"So? What did he say?" April asked curious and anxious after you hung up.
"He wants me to go to where he's staying. Because of Sami, she's bad." You answered hurriedly and jittery, grabbing your coat and standing up.
"Wait. Are you going there?" April asked, still trying to understand what you said.
"Yes, of course I'm going there. Because of Sami, not for Darren."
"Hold on!" April stopped you before you could start walking. "You know you're going to see Darren, right? You know that if Sami is bad, Darren is gonna find comfort in you, right? He's gonna look helpless and sad, so he's gonna be nice to you, maybe he's gonna ask for a hug or something to find comfort. Would you be able to keep in mind all that happened between you both? Because now Darren is gonna be like that, but when Sami gets better maybe he's gonna be like he's been with you so far. And if this happens, I don't want you to feel down again. You need to keep in mind that this is a special situation, okay?" April said clearly and roundly, looking at you intently.
"Oh shit." You cursed, freaking out because you didn't know if you'd be able to stand it. "April...Could you come with me? Please?" You begged her, desperate.
"I don't know if it's gonna be a good idea. I don't know Darren and he doesn't know me." April said doubtful.
"Please, April. I don't know if I'm gonna be able to ignore all I feel for Darren. I'm sure I'm gonna fall into him as soon as I see him. I need you to be there, you're the one who can make me see the way it has to be. You won't let me to do a stupid thing because I'm still so in love with him." You begged April, looking at her exasperated.
"Okay." April sighed, but he agreed because she saw you more exasperated than ever. "Only because of you and because I don't want to see you sad again."
"Thank you, April!" You said very thankful, hugging her tight.
April and you left the Starbucks shop and you went to where April's car was parked. She drove you to where Darren was staying, and all the way to there was silent. When you finally arrived, both of you stayed in the car, still in silence. Then April looked at you deeply into your eyes. You were feeling really nervous because you didn't know what was wrong with Sami and because you didn't know how you'd react when you get to see Darren again. And you also didn't know how Darren would treat you. At one point, you didn't want Darren to treat you harshly because you weren't ready to be treated like that, because it still hurt you. But at other point, you didn't want Darren to be very nice to you, being kind and sweet; because you didn't know if you could resist him and all the love you felt for him.
"Are you ready, Shorty?" April asked softly.
"Yes, I am." You said, taking a deep breath.
Both of you got out of the car and walked to the hotel were Darren was staying. You didn't know why they weren't in Lyla's house, but then you thought that probably being there was bad for Sami. You felt uncomfortable getting into that luxurious hotel, because that wasn't on your economic or social level. You could notice that April was uncomfortable too, and more when the people around started to look at your direction and started to whisper things probably about the two of you and the way you were dressed, completely different from them who were wearing haute couture clothing. You hated being looked in that disparaging way as if they were more important than anybody else. That was something you loved about Darren; that even though he was famous and he was at their level, he remained simple and humble; not like those people who were derogatory and arrogant. However, you reached the place where the hotel receptionist was, ignoring those people's looks and whispers. The hotel receptionist looked in the same way those people were looking at you.
"What can I do for you?" The hotel receptionist asked, trying to sound polite as his job required, but looking at you both suspiciously and with skepticism.
"Hi." You said coldly, looking at him annoyed because of the way he was looking at you both. "I'm looking for Darren Criss."
"Sorry, I can't give you that kind of information. Fans aren't allowed to get that information." The hotel receptionist said indolently and he kept working on some forms.
"Excuse me?" You said shrilly, feeling completely humiliated by the way he treated you so contemptuously. "First you should ask who I am, then you should call Mr. Criss to inform him I'm waiting for him. Once he is informed, he'll make the decision of who wants to go up to his hotel room. You, as a receptionist, aren't allowed to take own decisions without asking the host what wants to do. You're taking many attributes considering you're only a hotel receptionist and you could be penalized by these facts. If you aren't doing the job properly and you don't consider the rights and obligations of guests and visitors of this hotel, it's time to get a lawyer." You said firmly and formally as a lawyer would do. After all that was what you were, a lawyer so you knew very well how all of this was supposed to work. April was looking at you surprised and the hotel receptionist raised his eyebrows, apparently he was in shock and he got scared because he knew he wasn't doing his work as he should be doing it.
"Yes, sorry, miss." The receptionist said coldly and annoyed. "I'm gonna inform Mr. Criss that you, miss..."
"Just tell him that the pink rabbit came to see the princess. He told me to say precisely those words." You answered in formal terms.
"Oh, so you're the girl who Mr. Criss was expecting. He mentioned me that someone would come here saying those words." The receptionist said astonished, in disbelief that Darren could be expecting someone like you. "He told me to let you directly come up to his hotel room. Eighteen floor, room number two. The elevators are on your left and here's the magnetic card he told me to give you. Have a nice day, miss."
"Have a nice day, sir." You said formally, receiving the magnetic card.
You and April walked to the elevators and went to the floor where Darren's hotel room was. April was still looking at you astonished and very impressed by your firm and forthright reaction with the hotel receptionist.
"Wow. You were flawless with that hotel receptionist. Have you seen his face after you told him all those things? It was hilarious." April exclaimed dazzled.
"I'm not a lawyer for nothing. I wouldn't let someone treat us dismissive as he did. Screw him." You said laughing softly.
Finally you arrived at Darren's floor and you walked straight to his hotel room. You had the magnetic card to get into the room, but you weren't sure if you should get into his hotel room without knocking the door before. But not for nothing he told the hotel receptionist to give you that magnetic card, Darren wanted you to directly come into the room. You took a deep breath before entering the room. As you were thinking, the hotel room was completely luxurious and huge. April's face reflected amazement; she was looking around very impressed. Darren wasn't there; maybe he was in some of the rooms of that hotel room.
"Darren?" You asked loudly and your voice echoed in the empty room.
"Boo, is that you?" Darren's voice came from one of the rooms, but you couldn't notice from which of all of them.
"Yes, it's me." You answered shortly.
Darren has called you boo, as he was used to do. That was the first thing that pierced your heart and you didn't even see him yet. You didn't want to think what you were going to feel once you get to see his face. April surely noticed your change of mood, because she placed a hand on your shoulder and squeezed it slightly, reassuringly. Then Darren popped into the room where April and you were. He looked tired judging by his dark circles; and he'd been crying judging by his swollen eyes. He was scruffy and messy, wearing tattered clothes: a very baggy hoodie and frayed sweatpants. Yes, you definitely needed April there to prevent you of doing something stupid because as soon as you saw Darren so devastated, you wanted to run to him and hug him tight. You felt something weird on your chest, something that you couldn't help it. You loved him as always, that never changed. Darren looked at April and then he looked at you frowning, because obviously he wasn't expecting you to come with someone else.
"I'm glad you could come up here." Darren said hoarsely, looking at you and then he turned his gaze to April. "I didn't know you were coming with someone else."
"Yes, I'm sorry I didn't tell you. I was with her, so she just came with me. I'm sorry." You said this time a little embarrassed because after all this was Darren's place not yours and it was inappropriate.
"Oh no, it's alright." Darren said still hoarsely, shaking his head. "Hey, I'm Darren. Nice to meet you." Darren said, approaching April to shake his hand at her.
"Hi, I'm April. Nice to meet you too." April said politely and a little shy as you never saw her before.
"Oh, you're the famous April! Boo...Uhm, she told me a lot of you." Darren said embarrassed by the way he called you. "It's a pleasure to finally meet you."
"The pleasure is mine, Mr. Criss." April said politely and smiling shyly. "I hope I'm not disturbing you for coming here without warning."
"Oh please, call me Darren. And you're not disturbing at all. Please, feel free to do whatever you want here as long as it isn't to destroy the whole place. I don't want that grumbler hotel manager to kick me out the hotel." Darren laughed softly.
"Rest assured I won't do it." April said laughing this time.
"I trust you." Darren said smiling and then he looked at you. "Uhm, so Sami is in her bedroom. She's been feeling sick since yesterday and all she's been doing was to ask for you. She said she needed you because you had magical powers or something. She refused to let a doctor checking her; she's scared of doctors since what happened with Lyla. She only wanted to see you. And well, she's mad at me and she refuses to let me in into her bedroom. I have no idea what to do, I tried everything and it seems to not be working." Darren said hoarsely; very desperate and uneasy.
"And don't you know why is she feeling sick?" You asked concerned.
"No, I have no idea. I don't know if it's something she ate or drank. I don't know. She has a fever and has been throwing up all night long. And as I told you, she didn't let anyone to check her. I don't know what I should do, I totally suck at this." Darren said frustrated and frowning.
"Alright. I should check her then. Where is she?"
"Come with me." Darren said to you, grabbing your hand and you shivered at his touch. Darren noticed it because he quickly let out your hand. "Sorry. It's the custom. Oh, April..." Darren said looking at April and she looked up to see Darren, taken by surprise. "I don't know how long this is gonna take. Feel free to take whatever you want from the fridge to eat or drink. I have not much, but it's something. You can watch TV or use the computer. Just make yourself at home."
"Thank you. I'll wait here, just take your time." April said smiling and Darren nodded.
"Follow me." Darren said softly to you.
Darren led you to Sami's bedroom in silence. He opened her door and you looked at Sami, who was lying on bed, apparently sleeping. Darren looked down; you could notice he was feeling really wretched and obfuscated.
"She has been like this all day long. I tried to wake her up, but she refuses." Darren whispered in your ear.
"Leave it to me. Maybe I can do something about." You said reassuringly and Darren nodded.
"Thank you. Really." Darren whispered frankly.
You walked to Sami's bed and you sat on the edge of her bed. Darren sat next to you, looking at Sami. You softly started to caress her hair and she grumbled, turning around, still with her closed eyes.
"Hey, Sami. It's me." You whispered something in her ear, still caressing her hair.
"Auntie?" Sami murmured, turning around to look at you with very sleepy eyes. "I missed you!" Sami said rubbing her eyes and resting her head on your lap.
"I missed you too." You said smiling sweetly at her, now wrapping your arms around her. "Your uncle told me you weren't feeling good. What happens?"
"He wanted me to be checked by one of those evil doctors." Sami said looking huffily at Darren. "He couldn't understand that I don't need a doctor, because you have magical powers that can make me feel good."
"Sami, doctors aren't evil. All they want is to make you feel better. They know how to do it." You said gently.
"Are you on his side?" Sami asked grumpy, incredulous.
"I'm not on his side. I'm just saying the truth about doctors." You answered quietly, looking at her fixedly.
"But I don't need them, I have you! You're better than them!" Sami said, resting her chin on your lap to look into your eyes.
"I'm not. Anyway, tell me why you were feeling bad?" You asked, this time concerned. You touched her forehead and indeed she had fever.
"I don't know. My tummy really hurts and I've been cold since last night. I just want to get better, can you do that?" Sami begged pitifully.
"I'll try. Tell me, what did you eat yesterday?"
"For breakfast I ate cereals with a hot chocolate. Then Darren ordered rice in soup with carrots and celery for lunch. Then, for the afternoon snack, I ate a rice pudding that Darren bought." Sami said, trying to remember what she ate.
"Alright. You ate healthy. That's weird." You said frowning. "Did you notice something weird on those foods? Something that tasted sour maybe?"
"No." Sami answered, shaking her head. "All the foods were delicious. Darren always buys me delicious food. Except for the celery. I hate celery, is disgusting and boring."
"Sami...are you sure that's all you ate?" You asked suspiciously.
"Yes. Uncle Dare sometimes is really mean that he doesn't allow me eat other kind of food. He always complains. No Sami, that food isn't healthy; no Sami, you have to eat your veggies and not a hamburger; no Sami, you can't eat sweets. He's so mean!" Sami complained grumpy.
"Manners, Sami. Watch your words." Darren finally talked, looking at Sami strictly. "You know very well that you can't live eating junk food."
"But what's the point of eating veggies all the time? I hate it." Sami grumbled, frowning and snotty.
"Because is healthy and it helps you to grow up healthy and strong. We talked about this already." Darren said rigorously, looking at her intently.
"Well, obviously your idea of eating veggies to be healthy didn't work. I'm sick, I'm not healthy. Auntie Ari let me eat candies and I never got sick when I was with her. And then you gave me all those veggies to eat and you didn't allow me to eat candies and I got sick anyway. It's your fault!" Sami said brusquely and it seemed that her words pierced Darren's heart because he was pale now, with teary eyes but trying to hide it.
