Moments Missed

Disclaimer, babe: Don't own The Inkspots or any part of their music. I don't own cheap Chinese restaurants. Basically, anything you recognize, I probably don't own.

"There is no way in hell!"

Sitting back on the couch was my best friend, smiling but putting her hands up in defense. She should be, asking me to do this... this... horrible thing. She sighed, delicately placing a hand against her forehead. We were in no way related, but we were closer than sisters. Wouldn't you be, after being friends with someone for over ten years? That's right; Erica and I met in our freshman year in high school and we've been best buds ever since. Even now, at twenty-five, we were still close.

But that doesn't change the fact that what she was asking me to do was insane. Well, the second part was. The real reason that she decided to visit me at my—our flat, actually—was that her boyfriend Dallas had finally popped the question. And, of course, she said yes. And not even two seconds after that, she raced over to our flat to tell me ask me to be her maid of honor. I said no.

No, I'm totally kidding. Of course I said yes! But, to spoil the moment, after that, she asked me if I would sing at her moment. Now, I'm a good singer—I've had enough people tell me that. It's just that I have the worst possible case of stage fright that a twenty-five-year-old could possibly have; I sing in front of people I'm comfortable with. And only them. But even that's not the worst part. The worst part is who my piano accompaniment is: Vincent 'I-Can-Sleep-With-Any-Woman-I-Want' Paxon. That arrogant son-of-a-bitch ruined my brother's wedding when he slept with the bride. I will admit that I always knew Michelle was a whore, but it's just as much of his fault as well. And it wasn't just that Vincent slept with Michelle; it was that the day before the wedding, he went up to my brother and told him, pretending to be the "bigger man".

Whatever, I bet his penis is three inches at most.

And he hates me too. For a lot of reasons, but probably mostly because I told his boss that Vincent was moving away and therefore couldn't accept the job as vice-president of the company. Boy, was he pissed the next day when he came in and someone was sitting at his desk. Don't feel bad for him though, because he found a new job the next day. But it serves him right for ruining my big brother's wedding. After that, I went to his girlfriend of ten months and told him that Vincent got me pregnant.

That made him angrier. His fault that he dated an idiot.

"C'mon Chase, please?" Erica begged, crossing one leg over the other and leaning forward to clasp her hands together. She pouted at me, so I pouted right back. Yes, my name is Chase. Chase Charlotte Weston. Everyone but Erica and my family calls me Charlie. Except for Vincent, but he's an asshole who no one really cares about. "Pleeeaaasseeee? It's my wedding, Chase. I want it to be perfect and I want you to be in it. Please?"

With a sigh, I finally gave in. As soon as I nodded, Erica jumped from the couch and tackled me in a bear hug, sending both of us crashing to the ground. "Oww," I groaned, pushing my brown-haired friend away. Before she got up, I grabbed her shoulders and told her, "But you owe me like a billion Lipton Green Teas." She grinned at that and got off of me. Before hopping back up, I laid there on the ground.

What I didn't tell you was that Vincent and I used to be friends through elementary and middle school. In high school, he just began acting like an asshole. I tried to make our friendship work, but eventually I got tired of being blown off and just stopped talking to him. It sucks to lose your friends, but I did meet Erica that year. As I was pushing myself off the floor, I heard Erica's cell phone begin ringing from the couch, though there was no phone in sight. I sighed before going over to the large couch and pulling out the middle cushion, tossing it to the side as I picked up Erica's phone and answered it.

"Hello?" I asked. When I heard Dallas's voice on the other end, I quickly told him to shut up for a second before hollering, "ERICA!" Because she was standing about three feet away from me, she jumped before glaring as I grinned and tossed her her cell. Instead of listening to the couple have phone sex, I decided to make myself something to eat. It was about eleven o'clock and I was getting hungry. When I got to the kitchen, I suddenly felt a wave of pure laziness crash over me.

"Erica, we're going out to eat," I announced, grabbing my wallet and phone. She nodded as she continued to speak with her boyfriend (now-fiancé) on the phone. As the two of us walked out of the flat and into the elevator, I caught half of the conversation she was holding. It wasn't eavesdropping because 1) she was less than two feet away from me and 2) we were best friends. Plus, the elevator ride was like two minutes long, so I didn't hear all of it.

