A/N: Sequel time! Yup ;) That's right. I ended up getting enough story alerts for both this story and Kristen's story to decide to continue them both.
As always, I would like to thank ebs12, :) , Melaye, LovE~NEvA~DiEs, rosanna54321, Raised with Fangs, merkie, PreincessCherokee01, aby pwn u, AnnabelLloyd97, Its. Not. Me. Its. You. , chazza-x, L.I. Night, Medsua's. Protégé, -Ras-Ryu ashley, AbbeyXD, SailorV17, Hailey, That Weird Cat Lady, SweetBagel, EyesLikeFire, saintsfan4life, CONVERSEically Obsessed, the badest bitch, grrrrrrrrr, 11cina24 aka cassbeastbomb, catie, anon, DoNotClick. , xXBleedingPensXx, JWood, Sarcasm is the best thing, THEXXHOPELESSXXROMANTIC, This Soul Is Taken, mimimms, euphorictragedy, Yrspast4evrwonderingwanderer, Nicole, millie, JAANE, Limelight, kikki1, alicen, lukas10, and EliteOne for being so supportive and encouraging me to write this sequel!
I had done it. I had actually run away with my boyfriend. Alone, the notion seemed inconceivable, horribly idealistic and self-destructive at best. The fact, however, that it was the only possible way for me to be with Reed, the boy that I loved, dictated that my actions were truly the only logical thing to do in this situation.
We'd been on the road all day, me on the back of Reed's motorcycle, neither one of us looking back as we headed west. We hadn't even chosen a destination yet, simply to travel as far as we could manage from the town we'd left behind till dark.
Finally, as the sun began to dip beyond the horizon, Reed's motorcycle slowed to a stop, Kristen's car pulling up beside us as we pulled up in front of a Diner. The town we'd stopped in was small, even smaller than the one we'd left behind, which I supposed was good. The cops would not be looking for a mismatched group of runaways in some small town that was surely not even on the map.
Stepping off of Reed's motorcycle, I let out a slight gasp as Reed wrapped his arms around me, lifting me up off the ground and spinning me around.
"I still can't fucking believe it." He whispered, leaning his forehead against mine as he set me back down. "We did it Liz. We really fucking did it. You and I, we've got the world at our fingertips. We could go anywhere, do anything."
I smiled at the wide grin on Reed's face, the way his eyes met mine in such adoration. It was beyond my comprehension how my presence alone could possibly make him so completely and utterly happy.
"And best of all," Reed whispered, gently cupping the back of my head in his hands and pressing his lips to mine. "I'm with you."
I blushed as Reed's band mates let out a series of cat calls, a similar flush spreading across Reed's face as he glared over at them, flipping them off.
"Shut the fuck up." Reed growled, pulling back from me slightly but still holding me in a loose embrace.
"Yeah, let them have their moment!" Kristen interjected, rolling her eyes.
Ah, yes. It was easy to forget that Reed and I were not the only ones that had elected to part take in this trip when I was riding on the back of his motorcycle, nothing but the feeling of Reed's body pressed against mine and the wind blowing through my hair.
As thankful as I was that Reed's friends had so kindly volunteered to join us, I couldn't help but feel the slightest hint of discomfort as I contemplated the length of time I would be living with them. It wasn't that I disliked them. Not in the least. In fact, I did not know any of them well enough to form such an opinion, which was in all actuality the problem. I of course knew Kristen, and had had the bittersweet experience of encountering Hayven several instances, but I could just barely recall the names of the other two.
The boy standing to Hayven's right had choppy blonde hair that came down over one of his eyes and dressed in a similar fashion to Reed, standing a good few inches shorter than him as well. His name was Ben, if I recalled correctly.
The other boy on Hayven's left went by Dillan, I was sure of, sporting a slightly more conservative look than the other three with shaggy brown hair and simple glasses.
They both seemed nice enough, though obnoxious at best. Reed had formally introduced us before, although by now I had barely any recollection of it.
Taking my hand in his own, Reed led the way into the Diner, the two of us sliding into one side of the booth along with Ben, and Kristen, Hayven, and Dillan taking a seat on the other side. Smiling to myself, I couldn't help but note the way Reed had strategically planned it so that he was sitting between me and Ben, obviously still not trusting his friends with me.
Lacing hands with Reed under the table, I did my best to keep my smile to myself, attempting to focus my attention on Kristen as she leaned forward and regarded the five of us.
