Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2263904-Confident
Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2263904
She tried love, it left, and so did her confidence. Que text from an unknown number...

“I found it! Finally!”

“Rue, girl, we just got here.” Frankie, my best friend since middle school , rolled her eyes and smiled as she returned a book back to the shelf.

“That’s a long time when you add the months I’ve been waiting for this sequel to release.”

“Touche, but that’s why I wait until the series is complete.” She picked up another book and rubbed the front of the cover slowly. She brushed the curly brown hair behind her ear. I'm pretty sure I stopped existing for a moment. I wouldn’t be a good friend if I didn’t snap her out of her fantasy.

“Yeah, but buying early helps the authors get the rest of the series out. SUPPORT the author’s Frankie!” I tucked the book under my arm and shook her shoulders. “Support the authors!” She rolled her eyes and smiled.

“There is something wrong with you.” We laugh lightly, “yet years have gone by, and I am still your friend. Must be something wrong with me too.” She turned back to the shelves, “but uh, when you get back to music, I’ll consider ‘supporting’ THAT author.” She poked my shoulder, but it felt like it was my heart. My shoulders drooped letting my black wavy hair fall off of them. Music used to be my love language; now it’s the bruise in that weird spot you can’t avoid. Love connected me with music-my ex took love with him. My phone buzzes; there is no name with the text, just a phone number.

‘Get over here now!’

“Umm, bossy much? Look at this, Frankie.” She shrugs her shoulders.

“Maybe it's somebody's dad. It seems like a dad thing to say.” It buzzes again.

‘Ok, that was a bit intense, but for real, I need you!’

We read the message together and couldn't hold our laugh. “Should we play along, or-?” I wait for Frankie to look up. She's a get-lost-in-thought type of person. If I know her at all, and I do, being her best friend for about a decade, I know she's playing this out in her head. ‘Frankie?”

“Hmm?” She doesn’t look up.

“Think out loud, please.” She finally looks up; what she says throws me for a loop, a massive roller coaster loop…twice.

“You’re about to fall in love, play along, girl, get your man!” I'd roll my eyes, but I know she's serious. That’s how this played out in her mind. Me in love, the absolute LAST thing I want to be.

“Yeah, hard no.” I start to type, but Frankie snatches the phone and tries to run out of the bookstore. I caught her just in time to avoid theft charges. We were still carrying the books; we looked like we were running to the getaway car. “You almost got us arrested.” I crossed my arms and scowled at her, but she knew how lacking in malice it was.

“That’s what I have you for.” She smiles at me and bumps my shoulder.

“I was trying to save the books, not you.” I waggle my eyebrows, holding up my book and snatching hers. She follows me to the counter, laughing.

“Whatever, just text that number and see what happens, Rue.” I put the books on the counter and give my best look of boredom, but I’m not good at faking. “What’s the worst that could happen; you have fun talking to someone charming, other than me, of course?” She pays for her book. “Or even fall in love!”

“Or I become cyber best friends with an old man and end up trapped in his basement writing your name on all the walls to remind myself to get revenge if I ever get out.” I pay for my book. A spitty snort blasts out of her that she doesn’t even bother covering. She is used to my cynical humor; the cashier who held my debit card hostage in midair is not.

“How about you tell him he has the wrong number but that you're a good listener.”

“How do you know it's a guy?” She shrugs. We grab our books and leave.

“Woman’s intuition.”

“How about I say,” I stop, pull out my phone, and start typing.

‘Hey, sir ma’am, you have the wrong number. Since your usual confidant has made themselves unavailable, intentional? We may never know. Need a new one? I’m not the one; you might trap me in the basement, buuuuuuuuuuut, I will read any juicy details you would like to share to vent without judgment. While I may be laughing hysterically, I promise not to judge.’

I didn’t need to show it to her; she was already reading it over my shoulder, cackling in my ear. I wasn’t going to send it, it was a joke, but luck was not on my side. A pedestrian a few feet away started running across the street when the waiting car blew its horn. They tripped on the curb, bumping into the random stranger walking by who spilled their coffee on the guy who backed into Frankie, who bumped my arm. We must be in a movie; the message sent. And I, I am mortified. My eyes were as wide open as my mouth. Mine is silent, Frankie’s an echo of laughter, growing more distant as the seconds pass like years to a vampire watching their mortal love grow old and pass away. So, thus, my dignity passes away too. I put my phone in my pocket, about-face, and take my walk of shame to the car.

When the two of us got back in the car, the silence roiled like boiling water. Then the laughter burst through like the water overflowing onto the stove burner. On the way to Frankie’s house, she went on and on…and on about this may be a man, perhaps a woman, or stalker basement killer, or I don’t know bigfoot. I didn’t get a response while dropping her off, so she moved on to badgering me about my wasted artistic talent. The moment she brought the topic up, I brought the music up. You don’t turn up music without also belting at the top of your lungs, audience or not.

As I walked into my apartment, I let my bag fall next to the door. I flopped down on the couch, feet flying in the air, landing softly on my cushions; my phone buzzed. I fumbled my phone, nearly dropping it on my face.

