend. Maybe things would be different now that you both finally talked. And Mia has showed a side you never saw, and now you understood when Darren said she was a good person. Maybe she was and she only was feeling alone.

"Thank you. Honestly." Mia said with choked voice and frankly. "Now I get why Darren loves you. You're a good person. Thank you."

You were about to say something when suddenly you heard the bell of your apartment ringing again. You looked at Mia and then you stood up to open the door in silence.

"Hey" Darren said softly when he looked at you. He stepped forward and slowly he placed his hands on your waist, looking at you with a hint of gloominess. "I think the plan didn't go as I expected. I wanted to give you an awesome day and it seems I screwed it, I'm sorry."

"No, you didn't screw it. I had an awesome birthday." You said smiling at him kindly.

That was true; you had an awesome birthday, the best of all of them, despite the last mission when Mia appeared. Darren looked down frowning because apparently he thought you were saying it because of pity, so you caressed his cheek slowly, still smiling at him kindly. He looked up to you with a twinkle on his eyes and he smiled back at you. He rested his forehead on yours and he remained looking into your eyes.

"What happened at the end of the song...I didn't..." Darren started saying looking into your eyes but then he turned his gaze to find out that Mia was there, standing up and walking to the front door. Suddenly Darren stepped back and looked at Mia angry and frowning. "What the hell are you doing here? It wasn't enough to you to have done what you've done that you had to come here?"

"I only...I...Darren..." Mia started saying nervous and looking down. She seemed to be having a bad moment. You looked at Darren who was really angry and then you looked at Mia who was feeling bad. Even though you didn't appreciate Mia, you needed to do something.

"Darren, calm down. Everything is okay, so don't treat her in that way, please." You said softly, grabbing Darren's hand. Darren glanced at Mia angry once again to then look at you.

"What has she done? Has she threatened you? Has she hurt you?" Darren asked angry and concerned and then he looked at Mia again. "I swear that if you did something bad to her, this time I won't pretend that nothing serious happened and not do anything to protect her as before. If you mess with her, you're messing with me, Mia. Just dammit, go away and let me be happy with her! I'm sick of this." Darren almost yelled harshly out of himself. Mia looked down and her body started to shiver slightly, with tears on her eyes.

"Darren, stop." You said roundly and firmly and Darren looked at you raising his eyebrows. "She hasn't done anything wrong, she hasn't threatened me and she hasn't hurt me. We only talked as two mature women, a talk we should've had long time ago." You said softly but firmly and Mia looked at you as if she was thankful.

"What did she tell you? I'm sick of her lies and all." Darren asked you and then he looked at Mia again. "What lie did you tell her now, Mia? I told you to go away from me, I'm sick of you and everything. I'm sick to argue with her because of your fault and your lies."

"Darren. Mia is your friend." You said determined and Darren turned his gaze to you to look at you stunned. "You shouldn't treat her in this way because all that happened in the past with me and her. She's a good friend, I know, and you're important to her. Mia and I cleared up some things and all is fine. And she hasn't forced me to say this, I'm saying this because is what I really think. Don't screw your friendship with her because of me and what happed in the past, what happened in the past is done. The important is that now we cleared up how things are and everything is gonna be different. Forgive her as I did. You're her friend." You said firmly and convinced, looking at Darren fixedly. Darren was raising his eyebrows in amazement and not getting why you were talking this way about Mia.

"Why have you forgiven her? Why are you defending her now?" Darren asked confused and suspicious.

"I'm not defending her. As I told you, we talked and I know how things are now. And I forgave her because everybody makes mistakes and everybody deserves a second chance. I forgave her because you mean a lot to her; because she finds on you a good friend. And I wouldn't forgive myself if you lose a good friend because something that doesn't have importance now." You said honestly and Darren looked deeply into your eyes before looking at Mia.

"Is this true? Haven't you forced her to say this?" Darren asked harshly but softening his voice.

"No, I haven't forced her. I'm just as surprised as you are for what she said." Mia said lowly looking at Darren and then she looked at you. "Thank you for have forgave me and for this." Mia told you grateful, looking at you with watery eyes but not shedding tears. You smiled slightly and nodded. "I'm sorry for all I did. I acted like a bitch and neither of you deserved this. You're a good person and you deserve Darren as much as he deserves you. I honestly wish you can be happy, and I know you will." Mia said sincerely.

This was a complete new side of Mia; she was being completely honest as never before. Maybe Mia was a great person and she was lost and alone and for those reasons she made all the mistakes she did; because maybe she didn't know what to do to not feel alone. Because after all, when we feel alone we do a lot of things we shouldn't do to change it, things that sometimes hurt people even though those aren't our intentions. And you knew it more than anyone. Maybe Mia was being just as you were years ago. And maybe Mia and you weren't so different at some point. Mia sighed and then he walked to Darren to hug him. Darren looked at you nervous and frowning and he tried to get away from her, but you looked at him fixedly and you nodded. Darren frowned slightly and then he hugged her back, while Mia started shedding some tears in silence. Mia and Darren were hugging and for the first time you weren't feeling jealous or sad. It was different because now you knew how things were. Instead getting angry for that hug, you smiled nicely to be seeing two friends hugging. This was a huge progress. Then Mia broke the hug and she walked towards you. She placed a hand on your arm and she squeezed it.

