I gave a weary sigh as I settled onto the couch, a thin book in hand. The familiar taste of guilt and regret sat heavy in my chest, but I shook my head firmly. Why do I still feel guilty? It was almost two years ago. We wouldn't have worked out anyways, it was just an experiment.
A voice in the back of my mind insisted, Right. You've spend the past two years wondering what might have been because of an experiment.
I opened the book and smiled slightly at the full-page picture of a handful of grinning cheerleaders. I sat there on my couch, in my apartment, and allowed myself to get lost in the memories of my high school years. Familiar faces popped out, smiling at me as if to welcome me back into my past. I pointedly ignored the page with... her, on it.
I chuckled at the picture of the high school's choir; the camera was so little, and there were so many of us, we all had to squeeze in. I remembered how uncomfortable and awkward that was. I skipped over the chess club, A/V club, and book club's pages. I began to reread the signatures left on the blank back pages. There was Ashley, scrawling the acronym "LYLAS" (Love Ya Like A Sister) in one corner. There was Kendra, wishing me a good summer and a great time at college. There was even Kyle, though I didn't bother reading his note.
A frown began to tug at my lips as I read each signature – I was looking for one person specifically, but I couldn't seem to find it.
The last page was completely blank, to my surprise and disappointment. I sighed and wistfully ran my fingers over the page that was glued to the back cover of my yearbook. When my hand hit a bump, I frowned. Crappy gluing job they did. I ran my hand over the bump again, trying to smooth it out. It didn't flatten any, but it did shift towards the top of the book with my fingers. Is there something in the binding? I wondered, and began gently pushing the bulge towards the top.
After a few tedious moments of this, a small, folded piece of notebook paper fell out of the binding and into my lap. I picked it up with shaking fingers – who else was there that would know something as useless as how to rig a note-holder in a bound book? – and carefully began unfolding it, smoothing out the creases as I did so.
The letter was written in a familiar, untidy scrawl that brought up both wonderful and horrible memories at once. I hesitated, wondering if I should just throw the note away, then breathed in deeply and began to read.
I bet it's been a few months – even years – since you and me graduated from Harper High. I wonder about what you're doing there, in the future. Are you dating someone? Does he make you happy? Do you hate me? Do you ever wonder what could have been? Do you even remember me? Or have you forgotten all about our apparently forbidden affection?
You broke my heart, chica, so why do I still miss you? Want you? Love you?
Hell if I know. But I do.
Did you know that you still have my heart? Have you been taking care of it? Or did you leave it on a shelf in the attic?
I know you must be wondering why I'm writing you this extremely confused-sounding letter. I want to talk to you, Jessie. (Now, I know you must be wondering how I know I'll want to talk to you so far ahead in the future. Well, I simply looked at how badly I wanted to talk to you now, and I add onto the want every day that passes. That sounds about right to me.) I've even bought a second cell phone for that purpose. I carry it with me, always. No one else knows about it. No one else knows the number for it. Just you and me. It's on the back of this paper.
Even if you don't want to speak to me, at least call me once. Just once, Jessie. I need to know that you're alive and happy. Even if that happiness isn't because of me. And, god, I wish it was.
Love, love, and love again,
Rachel, your OneGirl.
I wiped at my eyes, surprising myself when I felt that they were dry. Apparently I was too stunned to cry at the ending of her letter.I slowly turned it over, revealing the number that was on the back of the paper. I debated with myself in calling it. On the one hand, I already had a boyfriend. Derek. I remembered how stunned he had been when I told him about how I'd used to date a girl. He didn't care, though; he said he was just glad he was with me now. On the other, her letter sounded desperate. I wondered in silence if she still loved me, as her letter said. I didn't see how she could – it had been two years since I had last seen or heard of her, though OneGirl's legacy was still alive and thriving in many internet communities.
I had broken her heart, as the letter said, and I didn't see how she could forgive me for that.
With shaking hands, I picked up my cell phone, and began to dial. I was going to call Derek, and talk to him about this entire thing, about how my ex-girlfriend was apparently trying to get back together with me, but a little voice in the back of my mind said otherwise. I wasn't paying attention to what I was putting in, and by the time the number was in, I wasn't sure who I was calling anymore. I put the phone to my ear and listened to the soft ringing noise.
When it picked up, I swore my heart stopped for a moment as an amused, feminine voice with that tell-tale accent picked up at last:
"Jessie, darlin', if I'd known that it would take you this long to find the note, I'd've given it to you in person."
A/N: And, at last, Singer comes to a close. It's been insanely fun writing this, I must admit, and even if I'm doing a sequel, I still feel kinda sad that it's over. :P Thanks to everyone for all the kind/helpful reviews, story favorites, and story alerts over the past year; you all are amazing and are the main motivation I had to complete this. Less-than-three. :3 Everyone have an amazing whatever-wintry-holiday-you-celebrate, and I hope to see you all again in January or February when I start the sequel: OneGirl.
(And, holy shit, first multichaptered work I've ever completed. And 80 chapters exactly, to boot. I'm so proud of myself.)
Update: For those who were unaware, OneGirl (the sequel to Singer) is now updating. The story can be found on my profile. :3