This scene was taken out of the story after the club scene where Lauren was drunk and Justin came in to save her. I really don't remember WHERE in the story I took it out, but I do know that it was after that. Lauren and Justin were still fighting, the fighting was really bad, and she was still very hurt by this. She was also working really hard to forget about him and move on with her life.
The way it COULD have happened: (Edited Scene)
Lauren's fingers trembled a little as she attempted to brush more mascara on her eyelashes. After a few more attempts and trying to stabilize her hand, she threw the tube onto her dresser and sighed. Going out with spider eyes or as Tammy Faye's younger sister, was not exactly the way to boost her confidence at all. To be completely honest, she had no idea why she was even trying. She had absolutely no idea why she had agreed to go out with Tristan in the first place, but her mouth had agreed before her head could stop it.
Speaking before she had thought things through seemed to be her specialty.
The sound of the doorbell caused her to flinch, and she silently cursed herself for being so jumpy. This was Tristan after all. He was about as pushy as a ladybug, yet at the same time he effected her more than he should be able to. Looking at him and seeing the feelings he had for her radiating out of his eyes, always made her feel guilty. Maybe there would be a day when she could return that interest, he certainly was one hell of a catch, but right now it only succeeded in scaring her.
Justin was quickly shutting himself out of her life, she had accepted that fact by now, but there was still part of her that clung to the hope that he would one day show up at her door. He would show up and everything would be fine again. Her heart cried even when her eyes were forbidden to participate in that task, and beginning a new life without him wasn't as easy as she thought it would be. In fact, she didn't know how much longer she could try to hold onto the hope that he would one day be gone from her thoughts for good. The harder she tried to forget him, the more she remembered him. The more she tried to hate him, the more she wanted him to look at her with those eyes of his, and smile that smile of his that never failed to stop her breath.
"Foolish and childish thinking isn't going to help you any. Wake up, girl. Wake up and move on with your life."
His face was everywhere she turned, people asked about him every time she went out in public, he surrounded her even when she tried to run away, and most of the time she hated herself for seeking him out. She sought him out in magazines, on the internet, when she was driving around Orlando, and her heart sought for him to fill the void that he had dug himself.
She trailed lipgloss across her bottom lip and took a deep breath when she heard the low rumble of two male voices in the living room. "If I can't get through one night of not thinking about Justin, while in the company of another WONDERFUL guy, then there's really no hope for me. There's really no hope."
That statement had never been truer, but there really was no hope for her. She knew that she would miss this date being with Justin, or even the simple fact of calling him when she got home to tell him how everything went. She would miss hearing his voice over the phone, his questions about what happened on the date, the concern in his voice when she went too far into detail, and the protective tone he would take when she would explain her hesitancies and uncertainties.
She would miss having her best friend.
"Lauren? Your date is here."
Jayce's voice brought her out of her pity party, and she shook her head with dignity as she answered. "I'll be right there."
Gathering up her purse and tossing a few items inside, her hand paused over an earring as her eyes locked on a framed picture of Justin. It appeared harmless as it quietly sat on her bedside table, but his eyes screamed to her. The memories screamed so loudly to her that she almost covered her ears to escape them. Very hesitantly, her fingers picked it up and held it in front of her as her eyes trailed over every detail.
A year before, during a break from the crazy touring schedule that had controlled his life, Justin had surprised her by planning a day trip to the beach. It had been an early graduation gift for her, time spent alone with him, and it couldn't have been a more perfect time for either one of them. He was overworked, his identity was no longer something he could control or hide, and she had needed to get away from all of the decisions about her future that were pressing down on her.
A finger gently slid over the orange glow of the sunset, and a tender smile tugged at her lips. This was by far her favorite picture of him. Out of every picture, out of the hundreds of albums that contained his beautiful face, this was the one she couldn't resist looking at.
