CHAPTER THIRTY – A NEW CHAPTER
I had decided that I had enough of this bullshit.
I just wanted them to shut up.
Their outcries echoed throughout the auditorium like angry thunder. The audience was not satisfied. They still wanted to wring out every remaining note of music from us, and they wouldn't accept resistance.
As I heard a nearby girl scream, I wondered how Flora was reacting. Was she in shock? Was she yelling along with the rest? I wanted to pick her out from the sea of faces and see her reaction. Well, that's only if she was in the audience. I had asked her to come to the concert, but for all I knew, she could have been watering the plants on her balcony right now. The very thought of her turned into a gnawing sensation in my gut.
"What now?" Brandon managed to call to us over the deafening cries of the audience.
"It would be unreasonable to perform under these conditions," Timmy yelled back in his strained voice. "Sky would understand."
I frowned and turned to Helia who stood still in front of the mic with his back to me. "Helia!" He ignored me. "Helia!" I yelled even louder. No answer. "Helia! What happened? Did you forget your friggin hearing aid at home?"
Helia whipped his head around after my last comment, sending me a cold stare.
"Well, you weren't responding." I shrugged. "Anyways, work your magic and calm the crowd down. That's what you're good at right?"
"Nothing I saw will even get through to them," he explained.
I sat in stillness. Then suddenly I stood up from my drum set and headed towards the exit at the side of the stage.
"What are you doing?" Timmy shouted, alarmed.
"I'm leaving." I glance back at the band, waiting. "Are you guys going to stay up here all night? It's not like we can perform anymore."
Heaving a long sigh, Helia followed my lead and so did Brandon and Timmy. After we entered the dimly lit backstage filled with frenzy, the backstage crew tried to attack us with questions. They hadn't heard of the news beforehand and were completely surprised just like the audience. We somehow managed evade the mod and arrive at our room.
Shaken, Timmy started to doubt himself. "Maybe we should have delayed our final world tour and announced the news that the band was breaking up at the end of this year."
"Would it have made a difference?" Brandon wondered. "We sure were really good at our jobs. Now the fans won't even let us quit."
"Who knew we would be so good at being…products." I shuddered.
"Don't say that. We are—we were performers," Brandon corrected.
"Performers that have become a sock brand sold to Chihuahuas," I pointed out.
"Oh well. It was fun, this band thing I mean."
My eyebrow rose. "Fun because you were finally popular with the women?"
"What are you talking about? I was always popular with the women." Brandon rolled his eyes while displaying an annoyed frown. "Wouldn't that line apply to you, Riven?" Brandon mocked. "You loved it when fan girls threw themselves at you for the first time in your life."
I scoffed. "Even before I was a celebrity, I had fan girls who threw themselves at me."
"Flora would be so furious if she heard you say that…Flora…that sweet girl…angry…dude, that's scary." Brandon cracked a grin.
My glare darkened. "Don't bring Flora into this."
"Oh, but I just did," he pointed out.
"Whatever," I lightly said, trying not to let his comment rankle me.
"Just admit that you just jizzed your pants at the thought of Flora leaving you."
"Am not," I growled.
"AM NOT TIMES INFINITY!"
"ARE TOO TIMES INFINITY PLUS ONE!"
"YOU CAN'T DO THAT!"
"OH BUT I JUST DID! OH! TAKE THAT!"
"I politely ask the two of you to SHUT UP," Helia interjected. He sported a annoyed wrinkle between his brows that seemed to deeply engraved that it could have been permanent.
"Riven started it," Brandon said in defense.
"Who cares," Helia said.
"When will the two of you grow up?" Timmy smartly added. "Petulant preschoolers."
Brandon and I dangerously glared at Timmy. "SHUT UP," Brandon and I barked in union.
"W-What? But I—"
"Quiet!" Helia demanded. "This is our last night together as a group so just get along for a few more hours," He shook his head like a reproaching mother before turning to me with this heavy, reticent glance. "By the way, where is Flora? That backstage pass you asked for was for her right?"
