“From the top, and then we'll call it a night,” Jace told us, wiping away the sweat from his forehead.
It was seven in the evening and the temperature was still as humid as it could possibly be, with no signs of cooling down. I found myself grabbing the bottle of water beside me, taking a sip and chilling myself just in time before Fritz took the lead.
We were in our final rehearsal, in the stage that would be used tomorrow. The place was still empty. No one was allowed to go near the venue due to all the crazy preparations going on. Aside from the ones who were setting up things, we were the only ones around.
Lucas was standing on the sidelines with Hayley beside him, two seats away. I found them amusing, how they wanted to separate themselves from each other for no particular reason at all. Well, actually, there were some reasons. Like for Hayley, she told me that Lucas was so happy with his life that she found him annoying. And for Lucas, she said that Hayley loved the color 'pink' and that was all it took for him to be far away from her. He called her 'sickness' contagious. She answered that maybe he was gay and wasn't ready to come out of the closet yet, that was why.
“Hey, Luke, we sound all right from there?” asked Jace after performing one song.
He gave us a thumbs up and a slight nod, probably saying that we were doing good. Well, that was a relief. I guessed all those practices really paid off. My hands were already sore from it all. But the feeling was something that I wouldn't trade for anything else, even if all my fingers got blisters now.
I was reminded of a thing that I loved doing from before, how I was given the chance to play the guitar again, and in front of a crowd to top all that. Even if I was doing all this for the sake of making it up with them all, I felt like I was lucky enough just to be here myself.
With every crazy thing that had happened to me, I could almost say that summer, really, wasn't officially that bad. Not at all. In fact, it was even better than what I could imagine, though it was not the perfect package, with no happy ending like Claire had expected. But then as I scanned the small group surrounding me, with smiled painted in all of their faces, everybody was already happy. And deep inside, I felt it too, that feeling like your heart could burst from bliss any moment soon.
Jace ended the last song with the final strum of the guitar, and our 'little' audience, in the form of two souls and a poodle dog, stood up and clapped their hands in response. I put down my guitar beside me, grabbing the bottle of water again, only to find it empty.
“Here you go,” said someone from behind, pressing a cold bottle of water on my forehead.
I tilted my head back, seeing one familiar face but doubting if I was seeing right. I hurriedly turned back and blurted, “Mason!”
“Yo,” he said, waving his hand a bit, showing off his signature move.
“You're back,” I shouted with excitement, wrapping my sweaty arms around him.
“And you're gross. How can you sweat like a guy?” he playfully replied, patting my head a little.
“With all those lights on my face, sweating should be expected,” I answered convincingly.
“Summer's not complete without it anyway,” he said, laughing.
“Got that right,” I replied.
Then I suddenly thought, if Mason was here, then Claire was supposed to be around also. She told me that she went to the airport this morning to pick him up. I wasn't able to come with her since I had to work and then I had to be at the rehearsal tonight.
Looking around him, I suddenly asked, “Where's Claire? I thought she was picking you up.”
“She did. And she's right over there,” Mason pointed out behind me.
I swiftly turned around because the direction where he pointed to wasn't the place I was expecting her to be. And as soon as I spotted her, my eyes widened in absolute shock. I saw Claire's right hand went up in the air, aiming for Jace's perfect face. With her super strength, that unfortunately, she wasn't aware of, I had a clue what harm she could possibly do to his face.
And then the world ticked in slow motion as I attempted to run towards her, trying to prevent her from creating a scene, setting aside the fact that she already did. Or rather, I wanted to prevent her from damaging him, not before the show.
|AnnaSophia Robb||as Reese|
|Josh Hutcherson||as Jace|
|Molly C. Quinn||as Britanny|
|Adam G. Sevani||as Mason|
|Meaghan Jette Martin||as Claire|
|Dylan Sprouse||as Cad|
|Callan McAuliffe||as Nick|
|Chace Crawford||as Lucas|
|Ed Speleers||as Fritz|
|Shia LaBeouf||as Drake|
|Nikki Yanofsky||as Hayley|