Hello guys, huge sorry for the delay in this chapter. I had a crap load of work to do. I'm back and, luckily, I have worked on two parts and currently working on another.

Timeframe: Part 27, 28, and 29 will all happen on the same day (last month when part 27 was posted.) After part 29, we're back on real time.

Anyways, please continue to email me so I know someone is reading and liking what I'm writing. I also have a playlist of songs that I listen to while writing the chapters if ya'll are interested.

A fellow reader made a playlist with most of the songs I've either used or will use in the series. If y'all want to listen to it while reading the chapters the link for it is this:

 

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJZWEUrY9KRSfQ98rYlMYix46VM0CJ7XS

 

Two new songs will be added on (the ones from this chapter.)

 

Lovin' Lately Big & Rich

Unlove You Jennifer Nettles

 

The email you can reach me at is lore.guerra13@gmail.com for questions, comments, concerns or donations ha-`ha, just kidding!

In all seriousness, please don't forget to donate to nifty here, without which we wouldn't have this collection of great stories!

Every story is free on here, so please let's keep it that way and donate, guys.

http://donate.nifty.org/donate.html

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Jay and I had been together for almost a month now. We tried to keep it down low but, as Lea so keenly pointed out, "You guys are obnoxiously lovey-dovey."

Not that either of us had a problem with that.

This Friday night, Jay and I had decided to go to El Vaso around 9PM together. It was a little before midnight and we were still there, talking, drinking, and listening to people's sets. As we waited for the next person's set to begin, we talked about our day and our plans for school this upcoming semester.

"Well, I had applied for a music program in Austin a few months back but I still haven't found out if I got in for this semester."

"Oh," I said. "I'm sure you'll hear back from them soon, though. You really want to go there, right?"

"Yeah, I do, actually. It's my dream to study music at Austin. Even if it's for my last semester or if it pushes my graduation date back, I really want to get into that program." Jay took a sip from the beer he was drinking. "What about you, Lex?"

I looked up from my own beer. "Hm? What about me?"

Jay smiled as he saw the look of confusion on my face. "Well, I had heard you wanted to join a biology program at Austin. Are you going to apply to it again?"

"Oh," I said, thinking back to the reason I hadn't gone last semester. "I don't know. I turned them down once already. I don't think they were too happy about that, ha."

Jay leaned forward, "Well, you shouldn't rule it out. Maybe they'll still take you in." After a while, he added, "It'd sure be lonely over there if it was just me."

I smiled at his vaguely hidden offer to move to Austin with him. "I don't know. I mean, yes, I'll apply again, okay? I just don't want to get my our hopes up."

Jay winked at me. "All I'm saying is: You never know what's out there if you don't give it a chance."

I smiled at him, knowing that his words rang truer than he probably knew. "Okay," I smiled. "I'll apply again, too. Just stop bothering me about it," I joked.

"That's all I wanted to hear," he smiled.

Both Jay and I turned to see a girl walking up to the stage with a guitar on her hand. Her face seemed vaguely familiar. She was wearing a nice, flowered dress with a beige hat. I noticed that her face was pretty even without make up. Then it hit me. "Church Girl." I had seen her before once. She was the girl that had sung Jana Kramer's Whiskey the night I was supposed to meet Sebastian. The night he stood me up.

"Oh, I know that girl," I said.

"Who? Lizzie?" Jay asked.

"Lizzie?" I asked. "Oh, I didn't know her by name. I had just seen her before. I saw her sing once and thought she was pretty good."

"Yeah, she's a sophomore at the university. She's pretty good. I have her for one of my summer courses. The same one I did the project with."

"Really?" I asked as Lizzie set up in the front.

"Yeah, she did a mashup of Hit me With Your Best Shot and One Way or Another. It was pretty fun to watch."

We stopped our talking as Lizzie introduced herself and what she was going to sing. She cleared her throat before beginning to sing Lovin' Lately by Big & Rich.

"Out with my friends and here it goes again.

Somebody asks me where you're at.

I don't know what to say I've tried you every day.

