Chapter Fifteen: Epilogue
Don't call me a coward. I am far from that right now. Don't call me a coward because I did not let Kieron send me home. In fact, I am in front of Jeth's house. How I got here or why I chose to be here was completely unknown to me. Maybe, somewhere inside of me, I felt like the person I needed to apologize to the most was him.
We both stood in front of the door – Kieron and I. The lights inside the house left a soft and delicate glow against the pavement. It almost put me to sleep. It must be so warm within. Jeth and his family must be having a wonderful time at dinner. He probably had a new girlfriend to parade around with, and everything.
Kieron gave me a quick grin. His blue eyes flashed at the door knob. "What are you planning to say?" he asked.
I gave him a light, playful slap on the arm. "As if I'm supposed to know," I replied.
"Well – you could always start with sorry."
"Sorry it is then."
I rang the bell and waited for someone to answer it.
When the door swung open my heart dropped to my stomach. It was Axel – of all people. He glared at me with his dark eyes for a few seconds, taking in my new hair colour, taking in my glum expression. And then he grinned. He was actually flashing me his pearly whites. "Cool look."
"Thanks," I replied. "I'm looking for – "
"Jeth? I thought so," Axel cut in sharply. "I knew I was right when I said that you guys weren't in love. So obvious – I had never met a more awkward couple."
"Jeth, please," I answered crisply. "I didn't come here for your 'told you so'."
"Step on in, he's eating dinner," Axel invited, he opened the door further and I walked in. Kieron was close behind me.
I walked on in. I felt like I had taken a complete 180 turn from this life. From being a popular teenager in a superficial world like Clear Hill, always thinking of materialistic things, I was now just a normal teenager. I was wearing a plain white singlet, and my jeans were torn at the knees, grass stains all over.
Jeth sat at the table, eating his dinner. Surprisingly, he was alone. Usually the Northings would have a big family dinner. I always remembered them that way. They were a huge happy family that always talked fondly about their day, and would have their enormous feast. What happened today?
"Where are Averie and Katy?" I asked, curiously.
Jeth looked up from his dinner; it was bread and soup, something you'd find at a petty charity event. "Davis? What are you doing here?" Jeth stuttered.
I gave a sigh. This was going to be difficult. "I am here to apologize," I replied sheepishly. "If that's alright with you."
"Oh," he muttered. "Okay."
"I am really sorry for lying," I continued. "I know that I shouldn't have, but the truth is that I couldn't find a way out of our complicated romance." He kept himself silent. Good, I needed time to talk – although the silence was rather daunting. "If you felt the way I did, then you would understand when I say that our love wasn't exactly that. It was all just to please our friends. And you know as well as I do that it would have ended this way – one way or the other."
There was a short pause. I was waiting for his reaction. What more could I say? I thought that I had always been good at apologising …
"You want to go to a party?" Jeth finally asked.
I was taken aback. "Excuse me?"
"Lynsey's throwing a party tonight, I'm inviting you to join in," Jeth elaborated.
"What? Did you hear what I just said?" I asked, dumbfounded.
"Of course I did, I'm not deaf," he replied smoothly. "So do you want to go or not?"
"But then – is my apology accepted or not?" I asked.
Jeth gave me one of those golden grins he was proverbial for, the one that made him popular in the first place. "Do you really want to go on with that? Apology accepted, Davis, thank you for it," Jeth answered.
I gave him a small smile.
"Kieron, you're going to Lynsey's party?" Jeth asked.
I almost forgot that Kieron was behind me. He had been so silent throughout the entire thing. At that point in time, he spoke up, "Yep, sure. If Davis goes I'm going."
I guess that left me with one choice - "Okay, I'm going."
We took Jeth's car, he insisted. Both Kieron and I sat at the back as he drove. It wasn't too far away so we didn't have to sit in silence for long. Kieron held onto my hand the entire time. He knew that I was nervous. I didn't like to see my friends. But did I have any other choice? I had given up my life back there, I had given up my life here – I had to choose which one I wanted back. And at the moment, this life seemed the most promising.
