Ryan's bad day just got worse.
"I don't blame you for being you. But you can't blame me for hating it."--Fall Out Boy
For the past three weeks or so, Ryan has spent every second with Helen and the happenings in her world. Ryan didn't know what attracted him to her so much, but somehow, he found himself knocking on her apartment door every other night, with the hope of her bright appearance to burst through the door. Whenever Helen was out, though, he'd just stay and talk to Nicole, who seemed to be having mental breakdowns twice a week over the same guy who had broken her heart countless times before. She was either breaking up with Joe or getting back together with him, with wails of 'I Will Survive' lyrics caught in between. Ryan didn't seem to mind, though. The only thing that he was remotely concerned about was the lack of his guard. He was letting Helen in, which wasn't the plan at all. He didn't even expect to see her again after that stormy night of misery and introductions. Yet, he decided to knock on her apartment door, day after day, losing himself between her smiles.
"I'm sorry, Ryan, but it's for the best."
His jaw had collapsed. No. No. No. No. No. No. NO! He couldn't get fired. Not from Roscoe's Records. Not from his home away from home. Not from the very place that could keep his mind off anything and everything with The Beatles or Radiohead softly humming from the speakers in the ceiling. Not from the place he could escape to when he fought with Brendon. Not from the place that was his ultimate escape. He had worked here since he was seventeen and has been buying from this place since he was twelve. How could they do something so.... Sinister?
"But, I don't understand. I've been working here since I was seventeen!" Ryan attempted, controlling his tears that were trying so desperately to flee from his orbs.
"Yes, but you've been coming in late for the past week or so. And you seem to be slacking off." his boss replied firmly.
In times like these, Ryan decided best to play the blame game. And his infamous opponent was yellow and had optimistic gambles. He didn't like to think anything were his fault, even if it truly was. And he somehow found ways to accuse things that weren't worthy of importance. But, he always made things seem more tragic than they actually appeared.
His victim of guilt had the characteristics of black and blonde hair and had imprisoned Ryan's breath for the past three weeks or so. It was Helen who he had decided to blame, despite her warmhearted hospitality towards Ryan. If she minded her own business that stormy night and carried on with apathy in her veins, he would've never been so accepting of her helping hand. If she wasn't so caring, he could've probably kept his guard up and dance in the ashes of all those burned bridges. If she hadn't tagged him along on her adventures with her dynamic group of friends, then he wouldn't keep coming late to his favorite job in the world. If she wasn't so amazing, then he wouldn't waste his thoughts on her stunning charisma and warm laugh. If she never appeared in Ryan's life, then he probably would've kept his job and stored his emotions with swirls of self-pity. He probably wouldn't spend endless nights just thinking about her and then be late to work the next day for lack of sleep. He wouldn't slack off so much if he stopped thinking of what escapade lies before him with Helen.
But, then, Ryan realized this was all so ridiculous. He had no reason to blame Helen for anything. It seemed like he was just blaming her for, well, being herself. And that wasn't right at all. Yet, Ryan's anger and blame remained, despite the unjustness of it all.
Ryan left Roscoe's Records in apparent haste. As he exited the store, there was a heavy drizzle of rain cascading from the dark heavens above. Ryan silently cursed the weather as he neglected to remember his umbrella at home. And since he was only three blocks away from the store, he decided he could just walk. It was better for the environment and his health. So, Ryan was standing in his former job's parking lot, with bullets of rain exploding from the gusts of gray above, without an umbrella or car to keep him warm, along with gasps of misery emitting from his trembling figure. He wanted to cry. Of course, crying never did him any justice, anyway.
He didn't feel like seeing or talking to anyone at all. He suddenly regretted the construction of the many bridges he is absent-mindedly creating. He felt like dying. He wanted nothing to do with anyone as he floated in a black abyss of self-hatred. Suddenly, all his emotions from everything he had ever experienced came launching into his heart. He didn't know why. Maybe it was there all along, it just had to take getting fired to realize it. Who knows. But, right now, he all he wanted to do was get out of the rain and into the comfort of warmth.
He began walking. His desire was to go home, but as he heard a shatter of thunder followed by a stripe of lightening, he decided it best if he just stay at the closest place there was. And to his misfortune, it was the infamous Starbucks.
