Here is the long awaited chapter where we finally see who Reine called! I know it's a bit late and honestly, I've had this chapter for a while now, I just haven't gotten around to editing it after my beta sent it back to me. I've finally gotten off of my lazy ass to edit this chapter and I hope everyone enjoys it.
Just a little note: part of this chapter is a flashback…just so you know :) (The italicized part)
Thanks to VenusSmurf1 for editing :) you're the best!
Disclaimer: I don't own anything except for the characters and the plot. I don't own Guitar Hero.
Never Wanted Prince Charming
9-Say Our Goodbyes—It's Better That Way
I could tear you apart, but it won't break anything that we are,
We'll say our goodbyes; you know it's better that way
We won't break we won't die,
It's just a moment of change
All we are, all we are, is everything that's right…
I've been feeling so lighthearted after the confrontation. I feel as though I'm walking on air.
"Well, isn't someone happy to see me," Ian smirks as he slides into the booth with me.
I spare him my glare because I'm just too happy. I kiss him. "You're late."
"Sorry, I got held up during basketball practice."
"You play basketball?" I ask incredulously. How come this has never come up before?
Ian laughs at me and kisses my nose. "I've been playing ever since middle school. You just haven't noticed."
What a horrible girlfriend I am! I wail inside. I can't believe I never noticed that he played basketball. Of course Marc played soccer, and I never really thought of any other sport. "How come you never told me?"
Ian shrugs. "It just never came up. Besides, practice just started."
I frown and stare into Ian's eyes. "Still, I should have known. I'm your girlfriend."
Ian smiles. "It's really not that big of a deal."
I look down for a second, thinking. I come up with an idea. "When's your next game?"
"This coming Friday," Ian scans the menu. "It's my first game as captain."
"You're captain?" Okay, now I really feel stupid. I should have heard about this. I mean, I'm supposed to know everything about Ian.
Ian nods and calls for the waitress.
"I'm going to your game."
Ian looks at me. "You are?"
I nod eagerly. "Of course, I'm going to go to your game to support you. That's what girlfriends do."
He laughs and wraps an arm around my shoulder, hugging me. "Thanks, but you don't have to."
I pout. "I want to."
We place our orders and wait for our food. My mind is full of unanswered questions.
"What else haven't you told me?" I ask.
"I didn't not tell you, Reine," he says, running a hand through his hair. "It just never came up. I'm sure there are lots of things you haven't told me."
I think for a while. "Nope. You pretty much know everything about me."
"I'm sure that's not true."
I shake my head. "Nothing interesting about me, I swear. I'm not into sports, no extracurricular activities—nothing."
He kisses my forehead. "I still like you, even if you're utterly boring."
I punch his shoulder half-heartedly. "I was actually thinking about joining student council."
"Sure, why not? Marc has connections with the council. Plus, I'm going to need something because I do have college applications to think about next year."
"I can get you into student council."
"WHAT? You're also on student council?" Wait…I think I knew that. Last year he was president of the sophomore class. I remember because he was the one who came up with the idea of the kissing booth. I remember being disgusted with him, especially since he offered to be the one behind the kissing booth.
Ian raises an eyebrow. "I'm president."
Again. He is pretty popular now that I think about it.
"I remember. The kissing booth, right?"
Ian grins. "You remember that?"
"I remember being disgusted with you, you pig."
"But, I'm your pig." He laughs and tugs me closer to him.
"You're really involved," I say absently. "What else do you do?"
"I don't want to think about school right now," Ian murmurs as he trails kisses up and down.
"Stop it," I hiss, but it feels good. Mmm.
Ian smirks against my neck. "You don't mean it." I glare at him—know it all.
I gently push his head away as the waitress comes with our orders. She smiles knowingly at us. I flush and Ian grins. Stupid arrogant boy, but he's mine, I think smugly. His arrogance is starting to rub off on me.
"Did you guys call me out just to have me carry your bags?" complains our official bag rack, Jase.
Andie and I look at each other and nod simultaneously. "Yep."
Jase frowns as he balances the bags on each arm. "I feel gay."
"Maybe you are."
Jase glares at Andie. "I'll have you know that I am far from being gay."
Andie looks pointedly at his pink shirt and plaid shorts. "You drive a bright yellow car."
"That doesn't mean I'm gay."
She shrugs. "Whatever, you're still carrying our bags."
I feel sorry for Jase, so I make a motion to take a couple of bags. Jase looks at me gratefully, but before I can take any of the bags from his arms, Andie stops me.
"He needs to man up. Besides, this is practice for the future when he gets a girlfriend…or a boyfriend," Andie smirks.
