Hey y'all! Okay, first off, I AM INCREDIBLY SORRY FOR THE LONG FRIKIN WAIT! I was at a retreat for the seniors of my school and it lasted about three days. Three days of no phone, iPod, or computer. Ugh.

Anyway, here's the new chapter! Enjoy!


Chapter 19
Worth It

I took a deep breath and looked at all the boys that were jammed inside the small recording room.

"All right, guys," I said. "Ready?" (A/N: Here's the link: watch?v=d9VKmJH9Uqk)

They all gave their assent and quietly, I pressed the button in front of me. One, I counted in my head. Two, three, four. The boys took a deep breath and started singing in unison.

Some nights I stay up cashing in my bad luck
Some nights I call it a draw
Some nights I wish that my lips could build a castle
Some nights I wish they'd just fall off

But I still wake up, I still see your ghost
Oh, Lord, I'm still not sure what I stand for, oh
What do I stand for? What do I stand for?
Most nights I don't know anymore

With that last word, the drummers started their fast beat as the rest of the singers kept singing.

Oh, whoa, oh, whoa, oh, whoa, oh, oh,
Oh, whoa, oh, whoa, oh, whoa, oh, oh

Shane stepped forward and took the lead while the others continued their notes.

This is it, boys, this is war - what are we waiting for?
Why don't we break the rules already?
I was never one to believe the hype
Save that for the black and white
I try twice as hard and I'm half as liked,
But here they come again to jack my style

Suddenly, the instruments grew quiet until the only thing we heard is the sound of Mike playing the piano and a few beats from our DJ, Tony.

That's alright
I found a martyr in my bed tonight
She stops my bones from wondering just who I am, who I am, who I am
Oh, who am I? Mmm... Mmm...

The piano started getting louder.

Well, some nights I wish that this all would end
'Cause I could use some friends for a change
And some nights I'm scared you'll forget me again
Some nights I always win, I always win

But I still wake up, I still see your ghost
Oh, Lord, I'm still not sure what I stand for, oh
What do I stand for? What do I stand for?
Most nights I don't know

(Oh, come on)

Shane started to narrate.

So this is it. I sold my soul for this?
Washed my hands of that for this?
I miss my mom and dad for this?

(Come on)

Saunti and the others repeated this last line.

No, when I see stars, when I see, when I see stars, that's all they are
When I hear songs, they sound like this one, so come on
Oh, come on
Oh, come on
Oh, come on

Saunti, Vince, and Brian held onto those last notes as Shane came in.

Well, that is it guys, that is all - five minutes in and I'm bored again
Ten years of this, I'm not sure if anybody understands
This one is not for the folks at home
Sorry to leave, mom, I had to go
Who the fuck wants to die alone all dried up in the desert sun?

The instruments grew quiet again.

My heart is breaking for my sister and the con that she call "love"
When I look into my nephew's eyes
Man, you wouldn't believe the most amazing things that can come from
Some terrible lies
Ah

Shane sustained his notes, even gets a little cracked in there before the others start again.

Oh, whoa, oh, whoa, oh, whoa, oh, oh
Oh, whoa, oh, whoa, oh, whoa, oh, oh

The other night you wouldn't believe the dream I just had about you and me
I called you up but we'd both agree

It's for the best you didn't listen
It's for the best we get our distance, oh
It's for the best you didn't listen
It's for the best we get our distance, oh

Slowly, the music started fading away until there was no more sound left in the booth. I pressed another button in front of me, signaling the end of the recording.

In my booth, the girls and I started to clap with pride. Hell yeah! Those were our guys singing!

I was grinning from ear to ear. "Great job, guys!"

Sophie laughed. "Yup, you were all amazing."

All the guys looked pleased with our words, especially Shane when Jordan stepped forward. She shrugged. "I have to admit, it was a good song…"

"But," completed Kayla for Jordan. "Ours is better."

This caused Justin to snort, making us turn to him. "Yeah, right."

I grinned at the friendly competition we were having in here. "All right, everyone, that's enough. I don't think Saunti's mother would appreciate us making a mess in here."

Vince snorted. "Oh please, Iris. Celeste wouldn't mind as long as Saunti's cleaning it up."

I grinned cheekily. "Then again, I think Saunti needs a little cleaning lesson."

At Saunti's groan, everyone started laughing. This was why I loved my club so much. Yes, a lot of work to deal with, being a captain, but these little moments of fun and lightheadedness make it all worth it. After all, the members of the club are my friends; I would, literally, do almost anything for them.

