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Last Chances - Chapter 15

Enjoy! So sorry for the delay!
*Cameron's POV*

"Oh my God!" Anna squeals, grabbing the A4 size poster out of my hands. "I told you not to worry!"
"Sh! People are looking."
She laughs, "I don't care. I'm so happy!"
"I know! Me too!"
"Guess what?" She turns excitedly to Dylan as he joins us.
"Daniel called me with the news last night as proud as a peacock! Congratulations Cammy!" He hugs me before looking at the posted over Anna's shoulder.
"You guys are coming right?"
"Of course!"

Anna nods, smiling, "I already asked my Mom and she said we could stay with my cousin! I wouldn't miss it for the world!"
I grin. "Thanks guys. It means a lot."
"Hey Cameron."
We all turn to see Chester joining us.
"Hi," I turn back to Anna and Dylan, eyebrows raised.
"Can I talk to you?"

"Uh..." Come on, there has to be a reason why he can't. When is the bell going to ring? Damn, ten more minutes. Ugh. "Yeah, sure." Anna and Dylan step back and I glance at them to see Dylan taking her hand and pulling her close.

Aw. How cute.
"You look... amazing today!" Chester says, looking at me.

I take a step back towards my locker, crept out under his gaze. I'm wearing the outfit Danny had bought for me, the yellow top and skinny jeans. Holding my books up to my chest, I glance at him.

"Thanks."
"Congratulations. I knew you were talented but not that you could sing!"
"Um... Thanks. How did you know?"
"There are posters hung up at the front of the school."
"What?!" I look at Anna and Dylan but they're busy talking, heads close together. They're going to kiss any moment.

I SO need to have a talk with Anna!
"Yeah," he nods, leaning in. "I was actually thinking if you're free tonight-"
"Daniel!" I spot him walking up to us and interrupt Chester. "Sorry, I have to go."
"But I was-"
"And no, I'm not free and I don't want to go out with you anywhere. Bye." Pushing past him, I hurry up to Daniel. "There are posters up front? How?"

His smile slowly fades as he measure my expression. "Dylan and I put them up."
"But why?" I whine, glancing around the hallway.
He shrugs, "Don't you want people to know and come watch you?"
"No."
"Come on, what's the harm Cammy?"
I pout, looking at him, "People are going to treat me differently."
"So? We'll tell them to bug off and that we're your best friends. Don't worry, you won't leave us behind." He grins, slinging an arm around my shoulder. "Do you want me to go remove the posters?"
"What's the point? Everyone's probably already seen them."
"True," he nods.
"Chester just asked me out," I say slowly.
"WHAT?!" Daniel's voice goes hard and he turns and stares at me.
"Yeah," I roll my eyes, "I said no, obviously. Isn't he with Raven? Like come on."
"He broke up with her this morning. Dylan and I saw it."
"The world waits for no one Daniel," Anna says, joining us.
"What?" I glance at her, confused.

She shakes her head, smiling. "So you don't mind that the posters are up?"
I shrug, "It's alright I guess."
"Do you have any idea who your competitor is?" Dylan asks, falling into step with me as we head to our different home rooms.
"Nope. Anna and I were going to check them out after school. Wanna join?"
He grins, "Sure! Why not."

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*Anna's POV*

"This is only the start Daniel," I say as we follow Cameron and Dylan down the hallway. Daniel groans, still looking put off that Chester asked Cameron out. "I'm not kidding. Chester is going to be the least of your problems once word starts getting around about Cameron singing."
"Yeah."
"You have to make your move."
"I know, I know. I just don't want to ruin everything!"
"You won't."
He turns to look at me, "How do you know that?"
I shrug, "I just do."

"Did she say anything to you? Anna! I need to know!"
"She hasn't said anything Daniel. You just tell her how you feel alright? Before it's too late and you miss your chance."
He glares at a guy who passes by Cameron and Dylan and turns to look at Cameron again.
"Before it's too late." I remind him, following Cameron into the classroom.
I hear him sigh before he turns and walks towards his classroom.

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*Cameron's POV*

"So, what's going on with you and Dylan?" I ask, glancing at Anna.
She grins, "We're good!"
"Did he kiss you?" I whisper, leaning in and keeping my eyes on the cafeteria door for the boys.
She laughs, her eyes lighting up. "Nope... not yet!"

I smile, watching her. I feel bad I haven't asked before. "So? Give me the scoop! How is it being with him?"
"Awesome! He's really thoughtful under his goofy act," she grins.
"Hey boys!" I exclaim before she can say anything else and she glances over her shoulder, smiling.
"They found us Cameron!" She gasps, staring up at them.

Laughing, Dylan sits down beside her and Daniel by me.
"Running away from us, huh girls?"
"Not a good idea," Daniel grins, plucking a French fry off my tray.
"Who said anything about running away?" I ask, raising my eyebrows.

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"That was quick!" I turn from my locker, expecting Daniel to be standing behind me but instead come face to face with Raven and her gang.

Raven's been raging a glare war at me ever since I turned up at the dance in a dress. It makes me laugh every time I think about it actually.