"She said yes!" Erica squealed with a bright grin on her face. Seeing her so happy made me remember how she and Dallas met in college. At first, she hated him. Well, she used words like abhor and detest, but I'm not an English major like her. I was pre-med (now I'm an oncologist—not the most uplifting job there is), so I use simple stupid-people words like hate and good and ugly. Anyways, back to the Dallas and Erica drama. The three of us met at a party in our junior and Dallas was as drunk as fuck. Originally, he began to hit on me. He had slung an arm around my shoulders and kissed my cheek (sloppily, I might add). It was, in one word, disgusting.

But Erica was laughing her ass off. She thought it was so funny that darling ol' Chase was being hit on by a drunken man who basically licked her face. When he heard her laugh, Dallas turned to her and told her that he loved her. Then he tried to grab her ass. Erica hated having people grope her, so naturally, she punched him in the face. I had to tend to him, me being all pre-med and all. While I was making sure he didn't have a concussion, Erica's then-boyfriend came over and broke up with her. Something about being afraid if he touched her, she'd kill him. Which was total bullshit since Erica was PDA-prone with her boyfriends. Just not strangers.

Anyways, she blamed Dallas for it and almost dragged me away from that party. Somehow he had gotten her room number because three days later he showed up at her dorm with a bandage on his head. When she answered the door, his hand suddenly shot out and snipped off a large chunk of Erica's hair. I found this hilarious, being on her bed at the time. After Dallas left—calmly, I might add—Erica slammed the door. I tossed her a pillow and she shrieked into it for about ten minutes. After that, I helped fix her hair.

Now-a-days, she wears it up whenever she answers the door.

But after the punching and hair-cutting incidents, Dallas became a good friend of mine. He used to come to me for advice on girls and stuff. Actually, he still does. But when he told me that he thought he was in love with some girl whose name I forgot and I passed that onto Erica, she cried. I didn't exactly know why, seeing as the two hated each other. Turns out, Erica had been in love with him ever since he turned up on her door step sober. I discretely told Dallas about Erica's feelings and he asked her out.

I also may have told him that his original dream girl was a lesbian, but that's beside the point here.

So, they've been dating for over six years and it's about damn time that they got married. Dallas is honestly a great guy when he's not smashed. Except for his taste in best friends. You may have guessed it; Vincent is Dallas's best friend. Apparently, the two hit it off in high school. At least someone male liked his assholic attitude.

But all of that is beside the point because my best friend Erica Danielle Maller is getting married! Suddenly, Erica hugged me from the side as we were walking out of the elevator and into my car. "I'm so glad you're doing this," she told me. I hugged her back and replied, "I wouldn't do it for anyone else." We pulled apart and grinned at each other before driving out of the parking lot. Automatically, I began driving to the nearest cheap Chinese restaurant. I had been craving it for a while.

A few moments later, Erica and I were seated at a table with orange chicken, noodles, and fried rice in between us. Right as I was about to place a piece of chicken into my mouth, my phone began to ring. I rolled my eyes before dropping my chopsticks onto my plate and answering my phone. "Yeah?" I asked. I didn't bother to check the caller ID and immediately regretted it when I heard Vincent's voice. I narrowed my eyes. "Why the hell are you calling?"

"How rude," he replied, chuckling. "I only wanted to check up on my singer."

"How nice for you," I replied sweetly before snapping my phone closed. If I knew Vincent, and sadly I did, he wouldn't call back. He didn't like having to work for things, which is why our friendship fell apart so easily. Sipping my Lipton Sparkling Green Tea, I pushed away thoughts of him. Mmm. I love Lipton. Especially their green tea. When I looked back up from my drink, I noticed Erica's raised eyebrow.

"So, things are going well for the two of you?" she asked, clearly amused as she lifted a forkful of rice to her mouth. She knew about the whole Vincent situation. How we were great friends for such a long time before our friendship ended in high school. How he ruined Collin's (my big brother) wedding and how I ruined his job and his own relationship. And she definitely knew how much I hated him. But Vincent is the best damn musician we know.

"Oh yeah," I replied, chewing my orange chicken. "We're closer than ever." Erica smirked but left it at that and soon we were talking about her wedding plans as we finished our food. She told me how scared she was and I told her how stupid she was for being scared. It was kind of strange that in a few months, Erica would be Mrs. Stanton. Strange to me, not to her. Besides being scared, she was having the time of her life.

"And we've already picked out the date!" she exclaimed as we left the restaurant and got back into my car. "It's April thirtieth, so you better save that day or I will kill you." I grinned at that. Today being December twenty-seventh, that gave Erica and Dallas a five month and three day long engagement. Plenty of time to plan a wedding. And I'm not even being sarcastic.

