Thursday, 10 April 2014

Oh hai

Oh hai. I can't believe I was one of those people that was writing and one day...I disappeared without saying a word to anyone, since that's exactly the type that I disliked quite a bit (my reasoning: If you type more than 30 WPM, why dafudge nuggets can you not simply say "Oh, I'm gonna stop writing. Bai"). 

I could go into a full blown explanation of why I stopped writing, but I shall try not to waste anymore valuable time.

All in all, I would very much like to thank everyone who had stuck by me through the legacy and baby challenge, and any late bloomers who might have happened onto this site by some force of nature, thanks for taking the time to read my story of Sims, and I do apologize for leaving things in the air. 

Enjoy your time playing Sims, creating stories and whatnot, and I hope you enjoy every minute of it!

Monday, 15 July 2013

Generation 5: Chapter five (Part one)

Forgiveness is a three syllable word, and though it's pretty easy to pronounce, it's not that easy to bestow upon another. Giving out candy on Halloween? No problem, it was a whole part of the tradition. But forgiving someone when they hurt you deeply...that was another thing entirely. Forgiving someone was never my strong point, nor was it holding grudges. Even though a lot of time would pass and the whole thing would be forgotten by everyone else, I would still remember. I may not have such strong antagonism towards them anymore, but I would still remember the words they used, their attitude, and anything else that was hostile and hurtful. It was and would remain a big deal to me.

Like I said, grudges were never my strong suit, and after a major amount of begging and apologies from Cara, I slowly rebuilt a friendly relationship with her. In her mind, nothing had happened, and we were back to being best friends, without having talked it out like grown-ups. We probably never would, but hey, that was Cara.

Things were going so well, that when the first semester ended and we had a few weeks break, she dragged me into her plans of heading to Bridgeport with a few friends, and when I say a few friends, I mean guys, like Devin and a friend of his named Theo. She kept her mouth shut about the fact that Devin and I were, well, having a fling of some sort I guess, but it was obvious it still bugged her. At least the prospect of him bringing along another male friend that was attractive perked her up again.
“Helloooo, is anyone home?” a hand waved frantically in front of my face, interrupting my daydream and bringing me back to reality. Reality was, I was standing in Bridgeport alongside Cara while we were taking a small tour of Bridgeport, something she loved to do when she got to a city. Even though she knew Bridgeport like the palm of her hand, she still insisted we go out for a walk.

I cleared my throat before answering. “Uh, yeah, I was just thinking.”

“There’s plenty of time to think when we go back to school, so to speak. So just forget about your troubles and soak in the awesome view of the city for a moment.” For once, I followed the advice of girl-with-the-crazy-purple-hair and took a breath, observing the little details of the city, like the way the clouds were converging, the lights atop some of the skyscrapers…horrible traffic and pollution aside, the city was something unique. I couldn’t see myself living in a city, ever, but it was great to see how other people coped.

To a girl that lived out in the country, the city life was completely foreign. I was kind of used to it, though, thanks to my multiple trips here with the girl that stood beside me at that moment.

“Okay, enough wasting time, let’s go check in and then head off to go party like only the people in Bridgeport know how.”

“Eh, I wish I could.” That was a lie, but she didn’t know that. “I have to go meet up with someone. It’s for a project I was assigned to right before the end of the semester.”

Cara’s face went blank. “You’re kidding me, right? They’re letting you work in the holidays? Damn, those people are insane. And you’re insane for sticking with the program, too.”

“That’s because I don’t want to fail, not like other people I know,” I pointed out and started taking a few steps towards the pavement. “I’ll meet up with you peeps later, okay?”

“Fine!” she called over as I turned my back on her. “It’s your loss!”

Chuckling at just how silly that girl was, I continued to walk down the road, looking for the place that I had agreed to meet this famous person at, and sincerely hoping that I wasn’t lost.
Okay, I was definitely lost. Bridgeport was huge, and there weren’t any landmarks that helped with navigation. Well, there were buildings and that, but they all looked the same, making my job at finding the right place ten times more difficult.

I never quite knew where the line “one of these things is not like the other” would be applicable, however, when I was standing in front of a building that was a tad shorter than the rest of the skyscrapers and had an array of different colors in its exterior, it was clear that this was the home of artists – in other words, the music hall, the place I had been searching for.

Coming to Bridgeport wasn’t just some trip where we’d go shopping, go to clubs, get drunk and wake up with a hangover the next morning. When I agreed to this trip, I had an ulterior motive. See, even though we were on break, the work never stopped. My next project was situated in Bridgeport. Given, it was for extra credit and only applied to me, a music student, but it was still something to worry about. Claremont University had recognized (finally) that they had been sort of discriminating against the students who wanted to focus on music (i.e., me), and were in the process of creating opportunities to make up for that. This was one such an opportunity. I had an interview scheduled with a famous singer of Bridgeport, who went by the name of “Daisy”. Why is this such a fascinating thing, some might ask? She started out as a street artist and had earned my respect a long time ago. Musicians had a hard life, and though she was a singer and not exactly an expert on my line of work, I felt like I had to meet her, to see what kind of future lay ahead for me.

Around ten minutes later, a car pulled up (an expensive looking one at that), complete with a driver that was escorting the person inside. It was at that moment that I realized I could be dealing with some hotshot celebrity with an inflated ego that would most likely look down on me because I was just a student, a nobody…
But the moment Daisy stepped out of the car, she waved over at me with a big smile on her face, and politely instructed her driver that’d she’d call him when she needed to be picked up. This wasn’t exactly what I was expecting from her when I saw the fancy car.

“Hi, you must be Krissy, I’m hoping,” the tall woman with brown hair that surrounded her face extended a hand to me, “I’m Daisy, pleased to meet you.”
“E-eh, yeah, that’s me,” I shook her hand, cursing myself in my mind for stuttering. Dammit, now I started off terribly. Not the way you want to go when standing in the presence of greatness, so to speak. “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me.”

“Oh, it’s no trouble at all. When your lecturer, Miss Huckleberry, called me to ask if I have some time to show the ropes of showbiz to a student, I was quite excited to be handed such a task.”

“You’re serious?” I held back a chuckle. This was too good to be true. “I didn’t know that big time performers would have time at all for anything else but their career.”

“That’s true for most people,” she nodded thoughtfully, “but I’m not most people. I always take some time to get away from all the press and stress that goes along with this job. It’s important to remember your roots once you’ve made the headlines. My English teacher in high school taught me that we had to remain humble, even when we received high marks. That bit of wisdom has stayed with me through the years. I find it hard to understand why more people don’t try to help other aspiring stars. I mean, I got this opportunity because someone else saw my talent and gave me this chance. Why, oh why, can’t we do the same…which is kind of what I’m doing here, today, Krissy. I’m here to show you how many musicians make a living these days. Why did you think I asked to meet you here in front of the music hall?”

Scratching my neck, I took a second to think it over, only to come up blank. “Honestly, I dunno.”

She smiled slyly. “Because I needed access to a whole collection of instruments. You play the piano, right?”

“And the guitar, but I love the piano the most, I guess.”