"Sami. It isn't Darren's fault. He was doing his best, I'm sure. All he wanted was to keep you healthy and happy, and veggies are the best way to keep you healthy." You said gently but serious. Darren just looked down; biting his lower lip and Sami looked at you frowning. "Sami, I know you ate something else you're not telling me. If you ate something else that your uncle didn't allow you, just tell me. I'm gonna tell your uncle to not be mad at you for that."
"No, I didn't eat anything else." Sami answered, this time nervous.
"Sami..." You looked at her very intently.
"Fine." Sami sighed, bad-tempered. "I ate a toffee that I found on the street when Darren took me to the park."
"What? Why did you do that Sami? You know you don't have to do those things!" Darren exclaimed concerned and frowning, looking at Sami very serious.
"I knew he'd get like this. That's why I didn't want to say it! See? He always scolds me!" Sami grumbled annoyed. "Auntie, I want to live with you again! I don't wanna be here anymore!"
You looked at Sami astonished with wide eyes, raising your eyebrows. Darren, next to you, looked away, closing his eyes with a grimace of grief. Of course Sami's words hurt Darren deep in his heart. She shouldn't have said something like that, even though she was little and surely she was only mad at Darren in that moment; and kids when are mad at someone say things that they really don't mean. This was an uncomfortable situation for you, because you knew Sami couldn't live with you anymore and because it hurt you seeing Darren very hurtful.
"Sami, Darren is doing his best and he wants the best for you. When he scolds you is because he doesn't want to see you sick or bad; not because he wants to make you feel bad. Remember all the times I scolded you?" You said looking at Sami fixedly, while Darren looked up to you with teary eyes.
"Yes." Sami said looking down, apparently regretful for what she said.
"Every time I scolded you, you got mad at me. But then you realized I was right, and then you apologized. See? If Darren is scolding you is because he knows why, because he has a point. The point he scolded you now was because h warned you to not eat candies and less when you find those candies on the street; because he knew you could get sick. And how are you feeling now?" You tried to sound reasonable, trying to make Sami understand why Darren acted with her like that.
"Sick." Sami admitted, regretful. "I'm sorry uncle Dare. It was my fault, you're the best uncle." Sami apologized looking at Darren, remorseful.
"It's okay, Sami. I only want you to understand why do I say and do all the things I say and do." Darren said hugging Sami. When he was hugging her, Darren looked at you and he moved his lips without making any sound, thanking you while you just nodded.
"Well Sami, you need to obey what your uncle tells you. Will you do that from now on?" You asked gently.
"Will do." Sami answered, nodding. "Auntie, why am I feeling like this? Would I have to go to a hospital? I don't want that."
"No, you're gonna be fine. You just ate a spoiled candy. The cold you're feeling is because you have fever, a cold shower is gonna help. And the pain you feel in your tummy is because of that candy, with healthy food, repose and syrup; you'll feel like before." You said comfortingly.
"Auntie... Do remember when I scraped my knee?" Sami asked curious and you nodded. "You did that magical power with your hands. You cured me with your magical powers! Darren doesn't know how to do it; you're the only one who has those magical powers. Could you do that now?"
"Sami." You laughed softly when you remembered that time you told her you had magical powers and then you put a bandage with rubbing alcohol on her knee to make her feel better. "Alright, I'm gonna do it. But, do you know what I'm gonna do? I'm gonna teach your uncle how to do it. Then when I'm not here to cure you with my magical powers, your uncle Darren is gonna be able to do so. What do you think?"
Telling this to Sami was a little hard for you because you knew you were saying that because probably the chances were that you wouldn't be able to be with Sami anymore, or at least not as you were used to be. And she needed to feel sure that Darren was going to replace you to make her feel better every time you couldn't. But you knew you're doing the right thing. Sami just needed to get used to be with Darren from now on, and the best way would be if you show Darren all the things you were used to do with Sami every time she felt bad. Darren was looking at you frowning, noticeably confused and bewildered. Sami, instead, was looking at you livelier and with a big smile on her face.
"I love this idea! Yes, yes, yes! Teach uncle Dare how to do it!" Sami bounced on her bed, excited.
"Alright!" You said cheerfully, with a big smile and then you looked at Darren. "I showed Sami once how magical powers can make her feel better. It's easy, you're gonna learn this magical power very fast."
"Okay…I thought that Harry freakin' Potter knew already all the magical powers but it seems I was wrong." Darren giggled goofily, still looking at you frowning and bewildered.
"Never is late to find out all the new magical powers." You said jokingly. "Fine. The first step is to focus on the problem. For example, in this case the problem is that Sami's tummy hurts, what we have to do is to think absorbedly that it's gonna be better. Focus on that, only think about it. Get it?"
"Fine I'm doing it. What do I do now?" Darren asked amused, but pretending being focused on that, closing his eyes.
"Now..." You said quietly and grabbed Darren's hand.
Darren quickly opened his eyes and looked up to you, getting nervous and a little uncomfortable; but there was something in his eyes you couldn't decipher. You tried to avoid his gaze because it was very deep and you felt uncomfortable as well; even though you were doing this for Sami and only because of her, you couldn't avoid all the feelings you had for Darren and how you wanted to be with him like before, being able to grab his hand and feel completely happy and comfortable with that, not in the way you were feeling now. You really wished this situation could be different. Slowly, you placed Darren's hand in Sami's tummy while Darren was still looking deeply at you with that look that was making you feel jumpy. You cleared your throat and focused your eyes on Sami's tummy to not to look Darren's eyes that was driving you insane.
"What you have to do now…" You started to say with a slight tremble voice, trying to sound natural again. "Is to focus all your energy on her tummy, positive energy. You know, good vibes."
"Okay. Good vibes." Darren said, still looking at you deeply. It seemed he couldn't stop looking at you that way and that was making you feel more than nervous now; but you decided to keep going for Sami.
"Right like that. Now, you have to start rubbing her tummy, just like this…" You said looking away and grabbed Darren's hands again to show him how to rub her tummy.
Right in the exact moment you grabbed his hand, a twinkle appeared in Darren's eyes; who was still looking into your eyes but he quickly looked away in direction of Sami's tummy, slightly frowning. You tried to avoid this action that took you by surprise and decided to focus on what you were trying to do. You needed to keep in mind you were doing this because of Sami and not for him, just as April told you to do considering the whole situation. Once you showed Darren how to do it, you let his hands, putting your own hands on your pockets.
"Keep rubbing her tummy." You said softly, looking down when you felt Darren's eyes fixed on your eyes when you let out his hands.
"Okay." Darren answered in a voice subdued. "Is this all or do I have to say some kind of magical words?"
"Of course you have to say magical words! It's a spell." You said lively, slightly smiling and looking at Sami this time. You didn't want to see Darren's face after hearing his appeased voice.
"Do I need my wand? Harry freakin' Potter has his own wand, you know?" Darren said winking at you, with a cocky smile. Was he talking in double meaning? You gulped and tried to avoid those thoughts, taking his answer in a harmless way.
"No, you don't need to use your wand this time. It's a new kind of magic; you do it only with your hands." You answered innocently, still avoiding his look.
"Oh, such a shame. I really wanted to use my wand. But sometimes using hands is good too; I guess you can do a lot of things with your hands." Darren said, still with the same cocky smile and Sami was just watching the situation in silence. Probably she didn't understand this double meaning Darren was talking, but you weren't sure.
"Yes, you'd be impressed with all the things you can do with your hands." You said this time looking at Darren into his eyes; half in double meaning, half harmless. Darren's eyes expressed some amusement.
"I'm glad you can teach me how to use my hands to give it a better use. A bird told me you're an expert using your hands." Darren said winking and smiling naughtily.
"Okay, stop right there, Darren." You said this time serious. It was inappropriate talking this way in front of Sami. You didn't know why Darren got like this all of a sudden; this was a little weird considering he was being very cold with you the last few weeks.
"Oh don't be shy." Darren said mischievously, fixing his eyes on yours. "Sami said you have powers in your hands. You should feel proud of it and not to feel ashamed of it. Right, Sami?"
"That's right! You have powers in your hands auntie. And that's a good thing because not everybody has it!" Sami said nodding, harmless. You raised an eyebrow and rolled your eyes.
"Right, sure. I have powers in my hands and I'm teaching you those powers to cure Sami." You said emphasizing each word, looking at Darren serious while he was still looking at you mischievously with that cocky smile.
"I'm a devout student. I'm willing to be a good learner, witch with powerful hands." Darren said winking and Sami laughed slightly.
"Teach him! Let's see if he's a good learner!" Sami said mocking Darren.
"Hey, you! Don't mock your uncle, missy!" Darren said, tickling Sami.
"Fine, fine! I won't, but stop!" Sami said laughing uncontrollably and you laughed along with her. Darren finally stopped and he looked at you.
"So well… What's the spell, witch with powerful hands?" Darren asked amused and you rolled your eyes.
"Fine, while rubbing your hands on her tummy you have to say…" You started to say, but Darren interrupted you.
"Erecto!" Darren yelled and laughed and you looked at him with wide eyes and serious. Really? Erecto? He was going out of control and you were in front of Sami. Why was he acting that way? "I'm very sorry, I had to say it. Sorry." Darren said trying to control his laughter once he saw your face.
"You're not being a good student as you said you would. It seems auntie is getting angry." Sami said, looking at Darren and you at the same time.
"Oh no! We have to hide, Sami! Who knows what the witch with powerful hands can do with her hands if she gets mad! Imagine if she turns us into extendable ears! Hide, Sami!" Darren yelled laughing, covering his face with his arms and Sami hid under the blankets, yelling. You couldn't avoid your laughter by looking at them playing and joking, but you tried to dissimulate it.
"It's gonna be worse! I'm gonna turn you into the Tom Riddle's diary! So watch out your behavior!" You said amused, but pretending a serious and malicious voice.
"No please, witch with powerful hands! I promise to be a good student from now on! Don't do that to us!" Darren faked a frightened voice, still covering his face with his arms, but exposing his eyes to look at you.
"I'll try you! Uncover your face, to begin. Sami, you get out of the blankets so Darren can practice the spell! If you behave I won't do anything to you." You said amused but challenging. Darren uncovered his face and Sami, slowly, got out of the blankets.
"Tell me, ma'am, what I have to do." Darren said serious, straightening.
"As I was saying before someone interrupted me…" You said serious, looking at Darren and he looked down but with an amused smile. "You have to keep rubbing her tummy and say… Heal, heal, little frog's bottom, if you don't heal today, you'll heal tomorrow."
"Oh damn. Really?" Darren said laughing out loud. "That's the most ridiculous, wacky and eccentric thing I've ever heard! Oh my wizard God!" Darren said unable to control his laughter.
"Do you wanna learn or not?" You said frowning slightly and completely ashamed. You knew it was silly and that was the reason you didn't want to tell Darren what you did with Sami every time she was feeling bad. You knew Darren was going to make fun of you because of this.
"I'm sorry! I want! But…frog's bottom? Really? Oh shit, I've never heard such a thing!" Darren said laughing out loud again and you blushed hard. You wanted to disappear from there, this was very embarrassing.
"Okay, make fun of it, Darren!" You said, getting serious and a little upset because Darren couldn't stop laughing of you. "Sami, it seems your uncle doesn't want to learn it. Maybe he can do something about with his powerful wand."
"No! Stop, uncle Dare! It works, it really works. You have to learn!" Sami complained, crossing her arms and pouting.
"I'm gonna stop, I swear. Please, don't get mad." Darren said placing his hand on your shoulder and looking at you with puppy dog eyes. You shuddered at Darren's touch and he looked at you that way. You hated that in situations like this one.
"I'm not mad." You answered curtly and you remembered why you were there. You shouldn't be dealing with Darren, you were there only because of Sami. "Fine, I taught you what you have to do. That's it. If you do it well, then Sami is gonna feel better."
"Aren't you mad? That's not what your face says…"
"Whatever." You interrupted Darren and he looked at you frowning and confused. You wouldn't let Darren to make fun of you. You leaned to caress Sami's hair with a fond smile. "Sami, sweetie. Once your uncle does that spell, you'll start feeling batter. But also I want you to take a cold shower, so the fever is gonna disappear. At least for a week eat only healthy food and do what your uncle says you have to do, remember that he knows what to do. Promise?"
