A/N: Okay, sorry for the delay. Writer's block. Once again, many thanks to Miss Nikka and Berns!!!
Okay, so I've written better chapters. But this is the epilogue, only a guide so you readers know what happened after Chapter 10 (and also so you don't kill me for leaving it hanging).
I picked up my pace, checking my watch for the fifth time in the last five minutes. I ran down the hall, practically less than a minute left. I glanced at the door that was my destination. Dodging a guy who was picking up some papers he'd dropped (normally, I'd help him out, but I couldn't be late for Philosophy – that would be the third time in the week), I ran the last ten meters and screeched to a stop in front of the door. I threw it open, panting.
Mr. Bern, the Philosophy professor, shook his head at me, an amused smile on his face. "Just in time, Miss Chan."
I let out a long breath and took a seat.
"Okay, now, continuing where we left off…"
Things seemed to be going pretty smoothly. College was a lot less of a burden than I'd expected it to be.
Here I was, out of my mind with worry, wondering whether or not I'd be any good in college, wondering what courses I should take and worrying my head off about being accepted by my peers.
Well, I wasn't exactly Mr. Popular around here but…I wasn't a loner. I had a few friends. Mostly musicians like myself. There was even some talk of forming a band. But then most of us wanted to concentrate on academics right now.
Renaissance had completely split ways. Here I was in Indiana going to school in the University of Notre Dame, while Dredge went off to pursue a career in medicine (pediatrics) in New York City at Columbia; Chris discovered a passion for the flute in senior year and dumped Renaissance when he started joining regional competitions, so I think he's at Julliard right now; and Rich, well, last I checked he was taking a year off before college. I think his parents wanted him at Stanford or Berkley, though.
I always thought college was going to be a complete nightmare – what with my excellent, perfect older brother with a real future planned out and my successful, stern father. But I guess you can say that right now, things aren't quite as bad as I pictured them to be. Sure, I was busy with work, but a lot of the time, I made it feel more like fun than like work.
So far, my grades weren't even half so bad as I first feared they'd be. Things were really coming a long way.
And, as a plus, the University of Notre Dame is an excellent place. And here in Indiana, you can see (and fully appreciate) all four seasons!
I sat at a table in the Huddle Food Court, munching on a tuna sandwich. My guitar was propped up in the seat next to mine in its case.
Two of my close friends, Joanne Rivers and Peter Gray, sat in seats across me and were sharing a milkshake.
Ten minutes to Lit class – and I was due to perform a song (an original masterpiece).
The only "original masterpiece" I could think of that would possibly be good enough (and decent enough, considering it excluded explicit content and foul language and it was about man's favorite subject: love) was a song I'd written in my junior year. A song I really wanted to let go of but just…couldn't.
I checked my watch again. Seven more minutes. Stuffing the last of the sandwich in my mouth, I wiped my hands on my jeans and got up, slinging my backpack over one shoulder and picking up my guitar case.
"Going?" Peter asked, looking up at me inquiringly.
"Obviously." I smiled wryly. "See you two later."
And with that, I walked off.
I only had a ten-minute break after Philosophy before I had to get to my next class. I'd transferred to that particular class just recently (mid-term transfer). So it would technically be my first time there. It was a big class. Seventy people or so. My friend, Jake, was in this particular class so I didn't have a lot to worry about, really.
I stopped by a vending machine to get a soda to refresh myself before I took off for class.
I was on time – in fact, I was slightly early. A lot of my other classmates were busy talking with friends. Only a three-fourths of the classroom was filled and not even the teacher was in yet.
Jake wasn't around yet, so I took a seat in one of the middle rows, where I'd have a pretty good view of everything.
I pulled out my copy of Three Plays of Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream; As You Like It; and Macbeth.
It took a few minutes of reading before the classroom quieted down and our professor, Mr. Gaine, walked into the classroom.
Jake came over and sat in the empty seat next to me.
"Hi." I greeted him.
"Hey, watch it. You've come on the right day. It's time for one of my – well, now yours too – classmates to sing. In front of the whole class." Jake said with a laugh.
