I’ve invited my author friends to drop by with what we’re calling Story Spirals or outtakes from their books. Stories that could be happening alongside the main plot, stories happening to the main character but aren’t in the book, stories that are connected someway, somehow.
Today, we have a story spiral from author Jay E. Tria from her book Songs To Get Over You — where Miki can’t seem to move on from his long-term unrequited love of his best friend Jill. Here’s the blurb:
It’s harder to get over someone who was never really yours.
They say rock stars get all the girls. But Miki knows that’s not always true. He, for one, though the guitarist of popular indie band Trainman, just can’t seem to get the girl. It’s kind of his fault, really. No one told him to fall in love with Jill. No one told him to stand still and watch as she moved on from a terrible breakup into the arms of another guy—a Japanese celebrity with the face of an angel and the body of a god.
So when someone else comes along, someone who finds him cute, smart, and funny (sometimes in the haha sort of way), will Miki finally move on? Or will he continue to pine for Jill?
Her Songs of our Breakup books are filled with such strong emotions. Read the short story below for a taste of her mastery with feelings.
featuring characters from Playlist #2: Songs to Get Over You by Jay E. Tria
November 17, Monday, afternoon, one year ago
“The one to her left? Pink sweater, legs that go on for days. Wow.”
“I’m pretty sure I can’t.”
“How about her friend?”
“Mikhail. Are you a weight-ist?”
“No!” Miki shrank back at the laser beam glare Jill shot at him. He put both palms up and rushed out his explanation. “I actually think she’s pretty and perfectly rounded in the right places.”
They were sitting on the gnarled wooden bench in the College of Economics front lobby, slumped on their seats, limbs in lazy angles, trying to wind down after a full day of classes. Now Jill pulled herself up to the straightest line her long spine would allow, hovering over Miki with her signature stern stare.
“Then what?” she hissed through pursed lips.
Miki winced, eyes darting back to the girl in question. He thought he recognized her from one of their Economics classes. The pretty and perfectly rounded girl had stretched out on the aged bench a few meters away from the one he and Jill had claimed.
The decrepit wood creaked in protest against the girl’s sudden movement. Miki was sure Jill heard it too.
“I think she can crush me,” he muttered.
Jill bit her lip, her eyes on the same scene. “You do bruise like an overripe mango.”
“See?” He grinned in triumph. He unlocked his tense limbs, glad the game of Find Miki a Girl to Ask Out had wound down. “Now what do you say we hit the library like we said we would before heading home?”
“This is hopeless,” Jill cut through him, wringing her hands. Apparently it was not game over yet. “I can’t be friends with an NGSB!”
Miki rolled his eyes. It was a habit he had picked up after years of hanging out with this girl. And it was a habit he’d used on her often, in times such as these when she claimed a term like NGSB. As in ‘No Girlfriend Since Birth.’ Miki sighed. Their bandmates Nino and Son almost died laughing when they first heard Jill say the term. But after those seemingly endless rounds of laughter they teamed up with Jill in her appeals to get Miki ‘exorcised’ from this condition.
“Why not? It’s not a disease.” Miki felt he’d made this argument too many times already in the past few weeks.
Jill turned her entire body to face him, edging closer with one knee pulled up against her chest. “But you always tell me what to do with Kim. How can I trust your relationship advice when you’ve never even been in one?”
Her dark eyes were wide and grave. Miki knew she was serious, and funnily so, very much concerned about this whole issue. It was fine, though. He didn’t expect Jill to get it. That he didn’t need to be a girl’s boyfriend to be in love with her. Not all guys got to enjoy that luxury.
Of course she didn’t get it.
He braced himself on the bench as he inched to face her. His heart lurched into a deep dive when he came in full contact with her penetrating gaze, but he pushed out the words in the casual way he’d long mastered.
“Jillian Marie. I don’t have to be a Gilmore girl to tell you that your boyfriend was being stupid again with the Starbucks versus Rodic’s thing.”
It took about two seconds and two of Miki’s stilted heartbeats before she sighed and released his gaze. “That was a stupid fight,” she agreed.