"Why don't we take a break?" asked Shane, his eyes staring intently at Jordan. Oh sure, he just wants time alone with her.

I rolled my eyes. "Fine, Shane. You can have some alone time with Jordan. Now, both of you get out of the room before you start making out in front of my innocent eyes."

My comment made the two blush and everyone started laughing again.

Saunti caught my eyes and smirked. "Wait, innocent? You? You can't be serious, Iris."

I stuck my tongue at him. "Bleh, jerk." My behavior only received chuckles around the room. "How about that break?"

Five minutes later, I was rolling my eyes at a stupid joke Saunti had said. We were standing outside, in Saunti's backyard, talking. Our talk was just a playful banter, nothing at all that serious. But, I noticed that during the conversation, Saunti would pause occasionally, as if wanting to say something, but then doesn't.

It confused me. I mean, why didn't he just say what was on his mind? It was painfully obvious that he was trying to say something. With Saunti, his eyes would slide to a corner and he would open his mouth to speak, but then close it once more.

"Elmo," I said, gaining his attention after another pause. "What's wrong?"

He shook his head. "Nothing is wrong, baby. It's just…"

"Just?" I urged.

He opened his mouth to say something, then sighed instead. "Never mind, Iris. You wouldn't understand. In fact, I don't completely understand it myself."

I reached for his hand and laced our fingers together. "Then maybe we could try to understand it together?"

He shook his head. "No, I don't want to freak you out with it unless I'm sure."

I felt my brows crinkle. "Why would I freak out, Saunti?"

He didn't say anything as he looked down at the grass under us. For the first time that Saunti and I have been together, I was scared.

"Don't," I pleaded. "Do not scare me Saunti, please. Please tell me what's going on."

I saw his lips tighten into a straight line before he got up. "I have to go."

I sat there, frozen, as I watched Saunti walk back inside his house. Dread started to fill my chest. I couldn't breathe properly; as if Saunti placed a rock in my lungs with his words. I didn't want to feel like this. Moreover, I didn't want to feel like this because of Saunti.

I got up and numbly walked back inside, making my way to the recording room. As I opened the door, I watched as Saunti sat and talked with his friends, laughing as if nothing happened to us. And maybe nothing did, but it stung me. Saunti, my own boyfriend didn't even want to open up to me and tell me what's wrong.

I went over to a chair next to Sophie, trying my best to look indifferent. But, as if sensing my emotions, Sophie looked at me immediately and knew something was up.

"What's wrong?" she said it loud enough for only me to hear. I shook my head and didn't answer. She smiled gently. "Well, if ever you want to talk, you know I'm just a text away."

I gave a small smile to her. I loved Sophie, she was my un-biological sister; they all were. When it came to venting out my emotions, Sophie was the perfect girl to talk to. She wouldn't interrupt you at all and would only give advice when asked. Kayla, on the other hand, was the opposite from her twin. She would defend you all the way and not care about the other side of the story; her philosophy was, 'You mess with my friends, I don't care if you're the fucking Queen of England, I'm going to fight you and defend them,'. And finally, Jordan. You tell her a problem and, I tell you, she will always have a solution. She would always smile cheekily and would have a plan up her sleeve the moment you finish telling her the story.

I looked at all my friends and felt a sense of pride wash over me. I loved them like hell and no for a fact that they feel the same to each other.

"Hey girls," I said, making them stop for a moment and look at me. I grinned. "I love you Crazy Girls."

Kayla narrowed her eyes. "Okay, Iris, what do you want?"

"Yeah," said Jordan. "Are you high right now?"

"You sick?" asked Sophie playfully.

I rolled my eyes. "Never mind, I hate you all." This made them all laugh. I pouted. "Bitches." This made them laugh harder. "Fine," I pouted some more. "I'm going to go to my emo corner and cut myself senseless because of you."

"Aw, Ris," cooed Jordan. She moved next to me and hugged me. "Don't be like that." I huffed and turned away from her.

Kayla stayed on my other side and hugged my arm. "C'mon babes, we were just joking."

When I didn't utter a thing, Sophie went in front of me and also hugged me. "Don't be part of the Cutter's Club, Ris."

This made my demeanor crumble. I laughed and couldn't help but hug my best friends back. Friends, what can you do without them?

Jordan grinned. "I think I speak for the three of us when I say, Iris, we all love you too."

I chuckled. "Yeah, you better, Crazy Girls."


I cursed myself for my stupidity. Seriously, who forgets their cell phone in a frikin' recording room? Me, that's who, damn it.

