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Pen Your Pride

I was going to change into jeans before going to Canal Street Tavern but I decide against it. I like the way I feel in my yellow dress. I pull a cardigan over it and almost wear tights underneath to mask my legs from the cold January air but I put them back. I have come a long way fashion-wise since my first month at WSU. I won't ever be a trendsetter but I don't dress the way that I used to. I'm right in the middle of my old style and the normal nineteen year old style.

The moment Karen leaves to take Liam to the airport I instantly feel it. I feel the loneliness creeping in but I have to ignore it. I have to. I am fine by myself. After re-lining my eyes I walk downstairs to get a glass of water before I leave to meet everyone at Canal Street.

Ken is leaning against the kitchen counter tearing back the foil wrapper on a light blue frosted cupcake.

"Hey Tessa." He smiles, taking a small bite.

"Grab one." He says to me and I do just that.

"Cupcakes are good for the soul." My grandmother used to tell me. If I need anything, it's something for my soul.

"Thank you." I smile before licking a strip across the top.

"Don't thank me, thank Karen."

"I will." This cupcake tastes incredible. Maybe it's because I have barely eaten in the last nine days, or maybe it's because cupcakes truly are good for the soul, regardless of the reason I finish it in less than two minutes.

"Are you going somewhere?" Ken asks.

"Yeah, I'm going to watch ..someone I know play with his band." I have no idea why I just lied to Ken and I instantly feel terrible but I can't backtrack now and admit that I just lied.

I didn't lie, I just didn't tell him. There's a difference. Right?

Ken is the chancellor at the college, he is literally the highest person in charge at this campus so he's technically Professor Soto's boss but there is nothing wrong with going to watch his band play so I should have just told him. But I didn't. I'm overthinking this.

"That's fun. I was in a band once." He tells me.

"You were?" I gape, for a moment I look next to me and expect a sarcastic comment from Harry.

The pain is still present, steady as my heartbeat but it is no longer overtaking me, no longer pulling me under.

"Yeah, back in college. Christian and I, along with a few of our other friends formed a band. We only lasted for a week, no one liked our style I suppose." He laughs and I smile at the thought of Ken and Christian in a band, it doesn't seem possible.

"Your style?" I ask.

"We were sort cheesy and dorky." He laughs before taking a drink of milk to wash down the cake.

"You?" I tease and he laughs again.

I almost join him in laughter but I can't. I don't have it in me to laugh. I feel as if I may never laugh again.

"I hope you have a nice time tonight, you deserve to." Harry's father tells me.

"Thank you, I really hope so too."

"It will get easier, and you will find someone that is capable of loving another person besides themselves." He speaks and my stomach churns.

I don't want to back track, I want to move forward.

"I treated Harry's mum terribly. I know I did, I would leave for days at a time, I would lie, I would drink until I couldn't see straight. If it weren't for Christian I don't know how Anne and Harry would have even made it through..."

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