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The foundation series bo.., p.5
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       The Foundation Series Box Set, p.5

           Kira Adams
 

  “I can’t believe you’re here.” A smile began to spread across his lips like wildfire.

  I nodded. “Yup, I decided to give it a shot like you had suggested.” You could cut the awkward tension with a knife. It didn’t help that I could feel the blonde’s eyes fixated on me.

  “Jace!” she shouted, motioning with her hand for him to return to her side.

  “Your girlfriend?” I asked, not wanting to hear the answer one bit.

  He nodded with a strange shrug. “Here, let me introduce you.” He motioned for her to join us at the bottom of the bleachers.

  The idea of coming face to face with her made me irritated. “Actually, I don’t even know where my friends went.” I looked back the way we had been walking, before Jace had grabbed my attention. With my luck I wouldn’t be surprised if I had lost them.

  It was halftime suddenly, and the field filled up with our school’s cheerleading squad performing their routine. Jace’s girlfriend was at his side in an instant. She eyed me up and down as she closed the distance between us, giving me a snooty look and then staring back at Jace. “I’m hungry,” she whined. “Let’s go get some food!”

  “In a second, Jess, I wanted to introduce you to my friend Peyton.” He pointed towards me. “Jessica, this is Peyton.”

  “Nice to meet you,” I lied through my teeth, shaking her hand. There was no denying the claws that were coming out. While Jessica may have played nice when it came to Jace—she didn’t bother to hide her disdain for me.

  “Peyton was my partner for that English assignment I was telling you about,” he attempted to make conversation. I wanted nothing more than an exit.

  “Oh…cool,” she replied, in an uninterested tone. I saw her look past me in an animated fashion, waving her arms out towards someone. “Kari Ann! Come on, we’re going to get food!”

  The minute I heard her name I bounced. The situation had been awkward enough and I didn’t feel the need to stir the pot anymore or add any more tension to the mix. “See ya later,” I threw over my shoulder as I walked away from the drama.

  After another hour or so of watching the boring sport, the game was finally over. As we began to make our way out of the bleachers and to our cars, I excused myself to make a quick bathroom break.

  “Do you want me to come with you?” Brooklyn asked.

  “No, I think I can manage.” I shot her a sly grin then made my way to the girls’ locker room. It was eerily quiet as I finished up and began washing my hands. Usually, I didn’t bother staring into mirrors too long, they almost always made me feel more insecure with myself and my body, but today I found myself examining my reflection.

  The girl looking back at me, although a bigger girl, had a pretty face. Her long curls were pulled into a messy bun and her hazel eyes were sparkling. I smiled briefly at her until something sinister took over my vision in the mirror.

  Piercing blue eyes.

  Jax.

  Jax was in the girls’ locker room—staring straight at me through the glass of the mirror. My heart was pounding out of my chest.

  He had changed out of his uniform, but his face was still red and sweaty from the big game.

  “You haven’t been returning any of my texts—did you change your number?” He asked, a sadistic smile forming at the corner of his lips.

  “Go fuck yourself,” I muttered under my breath as I turned around and attempted to brush right past him.

  “Excuse me?” He asked, as he roughly grabbed my arm, pulling me towards him.

  “Let go of me!” I struggled to wriggle free of his death grip.

  “But what would be the fun in that?” He remarked snidely.

  Quite frankly, I had had enough. Without further hesitation, I slammed my foot down on top of his as hard as I could, stunning him into loosening his grip. As soon as I freed my arm, I placed both hands on his shoulders and kneed him right in the balls. I watched as he cried out in pain, grabbing his crotch in pain, before falling helplessly to the ground.

  Before I knew it Brooklyn had come running in. “What the—“ I didn’t let her finish before I grabbed her hand and pulled her out of the locker room quickly. “Are you okay?”

  “Yeah, I’m fine.” I ran my hand over my hair.

  “What happened in there?” She asked; her eyes wide as saucers.

  “I gave Jax exactly what he deserved—a swift kick in the groin.” I couldn’t help giggling as I said it. He had no clue but he was fueling the fire within me. If he kept at it, who knew what my next stunt would be. I had the upper hand for once, and it felt good.

  * * *

  Anyone who knew me knew I absolutely hated karaoke, as in I was the first member of the haters club. There were a few things that irked me; the predictable selection of songs, having to listen to tone deaf singers, and having to embarrass yourself; so it was beyond surprising to not only myself, but all of my close friends and family that I agreed to attend Madison’s family’s annual ‘Karaokethon.’

  Every year her mother extended out an invitation to me and every year it conveniently got lost in the mail. This year was different though, something felt different inside of me. Brooklyn was a regular at the get-together, so I knew I would be in good company. Music definitely ran through all of our veins; Madison had been in orchestra since middle school playing violin and Brooklyn had been in band learning the drums like the badass she was. They normally accompanied all of the performers during the annual event.

  My parents were finally loosening their reigns, allowing me small bits of freedom. As long as I kept to my curfew, they were satisfied. I think it made my mother feel better seeing me out and about, enjoying life.