"Promise. I'm gonna do it." Sami said nodding, looking at you while Darren was still looking at you confused, not smiling cockily like before.
"And don't be rude with your uncle, he wants the best for you. Okay? And if you need me sometime, just call me or tell your uncles to call me. Deal?" You said kindly, looking at her with a smooth smile.
"Deal. Thank you, auntie." Sami said smiling adorably. You smiled back at her and leaned to kiss her forehead.
"Okay, I trust on you. Now I have to go, but remember all I said to you." You said, standing up, still looking at Sami and ignoring Darren who was next to you in silence.
"I will! And when I get better we can go to the movies! I miss doing those things with you." Sami said.
"We'll see. If you get better soon, maybe I'm gonna take you to the movies." You said smiling widely.
"Yay! I'll do my best!" Sami said exciting, bouncing in her bed and you giggled slightly.
"I'll ask tomorrow how you're feeling. Remember, cold shower now!" You said warningly, and Sami nodded. "Fine, we'll see later, Sami. Take care and don't eat candies you find in any place."
Once Sami nodded again and you made sure she was being honest and she got all you tried to say to her, you turned around to leave her bedroom and leave. You did all you could do. Once you knew all that was happening to Sami and why it happened, you gave her all the advices you could give to her because you didn't know if you were going to be able to see her again and you didn't want her to feel bad again for something like that. You even taught Darren your stupid and silly magical power you used to do with Sami and he made fun of you, making you feel like a total fool and idiot, making you feel embarrassed because of you idiocy. You wouldn't let Darren to treat you that way, even if that wasn't his intention, he needed to understand that was making you feel bad and he had no rights to treat you like that. Yes, maybe you hid from him your real name and he was very offended because of that, but it didn't mean that he should treat you contemptuously. Lately you didn't know what Darren wanted or what he was feeling. Sometimes he was cute and fun with you, sometimes he joked with you and laughed like if everything were okay; but sometimes he treated you coldly, distant or in a hurtful way. You couldn't blame him if he couldn't stop treating you in that hurtful way because you admitted you hurt him; but you couldn't stand his changes of mood because that was making you feel confused. That way, you didn't know if ever you'd have the chance to fix things with him or not. Maybe the best was going to be to let Darren go as April said, as a matter you couldn't withstand the twists and turns.
When you got out Sami's bedroom, you closed the door behind you and you stood there for a few seconds, trying to control your several feelings, which were a mix of confusion, madness and sadness. On one side, you needed to go away from Darren's apartment; but on the other side, you couldn't leave him, because even you couldn't understand the way he was treating you, you realized by looking at him that you missed him a lot because he was the man you loved. With all your feelings, you started walking down the corridor decided to leave his apartment. Then you heard how Sami's bedroom door opened and someone started walking behind you, surely it was Darren, but you didn't look behind you. Even though you kept walking, Darren grabbed you by the arm, stopping you, and he turned you around to make you see him. You didn't struggle to leave, but neither looked into his eyes; you were feeling week and feeling a pressure on your chest.
"Hey, I'm really sorry. I don't know what happened there, but if I made you feel bad or mad, I'm really sorry. I swear it wasn't my intention." Darren said with a gloomy voice. He was very close to you, you could even smell his fragrance that brought you so many memories; you could even fell the warmth of his body and smell his breathe.
"It doesn't matter. I came here for Sami and I did all I could do." You answered almost in a whisper, still avoiding Darren's eyes.
"And you did an amazing job with her. Did you see her face? When she saw you, with all the things you said to her, she felt really better." Darren said smoothly and kindly, rubbing slightly your arm. "But I didn't get why all of a sudden you decided to go. If you thought I was making fun of you…it wasn't like that. Really."
"It's not what I thought, Darren. It was what actually you did. But whatever. I know I hurt you, but you don't have to do the same. I didn't come here to deal with it; I didn't even come here to try to make you listen to me, something that you've been refusing to do. I know you don't want it, you made it clear the last time we saw each other. So I only came here because of Sami, and now that I did all I could do, I think I should go. So excuse me, but April is waiting for me." You said clearly and firmly. When you finished saying all of this, you finally looked up to find Darren looking at you with a taciturn look. It made you feel bad, but you needed to remain strong and respect yourself as April told you to do. Anyway, Darren didn't let you go; he remained grabbing your arm and you tried to go.
"Wait." Darren almost begged, looking into your eyes with the same look. "I…listen…it's not that…oh crap." Darren rambled, getting a little nervous and you looked at him curious and frowning.
"You don't have to say anything, Darren. It's okay, I won't leave you alone when it's about Sami if that is what worries you. You don't have to feel forced to say something nice or whatever to get my help when you need, I'm gonna be here if you need it." You said serious and trying to hide your feelings so you sounded a bit distant and cold.
"No, you don't get it." Darren said shaking his head. "I'm not trying to say something nice because I want and I need your help. I...You hurt me so much."
"I know I did. You don't need to remind me that all the time and less when you don't want to hear the reasons why I did what I did." You said coldly this time, a bit annoyed because he was all the time reminding you that.
"Let me finish. I didn't say it because I want to remind you that..."
"I'm listening to you. Go ahead." You answered curtly.
"I know I said I got over you already. That was a lie." Darren said looking down and you looked at him frowning. What was he trying to say to you? At some point it seemed that he was playing with your feelings with his twists and turns. "Probably you know it...you know, when I called you on Christmas." Darren laughed bitterly.
"I understand you were drunk."
"Yeah, I was...but not completely."
"Darren, you didn't even know where you were." You said incredulous.
"Well...that was another lie. I knew where I was. I only wanted you to come where I was, I wanted to see you." Darren said shyly, still looking down.
"What are you talking about Darren? I heard you, your words practically had no coherence and you couldn't stop drawling." You said frowning and completely confused. At this point, you couldn't notice what was lie and what not.
"Because yes, I was drunk. But I wasn't drunk enough to not recognize where I was. Please don't make this harder than already is." Darren begged, this time looking at you a bit desperate.
"I won't. Just, leave it there, Darren. This has no point." You said, looking away and frowning.
"No! No, you don't get this. I can't just leave it there." Darren almost yelled, apparently in desperation and you couldn't understand why he was being like this all of a sudden, very different from the last time you met. You looked at him raising your eyebrows and surprised. "Sorry, I didn't mean to yell. Dammit. I'm just not ready to talk...about it. Not yet. I'm trying to clear up my mind to be able to talk, you know about what." Darren said almost in a whisper, this time with a soft voice.
"Why? It seems you don't care. You don't care to know what I have to tell you, you just don't care how this makes me feel. Because it's not all about you, Darren; it involves me too, my feelings are involved too. But it seems you simply don't care because you're so busy thinking of how you feel and anything else. I don't blame you; it's your decision to make this way. I tried several times to talk to you, but you turn a deaf ear to what I have to say." You said a little upset all that you were keeping inside, without thinking over it before.
"Do you really think it's like that?" Darren said frowning and incredulous with a hint of disappointment. "Do you really think that after all we shared, all we have been through, all I feel for you; I would get over this and be cold-hearted and careless about the whole situation? Do you really think that all the time we were together it was just a simple and insignificant love affair for me? Didn't I show you enough all I felt for you?"
"I..." You were speechless because you knew that Darren always showed you his love, that for him this wasn't just another love affair. He always gave you all of him; but the way he took the last thing that happened between you both it seemed that he just gave up on everything and he just didn't care of working it out to make it better. Darren was looking at you bemused and raising an eyebrow, very thoughtful.
"I do care. More than you think and it makes me feel bad that you can't see this that way. That day, when I called you on Christmas I was dying to see you. That Christmas wasn't at all everything I had in mind. When I came to New York I thought we would spend Christmas together. I've even bought you a damn present. Then all got fucked up. Fuck, I hated picturing it. I wanted to talk to you, to say you that I...never mind. The thing is that I meant all I said to you that night; maybe not in that way, maybe not so rudely and outright. I know I said bad and harsh things to you, but I also told you nice things. Because that's the way I feel. Completely fucked up, confused and with a mix of feelings that make all of this a huge damn mess." Darren said exasperated.
"What's your point Darren?" You said a little tired because he was confusing you even more than you already were. You just wanted to know what he wanted; you needed to know it to keep moving.
"My point is that I love you." Darren said looking into your eyes, but in a very different way that he used to look at you every time he told you he loved you. There was a hint of sorrow in his eyes. Anyway, your heart started beating faster when you heard those words. You wanted to hear those words, maybe not the way Darren just told you so; but it meant a lot to you. "It's just… It's not fair what you did. How would you feel if one day I come and I say you that all I made you think about me it's a big damn lie? That my name actually isn't Darren; that I was hiding my real identity all this time? Can you understand me? Yeah, I love you but I'm confused. Yeah, every time I see you my heart go wee, I think of you almost all the time, I think of all that happened. I try to find a reason that can solve this, and I can't. I try to keep you away because honestly I don't know if this is gonna work again, but also I can't. And seeing you with Sami today…" Darren said, sighing and looking away. You could see that his eyes were shinning, but it was a sad expression and not a cheerful one. "Seeing you with her, the way you're with her, the fact that you came here regardless things between us were totally screwed…That reminded me why I love you this much. So I just couldn't contain myself. There was a moment I forgot why we were distant; all that I cared about was to spend that moment, just the three of us as we used to do. I missed it. You have no idea how I wanted…" Darren said in a whisper and he got even closer, this time grabbing both of your hands and resting his forehead against you. He closed his eyes while you kept staring at him surprised, this was something you weren't expecting to happen. He remained silent for a while, the only you could feel was he breathing against your face. You thought your body started to shake because this was very intense for you. "I wanted to… damn…" Darren whispered in front your lips and then, surprisingly and unexpectedly, his lips brushed your lips very slightly.
"What are you doing?" You whispered faintly, consumed by your desires to kiss him but knowing it wasn't right in that moment you haven't talked yet.
"I miss you like hell." Darren whispered in some kind of distressed moan, brushing your lips and still with his eyes closed. "You have no idea how much I want to kiss you right now and be like before; but I know I'm gonna screw this up because when you're gone I'm gonna remember why we grown apart. I'm a huge mess and I hate this because I can't fucking focus in all the things I have to do. Just let me be like this, just for a few seconds."
"Darren…you need to listen to me." You whispered weakly again. You needed to talk with Darren, you needed to explain him everything because you didn't want to let him go. In this situation you forgot all you and April talked about hours ago, you only wanted to be with him.
"No, not now." Darren whispered and he leaned his head to kiss very slightly your lips. "Oh shit, I can't do this." Darren said complaining and he got away from you abruptly, opening his eyes.
"Darren, please." You begged with chocked voice, looking into his eyes which were avoiding yours. "We cannot be like this, both of us wishing to be together but not being able to do so because you refuse to listen to me. Why don't you want to listen? Are you scared? Are you giving up? Just explain me why because I can't be like this, every second trying to guess what you want or what you think."
"I want to listen to you. But I need time, I'm not ready to hear something that probably I won't like to hear. I swear I'm not giving up, I only don't want to screw things more than already are and to do so I need time." Darren said frankly, looking deeply into your eyes. "And you ask me to explain you why. Well, I can't tell you precisely why because what I think is very different of what I want. Can you see why I need that time? To make it makes sense."
"So what do you want now? Because if you tell me you need time to be by yourself, I need to know. If you tell me now to go, I will. But don't expect me to come back to make you listen to me, because I won't." You said firmly even though inside you were breaking. You needed to have some kind of consistent response. "If there's something I can tell you now, is that I love you. But I can't be waiting all my life for you to listen. Because, believe it or not, it hurts me and I can't be thinking all the time how things would be. I'm not intending to sound harsh and cold-hearted, but as I put myself in your shoes, I want you to do the same. I'm hesitating all the time, wondering if all will be fixed and if it's worth the wait or it never would happen. How am I supposed to keep living like this?" You said desperate and distressed.
"I don't know what I want! I don't have the answer for that. I'm a dumb human who's confused, as any other human being would be. Don't force me to answer something whose answer I don't know." Darren exclaimed frowning, apparently he was messed up.
