DISCLAIMER: I do not own Degrassi nor its characters, as much as I heart them. I also did not make up the title of this little one-shot. In keeping with the theme of most Degrassi episode names, it is the title of an 80's song by Taylor Dane.
Love Will Lead You Back
Chris was spinning mad beats and the crowd was totally feeling it. At first, I didn't recognize him; it had been years (ok, 3) since graduation and he let his hair grow into a well kept 'fro with the obligatory hair pick stuck into the side. Only a guy as super cool as Chris Sharp could pull off that look.
I was with some of my girlfriends at a club in Vancouver called Gauge. Manny Santos had come to visit me at college and we decided to get a group of girls from my dorm and hit the club scene that night. At my room, Manny had deemed my entire wardrobe "unclubworthy", so I was wearing one of her red tube tops under a sheer black shrug and a scrap of holey denim she claimed was a skirt. Luckily, I had a pair of shoes she said would pass, so I threw on my black strappy wedges. Manny also insisted she do my hair, so I had tight curls bouncing every which way, half of them secured tightly in a messy half-up thingy; frankly it looked more like a mess than anything else, but that's just my opinion. I halted her hand when she waived a tube of BRIGHT red lipstick in my face, but that's the only thing I got away with.
Chris, who was known on the club circuit as "DJ Dark Pony" (WHAT?) must've recognized me right off, because I had barely walked in the door before some ginormous body guard wobbled up to me and man-handled me all the way to the DJ booth.
"Emma Nelson," DJ Dark Pony said loudly, "it's been a long time." I must've looked at him funny because he tilted his head down and slid his sunglasses up, "its Chris, remember me?"
"OH MUH GOSH!" I squealed, "Chris! Of course I remember you!" I hugged his neck.
"How've you been, Em?" he asked.
"Oh, ok," I answered, "I'm here with some friends from the dorm. Oh! Manny's here, too!" I pointed to the cocktail table that my party had claimed.
"Yeah, I saw her first, that's how I saw you." I swear I could actually see him salivating as he looked Manny up and down. I laughed.
"Well, if you aren't spinning all night, you should come dance with us," I said, smiling.
"Eh, I'll probably be up here all night, but even so, you fly ladies shouldn't have to pay for all your drinks," Chris looked at the oaf who dragged me up there, "Yo Chowder, make sure the bar knows that table 15's drinks are on me for the night." I stared wide-eyed at Chris.
"No way, Chris," I shook my head, "There's, like, TEN of us!"
"Yes way, Emma," he chuckled, "and by the way, it's 'Dark Pony' when I'm at work." With a wink, he turned and put his headphones back on.
Manny had a questioning look on her face as I walked to our table.
"What was that about?" she asked.
"Well," I began, "That DJ Dark Horsy or whatever happens to be Chris Sharp." Manny's eyes widened.
"OH MY GOSH!" Manny screamed. She turned around and waived crazily. I could only assume that Chris meant the miniscule head not as a form of recognition.
That big Chowder guy was a pretty quick messenger, because no sooner had I sat down on one of the high stools than did a cocktail waitress come by with a tray full of house shots, and kept them coming steadily. Needless to say, all 10 of us were feeling properly sauced after only having been at the club thirty minutes.
Manny was whisked away by some blonde guy to the middle of the dance floor and the other girls were either off in the ladies room or dancing as well, which left me holding down the fort and playing "Purse Protector" at table 15. As I sipped on a glass of water, trying to level out my blood alcohol level, I watched the clubbers around me. I found Manny boot-bouncing in the middle of a group on the dance floor; blonde guy was MIA. Figures, I thought, he probably thought he could slip Manny a mickey and drag her unconscious ass out of here unnoticed. But Manny, for all of her high school follies, was not a dumb girl and she trusted no man. I felt a little proud of her, glad to know she had wizened up a little.
One of my dorm mates, Maggi, stumbled towards the table.
"Ugh, Emma," she gurgled, "I am NOT doing so well. Brit and Cassie are going to escort me home." I thought I saw her wretch a little bit, which made me wretch a little bit.