"Don't worry, everything's going to be alright," Kieron whispered into my ear. He was actually smiling.
"So are you two now going out together?" Jeth commented from the front.
"What?" I asked, surprised.
"You seem awfully close," Jeth laughed.
"Kieron's like an older brother to me," I explained.
"Whatever you say."
He pulled up to a house that was blaring loud music. The party scene. It had always been around Clear Hill – I was just never one to be invited, no matter how popular I was. I'm the type you come to for help on homework, never the one you come to for a good time. Kieron opened the door and helped me out.
"God, should I be doing this?" I whispered.
"It's alright," Jeth assured me. "If you make the same apology to me as you do to them … they will forgive you with open arms. Amalea was just scared when she found out that you had cheated on me. She was scared that she'd lost her friend forever – along with the rest of them."
"Anyway, wouldn't you love to crash one of Lynsey's parties?" Kieron added.
I laughed. "Fine!"
Kieron pushed me over to the door and opened it. Jeth was ahead of him, calling for me to come on. The place was so loud, despite the fact that Lynsey's house was three stories high. It was like a beautiful castle. She did lead an extravagant lifestyle. The music seemed to echo from hallway to hallway. I bet the entire school was here, even the unpopular kids. Again, I was not invited. Well, not invited by the host, per say.
People turned when they saw me, their eyes were like headlights. I was the deer. Was it because I had chosen to show my face in public? Was it because I had shown up at Lynsey's party and not be with Landon? Or was it because my hair was dark brown?
Kayley and Lars were leaning into each other on a coffee-coloured couch. When Kayley saw me, her eyes grew wide like saucers. "Davis?" she gasped in utter amazement. Almost amusing, really. She gently pushed Lars away from her crumpled green long-sleeved shirt. "How are you?"
Maybe there was something good about Kayley, and that's that she seems unfazed about situations.
"I'm fine," I replied, smiling.
Lars looked up at me and grinned. I really never liked Lars, but somehow, after knowing his brother, Braden, he seemed almost likeable. I understood what his intentions were. He was trying his best to do what his brother was incapable of … graduating and fitting in. "You doing alright there, Daniels?" he asked. He must have noticed that Jeth was standing right next to me, because his smile turned into a frown. "What's going on?"
"Cool down, Lars," Jeth replied smoothly. "Davis just gave me a heartfelt apology. I'm helping her in getting her friends back."
"Then let me be the first to say welcome back!" Kayley giggled. She stood up and wrapped her arms around me. Was this a hug? "What happened to that whole silver-eyed boy thing?"
Bitterly I gave her the only answer that could escape my lips, "We broke up."
"That's Old Railway Park folks for you," Lars commented. "Never the type to stick around." See, I knew who he was referring to! He was referring to Braden and not me.
"I have to agree with you on that," I told him. "So where are the rest of them?"
"The rest of what? Amalea? Rhian? Lynsey?" Kayley asked. "They're further on back, sitting at a picnic table near the pool. You're going to say sorry?"
I gave a short sigh. Like my apologies ever meant anything these days? "I guess so," I answered.
Kieron placed a hand on my shoulder. "Let's get a move on if you want to have a good time here," he laughed.
"Wait, Davis!" Lars called out. I turned over to acknowledge that I had heard him. "That's a great look for you!"
I laughed and waved his comment away. I had more pressing things to think about at the moment.
"You think that everything will go back to normal after this is all done?" Jeth asked, suddenly. "Like, could we all go back to being happy?"
"That sounds all fine and dandy, but I wasn't happy back then," I pointed out. "Really, I was far from happy."
"You always seemed alright," Jeth frowned.
I looked at Kieron but he gave me nothing back. This was my battle to fight. "On the outside, yes, but deep inside I was really disappointed in my situation," I explained. "It was like no one ever cared that much about me. I was only ever being ordered to do things against my will."
"I'm sorry if I ever made you feel that way," Jeth answered. I gave him a smile. Someone had actually said sorry, except for me.
