Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: California Dreams
Character/Pairing: Jake/Lorena, past Jake/Tiffani
Challenge/Prompt: gameofcards: Writing Pass It On: Rachel Platten's Lone Ranger (If you join, be sure to tell them Kat Lee of Team Clubs sent YOU!) AND fffc #17.08: Nirvana
Word Count: 856
Date Written: 28 April 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Engel, not the author, and are used without permission.
They think they know him, but they'll never know him, not like she knew him. They think he's a loved man, a man in love who won't talk about the woman in his private life, but it's all just lies carefully forged to keep them away. He doesn't have time for the women, or the men, who flock to him every night. He barely glances at the roses, keys, and underwear that litter his stage. He never picks one up. He never smiles when the camera and the public aren't watching.
He never, not for one minute of any day or night, forgets about her. She's always there in his mind, always there just behind the shield of his eyelids. She's always there in every song he holds, and with every guitar he caresses, he remembers how he used to caress her golden, Latina skin and how she used to touch him. She touched him like no one before ever had, and no one else ever had. She touched him with love -- true, genuine love --, and he broke her heart.
He broke her heart, and even if she might one day consider forgiving him, he'll never forgive himself. He gave up his world for a pair of big, blue eyes and long, shining, blonde hair. He destroyed one woman's heart to try to make things work with a friend who was only ever that: just his friend, not the one he loved, and not the woman who loved him.
He thinks about going back there to that seaside, California town. He thinks about it every day. He wonders if she's still there, but he doesn't believe she is. Lorena DaCosta was a woman who could have had everything, and anything she wanted, but she'd chosen him. She'd chosen him. She'd loved him, and he'd been the fool. He'd walked out on her, broken her heart, and eventually, broken his own in the process.
Tiffany had never loved him. He had never loved her, but he'd let his manhood be swayed and he hasn't stopped regretting it since the day he saw his true love laugh, and her eyes sparkle like gold, because of somebody else. He'd watched from afar, drawing ever more into himself, until Tiffany and all the others had finally left him. They'd all moved on with their lives, and he'd had only one thing left: his guitar.
So he strummed it night after night in one bar after another, one gig after another, singing one song after another when each basically held the same message at heart. He had songs about women loving him, women hating him, women hurting him, women leaving him behind. He sang about a Tiffani, about a Carla, a Lola, a Jenny, a Sofia, a Gabriella, a Selena -- and yet, no matter what song he sang, or what name left his lips, the one his heart always sang was Lorena. She was the woman in each of his songs. She was the reason he sang, but the reason also why he never let the world get close again.
Tonight, he sings on another stage. Tonight, he sings in front of another audience. Tonight, he sings in front of another crowd of women with a few men along for the ride again. Tonight, he sings and hopes the cameras don't catch the tears in his eyes. Tonight, he sings, and when his tears get too high, he shuts his eyes and loses himself in his song, loses himself in the past. Tonight he sings of love and, with his eyes tightly shut, he remembers the fingers who truly caressed him, the lips that carried him to nirvana, the beauty who loved him and touched his heart in ways no one else ever did or ever will.
Tonight, like every night, he thinks of her. He dreams of her while he's still awake. He croons to her in the microphone. Tonight, he dreams of her, and when the crowd goes wild at the end of his song and he finally opens his eyes again, for just one, single, fleeting moment, Jake thinks he sees her. He thinks he sees the dark, spun gold of her lustrous, brown hair. He thinks he sees her breathtakingly beautiful smile. He thinks he hears her laugh. His breath catches in his throat as he thinks he hears her calling his name.
There's a hundred voices at least chanting his name, but none of them are hers. None of the beauties in the crowd can compare to her beauty. None of the millions of fans following him are his Lorena, and Jake retires once more, with tears barely hiding in the dark depths of his eyes, to an empty hotel room, an empty bed, and a broken heart. Sly offers again to get him any of a million beauties, any style he wants, and he knows he can deliver now, but Jake just shakes his head. He doesn't want any of them. He doesn't want the world he's been given. He only wants his Lorena, and he cries himself asleep, alone, again tonight.