“That’s fantastic.” Why she’d be excited over the fact that I played piano was beyond me, but as she motioned towards a worker inside the building, and as that individual brought out an electronic keyboard, things started to fall in place. “You’re going to join me in creating a small show, right here, right now.”
Stage fright was a performer’s worst enemy, and you can guess who had it: I did. While there wasn’t exactly a real life stage where a lot of people would be watching – it was just past 9 AM, and it was a well-known fact the people of Bridgeport liked to sleep in a little late – I still had it. Just another thing I can thank Cara for, shielding me all those years and shaping me into a scared little adult. But I couldn’t blame her for everything. It was partly my parents who had a nurturing nature, and didn’t want to see their adopted daughter grow up just yet. So, most of my life, I had been dependent upon them, making who I am today.

There was another reason for be slightly afraid of performing a song out in the open: I was going to perform with a celebrity, which was one of the best opportunities I could get as a student, and I didn’t want to screw it up. Talk about a lot of pressure riding on these two shoulders. 

It was as if Daisy could read my mind, or maybe she was just really good at reading people, as it wasn’t as if I was hiding my fear from appearing on my face. “There’s nothing to be afraid of. Just focus on your music and enjoy yourself."

And so I did. After taking a deep breath, I let my fingers rest on the keys, and with practiced ease, I started playing, losing myself in the music. Slowly but surely, my confidence started to build up. I found that I could focus on something other than just my piano. Only now I noticed the sweet sound of Daisy’s voice that mixed well with the sound emanating from the piano. She had never asked me to play a specific song, or even one of her own songs, something to which she could sing along to. What I saw here and now was what made Daisy the great artist that she was. She had the ability to sing what was on her mind, and sing from her heart. Whatever tune you played, she found a lyric that matched it.

The last note lingered in the air, and I wished that the moment would never end. It was both an interesting experience.  Maybe I was being weird saying that, but that’s how I experienced it. It was so fascinating to me, because I had solely focused on my own business in the past, forgetting the fact that to reach a true harmonic sound, I had to pay attention to the rest of the group. Well, I could blame the university for that; I never had anyone else to practice with, so that skill never really developed.

“You must have friends waiting for you?” Daisy made it sound like a question as she helped an attendant pack away some of the musical equipment.

“Yeah…,” I shrugged, “not really looking forward to it, they’re probably just going to dance all night, get drunk and pass out. That’s pretty what they came here for.”

“You’re still young, you have to enjoy life, even be a bit reckless.” She paused, and her eyes seemed almost apologetic. “I’m sorry, this wasn’t much, but I really didn’t know what the university was expecting I should teach you, so I just…improvised.”

“No, no, it was…great. You actually showed me I’m a selfish musician, in a sense.”
“Why would you say that?”

Out of habit, I scratched my nose, something I always did when I was searching for the right words. “I’ve never played in a group or a band even, so I’m always focusing so hard on making my music perfect, forgetting that I have to focus on the rest of the group too. I think I can use that skill in the future, when I find the right career maybe.”

She chuckled. “If you’re happy with what I showed you today, well, there’s no reason for me to complain. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to meet my fiancĂ© here as well…”

“Oh, my bad,” I stepped aside as she started for the music hall’s entrance. “Goodbye and thanks for your time!” I called after her, just in time to see her wave as she stepped through the spiral door. 

Now that this part of the day’s activities was done, it was time to meet up with Cara again, and brace myself for an evening of wild dancing and loud music - which was exactly not what I needed.
Just after a quick phone call to Cara and a taxi ride to city hall to meet up with her again, she instructed the driver to take us to a nice hotel. With her credit card in her hand, Cara tried to book us the most expensive and luxurious hotel room she could find that hadn’t already been taken. Sadly, there weren’t a lot of spots open, and we got one of the less glamorous rooms, but it still had a nice view of the ocean, and quite theatrically, my best friend paraded around, identifying each building that she knew. Later on, she called me closer. “Look over there,” she pointed with a finger nail at a building that was a bit different than the rest. “That’s the club we’re going to in a few hours.”

Those few hours passed too quickly for comfort, and soon I found myself being dragged along against my will.

We passed through the glass doors, with the bouncer giving a gruff confirmation that we could go in. Of course we could, Cara had a pass for every private club, no matter what kind of restriction they had in place. That was the nice thing of having a dad with big pockets and a notebook full of contacts. Devin was there already, waiting with a huge smile on his face. “About time you two get here.”

“Sorry, I struggled to get this one,” Cara tilted her head towards me, “to come with me willingly.”

“Correction: I have not come willingly. I came here under threat of my impending demise if I didn’t come along.”

“She’s imagining things,” she poked my nose, a warning for me to stop talking. “So, where’s this friend of yours that you brought along?”

“Oh, he’s right over there,” Devin started gesturing behind him,” on the dance floor with those two lovely ladies. Apparently the red head and the other girl came all the way here from Evansdale County. They’re all for having a great party, and they came here to find one…you’ll have to put on your charms to get him away from those two.”

“Not to worry,” she stepped past us, rubbing her hands in anticipation, “I am excellent at being charming, if I do say so myself.”

This whole conversation was just not interesting to me at all, so I excused myself and headed to a place that wasn’t buzzing with people. At that point, the bar was empty, except for the attending bartender, which was a welcoming sight. There’s nothing like a good drink to help smooth those nerves. But there’s always someone that has to come and just ruin a good moment for you. Tonight, that person was Devin. Why couldn’t anyone see that I didn’t want to party and just wanted to be left alone?
“I’d like whatever drink you recommend as,” Devin lowered his voice as he took his seat, “a love potion,” he wiggled his eyebrows at me as he spoke. In your dreams, mister, was all I thought, but decided against speaking my mind.

The bartender seemed pleased with this order. “I have the perfect recipe in mind for that. Hold on just a sec while I mix it up.”

“No sweat,” Devin jerked his chin, grinning in my direction as we both observed the bartender mixing together the contents of several different bottles together into one drink. The end result was a bit different than I was expecting, and Devin was presented with a glass that fizzed with a pink liquid. Not quite a drink that fit Devin’s macho-man complex. “This is one sick joke…,” he grumbled under his breath.

"You are currently my favorite person on this planet right now," I said to the bartender, trying very hard not to laugh so much that I would fall off my chair.

"Oh yeah?" he flashed a smile. "And what would you, the lovely lady, like to have to drink tonight?" 

“Barely concealed flirtation,” Devin coughed beside me. I chose to ignore his statement. Was it just me, or did he actually feel insulted that the bartending was kind of flirting with me? Like…some sort of jealousy on his part? Wow. Never would I have thought that Devin Jameson would be jealous of another man, like ever.

“What do you have in mind?” I leaned forward, feigning interest in him. The agitation on Devin’s face became even more prominent, and he literally jumped off his chair.

“Let’s chat for a second, shall we?” he whispered by my ear and pulled me towards a quiet corner.
“What? What did I do wrong this time?”

“Nothing…,” he sighed. “I just can’t stand seeing you…the bartender…the flirts…it’s just torturing me, okay? It’s torture.”

“You have no reason to feel that way…unless…” I left the sentence open-ended, trying to figure out what he was trying to imply.

“Unless…unless I feel something for you, which I do.”

It took me a full five seconds to comprehend what he said. “What?”

