CAUTION: Long chapter ahead. grab your coffee, snacks, your pillow and get cozy.
We all have experienced that particular time in all our lives when everything seemed perfect. We seem to be in pure bliss and even if a tsunami was about to come, we wouldn't move, we wouldn't care to move. When was it in your life? The first time such a situation happened in my life was when I was in my first grade and Elena had bought me my favorite chocolate cookies. We were on a bus on our way back home from school. Normally we would have come in my mom's car but she had to go to the studio for recording her new song and dad's car was never available cause, being one of the world's best producer's suck I guess. Elena always got a little tense when we were at a busy place so I was supposed to remind her when we get to our stop but I was so engrossed with the piece of heaven in my hand that I missed our stop and then did not realize that for the next ten minutes. We ended up walking back to our house, Elena singing and me swaying my hips lightly to the beat. The last time it happened is now.
Someone is banging the door to our room like a drunk madman, wait, what if it is a madman whose been drinking for the whole night and is wearing a baggy old shirt and torn jeans and also an old beer to fulfill the madman persona. I am sleeping; I mean was sleeping until the mad man started banging on the door. I wish someone would just complain to the housing committee but it's been about fifteen minutes already and the banging hasn't stopped. I wish I was a deep ass sleeper like Richie. It's probably still midnight for him. One thing, just one thing I demand every Saturday and Sunday is sleep. My very needed beauty sleep and people did not even let me have that (not that I expected them to).
The madman was still banging the door. Huh.
I pushed down my comforter and scrambled out of the bed. I was almost to the door when I realized that my hair was all messed up and I was just wearing a loose shirt that went till my thighs. What if the person isn't a mad man and is a rapist. A cool demeanor took over me. Blocking the particular face that came in my head, I took the empty vase that was kept nearby.
I opened the door positioning the vase for murdering the unfortunate fucker. Not even a second later there was a loud, ear deafening shriek. Sia was standing with her head covered with her arms and Luke's back faced me while the other guarded Sia. Who the hell do they think I am? Bloody medusa?
"Am I dead?" Sia said at last. I was too confused to answer her hence I stayed still.
"Oh my god, I'm dead, Luke we're dead, and she killed us." Sia continued "what'll happen now?"
"She can't see us. We've disintegrated. And now we'll forget eachother and also be separated. Sia is this what death feels like..... normal?" I knew Luke was stupid but this is a brand new level.
"Luke, we have to part ways. Always remember you've been my best friend forever. I'll never forget you."
"Sia, you've been my greatest friend too I can never ever forget you" what the fuck are they saying? Their eulogies?
"Liz we didn't realize that you'd ever kill us for knocking on your door but we are sorry to disturb you" Are you kidding me?
"Liz, there's something wrong with your friends" Hannah said.
Soon I realized that the two doors in the front have opened to reveal a smiling Derek in one and an amused Hannah and her girlfriend.
"Tell me something I don't know" I managed to say, slowly recovering from the fact that they seriously thought that they were dead.
"So we are alive? You guys can see us? Sia says
"Yes we do Sia" Derek laughed.
"You guys were serious?" I sighed.
"Of course we were"
"You are mad"
"We weren't the one to open the door with wild hair, a vase in hand and a killer glare" Luke shrugged.
"Why are you here" I swear to god if they don't have a proper reason ill-
"Why do you need one?" and with that they went in like they owned the place. I turned to follow them but Derek stopped me.
"Liz wait a moment." With that he went in to get something. Derek is one of the best drummers, Richie's band mate and he was also our mutual friends but after I distanced myself from them, I rarely ever saw him. He came back with a couple of envelopes.
"Give these to Mr. dumbass"
"What are these?"
"Fan mails" my eyes nearly popped out when I heard him.
"You guys are getting fan mails? God these can be hella tiring. How's the band going on?" I asked
"It's insane. We have millions of subscribers on YouTube; all our accounts in social media have almost a million followers each. We are waiting for college to end, after that we can go on the tour. What kind of fan mails did you get when you won DFL?"
