(Previous post: Regret)
There was only a mild applause coming from the gathered crowd of teenagers. Latricia didn’t expect more, not with the song she picked to end her performance with. It was a piano ballad she wrote days ago, thinking heavily of her failed relationship with her high school boyfriend Mika. She did step away from the piano and bowed to the audience avoiding to look at either her mother or her manager who were both seated in the school’s auditorium where she had performed.
She knew they had expected her to play only the songs they picked, songs that would help sell her potential future album better and imprint her image into the minds of impressionable teenager listening to her today but she wanted to play this song. For her. That is what music was supposed to be about, the soul of the performer, not the pocket of the listener.
She knew her mother would say it was too early for her to do that, that would come later once she had gathered a following. Hazel, her manager, would as usually agree. Latricia was sick of that. Sick of being the good obedient daughter who did nothing for herself.
She told her friend Chiquita as much the other day while they were at the stylist’s. Latricia had to see Luther Prentiss to help her pick an outfit for today’s performance and she was happier to go with her friend than with her mother.
“I wish my mother was more like yours…”
“Oh please.” Chiquita cut her off rolling her eyes. “You think my parents approve of all my decisions and the life I chose for myself?” When Latricia said nothing she went on. “My dear father often reminds me how I gave birth to a bastard, forgetting how I was a bastard myself because he was so busy chasing his stupid fencing, leaving me and mum to fend for ourselves… And don’t get me even started on mum and how she feels I am wasting my life working at the cash register at the supermarket when I could be so much more…” She sighed. “They were like that even as I lay in the hospital after that stupid meteor hit… Trust me Latricia, your life is a dream compared to what other people have.” Latricia knew that. Yet she still admired her friend how she bore all this and always appeared as she didn’t even care. So she told her that.
“Well it is all in the attitude my dear friend, if you let people stomp on you they will. You must learn to stand up for yourself, to go after what you want. Look at me I listen to all that and yet I still work at the supermarket, I raise my Jilly alone, for now at least and don’t give a fuck at what my parents or anyone else ever says. And I know people talk, this is a small town.”
Latricia took all this to heart. That is why she played the song she did. And that is why she called Mikha’il right before the show. Her hands were shaking and she felt like she was about to be pushed from a cliff to a raging sea. But this was her life. She had it in her hands and she alone had the power over it. Not her mother and not her fears.
Mikha’il didn’t answer after four rings. She was about to give up, take it as a sign when he finally did. “Officer Kerry speaking.” He said in a businesslike voice. It was hard to picture him in a police station, surrounded by other cops, fighting crime, but that is who he was now. That was the life he choose. She introduced herself quickly before her voice failed and at once the formalities were dropped. “Well that is a surprise.” He said. “Unless this is work related, in which case you should have called the station instead of my cell.”
“It is not work related.” There was a brief pause after that. “I actually wanted to ask you… Well I am playing at our old school later today and I wanted to know if you would come. I am not sure I can have guests but screw it… I want you to be there.” She felt better as she blurted it all out. Also a little swearing helped as well. She was feeling more like Chiqy already, bold and rebellious.
“I don’t think I could make it, not today. I have got afternoon patrols…” Mika said sounding sorry. Or so it seemed to Latricia, she couldn’t really tell anymore. Maybe it was just her hope and desperation making her see something that was not there in a blatant rejection. At least he didn’t outright laugh at me… She tried to comfort herself as they ended the conversation in the usual pleasantries.
All that however was just a little too much rebellion for Latricia so when the show ended she sneaked out to the female locker rooms, changing quickly and sneaking out of the school’s back door instead of going to face her mother and Hazel. She planned to run home before they even notice her gone, she knew she would have to face them eventually, but she had no strength left, not today.
She had barely made two steps when she notice a man watching her. He was wearing a dark police uniform and his hat partly hid his face but she knew him in a instant.
“Mika?” She said surprised as he came closer smiling weakly.
“You came after all.”
“Not in time for it all… I heard just the last song. It was… Beautiful… And very powerful. It has been a while I guess, since I last heard you play the piano.” He added and she smiled.
“I wrote it for you.” She said softly. It was not a time or a place for holding anything back. He was there, Mika was actually there, he heard her song. And that should have been enough. The song was her heart laid bare. It was regret and sorrow, and it was love.
“For me?” He asked trying to smile but failing. He must have been afraid she thought, afraid of her breaking his heart again, like she did last time. But then the roles were reversed, he was the one giving out his heart and she was the one afraid.
“Well yes. Who else would it be for? You were always the one who made my hear sing…” She stepped closer to him. When he did this he got on his knee. He also had a ring. She had only her intent, and it was a strong one. She would not falter. “I made mistakes in the past, we all do, I have been stupid, and selfish, and I hurt you. I can’t promise I won’t make any more mistakes, but I promise to try to be a little less stupid, and a little less selfish.” Another step closer. “I know now that I love you, I know that I made a mistake, and that you have every right to hate me for that.” Another step brought her so close that they were almost touching, oh how she yearned for that. But she was not done yet. “I want to promise that I won’t ever stop making up for what I did. I want to spend my life doing just that. If you say yes, if you say you’ll marry me.”
His eyes widened and he opened his mouth as to say something but failed. The sun was setting in the background, the sky was a lovely shade of pink. Yet Latricia hadn’t seen it. She was on edge waiting for just one word. Whatever it was, she just wanted to hear it. Mika however seemed speechless. He closed his eyes and leaned closer to her. She didn’t waste a single moment.
She leaned in as well and they kissed. It was a sweet kiss. Sweeter than any they had ever shared. And Latricia wanted it to last forever. They eventually parted however and when she looked at him he appeared to have tears in his eyes.
“Was that a yes?” She asked quietly.
“You know I loath to admit it… But you did the whole proposal thing slightly better.” He said breaking into a smile. Latricia did too. “And yes. This was a definite yes.”