They had been watching the sun set over the water, talking about nothing…yet everything, and he had lost himself in the beauty of it. When his words died abruptly, she turned to see that his head was thrown back, his eyes were closed peacefully, the warm breeze was blowing his hair, and the reddish glow of the setting sun brushed over his features in a way that made even him glow with it. His breathing had been soft, relaxed, and she had never seen him look as beautiful or as peaceful as he had at that very moment. The picture was quickly taken before he even realized it, and it turned out to be breathtakingly beautiful. To see this man, to see the elements around him embrace him and caress him, and to see the perfect sunset behind him as he allowed himself to heal…it still made her speechless to think about. His profile mixed with the setting sun, the emotions on his face mixed with the emotions in her heart, and she fell in love all over again.
Staring at this picture now, it made her wish for those days. It made her yearn for them more than she ever had then, because those days were over. Quite possibly, they were over and gone forever.
Jayce's voice caused her to jump again, and with a sigh she gave the picture one last look before slamming it facedown on the table. He wasn't here for her anymore, he didn't find anything but anger in her anymore, and yet for some strange reason she felt like she was betraying him. It felt like cheating to be going out with Tristan, and as ridiculous as that was…she felt guilty.
"I said, I'm coming!"
Slamming the bedroom door behind her, she quickly walked down the hallway towards the living room. Even though it was extremely silly, she felt really odd and insecure in having Tristan waiting for her. But there he was, standing next to Jayce in the living room, and looking like he was one of the luckiest men on earth just to be there.
This could make things complicated, she thought.
"It's about time."
She gave Jayce a dirty look before smiling over at Tristan. "He acts like it doesn't take him five YEARS to get ready for a date. Good to see you again, Tristan."
He was dressed masculine, yet casual, in his black slacks and black shirt. There was no denying that he had an awesome body, and this all-black look mixed with his dark hair and tanned skin…well…he was being noticed by her a lot more than he probably should be.
"You look really great, Lauren."
Jayce's arm went around Tristan's shoulders roughly when he recognized not only the look directed at his sister, but the tone as well. "Doesn't she? It's amazing how wonderful a nineteen year old girl can look, when she really tries."
"NOT that she's not usually beautiful, but she's really REALLY not looking NINETEEN right now. It's amazing how a little makeup can change a person."
She put her hands on her hips and glared. "JAYCE…"
Tristan looked between them and he could feel the heavy weight of Jayce's arm on his shoulders. "I think Lauren is naturally beautiful, but in a very innocent way of course."
"You're really slick."
Tristan coughed when he heard that, and he looked at Lauren to see if this was all one big joke, or if he should really be worried. Her eyes appeared angry yet playful. "Are we ready to go?"
She still stood there with her hands on her hips, and her eyes burning into Jayce. "I'm ready when you are."
"Tristan tells me that he's a musician. I find it funny how I've never heard of him before."
Lauren pushed her hair back and sighed. "Tristan has recently signed with Jive."
"Yes he told me that. Very brave of you Lauren, to date another Jive artist."
Her eyes narrowed at that. "Ok, the Neanderthal older brother can STOP IT. I'm really sorry, Tristan."
He held up his hand and shook his head to show that it was ok. "No need to apol…"
"So Tristan, how long have you known my sister?"
"Uh…a few months. We met at Pleasure Island."
Lauren shook her head as Jayce continued. "At a club? Oh WAIT, you are the Tristan who fought with Justin outside that club downtown? The one where my sister lost ALL common sense and…"
That was it for her. She walked over, grabbed Jayce by the arm, and dragged him back towards her room. "Excuse us a minute, Tristan!"
When the door slammed behind them, Lauren shoved him up against the door and pointed a finger into his chest. "What in the HELL are you doing?"
"I'm just checking the guy out."
"You're trying to scare him! Jayce, I know that you love doing that whole protective thing, but you're WAY out of line this time. Tristan is a nice guy, he's a friend, and we're going out as friends tonight. That's it. It's nothing more than two friends who are going out to have fun."
"Do you see the look in his eyes, Lauren? Do you see the way he tenses up and goes all fluttery when he looks at you? You might be going out as friends, but that guy out there isn't interested in friendship with you."
She stepped back to put some distance between them, before she would lose all sense of restraint and strangle him. "You've known him all of five minutes, and he's a great guy who is interested in…"
"In taking Justin's place."
