Second Chances (NaNoWriMo 2016) - Chapter 7 | Penana

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Second Chances (NaNoWriMo 2016)
Writer Ruby Iodine
  • G: General Audiences
  • PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
  • PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • R: Restricted
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Second Chances (NaNoWriMo 2016)
A - A - A
Chapter 7
Ruby Iodine
Nov 16, 2016
20 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!IWEZeWyIMRngTHyQvUxQposted on PENANA

Izzy returns as soon as Cam finishes his set, passing the center stage over to the next performer, the one the entire crowd has been waiting for tonight. With tan skin, ash-brown short hair and cerulean eyes, Louis Castro has a foreign, European vibe that he carries with him, even more evident as he addresses the cheering crowd with an obvious but not-too-thick accent. Regardless, he’s more masterful in the whole music thing than Cam is, the latter of which still looked rather nervous during his set, as if he was afraid people might not like the music he’s playing. In my own opinion, I think he can be as great in music-producing as Louis Castro is, or even well-known musicians like Avicii or Zedd if he tries hard enough.copyright protection178PENANAmZs1xny6oP

When I turn to my best friend, she’s gazing up at the artist on stage with dreamy-like eyes, and I can tell that Castro already has his first fangirl.copyright protection178PENANAi6LX5ZTEIG

“Hello? Earth to Isabelle, stop drooling and making up fantasies in your head, please,” I say as I snap my fingers in front of her face, which she ignores with a quick slap of her hand.copyright protection178PENANAv5WpMvghpN

“Well, just so you know, I got an exclusive autograph from him backstage earlier while I was talking to the organizers,” she says with a cocky smile, then reaches into the back pocket of her shorts to take out a small sheet of paper. “And I got his number. What do you wanna say about me now, huh? Isabelle Cross has just gotten herself a date with a celebrity.”copyright protection178PENANA8MMANkYlqm

Future celebrity, Izzy. He’s only popular in the state of Minnesota, probably a couple cities beyond it and maybe wherever he came from because he’s definitely not native to here.”copyright protection178PENANAbJtWGzVAdD

“But celebrity nonetheless—and besides, I’d rather date someone before they're famous because that's when you can get to know them the most, in a much deeper level because that's when you know it's the real deal. It might be impossible for him to find time for a decent date night, with at least three hours booked on you and you alone, after he's famous, with all the security guards and fangirls surrounding him and taking his attention away from you all the fucking time. You're lucky Drew keeps his personal life far away from his professional life, because otherwise, you're gonna have some competition, my friend."copyright protection178PENANAgJJd8vIoN7

It's funny how most people will stereotype Izzy and think that she's the type of girl who just wants to have fun and doesn't want to settle down yet, seeing how she's the more outgoing and party-loving between the two of us. To be fair, she was one, back in high school. She learned her lesson after she actually fell for this one guy who's older than us by one year, back when we were in our third year, only for him to dump her immediately after he started going to college only because she didn't look like the 'committed' type and he was practically looking for his future wife, which was definitely a bit too young for someone his age back then. Regardless, the incident destroyed her, and she became determined to prove him wrong ever since.copyright protection178PENANAcVTZwHjv3K

Too bad that the general rule of finding a boyfriend is to never be desperate, because then Love just realizes how desperate and pathetic you are and just avoids you like that mean queen bee in high school, giving you anything but what you seek from them.copyright protection178PENANASetlaaU6K8

"Izzy," I say, kinda not wanting to say it because I don't want to ruin her mood. "You have his number, but that doesn't necessarily mean you actually landed a date with him. You know that, right?"copyright protection178PENANAK1RteZZXoN

"And this is the part where I tell you that he did ask me out, on a real date." She crosses her arms in front of her and glares at me with playful arrogance. "What do you think about me now?"copyright protection178PENANA5AIZAfGTLK

I almost choke on air in shock, staring wide-eyed at her. I admit, I'm impressed.copyright protection178PENANADDY7Z9iUg3

She glances back at him again, just as he happens to look in our direction, particularly at Izzy. She grins and waves nervously at him, which seems to have pleased him enough as he nods at her in return before tearing his gaze away and back to the dancing crowd. I'm not surprised that she can get a date with a guy so easily, seeing how attractive she is in men's eyes, though it's her personality that can be a bit overwhelming if you're not used to it. The only thing I'm afraid of now is that Castro might realize how bubbly and energetic Izzy can be and he might not be able to keep up with her, and it'll be a repeat of junior year all over again.copyright protection178PENANA215TukTuhh