I stared back at Helia, not letting the man intimidate me with fear or guilt. Helia loved Flora and I did too, but neither of us played dirty to get her. Whoever Flora picked in the end was the result of a fair, honorable fight. So that's why I gave returned Helia stare an equally oppressive stare. "She'll come."
Helia did not react for the longest time. Then he laughed with sudden, unprecedented chuckle. "I'd hope so." When the grin on his face died, a slightly solemn yet nostalgic smile replaced it.
"What's with you two?" Timmy asked.
"I'll go deal with the media outside," Helia decided, paying no heed to Timmy's question. He started towards the door without waiting for any reponse.
"What's wro—" Timmy started again before Brandon pushed him towards the exit, whispering something to Timmy while he was at it. I crossed my arms and watched in confusion.
Are they being considerate?
Like that would ever happen.
I took off my black leather jacket, revealing my bare chest, and set it on the chair. Then I check the time on the cell phone. It was midnight on the dot. Where was she? My glance floated down to the black gift bag sitting beside the chair, and I found my bending down and fingering the wrapping tissue that was sloppily spilling out. I could not wait to see her expression when she opened it.
Where are you Flora?
I checked the time again and gritted my teeth as a minute inched by.
My eyes kept returning to the digital clock lit up on my cellphone's screen. Before he knew it, it was already half past twelve, and that's when his patience came to an end. The other guys were waiting for him, and as much as he wanted to, Riven couldn't leave them with the press that tore celebs to shreds as if they were lions teaming up to devour their prey. If he did, Riven knew he would never hear the end to their complaints.
His eyes floated over to the gift bag once again. "Should I throw it away?" It wasn't like it was important anyways, and if Riven wasn't going to see Flora that night, then there was no point in giving the gift at a later time. The contents of the gift would have already decayed by then. And besides, he wasn't even sure if he even wanted to give her the gift. Actually, the thought of giving her it was embarrassing.
With a reluctant half-grimace, I grabbed the bad and dropped it into the wastebasket before opening the door. The minute I did, a loud crash sounded followed by someone tumbling to the groun. A body was ungracefully sprawled on floor.
Then head lifted and beneath the mess of disheveled, cropped hair, I saw a glimmer of green.
You can't be serious.
There are many things you never plan for in life.
For one, you never plan on finding yourself in a random man's body on the morning.
You never plan on this guy being your best friend's idol.
And you definitely do not plan on falling over this man.
Yet they all happened to me.
So that is why I decided to stop planning.
However, I should have at least planned on carrying the backstage pass Riven gave to me. I got on my tip toes and puffed my chest to look more confident.
"What are you doing?" the guard grunted.
I immediately halted and cracked and coy smile as I mussed my hair. "Um…nothing," I replied, trying to avoid the guard's questioning eyes which seemed to make me feel like a kid who stole candy.
The guard was truly intimidating with his huge built and tall height. In fact, he was so tall that I only reached his waist. I had tried to make myself seem more commanding but, sadly, I failed miserably.
"I forgot my backstage pass, but I'm sure I'm on the list. Can you please check," I briefly glanced at the nametag pinned to his torso, "Marc? I would greatly appreciate it."
"You cannot pass," he replied.
"I'm sure there must have been a mistake, I'm—"
"No," he interrupted. "Other girls wanted to enter. They cannot enter. No one enters."
"I'm not a fangirl! I really know Riven," I whined frustratedly.
"Of course," he replied dryly.
Marc stayed as still as a rock.
"…All right. I give up," I decided, acknowledging that all I could earn from Marc was rejection and laconic. I started to walk away.
There must be some way to get in, I mused.
Then a precarious option occurred to me. My vision lower and I gulped, hard.
No, Flora, you can't do it. It would be immature…and totally unlike me. I bit back my lower lip and chewed on it anxiously. But…are you serious? Ok…I'm going to do it…I'm really going to do it.
I started at the austere guard for the longest time, attempted to discard my scruples. The man puffed up his chest to make him seem even bigger than he already was.