"Thank you a lot. I wish you frankly a good life and I hope to get to know you more and start over again. Not for anything a lot of people love you; there must be a good reason, right?" Mia said smiling slightly and you smiled back at her and nodded. This was really weird and you'd have never expected to have a conversation with Mia like this. And it felt good. "I'll go, so you can be alone and enjoy this day. Happy birthday, by the way."

"Thank you, Mia." You smiled and Mia nodded before leaving and closing the door behind her.

"What was this?" Darren asked looking into your eyes bewildered. "As far as I know you hated Mia for understandable reasons and now...this? I don't get it."

You looked into Darren's eyes for few seconds and instead answering him, you wrapped your arms around his neck and rested your head on his chest, closing your eyes. Everything that happened was very intense for you and all was spinning, you couldn't actually talk. Darren got amazed when you hugged him, but he wrapped his arms around your waist and he kissed your head. You remained like this in silence for a while and then you looked into his eyes still wrapping your arms around his neck.

"I'm sorry for being so distant lately. I was confused and I needed some time to clear up things and now everything is cleared. You didn't deserve this, you haven't done anything wrong and however I hurt you. You've been always this amazing person with me and I appreciate wholeheartedly all you've done for me. I'm scared it's too late to apologize." You whispered with choked voice.

"Hey, no." Darren said softly, caressing your cheek sweetly. "You heard the song I sang. I meant every word of it. I said when you're needing your space, I'll be here patiently waiting; I said that I won't walk away so easily and that we've got a lot to learn. And I won't give up on you even when things seem to be totally screwed." Darren said lovingly and tears started falling down your face in silence. Darren wiped away your tears with his thumb and he smiled at you.

"Do you believe me when I say that I love you so much?" You asked looking at him with watery eyes. "Darren you're the most important person to me and I don't wanna be without you!" You cried resting your head on his chest again and hugging him tighter. Darren started caressing your hair smoothly.

"I believe you and I love you as much." Darren said kissing your head and then he stepped back to look into your eyes but still wrapping his arms around your waist. "You know what?" Darren asked smiling. "Every day I get up and I wonder why I was so lucky to be your boyfriend. I always wonder what you could love about me and I thank every day for having the chance to wake up and have you to light up my day. Do you know why I wonder all of those things?" Darren asked and you shook your head without uttering a word because of your emotions. "Because you're a totally awesome person. I love every little thing of you. You're a good friend, a good sister, a good aunt for Sami, a fabulous girlfriend. And I know you'd be an awesome wife and mom; and I'd be crazy if I let you go." Darren laughed slowly still looking at you fondly and you started sobbing of joy. "Maybe you cannot notice it, but you're adorable with everybody. The way you're with people, always kind, sweet, caring, and supportive; the way you're able to forgive people even if they hurt you deep in your heart, as you forgave Mia and your mother. The way you never give up on your dreams even if those dreams seem really hard to fulfill, the way you have hopes and you always wish the best for everyone without asking anything in return. They way you've grown and how far you've come without any help, you did it by yourself. And you know? Not everybody could be the way you are, not everybody could be as strong and positive as you are. Not everybody could have changed their life after a lot of crap things that happened to them. You leave me speechless because I'm amazed of the way you are." Darren said raising his eyebrows and looking at you with bright eyes.

"Do you really think all those things about me?" You asked with choked voice and really touched because of his words.

"No, I don't think so. I'm completely sure is like that." Darren said sweetly and then he leaned to kiss your lips as fond as it could be.

"Can we be like before?" You whispered in front of Darren's lips.

"No." Darren whispered and you looked at him frowning and bewildered. "I want to start over again, a new start for the two of us. I want to do the right things with you. For that reason..." Darren said looked at you mysteriously.

"What?" You asked curious, trying to figure out why Darren was looking at you at that way.

"For that reason I decided that we should start over again in a place that is important to both of us." Darren said with a mysterious smile.

"Where? In The Gapstow Bridge?" You asked trying to guess and getting nervous to find out the answer as soon as you could. Darren started laughing and you frowned confused.

"That's a very important place to us, but I wouldn't take you there to start over again. I want it to be a special place. Do you remember what you told me in one of your letters? The places you'd love to go?" Darren asked with a bright smile and you looked at him with eyes wide open.

"You gotta be kidding me." You said stunned when you started realizing which Darren's point was. Darren looked something in his Freelance Whales tote bag.