Kieron tapped on my shoulder and pointed over to where my old friends were sitting. I looked in the direction. There was Amalea, happy as ever, talking sociably with the rest of them. She smoothened down her denim mini skirt and continued with her animated conversation. Her smile seemed to brighten the entire situation. She seemed more cheerful without me around. Maybe I just made it all boring and dull? Maybe I was the problem?
Rhian sat beside Amalea, listening contentedly to the conversation, nodding every once in a while. She flipped her black hair away sweetly and gave a considerate laugh. Her thick eyebrows raised in full expression. She was wearing an off-the-shoulder white blouse that seemed to catch the wind. At that moment, she grinned showing her beautiful set of teeth.
Lynsey sat across from Rhian. She was intent on gobbling down everything she could. Her dark blue eyes seemed slightly vacant. Now, how many drinks had she guzzled down? Her hair seemed to be on fire tonight … along with her red dress. "Oh my God, what the hell are you doing here Davis? You were not invited!" she suddenly shrieked. She slid the glass partition away between us and came rampaging towards me. I saw her eyes flicker at my hair. Her extremely tall heels thudded against the wooden floor.
"Lynsey, she's with me," Jeth explained quickly.
"You mean you two or back together?" she asked, her eyes widening.
"No," Jeth answered quickly. "I meant that I invited her here."
"Well, if she wasn't invited by me, personally, she wasn't invited at all – she'll have to get out now before I call Lars to get her out!" Lynsey answered shrilly.
"We saw Lars on our way here, he said hello," Jeth replied smoothly.
Lynsey just gasped in shock, exactly like a goldfish. I almost burst into laughter. Behind Lynsey, Amalea and Rhian were walking forwards. From a further distance, Shari and Ethel were attracted to the commotion. They were two blondes that I hadn't missed one bit throughout the entire confusion. Shari – the girl who loved money and the spotlight, and Ethel – the girl with the sharp tongue. Yep, how I missed them. By the way, I'm being sarcastic.
"I really wanted to talk to Amalea," I pointed out. "Just to say I'm sorry."
Amalea's emerald eyes darted at me. She clung tightly onto a plastic cup, you could see that her perfectly manicured nails were exerting tension to the surface, barely visible dents were there. But other than that, she smiled at me softly. "Come on, we'll talk by the pool," Amalea muttered. She eyed Lynsey with caution before grabbing my arm and leading me outside.
Amalea took a seat by the pool, staring at the surface as it reflected itself off her face, light blue waves illuminated against her cheeks. "Why are you here?" she asked. Her voice sounded strangely distant, hollow, like she had lost all her optimism. It pained me that she had to talk like that.
"I want to say sorry," I repeated. "I know that I should have told you about everything, but I was worried that you wouldn't take it well. You know that Jeth and I were never in love. If you hadn't brought up the couple thing years back we wouldn't have been together. Then with all the expectations brewing, how could we break up? It was like a catch-22."
"So you're blaming me for all of this?" Amalea asked her eyes wide with shock. "For trying to set you two up?"
This was difficult just to talk to her. The problem with Clear Hill teenagers was that they only heard what they wanted to hear, and I'm pretty sure all that Amalea heard was: "Should have told you, Jeth and I were in love, if you hadn't we wouldn't be together." Maybe it was all the partying and liquor … "No, I never said that," I answered coolly. "But I want to apologise for not being honest about the entire thing. I never loved Jeth, okay? And at that time I was angry and confused. So I found security with Landon."
His face just popped into my mind, those silver eyes just smiling back at me. Ya, he was a winner.
"Who's Landon?" Amalea asked, confused.
Oh, right, like she even bothered to know his name. "The guy I kissed," I muttered.
Amalea looked at me carefully, I kept her stare. I really wanted to still be her friend. I knew somewhere deep in there was the little girl I had told my secrets too. Hopefully she was still there. "Why did you have to do that? In front of the entire school, you made me look like such a fool!" Amalea suddenly hissed. "Do you know how much it hurt? Out of all people I should have known about that. I should be the one you tell your secrets too."