Then I let everything loose. A high pitched battle cry sounded as I charged straight into the guard's lower abdomen. Unfortunately, I aimed too low and my head connected to something…pointy?
Marc let out an excruciating cry as he shriveled into a pitiful-looking ball. But I didn't look back and think twice. I immediately zipped past him and wrenched the door knob before blasting into the backstage hallway.
"Come back here!" the man hollered. I winced at his hateful tone.
I immediately realized that attempting headbutting a man in his gut was not a good idea. You might accidently miss your target, like I did, and headbutt him in his private area.
Stirrings of panic brewed in my mind as I ran with all I had. Door after door flew pass me. I had no idea where I was going or where to go, and I had no time to think with the guard charging pelting after me like a mad bull.
I turned corner after corner after corner. Suddenly I bumped into a someone and fell back on my tush.
My eyes flickered up the man's build before widening in surprise at the sight of Helia who seemed equally astounded.
Brandon's voice spoke behind him, "Helia bumped into…Woah!" he exclaimed the minute he and Timmy came into view.
"Flora? What happened?" Timmy squinted as he pushed his glasses up his nose bridge.
I had no time to sit down and chat. "H-Helia," I breathed shallowly. "Riven, where is he?"
"Down the hall. Take the second right you see. He's in the first room on the left."
"Thank you," I said accompanied with a quick bow of my head. "Oh, I would appreciate it if you told the guard chasing me that I'm not a fan girl. Again, thank you so, so, so much. Bye!"
And I was once again off on my journey. When I arrived at the door marked with the band's name on the door, I was ready to explode in tears of joy. Unfortunately, I didn't get the chance because at that second, the door swung open and smacked me in the face, delivering the final attack to knock me out.
I couldn't believe my eyes. One smack to the face could do this much damage. I shuddered.
Flora's cheeks were both bruised and her rose red lips sported a split. As a final touch, a fresh bump swelled to the size of a cherry tomato on her forehead. At that very moment, I felt like the worst man on earth, and I felt immensely guilty
This was the woman who challenged my view.
While I supported the battle of the fittest, she stood for the weak minority with no one to represent them. While I chose sweet revenge, she chose forgiveness. While I was arrogant quick to intense anger, she was humble, understanding, and indescribably kind.
Slowly she unknowingly started to mold me into a person I had never met—tolerant, patient, and mellow. And I had no problem with it. She made me see life through a perspective I constantly rejected; she taught me that letting go of grudges brought happiness; and she kept me grounded.
Damn, this was the woman I loved.
And how did I make it up to her? I injured her. Good job Riven, I berated. You pretty much scarred Flora's most precious possession as a woman, her face. Oh wait, or was that her hair?
I leaned over a rubbed a lock of Flora's soft hair as she slept, wondering why she cut her hair. I felt oddly empty when I looked at her short hair, and my mind started to recall all those times in Flora's body when I struggled to comb the mane after showering. I sighed at the memory, rubbing the bridge of my nose and I reclined on a metal chair placed right next to Flora's sleeping body.
After she fainted, I placed her body on the only leather couch in the room and waited for her to wake up…if she did. I considered calling someone, perhaps Helia or Brandon who both knew how to deal with girl in odd situation, but I hesitated. How would I have explained how the wounds on Flora's face? I wouldn't be the enemy of women theory anymore. I would be the enemy of women in name.
So, I waited.
Till it finally occurred to me that I waited for this girl way too much.
I started to grow restless as time pass and worried that I might have given her brain damage from the impact of the door. My palms grew clammy at the harrowing possibility. Did I destroy her life? I had heard about people who became blind after being hit on the head.
Did I blind her?
…I couldn't have.
But what if I did?
I reached over to Flora and clamped onto her shoulder, shaking her gently yet anxiously. "Flora? Flora!" When I didn't answer, every nerve in my body tensed up.
Suddenly the situation wasn't simple anymore. There wasn't just two possibilities—call the guys or wait for her to wake. There was only one—call the hospital immediately. I started to dial for the hospital in a hurry and while the dial tone calmly rang, I softly cursed. It was too slow. Finally, after what seemed to be years of waiting, someone answered.
