Chapter Eight – Ashes, Ashes
It felt different, performing in front of a crowd of people she saw almost everyday and yet knowing that they were seeing her in a different light. Some of these people never knew she existed, and some of them even went out of their way to ignore her existence. Yet here they were now, watching her intently and for once in her life, Sven felt…alive.
I’m falling down and I don’t know
How to get up again
The moment the first words to the song came out of her lips, Sven knew that she had fallen into the strangest enchantment. She never once thought that she would sing for a band, much less her brother’s own band, and share her voice to people she thought could care less. Yet this, what she was feeling at the moment, felt absolutely right. Sven felt like this was what she was meant to do.
I can feel your touch
All over my skin
She closed her eyes and let the song take over her. It seemed as if she was listening to a totally different person put melody and words into this play of emotions, yet she knew that she was the one with the mic. She was the one everyone else in the house listened to. She was the one who practiced with her other band mates every night for the past week. She was the vocalist of the band.
She was the one singing the song.
I refuse to look back
But the headlights are blinding me now
Slowly, Sven’s eyes opened and she found herself enamored by a pair of intense pea green eyes staring straightly back at her own chocolate brown orbs. Her heart started pounding in her chest, and whether it was because of the song or because of the ongoing battle of gazes, she could not tell anymore.
If I don’t run away
I know I’ll be caught up in your web
The moment Diane heard the raspy alto coming from the speakers, she found her eyes immediately wandering to the stage. Her hands still held the cup half-filled with vodka, her fourth that night, and ever since the bands started playing during the party, she had already immersed herself into her drinks, trying to ignore whatever it was that made her ill at ease. Diane was no stranger to the feeling of uneasiness and that nagging discomfort had been following her for some time now. Ever since...ever since that time.
The song kept going on and that voice…it was surprisingly good. Not too fluid, but also not too rough. Low and husky, yet still feminine.
No matter how much she wanted to listen to the loud alarms ringing – exploding – in her head, no matter how much she wanted to listen to the frantic screaming voice at the back of her head, she just couldn’t.
Diane couldn’t get herself to look away. She held onto that wonderful melody and watched that indifferent face, eyes closed and seemingly at peace. She felt like a voyeur but she couldn’t help herself. She was entranced.
There was a warmth and vulnerability in Sven’s face that she had never seen before.
I can’t let go of this
Deeper and deeper
And the passion, the raw emotion in Sven’s eyes took the cheerleader aback as their gazes met, but still, she was unable to look away. It was as if there was a gossamer yet strong thread that bound her on the spot. Diane felt helpless.
But now, the discomfort was gone.
I long to see your face
When I wake up in the morning
And before I close my eyes at night
And then, just like that, the dark-haired girl looked away and the cheerleader felt the connection come to an abrupt end.
Sven’s band’s performance went on for another four songs before Julia announced that there would be a few more dances, care of the hired DJ, before the next band went on stage. At this point, the dance floor was once again crowded with overly eager teenagers who were dancing either in groups or in pairs, obviously having as much fun as they can get, which really was quite a lot.
As the first notes of an upbeat song came up, Lei good-naturedly pulled Julia to the dance floor as they started dancing with each other, smiles on their faces and obviously having a wonderful time. Kristen was watching the two of them from the sidelines since she wasn’t much of a dancer herself and even though she wasn’t directly involved in all the action, she couldn’t deny the fact that she was also having fun.
It was amazing how Lei seemed so carefree yet still give off an air of superiority, as if constantly reminding everyone who she really was. One of the organizers of the party. The owner of the house.
Famous heiress of the Charles-Carlson empire.
As the blonde student council officer watched her brunette friend dance with grace, she realized that it was so easy to get lost in those wily charms but just as easy to get intimidated by them. She couldn’t even believe this was the same girl she ate pancakes with and chased around all those years ago. Lei wasn’t the same Leila who hugged her like there was no tomorrow and smiled at her with the innocence of a little child. That same innocence was now replaced by a certain level of maturity and unquestionable confidence.
Kristen looked on as a few others flocked towards the two dancing women and soon enough, their partnership was turned into group dancing. Lei’s dance never faltered for a moment, even as some of the newly joined dancers in their group paid more attention to her. Some even so much as tried salaciously to cajole her into a more intimate setting, yet Lei’s refusal was smooth and charming. It would still be believable if they didn’t even realize that they were already being refused the chance to dance closely with the charismatic brunette.
Somewhere in the middle of all the dancing, Lei looked to her blonde friend, a huge grin on her face as their eyes met. The brunette then whispered something to her redheaded companion and in an instant, she was heading towards where Kristen was.
Standing before the blonde now, Lei took Kristen’s hand and pulled the latter towards her without a moment’s hesitation.
“What are you doing here? Come on and dance with us!”
Kristen looked at the brunette realizing that Lei’s charms were now at their all-time high. Tempting, really. But not tempting nor charming enough.
“I’m not much of a dancer, Lei.”
