Southern Constellations

Romany Fitzgerald wishes one day to lead a frivolous and harmonic life pursuing her dreams, but first, she must complete the exhausting challenge of being an actual teenager. Romany believes her vicinity is filled with people who just do not understand, in fact, nobody understands. Most of all, there's a person she would give her left arm to avoid.

Austin Orion.

Hell-bent on bringing beautiful chaos into Romany's life, can Austin and Romany build a steady friendship on the ruins of a lifetime of hatred? This seems far too surreal for Romany, but she is unknowing of the hell and torment waiting for her around the corner; she was yet to lose possibly the most important thing she had in the world; music.
But she still has the constellations for guidance; looking for answers in a world that doesn't know the question, can Romany delve deeper into what is meant to be and follow her heart?

Did fate fall short this time?

A/N: Rated red for bad language and trauma.

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8. Eight

 

Grayson pulled up outside a ridiculously pretty courtyard, with the odd convenience store scattered around the street and the amber-tinged street lamps glowing away to themselves. This place looked worryingly expensive, and I didn't have much money on me.

"Grayson, this looks really expensive—" I gasped, turning to face him in his car, worry awash my face. He chuckled lightly.

"Don't fret, m'lady, all is paid in advance, it's been taken care of." Before I could even begin to protest, he'd gotten out of the car and opened the door for me. I took a second to admire his outfit, a smart set of tux with an elegant skinny tie.

"Wow, Grayson, this is too much." I looked at his car, how I'd not even known this guy for longer than eighteen hours, and how the restaurant was too expensive and I wouldn't be able to pay him back, and how I forgot to finish my art assignment that I needed to spend more time on, and all the other stupid things I was supposed to be doing. I started to panic, and I thought about all the things that could, would and will go wrong during the evening, starting with the panic attack I began to have.

My shallow breaths became more frequent and I had to steady myself on the door of Grayson's car. He looked at me, fear glazed his features as he immediately jumped to my side, holding me up by my waist and I tried my best to take deep breaths and regain my composure.

"Are you okay?" he soothed me, gently rubbing my side in a comforting way. I shook my head no, I was definitely not okay. It took me about five minutes to get back to normal.

I started to feel okay again. I looked at him apologetically.

"I'm so sorry—I just, that shouldn't have happened, I'm sorry, I get like this and I just can't—" I was rambling. He pulled me into his embrace and shut me up, wrapping his arms around me.

"It's okay, Romany, you look like you need a hug," He said, reassuring me, "I'm not going to let anything hurt you, you're safe with me, okay?"

I nodded and looked at him so innocently. I tried to read his emotions, what he was thinking, he was probably regretting coming up to me yesterday, then he wouldn't be here now.

"Let's get inside, you're freezing." He ordered me, and guided me inside, arm still firmly around my shoulder, sort of balancing me, mentally and physically; stopping me from falling over the edge of sanity, and stopping me from tripping over my own two feet. He was a kind gentleman, I'll give him that.

 

We got inside after my drama, and I had regained my calmness, Grayson still looked slightly worried, I just hoped I wouldn't have another episode, not now, I told myself.

We ordered food, funnily enough I wasn't very hungry after my little incident so I chose a light meal that wasn't very filling; a chicken supreme salad, with added bacon bits, let's be honest, bacon bits are the ultimate creation of man-kind. I could definitely stomach those.

Grayson ordered some kind of steak, and we talked a lot, though our conversation always seemed to swerve to my school, and the people that went there.

"What are the people like?" He asked, placing a forkful of steak in his mouth. I shrugged; what a vague question.

"They're okay I guess, you have your typical clichés I suppose; some people are nice, some people aren't, you've just gotta know who your friends are."

"And what category do you fall in?" He questioned, and I'd rather not answer to be frank.

"Uh—" I say, not sure how to let him down lightly that I'm probably not the type of girl an attractive guy like him should be taking out to dinner in fancy restaurants. "Let's just say I'm not exactly popular."

He looked kind of surprised, I don't know why he would be though, I mean, have you seen me? I'm nothing compared to those other girls you see prancing the streets nowadays.

"Well, Romany, I think you're pretty cool." He smiled a genuine smile, and it made me feel wanted. Not in a 'I want to make out with you and have sex with you' way, but a 'you belong on this earth too, y'know, and I think you're cool and this is a nice evening and it would be nice to be friends' way. This was good enough for me.

Grayson refused to let me pay for any of the dinner, which was infuriating, but I allowed him after telling him I'd have to make it up to him somehow, but he just replied, you won the bet, I lost, I pay, now hush.

We sat in his beaten up car for longer than a while in the parking lot of the restaurant, just talking about nothing and everything. He spoke of music a lot, which was good because it was something we were both passionate about. I explained to him about my love for playing guitar, which he thought was cool, and he spoke to me about how he likes to sing, but never had the confidence to sing in front of anybody. I explained how I was exactly the same. It was comforting knowing I wasn't alone.

"You'll have to sing for me one day." I tell him.

He smiles vibrantly, "that means you want to go on another date and see me again?"

I laugh a little, "That would be nice."

"Great," he smiles, and then looks like he just remembered something really important, "hey, there's somebody I should introduce you to, she's my mother's friend, she teaches guitar and does singing lessons, you'd like her, she's cool."

I smile as if my life depended on it, "really?!" I say enthusiastically, "great." I've always wanted a guitar teacher, self-teaching gets tedious most of the time, and I'd like to learn some more.

"How about Wednesday? I'll pick you up and you can meet her." He says, smiling broadly, rather proud of himself that he came up with such a wonderful idea.

I agree and he proceeds to drive me back home. It’s dark and I tell him where I live, which takes several minutes more than it should, because he takes the wrong turning several times, making me laugh.

"You have a cute laugh." He says, glancing at me momentarily and smiling.

"Um, thanks?" I smile sheepishly; I'm never complimented, so it made me glow like something else.

He dropped me home and walked me to my door, making sure I got inside safely. I wasn't sure what to say to conclude the evening. I racked my brain of things I'd rehearsed to say with Grace earlier but the champagne I'd drank make my mind a little fuzzy with warmth.

"I had a great evening." I smile, which he returns almost immediately, and I pluck up the courage to do the thing they always do in these situations in movies and books, I kiss him on the cheek shyly. And I'm not sure why I do, it just feels like my duty that after that wonderful meal with food and champagne and the chauffeuring me around everywhere that Grayson deserves a feeble kiss on the cheek.

Girl, what are you doing? Is that it? Don't you think he deserves a bit more than that? Look at the damn boy! He's staring intently at me, with a glimmer of a smile on his face, as if he's waiting for something else, something else that I'm not sure I'm supposed to be doing, and he realizes that I'm hopeless, and the moment is lost. Whatever it is I was supposed to be doing, I didn't, so he smiled, looking content, and turned around.

"Goodbye Romany and I'll see you soon."

I nod and I wait on my doorstep until he's driven off. I read the time on my phone, and it's a little after ten. Being a little later never hurt anybody. I sat on my porch-lamp lit doorstep and glanced up at the sky. The stars were twinkling at me.

You should have kissed him! I feel them say, not that silly kiss on his cheek; you should have gone for it, no regrets. You want to be remembered, right? Well do something memorable, you're only seventeen once. Start acting like it. Would you look at that, I'm getting imaginary lectures from stars now. This is a whole new level. 

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