Dance For Living is one of the most prestigious international dance competitions held in France. The first time I participated was when I was eleven and I won the juniors, the next time I went was when I was sixteen for the teen competitions, again I won, I don't even know how, I was a step from puking my guts out when the judge was announcing the results. The adults competition's age limit it from twenty two to thirty so that's what I'm waiting for, and by any chance if I win, I break a record as well as I get a job of being one of their official choreographers. I can do a lot of styles, jazz, ballet, hip hop, etc. but I mostly stick to jazz. Even though getting a job their means basically living there which also means leaving New York, I won't really mind cause France is one of my favorite places to visit.
"During the Juniors, there were people who were saying I was adorable, and encouraging me and stuff but during the teens most were encouragements but there were some criticism and perverted comments too, but you know me, I didn't give a fuck"
"Why on earth do they give criticism? They are called fan mails for a reason. There was a girl who told that my beanie was ugly" Derek scowled as I burst out laughing.
"See ya, you're going to Simon's party aren't you?"
"Yeah, we have the gang" he chuckled.
Simon was the guitarist and Derek was the drummer while Richie was the lead singer. As long as I know, they began from high school, yes, they are high school buddies. No one was surprised when all of them got in ACL (American college of arts) because half of the people are already famous or they have a famous background here. ACL was always too intimidating, with its huge hallways and expensive paintings hung on the walls and their scary professors. I never wanted to come here but mom said it's the right place and Elena who had just passed out from this college, said that it's a great place so I agreed, otherwise I would never come here. But to be honest, coming here did no harm to me. Paying the fees is the only thing I use the money dad left in the will, otherwise I do everything with the money I won in competitions. I'd hate to use any of it; after all it was his money.
I was making my way back when once again someone called out my name. I turned towards Hannah.
"Collins wants you to help him for choreographing the dance for the concert"
"Why me? They have Cassie" I whined
"Babe, you came first in juniors and teens and she came second in teen, don't you see the difference?"
"But she's great. And I got the lead role for acting I can't do both"
"I don't even know why you dance, you are a born actress."
"I can act but I love to dance. I've been practicing from when I was four."
"Anyways tell Richie that Devin told that he has to help the second years for the choir. I already told Sia and Luke that they have to help with props and costumes. Almost all fourth years are helping the others."
"What are you doing?"
"Did you just forget that she is basically a well known model? She will help others to stand straight."
"How do you wake him up?"
"Plant a kiss on his forehead."
That's what we have been talking about in the past half an hour. We are all currently in Richie's room hovering around his body lying on the bed. I still have no idea that they thought that id hit them. But currently we all were wondering how to wake up this senseless pig infront of us; calm senseless pig; cute, calm senseless pig; adorable, cute, calm, senseless pig; adorable, cute and calm but a senseless pig nevertheless.
"What happens if we do that?" Luke says, confused.
"He wakes up" if I'm not wrong, then this is about to funny in moments here.
"Who is he? Sleeping beauty?"
"Are you tempted to kiss his lips" I ask lifting one of my eyebrows.
"Shut the fuck up. Forehead? Why don't you do it?"
"I'm not the one who is in high need of some bromance."
As he got closer I started recording this golden moment for Sia who was making pancakes in the kitchen. The moment Luke's lips touched Richie's forehead as expected Richie pulled Luke hard enough for Luke to tumble on the bed, half over Richie a bewildered look plastered on his face; his eyes were opened so wide that I feared they will fall from their sockets at a point. The look on his face was priceless. I'd give up hundreds of my beauty sleeps if I was to see the look on his face. Just kidding.
By now I was basically lying on the floor, laughing my ass off. It was difficult handling my phone but I did my best. My hands started shaking horribly as Richie nuzzled closer to Luke and disgust was practically written on his face. He pinched hard on Richie's arm which was in a death grip around Luke not letting Luke to move an inch.
"Liza!" Richie whined.