Jase mutters, "Bitch."
"You know it."
I stare at them. Ladies and gentlemen….my friends…
"How was your date with lover boy?"
"How did you know?" I glance at Andie suspiciously.
"She saw you two making out in his car at the cafe," Jase grimaces.
I flush. "Did everyone see?"
"No, the windows became too fogged up after that," Andie smirks at me.
I don't think my face can get any redder. It's simply not possible.
"Chill, Reine. I'm just kidding," Andie laughs. "But I did see you two making out."
"Our date was fine. I learned that Ian is captain of the basketball team and he's the class president."
Andie and Jase gape at me.
"You didn't know?" Jase asks incredulously.
My face is probably going to stay permanently bright pink after today. "In my defense, I am not a sports person."
"What about student council?"
"I knew that somewhere…subconsciously, it was in the back of my mind." I mutter.
Jase snorts. "I can't believe this. If I was your boyfriend, I would be completely offended."
I glare at him. "Ian took it very well."
"Of course, he was probably thinking of all the things he could get away with because you're so clueless."
Andie smacks Jase in the back of his head.
"Thank you!" I exclaim.
"I think it just shows Ian that she isn't with him for the popularity."
I nod in agreement.
"Of course, I think that you should still feel pretty crappy about not knowing your boyfriend is a captain and the president of the junior class."
I smile sheepishly. "Yeah, which is why you two will be coming with me to the basketball game this coming Friday."
Jase shrugs. "I'm going to be there anyway."
"Don't tell me," I groan. "You're on the team."
What is wrong with me? Have I been so self-absorbed that I miss everything? Well….the answer is yes.
I look at Andie. "Is there anything I don't know about you?"
"Other than the fact that I got kicked out of my last school because I flooded the bathroom? Then, no."
"You never told me that!" Instead, I learned it from Greg-the-spawn-of-the-she-devil-Winston.
"Oh?" Andie says innocently.
"No, Greg Winston did."
Andie's eyes narrow and she stops walking. Jase nearly runs into her and drops a few bags.
"But…it's okay if you don't want to tell me," I say nervously. Andie doesn't look too happy.
Andie shrugs. "I'll tell you one day. Just not now. It's really no big deal anyway."
Okay. I'm positive that's a lie. If it wasn't such a big deal, she would have told me the day we met or something. There's more to it, but I'll let it go this time.
"Have you talked to Preston yet?" Andie asks as I'm helping Jase pick up the bags he dropped.
I frown at her. Why does she always bring him up? Oh right…they're cousins. It's scary how much they look alike, yet I keep on forgetting. I absently hand Jase the bags. This really isn't something I want to talk about.
"You haven't," she says flatly, my frown telling her everything. "Why? It's not that hard. All you have to do is call him and apologize and thank him."
"It's really not that easy," I say, frustrated. "It's more difficult than saying 'thanks' or 'I'm sorry.'"
Jase agrees with Andie. "You won't know until you actually call him up."
"Look, I will call him eventually. I'm just not ready right now."
"He's not such a bad guy, Reine."
Well, she's his cousin. She has to like him.
"I'm not saying that because I'm his cousin, either."
"It's obvious; your face is easy to read."
I mutter to myself. "Whatever."
Andie hooks her arm through mine. "We still have half the mall to go through."
Jase groans. "You have got to be kidding me. I could have stayed home and done something productive. Instead, I'm here. You should pay me."
Andie rolls her eyes. "You would have just sat in your room and played Guitar Hero."
"Hey!" Jase protests. I hide a smile. "It is productive."
"I'll bet you can't even play a real guitar."
"So what?" Jase says defensively, his voice rising. "I'll have you know that I rock at Guitar Hero."
"I'm sure I can beat you," Andie shoots back loudly.
"Guys!" I hiss. Everyone is watching us. I can see the store manager eyeing us suspiciously. We innocently smile at her and quickly leave the store.
"I challenge you to a game of Guitar Hero."
You have got to be kidding me. How did we get from shopping to Guitar Hero? I have no clue.
"You're on. Get ready to lose, old man."
"Old man? I'll show you, you…" Jase scratches his head. "Well, anyway, I'm still going to win."
Andie laughs. "We'll see."
"Loser has to sing a love song to Peter Dawson," Jason declares.
"You do realize you're going to be singing to a guy?"
"What makes you so sure I'm going to lose?"
Jase scowls. "Lies."
Andie grins. "Fine. If I lose, then I'll sing a love song to Peter Dawson. If you lose, then you have to woo Ernestine Johnson with I Knew I Loved You by Savage Garden."
