Last Chances - Chapter 14

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*Cameron's POV*

"There's a great party at one of the guys' house. Do you want to come with?" Josh asks, following me into the kitchen.
I look up at him, "A guy's house? No thanks. I'm not invited anyway."
"The whole school's invited."
"Not me. This is the first I'm hearing about it."
"It's a word of mouth thing Cammy. I heard and I'm supposed to pass it on to someone I want to bring. You."
"Aw. As flattering as it is, no thanks. I'll just stay home with Mom."
"On New Years Eve?"

I shrug, "Sure, why not? Anyway Josh," Pulling out last night's pasta dish from the fridge, I turn to him. "If I come, you're not going to have fun. You'll be too worried that I'm alright."
"No," he answers.
Pulling back the plastic wrap, I put it in the microwave. "Yes, you will. And I don't want to come to a party with all the seniors." I grimace, "Not my scene."
"Okay. Fine." He sighs, plucking my fork out of my hand. "Stay home."
"Mom and I will have fun don't worry. We'll have a girls' night in."
"Nope. We're going out. Girls night out," mom says, walking into the kitchen.

"See?" I grin, taking the dish out and placing it on the counter. I watch for a moment as Josh digs in before trying to push his fork out and eat.
"But you're not going out," mom says, looking at me.
"She can't stay home alone," Josh pauses eating and looks up at Mom.
"I'm old enough," I say before quickly tucking in and trying to eat it all before Josh realizes.
"You can't," he's as stubborn as ever.
"She won't. I'm going out with Daniel's Mom. She's staying over at their place," Mom says.
"What?" I turn to look at her. "Hey! That's mine!" I lunge forward, trying to grab the bowl as Josh scrapes the last bite into his mouth. "MOOOOM!"

Josh grins, pasta visible in his mouth. "You want some?"
"Ew! Mom I was eating that!"
Mom shakes her head at Josh. "When will you grow up?"
"When he gets a girlfriend," I reply.
"I heard that."
"Go get ready Cameron. We'll leave soon," Mom interrupts before he can say anything else.
"Fine. But this isn't over," I glare at Josh before turning and leaving the kitchen.

"Where are you going?"
"Shopping. Then a movie at a drive in theater. After that we'll have to see."
"You really like his Mom, don't you?" I ask as Mom drives.
"She's a sweetheart! What's not to like about her? And she's gone through so much and she's still happy."
"Yeah. I know."
"Funny. Daniel never said I was coming over."
"He doesn't know." Mom throws me a grin. "Let's surprise him."


*Cameron's Mom's POV*

"Hello!" Daniel opens the front door and smiles, seeing me.
"Hi Daniel. How are you?"
"Great! Are you going out with Mom?"
"Yes, I am."
"Where's Cameron?"
I frown, watching him closely. "Didn't she tell you?"
"Tell me what?" A worried expression crosses his face before his eyes dart over my shoulder. His expression brightens and I swallow a smile.
"She'll be spending the day with you while we're out."

According to his mom, he's changed a lot. When I look at Cameron, I can see the difference and affect he's had on her. My daughter's slowly emerging, more confident of herself. I really hope they start dating. He's obviously head over heels infatuated with her. My daughter as usual is the stubborn one. As she joins us, I step inside, leaving the two of them to it.


*Cameron's POV*

"So what do you want to do?" Daniel asks, joining me in the lounge after locking the front door behind our mothers.
I shrug, "I don't know."
"They're hanging out a lot lately," he says, sitting down beside me.
"I know! They've really got along well."
"They even went out for drinks after work the other day."
"Okay," Daniel turns to me after a moment. "I have to tell you something?"
"It's more of a confession?"
I narrow my eyes at him playfully. "What did you do?"
He grins before standing up. "Come on. Follow me."
"Where are we going?"
"You've never seen my bedroom, have you?"
"And you never asked?" He glances at me as we head upstairs.