He thought that was me? As he opened his eyes, squinting them as he adjusted to the light in the room at first he did not look at Luke, he looked at me and then whipped his head towards Lucas
"What the actual fuck?" Richie said with as a scowl etched on his face.
"Am I not supposed to say that?" Luke said as my laughter doubled over.
Richie's eyes snapped towards me. Oh no. I quickly got up from the floor and ran towards the kitchen ignoring both the boys shouting for me. I went over to Sia.
"Why are they screaming?" instead of answering her, I showed the video to her. By the end of the video, we both were struggling for breath. It took a solid five minutes for us to catch our breath.
"You guys literally I'd hit you?" I asked her after both of us have successfully calmed down.
"In the morning, did you really think that I'd hit you?"
"Why wouldn't I? After all you're crazy!"
"Why wouldn't you?"
I cannot believe that she's serious. I looked at her straight in the eyes and then the words that come out of my mouth shocks both of us, "throughout my twenty one years of life, I've loved only five people, my mom, my dad, Elena, Richie, Lucas and you. Believe me, there's been nobody else, nobody. My parents, sister and Richie, all were taken away from me. There are only two people I care about now, yes, Luke and you, the only reason I'm sticking here is because I don't want to lose you guys. I would never hurt you guys purposely, never."
After I finished giving my little speech Sia stared at me for two seconds before crushing me in a hug and I hugged back. We just stood there for a while.
After she releases me she says, "He's not gone, you know."
"I've moved on" I lied swiftly as I let her go.
"Sure you have"
"Okay, then answer me" she faced towards me sitting on the counter "he cheated on you. As much as I know you, you'd never forgive anybody who'd do that to you. But still you are now friends with him. Why? Why are you being friendly with him? Why are you even caring to acknowledge his presence? He cheated on you. I'm not telling that you shouldn't. But why? If he was someone else would you do the same? You both aren't done. There are explanations not given, promises not fulfilled, heck, did he even admit that he did cheat on you with Jennifer? How are you so sure it did happen?"
"I've told this to you millions of time, that day, there was a picture on instagram of a senior, and she was one of the best dancers in this college so I followed her on instagram. She took a picture of her in the campus and on the background there were several people, but one thing caught my eyes, the chain on a person's hand in the background, it was his, I know it was his. I zoomed the picture and-"
"And it was him and Jennifer. They could've been talking"
"One, let me speak. Two, he hated Jennifer more than I did; at least that's what I used to think, so they were never talking. Three, they were close," my voice broke at this "Four, he was holding her hand. Then when I asked him, what this was about, he remained silent, he didn't deny."
"He didn't agree either"
"God Liz, I was the one who was asking you the questions at first."
And just like that both of us cracked up. To be honest, I've cried for this reason so much in the past that I just don't care now. I mean I do care, but I'm not going to waste my time crying over something that happened three years ago over and over again. I had several unanswered questions; several unexplained explanations and his silence seemed to answer everything for me.
"If the shit did not happen in past, you would date him now?"
"maybe." I shrug
"You still have feelings for him. Don't you?"
"For me, feelings aren't that easy to come, you know. And just like it isn't easy to come, it isn't that easy to go either"
"Liza they are showing some of the golden moments of DFL, you might be here c'mere!" Richie's voice came from outside the kitchen. Coincidental much?
I grabbed two plates of pancakes while Sia grabbed the rest and then came out of the kitchen to find the two boys sitting on the couch, eyes stuck on the screen. They were showing the finals of the juniors' season seven which was also the season where I won. A girl was dancing, she seemed around the age of nine the age limit of the juniors was nine to twelve hence I'm sure she must've been the only one out of five people who succeeded to go to the juniors. She did a perfect cartwheel and ended her performance with some of the last steps.
"Have you ever tried to do cartwheels?" Richie asked Luke
"To get hospitalized the next moment? No thank you."
