The concert was amazing but things took an unexpected turn as Isabelle Reid called Kat out onto stage. I cheered as loudly as I could as Kat sauntered out to join Isabelle Reid's Train Wreck on stage. "I can't believe this!" I shouted to Loren over the roaring screams of nearby fans. Loren pulled me closer to him, staring at the stage in disbelief as well.
My dear friend Katerina Lorenzo had just been given the chance of a lifetime. Isabelle Reid had called her onto stage to sing one of Kat's songs. Kat hadn't hesitated as she strutted out to join Isabelle. She joined her center stage to sing "I Know What Alcohol Is For".
I gripped Loren's hand tightly, feeling so proud of my friend. Loren rested his head on top of mine, softly humming along to the music. As the song finished, I pulled Loren towards the exit. Realizing I wanted to see Kat, he quickly pushed his way through the crowd to the backstage area.
Kat was surrounded by well-wishers by the time we made it to her side. Nick couldn't take his eyes off her as she spoke with his bandmates Peter and Cale. Kat smiled widely as she spotted me hurrying toward her.
I hugged her tightly. "You did great. Too bad my brothers weren't around to see it!"
Kat laughed as she pulled away from me. "I can't believe this night! Sure, her boyfriend acted like a jackass, but I never expected Isabelle fucking Reid to go to such extremes to make up for him."
Nick smiled tenderly at Kat. "She wasn't doing this to make up for him. She did it because you are amazing and that song, like your others, is phenomenal. Rayne is going to be pissed he wasn't around for this."
Kat nodded. He held out his phone for her and her smile grew even more. "I'm calling Rayne," she said. "Then we are all going to this after party and getting horribly drunk. I am buying drinks all night long!"
Peter, the guitarist of Nick's band, smirked. "That means you, right Nick?"
Nick shrugged. "I'm a fool for my girl."
Loren squeezed my shoulder and I turned my attention back to him. "We should find Stella and Armando and head on out."
Nick and Peter exchanged a look of disbelief. Even I was surprised at Loren's desire to leave already. He was the last to leave any party.
I frowned. "We don't have to leave just yet."
Loren stared at me worriedly. He moved closer to me, murmuring softly, "Are you sure? I don't want you to overexert yourself."
I rolled my eyes. "I'm not going to break, Loren. I can handle a party."
His eyes flashed with irritation but I didn't care. I was the one who was pregnant. I was the one who was going to have to try and figure out how to make this work. He wasn't going to blow up like a balloon. When he walked down the street, people wouldn't immediately know that he was going to be a dad.
Stella rejoined us, cheerfully asking, "Where to now? I am so ready to party."
Nick gestured to Loren. "Apparently Loren wants to call it a night."
Armando voice boomed from behind us. "What? Loren doesn't want to party till the break of dawn? First Blake saying no to hooking up with a hot chick and now this? What is going on with my friends?"
Loren glanced at me before changing the subject to Blake. "Something is up with Blake?"
Stella grinned. Her blue eyes sparkled mischievously. "My twin doesn't want to be used. When does Blake ever care about being used?"
Armando spoke up, alerting us to Blake's arrival. "Blake, maybe you can answer this question. When have you cared about being used for sex?"
Blake glared at Armando. "Shut up, Hart. You don't know what you are talking about."
Kat, who had rejoined our group in time to hear Armando's comments about Blake, stared at Blake curiously. She leaned against Nick, who put his arm around her shoulders. "I used to use Nick for sex. He never seemed to care."
Nick nodded. "Oh, I was happy to let her use me."
"Most men would want Isabelle Reid to use them," Stella added, staring at her brother, her grin growing.
Blake grew more and more aggravated with each comment. "Isn't there some party? Lars told me everyone is heading to this after party."
Peter cleared his throat, quickly getting our group together. "Let's head to that bar then. Loren, Dylan, I believe your presence is required."
I smiled, ignoring the tension growing in Loren. "Of course we're going. Loren wants to hog me but we can have plenty of alone time later."
"Fine," Loren said shortly.
We took a cab with Blake, Stella and Armando, with the intention of meeting the rest of our friends at the newest hot spot Revolution. The bar was ultra hip and cool with many famous faces attending this party. I didn't pay much attention to the various celebrities though as Loren's bad mood weighed heavily on my mind. Soon after entering the bar, Loren began to drink. And drink. He took a seat at the bar as I watched him nervously down beer after beer.
This wasn't the first time this had happened. I thought I had him figured out and then something would happen to change his mood drastically. I wasn't sure why he was so upset by my desire to pretend everything was the same.
