The branches and bushes were pushed out my way as I ran past them; my breath was heavy as I ran. I didn’t want to stop for fear that I’d be found. My feet ached as my body couldn’t take no more, but my heart cried to keep on going.
My white dress was torn and covered in dirt, that’s what happens when you leave the groom at the altar and the only way to run is the forest outside the country church. My mind was racing with a million thoughts, what was I doing, where was I going, what if he wasn’t here. I unraveled the note that was left in my clutch bag ‘meet me by the river my runaway bride’. I froze in my steps as I looked round hopelessly; there was no sign of him. Tears formed in my eyes, how could he do this to me? He stole my heart and took a risk leaving my finance, he wasn’t even here. Was it was lies, did he not love me?
Suddenly a figure emerged from the trees, there stood Darren Criss. I raced towards him keeping hold of my dress; he smiled as he held out his hand to me.
I had always followed the rules; I was what many would call a ‘good girl.’ I was a top grade student, never snuck out, become intoxicated or lost my virginity. Not that there was nothing wrong with being a good girl, personally I wasn’t interested in going outside my comfort zone. I was just Taylor. The girl who was raised well, live a not so exciting life and eventually settle down. Probably be the ideal wife and mother, but right now I was a teacher assistant in a local school. I had a house with my finance Russell, he was an accountant. For most 24 year olds they wouldn’t even be in my position, but if you know what you want and find it, then it can happen.
As I walked home from work in the evening, a guy with a guitar case bumped into me.
“S..Sorry!” I squeaked automatically.
The curly haired man’s warm brown eyes met mine, he half smiled, “No I’m sorry.”
I realised that I had stopped in my steps as he disappeared round the corner. I shook my head as I returned back to reality and continued my journey home.
“How was your day, Taylor?” Russell asked as he rung me during his break.
I lazed on the sofa stroking my cat, Meredith, I love Cats, I wanted another one but Russell was allergic and could about tolerate one.
“It’s been good, I mean but Matthew had a nosebleed and thought it would be great to hug me, staining my new white dress… Also-“
“Wow really.” He replied not sounding like he was interested, “I have a big meeting to prepare for. So I have to go babe.”
“Oh right okay.. See you tonight then?”
“Well I have been asked to do overtime, so I don’t know when I’ll be home. Maybe midnight again. Bye.” He said abruptly before hanging up.
I sighed as I got my dinner and sat alone at the dining table. If he was like this now, what would he be like when we were married or had children? Although the family thing was a bit early to be thinking about, considering we weren’t even married yet.
I thought when I found the guy and had the job, I would be happy. Yet I wasn’t. I loved being a teacher, I enjoyed being with the children and everyday was different. But I actually wanted to be a singer, or perhaps a writer or songwriter, anything that was a creative outlet for my feelings. Even Russell didn’t know this, I kept my poems and songs hidden in my journal, if he knew he would only put me down and call it a waste of my time. I remember when I was young I was bullied and somehow they found my songbook in my bag.
“Who’s gonna want to read these, no one cares what you have to say!” They would laugh.
I lowered my head as recalling the memory, I would throw it away, but its how I deal with stuff, so it was my only form of therapy.
My phone vibrated as I watched CSI on my laptop, I glanced at it thinking it was Russell. It was my friend Abigail; she was asking if I wanted to go out with her.
“Where exactly?” I asked.
“There’s a music night at the bar in town.” She told me.
“You can check it out if you want, maybe you could play there as well sometime. You’re really good.”
“I’ll go then, only because I haven’t got anything better to do and I wanna to see you.”
“Good I’ll pick up in an hour.”
I suddenly realised I had to get changed in under an hour, I grabbed a dress, tied my hair up and reapplied my makeup. So when Abigail arrived I was just about ready to leave.
“I envy you; you’re so grown up while I’m still figuring out what I want to do with my life.” Abigail admitted as we drove in the car.
I smiled thinly, I wonder if she knew that I was slowly realising how much I envied her. She had her own business doing what she loved for a living, whilst I was doing what was acceptable to everyone else.
As we pulled up outside the club there was music booming, I looked round nervously as everyone’s eyes were on me. This is why I hated going out, people who didn’t know me viewed me very differently from how I actually was. My roommate who went to university to me described it best ‘you look like a model but you’re actually a young grandma.’ I wasn’t too sure to be insulted or complimented.
I ignored the row of eyes staring my way, Abigail led me inside, we sat inside near the stage. It was a cosy dark club; it was quite civil and not too loud. One of the bands had just finished their set when we arrived.
A man spoke in the microphone, “Right next we have a guest performed, he came all the way from San Francisco, it’s Darren Criss!”
The audience clapped as a curly haired man stood on stage with his acoustic guitar, my heart fluttered. He seemed familiar, then I realised it was the guy who I bumped into earlier today. Abigail nudged me, “He’s cute isn’t he?”