Vincent and I are in my piano room, pretending like the other doesn't exist. Before you think that we're being immature, it has been three months since Dallas's proposal. During those three months, whenever he came over to my house, I slammed the door in his face or pretended I wasn't home. If I went over to his place, he would purposely have a girl over and send her to open the door.

And I'm not even being petty saying that. I've actually heard from inside his apartment, "Vincent? Why do I have to get the door?"

And that's how the two of us spent three months. We probably would've spent a longer time doing that, but Erica's turned into a worrisome freak over the wedding. Earlier that day, I actually called Vincent and told him to get his ass over to my flat. I hate him, but Erica deserves the best.

So now, I am actively ignoring him by flipping through my song book, pretending to still be choosing. I already knew what songs I was going to sing. Well, I knew what band I would be choosing my songs from, at least. And I knew I was going to sing If I Didn't Care by the Inkspots, originally.

Well, maybe it's not that appropriate for a wedding. But it was the song that got us hooked to the Inkspots. We heard it in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and we fell in love with it. Then, being the obsessive girls that we are, we went online to find the lyrics and ended up falling in love with The Inkspots. This was all about three years ago.

Combined with the fact that Erica has this weird hatred for the regular wedding march, she's going to march down at aisle in her pretty dress to The Inkspots. Maybe to some people, that's considered weird. To us, it's perfectly fine.

And that is why we're best friends, ladies and gentlemen.

"Okay, so who the hell are The Inkspots?" Vincent asked, breaking the silence thing we had going on. I looked up from my song book and raised an eyebrow at him. Really? He was going to ask me that?

"You don't know who they are?" I asked in return. He shook his head at me. "Seriously? 'I don't want to set the world on fire'?" I sang. It was probably the most well-known song (or at least tune) by them. Vincent blinked once.

"No," he said slowly, moving to lean against the piano. "But you do have a lovely singing voice."

When I felt my cheeks heat up, I turned back around and flipped through my song book. Stupid asshole. The only reason he said that was to make me blush, and I knew it. To distract and cool myself, I uncapped my Lipton Green Tea with one hand before picking it up and putting the bottle to my lips.

"That's going to give you cancer," Vincent stated in his smartass-voice. What he said made me frown; I've been obsessed with this delightful green beverage since I was seven and he's been telling me that since I was eight. The fact that he said that seventeen years later made me wish that we were still friends. But, then again, you don't get everything you ever wish for.

Taking a sip of my cooled drink, I put it back down before turning towards the black-haired man sitting in my piano room. Seeing his smirk made me want to hit him. Hard. But, being the mature adult that I am, I calmly closed my song book before walking over to my collection of music books and grabbing my Inkspot book. Call me obsessed, but they're a damn good band.

"Here," I said shortly, walking over and placing the book in his hands. I don't care how much I hate him; there is no way in hell that I'm damaging my music book. "Look through it."

For a few wonderful moments, Vincent was silent. Then he said: "All of these songs are the same, Chase." I rolled my eyes. I've actually given up on making him call me Charlie.

"Your point?" I asked with a frown. I knew that already; why does he need to say what's obvious? They're still a damn good band. He raised an eyebrow at me before flipping through the pages. I took that opportunity to make a face at him. Yeah, it's immature and childish, but I'm only twenty-five. I can still be a kid when I feel like it.

"What songs are you going to sing?" Vincent asked as I was taking another sip from my drink. When I shrugged, he sighed before putting my book aside. "You don't know?"

No shit, Sherlock. That's usually what a shrug means. "I haven't decided," I told him. "Erica said that there's going to be a long aisle at her wedding, so she told me to pick out two songs for that. Then there's the time before Erica's supposed to enter, so that's another song. And then the reception, which is about five songs."

"Thank you," Vincent said dryly, "but I still need to know what songs you want to sing." Have I mentioned that Vincent is the best man? Because he is. Oh, the irony is not as sweet as you'd think it'd be.

"I'm working on it. We have two months, after all."

"Okay, so you have my song book? Good. Where the hell are the flowers!? No, not those! The blue ones. How the fuck am I supposed to know where they are? I just got here for Christ's sake. I swear to God, if you keep asking me where the flowers are, I will jump from this platform and strangle you. That's red! I said blue. I will seriously murder—Vincent Christian Paxon, you put me down this instant or I will embed my heels into your balls."

Vincent scoffed. "That's pleasant," he spoke, walking off with me slung over his shoulder. "You really need to calm down, Chase." I frowned and crossed my arms.