"Speaking of boyfriends," she says, leaning close to me so she can whisper out of Drew's range of hearing as he's somewhat enjoying the entertainment offered here so far. "I can bet from the look on your face that you're just astonished to see Cam playing tonight, aren't you?"copyright protection178PENANAhmSZlsf2m0

I glare at her. "You knew?"copyright protection178PENANAM0DL8DVqxb

"Of course, I knew—hello, I was backstage? He was talking to Louis before he had to go up on stage. And don't worry, I didn't say anything to him because the most interaction we had with each other is me staring at him in disbelief and him waving at me with a nervous smile, like he knows I'm about to fucking stab him anytime soon for keeping that little part where it's his job to be an opening act away from you when he offered you those tickets. I think he purposely gave them to you so that you can see how much he's changed now—and damn, he's changed a lot."copyright protection178PENANAtzcysHSlba

"I can't say he's changed that much, though," I say, frowning.copyright protection178PENANADswwsSZHUl

"Well, for one, he's willing to start making music again, proven by the fact that he played that song he wrote for you, and even recorded and sent it to you so you can spend sleepless nights listening to that stupid audio recording over and over again until can't sleep."copyright protection178PENANAIHmmtuZoVw

"Wait, you know?"copyright protection178PENANAzp6MXytQUF

"Of course I know, Em, I'm your roommate and I have a room right next to you." She rolls her eyes. "The walls aren't as soundproof as you think, you know. And besides, you were humming the damn song every single morning!"copyright protection178PENANA1y7x5zq4hl

Blood rushes to my cheeks and I feel them start to burn in embarrassment. As if things can't get any worse, I spot from the corner of my eye, the man in question himself, appearing from beside the stage where he is greeted with a few of which I figure are his friends, with only a couple of them I recognize from the old gang of buddies he used to hang out with during our younger years. I realize I've been staring at them for a second too long because they quickly turn to me and recognized me as well, before nudging Cam and pointing me out to him.copyright protection178PENANAqZ3MmwhlUd

I stand with my knees frozen to the ground, unsure of how to react, and then he waves to me and start heading in my direction after his friends give him a slap on the back. He practically stumbles his way over here, but before I can tell him not to with my current boyfriend in close proximity, Izzy has already ruined everything by calling him over and greeting him, dragging him towards us.copyright protection178PENANASuCYgAxKrs

I nearly jump when all of a sudden, a hand creeps up onto mine and intertwine our fingers together, and I look up to see Drew already standing by my side, looking down at me with a thin-lipped smile just as Cam reaches us, and both men's smiles falter away.copyright protection178PENANAps0x057qao

"Emma! So glad you and Izzy can make it!" Cam exclaims, then his eyes turn to Drew, and I immediately regret this decision. "And you must be Andrew Hurst. Pleasure to meet you. I'm Cameron—Cameron Hood. I was just the opening act for my buddy Louis over there."copyright protection178PENANALAoOnLkF6f

He extends his arm to Drew, who shakes it somewhat reluctantly. "Ah, so you're Cameron. I've heard a lot about you, from Isabelle and mostly from Emma. I believe you're her ex-boyfriend, aren't you?" I catch a glimpse at his uneasiness and suddenly the feeling of nausea appears in my stomach again.copyright protection178PENANASZJvX05vLw

Everything about this is telling me that this will turn into a disaster. It's inevitable—how could it not turn into a disaster when my boyfriend meets my ex-boyfriend from two years ago?copyright protection178PENANAXbZYIZ4Ppe

"Ah, but we're both over it now—just a high-school thing, you know?" Cam glances at me and shivers run down my spine. "Hopefully we can just be friends like we used to, before the whole dating thing started. You're obviously a better match for her, too. Top 50 young entrepreneurs, huh?"copyright protection178PENANAebPD0colSv

Drew chuckles for a short moment. "Wow, thank you for noticing. I feel honored, really. Looks like you're about to be one of the top 50 up-and-coming musicians if you play your cards right, too."copyright protection178PENANAAKukgsllX6

Cam shrugs. "I don't know if I even classify as a 'musician'—I don't even know if this is a permanent thing yet—but thank you. I really appreciate that."copyright protection178PENANASVhRT0QXQg