I looked at him incredulously. "What for?"
"Professor Gaine calls it creative learning." Jake said.
"But what's a song got to do with Lit class?" I wanted to know.
"I thought you, of all the smart people in the world, would know at least that much about music!" Jake teased, "The poetry is what matters, Lark. The meaning in the lyrics of the song."
"Oh." I laughed, suddenly realizing that my question had been pretty stupid – not that there's such a thing as a stupid question.
"Okay, nice to see practically everyone present today." Professor Gaine said in greeting. "So, how's everyone so far?"
A chorus of low, unenthusiastic "fines" and "okays" rippled through the room for a few seconds.
Our professor shook his head with a small laugh. "Okay then, to wake you kids up we're having some more of that creative learning I've been talking about. So, who did I assign for today's performance?"
A hand from around seven rows in front of me raised and a moment later a tall, brown-haired guy got up from his seat. He zipped open his cloth case and pulled out a beautiful (and obviously expensive) classical steel-stringed guitar.
The guy looked pretty familiar but, then again, I was about ten meters away from him and I could only see his profile from my seat.
He walked into the center aisle then trooped down to where Professor Gaine stood.
The professor said something to him before he went over behind the teacher's desk and pulled out a chair. He dragged it up to the front and sat down.
He cleared his throat. "Uh…I wrote this some time in my junior year. I never came up with a title that fit it. So…here it is…"
His voice was so familiar. I couldn't put my finger on it. But I knew this voice.
He strummed the intro and then jumped in. "You were everything I wanted, everything I loved, but for one fleeting moment, it seemed love wasn't enough…"
I knew this voice. This was…no way…it was –
As it always had, the song was drowning me. But this time it felt different, hitting the guitar solo, I looked up and for one fleeting moment, I thought I saw someone I knew. Someone with jet-black hair and beautiful Oriental features.
But there were at least ten of those in this class.
It could've just been my imagination.
"I'm here alone now, just afraid of what I see, cause after all I've done, you'll never love me." I strummed the last chord with a flourish, quite proud of my performance. It sounded even better now.
The class erupted into applause. A couple of people in the very back jumped up and whooped.
"That was an interesting song," Mr. Gaine said to me. "Care to share the meaning behind it?"
The meaning? Nobody ever told me I had to share the meaning behind all this. Or was I off in wonderland when he discussed what this whole creative learning thing was about?
Crud. The meaning…the meaning was way too personal.
"It's just about love." I said, trying desperately to make a good lie. I could tell I was failing. Badly.
"Care to elaborate?" Professor Gaine asked, pressing me.
Can I just turn him down? I thought, knots forming in my stomach. After all, he's asking if I 'care to' and I don't.
"Mr. Cambridge." Professor Gaine said, "Elaborate, please."
Okay. Great. I should've turned him down when I had the chance.
I took a deep breath and got up from the chair, propping my guitar up against the back of the chair so I didn't look like even more of a fool explaining the meaning behind my song holding a guitar in my hand stuttering at every word.
Okay, here it goes…
I bit my lip so hard it hurt.
I could hardly believe this was Josh. What the hell were the odds of that? Of the hundreds of colleges in the country we just happened to end up at the same college. Tracy, whom I still kept in touch with, would easily call that kismet. I'd call it weird.
"Okay…back in junior year, a new girl came to school. She was…different." Josh cleared his throat and paused for a moment. "Very different. She was Asian. No offense to all you Asians and African-Americans in this room, but back in the place I…um…grew up in – a small suburban town in…uh…Virginia, whites were the only accepted race."
I stared at him thinking, no, he can't be talking about me.
"So…um…" Josh was saying, but Professor Gaine cut in.
"Quit with the um's, Mr. Cambridge." He said.
"Oh, right…um…I mean, right, sir." Josh said, sending the class into laughter. I wasn't laughing.
"Okay. This song was about that girl. Her name was Lark." Josh said, sounding nervous but a little surer of what he was saying.