"Fine, Darren. That's enough for me." You said distressed, looking away. "April is waiting for me. Just call me if Sami needs something or…just let me know how she is." You let out Darren's hands and turned around to leave.
"No, wait!" Darren said, grabbing your arm but you pulled away your arm from him.
"Stop, Darren. When you're ready to talk, if you ever are…just call me, text me or whatever. But meanwhile I have to keep moving. Try to understand me as well." You said roundly and Darren looked down in silence. "Right."
You walked away from Darren and entered to the living room where April was. She was sitting cross legged on the floor, admiring Darren's guitar and an amount of scores that were next to the guitar. You forgot that April knew how to play the guitar and it was one of her passions; since little she learned how to play it and how to read scores since his mother was a musician. When you entered in the room, April looked up at you and then she looked behind you; apparently Darren followed you and he was standing behind you. April's face reflected admiration and fascination; you guessed it was because of those scores.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Criss. I saw the guitar and all the scores and I took the boldness to take a look. My mom is a musician and she taught me how to play guitar and read scores and I couldn't resist. Sorry because of my recklessness." April said leaving some scores she had on her hand, standing up and looking behind you.
"That's alright." Darren answered, walking closer to April. You glanced at him and saw that he was smiling. "She never told me you knew how to play the guitar." Darren said looking quickly at you and then he returned his gaze to April, grabbing his guitar. "It's nice to know it. Do you want to play something with me? I have a spare guitar here."
"I'd love it! I was taking a look all of those scores and I must say you're very talented, Mr. Criss. Did you write all those songs?" April asked bewitched, really excited.
"Please, call me Darren." He said graciously, smiling. "Yeah, I wrote all those songs. Those are new songs I've been writing lately."
"Well, I must to congratulate you, Darren. The composition and melody of the songs are amazing, even though the lyrics are kind of sad. I'm haunted with your job." April said with wide eyes and delighted while Darren giggled slightly but a little uncomfortable.
"Thank you. Well yeah, I've been writing those songs lately, the lyrics…" Darren started to say but he stopped, feeling uncomfortable. April finally realized why those songs had those sad lyrics and she blushed, looking down embarrassed. Darren finally cleared his throat. "Anyway, there's the guitar if you want to play it. We could play some of those new songs."
You looked at April in horror to let her know that wasn't a good idea. Probably those songs were referred to you; and if April said those were sad songs, you really didn't want to hear those because if you were feeling wretched now you didn't want to imagine how you'd feel after listening them. But April didn't look at you; instead, she grabbed the guitar that was close to her with an exciting smile. Darren took a look at the scores, choosing finally one of those new songs. Both April and Darren sat on the couch and Darren showed April the scores. Meanwhile, you stood there in front of them, trying to go away as quick as you could; but they seemed very excited so you just sat in a chair, a little away from them. You begged that new song had nothing to do with you.
"Alright, I picked this song. Hope you're fine with it." Darren said looking the scores and tuning the guitar.
"Yeah…" April said a little insecure and frowning when she saw which song it was. "It's okay."
"Great. Okay we're gonna start with D major chord, then when playing the G and C chord, strum them 4 times each, but when playing the D chord, strum it 8 times. Get it?" Darren asked gently to April and she nodded. "Do you sing?"
"Oh no, not at all. I just play the guitar." April said, a little uncomfortable.
"Okay, so I'm gonna sing it alone and you play the guitar along with me." Darren said looking at April and when he noticed she was a little nervous, he giggled reassuringly. "Chill out, not that I'm Darth Vader and I'm gonna leave a cauterized wound in your flesh with my lightsaber if you mess it up."
"Darth Vader? Really?" April laughed amused.
"Really. I'm more like Yoda." Darren said laughing and he made a funny face, pretending to be Yoda and making a weird sound. "Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by size, do you?"
"Oh my God." April said laughing out loud and you couldn't help it but laugh along with them.
"So you know it now. Don't judge me by size." Darren said giggling amused. "Alright, are you ready to start now or do you prefer me talking about senseless things?"
"Oh no, please. I'm ready." April said jokingly.
"Okay, just watch out because Yoda has a lightsaber too." Darren added as a final joke before starting playing his guitar while April started to do the same. Then the moment you were scared to live, came. That song was definitely written for you. April glanced at you uncomfortable when Darren started to sing, focused on his guitar.
Not long ago I read your letter,
And before I could answer,
Pieces to the wind, grown us apart.
I'm going away to forget this fear to you.
I have no way out, I have no solution.
Not long ago I broke my memory of you,
Thinking of ending it all at once.
But neither time nor distance
Mean everything to me.
Something always brings me back.
I've always heard you,
And I don't believe you anymore.
Why can't I understand you?
Why are you so far?
I've always heard you,
And I don't believe you anymore.
Why can't I understand you?
Why are you so far?
Not long ago I gave you it all,
Unable to imagine you'd change us.
But neither your words nor your promises
Mean everything to me.
Deception, betrayal and lies.
I've always heard you,
And I don't believe you anymore.
Why can't I understand you?
Why are you so far?
I've always heard you,
And I don't believe you anymore.
Why can't I understand you?
Why are you so far?
This letter is from me to you.
I want you to understand
That I carry you in my mind.
But maybe you never existed,
Maybe you were my best invention.
I've always heard you,
And I don't believe you anymore.
Why can't I understand you?
Why are you so far?
Deception, betrayal and lies.
Darren sang it as if he was really feeling all he was singing. During the song, Darren looked at you fixedly with sad and disappointed eyes. As April said, the composition and melody of the song was perfect, but the song was really depressing; even more for you. Because it was more than obvious that song was written for you, every single word of the song has a meaning for you and your relationship. It hurt you have heard that song, because you noticed how Darren really was feeling. Cheated and betrayed, hopeless and distressed. He made it clear he loved you, but he wasn't sure to give it a try over again. When the song finished, the awkward silence lasted several minutes. Darren was looking at you deeply, trying to figure out what you were feeling; you were looking down, trying to hold back your tears; and April was looking at the guitar, uncomfortable with the whole situation.
"You're very talented at playing the guitar, April. It was very nice playing with you." Darren said, trying to break with that uncomfortable silence.
"Thank you, I can say that my mom made a good job with me, then." April answered shyly, still looking at her guitar.
"Hell yes!" Darren exclaimed, trying to laugh but it didn't sound as he expected it'd sound. "Well, I'm still working on the song. I'm not convinced about the lyrics, I need to fix some things. Also some chords that I noticed aren't so good. I wrote this, I don't know…few weeks ago. I need to change some things." Darren said uncomfortable, almost rambling. Now you really wanted to go.
"Well, I think we should go…" You finally said, standing up. Darren and April looked up at you, raising their eyebrows. When April saw your face, she nodded in agreement and left the guitar aside, standing up.
"Hold on. I was wondering if you both want to stay for dinner. I could order something, and we can keep sharing some things about music, I know both of you enjoy it…" Darren said abruptly, trying to convince you both to stay.
"Sorry, but we already had plans. Maybe some other time." You refuted, avoiding his look. "Right, April?" You looked at her very intently.
"Yes…we planned going out for dinner." April answered shyly and blushing.
"That's great! I could take Sami with me and go out for dinner. It's almost the same than ordering food." Darren joked, a little nervous.
"No." You refused abruptly, sounding a little harsh. Darren looked at you surprised and afflicted, so you softened your voice. "Just, it has been a while since the last time I saw April and we need to have some time alone."
"Oh, okay. I get it." Darren said dreary, looking down. "Maybe some other time, then." He looked up and tried to smile.
"Yes, maybe. Oh, I forgot." You said, walking to Darren and looking something on your pocket. "Here, the keys. Let me know how Sami feels later."
"Will do." Darren said, receiving the keys and touching your hands slightly.
You and April walked toward the front door and Darren approached you, opening the door. April was the first one to leave Darren's hotel room and then you tried to go out but Darren grabbed your hand, what made you look at him in surprise.
"I..." Darren babbled, nervous.
"I wanted..." Darren babbled again, looking behind you were April was, nervous. He remained silent for a while and you just looked at him.
"See you, Darren." You finally said when you noticed that Darren was still babbling, unable to utter a word. But when you were about to go again, he grabbed your hand again and leaned his head to kiss your cheek.
"See you." Darren said softly and then he leaned to whisper something in your ear. "I still miss you regardless all that happened."
"Yeah...Bye, Darren." You said with chocked voice, trying to ignore his gaze and finally he let out your hand and closed the door.
You didn't say anything while you were in the elevator, even though April couldn't stop looking at you with pity. You didn't say anything when you were in the hall of the hotel. But once you finally left the hotel, you burst into tears that you were holding back. You never imagined it would be very hard for you to see Darren again. You never imagined to have that talk with Darren, to listen that song he wrote for you, to feel the way you were feeling: More confused and miserable than before. April looked at you with compassion and she hugged you tight.
"I'm so sorry, Shorty!" April said with benignity. "I didn't know it could be like that. I know I shouldn't have played that song with Darren, but..."
"No, April. It's not your fault. It's me." You said sobbing, wiping away some tears. "I and my stupid weakness to see Darren and figure out that I love him like hell and the frustration to know I can barely do something about. When I came here I thought I could do it, I was self-confident. But then I saw him, April. And we talked... and if before I was confused, now I'm a complete mess of confusion."
"What? Have you talked?" April asked curious and frowning.
"Yeah...but no about all I had to say to him. He told me he needs time. And I can't..." You said with chocked voice and burst into tears again.
"Let it go, for your own good. If he loves you, he's gonna come back to you and you're gonna be able to finally talk to him." April said reassuringly. "C'mon, let's go out for a dinner and catch me up."
TWO DAYS LATER…
The days since the last time you saw Darren went by very fast. You didn't see him again and he didn't text you at all. You only got one text message from him the next day you went to his hotel room to see Sami; a text message that said that Sami was better and thanking you for your help. He didn't mention the talk you had and he neither mentioned he wanted to talk to you about it. It was just a short and concise text. You tried to not to think so much about Darren, but the truth was your meeting affected you a lot. You couldn't keep away from your mind the half and quick kiss, the feeling of Darren touching your arm and hands, his eyes, his smile. Every second you found yourself thinking of him, even though you didn't want it. But the thing about you used to think a lot the few last days was about the song he wrote. If Darren was actually feeling like that, maybe you wouldn't have a chance because he was so closed minded to see another point of view about the situation. You couldn't blame him for that, but you could blame him for not listening to you. If he only gave you the chance to talk to him, possibly everything would be fine at this time. But it wasn't like that and it seemed that Darren was going to need a long time to clear up his mind like he said he wanted to do. Meanwhile you needed to keep going and April said she was going to help you, just as Matt said once you told him all the news. It seemed that both of them were plotting something that they refused to tell you and you actually weren't sure if you wanted to know it.
Even though you didn't want to see Darren after realizing all he made you feel every time you saw him; today was a special day. That night was the opening night of his new show on Broadway, where he was going to portray the main role of the work. Of course you've planned with Darren to go watch him performing in first row, going with him to the after show party. That wasn't going to happen now, but you couldn't skip his opening night even though everything was screwed. You knew this was special for him, and regardless you didn't want to see him in this moment, you loved him and if this was special for him, you were going to be there. Darren didn't need to know you were going to his show; you were going only to watch the play and then you were going to leave as any other normal person would do. After all it was a Broadway show, and you loved it; you loved everything that had to do with Broadway. Obviously you weren't going to go alone, Matt agreed to join you because he also loved Broadway and of course to make you company.
To Matt: Still on for tonight? Don't you dare to regret at this time, Matt, or I swear I'm gonna make your life miserable.
From Matt: Oh, snap! It seems I don't have any getaway. Darn. You're talking of going out for an ice cream, aren't you?
To Matt: The ice cream is what I'm gonna throw at your face if you don't come here at time to go to the show.
From Matt: Shit! I'm bamboozled. Maybe I could accept your offer of going to some particular show. I'm bringing a friend, hope you don't mind!
To Matt: As long as your friend isn't your Optimus Prime robot.
From Matt: Hey, you! What's up with you and my Optimus Prime robot? But no, it's not my Optimus Prime robot. He's a flesh and blood friend.