"Italy." Darren said showing you two plane tickets to Italy. You got shocked looking at the plane tickets and you shook your head.

"No, Darren. I can't take it. It's very expensive and no." You refused even though you really wanted to go there.

"Oh shut up. I already bought it, so we have to go. Consider this as my birthday gift to you and as a chance to start over again in that special place. There's nothing I'd love most than if you accept this." Darren said giving you the plane tickets and you finally grabbed them, what made Darren smile brightly. "Yay! Tomorrow morning, we need to go to the airport."

"Tomorrow morning? Are you crazy? We have to pack, see what to bring and what not, I have to talk to Matt, April and Nick. Sami, what are we gonna do with Sami? And I have to tell Jack because I promised him to hang out with Amy. Tomorrow morning is impossible, Darren!" You exclaimed horrified and Darren just looked at you amused and when you finished he laughed out loud.

"And I thought I was over demonstrative." Darren laughed and grabbed your hands. "They all already know that tomorrow morning we go to Italy. You don't have to worry about packing because Matt, April and Nick did the favor to pack for you this morning. Sami is staying with Grant for all the week that we're gonna be in Italy. Everything is planned; you just have to get ready to go to the airport with me at 7am."

"How the hell could you have planned all of that and I never noticed anything?" You asked perplexed and amazed.

"I'm almost convinced I was a sort of sexy undercover agent in my past life and then I reincarnated in this awkward body with this goofy personality." Darren joked and you giggled because of his dorkiness.

"Interesting conclusion. I hope to meet that sexy undercover agent sometime." You joked making a sensual gesture.

"No fucking way. You're gonna fall for that guy and I'm kind of jealous." Darren joked and then he leaned to peck your lips. "And I don't know what I'd do if I ever missing your kisses."

"Dork!" You laughed nudging him playfully and then you looked at him fondly. "Thank you for this, Dar. It means a lot to me and you...you're making my dreams possible."

"I am not. I'm just trying to be with you in the best moments in your life because I want to be there to see you at your peak, full of happiness and vividness. Actually I'm kind of selfish if you stop to think about it." Darren said frowning but smiling.

"I love you Dar." You shushed him with a kiss on his lips.

No matter what he said, you knew he was trying to make all your dreams true. The trip to Italy, the trip to Disneyland, the show on Broadway, learn to play the piano, the trip to the beach because you loved the beach, the decision to come to live to NYC, perform a show together, the chance to talk to your mother again; everything you always wanted, Darren was always there to help you to make it true. And he always did all of that without expecting anything in return. He, the mysterious guy, saved your life and was making it worthy. What else could you ask?

"I can't believe we're here! Darren, Darren! Can you believe we are here?" You exclaimed overexcited, bouncing and looking around. Darren looked at you with an amused smile; chuckling and he grabbed your hand.

"I think someone is ablaze and exultant." Darren said still looking at you amused. "Save your energies for later because we have a lot to do here."

"Ahhh! I can't contain myself, Darren! Oh my God, Darren! Look at that thing! It's amazing!" You exclaimed out loud pointing a building.

"That thing you said is the Rome Italy Mormon Temple." Darren made fun of you playfully and then he pecked your lips.


After a lot of hours you finally arrived to Rome and now you were in a rental car in your way to the hotel where you were going to stay. You were extremely excited and happy and you wanted to go out and meet the entire city as soon as you could. You couldn't believe you were in Rome; you wished all your life to go there and it seemed so unreal and distant that now being there seemed a dream. And you weren't there alone; you were there with the person you loved the most. It was perfect. After a while, you arrived to the hotel called The St. Regis Rome. It was located between two fountains: the Moses fountain and the Najada fountain and it looked more like a noble residence than a hotel. When you entered the hotel, a staff reached you and he took your luggage. You looked at the magnificent Grand lobby and you got amazed when you saw frescoes, throne chairs and the white marble reception. It was the most sumptuously luxurious hotel you've ever seen; a typical luxury building of the renaissance of Italy, it was outstanding to see that ancient glory of Rome reflected in a hotel; it was a charming contrast between historic preservation and modern innovation. You were feeling as if you were living in another time, it was a magical feeling. Darren had to lead you to the reception because you were very astonished of the lushness of the hotel and you were busy looking around with eyes wide open.

"Buongiorno, signore. Vorrei prenotare La Royal Suite per una settimana. Inoltre mi piacerebbe assumere il servizio limousine per incontrare diversi luoghi di Roma. Il servizio di limousine ha tempi che dobbiamo rispettare? Perché amiamo incontrare nuovi luoghi, senza doversi preoccupare di un itinerario turistico." Darren said politely speaking in italian and that was the time you finally looked at him, also amazed of how fluent he could speak italian.

