Author: Duckie Chic PM
Austyn Lawler left her hometown in Texas to pursue a singing career in California, leaving her best friend Oliver Samuelson behind. When she returns four years later, she realizes that Oliver might be more than a best friend to her. But of course, other people always have to be thrown into the mix.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Friendship - Chapters: 8 - Words: 21,514 - Reviews: 19 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 16 - Updated: 01-02-13 - Published: 11-05-12 - id: 3071861
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"God, it's so hot out here," Holden complained. He took a huge gulp of the glass of water Mom had brought him.
"It is not that bad, wimp," I teased. I was trying unsuccessfully to tan. He, unfortunately, kept whining about how hot it was, which distracted me. He was also sitting under an umbrella. I repeat: wimp.
Holden had flown down from New York to surprise me. He said that I was more important than any movie audition or photo shoot and he wanted to spend time with me, not a job. He'd only been here for three days, and I was enjoying every second of it. He would have to fly back at the end of June, but that was okay because that's still a month longer than I should've gotten.
"Can we go inside or something? It's so hot," he whined yet again.
"You can. I really need to tan. I was looking really pale." My phone buzzed on the table beside me. I saw Oliver's name printed across the screen. I unlocked my phone and read it.
Do you want to hang out today?
I wanted to, most definitely because we need to catch up, but I needed to spend time with Holden. He was here for me, and I wasn't here for Oliver. I was here because I missed Texas more than anyone could ever imagine.
Can't, I replied. We'll find another time this week, okay?
I didn't want to disappoint anyone, but finding time with Oliver was going to be difficult when Holden was here.
"You always look beautiful to me, baby," Holden said, taking another drink of water.
I smiled. "Isn't that kind of your job to say that?"
"Doesn't mean it isn't true."
I loved cuddling with Holden more than anything. And I currently just so happened to be doing that. Mom and Dad were over at the Samuelsons, so we had the whole house to ourselves. Dad didn't want to leave Holden and I by ourselves since he wasn't necessarily Holden's number one fan, but Mom convinced him that we were both legally adults and that it was okay for us to stay by ourselves. We wouldn't do anything stupid.
"What are we going to do for dinner?" Holden mumbled into my shoulder. He tightened his hold around my waist, and I pressed my back harder against him.
"We can get a burger or get take-out or something," I murmured.
"Or you can cook for me." I could feel him smiling. I rolled my eyes.
"I'll cook for you when we get married," I replied.
Holden's smile slowly faded. I regretted saying that instantly.
Holden's parents had gotten divorced three months ago because Holden's mom cheated on his dad while he was out traveling. Since he was a movie producer, he was constantly gone. I guess his mom just got lonely or something.
Before the divorce, Holden talked about marriage with me all the time. We talked about having kids and everything. Of course, I wanted to be at least twenty-three before we got married, but he said he'd be ready any time. I also figured it would be best for us to move in together and see if we could put up with each other constantly before we got married. But then the divorce happened, and Holden's views on marriage changed. I knew he could relate more to his dad since they were incredibly close, and he'd picked up his dad's views.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean that," I whispered.
But I did mean it. I would love to get married to Holden. We were still both so young, but I couldn't see my life without him. And he meant everything to me, and now he didn't know if he ever wanted to get married. And that was the worst part because I did. I'd always dreamed of the big family with the perfect husband and perfect kids and the perfect house. And Holden didn't want to be part of that.
"It's okay. We can just go get a burger," he said, quickly changing the subject. I turned around so I was facing him.
"Please talk to me about this. You always do this," I said softly, trailing my fingers down his face. I felt the stubble on his cheek and traced his upper lip.
"I just hate the fact that you can talk about it so easily and it kills me to even talk about it. I'm jealous of the fact that you have the ability to do that," he finally sighed.
"Then don't make yourself think that marriage is bad. It's not. What your mom did to your dad was a really awful thing, but that doesn't involve you or me or our relationship in any way. It's just something that happened. We don't have to talk about marriage if you don't want to, but I'm just saying that you have to stop thinking that it's a bad thing because it's not."
He sighed again and rubbed his face. After a few silent moments he turned his face to look at me. "How come you always know how to make me feel better?" he asked.
"Because I know you. Now can we go get those burgers? I'm starving."
Sometimes I really loved being famous just because I got to see people's reactions to seeing me or Holden doing something normal. We went through the drive-thru to get our food because going inside would practically have been a death sentence. The girl working at the window dropped Holden's drink when she saw him. Holden was confused why she did that and a little peeved, but I was crying I was laughing so hard.
Holden eventually understood why she was so shocked and signed a receipt I had in my car. She then saw me and asked if I could sign it, too. I was surprised she didn't ask for pictures.
When we were on our way back to my house, my phone buzzed. It was from Mitchell. Fantastic.
You promised me songs. Where are they? Just because you're in Texas doesn't mean you get a break, Austyn. Fantastic. You could practically never get away with anything when you had Mitchell as a manager.
"God, I just want to put Mitchell's head through a wall or something so it can maybe knock some sense into him," I groaned.
"What'd he do?" Holden asked.
