A/N: It's been a longtime since I've written any Instant Star fanfics (or any fanfics for that matter), but I finished re-watching the series recently and I've been on such a Jommy kick. I hope the handful of people who still read Instant Star fics enjoy this :P
Disclaimer: The song belongs to Taylor Swift and Instant Star is, unfortunately, also not mine.
"Dammit," he groans in frustration, not having realized just how cold it was outside at this hour. He toys with the idea of running back inside and grabbing a jacket to throw over his long-sleeved shirt, but finds himself beside his car in three strides before he can make an actual decision.
He plops down into the driver's seat, doing his best to ignore the fact that the car - and his apartment, and the studio - still smells like her after six months of her absence. He exhales a breath before starting the ignition and making the short drive down to the music store.
Grabbing his sunglasses and baseball cap from the glove compartment, he parks and quickly walks across the parking lot into the store. An uncharacteristically enthusiastic employee greets him upon entering, and he almost feels guilty when he brushes by her without so much as a hello. He just wants to get in and get out with no distractions.
He spots the New Releases section almost immediately. He can't help the small smile that tugs at the corners of his lips as a result of seeing her face again - even if it is only on paper and protected by a plastic casing.
Carefully, he reaches forward and grabs two copies - one for himself and one he plans on mailing to his mom - a complex mixture of pride and sadness brewing in him. He pays for the item, and heads for the door, making a point of softly thanking the young girl who greeted him on his way in.
He arrives home and practically races inside to his stereo. He's less than graceful when unwrapping the cellophane and finds himself quite anxious to see what she's sounding like these days...without him as her producer.
Finally, he manages to release the CD from its plastic prison and tenderly places it into the disc player. A song he vaguely recognizes fills the room and he sits down on the couch, grabbing the CD booklet to look for the song title and lyrics.
The way you move is like a full-on rainstorm
And I'm a house of cards
You're the kind of reckless that should send me running
But I kind of know I won't get far
He suddenly smiles to himself, knowing he recognizes the tune because it had been something she was working on in their last few weeks together. He presses his lips together tightly trying, in vain, to repress the memory of them laying together in his bed, he lazily stroking her hair and she mumbling the very lyrics that are currently pouring out of his speakers.
Drop everything now
Meet me in the pouring rain
Kiss me on the sidewalk
Take away the pain
'cause I see sparks fly
Whenever you smile
He leans back and shut his eyes as he listens to the rest of the album. God, she's grown so much, he thinks. From that fiery-headed 15-year-old Instant Star to the incredible singer/songwriter superstar she is now. He's so beyond proud of her, but he can't help but feel like he's suffocating hearing her voice again, like someone's got his heart in a death grip and just keeps squeezing it in time with her songs.
Looking for a slight distraction, he flips open the CD booklet and finds the Acknowledgements page. She firstly thanks Bermondsey Records for the unbelievable opportunity they've given her, and goes on to thank what he assumes are people from her label, as he recognizes none of the names. He continues to scan the page, looking for a name he recognizes, when halfway down, he finds several.
I want to thank Darius Mills and the folks at G-Major in Toronto for giving a red-headed 15-year-old a chance and opening up so many doors for me. To Patsy Sewer, who had more guts than anyone. This one's for you, Pats. I'd also like to thank Jamie Andrews at Nana's Basement Records for being my musical Gandalf and for being the best friend any girl could ask for.
To my dad and Sadie, I owe you both so much and I just hope I make you proud with what I've accomplished. Thank you both for talking me down from the ledge countless times, for being my shoulders to cry on, for being the two most wonderful people I know, and for keeping me grounded. I love you both more than I can express.
Most importantly, to my fans, without whom I would have nothing. Thank you for making my reality better than my dreams. And never forget to live like music xoxo
There goes that death grip again. He releases a breath he hadn't even been aware he was holding. He knows they haven't spoken in months, but he has to admit, he'd been hoping there would be something in there for him. Hell, Darius even got a thanks.
He re-reads the thank you's, realizing that maybe she had thanked him after all: Darius Mills and the folks at G-Major in Toronto.
A folk at G-Major in Toronto, that's all he was to her now.
He feels the frustration bubbling up in him - as it does most days when he thinks about her for too long - and he flips the page, immediately forgetting his hurt and instead confused as to why there's a blank page in the middle of her album booklet.
"Printers," he mutters distastefully. He's never been too technologically inclined.
He moves to reach for his second copy of the record, hoping that the printing company only messed up one book, when he takes another look at the page in his hand and notices that it's not blank.
In what he's certain is the tiniest font known to man, there's a small paragraph in the bottom right corner of the page.
And finally, to Michael DuTois, who has inspired me endlessly, loved me unconditionally, and made me a stronger person all around. I hope you love the album as much as I do. And even though an ocean separates us now, I want you to know that I'll always be your girl. Thank you for making my music better, my life better...for making me better. You've picked up the pieces and put me back together countless times, so thank you.
He doesn't even notice that he's crying until a loud sob tears through his body. He runs one hand roughly through his hair and shuts his eyes, his other hand still tightly clenched to the small booklet.
He recites the acknowledgement in his head, already having parts of it memorized, laughing as she goes from discreetly using the name he uses to check in at hotels or get take-out, to ending with the most notable late '90s pop lyric that will instantly have people connecting the dots right back to him.
"Oh, Jude..." he says with a teary smirk, the track in the background changing to what he knows is The Basement Song. "My girl."
Despite the heart-wrenching pain he feels when thinking about her, he knows that letting her spread her wings was the right thing to do - her album being the finest testament to that fact. And for the first time in half a year, he's filled with the hope that maybe their story isn't over just yet.