"Certo, signore. Queste sono le chiavi per The Royal Suite. I servizi di limousine ha tempi che si devono rispettare, ma possiamo fare un'eccezione considerando che sei una celebrità. Uno degli uomini del nostro staff guiderà te e la donna nella stanza. Vi auguro un buon soggiorno a Roma, signore." The concierge answered politely in italian, giving to Darren the keys of the room.

"Grazie per la vostra attenzione. Stiamo per cercare di avere il miglior tempo in questa magnifica città. Buona giornata, signore." You said kindly, smiling at the concierge. Darren turned his gaze to look at you completely stunned, raising his eyebrows.

He didn't say anything, he only grabbed the keys and you and he followed a man who led you to the hotel room. When you entered the hotel room, you almost fainted. It was completely unreal and lush. It had a sleeping wing and an entertainment wing and an exquisite living room with grand piano. It also had a private dining room connected with a private kitchen and a wine cellar. It had a master bedroom with king bed, guest bedroom, two closets and a marble bathroom with Jacuzzi. Perfecting the décor was the use of wine red, gold and green color scheme, authentic Aubusson carpet and Louis XVI and Piedmontese furnishings. The suite was a true Renaissance masterpiece. It was outstanding. The man who had your luggage, leave them on the master bedroom and then he greeted politely before leaving. When you and Darren were finally alone you couldn't avoid squealing out loud.

"Oh my fucking God, Darren! What the hell is this place?" You squealed completely stunned, excited and perplexed. Darren looked at you amused and he laughed out loud.

"Well, I wanted to get the best place for us. Do you like it?" Darren answered still amused while you were looking everything around.

"Are you kidding me? For god sake! I feel as if I were Marie Antoinette! Oh my god. This is a dream, isn't it? I'm dreaming, I'm sure I'm dreaming." You said with eyes wide open and befuddled. Darren smiled amused and he walked to you to wrap his arms around your waist.

"No, you aren't dreaming. You're here with me in this amazing city. This is real, boo." Darren smiled and he pecked your lips.

"Darren, we should go." You said still astonished.

"Wait! First we should unpack the luggage and then we can go wherever you want. Don't be so hasty!" Darren laughed looking at you still amused.

"No. I mean, we should go away of this place. Darren, this place is very fancy and I'm sure it's exorbitantly expensive. We should go to somewhere cheaper, somewhere more simple and homely." You said feeling a little uncomfortable of being there even though you loved that place. "And limo? We don't need a limo, Darren. We can walk or we can take the subway or a bus. I don't need anything fancy; you already made me the happiest girl in world by taking me here."

"But I thought you would like here. Don't worry about money. Listen, we can make a deal. We stay here, in this hotel room; and we don't take the limo service. We're gonna walk or take the subway, we can eat in homely restaurants or just eat food in the street. We won't buy anything fancy or expensive if you don't want. So we stay in this hotel room but during the day we're gonna be just normal tourists doing normal stuff. What do you think?" Darren asked trying to convince you.

"I don't know. This is too much." You said doubtfully.

"Hey, listen. Now I have the chance to pay for this, maybe in a future I won't have that chance, who knows. Maybe in a future we'd have to sleep in the train if we want to travel and we don't have the money to pay for it. Maybe this is gonna be the only chance we'd have to be in a place like this. So as long as I can pay for it, we should enjoy it. And I want you to feel as Marie Antoinette, I want you to feel you're like in a movie or lost in the history, I want you to feel that magical feeling. Let me make you feel that way, just for a week." Darren said looking deeply into your eyes with a charming smile.

"Okay, we can stay here. But I want to let you know that I don't need anything fancy if what you want is to make me happy. Just being with you is enough for me to be happy." You said smiling fondly and Darren looked at you sweetly.

"I know, you're a lovely and selfless person. With all the things you say and do, you only get to make me love you more and more day by day." Darren said tenderly and then he kissed your lips, caressing your cheek smoothly. "And by the way...You never told me you can speak italian!" Darren exclaimed with wide open eyes and amazed and you giggled.

"You never asked." You winked at him amused.

"Dammit. That's a good answer." Darren said shaking his head and chuckling. "It's so hot to hear you speaking italian, just so you know." Darren winked at you and he smiled seductively.

"Forse potrei parlare italiano più spesso." You said looking at Darren sensually and flirty. Darren pulled you closer, now placing his hands on your hips.

"Mhm." Darren moaned in front of your lips. "That's what I'm talking about. I think I should wear baggy pants if you're gonna speak italian all day long, otherwise it'd be awkward." Darren joked and you laughed out loud.

"Maybe I'm gonna let you speak italian and I'll speak italian tonight only for you." You whispered alluringly in front of his lips and then you winked at him.

"Oh damn, stop it or I'm gonna be forced to cancel the tour today." Darren said with parted lips, touching your lips with his and you chuckled amused.

"Okay, I'm gonna stop. Where are we going first?" You asked curious.

"I don't know." Darren answered shrugging. "I thought it could be fun if we just go out there and get lost in this awesome city."