"Hi. Can I help you?" I ask politely.
"Yeah. It was bad enough when you dressed up like..." She makes a face, I guess her version of a horrified expression. "A freak, but now you're messing with the wrong girl. Get out of my way and you won't regret it."
I stare at her for a moment. "What are you talking about?"
"I don't like the act you're putting on especially with the whole singing crap. But let's get one thing clear, steer away from my boyfriend."
I laugh incredulously. "Excuse me? First of all, he dumped you. And I wouldn't come near him with a ten foot pole."
Her eyes narrow dangerously as she steps up to my face, "What did you ju-"
"Hey, hey!" I feel Daniel's fingers circle my wrist as he tugs me back. "Calm down ladies. What's going on?"
"Keep your fake friend on a leash. I don't even know what you're doing with her."

Raven spits out. An expression I've never seen passes over Daniel's face and his jaw hardens.

"Keep your petty opinions to yourself Raven. Not only are we not concerned but we don't give two cents of what you think. But most importantly, I don't want to hear you say anything about Cameron like that again," he replies, his tone laced with anger.

She looks shocked and recoils at his threatening look. My fingers curling around his arm, I tug him back. "Daniel..."
"Let's go," shooting Raven one last glare, he turns to me and pulls me towards our English class.
"Daniel?"
He glances at me, "Are you alright? You didn't let her get to you right?"
"No, I'm okay. You?"

He shakes his head, gritting his teeth, "I cannot believe she had the nerve to say that to your face! Or at all."
"It's alright," I murmur, glancing down the hallway.

As Raven sits down next to me in class, she sends me a smug look. I glance away and catch Daniel watching me, a concerned expression on his face. I look down at my English book and try to concentrate on the words, my mind whirls with so many thoughts running at once. This is just like before.

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*Daniel's POV*

I watch as Cameron gets up and slips out of class. I knew it. Grabbing both our books, I quickly follow just as I spy our teacher walking down the hallway. She hasn't seen me yet so I make a run for it.

"Hey!" I stop, seeing a girl come out of the girls' room. "Could you please do me a favor? A friend of mine is... sick. Could you see if she's inside? Cameron Hayes."
"Is it true she's singing in New York?"
"Yeah," I reply hurriedly.

The girl peeks inside and turns to me. "It's empty."
"Okay. Thanks."

Where could she be?
Stopping by my locker, I dump our books inside and I'm just about to close it when I catch sight of my leather jacket.
Of course!
I slip out of the school's back door that leads onto the field. Walking around the side, I see someone leaning against the tree.
That's sort of like our tree.
Smiling, I walk up to it from behind her.

"How did I know where to find you?" I ask, my voice teasing. Cameron doesn't turn around and I watch as her hunched shoulders rise and fall quickly. "Cammy?"
"Leave me alone Daniel."
"I'm afraid that's not in my best friend job description." I reply, placing my leather jacket on her shoulders.
"I'm not good company right now."
"I think I can handle that."
"Please," she murmurs.

Pressing my lips together, I walk around her and my eyes widen as I see her tear streaked cheeks. "Cameron. What's wrong?" I ask softly, pulling her into a hug.

It comes naturally and for a moment after, I bite my lip, thinking it's too much. But she relaxes in my arms and I breathe out, even though I'm on edge with her, so close to me.

"I knew you were upset. I hope you didn't think you could actually hide that from me." As a sob escapes her lips, I tighten my grip on her waist. My jacket slips off her shoulders and falls onto the grass as she turns her face and buries it in the collar of my shirt, her forehead pressed against my throat. "Aw, Cam. She's just jealous and upset that Chester dumped her. And who cares what she thinks? It doesn't matter." I look down, watching as she takes a deep breath. Lifting my arm which isn't wrapped around her waist, I brush my fingers through her hair. She doesn't wear it lose often, unfortunately for me. It's usually braided or in a messy bun, but today is my lucky day as I comb my fingers through her thick locks.

"Cammy?" I'm startled as this just brings more tears to her eyes. So I stand still, completely lost on what to do and she starts calming down a bit later.

"I'm sorry," she mumbles, pulling away from me, and I feel the cold air hit me as her warmth leaves. I don't reply as she turns away from me, wiping away her tears.
"For what?" I ask, staring at her back, slightly hurt.
She turns to me, her eyes shining. "I'm scared Daniel."
My expression softens as I look at her. "Whatever for?"
"That it'll be a repeat from the past."
I shake my head, "It won't."
"But how do you know that? You can't possibly!" She exclaims, frustrated.

"I can. You have true friends this time. Who really care about you and want the best for you."
She silently stares at me for a long time. "You mean, I have you." When I just shrug, she steps up to me and slips her arms around my waist, hugging me. "You're the best."
"No Cameron. That's where you're wrong. It's all you."

She looks up at me and our eyes lock. I'm not sure whether she leaned up or I leaned in, but a moment later, our faces are closer than ever.

A car speeding past breaks us apart and I glance at her, running my hand through my hair, to see her cheeks pink as she takes a step back. I watch as she picks up my jacket and pulls it on, pulling the collar up.