To Matt: A friend, huh? Is he only a friend?
From Matt: There you are, gossip girl! He is only a friend. And April is coming too, so you won't feel alone. The more the merrier?
To Matt: The more the merrier. I'll be waiting for you, April and your "friend". See you in a bit, Drama King!
It didn't take so long till you heard your doorbell ringing, just in time you finished to dress up and put some make up on. You quickly grabbed your purse and your coat to leave your apartment and walk to where April's car was parked. When you got into the car, you recognized April and Matt; but there was this boy, Matt's friend, who you didn't know who was. It was a pretty handsome guy; tall with toned body, messed dark hair and deep blue-gray eyes, with the most perfect nose you've ever seen and a scruffy look. He really looked as a model and you stared at him dazzled until you realized you were looking like a fool when Matt and April chuckled softly mockingly. If this guy was gay and he was into Matt, you needed to talk to Matt and tell him to not let him go. The guy smiled brightly at you, exposing his perfect white teeth. Gosh, he was charming like some kind of hip Disney prince.
"Nice to meet you. I'm Nick, Matt's friend who isn't Optimus Prime." Nick said graciously, still smiling brightly and you blushed slightly.
"Oh dammit. He didn't tell you the Optimus Prime story." You said a little embarrassed. For some reason this guy was making you feel introverted.
"Oh yes, he did. Such a good story. Thanks god I'm a real human being." Nick said vivaciously and you laughed nervously. Why were you feeling like that?
"She wouldn't like to know all the things I told you, Nick." Matt said amused, looking at Nick and you frowned, still blushing.
"What kind of things?" You asked suspiciously.
"Oh nothing. Just things about you. Matt didn't forget to mention you were gorgeous. I can tell he was right." Nick said...flirting? That wasn't possible, he was gay.
"Has he paid you to say so?" You said blushing but trying to make it sound jokingly.
"Not at all. No one needs to be paid to say you're gorgeous. It's enough to just look at you to realize that it's like that." Nick said smiling sexily with that bright smile. This was very odd. Why he was saying all those things? You were sure Matt had something to do with all of this, surely to make you feel better because lately you've been feeling down.
"Yeah, sure. Thanks, though." You said shyly, looking down to avoid his deep and intense blue-gray eyes.
"Alright, let's go April or we're gonna be late. There's gonna be more time to flirt or whatever." Matt said chuckling and April chuckled along with him. You were sure this was part of that famous plan they've been plotting.
All the way to the Broadway theatre, Nick talked to you still in that flirty way while the only you could do was being shy and nervous; of course you weren't used to be courted that way, to hear all those compliments he was saying you. At one point, it began to annoy you because you knew this surely was planned by Matt and April and if they thought this was a good way to make you feel better and forget Darren, they were wrong. Not that you didn't like the things Nick was telling you; but considering this was planned and probably Matt and April told Nick to say nice things to you, made you feel that anything was true, that he was doing it because of pity. And there was nothing worse than feel pity for someone. Things were supposed to happen naturally and not planned. This context was worse if you stopped to think that it was probable that Nick was gay. At some point you thought that you must be looking as a girl who needed be loved desperately. Maybe you needed to feel loved, but not that way, not with someone who you just met; you knew that what you wanted was to feel loved by Darren. Contemplating this situation, the best thing was to joke about the way Nick was flirting you, flirting with him also but in a jokingly way.
Finally you arrived at the theatre and Nick, as flirty as he was being, got out of the car before you could, to open for you the car door. You couldn't help remembering that time when you went to LA for the very first time to meet Darren, when he picked you up at the airport and he opened the car door for you, like a gentleman. You tried to not think about that moment, to not bring up Darren into your mind all the time; but it was inevitable. Nick helped you to get out of the car by giving you his hand and, when you finally got out, Nick intertwined his arm with yours. You looked at him startled by this action you weren't expecting. You didn't have the enough confidence to walk like that and, once again, you thought when you met Darren in person for the very first time in Central Park; when, even though you didn't know each other so much, he intertwined his arm with yours in public because it was cold. Nick was bringing you up a lot of memories you had with Darren and you couldn't tell why. Anyway, you let Nick to do so and you walked like that to the queue of people to enter to the theatre. The place was full of people of all ages, mainly teenagers with posters and pink sunnies like Darren was used to wear. Then, all of a sudden, the teens piled into a sector and started to scream in excitement. You tried to see what was happening and then you saw him; you saw Darren surrounded by bodyguards, walking to the theatre and smiling brightly, waving his hand to the people who were around. Your face surely reflected a little panic because Nick started to lead you to the queue of people who was moving to enter the theater, fact that you didn't realize. Seeing Darren that happy make you feel good, but seeing Darren again brought you a lot of feelings again; now you couldn't avoid feeling nervous every time you saw him. Meanwhile, the teens stopped screaming in excitement and that was a sign that Darren had already entered the theater. After several minutes, you finally entered to the Minskoff Theatre and searched for your seats, in the raised stalls. Matt and April sat next to each other and Nick, who was still taking you by your arm, sat next to you. The room was full of people; it was extraordinary to see so many people. Of course the show was going to start in about half an hour, s you had time to go to the bathroom.
"Be right back, I need to go to the bathroom." You whispered to all, getting up of your seat.
"Here we're gonna be, gorgeous." Nick said smiling charmingly at you and you nodded blushing again.
You quickly walked away from your seat to find the way to the bathroom. Even though you loved Broadway, you never had the chance to go before because of economic reasons; so you didn't know where the bathroom was. Ironically, the first play that you were going to see on Broadway was Darren's show. It seemed that in all the new things you did or experienced in your life, Darren was involved or he has something to do. Again, you were thinking about Darren; damn, you needed to stop it. For now, you focused on finding the way to the bathroom in that magnificent and huge theatre. You didn't want to ask someone where the bathroom was because you'd seem a complete fool, so you just tried to figure it out by yourself and, of course, you were getting lost. Then you heard a voice yelling behind you.
"Look who's here!" A very familiar voice exclaimed.
You turned around to check if it was the person you were thinking it was. Certainly, you were right. Joey was standing there looking at you with his usual big smile. It made you feel really joyful to see Joey again after a long time. He was a special person in your life who helped you in a very difficult moment. Even though you were used to text each other and you strengthened a nice friendship, you haven't seen him in person since that time you were in the beach house in Dockweiler Beach. A big and bright smile appeared on your face as a sign of your cheerfulness.
"Am I not gonna get a hug showing all the happiness you feel to see this goober again?" Joey said frowning but still with his big smile.
"It depends." You said jokingly and then you laughed before hugging him tight.
"With that hug I'm gonna think you missed me. Weird, because it seems years since the last time I got any news from you." Joey said, looking at you.
"I'm sorry!" You looked at Joey with a look very similar than Darren's puppy dog eyes. "I've been like crazy the last weeks, it's been all craziness!"
"Hey, first of all don't look at me that way. Then, is okay you wanted to take a break of my idiocy." Joey answered amused, completely easeful. Did he know what happened between you and Darren? Because it didn't seem like that; but you weren't sure.
"You're such an idiot. I missed that idiocy." You laughed playfully.
"That's a compliment, thank you." Joey bowed jokingly. "You're always welcome to join my idiocy; I'm not a stingy guy. Now you look lost."
"Oh, I am. It is too obvious it's my first time here?" You asked curious and playfully.
"Nah, just a little bit, you know." Joey giggled and you did the same. "Are you looking for your seat? Let me help you, the front stalls are right there, surely you have a seat in first row. Come with me." Joey said pointing you the seats that were in front of the stage, and taking you by the arm.
"Oh, no, no!" You said hurriedly blushing, stopping Joey. Maybe Joey had no idea that you and Darren broke up. "No, I don't have a seat in first row. Actually I already found my seat, in the raised stalls."
"In the raised stalls? Are you fucking kidding me? Why are you there?" Joey asked confused.
"Well, the front stalls were expensive, I couldn't afford it." You almost whispered a little ashamed. Why you were feeling like that with Joey?
"That's bullshit. I'm sure you have free pass for the front stalls! Hey, c'mon, you're the mysterious girl!" Joey said as if it were the most obvious thing in the whole planet.
"Joey…Darren and I…well, it's not like before. You know…we are kind of…" You started to say nervous, looking down.
"I know." Joey said, this time softening his voice, compressive. "But come on, whatever what happened, you're still an important person to him. What makes you think you don't have free pass for those seats? Just because you had a little argument you have to clear up, it doesn't mean that Darren won't be happy to see you there, in that seat he was saving for you since he knew he was going to be in Broadway again."
"Joey, we didn't have just a little argument. He broke up with me and things are pretty screwed, he refuses to see me and he avoids seeing me. I don't think he's going to be happy as you said he would. It's better like this, trust me." You said, this time sad because you were remembering why your relationship with Darren was so fucked up.
"So why you're here? I mean, if things are so screwed as you said...Why are you here anyway?"
"What?" You asked confused because you never imagined Joey asking you that.
"You heard me. If things were so screwed, you wouldn't be here. If you ask for my opinion, I think both of you are overreacting things when the most obvious thing is that neither of you can be away from each other. But never mind, it's just my opinion and it's not right to talk about it here." Joey said easy, shrugging; while you looked at him astonished. You weren't expecting Joey saying all of those things.
"It's not so easy like that."
"Hey, listen we have time to talk about it and I can give you my point of view. But now we just should enjoy the show, shouldn't we?" Joey said looking at you and trying to calm you and you nodded, looking down. "So, come with me to the first stalls."
"No, Joey, I'm sorry. I won't do that. I was only looking for the bathroom because I really need to go to the bathroom." You said quickly, trying to change the subject of the conversation.
"To the bathroom? Oh hell, you're lost." Joey said laughing. "You're completely in the wrong direction. The bathrooms are behind that huge door behind you."
"Oh dammit. I told you it's my first time here." You said embarrassed, looking to that door and blushing.
"And it's completely understandable. I'll take you there. Anyway, I need to go to the bathroom as well."
"Alright. But I'm not sure you're gonna be allowed to enter the ladies room." You said raising an eyebrow playfully.
"Oh shit! You ruined my hopes. I thought that by this time I looked like a hot lady." Joey said frowning and faking frustration. "Fine, I give up. I'm going to the men's room."
"Don't feel bad. Someday you're gonna get it." You winked at Joey and laughed softly along with him.
Joey took you by your arm and led you to the corridor where the bathrooms were. He led you to the ladies room and he stopped there.
"Well, here is it. I'm going to the men's room and then I'm gonna come here to wait for you because I know how women are when they say they have to go to the bathroom. I can't get why you can spend hours in the bathroom, man. Boys just go, pee and they're full. I have no idea what women do right there. Anyway, I'm gonna wait for you right here. If something comes to happen and I'm not here when you go out, then wait for me because it's gonna be me the one who's doing weird things in the bathroom. I need to check my makeup." Joey said really quickly.
"Joey, Joey!" You laughed. "I got it. Or you wait for me or I wait for you. Deal?"
"Deal." Joey said giggling. "See you in a bit, please make it a bit or the show is gonna start without us!" He laughed and you nodded.
You finally got into the bathroom and you looked yourself in the mirror, but really not looking at yourself. Instead, you were thinking in that little talk with Joey; even though your conversation didn't last so much, it meant a lot to you. You were really happy to see him again, he always knew how to make you laugh with his funny comments; but he always knew what to say to make you think about something in particular you couldn't or didn't want to think. What did he mean with that both Darren and you couldn't be away from each other? Of course you couldn't be away from Darren and you noticed this every time you saw him; the way you missed him and the way you wanted him back to your life were the enough proof. But Darren? He proved you he could be away from you, otherwise he'd have agreed talking to you and making this right; but he was very distant and honestly he didn't show you any kind of desire to see you again, even though you didn't want to think about it because it made you feel really distressed. And why was Joey very insistent of you going to the first row with him after the fact he knew that Darren broke up with you? Obviously Darren wouldn't be happy to see you there as Joey said, not after considering the way Darren treated you and the way Darren was taking this entire situation between the two of you. Maybe Joey hasn't understood that Darren neither wanted to see you nor to talk to you, he couldn't see how your relationship could be good again after all that happened. And why did he ask you why you were there? The answer was obvious; you wanted to see Darren's show because it was important to him. But...Was it the real reason? No, it wasn't; but you didn't want to face the truth. The truth was that you were there because you wanted to see Darren in all his glory, you wanted to see him happy and smiling as that boy you fell in love with, very different than the boy he was being now with you. You wanted to see his big and goofy smile that you missed, his incredible talent, his magnificence. You thought that coming here this night you'd have the chance to talk to him, that miraculously things between you both would be like before. But that wasn't going to happen and you needed to come to reality, the reality that Darren still felt things for you, but he was decided to not give it a try, once again. If that was easy for him, why it wasn't easy for you? For now, you needed to keep pretending that you were right, that you were over him because you didn't want to answer uncomfortable questions from your friends.