"Are you crazy?" You asked frowning.

"Yeah, I am. And you're as crazy as I am, so you're gonna love it." Darren said charmingly in front of your lips before pecking them.

"You have a point." You said shrugging and smiling amused. "Just let's go to get lost!"

You spent an awesome and completely fantastic week with Darren in Rome. You went to explore a lot of places in Rome, getting lost all the time but getting funny and great anecdotes about it. You walked a lot and sometimes you ended up sitting everywhere to rest. You also entered into places you weren't supposed to enter, what caused that you almost got jailed, but then you explained to the cops that you were foreign and you were lost. You experienced moments you could never forget in your life. And now it was your last night in Rome and you were completely exhausted. Now, you were lying in bed next to Darren, because next day at afternoon, you had to come back. You were with that special book you and Darren had, full of pictures, quotes and annotations. You were completing it with your new pictures of Italy, commenting with Darren all the moments you experienced while Darren was playing his guitar and seeing what you were doing, helping you with the book at the same time. Then Darren and you started to think what you could write in the book by singing while he played his guitar. It came a point that you were being very random and you totally forgot that you were doing it because you wanted to write something in the book; instead you ended up crying with laughter. You couldn't remember when the last time you cried with laughter was and it was gratifying. Then Darren put aside his guitar still laughing uncontrollably with tears of fun falling down his face. You wiped away your tears of amusement and then you looked at Darren into his eyes, giggling. Probably that was the best moment in your whole trip. Simple and almost insignificant, but reflecting true enjoyment and happiness. Darren looked at you with a twinkle on his eyes and smiling brightly and fondly. You both remained looking into each other's eyes intensely for a long time until the two of you leaned abruptly to kiss. You couldn't explain what happened in that moment, but it was an impulse you couldn't contain; you had the need to kiss Darren and show him how much you loved him. You kissed as never before, the two of you were very passionate but also tender and affectionate. You and Darren kissed several times but never like this, this time it was different. This time, with this kiss, you realized that he was the person who completed what was missing in your life. After a long of necking and petting, passionate and lovingly at the same time, Darren moved away his lips from yours and he looked into your eyes penetratingly. It was a very intimate look, which said a lot of things without the need of verbal words. Without stopping looking into your eyes, Darren started caressing your cheek, going down to your neck and then to your shoulder underneath your shirt. You only looked vividly into his hazel and bright eyes, placing your hands on his stomach underneath his t-shirt. Darren shivered at your touch but neither you nor he broke the eye contact. You slowly took off Darren's t-shirt as he placed his hands on your back underneath your shirt and he started rubbing it from your neck to your back dimples, very slowly; the two of you still looking deeply into each other's eyes. Then Darren placed his hands on your hips and you took off your t-shirt and dropped it on the floor. Darren looked your whole body with parted lips and then he looked into your eyes again as you smiled at him and leaned to kiss his lips, placing a hand on his jawline and the other one on his hair. After a while, you broke the kiss and looked into his eyes, still touching his lips with yours.

"I'm ready." You whispered in front of his lips. Darren didn't say anything and he didn't do anything. He just looked into your eyes very deeply for several minutes. It wasn't uncomfortable, actually it felt good.

"This time I can see something different in your eyes. Unlike before, now is time." Darren said caressing your cheek and smiling fondly in front of your lips. "If you don't feel comfortable, let me know. Just trust me, I've got you."

You nodded and Darren smiled in front your lips before kissing them deeply, placing his hands on your back, rubbing it until he placed his hands on your bra closure. He slowly unfastened your bra and dropped it on the floor, still kissing your lips. Darren moved away to look at your body and then he looked into your eyes smiling fondly before leaning to kiss your neck without breaking eye contact with you. Darren started to lick your neck with the tip of his tongue and you closed your eyes because it was feeling really pleasurable.

"No, don't stop looking at me." Darren said and you opened your eyes to look at him amazed. "I want you to look at me all the time. I want you to know that you're with me and only with me here and now. And I want you to look at me because I want to show you all the love I feel for you. This isn't about sex, this is making love."