"Hello," the woman chirped in an anticlimactic tone.
"Don't you 'hello' me. Send an ambulance immediately," I urgently barked through my gritted teeth.
"Excuse me sir? What happened?"
"Uh…I think I might have softly hit a girl with a door. Yes, I hit her so softly that she might have brain dead?" I explained to the inept woman.
"I said she might be friggin' brain dead! Send an ambulance, now!"
"And stop sounding so damn cheery."
My jaw went slack and my body froze as Flora pushed herself up from the couched and blankly stared at me.
"Riven, what are you doing?" she asked with a bewildered expression.
"I understand Sir. We will send an ambulance to where you are immediately."
My mind suddenly unfroze at the reply. "W-Wait. I take that back. I don't need an ambulance."
"Don't worry Sir. I need you to take a deep breath and relax. Help will be there in a few minutes. Now, calmly tell me what happened."
"No I mean she woke up…" Silence "Hello? Hello? Hey! I'm talking to you!" I removed the phone from my ear, checking if the call was still connected. My phone ran out of battery. Shit.
"Um…Riven? Who were you talking to?" Flora looked disturbed and confused.
I couldn't meet her questioning eyes as I sat in my seat like a unmovable statue.
"Uh…the emergency room."
"Why did you call them?"
"…Well…I told them that you were brain dead."
I watched as her expression slowly turned into shock. "You what?"
"Told them you were brain dead…and told them to send an ambulance."
"Because you fainted when I hit you with the door! I thought I gave you brain trauma," I defended. "Besides, you were unconscious for so long I thought something must have gone wrong."
"Really? How long?"
"Well," I began as I flipped out my phone and checked the time, "You fainted at around 12:40 and now it is…12:42."
We both shared a long moment of stretched out silence as I contemplated my actions.
She softly sighed. "Riven, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but two minutes is not long time."
"I know." I grew silent again as I mulled over my idiotic mistake. "But…your face was so banged up so I thought…"
"My face?" She furrowed my brows in confusion as first before her eyes lit up in realization. "Oh! My face!" And suddenly her lips broke out into amused smile. "I had these bruises before I even came here."
I narrowed my eyes. "How?"
"It's a long story."
"Give me the summary then."
"Er…well, me and Musa kind of exchanged…fists," she admitted as she twiddled her fingers and lowered her head to hide her embarrassment.
I grunted. "So it was a cat fight. Didn't know you had it in you."
"It wasn't a cat fight. It was exchange of fists," she fervently insisted, a pout hanging from her lips.
"Cat fights are cat fights dude. Sorry. There are no synonyms. But…the if you guys fought then…are thing…"
"Oh…Ah! Don't worry. Everything is solved." She sported a proud grin. "As I said, it is a long story."
"But the important part is that you came," I reminded.
She stared and sported a coy grin. "Y-Yea…that's right."
"Too bad. I could have miss you."
My earned myself a playful roll of eyes and an all knowing smile. "By the way, what happened to the concert? Why aren't you still performing? When I arrived a few minutes ago, it was impossible to enter much less listen because of the chanting in the audience."
I figured that the chanting Flora mentioned must have taken place after we left the stage.
"You have a pass," I reminded.
"I kind of…forgot it…at home."
My eyes narrowed. "Then how did you get in?"
I frowned. "I don't accept that."
"No secrets Flora," I warned.
She shrugged. "I'm sorry."
"If you say sorry one more time, I swear—"
We both stayed still when we heard the ambulance siren in the distant.
"That would be the ambulance," I completed.
"The ambulance that you called for?" she added to remind me of my embarrassing mistake.
Loud squeals echoed down the hall.
I grimace at the familiar cry of feminine voices. "…Fangirls?" I reluctantly said. "Are they backstage? But there is a guard in the front…"
Flora eyes flickered to and fro as she tried to hide a nervous grimace.
"Did you take out the—"
"Woah…You took out the guard," I whistled. "He used to be a bouncer you know. How did you do it?"