I shrug, "Thought you didn't want a girl in their. You know, to see your typical boy mess."
He chuckles, "Well, my room isn't messy. Usually." He opens a door and I follow him inside. The bedroom is huge. Following him inside, I look around. There are two beds set in the middle, a few feet apart, both of them made identically, with same bedspreads.

There are actually two of almost everything. Two desks on opposite walls by the beds, two night stands, two book shelves.

"Craig and I did everything together. We even had the same hobbies and talents."
I sit down on the bed closer to the door, assuming it's Daniel's.
No wonder he misses his brother. Everything in the room looks like it's occupied by two people.
"That's Craig's. This was his side of the room."
Gasping, I jump up from the bed. "I'm sorry!"
Daniel shakes his head, smiling. "It's alright. You can sit down."

"Yeah." He walks past me and turns around, standing in the middle of the room. "You must think I'm crazy, I've left everything as it is. Like as if he's about to walk through that door and stop short seeing a beautiful girl sitting on his bed." When I raise an eyebrow, he chuckles, "Craig was usually shy around girls."
"Unlike you." I joke, trying to lighten the mood.

"I just..." Daniel closes his eyes briefly, taking in a deep breath. "I don't know why I'm so reluctant to part with his things. To let go. Mom's been trying to get me to give everything of his away, but I just can't. She's scared, I won't move on but," he glances up at me. "I have moved on. Now. I just don't know why I'm still holding back."

Imagine Josh was around one day and the next he'd disappeared. I swallow the lump in my throat, blinking back the tears. I can't imagine my life without Josh or Mom.

"Maybe," I say slowly, standing up and walking toward him. "Maybe you're unconsciously waiting for the right moment. The right person to give it to who you think deserves your brother's things."
"Yeah," his eyes meet mine as I stand in front of him. "That's probably it."
"So what's this thing about sharing talents?" I ask, smiling.

It works.
Daniel smiles. "I thought maybe since you've told me all your secrets. According to you at least," he grins, "it's time I let you into one of mine?"
"Just one?"
Laughing, he turns and walks toward a door. "Come on." Turning to me, Daniel grins. "Don't laugh. Dad went through this stage where he wanted to start his own band?"
"What?" I ask, laughing, despite what he's said.

"Yeah. After he got married and before we came along. He swears that they were good, he and his friends. So, he turned the room in the basement of our house in Chicago into a recording studio." Daniel opens the door and I walk inside. Technically the room's really small, but the way everything is arranged, there's enough space to walk around and not look cramped. "Mom's thankful he got through that stage quickly but Dad kept the stuff. When we moved here, Craig and I got everything." I walk up to the recording table. Everything's there, every single equipment needed to record a song. "Dad insists we got our talent from him and always purposely forgot that performing is in Mom's blood." I turn to him, my glance questioning. "Mom performed in every musical at her school and took Drama at uni."

"Really? I never knew!" There is soundproof glass running down the middle of the room, with a door on the side. On the opposite side is a microphone. "So you sing?"
Daniel smiles, "Mostly just play the guitar and drums. But yeah. I'm not bad."
"Let's hear it." Smiling, I fall onto the leather chair and lean back.

Daniel shakes his head. "Maybe some other time. I've been thinking." He reaches for a file at the edge of the table and I notice that this, unlike everything else, isn't coated in dust. He pulls out a paper and holds it out to me. "That you should try out for the NY Young Talent Contest again."

"No." Glancing at the sheet, I hand it back to him. "No way."
"Come on Cameron! You've got an amazing voice!" He steps up in front of the chair. "It's a wonderful chance."
"Daniel, I can't."
"Yes, you can."
"Yes. Come on, Cameron."
"Why do you want me to?"

Daniel shrugs, leaning on the table near my legs. "I saw your expression the other day. I heard you sing."
"Cameron, what do you think of me?"
"Huh?" I stare at him, confused.
"What do I mean to you? Am I just your friend? Do you trust me?"
"Of course! What type of a question is that!" I exclaim, frowning.
"Okay. Then don't you expect me to be able to read you, to know when you want something?"

