Date: Sun, 4 May 2008 16:01:08 -0700 From: Cody Kramer <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Because of You Chapter 1 Authors note: I want to thank all of you for reading the prologue and sending me the emails. I've gotten so many from all of you and I think it's safe to say that you all want the story to continue. Well wait no more, because here is chapter one of `Because of You', enjoy! --C.J. As always, emails are appreciated. Whether its comments about the story, constructive criticism, or you want to say how you think the story should go. I enjoy reading your emails. So drop me a line at: email@example.com A little over a year has passed since Brian's encounter with Chris and it's safe to say that things haven't been going so well for Brian. Shortly after he walked away from Chris, he was called to court. Turns out, Chris's teenaged boyfriend convinced him to press charges against Brian, and in the court settlement, Brian's rep was trashed. Chris didn't take anything from Brian, except for his dignity. Since that court case, everyone was afraid of him. People at work treated him differently; people shied away from him as he walked down the street. He even went on one of those dating websites to find a decent guy out there for a change. But the second he meet the guy, he was a no show. Turns out even people on the web heard of him and his little out rage on Chris. Now everyone thought he was too violent to be around. "Personally I think you should just let it go, screw what the rest of the world thinks!' "You don't understand what it's like; hell not even complete strangers will look at me when I walk down the street!" "So get him back! I can help you; I've got a million great ideas on how to make guys like him pay!" Lynette was one of my closest friends. We've been friends since Junior High and all through High School and have been through several dating disasters. She's always been protective of me and was always set out to defend me against my loser boyfriends, considering she's dated guys like that before as well. She was considerably good looking; long blond hair, hazel eyes, and a body that most women would kill for. "No, it's better to just let it go." "No it's not! Do you remember what this guy did to you?" "Yeah, I remember, and I'm trying to forget." "My point is, he cheated on you with some twelve-year-old, and then dumped you for him! That's really low." "Yeah I know, I got back at him for it, and he sued me!" "Yes but he didn't win." "Yeah but he still destroyed me, damn it's not fair. Why do the bad guys always win?" "Not always, just keep your head up, you'll find someone out there. He might even be around the corner, and the second you meet him...bam! It'll just happen." "Yeah, not with my luck." We walked on for a while, just taking in the sights and sounds of the river front. My condo was on the top floor of the new high rise buildings in town, and with the way things have been going, I wasn't going to be living there for much longer, not unless I could come up with two months worth of rent by the end of this month. About an hour later, I said my goodbyes to Lynette, and went up to my apartment. I had an audition tomorrow night for the American Idol charity event coming up in about two weeks. And if I made it into the performance, then my big break wouldn't be too far down the road. I had to buckle down, and work on my song. But of course, like always, I couldn't focus. My mind kept wandering and eventually I gave up. I walked over to the balcony and watched the last little bit of light leave the sky as the stars came out. Down below, there were people lined around the block to get into the new club in the building behind me. I couldn't help but think about how simple their lives must be compared to mine. Nothing to worry about, no problems right now, just out having fun with their friends, I couldn't help but think about how that should be me. I was kinda lost in thought when I jumped at the sound of `The Hardest Thing' starting to play from across the room. I walked over and answered my cell phone. "Hello?" "Hey, come to the balcony!" "And I'm looking for what...?" "Just look down... see me?" I looked down, totally confused as to where she might be among the hundreds of people down there...at least until I saw the skinniest girl jumping up and down like a fool. "Oh hey, there you are...Lynette, what are you doing here?" "Well I went home and was totally bored out of my mine!" "Okay?" "And then I thought, what the hell, so I got dressed, I look great, now buzz me up so I can come and work on you!" "What are you talking about?" "We are going to go to the club and do what we've always talked