She visibly flinched when he said that. "Jayce, you don't know anything about what's going on with Justin and I. You have ABSOLUTELY no idea what kind of person Tristan is. Since when do you have such loyalty to Justin? Hmmm? Can you please trust me? Can you shut up and trust that I know what I'm doing?"
"Do you trust what you're doing?"
That was the question of the century right there. "I know that I can't sit here and waste away while I dream of all of the what ifs. Justin had his chance, I had my chance with him, and now it's time we go our separate ways."
"I don't like this, Lauren. I don't like the way you're talking about the guy who means everything to you. I don't LIKE how you're acting like he's nothing to you now."
"You know, you had a problem when I was dating Justin, and now you have a problem when I'm not. Would you make up your mind? No wait…why don't you just bite your lip, shove your head further up your ass, and butt the hell out of my personal life!"
"I can't do that."
An eyebrow raised in challenge. "You plan on stopping me?"
He sized her up, weighed the pros and cons of tangling with her, and finally backed down. "Be careful. That's all I ask."
"I'm not ready for a relationship of any kind, but I could always use more friends. Tristan is someone who could be a really good friend to me."
"Whatever you say. I just don't like how he's hinting to a little bit more with you. I've seen that kind of guy before, and it's always bad news." When she spun around to grab something off of her dresser, he growled and turned away. "Do you have to wear that outfit tonight?"
She checked herself out in the mirror, and smiled as her eyes scanned over the simple yet feminine attire. "Yeeep. Move out of the way, and DON'T go back into that living room until we're gone."
On her way out of the room, she shoved him out of the way, and slammed the door behind her. Tristan was still waiting right where they had left him, and he gave her an insecure little smile as she approached him. "If there's a problem, I'll understand if you want to cancel or…"
"No, there's no problem. Jayce just needs to be slapped around a little bit every now and then. Either that or spend time with that ANOREXIC LITTLE FLAKE THAT HE TOYS WITH FROM TIME TO TIME. EVEN THOUGH I NEVER SAY ANYTHING TO HIM ABOUT THAT!" She grinned when Tristan took a step back. "I think we should get going. Right?"
He looked scared to follow her, but eventually he tagged along and walked with her to his car. Not much was said until they were in the car and some distance had been put between her house and them. "Once again I want to say I'm sorry for how Jayce acted back there. He's just so used to me doing things with Justin, so a new person…a new guy spending time with me is a bit much for him. It's not anything personal against you though."
He turned the radio down and nodded as he watched traffic. "I won't take it personally. I'm glad that you have someone who takes care of you at all times. It just shows that he loves you."
"It shows that he's a psychotic ass who needs to see that I've grown up."
Tristan chuckled for a bit. "Do all of your dates have to get through him?"
The sound of his name was like cold ice water being thrown down her back. "Especially Justin. When we were dat…dating for a little while, Jayce was in militia-mode. It wasn't pretty, but Jayce is really all talk. Can we forget about him and about…Justin? I don't really want to talk about either one of them tonight."
"Not a problem. Thank you for agreeing to go out with me tonight, Lauren. I never expected you to say that you would, but it was a nice surprise all the same."
She saw that they were pulling into a very residential section, and it caught her as odd. "Where are we going?"
"I'm sorry, I should have warned you before we left. I…well…I kind of cooked dinner. I know we could have gone out to a restaurant, but I really love to cook. I mean, I REALLY love to cook. If you would rather go to a restaurant, then…"
This was adorable, and the blush that was covering his face was even more adorable. "Dinner at your place is fine, Tristan. I trust that you won't poison me."
He laughed cheerfully at that. "I was just worried that you would feel cornered. You know, because it's my place, alone, and…"
"Tristan, I can take care of myself."
He had zero doubt about that. "I knew that you were being hounded by the press, so going out in public with me to a restaurant might be an ordeal."
"Seriously, you don't have to explain. It was very sweet of you to think of my feelings first."