I glance away, my heart actually pounding.
Can one girl look so incredibly beautiful?
And in my jacket.
I take in a deep breath and glance back at her.
"Ready to go back?"
"We can't go to class."
I glance at my watch and nod. "Yeah. You wanna stay here?"
She shrugs, a smile playing on her lips as she leans against the tree.
"You're not cold?"

She shakes her head. "I have your jacket on. You're the one who should be cold."
"I'm fine," I lean against the tree trunk as she sinks down onto the grass.
Pulling the collar around her, she buttons my jacket up, "It smells like you."
"No kidding."
She grins, looking up at me. "Daniel?"
"Yes?" When she doesn't reply immediately, I sit down in front of her. "What's up?"
"I just...." She stops and then shakes her head. "Forget it."
"Hey! You can't do that!"
She grins, "I just did."
"You better tell me what it is."
"What if I don't?"

I raise my eyebrows, leaning forward threateningly, "Trust me, you won't be happy."
She gives me a quizzical look. "What on earth are you talking about?"
"Hmm... If I recall correctly, you're really ticklish on your feet, but you've got shoes on. Ah!" I snap my fingers, grinning. "I know exactly how."
"Okay! Okay! Such a blackmailer," she shakes her head.
I wink at her, "Now come on. Out with it."

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*Cameron's POV*

"Because of you now I can dream..." I sing, my eyes glued on the glass, watching my friends' and brother's reaction.

Daniel's sitting back in his chair, headphones on, but his eyes are cast down. Josh and Kyle are standing by the glass. Kyle's eyes are huge while Josh is smiling. He nods encouragingly. He was the only one who had read the lyrics I'd written.

Taking in a breath, I remove my headphones and walk out.
"That was ah-mazing!" Cameron pounces on me, all smiles. "I was completely feeling the song."
"You wrote that?" Dylan asks, looking impressed.
"Yup. Thanks Anna," I return her hug.
"It's incredible! Wow. You're so totally going to win," Dylan grins.

"Fantastic Cammy bear!" Josh smiles, winking at me and I throw him a grateful look.
"When was I going to find out that you were so talented?" Kyle asks.
I'd asked him to come today and this was the first he was actually hearing of it.
"Today," I grin, "you'll come right?"
"I don't know. I'm pretty upset I wasn't told before."
I pout, looking up at through pleading eyes. "Please? I'm sorry, I thought you'd have liked a surprise."
He sighs, pulling me into a hug. "Fine. If you insist."
"Great!" I hug him back before pulling away.

Glancing over at Daniel, I see him typing away at his laptop before pulling out a CD. Josh follows my gaze and smiles. "I think Daniel's Mom came in and said there was hot chocolate in his room."
"Really?" Anna brightens up and follows him out. For a girl so conscious of her wardrobe, she sure does love food. I smile, watching her. I'm not sure where all that food goes actually, skinny as she is.

"You coming?" Kyle asks, smiling at me.
I nod, "I'll be right there."
He nods and follows Dylan out.
"So...." I walk over to the recording table and lean against it, picking up a pen and twirling it between my fingers.

Daniel turns and looks at me, smiling, "Amazing song. It's... beautiful and true. I love it especially since it's all you."
"Really?"
He nods, standing up. "Really." He holds out a CD case and I take it. "That's the recording. It's for you."
"Thanks."
"Come on," he smiles, "They're going to hog all the hot chocolate once they have some."
I shrug, "You could make more for us."
He laughs, taking my arm and pulling me out. "For you and me? Sure. No one else."

"The worst part is we'll be missing school," I say, squished in Josh's car between Daniel and his mom.
"That's the best part!" Daniel exclaims, "Miss Goody Two Shoes."
"Hey! Don't hate me for liking it. I'm not lazy like you."
His mom laughs, "Why can't you be more like her, Dan? She should have rubbed off on you long back!"
"Mom!"
I smile, glancing at him, as our eyes meet. "Nah, I like him the way he is. Otherwise, he'd be so boring."
He sighs, "I'll take that as a compliment."
Mom turns back and smiles at Daniel. "I'm glad you're not boring like my daughter."
"Thank you!"
"Hey, hey! Back off my baby sister," Josh says, swinging into an empty space in the airport parking lot. "No one's to pick on our star."
"There are Dylan and Anna," I look out of Daniel's window and see them by the airport entrance.

"Ready?" Josh takes my bag off my shoulder and takes my hand. "You feeling alright?"
"Yeah," sighing, I pull his arm around me as we walk towards the airport. "Kind of nervous."
"You'll be fine. There's nothing to worry about. I'll be right there the whole time."
"I know," I look up at him and he smiles, "you're the best."
He winks. "Let's just keep that between the two of us."

As they announce that the flight is going to take off, I start freaking out. I start shaking and my breathing becomes shallow.
"You guys, I can't do this."
"What?" Daniel turns to me, frowning.
"I mean, really! I know people in New York and they'll be at the show. I can't."
"Cammy, we're taking off," Josh tugs me back into my seat as I start to get off.
I turn to him, panicking, "But I can't do it."
"Yes, you can." Daniel replies, his voice firm and quiet.