Ryan had no intention of going there, it was merely coincidence. He didn't want to enter that place. It's mostly likely going to contain the people of whom he didn't want to see, yet would love to at the same time. But, he was frightened that he may come off as a jerk, because he wasn't in the mood to act polite today. He just wanted to roll in his own self-pity and hatred while acting like quite the jerk. Alas, as another crack of thunder and trace of lightening, he had no choice but to enter the quaint coffee shop with a reserved attitude and hopes for no one to talk to him.
His hopes were always quite the lost cause, though.
"Ryan, you're soaking!" Elle's voice rattled through Ryan's ears, causing him to flinch. He didn't want to talk to anyone. Especially Elle.
Ryan just grunted in response, not even attempting to half-smile like he normally would. He just sat down on the cushy stool, closing his eyes, blocking his sight from any type of communication. Ryan thought maybe if she just ignored her, then she'd possibly just leave him in his peaceful self-pity.
Of course, he should've known by now that she was never one to easily give up.
"Do you want some coffee?" she prodded, annoying Ryan.
"No thanks." he mumbled under his breath unhappily.
"Anything else?" she asked; Ryan's patience decreasing to thin strips.
"No. I'm FINE!" Ryan yelled at her, instantly regretting his outburst as Elle's dark green eyes hardened to offense. Her face twisted into distaste as she clucked her tongue. She searched him up and down, trying to read into him. Those emeralds punctured it's needle-like glare into Ryan's soul, leaving a green mark imprinted into his mind. Elle was never patient with rudeness (judging by her attacks during a rude customer.) but, she could bite her tongue towards the ones she remotely liked. But, her glares were worse than any verbal attack she could strike. They looked sinister and evil; eyes of a killer. And once she launches her tongue, to cluck in disapproval, you better run. And the very worst of it, is when she looks you up and down; slashing insecurity through your conscience.
She huffed and returned her post behind the cash register, as Ryan sunk guiltily into the cushion of his chair. Stupid Elle. With her stupid glares and her stupid coffee and her malicious ways of making one feel guilty. She didn't deserve to make him feel guilty. This was Ryan's day to feel crappy and full hatred towards himself and others. It wasn't his fault that he had to stay at Starbucks because it was thundering out and he wasn't in the mood for dying by lightening today. If it were an option, he would've just gone straight home. But it's raining and this was the closest place to warmth.
He closed his eyes and drifted into oblivion for awhile. But, he was soon interrupted from his Zen as the chimes of the bell jingled while the shuffling of feet followed soon after. He knew who it was, but he wished it wasn't her. She always came to Starbucks during her lunch hour, which was about now. And of course, she'd see Ryan and wave merrily to him as they engage into a conversation about anything at all. And, Ryan would love that. He always did. But not today. No, not today. Not when he was feeling crabby and moody and on the verge of anger or tears. He didn't want to pollute his pessimism onto her joyous personality. She is way to good for that. She is way to good for Ryan. And that thought made his heart fracture a little. Helen was amazing and perfect and everything Ryan wished he could be, but never will. And she doesn't need some stupid cynic in her life.
He peered from under his lids, and as expected, Helen was at the counter, requesting her regular beverage, and shuffling through her purse. Her eyes waltzed the room, until she spotted Ryan. She smiled, and as on cue, she waved happily before retrieving her coffee and walking over to Ryan.
Today, she was wearing red. Now, I don't mean a red shirt and jeans and whatnot. I mean, her whole outfit consisted nothing but red. That was her thing. Matching outfits. Her closet was a rainbow of fabric. Ryan wouldn't be surprised if even her under garments were matching. But, today was red. Red skinny jeans, with a white and red striped shirt. Her red Converse matched the red clinking bracelets as well as big, red hoop earrings. Plus, her hair was pulled back in a big, red scrunchie.
"Hey Ryan." Helen said, sitting down next to him. He looked over to Elle, who was glaring skeptically at him, waiting for his next move.
"Hey." Ryan murmured back; any word could send him in rage.
"What's up?" she asked normally. She didn't realize the thick silence laying over them in awkward whirls. But Ryan did, causing him to grow more irritated by the second.
"Nothing." he replied, squeezing the cushion, focusing on nothing more but his worn Converse.
What? How could that be? Helen was always one to talk. Awkward conversations or not, her mouth was still running. He looked over to her, as she gazed at him skeptically.
"Is something wrong?"
