Today Is My Past
Danielle was gone by the time Lee got home from class the next day. Most of her stuff was gone, but a few half-filled boxes were in her room. Lee glanced inside one; it held a few books and the photo album Lee had made for Danielle.
Not for the first time, Lee wondered if she had made the right decision by letting Danielle go. Danielle's confusing game of back-and-forth with Caitlin and Lee took its toll on Lee's emotional state. Lee knew that she had done what she needed to stop all of her conflicting emotions during the relationship, but the end of the relationship hurt as much as the relationship itself.
Lee walked to the wall and kicked it. The plaster crumbled around her sneaker, dust and other debris escaping into the air. Lee violently yanked her foot out of the wall and left the room.
On the day of the concert Caitlin came to Lee's apartment to get Danielle's boxes. Lee helped her carry the boxes to the truck Caitlin borrowed from a band member.
"Thanks, man," Caitlin said as she got ready to leave. Lee told her it was no problem. "Coming to the concert tonight?"
"Uh, sure," Lee told her. Lee had not actually been planning on going to the concert now that Danielle had moved out, but Lee would go for Caitlin.
"Great. I can get you backstage so you can hang out with Danielle, if you want." Caitlin, oblivious to anything that had ever happened between Danielle and Lee, was always so generous. Caitlin deserved the girl of her dreams.
"No, that's okay." Lee told her.
Lee did not enjoy the concert as much as she would have under normal circumstances. She stood with her hands in her pockets while people around her jumped up and down, danced around, and screamed the lyrics. She watched CCH as if she watched them through a haze.
Lee went home and threw away a slip of paper with a phone number on it. A cute girl had given it to her, and Lee was too caught up in "I Have A Dream" to tell the girl she was not interested. Before the song, Caitlin told the audience it was dedicated to a friend of hers that helped her write it.
Lee fell into bed without changing her clothes.
The morning after the party, a ringing phone woke Lee up. She had a horrible headache, more because of lack of sleep than alcohol consumption. Lee needed a certain amount of sleep every night, or else she would wake up feeling like crap. She answered the phone in a groggy voice.
"Lee?" Danielle's voice came through the phone. "Is that you?"
"Yeah." Lee replied, her voice cracking. Lee coughed to clear her throat.
"Can you come over?" Danielle asked.
"Um. Sure." Lee told her. She hung up the phone before she remembered to say goodbye. Lee saw that she was still in yesterday's clothes, so she changed her shirt before leaving.
When Lee got to Danielle's house, Danielle opened the door before Lee knocked. Danielle motioned for Lee to keep quiet so they would not disturb Danielle's parents. Lee nodded. Danielle led Lee to her bedroom and closed the door once they were both inside.
"I think we need to talk." Danielle quietly informed Lee. The night before rushed to Lee's memory, forgotten until then.
"It's okay." Lee spoke. "You were drunk, and I shouldn't have let it happen. It was a mistake."
"Are you sure?" Danielle asked. Lee noticed that Danielle was still standing by the door, as if wanting to keep a distance between herself and Lee, who was sitting on the bed.
"Yeah." Lee said, tracing the pattern on the bedspread with her finger. "It never happened."
The next time they saw each other was at Danielle's birthday party a couple of weeks later. Lee was not very good at giving good presents but she knew the perfect gift for Danielle.
She bought a regular photo album, big enough to fit two pictures on each side of each page. At home, Lee figured out how to take the covers off the album. Lee sewed a few layers of fabric over the cover, and drew a complex knot. The drawing took Lee a couple of days. First she drew it in pencil, and then she went over it in colorful markers. When she finished the drawing Lee put the covers back on.
Danielle loved it. As soon as she opened it she gasped and hugged Lee. "Thank you so much."
Lee made Danielle a photo album because she knew how sad Danielle was getting about everyone going to college. They were all separating. Lee was going to the College of Charleston, but she was going to try to transfer to NYU after a year. Danielle chose to wait a year until starting college to stay near Caitlin while CCH worked on releasing an album. Laura was going to Yale, on a full scholarship.
When the day came for Lee to leave for college, Danielle and Caitlin came to see her leave. Laura had left a few days earlier for Yale.
"Don't party too much." Caitlin joked. "And don't turn too many girls gay, cause all the football players will get angry."
"I'll remember that." Lee laughed.
Danielle hugged Lee tightly. "I'll miss you."
"I'll miss you too." Lee replied.
A week after Danielle and Caitlin left, Lee found herself wandering the streets of New York. Lee did this when she was bored, or when she had a lot on her mind. She had been walking for a bout an hour when she found herself stopping in front of a familiar shop.
Lee walked in and immediately found the front desk. Kiley smirked at her from behind it. "This way, Lee." Kiley led her through the beauty shop and sat her in a barber chair. "How much do you want off?"
"You know how much." Lee irritably told her.
"I have to ask." Kiley pleasantly replied. "You could have changed your mind since last time."
Kiley set to work cutting Lee's hair. "I haven't seen you at meetings lately." Kiley remarked.
"What, studying for finals? You never cared that much about them." Kiley smiled.
"They have this habit of getting harder every year." Lee wished Kiley would shut up. Luckily, Kiley became quiet as she finished with Lee's hair.
They walked to the cash register for Lee to pay. "You know, I can get a break, if you'll meet me out back." Kiley offered.
"I came here for a haircut, not a whore." Lee told her and walked out of the store.
A/N: The story is over. No sequels. Thank god I finally finished it. Review please. Even if you read it a long time from now, it always helps.
I'm gong to finish The Protector before I start another story, because writing two stories at once sort of confuses me.