It's been so long since you called.

I bet you're having a real good time.

But I hate to think about what you're doing tonight.

And who you're holding close.

I don't really want to know."

Like last time, her voice was hauntingly beautiful. I couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that she was only a sophomore but she sang like a pro. As I listened to her, I could feel a hint of pain or hurt in her voice. This wasn't just a song to her this was a memory. I could totally relate to that.

I sighed, thinking about my past. I pushed those thoughts away as I turned to see Jay. Almost like he knew what I was thinking, he gave me a smile and outstretched his hand. I smiled back, took his hand and squeezed.

"I thought that I could trust the way we made love.

You made me feel there was something real.

Now everything you said is lying in my bed like shattered glass against my back.

The way you got me just blows my mind.

Didn't care enough to even say goodbye.

I'd give anything now if I could stop thinking about..."

A small vibration tore my concentration away from Lizzie. I took a sip from my beer and let go of Jays hand to reach for my phone. I noticed it wasn't a call or text from anyone. I furrowed my eyebrows wondering what it could have been.

Cautiously, I unlocked my phone and saw that it was a calendar reminder: Sebastian's birthday.

I raised my eyebrows, surprised to see that I had forgotten about it. I looked up to see Jay looking at me and I smiled to show him everything was okay.

Slowly, I exited out of the calendar and put the phone back in my pocket. I raised my sight back to Lizzie but I couldn't stop myself from wondering what Sebastian was doing right now.

"Who you been loving lately?

Who you been calling `Baby'?

Who you been running `round this tell-all town?

I guess she finally got the best of me.

I guess she thought I'd never see.

You know it's so hard to believe how we came down.

Like we were nothing, baby.

Who you been loving lately?"

I gave Jay another smile before looking back at Lizzie.

It was his birthday.

He'd be 24 as of a few minutes ago.

I didn't know what he was doing right now whether he was asleep or working or out with Emma. I just wished he was doing okay, even if at times I still wasn't.

"I don't want to know but I got to know.

I don't want to know.

I got to know.

I don't want to know but I got to know.

I don't want to know.

I got to know."

Lizzie finished her song and moved on to another one in her set. I looked up at Jay and smiled at him again. As curious as I was to know what was going on in his life, I had Jay with me tonight and I knew that was enough for me right now.

We stayed for the rest of Lizzie's set up until El Vaso closed and then drove back to Jay's dorm where I had left my car. I thanked Jay for a great night and kissed him goodnight as I got into my car and drove back to my own place.

Who you been loving lately?

Who you been calling `Baby'?

Who you been running `round this tell-all town?

I guess she finally got the best of me.

I guess she thought I'd never see.

You know it's so hard to believe how we came down.

Like we were nothing, baby.

Who you been loving lately?

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I had spent the day by myself in my apartment. Jay had asked if I wanted to hang out later tonight and I agreed. In the meantime, I cleaned my apartment and ran some errands I had to do. As I was cleaning my room, my sight was drawn to one of my dresser's cabinets. I opened it and pulled out the necklace I had been thinking about the silver guitar necklace Sebastian had given me for Christmas.

I knew why I had kept it for so long. I just didn't know why I was keeping it now.

I put the necklace into my pocket, went into the restroom and got ready to go out.

As I got into my car, I knew what I had to do.

Driving, I couldn't stop myself from thinking about the last time I was there. I was so broken so alone. I had known what I was going to find from the minute I had decided to drive to his place.

Now, I was still sure of what I was going to find there. I guess it just didn't hurt like it used to.

I could break down and cry - laugh it off and deny.

Draw lines in the sand and count on both hands all the reasons why.

This just won't work it'll be nothing but hurt.

I could swear that I don't and maybe one day I won't.

But for how hard I try.

I held the necklace he had given me tightly on my right hand as I drove closer. The silver guitar charm reflected every street light I passed driving to his house. There was no traffic out on account of it getting late so I got to his place faster than I thought it was going to take.

