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The foundation series bo.., p.10
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       The Foundation Series Box Set, p.10

           Kira Adams
 

  Jeanette had been helping me explore a type of talk therapy called, “desensitization” where I was forced to relive the terrifying events of Spring Formal over and over again. Oddly enough, it was working. The more I was able to talk about it, really get it off my chest, the easier it became to move past it.

  Every day it was becoming easier to stop viewing myself as a victim. I was a survivor. No more feeling sorry for myself. I intended to take this entire debacle and turn it into a learning experience.

  Nine: I Became the IT Girl.

  On Tour

  Get up on stage-Up to the mic

  Raise your voice-Start a fight

  Drink a little-Smoke a lot

  Drunk enough-But not distraught

  Touring the world-Seeing the sights

  Take it all in-Especially at night

  Ride a few fans-Do a few rides

  Time of your life-Make it worthwhile

  Strap on belt-Safety first

  If you fall off-We’ll catch you next verse

  Jiggle the key in the hole

  Come in the window-Or stay in the cold

  Pull out of the driveway-Back onto the street

  To see the next city-Overcome the defeat

  Ready to rock-Guitar in hand

  See a pretty girl-Taking a stand

  Touring the world-Seeing the sights

  Take it all in-Especially at night

  Ride a few fans-Do a few rides

  Time of your life-Make it worthwhile

  The beginning of summer was all the talk in my small hometown. With only a few more days of school left, anticipation was at an all-time high; talks of camping trips and beach excursions running wild.

  I had reached my goal weight of one hundred fifty pounds, yet was not satisfied in the slightest. My body still felt huge to me because of the small amount of weight I still could lose mixed with my extra skin. I was getting complimented left and right, but when I was alone I became my own worst critic.

  My new weight had created quite a buzz at my small school. Everyone wanted to know how I did it; my secrets. I became the IT girl. Something I never could have predicted had I not lost the weight.

  Complete strangers suddenly took an interest in me. I became somewhat of a local celebrity; the spotlight intimidating. Suddenly, all eyes were on me…I had finally taken on a starring role in my own life…it felt strange, yet exhilarating.

  Due to my growing popularity, it was not a surprise to see my band’s latest show sell out of tickets within twenty four hours. It was the biggest accomplishment we had ever achieved, and it was mostly due to me. It was all so hard to swallow. In less than a year I had gone from zero to hero amongst my peers, by simply being me; something I had been terrified of my entire life---I had touched people’s lives. I had changed their perception without tarnishing my reputation.

  It was one of the first shows we didn’t rely on DarienMae’s fans or followers to give us a chance. Everyone was here for us, more so, to support me.

  “Are you nervous?” Kayleigh asked me while she assisted with my hair.

  I shrugged my shoulders in response. “I’ve been through much worse.”

  I caught her nodding in the mirror. “And you’re a survivor.”

  To be honest, I was more interested to know if Colton or Jace would be showing their faces. I wouldn’t be thrown off if Colton showed up, he was a musician, and a concert was his scene. Jace was a different story altogether. I had been keeping my distance from him for fear of seeing that look in his eyes again. If I had to be subjected to it one more time I would pull all my hair out.

  He had backed off, taking the hint. Seeing him in the audience was something I had not banked on.

  Colton had been texting with minimal response back from me. He was always so unpredictable; I had prepared myself for the possibility of a surprise appearance.

  I smiled back at her reflection. “Do you think they’ll like the new song?” I was referring to the jam-packed venue.

  “Well, duh. Your voice is haunting on it. They aren’t going to know what hit them.” I caught her winking back at me.

  “I hope you’re right,” I replied, standing abruptly. “I have to warm up.”

  “I’m always right.” Kayleigh joked, hugging me tightly. “Break a leg.”

  I glared back at her, annoyed.

  “Whoops! I forgot about your odd superstitions! Good luck!” she shouted after me.

  * * *

  “Hello Cincinnati!” I began, waiting for the cheers to halt before continuing on. We had sold out a show at the prestigious Blacklight Theatre; we would be playing on the same stage a handful of our favorite bands had played on; something that was nearly impossible to achieve being so new to the entire scene. “Welcome to our first headlining show! It sold out—and that’s all thanks to you guys.” I pointed out across the crowd, “Thank you for everything you have done. We have some amazing bands on the roster tonight. Please do yourself a favor and take a moment to check out their merch! They have some amazing deals and most are struggling musicians on tour, so let’s help them earn a paycheck!”

  We began the set with a new tune, hoping to feel out the crowd. “Alright guys, we’re going to start this show off a little differently,” Noah spoke into the microphone. “We have a new one for you guys tonight.” He shifted his attention to me. “Peyton?”