While my friends sat in the back corner of the bar near the DJ, I choose to sit at his side.
"Why aren't you with them?" he asked bitterly.
"Loren," I replied sharply. "Why do you think? I want to be with you. Wanting to be with my friends as well, doesn't change my feelings for you. I would think you of all people would know this. You used to preach this to me fairly often."
"You're pregnant," he spat out. "You shouldn't be at a bar."
I scoffed at his reply, getting off of the stool. "There is a no smoking law in New York so why the hell not? My life is not over just because I'm pregnant!" I rubbed my forehead. "I'm leaving. I'm going to Rex and Claude's place. I don't want you to come over like this. Deal with whatever you have to deal with and then if you want to come by, come by. But I don't want you coming over like this. I'm sick of this."
I didn't give him a chance to respond as I stormed out of the bar. Luckily I was able to hail a cab immediately. I heard Loren calling after me, but I ignored him.
Soon I was safe and sound at my brothers' small but comfortable two bedroom apartment. I went into Rex's room, changing out of my clothes and to his sweatpants and faded basketball jersey. My brother hadn't always been a cool rocker. He once had been the captain of the basketball team.
I smiled softly as I looked around his familiar room. His bed was unmade of course. Rex didn't see the point of making beds. Books and records were stored in every possible space in his room. I turned to the wall next to his bedroom door. This was where he stored all of his photographs. He put them up on his wall.
Old friends were visible here as I eagerly stared at those who had helped shape me to the woman I now was. Several new pictures had been added from their tour. I also noticed that the picture of my brother's on again, off again girlfriend was now nowhere to be found. I stored that information, knowing I would need to ask Rex about this as he wouldn't offer the information up on his own.
I took down a picture of Loren and me. It was from a party held here before our breakup and before the Jeremy accusations. His arms were wrapped tight around my waist as he grinned wickedly at the camera. I hadn't been aware of the camera as I leaned forward and grabbed a bottle of vodka from an unseen person off camera. I was looking back toward Loren as I did so, a tender smile on my face at his expression. That night had been a good night.
I clutched the photo to my chest as I laid down on Rex's bed. I wanted to fight for that relationship that we had. It had been so easy and carefree. I hadn't worried about where we were headed. But we couldn't go back to that, no matter what I wanted.
I must have dozed off as the next thing I knew, my phone was ringing, jarring me out of a restful sleep. It was Loren. "I'm outside."
I went downstairs, letting him. The two of us didn't say a word as we walked up the four flights of stairs. There was no elevator in this building.
"Still drunk?" I asked as I opened the front door.
"Still ashamed of me?" he replied bitterly.
He walked into the living room, dropping his cell phone on the wooden chest in the center of the room. It served as the coffee table for the apartment. He kicked off his beat up Converse sneakers and fell back onto the blue sofa. He stretched his long legs out as he rested his arms over his head, tilting his face away from me.
I sat down on the armchair to the left of the couch. I rubbed my head tiredly. How many times were we going to have the same fight? "Loren, I don't know who we are kidding. We can't make this work."
He didn't move. I hadn't expected him too. He probably had already passed out.
"I know you probably care about me. I mean, obviously you are trying to do the decent guy thing but that isn't enough. We can't keep having this same argument all the time. I don't want to have this same argument anymore."
I took a deep breath, staring up at the ceiling. He still didn't respond. I continued anyway.
"I was so happy you came back. You were there right when I needed you the most. Then when you actually seemed to still be interested in me, it didn't matter who you were with while we were apart. I had you." I took a shaky breath, surprised by the tears filling my eyes. This shouldn't be hard. This was what I should have done in the first place when he reappeared.
"But it's not just me anymore, is it? I am pregnant. It's not going to go away. And I'm scared and angry and upset, just like you. But that doesn't mean you can tell me how I should behave. You've always wanted me to behave a certain way, but you can't force me to be someone I'm not. You think I'm ashamed of you, but I never gave you a reason to think that. I'm not ashamed. I think it is the other way around." I stopped. The lump in my throat made it too hard to continue. I couldn't say everything I needed to say. I couldn't tell him how scared I was of a life without him but I was much more scared of sticking with him to lose him when I needed him the most. I couldn't start depending on him.
"Dylan, what do you want me to say?" I stared at him in surprise. He was now sitting with his head in his hands. His voice sounded extremely tired. "I've never ever been ashamed of you. I don't want you to change. I just, fuck, I'm not good at this at all." He stood abruptly, pacing back and forth across the room. "I don't know how to talk to you about stuff like this." He stopped, turning to face me. "I just don't fucking know how to talk to you!" He ran a hand through his dark hair in aggravation. "You say you don't look down on me but how can you not? You think I was with someone other than you while we were broken up? I told you-" I cut him off.