"Er…um," she shyly mumbled with flushed cheeks as the sirens and squeals grew more deafening. She sprang from the couch, trying to change the subject in any way possible and scurried out the door in a hurry.
"Hey wait!" I couldn't resist smirking. In my peripheral vision, I caught the sight of the black bag sitting in the trashcan in perfect condition with no rips or stains. Before following after her, I swiftly whisked the bag out of the room.
Along the way, we encountered a mob of screaming girls who then, to our dismay, proceeded to charge at us like a pride of lion trying to take down their prey. We started running for our lives through the maze that was the backstage.
Flora breathed something incoherent in a wheezy voice as she struggled to maintain her pace.
"Dammit, are these girls on the track team?" I growled as we turned another corner. Up ahead, I spotted a crowd of people that neared as she sprinted forward. In the crowd was a cluster of reporters, and then I made out the heads of Helia, Brandon, and Timmy whom were sitting their seats, content and oblivious.
"Run!" I barked.
The whole crowd turned back and looked at us, and I got the pleasure of watching as bewilderment slowly morphed into frightened realization. The woman squeaked as everyone started to run around in a flurry of panic. Most started scurrying away while some stayed behind and risked their safety for a few snapshots of us running from rabid fangirls. The band on the other hand joined the former group and scurried out of our path.
Flora squeaked. "It's him," she breathed with a hint of fear in her voice that was buried by fatigue.
I immediately noticed who she was referring to, and I wondered why I hadn't noticed him earlier on. In the middle of the crowd, Marc, the guard, stood out like a sore thumb. At the same exact moment, Flora came to the end of her rope.
"Marc! Do something about these girls!" I ordered as we suddenly converged with the rest of the fleeing reporters.
We only met eye contact for a second before Marc fell into action. Without delay, He whizzed past everyone and blockaded the whole hall with his colossal body. The girls screamed in protest and rammed against him, but he did not falter. Coming to a halt, Flora turn back and shouted a stuttering, "Thank you Marc," which earned her nonchalant smile. She beamed back, satisfied, before we walked off in the opposite direction.
"Where to?" Flora asked.
"And where's that."
I waved my hand towards the air in front of me."…Somewhere over there."
"Oh no. Maybe we should stop and ask for directions," she considered worriedly.
"I know how to get there," I pressed.
She fixated her still gaze one me. "I know…I just wanted to make sure…that's all," she replied carefully…too carefully. It was as if she were trying to tell a child where babies came from. This woman knew how to make me feel like an immature child.
After we turned left, the siren grew louder as we continued down the hall, and after a few seconds, the exit appeared to the right with the door that was annoyingly ajar.
"See, I knew," I pointed out.
"Yes, yes….um…Riven, the paramedics are here. True to the operator's word, the ambulance had arrived immediately after a few minutes of the phone call.
This was crazy. I'm your everyday quaint, quiet, peace-loving girl, or at least I'm supposed to be, but ever since I got to know Riven, my life turned upside down. Before Riven, I had not known that she could debate about the entertainment value of the Cinderella story. I had not known that I would enjoy rock music created by the Specialists, music that she used to consider junk. I don't think I truly understood true adventure until Riven introduced it to me. Back then, I could only experience adventure vicariously through romantic novels about forbidden loves—human and vampire.
Commonplace vanished altogether. Would anyone believe me if I told them that I was riding an ambulance in the middle of the night with a worshipped rock star? Probably not. I know that I certainly wouldn't believe such an incredulous story. When the paramedics arrived, they insisted on treating me even though I assured them that I was completely all right. They wanted to conduct a checkup to make sure that my mind and body were fully function.
From there, it took a ten minute ride to the hospital and four tiring hours before I was allowed to go home. In the span of time, to my surprise, I discovered that the band had officially disbanded. I didn't know what I was feeling. Should I have congratulated or mourned?
"Well, we all decided to go our own separate ways, and there was no important reason to stay together anymore as a professional band. Since the beginning, we never intended to stay together," he explained. "And we all have our own personal reasons on top of that."