I shake my head. What was I thinking? Just because I sang in his room doesn't mean I can perform on stage.
My God.
What have I done?

"Hey, look at me," Daniel reaches over and turns my face towards him. "You'll be fine okay?" He says, looking me straight in the eyes.
"Daniel, I real-"
"You'll be fine," his fingers around my chin tighten slightly, "okay?"
"But I don-"
"Okay?" His voice is stern and I nod, "You know I'll always be right beside you right?"
"Yeah."
"Then? Nothing to worry about."
"Daniel, I'm not sure."
"You're nervous," letting go of my chin, he takes my hand, squeezing it, "it's going to be alright."
"Promise?"
He nods, his eyes locked on mine, "I promise."
I sigh, taking in a deep breath and trying to calm myself down, "Okay."
I glance at Josh once we're in the air and see his eyes closed, ear phones in his ears.

"Prepare for landing," The pilot's voice comes over the speaker.
I wake up as the announcement is made and glance around. Sitting up in my seat, I see Daniel's head turned towards me as he's fast asleep.
His arm was so comfy.
Josh smiles, seeing me awake, "How you feeling?"
I nod, "Good."

"Wake him up," he gestures towards Daniel as we start to descend.
"Danny," I murmur, leaning close to him, "Daniel."
"Mm..." He shifts in his seat, remaining asleep.
"Wake up. We're landing."
He opens his eyes, blinking at the light, "Are we there yet?"
"Yeah," I watch as he runs his fingers through his hair before turning to me.
"Excited?" He asks.
"Yeah, I am actually."
He smiles, "That's great!"

"Hello, welcome to Four Seasons."
"Hi," I go up to the desk along with Josh, "we're here to check in."
"Have you got a reservation?"
"Yes, Cameron Hayes," I reply, glancing at the brochure the Contest staff had mailed me.
The man looks at his screen and after a few moments nods. "Two suites?"
"Yeah."
"Here you go," he hands me the card keys and smiles, "I hope you enjoy your stay and anything you need, do not hesitate to ask."
"Thank you," I shoot him a smile before turning around.

Josh and I walk back to the group waiting in the lounge. We'd dropped Anna and Dylan at Anna's cousin's place on the way. Mom, Josh and I were going to share a suite, while Daniel and his Mom got the other.

"Wow!" Anna glances around the lobby as we wait for my name to be called.

I have a meeting with one of the directors today so Anna had come along with me. I'd have wanted either Josh or Daniel to have been with us but Daniel was excited to see the city so I'd let the boys be. They'd offered of course.

Anyway, this way Anna and I could immediately go shopping once the meeting was done.
"Cameron Hayes."
"Yeah."
Anna stops pointing out all the places she HAS TO go in her guide book and jumps up.
"That's us!"

We're ushered into a large office by the receptionist.
"Mr. Cane will join you shortly."
"Thank you." We sit down in the chairs opposite the elegant desk and glance around.
Anna raises her eyebrows and I nod, impressed.
"Good morning, ladies. Sorry to keep you all waiting."

Two minutes later, the door opens and we turn to see a well-built man walking in. He smiles approaching us and I get to my feet, my eyes probably popping out of my skull by now.

He is so handsome in a tailored suit that fits him to perfection, his blond hair immaculate, not a lockout of place. And his eyes, oh my god his eyes. Pools of green.

"You must be Cameron, lovely to meet you. You've got a beautiful voice."
"Thank you."
"And..?" He turns to Anna, smiling.
"I'm Anna, her best friend."
"Fantastic! Pleasure to meet you Anna."

She's swooning by the time he lets go of her hand and walks around to his desk. She shoots me a look, eyes wide behind his back, smiling.

"Well, I just wanted to meet you really. Nothing important. How was your flight? Are you finding the hotel to your comfort?"
"Yeah," I nod, smiling. "It's comfortable. Thank you."

He smiles, shuffling through some papers before looking up at us. "I do have one important question. You were enrolled for the contest two years ago. Why did you back out?"
"There was a lot going on at home and I guess it sort of affected me, more or less. Especially my reason for performing."
He nods, understandingly. "I'm sorry to hear that, but let's hope it's worked out for the best. You can perform now!"

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"That went well!" Anna exclaims as we leave his office 15 minutes later with my schedule for the rest of the week.
"Yeah, he's sweet."
"Are you kidding me? He's SO handsome!"

I laugh, linking my arm through hers. "Can't argue there! Now come, what's first on your list? I've got my Mom's credit card and the whole day ahead of us!"

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"I don't think I've been more tired in my life!" I groan, falling onto my bed, dropping the dozens of shopping bags onto the floor.

Anna puts down her shopping and dives onto Josh's bed. "I'm exhausted!"