You looked at him very touched and you nodded. Days ago, you'd have felt uncomfortable if Darren would've told you this, but now it was different, it sounded as the more natural and reasonable thing in the world. Maybe you needed to let yourself go. Darren grabbed your left arm and then he started running his fingers on your arm; but he didn't run his fingers in any part of your arm, he ran his fingers right where your scars were. You looked at him thunderstruck and your body started shivering slightly. The fact of Darren caressing your scars smoothly and sweetly was making you feel weird. Then he started kissing those scars of you that were the proof of your weakness in your past, scars that symbolized the worst moments in your life, your attempt to give up on your life. Those scars were supposed to be a bad memory, something really bad you've done; but Darren was kissing your scars in a way that made you feel that those scars were the proof of something you've changed, something you could overcome. He made you feel that your scars where the proof of how far you've come, how much you changed for good, making you be stronger and yourself. Darren made you feel that you shouldn't be ashamed of all the mistakes you made in your past because what mattered was that you finally found the way to be happy. And no one else before made you feel the way you were feeling in that moment. Darren was your savior. Now, more sure than ever, you wanted to give him all of you; now, more than ever, you distinguished the difference between sex and make love; now, more than ever, you wanted to make love with Darren and show him all he meant to you. When Darren finished kissing all of your scars, he looked up to you with a tender smile, resting his chin on your stomach. You ran your fingers through his curly and smooth hair, looking at him lovingly, and then you sit on bed to kiss his forehead and then to kiss his lips. Then you broke the kiss and rested your forehead on his, still looking into his eyes and then you placed your hands on his chest. Darren let you touch his entire bare and toned chest, exploring his shoulders, clavicle, his pectorals, his abdomen, and his navel. Darren never stopped looking at you fixedly and when you finished, he pulled you closer to feel the warmth of your body against his. He started kissing you, opening his lips slowly and just a little during the kiss so that one of his lips was sandwiched between yours and one of yours was between his, brushing his tongue against your lips ever so slightly and then he pushed his tongue a little farther into your mouth, playfully touching tongues. The kiss started sweet and soft but then it turned into a fierce kiss, while you were messing Darren's hair and Darren was rubbing his hands on your back, pressing your body against his as close as it was possible. Even kissing fiercely, Darren started unzipping your skirt as you started unbuttoning his jeans. Then, still kissing, Darren leaned you in bed and he got on top of you. You arched your back and Darren took off your skirt to drop it on the floor. Darren sucked your bottom lip as you parted and he gasped in front of your lips, looking at you fervently. You took advantage to place your hands on the waistband of his jeans and, while Darren was looking at you and gasping, you started down his jeans. Darren helped you to take off his jeans and once the two of you were only wearing your underwear, Darren lay down on your body and he started kissing your neck to then he started to kiss down, from your neck to your breastbone. He looked up to you and he started licking your breasts while looking intensely into your eyes. At first it was a little uncomfortable to look into Darren's eyes while he was doing it, but then you remembered why you were doing it and Darren looked at you in a way that made you relax and just enjoy this new way to show you his love. You were exploring every single thing of your bodies; you were exploring everything about each other in an intimate way, evidencing your confidence. Still looking into your eyes, Darren ran the tip of his tongue from your breasts to your lower belly, placing his hands on your hips underneath your underwear. Darren looked deeply into your eyes, waiting for your approval to take off your underwear and when you nodded, he took it off and dropped it on the floor. Once you were completely naked, Darren looked at you from head to toe with a twinkle on his eyes and with a smile, before taking off his own underwear. You also looked at him from head to toe, and the two of you remained exploring your bodies with your sight for a while. It wasn't embarrassing, it was more like discovering the most private things of each other, discovering those things that were beyond the normal ways to show the love. Darren leaned to start kissing your feet and to go up to your inner thigh, always with his sight fixed on your eyes. Once he reached your groin, he stopped and he looked at you deeply; you didn't say anything and you didn't do anything, you just let yourself be comfortable and enjoy the pleasure of Darren exploring your body lovingly as no one else has done before. Darren started licking your groin very slowly and then he started licking your pubis. You stopped looking at Darren to close your eyes and moan, feeling very aroused at the feeling of the warmth of Darren's tongue on your most private part of your body. You shouldn't have closed your eyes, it was a huge mistake. Suddenly dark memories came up in your mind and your whole body tensed and it started to shiver. You started feeling scared and disturbed. You heard Darren's voice in the distance but at this point you couldn't see or hear anything clear. But then you felt Darren's hands on your cheeks and you felt his forehead resting on yours. You opened your eyes and slowly you started seeing clearer. Darren was on top of you, in fact resting his forehead on yours and with his hands on your cheeks, looking at you straight into your eyes.

"Don't close your eyes; look at me all the time." Darren whispered sweetly and reassuringly in front of your lips and then he grabbed one of your hands and placed it on his heart. "I won't hurt you. I'm here to show you my love, to make you see that doing this isn't a bad thing when love is involved, to change your bad memories into good memories. You're safe with me because I'd never let anything hurt you. I want to make you feel how love is when two people that love each other get together to be only one person, connected not only physically but emotionally. I want to show you the highest level of love."

"I'm scared, Darren." You said with trembling voice, your body still shivering. Darren looked at you fondly and he caressed smoothly your cheek with his thumb.