The brunette pouted as she tilted her head to the side. “Awww, Kristen! You can’t possibly suck that bad!” A gentle tug. “Dance with us. It’ll be fun!”
The beat of the loud music pulsed in the background. Kristen just smiled.
“You’re already having enough fun for the both of us.”
“There’s no such thing as enough fun, Krissy. Come on!” Another tug.
“Please,” and more of the pout.
The blonde sighed in defeat. “Fine.”
Lei’s face broke out in an enormous grin, wider than what she sported just a few moments back – if that was even possible. “Awesome!”
Try as she might, Kristen couldn’t contain her own smile as she was gently but eagerly pulled to where the dancing was at.
Guess she really is charming enough.
She still felt buzzed, and it was of a different kind because she knew for sure that she had not had that much to drink yet and she hadn’t smoked any joint at all that day, or even the week for that matter. She never once thought that singing for a crowd would have this much effect on her but apparently, she was mistaken. It was like a pleasant adrenaline rush. Finally, she could understand her brother’s obsession with the band. If this was how it felt like to truly perform, then she bet she’d be obsessed in no time.
She wanted to share the strange happiness she felt. She needed to.
Looking around at the crowded area, she scanned the place for her best friend. Sven knew that if she didn’t tell Julia anything soon, she’s surely bound to explode.
And then the grin that seemed to be permanently stuck to her face – the one she didn’t know could even be that huge – immediately faded. Seeing Julia dancing so close to the house’s owner, with that adorable smile on her face, Sven felt like choking. The dark-haired girl knew that it probably didn’t mean anything to either of the two girls dancing but she still couldn’t help the slight tightening of her chest at the sight.
Sven looked away and headed for the door towards the backyard. Maybe all she really needed was a cigarette.
Lei heard the whisper but all she could do was nod and smile. Julia just told her that the song playing in the background would be the last before the next band went on stage, but at the moment, the brunette could care less. She didn’t care much for anything except probably savoring the good time she was having that she had not had in a while. The fact that the pretty blonde girl she was dancing with was having as much fun as her could somehow be considered the cause of it.
But she knew for sure that it wasn’t just that. There was something else that she couldn’t be bothered to think about. Besides, thinking only made things more complicated. And any more form of complication was the last thing she needed in her life.
The song was coming to a gradual end when she heard Julia’s voice announcing the live performance of the next band which, according to the head of the GSA, was apparently made up of members that all went to Wright-Duncan. It was during the loud cheers and applause that she saw the one thing she didn’t think she’d see for quite some time.
The one thing she knew she wasn’t ready to see for quite some time.
The one thing she hoped would only be an illusion, a figment of her imagination that was constant proof of how much she still thought of things she didn’t want to think about.
It was undeniable.
Those were raven locks she’d been trying to forget but kept seeing, especially as she closed her eyes before sleeping at night.
She wanted to run away.
Her feet were rooted to the ground.
Diane felt as if she had to be there for the party, doing her part as an organizer, and she figured she probably should too. But for the first time in her life’s history of social parties and school activities she absolutely ought to be a part of just because she was popular and the head cheerleader to boot, she really didn’t want to. All she wanted was to sip vodka from her cup, be alone, and hopefully figure things out.
If that wasn’t cause for alarm in her head, she didn’t know what was.
The fact that she was actually leaving the party, where all the action was at, to do what she felt like doing despite all social repercussions just had to prove how much in deep shit she was. Plus, she didn’t even have a cup of vodka.
The backyard was pretty deserted except for a couple making out near the poolside and a passed out jock. Diane scoffed. She couldn’t understand how people insisted on drinking if they can’t hold their liquor. She really hoped Lei was going to figure out a way of embarrassing said dumb jock come Monday.
And then she saw her: dyed black hair, red streaks, familiar scowl. Alone, except for the company of ever-present cigarettes.
For a moment, Diane considered heading back where she came from.
But maybe it was the vodka’s fault, because she instead headed towards where the other girl was.
Sven saw her approach. Eyes rolled, scowl deepened, a puff of smoke released, and the cheerleader knew this wasn’t such a good idea but it seemed as if she couldn’t do anything else.
It was all the vodka’s fault, for sure.
“You were good,” Diane had no idea why she just initiated conversation with Sven, let alone sit beside her. “I didn’t think you could sing that well.”
Her efforts were met with another puff of smoke and a deep drag.
“I mean, I knew you could play the guitar because your punk friend mentioned it once but I didn’t know you could actually –”
“What do you want?” And this time, the apathetic girl turned to face her.
If Diane had not smelt the waft of cigarette smoke before, she surely did now. And the way Sven’s eyes stared straight into her own reminded her of that brief connection a few minutes back…and that time several days ago.
What did she want?
Suddenly, she had no idea what to say.
And again, it’s that damn vodka’s fault.
“Shouldn’t you be off fucking your latest boytoy, Barbie? Or at least leaving me the hell alone?”
At first, Diane felt relieved that the other girl spoke before she could make a fool of herself. But then, what Sven actually said caught up to her and she frowned.
“Why do you hate me so much?”