The door opens and we hear the boys come in, talking and joking around. Glancing at each other, Anna and I sit up in bed as they enter the bedroom.
"That was epic!"
"Did you see his face when h-" Josh sees us and stops, his face visibly brightening. "You're back! How was the meeting?" He put the few shopping bags in his hands on the floor and walks over to me.
"It was good. Lasted about 20 minutes."
"And?"
I shrug, "He just went over everything. I got my schedule."
"Tell him about the guy," Anna grins.
"Guy? What guy?" Dylan asks as he walks over to her. He sits down beside her, wrapping an arm around her waist and pulling her close.
"Oh, just one of the directors."

My heart in my throat, I glance away, gazing down at my lap for a moment as I regain my composure.

Josh sits down beside me and squeezes my shoulder. "I'm so proud of you."
"Thanks." Looking up at him, I smile. "What did you boys do? I heard something about you guys messing around with some guy?"
Josh chuckles, "Nah, don't worry about it." Leaning in, he kisses my forehead before murmuring. "Take Daniel out? I think you'll know more about what he'd enjoy than me."
Pulling back, I look at him questioningly. "What?"
"He hasn't eaten lunch."
I look at Daniel to see him talking on his phone, leaning against the door frame.
"Is he alright?"

Josh nods, not so convincingly and I get off the bed. Walking out of the bedroom, I glance around the lounge, sitting down on one of the love seats.
"Hey," Daniel enters, slipping his phone into his pocket.
Smiling, I move over and he sits down beside me.
"Everything alright?"
"Yeah, that was Mom. She was just checking on us."
"Oh. How was your day out?"

He chuckles, leaning back, "It was good. But I think I've gotten too used to your company."
I raise an eyebrow, "What is that supposed to mean?"
"It means," leaning over, he takes my hand, linking his fingers through mine, "I missed you."
"Aw, aren't you a sweetheart?"
He winks, "I try."
"Did you eat anything?"
"I had a hotdog from a stand."
"When?"
"Uh..." His forehead wrinkles as he thinks, "around three."
"It's six now. You wanna go get something to eat?"
"You haven't eaten?"
"I have, but I'm hungry."
Smiling, he stands up, "Come on. Your turn to show me your New York!"

"It's delicious!" Daniel exclaims as he takes another bite of the warm croissant.
"I know right? I found this place when I was out for a walk once after I fought with Josh."
He shoots me an incredulous look. "You and Josh fight?"
I nod, laughing, "We used to - a lot!
"And now?"
"Barely."

I glance at Daniel as he eats the warm chocolate croissant we'd bought at a store.
"Shall I get a cab?"
"It's getting colder isn't it?" I ask as the wind whips past us, tugging at our clothes.
"Yeah."

Daniel takes my hand as he walks over to a cab. We slip into it and Daniel leans over and tells the guy the address of our hotel.
"How are you? Excited?" He asks, sitting back with me.
"Sort of."
"What's bothering you?"

I shrug before sliding over to him. Daniel slings his arm around my shoulders and I snuggle down into his side for the 15 minutes drive back to the hotel. "I don't know. It isn't any one thing. I guess performing and the chance of making a fool of myself. Bumping people I know."

Daniel doesn't answer for a long time and I tilt my head up from his shoulder and look at him. "What?"
He looks down at me. "Nothing, I was just wondering..."
"Yeah?"
"When you say bumping into people... Do you still have feelings for him?"

"Who? Oh. Ugh no, I don't give two cents about that jerk. I don't even know why I liked him in the first place. I just mean having to explain and say where I am. Even though I'm very happy there, back in Fortridge, I just don't want to see them I guess."
"So I don't need to worry about you falling to bits at the sight of him?"
I make a face, "Certainly not."
"Whew!" He swipes his fingers over his forehead. "That's a relief!" He glances around before looking at me again. "Did you used to go around in cabs often?"
I shake my head, "Too expensive and not always safe."
"That's what I was thinking."
Looking up at him, I smile, an idea popping up in my head.
"What?" He asks, smiling.
"I just had an idea."
"You're not going to tell me, are you?"
"Nope," I reply, sitting up. His arm slips down to my waist and I glance up at him, my stomach turning.

Not from feeling nauseous, though. He glances away from the window and his eyes lock on mine. I turn towards him slightly and my heart's pounding as I reach up and brush my fingers through his blond hair, pushing his bangs back.

"Right. Here we are," the cab driver announces.
The car comes to a screeching halt and the spell's broken. I sit up and Daniel pays the driver before stepping out and taking my hand.

I haven't seen anyone for an hour. As soon as we'd all arrived, two backstage passes were handed out to Daniel and Josh, everyone else had gotten a tour of the set and that's it.

Once the tour was over, I'd had a second to hug my Mom before my 'agent' for the night had whisked me off to the dressing room. I'd tried on about ten dresses before they were able to agree on one. My hair was next, Daniel and Josh had fought with the stylist and won on leaving it the way it was and just a quick blow dry had done the trick.

Now I'm waiting for them to finish with my makeup.

Daniel enters the dressing room holding a tub of caramel popcorn and an orange soda.
"Here you go."
"No! You'll mess up your makeup!" The woman exclaims.

