Occupied Hearts

Occupied Hearts

Status: In Progress

Genre: Romance


Status: In Progress

Genre: Romance


Langston’s normal life turns to chaos when she meets the emotionally intense, eccentric writer, Noah. Both are in committed relationships with other people, but neither can ignore the connection they share.


Langston’s normal life turns to chaos when she meets the emotionally intense, eccentric writer, Noah. Both are in committed relationships with other people, but neither can ignore the connection they share.

Chapter1 (v.1) - Chapter One

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 29, 2017

Reads: 1075

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 29, 2017



Chapter One

[ Langston ]

“I hate funerals,” Sophie muttered as she slouched down in the stiff, flower print sofa. With its low ceiling, dull lighting and dozens of oversized floral arrangements, the viewing room felt very crowded. After offering our condolences, we drifted to the back corner, next to an end table with two tissue boxes. “When I die, just release my body into the water and be done with it.”

Sitting on the arm of the sofa, Fox snorted quietly and reached behind me to give her a little nudge. “The East River’s got plenty of room for ya, Soph.” She rolled her eyes, but laughed anyway. “I don’t mind the traditional stuff,” Fox went on as his palm circled around my back. “As long as it’s not in a place like this. It’s depressing. I mean, look at this couch. It’s like we all died in 1910.”

“What about you, Langston? What do you see your grand send-off looking like?” Sophie asked.

I ran my fingers through my hair, thinking about it for a moment. “I don’t know, really. It’s not like I’ll be there to enjoy it, so why bother?” I felt Fox and Sophie exchange glances above my head, clearly unimpressed with my answer.

“How about a parade? Like Mardi Gras, but in celebration of Langston?” At my protest, Fox took my face in his hands, lowering his head to level our eyes. “Now, baby, you did just say you did not care about your funeral. So, as your boyfriend, I get to make such decisions. And I say: parade.” He pressed his lips to my forehead and I briefly sunk against him.

“Look at the two of you – sickening in love, even at a funeral.” I looked at the familiar voice and saw Dylan standing there. He looked like hell. Dark circles rounded his red puffy eyes, his hair was a mess despite having been combed back, and the tie around his neck was crooked and loose. Rubbing the side of his face, he gave us a half smile, “thanks for coming guys.”

Fox stood up and wrapped his arms around his friend. “Of course we’d be here, man.” Sophie and I were suddenly wrapping our arms around the boys, seconding Fox’s statement. The four of us had been friends since college orientation week six years ago and were inseparable ever since. Sophie had been my roommate. We were both shy, quiet girls from upstate New York who met two rather loud, outgoing city boys when we got lost during the scavenger hunt. A few months later, back from Thanksgiving break, Fox and I began dating. From then we kept waiting for Sophie and Dylan to follow foot, but they never did. Instead, they became immune to our admittedly sickening romance and managed to date other people without breaking up our foursome.

Up on the roof of Dylan’s parent’s house, only minutes into the new year, I eased back into Fox, tucking my head underneath his chin as his arms wrapped around my shoulders. I closed my eyes, listening to the hum of the party carrying on without us. Despite my ears and nose being frozen, I felt content in the cold January air, the steady rhythm of Fox’s breathing against me. I whispered that I loved him, so softly I didn’t think he even heard me. “I love you too, Langston.” It wasn’t the first time someone had said those words to me. My high school boyfriend was quite the romantic, always buying me cute presents and saying all the sweet things, but it never felt as right as it did that night on the roof with Fox. I’d finally understood what it felt like to be loved so completely.

Now, the four of us broke free of our hug. “I hate to do this, Dylan,” I started, “but I have go.”

“It’s okay,” he said with a faint grin on his face. “Sophie told me about the new job. Congratulations, Lang. I’m really proud of you.”

“Thank you.” I couldn’t help but smile. It had only been a few days since I was hired as a journalist for Junior League, a literary journal featuring new, up and coming artists. My first assignment was an essay on a young singer-songwriter from Minnesota. Our first meeting was scheduled for this afternoon. “I’ll be there tonight, though.” The four of us planned on going to St. Elmo’s, the bar Dylan’s father owned in the village. Many of the regulars were holding a memorial in his honour.

Fox had gone to retrieve my coat from the coat check and helped me put it on. “Good luck, baby,” He kissed me quickly, trying to keep his enthusiasm low-key given the circumstances. “Not that you’ll need it.” I gave him a peck on the lips and then hugged Sophie and Dylan once more before leaving. It was still cold outside for late March, so I wrapped my knitted purple scarf around my neck (a present from Fox) and caught the bus uptown to The Stranger.


