Pandora. Seattle is wholly different when you change the lens through which you see it

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Seattle is wholly different when you change the lens through which you see it. One day, its a place where you got your heart broken. A place that feels lonely even with thousands of people driving, walking past you. One day it is the rainiest, most depressing city in the world. And another day, its the place where you want to live the rest of your life. Because its the place where you have your little cousin, your friends, your job, and your boyfriend.

Your boyfriend.

Did I just sigh?

Me. Sighing.


Happy, hopeful, forgiving.

How can all this happen in a few months?

I know now, from life, that it takes only a second to break you. But with time, with effort, it takes a little longer, but you can make it. Theres something about someone knowing your deepest, darkest secret and still loving you despite what you did that gives you hope. That makes you want to be better. Never disappoint yourself, and them, ever again.

Theres also something about learning to forgive . . .

Both others, and yourself.

I feel different now. I feel it every morning when I wake. The sense of looking forward to your day. Life doesnt suck anymore. People dont suckwell, not everyone.

During our first week back in Seattle, Kenna and I found an apartment close to where were opening a rock bar.

The idiot wants to call it Pink, and all my friendsMel, Brooke, and Kylewholeheartedly approve. Im decorating in my trademark silver and black, and, now that were owners of a future establishment, I decorate by day while Mackenna heads to the studio he bought just three floors above.

Hes recruited a couple of bands to play at Pink during the week. And, even better, as a special favor, Jax and Lex and Crack Bikini will be performing opening night.

They call all the time, those two goofballs. Trying to coax Kenna back to the band. He laughs and banters with them, says, Hell no and Fuck off. Hes currently working on a new album called Bones. Im crazy about the songs. Theyre so bare, different from what he created during his time with Crack Bikini. Edgier. More raw.

At night, he takes me out, whether I protest that Im tired or not. Hes a prowleranother wolfish trait.

On the weekends, we invite Magnolia over. She loves it with us. Even my mother is trying to make amends, so even if she doesnt like having to let me take Mag some weekends, she lets us have our way. Her way of trying to make peace with Mackenna.

I still remember the first time they metMag and Kenna.

Mom dropped her off. Wed prearranged the visit, so we were expecting Magnolia. I rang her up from the lobby, and suddenly the door of the apartment swung open and there was Magnolia, her eyes bright with curiosity as she asked, Pan, Pan, who is he?

She curled around my legs like a cat, and I clutched her to me as Kenna set aside the guitar he was fiddling with and headed over with a smile I remember finding heart-meltingly adorable.

I noticed her study him.

And I noticed him study her.

Arent you going to let our guest inside, Pandora? he asked me, intrigued.

Who are you? she asked in return, frowning.

Who are you? he shot back, lifting one eyebrow and reaching around me to shut the door behind us.

Im Magdalene, she said.

Magnolia, I corrected, laughing.

He smiled down at her while she surveyed him.

Magic Mike, say hello to my boyfriend, Mackenna, I said, giving her a little nudge forward.

What does this mean? she went on to ask of the tattoo on Kennas forearm. Why are you wearing bracelets? You like boys, dont you?

Mag! I laughed, ushering her into the kitchen. Come on, were making homemade pizza.

Over the mozzarella sprinkling, Mackenna looked at me, as intent as ever. Shes?

A little older than our . . . um, yes.

We shared a moment of sadness, then he came up behind me, took my hand, and set it over the five Chinese symbols on his forearm as he whispered in my ear, It means I Live For You. 


He laughed and moved to help Magnolia add the pepperoni slices. Im not repeating it. I was drunk and had one thing on my mind and one thing only.


Yup. That wasnt the best tattoo to help me forget you, was it? he murmured.

But you wore it proudly?

Only because it was the truth.

A month before the movie premiere, we hear that the movie trailer is becoming famous for showing me charging across the stage to kiss Mackenna, whispering with ferocity, Youre mine. I claim you. I love you. Youre mine.

Surprisingly, this has gotten me an online fan club. So unexpected! I even interact with the fans sometimes. As long as Kennas fans dont lynch me at the premiere, Im good with anything. Hes promised me, they wont touch me.

And I believe him, because, sadly, theyll probably be too busy trying to reach out over the red cords to touch him.

Anyway, just a week before the premiere, I find myself calling Melanie with my most excited voice yet. Im so happy, my voice has a new tone even for me.

Were getting married.