"Reasons? What kind?"
"Timmy wants to go back to school. How that nerd can miss tests is beyond me," Riven snorted. "Brandon says that he wants to go public about his relationship with Stella after the heat dies down. He's been wanting to do that for months now. Helia says he feels like stepping out of the limelight for a while."
"I want to stop being a product and decimate my fan group till it is a pitiful little pile of ashes. At first the fame was nice and all, but then it just got annoying. I need privacy, and besides, even I want to be open with my relationships like Brandon."
I could feel my cheeks heating up to a raging shade of red when I realized the deeper meaning of his last reason. Then I realized how I felt. I felt hesistantly comforted. Even without realizing, I had grown fearful about dating Riven in the back of my mind, and it was all because he was famous and known.
I eyed Riven.
Did he do this for me?
Riven held out stayed with me until I was allowed to leave. Many times I told Riven to head back home, but he stubbornly refused. He said, "I'm taking you home. I'm the one who smashed the door in your face, remember?" I seriously worried if he could send me home in his fatigue condition, especially since he had trouble staying awake. While waiting for the medical reports to arrive, I swore that he fell asleep with his eyes wide open while standing. But, either way, in the end, I obliged.
As we zipped through the streets, the blurred passing lights of the city bounced off the dark walls of the car, highlighting a stripe of Riven's face. I secretly casted a stare on him, but the minute his head lifted, my eyes flickered away. My breathing grew shallow as my body stilled in nervousness.
My pulse raced, and I listening to the groaning of the engine to calm my uncooperative heart to a steady, slow beat. We were alone in the dark comfort of a car at four in the morning. The mere thought of the situation made me fidget in my seat.
While Riven pulled into the driveway and set the car to park, he spoke up, "I have a present for me."
"M-Me?" I stuttered as my head shot up and an anticipated half-smile flew to my lips.
"Yah, I kind of saw it during tour, and it kind of reminded me of you," he cringed. "Never mind, that was sappiest thing I've ever said."
I happily sighed and asked, "So where is it?"
He cocked his head towards the back of the car. "Backseat."
I looked back and sure enough, a large black gift bag sat at the corner of a seat, almost hidden in the shadows. I tilted my body towards the seat, stretching my arms for the gift until my fingers caught the handle and flung it to the front.
After I dug through the wrapping tissue, I saw what was inside. Inside was beautiful. Its body was tall and fragile as if a little force could split it in half, but body branched out and feathery pink petals sprouted from the branches and crowded together gregariously. I immediately recognized the flowers.
"You bought me a branch," I giggled.
His brows furrowed and he donned a frustration. "What? Why are you laughing?"
"Oh nothing. It's just that I've never gotten a branch before. I've gotten flowers, potted plants, saplings, but not a branch. Never a branch."
"…I knew it. This was a bad idea," he groaned.
"Oh no, no. I love it! I really do…I'll probably graft it and plant it."
I chewed on my lower lip. I had no inkling on what to say before I went upstairs to my room. All I could do was act coy.
"I have to thank you," Riven suddenly said out of the blue. My eyes flashed to him.
"For being with me and making me..uh…happy," he said rather awkwardly while he scratch the back of his head. "Anyways—"
"Me too! I'm really happy because you are with me now. You've given me so much Riven, and you probably don't even know it. I don't know how much to thank you. You've been so tolerate, and, and," I bumbled, "I really love you."
I felt relieved, as if a heavy weight was lift off my shoulders after an agonizing hike. I finally told him. My heart be racing at an erratic speed even after I confessed. In the flurry of nervousness, I continued on, "And I know we may argue a lot of the most trivial things, but I love it! I love it when you show me new views. And I look forward to a future with you in it."
Riven paused and I started to worry that he was displeased. Perhaps the way I talked to too clumsy and irritated him. Then finally, after an eternity of waiting, he said, "Was that a confession?"
I wanted to smack him over the head with a flowerpot. "Of course! What did you think it was?"
"A proposal," he smirked.