Sven looked at the brunette in disbelief and snorted.
“I don’t hate you,” and this time, the dark-haired girl looked at Diane in disgust, as if sizing her down, “How can I hate you, when I don’t even care about you enough to hate you?” Sven crushed the still burning end of her almost finished cigarette to the grass, before fishing for more from her hoodie’s pocket.
Diane felt her heart clench and she didn’t know why that comment hurt, but it did. She didn’t want it to, but it did.
Maybe it was the rage – or the vodka – but at that moment, she just stopped thinking and all rational thoughts flew out of the window…or the backyard.
In a matter of less than a second, Diane had pulled a surprised Sven and kissed her so hard, crushing their lips together, a hand on the hoodie she pulled and another on the other girl’s face. It didn’t help that the cheerleader had no time to realize what she had actually done because Sven was kissing her back, forceful and dominant, but so much better than a lot of the other kisses she had experienced before. Hands were everywhere all at once, and the kisses just became more passionate as they went on.
Suddenly, the cheerleader was on her back, lying on the grass, with the singer on top of her. They were making out like there was no tomorrow, and the brunette still didn’t think about anything: not the reaction people would get if they saw them, not the fact that she was almost having sex right there on Lei’s backyard, not that she was the head cheerleader and she had a reputation that would undoubtedly be tarnished if people knew of this, not that she was actually kissing, was being kissed in return, touching, and was also being touched in return by a girl.
Then she felt hands fumbling with the button of her jeans, opening them in haste, and it was as if a switch was turned on inside her head. Diane opened her eyes wide in panic, and for the third time that night, Sven was caught in surprise as she was roughly pushed away.
Face flushed, Diane struggled to scuttle as far away from the other girl as possible, while trying hard to regain her composure.
She couldn’t believe what had just happened.
“Oh my god,” and then face contorted as realization finally reached her, “Oh. My. God.”
The cheerleader stood up and walked away as fast as she could, not looking back at the incredulous expression on Sven’s face.
Watching the brunette, Sven couldn’t help the smile from her face as now, the realization of what really happened hit her. She fell back on the grass, arms wide open, and laughed her heart out.
The name was uttered in such a way that no one else could possibly hear but her, who just happened to be standing so close. Yet the moment Kristen heard it, she immediately knew that things were about to get really, really messy.
She wasn’t even given a moment to figure out some way of calming the brunette before she found herself following an enraged Lei heading towards a raven-haired girl who looked, for lack of a better term, out of place. Ironic that this was the same girl the heiress tried so hard to avoid that she was now confronting head on.
And then Kristen was witness to enclosed fists, a hardened jaw, narrowed eyes, and voice so cold it scared her.
“What are you doing here?”
The girl, shoulder-length black hair and all, looked back with an expression of either relief or happiness, and Kristen didn’t think any of those things belonged to the girl’s face at all considering what was surely bound to happen. The former, however, didn’t even seem to notice anything wrong as she enveloped Lei in a tight embrace.
“Lei, I missed you so much. You have no idea how… how much…”
The blonde saw Lei’s face soften before once again wearing that stony façade. The heiress didn’t move to return the embrace, nor did she do anything to push the other girl away.
“Get off of me.”
The other girl, Kristen figured this was the Audrey, ended the embrace, all relief and happiness now replaced with worry, concern, and the inevitable sadness.
“Lei, please… Baby, let’s not do this now…” Audrey moved closer to the brunette, hand reaching out to the other’s face.
Lei stepped back, now enraged, and slapped the hand away.
“Don’t you dare touch me!”
Kristen didn’t know what was worse, the indifference or the anger.
“Get out of here, Audrey. You have no right to be here.”
Audrey, now openly sobbing, begged, her heart on her sleeve and fingers wiping forcefully at the tears on her face. “Lei, baby, please…”
By now, they were already making quite a scene as the people’s attention became divided between the band performing on stage and the controversy of an impassive Charles-Carlson talking to a crying raven-haired beauty.
Kristen knew Lei could care less.
“You’re not going? Then, I will.”
And just like that, Lei was storming out of her own house, out of the party she helped organize, away from the presence of a crowd of teenagers and a helpless young woman.
Kristen followed after her, until she saw another distraught brunette, also moving to leave in haste. The way Diane dragged herself was enough cause for concern and at once, the blonde knew where she was more needed.
The heiress was strong.
She could take care of herself.
End of chapter eight part two…
Coming Soon on Of Tears And Broken Hearts:
The truth of the matter was that they walked in different circles, and interacted with different groups of friends. They knew each other’s names and faces and who was friends with whom, but they definitely didn’t know each other enough to call themselves friends. Barely even acquaintances at that.
“You,” hand on her inner thigh and the cheerleader had a fleeting realization that being pinned to the wall was the only thing keeping her from falling to the floor, “want me.”
“I just want to talk –”
“We have nothing to talk about.”
More Author’s Notes: The song lyrics (Sven's song) at the start of this update is a part from one of my original compositions. So if you’re curious…yes, I compose songs. There.