The radio played a Blake Shelton song but I lowered the volume as I parked in front of his driveway. I stared at the empty house with its lights off and shades closed. I noticed that the grass was freshly cut and I couldn't help but wonder if Sebastian had done that or if he had called someone else to do it.

I couldn't figure out which one of those two would have been better. Which one of those two would have been worse?

If I were 25 I know just what I'd do.

I would have already kissed till I was drunk on your lips a thousand times too few.

But we have other lives and we know it ain't right.

And this is going nowhere if I'm with you I don't care.

Take me nowhere tonight.

I got out of my car and walked along the freshly cut grass until I got to his door. Standing in front of it, I sighed.

He's long gone and moved on.

I was finally getting that through my head.

They call it fire but it feels just like drowning.

With the weight of my burning desire closing in all around me.

I wasn't lost until you found me.

I couldn't keep thinking that he was coming back because he wasn't even if it might have felt like it was just yesterday.

I had planned on just dropping the necklace off and leaving but, as the sun continued to set, I decided that no harm could come from staying a while longer. It wasn't like there was anyone to kick me out now, anyways.

I turned around and sat down, my back against his door. I twirled the necklace in my hand and continued to watch the sun get lower and lower in the horizon.

And I can't unlove you.

My heart can't unbreak.

I can't unfeel how it felt to feel so much myself my whole body ached.

And I can't unknow this.

Lord, I wish I knew how.

But I can't unlove you so come love me for now.

I can't unlove you so come love me for now.

My head resting on his door, I thought about all the fun times we had together. I laughed, remembering the stupid jokes we played on each other at school or when we went out to eat. There was a time in class when he had asked for my phone and I, the ever trusting guy that I was, lent it to him.  I didn't know what he had done until I heard my ringer play full blast. I remember my face burning up as I apologized to the professor and Sebastian just laughed his ass off, his face hidden behind his backpack.

It was the little things that I missed, really. I mean, yes, I missed sleeping with him and feeling him next to me but it was more than that. It was so much more than that.

I missed him as a person. Yes, I had Jay. Yes, I was happy. I just missed all the little things Sebastian and I had.

All those little things?

All those little moments?

Yeah, they weren't so little to me.

I sighed, remembering a Jennifer Nettles song I had heard with Jay a few nights ago. Unlove You, it was called.

Although I knew that Jay was good to me good for me there was still a small corner in my heart that smiled whenever I thought of what Sebastian and I used to have.

As I stared at the sunset, something inside me made me want to sing a little. So I did.

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I woke up this morning to breakfast in bed. As I tried to sit up, I felt something pull at me from beside the bed.

"Hey, princess," I said, realizing it was my baby. "How'd daddy's little girl sleep?" Lily laughed as I poked her belly.

"Happy birthday, Sebastian." I turned to see Emma standing by the door, one hand resting on the doorknob the other on her belly.

"Thanks, Emma," I said.

I was still furious at her for what she had made me do to Alex months ago but, as she was carrying my second child inside her, there was nothing I could do but keep it to myself. On the bright side, since we had moved, she hadn't displayed any more of her tantrums. She really was trying to be better.

Too bad she was trying to be better when being better was useless.

I moved my food to the empty space beside me and pulled Lily up. She laughed and smacked my hands as I sat her on my lap.

"I'll wait for you downstairs, okay?"

"Yeah, Em. I'll be down in a bit," I said.

Emma walked out of the room and I stayed with Lily as I tried to eat my breakfast.

Damn, I thought. Twenty-four, already.

Finishing my breakfast, I got Lily off the bed and walked downstairs with her in my hand. Walking into the kitchen, I was greeted by Emma holding a small homemade birthday cake.

"Morning, babe." She leaned forward and kissed my cheek.

"Morning, Ems. Thanks for the cake."

"Not a problem," she said. "Happy birthday." She lit the two numbered candles on the cake and told me to make a wish.

I had a few wishes I wanted to make but none of them mattered anymore. Instead, I just wished to have a good day today and blew out my candles.

After breakfast, I told Emma I had to run some errands and then head over to the old house to mow the lawn and paint one of the rooms.