You forgot why you wanted to come to the bathroom because all you could do was to think about everything that the conversation with Joey brought up to your mind. You've been in the bathroom for so long now and probably Joey was outside, waiting for you. You just looked in the mirror again to fix your hair and then you went out the bathroom. But Joey wasn't there, he wasn't kidding when he said he needed to fix his makeup. That cheered you a little and made you laugh inside. You walked to the man's room to wait for Joey and you stopped in front the door when you heard some voices.
"I told you you're in speakerphone because I can't grab my phone to talk decently to you. I'm absurdly busy." Joey's voice was saying, apparently talking with his phone.
"Oh fuck you, Joey. You're in the bathroom, aren't you?" A man's voice said laughing. It was a voice that made you skip a beat of your heart. It was Darren's voice. You couldn't help it but getting closer to hear clearer.
"All I can say is that this place smells like Trix cereals and I'm feeling like peeing delightfully."
"Why the hell are you calling me few minutes before the show to tell me you're peeing delightfully? Does this conversation have a point? Otherwise, I'm gonna hang up to let you finish peeing delightfully alone." Darren's voice said amused. "At least you could share some of those Trix cereals man, fucking delicious. Now I want some. Thanks, Hermione."
"That's offensive, dude! I brought my blue sweatband. That means I'm still Ron, your best friend who has some amazing and interesting news for you. But considering you don't appreciate my call..." Joey said intriguingly.
"Fuck you, just say it, man! What the hell are you talking about? How the hell do you have news already? We saw each other an hour ago!" Darren's voice said anxious and intrigued, still amused.
"I'm the king of news. They should give me a paid job to have all the breaking news. I'm so good, man." Joey said, complimenting himself.
"They would, but you know...they don't want to lose the seriousness and responsibility which characterizes them. You'd lead them to the ruin."
"You know what? Screw the breaking news. I ain't telling you a shit now." Joey said, trying to hold back his laughter.
"Say it or I'm gonna make those gorillas more known as security staff to kick you out. Just one call and your ass would end so bruised that you won't be able not even to sit." Darren's voice said amused.
"Rude, man! And I thought we were friends. Weird!" Joey faked a resentful voice. "These are interesting breaking news."
"Again...how do you get all those breaking news?"
"Let's say that it's interesting all the people you can meet here. Unbelievable." Joey's said mysteriously and your heart started to beat faster. Was he going to tell Darren you were there? You didn't want it, but you couldn't stop him because he was inside the bathroom and he'd figure out you were listening all of this.
"Is she here?" Darren's voice asked suddenly very nervous.
"Oh yeah, she is."
"Dammit." Darren's voice exclaimed.
"What the hell is that supposed to mean? You could show more excitement, I'm telling you a very interesting breaking new."
"Shit, Joey. You know what it means. How does she look?" Darren's voice asked, still nervous and eager.
"I must admit she looks outstanding. Man, she looks hot." Joey exclaimed amused.
"Stop it, Joey." Darren's voice said a little annoyed.
"Do I sense jealousy?" Joey's voice said amused, making fun of Darren.
"Fuck you, Joey." Darren's voice said annoyed. "But why do you say it?"
"Intrigued? Let me describe her. She's wearing a very hot black silk dress with a red heart on the chest which fits perfectly on her body. Man, the girl has a very nice looking body. She's wearing a totally awesome earrings. Man, I want those earrings, are a treble clef earrings! And her hair...I don't know what the hell she did with her hair but she has it tied in a neat side bun with parted sides falling on front. And her makeup, man. She has a smokey-eyed look, very sexy and sultry; and her lips... are red as hell. If I were you, I wouldn't leave the girl alone; she's going to be attacked by hungry men. Was I good at describing her?" Joey asked amused.
"Just shut up, Joey. Tell me, is that dress a short dress?"
"It is. Wanting to see her legs?" Joey made fun of Darren, letting out a giggle.
"Seriously, man? I'm gonna kick your ass when i get to see you. I know what dress she's wearing. The dress I gave to her the time we met in person for the first time, I gave it to her to recognize how she looked like. Dammit, she's wearing that dress. And how did she look?" Darren asked again eager.
"I thought I just described her. Have you listened to me at all?"
"Idiot. I mean...Does she look happy?"
"Well..." Joey started to say, doubting.
"Say it." Darren demanded.
"Yeah, she looked happy. But she was pretending it. She still has her cheerful smile, but her eyes looked a little gloomy. I don't know man; you really need to stop having such a childish attitude and go talk to her. Hear yourself, man. Wanting to know all about her and she came here, Darren. That has to mean something, don't you think?" Joey's voice turned serious.
"Don't meddle on this, Joey. Things don't happen without a reason. And yeah, of course I'm asking about her. What do you think? That I'm gonna act as if I don't feel anything at all by knowing she's here?" Darren's voice said slightly annoyed.
"That's the point. You're so focused on what happened that you let your brain winning your feelings. Man, that sounds super sappy, but really. You're letting go the person who made you feel as happy, if not happier, as you were before Mia. Now you can't see it, but then you're gonna regret for not being brave enough to talk to her." Joey said soundly.
"That's my business. I need time."
"Fuck you and that damn time, Darren! She's not going to wait for you forever, man! Really good things rarely happen, it's like the train comes once in life and if it leaves, and it may leave and never come back. You're losing the train, you're not coming at time and the train it's gonna leave without you, Darren. What happened to you, bud?" Joey asked concerned.
"What the hell do you mean?"
"The man I know was self-confident, with a clear goal that would do whatever it takes to make it happen. The man I'm seeing now is a scared man, insecure, who doesn't know what he wants because he's overthinking everything and never has a clear goal because he makes up things on his mind that probably aren't like that. The hell, Darren. Go ahead and talk to her, goddammit!" Joey exclaimed almost desperate.
"I told you it's my business, so I'm doing what I think it's the best."
"Damn, the best for what? Do you think that not talking to her is gonna make you feel better? Let me tell you that you won't get anywhere like that. But you know what? Do whatever you want, Darren. But when you decide to talk to her, it's gonna be late. She's a beautiful girl, inside and outside. Do you think that no one is gonna want to be with her? Do you think she's not gonna keep moving? If she does that, it's gonna be understandable. You're the fool who refuses to face his problems." Joey said this time a bit annoyed.
"I'll do things my way. If she loves me, she's gonna wait for me, when I'm ready to talk."
"Great. Tell me when you realize that it's insane to wait for someone for so long. I warned you."
"Whatever." Darren said completely upset and irritated. "Anyway, is she going to be in the seat I saved for her?"
"No. She paid for her seat. She may be with some friends or something."
"Oh." Darren almost whispered, apparently... disillusioned? It sounded mirthless. "Is she going to the after party?"
"I didn't ask her that. Probably not. She refused going with me to the seat you saved for her."
"Joey, try to convince her to go." Darren almost begged. Why was he doing that? It had no sense.
"Why? I thought you didn't want to talk to her."
"You know why."
"Because you can't be away from her even though you say you don't want to see her? Because you lov...?"
"What's doing a beautiful girl in front of a men's toilet door? The man should be the one spying the beautiful girl." A man's voice said behind you.
You turned around to see the man who said that. You didn't know who he was; he was an older man who was smiling amused. You blushed completely because the man said it very loud. Now you wanted to go away running. This man opened the door and you could see Joey who glanced at you, what made you blush even more, completely embarrassed.
"Oh holy shit." Joey exclaimed disturbed.
"What? What the hell was that? Who else is there? What beautiful girl? Dammit, Joey. Are you with her? Did she hear all of this? Shit Joey, how could you…?" Darren started to say edgy and completely nervous.
"I'll call you later, I need to hang up. Good luck on your show! You can do it, bud." Joey said quickly, trying to be calm and you could see he hung up.
"I think this an unlucky moment." The old man said raising his eyebrows and he closed the men's toilet door once he got inside.
You stood there; completely ashamed and unable to move, scared of the fact that Joey caught you hearing his conversation with Darren. Joey didn't come out the toilet instantly. This was your chance to get away from there, but you didn't do it. You didn't know what to do. After a few seconds, Joey finally came out from the toilet, with a slight smile on his face.
"Sorry it took me so long. And I thought I was going to be the one waiting for you. Naive." Joey tried to joke, but he was still a bit nervous and you were blushing still embarrassed.
"Who would say, huh?" You tried to say ease, but you totally failed.
"Have you been waiting a long?"
"No, just a little bit." You said uncomfortable.
"Did you hear...?" Joey started to ask a bit nervous and you frowned, pretending to not know what he was talking about. "Did you hear something while you were waiting?"
"Nothing at all. I was just checking if the show started or not." You lied, feeling completely bad.
"Oh great. I think we have a little time before it starts. Let's go?" Joey asked, feeling a little more relaxed, but still suspiciously.
"Yes, let's go."
Joey and you started to walk to the room where Darren was going to play his role on the show, in silence. When you got into the room, Joey looked at you and you started to feel uncomfortable again.
"Are you sure you don't want to come with me to the first row? There you're going to have a better view." Joey asked, sounding convincing.
"I'm sure. Anyway, I'm with some friends. So..."
"I understand. Okay, I guess I'm gonna see you at the after party."
"Oh no. I'm not going to the after party. I don't think it's a good idea, and I'm with my friends. I can't just leave them."
"Please. You can go with your friends. It has no sense you don't go to the after party. Why do you say it's not a good idea?" Joey asked, frowning.
"Because... you know. Darren said he didn't want to see me, even though you told him...Oh shit." You said completely scared because you couldn't believe you let it out. You officially were a fool.
"You heard us." Joey said, raising his eyebrows in surprise and astonished.
"I swear it wasn't my intention, Joey! I was just waiting for you and then...he was in speaker...I didn't want to..." You tried to excuse yourself, completely embarrassed and desperate.
"No, it's okay." Joey said frowning. "Since when were you listening to us?"
"I...since you told him he was in speaker because you were busy." You said, giving up and looking down. You couldn't lie to him any longer.
"You heard everything."
"I'm so sorry, Joey. I didn't mean it, really." You said, exasperated and regretful.
"Don't apologize. It's fine, i understand it wasn't your intention." Joey said, with soft voice. "Listen, what you heard... Darren is overreacting. I know him and I know he didn't mean everything he said. He won't give up, he thinks he's not ready to talk to you, but he is. Just... please, don't give up on him, be patient. He loves you."
"And I love him. But, as you said, I can't wait forever because in the meantime, I feel really bad and I can't be like this because it's hurting me." You said honestly, looking down and distressed.
"I know, and it's fully understandable. But just, give him a little time. It's sad to see that you both are gonna end like this. You truly had something awesome, enviable for some people. He needs...a little incentive, something that makes him react and realize it's not as bad as he thinks he is. Please, come to the after party. He wants it; it could be a good chance. Don't miss it." Joey almost begged at you. He was being very kind and he was giving you some advices. Joey was like the intermediary who could see this entire situation clear. He was trying to help both of you.
"But my friends..." You said doubtfully.
"Come with them. But please come."
"Fine. I'll go." You said, still insecure but he convinced you.
"Thank you. For being patient, for not giving up." Joey said frankly thankfully and he hugged you. "I want to see you as the enviable couple you were. I know you can overcome this argument. Think that any couple would be boring and a lie if everything were perfect."
"Yeah..." You said cheerless.
"Hey, don't be so hopeless. Even though you think you're not strong or you don't have chances, remember that I'm like an intermediary, so I know how both of you feel. You're braver than you think and stronger than you seem. Don't lose your hopes; i know you can do it." Joey smiled reassuringly and you smiled slightly at him.