"No, you didn't tell me. Your friends did." I stood as well, putting my hands on my hips.
I looked into his eyes, startled by the deep pain reflected in their depths. "Dyl, why do you think I did what I did? I thought you were fucking around on me. I found you in bed with a man who is in love with you. I had to try to make you feel what I did. I'm not proud of it. It was wrong but I couldn't deal with the idea of the two of you."
"You kissed her in front of me," I replied softly. "You certainly hurt me."
He flinched at my words. "I know. I felt bad the moment it happened but what could I do? I couldn't take it back. At the time I thought you deserved it. After we left, I took her home and went back to Jules's place. I crashed at his place for a while." He shook his head. "It doesn't matter. What I'm trying to say is never in our relationship have I wanted you to be anything but yourself. I'm not ashamed of you. I'm more ashamed of myself, I suppose."
I opened my mouth to interrupt, but he continued on.
"You are the responsible one but I can't seem to be that way. You took care of me and I did nothing. And you just let me." He stopped, shaking his head in wonder. "I still don't know why you let me get away with it all." Again, he didn't let me interrupt. "I want to start over. I know I've messed up in the past, but so have you. We're having a kid, Dylan. That scares the fuck out of me. What scares me even more is the idea of you raising my kid without me. I have to know what is going on in his or her life. I have to be a part of your life and his or hers." He closed the distance between us, cradling my face in his hands. "I didn't do a good job tonight. That's because I don't know how I should act. I want to make sure our baby is safe."
"You don't have to be with me just because I'm pregnant," I replied quietly.
He stroked my cheek with his thumb. "I would never be with you because of that. It's a good reason, but not good enough for me. I'm here because there is no place else I'd rather be." He leaned his forehead against mine. "I'm the fun guy. I'm the guy people want to hang with because I know how to party. I do want to be more than that for you. I really do."
I forced myself to say the words I was so afraid to say. "What if it doesn't work out? What if you leave me again?"
"What if you leave me this time?" he countered. "Don't you understand? I was a mess. No one understood. How could they? I didn't understand myself. I'm not the type of guy to mope but that's what I did."
"I'm pregnant, Loren," I said softly. My lower lip trembled. "I'm so scared I'm going to mess this up."
He wrapped his arms tight around me, pressing my body tight against his. "You won't. We won't. I'll be there for you, Dylan. No matter what you decide you want. I will be a father."
A tear trickled down my face. "I can't screw this up. I do want to be with you but this is more than just me."
"I know." He held me tight, not pressuring me for a response. "He would be better for you than me."
He was talking about Jeremy once again. "No, he wouldn't. If you are right, Jeremy has had quite some time to tell me the truth. He probably likes the idea of the two of us much more than the reality. This is if you are right." I burrowed my head into the crook of his neck, inhaling his rich scent before addressing him once more. "I want someone who will fight for me, who will announce his feelings to me instead of being afraid and who makes me feel so much it scares me."
"I'm willing to do whatever it takes, Dylan."
I leaned back, running my hands through his hair. "I'm scared of how I feel for you," I finally confessed.
He nodded in understanding. "I'm scared of how I feel for you too. I knew I was doomed the moment I saw you. You were the end of my old life, even if I resisted." He kissed me tenderly, his lips grazing mine softly. "I love you, Dylan. I love you enough to know that if you need your space right now, I have to let you have it. I love you enough to believe in you about Jeremy. I love you-"
I stopped his speech. "I love you too. And I don't need space." I pulled his head down, passionately kissing him. With my arms wrapped tight around his neck, I never wanted to let him go. "I need you."
Loren smirked. He lifted me off of my feet and up into his arms. I laughed happily. "Time for you to go to bed!"
He confidently strode into Rex's bedroom, dropping me onto the double bed. He stared down at me hungrily. I wrinkled my nose, wagging my finger at him. "No funny business in my brother's bed. That's creepy."
Loren groaned, dropping down onto the bed on top of me. His body covered mine. "I have proclaimed my love for you. It can't be creepy."
"It still is."
"Then we are going back to Philly right now where I can shag you properly."
I giggled, feeling lighthearted once again. My hands disappeared into the back pockets of his jeans as I pulled his body closer to mine. "I just said his bed was off limits."
Loren grinned devilishly before scooping me once again back into his arms and heading towards the bathroom.
I want to thank everyone who has read this so far and submitted a review! I, like most people, adore reviews!
In particular, I want to thank Pretend Jane, B, Pione, Elizabeth73, and to Nina.