"Alright, so, I've been thinking, we should aim to head for Los Angeles. That's where it all goes down, Hollywood and all that shit."
"And I have an uncle that lives up there. He's offered to rent us an apartment for dirt cheap." Ben piped up, leaning forward onto his forearms and flashing me a friendly smile. I smiled back at him politely, averting my attention back to Kristen as she continued speaking.
"So, here's what I figure. We pool all our money together and see what we've got to work with here. We'll need some for gas and food and to stay at a hotel tonight, but we should be able to cover the distance from here to L.A. by the end of tomorrow. Then we can use whatever we have left to cover rent and shit till we establish ourselves and start earning some money as a band. Ben's uncle has connections, so he'll be able to book us some venue's and get us set up with some people in the industry right off the bat."
Biting down on my lip, I nodded, wishing desperately that I was much more educated on what was all involved in the industry Reed and his band were trying to break into as well as how one should go about doing so. I felt so useless, completely out of my comfort zone as I sat there in silence, attempting to soak up all that Kristen was saying.
Reed seemed to notice my discomfort, giving my hand a reassuring squeeze under the table as we all ordered out food.
It was nice, being with Reed like this in public, especially with his friends. I had expected to be excluded from most of the conversation, seeing as I was, in many aspects, an outsider. Reed, however, always made a point to include me, turning to me and explaining whenever I didn't understand something or when an inside joke was mentioned as we ate.
I couldn't say that I particularly shared or even understood Reed's friend's sense of humor, but I felt at ease the way Reed always seemed to turn to me before anyone else, the two of us sometimes carrying on our own private conversations from the group. It was in the subtle glances we exchanged, the way his eyes always found mine that made the difference. We seemed to almost have our own silent language, carrying on an intimate conversation of our own apart from the rest of the group without even saying a word.
"So." Kristen said, digging into her pockets and pulling out her wallet. "Everyone empty your pockets. Lets see what the hell we're working with here."
I flushed, feeling horribly embarrassed as I realized I would have nothing to offer. I had never had a job before, and my parents did not believe in allowance, so I had never had my own money. In the past, such a thing had never been necessary. My parents had paid for everything, from my clothing to my food.
"Reed", I whispered, leaning into him slightly. "I'm sorry. I don't have any-"
"Naw, Liz. Don't even worry about it." He whispered, flashing me a crooked smile and pressing a quick kiss to my cheek as he dug into his own pockets and put what he had onto the table. "This is from the both of us."
Kristen nodded, waiting till Ben, Dillon, and Hayven had emptied their pockets before gathering the money into a pile. "Alright, let's see what we've got here…a little over fourteen hundred bucks….this should be just enough to eat, stay at the hotel, pay for gas, and hopefully pay maybe half the month's rent to Ben's cousin's apartment. Seriously, guys, I'm not gonna lie, things are gonna be tight, but if we bust our asses and get out doing as many shows as we can, we'll be able to make it."
Everyone nodded, Reed glancing over at me and tilting his head towards the door. "You want to go out and walk?" he whispered, obviously feeling the same need for privacy that I did.
I nodded, following as Reed slid out of the booth and led the way out of the Diner.
"We'll meet you guys back at the hotel next door in an hour!" Kristen yelled.
"Don't have too much fun! We don't have money to blow on condoms!" A few of the boys yelled, causing me to blush as the door closed behind us.
"God damn those fuckers…Sorry about them." Reed muttered, flushing a little and glancing over at me.
"They're nice." I reassured him, glancing over my shoulder to make sure they weren't following us. "Simply a little…overassertive."
Reed let out an airy laugh, turning to me and grinning. "You're always so fucking polite. Really, Liz, those bastards don't deserve it."
I laughed softly, following Reed's gaze as his eyes drifted past my shoulder to a huge tree. A mischievous grin spreading across his face, Reed's gaze drifted back to me and then the tree, that familiar glint in his eyes.
"Reed, oh no-" I began, my eyes widening as Reed began to pull me towards the tree.
"Don't you trust me?" he teased, raising an eyebrow and looking back at me with a crooked grin.
I opened my mouth and then closed it, feeling horribly flustered. "Well of course I trust you. Its just- Reed, you know I suffer from a horrible lack of coordination."
"You really think I'd let you fall?"