She was more than a bit curious as to how he lived. When they arrived at his apartment, she wandered around the living room and sized up the place. It was masculine to a fault. Hardly any paintings or frills decorated the walls or furniture, but there was a coziness about it. She could tell that he probably spent many nights in this room with his guitar, writing songs or daydreaming about his music. The kitchen was open into the living room, and she listened to him clamber around as he finished cooking. While he cooked, she continued her investigation.
"Like what you see?"
She turned at the sound of his voice, and smiled. "I like what I smell. You must have been cooking for hours."
"I've been getting this ready all day actually. Anything worth doing is worth doing right. And cooking is something that shouldn't be rushed if you want to do it right. Want to come here and try some of this? You can be my guinea pig."
"How can I turn down an offer like that?"
She strolled over into the kitchen and watched him as he stirred some kind of pasta in a huge pot. After spooning up a little of the sauce, he gently blew on it, and held it up to her lips. Her eyes locked on his as the spoon touched her lips, and she got her first taste of his creation.
"That is absolutely sinful, Tristan."
He took in her look of satisfaction, the way her eyes slightly closed, and he took a deep breath. "My thoughts exactly. Why don't you bring me those bowls over there. This is about as ready as it can be. Hungry?"
They worked together to get everything served and placed on the table. All the while, Tristan watched her and wondered how stupid Justin Timberlake was to let this girl go. He had to be one of the dumbest people on the face of the earth to ever push someone like her away. She was everything and anything a guy could want. Yes she was a bit scary, her mouth was something that could slice up and slaughter the strongest of men, and yet it was those things that added to her magnetism. For him, at least. While that mouth scared away some really tough opponents, he couldn't stop thinking how utterly kissable those lips would be when she was in the right mood.
"Tristan? Is this it?"
He broke from his thoughts and walked towards the dining room. On his way by, he flipped on the stereo. Soft jazz warmed the room, and he didn't miss the way her eyes lit up with surprise. "You're easy, Lauren Owsley."
He pulled out her chair and helped her sit. "I just mean, it doesn't take much to make you happy, does it?"
"Not usually. I'm a fan of the simple yet meaningful things in life. Most times, they are the most beautiful things."
He paused as he sat down, and stared at her for a quiet moment. "I couldn't agree with you more. Would you like anything else before we start eating?"
She reached over for the forgotten lighter that sat on the table, and lit the three candles on the table. "There. That's perfect I think."
Dinner conversation was awkward at first, mainly because she didn't know much about him to talk about. He didn't make her feel stupid or foolish for asking dumb questions though. It was almost like he had been expecting for her to push and seek the answers to mysteries that he held. It was intriguing for him to have her want to learn more about him. It made him feel good to know that she wasn't completely immune to him, but at the same time he could tell that she was a hurt and lost soul. It was like a part of her was now missing, and she was working with only the basics of herself keeping her going.
That piece missing was Justin.
The loyalty and the love that she harbored for Justin were things that he couldn't quite understand. From what he saw of them together, they were either brother and sister, husband and wife, or two people who could tear one another up with the power of very few words. Their bond and their relationship wasn't something he had figured out yet, but then again it wasn't really his place to. All he knew was that he felt for her. He felt for the pain he saw in her eyes and heard in her voice. He felt for the way she flinched whenever Justin's name was mentioned, and the way she also lit up whenever that same name was spoken.
They were both stuffed and relaxing in conversation when Lauren finally caved in. "Tristan, I want to apologize to you for how I acted in the club that night. That wasn't me at all, and you were caught up in the middle of it."
He leaned his elbows on the table and nodded slowly. "But it was you, Lauren. It might not be who you think you are, but that was the hurting side of you. I don't really agree with how you handled it, alcohol is no way to kill the pain, but that was a decision that you made. I'm sorry that you were hurt even more because of it."
"You called him, didn't you?"
How to answer this was tricky, but he wasn't going to lie to her. "I called him because if I were him, angry or not, I would want to know how to help you."
"But you're not him. Have…have you ever felt like you're a burden to someone? Have you ever known that you're important to that person, but sometimes it just seems like you're a…I don't know…a hangnail that they can't seem to pull off?"