Daniel shoots her an irritated look, "she's hungry. Lighten up, it's easy to reapply lip gloss."
I shoot her a small smile. "I'll take care, don't worry."
The girls back off as I start eating. Daniel leans against the counter opposite me and smiles.
"How you liking the life of a star?"
I shake my head, "Don't even go there! Thanks for the food."
He chuckles, "Anytime."
"I'm nervous," I murmur once I'm done.
We both glance over the stylists on the other side of the room at the same time.
"I'll be right there," He takes the empty tub and soda can from me, "you'll do great."

I nod, my hands shaking as I glance at the time. I haven't even met my competition yet.

"Ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to the annual New York Young Talent Contest!" The host announces.
All of us contestants are huddled at the back, staring at the LCD screen showing the stage.
Oh.
My.
God.
Deep breaths Cameron. You can't back out of this now.
In. Out.
Oh my God, oh my God. What have I done?Why did I agree?
I pace back and forth, trying to calm myself down.
"Hey! Hey, slow down," Daniel's hand comes around mine and he pulls me to the side, "you'll be great. Breathe Cammy, breathe."
"You're on third," Josh says, reading the program. I nod, currently incapable of speech.

"You'll do great!" My brother squeezes my shoulder as the second contestant is up singing.

She's amazing! Just like the first one.

I turn to Daniel but he shakes his head, "don't even say it Cameron! You're better than them that's why they've accepted you okay?" I nod, looking at him.
I have to do this.
After everything Daniel's put into this.
I can't let him down.
"And if you're nervous, look at me. Right at me, I'll be standing here the whole time. Okay?"

Nodding, I reach for his hand and squeeze it, aware that my makeup and hair stylist as standing nearby and keeping a sharp eye on me.

"Next we have the beautiful and talented, Cameron Hayes!" The host announces.
They adjust my mike and turn it on just as I step onto the stage.

I don't know where my courage comes from, but I walk across the stage with confidence.
"Hey Cameron!"
"Hello!"
"I understand New York is your home?"
"Well, I grew up here, so yes, it is."
"You don't live here now?"
"Actually no, I don't. I'm staying in Fortridge."
"And what are you going to sing for us today?"
"It's a song I wrote."
"Wow! You wrote it yourself?"
"Yeah."
"Is it dedicated to anyone?"
"It is, actually."
"Oh!" He shoots the audience an excited grin, "who might that be?"
I hesitate for a second. Just a second though before my eyes fall on the person.
"Daniel was the main inspiration behind the song. He's a really close friend."
"Well, isn't he lucky! What's the song called?"
"Because of You."
"The stage is yours! Sweep us away!" He smiles before melting back into the background.
The lights dim as the music starts and I pull on the guitar one of the guys hands me.

"A risky chance I thought I'd take,
Your belief in me is hard to shake,
Where would I be without you by my side?

A world filled with less love, more hate,
The tiny things people cannot appreciate,
You turned it around,
You helped me see the light,
And who would have thought that meeting you,
Getting to know you the way I do,
Would open up my eyes.

Because you stood by me,
Defended me from the unseen,
You helped me breath,
Because of you,
Now I can dream,
Of all the lives I can live,
All the dreams I can reach,
Because of yooou...ooh,
Because of you now I can see..."


I glance towards the wings and see Daniel and Josh. They're expressions aren't clear but just seeing them is enough.

"You appeared in a whirl of wonder,
Your presence in my life made irrevocable through the night,
And with your unwavering faith,
You helped me find myself,
Led through the dark ,
With only your hand as a guide,
I'd follow you to the ends of the earth,
For the rest of my life.

Because you stood by me,
Defended me from the unseen,
You helped me breath,
Because of you,
Now I can dream,
Of all the lives I can live,
All the dreams I can reach,
Because of you
Only you..."


Letting the guitar go, I move with the beat as the tune moves up a couple of notches.
"(Bridge)
Everything's now made possible
You make me feel invincible,
With your arm around me,
There's nothing I can't do,
With you by my side there's nothing I won't get though,
With youu,
Ohh youu!

(Chorus)
Because you stood by me,
Defended me from the unseen,
You helped me breath,
Because of you,
Now I can dream,
Of all the lives I can live,
All the dreams I can reach,
You made me believe,
That you loved me for ME!

You stood by me,
Defended me from the unseen,
Because of you,
Because of you now I can dream...."


I take in a deep breath, smiling as the audience applauds. That was amazing!

I'm breathless as the lights go up and our host joins me once more.
"Beautiful! You wrote that?"
"Yeah, I did!" I smile, nodding.
"Amazing! So much talent! I'm sure you had a lot of us near tears!"
"Thank you!"
"Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for Cameron Hayes!"

"That was amazing! You were incredible!" Josh catches me as I fly into his arms, "wonderful!"
"Thank you! It felt amazing!"
He smiles, kissing my forehead, "I knew you'd enjoy it."

I turn to Daniel and he smiles, "You were incredible."
Daniel's uncle turns up just then along with one of the managers, "There's a problem. The next contestant can't perform, she's sick."
"What are you going to do?" I ask.
Uncle Jim turns to me, "Would you like to go on again?"
"What? No! I haven't prepared anything!"
"We need someone up now!" The manager barks into a radio.
"Wait a minute! My nephew sings."
"What?! No! Uncle Jim!" Daniel exclaims, shaking his head.
"Come on, you're great! You're not competing so it's alright!"
"No!"

