Raven has been having dreams of Declan. I know this because I’ve been having dreams about Declan and because in those dreams, I have been Raven.
In the dreams, they have seen each other across rain-swept alleyways. They have met in moonlit closets that turned out to be crowded dance-floors and they’ve hugged and they’ve kissed and they’ve fucked and she’s woken up not remembering if she was herself or if she was him pretending to be her.
The Acid Monsoon song “Exit Sandman” is about this, if you hadn’t guessed already.
“Come to one of my shows,” he hears from her by text.
“I can’t,” she finds out, “I’ll be clear ‘cross the country.”
She finds that she misses him. It’s a feeling she doesn’t recognize, so it takes her a long time to unpack it. Why do I feel bad? doesn’t work as a question until she tries What will make me feel better?
“I miss you.” It’s a text he doesn’t get to read because she keeps not sending it. She knows she’s acted horribly, treated him with… like… She just has a lot of regrets.
“I still love you.” That one, she doesn’t even type out. She knows better.
“I don’t think I can do this,” she confesses to Caspar June. She’s been sleeping with him casually, off and on, but that’s not what makes it a confession.
“How can I make this easier on you?” For him, it isn’t just the fact that she’s a wonderful singer, it’s the fact that even after a year and a half of modest fame and personal glory, she still hasn’t turned into a diva, which is promising. He does not want to lose that.
They come up with the idea together to try to lure Declan’s Gorgasm band into touring with them.
“And then what?” Caspar June asks her. “You are gonna stay with us?”
“I don’t see why I shouldn’t.”
It takes far too long for him to give in. They try money, they try gigs. They send presents.
“I don’t get it,” he tells his bandmates, because he’s stupid. Because he knows it can’t be true and doesn’t want to give his hopes up.
“Why are you doing this?” he finally asks her.
She has finally managed to lure him to dinner and the question is… well, the question is everything. “I just wanted to know…”
“I wanted to know if there was still a chance for us.”
At the dinner, he sighed.
“You know you’re being a shithead, right?” Declan had been casually sleeping with Rachel for a while, but that wasn’t why she said it. “I know you’re still in love with her and you know she’s still in love with you, so for fuck’s sake, Declan!”
“Also,” said Tally, “I kinda want to chase the Monsoon. Those guys are tight as, like, an obscene thing I don’t want to mention in mixed company.”
“A virgin’s asshole?” Rachel suggested.
“Sure, let’s go with that.”
Meanwhile, Raven waits by the phone, at least proverbially.
“Why do I do this to myself?” She hears the voice behind her and at first she thinks it might be her own. “If I could have you, if you would have me back… Why would I keep punishing you?”
She looks at him and shakes her head.
“I don’t want to punish you,” she says.
She rushes into his arms.