“Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny.”
A. N.: Toujours – French for “always, still, forever”
Del Sol Valley Upscale Restaurant "Toujours"
Blaine looked up from staring into his after-dinner coffee and caught his mother Maeve’s glance. He could read in her eyes what she really thought about all this, but like his dad Everett, they kept up appearances for his sake. The overall mood was halted, bordering uncomfortable, even though everyone tried their best to be as pleasant as possible.
The occasion was a dinner with Bristol and her parents Myla and Dan, to officially celebrate Blaine and Bristol’s surprise engagement, Blaine had flown in from Britchester just for the occasion.
He vividly recalled the argument he and his parents had when he called them the morning after dropping off Bristol at the airport to tell them he proposed to her the night before, just a few days ago now. Naturally they didn’t like that one bit, assuming it was another one of their son’s infamous rash decisions bound to fail.
The Sinclairs, Bristol’s parents, seemed equally taken aback by the news, but since both kids were over 18, much like the Camerons they were left with not much of a choice other than to play along with the happy front, especially after the young couple reassured them there was no unplanned pregnancy involved. None of the parents knew the real background why Bristol had found it necessary to demand an engagement from Blaine. As far as they all were concerned, both kids were just so in love that they leveled up.
After the meal when the parents were still caught up in lengthy banter at the table while waiting for the check, Blaine went outside to get some fresh air, Bristol followed him.
“That went … hmm.. oh well, I guess it went as expected. Enough said.” she sighed.
“Yeah. No shit.”
“Blaine? Do you think this was a mistake?”
“Buyer’s remorse already? That was quick.” he attempted a joke.
“A little bit, in a way. I feel bad about this. Just got so scared of losing you, guess I overshot the target. That girl I caught you with, she looked like the exact opposite of me, and I just wasn’t sure if you had realized you preferred that type. I panicked. I mean, you already called her name once during … you know … back when we both were in a dark chapter of our lives.”
“Yeah, I know. In my defense, I was on drugs and drunk off my ass when that happened, but I know that’s a total no-no and I can’t say how that happened. I fucked up on several levels there.”
“Me too. I mean, when we first got together I knew what it was gonna be like being with you, or at least I thought I did. Well, I was wrong, all those girls everywhere all the time. That’s a lot of competition, and even for the most confident girlfriend that would be worse than tough. Even watching your parents, your dad, everywhere he goes he has girls my age literally hanging on him, and your mom has all those dudes after her. That takes a strong partnership. It’s already like that with you now to a degree, I mean, at first I thought it was cool, to have the guy all the girls want, but the older I get, the more I wonder about what it’s like to put up with that long term. Like last night at the club, you spent more time trying to get rid of obnoxious girls than dancing with me and we already have so little time together. I can’t believe how rude and forward some of them get, even with me standing right there next to you. I am not a violent person, but sometimes, I swear, I want to scratch some eyes out! All that is really not much fun. When you still lived here in Del Sol Valley it was doable, but with you so far away at college for several more years and the memory of how it felt to walk in on you with that girl in your lap … If I only try to imagine what it would be like if down the road you start getting famous and …”
“Start? I already have a single in the top ten as we speak. I am famous, all right! And not just because of my parents …”
“And it is so you to only hear THAT part. Music, your first love.”
“No, I heard it all, I don’t understand what you are getting at here, Bristol. What do you want from me?”
“Nothing. I think I realized something tonight. I made a big mistake demanding this. Sure, you were very romantic about the proposal, you found the most perfect ring, remembered my favorite flowers, my favorite candy, got down on one knee, the full program was a sight to behold, but I can’t stop thinking about the fact that I sorta made you do this. No girl wants that. I want an engagement because you can’t live without me and you want us to get married some day, not because I caught you doing something you shouldn’t have. It just feels wrong on all counts. Here.”
Bristol pulled the ring off her finger, trying to hand it back to Blaine.
“No! Why? What are you doing?! What exactly are you saying here, Bristol?!” he didn’t want to take it, so she slipped it into his pocket.
“I think you know. We tried Blaine. I thought because I am famous on YouTube and sometimes get recognized outside by followers I could handle all this … but this is only gonna get worse. Your family and mine are very different, maybe too different, as are our plans for the future. I can’t do this. Not like this, it’s not fair to you or me. Especially now, with you so far away in Britechester for at least 3 more years, best case scenario. I’ll explain it to my parents, I’ll take the blame, and you can tell yours it was my decision. Sorry, Blaine, you are a great guy, and this is really hard, but it took all this for me to realize we could never make it and that I am done trying. All the anxiety and uncertainty all the time … I am sorry, but I can’t go on like this anymore.”
After one apologetic glance she quickly turned away to catch up to her parents who were on the way to their car.
Blaine held on to her, pulling her back to face him.
He slipped the ring back on her finger.
“Keep it, it’s yours, I bought it for you. I want you to have it, it reminds me of you, and maybe the meaning of it changed, but it’s still beautiful and still yours. Just wear it as an accessory or something, or maybe if you still got the box, do one of your unwrapping vids on your channel. Or sell it and buy some of those .. whatever the name of the designer was of those shoes you like so much.”