"You need to calm down," I shot back childishly. It was Erica's wedding day and I'll admit, I was being a bit of a Maid-of-Honor-zilla. Erica's my best friend, dammit. She deserves the best wedding possible.

"Wait, wait, put me down here," I announced, tugging on the back of Vincent's suit jacket. I pointed to one of the "vanity tents" set up for the outdoors wedding. Instead of listening to me, Vincent just kept walking. I sighed; if there was one thing that never changed about him, it was his habit of completely ignoring what I say.

By now, our friendship had kind of repaired itself. I guess that's what happens when you spend every day together. That, and when your big brother calls you to tell you that he forgives said friend and won't be able to make it to the wedding because he and his new girlfriend were in Australia. I hadn't expected Collin to call me, but I'm kind of glad he did. It was like closure for him.

"Vincent, where are you taking me?" I asked, still being carried like a sack of potatoes. "The wedding is in a few minutes." No response. "Stop ignoring me, dammit!"

With that, he deposited me onto the ground. I stared at him expectantly for a few seconds before demanding, "Is there a reason why you've brought me here?" It wasn't a very exciting place to be; it was just kind of secluded from the rest of the party.

"Chase." Vincent grabbed me by my upper arms and pulled me towards him. His green eyes stared straight into my own blue ones as we stood there. It was about three minutes before he and I had to perform and he was wasting time in the forest? What the hell is wrong with this kid, I'll never know. I mean, appreciation of nature is great, but Vincent had the worst timing. I gave him an exasperated look before hissing, "What are you doing? We have to be out there in less than three minutes!" And, of course, he ignored me. What a shocker.

"You look beautiful," he told me quietly, brushing a blonde curl behind my ear. "You always look beautiful." His fingers lingered there before Vincent dropped them and left the little area. I was standing there with my mouth wide open. How dare he spring something on me like this! I raced out of the little secluded area as fast as I could in my heels, my eyes trained on his back. Did he just like making me upset? Before I could tackle him or even yell at him, it was time for the wedding to start.

When I got to the little stage, I glared at Vincent, who ignored me, pretending to be studying his music. Yeah, right. Like he couldn't play it with his eyes closed. Though, if he did that, I would have to kill him. Still, I didn't like how his words made my heart beat faster. I didn't like how I thought he meant it. I didn't like not hating him. Friends was one thing, but this whole confession bit was moving to fast for my tastes.

But it was time for Erica's moment. So I closed my eyes before taking a deep breath and reopening them, positioning myself in front of the microphone as Vincent began to play the piano. My heart began to race—oh shit, oh shit, oh shit. I had forgotten what stage fright felt like, as strange as it was. I took a few deep breaths, swallowed, and thought of Erica. This is her moment, I told myself. Just get over it!

I took in another deep breath through my nose and let it out as the piano cued my part.

"Never thought I'd fall," I sang. "But now I hear love call. I'm getting sentimental over you."

Well, at least they're enjoying it, I thought dryly, watching the wedding guests smile as I sang. It gave me some confidence, though my singing didn't change. It wasn't a long song, anyways. Around two-three minutes, but it gave Erica enough time to make any last minute adjustments.

That was the plan, anyways.

But as I sang the last word and Vincent played the last note, there was no appearance from the bride. I clenched my teeth briefly before glancing over at the waiting groom. Dallas looked just as confused as I felt, and when he met my gaze, I saw the question that we were all thinking: 'Where the hell is Erica?' Oh crap, I thought, reaching down to my hip.

"Oh, excuse me," I spoke into the microphone after "accidentally" ripping off the large bow that was slung on my hip. "Gotta go get this fixed." I waved with a charming grin before hopping off the stage and practically sprinting towards the vanity tents. I hate heels, I couldn't help but thinking as I pushed open the flap to the middle tent and stepped inside.

Erica looked surprised to see me. "What are you doing here?" she asked as I came over to sit next to her on the desk.

"Erica, it's your wedding. What are you doing here?" I asked, touching her lightly on the shoulder. Unlike my dress, hers had a halter top, but her shoulder was still bare. When her hazel eyes met mine, I saw fear and uncertainty in them. "What's wrong, Erica?"

"I don't care," she told me softly, staring straight at me. I blinked before waiting for her to go on. "When I think about—about our future and our kids, I just don't care." She stood up and began pacing the tent.

"Erica—" I began, but she cut me off.