“I like you, Krissy,” he shook his head, “and it’s driving me insane. You drive me insane, in a good way though. You say no to one night stands, you know what you want out of life…do you know that you’re the first girl I’ve met that’s like that? You intrigue me in so many ways, it’s fascinating, really. And I want to be able to break beyond the barrier that you’ve surrounded yourself with, to be able to hug you and… Krissy, I think I’d like you to go out with me. Like, a girlfriend, maybe, to have a real relationship with you.”

Again, the feeling of utter shock and disbelief filled my mind. Was this actual honesty and compassion coming from a guy who’s lied so much he probably didn’t know how to tell the truth anymore, and who I thought to have no heart and only cared for his own needs? I really didn’t know what to make of it, but to submit myself to him and just fall into his arms and say yes was out of the question. This situation called for being careful and analytic  At any moment, he could flip back to his old attitude, and I would get hurt. I just wasn’t ready for that.

“How about we work our way toward that, huh?” I asked, trying my best to keep my voice steady. It felt like I was lying -unintentionally, of course, but lying nonetheless.

Though Devin didn’t take it that way, and nodded, looking quite smug. “I think I can live with that for now.” I felt his hand softly gripping my side, as if to pull me closer for a kiss. He hesitated, and took a step away from me. “You hear that song? That’s my jam! Let me show you how smooth my dance moves are. Don’t worry; it’s not gonna be another disaster like that stunt I pulled with the guitar a while back.” Playfully swinging his hips, he took me by the hand and pulled me towards the dance floor. Not the place packed with Cara and Devin’s friend, Theo, but towards the stage, where no one else was dancing. It was just me and him.
It was surprising, even to me, that I could possibly have any sort of fun that night, but in Devin’s company, with him close by, moving his hips to the beat of the music, it was hard not to burst out laughing and enjoy myself.

Every now and then, it was good to just let yourself go and show who you really are.

Devin might not be the most perfect person, but he had a way of making me feel comfortable, of making me feel like I could do anything, without having a care in the world of what the repercussions were.

In that moment, everything was perfect.
“Dude,” Theo held up an empty palm, expecting me to hand him a beer, an act that was like a tradition to us. He might have been so drunk he couldn’t form coherent sentences anymore, but he always wanted one last beer to push him over the edge into unconsciousness. Tonight, things were going to go down a lot differently than usual. I needed Theo to be sober enough to have a conversation. Tonight, I needed a friend to talk to.

“Shut up and listen to me, okay,” I barked at him as I took my seat. “I need your advice.”

“Nooooo,” he wailed, stretching an arm out. “Beer first.”

“Theo, I need you… Just, tell me, what do you think about Krissy?”

The topic of woman seemed to give him a reason to sit up. “I think she’s hot.”

“I mean, like, as a girlfriend or something like that…”

The way his eyes suddenly widened and the frown that situated itself between his brows told me that wasn’t what he was expecting to hear from me. “Where is my friend Devin and what the fuck did you do to him?”

Laughing half-heartedly, I simply shrugged. “What are you talking about, bro?”

“Like…” He was silent for a moment. “Are you falling for this girl? Seriously? You want to give up your awesome lifestyle filled with great parties and lots of girls for you to choose from…for that chick?”
I nearly didn’t answer. “She’s different than the rest… She sees the world in a whole different light than most people. I think she’s...I don’t know, maybe she’s the girl that could make me into a better man, something like that, you know?”

“No, I don’t,” he answered quickly. “Come on, dude, that stuff only happens in chick flicks. You’re living the best life possible for a guy, getting all the girls. Trust me, all the guys on campus may look like they hate you, but at the end of the day, they still wish they were you. Why the hell would give that up on one, stupid girl?”

“Don’t talk that way about her. She’s special to me. So shut your trap before I shut it for you.”

Theo threw his hands up in mock horror. “Oh, I’m so scared; the big bad man is going to beat me up.”

I was on the verge of losing it and almost aimed a punch at his face, but I understood his doubt in me. To euphemise it, I was a guy that liked attention from the opposite gender. Maybe I enjoyed toying with their emotions too, I really didn’t know. This whole choice of mine to be a Ladies’ man was something that happened by accident one night at a bar, when three girls had been swooning around me, and it was impossible to say no to any of them. So maybe Theo had a point, that it was a crazy idea of me to want to suddenly change given years of such behavior. 
It was so quiet all of a sudden that I thought Theo had fallen asleep, but he was sitting upright, and took a deep breath before he started talking again. “Look man, if you feel so strongly about this girl…then nothing I can say will change that. I’m your friend, and I’m supposed to support you, so…go get your girl. I’ll be happy with whatever decision you make.”

Someone else responded before I even could. “That’s nice of you to say, Theo,” Cara commented. “Sorry to just drop by without knocking, but I wanted to talk to Devin – privately if you don’t mind.”

A shrug from Theo meant that he didn’t mind the intrusion or me leaving. He was probably going to take a nap anyhow, so, even though I was rather startled to see Cara here and not Krissy, I followed her down the hall and into my room without further questioning. As Krissy’s best friend, maybe she wanted to give me a speech about how to treat her friend with respect and all that jazz.
After I took a step into the room, I expected to see Cara sit down and start talking immediately about what a bad person I was and whatnot. Things went down a lot different than I had been thinking. With a flick of her finger, she locked the door behind us. Okay, that could still be considered normal; she wanted privacy from Theo and his habit of poking his head into places where it didn’t belong. But what was definitely not normal, was Cara launching herself at me, her lips pressed up against mine and her hands and nails digging into my back, forcing my body close to hers.

“Don’t overthink this,” she whispered as she pulled away.

“Wh-what are you doing?” I pushed her arm away as she tried to unbutton my pants. What had gotten into this girl’s mind? She was Krissy’s best friend, and she knew I liked her and that we were together. Why would she go behind her friend’s back like this?

“Devin, I told you to not overthink this,” she simply stated. “You’re a player, that’s who you are. And what would a player do in such a situation where a girl throws herself at a man like this?”

Okay, when you say to someone to not do something of course they’re gonna do it. My mind was reeling from what she meant. Just a few minutes earlier, I had an epiphany and had vowed to change myself into a better man. But with Cara here, posing such a question to me, I realized that I enjoyed the way I lived my life. I enjoyed the attention from girls, to be worshipped almost. It was some sort of God-complex that I had…and I loved every moment of it.

Then again, the image of Krissy crept into my mind, and I knew what I felt for her and that I’d feel guilty if I lost her. However, what she didn’t know couldn’t hurt her, and who would say no to one last indulgence before saying goodbye to it forever?
“To answer your question,” I whispered darkly as I took her by the hands and led her to the bed, “a player would take advantage of every opportunity that presented itself.”
There was that nagging feeling at the back of my mind, like the feeling you had when you knew you forgot something but you couldn’t remember what it was, no matter how hard you tried. This…this was a tad different. Almost like a sixth sense telling you that something was out of place, that things just weren’t right.

How could I get rid of that feeling when it was taking over my entire system?

Everything was eerily quiet, but that could all be attributed to Theo lying sprawled across the couch, taking a well-deserved nap after he had partied hard. Still…even though he was unconscious for now, I expected Devin to be in the lounge watching TV, or busying him in the kitchen. There was no sign that he had been there recently.

