Ficawesome Gift Exchange
Title: Champagne Supernova
Written for: afragilelittlehuman
Written By: AcrossTheSkyInStars
Summary/Prompt used: couple tries to avoid their old flames at their 20th high school reunion
If you would like to see all the stories that are a part of this exchange visit the Facebook group: Fanficaholics Anon: Where Obsession Never Sleeps
A million thanks to all the people involved in the FAGE, the ones who encouraged me and made this fun and amazing. Even more thanks goes to Tiffany (vampiremama/readingmama) for being utterly fantastic and volunteering to beta this. I love you.
Chapter One: Invitation
"Someday you will find me caught beneath the landslide
In a champagne supernova in the sky"
-Oasis: Champagne Supernova
"No," I protested into the phone, hitching my bag higher on my shoulder as I walked the crowded streets. "It's late and I'm exhausted. I just want to go home."
"One cocktail," Rose countered, "I'll even pay."
I pursed my lips at her offer, stopping in the middle of the sidewalk. I had to give it to her; the woman knew how to get to me. After an extremely long and stressful week at work, she knew free alcohol was the way to go. Dealing with snobby clients nine hours a day was enough to drive me to drink, and that's without the added headache of actually making those clients look decent.
I loved being a fashion consultant, but sometimes it made me nearly homicidal.
"Please," she implored, drawing the word out in several, unnecessary syllables. I rolled my eyes as she pleaded and jerked forward a little as a stocky man in a business suit bumped into me. I glared at him as Rose continued to beg.
"Fine!" I agreed, huffing as I stepped up on my tip toes to look for a cab. "Where are you?"
She laughed, "Seriously. Where am I? Honey, it has been a long week at work. Get your ass down here before that job of yours causes more brain damage."
I smirked. "You're such a bitch."
"Yeah," she consented, "I am. But you love me."
"Remind me again why that is," I teased, attempting to hail a cab as I cradled my phone with the other hand. Rose laughed as a taxi pulled over and I sighed in relief. "Okay, I'm just getting into a cab. I'll be there in a bit."
I hung up the phone and slid into the back seat of the conspicuous, yellow cab, directing him to my and Rose's favourite bar, Eclipse. We were bumper to bumper the entire time, the ambiance of screeching tires and blaring horns accompanying the sight of Manhattan during rush hour. The insanity of it all was worse than feeding time at the zoo. I was sure animals could coordinate themselves in a more appropriate fashion than New Yorkers.
In the hectic bustle of the traffic, it took me almost half an hour to get there, and when I did, the line to get inside was already over twenty people long.
Apparently, I wasn't the only one who was glad it was Friday.
I tossed some money to the driver over the back of the seat and made sure I had my bag before getting out of the cab. I slowly started towards the end of the line, checking over my shoulder to see if I could get a glimpse of the bouncers. A few women were let in the doors, and when they disappeared, I saw Felix.
I smiled at my luck.
My red Jimmy Choo's clicked against the pavement with purpose as I disregarded the queue and headed to the front. I fluffed my hair out around my shoulders, brushed my bangs from my eyes, and added a small strut to my steps. When Felix saw me, his gorgeous baby blues brightened with his beautifully crooked smile.
"I knew you wouldn't be far along," he greeted. I leaned up to kiss him on the cheek and put my hands to his chest as his big, burly arms came around me. "Rosie's already inside."
I laughed, "You know she hates it when you call her that, Felix."
"And you know that I don't care," he replied.
I looked up at him as I stood encircled in his arms, and for a few seconds, it was...awkward. Felix was my favourite bouncer at Eclipse, a great friend...and my ex. We had dated for a few months the year before and found out the hard way that we were better off friends. He was sexy, cute, and funny, and though we had fun, there was always something missing from what we had.
I could never figure it out; all I knew was that things were better when we weren't together.
"I...I should go in," I stammered, pointing to the door as I put a few feet of distance between us.
Felix gave me a small, disheartened smile but stepped aside.
"Have a good time," he said with a nod. I nodded back with a forced smile and headed into the bar. The interior was dark and elegant, the walls black and glossy as music pumped through the wide hallway. I did my best to push my encounter with Felix from my mind as I made my way up the stairs to where Rose would be waiting.
I couldn't even think about analyzing his behaviour.
When I got to the top, Rose was sitting at our usual table, four glasses in front of her. I laughed to myself because she looked like a raging alcoholic, but then again, that was Rose. She couldn't be bothered with what people thought.
I wished I could be more like her.
I tossed my bag down onto the table and grabbed one of my glasses, draining the strong, dirty martini before I could even say hello. My head spun as I set it down and picked up the other, taking a healthy sip. I didn't care if I would regret it later; having a few drinks right now seemed like the best idea in the world.
"Oh, so it's going to be one of those nights?" Rose asked with a wicked smile as her eyebrow arched suggestively.
