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Since Infinity Chapter 4

by Daenyss


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.

It was Grammy nominations day, and I was avoiding my laptop, tv, and phone like the plague. I didn’t want to know if I had been nominated or not, or if the boys’ band, If Roses Rain, had been nominated.

A knock came on my bedroom door. “Lauren Smith!” Cullen yelled. “You’ve been barricaded in there for three hours, stop this madness!”

I groaned. “No! I don’t want to know who was nominated for the Grammys!”

“I could just tell you, then you would have to listen.”

“You wouldn’t.”

“But I would.”

“All I care about is that I’m performing Mercí, then we’re performing our duet, which we have yet to name.”

“So you’re just gonna go into the Grammys blind about who’s nominated,” he said in disbelief, and I could see him shaking his head even though the door was closed.

“Sounds about right,” I confirmed. “What are we naming our duet?”

“Uhhhh...hadn’t thought that far.”

“Me either.”

“How about I Know What You Hide?” he proposed. “Long, I know, but it’s the best title I can think of for it.”

I smiled, thinking about the song and the name as a pair. “It’s perfect.”

“Then there’s the title. Can I come in now?”

I groaned again, getting up from my bed and unlocking the door for him. “Yes.”

He stepped into my room and then came and sat on my legs.

“Was that necessary?” I questioned, glaring up at him.

“No,” he smarted back.

I rolled my eyes, and he sighed.

“Why are you really holed up in here?”

I curled into my pillow more, smelling my own tears that had soaked the pillowcase the previous night. “I’m just kind of out of it.”

Cullen stretched out next to me, taking my hand in his. “Is this about yesterday? Our conversation about Asher?”

We had talked yesterday when we got home about what I was going to do about Asher. I was scared out of my mind to face him, but I thought about him, loved him, missed him every day. Cullen suggested talking to him, but I vetoed that. I suggested hiding under a rock, but then he vetoed that.

I nodded slowly, and he sighed loudly, kissing my forehead. “It’s gonna be okay, I promise. You two are gonna work everything out.”

“But what if we can’t? What if we never fix things?”

My friend groaned and grabbed my phone from my nightstand and opened it. “I’m tired of hearing you go on and on about this, and I’m tired of him being mopey. Either you talk to him or I make you.”

“Right now?”

“Yes,” he answered, giving me a hard stare.

“You’re gonna have to make me, then,” I told him, burying myself deeper into my pillows and blankets.

He shrugged. “Fine by me.”

Within seconds, he had my phone ringing, and the stress of having to face Asher again had me about to have a panic attack. Sensing this, Cullen took my hand once again, squeezing it. “It’s gonna be okay.”

I nodded as Asher’s voice came through the speaker. “Asher Axton.”

I looked at Cullen and mouthed “I feel sick.”

He squeezed my hand again before returning to the phone. “Hey Ash.”

“Cullen, buddy, how are you? It’s been a while since you left.” I could hear his smile through the phone.

“I’m great, Norway’s awesome,” Cullen answered, smiling.

“That’s awesome. Have you checked the Grammy Nominations?”

“Nope. Nobody in this house has seen them.”

“You’re not alone?” Asher seemed genuinely confused at this.

“Nope.”

“Who’s with you?”

“The artist I’m recording with and her housemate.”

“Ohhhh, makes sense.” I saw his brow unfurrow, the wrinkles in his forehead smooth. I saw his back relax, his posture slump slightly as the tension left it. I saw everything he was doing right now, remembered from a secret past I now missed so dearly.

“Yep.”

“So who are you recording with?”

“That’s actually why I called. She has something to talk to you about.”

“Oh cool. Let me talk to her.”

I shook my head furiously, covering myself completely in blankets and curling into the fetal position.

“She’s hiding. A bit skittish sometimes.”

“Oh.”

Cullen pulled the blankets off of me, then placed the phone next to me. “Talk,” he ordered.

“No,” came my muffled response. “I’m just casually not an existing being at the moment.”

“Who is that?” Asher asked, his tone implying that he had heard a ghost.

“Someone who needs talk to you,” Cullen replied in a pointed tone that seemed to shove me towards my phone.

“Cullen?”

“Yes?”

“Who are you recording with?”

“Me,” I whispered softly, uncurling and taking my phone from where it sat next to me on my bed. “Hello Asher.”

“Ash?” I whispered, suddenly even more uncertain about this than I had been. I shifted nervously in my mound of blankets as Cullen slipped out of the room.

“I’m here.” His voice was thick and raspy, filled with emotion. “I’m right here.”

That was all it took for me to break down. I missed him so much - I had since I left - and for the first time I allowed myself to truly feel that. The tears that fell were thick and fast, and through the phone I heard his tears too.

We cried together, separated by an infinity of distance but joined as if we were in each other’s arms. I wished I could reach out and touch him, wipe his tears, feel his embrace. I needed it.

“Where are you?” he managed to rasp through his tears.

“Norway,” I sobbed.

“I’m coming. On the next flight.”

That only made me cry harder. “I miss you.”

“I miss you too.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Why did you leave?”

I took a shaky breath. “I needed time, and nobody wanted to give me that. They just wanted music, album after album, song after song. I was a pawn to them, an avenue to more money.”

He sighed, and I saw him run his left hand through his hair, his thumb grazing over his hair instead of tangling in it. I saw every slight flex and relaxation of his muscles, the rise and fall of his chest. “Oslo airport?”

I shook my head, then remembered he couldn’t see me. “I’ll send my jet.”

“You have a jet?”

“Yes.”

“Since when?”

“Since I needed a way to travel undetected,” I sighed, wiping my tear-stained cheeks.

“How soon?” he asked, the desperation in his voice matching the desperation I felt.

I pulled up my texts and texted the pilot to prepare for a flight to Oslo, and then texted Asher the address. “Right now?”

“Really?”

“The pilot needs an hour to prepare for the flight, but yes.”

“I need to see you again.”

“I need to see you too,” I whispered, burying my face in a pillow.

“I’m gonna go pack up. I’ll see you soon?” He asked, as if he needed reassurance that this was real.

“Eleven hours. I’m counting the minutes,” I whispered back.

“Me too.” He hung up the phone, and I continued to lay on my bed, savoring the moments I had spent with him.

Cullen reentered my room a few moments later to find me smiling and staring at my phone.

“Did you two talk?” he spoke gently, coming to sit next to me.

I nodded. “He’s on his way.”

“Seriously?” Surprise dripped from his voice and covered my room.

“We need each other.” I checked my phone. “He’ll be here in ten hours and fifty-seven minutes.”

My friend rolled his eyes. “You two,” he sighed, “I never understood how you worked, but you did.”

I laughed softly. “That’s all we had to do.”

He smiled. “I’m glad you two are fixing things.”

“Me too.”

“Can we check the Grammy Nominations now?” he asked, his voice slightly pleading and his eyes like a young puppy.

“No.”

“Pleeeeeeeease?”

“No.”

He sighed. “Want to rehearse?”

I shook my head. “I’m gonna go find Ana. We haven’t had girl time in a while.”

He nodded and the two of us got up, going our separate ways once we reached the door of my room. Where I headed downstairs to find my friend, he headed up to the gym to do whatever he did in a gym. I had never been under the impression that he worked out, but things had, apparently, changed since I had been gone.

I found Ana, and before long we were heading out on one of the hiking trails on my large plot of land, enjoying nature and smiling and laughing as if there was nothing that could ever dampen our spirits.


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62 Reviews


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Sun Mar 25, 2018 8:31 am
AliceinBluue wrote a review...



Alright alright alirght! Alice is back back back again to knock your fourth chapter out of the green room! Let’s get started, shall we?

First up, the parts of your story that I enjoyed!

I love the way you described the crying scene. The idea that someone can cry with someone even though their thousands of miles away, it really spoke to me. Like, that idea that sadness and grief can branch across distance the way that happiness does to connect people is fascinating. I honestly love that part and wished there had been more of you just describing how their sadness connected them. Again, I love how close Cullen and Lauren are allowed to be without being in a relationship, they’re friends, and they don’t NEED anything more to their friendship.

Next up, my critiques!

I think it’s a bit weird that Lauren wrote the duet, and they’ve apparently been working on it for a while, but it’s still not named. It just seems a little weird to me, maybe if you moved this into an earlier part of the story or if you mentioned that they were struggling to figure out a name earlier instead of having it come out of nowhere four chapters in? In fact, that happens a few times in the story, we learn the name of Cullen’s band for the first time in this chapter, last chapter, there are names dropped that we had never heard of or since. I just throws off the flow of the story. Also, the characters talk a lot about what has happened instead of what it happening. They keep referencing past events, even if the past event was just the other night, it’s not happening to them in the moment, it has happened to them and we learn about it after the fact.

Overall, I think this was a good chapter and I am very interested in seeing what happens next, and if I am not mistaken, we are coming to the end of our story! Let me know when the last part is posed! Can’t wait!!!
-Alice




Daenyss says...


Thanks so much for stopping by! I loved the crying scene myself, it was so much fun. And as for your critiques, I based how Lauren wrote songs on how I write them - the song comes first, and then after I've worked with them for a while, I name them. It doesn't make sense to some, but it works for me.

Also, one of the major conflicts of this novel is being stuck in the past vs. living in the future. She references things in the past so much because that's where her mind is, and it'll cause her problems with other characters later on.

Thanks for reviewing!

P.S. - If you're waiting around for the last chapter, you're going to be waiting around for a while! It's true that this plot arc is coming to a close, but so many others are beginning soon!



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Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:30 am
Sujana wrote a review...



Though I'm not a big fan of romantic fiction, though I've always found the existence of them fascinating. Since more than a few of my friends are basically connoisseurs of the online type of the genre, I've had the occasional brush with it, though none of it is quite as good (in the traditional fiction sense, that is) as this, and very few of them have the air that these four works have given me thus far. I think that's why I like it better than most, because it feels unique and it has a freshness to it that I can't really describe.

But before I get into that, hi, I'm Elliot, let's get into reviewing some basic nitpicks.

I nodded slowly, and he sighed loudly, kissing my forehead. “It’s gonna be okay, I promise. You two are gonna work everything out.” (...) "My friend groaned and grabbed my phone from my nightstand and opened it."


Right, so I think I get that the relationship between Cullen and the protagonist is a little more lax, and I'm willing to pass on the 'kissing forehead' bit for a friend, but I just meant to call attention to this due to the fact that normal friends (at least mine) don't really kiss each other's foreheads. I suppose the closest you can have as an equivalent is maybe hugging, but if you want to keep the kissing bit, it's nothing particularly major and may be left in.

“I’m great, Norway’s awesome,” Cullen answered, smiling.

“That’s awesome. Have you checked the Grammy Nominations?”


I don't know, I'm more of a style and flow rather than grammar guy, so when I see two words springing up a paragraph within each other I get the hives or something. Maybe change one of the 'awesomes' into another word, like a casual 'cool'.


I took a shaky breath. “I needed time, and nobody wanted to give me that. They just wanted music, album after album, song after song. I was a pawn to them, an avenue to more money.”


Another really minor nitpick, maybe change the first sentence into "I took in a shaky breath." Otherwise I wanted to call attention to how nice this is--having a protagonist in a work like this that has a bit of character to them, a sense that she's a real person that exists and has feelings and wants to do things and has aspirations and thoughts rather than a stand-in or an audience surrogate. It's oddly refreshing, though I suppose there's nothing wrong with an audience surrogate character.


I found Ana, and before long we were heading out on one of the hiking trails on my large plot of land, enjoying nature and smiling and laughing as if there was nothing that could ever dampen our spirits.


Another unnecessary comment: if something horrible happens after this, I've called it, because nobody ends a work on a happy note without using it to contrast the Catastrophe that's about to happen on the next work.

Right, so back to my review. Overall I found the work amusing, not particularly great, but not mind-numbingly boring either, the latter of which is how I usually find myself going through all romantic fiction. I suppose what I found interesting was that the main character seemed to have more...well, character than I expected in the beginning. The thing about first person perspectives that usually sets alarm bells in my head is that most of them have narrators that are about as interesting as white bread, so I liked the fact that once I got out of this I could describe the main character in more than a few words--stressed out, anxious, thoughtful, talented, conflicted, that sort of thing. However, I've seen better uses of the first person perspective to emphasize the narrator's personality, and as far as this one goes the use of first person is basically interchangeable with the use of third person. (The most recent work I've seen utilizing First Person to its heights is the Fey Conspiracy: Part One by Evander, though the main character seems to have a very different personality from the protagonist here, though a lot of tricks the author employs may prove useful to you. I'll just link here: The Fey Conspiracy: Part 1 )

I didn't have a great grip on any of the other characters, though, which is something I shouldn't be saying after four parts. I know less to nothing about Ash other than the fact that the main character and him used to have a thing before the events of the story, and Cullen is a supportive friend, but so is Ana (though I admit she's a bit spicier). The center of the story feels like it's weighing on the main character returning to her old friends and finally confronting Ash after years of absence, and yet I don't have any clear memories of them being together or why they'd feel close to each other. I'm not asking for a flashback, maybe what I'm asking is Cullen or the main character bringing up an event that happened in the past that seems mundane to most people but holds a layer of sentimentality to them (like, I don't know, they watched a seagull throw up together).

Still, this was pretty good. I liked it. Keep up the good work and tag me in the next part, if possible (or if there is a next part, maybe this is the ending and I missed it).

--Elliot.




Daenyss says...


Oh, my friend, this is far from the end! In fact, this is just the beginning! I see where you're coming from with most of your critiques, and I'd like to say that I wrote this like someone was hearing Lauren tell the story - she opens up more the more she tells it! In the later chapters, you'll definitely see more personality from her.

One more thing, I classify this as dramatic fiction instead of romantic fiction because there will be drama with ALL the characters over the course of the novel. I understand that right now it's focused on the romantic side, but as soon as Asher arrives, there will be DRAMA!!

Thanks for popping by!




Democracy! Bah! When I hear that word I reach for my feather Boa!
— Allen Ginsburg