"Well, no, but-"
"Then trust me. They're not gonna have trees like this in the city, Liz. They don't let them get this big in L.A. "
Nodding, I let out a hesitant sigh, turning my back to Reed and appraising the tree It wasn't that I didn't trust Reed, simply that as a child, I had attempted such a thing before, and it had not ended well.
Drawing in a sharp breath as I felt Reed's hands come to rest on my hips, I swallowed hard, feeling his hot breath come down on the back of my neck as he spoke.
"I'm just gonna lift you up, alright? All you have to do is grab on to the branches. Now I don't want you to move till I get up there with you, kay?"
I nodded, holding my breath as I felt Reed lift me into the air, his grip firm but gentle. Clumsily reaching forward, I grabbed onto a few of the branches, placing my feet firmly on a branch below me. A second later, I felt Reed lift himself up onto the branch behind me, his hands wrapping around my waist to steady me.
Slowly, we scaled the tree like that, till we finally reached the top. Oh my, we were up quite high. For a moment I felt a dizzying sensation come over me, fear welling up inside of me before I felt Reed's hands go to my waist, pulling me back to him into his lap as he sat on the tree.
"It's alright. I've got you." He whispered, wrapping his arms around me and pressing a soft kiss to the side of my neck.
Letting out a content sigh, I allowed my head to fall back onto Reed's shoulder, the both of us sitting in silence for a moment as we stared out into the dark of night, nothing but the sound of chirping crickets filling the night.
"So, I've been thinking." Reed whispered, pulling me a little closer. "You talked about wanting to become a doctor and shit, but first, you're gonna need to finish high school."
I paused, wanting to look back at Reed but unable to at this angle.
"When we get to L.A., I think you should earn your G.E.D. online, earn you're high school diploma so you can start college down there. I know you only need a few credits, and with how god damn smart you are, it shouldn't take you more than a couple weeks to finish online classes and earn your high school diploma. Then you won't have to wait to start college or anything. You'll be able to start when you normally would have if you'd stayed with your parents."
I blinked, utterly confused by what Reed was proposing. He had apparently spent a considerable amount of time planning all this out, which was positively endearing, but I couldn't help but point out the one glaringly obvious flaw in his plan.
"But Reed, I mean, how can I? We don't have the money-"
"Yes we do."
Reed let out an anxious sigh, pressing another affectionate kiss to the side of my neck.
"Don't get mad at me", he whispered, his words thick with worry. "But I kinda lied...Well, not so much lied, as just didn't tell the whole truth. Not to you or anything, but, to the band and stuff. I just…I've been saving up money for years, for the day when I finally got out of this hellhole. Remember back when we first met, and I told you I was going to get out of that town one way or another? I always knew my dad wouldn't help me with shit once I graduated, that it would be up to me to get myself out of there."
I drew in a sharp breath as I realized what Reed was suggesting.
"It's not much." He whispered, "But it'll be enough, to pay for the classes for your G.E.D. and your first semester of college."
"Reed", I whispered breathlessly, shaking my head. "I couldn't- I mean-"
"I'm not letting you give up your dreams for me. You're so fucking smart, Liz, you could do anything. There's no way I'm standing in the way of that. I promised myself when I asked you to run away with me that, even if things got hard and shit got tight, I'd always make sure you were taken care of, that I was never holding you back."
I could feel my eyes began to tear up, thankful for once that Reed was unable to meet my gaze.
"Reed, I….I don't know what to say." I whispered, my voice cracking slightly. No one had ever done something so selfless for me in my life, with the exception of Reed himself, of course. He'd been saving up this money for years, living in poverty with his father and suffering while I enjoyed the easy life, never once having to worry about money as my parents financed all of my needs. Yet here he was, sacrificing all that he had spent years saving for, for me, for the chance for me to follow my dreams.
"Say you love me." Reed whispered playfully, nuzzling into my neck.
I nodded, glad he had provided me with something to say, as I seemed to be at a loss for words. "I love you, Reed Sanders. I truly do…but what about the rest of the band, and Kristen? Won't they be upset, to know that you're keeping all this money separate and spending it on me?"
Reed shrugged, shaking his head. "That's why I elected to go with the whole 'not telling them' route. I mean, of course they're gonna wonder, once you star college and shit, but seriously, if they have a problem with it, they can all go fuck themselves. I made it clear when we started this thing that you were my number one priority. I never asked them to come along. I was going to pay for you to go to college and shit one way or another. There's no fucking way anything they can say is gonna change that."