"And you would listen?" I pointed out.
Amalea closed her eyes and shook her head. She laid it in her hands, bent forwards. When she sat up straight again and opened her eyes, I was stunned to see tears. Her eyes were bloodshot red and her nose was runny. And I thought I was a horrible sight when I cried? She looked away quickly, probably because of my reaction. "I really want to be a good friend, Davis." I could barely hear her voice. "I really do. I don't know why you had to lie to me."
Because you always lied to me, that's what I wanted to say. But seeing her in this state just made me sympathize. Slowly, I placed my arms around her and gave her the best hug I could muster. Had I ever been hugged by a person? Never with good intentions, and never with love. So I did not know how it worked. But a friend in need was a friend in deed, right? And I guess that I just wanted to be a good friend. Maybe no one was ever a good friend to me. But this time I wanted to make it right. Maybe they just needed a little insight.
"Davis," Amalea whispered. "I am so sorry for ever making you think that you couldn't come to me for help or for a friend. I really want to make it right, okay?"
Those words just lift me up. Was this real? "Okay," I replied. I gave her a smile and she smiled back. Really, it was one of the most beautiful smiles I'd seen from her. "How about Rhian?"
"Don't worry, I'll talk to her, I'll explain to her everything – even your shocking new hair!" Amalea exclaimed. "We can be one happy family again!"
Again? Like we were before? But I just took her word on it. Back to my old life? I don't think so.
A week after the party, Kieron wanted me to drive him to a place in Central District, a club. I worried but he said that it was alright. He just wanted to see a couple of friends, maybe introduce me to them. They were good people – that's what he said. I went along anyway, because face it, I just liked his company. When we reached the place, it was late evening. Kieron grabbed me and tugged me along, joking and laughing. He seemed to have scheduled a lot more time for me now. It was like he worried that I would suddenly jump of a cliff or something …
"Coming?" Kieron asked.
"Yes," I replied, lagging behind a bit, kicking stones.
I laughed. "Yes, today."
I rushed to his side and tackled him. He easily overpowered me and took my hand into his. That was when I noticed it was the same club Braden and Landon had brought me to. What were the odds that they would play here again? Most likely. "Kieron, seriously tell me who these friends of yours are," I pressed.
"They are good people," he assured. That did not really answer my question. There was a long queue outside, just like last time. Kieron went to the very front of the queue and flashed a card. I didn't get a good look, but it must have worked because the bodyguard let both of us in. "We're going for the front, come along."
Did I have a choice? Kieron led a path through the crowd, and I followed. There were drums on the stage, and picks were placed along two microphone stands. There was obviously an act on tonight.
"Where are you friends?" I asked.
"They're late," Kieron muttered.
The lights slowly dimmed and a spotlight was transformed upon the stage. Really, what had I gotten myself into?
A microphone's undertone hovered in the air, causing people to wince at its high-pitched ringing. Then a low, soporific voice echoed through the club: "Ladies and gentleman, with their return, Auto Motive!"
I knew it, I just knew it, and I knew I couldn't take it. But I told myself to be strong. There had to be a good reason why Kieron had brought me here. He wouldn't bring me here unless it was for good reasons. Right?
Travers stepped on stage. He gave a huge grin, like he absolutely loved it. I had never seen them perform … I remembered that all of a sudden. I had never seen how good they really were. Landon had made such much hype about it. He was sure that they were made for bigger things. He was so driven and so sure. It made me half believe that everything I ever try to accomplish would come true. That was, before he broke the story of it all. Then, he just sounded like any other guy trying to get in the music business. But hey, you get what you give.
"Good evening, people!" Travers shouted enthusiastically. I saw his blue eyes flicker in my direction. He had seen me come; he seemed to give an approving nod to Kieron for that. What game were they trying to play?
Slowly, the rest of the band came out from behind the curtain. Braden, his hair more electrified than before, Zeke, the drummer, Declan, looking foreboding … and then Landon, holding his guitar in such a natural position you'd think that they had been together throughout his life. Landon turned towards me and gave me a short nod. What was that supposed to mean?