"And now, when I think about Dallas, I'm not even sure that he's the one!" she exclaimed, throwing her arms up. "Isn't the person you marry supposed to be perfect? Isn't he supposed to give you—give you that feeling that he's made for you? Is there something wrong with me, Chase? Because I don't feel anything right now." Then she came over and swallowed hard. "Am I supposed to feel like this on my fucking wedding day?"

I stood up and pulled her into a hug. She didn't move, but I began to speak. "Erica, listen to me. You're twenty-five; you don't need to worry about children for at least another few years. My mom had me when she was thirty-eight—that's thirteen years from now." I felt her move to hug me back. "And Erica, I can't judge your feelings. To me, I think Dallas is the one for you."

"But he's not perfect," I heard and felt her mumble into my shoulder.

"Of course he's not perfect," I replied. "But he's perfect for you." I felt her start to cry. Thank God for sleeveless dresses. "Yeah, he's not made for you, but no one is. Plus, I bet if he was perfect, you'd get tired of him really fast." She choked out a laugh and I smiled. "Erica, you're not going to marry your dream guy, that I can tell you." I held her at arms length so that she could hear how certain I was. "But you are going to marry the boy that you met—we met, actually—in college. The boy that was drunk off his ass and slobbered on me." Erica smiled a wet smile, tears still streaming down her cheeks. "The boy who chopped off your hair when you answered the door.

"Erica," I said firmly, "you're going to marry the boy that you fell in love with over six years ago. You're going to marry a man who loves you very much, and is willing to put up with the fact that you are a complete mess."

She sniffed before moving against my shoulder again. "But what if I don't love him, Chase?" Her voice was very small. "What if I've fallen out of love with him?"

I wrapped my arms around her. "Then you can't marry him," I told her. She nodded into my shoulder before I added, "But the least you can do is tell that to his face."

"Should we call him in here?"

I laughed at that. "No, you should walk down that aisle."

Erica sniffed and I could tell that she didn't want to argue. "I need to wipe my face," she told me, pulling away. I wordlessly handed her the bow I ripped off my dress. She eyed it before raising an eyebrow at me.

I grinned. "I needed an excuse to get away from the wedding."

"What happened?" Vincent asked as I returned to the stage, now bow-less.

"I had to fix my dress," I told him, gesturing to my bow-less stage. "Oh, and I'm singing If I Didn't Care."

He raised his eyebrows, but turned the pages of the book to what I hope was the song. Turning over my shoulder, I met Dallas's gaze again. I winked before turning to the audience and opening my mouth to sing just as Erica appeared in her entry way.

"If I didn't care," I sang, "more than words can say.

"If I didn't care would I feel this way?

"If this isn't love then why do I thrill?

"And what makes my head go 'round and 'round,

"While my heart stands still?"

By now, Erica had taken her first few steps, obviously dreading the altar. I honestly didn't know if this song could change her doubts, but it worked pretty well on Delysia in the movie. Then again, she was the one singing it. But besides that, I knew that if Erica didn't marry Dallas, she would regret it. And I couldn't let my best friend become a coward and not show her face at her own wedding either. So, instead of watching her and putting more pressure on her, I closed my eyes as I sang the next few lines.

"If I didn't care would it be the same?

"Would my ev'ry prayer begin and end with just your name?"

Listen to this, I begged Erica, my eyes still closed.

"And would I be sure that this is love beyond compare?

"Would all this be true if I didn't care for you?"

When I opened my eyes, Erica was a few feet in front of me and the mini-stage. As I turned my head to watch her, she turned her head over her shoulder. When she saw me looking at her, she smiled. 'Thank you,' she mouthed before turning to Dallas. From the way her mouth moved, Erica mouthed 'I love you' to Dallas just as I turned backwards for whatever reason to look at Vincent.

My mouthed dropped open when I saw him staring directly at me. Swallowing, I quickly turned my head back to the front and finished the song as his earlier words rang in my mind.

"You look beautiful. You always look beautiful."

"Would all this be true," I sang softly, "if I didn't care," I glanced over my shoulder at Vincent, who was still looking at me, "for you?"

What the hell was that about?

Even though Erica almost left her groom at the altar and nearly ruined the rest of her life, I do love her.

Mostly because she had the caterer bring box after box of Lipton Green Tea; sparkling, berry, diet, all of them. The rest of the wedding went on without a hitch after the whole freaking-out part was over. I sang 'To Each His Own' as Erica stepped onto the altar and then I practically sprinted off the mini-stage to stand next to her as she and Dallas exchanged their vows.

