Chapter 13

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      My mind couldn't help but go back to the idea of what if. What if it was me in Serena's spot? What if everyone knew the truth? As I stood off to the side of the restaurant and watched Serena talk to her fans that surrounded her, my mind was filled with a bunch of what ifs. It drove me insane.

      As I stared at Serena, I thought abut how invisible I was. All my life I had thought that was what I wanted. I thought I enjoyed blending in the with the crowd, but suddenly, as I watched Serena talk to the crowd of fans around her, I wondered if maybe I wanted to be seen. Maybe, I wanted to be acknowledged.

      I tried to imagine myself in Serena's position. There I would stand, in front of the stage with dozens of fans crowding around me. Everyone would be asking me questions or asking me to take a selfie, and I gulped at the thought. Paling, I realized how much I would hate that. I would hate the idea of never being alone, which made me remember why I originally wanted my talent to be a secret. I wasn't meant to be in the spotlight and that was how things had to stay.

      "Hey," Carson said, causing me to jump.

      I whipped my head to look at him and my eyes widened. I had been so lost in thought that I hadn't noticed he was standing beside me.

      "Hey," I said.

      "Do you want to hang out with me tomorrow?" Carson asked. "Just the two of us?"

      My eyes widened and stunned, I remained frozen for a moment, staring at Carson. He frowned at my reaction, wondering what was wrong, and I blushed. Shaking my head, I told myself to relax.

      "Why?" I asked, wondering where his request came from.

      "You don't want to hang out with me?"

      "No." My eyes widened. "This... just came out of nowhere. But sure, I'll hang out with you tomorrow."

      Carson smiled and I watched as his body relaxed. Only then did I realized how tensed he had been.

      "I don't know," Carson said. "We work together, but I feel like we still don't know each other as much as we should. This will be a nice... ice breaker. It'll be a chance for us to get to know each other without having to worry about anyone or anything else."

      Smiling at his words, I grew touched that he actually wanted to get to know me. It was sweet and I grew excited.

      "That sounds great," I said. "I'll see you tomorrow then, right?"

      "For sure."

*****

      Carson and I were sitting by the shore of the beach. I had my knees pulled up to my chest and my arms wrapped around my legs. I stared at the clear water ahead of us and took a deep breath in, savouring the smell of the beach.

      "The sunset is beautiful," Carson said, breaking the silence we had been sharing.

      "It is," I said dreamily, staring up at the golden sky.

      Carson and I went back to sitting in silence. We hadn't spoken much since we got to the beach and although that would've made most people uncomfortable, I enjoyed how peaceful Carson's company was. I didn't feel stressed or uncomfortable around him, and it was rare for me to feel so at ease around someone.

      "Do you have any talents?" Carson asked.

      "No," I said, despite thinking about my singing. "I'm boring, remember."

      Carson rolled his eyes. "I don't believe you."

      Carson then gave me a look, which caught me off guard. It was a look that told me he didn't believe me - that he knew I was hiding something. I stared at him, struck, and forced myself to look away before he could figure me out. Carson finding out about the truth was the last thing I wanted.

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