  “This is called ‘Things I’ll Never Say’.” So maybe it wasn’t the smartest thing to incorporate my feelings for both guys into one song, but to be fair, I hadn’t anticipated them both showing up to my band’s first headlining show; Colton and Jace, in one room, with me. Seeing the two guys I had been obsessing over for months, nearly side by side, had been quite a shocker. This could get ugly. But I wasn’t going to let it ruin my moment. I was going to perform to the best of my abilities, just like every other time I took the stage. Distractions, be gone!

  I began the first verse on the heels of Madison’s violin shredding; both guys’ eyes burned into me as I sang the words they probably assumed were written solely for each of them alone.

  I’ve thought of you non-stop, every day since the first encounter

  Your face could haunt me anywhere

  I’ve been in denial and played it cool

  But I’m not a fool

  I’m falling hard, I can’t lie

  All this time keeps passing by

  Tell me you feel the same

  And that I’m factored into your end game

  I glanced over at Colton; he was clearly hanging on my every word; nodding along slowly in deep thought. I switched my attention to Jace; his expression more difficult to read. He wasn’t even looking at me while I sang. He had a somewhat uncomfortable expression etched across his face, and he was staring off in the distance. I wish I knew what you were thinking.

  * * *

  The night had been a complete success and because of all the support I was shown, I made it a point to stick around and chat with everyone who had made the long drive out from my hometown, Day Heights. It took longer than I would have liked, but I felt like it was the least I could do.

  “What did I tell you?” Kayleigh gushed when she came up to hug me after the show; my parents and her boyfriend Bentley in tow.

  “Honey, that was something to see.” My mother agreed, throwing her arm around me at the same time my father had.

  “Way to go, pumpkin,” My father added, kissing me on the top of my head.

  “Need a ride home?” Kayleigh asked.

  “No, I’m fine. I’ll get one from Brooklyn,” I replied. It was my go-to answer. I had no idea if Brooklyn was even still around, I hadn’t seen her since the show had ended; but the two handsome, completely opposite guys that were painstakingly still in the vicinity, were hard to ignore. I could tell the entire time I spent mingling they wanted to be polite and let me do my thing; yet also wanting to make their presence known.

  Unfortunately I was not going to be able to address them s
eparately as they were both waiting at the bar, side by side. I wondered if they had caught on yet that they were waiting for the same girl. I walked up to them, not sure who I should make eye contact with first, so I looked down.

  “Hey,” I heard them greet me simultaneously, before realizing they had been waiting on the same person the entire time. I saw Colton eye Jace down protectively, thoughts probably running wild in his head; Jace giving Colton the once over as well.

  “Hey…” I trailed off, not sure how it was going to play out. I looked up at Jace, his blue eyes nothing compared to his twin’s. “Jace, this is Colton.” I pointed. “Colton, this is Jace.”

  “Nice to meet you,” I heard Jace say, awkwardly as they shook hands, before he turned his attention back to me. “Well, I just wanted to stick around to say good job. I should get going though, I have work in the morning.” Jace had picked up a part time job for the summer of light construction work.

  My face fell before I could stop it; Colton obviously caught the disappointment in my eyes. “Okay,” I replied flatly.

  “Later,” Jace gave a short wave as he walked off; the drama I had anticipated all but vanished.

  I turned to Colton, unsure of what his reaction to Jace was going to be. “Who was that?” he asked simply.

  “A friend from school.” At least it isn’t a lie…

  “You wanna get out of here?” He changed the subject.

  “Yeah, actually, I do,” I responded, finally feeling well enough to be physically close with anyone.

  We got into his car and drove aimlessly in silence for what felt like forever. “Where are we going?” I finally asked after endless stretches of roads passed us by.

  “We’re escaping.” His eyes darted to meet mine, and then back to the road again; a sly grin spreading across his face. I welcomed the distraction.

  We pulled up to an unfamiliar park in the outskirts of Cincinnati. I followed Colton blindly; anxious to what he had planned. After we parked, he grabbed a blanket from the trunk and we began a mile long trek. It was dark and dimly lit as he chose an area to spread the blanket out on. “You planned this?” I found myself asking.

  “I hoped for it,” he answered, smiling back. He sat down on the blanket and patted beside him.

  I followed suit, joining him on the flannel blanket.

  He was more meticulous in his actions this time around, knowing my disorder and how unstable my reactions could be. He inched closer, eyeing me intently as to not alarm me.

  “You were so sexy up there,” he exclaimed lightly.

  I had never been called sexy in my entire life; the idea made me want to giggle out loud. “Really?”

  He ran his fingers through my long curls. “You have no idea how much I have missed you.” It was the first time I had seen him since the west coast tour had finished. We had kept in touch through texts, but they were more just to check in.

  “I missed you too,” I said, running my fingers through his shaggy locks. Thankfully my heart was not racing out of fear this time; it was racing out of anticipation.

  He pressed his forehead against mine, closing his eyes. “I wish everything was this simple.”