I nodded. "Definitely."
Our 'one drink' turned into three, and then three turned into five. Before I knew it, we were making our way down the stairs on wobbly heels with another two drinks, one in each hand. I swayed my hips as I walked, moving to the beat of the music as Rose shouted the lyrics. Some of her cosmopolitan spilled onto my shoe as she waved her arm and I gasped, stopping where I stood.
"My shoes!" I yelled. Rose continued for another foot or so in front of me before she realized that I wasn't with her. She turned slowly, her brows knit together as she tried to focus on me. I stuck my shoe out to her and wiggled my foot, emphasizing my point.
Shock replaced her confusion as she asked, "What happened?"
I tried to glare at her, but the alcohol in my system turned it into a saddened frown.
"You happened," I said with a pout. She glanced to her glass and then back at my shoe, copying my expression. She set her drinks on a nearby table and bent down, trying to wipe off what she had spilled. "Rose, s'okay," I slurred as I retracted my foot, "I'll just buy some more."
"But they're your favourite Jimmy's," she said as she straightened out. She put her hand on my shoulder for support as her glassy, green eyes met mine. "I'll buy you new ones."
"Kay," I agreed with a shrug. If she wanted to buy me new shoes, I wouldn't protest.
Rose picked up her drinks and we headed to the dance floor. I clutched my bag beneath my arm and held both drinks in my hands as we danced, losing myself in the alcohol and music. I took frequent sips, forgetting all about my shitty week, my worries, and my ruined Jimmy's. I was having a fantastic time, until I felt a strange, insistent vibration underneath my arm.
It took me a minute to realize that it was coming from my bag.
As quickly as I could in my sticky Jimmy Choo's, I moved off the dance floor to set down my empty glasses. I rummaged through my bag, shifting around every, single item in there before I found my phone. It had stopped vibrating and I clicked on the screen, finding the fluorescent light much too bright for my eyes. I closed one eye and held the phone closer to my face, noting that I had a missed call from Emmett – Rose's husband.
I made a face at the screen and looked up to find her. She was still dancing, her long, blonde hair swaying down her back as she moved to the music. I shook my head at her ability to have fun all by herself. She hadn't even noticed that I'd left.
My phone began vibrating again and I quickly answered, "Hello?"
I plugged my other ear, but all I heard was a deep mumble.
"I can't hear you!" I yelled into the phone.
"Where are you?" Emmett's voice shouted back. He wasn't angry, just loud.
"Eclipse," I replied at the same volume. Emmett said something else, but I couldn't make it out. I frowned down at the phone as the call abruptly ended and decided that it was probably time to go home. It was almost one.
I grabbed my bag from the table and pushed past drunken dancers to get to Rose. She was in her own little world, oblivious to the fact that there was a guy about a foot away from where she was, trying to get his groove on with her. I laughed because he looked like he couldn't be any more than twenty-one.
I elbowed my way past him and grabbed Rose's arm, shaking her out of her coma. Her eyes opened slowly and she smiled down at me, resuming her previous motions.
"Rose, we have to go!" I shouted over the music. "Emmett called me."
Her glazed eyes popped open at the mention of his name and she mouthed the word 'fuck' to me. I nodded my head towards the exit and she led the way, gripping my hand in hers as we stumbled our way out of Eclipse. The muggy air outside the bar was mildly refreshing from the stagnant heat inside and I took a deep breath, bumping into Rose as I nearly lost my footing.
We both started laughing at my horrid coordination and I doubled over, trying to catch my breath. When I stood back up, we started walking again, but something – or rather, someone – blocked our way.
"Felix!" Rose squealed, abandoning her duty as my leaning post to hug him.
"Rose," Felix greeted curtly. He was speaking to her, but his eyes were on me, his expression concerned as he looked at me over Rose's shoulder. "You good?" he asked.
I nodded. "Yep. Just dandy, thanks."
Rose pulled away from Felix and stumbled towards the curb as he came to stand in front of me. "Do you have a ride home?" he inquired softly. I was about to open my mouth to answer but he interrupted, "And do not tell me you are taking a cab."
"Um...guess I'm not taking a cab then," I giggled.
Felix rolled his eyes before his face softened. "Let me drive you?"
"I-I don't think that'such a good idea," I mumbled. "I mean, because before...and now – I'm pret-ty drunk, like...drunk. Rose and I had some shots of this stuff, and it was like purple and it tasted really good an-"
"Alice," Felix groaned, "you're rambling. It's just a ride home." I felt my cheeks flush at my stupidity and I gave him a small grin. "I just want to make sure you get in okay," he assured. The look in his eyes held nothing more than friendship, comforting me.
"Okay, thank you," I said as sincerely as I could.