I watched as Travers and Landon exchanged glances and then Travers went up to the mike, "The first song we're going to do … isn't one of our favourites, to tell you the truth, but it means more to us then any other song that we've done. This one's for a girl called Davis."
I just froze on the spot. It took Kieron's excessive shaking of my shoulders that brought me back to life.
"Then when can I hear that song?"
Landon laughed. "Not yet, but I promise soon."
"Why? I thought that it was done."
"I want it to be perfect before you hear it."
"Why? Is it about me?"
It had been about me. Now I realized why Kieron wanted me to come here. Landon had asked him to. Landon had promised that I could hear the song soon. This was him keeping his promise. I was confused. Why would he lie to me so much, so badly and yet still want to keep a small petty promise to me?
I paid close attention to the lyrics. It felt like everything had been planned even more. It sounded like Landon knew what he was doing, and who he was going to hurt. Me. But then what? He did it anyway. He knew that it would hurt me, but he did it anyway. It didn't make sense. Why?
But then they got to the bridge, and the words just kept repeating itself … Please trust me now, more than you did before.
Landon suddenly struck a high chord and went into a heart-wrenching electric guitar solo. It was true. He did have talent. I watched his fingers disappear against the wooden frame of the guitar, the strings vibrating constantly. But the one thing you had to keep contact with was his face. It held such emotion and pain. His eyes were closed, his lips tightened, his head bowed down … he was really making an effort to make it sound good.
The crowd erupted into applause and I followed, giving a small smile.
When the chorus came up again I finally understood the words and why he had done it. He had done it for his passion and love. It was never me, I should have known that. It was music.
The set ended about an hour or so later. Auto Motive waved goodbye to the crowd, then disappeared behind the curtains. Landon was the first to leave and he just stared at me with his grey eyes. He gave me a grin and for some reason I smiled back.
"Come on," Kieron whispered in my ear. Before I could protest, he was bringing me backstage, his grip on my arm tight. Travers practically launched himself at me and smothered me in his hug.
"You saw us! Weren't we so amazing? This has to be luck! Complete luck!" Travers shouted.
"Luck?" I asked, raising my eyebrow.
"Landon walked out on the producer and Gavan," Braden informed me. "In the middle of introducing his song – about you."
"That's stupid!" I remarked. "Why would he do that?"
"He did that so he could help find you," Kieron told me. "When he heard that you disappeared, he was worried, so he chose to save your life over his career."
I closed my mouth. He really did that? I thought that it had been Kieron who went after me. No one else, just Kieron. But now I hear that Landon had helped along as well? Then it made sense. How in the world did Kieron find me on the cliff? Only Landon and I knew about it. It must have been Landon then. "Where is he?" I asked softly.
"Other room," Travers pointed out. "You know that he is really sorry. He really didn't want to hurt you. He really fought for this song to be played. He really wanted you to hear it today."
I looked at Kieron who gestured for me to go forward. Hesitantly, I went into a room that was probably supposed to be the dressing room. It had one long mirror running along one wall and clothes hanging along another. Landon was sitting on a chair next to Declan, both talking amongst each other. When I walked in, Declan froze and hovered near the background. Landon just stared at me. What was I supposed to say?
"Hey," I began. "I didn't really like the song."
Landon nodded. "Is that what you came here to say?" he asked.
"But I really loved the guitar solo," I continued. "And I want to say that – well, really I don't know what to say. I just want your explanation. No fancy story and no lying, I just want the truth."
"I'll go," Declan muttered and he was gone, like a shadow.
I sat down on the seat Declan was in before, looking at Landon enquiringly. There was still so much I wanted to know; whether all he said was true, if he really meant every word, or at least some of them?
"I'm sorry," Landon whispered.
"I don't want your apology anymore, I want answers," I replied firmly.
Landon took a deep breath. "I love you, Davis," he said. "But it's only because you are so different from everyone else. I love you for being so honest and being so considerate and being so true to yourself. I love you as a person. But the truth is that I find you as a friend, and a sister. I love you in the way I love my band members. The way I love Travers, Declan, Braden and Zeke. Of course, I would never tell them that but they already know. Did that make sense?"