"Come on Danny! This could be your chance to get discovered!"
He shakes his head, "I don't want to get discovered."
"Please?" I pout, "for me? I've never heard you sing."
He stares at me for a moment and I'm shocked to see him actually thinking it over.
"Fine," he sighs and everyone but the manager cheers, he just gives a curt nod.

In less than five seconds, Daniel's got a mike put on and a stylist is messing with his hair even though he tries to brush her off.

He murmurs something to the drummer before walking on stage.
"Haylee Trayne can't make it, so filling in for her is...."
"Daniel Rider," Daniel replies, smiling.
He doesn't even look nervous!
"Oh, are you the same Daniel that Cameron was mentioning?"
He grins, "I must be unless she knows another Daniel."
The crowd aws and I glance around, blushing.
Crap.

"What are you going to sing?"
"What makes you beautiful."
"Alright!"

************************************************************************

*Narrator's POV*

Daniel takes his position as the music begins,
"You're insecure,
Don't know what for,
You're turning heads when you walk through the door," he smiles, moving around the stage with a practiced agility.
"Don't need makeup,
To cover up,
Being the way that you are is enough,
Everyone else in the room can see it,
Everyone else but you."


He glances towards the wings which is in darkness to the audience.

"Baby you light up my world like nobody else,
The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed,
But when you smile at the ground it ain't hard to tell,
You don't know,
Oh oh,
You don't know you're beautiful,
If only you saw what I can see,
You'll understand why I want you so desperately,
Right now I'm looking at you and I can't believe,
You don't know,
Oh oh,
You don't know you're beautiful,
Oh oh,
That's what makes you beautiful."


Walking towards the end of the stage he continues singing, beckoning with his hand towards the wings, "So c-come on,
You got it wrong,
To prove I'm right,
I put it in a song,
I don't know why,
You're being shy,
And turn away when I look into your eye eye eyes,"
he disappears for a moment, reappearing with someone in his arms.

"Everyone else in the room can see it,
Everyone else but you."


************************************************************************

*Cameron's POV*

I'm staring at him in shock as he easily places me on my feet in the middle of the stage and continues singing.
"Baby you light up my world like nobody else,
The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed,"
he pretends to flip his 'hair' and I laugh, watching him.

"But when you smile at the ground it ain't hard to tell,
You don't know,
Oh oh,
You don't know you're beautiful,
If only you saw what I can see,
You'll understand why I want you so desperately,
Right now I'm looking at you and I can't believe,
You don't know,
Oh oh,
You don't know you're beautiful,
Oh oh,
That's what makes you beautiful."


Approaching me, Daniel smiles, tilting my face up,
"Baby you light up my world like nobody else,
The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed,"
he gently pushes my hair over my shoulder,
"But when you smile at the ground it ain't hard to tell,
You don't know,
Oh oh,
You don't know you're beautiful."


I join in as he sings the chorus, our eyes locked as we circle each other on-stage. I leave the last line for him as he closes the space between us.
"That's what makes you beautiful."
Amidst the roar of applause, Daniel leans in and closes the distance between our lips, making the crowd roar even loader as I throw my arm around his neck.

"You were amazing! The both you!"
Everyone congratulates us as we head backstage.
Glancing at Daniel, I smile, "And you said you didn't sing well!"
"It was because you were there."
Smiling, I give him a hug, "Thank you... for everything!"
He sighs, hugging me tight, "You're welcome Cammy."
I glance up at him and he leans in and presses a soft kiss on my cheek.

"Oh my GOD!" Anna screams, bursting into my dressing room. She glances around before pouncing on me. "You two kissed! At last! How adorable was that!" She hugs me before pulling back. "Your singing was obviously wonderful! How do you feel?"
"A little all over the place at the moment. Does he really like me?"
"Yeah!" She leans against the makeup counter, watching me. "He likes you a lot! What has he said?"
I shake my head, "That's the thing I'm confused about. He hasn't said anything!"
"Really?" She frowns, thinking, "Maybe he's nervous?"
I shrug, "I guess."

There's a knock at the door and we both turn to see a security guard open it.
"Ms. Hayes, these two seem to be convinced they know you." He steps back and I see Violet and Zac held by two other security men. "Do you know them?"
"Is that..?" Anna murmurs.

I nod, shooting her an incredulous look.
"Cameron! It's been forever!" Violet exclaims, smiling.
"I have no clue who they are," I say truthfully.
"Cameron! It's me, Zac! We used to go to school together."
"Come on Cammy! Don't do this!" Violet exclaims.
"You were amazing up there," Zac smile and I throw him a disgusted look.
"Are these the people you were talking about?" Anna asks, looking the two up and down, putting on her snobby girl attitude.
I laugh, "Yup. Sorry," I look at the security guy standing in my room. "I do not know who they are."
"No surprise there. Come on you two. Sorry Ms. Hayes for the disturbance."
Anna and I burst out laughing as the door closes behind them.

