W H E N T H E L I G H T S C O M E O N
Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice—
Paige Rivera doesn’t need to know the rest; she doesn’t intend to end up among the twice-fooled.
It’s been six years since Youssef Salah let her down, and not even the shock of his reappearance is enough to make her consider letting him do it again. She learned a lot from that first fall: how to pick herself up, brush herself off, and push away anyone with the ability to knock her off her feet.
He’s no longer the teenage boy she knew, but Youssef still possess the powers of a gravitational force, so Paige employs her failsafe strategy: head down, eyes on the prize. The prize in this case is her burgeoning career as a music producer and one-to-watch in the Montreal DJ scene.
Unfortunately, that’s the prize Youssef has always had his eyes on too.
As the city’s sweaty clubs and neon-lit bars throw them together again and again, Paige can’t help getting caught in the pull of the boy she used to know and the man he’s now become—a man who’s not afraid to hide that he’s just as drawn to her. Passing words turn into late-night conversations that force them both to realize their past was never as simple it seemed, and neither was their goodbye.
There’s a future waiting for them, as ready as an empty stage under the lights, but fools have a way of showing up in the spotlight–especially if they’ve been there twice.
E X C E R P T
Just when the tension has reached a nearly panicked pitch, a strobe light streaks over the crowd, splitting time into a dozen fractured moments as the wail of a siren pierces the air.
It gets louder and louder, and I watch the girl behind the booth in the moments between the flashes of the strobe light. She twists a dial on one of the panels in front of her, and in the second after she cuts off the siren, just before she drops her first beat, she throws her head back and turns her face to the ceiling. Her hood slips off, and I get my first clear look at her.
I don’t hear the start of the song. I don’t hear the screams of the crowd as they begin jumping around to the rhythm. I don’t hear anything except a static whine in my ears as I stare and stare and stare.
I’d notice her anywhere.
Most people would. No matter how much she hates it or how hard she tries to hide it, she’s always been the kind of beautiful that people just don’t know what the fuck to do with, but that’s not why my world feels like it’s splitting at the seams as I look at her now.
It’s because she’s Paige.
She’s right there in front of me: the girl I haven’t seen or heard from for more than six years.