"I know you're scared because you had a bad experience, but I want to change it. Remember you're with me and you're sheltered with me. Look into my eyes, don't be ashamed." Darren said affectionate and you did so. "Can you notice how fast my heart is beating?" He asked and you only nodded. "It always beats this fast when I'm with you; but now is beating faster because being with you like this makes me feel all this feelings. Because I'm sharing everything about me with the most perfect woman in earth and all I want is this to be perfect as much as you are, because you make me feel thrilled and I feel I could give up on everything I have if it means I can be with you. But, do you wanna know the main reason why my heart beats like this when I'm with you?" Darren asked looking piercingly into your eyes and you nodded, feeling more relaxed now. "Because I'm head over heels in love with you." Darren said affectionately and he kissed your lips very sweetly.

"I love you so much, Dar." You whispered in front of his lips and Darren smiled. "I'm ready to go all the way with you."

Darren looked into your eyes with a glint on his eyes and kissed again, now running his fingers through your whole body. Then he placed his body on yours and you felt the warmth of your naked bodies together. Darren lined up his body with yours and you felt the tip of his penis on your clitoris. You moaned and you arched your back at this new feeling, while Darren also moaned out loud.

"Are you sure of this?" Darren asked smoothly.

"I'm sure. I want this with you, Dar." You answered looking at him.

"I love you." Darren said fondly and he kissed your lips before he kneeled between your legs, placing his hands on your hips and grabbing a condom.

Darren put on the condom and then he looked into your eyes before he started penetrating your vaginal opening, very slowly. It was very painful and you thought you couldn't bear the pain, but then Darren lay down on you and he started kissing your lips, feeling the warmth of his body on yours, what made you forget about the pain and only focus that you and Darren were like one person now, just loving each other. It was a weird feeling, very different from that time you were only a teenager. It was pleasant and nice despite the pain. Darren pulled himself almost all the way out and then back in again slowly, and moaned. Now everything that could be heard in the room was groans. Darren got a rhythm, moving and penetrating his cock into your vagina even faster and deeper, thrusting his hips against it. You started sweating with your eyes closed and your mouth opened, panting and moaning in pleasure. This time, dark memories didn't come up in your mind, because you were conscious that you were with Darren and you were feeling something different and good. Darren kept pushing in and out, fast and superficial movements combined with slow and deep movements made you get lost in your pleasure of being sharing this intimate moment with Darren. Darren's lips and yours parted and the two of you started moaning and gasping, touching slightly each other's lips while you were looking into each other's eyes. And it happened. Darren pushed his dick in and he reached your G spot, making you moan out loud in a extreme pleasure you've never felt before. That was the most exciting and great feeling you've ever felt. It seemed that your moan made Darren hornier, because he started pushing his dick in and out even faster and deeper, moaning out loud. It came a point when you started feeling an enigmatic sensation. A fuzzy warm tingle started in your toes and then you started feeling like you were coasting in this super sensitive and awesome state where your whole body was simultaneously tense and relaxed. Your breathing started feeling like you just ran a race, like your lungs were tired and you started moaning uncontrollably. And then the actual orgasm started down below and traveled in a wave all the way up to your head. It was like a powerful wave of blankness and then you came to in what was the most relaxed and happy state ever, feeling more energized. At the same time you heard how Darren moaned out loud with his head back and closing his eyes while you felt how something warm dipped inside you. The two of you remained steady for a while with your bodies pressed and trying to get back your normal breathing. Then Darren pulled his dick out and he rolled the condom off and threw it in a nearby garbage can, to the lay down next to you, wrapping his arms around you and looking at you with the fondest look and smile you've ever seen. He looked beautiful and radiant and his eyes were shinning like never before when he started caressing your cheek. So this was how it felt to make love. This is how it felt to be a woman. For the very first time in your life, you felt truly beautiful; Darren made you feel like this. You were feeling happier than ever and you couldn't get why you couldn't stop smiling and feeling this good. Finally, Darren and you showed the love you felt for each other in its highest level and nothing else mattered.

"How do you feel?" Darren whispered still looking into your eyes brightly and caressing your cheek.

"I feel happier than ever." You said looking into his eyes fondly and then you leaned to kiss his lips very smoothly. "I love you."

"I love you too." Darren smiled brightly and sweetly in front of your lips. "You look so stunning and precious." Darren said amazed caressing your hair. "You're everything to me, boo."

"You too, Dar."

There were the two of you feeling more in love than ever, hugging each other and looking into each other's eyes after this new way to show love you found out. Like this, you fell asleep in to each other's arms, in that place that was special for the two of you. That was the perfect moment.


Next morning you woke up feeling as if nothing could be bad, as if everything was brighter and more beautiful. When you opened your eyes, Darren was lying next to you with his arms wrapped around your waist. He was already awake and he was looking at you with an affectionate smile. When he realized you were awake, he smiled brighter and he leaned to peck your lips.

"Good morning, gorgeous." Darren whispered in front of your lips and you smiled.

"Good morning, handsome." You answered caressing his hair. "Since when are you awake?"

"Long time ago." Darren answered lazily but cheerfully, nuzzling his nose with yours.

"Why haven't you waked me up?" You asked frowning.