I shake my head. "It's just not possible."
"Yes, it is."
"Even if I were to say yes, Danny, the deadline's way over."
"We can at least try."
I shake my head, leaning back. "I'd have to ask my Mom and Josh."
"I doubt they'd say no."
"Why do you trouble me so much!" I exclaim, standing up.
He grins, "Is that a yes?"
"It's a maybe. I don't even have a song. I can't remember the last time I wrote a song." I shake my head. I can't believe I'm even thinking of doing it.

"Do you have to perform your own work?"
"Not necessarily. But it would be better."
"Maybe we could record you singing one of your old songs and any other song. When you get accepted, we'll have another song ready for performing!"
"IF I get accepted."
Daniel grins. "Don't worry! You will."
"And how exactly Daniel Rider, are you going to convince them to listen to my demo? New York is a thousand miles away."
He winks, "I'll get it done."
Laughing, I shake my head. "Okay. But I need to tell Anna and Dylan first. They'll be pretty upset if I don't."


*Josh's POV*

That party rocked!

I open the front door as quietly as I can and sneak inside. The house is in darkness and dead silent. In the kitchen, I grab a bottle of water and start making my way upstairs. Closing my bedroom door behind me, I pull off my jacket and toss it onto the chair. I've just changed into my shorts when there's a knock on my door.

Oops. I hope I'm not in trouble with Mom for being late!
I open the door and see Cameron standing in the hallway in her PJs.
"Hey. You're still up."
Instead of answering, she walks up to me and hugs me tight.
"Cameron? Are you alright?"
"Yes." She mumbles against my shirt.
Frowning, I pull back and she looks up at me. "What's wrong?"
She shakes her head. "Is it so wrong for me to hug you for no reason?"
"No," I reply, smiling a bit. "But if it's a hug like that then I get worried. You sure you're fine?"

Sighing, I pull her back and hug her tight. "Okay then. If you say so,"
She pulls back. "I'm just really grateful I have such a wonderful brother."
I shake my head, smiling. "You crazy girl. You crazy, beautiful little girl. I love you," she grins as I lean forward and kiss her forehead. "Come on. Get to bed."

She ducks under my arm and launches herself onto my bed. Closing my bedroom door, I turn off the lights and turn on the lamp on my desk and join her. She gets comfortable on the right, 'her side' of the bed apparently, as I stretch out.

"How was your party?"
I smile, "It was great. How about you? Had fun with Daniel?"
"Yeah," she props herself up on an elbow and looks at me. "He found my demo and poster the other day. He'd been trying to convince me to try out for the NY Talent contest again all day."
"Oh?" I lean forward. "And?"

She's thinking about singing again?
That's wonderful!
She shrugs, "The deadline's way past! I don't know if I want to. I don't know if Mom will give me permission. If it's alright with you."
"Of course, it's fine with me! You can sing day and night continuously if you wanted to and I'd be happy."
"Thanks Josh. But I don't know."
"Think about it. You don't have anything to lose. And we'll all support you, you know that."
"Yeah, I do."
"Do whatever will make you happy."
"Thanks Josh." She lays her head down on her arm and watches me.

"What?" I ask, chuckling.
"Daniel had a twin brother, you know."
I sigh, nodding. "Yeah. I heard about the accident a while back. It must have been so hard for him."
"Yeah. It was. It still is."
"Is that where the hug came from?" I ask after a beat of silence.
"Yeah." As I watch, her eyes take on a faraway look before she blinks and returns.
"You really like him don't you?" I ask, "I mean, as a friend. You two are really close."
"Yeah, we are." She smiles, biting her lip and I watch her closely.
"Closer than Anna."
"Yeah." She looks up at me. "I can confide in both of them. But Daniel... He understands where Anna can sympathize and I sometimes need someone to get riled up with me you know? If I'm upset at something, he'll get upset as well, at least, he won't try to cheer me up. Anna would and that's not wrong, it's just sometimes I need someone to agree and feel horrid with me." She chuckles, "do you get it?"
"Yeah, I do. So would you say you're closer to him than me?"