I noticed that Richie was totally engrossed in watching the TV, what if I scare him? Will he get scared? Maybe..... But how? Suddenly an idea came into my mind. I kept the plates on the table beside which Luke was sitting and handed him my phone silently asking him to record. The length of the couch wasn't too long, which was my advantage. I positioned myself on the perfect distance from the couch and then quickly went towards the couch and then did a perfect cartwheel on air and then flopped perfectly beside Richie. He nearly jumped out of shock and stared at me with bewilderment. Luke was laughing hysterically by now and so was Sia. Richie scowled at me.
"What the fuck is today? Scaring-the-living-shit-out-of-Richie day?"
I was about to answer him, when the lights dimmed on the TV screen. My chest started hammering. Eleven year old me entered the stage with some graceful spins. As I watched me dance, I pointed out the places where some of my steps were weak and places were energy was lacking but all in all it was fine for an eleven year old.
"Dude are you kidding me? You danced better than I currently do when you were only eleven. You are sitting here and pointing out your mistakes over here? I imagined you going nostalgic and shit over here even though once again it's you we are talking about over here" Luke said as he handed Richie and me our plates as I shrugged off his comment. Me? Nostalgic? No thanks.
The lights once again dimmed and the next moment all the five participants were standing together. The Eiffel tower in the background was quite evident. Twenty one year old I was currently sitting here giggling hysterically as I observed eleven year old me nearly getting sick out of anxiety. The moment the judge announced the result my face started regaining its color. I never know how I ever win because I have stage fright, every time I am on stage I started messing things up. During these performances, I simply zone out, it's me, only me. I forget that the whole world will be probably looking at me dance. I just focus on doing all the steps with equal elegance and grace. Most times I focus on one person. Mostly, it was Elena, who was always there with me even though she hated public places. After the death I focus on Sia and Luke. As much as I can remember the event on the second day when I actually danced onstage Sia and Luke were not there but Richie was. So I focused on him.
The judges came up and placed the crown on my head. I was crying out of happiness back then. Elena and Elijah who was there for the finals came up and hugged me, my mother followed them. Twenty one year old me just sat here eating the pancakes with a grin that seemed to be plastered on my face.
"Who's that?" Sia asked pointing at Elijah.
"Elijah" I noticed Richie slightly stiffen beside me. What's wrong with him? I ignored him as I placed my empty plate beside Richie's empty plate. I placed my feet on his lap and he softened tracing patterns on my ankle. I rested my head on the armrest as we proceeded to watch the teen DFL season twelve final which began just after that, coincidentally I was there too.
"you won that too?" luke asked after we finished watching the teens.
"And you're sitting there like you did not win the world's most renowned dance competitions twice?"
"What do you expect me to do? Shout out of the window like its breaking news?" I frowned.
"Everybody already knows anyway." He muttered before adding in his normal voice "dude my best friend is famous."
"What are you talking about? You yourself did not know about it." I said
"I know nothing about dance and you on the other hand have millions of fans."
Fans. Fan mails! I went over to the table where I had kept the mails. I came back and sat on the couch and handed Richie the envelopes. He looked at me confused.
"Fanmails, Derek gave, good luck" I smirked as he groaned. Considering that Richie was.... well, Richie. With the role of the lead singer, and his I don't give a shit on what you think about me expressions and his bad boy looks I already knew that there would be some disgusting stuff inside.
"Wait, how did they get the address?"
"Last year, stupid Simon posed in front of his house, and he literally captioned something related to his house. Coincidentally the kid next door was a subscriber and then slowly one after the other the whole world got to know"
"That's just, stupid"
He took the first one and immediately after a moment in which his eyes registered the picture in the envelope he threw it away. Luke got up to get it but immediately Sia held him by the arm. I took the picture up and immediately let out a short shriek. Seriously?
"It's nothing that you haven't seen before, Sphills." I say even though I was disgusted by the picture in my hand.
"Excuse me if I am not interested to see random vaginas" he rolled his eye as Luke tried harder to get out of getting out of Sia's hold. Believe me; he didn't care about the picture he just likes to see Sia's expression filled with jealousy.