“It’s called an unboxing video, and I won’t. Despite of it all, this is very special to me, the ring, the experience – you. Always will be. I am not doing this because I don’t love you anymore, Blaine, let alone to hurt you. I am doing it BECAUSE I love you. I don’t want that love to turn into something ugly, for you or for me. I am sad we couldn’t make it, but honestly, this feels right, doesn’t it?”
“Yeah, I guess it does. You are beautiful, Bristol, inside and out. And you always were the smart one. You are right, and this is wrong. You deserve a guy who is not such a dumbass as I am. Shouldn’t be too hard to find … “
“You’re not dumb, Blaine, you’re smart if you want to be. But that language … always with the cursing. At least you have such a beautiful voice that even gutter talk sounds nice …” she giggled, while her eyes were suspiciously wet, so Blaine hugged her, then kissed her forehead.
“You are gorgeous, Bri. The most beautiful blue eyes I have ever seen … bright turquoise like the Sulani ocean shore … I am gonna miss being able to get lost in them …” Blaine swallowed the lump in his throat, forcing an almost believable smile, trying not to let himself get sucked into the sad reality that this was a break-up.
“Hey, stahp you, you’re hitting right in the feels. We’re already barely keeping it together as is. Besides, that kinda sappy talk should go into the comments section of my channel, along with the rest of the creeps who write me indecent stuff that has nothing to do with my content. At least that way it gets me some traffic for my stats.” she giggled, her voice shaky, fighting back tears.
He chuckled, belying his sad expression, when she got serious, putting her hand over his heart, instinctively he enveloped it with his own.
“Hey, Blaine, please don’t be a stranger. This is good thing, I think, or it will be when it quits hurting. Let’s stay in touch. I don’t want to lose you completely, maybe we can be … friends, or at least non-awkward exes, promise we’ll give it our best shot. Can you do that for me?”
“You got it. Whenever I have some downtime at school, I am going to stalk your channel, liking the shit out of everything you post to boost that traffic for ya. I’ll even pimp the crap out of it, we’ll make you a fucking YouTube celebrity! Everybody is gonna know your channel! And I’ll hit you up whenever I get back into town, maybe we can hang if you’re not busy trying to get rid of all the guys who’ll be running down your door when they hear you are available again.”, they hugged again, one last time, then he watched her walked off to get into her parents’ waiting car, waving at him which seemed like a final farewell before lowering her head again.
That’s when Blaine’s parents caught up to him. They had been giving Blaine and Bristol some privacy.
“So when are we gonna go pick out wedding dresses and shit, son?” Everett said purposely upbeat. It was blatantly obvious that something was amiss, this was his not so subtle way to get to the bottom of it.
“Not anytime soon. We just broke up.”
“Oh no, my poor baby! What happened?!” Maeve stared at him.
“What happened is that you guys just missed the most romantic break-up in history of mankind. I gave the ring back to her to keep. So we are the first ex-couple ever to have official break-up jewelry. #TrendsetterBlaineC. Let’s see if that goes viral.”
“Oh shit! Are you all right, kid?” Everett asked concerned, ignoring his son’s attempt to make light of the apparently tough moment.
“I’ll be okay, dad. Let’s go home though. I am not feeling any fan action tonight. I kinda wanna be alone now. Just for a little while, to let it all sink in.”
“My poor, sweet Blaine-y ….” Maeve looked worried, rubbing her son’s arms.
“I am fine mom, I promise. Or at least I will be, I am kinda not all that fine right now, but Bristol’s right, this feels like the right thing to do. Apparently I can’t even have a break-up like normal people, maybe it would be easier if we had yelled curse words at each other. Or maybe not. I don’t know. Anyway, she and I decided to stay friends, so no break-up drama for us.” Blaine replied smirking.
Maeve pulled her son into an embrace.
“I love you, my big little problem child. Dad and I are always there for you. And you really are a very, VERY special young man.” Maeve mumbled into her son’s shoulder, who hugged his mom a little tighter than usual.
“Of course he’s special, kid can’t help it, look at the stock he comes from! How could you be a dud, right, son? Other mothers have awesome daughters too, plenty of fish in that sea for you, kid. Just like your old man, you’re taking a few blows before you get it all right. Happens son. It will get better. My suggestion: for now, especially while in college, enjoy life and don’t tie yourself down. If that shit goes South, it takes your grades with it. And no offense, but you really cannot afford that.” Everett encouragingly pat him on his back.
Blaine said nothing to that, he knew it came from a place of love, his dad just didn’t know what else to say, so he tried to change the mood, maybe get Blaine to argue with him now to take his mind off the break-up, but Blaine didn’t bite. Not this time.
Instead he silently followed his parents to their car, wondering if there really were better times ahead for him. At only 18 he had already lost both girls he loved. One didn’t want him because of who and what she was, the other because of who and what he was, none of which was in his power to change. Maybe his dad was right. Relationships were hard, and loving someone was only a small part of it.