Playing for Keeps - ON HOLD

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Chapter 3

Grayson

The flashing of bulbs, screams of the crowd and reporters yelling questions I don’t want to answer surround me as I make my way to the waiting car, my band mates following along behind me. Our meeting ran over and all I can think about is getting to the airport and flying home. I don’t know why Ashley wants everyone to come home, but she said it was serious, and if I know Ash, then I know it would be. Ash isn’t someone who wants attention, she isn’t someone who asks for anything, and so for her to ask this of us, then for sure I would be going home. Ash also mentioned that Blaire would be coming home too.

Blaire Taylor. My childhood best friend, my neighbour and the girl that stole my heart. I slip into the back seat of the waiting car, moving over to let my band mates in, as thoughts of Blaire fill my mind. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 8 years since I’ve seen her, 8 years since I’ve spoken to her. How many times have I picked up the phone to call her, only to chicken out? How many times have I returned home and looked at her bedroom window, hoping beyond hope that she would magically appear.

I know Ashley kept in contact with her, she kept me updated on what she was up to, though I made her promise she wouldn’t say anything to Blaire. It was my fault that we drifted apart, it was my fault that she moved on with her life and left me behind, I didn’t want Blaire to feel obliged to contact me if she knew I was constantly asking about her, constantly thinking about her.

I lean back in my seat and close my eyes, exhausted for today’s recording session and meetings with our PR team. Images of Blaire flash through my mind and the familiar ache in my chest returns. I let it, it’s the least I deserve for ever letting her go. We were only together for less than 3 months, it took me years to build up the courage to make a move. 3 months of pure bliss and I had to ruin it, thinking I knew best. And, 8 years on with no contact at all, she’s still the first thing I think of when I wake up.

“I think our new record is going to be our best yet.” Jarrod, our base guitarist breaks me from my thoughts. I open my eyes and look over to him, his long hair pulled back into a bun, the sleeves of his black button up shirt rolled up to show his tattooed arms, a shit eating grin on his face as he looks to all of us.

“You have been on fire Gray, whatever is helping you write, keep it up.” Kyle, our drummer, slaps my shoulder and I simply nod. All of my songs since my high school days have been about one person, inspired by one person, nothing has changed in that department. Though, I know for the past year, none of the groupies and meaningless sex have helped to fill the void that only Blaire could fill. Maybe the loneliness and longing I feel is making better music? To me, it’s more depressing.

I lean forward and grab a beer from the cars built in fridge and crack it open. Taking a sip, I look out the window as we make our way through the city streets towards the airport, wondering if Blaire knows my songs are about her, wondering if she has even heard them. Though, I’m sure she has. They get a lot of radio time after all.

“How you holding up?” Mike, our rhythm guitarist and my best friend leans forward in his seat to address me as Jarrod and Kyle chat about one of the new songs. I turn to face him and shrug my shoulders.

“I’m good.” I tell him as I take another sip of my beer. He raises an eyebrow, not believing a word I say and I look away from his scrutinising gaze.

“Yeah, don’t bullshit, it’s me you’re talking to.” He scolds and I lean back into my seat with a sigh. Mike knows about Blaire, knows about my feelings for my childhood best friend and how much I fucked up 8 years ago. He knows that she’s the one invading my thoughts.

“Blaire will be there.” I blurt out. The entire band is joining me on the trip home, we have 3 months off before our new album is released, and having nothing better to do, they decided to tag along. Mike nods his head and leans back in his seat, studying me.

“Tell her.” He states, causing me to cough on the mouthful of beer I had attempted to swallow. I look at him like he has gone completely mad.

“Oh yeah, great idea, I haven’t seen or spoken to her in 8 years, what am I supposed to do, just walk up and say, hey, been a while, I love you.” I roll my eyes at my idiot friend, who chuckles and shakes his head.

“Well no, but it’s been 8 years. you haven’t seen her, maybe you can start over.” He tells me. I purse my lips, considering his words. He’s not wrong, maybe this is my chance to get my girl. I turn my head to look out the window as we approach the private airfield and our awaiting plane, a plan formulating in my head.

****************

I watch through the living room window of my parents’ house as Blaire exits the car that parked on the street, holding the hand that is offered to her. My heart beats erratically, as I see her tuck her luscious dark hair behind her ear, a blush staining her cheeks as she smiles at the male in front of her. Though I can’t hear what they are saying, I know she is probably thanking him. I take in her knee length dress, fitted to the curve of her hips that seemed to have grown in the months since I’ve seen her, her date dressed to match. I watch as he walks her to her front door, turning away when he leans in for a kiss. I don’t want to see that, my heart can’t take seeing that.

I let the curtain close, blocking my view of Blaire and her date and collapse of the couch behind me. Running my hands through my hair, frustration at the fact that the girl of my dreams is kissing someone else. I sit forward, resting my elbows on my knees and bury my head in my hands. The ache in my chest becoming unbearable the more I think of Blaire and whoever that douche is.

I haven’t been home in months, though my college is only a couple of hours away, I’ve been so caught up with my band and playing gigs every weekend that I haven’t been able to make it back. I’ve missed so many phone calls from Blaire, texts have gone unanswered for days as the college parties all run into each other, but I finally made it home, only to witness this on my return.

I know I have no reason to be jealous, she’s not mine after all, but the pain in my chest says otherwise. Its, at that moment, I decide to let her go.

I’m woken from my dream by Kyle shaking my shoulder and telling me the plane is about to land. I sleepily put my seat in the upright position and place my seatbelt over my lap. The last of my dream floating through my mind and the ache in my chest returning full force. Why did I think letting her go was an option?


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