Thirteen // Old Memories And New Beginnings

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I leave for New York today, but I can't do without seeing Cal first.

I knock on the door of the suite, and he answers.

"Hey, princess. I thought we weren't talking." He says.

I get a chill when he calls me that, even if he is being an ass.

"Can we talk? I'm about to catch a flight." I tell him.

His eyes widen and his expression softens.

"To where?"

"New York." I say quietly.

"Yeah, let's talk." He lets me inside.

"Uh, I changed my mind. I do want us to be friends. Because even if I can't be with you, I still want to be with you, you know?" I ask him.

He nods.

"I feel the same way. And I'm totally committed to my music now. No distractions."

I smile.

"That's good."

"I'm really sorry for screwing us up, Caro. It won't happen again."

"I believe you. Now I really have to go." I say.

"Be safe." He walks me out.

Now for the hard part.

I drive for an hour.

The gravel road and people dressed in black are all to familiar.

They're all carrying colorful flowers.

I walk all the way to the back where my beautiful brother is.

I kneel down in front of him and shut my eyes.

"Hey, Jon. I know I never do this. But I'm going to New York for a week. I'm scared. Really scared. I just want you to be there for me. I know you can do that."

My eyes stay closed for a little while until I hear a voice.

I turn around and open them.

It's Jon.

"Come on, Caroline!"

I look around.

I'm not in the cemetery.

I'm at our old house in L.A.

Jonathan is running away from me.

But I'm not me.

Well, I am.

But I'm younger me.

I take off down the road to chase him.

I blink, and he's gone.

Now I'm at Aaliyah's old house.

It's Christmas.

"This is from me." Jonathan hands me a present.

I'm 14 now.

I open it and see a charm bracelet.

It has our birthdays carved into two charms.

"Thank you, Jon. I love you."

I go to hug him, but he disappears.

I open my eyes, and I'm back.

"Thank you, Jon. I love you."

I kiss my hand, touch the stone, and walk away.

With one look behind me, I'm gone.

-

After a really intense flight, we finally get to our hotel.

And it's freaking huge.

We're in a suite.

With two bedrooms.

As soon as I sit down on my bed, the door opens.

It's Cheryl.

"Yay, you made it! Now, you have two hours before our big gala in the lobby. Pearl will be there. I'm having some dresses sent up!" She hurries out of the room.

"Isn't she just delightful?" I roll my eyes.

Ronaldo laughs at me.

The dresses are beautiful.

I decide to wear a long baby pink gown.

It has glitter on it.

Not my usual choice, but I love it.

I go downstairs, arm in arm with Ronaldo.

The lobby is packed with familiar faces.

A lot of people compliment my designs, a few of which are on display.

Cheryl gawks over my dress

Then I see him.

Pearl Hansen.

I hope I don't have anything in my teeth.

"Caroline, darling. So nice to finally meet you." He kisses my cheeks.

"It's an honor to be here. Thank you for having me." I smile.

"Anything for a future partner!" He says as if it's nothing.

Wait.

Partner?

"Partner?" I ask.

He smirks.

"I'll make you a deal, sweet Caroline. You sell me a design- any design you want. I'll make a sculpture out of it. I'll have it sold within two weeks. You get 6 percent of the profit plus what you sold it for. How does that sound?"

Holy shit.

"That sounds...doable." I think I pulled that off.

"Fantastic!"

"Under one condition- I stay in California." I haggle.

"If that's what you want, you've got it. I look forward to doing business with you." He kisses my hand and glides out of the room.

"Let's get drunk as fuck." Ronaldo says.

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