She certainly had a way with words, he thought with a smile. "You're not a burden to anyone, Lauren. Especially not to Justin."
Her eyes trailed over the room. "I was a burden that night, and I was stupid."
"Why did you do it?"
One slender shoulder shrugged slightly. "I don't know. It was wild and crazy, and even though I might seem like someone who lives on the edge…that's not me. That's not a decision that I would ever make for myself normally, and yet I wanted to prove something."
"I wanted to prove that I could go out and have fun without him. DAMMIT! I promised myself that I wouldn't talk about him tonight. I'm…I'm so sorry, Tristan. I can't imagine what it must be like for you to sit there and hear me talk on and on about Justin. I'll stop."
His arm reached out and very slowly his fingers wound around hers. "I have no set agendas for tonight when it comes to conversation. Talk about the man all night if you want to, because like I said…I would like to know how to help you."
It would be so easy to fall into his arms and to forget about the entire world spinning around them. It would be so easy to lead him on and to lead herself on as she took him up on the offers he was clearly sending her way. It would be easy, but she would never forgive herself for it. He was going to make someone the luckiest woman on earth one day, but there was no way that she was going to be that girl. She would hurt him and she would tear him apart, because her heart wasn't in it.
"Tristan, do you mind if we get out of here for a while? We can drive and just…just stop whenever we feel like it."
It was clear by the look on his face that he was unsure about how quickly she had dropped the topic at hand. Her way of dealing with things was to push them aside, and he was quickly learning that fact. "That sounds like a plan to me. Just leave everything where it is and I'll clean up when I get home tonight."
Even though he said that, Lauren helped clean up the dishes and the mess before they were grabbing their things and heading for the door. Tristan paused in front of it and turned to look down at her. "Promise me something."
"Promise me that you'll have a good time, and promise me that you'll let me in."
"I…I don't know what you mean."
"Lauren, I want to be your friend, but I can't do that if you keep shutting off. I know I'm asking for a lot of trust that you're probably not wanting to give me, but don't be embarrassed to share your hurt with me. If you need to let it out, scream about it, or just talk…I'll listen."
It was asking a lot, but that's one thing she had to admire about him. He spoke what was on his mind, didn't make apologies for it, and didn't run from it. "I'm going to have fun tonight, and I'll trust you with my friendship. I just don't want to be a drag. Not tonight."
He opened the door and motioned for her to walk through. "If it's one thing you're not…it's a drag. Let's see what we can get ourselves into."
An hour later, after driving around Orlando and seeing the ins and outs of the city, they stopped at the Mercado to window shop. As far as touristy shopping in Orlando went, this place was the eccentric definition of it. But it had enough flair and personality to bring in a resident. Lauren was in love with the vibe that she got whenever she was there. It was rare to find a homey place in Orlando, but everything from the adobe buildings to the upbeat Mexican music that played over the loudspeakers, drew her in.
Pretty much anything could be found there. Expensive jewelry all the way to cheap gadgets for kids that nobody would spend good money on.
Tristan looked around in amazement. "You have brought me to a glorified flea market."
"Please tell me that you've been here before."
His eyes scanned the buildings around him as they stood in the plaza, and he shook his head with amusement lighting his eyes. "Can't say that I have. Come here often?"
"Every now and then. They have great food, it's cheap, and you can't beat sitting outside in those cheap lawn chairs while you munch and listen to the tunes. I come here sometimes to relax or study."
"Not just to get your face painted?"
A giggle escaped her lips, and she pushed against his shoulder playfully. "You dared me to do it."
"You accepted the dare." He reached over and touched her cheek. "Although I must say that it's beautiful work. It looks like part of a Mardi Gras mask with all the glitter and gold paint."
"Yeah, well I wasn't going to have my whole face painted. Not even for a dare. This eye thing might be a new trend. Who knows, right?"
"Who knows? Although it's not a trend that I'm participating in." He touched the end of her nose with his finger and walked away from her as she gaped.
