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Seth steps onto the stage and shoves a guitar into Trystan’s hands. Grinning he says, “Show them,” before backing away into the crowd on stage. They’re separated from Trystan, watching in awe.

The audience goes nuts when the guitar is brought out. Mari stands to the side as Trystan grabs a stool from Katie. She grins at him as she backs away. The guys in the lighting cage, blink the house lights and then turn them off. As Trystan begins to sing, a single light flips on behind him. There are several gasps and squeals of excitement as people realize that Trystan is really the guy in the video.

Trystan continues to sing, losing himself in the song like he’s done so many times before. His dark hair covers his eyes as he looks down at the floor. The music fills the room, rendering the buzzing audience silent. The music fills the room, softly resonating and causing that soft vibration that only a live performance can bring.

When he finishes the song the room goes from complete silence to an explosion of applause. Trystan stands and walks toward Seth who hands him the contracts. Trystan holds up his hand to silence the room. There’s joy in his voice when he announces his decision. “I’ve chosen to sign with one of the record labels and accept their generous offer. Mr. Tucker, will you do the honor?”

Tucker gives him a strange look. This isn’t what they planned. Trystan was supposed to announce what he decided. Tucker steps forward and takes the papers. Reading the papers as he speaks, Tucker announces, “Trystan Scott, formerly known as Day Jones, has signed with Harbor House Records with the stipulation that…” his voice fades which makes the audience grow even more excited. Tucker looks up at Trystan and then back down at the paper, and continues reading, “With the stipulation that the school drama department receive a portion of his sales, and that Mr. Tucker will be his representative and receive a standard commission as compensation for his time and expertise.” Trystan wasn’t certain how Tucker would react. Doing it this way kind of forced the guy to say yes, at least that’s what he was hoping for.

Trystan speaks, filling the silence as Tucker stares at him in shock. “There are two people who made this possible—Marie Jennings for inspiring me to write the song, and Mr. Tucker, who negotiated the contract. This guy has been watching my back for years, even though I didn’t know it.” Trystan’s body pulses with excitement. For some reason this part feels more exciting than anything else. He looks out at the crowd, nodding, gesturing for them to join in. “Come on, Tucker. Say yes. You can still teach. There’s a lot more I can learn, and I promise I won’t cut.”

Tucker’s jaw is hanging open. Several cameras shift in his direction, waiting for an answer, while the audience cheers for him to do it. A rumble of laugher falls out of his mouth before he speaks. “You amaze me, Trystan. You always have. I’m honored, beyond words…”

Trystan extends his hand. “So, you’ll do it?”

“Damn right, I’ll do it!” Tucker grabs Trystan’s hand and almost rips his arm off as he shakes it hard.

The moment seems to last forever, with endless applause and cheering. Trystan turns to Mari and takes her hand, pressing a kiss to it, as he waves at the people chanting his name. The sound rushes over him as he smiles back.

Until today, they called him Day Jones. No one knew who he was or what hell he endured to get to this point. There was this idealized version of the rock star who wrote Mari’s song, but that man doesn’t exist. Life makes us what we are. Cruelty and compassion shape us into what we become, and nothing about that is ideal.

Today the fictional life of Day Jones shattered, and by tonight the world will know him for who he really is—Trystan Scott.

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