"Are you sure?" I asked, not wanting to be the cause of conflict between Reed and his band members.
"Of course. How could I second guess anything that makes you happy?"
I bit down on my lip, marveling at how less than 24 hours ago, I had almost said goodbye to Reed for good. How in god's name could I have ever thought any choice that didn't end with me being with Reed was the right one?
"You know, it won't be like this, when we get to the city."
"Quiet" Reed whispered. "There'll always be noise. Traffic. All the shit that happens in a big city." I could hear a slight tension in Reed's voice as he paused for a second, swallowing hard. "I'm sorry we're going to have to be living with them for a little while. I swear, Liz, the second I get enough money, I'm gonna buy a place for us, just you and I."
I couldn't help but smile, loving the hopeful determination in Reed's voice. "It really doesn't matter, as long as I'm with you Reed."
I could feel Reed smile against my neck, letting out a soft chuckle.
"You, Elizabeth Reethers, are the best thing that has ever fucking happened to me. You know that?"
I smiled, laughing softly. "No, but if you continue like this, I just might start to believe as much."
Frowning as I realized it was about time for Reed and I to meet the others at the hotel, I closed my eyes, committing this moment to memory. Right now, everything was perfect. Yes, we may be broke, and technically homeless, but we were happy, and in love. Together, we could conquer any problems that came our way.
"I am so not sleeping on the fucking floor." Hayven groaned.
Apparently, the only room that the hotel had had available was a small room with three beds. Unfortunately, as luck would have it, there were six of us.
"Well neither am I!" Kristen shot, putting her hands on her hips.
"I can sleep on the floor." Reed volunteered. "As long as Liz get's a bed."
Turning to Reed, I bit down on my lip, uncomfortable with the knowledge that his friends would be able to hear what I was about to say. We had slept together in a bed before, and done nothing but hold one another in our arms, but Reed's friends, being as they were, would no doubt misconstrue my statement to mean something it did not.
"You don't have to sleep on the floor Reed. You and I, we could share the bed-"
"There's no way I'm gonna be able to sleep with you two fucking in the bed next to me." Ben whined, eyeing us both warily. I could see Reed's face redden immediately, his features etched with anger as he started towards Ben. Wrapping my hands around his arm, I held him back, my face almost as red as his with embarrassment.
"Cool it, Ben." Hayven smirked. "Don't complain. It'll be just like free porn-"
"Shut the fuck up, both of you." Reed growled, his tone threatening. "We're not like that."
"What do you mean, you're not like that?" Hayven asked, raising an eyebrow. "You're a guy. She's a girl. You're both horny teenagers, and you guys have been dating for what, like, a few months? I mean, I'm surprise you haven't knocked her up by now-"
Tightening my grip on Reed's arm, I stopped him as he moved toward Hayven, his hands balling into fists.
"Reed, no." I murmured, knowing that we couldn't start our trip off by Reed engaging into a physical altercation with his best friend, even if what Hayven had said was completely crude and out of line, which it was.
"Let's get something fucking straight." Reed growled, taking my hand in his. "You don't talk like that about her. Ever. I don't give a fuck what you think, you don't say shit like that about my girl. Next time you open your mouth and say something like that, either one of you, I promise you both that I'll see to it personally you regret it."
"Sheesh, cool it." Hayven muttered lazily. "It's not like everyone else in the fucking room wasn't thinking it-"
"Not everyone's like you, Hayven. We all don't think knowing someone's name is enough of a reason to jump into bed with them." Kristen interjected.
Hayven snickered, raising an eyebrow. "Who said anything about having to know their name?"
"God, your such a pig." Kristen muttered, rolling her eyes and letting out a slight laugh. "But seriously guys. We need to respect boundaries here if we want things to work. If Reed says don't talk about it, he means it."
"Please," Hayven snorted, "You're just taking his side because you've still got a crush on him."
The whole room went silent, Kristen's face going lax for a split second before she cleared her throat, heading for the door. Oh my. I hadn't had any idea that Kristen's crush on Reed was common knowledge among the band. Then again, I supposed it would be rather difficult to hide something like that when these boys had no comprehension of the meaning of privacy.
"Whatever. I'm going out for a smoke." She muttered, her eyes downcast as she bolted for the door. "When I get back, you guys better have this sleeping situation figured out."