"In a way," I answered. "Yes. But why did you have to play such a dangerous game with my heart?"
"This world is so screwed," Landon remarked, smiling a little. "To get into something, you need to betray someone. You lose a part of yourself in the process, and you gain so much more. I guess to make it big you have to break some hearts."
That was so stupid! I walked forwards, surging with fury, I was all of a sudden so angry. All the games he played everything that he did. My arm just raised and slapped itself across his face. And he didn't do anything, he just took it in. He didn't even wince. "Sometimes you don't have to break hearts," I shouted. "Sometimes you can make it by just being honest and caring."
"Davis, that's the way you were brought up. You were brought up to care. Well, I was never that way. You don't understand. I have no one except my band. They are my family. My mother is dead, and my dad left me years ago. I don't even know what he looks like. My friends were the only ones that brought me up. I never cared much about anything. I was a high school dropout, I literally spent a few years sleeping on the streets, and I hover between hundreds of jobs a year. Life isn't pretty. I want a future."
"You had no choice?" I asked.
Landon nodded. "You think that's wrong of me?"
"I think that's human."
"So how's your life?"
"I'm just glad that I'm living."
I looked up and gave him a smile, he smiled back. That crooked smile that I hate to say that I missed, but I did, so much. "You still have so much going for you," Landon remarked. "You really have to go out and live your life."
"How did you convince Kieron to bring me over?" I asked, slightly confused. "How did he even trust you in the first place?"
"Aren't I easy to trust?" he asked, giving a sly grin.
I gave a sigh of disdain. "Ya."
His grin slowly subsided and he touched my arm carefully. "You know he said something else to me, when we were talking, something that you may just want to know."
"And what's that?" I asked bitterly.
"You know, he really loves you."
"As a brother? I know."
"No. He really loves you."
My eyes widened. Was he just messing with me or being serious?
"I'm telling you the truth, Davis. If you don't believe me, go find out for yourself, Kieron's still waiting out there for you. Why would he care so much? Why would he remember so much? Why would he be so protective? He loves you, Davis, I swear."
I shook my head and walked away from Landon, not knowing whether to believe him or not. When I walked outside, Kieron was there waiting. He gave me one of the most brilliant smiles I'd ever seen. My mind was rambling on about what I had just heard. I tried my best to ignore it, but I guess that wasn't an option. Well, there was only one way to find out if Landon was telling the truth …
Outside the club, I turned Kieron towards me and then leaned in for the kiss. Surprise … he kissed back.
Author note: I updated this final chapter due to the fact that when I read over, it was missing something. So please, read over again. This story is finished. Sorry if the epilogue is far too long for it to be called an epilogue. I guess I really wanted to cram in a lot in the end. I will be starting a new story called Like You Care soon. Be sure to check it out.
But in the meantime you can read through these true facts about Automotive (they will also be posted up on my blog/website find the URL on my profile page):
1. Each chapter's title, except for the epilogue, coincides with a song from Switchfoot's album 'Nothing is Sound'. I expanded some of them to make the story longer.
2. Davis's name alone relates with the main character of the album, Daisy, a golden girl.
3. Lynsey is based on two characters in real life. But I'm not going to reveal who they are.
4. Zeke Mendez is not one of my most original characters. You do not see him much and his name is a play on Yellowcard. Zeke is the name my brother would call L.P. (apparently he looks like a Zeke) and Mendez is the last name of one of the members. He was used as a fill in for a drummer and band member.
5. Traver's last name is White because I was listening to the White Stripes when I was thinking of a surname for him.
6. Whenever I think of Landon I always picture Joseph Cross's face. (A picture will be posted of him on my blog/website).
7. Auto Motive was never really meant to relate in any way to a car or Davis's love for driving. It was really meant to be the separation of the two words. Auto, was to mean automatic, and motive. Overall, an automatic motive or a reason, like the reason why Landon pulled the whole façade.