  I wonder what he means by that. I didn’t have much time to ponder the idea though because shortly after, he was leaning in. I closed my eyes, our lips meeting softly. I reached my hand up behind his head, pulling him in deeper.

  He pulled away, gasping for breath. “Damn, you definitely missed me.”

  I laughed at that before pulling him in closer for another sweet kiss. “So what are we really doing out here?”

  “I heard this amazing thing that Mars is supposed to be passing by the moon today and it is going to look just as big.” He raised his eyes up to the sky, clearly searching it.

  I shook my head, chuckling lightly.

  “What?” He asked, playfully.

  “You are so gullible,” I replied, still giggling to myself. “Let me guess, you found your news off Facebook?”

  “It’s not real?” he asked, still searching the sky.

  “You can look all you want, but you are not going to see two moons tonight,” I stated, shattering his dreams.

  He was pouting back at me when my phone went off; alerting me of a text message. “Probably an alert from Facebook.” I joked, playfully, grabbing my white iPhone from out of my clutch.

  I turned on my phone surprised to see three text messages from Jace. Wonder how I missed these. I opened the first one, I’m sorry I didn’t stay longer, the first one read. I smiled slightly to myself before glancing over at Colton who was equally immersed in his phone. I clicked my eyes back to the text messages, opening up the second one. You seemed kind of busy. It was sent a half hour after the first one, and after being met with silence on my end. My heart rate felt like it was doubling. I shot Colton one more apologetic look, only this time he was sitting there silently. “I’m sorry.”

  “Everything okay?” he asked, sounding more irritated than concerned.

  “Yeah...yeah,” I stuttered, shutting off my phone, not even bothering to read the third one.

  “You sure?” he asked, still eyeing me suspiciously. It was not a conversation I wanted to have with him in the slightest.

  I was not one to invite confrontation, so I did the only thing I could think of; I shut him up with a kiss.

  Ten: Does it Turn You on to be the Hero all the Time?

  Vulnerable

  It’s getting harder to breathe

  There’s a loss of air

  Tell me what I need to do

  To get me outta here

  I’m gasping for breath

  Everything around me grows dark

  This is all your fault

  Because I gave away my heart

  When I had finally made it home, I scrambled to pull my phone from my purse, dying to read the remaining text. As the screen lit up my heart was in my throat; there was a new text from Jace, adding to my growing stack. Who was that guy anyway? He questioned. I closed my eyes, taking a deep breath in.

  I couldn’t deny the intense feelings I had for Jace; the undeniable chemistry I felt when we were together, but Jace had shot me down at every turn. He was the master of mixed signals. One minute I was positive he was going to kiss me, the next I would think he couldn’t care less about me. I loved the mysteriousness that came along with his demeanor and I found myself falling for him without much attempt. But his mysteriousness was also the thing I hated most about him. I wanted him to stop walking the line and choose a side; friend or lover.

  I opened the last and final text from him which had been sent less than an hour ago. You know what? Forget what I asked. It doesn’t matter who he was…as long as you’re happy. He seemed like a decent guy from what I gathered. We should all hang out sometime! I’d love to give my approval.

  Jace and his mixed signals were about to be kicked to the curb. I didn’t know how much more I could stand. Why doesn’t he want me? My cheeks began to grow hot with disappointment and embarrassment. Why can’t I be good enough to make you happy? I swatted my tears away, frustrated with the entire situation. Here I was, fifty pounds lighter, and I still doubted my self-worth. It didn’t matter that I had gained materialistic friends or that my popularity had sky rocketed from it, because the one person I wanted to be good enough for; the one person who had treated me normal from day one didn’t want me back…and it crushed me. I didn’t want to spend any more time around him. Being near him and not being able to have him; knowing he didn’t want me would only add to my current depression.

  I wiped the last tear away which had snaked its way down my cheek, picking up my phone. I thought for a few moments on what I wanted to say back to him before sending it. No worries. He is the guitarist from DarienMae. I’ll see if he would be interested. I wanted to be polite but not spend any more time hung up on Jace.

  I changed into my pajamas and then began washing my face. It had been a long day and I was exhausted. I was just about to
climb into bed and call it a night, when I heard the alert of a text message on my phone and I sauntered over to it. It was probably Brooklyn checking to make sure I made it home okay. I couldn’t imagine anyone else would be up; it was past 2:00 a.m. I swiped my finger across the screen and was taken aback when it was yet another text from Jace.

  Just getting in?

  I tried to read the emotion from the text but Jace had been one of the most difficult people for me to read since the day I met him; irritating and handsome all at the same time. What did it matter if I made it home after the show or hours later? Jace and I were not together…something I was painfully reminded of every time I let myself get too close. I had been crushing on a version of Jace almost my entire life, and then had to find out that the person I had idolized and fantasized about was more of a nightmare. But something beautiful grew from that realization. There was a better version of Jax out there…a better person.

 
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