"He wants songs. I don't have anything for him! I didn't think he was actually serious when he told me that he wanted songs from me when I moved back to Texas. I don't have anything to give him. And I don't know what to do."
"Have you considered getting a new manager?"
"No, because he's such a great manager; that's the thing. Like, he's a total jerk three-fourths of the time, but he knows what he's doing, and he makes me extremely successful. That's the problem. I just want him to lay off, but I know that I won't do anything good for myself if he does that."
"Then I don't know what to do, baby. I'm sorry." He squeezed my hand and gave me a small smile before turning his attention back to the road.
I unlocked my phone and went back to Mitchell's message.
Sorry, I've just been busy, I replied. I'll finish them and e-mail them to you by the end of the weekend.
Writing and recording songs was extremely stressful for me. Maybe it wasn't for the rest of the world, but it really took a toll on me. It was hard for me to transfer my thoughts and feelings onto a piece of paper and make it sound good and not sound like I was moping around all the time.
Holden went grocery shopping with my mom to give me space, and Dad was busy dealing with someone at the recording studio on the phone. I had the whole upstairs to myself.
Mitchell had said that he wanted at least two songs by the end of the weekend, due to my "lack of courtesy" or whatever.
I couldn't even write a verse.
Maybe I had writer's block. I probably was never going to write another song in my life because I had writer's block and I was going to die poor and alone.
Someone suddenly knocked on my door.
"Come in," I called out. The knob turned, and there stood Oliver. "What are you doing here?" I asked, smiling at him.
He shrugged. "Your mom called and said you needed help writing songs, and you never let Holden help you, so she wanted me to be your knight in shining armor," he replied, shutting my door and flopping down on my bed.
I sighed. Only my mother. "I don't really need much help," I lied.
"Really? Then let me see what you've written so far." He held out his hand, and I stared at it blankly. He grinned and then got up off my bed. He went over to where I was sitting, unplugged the microphone, and closed my laptop. "I don't think you want to write a song right now. I think you want to tell me all about your post- Texas life." I caught a whiff of his scent, one that I was extremely familiar with. He smelled like cologne, wood, and a strange mixture of seawater. His house never smelled like that, only him. And it was great.
"Do I, now?" I replied coyly, spinning around in my chair. He was still leaning against my desk.
"I think you do." He smiled at me and moved back to my bed. I sighed and tucked a piece of my hair behind my ear.
"My life was insane before I moved back here. I've had everything from a stark-naked guy in my hotel room to meltdowns in recording studios because what I'm recording doesn't sound like I imagined. When I moved to L.A., it was the biggest shock in my life. Mom became my PR rep and my agent, and she hired my manager, Mitchell, who can be a complete jerk sometimes. Dad went crazy the first couple months, never being to settle down. He was always doing something. L.A. was probably the best thing that ever happened to him. But for me, I was miserable. You and I weren't speaking, and I had just uprooted my entire life for something that might not even work. But once Mom sent a demo to Mitchell, he convinced the people at the record company to sign me instantly. So they did. And after that, I was in the recording studio for at least twelve hours a day. They wanted to push an album out of me so desperately, and at that point, I wanted to be pushed. I was just so happy that someone saw potential in me that I would do anything they asked me to.
"I went on tour at age fifteen and turned sixteen towards the end of it. I started out as an opening act, and by the end of that tour, Mitchell wanted me to have a solo tour. So I did. I turned eighteen at the end of my second tour. I'd released two albums within a three-year span. It was crazy, but I loved doing it. I love singing for people, and this was the ultimate chance for me to do that. Now I have a Grammy, and I'm only eighteen. It's crazy." I twisted the end of my hair around my finger and waited for him to say something.
"You went on tour at fifteen? Austyn, that's crazy. You were barely even a teenager; you couldn't even drive. God, I was probably still going through puberty, and you were on tour."
I smiled and shrugged. "Look where it got me. I'm a pop star now."
He smiled softly. Then he sighed. "Did you miss anyone here?"
My heart started beating fast. "I missed everyone here. I missed my friends, I missed my house, I missed going to school. I missed everything about Texas. I just tried to cover it up with Los Angeles so I wouldn't have to think about it and so it wouldn't hurt as much. But I missed everything. I missed people saying 'y'all,' I missed all of the fried food everywhere, I missed everything."
"Vanessa missed you like crazy. She asked me about you every single day at school, and I felt awful that I had nothing to tell her."
I felt a lump forming in my throat. Vanessa was my girl best friend before I left. She and Oliver never got along really well because they had dated in seventh grade and hated each other from then on, but she and I got along really well, and Oliver and I got along really well. I was their median.
"I felt bad that I never said bye to her. I was just so scared of getting the same reaction from her that I got from you. I didn't tell anyone bye." I looked down at the carpet. I hated talking about leaving. I hated talking about it with anyone, especially Oliver.
"God, Austyn, she was so happy for you. She knew how much you wanted to sing, and she wanted you to leave so you could do that. It killed her that you never even told her that you were leaving. You just didn't show up to school, and that's when I told her. And I didn't even like her. But we bonded over the fact that you were gone. We dated for a little while before Sarah and I started dating. But then she moved on, and so did I. She stopped asking about you, I stopped thinking about you."