"Because I love seeing you sleeping and just admire your beauty." Darren answered with an affectionate smile and then he pecked your lips. "Soon we have to go. And when we return to the U.S., I'll have to come back to LA."

"I know, but don't talk about this now. I don't want to ruin this moment; thinking about it gets me down." You said sadly, now looking down.

"Come to live with me." Darren's words echoed in the room and you looked up at him, feeling nervous and gloomy.

"I'd love it but I can't Darren. I have it all in NYC; my apartment, my friends, I have a job there." You whispered gloomy, feeling nervous and scared. Darren sat in bed, he grabbed your hands and he looked into your eyes deeply and with a twinkle in his eyes.

"Don't worry about your apartment; we can maintain it from LA so we'll have a place to stay when we go to NYC. About your friends, I could pay you plane tickets to go to NYC every time you have free time, or I could pay plane tickets for them if they want to visit you in LA. Come on!" Darren said desperate and excited, looking at you vividly and trying to convince you.

"I wouldn't let you pay things for me, no way. Darren, please stop talking about this." You said still scared and nervous, trying to stand up but Darren grabbed your arm and he made you sit in bed again.

"We have to talk about this. We need to deal with the fact that I have to go to LA and I wouldn't stand being apart from you. And you know money isn't a problem and I'd be more than happy to pay plane tickets for you. Please, boo." Darren begged looking at you desperate and you looked away, feeling more nervous and starting to freak out.

"However, I have job in NYC, Darren. Is a good job and I'm living thanks to that job. And I'm not recognized enough to do what I want, I'm not recognized enough to say that I want to work from LA. Darren, I can't do this. Please, don't ruin this moment." You said looking down and feeling sad and abashed.

"Quit that damn job!" Darren exclaimed out loud and desperate. "You're good at your job, but it doesn't make you happy. You need to get a job that can make you feel happy and complete."

"It's easy for you to say it Darren!" Now you yelled because of the pressure you were feeling and Darren looked at you with eyes wide open and lips parted. "I cannot afford to do what I enjoy doing because I wouldn't get anything. It was extremely hard for me to get the job I have now. I can't go to somewhere where I have nothing."

"You have me there." Darren said with bated breath and looking down.

"Darren, no. Hey, listen, I didn't mean it." You said lifting his chin and caressing his cheek with your thumb. "I know I have you there and that would be the best I could ask. But if I go to LA I wouldn't have a place to live, I wouldn't have money to buy food or things, to pay the bills and all of that because I won't have a job."

"You would have a place to live, because I want to live with you in the same place with Sami. I'd love if we can get the official adoption of Sami and we can live all together, like our own family." Darren said softly and tenderly looking into your eyes with bright eyes. "And you should take the risk of doing what you really want even though now you think it's impossible. I know that what you love to do the most is acting because I saw you shinning of happiness when you performed on Broadway. And you have a lot of chances to get a job of acting in LA, more than in NYC. You shouldn't worry about money to pay food or the bills or whatever; I could pay it all until you get a job. But take the risk and do what you really want to do, don't be scared."

"I can't, Darren. I can't change everything." You said looking down and freaking out. Of course you loved the idea of going to live with Darren and Sami, but you knew you wouldn't get a job in LA.

"Change is hard, because naturally we're afraid of the unknown. We just need to jump and learn to fly on the way down." Darren said almost in a whisper looking fixedly into your eyes in a fondly way. "Come to live with me, boo. I want to make this next step with you. I know you're the women with whom I want to marry; I know you're the women I want to be the mother of my children. And if you feel the same for me, I beg you to come to live with me and so then we can build our future and grow up together, facing all the things that can happen in our lives together. I want to spend my life with you." Darren said looking at you fondly and deeply but with a hint of desperation.

Darren's words were very intense; just with few words he said all he felt for you. You could notice how much he loved you, just as much as you loved him. If you loved him that much, why couldn't you just say yes to his proposal? If living with Darren and spend your life with him was what you wanted the most, why couldn't just go to LA and face all that could come to happen? After all, you wouldn't be alone to face all those things like before; you'd be with the man you loved as no one else before. And you weren't going to live only with him, but also with Sami, the little girl that was like your daugther. Darren wanted to have a family with you. You were really scared to start a new thing; but if you don't take the risk to try to do what you really wanted, you'd never know if the big change you had to do would be good or not. You looked into Darren's eyes, which were looking at you very affectionately and deeply, and there you found the answer.

"Would you come to live with me and build and discover our unknown future together from now on?" Darren asked without stop looking into your eyes deeply and expectant, grabbing your hands and placing them in his heart.

"I will." You answered with a smile and the two of you kissed in the mouth, a kiss that this time meant your desires to face a new step of your lives together.

You were more decided than ever to spend your whole life with Darren Criss, the man who saved your life, the man you loved until the end no matter what I'll come to happen. He was your home as you were his home and nothing could be more perfect.

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