[ Noah ]

They twirl around in a snow globe/ two blind hearts/ latching on/ to the magic they found/ in their own little world.

I hit save on the memo and slid the phone back into my pocket. It was my second week in Manhattan and I finally had time to explore it. Twelve consecutive days of interviews and photoshoots and shows. Not that I’m complaining, really, but this was New York!

The crowded streets flowed in a rhythm I'd yet to learn. People walked with determination; everyone had somewhere to be. The famous landmarks integrated with its people, standing out slightly to the tourists. Exceptionally tall buildings stood proud side by side. The amount of work and time it took for them to be built was unimaginable. The detail carved into the roofs and windows created beautiful patterns.  Nature rest between the busy sidewalks and streets. Skinny, yet bold trees added to the magic of the city. The random art work placed throughout the small playgrounds in the neighbourhood made every inch of the island interesting. I'd given up on putting away my camera after thirty minutes of walking. It hung around my neck, ready to capture any moment. When I reached Times Square, my jaw dropped. Every billboard and building was lit in colourful lights. Moving pictures danced across the walls, promoting movies and clothing stores. People stood in the street, still walking with determination. Yellow and white lights flashed above every theatre entrance. I stood in awe as I faced Radio City Music Hall, imagining my name lit on the headliner. One day.

Hours later, as I made my way through the lobby of my apartment building, my phone went off. “Hey, I thought you were working late tonight?”

“It’s nice to hear your voice too, sweet heart.” Emma cooed. I could practically see her soft pink lips pouting in mock disappointment. I was in the elevator now, hitting the button for the 15th floor.

“Sorry, babe. How are you?”

“Oh, I’m fine… Just finished some major house cleaning.”

“What would you have to clean? Your place is spotless all year long!”

“Well my new roommate is a bit of a mess.”

It felt like being punched in the gut. My chest instantly flared up, my pulse quickening. “What are you talking about? New roommate? I thought we had a deal, Emma!” I was so worked up that I fumbled to put the key into the lock. But then I noticed the door hadn’t been locked to begin with. What the hell? Emma was talking on the other end of the phone, but I wasn’t listening anymore. I opened my door with caution, slowly peeking around before stepping inside. It smelt like apple pie. Emma’s apartment always smelt like apple pie because she had one of those wax burning sets.

“Surprise!” A familiar bubbly voice chimed from the kitchen. Emma’s legs were suddenly wrapped around my waist and I was holding her in my arms, spinning her around the room as my mind was still reeling. “I thought I’d move up the date of our deal.” She said between kisses. I kissed her back, breathing her in. I squeeze her cute ass before setting her back on her feet, but didn’t let her go from my grasp. Her red hair was in a high ponytail. She was wearing gray yoga pants and a large t-shirt. It looked like she was right at home.

“I can’t believe you’re actually here.” I said softly, my forehead pressing against hers. “This is the best surprise of your surprises thus far.” Emma and I had been dating for three years. She had been a waitress at the college pub I used to perform at. After graduating, she got a job as a marketing associate at a tech company in Minneapolis. When I landed the record deal in NY, we decided she’d stay back home until she found a new job.

“I couldn’t wait anymore,” she bit her lip and looked up at me with a guilty smile. “You’re not mad are you? That I showed up out of the blue like this?”

I gripped her waist more tightly, arching my back so I could look her straight in the eye. “You being here with me is what I’ve always wanted. This is gonna be amazing, Em.” I kissed her nose, which made her giggle. We grew quiet for a moment, letting the reality of the situation sink in. I laced my fingers through hers and lead her to the bedroom. “Now let’s tend to some house warming –”

My phone began to ring. With a groan, I checked the caller ID. It was my manager. “Hold on, one second.” I told Emma, who sat down on the bed. She was such an understanding woman. “Hello?”

“Hi, Noah. I just wanted to remind you of the interview with Junior League we scheduled for this afternoon.”

Shit, I forgot. “Right, right. The writer’s magazine.” I rubbed the palm of my hand against my eye, trying to ignore the fact that Emma was tracing her cleavage with her index finger. Little minx. “Where is it again?”

“The Stranger. It’s a coffee house about two blocks away from your place. The journalist’s is Langston Briar.”

“I’ll be there.” Click. “I’m so sorry. I’ll make it up to you tonight, I promise.”

Emma made an exaggerated sigh and flopped onto the bed. “Go do your thing, Superstar. I’ll be here, making this place a home.” I took her face in my hands and kissed her once more, hungrily.

“I love you. Truly.”

“I love you too, Noah.”

I grabbed my leather jacket and went on my way. 

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