Her eyebrows shoot up and she looks at me incredulously. "Are you kidding? Josh, if I didn't make it clear to you five minutes ago, you mean the world to me okay? And not in that whole romantic mushy way. In a 'if-I-was-in-a-crisis-and-there-was-just-one-person-I-could-turn-to' way, it would be you. I know whatever the circumstances, you'd drop everything and help me. You know me inside out."

"I know." I smile, turning on my back and glancing at her. "I just wanted to see your reaction."
She rolls her eyes and settles down.
"Why don't you date?"
"Because there's only one girl in my life. You."
"Yeah, whatever. Why don't you? Really?"
"Josh! I'm serious!"
"So am I. I don't think I've been more serious in my life."

She groans, "Don't you think about it? Aren't you interested in anyone?"
"Yeah, really. Maybe someday I'll come across someone who really interests me. I'll let you know."
"You probably won't get her then. She'll make you chase after her," Cameron grumbles.

Laughing, I turn toward her. "You would like that wouldn't you? To see your big brother all tied up over a girl!"
She grins. "I'd love it!"
"What about you?"
"What about me?"
"Got anyone in mind?"
She surprises me by actually hesitating before giving an answer. "You'll be the first to know when there is."

Smiling, I watch as she stares up at the ceiling. Her eyes slide shut minutes later and I watch as she falls asleep. She said when, not if. Knowing Cameron, that's a big enough change for me to know there's something going on. She mumbles something and turns on her side, facing me, and sighs.


*Cameron's POV*

Adjusting my headphones, I glance at the glass separating the room. Daniel's bent over his recording equipment, fiddling with something. Dylan's leaning over his chair and talking to him.
Anna glances up and holds up a finger, before nodding. As the music starts up, she smiles encouragingly.

We've been recording my demo for the past hour. Daniel's been saying the song and my voice are great from the beginning, but Anna and Dylan have been a little harder to please and I've been finding faults as well.

This is the last try.

Daniel grins as the music comes to an end. I can see Anna clapping but I can't hear a thing through the soundproof glass. Removing the headphones, I let out a relieved sigh as Daniel opens the door and walks in.

"Hey. You alright?"

I shoot him a grateful smile, taking the bottle of water from his hand. "Thank you." Gulping down half of the bottle's contents, I look at him. "Yeah. I'm fine. How was it?"
"It was great from the beginning! The question is, are you pleased with it? Come, listen."

He leads me out and Anna plays the song, grinning widely.
I'm not bad.
"It's great, isn't it?"
"Yeah, it's not bad?"
"Not bad?!" Anna stares at me. "Cameron!"
"Okay, okay. It's great!"

She comes forward and engulfs me in a hug. "I'm so excited! When are we sending it?"
"As soon as I can." Daniel smiles, leaning against the table.
"But guys, the deadline's way past. And they're really strict."
"Chill!" Dylan loops an arm around my shoulders, squeezing them. "Danny said he'd do it. Don't you trust him?"
"Of course, I do! I just don't want to get too excited and then be disappointed."
"Don't worry. It'll be fine."

"So you're not angry with me?" Daniel asks once Anna and Dylan have left.
"Angry with you?" Sitting down on his bed, I cross my legs. "Why would I be angry with you?"
"For bullying you into trying for the contest."
I laugh, shaking my head. "You didn't bully me Daniel. I agreed remember?"
He smiles, turning his desk chair around and straddling it. "I know! I just hope everything works out smoothly. I mean, you sing wonderfully, all the other aspects."
"Don't worry," I shoot him a grin. "I trust you."

"So what do you want to write about?" Daniel asks, sitting down next to me.
We're in his bedroom trying to come up with a song on the chance that I do get accepted.
"I don't know!" I groan, rubbing a hand over my forehead.
"Hey, don't worry! We've just started."
"We've been at it for nearly two hours Danny."