I walked back inside and headed down a hall that lead to the room. At the end of the hall, I saw it, the door slightly ajar. I started to make my way over when I heard voices. Shane and Saunti's voices.

I shrugged, no big deal, it was just them. But then I heard my name and, I knew I shouldn't have done it, but I couldn't help myself, I eavesdropped on their conversation.

"Dude," said Shane in a harsh whisper. "You have tell Iris, man. Otherwise, she might hear it from someone else."

I heard Saunti sigh. "I know, man, I know. But what the hell am I supposed to say? If I tell her, she's just going to flip."

"She's going to flip either way, bro. The difference is that she'll be more hurt if you're not the one to tell her," chided Shane.

"I understand that," replied Saunti, sounding frustrated. "But how am I supposed to tell her that the bitch that used to ruin her life is coming back?"

I felt confusion wash over me. What the fuck? I thought. Who are they talking about?

"Dude," said Shane. "What happened between you and Steph anyway?"

I felt my stomach churn at the mention of the name. Steph. Stephanie. As in Stephanie Milan. Why were they talking about her? What did they mean she was coming back? Then it clicked. This was what Saunti was trying to tell me earlier.

Saunti grunted. "When she left to go to Europe, she promised me that we would stay together throughout her one year there. You remember in seventh grade?" I heard Shane grunt in reply and Saunti continued. "Yeah, well, she promised a lot of things when we were in seventh grade. She said she would keep in touch, would write, and would come back after one year."

"But she never came back," stated Shane. I could feel Saunti nod in reply from here.

"Yeah," he said. "She didn't. She didn't do any of her promises. I wrote to her every week only to get nothing in reply, when I checked, she and I weren't even friends anymore on Facebook. What does that tell you?"

"That she didn't want to talk to you anymore," said Shane.

"Exactly. So I just assumed that she and I broke up and moved on with Iris."

"So," said Shane. "What are you going to do about that? Steph still thinks you two are together, she said so in her message."

"That's easy," replied Saunti. "I'll tell it to her straight that she and I aren't together anymore and that I'm with Iris. Damn, I love Iris so much, man. And sure as hell won't let any bitch just come in and ruin that."

I smiled and got up from my hiding place, deciding to make my presence known.

"Good," I laughed as they both jumped from hearing my voice. "Because I'm not going to let some slut ruin my relationship with the perfect guy."

"How long have you been there, Songbird?" asked Saunti.

I grinned. "Long enough to know that you deserve both a kiss and a slap."

My response made Shane laugh. "Well, I'm going to leave and meet up with my girl."

I looked at Shane. "Oh, don't think you're not in trouble, Shane. I can't believe you didn't tell me about and Jordan. I mean, seriously? You're like my big brother and you just happen to forget to tell me that?"

Saunti laughed. "Busted, bro."

I turned back to Saunti, giving Shane an opportunity to leave. I decided to leave him alone. Right then, I needed to talk to my man.

"Saunti," I said, my mood turning serious. He sensed this and automatically opened his arms. I walked to him and wrapped my arms around him, his arms doing the same to me. I looked up at him. "Was this the thing you were trying to tell me earlier?"

He sighed. "One of the things."

I felt my eyes crinkle. "What else?"

He shook his head. "Not yet, Iris. But when the time is right, I'll tell you."

I nodded, understanding this. I buried my face in his chest, my voice becoming muffled. "Promise me that nothing will break us?"

"You don't even have to ask me, baby," he whispered in my ear. "I swear to you, Iris, nothing will break us apart. And if something does, then I'm just going to get you back."

I hugged him tighter. "But it won't be easy, Saunti."

"I'm not saying it's going to be easy, babe," he tipped my chin up with his index finger and gave me a sweet kiss. When we pulled away, he gave me a look filled with so much love that I thought I might have burst. "I'm telling you that it's going to be worth it."


Preview
Chapter 20: Confessions

I took a deep breath and pulled away from her a little. "Do you remember Stephanie Milan?"

She raised a brow. "The bitch that ruined everyone's lives in seventh grade?" I chuckled as confirmation. "Yeah, I remember her. Why?"

"She's coming back." My whisper was so soft, but I knew Jordan heard me.

She was silent for a second. "I'm sorry, I think you just said that she was coming back."

I nodded. "She is. And she wants to be with Saunti again."

Her eyes widened. "Oh my God. Is Saunti going through with that?"

I shook my head. "No, he isn't," I saw her visibly relax. "But I'm scared she might succeed; whether or not Saunti wants it to happen."