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I Will Always Love You (Mothballed)

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     David, Mia’s fiancé, drove his Volvo V60 through the winding streets of Long Beach, after pulling off the freeway. One thing Mia hadn't missed in her three years away from the city—the traffic. She had, however, missed her Prius. The luxury sedan would never feel like home, just like she often felt in the Hollywood movie industry. It wasn't her, it wasn't who she really wanted to be. The elegant dinners, fancy premiers, elaborate cars and expensive dresses of the upper class didn't appeal to her like they once had. Back in the city that she had once called home, she finally realized that maybe she was the fool who dreamed a dream that wasn't worth obtaining. Mia realized that she belonged, perhaps, a little bit in both worlds. Smooth, elegant, and efficient, like her old Prius, but never too fancy. But she sighed as memories of old dreams flashed before her eyes.

     Somehow finding an empty parking space along the street, David turned off the car, and they both got out. They discussed the new movie he was producing. “Yeah, we found this brilliant new actress. She's almost as good as you! She's not though, I don't think anyone ever will be," he said.

     Blushing, Mia replied, "You don't have to flatter me. I doubt I'm the greatest actress or ever will be."
David took Mia’s hand in his as they continued to walk along the dark side walk. They came across a jazz bar with a logo Mia recognized from days long gone by. A bright blue Seb's sign that she once designed glowed above the entrance, and warm jazz music spilled out onto the street.

     "You want to check it out?" David suggested.

     Mia just looked at him, silently communicating, "Let's do it."

     The couple followed the bright blue arrows down into the club. Mia paused, shocked as she saw the Seb's logo she had designed so many years before. DAvid came up to her and broke her reverie, saying, "This place is pretty cool."

     Mia walked to the seats he had chosen near the front of the stage. She eyed all the posters and memorabilia to a Jazz era that no longer seemed lost, but never really focused on any of them. Sebastian's stool was proudly displayed, and she thought, after all these years he still has it. How typical. Her mind took her back to days gone by, and she contemplated the differences between the old Sebastian and the new Sebastian. At least he seems to have accomplished his dreams, done well for himself, and created a Jazz haven. He doesn't seem to be the rude, impulsive, irresponsible man I once knew. She reached her seat and sat down and handed her a cocktail. It wasn't wine, but wine wasn't appropriate for a club like this.

     The band finished their set and prepared to move off stage as the crowd clapped for them. Sebastian, or Seb, as many of his employees now called him, jumped onto the stage to play piano for a little while and give the musicians a break. As he introduced his band members, making fun of his pianist, his eyes fell upon Mia. For a brief moment he allowed his heart a small glimmer of hope, but it was dashed to pieces the moment he looked to her fiancé sitting close beside her. Allowing himself a moment, he finally settled on a simple, "Welcome to Seb's."

     He took to the piano, debating if he should play the song he played to himself so many times, but had never played for an audience. One filled with so much meaning, pain, and sorrow, that one could feel the emotions as he tried to capture them with his piano. One originally intended for so much joy, now filled with despair. He began the song he had taken to calling Mia & Sebastian's Theme, and Mia's eyes misted over as she recognized the piano piece she had first heard Sebastian play, and memories of what was and could have been filled her mind, not knowing the same anguish and longing filled the pianist's heart. A home, a family, music, and musicals filled both their hearts, but they both thought they knew it could never be. David turned to her as the piece ended and asked, "Do you want to stay for another?"

     "No, we should go."

     As they stood and left the club, Mia looked back and met Sebastian's eyes. They stared, trying to convey with a look what words could not, but failed. Acting completely on impulse, Mia dug a sticky note out of her bag and wrote;

Coffee–8:00 tomorrow–usual place?
Call or text me 917-379-1884
-Mia D

     She turned to the doorman and said, "Could you give this to Sebastian tonight? Tell him it's from an old friend."

     "Sure thing, miss, anything for a friend of Seb."

     As the club closed and his employees cleaned up and left, Sebastian stared mechanically at the posters of Mia's many plays and movies scattered on the wall. He had copies of every one, from her first play So That, to her new movie Eleanor, which also had a large mural outside the club. His doorman came up to him, saying, "Hey, Seb."

     "Yeah?"

     "Some woman gave me this note—she claims to be an old friend."

     His doorman handed him the note, and Sebastian read it, and allowed himself a smile. His doorman, looking on said, "I'm guessing by that smile she was a lot more than a friend."

     "A lot more, a lot more. I thinks that's died now, but a man can hope."