"Cameron! Phone for you!" Josh calls up.
Scrambling off my bed, I hurry down.
It might be Daniel.

I didn't win the contest, but I honestly didn't mind. I was a winner for myself and I'd had loads of fun up on-stage and the rest of our New York trip went incredibly smoothly. The only thing was that Daniel distanced himself from me and that hurt more than I thought it would.

We've been back for two days and I haven't heard anything from him.
"Who is it?" I murmur.
Josh just grins and I take the phone from him.
"Hello?"
"Is this Cameron Hayes?"
"Yes."
"This is Jack Reed. I'm calling from R&J Production Studios."
"Okay," I sit down on the last step, frowning.
"I was present at the Contest in New York and heard you sing. You have got a beautiful voice and I was very surprised you didn't win."
"Thank you," I glance at Josh who's leaning against the wall and watching me.
"I have a proposition for you. How would you like to come and record a few songs, work on an album?"
"WHAT?!" I exclaim, shocked. Josh sits down beside me, pressing his ear to the phone. "Are you serious?"
"Yes, I am. So what will it be?"
"I don't know, I'll have to talk to my Mom, get permission."

"If you give me your contact details, I'll email you everything. Once you've decided we can discuss how we can arrange the recording schedule so that you don't miss school."
"Okay, thank you. I'll get back to you soon."
"I'd love to have you on board Cameron. Don't make a hasty decision."
"I won't. Thanks."
"Oh my God," I murmur once I've hung up.
"He was offering for you to come and record with him wasn't he?" Josh asks, smiling.
"Yeah! I can't believe this!"
Josh grins, jumping up and pulling me into a hug, "I'm so proud of you!"
"Thanks Josh."
"Don't you think you should tell Daniel?"
I nod, "I'll go over to his place."

Daniel's Mom opens the front door, smiling. "Hey Cameron. Come in honey, it's cold outside."
"How are you?"
She smiles, "I'm great, how about you?"
"Same. Is Daniel in?"
"Um, well he's sort of busy."

I shake my head, my smile fading, "I need to see him now."
She nods, "I'll send him."
As she heads upstairs, I glance around the hallway, nervous.
"Hey."
His voice is low and I turn to see him descending the last step before standing in front of me.
"Hi."
The hallway's silent for a few long moments as we look at each other.
"Why are you ignoring my calls?"
Daniel looks away, his eyes cast down.
"What's wrong Daniel? Did I do something?"
"No."
"Then?"

He looks up, his eyes trying to convey a message I just can't process. "I can't do this Cameron. You deserve so much better than me."
"What are you talking about?" I ask, tears building up my eyes as he physically moves away.
"Look at me! I've tried to take my own life, don't you think you deserve someone who's not... me? I can't Cameron. I don't want to drag you down with me. Meeting you has been the best thing that's ever happened and I... I just fell for you. I don't want to hurt you Cameron."

Gulping down the lump in my throat, I stare at him, "What do you think you're doing now?!"
"I'm sorry!"
"Daniel! You were the one who told me it didn't matter, that I'm perfect the way I am. Why can't you see that you are too?"
He shakes his head, not meeting my eyes. "Daniel..."
He looks up at me, his eyes shining. "I'm sorry."
"Don't do this. Please."

As he looks away, I take in a shaky breath.
"Please?" When he doesn't reply, I reach for the door and with a last glance at him, step outside. I don't notice that it's started raining as I stand at the end of the driveway, my heart truly breaking for the first time as my tears spill onto my cheeks.

I can't believe this. Sniffling, I turn and start walking down the block, my head down to cover my face from the fierce winds.

As lightening flashes I glance up at the sky.
"Oh!" Feeling the cold water I quickly look down and loose my footing.

I land on hard my bottom, getting drenched in the water.
I reach for the bench in front of me as lightening flashes again and then everything goes black.

************************************************************************

So sorry for the delay!

Replies to comments

Maha - Hey! Thanks so much!

Ariana - Thank YOU so much! I'm ecstatic that you're enjoying!

Praiser - Thanks so much! Yeah, things are clearly starting to heat up! Enjoy.

Dazzle - Yup, loads happening, this chapter hope all your questions were answered! Enjoy and thanks!

Sphynx - Thank You!

Sony T. -Thanks a lot! Yup, things are definitely heating up! Kyle will start featuring more, don't worry. Umm... obviously Daniel, but I do love Kyle as well. Enjoy!

Muskan - Thank You! Yup it's a family/friends trip! I hope you enjoyed!

PH - Don't kill ME!! I'm so sorry, I took so long to post, no one's giving me the time! But here is a long chapter and I hope it makes up! Thanks a lot for your wonderful comment!

BriBri - I know!

Jeny - Aw, why do you have to thank me? I should thank you for the wonderful feedback!

MayJuneJuly - Aw, thanks love! I'm happy you're enjoying! Yeah, it's pretty obvious he likes her.. let's see what he does about it! Kyle will start appearing more often, I promise. Enjoy!

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Em - Cameron*
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Published: 7/30/2013
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