The five of us standing there in silence, I barely heard Ben mutter an apology to Reed and I, him and Dillon leaving, undoubtedly to go find Kristen.
"That was fucked up." Reed said, shaking his head and glaring over at Hayven.
"What?" Hayven said weakly, shrugging. "It's not like we all don't know it."
"Get your ass out there and apologize Hayven, after you apologize to Liz, that is. You keep this up and no one's going to even want you sleeping in the god damn room, let alone one of the beds."
Hayven's jaw flexed slightly as he stepped forward, dragging his feet.
"Whatever, I'm sorry. I didn't even mean it as a fucking insult-"
"That's not the point." Reed said, shaking his head. "You're a cool ass guy, Hayven, but seriously, you need to watch what the hell comes out of your mouth."
Hayven swallowed hard, pausing for a second before following after Kristen.
Turning to Reed, I let out a slight sigh as Reed took my hands in his own.
"Shit, Liz, I'm so fucking sorry-"
"No." I said, shaking my head. "It's not your fault that Hayven is horribly lacking in manners, Reed."
"Yeah, but it's my fault you have to be around the fucker-"
"And you're also the reason I'm finally free of my parents." I whispered, smiling up at him. "I do believe, no matter how you look at it, the trade off is, without a doubt, in my favor."
"So you're not mad at me?"
I blinked up at Reed, disbelief filling my features. "How could I be? Most boys would have been too busy defending their reputation by making up some false lie that something had in fact transpired between us instead of worrying themselves with defending my honor."
Reed's eyes lingered on my face, though, obviously picking up on the tension still filling me.
"Baby, I can tell something's wrong." He said, a worried look in his eyes as he lifted my hands in his and pressed them to his lips. "It's alright. You can be honest with me."
Biting down on my lip, I nodded, knowing it would just be best to be honest with Reed, no matter how unbecoming it made me seem.
"I was just wondering…how long have you know?"
"Known?" Reed asked, confusion spreading across his face.
I nodded, flushing slightly. "About Kristen liking you…"
A look of realization spread across Reed's face, as if he'd realized what my train of thought on the matter must be. Wrapping his arms around me, he pulled me into a loose embrace, pressing a soft kiss to my forehead and looking down at me.
"Liz, Kristen and I, were nothing more than friends."
"But, I mean, Kristen…."
Red let out a slight sigh, shaking his head. "Her and I, we're…, she's just confused as hell, I think. I mean, she's known me all her life, and, I just…I care about her, but not as anything more than a friend."
"But, I mean, Reed, you can't deny the fact that she's exceptionally attractive-"
Reed leaned forward, cutting my words short with a tender kiss.
"You think so? I hadn't noticed." He whispered, a soft smile on his face. "'Cause this weird thing's been happening lately; everywhere I look, I see this fucking gorgeous girl. And no matter how hard I try, I can't get her out of my mind. In fact, I'm looking at her right now."
I flushed, trying to keep from smiling as Reed kissed me one last time, taking my hand in his and moving towards the bed. Sometimes, I found myself in awe of how comfortable Reed always seemed to be able to make me feel, always so safe and secure.
"C'mon. Let's get into bed and let the rest of them fight it out for the remaining two."
I let out a stifled laugh, following Reed as he led the way over to the bed.
Indeed, this trip was already proving to be quite interesting and we hadn't even been around each other twenty four hours. I hoped to god that this was not a foreshadowing as to what the rest of Reed and I's time with the band would hold, because if it was, we would have perhaps been better off with just the two of us.
A/N: Alright, so I have mixed feelings about this chapter. I think it's actually because I ended up writing two different beginnings to this story xD
I had soooo many directions I was thinking about taking this, and me being indecisive as I am, I found myself going back and forth about how I wanted to start things. So yeah, what I'm going to do is see what you guys think of this chapter, and depending on the feedback I get, I may elect to replace it with the alternate beginning.
I wanted to start their story out without too much drama, and I know this chapter was a bit slow, but I promise, things will definitely heat up and have more romance/drama in the chapters to come. Reed and Liz will definitely have more opportunities for alone time when they reach L.A., and the living situation will prove to be…problematic , hehehe ;)
Also, for those of you who story alerted Kristen and Hayven's story, I'll hopefully have the first chapter to that posted within the next few days!
So yeah, review and give me some feedback on this chapter!