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When we Love: Chapter Eighteen



START AT THE BEGINNING

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

It is early. Before the first light of day touches the sky. 
My dad drives me to the bus depot, and when I walk with my bags to the bus, I manage to avoid Vincent.
I notice Sabrina is once again by his side and I wonder if she is going with us. 
I get on the bus, after saying goodbye to my dad who stays by the car, waiting for the bus to leave. I take a seat almost in the front of the bus, and Simon, George, and Dennis greet me friendly as they walk past me to get to the back.
I lean my head against the high backrest, and I immediately notice when Vincent gets on the bus, but he does not even look in my direction. Sabrina is waving up at him, blowing him kisses and he smiles down at her. A smile, I wish is aimed in my direction and I feel jealousy winding its spindly arms around my heart.
I suddenly realise my dad can probably see me staring at Vincent. He could probably see the pain printed on my face, and I hastily look out the window at him. He is leaning against his car not far from the bus, but his eyes are squinting against the sun which has risen above the horizon.
Sabrina stays standing outside the bus, looking forlornly up at Vincent.
The bus starts with a bang and everything starts to vibrate and shudder. It pulls away slowly from the parked cars, and I wave at my dad as he waves back.
I see Sabrina mouth the words, “I love you,” to Vincent, but my reactions are too slow to see if he replied those same three words to her. Three words when said separately, mean so little, but strung together could change a world.
I stare out of the window sadly, looking up into the sky above, watching the early birds swirl through the sky, and the first rays of the sun reflecting off the morning clouds.
“Good morning,” he suddenly says next to me, and I feel my heart jump into my throat.
“Morning.” I smile back tentatively, looking up at him.
“Can I sit down next to you?”
“Of course,” I say as I start to move my things aside, pushing them into the storage areas around me.
He sits down, and I make sure to move away from him as far as I possibly can. I do not think I will be able to handle him touching me, even if it is brief and unintended.
We are both silent, neither one obviously wanting to be the first to say something.
I have a million things I want to say, but I do not know the first word to any one of them. After that day at his house when his father arrived home early, we have not spoken at all.
I feel Vincent lean closer to me, and then he says softly, “I miss you.”
I look at him, shocked, and softly I ask, incredulous, “What?”
He smiles, dimples edged into the sides of his mouth. “I miss the times we spend together, and I seem to be stuck in those moments.”
“I miss it too.” I smile unhappily.
He takes my hand which is resting on my leg, into his and holding it, he kisses my fingertips lightly. He closes his eyes; he looks distraught.
I catch my breath as his lips touch my skin, and I look at him surprised. He lets my hand go immediately and then he says while pushing his hands under his legs, “I am sorry; I shouldn’t be…”
“No, it’s okay. It was just so sudden, it startled me,” I insist.
He looks into my eyes, and he captivates me.
Seriously, he says, “I am sorry about that day at my house, I behaved unforgivably.”
“You don’t have to explain; you should know by now I understand. Why do you think you have never met my parents?”
“I had to go out with Sabrina this week so I could convince him that catching you in the pool at our house was a once off thing. I am really sorry.”
I continue looking at him, not wanting to say anything, not realizing I am not even breathing.
“Trust me, I am reminded every day I am black and you are white, and usually out there in the world, it would not be a problem, but you see my father would never allow me to date a white girl.”
“Neither would my dad allow me date a black boy,” I say softly.
“But,” he continues, as if I did not say anything, “I have completely fallen in love with you and you would think I have more sense. My life is perfect, I have a bright future, my father is amazingly proud of me, I have a pretty girlfriend, but then you came along. You, with a smile that could light up any dark day, and you surprised me by capturing my heart so fast and without any mercy. You were ruthless.” He sighs seriously and then he looks past me out the window at the passing scenery.
I look at the profile of his face.
After a while, he turns to me again, and there is a melancholy in his eyes.
I say softly, “I know it will make no difference, and I know my parents would never approve, but at night I spin dream castles around us, but come daybreak, I know it could never be. This is not a fairy tale.” An obstinate tear runs down my cheek. “It is not fair really, I have this great, absorbing, inexplicable love for you, a love against all odds and I do not know what to do about it.”
I shudder and Vincent puts his arm around my shoulders tenderly. We sit like this for a while, and then he leans into me and pecks me on the cheek.
I look up at him sadly.
He smiles. “You remember your first day at school?”
“How can I not remember that day?”
A smile plays across his lips as he softly says, “I remember seeing you the very first time when you were standing in the front of the class, waiting for Mr. Johnson. I lost my heart irretrievably to you in those short minutes. Although admittedly my very first thought when I looked at you, was your skin colour, I suddenly saw past all of that, and I saw you. Then you seemed to be everywhere I looked. You were so oblivious of me, and this made me feel secure in my feelings for you, because I thought, no one would ever discover I love you, but then fate brought us together. That day you came for the audition, your voice held me captive, and when Mr. Jackson insisted it would be you and nobody else, I felt so conflicted. I knew I would not be able to spend so much time with you and not fall in love with you completely.”
He looks at me warily, and I smile sadly. “Are you saying you liked me from my first day. I have to admit I did notice you that day you performed in the hall, and I did think you were handsome, but I have been thoroughly brainwashed. I only fell in love with you when we spend each afternoon together and it became so bad I could not even contemplate not seeing you every day.”
He leans into me and lightly kisses me on my forehead, holding me close to him.
We are silent for a while, and then he says, changing the subject, sadness in his eyes, “I have good news. Mr. Jackson has convinced everyone concerned to add The Great Divide onto our album. They are going to add it as a bonus track. The song I wrote for you, our song, will be listened to by anyone who wants to.”
“That’s nice.” I smile with him, and I cannot see past his handsome features, which are so close to mine. He is so unbelievably attractive.
“It is also going to be our next single.” He stops, suddenly remembering something. He stands up without warning.
He turns to the back of the bus, where everybody else is sitting and says loudly, “I have an announcement to make, everybody.”
Everybody on the bus stops with what they are doing and then Vincent says excitedly, “Our first single, which as you know was released two weeks ago, and I am sure you are all both sick and excited each time you hear it on every radio station. Well, I just heard this morning, that...” He stops for effect and then he yells, at the top of his voice, “It is number one!”
Not one single person on the bus remains seated, everyone is jumping around excitedly, and hugging each other congratulatory. Vincent then turns to me and hugs me tightly to him.
I feel embarrassed. I do not want to broadcast my feelings for him. I just go in for the quick hug, but he lingers and then brushes his lips over mine softly. I am waiting to hear and feel the whole bus gasp, but no one blinks an eyelid.
I sit down quickly, dumbfounded and astonished. He smiles down at me happy, but still I see the dull glimmer of pain in his eyes. He walks to the back of the bus to Dennis, George and Simon and they talk loudly, happy, and ecstatic.
I put my earphones in my ears because I have to practice, for tonight. As I listen to the songs, I stare out the window at the passing landscape.
Later Vincent sits down next to me again, and I feel him staring at me, but when I turn my head to him, he is staring out the window past me.
I continue to stare at him, and then he starts smiling. “Caught me,” he guffaws.
I laugh with him and then I lean my head on his shoulder, as he puts his arm around my shoulders.
He hugs me close to him and pulling one earphone out of my ear, he whispers, “We’ll be okay.”