My lips formed into a thin, crooked line as an expression of half-anger and half- frustration fell on my face. "Riven," I whined. "I was trying to be serious."
"I know. I Love you too so shut up for a second," he quickly and coolly added before he swiftly dived down, tilted my chin up gently, and claimed my lips. The kiss was softer than I thought. I felt electricity run down every nerve in my body, heating up my body to a burning temperature. When we finally released, I loudly gasped. I must have unknowingly held my breath during the whole kiss.
Riven arrogantly smirked, and then said the one line that destroyed the whole atmosphere, "I'm good at kissing right?"
I frowned and glared and him.
He let out a hearty laugh as I continued wearing my disappointed look.
I couldn't believe this guy. He was a man without a single romantic nerve in his body. I knew fully well that he was rude and obnoxious and yet, somehow this crude man who was rough around the edges drew me closer like a moth to a fire. We both had traveled from the opposite sides of the spectrum and met halfway. The journey had been arduous and sometimes made me want to pull out my hair in frustration or cry a pond, but the destination was all worth it. It was priceless.
Maybe it was the journey that was priceless.
"Star new! Star news! We have the latest gossip on all the stars. We'll tell you everything from Musa hot flings with a certain, cute idol to Mitzi's mental breakdown because of her breast implant gone wrong. Keep lis—"
"One strawberry shake for you miss"
A full glass was placed on the table in front of me. I glanced up at a man who sported a cheeky grin.
"Having fun roleplaying waiter, Riven?"
Riven slide into his chair and placed his own chocolate shake in front of him in one fluid motion. "Yea. So what were you watching?" His violet eyes squinted at the television screen mounted on the wall. "Mitzi and lopsided boobs?" he paused. "Oh sorry. I should be polite. Breasts."
"Thank you. I appreciate the effort," I replied with teasing sarcasm. "Well, they were talking about Musa too."
"Oh yea. You haven't seen a lot her as much as before since she became famous huh?"
"It can't be avoided. She can't room with me anymore with the status that she has."
He thoughtfully hummed and took a sip of his shake while I eyed his carefully.
"You sure you don't want to do anything with music?"
Riven drew in a deep breath through his nostrils and exhaled from his mouth. "I'm sure I don't want to. And it isn't because I don't want to drag you into the limelight. Maybe eventually after many years of idleness, but right now, it has only been a year since the band disbanded."
"Did you hate your work…when you were a musician?"
"It's not like I hate it. It just did not like the attention. I hated being on some girl's wall and watching the world pry into my private life. It's creepy. But Helia and Brandon must have thought otherwise, or else they wouldn't have delved back into the industry so quickly."
I sipped my shake. A few months after the band disbanded, Brandon became a male model and Helia decided to venture into a solo artist career while Timmy decided to go back to school and study. Riven, after weeks of pondering his life's purpose, he decided to fulfill his childhood dream: training to be a stunt double.
And as for me, I continued on with my original work as a florist. Actually, a few days ago, I met Saladin when she entered the shop to buy a bouquet of red roses with a gilded love note. I immediately knew that the gift were for Faragonda and couldn't help but foolishly grin for the rest of the day.
"Hey," Riven began, startling me out of my brief daydream, "So since Musa is gone now, does that mean that you have to pay the apartment rent by yourself."
"Pretty much. She wanted to help me pay, but I refused her generosity. It seemed unfair on her part even though she can afford it now."
"Is it hard to pay the rent?"
"Sometimes, but I get by."
Then the question came flying from out of nowhere: "Why don't we live together?"
And a new chapter of my life began.
I got carried away with the chapter. Somehow instead of traveling from point A to point B, I took a little detour and ended up at point B 1/2. Anyways, I'm done! Finally. After chapters filled with subtle fluff, emotional angst, snippets of humor, stereotypes, those classic love formulas, you've finally arrived at the bottom of the last chapter. Give yourself a pat on the back. Thank you for sticking with me all this time and, for the the last time, let me know your final thoughts. You can review or send a PM. Both make me happy. Again, thank you.