He smile encouragingly, holding out a plate of chocolate chip cookies. "Have some. Let's take a break."
Sighing, I lean back against the foot of his bed, taking a bite of the warm cookie. "Mm... These are great!"
He grins. "Mom just made them. These could hold all the inspiration we need."
Laughing, I look at the cookie. Sitting on the floor in Daniel's bedroom, I ate a cookie and found a way out of the gloom. I sing and he throws back his head and laughs.
"I told you! That's fantastic!"
"Sure would win us an Emmy."

Chuckling, he reaches for his phone, which is ringing. "Wish it were that easy!" He glances down at the screen and his face lights up. "Hey Uncle Jim!"

He has an Uncle named Jim?
Why haven't I heard of him before?
I watch as Daniel jumps up and starts pacing up and down the length of his room.
"Really?" His voice is excited, "and then? What did they say?... Uh huh, really? Okay... So, is it a yes or no?" He gasps, laughing happily and I smile, watching him.
What's he so happy about?
"Thank YOU Uncle Jim! YES. She's here, talk to her!"
I watch, somewhat in shock, as Daniel hands me the phone.
"What do you want to do?" I mouth.

He grins, sitting down beside me. "It's my uncle. Talk to him." Taking the phone from my hand, he turns on the speaker phone.
Why would Daniel want to me talk to his Uncle, whom not only have I not heard of, but met?
"Hi!" His Uncle sounds jovial, happy. "Is this Cameron? The girl my nephew described as beautiful, loving and talented?"
"Well, my name IS Cameron. I'm not sure about everything else he's said though." I shoot Daniel a glare but he just grins.

We're going to have to do something about that smile.
Uncle Jim laughs, "Sounds like you! Well, darling girl, I've got some wonderful news for you!"
"Oh? What is it?"
"Can I first say, you've got a remarkably beautiful voice."
"Thank you! But ho-"
"And when my nephew called and asked me for a favor, I was a bit skeptical as I hadn't heard it," I shoot Daniel a look, the reason behind his grin starting to settle in the back of my mind. "But it was fairly easy to get the directors' attention."
"It won't be revealed until tomorrow but I can tell you that you, Cameron, have secured a spot in this year's New York Young Talent's Contest!"

My mouth falls open and I stare at the phone in Daniel's hand, dumbfounded.
"Uh, she's just shocked Uncle Jim! But she looks really happy!"
"As she should be! I cannot wait to meet her when you come down for the contest. I've just emailed you the details and she'll receive everything by post by tomorrow I was informed."
"Thank you!" I manage to say, shaking myself out of shock. "Thank you so much."
"It's a pleasure, darling. Now give me a call when the two of you come down here."
"Okay. We will!"

Smiling, Daniel turns off the speaker and finishes off the call with his Uncle.
"I cannot believe you."
Daniel grins, "Congratulations! What did I tell you? Nothing to worry about!"
I shake my head, standing up with him. "Thank you!"
Daniel smiles, gesturing toward his computer. "Let's see what my Uncle's emailed yeah?"
"But how? I didn't fill out a form!" I say, leaning over his chair as he opens the email.
"I did and then I went over to your place. You were out shopping with Josh, so your Mom signed it."
"Shut up. How could you have filled everything! What's my middle name?"
"You don't have one," he glances over his shoulder at me, smiling. "We played that m&m game remember? And I am your best friend, aren't I?"

Leaning forward, I hug him, my arms coming around his shoulders from behind. "You are!"

He looks up at me and smiles.


"Mail for Cameron Hayes. And it's from New York." Josh tosses me the envelope and I drop my cereal box and catch it.
"It must be from the contest!"

He gasps and leans over the counter as I rip it open.


We are delighted to inform you that your demo has been received and you have been added as a contestant in the Young Talents Contest! We look forward to meeting you and wish you the best of luck!"