Squee! OMG! How? When? When did he ask, and how did he ask you?

Well, wed already said we would, but he asked in an un-cheesy way, or Id have flung the ring back at him, I say, looking down at my ring, then up at my man, whos lying with his arms crossed behind his head, the bedsheets barely reaching his waist.

If youre telling me Greys proposal was cheesy when he told me flat out we were getting married, you are derangedit was the best, most un-cheesy proposal Ive heard.

Kenna proposed in bed, while . . . you know . . . insert your most volcanic fantasies here . . .

Wow, that is un-cheesy. Not something to tell the kids, huh?

Just get over here!

Be there in a bit.

Then I call Brooke and Remy.

Youre getting married! Remington! Guess whos getting married?

He briefly grabs the phone. Congratulations, you two.

Soon Melanie appears, her intimidating boyfriend by her side. Maleficent, getting married?! She hugs me with her usual mix of glee and tenderness, and we rock in each others arms while our men have no other choice but to introduce themselves.

Greyson, I hear Melanies fiancé say. Congratulations, man.

Mackenna, Kenna offers, slapping and shaking hands.

God! Look at this ring, its obscene! One seriously obscene ring, Kenna, you did good! Melanie says in complete delight. Greyson, have you seen anything so pretty?

Never, Greyson murmurs, but I notice hes looking at Melanie, not my ring.

Mackenna quickly pulls me over to one of the living room couches. Greyson and Melanie settle on the opposite one, and we have a great time swapping meeting stories and celebrating. Even Kyle stops by with his girlfriend to toast with us.

Later, the men start talking about their respective businesses and I find myself asking Melanie for good ideas for a wedding reception. She cant even believe its actually me asking.

Seriously, this is almost creepy, Pan! she swears.

We laugh it off and so does Kyles girlfriend, Terry, and soon, my grin starts to hurt on my face. All this time, I feel Kennas hand moving on my bare arm and shouldera gentle reminder that hes by my side even though hes talking to the boys and Im talking to the girls.

I keep stealing touches, squeezing his hand, rubbing his hard thighjust so he knows I dont forget for a second who Im with from now on.

That night, I slide into bed with my guy and start kissing him with all the passion I feel. I nibble on his jaw and slide my hands over his sexy buzz cut and press as close as I can get. I nibble on his lone diamond earring and then on the ear where my ring-diamond used to be. There, I whisper what I used to be so afraid of saying. I didnt say I love you for so many years, yet now I cant say it enough. I cant hear it enough. And Kenna shows no signs of asking me to shut up either. He rolls me beneath his body and takes control of the situation, with one sure, perfect move, getting up as close and deep as possible to me.

One day later, its Sunday morning and were listening to I Heart Radio, like we usually do when we wake up. Then it happens.

So, now we get to hear the first single from Crack Bikinis new album. This is Lullaby.  And suddenly we both grow quiet. And there, in his armswhere I feel loved and accepted, warm and safe, wanted and forgivenI close my eyes and listen to his heartbeat with one ear, and his song with the other.

Young and in love


We thought we were invincible


If youre lonely or sad


Need to feel someones there


Precious baby, let me sing you our lullaby


Let me sing you this lullaby


You may be five or six next year


You may be fifteen in a second


Growing up in a record


Lipstick, girlfriends, boyfriends, first times


It hurts we will never be a part of that


We couldnt give you what you needed


Couldnt keep you by our sides


But, baby girl, we can give you


All our love, right in this one lullaby


Your mom and I


Thought youd have a better life


We were broken, young, and wild


Our sweet girl, you will never know why


But for this moment heres a lullaby


Wed turn back the clock


Id man up and stop


Make sure you knew who you were


You were hers and mine


But time, thats something we never recover


Mistakes we make, promises we break


Things we can never get over


So here I stand


Hoping you can understand


It wasnt you; it was us


Nothing wrong with you


Our little baby girl


You were perfect; you still are


So heres your lullaby


 Lullaby,  the voice on the radio crackles in. Already topping the charts as the singer and his fiancée hold a worldwide search for all the girls born on January 22, five years ago . . .

Tears trek silently down my cheeks while Mackenna quietly cups my face and lets them fall into his palms. What will we do when we find her? My voice breaking, I swallow. We cant take her away from her real parents now. But we cant not try to be a part of her life in some way.

Well do whatever she wants, he promises meand his eyes, they look as wolfish as ever.


: 2015-09-13; : 6;

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