"Oh, Cam, don't be so modest about yourself," Izzy interrupts, patting him on the shoulder. Cam looks almost fearful as soon as he notices the scheming-like look on her face—he's always fearful of everything she does, even called her a 'she-devil' once. "You've been a musician for as long as we've known you—that song you wrote for Em, the one you just played on-stage earlier?"copyright protection178PENANAb5s1Isd7N6

My heart sinks to the pit of my stomach and my knees start to lose their strength. The urge to bitch-slap Izzy in the face for saying that is almost unbearable, but you can quickly tell how quick the mood has changed when a smile has started to creep up Drew's face and immediately disappearing as soon as she mentioned it, along with both Cam and my faces.copyright protection178PENANADoR7I7A4sx

"That song—you wrote a song for Emma?" Drew questions, seeming taken aback by the revelation.copyright protection178PENANAalssdmt4jj

Oh, if only I can escape this dreadful conversation.copyright protection178PENANAkvoMw7fKf2

"Again, a high-school thing," Cam replies, this time with a clenched jaw. He looks tense now, as I notice the slight muscles underneath his t-shirt start to contract. "If I still have anything for Em, I wouldn't have remixed that song and played it to a large public crowd, now would I?"copyright protection178PENANAQSrH0aPAeh

His words strike a poison-tipped arrow straight to my heart, and I can't help but flinch as soon as the harsh truth slaps me across the face like a wake-up call. I know we're pretty much over each other by now, but it still hurts me to hear him speak such words about the song I will forever hold close to my heart. When he first played it to me, it made me feel special, like I'm worth something to the point that someone actually wants to make a song for me and for me only. I've made sure nobody else have heard that song—well, Izzy accidentally overheard it but I didn't think she would tell anybody about it—and neither has he, because we both know it's a special thing just between the two of us, to remind us of what we had between each other while our romance lasted.copyright protection178PENANA8pDBRRXkVh

Now, realizing that he's practically throwing all that secrecy and sentimentality away by showing it to the rest of the world, it hurts so bad it even surprises me for even feeling that way in the first place, because now, everything that has made that song special is gone. It's no longer that special song he plays for me whenever we're alone; it's just a song now. An object to help propel him further into the music industry and towards success, but pushing him further away from me and from what we had.copyright protection178PENANAEgN33kbi5q

Does he really think that way of the song now? Is it just another song, another forgettable footnote?copyright protection178PENANAlVjMDjXsUb

"True that," says Drew and he wraps his arm around my waist but I'm too numb to feel it. "But best of luck to your future. I hope you make it big, my friend."copyright protection178PENANAK2AoEsfCNa

"Thank you, and you too." Cam turns to me again and he puts on a half-hearted smile. "Don't be a stranger, Em. See you around—oh, I almost forgot about this little ball of fireworks, too."copyright protection178PENANATrrHvu1GM6

His hand reaches to the top of Izzy's head and barely touches her hair when she slaps his hand away and hisses at him like a rabid cat who's been sprayed by water.copyright protection178PENANA682qVFJS8E

"I swear to God, Hood, you touch my hair and I will break your fucking hand."copyright protection178PENANA4THEhl7wXU

He rolls his eyes, disregarding Izzy's threat. "Yeah, yeah, as if you haven't done that before already."copyright protection178PENANAHRl8yQCAxp

Despite my declining mood ever since the start of the conversation, I can't help but stifle a laugh as all three of us are reminded of the same incident, which again, happened in high-school, but this was after we got together. It was at a pool party organized by some of the popular, party-loving kids at school, and we were having a chicken fight, with me and Cam in one team and Izzy and one of his friends in the other. When I was able to knock Izzy out, she fell head-first towards us, and Cam was about to help catch her when she plummeted into the pool while cracking his hand backwards. It remained immobile for two months, I think, but it was definitely one of the funniest fucking things we've ever done since we've known each other, and he's not even mad about it.copyright protection178PENANAGEyI4toOmx

Drew looks helplessly confused, however, looking like the most awkward fourth wheeler of all time.copyright protection178PENANAsrq95Ivdes

"Okay, let's not dwell in the past," Izzy states, raising her hands up in defense. "See you around, loser."copyright protection178PENANA7Wkt4TkHtR