At that point I pit my lip so hard I started drawing blood.
Jake turned to me. "How many other Asian Lark girls can there be in America?" he said with a life. "I mean, wow, what are the odds of that."
"Yeah, what are the odds." I agreed, shaking my head, if only he knew!
"It started out as a really cold thing. Lark and I didn't really get along. She only had one friend." Josh paused. "Then my grades started slipping. She was really smart. She got straight-A's all the time. So I figured I'd ask her for a few tutorials. So I did."
The class was listening intently now and Professor Gaine looked more than interested in what Josh had to say.
"Then…pretty soon…before I knew it…I was falling for her. Hard. At one point, we both knew how we felt about each other. But then something happened…my friends found out." Josh paused, suddenly looking pained. "Well, we were the popular crowd, and my friends thought being friends with an outcast – or, rather, loving an outcast…well, they thought it'd give us a bad reputation. So…out of peer pressure…I dropped Lark for my friends."
The class gasped in chorus. Everyone except me seemed to be completely appalled.
"What I never got to tell her was that…I was sorry. I tried once or twice. But…well…I didn't expect her to forgive me either way. I mean, after being such an asshole – sorry, professor – I just didn't expect forgiveness." Josh shrugged. "My last attempt at forgiveness was this song. I wrote it especially for her. That's why it never had a title – because I just couldn't think of anything that would do my love for her justice."
"My band, Renaissance, was going to play at the Valentine's Day school dance. The rest of the band voted for me to do the last song – a solo number, since I could sing and I was band leader." Josh shrugged. "So I figured that would be a sure way to get her to forgive me. I mean, it's cliché, but it happens at the movies, so I figured I'd give it a shot. But when the dance came, I chickened out. I didn't end up singing the song. And when I looked over the crowd…I realized…she wasn't there." His voice seemed to be cracking there.
"The next morning I went to her house to deliver the Christmas present I never had the strength to give her – an autographed Matchbox Twenty CD." Josh paused as the class burst into gasps and 'oohs' and 'aahs'. When the noise died down, he continued. "But when I got there…she wasn't there. There was a FOR SALE sign on her front lawn and a neighbor told me that they'd moved away. Her best friend refused to tell me where she was. She claimed it was cause I'd hurt her enough. And that was the truth."
I could tell the whole class was feeling it now.
"So then, I guess, I just…never got the chance to sing her the song. Now she'll never know what really happened. And she'll never know how sorry I really am." Josh said. From my seat, I thought I saw something glistening on his cheek.
A tear? Maybe.
"Can you believe that? What a story! It might as well be a book!" Jake said.
"Thank you, Mr. Cambridge, for that extremely creative piece of learning. You may take you seat. And, personally, I think that if you're as good as what I see right now, that girl has long since forgiven you." Professor Gaine said.
And I couldn't say he wasn't right. Because he was. I wasn't mad at Josh anymore. Before now, I was only hurt, not angry. Now? Well, things change. And now…I just felt that I needed to speak with him and thank him for the most beautiful song in the world.
Josh picked up his guitar and made his way back to his seat, a few people gave him pats on his back and said a few words to him.
"That, my friends, is creative learning. That piece, that song, was utter poetry. Writing is from the heart – and with a history like that behind such a beautiful song…that is writing." Professor Gaine said, "And it was brilliant. Thank you again, Mr. Cambridge."
Then Professor Gaine turned to a book on his desk, "Now I trust you've all read page…"
But I wasn't really listening. I watched as Josh tucked his guitar back in its case and listen to Professor Gaine intently.
After class, I thought, I'll talk to him after class.THE END
A/N: So I guess that's the end. Hehe. I hope you enjoyed it. It's up to you to believe what you want after all that. I like to think they made up and moved on as friends. But, whatever. It's up to you people to come up with what you feel is a suitable ending. Haha. Hope you enjoyed it. And thank you so much for the many reviews! You guys are what kept the story going!
I know I've written better chapters in my life but I'm hoping this wasn't very bad.
Once again, thank you to Miss Nikka and Berns.