She sipped on her drink and walked faster to catch up with him. "This has really been fun tonight. I haven't been here in ages."
"It's good to see you smile, Lauren."
After window shopping a little while longer, they got back into the car and Tristan had an idea of where to go. A few minutes later he stopped the car at a park, and Lauren was surprised to find that she had never been to this place before.
"Where are we?"
"Are you saying that you've never been here before? Imagine that."
She chased him around the car until finally he stopped and gave in. They both laughed as he spun her around in his arms, dipped her dramatically, and let her go. "That was pretty slick there Tristan. Do you woo all women in this fashion?"
His teeth shined in the moonlight. "Nah. I just shut them up and keep them from beating me up that way."
The area was beautiful. Big oak trees lined the park where children played and laughed on the playground, while their parents picnicked under the romantic glow of the moon and stars. Young loves walked hand in hand down the mainly trails and paths that lined the park itself, and Lauren couldn't help but smile when she saw an older couple that reminded her of Betsy and Artie. This place was straight out of a movie…or a daydream.
"How did you find this place?"
He looped her arm around his and began walking, but he ignored her question. "I come here at night sometimes when I want to relax. I bring my guitar with me sometimes and play it for the people who want to listen. A few weeks ago, I was playing one of my new songs, just the melody, and this guy proposed to his girlfriend right in front of me. To think, forever they will have MY song in their head when they think of the night they became engaged to one another."
"I hear someone playing right now. This is just…it's perfect. The moonlight, the light breeze, the children playing, the couples spending time together, and the…the romance. I would love to bring my camera here. I wish I could get this feeling onto film."
His arms spun her around until she was face to face with him, her chest against his, and his hands were flat against her back. "Dance with me?"
He looked around to see if there was an audience or something, but had to smile at her uncertainty. "Right here, right now, with me."
Her hands slowly moved up his arms until they rested against his shoulders, but she still felt strange about standing in the middle of an open field, underneath the stars, dancing with him.
His chin lowered and he rested his cheek against the side of her head. "Lauren, the feelings you had about this place. The feelings that took over you and warmed you when you were just looking at them…"
His voice lowered into a whisper. "Become part of it."
The words flowed through her and she found herself relaxing into him as he swayed them gently to the music. Part of her finally gave in, and she realized that this was what she had been looking for all along. Everyone told her that she should go out into the world and find out who she was. She should go out and meet new people, have fun with them, experience life through their eyes, and for the first time…she was doing that. For the first TRUE time she was allowing herself to get out of her comfort zone, and she was finding that comfort in another person. Another man to be more specific.
Her feelings towards Tristan hadn't changed any. She knew that he would never be the love of her life, but he was giving her such a precious gift. He was showing her that all of her childish insecurities were wrong. She wasn't the tomboy who everyone always associated Justin with. She actually could be a woman, a strong woman, a desirable woman, and one that attracted the attention of worthy men. Standing under the stars with this beautiful man, this man who would give up the world to be with her, showed her that she had been ignoring her own basic needs. She had needed to feel desired, she had needed to feel like she was wanted again, and she had needed to feel cherished. Even if that cherishing was only based on friendship at this point.
What she did to impress a guy like Tristan was beyond her realm of comprehension. He was so impressive and so full of romance and life, but at the same time she knew she needed to experience it firsthand to realize what she really wanted. He gave her back her confidence, he showed her that she was more of a woman than she ever thought she was, and he made her see exactly how far she still had to go. Could there be any bigger gift than that?
She slightly pushed against his shoulders, and he pulled back to look into her eyes. "Tristan…I…"
Even though she was only going to thank him, he misread the look in her eyes as more. Before she could say any more, his head lowered again and his lips brushed against hers. Shock caused her eyes to flutter shut, but at the same time she had to admit that she had always been curious about what it would feel like to kiss him. He didn't press her, didn't try to dominate the moment, and his lips were tenderly soft.
A moment later, he pulled back and gave her a boyish grin. "Friendship kiss, right?"
"Uh…yeah a…a friendship kiss. I'm surprised someone didn't…"
His head tilted in curiosity. "Someone didn't what?"