After the rings and kiss, I ripped my best friend away from her new husband and smothered her into a hug. Vincent, being the emotionally-distant best man that he is, just clapped Dallas on the back. When our hug was over, Erica shoved me into the crowd of bustling women, anxious to catch the bouquet. I didn't catch it, but when Dallas threw Erica's garter into the crowd of men, it landed straight into Vincent's hands.

How awkward would that have been if I was the one who caught the bouquet?

I can't believe Erica is a Missus now, I thought as I climbed up the stage for the reception. You'd think that people would get tired of my voice by now, but apparently not. When I (casually) turned to look behind me, I watched Vincent briefly run his fingers over the piano keys when it hit me: now that all this wedding crap was over, we probably weren't going to see each other. Ever. I wouldn't be able to make time for him because of my job, and he wouldn't bother because Vincent had always hated having to work for things.

It's not like I'm sad about it, I thought, still staring at the pianist until he suddenly looked up to meet my gaze. I felt my face heat up (allergies, obviously) so I turned back towards the crowd. I noticed Erica giving me a smug look. I stuck my tongue out at her before Vincent began to play.

I sang 'Memories of You' and 'I'll Get By' (both being last-minute changes to the original song list) before someone came up to me and told me I could take a break to go eat. Did I eat? Not really, but I did drink a lot of Lipton before I remembered what Vincent had said.

"You look beautiful. You always look beautiful."

Yeah, that's definitely something we need to talk about. After I downed my glass, I went on a search to find the black-haired man. And as I was searching, I thought about him. Well, not just about him, but also about how good of friends we were when we were little. How we knew almost everything about each other. How easily our friendship crumbled in high school. And how this wedding changed all of that.

Oh, shit.

Finally, I found him. He was standing and talking to the girl who caught the bouquet. I know this because she elbowed me quite painfully to catch it. Involuntarily, I winced and rubbed my ribs gingerly before marching up to him.

"We'll be right back," I told the woman before grabbing Vincent's arm and dragging him. I didn't have a set destination in mind, but I did want to have this talk in the most private place I could find. So I kept walking and dragging the large monstrosity that is Vincent Paxon until I found a nice little spot with rose bushes and a Weeping Willow tree. I briefly checked to make sure no one was linger before dropping Vincent's arm and crossing mine over my chest.

"Is this payback for what I did earlier?" he asked, flexing his arm with an amused expression on his face. Seeing that made my throat tighten a bit, but I ignored it as he moved closer to me. "Or are you trying to seduce me?"

Our bodies were less than three inches apart when I demanded, "Were you being serious?" Damn him for being so tall. Even in my heels, I only reached to his shoulder. I tilted my head up and stared at him right into his stupid green eyes. What he said had rattled me, so I needed to know if he was being serious or just fucking around.

"About what? You seducing me?" he replied, moving even closer with a smile playing on his lips. This is not funny. I narrowed my eyes at him.

"No, you idiot," I retorted, rolling my eyes. "About what you said, before the wedding? Remember?" I am not risking my pride by repeating those words. In fact, the prick would probably just act like I was saying it to him. He would pretend to be flattered and charmed.

I knew that because I knew him.

Vincent smirked. Obviously, all this was just a game to him. "And what exactly did I say?" he asked, coming closer again so that his lips were barely an inch away from mine. This is what he turned into in high school. This was why our friendship fell apart. And, apparently, this was why it can't be fixed. I knew him. I knew him too damn well to even think that he would change. He changed in high school, and I guess that's how he's going to stay.

"Fuck you," I told him. My eyes were turning red and I felt tears gathering. My throat was closing and my chest ached. But even with all of that, my voice was strong. "Fuck you and all your stupid games." I shook my head at him, still staring him in the eyes. "I'm done with this. And I guess I'm done with you."

I knew him. I knew him, I knew him, I knew him.

So why did I feel so disappointed?

"Hey! I was wondering where... you... Chase?" Erica said, her first few words considerably brighter than her last. Immediately, she broke apart from Dallas's embrace to come over and hug me. I didn't have to look up to know that Dallas was looking at me with a concerned face; I knew him, but not as well as I knew Vincent. I knew Vincent more than Erica. Maybe even more than Collin, I thought as I returned Erica's hug.

"Chase," she said softly, rubbing my back as I leaned against her shoulder. If I wasn't so upset, I would've found it ironic that, about an hour ago, I was the one rubbing her back. "Chase, what's wrong?"