Cam starts taking a few steps back towards where his friends still are, keeping his gaze on us and giving us a reassuring smile as he waves us a goodbye. Both Izzy and I wave back, but as soon as he turns his back around, I suddenly feel myself being dragged from where I stand off to the side, and my body is twisted around so I'm facing Drew now, who seems a lot more displeased than his facade just a minute ago.copyright protection178PENANA7avGTzaiow

"Please tell me you're completely over him," he says to me, leaving me surprised by the fact that he would even think about saying something like that.copyright protection178PENANAPQXgZ3Yugd

"Of course I am, Drew," I say, reminding myself of how Cam truly feels about the song he wrote for me now. "That's why I'm here with you, aren't I?"copyright protection178PENANAXo9iRebcWE

He pulls the corner of his mouth back, stares at me for a good minute then relents. "Yeah, I suppose. I just... don't to see you being anywhere near him, all right?"copyright protection178PENANA34OzKH9UZx

I frown. "Andrew, he's still my friend despite what happened between us. We talked about this earlier; you can't keep making me distance myself from all my friends just because you don't like them."copyright protection178PENANAqPno5ns3SJ

"But I'm your boyfriend." His hand starts gripping my wrist with force, so much that I wince from the sheer strength he's putting to my weak arm, and only then does he slightly loosen his grasp. "And no matter what the two of you are now, he's still your ex. That gives me a damn good reason for forbidding you from ever seeing him again."copyright protection178PENANAgQ7q8ZEjbB

I grit my teeth but stay silent, not wanting this to turn into an argument for us. Then I realize, we've never actually gotten into an argument before, not one that involved both parties being so upset with each other that someone may just get hurt. I don't think it's natural for couples to not have an argument, though, because as far as I know, no relatinship is without a hitch, like how no projects or processes can ever run without at least one problem they have to face. It scares me to think that although it's nice to know that we've never really disagreed with each other up to this point, I've heard from multiple sources that one of the reasons why could be because we don't care about each other as much.copyright protection178PENANAYfFNOpvXju

I do care about him, though. I'm not sure if it works the other way around, but there seems to be no indication that proves that it doesn't.copyright protection178PENANAuKkS9pgBt8

"C'mon," he says, releasing his grip on my arm and turning sharply to head back towards the main entrance and exit. "Let's just get out of here. I've had enough excitement for one day."copyright protection178PENANAlKYta7sPqD

"But Izzy—"copyright protection178PENANAqpT5cHuHEO

"Izzy can take a taxi or bus ride home if she wants to, but for now, I don't give a damn, because it's either that you come with me or I'm leaving you here."copyright protection178PENANAc9yw2HWijp

A jolt of electricity shocks through my spine and I almost gasp at his words if I don't hold myself back from making things worse than it already is. The conversation just escalates far too quickly and I never knew he had it in him to lash out at me like that. I take a step back, unsure of myself and even afraid that his outburst may turn for the worst, knowing from all the stories I've heard about him from former employees who manage to light the short fuse, usually a rare occurrence but that doesn't mean it hasn't been done before.copyright protection178PENANAqE9p8kwA9X

Apparently, I've lit it up myself right about now.copyright protection178PENANAezm7EyO9gt

He soon notices the fear written all over my face and immediately his face softens, his shoulders droop and he extends a hand towards me.copyright protection178PENANAXsDvZFdVXx

"Emma, please," he says with a gentler tone, one that I've learned to recognize for the past two years. "Just... let's just get out of here. Please?"copyright protection178PENANAlncvNkPkUY

I take one last glance over my shoulder, at the stage where Louis Castro is still playing, at the side of the stage where Izzy is taking photos of him for both work and personal admiration, and at Cam who's having his own little after-party with his group of friends who have started to disappear backstage again. Before he leaves with them, I catch his eyes looking right at me again before I force myself to turn away, lift my eyes up to Drew and take his hand in mine, all without a single word.copyright protection178PENANAh9yEgcd5mt

We walk back to the entrance where the car is already waiting, and I don't bother to even greet Vincent who has already read my expression and maintains the silence between us, even throughout the ride back home.copyright protection178PENANAzjWcOVS2RP

I don't want to turn my phone on, even as it vibrates with unrelenting determination for the tenth time tonight. I know it's probably Izzy, maybe even Cam, which is only worse if I open the damn message right in front of Drew. Instead, I lean to the side of the car and stare out the window, but not without sneaking a few glances at my boyfriend who's mimicking the exact same action. He scratches his head a couple of times, too, and through the reflection on the window I can see him turning to me, as if wanting to strike another uncomfortable conversation between us before he decides otherwise, resorting back to sulking in his side of the car.copyright protection178PENANAzcdMI06xk1