about doing." "And what's that exactly?" "Uh duh, go looking for guys." "I don't know Lynette..." "Oh come on! What's the worst that can happen?" I thought about that and decided that she was right, so I hung up and hit the buzzer. Seconds later she was in my front door whisking me away to my bath and bedroom. "Okay let's see what we've got to work with." She said as she opened my closet and started tossing things around. "Jesus Brian! Don't you have anything good to wear?" "Lynette you're making a mess!" "Well if you had something decent to wear then I wouldn't be making a mess!" "I do have decent things to wear." "Pssh, yeah okay." She said as she turned and went back inside my walk-in closet. "Hey!" she shouted walking out and holding one of my favorite, white button down shirts, that kinda had a western feel to them. "Finally something we can work with!" She tossed the shirt at me and told me to put it on as she went back to the closest. Seconds later she returned with my favorite pair of jeans. "Okay, put these on." I just stood there. "What?" "Um do you think you could give me a bit of privacy, please?" "Oh god, it's not like you've got anything I haven't seen before." She walked over to me and started to pull off my shirt. "Hey!" "Well if you would do it yourself." "Fine! Damn you can be so pushy." "I know." She said with a smirk and she walked in to the bathroom. I quickly got dressed, tossed my old cloths into the hamper and walked over to her in the bath room where she stood standing with a comb and my hair gel. "Dare I ask?" "Just sit down." She said pointing to the chair she set up in front of the mirror. When she was finally done, I took a second to catch my breath and turned to look at myself in the mirror. "Wow." Normally I think I look great when I style my hair, but she took it to a whole new level and I loved the way I looked. For once since the court case I finally looked presentable. "I know I'm that good, now lets go!" She grabbed my wrist and pulled me out the door. Waiting in line really wasn't as bad as I thought, considering we were in the front door of the club in seconds. I'll admit that even though I've lived in the building behind this one, I have never been to the club before. It was on the top floor of the building, completely dark except for the neon that glowed around the walls. I was just beginning to enjoy myself when all of a sudden; the DJ stopped playing the music and made an announcement to the whole club. "Alright, alright, settle down people. We got ourselves some special entertainment for tonight...is there a Brian Parker in the house?" I froze right where I stood, and my heart began to beat like crazy, I swear it was about to fly right out of my chest. I turned to Lynette who had a `surprise!' sort of smile on her face. The spot light froze on me. "Ah there he is! C'mon up Brian, it's your time to shine, baby!" The crowd started to applause as people were pushing me to the stage considering I couldn't make it on my own. I wanted to just turn around and run right out the door, back to my apartment and jump into bed where I could hide under the covers. I had definitely fantasized about getting up and performing in front of a bunch of people when I was just listening to my ipod. But here and now, this was actually happening, I couldn't do this. I just stood at the foot of the stage. "Brian, C'mon, get up there!" "Lynette...I can't..." "I knew I'd never get you here if I told you my plan, but you've always been saying how you want to make it big as a singer, this is your chance! Think of it as a chance to get ready for the audition." "Lynette, I don't even have a song ready to perform!" "Sure you do, I got the CD from your apartment with that song you wrote. The DJ has it; the beat is all laid out, now just get up there and sing!" Her hand was on the center of my back as she pushed me up onto the stage. I reluctantly climbed the few steps and was suddenly facing the crowd of people as the spot light shone bright into my face. The applause died down, and the beat started playing through the speakers. I mentally counted down the beats to the first word. But as my cue came and went, I couldn't bring myself to sing. I just stood there, frozen, my hands shaking, and sweat started to drip from my forehead. Somewhere in the back ground I heard someone laughing, and I couldn't take it. I jumped down and made a dash for the door. Behind me I heard the DJ fire up a beat almost immediately, and Lynette was shouting my name. But I couldn't stop. I was so embarrassed. I just wanted to get out, get to my apartment, and pretend like the whole night never happened. The cool air felt amazing against my