‘Thanx Lol. I was mid-panic, but that put me in tears.Just what I needed to calm down. Idk y you aren’t my sister, but somehow I’m ok with that.’

I can’t explain why my heart dropped, but it did, squeezing down into my pinky toe. I jumped off the couch, pacing, Frankie’s inner panic walking behind me. I could hear her voice pushing me to respond quickly. Quickly, like my heartbeat. I drove away her nagging push to find love, but my fingers found their way to the buttons.

‘Calm down? Glad I could be of service my liege, and uh sorry I'm not your sister?’

I sat down, took a deep breath, and turned the t.v. on. BUZZ.

‘I’m not. Open mic. Been a while. Sis is persistant’

Oh great, a musician. I tossed the phone on the table; I was not going there. Frankie didn’t need any more ammunition. I tried to watch the show, but my eyes kept blurring, and I couldn’t tell you what was happening. I kept thinking an open mic could be poetry or even painting in this city. But, mostly, I thought it was nice to have someone’s attention. Frankie didn’t count; she doesn't have a choice. I reread the text.

‘Idk y you aren’t my sister, but somehow I’m ok with that.’

And again,

‘but somehow, I’m ok with that.’ ‘I’m ok with that.’ ‘I’m ok with that.’

My face burned and tingled down my neck to my fingers. It felt rude to ignore them, whoever they are, based on assumption. Curiosity got to me; I had to know for sure.

‘BACK on stage?'

‘Yeah, heart broken by my muse, didn’t feel it anymore.

It buzzed again.

McDowell’s 7:30, join me?’

My nostrils flared.

‘Very funny. Heartbroken? Wow.’

‘Hey! What happened to laughing but not judging?’

I gasped, threw the phone on the couch, and crossed my arms. My face was a full-on death scowl, but of course, I couldn't let it go.

‘Did Frankie put you up to this?’

‘Who? What’s happening?'

I rolled my eyes, scoffing.

‘My best friend has been trying to get me back on stage. A big coincidence to get a random text by someone doing the same thing, don’t you think.’

‘Ha! That's funny. Don’t know Frankie, but y did you stop getting on stage?’

‘Heartbreak. Not a big deal, but Frankie thought my ‘violin flare’ would revolutionize the pop/soul industry.’

‘Wait, is this THEE @RubyRue?! Please say yes. If you’re not, pretend.’

‘Well, that’s a first. Yeah, I’m her. Was her.’

‘You have hundreds of thousands of subscribers; don’t tell me you've never met a fan. I have to know what happened; you just stopped posting videos.’

‘Nope, never. I guess that made it easier to stop creating. Same as you, if you’re real. I got heartbroken. It’s hard to be inspired when there is no love to pull from.’

‘No love? What about Frankie. If she is the kind of person you think would set this up, sounds like love to me.’

My face scrunched up and my eyebrows furrowed. Suspicious.

‘That sounds like a Frankie thing to say.’

‘Then she sounds like an amazing friend. AND proof that you have at least one place to pull from. I’ll bet you could think of others.’

‘Yeah, yeah, yeah. What about you, Mr. I don’t know Frankie, but I’m pretty sure you know her.’

“Lost my mojo, hard to be inspired when you’re sad. So are you coming to the open mic? Maybe I could convince you to sing with me?’

‘I might come, but no singing.’

‘Why not? What’s really stopping you?’

‘Heartbreak, remember.’

‘That’s a pretty massive hold they have on you. Based on your YouTube activity, it’s been almost a year, right?’

‘Yeah, well, it was, is, a lot to process.’

‘What happened?’

‘I performed for my ex.’
I took a deep breath, hoping to calm my nerves, but my knees were shaking. I blocked this memory for a reason. ‘I was consumed with the music, pouring my entire heart into it. The crowd was dancing, jumping, waving their arms in the air. With the blue laser lights, smoke, and bass, the entire room felt like it was vibrating.’ I closed my eyes, and the vibration surged through me again. ‘It was like slow motion and hyper-speed simultaneously. When I finished the song, he wasn’t in the room anymore. Everyone was staring at me, looking around confused as I waited for him to join me on stage. Then, they laughed…hysterically. He was making out in the hallway by the women’s bathroom.’

‘Makes sense why it would slow you down. No one wants to get laughed off the stage. But that sounded magical. Join me tonight. Wouldn’t it be nice to feel the room vibrate again?’
My heart raced, but not as fast as the new lyrics swarming in my head.

‘Yeah, it would. I’ll be there. *Wink*

I smiled, took a deep breath, and laid the phone down on the couch. Then I picked it back up, running to the bedroom while FaceTiming Frankie. “Frankie, get dressed; we’re going to an open mic!’ Her smile beamed almost as bright as her scream was loud.

“I know!” She bit her bottom lip and lifted a phone to the screen.

I knew it.
© Copyright 2021 S. E. Mabson (semp83 at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2263904-Confident