The vehicle stops after fifteen minutes, and I look out the window to see the familiar sight of the brownstone building of my place of residence again. I gather my belongings and step out the car, but stop when I hear him calling my name again.copyright protection178PENANAwCa5gritxE

I turn around, stare at his crystal-blue eyes brimming with unknown emotion. The fear bubbling inside of me is gone now, replaced with confusion and hopelessness.copyright protection178PENANAX7XTkMOcOG

"I love you, Emma," he says through the open car window. "Don't forget that. I'll see you tomorrow, all right?"copyright protection178PENANA1oSfaAgh8B

I nod but I don't smile. "Tomorrow. I love you, too."copyright protection178PENANAiFdtKuU2Xs

I look away and grab my keys from my purse, but I don't watch him go when I hear the sound of the car's engine disappearing from my range of hearing as it goes back down the road and off, heading back towards the city again. Keeping quiet to myself, I instead turn my attention to unlocking the doors, turning the lights back on and re-settling myself to the warmth of my home.copyright protection178PENANAGUzEOTqC5f

Izzy doesn't come back until it's late at night, when I'm half-sprawled across the couch with my pajamas, flicking through the channels to see if there's anything decent enough to watch than goddamn Keeping Up With The Kardashians. She seems flustered and excited at the same time, but when her eyes land on me, the grin disappears.copyright protection178PENANAi7DbmOMC5V

"I saw what happened, between you and Drew," she says with understanding, then moves to take a seat right next to me. "And for the record, you can go and hang out with whoever you like, regardless of the person's current or former significance to you. He shouldn't have control over that. And that's why I hate that guy.'copyright protection178PENANAdnBrQlVLoT

Before I go to sleep, I finally open my text messages. As expected, many of them come from Izzy, but there's one from the other person I've expected, and the words in the message is a complete opposite from what he said to me and Drew, right up at our faces.copyright protection178PENANAd5NNJCGafM

'That song is the best I've ever written my entire life, and I'm glad to have shared it with you, proud to know that I already had a fan before I even knew what I was doing. And for that, I'm forever grateful to you, Emma. I wish you the best of luck, always.copyright protection178PENANApxT3JgRwSX

P.S. I'm always here if you want me to play it for you the way it should be.copyright protection178PENANAr6l2xbotXN

P.P.S. Maybe wanna meet up for coffee sometime to exchange progress on our respective works?'copyright protection178PENANAmbSaYCMFN1

I blink a couple of times, lie my head back down on the pillow and stare up the ceiling with the phone held on top of my stomach. I don't know what to say. Part of me wants to say 'yes,' because it's always fun to be able to hang out with him like the best buddies we used to be, and honestly, I've missed those times. At the same time, it's generally not a good idea to be meeting up with your ex again, especially after your current significant other is more than upset to see you just trying to strike a friendly conversation up with him.copyright protection178PENANArczkgiA8Pt

But what he doesn't know, doesn't hurt him, now does it?copyright protection178PENANA5hAqk8CIBA

It's not like I'm cheating on him or anything. I do love him—I love Andrew with all my heart and soul—and I don't intend on picking someone I've already broken up with a long time ago over someone like him. He's the best thing I've ever had since the past couple of years, and though what we have may not be as exhilirating or stands out as much as what Cam and I used to have, I like the stability between us because sometimes, too much excitement is just too much. And at my age now, I shouldn't be running around like a sixteen-year-old teenager again, thinking I'm ready to take on whatever Life throws at me. I have to face it the proper, more logical way. If I have Cam by my side, it'll be anything but that.copyright protection178PENANAwXLo7J1UoO

'Coffee sounds great,' I reply, but then I add, 'But I make no promises.' Just to make sure he gets the right idea from this.copyright protection178PENANAVQ1ubhNMpC

His reply comes back in mere seconds. 'Cool. Monday @10?'copyright protection178PENANAfvUQVeYyXz

'Sounds great :)'copyright protection178PENANA8txTSFDTz2

I turn off my phone and don't bother to wait for a reply. I close my eyes, stare into the darkness and hope that I can prepare myself to face another new day.copyright protection178PENANAIuSJZ31MQr

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