It hurt to think that Oliver stopped thinking about me, but I knew I was just being selfish. I hadn't wanted him to be upset forever, but it was nice to think that he did think about me every once and awhile. It just sucked that he eventually stopped.
"Is she still here? I want to go talk to her," I asked quickly.
"Yeah, I'll take you."
Vanessa's house was huge. I didn't remember her ever living in it, but I guess she had moved, just like I did. Oliver pulled up to the gate and pressed the intercom button. A crackling voice asked who was there, and he replied. The gates slowly began to open.
"When did she move here?" I breathed, looking out the window at the massive house and gorgeous landscape.
"Uh, junior year, I think. Her mom remarried to some crazy rich guy, and they moved here. She's loaded now. Just be prepared."
"Prepared for what?" I asked, glancing nervously at him.
"Oh, you'll see." He grinned mischievously. I didn't like the sound of that at all.
He pulled into a half-circle drive, my side being closest to the front door. He killed the engine and got out. I followed in suit. He walked up to the door, and a woman in dirty clothes opened the door for him.
"Welcome, Ms. Lawler and Mr. Samuelson," she said in a thick Spanish accent. I smiled shyly at her and followed Oliver through the doors.
I was taken aback by the inside of the house. There were paintings on the ceilings, a winding staircase in front of me, and marble. Marble was everywhere. From the floors to the stairs to the ceilings. It was ridiculous.
"Vanessa will be right with you," the woman replied, picking up a Swiffer mop and heading towards another area of the house. Oliver looked down and smirked.
"Why are you smirking?" I hissed, afraid my voice would echo throughout the whole house.
"No reason," he replied nonchalantly. Finally, I heard the sound of some movement. It sounded like…stilettos? There was a constant clicking noise coming from upstairs. Finally, I saw who I assumed to be Vanessa.
She looked so different. Her hair was long and thick and chocolate-brown, her skin tanned, her clothes probably thousands of dollars. And, yes, on her feet were stilettos. She ascended down the stairs slowly, careful not to fall. She was so skinny. But she was beautiful.
She looked up from the ground when she got the floor and looked directly at me. Her mouth fell open, and she looked like she was about to pass out from shock.
Her face was very angular, and her eyes were blue. She was wearing a ton of makeup, but it fit her.
"Austyn?" she breathed, looking at me.
I raised my hand meekly. "Hi." Oliver snorted next to me.
When Oliver snorted, she looked over at him and glared. "Why are you here?" she snapped in disdain, as if he was some dirty dog.
"Austyn wanted to see you," he answered, looking over at me.
Her eyes followed his. She looked me up and down, as if my V-neck and jeans were too ordinary for her.
"Now you want to see me? What about four years ago when you left and didn't even say bye?" she growled, her eyes narrowing slightly with every sentence. I swallowed hard. I wasn't expecting Vanessa to be as mad at me. Oliver said she understood.
"I…I just wanted to say hi. And see how you were doing," I whispered. I felt like she was going to claw my eyes out with her hundred-dollar nails.
"That should've happened a long time ago. You should've said bye before you left, you should've called."
"Vanessa, I'm sorry."
"No, you're not. If you were sorry, you would've been the best friend I thought you were. You would've called me or come and seen me! I bet you saw Oliver, didn't you? You came home and visited him but not me. Because he's your best friend, not me."
"She never saw me, Vanessa. Chill," Oliver sighed, running a hand through his hair.
"No! She's in the wrong here, not me. I didn't do anything wrong. You know, I asked about you every single day, Austyn. I asked him about you, and I didn't even like him. Every time I tried to call your number, it went straight to voicemail, and eventually, it said that the number had been disconnected. Every single trace I had of you disappeared. It was like you weren't even in my life."
I could feel the tears pricking my eyes. At least Oliver's anger was quick. And he just left. But I knew Vanessa would attack even more if I left.
But I couldn't stay here. I wanted to let her attack me because I knew she was right – I was rude. I didn't say bye to her when I should have. I should have kept in touch with her. But I didn't. And I needed to leave.
I looked up at Oliver, and he looked down at me. When he saw the tears spilling out of my eyes, his face fell. He turned back to Vanessa.
"We're just gonna go now. I'm sure she'll call you." He grabbed my wrist and pulled me out of the house. As the door was closing, I heard Vanessa yell, "Oh, so now she can't even speak for herself?"
Oliver opened my door for me, and I slid inside, wiping my tears away hastily. I wasn't going to let her make me cry. Not now, not ever.
When Oliver got in his side, he started the car and put his hand on top of mine.
"I know it sucks, Austyn, I do. But don't let her get you. She'll get over it. Promise."
I took a shaky breath and exhaled. "Was that what I was supposed to be prepared for?" I whispered.
"Nope. I was trying to tell you to be prepared for her snobbish tendencies. She has a lot of those."
A.N. I am officially the updating queen. Just kidding! But I had to introduce new characters, so here's Vanessa! I'll put her picture up on the website later tonight.