Jase pales. "The girl with a moustache and side burns who doesn't know the meaning of hygiene? That Ernestine?"
"Do you know another one?"
Jase shakes his head. Suddenly Jase doesn't look so sure about the competition. "Can't we change it? I mean, last time, someone picked up her books and had to get a restraining order because she got the wrong idea."
"Take it or leave it."
Haha, stinky Peter, who hasn't showered in years, or wo-MAN Ernestine, who has no sense of personal hygiene? I wince. The stakes are high. I can't wait; I need to borrow Dad's video camera. This is going to be priceless.
Jase grumbles, "Fine."
"Reine, you want in?"
I shake my head, grinning. "No thanks, I'm not really in the mood for embarrassing myself in front of the entire school. Plus, I already have a boyfriend, who wouldn't like it if I serenaded some other guy, especially Peter Dawson."
"Suit yourself," Andie says.
I glance at my phone. "As much fun as this has been, I need to be getting back home. I'm supposed to be making dinner."
Preston is standing at my front door with Linc. That traitor, I frown at my golden lab.
"Andie said you were asking for me."
She's a traitor, too.
I open my mouth, about to refute his statement, but against my better judgment, my stupid conscience tells me that it's high time I talk to him. I nod. As soon as this is over, I am going to put an ad in the newspaper for new friends.
Preston smiles at the look on my face. "I sort of figured that you weren't the one who asked for me. I just took this chance because you've been avoiding me lately."
"I haven't," I shake my head.
He gives me a sad look. "Don't lie, Reine."
"I just didn't know how to confront you after what happened."
"What do you mean, after what happened?"
I gesture wildly. "You know…"
He shakes his head. "Be more specific."
The bastard, he just wants me to say it out loud. "After you helped me get back together with Ian." I manage to say it through my clenched teeth. "I've been meaning to thank you. I was just putting things off."
He shrugs. "It was the least I could do. After all, I did ruin your relationship in the first place."
"Don't tell me that you just recently grew a conscience. I don't believe it."
"I don't know what possessed me to tell Ian where you were when I don't approve of him in the first place."
"I don't know how to explain what I did, but I do know that you were happy with Thompson. And doing that was my way of apologizing." He stares at the floor, absently stroking Linc.
"I appreciate it," I say hoarsely. "I'm sorry for treating you so horribly. I know that…you were only trying to help. It's just that you've never done anything like this before; it's all hard to take in."
He nods. "I understand." He stands up straight and runs a hand through his dark hair. "I haven't exactly done anything to earn your trust." He looks disgusted—at whom, I don't know.
I don't know what else to say but "Thank you, Preston."
He looks me straight in the eye. It always startles and amazes me how green his eyes are. They're a dark green, full of secrets and mystery. At the same time I feel as though I can see right through them, just like he sees right through me.
He walks down the stairs, heading to his car. As he passes me, I can swear I hear him mutter, "I'm sorry." By the time I digest this, I hear his car running and pretty soon, he's gone.
I am left standing on my front porch with my heart beating wildly.
That wasn't so bad, was it?
Who am I kidding? It was horrible. I felt as though I were talking to a complete stranger. Maybe he is a stranger. My brows furrow. Preston has always been an enigma, but lately he's become even harder to understand and to read. Linc sniffs at me and wanders away, put off that I'm too distracted to pay him any attention.
I don't know how long I remain standing there, but it is Marc who eventually discovers me and brings me inside and to my room.
What is wrong with me? I should be happy that I apologized and thanked Preston, but instead, I feel empty. So many questions just running through my mind. Everything comes down to just one question…
Marc walks into my room, his face ashen. I feel a sense of dread creeping up my spine.
"It's Preston," he whispers. "He was in an accident."
My heart stills and I can feel it drop. This isn't supposed to happen. He was supposed to apologize; I was supposed to do the same and thank him and come out unscathed. I'm not supposed to feel as though my life is still empty and falling apart. He isn't supposed to leave and get in an accident. He's supposed to leave to be with her.
My mind blanks out as I open my mouth to speak. I shut it and look at the floor trying to piece my thoughts together. I rummage through my pocket and pull out a silver bracelet. I hold it in the palm of my hand.
Honey colored eyes watch me cautiously. Callie speaks quietly, "How could I forget?"
"You gave me this when we were five," I smile, reminiscing. "You thought that if you gave me this bracelet, we would be friends forever." I wore the bracelet until I was unable to fit my hand through it any longer. My mother then bought a box for it and I have kept it there ever since. I honestly forgot about it until that moment I called Callie.