When we stop at our first destination, I could never have imagined the pandemonium and the phenomenon ÉLastique is. Girls are crowded around the bus, most of them are yelling Vincent’s name repeatedly. The noise is deafening, and then a few adults whisk Vincent away from me to his adoring fans.
I feel nervous for him because there are hundreds of girls and boys pushing against the flimsy barricade. What would happen if the security guards cannot keep them back, and all these supporters trample Vincent, in the frenzy and passion of wanting only to get close to him, to touch him?
The rest of us walk in unhindered, and I wonder if this will affect the band later on, if Vincent continues to get all the attention, while the other three do not. I, of course, do not have to worry, because backup singers are easily replaceable and I have only this short contract with the band as set up and enforced by Mr. Jackson, especially now after my parents did not jump at his offer to make me famous.
I am not entitled to any royalties, or any profits. I get a monthly salary, which I cannot complain about because at my age it is a good income.

That night while I sit in the back room, my nerves are threatening to explode from my chest while the band members are full of energy, bouncing up and down and off the walls with excitement.
The stage manager comes to call us, and as we enter the stage, they announce each band member’s name with a flourish. Not mine, of course. I just sneak up, when everybody is already on stage.
When they announce Vincent, it feels as if the roof of the building lifts, as hundreds of voices scream as one. George does a drum roll and then we start singing.
We end the hour with the band’s first number one single, and it is an amazing feeling when all these people, only a fraction of the entire population, know every word and sing the chorus with us, word for word. I have heard musicians say this moment is extraordinary, but it is one of those situations where I had to experience it myself, to really feel the full brunt of the emotions sweeping through me.
We run off the stage after the last notes of the song fade away, and for fifteen minutes, we still hear them chanting, “We want more. We want more.”
Vincent pulls me by the arm, and I pull back uncertainly, frowning up at him.
He says close to my ear because the noise is deafening, “Come, it is our turn. We are going to perform The Great Divide now.”
I look up at him, unsure, but he nudges me back onto the stage.
We go out, and I walk straight to the piano and sit down. Vincent is so captivating and charming and I can see why they call his name, why there are posters everywhere with his name in glitter or in magic marker.
The lighting is dim and low, the stage has a blue radiance, with only Vincent illuminated, where he stands centre stage. I look at him and my heart throbs excruciatingly in my chest, it feels as if it wants to tear out of the protective pocket where it is nestled.
I look away from him and start playing the first notes of the unforgettable melody, and then Vincent joins in and sings the lyrics of The Great Divide.
When the song is finished, he yells into the crowd, “I love you,” and the roar is ear splitting.
The band is unbelievably cheerful, and everyone is bursting with energy, so we all decide to go out because we are all too excited to fall asleep.
I am ready and waiting for Vincent when he knocks at my hotel door, and when I open the door for him, he smiles at me—a smile which makes my heart agonizingly skip a few beats.
At the nightclub, we dance almost the whole night, and later when the music starts to slow down, he holds me close to him, breathing deeply in my hair, taking my breath with him. With his arms wrapped around me tightly, my head resting against his chest, I feel as if this is where I would like to be forever.
At the end of the night—early morning hours—he walks me to my hotel room and when we get to the door, he smiles at me and then abruptly pulls me closer to him. 
Without any resistance from me, he places his hand affectionately on my cheek, and I reach up to him and I kiss him as if this is our last kiss. I kiss him with an enthusiasm beyond my years.
After what feels like the shortest moment in time, but ecstatically long, he slowly moves away from me. He leaves me gasping as he walks away and then turning around, walking backwards, a smile playing across his lips, he says, “I bet you didn’t know this, but you are breaking my heart.”
I smile back at him, sadly, and then slowly I turn and walk into my room. 
I clutch onto the blankets covering me once I get into bed and I cry. I wonder how my life would be without him because he would take everything with him.

Continue Reading CHAPTER NINETEEN

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WHEN WE LOVE
First published in eBook on August 30, 2010

Text copyright © Lynette Ferreira
Interior Formatting & Design: BellaTrix Books
Cover Design: Marshmellow_Pillow
All rights reserved.

The moral right of the author has been asserted.
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