Again, my senses spiked, all pointing to the door that stood closed – completely unorthodox for these boys, as they had nothing to hide from each other, and were too lazy to do so even if they had. There was something going on behind that door that had me on edge, something that I probably didn’t want to know, and yet, I had to. It was the only way to get rid of this nagging doubt I had.

While my hands hovered above the door knob, visibly shaking, sounds were coming from within, and I swore that I could hear someone giggle. The laugh was all too familiar to me, because I’ve heard it more than a thousand times before. It belonged to Cara. What the hell was my best friend doing here while she promised she would make a beer run? Sure as hell, I would find out why.
People would think that someone would have thought to lock the door if they truly had a secret to hide. It was just my luck that the knob twisted with no obstruction, and the door cracked open, hardly making a sound, leaving me to see exactly what kind of people my friends really were.

You know that saying when there’s this real dramatic moment in your life, time just slows down and a few seconds feels like an eternity? Well, that was complete bullshit. There was no sign of time slowing down to give my mind time to accept that what I was seeing was real, or the implications of it all. All I was aware of was that I was blinking rapidly, my mouth slightly open in awe. On a good day, I could think of a thousand things to say, or an explanation for it, but in that moment, only one thought stuck with me.

Cara had slept with the guy that was now my boyfriend.

“Hey, have you seen my dress?” Cara giggled, casually peeking around the side of the bed to search for her missing clothes. They were seemingly oblivious to my entrance and to the fact that I was standing right there, having realized what had just happened. With my fists clenched, I resisted the urge to just throw a punch. I had been biting down on my lip, trying to hold back the tears…but that was a battle that had been lost long before it even started. Tears were rolling down my cheeks with no way to stop them.

“It’s r-right there, on the chair in the corner,” I finally croaked. My best friend turned to face me, her face blank, with the shock taking its time to manifest itself fully.
“It’s not what-“

I stopped her before she could complete her lame excuse that everyone always uses in such a situation. “No, spare me your shitty excuse and shut the hell up. It is what it looks like. You, my supposed best friend, are a slut, because you have to get with every guy you see, even if you have to go behind my back. You have no sense of self control when it comes to men, and I must have been insane to call you my friend because you are a complete and utter moron, and I don’t care if I sound like a mean bitch, but I’m sick of keeping my mouth shut.” In the background, Devin sighed, while keeping his gaze far away from me. Maybe he found my yelling a bit too dramatic, but at this point, did I really care about what he was thinking? “And you, Mister Casanova, you were the one who said you were different than all the stories people were spreading. Well guess what? You’re not. And your whole role in this doesn’t even bother me, because I was expecting this from you. So you know what, go back to screwing each other, and have a nice life.”

“Krissy!” Cara yelled as I slammed the door behind me, raced for the elevator and struggled to keep my composure as I made my way to the hotel room I shared with Cara. It would be a while before she’d be back, so I didn’t worry about that too much, but by the time she’d return, I’d be long gone.
This was the second time I’d walked out on Cara, though it was for a good reason. God, why did have to happen to me? Couldn’t I have a normal life, with normal situations and normal friends? Thinking about it too much hurt, but what else was there to think about? The entire time I was walking, the image of my best friend’s face was haunting me, and little by little, I felt the weight on my chest increase, making it ever so slightly harder to breath.  

Once inside the hotel room, the quietness I had experienced in the guy’s suite resonated once again, but this time I welcomed it, and literally fell into my room, seeking the wall for support.

Finally, I could cry as hard as I wanted to. Cry because I had lost a friend. Cry because I realized that maybe I never had a friend from the start. Cry because I had been lied to. Cry because people were stupid and humanity was doomed…Whatever reason there was to cry, I found it. Soon I found myself sliding down against the wall, curled up into a ball and rocking back and forth, praying that this child-like behavior of mine would stop. It was somewhat comforting, to no longer hold onto emotions that were buried deep, but there was a good reason to keep them buried. It just hurt too badly to feel them again.

How much time passed, I would never know, but sooner or later, Cara would show up being all apologetic and throwing her lies into the open expecting that it would make things better again. No, it won’t, and it never will. She made a conscious decision, Devin made a conscious decision, and now, I would make the conscious decision to hightail it out of there and never look back.
When I packed for this trip to Bridgeport, I brought nothing but a small, red backpack with a few pieces of clothing in it and the clothes on my back. At the time, it looked like a silly idea, and would probably have ended in me buying extra clothes. Now, it provided me with an easy escape from this place, a place that now held bad memories.

I no longer had any sort of attachment to Bridgeport, and had no reason to stay. Armed with this knowledge, I wandered aimlessly in the streets until I reached a familiar point which was the bus stop. Out of everything in that city, the bus stop was the only place I could remember in detail.

The chances of a bus stopping so early in the morning would usually be minuscule  I must have been lucky, because I didn’t wait too long before a bus pulled up, and the driver called from within. “You look like you need a ride somewhere.”

“Does this bus go as far as Appaloosa Plains?” I asked hopefully.

“No,” he shook his head, and my hope faltered, but he quickly spoke again, “but I can get you close to it.”

“That’s good enough for me.” It truly was as I climbed aboard and took a seat close to a window. As the scenery started to pass with an increasing speed, I didn’t take the liberty to look at how beautiful things were at sunrise. My eyes were focused on what was right in front of me.

And never once did I look back.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Generation 5: Chapter four

One of the things in this world that irked me the most would probably be power outages. Technology had advanced to a point where we could be prepared for such an occasion, like back-up generators and whatnot. And yet, though every student in our dormitory required power to work on their assorted projects - be it on the computer or in the kitchen - there was no back-up plan for us.

Just as I was right in the middle of a chapter of one of my text books (I had trouble sleeping and surprisingly the stuff in that book was boring enough to make me sleepy), everything went dark, and I was left with only a slight hum in the air from the electronics that had suddenly lost connection to the power supply line.

How could things get any worse?” some may ask. Well… The answer was pretty simple: Both Cara and I were afraid of the dark. When I was ten years old, I went along on a camping trip with Cara and her ever-so-rich parents who wanted to get a feel for the outdoors. We quickly made friends with the neighboring campers, and the three boys that also went along with them. At night, we all huddled together in front of the campfire and told scary ghost stories. Some of the tales were pretty traumatizing, and not made any less scary as one of the guys sneaked up on us, and our screams were heard all over the campsite.

Ever since that trip, we’ve preferred to stay indoors and always have a light on by our side.
The sudden knock at the door and the erratic twisting of the knob brought me back to reality, and pushed my heart rate to its limits. “W-who is it?” I stuttered, searching for something in the room to defend myself with. There were plenty of thick books around that, if aimed at someone’s head, could do a lot of damage.

“It’s me, you idiot!” sighing, I sneaked towards the door and let Cara into the room. “The hell did you lock the door for? “

“Why?! I’ll tell you why: The power is out and you know what that means,” I hissed, theatrically throwing my arms up into the air.