"Ok, go go," I shooed her off with one hand and handed her purse to her with the other, "I'll check on you in the morning." Maggi nodded and took of for the ladies room again. I shuddered and drank more water, looking up at the DJ booth. Chris was no longer standing there; instead some other DJ type was up there mixing. I scanned the room looking for his 'fro, and I spotted him in the circle surrounding Manny, eyeballing her like crazy.
"Oh good grief," I muttered, rolling my eyes.
"What's the matter," a voice beside me, on the other side of the table, said, "the guy you're scamming is scamming on some other chick?" I turned my head to see the person who belonged to the voice. It was a guy, a little taller than me, with a sandy brown Caesar cut, a sandy brown goatee-mustache-chinstrap combination and dark polarized sunglasses (what is WITH guys wearing shades in a DARK CLUB?). He was wearing a grey, sort of tight, t-shirt with a Flaming Lips logo, dark dirty-wash boot cut blue jeans and some well-worn brown biker boots. I also noted the shiny diamond stud in his left ear. Even though I couldn't see his eyes, the over all package was pretty damn hot. I smiled at Senor Hottie.
"Nah," I said, turning my head back to Chris and Manny, "I'm watching an ex boyfriend try to scam on my best friend. It's quite funny, actually." Out of the corner of my eye I peeked over at Handsome Stranger, who was looking at me and smiling. Or, at least, his head was facing my direction; with those polarized glasses I couldn't really be sure what he was actually looking at. I turned my body toward him.
"What's your story?" I asked him, smiling. He continued smiling at me. I noticed something familiar about that smile, but couldn't place it.
"Well, actually," he began, "I spotted an ex of mine here, too." I raised my eyebrows in surprise.
"Yeah it is," Handsome continued, "I mean, I haven't seen her in years, but I recognized her immediately. She hasn't really changed much."
"Where is she?" I asked, looking around.
"I lost track of her," he replied, "I doubt she'd want to see me, though."
"A few years ago," Handsome began, "something really messed up happened where we used to live. She and I weren't dating then, in fact, I was actually with another girl, but any ways…I left town immediately after the…tragedy, and I never called her again."
I stared at him. No way, I thought, my heart racing, this is too weird...
"Why didn't you ever call her again? And if you weren't together, why do you care?"
Handsome Stranger leaned forward a little.
"See, I never really got over her, even though I dated other girls. I mean, it was completely my fault that we broke up, but I never stopped having feelings for her."
I noticed a lump that had formed in my throat and tried to chase it away with some water. My fingers trembled as I picked up the glass and raised it to my mouth. This guy continued to stare at me, but his eyebrows were scrunched together and his mouth was set in a firm line.
"I sort of want to talk to her," he said, leaning towards me even more.
"What would you say to her, if she even let you near her?" I asked, my voice wobbling. My eyes began to sting. I saw his hand start to move towards me on the table but he pulled it back quickly.
"I want to tell her how sorry I am for leaving her, when she probably needed me the most at that time. Looking back, I know that I was so selfish in a lot of ways, but me leaving was such a mistake. I'd tell her that I thought about her every day, that I still do, and I'd tell her how I really feel about her, how I've felt about her for years, but never had the balls enough to tell her when I should have." I exhaled the breath I'd been unknowingly holding.
"What do you think her reaction would be?" I wiped away an escapee tear; again I saw his hand move toward me, but again he pulled back.
"She'd probably hit me," he smiled, "she was a really saucy girl. And she'd probably cuss me out; she could cuss like a sailor when I pissed her off enough. And she'd tell me that she could never forgive me, but I wouldn't believe that, and she wouldn't mean it anyway." I chuckled darkly.
"You think so?" I asked.
"I know so," he answered, finally taking my hand in his, "Because I know deep down she loved me, and I loved her, and I still do, and I hope that, if I tell her this, she'd realize that there is a reason why she and I ended up at this club tonight. We have unfinished business." Handsome Stranger pulled my hand to his lips and kissed my palm lightly. I closed my eyes, but my tears fell like heavy pearls down my face.
"That's a beautiful story," I whispered under the thumping bass; I knew he could hear me, "How does it end?" Handsome tried to bury his entire face in my little palm, and I thought I heard him sob.
"Emma," he choked. My lips quivered. With my free hand, I reached across the cocktail table and slowly, tentatively, pulled off the man's sunglasses. Familiar blue eyes, misty with unshed tears, looked up at me. I smiled.