"Just let's see what happens in that after party."
You were in a place you didn't know, surrounded by a lot of strangers who were laughing and were cheerful while you were nervous trying to understand why you decided to go there. You were at the after party, but Darren wasn't there yet. Joey was talking to some people he knew and you noticed that the other Starkid weren't there. In the distance you saw Chuck, Cerine and Bill talking fluently; you didn't know if you should go there and greet them, if greeting them after all that happened between Darren and you was inappropriate, or if you'd interrupt them by greeting them. Wow, you never thought that breaking up with Darren would be so hard and would lead to many problems. For the moment, you decided to stay with Matt, April and Nick; who were very nervous and uncomfortable in a place like that surrounded by strangers and some people with a renowned reputation. Considering how nervous and insecure you were feeling, staying at the party maybe wasn't a good idea. Some people around were glancing at you and your friends with misgiving; you felt as if you shouldn't be there because you didn't belong to that area. You really hated when you were feeling like that because what you thought was very different from what you felt; you thought that you shouldn't be feeling excluded because after all, all those people were just humans like you. What was the difference between you and them? But what you felt was that they were superior, more powerful; and you were just a nowhere woman. You were in time to leave that party, but then you remembered why you were there and all that Joey told you, including the conversation you heard between Joey and Darren. Talking to Darren wasn't going to be easy and you knew it already; what you needed to do know was to take the risk to do all it takes to try to get him back. Even though if it meant to be in a place you didn't like or just being discriminated and underestimated by people around you. You needed to try to be strong and relaxed and not to let out your feelings of sadness and hopelessness. You were sure that you wanted Darren back; you couldn't stop thinking about him as your friends told you to do. You tried to convince yourself that everything would be fine.
"Remind me why are we here?" April whispered, looking at you.
"I have no idea." You answered nervous, shrugging. "Because we were invited I guess."
"Are you sure we were invited? Look at all those people. Why are they looking at us that way? I feel as if I were a monster or something." Matt whispered, looking around.
"Shh, Matt! You really don't want them to hear that." You complained in a whisper, also looking around. "But yeah... I don't know why they're looking at us that way. It's uncomfortable."
"Relax, guys." Nick finally said, smiling charmingly and resting a hand on your shoulder, what made you shiver. "We only need to pretend we're part of this, even though we aren't. What's the worst that can happen to us here? They won't kick us out; and if they do, we're gonna have an experience to tell our friends and laugh about our adventures." Nick said loose, smiling and shrugging.
"Yes, Nick's right." You said looking at Nick very impressed because of his ability to be very calm in a situation like that. "Thanks Nick, to try to make us see all of this in a very different point of view."
"For you, gorgeous, everything." Nick winked at you and smiled flirty; you just frowned because of his weird behavior that you couldn't understand since you met him.
"Well, well." Matt said amused, looking at you and Nick. "At least two of us could have a good night."
"What?" You asked suspiciously and confused. What the hell was Matt trying to say? Why were they acting weird with you? You had a lot of things on your mind already to think about this too.
"Thinking about it is what makes me feel good in this moment." April said, also amused. "Well Matt, we're gonna need a little incentive to make ourselves feel comfortable. Let's go get some of those expensive drinks."
"Hell yes, let's go. Suddenly I'm thirsty!" Matt exclaimed exaggeratedly, winking at you amused.
Matt and April left you alone with Nick to go get some drinks. What the hell was that? They were acting really weird with you about Nick. You didn't even know Nick and he made you feel a little uncomfortable because of the way he was always flirting with you, even though Nick was gay. Was he really gay? You didn't know it, but it was what you wanted to think; otherwise this situation would be extremely embarrassing. You were seeing where Matt and April were going to avoid Nick's eyes, you didn't know what to do with him neither what to say.
"Matt told me a lot about you." Nick said and you startled to hear his voice, finally looking at him to see those deep and beautiful eyes fixed on yours. "When he told me about you, I never imagined I could meet a person like you."
"What do you mean?" You asked frowning and bewildered and Nick laughed softly. That was a stunning laughter. He surely was a model.
"Well, he told me you were funny and a really unbelievable person. But you were going through a bad moment because of a guy that apparently broke up with you. Then I met you and i said to myself...That guy is an idiot to let go a girl so gorgeous like you, not to mention all the good things Matt told me about you." Nick said, looking deep into your eyes. You surely were blushing because suddenly the room wasn't cold at all. "It was impossible for me to believe that someone like you could be suffering because of a guy, because you could make any man to fall at your feet."
"What? No, it's not like that." You said embarrassed and looking away. Gosh, this situation was uncomfortable. You were going to kill Matt.
"Yes it is. Why do you have a low self-esteem? Any girl like you would be showing off their beauty." Nick said, piercing your eyes.
"Maybe I'm not like any girl. And maybe because I don't have anything to show off." You said this time a little annoyed. Matt and his plans.
"That's a good thing; that you aren't like any other girl. You're unique and that's what makes you so fascinating. But don't say you don't have anything to show off because any sane person would know that's a huge lie. Maybe you don't look at yourself in a mirror so often." Nick said winking with his sexy smile, but you were annoyed.
"Stop with this acting. I know you and Matt have plotted something. I don't need anyone to feel pity for me. I'm good being all by myself." You said raising an eyebrow and crossing your arms, completely upset.
"What acting? I'm not acting anything; I'm just saying all I think. Trust me, Matt and I haven't plotted anything. I just came here because I'm a Broadway lover." Nick said bemused, frowning.
"Right. As if I were so stupid to not notice you were flirting with me because Matt told you so to make me stop thinking about the guy who broke up with me. Please, as if I were so idiot to not notice you're gay." You said in a bit harsh voice.
"What?" Nick laughed stunned and perplexed. "Gosh, no. I'm not gay at all. What made you think that?"
"Please..." You said raising an eyebrow, but Nick was still laughing slightly and apparently he was being serious. Oh damn, this was now the most embarrassing thing you've ever said.
"Really. I like women. The fact I'm single doesn't mean I don't like women." Nick said this time amused. Why was he laughing, amused and nice to you after you told him you thought he was gay?
"I...I thought you were...you know, Matt's friend...I thought you and Matt...Oh shit, this is embarrassing." You said blushing hard.
"Hey, it's alright. I'm a straight guy who digs the homosexuals. Matt and I are just old friends since we were in high school." Nick said laughing and looking into your eyes. "By the way, it's cute when you blush."
"Oh god." You exclaimed, blushing even more and covering your cheeks, which were burning. Why did you have to be so stupid and say things before thinking? You were the most awkward person in the whole universe.
"I'm sorry for being so flirty with you. I'm not usually like this. It's just I saw you and I was fascinated with you." Nick said looking at you with a sexy smile. God, this guy. "Let's start over again. Hi, I'm Nick; it's a pleasure to meet you." Nick said, raising an eyebrow and smiling.
"Oh please." You laughed this time looking at him. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Nick." You said smiling amused, shaking his hand.
"Can I invite you a drink?" Nick said playfully.
"Yeah, sur..." You started to say, but you were interrupted.
"Finally I see you again!" Chuck's voice said behind you and you turned around to see him with a big smile. He didn't give you time to say anything because he pulled you into a hug.
"See? I told you we were going to see each other sometime." You laughed softly, happy to notice that things with Chuck haven't changed even though Darren and you weren't together anymore.
"You haven't broken your promise. I'm glad." Chuck said smiling brightly and then he noticed Nick's presence.
"Oh." You said, looking at Nick and then to Chuck again. "He's Nick. Nick, he's Chuck." You introduced both of them and they shook their hands formally.
"Pleasure. I'm Chuck Criss. Darren's brother." Chuck introduced himself politely.
"It's my pleasure. Are you the brother of the leading actor?" Nick asked curious and surprised, looking at Chuck and you, also slightly confused.
"I am, the proud old brother." Chuck smiled politely.
"I'm amazed. I didn't know you were friends with the brother of the leading actor." Nick said looking at you, raising his eyebrows, completely stunned and you started to feel uncomfortable. You didn't want to explain how you and chuck met.
"Well, yeah...I am..." You said nervously, looking down.
"We're more like family. And I actually met her thanks to my little bro." Chuck said, smiling brightly.
"Really? So that's the real reason why we're at this party. Why didn't you tell me that you're friends with the leading actor? That's amazing!" Nick said impressed, obviously inadvertently how the actual situation with Darren was.
"She? Friends with Darren?" Chuck laughed softly, slightly frowning. Also Chuck couldn't understand your relationship with Nick. You needed to stop that conversation, or it would end in a bad and uncomfortable situation.
"Well!" You exclaimed loudly, trying to stop their conversation but it didn't work.
"What is that supposed to mean?" Nick asked curious and slightly amused. Damn, why he couldn't notice how things were?
"I wouldn't call them just friends. They're...well, they were or they are a couple, duh. That's why she's like my family. Right?" Chuck said smiling at you and placing a hand on your shoulder.
As you predicted, the situation turned very uncomfortable. You looked down, feeling uncomfortable. Nick raised his eyebrows in astonishment, this time he was really serious and he got tense. Now Nick wasn't finding this funny and interesting at all. Why was he like that if he didn't know you at all? He couldn't be jealous because you just met. On the other hand, it seemed that Chuck said something he wasn't supposed to say.
"Oh." Nick finally exclaimed bitterly.
"Anyway..." Chuck said, trying to change the topic of the conversation once he noticed the situation was tense. "My parents are right over there. They'd love to see you. You could come and bring your...friend." Chuck said doubtfully, now apparently suspecting something that it wasn't like that.
"Yeah, my friend." You said emphasizing the last word. "I'd love to see them." Now you tried to smile.
Chuck nodded and he started to walk toward them. Nick, surprisingly, took you by the arm and you got even more nervous. You could notice that Chuck glanced at you and he frowned slightly, bewildered. Why was Nick taking you by your arm? He shouldn't be doing that; but when tried to take your arm away from him, he grabbed you more firmly. Finally you reached where Cerine and Bill were and they looked at you with a bright and big smile; both of them hugging you warmly. It made you feel very touched, because you weren't expecting that attitude. It seemed as if nothing has changed and now, more than before, you wanted to fix things with Darren.
"Hi sweetheart! It's nice to see you again!" Cerine said kindly, grabbing your hands; while Bill stood next to you, placing a hand on your shoulder. They were still being your family, you felt contained with them. It was a feeling you couldn't describe.
"I'm so happy to see you, Mr. and Mrs. Criss." You said smiling fondly. You realized that you missed them a lot.
"Oh please! When is gonna be the day you call us Bill and Cerine? It's been a year, it's time." Bill said kindly, slightly laughing.
"I guess is the custom." You said, laughing slightly along with them.
"Let's see if that custom changes soon. I think that a dinner with all the family together tomorrow night would help. What do you say?" Bill asked politely, smiling.
"I...I don't know...I mean...after..." You started to stutter awkwardly. Of course you wanted to have a dinner with them, but considering your situation with Darren, it wasn't a good idea.
"Don't you dare to mention that you reject the offer because of Darren. We already had a little talk about it on Christmas." Chuck said, looking intently at you.
"But..." You started to say, looking down.
"Please, sweetheart. Your situation with Darren doesn't change our relationship. I think the dinner is a good idea." Cerine said sweetly and you couldn't reject it after it.
"Okay. I'd like to have a dinner with you." You said shyly, but smiling.
"I'm gonna make my specialty. If you still accept the rematch. I can prove I'm a better cook." Chuck laughed.
"I doubt it." You laughed playfully, remembering old times.
"I'm gonna change your opinion tomorrow night." Chuck challenged you playfully.
"Here are the drinks." A woman's voice said behind you. You recognized that voice because some old bad memories popped into your mind. "Interesting who's here. Long time."
Mia was looking at you raising an eyebrow, apparently amused; but it wasn't a nice kind of amusement. She fixed her eyes on yours and then she looked at Nick, who was in silence next to you. She was smiling in a weird way with two glasses filled with wine that gave to Cerine and Bill. A feeling of hate ran throughout your entire body when you remembered the time Mia treated you like crap, when she started to seduce Darren although she knew he was with you. She was the only person you hated besides your mother.
"Yeah, long time." You said harshly and seriously, looking at her fixedly. She was still smiling you in that weird way, almost perverse.
