Is There Ever Love Without Pain?

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Dakota's hand landed on mine and he closed his eyes. I curled up beside him but I didn't sleep. Dakota rolled closer to me in his sleep. His breath brushed the back of my hand. I smiled all night long. After the sun had risen, Dakota woke up. He moved away from me and put his feet over the bed. It was weird for me to not see his stage smile. He was just checking his phone, like any other person, and he wasn't forcing himself to smile. I leaned over his shoulder to tell him about his humanity when I saw what he was reading. A limo had been shot up and the driver was in critical condition. Dakota turned his phone off but continued to stare at it.

I stood up if only to distract him from his thoughts. Walking to the other side of the room, I picked up a crumpled piece of paper. I laughed to myself as I read the first line.

"This really was one of the worst ones you could have read," I set it down on my desk, "the closer it is to the door the better song it is."

He looked up at me. "I should go."

My body got more ridged on its own. "Is it not safe enough here?"


I wasn't sure if he was agreeing with me or trying to refute me because his eyes landed on the floor in the cold dead way they would have if hey had fallen out of his face. Reaching out, I tried to touch his shoulder but he jerked away from me and stood up.

"I need to talk to my people."

He left my room and started towards the front door still in my PJ's.

"I didn't think you were too worried because of the way you rode around in the limo to pick me up and such."

"I wasn't, but now I know what he's capable of," He shook himself, "If he asked the driver where I was he could find me."

I smiled at his silliness. "I don't think your driver had the consciousness to be able to give out your location."

"Don't underestimate my father."

I stepped into the light of a new day after Dakota. The sun streamed down in hot, god rays, and the birds chattered noisily. Then I saw him standing right beside the door with wide crazy eyes. I was standing in between his gun and Dakota. My first reaction was to smack the gun out of his hand and as it flew into the pavement I grabbed Dakota's hand and started running. I pulled him around the corner, he was already calling the police.

"Hello? This is Dakota Emmet at 2097 Rovta East street," his voice was eerily calm as he ran for his life.

I saw the canal ahead of us. It wasn't the cleanest, but the water flowed fast enough to get us out of range of madmen. As Dakota was describing what was going on, I heard a gunshot ring out for the first time. I tipped over my toes and toppled into the water pulling Dakota with me. I covered his head with my hands. The water was red with his blood. I tried to push up off the ground for air but my head was smashed back into the concrete. My world went dark.

There was something on my face. I gasped for air and reached for it. In the hospital, I opened my eyes. Oxygen was being pumped into me through a thick plastic tube. I sighed a breath of relief. My body relaxed and I smiled. I knew I was safe at the hospital. Then my eyes widened, I looked left and right and Dakota wasn't there.

My hand flew up to the call button and a nurse ran in. "Where's Dakota?"

I started coughing and grabbed my chest. She checked some things that were attached to me.

"He's in surgery," she said.

My heart rate climbed a little higher.

"Don't worry. He was shot in the leg, he should survive."

The word 'should' made me shiver. All I could do was be patient. I tried to relax my shoulders and found myself coughing again. My head was pounding. I lifted my hand to my hair and breathed out. As my red bangs fell into my sight I remember the blood flowing through the water. It made me shudder. The nurse came in to check me and I asked to see Dakota when he was out of the surgery.

"What do you mean, no?" I whimpered as they removed my oxygen.

"He's a superstar if we let everyone in to see him he would never recover," She said while putting stuff away, "You'll be good to go home this evening. We just want to make sure you're stable."

The door opened as a familiar face came in. Dakota's signing agent came up to me. The nurse looked at him and was about to tell him off.

He started speaking before she could. "You're Dakota's friend, aren't you?"

"Well, friend is a strong word."

He laughed at me and came closer. "He doesn't get close to many people. I've never seen him take such an interest in someone. Anyway, he wants to see you."


I stumbled down the hall alongside the nurse and the agent. Dakota had a private room of course because he had the money to be there. I went to knock on the door but someone else pushed it open. I couldn't stop to register who it was, I just wanted to make sure Dakota was ok. He was sitting with covers pulled way up to his chest even though he was sitting up. Both hands were clasped over his face. He was crying softly. Both the nurse and agent stopped at the door. I alone approached the bed. He knew I was standing there but didn't look up.

Nothing came to mind as I tried to figure out what to say. I didn't want to touch him, I was supposed to keep him safe and I failed. Asking him if he was ok was useless, he was not alright. Telling him everything was going to be ok didn't feel right. I'd never heard of him crying before, not during the murder, not at the trial and not when he lost the big competition.

So I stopped a little ways away from the bed and hummed a little tune. It was called tomorrow night. Everything about it was happy and warm. He told the story of how you overcome difficulties over time. I had always listened to it like a motivational speech.

He didn't start singing like I expected him too so I started the chorus for him. "Tomorrow night, things will be different. Things will be good and I'll be-"


My eyes shot up to him as an off keyword rang from his lips. His eyes were red and swollen lips turned down.


"I'm giving up singing."

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