"Yeah, that's fine," she said. "Just be back by 9ish. I got us a reservation at 10PM."

"Yeah, no problem. I'll be back by then."

I remember kissing her cheek, eating some of my birthday cake and walking upstairs to change. Around 2PM, I headed over to the old house with my lawn mower and paint supplies. Instead of leaving my car out front, I went through the back of the house and parked by my backyard. Realizing I had forgotten my weed-wacker, I walked next door to where Mark, my neighbor and friend since elementary lived. After agreeing to lend me his weed-wacker, I thanked him and was off to mow my lawn. By the time I was done, I was drenched in sweat so I decided to go inside and cool off. I returned Mark's weed-wacker and talked to him for a few minutes. We hadn't talked much in the past couple of months what with life and all, but we were still pretty close. Closer than I was with anyone else, anyways.

When I left his place, I headed back to my old house. After a cold beer or two, I brought in the painting supplies and laid down some old newspapers in Emma and I's old room. After getting two walls done, I decided to take another break and drink another beer.

Since it was barely getting dark out, I had been working all day with the lights off. I was about to turn the lights in the kitchen on when I heard a car door open and close out front. I walked to my front door wondering who it was and looked out the peephole.

Alex.

Instinctively, my hand reached for the doorknob to let him in but I stopped, remembering Lea's advice. No good could come out of Alex and I being together right now. Instead, I wiped the sweat off my forehead and sat with my back to the door. I felt Alex on the other side of the door sit down and lean back. I stayed perfectly still, not wanting him to feel me leaning on the door, too. I swear I heard a small laugh coming from the other side of the door and I smiled, having been so long since I had heard that sound. I couldn't help but wonder what he was thinking about that made him laugh. As I lingered on that thought, I heard Alex's voice again. He had begun to sing something. Concentrating hard, I was able to make out the words.

"And I can't unlove you.

My heart can't unbreak.

I can't unfeel how it felt to feel so much myself my whole body ached.

And I can't unknow this.

Lord, I wish I knew how.

But I can't unlove you so come love me for now.

I can't unlove you so come love me for now."

I stayed sitting, my back against the same door as his was. I couldn't remember how long it had been since I had heard him sing. Well, yes, I could. It was the night I had left.

I know it was wrong. I know it was selfish and stupid and terrible, but a small part of me was happy that Alex still thought of me. I had been scared that, not only did he not love me anymore, but that he didn't hate me either because the only thing between love and hate was indifference. And I couldn't live in a world where he was indifferent to me where whatever I did didn't even matter in the slightest to him. God, that was unthinkable.

I heard him begin to stand and I stayed perfectly still, not wanting him to know I was sitting on the other side of the door.

If it wasn't for how quiet the inside of my house was, I wouldn't have heard him.

"Happy Birthday, Sebastian," Alex had said.

I could hear Alex's footsteps receding but I didn't get up until I heard his car's ignition start and take off. Slowly, I opened the door and walked outside. He was gone again. I was always so close to him but never close enough. I remembered Lea's words, though. There was no use in me fucking Alex up any more than I already had. I had to get my own shit straight before I could even think about trying to fix what I broke.

Still, as I reached the fence around my house, I couldn't stop myself from wondering what would have happened if he had seen me. He would have been mad as hell, yes, but maybe part of him would have still been happy to see me. I stared in the direction of where his car must have gone and thought about how much I missed him.

I sighed, remembering I still had some more work to do inside the house before I met back up with Emma and began to walk back. I stopped as the light of the lamppost hit something on the floor. Getting close to it, I bent down and picked it up. I studied it, not knowing what it was until the light of the lamppost illuminated it clearly. It was the silver guitar necklace I had given Alex for Christmas. He had left it here. I turned my head back to the street but turned back as I remembered that Alex had driven away already.

I squeezed the little guitar charm tightly. It hurt me that he had returned it. Well, he didn't, actually. He left it here not knowing who would pick it up not knowing or caring what happened to it. That thought dug into my heart as I placed the necklace into my pocket and walked back inside my empty home.