Her voice lowered when she realized that once again she was making comparisons. "That someone didn't interrupt. Maybe that has nothing to do with me. Forget it. It was a stupid thought and an even stupider thing to say."
That haunted look was back in her eyes again, and that could only mean one thing. Justin had made another appearance in her mind. He shook his head and pulled on her hand until they were standing at the merry-go-round on the playground. It took several attempts to pull her up on the thing, but finally she hopped up and sat down on one of the bars.
Tristan pushed with his foot to put it into motion, and then sat down in the middle of it. "Talk to me, Lauren."
"It's a beautiful night. By the way, are you missing your childhood or something? I mean, I haven't been on one of these things in years. I remember I got sick once because…"
He reached for her and pleaded with his eyes. "Come here."
Her hands rubbed up and down her chilled arms, but still she sat where she was. "I don't want to talk about him."
"I wasn't going to ask you to. Sit here with me…and talk about you."
A conversation about herself would be a conversation about Justin, and a horror movie played in her head over and over. It consisted of sitting there with Tristan, kissing him again, and having Justin appear out of nowhere. She could imagine his blazing eyes and heavy breathing, she could smell the anger radiating out of him, and none of it had happened.
Cautiously she stepped over to where he was sitting, and she smiled when he leaned his leg over the side and pushed the merry-go-round in a light spin again. "Beautiful night."
She looked up at the bright stars above her and nodded. "It's a very beautiful night."
"You have closed off again. I'm sorry if I confused you a few minutes ago. I didn't really mean to kiss you, but…yeah."
"No, it's ok. I'm not thinking about the kiss. I don't KNOW what I'm thinking about."
He watched her lay back on the cold metal, and he stretched out beside her to stare up at the stars as they slowly spun around. "There's the Big Dipper."
"Laying on this metal, or up in the sky?"
He sighed loudly and kept his eyes on the stars. "You really have a problem with your confidence."
"You don't like that."
"I'm surprised by that. And…I'm angered by it."
His tone said it all, and it was surprising to hear anger in his voice. "Angered?"
"I'm angered that you have been pushed to this point. That a beautiful, wonderful, and talented girl like you…doubts herself."
"It happens, Tristan. It happens to everyone."
He turned to look at her profile. "It shouldn't. When I first met you, you were like one of those stars up there. You shined brightly, your personality and your smile drew people's attention, but now you're…you're a cloudy night."
"I can tell you write lyrics."
"Just listen to me for a second." His eyes went back up to the stars. "There's a cloud covering that glow I saw in you, but that doesn't mean the clouds can't clear. That doesn't mean that there aren't breathtaking moments in your future. All it means is that you're hiding for the moment, but I know the stars are still there. That GLOW is still there, but it's being hidden for whatever reason."
"Tristan, if only things were that easy. If only sadness and pain could blow away as easily as the wind blows those clouds away. It just doesn't work that way. Not for me."
His fingers searched for hers, and he squeezed them when finally he found them. "Then find a stronger wind. Better yet, blow a little harder."
She was quiet for a few moments before taking a deep breath and whispering. "The stars might shine again, but they're still beings of the night. They still lack the sunlight, and my sunlight is gone, Tristan. My sun has left, and I have no idea how to get it back."
His thumb stroked the back of her hand, and he closed his eyes when he felt her cheek rest against his shoulder. "It's a big universe, Lauren Owsley. And it's yours for the taking."
Reasons why it was deleted from the story and/or changed:
It was deleted mainly because it was taking the story in a direction that I didn't want it to go in. Dating Tristan or having this kind of relationship with him would pull more into the "confusion" part for Lauren. She was really feeling the things that Tristan could provide for her, Tristan was VERY interested, and I think Justin would have gone absolutely CRAZY if he would have found out that she went on a date like this. It was also a very long scene, and the length of it was another factor for why it was deleted. I loved the romance and the "normal" vibe that it put into the story. I loved being able to see into Tristan's feelings for her and what he would be like as a boyfriend, but it would have hurt the story more than it helped.