  I guess I had let it slip my mind that the party was so huge, in fact, that Madison sent invites to the majority of our junior class. It had such a huge turnout that a couple of years ago they moved from hosting it at their house to a local venue, the Joint.

  I saw Kari Ann’s stink eye before anything else, but surprisingly that was the worst she dished out. Apart from the usual familiar faces, I searched the crowd for Jace’s handsome face when a hand was suddenly waving in front of my eyes.

  “Hello!” It was Liam.

  “Hey you!” I embraced my good friend.

  “Are you going to participate or watch?” he asked as he released me, a notepad in hand.

  “Hold up, are you hosting this?” I asked, impressed he had it in him.

  “Oh girl, I host it every year!” He whipped his head back as if he had a full head of hair.

  “Well, excuse me!” I laughed. “I’ll be cheering everyone on from the sidelines.”

  “Okay, suit yourself.” He jotted something down on his notepad.

  “Hey, have you seen Jace around anywhere?” I asked in a hushed tone. I could always count on Liam for the latest gossip.

  Liam looked back at me, his eyebrows raised. “Oh, he’s here.”

  My heart began to pound out of my chest violently. “What does that mean?”

  “He’s not alone…” Liam turned his back on me and continued approaching other peers.

  Sure enough, after finding a seat in the audience, I noticed his brown head of hair and Jessica’s familiar figure. I was glaring so hard at the back of her head I was surprised lasers didn’t shoot out of my eyes. Brooklyn found me in the crowd and joined me.

  “You going to participate?” I asked her. It was a dumb question, Brooklyn loved the attention and she was sure to pull off some kind of crazy stunt.

  “Hell yes, I’m going to perform. I’m hitting them hard with Tupac.”

  I smiled, shaking my head lightly. “You are like the coolest person I know.”

  “I know.” She winked at me, then pretended to dust her shoulders off.

  “Oh, please!” I nudged her with my shoulder.

  “Why aren’t you getting up there?” Brooklyn knew I could sing; knew I had a voice.

  “You know how I feel about karaoke.” The answer seemed stupid seeing as I wa
s currently at a karaoke event.

  “So?” Brooklyn asked, unfazed. “What’s the worst that could happen?”

  She had a point. “Will you guys be my back-up?”

  “What do you want to do, baby girl?”

  Everyone would be watching me; everyone had been watching me…it was no different. It’s not like I could bury myself any more than I already had. “Whitney Houston.”

  The Karaokethon was so much more than simply karaoke—it was live band karaoke, with lights and effects. They made you feel like a star. They dimmed the lights before it was my turn to go on, my heart was pounding against my chest. All eyes were on me.

  Two pairs of piercing blue eyes were fixated on me. It wasn’t hard to conclude that Jax was also in the vicinity. I hadn’t seen him since he had cornered me in the girls’ locker room and got a swift kick in the balls for it. I had been doing my best to avoid him as always, but I knew the next time we crossed paths he would probably be out for blood.

  “If I should stay—“ The entire venue went silent and you could have heard a pin drop. It didn’t help that I had to begin the song solo and the spotlight was only illuminating me, not my two counterparts. “I would only be in your way…”

  Something took over my mind and body then, it was like an out of body experience. I was watching my performance unfold right before my very eyes, and it was magical.

  After I finished, the venue erupted with cheers, making my heart pound out of my chest. People were hooting and whistling. They actually liked me. I shifted my eyes around the room attempting to get a glance of the twins. I was dying to see the look on each of their faces. Unfortunately for me, neither one of them were in sight.

  * * *

  Fall quickly faded away and winter was taking its run at everything. I had been spending the past few months doing nothing other than going to school, hanging out with my few friends and family, and I even joined a gym with Brooklyn. We had been very diligent, although sometimes we cheated with food; we always pushed ourselves at the gym. Some days we would work out two hours a day. Others, you would find us making up dance routines in the middle of the night, on top of our daily workouts. It was amazing, the results we were seeing. After less than three months, Brooklyn had gone from a size eighteen to a size sixteen. She was looking great, feeling great, and loving life.

  I was feeling the results more than I thought I saw them. I knew I had originally been two hundred pounds, with a goal weight of one fifty. Today, I weighed one hundred and seventy five pounds, but was walking around with a new found confidence. I could no longer fit in my size fifteen jeans, and was currently in between a size twelve and thirteen. It was a difficult place to be when shopping, especially for jeans, being that I was merely 5’4. Jeggings became my new best friend.

  Jace had been avoiding me off and on since our last awkward encounter. Our conversations were stiffer now and usually didn’t go further than the polite greetings. Gossip was in high gear not too long after the Karaokethon, when Jace switched his Facebook relationship status to single. After that you couldn’t walk the halls without hearing his name or whispers about him. It was like a competition to see who he would end up with. I was curious as to what had happened to lovely Jessica, but more relieved than anything. I had been strictly focusing on myself. In fact, the easiest way to get over someone is to get under someone else…or so Brooklyn said. I was definitely still a virgin and still never been kissed, but luckily for me the drama surrounding me had died down. Jax had surprisingly backed off and even appeared cordial at times. I chalked it up to the fact that I one-upped him and he had a bit of respect for that.