"Okay go! See random vaginas. Catch some STDs I don't give a shit!" Sia yelled after Luke successfully got out of her hold.
"Aww, I just love to see my baby jealous" Luke teased pinching her cheeks.
"Me? Your baby? Jealous for you? Oh! Bless your delusional heart." Sia smirked back.
"May I?" I asked Richie as I picked up the next envelope.
"At your own risk" and I opened the next one.
"Okay! So, Mandy, wants to have your kid who has to have your eyes that are as green as .... mosses?"
"Mosses?" the incredulous expression on Richie's face was enough to make all of us laugh like fools.
"Aren't you supposed to be jealous?" Luke, who unlike Sia has been quite loud with his thoughts about Richie and me.
"Why would I be jealous? I don't want eyes like mosses." I turned towards Richie, expecting to see a scowl etched on his face but instead I see him, extremely focused reading one of the mails.
"What's it?" I say, as I get closer to him, in order to read what's written.
"A request" he says, handing me the letter. It's a letter from the boyfriend of a thirteen year old girl, Clara. She's suffering heart disease and as per the doctor, it's her last few months alive. My heart immediately breaks as I read it through. Her boyfriend request their band, Battle Sequence (a name given by Josh) to perform on her last birthday party as it is her favorite band. I will be honest, I have not even met this boy, but I already know that the girl means a lot to him. Would you ever fall for somebody who is destined to die?
"Can I come with you?" I say, knowing that there's no way on earth that Richie will deny the offer.
"We are not going, Liza."
"What the heck? Why?"
"Check the date."
"21st September, so?"
"It's your birthday Liz" Luke answers for Richie.
"I repeat, so?"
"You guys know she won't budge, she wants to go so she will go, and that's Liz." Sia says. Honestly, I don't know what they expect me to do? Of course I will go.
"Please, I want to go there." I cut Richie off taking his hands in mine and giving him my best puppy dog eyes.
"Okay." He smiles squeezing my hand in his, and I'm not sure if my heart just stopped beating or it just began to beat.
The only reason I don't like parties is because everyone gets drunk or high and talk shit. Throughout the twenty one years of my life I've tried my best to avoid alcohol. Why? Cause, lets just say, that I am one of those people who tell or rather blurt out what's going on in their head when they are drunk, and me being me, yes, there's a lot going on in my head.
The moment we get in Simon's apartment, I regret my choice of coming here. This is the place where- if I had a goddamn choice- I'd never set my feet on. Bodies sweating everywhere, all the rooms were filled with drunken people. I know most of them cause I have classes with them.
I was wearing ripped jean shorts, with a deep v-neck dark grey crop top and a flannel around my waist with my hair opened. Sia was wearing a short white skirt and a pale pink single sleeved loose top. Richie was wearing a blue Battle Sequence shirt with black ripped jeans and so were Derek and Simon. Luke was wearing a white shirt with jeans.
The moment we enter, we all somehow split up amongst all the sweaty bodies.
"Ay captain!" Cassie screams over the loud music. Cassie is in her third year. When I was in DFL teens, she came second. She is one of the best dancers and coolest people I know. I thought that she would have held a huge grudge against me, especially when she lost by only a few points. But here we are, dance partners forever.
"Hey Cas" I greet her with a huge grin.
"Vodka?" she asks shoving the red cup towards me. I roll my eyes knowing that she is just teasing me, cause she knows I don't drink. She laughs at my reaction. She was wearing a short off the shoulder green romper.
"How have you been? I haven't seen you from the beginning of fourth year."
"Yeah, life has been shit since then." She replies grimly.
"Nothing important. Let's get you something to drink. Coke?" Cas was one of the most chilled people that I've met and she is clearly upset and I'm worried. Despite the disappointing feeling in my stomach by the fact that there's something she cannot share with me, I accept the coke from her hand. We mingled with everybody, greeting the people we know. After about an hour Cas and me were standing in the corner, I was listening to her talk shit cause she was drunk. Suddenly my eyes fell on Jennifer. She was dancing with Elijah. She was wearing a black short skirt with a white tube top. None of them were talking, just staring at eachother. It's good that they both are actors. They are really good at this, either both of them are acting, or one of them were acting or none of- wait, but that can't be right this is all a bet, a stupid bet that I'm going to surely lose, I groaned at the thought.