"And is this guy your new boyfriend?" Mia asked loudly and the she got closer to whisper something on your ear. "You know how to change boyfriends on a snap. Impressive."
"Oh no, he's my friend Nick." You said faking a smile and then you also whispered something in her ear. "Wanting to make your job of seducing people only because of fun? Very mature of you."
"It's a pleasure, Nick. I'm Mia." Mia pretended to be nice as she did with you that night on the beach. Hypocrite.
"It's my pleasure, Mia." Nick said politely.
In that moment, a lot of people started to talk louder. In the distance, you saw that Darren entered in the room. All the people around walked toward the direction where he was; that gave Mia the chance to take you by surprise, grabbing your arm harshly. You looked at her with anger, an anger you didn't feel in a long time.
"You think I'm a bitch, but let's see who the bitch here is. You cheated on Darren and you left him alone, you didn't care a shit about his feelings because the bitch is having a blast with another guy. Poor Darren! So helpless while you're having the time of your life making fun of him." Mia whispered in your ear with malice, still grabbing your arm harshly. How the hell did Mia know about it? Has Darren talked to her about it?
"Let go my arm!" You pulled it abruptly, looking at her angrily. "Don't touch me, or this time you won't end in a good way."
"Oh, I'm shaking of frighten." Mia made fun of you.
"I wonder how you can be so immature. Don't mess my life because I'm gonna do the same and you won't like it. I know a lot of things about you." You said defiant, still looking at her with hate.
"I see you like to play dirty. Who would think that a girl who looks like a harmless and cute girl could be hiding a real bitch inside? Appearances are deceptive."
"I say exactly the same. You won't fuck me up again. Please, grow up!" You said contemptuously. What was happening to you? You weren't like this since the last conversation you had with your mother. The hate you felt for Mia was making lose your control.
"What did you say?" Mia asked furious, grabbing you by both of your arms very harshly that was starting to hurt you.
"Woah! What's going on here?" Nick said when he finally turned around, looking at both of you.
"Nothing. I was just telling her that I missed her a lot. Right, sweetie?" Mia said hypocritically nice and smiling falsely.
"Yes, right." You smiled falsely as well, without stopping looking at her. Mia finally let out your arms.
"Okay..." Nick said suspiciously and he wrapped his arm around your back, in a protective way. He wasn't a fool.
"Oh, you're a nice couple." Mia exclaimed falsely.
"We're not a couple. She's my friend, as she said." Nick said firmly, still looking at Mia suspiciously.
"Really? It doesn't seem like that considering the way you look at her and the way you're very affectionate each other." Mia said promptly.
"Oh yeah, we're just friends. And if I'm being affectionate with her it's because I don't trust you and the way you look at her." Nick said coldly and that surprised you. Nick was acting very nice to you; he was protecting you even though he didn't know you and you were very thankful because of that.
"Very honest." Mia said raising an eyebrow, this time not so nice. "Lose care; I don't like wasting my time with people like her."
The conversation ended in that moment, but Mia was standing next to you anyway. The three of you looked in the direction where Darren was. He looked really happy, taking some pictures with a lot of people and talking cheerfully with them. Suddenly, Darren looked up and his eyes met yours. You remained looking at each other for a long time. Darren's face now was serious and he was looking at you very fixedly with his lips parted, he seemed to be shocked and astonished. And you couldn't take your eyes off him. Then finally Darren looked away and kept talking to the people who were around him. What the fuck was that moment? It seemed to have lasted a lot of minutes. You felt a lot of things by just looking at him. Then you noticed that Mia and Nick were looking at you incredulously; that only meant that you didn't make up thing on your mind, that moment between Darren and you actually happened. Then you looked away, trying to focus your sight in another thing to not to look at Darren again. You were so deep in your thoughts that you didn't notice anything that was happening around you. You didn't notice that Darren was now where you, Nick and Mia were.
"Hi." Darren said and you looked up at him, getting extremely nervous. Although he greeted in general, he was looking particularly at you.
Darren greeted at Mia with a quick kiss on her cheek, the he shook his hand with Nick and then he stopped in front of you. He looked deep into your eyes for a while, before placing a hand on your waist and kissing your cheek slowly. Gosh, you couldn't control your feelings, this was very intense for you and you couldn't tell why because you were in situations like this with Darren before. Darren looked into your eyes again still standing in front of you and placing his hand on your waist, but then Mia grabbed his arm and pulled him close to her. Darren looked at Mia frowning and stunned and Mia linked her arm with his.
"You were incredible and flawless, Dar." Mia said smiling widely and she kissed his cheek, near the corner of his mouth. Darren pulled his face away from her quickly and he looked at her frowning.
"Thank you, Mia." Darren answered shortly, still frowning and then he looked at you again. You were just observing Mia's intention with suspicion. "I didn't know you were coming." Darren told you with a half-smile.
"Well, I saw Joey in the..." You started to say, but Mia interrupted you.
"She came! Isn't it amazing?" Mia exclaimed hypocritically and still with her arm intertwined with Darren's. "And she didn't come alone. She came with her new boyfriend." Mia said, looking at you in a bitchy manner with an evil half smile.
"What?" Darren asked abruptly, looking at you very serious and frowning. His face was transfigured and you never saw Darren like that. He looked furious but confused and distressed at the same time. Then he paid attention at Nick, looking at him fiercely.
"Her new boyfriend, Nick. Isn't he a very nice looking guy?" Mia said in a bitchy manner again.
"He isn't my boyfriend." You said coldly, looking at Mia in anger.
"You should've seen them, Dar. They're so cute and affective each other! Aren't they a nice couple?" Mia added, really hypocritically and maliciously.
"What the fuck are you talking about, Mia?" Darren asked offhandedly, looking at her upset and frowning.
"I'm just saying that they're a very nice couple. Like us." Mia said, smiling widely and falsely at Darren. You looked at Mia even madder, and Nick remained silent.
"What the hell?" Darren exclaimed angrily, getting away from Mia. "There's no us." Darren affirmed firmly and you felt really good inside when Darren said that. But then he looked at you also angrily and hurt. "Is this guy your boyfriend?"
"No he's not." You said desperate. Darren didn't believe you. "He's my friend."
"Please, don't lie." Mia said bitchy.
"I'm not lying! Who do you know about me anyway?" You said this time unable to control your wrath.
"Oh I know a lot of things. You would be..." Mia started to say evilly.
"Dammit, stop!" Darren almost yelled, frowning and really annoyed. Few people near you turned around to see you all.
"Darren..." Mia started to say, softening her voice.
"Damn, Mia! Stop it." Darren said really furious. And both you and Mia looked at Darren astonished. "Go away. I'd like to talk to her, alone."
"But..." Mia started to say, desperate. You remained silent, still astonished.
"I said I wanted to talk to her alone." Darren said roundly, looking at you. "Please, alone." Darren said, looking at Nick.
"Yeah, sure. I'm just going to drink something." Nick said shyly and uncomfortable. He looked at you and squeezed your arm softly before leaving. This didn't go unnoticed by Darren, who glanced at Nick abhorrently.
"Mia, leave us alone." Darren said determined and Mia looked at you in a rage before leaving furious. Once alone, Darren looked at you anguished. You weren't expecting to see Darren looking at you that way. "What the hell was all of that?"
"What do you mean?" You asked, playing dumb.
"Please, don't do that." Darren said tired and sighing. "So, you have a new boyfriend. You haven't mentioned me that the last time we saw each other."
"Because I don't have a boyfriend. Nick is only a friend. I actually just met him here, he's Matt's friend."
"Oh, Matt. Right." Darren said annoyed. "So Matt, Nick. How many guys do you have?"
"Oh please, Darren." You said incredulous. "Really?"
"You seem pretty fond of Matt. All the time it's about that Matt guy." Darren said getting furious. "Matt this, Matt that. I wonder why you didn't pick Matt instead me."
"What, Darren? Oh god." You said frowning, getting annoyed.
"Yeah, Matt and you would..."
"Matt is gay, Darren." You interrupted him abruptly because you were losing your patience. Darren raised his eyebrows in surprise and then he remained silent and frowning for a while.
"So what's up with this Nick guy? Mia said you were very affectionate each other."
"You know how Mia is. She was lying, what she would know about me?" You said still incredulous. "And nothing is up with Nick."
"Mia never lied at me. Why would she be lying about it? You and Nick seemed very close."
"Seriously? Mia never lied at you? Are you sure about it?" You asked getting really furious. You couldn't believe Darren was saying it.
"I don't see the point why she'd lie about this."
"You're fucking kidding me, Darren." You said bitterly and annoyed. "Did you forget that time at the beach?" You asked raising your eyebrow. "Mia's attitude doesn't surprise me at all. And you know me. Do you really think I'd be in a relationship with another guy? You know what I feel for you."
"That's the damn point!" Darren exclaimed desperate. "I don't even know if I know you at all. I don't even know what you feel for me or not. I don't fucking know if you're the one who's lying, because you know how to lie. You could be in a relationship with ten guys at the same time and I wouldn't know it because you'd be lying as you were doing all this time!"
Darren's words hurt you deep in your heart. He'd never forget you for hiding from him your real name; your chances to get him back seemed really distant and almost impossible. You couldn't believe he thought all of that about you after all the time you were together, after all the deep things about your private life you shared with him. Honestly, you were tired. You looked deep into his eyes, very painfully.
"Right, Darren. I swear I tried; I tried very hard to attempt talking to you. But now I see it, you'd never believe me again and I'm tired. All of this is in vain, because I could talk to you and you could understand me and maybe believe me. But you'd always hold a grudge inside. Dammit, I'm finally seeing it!" You exclaimed with chocked voice and eyes full of tears; finally facing with the reality you were trying to avoid. "You're not even being yourself when you're around me now. You're being a very different person. I'm not a good influence for you. Look at you now. What happened with your goofiness, your happiness, self-confidence, your positive way to see everything? You lost it all, and it was because of me. I don't want it. It won't work again, will it?" You said this time shedding some tears because you were seeing everything clear now.
Darren was just looking down, silent. He also knew you were right, but he didn't utter a word. You remained looking at him with tears in your eyes, realizing that Darren won't say anything because he didn't have anything to say, because you said it all. It was hard to realize it, but you finally did and now you didn't have anything else to do there.
"Enjoy the party, you deserve it. You were fabulous tonight." You said resigned and Darren didn't answer at you.
You left the party alone; you left it as fast as you could. Yu didn't even stop to think about Matt, April and Nick. They would probably understand you that you really needed to get out of there as soon as you could. You left the party crying because you were facing that denied reality; because you knew those were the last words you would ever say to Darren. And maybe those were going to be the last tears you would shed for Darren. You needed to learn how to live without him.
It was noon on New Year's Eve when you heard the sound of your bell ringing in your apartment. You really didn't want to get up from your bed because you were really sad because of all that happened last night. It was one of the hardest things you did, to walk away from the person you loved for his own good. It took you a lot of courage and unselfishness to do what you did. You needed to be alone; you didn't want to be disturbed of your thoughts. But the bell rang again. Probably it was Matt or April, trying to talk to you and ask why you left the party without warning, to ask you what happened with Darren because surely Nick told them something. And you weren't in mood to talk about Darren. Maybe they were going to think that you weren't in your apartment and they would leave. They wouldn't be able to communicate with you because you turned off your phone. You didn't want anyone to disturb you in this moment. Once more time the bell rang. You started to think you were going to spend the New Year's Eve and the New Year alone, just like before. Thinking about it depressed you a lot, thinking that probably things would be different now if it weren't for your mistake that screwed everything between you and Darren. The bell rang once more time. Alright. You got up from your bed; maybe you could explain April or Matt or whoever it was the person behind your front door, that you wanted to be alone at least for a couple of days. You'd say that and that was going to be it all. You didn't even bother to look into the mirror; probably you were a complete mess with very swollen eyes as a result you had been crying all night long. You just walked toward your front door, downhearted, and you opened the door. It was neither April nor Matt. Darren was standing in front of you, head down and crestfallen. You looked at him in shock. Why was Darren in your front door? He looked up at you and your eyes met a pair of sad eyes. After few seconds, Darren finally talked.
"I'm ready to talk, to see if this is gonna work or not."