sweat soaked skin as I made it to the outside. My mind was racing, my heart was hammering, and I could barely catch my breath. All I could think about was getting as far away from anyone was possible. "Brian! Brian, wait!" But I couldn't and I knew she was catching up to me, so I broke out to a run. I couldn't go back to my apartment, because I know she'd look for me there. I turned left and started running down the river front. I looked back to see if she was following me and ran straight into something that knocked me flat on my ass. Dazed and confused, I looked up to find out what knocked me down. Turns out, it wasn't a something, but a someone. As my eyes looked skyward, they stared right into the most beautiful set of hazel eyes I've ever seen, and they were looking right back into mine. "Whoa there, sorry about that, you okay?" "Wha...huh?" He laughed. "C'mon," he extended his hand. I just looked at it. "It's just a hand." He said. "There's really no point on lying on the cold cement." I slowly extended my hand and grasped his. He had a strong grip, and I noticed the muscles in his arm flex as he worked to pull me to my feet. Standing upright, I looked around when a rush of dizziness swarmed my head and I felt like I was about to fall to the ground again. "Whoa! Careful, I think you might have hit your head. Here, take a seat." He grabbed my arm and started walking me towards a bench. I sat down, and he took a seat right beside me. Thinking a little clearer now, I looked over to him and fully took him in. My first impression was that he was short. No more than 5'6, he had short brown hair spiked up in the front, a well defined body, and an earring in his left ear. Damn this guy was gorgeous! "Better?" he asked. "A little." I managed to say. "Wow you got a pretty big bump on the back of your head from where you fell. Are you dizzy at all? Any nausea? Headaches? Trouble breathing?" "No, I don't think so, then again the headache thing does ring a bell." He laughed again. "Well you did take a nasty fall to the sidewalk." I had to laugh with him. "Yeah, that would explain it." I said, feeling the back of my head. "Is it bleeding?" "Nah, I don't think so," he said, lightly running his hand over the back of my head. "Just a nasty bump, the swelling should go down soon." He had the most amazing baritone voice I've ever heard. "I'm Brian, Brian Parker." I said, extending my hand. He took it. "I'm Andrew, Andrew Walker." He said, imitating me. I laughed again. He smiled. "But you can just call me Drew." I caught myself starring at him, taking all of him in. He was incredibly handsome and sweet. My heart started to race again, and the feeling like I could run a marathon entered me as I realized he was still holding my hand. "And you could just call me Brian." I said, imitating him back. He blushed and smiled, I blushed and looked away. When I turned back to face him, I met his gaze and he held it before looking away. "So, where do you live?" "Top floor of the second high rise." I said, pointing. "Ah, really? Must have an amazing view." "Yeah, it's alright, you want to come up and see it?" "Hmmmm," he said, pondering my question. "maybe another time." He said with a smile. I smiled back as he walked me to my front door. Of course we decided to skip the stairs and took the elevator to the top. "Well, I guess this is goodbye." I said, standing outside my door. "For now...and actually it's goodnight." He grinned, what a smart ass. He let go of my hand, I had forgotten that he was still holding it the entire walk back to my apartment. As he turned to leave, the question that was burning in my mind for the past five minutes flew right out of my mouth. "Can I see you again?" He stopped and looked at me. "Of course." "What's your number?" He just smiled back at me. "I know where you live, I'll come and see you." He said and he turned and left. I walked through my front door, went to my room, and collapsed on my bed. A huge wave of disappointment rushed through my body. There was the most amazing guy I've ever met, and I let him get away. He was never going to see me again. I got undressed, crawled beneath the covers, and leaned over to turn out the light. Just before I did though, a single tear fell down my cheek before I wiped it away. I never thought of myself as someone who cry's. I always made myself to be stronger than that. I quickly wiped it away, turned out the light, and rolled over to face the opposite wall. Thoughts of Drew filled my mind as I slowly drifted off to sleep. To be continued... Disclaimer: `The Hardest Thing' by 98 Degrees is property of Universal Records. All rights reserved. Found on the album 98 Degrees And Rising.