Letting Go

After being brutally abused by her father and outcasted by her classmates, seventeen year old Keller Alvidas is glad and even relieved to spend her last year at Edge-of-The-World, the sleepy small town she grew up in. Everything changes when the Gabriels, a group of orphaned teenage boys arrives. They break all her rules about meeting new people but they too have secrets and when the truth comes out Keller has to decide wether to let go and save herself or to continue to be dragged through everything she wanted to run away from, all for one chance she might never get.

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23. Divide and Conquer

Keller's P.O.V

"So this is the city that never sleeps," I say in awe as I stare at the bright lights and neon signs. We drive down Broadway street. The pavement shines like a thousand candles as people whiz by in a hurry to get to wherever they're headed. My face is pressed against the glass of the window as I soak up the sights. Times Square's is suddenly straight ahead and we're hit with a whirlwind of ads, mainly for LG, Coca-cola, and for movies. I gaze up at all of them, the bright lights reflecting in my eyes while Will takes a turn and parks behind a grimy fast-food resturant. Everyone shuffles out and hits the pavement.

"We're here everyone," yells Ian and there are cheers all around. After staying in a cramped van for almost six hours everyone was happy to get out and enjoy ourselves for the night. 

"How're we supposed to make it through all of New York in one night?" asks James.

"Divide and conquer!" screams Ed.

"We'll all meet up here at midnight and drive home, okay?" asks Will and we all nod. Ian and Lorena run off first, hand in hand followed by Will and Ellis. James, Ed, James and I decide to walk around before exploring the parties. The streets are jam-packed with people. We bump into stuffy businessmen walking home after a long day of being stuffed in an office, dreamers strumming away on their guitars hoping for a big break, and scantily clad women holding on their IDs hoping to seduce the bouncers into letting them inside the clubs. We run by them all, everyone turning into nameless faces as we rush to a destination we don't yet know.

"Where are we going?" I ask as we catch our breath outside a all-night flower shop. My dress doesn't feel restricting at all now, the snug fabric around my waist feels like water as it cascades down to hit just above the knee. I'm happy I chose boots, if I wore the black heels Ellis wanted me to wear I just about would have died. I snag my hairtie off , releasing my unruly locks but I run my hand through it and it looks infinetly better. I look up, a sign catching my attention. Simple Plan, in town now! it reads and my eyes water in excitement.

"Exploring," is all I get out of Ed a while after as James slips into the shop.

"What are suddenly so happy about?" asks Al with a laugh.

"Simple Plan! They're having a concert right now," I nearly squeal. My smile falls once I realize I don't have tickets. "I wish I had tickets," I sigh.

"It's New York kiddo, we don't need tickets," replies Ed as he puts an arm around my shoulders.

"So we're supposed to sneak in?" I ask skeptically.

"Of course, everyone does it. You need to loosen up a bit," he says putting his dimple on display.

"But it's not fair to the artist," I argue.

"That's what albums are for," Al cuts in.

"You want to see the concert, you come with us," Ed states. There's nothing wrong with it, I reason. I flash a quick smile and join them into the taxi patiently waiting for us on the curb.

"Wait, wait!" yells James just in time. I flick my head to see him running towards us.

"Thought you could ditch me, didn't you," he smirks.

"Next time, buy things faster," complains Ed, "What did you buy anyways?" He doesn't answer and instead looks my way.

"I realized that I never bought you flowers before," he says shyly in my direction. I blush.

"But I couldn't afford it, so I took a picture of it," he laughs giving me his camera with a picture of a bouquet of daffodills on it. I lose my breath and a laugh bursts from my mouth. Nice, but I can joke around too.

"Aw, that's sweet. Now I have something for you," I say sweetly. He slips his eyes shut and I put the camera lens against my lips. I snap the picture and stick the camera against James' face.

"I realized that I never kissed you before, but I didn't feel like it. So I took a picture," I laugh and I toss the camera back at him. The guys laugh at James shocked face and I pull him inside the taxi so we can get a move on.

"I'm sorry," I say after he hasn't said anything in a long time.

"No, it's fine. It was pretty funny," he chuckles. We drive towards Madison Square Garden and see the hordes of fans struggling to get inside.

"How in the world are we going to get in?" I ask after  the taxi drives away, leaving us to fend for ourselves.

"I have an idea, everyone form a circle around Keller. Follow my lead," says Al mysteriously. We take our spots waiting for Al to put his plan to action.

"Popstar coming through, everyone. Move aside," yells Al authoritively.

"Make way," adds Ed.

"Move aside," says James. I maintain a serious expression on my face as if I've done this a thousand times. The confused looks on everyone's face makes me lose hope but then they start talking animatedly and glance my way. I catch phrases like 'I have her album' and 'I have tickets to her concert this summer' and I smile. They are actually buying the popstar thing. People start asking for my autograph and I happily sign a few although it amounts to next to nothing. They snap several photos of me, thinking I'm famous, before we all escape inside.

"They bought it," I laugh.

"I know, they don't even know your name," joins Al. We all gather inside to see Simple Plan preforming This Song Saved My Life off their album 'Get Your Heart On!' We sneak up to the front row and jump move to the rhythm, feeling the beat in our bones and letting the feeling of ecstasy fill me up, not wanting it to let go.

---

"That was amazing!" exclaims Ed.

"I know right," I agree. The little bell above the door jingles as we walk into the coffee place across the street. The place is nearly empty and we find no need to lower our voices. The dim lighting provides a relaxing atmosphere and the cool draft is reviving my warm skin.

"What happened to 'it's not fair to the artist'?" imitates Al. I smack him on the shoulder and take a seat in one of the red booths along the wall. The table is layered in dust and I drag my finger across it and shudder.

"That was before," I reason.

"Whatever," he replies rolling his eyes. A bored looking waitress scurries up to us and we all order four iced cappuccinos.

"Hey what time is it?" asks Al. James looks over at his watch.

"11:30," he answers.

"Want to go to clubs while we still have time?" he asks. I shake my head. Random people pushing against me? Not my type of crowd.

"I'm up for it," agrees Ed. James luckily stays behind with me while the two walk out the door.

"Why didn't you go with them?" I ask taking a sip of the coffee. It's flavourless but the ice in it is bearable and I place a cube in my mouth.

"Didn't feel like it," he responds.

"I would've been fine," I shrug.

"Sure,  I know you down to your bones remember. You wouldn't have been fine," he says.

"Yeah, about that," I say.

"What?" he asks.

"I just wanted to say thanks, I really wouldn't have been fine. It's nice to have someone who knows you," I say.

"Well your welcome, it's nice to have people like you here," he says slipping into the seat beside me. All of a sudden I don't feel shy anymore, I don't feel the need to hide my face and blend in because James is here, he knows me and I know him and with him everything feels better. We're suddenly dangerously close and the fear comes back. Fear of being abandoned at the last moment. I entwine my arms around his neck.

"Are you going to run away again?" I ask refraining from getting too caught up in his shining blue eyes.

"Not if you don't," he answers. I smile one last time and we find each other like two puzzles pieces and he leans in. The same anticipation and desire courses through my veins like before but a new warm sensation fills my brain and when we finally start what James stopped last month. The new warm feeling grows and spreads to the very tips of my being until it's all that's left, until it's all there is.

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