"Oh. My. GOD!" I scream, staring at the letter in my hand. "I.. I.. oh my gosh!"
"Congratulations sis! I knew you could do it! MOM!" He calls out of the kitchen before enveloping me in a huge hug.
I shake my head. "I can't believe he talked me into this! And I listened!" I look up at Josh. "I'm actually happy I listened."
He smiles, "Why don't you go over and talk to him? I think Mom's in the shower. I'll hold the good news till you're back."
"Thank You!" Reaching on my toes, I kiss his cheek.

Grabbing my jacket, I pull it on before I'm flying out of the house and down the block.

"Hi!" I gasp, catching my breath as Daniel's Mom opens the front door.
"Cameron! Are you alright?"
"Yeah, I'm fine." I take in a deep breath of cold air. "Is Daniel in?"
"Yeah, he's upstairs."
"Can I see him?"

She steps back as I run upstairs, my letter still in my hand. His bedroom door's open, but he isn't inside. Walking into his studio, I spot him behind the soundproof glass, going at the drums.
Wow, he's good.

Standing by the chair, I watch him for a full three minutes before he looks up and sees me. He smiles and his face sort of... brightens up. I wave the letter in the air as he gets up, knowing it's no use if I say anything because he won't hear.


*Daniel's POV*

I can't see what's on the letter but seeing Cameron's face, I don't need to know.
It's pretty obvious.
She walks into the recording room and I notice her pink nose, her hair sort of an adorable mess.

My arms come around her as she rushes toward me and I hug her tight.


Meron's POV*

"Thank you SO much Danny," I look up at him and he smiles.
"You're very welcome," he reaches up and tucks a lock of my hair behind my ear, gazing down at me.

My eyes lock on his hazel ones and I just stare up at him, lost in his gaze. When he glances away, I feel the heat pooling into my cheeks and glance down. "I wouldn't have done this if it wasn't for you. If you hadn't encouraged me and stood beside me."

"I'm just glad you're happy."
"But how," I lean back, still encased in his arms. "How did you know that I wanted it? Even when I didn't."
He shrugs, smiling, "that's what you have me for."
"Only that?" I smile, "does it extend to helping me write a song?"
Daniel laughs, pulling me back into his chest. "That's asking for a bit too much, don't you think?"
"HEY!" I pull back and stare up at him.
He laughs, "Before we get to the song, let's go celebrate."

I glance down and watch as Daniel hoists himself up onto the wall beside me.
"What's up?"
Smiling, I turn slightly to face him. "This is a great place to think."

He looks around the park, "Seems like a long time ago doesn't it?"
I nod, "Yeah, nearly two months."
"Is that it?"
I nod, smiling. It's been two months since Daniel and I sat here, and I revealed my story to him.
I didn't even know it was him then.
"Feels like I've known you for much longer."
I meet his gaze, nodding. "Yeah, me too."
He smiles, running his fingers through his hair. "So?"
I glance down at the muddy ground before looking up at him.
"I've decided what I want my song to be about."


Hey, hey!

Sorry for the wait! Looks like the comments have gone down... drastically! I waited but then deci it wasn't fair for those of you who DO comments, so as bizarre as it is that my comments are falling yet the views are the same, I'm posting! Battle of the Hearts will be up in the next two days before I travel! Enjoy!


Replies to comments

Dazzle - Thank you so much! I wish I had a brother haha... but one like Josh of course! Lol, imagine! My stories turning into movies one day! Umm... Nope no dream in being a singer haha but I do enjoy music!

Ariana - Interesting question! I'm ecstatic you're enjoying! Thanks so much!

PH - AH, your long comments are back with the quotes! Reminds me of 'Until You'! I'm really happy you're enjoying! And SO sorry for the wait! Thank you so so so much!

Clara - Thanks a lot!!

Praiser - I know, we're all on our toes! It's going to happen any moment now, fingers crossed! Thanks a lot.

Sony T. - Thanks a lot! Yeah, they've helped each other out a lot!

Muskana - Thanks a lot hun! I'll post as often as I can! Enjoy!

Shikha Yadav - Thanks. So much!
Published: 7/18/2013
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