"... I don't know."

My voice was hollow. As hollow as I felt. I wasn't really crying—tears were streaming down my face, but I didn't feel them. I felt numb, actually. I didn't think it was so bad, but Erica apparently did because she pulled me into a tighter hug as Dallas left and walked off towards the food stand.

"Oh, Chase," Erica spoke softly. Her tone reminded me of how I sometimes spoke to terminally-ill patients or to their families. Not exactly the most uplifting thing to think about during a wedding. As Erica released me, her new husband returned with a bottle of Sparkling Green Tea. I smiled mirthlessly at that, murmuring a "Thanks" before accepting the bottle.

A woman touched me on the bare shoulder. When I turned, she nodded towards the stage before leaving. When I turned back towards the new couple, both of them were regarding me with worried expressions.

"Chase, you don't have to keep singing—" Erica began before I shook my head.

"It's your wedding day," I told her, moving to wrap my arms around her after handing Dallas my mostly-full bottle. "I'll do it for you."

It's only three songs, I tried to consol myself as I stepped back onto the stage. This time, I didn't look behind me. I didn't bother to check if he had even left the little clearing. I didn't even look at the audience. Instead, I looked straight ahead of me as the music began.

"I'll never smile again," I sang, my voice the same. "Until I smile at you." This wedding is just filled with irony, isn't it? After that song was over, I sang 'My Prayer', another last-minute add-on, and ended it with 'Bless You'. I hate irony. I really do.

"Bless you, for being an angel." Last song, last song, last song, I mentally chanted as I sang. This actually was the perfect song to end a wedding reception, though I wasn't exactly in the wedding reception spirits. As the music went on and the song continued, I watched the people dancing on the floor. I watched Dallas twirl around Erica. I watched an elderly couple just sway and stare at one another.

I want that.

"So bless, you my darling, my angel," I sang as the song slowed down. "Heaven is mine and life is divine with you."

Everyone clapped as I took a quick bow before heading towards the stairs.

"Chase." Oh, Lord. Fine. I'll run. Before I could, Vincent stepped in the way of the stairs. I didn't look up at his eyes before I turned to gauge the distance from the stage down to the ground. Could I make it without ruining my shoes? Before I had the chance to find out, I felt fingers wrap themselves around my wrist. Vincent tugged me closer to him, but I still didn't meet his eyes.

"Dance with me," he said lowly. My chest ached. I closed my eyes and bit my lip; I didn't want to answer him. But he took it as an affirmative, seeing as how he called for one more song and the back-up band went onto the stage as Vincent's fingers trailed downwards until they met mine. He pulled me off the stage and into his arms as the music began.

It's different down here, I forced myself to think as Vincent led and I followed. I knew he was looking down at me and waiting for me to look up. I knew this because I knew him. Sometimes, I wished I didn't, but wishing doesn't change anything.

"Chase, please," I heard him whisper. His arms tightened around me before I closed my eyes for a second and tilted my head up to him.

"What do you want from me?" I asked, my voice barely above a whisper. "Vincent, what do you want from me? I know you. I know probably everything about you. But I don't know why you changed in high school. I don't know why you suddenly became an asshole. I don't know why you said those things to me before the wedding. And I don't know why you keep trying to play games with me.

"But I know that I'm not playing these games with you anymore. I love you, Vincent, I honestly do, but I can't sit around and wait for you to love me. I can't just pause my life and wait, Vincent. As much as I want to, I can't. And I won't." By now, I had broken apart from him and gained about a two-foot distance. I didn't care if people were stopping to stare at us, because I needed to say this.

"I miss you, Vincent. I miss my childhood friend. I miss the boy I grew up with. And I miss the man who I thought I knew." I paused to close my eyes. I didn't want to cry. I hated crying. "But I know you. And I know you won't change for me. And I know you won't work for this." I chuckled once and smiled an empty smile. "You never liked working for anything you couldn't immediately have.

"Good-bye, Vincent," I whispered, moving to kiss his cheek briefly. I looked at him one last time before I turned and began walking to my car. I was never the kind of girl who waited around for her Prince Charming. In fact, I didn't expect him to chase after me at all, so I wasn't disappointed when he didn't.

"Seriously, Erica, I'm not going to kill myself," I told my brunette of a friend. "I'll be fine. Go on your honeymoon." And then I went back to my project.

Yesterday was Erica's wedding. Yesterday was when I realized that I had feelings for Vincent. Yesterday was when Erica should have gone on her honeymoon.