Callie gives a small smile, which is gone in the blink of an eye. Maybe I imagined it. "Why am I here?"
"What went wrong, Callie?"
"We grew apart. It happens."
"I never wanted it to be like this."
Callie says quietly, "It's not the way I wanted things to be either, but it happened."
"What I regret it the most is that I didn't try to stop this. I didn't fight." As cheesy as that sounds, it's true. I didn't fight for our friendship—I just let it go. I wallowed in my own grief over the loss of our friendship. I never thought about repairing it.
"I didn't mean for it to happen," Callie whispers, so quietly that I'm not sure if I heard her correctly.
"You didn't mean for what to happen?" I ask curiously.
She shakes her head. "You'll see, one day."
I let it go, something I should have learned to do a long time ago.
We're silent for a while.
Callie gives a little laugh. "Look at the two of us, things never used to be so awkward."
I shrug. "Things change, we changed."
"My mother used to complain about the cell phone bill we would rack up every month from talking to each other. We never ran out of things to say. Now, we have nothing to say to each other."
"I'm sorry things turned out the way they did."
Callie shakes her head again. "Don't be sorry. We were both at fault."
"I should have never let Preston come between us," I say sadly. "It was just a stupid childhood crush. I should have gotten over it. I'm sorry you had to put up with me."
"You were my first friend and my best friend. It was my job to put up with you," Callie grins for a second, then catches herself and returns to being passive.
"It hurt, you know."
"I know," Callie whispers.
"I don't blame you, not anymore. It was bound to happen soon. You two were always put together. He is Marc's best friend and you were mine. I was the only blind one. I should have thought about you. I was selfish. I'm sorry."
"Quit saying you're sorry."
"But I am."
"So am I, but there's nothing we can do about it now."
"Can we go back?"
"Go back to what? The way things were? I don't think it's possible and you know it too. There's no way we will ever be what we were."
I nod. "You were a great friend Callie, even if I took you for granted."
Callie looks at me.
"I just want you to know, no hard feelings." I take in a deep breath. This is the hardest thing I've ever done. "I'm happy for you and Preston and I wish you the best. As cliché and creepy as this sounds, I won't forget you." I know it's completely corny, but it's true. She was my first best friend. We have gone through practically everything together. This is goodbye.
"I won't forget you either." She gives me a genuine smile. "As for Preston, I don't think things are going very well for us."
I resist the urge to gape at her. How come she's confiding in me? I know that things have seemed rather strange between the two lately.
She smiles at me sadly. "It's for the best."
What is that supposed to mean? Are they breaking up?
"You'll see," Callie says quietly. "I never meant to hurt you."
Well, she did. I guess she couldn't help it; after all, all is fair in love and war.
"I know you didn't."
"I'll see you around," Callie stands up and brushes out her clothes.
I smile and look her straight in the eye. "Thanks for coming." And I'm sorry that I was such a terrible friend…I hate how in the end, all I can say is 'I'm sorry.' There are so many good memories, I should say thank you. I should tell her that she will be a hard act to follow. My throat is clogged and I can't get anything else to come out, so I stop.
Callie nods and I leave, feeling refreshed. I totally needed this. Closure is always good. Besides, it was about time for a new start. I have Jase and Andie now. Callie will always be my first best friend, the pictures and memories I have will stay with me, but it's time to make new ones. As they say, time heals all wounds.
The next day at school, I spot Callie and her honey eyes meet mine. She smiles at me and I smile back. This is how things are and will be. We are no longer best friends and we aren't even friends. We aren't acquaintances either, that would require being on speaking terms. I give a little wave and we walk by each other. No longer friends, and not acquaintances, we're just classmates—two people who have no feelings toward each other. What is past was past. We've said our goodbyes and we move on with our lives. It's better this way.
A/N: I was hoping to surprise most of you with the person being Callie, but you guys are all smart and guessed Callie. Well…most of you did. I was hoping you guys guessed Preston. I guess I sort of made it obvious, huh? If it was Preston, I probably would just have said so…but since I didn't say the person was Preston, it couldn't be him. I think I'm confusing people :) haha.
The ending is sort of sad…but it's true. I have lots of friends who I used to call best friends and now I never talk to them. All I do is wave and smile when I see them and that's it. It's depressing, really.
Not too much Preston in this chapter, but I promise, he'll be in the next chapter a lot…obviously :)
I also realize that I put this story under humor and romance and lately it's been more drama—almost like soap operas.
Hope you guys enjoyed this chapter. Next one should be very dramatic and life-changing…maybe. See you next time!