  On the weekends and even on some weeknights Madison, Brooklyn, and I were able to escape away from the drama that is high school. We went to concerts every night. You could probably even consider us groupies. We loved the attention. All the bands we met treated us like we were equals. They never looked at us like we were losers or tragic accidents. We were able to sneak into so many after parties and able to meet so many different bands, we felt like we were on top of the world. And after a while we realized just how strong our passion for music was when I suggested that we form a band.

  “Are you actually serious? You want us to play in a rock band?” Brooklyn asked the night I made the suggestion.

  “Yeah, why not? We love this. Why are we standing by on the sidelines when we can be the ones on stage?”

  Madison cocked her head towards me, her red curls cascading down her shoulder. “She does have a point.”

  “What would we even call ourselves?” Brooklyn posed another question, obviously warming up to the idea.

  “How about a Change in Time? We’ve definitely been going through some changes these past few months…I think it seems oddly fitting.” And so it was, we decided to hold auditions for the rest of our key players.

  I was so excited to be able to finally sing my lyrics out loud, with music in the background. Everyone had made such a big deal at the Karaokethon that it instilled confidence in me I never had before. It was a strange feeling getting a standing ovation and knowing my two biggest haters were somewhere in the crowd. I felt like Jax’s eyes were boring into me, judging me. For once in my life though, I was concentrating on what made me happy.

  In the band, Madison took on the role of violinist/back-up vocalist, Brooklyn signed on as the drummer, and we found an amazing guitarist, with tons of potential and performance background, and Noah Leaderman; who conveniently also sang harmonies. Harper Michaels joined in as the keyboardist, and Josiah Jensen rounded up the band as the kickass bassist. We were actually surprisingly good. We devoted endless hours to writing, practicing, and rehearsing and it was definitely paying off in the right way.

  The rapport that we were able to build within the band in such a short amount of time playing together was refreshing. I woke up breathing music, I went to bed breathing it. I never realized just how much it ran through my blood. Music fueled me.

  After close to two months of preparation, we finally agreed it was time to book our first show. It was obvious I was extremely nervous, so the girls in the band talked me into a day of pampering before our debut.

  We had planned to get our hair cut, colored, styled, nails done, and makeup done as well as all pick out an outfit for the nights event. It was a very widely promoted show, as we had somehow, someway managed to land an opening spot for our favorite band, DarienMae.

  They were regulars to our small town of Ohio, traveling through it to play sometimes four to five times in a month. During their last stop through town I had slipped our band demo into a care package Madison and I had made for Colton Lee, the guitarist, and amazingly enough, he actually played it. He called me the following day to tell me that the guys and he had been listening to the EP on repeat. They knew right then and there they had to have us open for them the next time they returned.

  I was nervous about our debut, but I knew I had never looked better which strangely instilled a bout of confidence I hadn’t known I had. I was wearing a sweetheart, strapless, black dress, black leather jacket, black leggings, and black booties with bows on the side. I also traded out my boring glasses for bright blue contacts.

  There were four bands on the roster for the night. DarienMae was the headliner, and there were three opening bands, The Union of Attica, The Conspiracy Diaries, and us, A Change in Time. We were scheduled to play prior to DarienMae. We were ecstatic.

  One of our favorite things to do was practice how we were going to begin our set. We wanted to stand out apart from all the other hometown bands. So right before we were to begin, Noah, Josiah, and Brooklyn were the only ones to go on stage and set up the equipment. They even tuned the violin and set up the keyboard station.

  Our intro to Deuces Wild was so long in fact that each instrument got a chance to start separately. We began our set with Brooklyn beating out the beginning of the intro, into a duet of drums and bass, played swimmingly by Josiah. On the 12th count, Noah jumped in;
strumming like his life depended on it. Harper surprised the audience by coming onstage four counts after, bouncing all over the stage, with enthusiasm. Madison hopped on the left side of the stage, people were entranced. They wondered would there ever be singing. I knew it was my turn; I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and before they even realized it, I left my spot in front row, and hopped on stage. The audience was mesmerized. I was addicted. This feeling was like none I had ever felt before. Before when I had a ton of eyes on me, it was usually because people were disgusted with me, or making fun of me. This time, people were looking at me, willing me to dazzle them with my voice.

  Looking around, letting the intro drag on, I spotted my sister and her boyfriend Bentley. Next to them I saw my parents; my mother’s head nestled in my father’s shoulder. I caught a glimpse of Liam making out with a stranger I’d never met and we locked eyes long enough for me to give him a mental high five, and then I saw Jax and Jace. Isaiah, Brooklyn’s boyfriend was next. Wait. Wait. What in the world are Jax and Jace doing here? I had never seen Jax or any of his posse at any DarienMae shows or the like, I was so entranced by the sight of the two, I didn’t even realize the band had moved on and had already begun the song.

 
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