Suddenly, she realized the implication of that simple statement. “Oh! You mean, like…that time when we were little…and…and-“

I winced, shaking my head quickly as if that would get rid of the memory that was filling my mind. “No need for us to relive that awful day, okay.” As I stood near the window, staring out onto the campus grounds, something odd dawned on me. All of the buildings around the campus still had their lights on. Either they had some alternative energy source, or the problem was just with our dorm. That shouldn't have been the case. The whole situation seemed iffy, yet I had no time to consider all the explanations. Next to me, Cara was shivering, though I couldn't be certain she was scared like I was. She was still clothed only in a towel, so that could explain the movement. “It’s just a little power outage, nothing to worry about, okay, now don’t-“

“Oh my god, we’re gonna DIE!”

 “-freak out…”

Way to be a drama queen, Cara. 

Now that the whole question on whether or not she was afraid was answered, the next step to consider would be actions. You’d think that when such a “catastrophe” would take place, a lot of the students would leave their rooms in protest, or there’d at least be some kind of racketeering on the lower levels. Only silence filled the night, putting both of us girls on edge. It was unlikely, no, impossible, for that to happen, plain and simple. Something was going on, but the thing remained unclear, and neither us really wanted to know.

Minute by minute passed by, the ticking of the clock on the wall clearly audible. Even the slightest creak of the floor made our heads turn. Every few seconds Cara reached for the light switch to test it out, but with no success. A human being only had so much patience, and in this situation, I felt like I was reaching my limits. We could be called “grown women”, and yet, there we were cowering inside our room, wary of every sound and movement outside our window. Enough was enough – something had to change. “This is bullshit,” I finally broke the silence and stomped my way to the door, throwing it wide open. “Are you coming or not?”

Cara sat in the corner by herself, still clinging to the towel around her middle. “What do you mean…? Where are you going?”

That was a good question, though he would never know why. Up and till that point, I hadn't exactly thought out a plan, even though I was considered the brains of our duo, while Cara had the looks and the charm. If “Act now, plan later” worked for other people, it could sure as hell work for us.
There we were, flaunting our new found bravado, risking our hides by treading carefully down the stairs. All the while I kept an eye out for anything suspicious…but there were none. Or maybe it was the fact that there was nothing that was suspicious. No hysterical giggles, no attempts at conversation from the people in their rooms…

Either we missed an invitation for a major party and that’s where everyone went, or something fishy was going on. All would be explained in time, right? It helped to hope, at least.

I bumped into Cara’s frozen frame in front of me.  “What?”

She was shivering again, more uncontrolled this time around. Tip-toeing, I hid behind the wall as she pointed with a manicured nail towards the interior of the living room. “Th-th-there’s…it’s…just look!” Knowing she was on the verge of screaming, I cupped her hands in front of her mouth, speaking in hushed tones to comfort her. “Do not make a sound.”

Her protests were muffled against my hand, but some of it was distinguishable. “You just made a sound,” was the closest translation I could give. As my hand loosened, she pointed at the room again. “You’re not gonna believe this.”

Boy, was she right.

Perched against the wall was Devin – no longer called “Cara’s future husband” by me as she threw a dirty sock at me and I really didn’t want to experience that again – seemingly motionless. The part of me that was still capable of rational thinking knew this was the climax of tonight’s events: This was where everything would unfold. The obvious question still remained: “What was going on?”

“Do you think he’s dead?” Cara asked.

“Yes, Cara, I think someone hit him over the head with a crowbar then turned off the power so that no one would find the body."

“Really?” her eyes were piqued with interest.

My shoulders slumped as I sighed. “No, Cara, there’s this thing that exists that’s called sarcasm.”

“How the hell are you sarcastic when there’s a guy lying there in his undies, and we don’t know what happened to him?”

“Well, you always wanted the opportunity to see his abs, so I don’t know why you’re complaining. Be my guest, go and check.”

On the tips of her toes, she inched forward, actually taking me seriously and walking closer to see what he looked like half-naked. All the while, there was still the suspicion of this whole thing nagging at my mind, begging for an explanation…
And then, that explanation I wanted came, just not in the form that I expecting.

I couldn’t accurately explain the sound that originated behind us, but if I had to give a word for it, it would be “inhuman”. It was a high-pitched screech that stood in complete contrast to the silence that filled the room, and the fact that it was right by our ears made it even worse.

Needless to say, we screamed.

And then, things started to make sense, as Devin literally jumped up and high-fived he guy behind us, grinning like a loon the entire time. They had planned this.

It was a prank.

Just a prank - set specially for us.

“Got’cha,” Raymond chuckled, and Devin joined in. “Prepare to see your selves on YouTube, ‘cause this whole thing was recorded.” I waited for Cara to insert some snide remark that would save us all the shame. She had a talent for coming up with such original retorts that no one could talk her down. Only the sounds of the crickets were audible outside as I waited for her to answer. There was no sign of my best friend in the living room, or even a hint of where she had gone to. No one could blame her, I guess. She was standing there, butt naked, with only a towel that kept anybody and everybody from knowing that.
In the meantime, the lights started flickering on, and muffled giggles could be heard in the hallway. Devin and Raymond were still standing there with smiles on their faces, expecting me to say something. “So…?”

Turning towards the study room of the dorm, I left them with a threatening message. “We’re gonna get our revenge, and you’re not gonna like it.” 

“Oh, I look forward to it!” Devin called after me. “I’m digging this whole rapport that’s developing between the two of us. Not sure about Ray here though…”

I heard Raymond’s laughter from afar. “I’m surprised you know such big words, Dev.”  

“What do you mean? Are you insinuating us jocks are dumb? Lemme tell you something…”

Revenge on those two loons would be a lot easier than one might think. You had the jock, Devin, and the nerd, Raymond. The fact that the two put aside their differences to pull off such a prank was a miracle, and meant that their relationship was fragile - already the “bromance” was crumbling. 

Stomping up the stairs while the room was filled with other students suppressing their laughter or taking of photos of my supposed “ashamed” face wasn’t an easy task, though. Some people might feel flattered that they went to such great lengths to prank us and put us in the spotlight, but it was done with the intention of making us look bad.

And at university, like in high school, your image mattered, at least while you were in the company of other people that were your own age. This stunt had a huge impact on our reputation, and a horrible at that. So the only way to clear our names and regain a bit of dignity was to settle the score.

In other words: Get revenge.

Do something similar, or even the same, to crush their inflated egos once and for all.

The only problem was…how? How could we piss them off that we would look like the heroes of the day?
Back in our dorm room, Cara (fully clothed this time) sat in the corner of the room, and she didn’t exactly look happy. “Dude,” she simply stated.

“What? It’s like your insinuating it’s my fault, all with that one word, yikes.”

“No, no, I know none of us is to blame, and it’s all on those two idiots, and maybe the rest of the dorm… I’m just thinking of tomorrow, y’know, when everyone sees the video and we’re gonna be super popular…but not in the way I wanted to be. Man, that’ll be rough. Can you imagine how people will laugh and shit? I don’t want to stay here if it means I’ll be known as ‘Cara the Cry Baby’ or something like that, who screams and runs away when they’re scared.”

With one hand I gently massaged my forehead. “You have a point, and…that’s why I think we should get even.”

“You mean like, get them to scream like a little girl too?”

