Note: this fanfiction is set 50 years in the future.
It was everywhere. He couldn't avoid it. Magazines held tributes. The tv stations played super cuts of her greatest works. Radio interviewers kept playing her songs over and over. Everyone was talking about it. He knew the mournful tone would pass in a few weeks. They would move on, just like they always did, to the next topic of hot gossip. James Snyder pushed his glasses up as he walked to the cash register. He couldn't see a damn thing anymore, but he knew what most of the magazines on the rack said.
"Broadway Diva Idina Menzel
He did his best to avoid them. Smiling warmly at the cashier, he handed her the random assortment of things Jacqueline had sent him to buy. And there it was. He had accidentally caught a glimpse of Time Magazine's tribute to Idina. The cover was a mosaic of her best moments, from Maureen to Elphie and beyond. In most of the pictures she was singing her heart out, belting those notes he knew she loved. In the very corner he spotted it, himself in his 30's, hugging the 43 year old Idina Menzel at an event for If/Then.
"Cash or credit, sir? Sir?"
The items were scanned and the young lady at the cashier stood impatiently, waiting for a form of payment as he stood staring at that picture.
"I'll get this too, thank you," he said, pulling the magazine from its spot and placing it on the belt.
"Will that be cash or credit?"
"Cash," he replied as he took out his wallet distractedly.
I looked so young. I looked so...happy. What happened to that person?
He knew, however, exactly what had happened. If/Then had ended. Their original broadway cast contract was up and he and Idina had moved on to bigger and better things. He never really spoke to Idina again after that, and returned to his normal life with his wife and son. They had grown apart. It seemed inevitable. In his glory days he was content, eight nights a week he singing and acting with the woman he looked up to, the woman he so very dearly love-
The woman he loved was Jacqueline. Jacqueline. The ring on his finger and the signature he had made on that marraige certificate so many years ago proved it.
He smiled a little too dryly at the cashier as he picked up the plastic grocery bag and left the store. As he sat in his car, he wrapped his hands tightly around the wheel and stared blanky out the window, thinking. Sure, his ring and marraige certificate said they were he and Jacqueline were legally bonded, but he knew Jacqueline was certainly not the woman he loved.
He did not eagerly await Jacqueline to come home as he used to when Idina came into the theater. He did not think of kissing Jacqueline the way he did thinking of Idina kissing him every night. He didn't light up the way he used when Idina laughed versus when he made Jacqueline laugh.
I. Love. Jacqueline, he told himself forcefully. But he knew. He had always known. This wasn't entirely true.
James was a bit slow on his feet now. He eyesight was dwindling and his hearing was fading but his memories of the one and only Idina Menzel were as clear as daylight. He heard her belt those notes with her powerhouse voice and stand on that stage like she owned the damn place. He had fond memories of the audience becoming dazed as her voice mesmerized them. She was the queen and Broadway was her empire.
"Hey sweetie!" Jacqueline greeted him at the door. She kissed his cheek. She had certainly aged better than he did. Now he had been reduced to this sad, shell of a man who could barely see or hear, stuck in a relationship he mostly stayed in out of guilt. He had sworn himself to Jacqueline many years ago and was a faithful man.
But Idina had always crossed his mind.
He carefully hid the magazine behind his back while handing her the plastic bag of goodies she had asked for. It's not that he had thought Jacqueline would become jealous of the deceased singer, it was more that he wanted it all to himself. To look through it by himself. To remember. To reminisce. Alone.
He loved Jacqueline, once, he supposed. When he first met her they had an amazing "spark", he heard people call it. But the firey passion that they once held seemed to fade very quickly. He had proposed while their love was still strong, but shortly after that something felt different. He felt distant from her. She had obviously not felt the same way, as they were "happily" married a few months after. James was a man kept his word. He wasn't indifferent to his wife, no, not at all. He still liked her as a person, but he did not feel that he truly loved her. Not the way he did with Idina.
James flipped the toilet seat down and sat in the bathroom where he pulled out the magazine. He flipped to the six page spread about Idina. He scanned, looking for a section or even a picture about If/Then. And then he saw it. It was a production picture - they were atop the prop bed, kneeling and facing each other. The caption read, "Menzel and then co-star James Snyder in the Broadway production If/Then". He smiled. They had sung "Here I Go" together. The memories he had of that time so many years ago were all being recalled. He remembered Idina would come into his dressing room from time to time and they would talk and talk. She would make him laugh and he would make her laugh. He remembered that the stage kisses they shared seemed to change as the time went on. Each kiss that she gave to him on stage seemed to feel less and less like she was acting, but more and more genuine.
And yet he had always reciprocated. His lips waiting for hers, always wanting more than the measley few second scripted kiss written for them. As an actor he had kissed women on stage before, but these kisses felt...different. Their longing for each other had disappated as she pushed her lips into his. The thought of them going further had always lingered in his mind, but he knew that going there would be horribly wrong on so many levels. As the months went by, she came into his dressing room more and more often, occasionally talking for hours on end. He lit up every time she walked in, always making sure to have something prepared to make her smile and laugh the way he loved. Her eyes brightened when she saw his face, always joyful when talking to him. They had been very close back then. She was the only person who would genuinely listen to what he had to say. Jacqueline would listen to him on occasion, but he felt she was always distracted when doing so. James felt she never truly listened, merely pretended so that he would stop talking so she could talk about whatever was on her mind. Jacqueline would visit occasionally during the production, but their home was in Los Angeles on the other side of the country. He longed to be close to someone and at that time Jacqueline could not and was not that person. It was always Idina.
Their infatuation could only go on for so long. The musical had ended and they moved their seperate ways. She lived in New York, he in California. They were busy. Those precious moments seemed to fly by in an instant, yet he remembered every one.
Now looked back to the picture. To the remnants of the man he once was. Full of life. Happy. Now he was just tired. Tired of life, tired of his house, tired of his wife who didn't deserve him. He sighed and opened the bathroom door. He loved Ms. Menzel. There was no denying it. But he would never know if she thought about him they way he did even years later. Thinking about those precious moments they had shared both on and off stage. He'd never know now. She was gone.
She was gone.
He had to let those words sink in for a moment. His eyes dripped silent tears as he let his brain process it. He regretted the fact he made no attempt to keep in touch. Or maybe he knew all along that they would never actually be together. Wiping his eyes, he brought himself together as he walked downstairs.
"Honey a package came for you while you were in the bathroom."
That seemed odd. He hadn't ordered anything that he knew of."Alright, thanks sweetheart."
The package was a small square box. His unsteady hands opened the top to reveal a slightly worn CD case.
The If/Then cast album.
He examined the box again, very carefully this time, and saw no return address. Strange. He opened up the case and examined the cd. He couldn't help but laugh a little. CDs were so obsolete nowadays. He picked up the CD and saw nothing odd about it. He desperately tried to think of where he could play it again, on a CD like the old times. However him and Jacqueline had given away their devices to play such CDs many years ago. They hadn't needed them then. With a deep sigh knowing he wouldn't be able to listen to it today (maybe he'd go to a thrift shop or look online for a CD player), he took out the booklet that contained the lyrics. Flipping through the pages, he stopped when he saw something had been underlined in sharpie.
The song was "I Hate You" and the words that had been underlined were "I loved you, I lost you". Tears dripped on the booklet as his fingers traced the black lines under the words.
I loved you too, Idina.
I lost you.
In more ways you could ever know.