“It was very stupid.”
Jill slapped his arm before she burst into giggles. “Good use of the Gilmore girl analogy, by the way.”
“I know.” Miki bit the inside of his cheek, trying to hold in the gigantic smile that was threatening on his lips. “You should be happy I’m single,” he managed to say with a straight face. “I don’t get caught up in my own relationship drama. So not only do you get my objective wisdom, but you can get it anytime you want because I’m always available.”
“All true.” Jill was nodding in a slow rhythm, her eyes back to scanning the school yard and the wider university streets in front of them. “Though your objectivity seems to be always in my favor.”
“Well I do like you more.”
More than Kim. I like you more than Kim. That’s what he meant to say. Miki wanted to whack his palm against his forehead. What an off day he’d been having today at the friendzone.
“Ooh, what about her?”
Jill’s excited voice and her hard pinch on his arm got his attention. “Ouch,” he grumbled, lifting his eyes.
The horde of students was multiplying fast in the lobby, spilling out of classrooms as the last bell rang out, still Miki spotted her right away. She would have been difficult to miss. The girl had just passed them, trotting along in her high heels and pinstriped suit. She was embracing a short tower of books, a bulky bag slung over her shoulder, much like the rest of the students she was with. Miki was used to seeing fellow students in their college dressed up in their corporate best. It was usually just the Business or Accounting majors from the neighboring building taking their electives here. So the crisp outfit wasn’t quite what made this girl stand out. It must have been the arch of her shoulders, or the graceful line of her neck, or maybe even her loud, unapologetic laugh.
The girl turned her head, her eyes lighting up at the sight of Miki.
“I think she’s gorgeous,” Jill whispered close to his ear.
“She is,” Miki said as the girl smiled and waved at him. Ana. The name sparked a light inside his head, followed by a string of words, things that she had gladly shared with him that one time they had spoken. “She was in our elective last term,” he muttered back to Jill as soon as Ana returned her attention to her friends.
“Which one? You know what, it doesn’t matter.” Jill started shoving him toward Ana. “Go talk to her. Go!”
Miki’s heart skipped a few more heartbeats in his panic, but then he caught sight of something that steeled his nerves. He leaned back on the bench, ignoring Jill’s frantic slaps on his arm.
“Nah, I think I’ll stay here with you,” he announced.
“But why? I’m perfectly fine here on my own and you—”
“Because Kim is calling you.” Miki pointed to the blinking phone jutting out of Jill’s bag on the bench between them. “And if the call goes well, I’d like to see you off to wherever he is. But if it doesn’t, I think you’d want someone to share a bottle with later.”
“Maybe two bottles.” Jill gripped her phone tightly in one hand. Miki thought the blaring of her Life’s A Gas ringtone was getting louder and angrier. “Or four.”
Miki reached over and closed his fingers on her knee, his palm touching her skin left bare by the rip in her jeans. “I’m here. I’m not going anywhere, okay?”
Jill gave him a curt nod, breathing out a tense chuckle before taking the call. “Hello?”
Here’s my 5-star review:
I’m a sucker for the male point of view in a romance. And this one did not disappoint! It had really funny moments too and really painful ones — but the good kind — the kind you as a romance reader WANT to feel. I loved the toilet paper song, the raw emotions behind Miki’s confusion, and Ana. Ana is like the strongest character in this book and I admire her so much. I could never do what she did to get her goal but I am in awe of her determination and single-mindedness. But what I truly appreciated in this book were the songs. I loved how they came after the scenes like a really good dessert capping a satisfying meal. And for me, a meal isn’t over without dessert. Too much praise? Well, read the book for yourself and be the judge. But with how packed it is with fun, emotions, and awesome lyrics, how can you go wrong?
About Jay E. Tria
Jay E. Tria is an author of contemporary young adult, new adult romance and paranormal/urban fantasy. When she writes she’s often inspired by daydreams, celebrity crushes, a childhood fascination of Japanese drama and manga, and an incessant itch to travel. For a complete list of her books, click here.