I glanced over at her, she laughed, “Sorry I keep forgetting you’re taken!”
As he played his guitar and sung, I felt like I was taken to another world. I forgot how much I loved music, how it was a gateway to the soul. As Darren played his set he proved that he was a talented charistmatic guy, as he came towards the end of his two hours, he even took requests and played many of his own songs.
“This is called you're not alone…” He said.
My eyes widened as within two hours, I had come to a realisation and left as what was a different.
“Baby you're not alone because I’m here with you…” He sung with a passion.
My heart was pounding out my chest, as many other girls in the room felt the same. But was this just a one of crush, but was this normal? Girl who were engaged wouldn’t get caught up with a stranger, songs would usually remind them of the one who cared for. But I couldn’t, guilt raised inside of me. How could I be so disloyal? I know I had only looked at a guy, no more but for me this was new.
“Taylor are you alright?” Abigail wondered as the night was coming to an end.
I nodded quietly as Darren’s song came to an end, he bowed as the place was electric, everyone clapped and cheered. We all rose to our feet, I smiled brightly, I truly had a fun night. He caught my gaze and blown a kiss in my direction, my face blushed as I froze. He casually walked off stage and vanished backstage. I sat down as I took a breath, Abigail didn’t realise who he was blowing a kiss to. Maybe it wasn’t me, it could have been somebody sitting behind us. I didn’t let it get to my head, I got my bag ready to leave. Abigail remained still, I raised an eyebrow, “What aren’t we going?”
“I thought you were going to ask about performing here?”
I laughed nervously, “What? Abigail I’m not that good anyway. I can't beat that!”
I was referring to Darren, I didn’t have stage presense at all. Yes I played guitar but I didn’t pick one up in years, even Russell didn’t know I could play.
“I don’t know, I-“
Abigail sighed, “Stop being like that! Ever since you met Russell you’ve just shoved your own dreams to one side, I know we can ask Darren.”
“What?” I gasped.
“That guy who was just singing Darren Criss, he’ll know if you’re good or not.”
“No really Abigail..”
All the sudden, Abigail caught Darren Criss heading our direction. She pulled me along with her, she stopped in front of him.
“Oh hey.” Darren said politely.
Abigail rolled her eyes at me, I gave her a death stare with my eyes widened. She smiled at him, “My friend wants to perform her but she doesn’t think she’s good enough.”
“Ab!” I scolded.
“Oh does she?” He smirked looking at me.
She nodded, “How did you get to perform here?”
Abigail's eyes lit up, “Right okay we’ll ask the manager then.”
“He’s a good friend, come on.” He said prompting me to follow him.
I felt sick with nerves, Abigail waited as I followed Darren backstage.
“It’s okay really, I’m no good at all, she’s just forcing me to-“
“Whats your name?” He wondered.
“Oh it’s Taylor.”
“That’s a beautiful name, no need for a stage name then.” He told me.
I raised an eyebrow, he was a bit friendly, I forgot guys could be genuinely nice without asking for anything.
“But I like I said. I’m not good!” I urged.
We stood in front of a door, he glanced over at me, “I’ll be the judge of that.”
The manager was a scruffy suited man, he wore sunglasses, he was on his phone before he noticed us there.
“Oh Darren you were great tonight, you’re quite popular with the girls.. Which I see.”
My face brightened, I rolled my eyes. Did he think I was some such of fangirl he picked up?
“No actually I want to audition.” I spoke up, with a tad of frustration in my voice.
Darren smiled at me admiringly, I ignored him.The manager approached me looking me up and down.
“Do you sing?” He croaked.
I narrowed my eyes, “No I juggle, of course I sing! I'm no professional but I write my own songs and I can play the piano and guitar-“
“Okay well I can't go to the audition tomorrow. But Darren you’re staying in town for a while aren’t ya? He can hold the audition tomorrow afternoon, lets say 2pm.” He said quickly.
This was happening so suddenly, I didn't have time to process it, “But I’m working-“
The manager slammed the door behind us, I stood in disbelief. I was working in the school until three how could I take the time of on such short notice?
Darren shrugged trying to reassure me, “I know he’s a bit moody but he’s not a bad guy. Sorry if you’ve got work, what do you do?”
His eyes widened as they trailed down to the ring on my finger, “Oh you’ve got a boyfriend? He must be a lucky guy.”
Darren seemed to sound slightly disappointed, he changed the topic quickly as he picked up his guitar case and wondered out the exit.
“Well see you tomorrow I’ll wait for you no more than an hour.”
I held my hands to my chest, “Okay thank you!”
Darren was gone, I met up with Abigail and she was excited for me. My head was whirling, yet why was I so disheartened, why did I feel that I wish he hadn’t seen my engagement ring?