“No! Okay, maybe... Just, let’s do something worse than what they did, that’ll leave sort of a scar. Screw the whole reputation thing around campus; I just want to deflate their inflated egos.” I paced around the room, my eyes searching for something that could help us. “Hey Cara,” I nearly laughed as a thought struck me, my gaze focused on the wall we had repainted. “Just how good are you with a spray can?”

Her eyes narrowed. “Why do I get the feeling I don’t like where this is going?”

“You probably won’t. We’ll need disguises.”
Okay, I lied. It’s not like we really needed disguises, however, we had to be exceptionally sneaky for this plan to work. Unfortunately, Cara didn't share my brain and didn’t know I was joking. So even though she donned nerdy glasses and almost-khaki colored pants with an assortment of tops, I didn't try to stop her. It was too priceless a moment that I even snapped a photo of it to pull out on a sad day so I could have a quiet chuckle.

My plan was rather ingenious, if not unethical. Some might even call it a criminal offense…yeah, it was a criminal offense to tell the truth. Vandalizing another person’s property wasn’t taken lightly at all at Claremont University or by the police even, but playing by the rules didn’t seem to be working out for us. It was time to throw the rule book out the window and get our hands dirty - literally. 

Devin, the one with the biggest ego of the two, the one that’s vain, was our target. We wouldn’t be targeting him directly – no that would probably add more fuel to the fire and increase his popularity – but rather target his room, the place where he woos girls and get them out of their pants. Sure, he could find some other place to crash, but at least he and maybe someone else would see it, and the sight would stun them. That was enough for us.

Cara stood in silence by my side, watching my every move as I started my “work of art” on the wall. Silence wasn’t normal at all for Cara…something must have been weighing heavily on her mind to be able to shut her like that.

“I’m worried about you,” she finally whispered.

That wasn’t the sentence I was expecting. “What? Why would you be?”

“Usually I’m the one that does the crazy stuff and you try to hold me back.  This is unlike you, and you’re so full of confidence. What changed so suddenly?"

“Oh, em…” Words failed me as soon as she asked that question.  Maybe it was because I realized that the self-confidence that I had gained came from me not standing in Cara’s shadow the entire time. I got to be the real me, not the person Cara was shaping me into all these years. What I had become because of Cara was someone that was afraid of the littlest things, that couldn't even get up in the morning without checking under her bed for some kind of monster. On the other hand, there were things about Cara that I was thankful for. She had become the person I could depend on most, who served as a comforting ear for all my heartaches, and helped me enjoy life to its fullest while putting my past behind me. 

Though I loved to be her best friend, it was time that I faced the reality of the situation.

Lying was all that could save me from this ordeal. I knew my best friend was emotionally unstable, even on a good day. There was no way in hell would she take my thoughts lightly. She might even spit in my face for good measure. “Maybe it’s just this whole university experience that’s doing it, eh he…” Blood came rushing to my cheeks as the lie slipped from my lips, but Cara seemed oblivious to it all, nodding thoughtfully. 

“That’s good to hear; because I hope you’re gonna have a good excuse for when we get caught. At any moment, someone can come walking through that door and see all of this.”

“Rubbish, I made sure to check the guys’ schedule. Raymond has no reason to come here, so I ruled him out. Devin has practice at the gym most of the day, and he has a late evening class if I remember correctly.”

“You don’t sound too certain of yourself,” she pointed out.

I sighed. “Please stop poking holes in my plan, and grab a spray can from my bag. You can start helping by spraying shenanigans all over these walls alright?”
Thank goodness Devin was away for the entire day, or we would have been caught red-handed. See, we kept most of the art work simple, but when we ran out of space on the walls, it all just looked incomplete. His room wasn’t ruined enough, Cara deducted. There was still a bit of paint left in the cans, and neither of us wanted to waste precious money by throwing that away.

Well, there was always the floor to paint…

At the end of that day, we probably ruined our lungs with all the paint fumes and wasted valuable time of our lives, but it would be worth it. We wouldn’t see his face when he entered his room and see the damage that was done, but sooner or later, there’d be a confrontation, and I looked forward to that.

With a grin, I looked at the now-stained wall. Cara was on her smartphone the entire time, texting and whatnot. It was only till she came closer to me that I started paying more attention to what she was doing. “I posted some photos of this on Facebook and tumblr. I saw some peeps take those pics to twitter…  It’s getting a LOT of likes and responses.”

“Which means we might want to skedaddle now, right?”


“What are we gonna do about Raymond?” I asked as I shut the door behind me. “He needs a bit of payback too.”

“Leave that one to me. I have some smoke bombs that I got from one of the science students, and they need someone to test it out.”

“Sorry that I asked,” I coughed, feeling a twinge of regret as we entered our own room. This whole situation was a bit extreme, and while justified, was it the right thing to do? I had been the mastermind behind the whole “revenge” thing, yes, and it was probably stupid for me to even feel this…this torn, I guess.  Back when I was a little girl, and my real parents were still alive, even my mom wouldn’t defend me if I did something wrong. “I’m sorry we had to yell at you like that, sweetie, but you have to realize what’s right and what’s wrong,” she used to say. How I still remembered her words and even her voice was beyond me. 

Anyhow, our reputations might have taken a beating, but we weren’t kicked out of the social club altogether. There was still a bonfire scheduled for the evening that I was hell-bent on attending along with Cara. And if we happened to see our nemesis’ there, it would only be so much better.
With most of the day spent spray painting, there wasn’t exactly any time left for preparing some fancy outfit for the bonfire – at least it was in the backyard of our own dorm and it was pretty casual. I skipped down the stairs and started pushing my way through a crowd of students that had no intention of moving any time soon. That was the most irritating part of a mixed-gender dormitory. Guys would chat up a girl right in the hallway, with not a care in the world whether or not they were blocking the path of someone else.

“Sorry! Excuse me! Passing through! Get out of the way!” I hollered as I ducked through the groups. Literally falling through the door, I breathed in the pure, night air, much to the amusement of a few guys outside. The fire had already been lit, and a couple of nerds were already throwing test tubes on it, causing the flames to surge into the night sky. Was it beautiful? Yes. Was it safe? Not a chance. There was only one seat left at a bench close to the fire – thankfully, it was Cara that was keeping that spot open for me. “How’d you get here so quickly?” I inquired.

“I climbed out a window in Ray’s room,” she shrugged.

“You’re kidding me.”

She shook her head while smiling. “No, I really did. Someone was at the door right as the stink bombs went off, and I really didn’t want to explain everything that we had done, so…”

No one could blame Cara for her sense of self-preservation, but as Raymond and Devin approached, obviously pissed, I kind of wished she had explained the whole thing. It would have saved us from this much-awaited confrontation that both of us had been anticipating, though we didn’t think it would take place right here.
“Are you two proud of yourself?” Devin almost spat.

It was time for some smooth talking. “In general, yeah, but it depends on what you’re referring to.” My best friend cringed next to me, stifling a giggle. 

Raymond tapped his foot impatiently. “How about the stench left in my room, or the mess you made in Devin’s room?”

This time Cara took over for me. “Oh, that. We saw that… Do you know who did that, ‘cause I’d totally love to give that person a high five?”