Felix still had ten minutes until he was off work so I let him be. I found Rose sitting on the curb, her legs drawn up to her chest as she rested her chin on her knees. Her entire body was swaying to a phantom beat and I clumsily joined her, relaxing my head on her shoulder.
"Em's gonna be maaad at me," Rose commented quietly.
I shook my head, "No, he won't...well, he didn't sound mad on the phone, at least."
Rose sighed, slumping forward slightly as she rubbed her hands over her shins. We were both deadly quiet until Emmett arrived a few minutes later. His sleek, black Mercedes pulled up to the curb and I felt Rose's posture change immediately. Her face lit up when he got out of the car and her smile was impossible to ignore.
In the back of my mind, I had always envied what they had. I envied the closeness they shared...how in love they were. I had never been able to find it.
I thought I had, once upon a time, but it was a mistake.
"Em!" Rose beamed up at him from her spot on the sidewalk.
"Hey baby," he said with a humorous smile before he nodded at me, "hey Alice."
"Hey Em," I replied sleepily.
"You got a ride?" he asked as bent down to help Rose to her feet. I was about to respond with an emphatic nod, only to be interrupted when strong hands came around my ribs and hoisted me up from the ground.
"I've got her," Felix's voice said from behind me. Emmett thanked Felix for giving me a ride and towed Rose to his car. She waved at me from the passenger window and I shook my head at her as I waved back. "Come on, Alice, let's get you home," Felix whispered.
Buildings and streetlights blurred into one on the way to my apartment. I rested my cheek on the cool glass of the window, talking quietly with Felix as he asked me about my night. The conversation flowed easily...naturally. I was glad the earlier awkwardness was gone between us.
I didn't want to lose him as a friend.
Before long, we pulled up to the front of my building. I tried to assure Felix that I would be okay to get up to my apartment by myself, but he didn't believe me. He fully insisted on walking me to my door.
I clambered out of the car, feeling drowsy as Felix helped me inside. The elevator ride was short and quiet, the soft 'ding' alerting me to when we reached my floor. I looked up at Felix as we walked down the hall and it seemed like something was...off.
"S'everything okay?" I asked as we stopped in front of my door. "You seem...weird."
Felix leaned against the wall and stuffed his hands in his pockets as his eyes met mine. "Will you have dinner with me?" he replied.
"Sometime this week," he added, "will you have dinner with me?"
"Wh-Felix...I don't understand," I said in confusion. "I thought we already went through this."
"We did," he said with a shrug, "but...I don't know, lately I've...I've missed you, Alice."
"Oh no..." I groaned, sliding down the wall until I was sitting on the floor. "Felix..."
"Look," he began, "I know why you ended things...and I know that you find it hard to trust people, but we were good together, Alice. We had fun." He knelt down in front of me and gave me a small smile. "I miss those times."
I sighed, "Yeah, we did have fun, Felix...you're fun, and I love you...but as my friend. I trust you not to hurt me, but I don't think we should do this again," I said quietly, "I don't think anything more will ever happen between us."
"You don't know that," he countered, "what if you fall in love with me someday?"
We both knew what he was saying would never happen. I would never fall in love with Felix, because despite how great he was, he wasn't the one for me. I knew the type of guy I could fall for; it was the same guy who had broken my heart nearly twenty years ago.
"Felix, please..." I said tiredly. I looked up at him soberly and he pursed his lips, looking away.
"Okay, I'm sorry," he apologized before he stood up, "let's get you inside."
I nodded, my eyes glazed over with unshed tears as my thoughts strayed to the fact that I was almost forty years old...and alone. I bit my lip to keep it from quivering and gripped Felix's hand as he helped me to stand. I said goodbye to him with a friendly hug and watched him walk down the hallway; his hands stuffed in his pockets and his shoulders slumped.
That was a serious buzz kill.
I let myself into my apartment, locking the door behind me as I tossed my bag down onto the table in the entryway. I grimaced as the action sent a pile of mail tumbling to the floor and regrettably bent down to pick everything up.
I slipped out of my stick Jimmy's, setting them gravely beneath the table, saying a small goodbye to the shoes I loved. I padded into the living room as my feet could finally breathe and flopped down on the cushy sofa, sighing at the relief.
I sifted through bills and other junk, tossing the useless pieces of mail onto the coffee table. I was about to toss an unassuming letter into the 'useless' pile, but the name on the face of it caught my eye.
Why was that familiar?
I tried to recall where I knew that name from. It was on the edge of my mind but I couldn't figure it out. I abandoned the other letters and bills and slipped my finger under the flap, tearing it open. Several papers fell onto my lap and I grabbed one, unfolding it as my eyes scanned the page.
It looked like a questionnaire.
What the hell is this?
I picked up another one, and when I read the words at the top, I put the name to the face.
Lauren Mallory: Prom Queen.
The piece of paper in my hands was an invitation to my twentieth high school reunion.