Instead, she stayed up with me. We watched Comedy Central and USA all night while eating Chinese food and ice cream. Dallas offered to stay, but Erica had insisted that I needed a girls' night. Not exactly the glorified kind of partying and mindless drinking the media puts it out to be, but it was nice nonetheless. Still, I didn't want Erica to miss out on her own share of partying and mindless drinking with her husband.

"Chase, are you sure? Because I—what are you doing?" Erica asked, stopping short over my shoulder.

I looked up. "Shredding a tissue," I answered before going back to my project. It wasn't really shredding as much as it was cutting. Still, it was kind of fun.

"Why?"

"I'm depressed," I replied with big puppy eyes and a pout. My best friend laughed before hugging me. "You need me, you call, got it?" she ordered. I nodded once before saluting her.

"Bye Chase," Dallas called from the doorway. I turned in my chair and waved at the couple as the door closed behind them. As soon as it 'clicked', I began to cry. Yeah, I was kind of pathetic, but what could I do? I missed the fucker.

Maybe it's cliché, but I had never cried over a guy before until then. And it wasn't like I was crying purely over Vincent; I was crying over our lost friendship. I was crying over all that ruined progress. And I was crying over the fact that I really thought that we could've fixed it.

Mostly, I was crying because I think I just needed to cry. Ever have those moments where you just need to cry? I had a few of those at the wedding; why not let all the tears out while I have the flat to myself? As I was calming down and reaching for a tissue, my phone rang.

"Are you crying?" Erica demanded before I even said "Hello?"

"Um, no?"

"Liar," Erica accused. "Are you okay? Do you need anything?"

"Erica Danielle Maller Lancaster, don't you dare ruin your honeymoon just because your best friend is crying," I hissed into the phone before someone started knocking on the door. "Erica! That better not be you!" I grabbed a few tissues to wipe my eyes and nose as the knocking gradually increased into pounding. "Jesus, Erica, just give me a minute."

"Uh, Chase? I'm at the airport with Dallas," Erica said slowly. I raised my eyebrows.

"If you're at the airport, then who the hell is at the door?" I asked, getting off the stool I was sitting on and walking to the door. "Erica, if I scream, call 911," I told her before twisting open the door knob.

"So? Who is it?" Erica asked as I slowly slid my phone closed. Unconsciously, I dropped it onto the floor. Or maybe a couch. I couldn't tell; I was too busy staring at the man in my doorway. I blinked once, twice, three times.

"Vincent."

When he didn't move or reply, I bit the inside of my lips. He probably just came over to apologize, I thought, averting my gaze to the floor before moving to close the door and walk back over to my scissor and tissue station. I had moved it about an inch and turned in the opposite direction when Vincent suddenly moved forward and grabbed me around the waist. He moved so that I was facing him before he lowered his lips to mine. Automatically, my arms went around his neck as I deepened the kiss before my eyes snapped open and I pulled myself away.

"What the hell do you think you're doing!?" I almost screamed, darting behind a few couches to put distance between us.

"Kissing you," he said simply. I took a few deep breaths to calm myself.

"You can't keep doing this to me, Vincent," I said shakily. This all reminded me of the wedding reception. Only this time, I kept my eyes away from his. "You know how I feel. Please just... stay away from me."

"I can't," he replied, moving quickly to grab me. This time, he just held me tightly against his body. I am so short, I thought, forcing myself not to respond to the hug. I was tired of being hurt.

"And why can't you?"

Vincent lowered his mouth to my ear before whispering, "Because I'm in love with you." And before I could start screaming at him, he pecked me on the lips. "I know you said that you know me, but I know you too, Chase. I know that you have doubts about me. I know that you're going to wonder if it's worth it. I can't tell you why I changed in high school because I don't even remember why. I'm not playing games and I never was. I was teasing you, Chase. But now I'm being serious. I want you," he spoke, staring at me straight in the eyes. "I want to be with you. I love you, Chase. I love you more than anyone I've ever met. Will you give me a chance?"

I was crying again. Goddammit, this man made me cry a lot. Vincent looked alarmed at my tears.

"I love you, you idiot," I told him in a wobbly voice. "And if you hurt me again, I will—"

I never got to finish that threat of mine after Vincent's lips attached themselves to mine. That is, until my phone began to ring. We broke apart before smiling at each other.

"Oh, Erica."

A/N: I chose the title because of all those scenes that I typed up and didn't get to use. Oh well.

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