“We’re looking at the people who did that,” the annoyance was clear in Devin’s voice.

“Hey! You can’t just accuse us of doing something so destructive just because…because we might have a vendetta against you two.”

“Oh really?” Raymond interjected. “You were the ones that posted it on tumblr and Facebook. I think that’s evidence enough to get both of you kicked out of this place.”

It was my turn again to go on the defense of our little game. “There were posts on twitter too, and that wasn’t us. So you see, those pics we posted were ones we got from other people, who probably got it from somebody else and…you see where this is going, I hope?” 

Our calm expressions and relaxed body language was seemingly enough to drive Devin to the end of his patience. I half expected him to explode, much like Draco Malfoy used to do in Harry Potter with that whole “My father will hear about this!” line. “This isn’t over,” muttering under his breath, he pulled Raymond by his sleeve towards the building, leaving us to laugh freely.

But one couldn’t help but drive the sting of defeat even deeper. “It is, and we won!”
This whole situation of tit-for-tat exchanges had the potential to, well, cause lots of serious damage all around campus if it was allowed to continue. I wasn’t prepared to pay for the paint job we did in Devin’s room, however, I was interested in calling a truce to save us some money and any more embarrassments against our reputation. Problem was I wasn't entirely sure Devin would go for that.

My phone gave an emphatic tweet, alerting me to a message. I smirked as I scrolled through the text. Raymond was going to turn into a sort of “human Switzerland”, as he politely asked that we exclude him from any other plans that we might have concocted. He continued to explain how he was dragged into this whole thing by Devin, and that he felt pretty threatened by the latter’s jock-complex, so he gave up without much protest.

It was up to me to make the effort, so, with a sense of uncertainty, I sent a text to Devin, instructing him to meet me at neutral territory, namely the kitchen.

Not too long after the text was sent, Devin came strolling by, propping himself up on a counter which I was about to clean. “You called?”

“I had no choice,” I admitted with a shrug. “This war was getting out of control, and lives could be endangered if we continue.”

“Nice dramatic touch you added there. Who says I want to stop waging war? If we’re going negotiate a peace, there should be a compromise. I stop the attacks from my side, while you…” His open-ended sentence left room for several interpretations, all of which were quite alarming to even consider.

“What do I have to do…?” I frowned.

“You have to agree to something, though I don’t think you’d be very eager to once I tell you what it is.”

“Have you lost your mind? You’re going on a date with Devin Jameson?! The Devin Jameson?! The one that-“

Sighing as I brushed my hair, I rolled my eyes at her, interrupting her mid-sentence. “I know what he’s famous for around campus, Cara, but you have to remember I agreed to this only to make peace because of our whole game a few weeks back, and not because I want to go. Devin asked that I be the one to, well, ‘make the sacrifice’, and go out with him tonight. Those were his terms. We just have to learn to live with it, okay?”

Her head hung close to her chest. “I’m your best friend, Krissy; I’m just trying to look out for you.”

“That’s great, and I love you for doing that, but I’m just as old as you, I can take care of myself. No Ladies man will take advantage of me.” As I spoke, I started applying a thin layer of lip gloss, and patched up some spots on my face with foundation. I wasn’t making a fuss over this whole ‘date thing’. My hairstyle was kept simple, and my dress was casual and didn’t reveal too much leg to suggest something. With all of this in mind, I really couldn’t understand why Cara was worried.

“There’s a reason they call him a ‘Ladies man’, Kris,” she shifted her weight to her other leg, seemingly focusing her attention on something on the floor. “He gets girls to agree to things they really don’t want to do…”
“I told you I can-“

“Oh come on, do you really think that much of yourself? You’re delusional if you think he likes you like that! What can a guy as hot as Devin see in you?” Cara lost it then and there, her eyes no longer showing concern.

In that moment, I realized her real motives behind this conversation: She was jealous.

And I saw just what a hateful personality she really had.

 “I’m gonna leave now,” I whispered and picked up my purse from the end table, fleeing through the door, down the stairs and exiting through the front door as quick as my feet could carry me, not even bothering to look back to see if she realized what she had said.  What she had said hurt, deeply. Intentional or not, it was uncalled for, and it sickened me to know that just because she was jealous of the fact that I was going out with Devin on a date, she thought she could be mean and confront me like that.

True, she had a crush on him, but it wasn’t as if anything would come front that. It was just like any other high school crush she had which we could laugh over now. What hurt most was that Cara thought I wasn’t worthy to be dated, or that’s what I got from that. It proved to me that she thought of herself as a queen, while the rest of the world had to be her servants... She even thought that way of me, her own freaking best friend.

But I wasn’t going to let her comments get in the way of me having a good time. Maybe she was just being moody, or maybe she didn’t mean it, who knows. All I knew was that I felt butterflies in my stomach as I rounded the corner and saw Devin flashing a smile at me.  “Hi,” I said, giving a small wave.

Devin extended his hand, holding it out for me to take. “Hey there, Miss Kristine – now, seeing as you brokered this peace, you have to abide by the rules, am I right?”

I cleared my throat, hoping it wouldn’t break. “Y-yeah…”

“Well then, how about you take my hand and we go for a walk?”

One couldn’t exactly say no to that as I did agree to that. Even though it was just a silly agreement we had come to, I found myself half-excited to go out like this. Dating wasn’t my forte at all, and to be on one, to get that experience, was thrilling to say the least.
“So…,” I started, breaking the silence, “what do you have planned for this evening?”

“No, no, no, one thing at a time there, Miss Kristine.” His formality was something to be concerned of, and Cara’s earlier warning rang in my ears. This was a guy that was notorious for making girls feel good about themselves and that he was their knight in shining armor. Reality was, the very next day, they’d be dumped, abandoned with the feeling that they were somehow unworthy. Then again, there were girls that loved that feeling, because to be with Devin Jameson was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

No matter what he did or said, I had to stay strong. I couldn’t let myself succumb to the fluttery feeling I had whenever I was around him. 

“I was kind of hoping for a confirmation…,” eyebrow arched, he looked at me for an answer.

“I’m sorry, what? I must not have heard the question?”

“That’s alright. I asked if you’re a music fanatic, to put it bluntly.”

Out of sheer force of habit, I tucked a stray strand of hair behind my ear. “I guess you could say that. I mean, I’m majoring in it, and I’m hopefully gonna make a career out of it somehow, so yeah, it’s safe to say I love music very much.”

His sudden smile caught me off guard. “Close your eyes then, I have a surprise.”

“R-really? I don’t think that’s a good idea…”

“Well why not?”

“Because there’s people out there that are predators and psychos and I’m not sure if you’re one of them or not.”

Jokingly, he placed his hand on his chest, as if swearing an oath. “I promise I’m not gonna lead you to some abandoned warehouse and harvest all your organs.”
“And that promise is supposed to make everything better?”

“You’re not going to be an easy one, are you?” he shook his head. I couldn’t be sure if he meant that as a joke, or if he was serious, up to his usual plan to woo a girl. To be honest, I didn’t care too much at that point. Already I was having some fun, and that was what I was after. “Alright, alright, it is right over there, so just follow me.”