"She's a lot like you, you know." Cas said and I frown.
"What? She is. Look, you both literally have the same attitude, except she snaps at anyone who does not do what she says and she thinks that she is too great to make friends with others and you don't. You are the sweeter one."
"Then I guess it's good that opposites attract."
"I'm no-" she was cut off as the song stopped in the room and the lights turned off. Everybody was puzzled. Most people switched on the flashlight of their phone. All lights slowly focused on Richie, Simon and Derek as they began to sing one of their most viewed song. Everyone in the room went crazy. Everyone was either shouting the lyrics as Richie sang and several people were cheering them. Cas was quiet, staring at Derek.
"Go to your man." I screamed over the music nudging her.
"We broke up." That stopped me on my track. I simply blinked at her, thinking I must've heard her wrong. They were dating for almost two years and Derek was a great guy, so if they broke up things have to be pretty serious. She saw my expression and sighed letting her guard down.
"It's just, next year, you all will be gone, and he will be gone god knows where, and long distance.... I know it's difficult but it's not impossible and he thinks that if we are still together, I wouldn't be able to focus in my last year... or as he put it, enjoy my last year. You know what hurts the most? Even if I'm sure that the reason why we broke up is really because of the reason he said but the negative part of my thinks that it's just because he wants to get rid of me." She probably won't even remember that she said all this to me, she's drunk after all.
"Shhh, if you guys are meant to be then you guys will be, no matter what."
"Don't try to give me hope by telling something you yourself don't belief, Liz." I nearly slapped myself for not having anything to say to that.
"Several people are meant to be on this planet earth, Liz. But not all of them actually end up together, eventually they part ways."
It started getting late, and several people started leaving. Soon, it was only Simon, his girlfriend, Luke, Sia, Derek, Cas, Jennifer, Elijah, Amy, Hannah, Sophia- her girlfriend, Richie and me.
"Guys, I gotta go." Cas said.
"It's dark outside, you'll go alone?" Sia asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine."
"You're drunk." I stated the obvious.
"I'll manage Liz."
"I'll drop you, I've got my car." Derek says already looking for his keys in his pocket.
"I'll manage." She says with a blank look, advancing towards the door.
"Cassie-"Derek began but she cut him off.
"Its fine" she said, deathly calm and cold "you guys won't be there next year, gotta get myself prepared for being alone from now onwards." and with that she left. The last part was dedicated to Derek. We all knew, even Luke and Richie knew even though they just came here and only heard the last line. Derek's face was pinched with hurt.
"What was that about? Argument?" Luke asked, breaking the ice.
"We broke up."Derek says. Sia gasped and both Richie and Luke looked shocked. This has seriously been a long night, all I want to do now is to end the night, crawl up my bed and have my beauty sleep. Everyone was about question why they broke up when suddenly Jennifer clapped her hands gaining all our attention. Sending me a pointed smirk.
"Who's up for some truth and dares?"
Just when I thought that the night was over, little did i know, it wasn't even half time yet.
I'm sorry for the cliffhanger. All i have to say is....... next chapter is gonna go downhill and believe it or not i am super excited to write it. You guys get to know more about Liz's past in every chapter. To be honest, I hate it when all the past comes tumbling out all at once this is why I'm letting you all know slowly, but one precaution, do NOT think that you know all about Liz's past until you read the last few chapters cause.... you know, tables turn. in any case if you guys have problem with me letting you all know about Liz's past slowly, let me know. And I've decided that most chapters will be from Liz's POV from now cause, lets be honest, i suck at writing boy's POV and to my defense, i am a girl, what the hell are you expecting? once again suggestions are welcomed. please: