XXIII: A Hard Decision

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My heart stopped as I let her words sink in. Lauren shamefully bowed her head. She had her hands clenched together tightly. I didn't know what to say. I wasn't able to see her face so I can't see her expression right now. Soon I heard quiet sniffling from the girl, making me feel concerned. I immediately snapped out of my daze, instead moving closer to her and raised her face so that I look into her eyes. When her head was raised up, I felt my heart clench at the sight. She kept all her feelings bottled up and now she's letting it all out.

Lauren's eyes were bloodshot red from all the crying and her nose was slightly red as she sniffled. Her face was flushed as she cried helplessly. I swallowed the lump in my throat, feeling a rush of emotions. I cupped her cheeks and breathed through my nose. Lauren was openly crying by now, letting all her bottled up emotions out. I waited for her to calm down before we talk.

"I hate arguing with you." She says, her voice coming out as croaky and shaky. I smiled sympathetically as I brushed away the strands of hair that fell on her face. I kissed her cheek. After, I wiped away the tears on her face with the pad of my thumb. Lauren just kept sniffling and watched my movements carefully. "Me too..." I breathed out.

She stayed quiet for a few moments. She had her bottom lip in between her teeth, nibbling on it. "I'm sorry." She whispered, making me even more confused. I looked at her in confusion, "I don't know why you're apologizing. I should be the one who is apologizing to you. I didn't notice that you felt like that. I was oblivious." I replied. I fiddled with her fingers nervously, wiggling her fingers.

"But why couldn't you talk to me about it? We promised that we would tell each other whatever is bothering us". I asked. "I don't know. I just felt ashamed I guess? It was embarrassing for me to feel that way. You were getting all the attention that you deserved, the attention you were working hard for. Who am I to hold you back from your dream? If I told you how I felt, you would have worried too much. I mean, look at you. Simon Cowell wanted you to join his record label." She laughed humorlessly.

"I'm going to actually slap you if you keep underestimating yourself." Sternly, I told her with a blank face. "What makes you think you're holding me back?" I asked. Lauren looked down instead of answering. She just stayed quiet, leaving the question hanging in the air. I shook my head in disbelief. "Last week, I sang a song that I have written years ago. It was 'Bout You'." I told her. The raven-haired girl raised her head up in curiosity.

I haven't told her that the song was about her yet. She probably had suspicions, knowing that I never write songs with lyrics that I don't relate with or have never happened to me. She knows I write lyrics that means so much to me because I'm pouring all my emotions into the music that I write. She inspired me to write that song.

The song was about how I thought I was over her, but I wasn't. I couldn't stop thinking about her to the point that I stay up all night with her in my mind. I kept trying to convince myself that I was over her, even when I still felt something for her. She was on my mind 24/7, I still felt the lingering touch of her fingers on my skin, the way her lips move against mine. Her words kept replaying in my mind and that was when I realized that I still loved her.

"The song that I wrote was about you." I confessed and closed my eyes, feeling like I just stripped myself bare in front of her. Lauren widened her eyes in astonishment. "Me?" She shakily asked, pointing to herself. I nodded and bit my lip. "It was a song that I wrote after we broke up. I kept telling myself that I should let you go, but I couldn't. My heart still belonged to you and for the longest time, I kept convincing myself that I was over you. I wrote that song after realizing that still belonged to you."

"What do you want me to say after telling me all that?" Lauren stared at me, her hand clenching her shirt tightly. I just shook my head with a small smile playing on my lips, "You don't need to say anything. I'm still trying to convince you that you never held me back." I laughed as I tried to lighten the mood. Lauren nodded and ran her hand through her hair in frustration. I continued, "The same day that I performed that song, Simon Cowell was standing somewhere in the room, listening."

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