His invitation exploited the biggest flaw anyone could have: human curiosity. Coupled with my half-artistic nature, it was an accident waiting to happen. I couldn’t refuse such a tempting offer, and followed him.
“Tada! This is it!” He unveiled his version of a ‘surprise’ – it was a guitar fitted with wood, not one of those modern electric guitars that I disliked. “You told me that you know nothing about me and that makes us acquaintances, still strangers even. This is something you now know about me. I play guitar, quite well actually. Here, lemme show you.”

His hands moved over the guitars strings with practiced ease, but the sound that emanated wasn’t as smooth as his hand movements. The tune wasn’t harmonious, to say the least, and I had a sudden urge to cover my ears with my hands. “Please stop,” I laughed, taking the guitar from him.


“Devin, be honest for once. That wasn’t good.”

He sighed, yet his demeanor still remained playful. “I never said I was good enough to play in a band. If I was five years old, my skills would have been applauded. So you see, it all depends in which context you place it. 
With the way this whole ‘date’ thing was heading south long before it even began, it was hard to have some faith in what he promised, but a deal was a deal, and I followed him, no longer holding hands. Devin was a good few feet in front of me, his expression almost giddy. We were in an area that was familiar to me, specifically one building. It was the place where I practiced piano in the afternoons when I didn’t have class.

And it happened to have a bowling alley on the first floor that opens at night.

“I’d do the thing where I yell ‘tada!’, but that only works the first time, and I blew that,” he gestured towards the sign that stood next to the building, then towards the door. “Are you in the mood for some bowling?”

“I’m not entirely sure,” pursing my lips, I tapped my chin, the image of someone deep in thought, “there aren't exactly any bowling alleys in Appaloosa Plains, so I’ve never…” 

“No! You’ve never went bowling?! That’s insane. Come, come, this is something you have to experience first-hand to understand why it’s so great.”

Yeah, I knew Devin majored in Athletics, that he’d one day play for some football team, and later become a spokesperson for it when he’s too old to play, or even become a coach, but seeing him so excited over a thing as simple as bowling was rather surprising. He viewed it as another type of sport to master, and clearly, he loved it, about as much as I loved music. The little things in life make it worth it for me, and this was another ‘little thing’. The lies he told people about himself were well-known, but this was something real, and he could never take that back.

There was almost no protest from me as Devin literally nudged me into the building, signalling an attendant for God knows what reason. Three seconds later, he returned with a bowling ball in his hands, dropping it into my awaiting arms. “Whoa. It’s heavy.”

“What did you expect?” he chuckled and took a step back to observe. With the ball balanced neatly in my hands, I prepared to launch it toward the bowling pins. It looked a lot easier than it actually was, or maybe that’s just because I’ve never tried it before. Regular amateurs probably looked like professionals when I looked at them.

With my eyes focused on the challenge in front of me, I felt the need to whip out a whiteboard and start doing calculations on it, trying to figure out the perfect angle and speed. The sudden touch of cold fingers at the back of my neck and two arms with the strength of bears encircling my neck didn’t make it any easier. “Uh, what are you doing?”

He pressed his lips into my hair, whispering into it. “Distracting you – word around campus is that I’m good at it.”

“Well, try this out for distraction,” I shook him off and with a reckless use of power and no care for the fluidity of the action, the ball went spiralling across the floor. 
Luck was on my side that day. Paired with the distraction from Devin and the lack of any mathematical equation to govern the action, it was a true miracle that all of the pins fell.

“Take that, every guy that says that I’m horrible at everything I do!” I called out, turning to poke Devin in his face that no longer smiled or seemed cocky.
“Beginner’s luck,” he brushed it off, finding something interesting to look at near the door.

“Oh, that’s just some shitty excuse because your ego can’t handle the fact that I beat you at your own game, and that you’ve had hours of practice while I was born a pro.”

“I think this victory has gone to your head,” his eyes narrowed.

“Maybe, but that’s not the point. The point is that, even with your whole sultry voice thing which was your feeble attempt to distract me, I got it right. That just goes to show that you, Devin Jameson, are not as irresistible as everyone claims, and that I’m going to be the one to say no to you at the end of this evening.”

Brows furrowed, he slowly shook his head. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Don’t play dumb with me. You used this as an opportunity to make me sleep with you, right?”

He didn’t make any attempt to reply to that. I knew I was right. All the signs were there that made it obvious. It was kind of funny that he didn’t even try to make those attempts slightly subtler than they were. “Y’know, I was having loads of fun up until this point.”

“Is that another way of saying this is the end of our disastrous date?”

Smirking, he shrugged. “I wouldn’t call it disastrous, but yeah. I would, however, love to re-schedule another one, no strings attached.”

Purse in hand I stood staring him in the eyes, not knowing what to say to him, because I didn’t know what I was feeling. It wasn’t an attraction towards him – no, I had a hunch that feeling felt different, but hey, how was I to know? This was just some kind of excitement I felt, as interacting of him or any other guy for that matter was new to me. So I returned his smile, unsure of what the best course of action would be. “I don’t know what I should do, but surprisingly enough, you’ve been a lot more honest than my own best friend has been tonight, and I just…I just want to say thanks for that.”

Instead of waving like I did previously that afternoon, I pecked him on the cheek before leaving and calling for a ride. Walking back to my dorm in heels while it was dark didn’t seem all that glamorous to me.

“That’s a ‘maybe’, right?” he yelled as I climbed into a cab. Surprisingly enough, the university had set up a taxi service for us students. It was still in its beta stage, but the feedback was looking good. Not that I would be using it, only for emergencies that is. I winked as Devin stood on the sidewalk, hands on his head, probably wondering how the hell I managed to blow him off like that. Heh, I didn’t even know how I did that myself. For all the worrying Cara had done (and even I had my doubts whether or not I could be charming), I had done it. I had been able to stay true to who I was. 
The scenery sped by at an alarming rate, but soon the car came to a halt right in front of the dorm. All I wanted to do after climbing out of that cab was get up those two floors, get to my own room and fall face first into my bed. Wishing for it wouldn’t make it reality, though, as I still had an awkward confrontation with Cara coming up if she were still in the room. Why, oh why couldn’t things be simpler than they were? Back in Appaloosa Plains, I never had to worry about so many projects, about guys, or about my best friend being a total bitch.

Then again, I wouldn’t have grown as much if I did stay in the quiet countryside, where I would have been nurtured and kept in that house of the Ferrell’s until the day that they died, and even after that, I would probably have been too afraid to leave it after that.

Like a criminal seeking out his target, I peeked into my own room and scanned the inside, only to be surprised and see that it was empty. Well, maybe I could get a good night’s rest after all. My heels were killing me, which was the only piece of clothing I removed before launching myself onto my bed, only to collide with a piece of paper. “Oof,” the paper was crumbled under the pressure of my face, but the words on it were still perfectly legible as I pulled it out for inspection.

On it was a small message, left by none other than Cara.

I’m so, so sorry.
I feel horrible for what I said.
It was a load of bullshit, and I don’t know where it came from.
You’re my best friend, and I don’t want that to change.
With love,

I didn’t know what to think at that point.

The day had been long and tiring, filled with lots of unexpected things.

For now, I was going to turn in for the night, and leave all my worries to be worried about the next day.