"Yes. Everything is wrong! I just got fired from my job and I pissed off Elle, of whom I shouldn't of, because that's entering the Death Zone. My world is falling apart as we know it, and the only thing I have to look forward to is you, but you are too good for me. And on top of that, I can't help but to recall memories of Brendon and I, even though I try so desperately to forget. Oh, and did I mention that all those burnt bridges are taking it's revenge, because now I'm building more? Plus, the reserved, quiet Ryan that I used to know, has been replaced with one that is finding ways to wear his heart on his sleeve. And I'm having no intentions of doing so, it just happens. And you know why? It's because you are amazing and I want to be exactly like you but that will never happen because I'm an emotional cynic with words that will never find their way out of my mouth. I want to leave this person I am and become totally different, but I somehow want to keep myself reserved and closed off. Which makes me confused and up at night. So, try that on for size!" Ryan mentally yelled, wishing he could actually confess all of that to her. But, he didn't. He couldn't.
"No, it's just... I just got fired from my favorite job ever." he said, instead.
"Ah, that sucks. Wait... I think Elle is hiring, though." Helen suggested, averting her eyes over to the smirking strawberry blonde.
"Uh, no. It's fine." Ryan mumbled, desperately hoping Helen wouldn't impose on this.
"No, really. She could get you the job." Helen insisted, ready to walk over to Elle and ask her, even though Elle was listening intently, glaring at Ryan, waiting for his reaction with that devilish smirk.
"Helen, I don't want the job." Ryan attempted, is anger and annoyance growing between his gritted teeth.
"Nonsense." She replied, getting up.
"I said, I don't want the fucking job, okay?" Ryan screamed at her, grasping her arm, piercing his fingers into her tan flesh, sending spurts to pain radiating through her skin. Helen stopped once he did this, looking at him the same exact way Brendon did all those nights ago.
Ryan let go quickly; his fingers trembling in shock. He can't believe he just did that. How could he do such a thing for Helen? She was so sweet and so undeserving of his rage. But, this was just a bad day and Ryan kept mentally scolding himself for entering Starbucks in the first place. Helen didn't deserve to be treated like that, especially from Ryan. Who was no good, anyway. He instantly regretted everything. He definitely regretted acting that way with Helen. But, he regretted shouting at Elle, who was just being a good employee and friend. He regretted entering Starbucks, on a horrible day, when he knew there was bound to be someone to lash out on, who didn't deserve it. He regretted all of this as more disgust of himself showered over him in thick, vicious droplets of spite.
"Okay..." Helen replied, quietly.
Suddenly, Elle exited from behind the counter, looking displeased. Ryan gulped as the infuriated expression on her face flamed with fierce inferno. She looked pissed and Ryan feared his life.
"Who the hell are you to be yelling at my best friend that way? And me? We didn’t do anything, and Helen was just being a good friend. Something you should take more note of." Elle said, her emeralds twisting its jagged glare into him.
"Elle, its fine." Helen said, defending Ryan, which made him feel far more guilty that he had before.
How could that be? How could Helen still be defending Ryan even though he just yelled at her and acted slightly violent? She was opposing her best friend for Ryan's sake, which made him sick with remorse.
"No, Helen, it's not fine. He can't treat you that way. Now, I've put up with him for these past weeks, but now I'm getting tired of it." Elle said.
"Elle, stop." Helen demanded.
"No! He deserves to know." Elle spat back, turning back to Ryan, who looked rather confused.
"Know what?" Ryan asked.
"Elle..." Helen warned, for she knew that Elle was one to never hide her opinion. Even if it hurt or not.
"No! We are all sick of your negative attitude. You claim you don't believe in love and that you have lost trust in everyone, but I don't think that's the case. I think you are just scared. You are scared that if you ever let yourself close to someone, they'll hurt you, because everyone so far has done that to you. And I don't think you've lost trust in human kind, you have just lost trust in yourself for letting yourself get so close to someone, because you think they are automatically going to hurt you. But, you follow around Helen because she is the one person you have ever met that hasn't done anything to hurt you and probably never will. And then you just go and yell at her, when she was trying to do a favor for you? She has been way more than a friend to you. She doesn't deserve that. She doesn't deserve y—" Elle confessed, before she was cut off by Helen.
"Elle, I think that's enough." Helen said firmly.
But Ryan knew what Elle was going to say. She was going to say You. She doesn't deserve You. And the truth of it was, Ryan didn't deserve Helen. What was he thinking? Everything that Elle had just said was true. He was scared. All the times he thought he was just being strong, that wasn't the case at all. It was the complete opposite. He was weak and emotional and the only thing he could do to lie about what he truly felt, was cover it up with his false pessimism. And those times when he thought he could only trust himself, it was just another lie to hide that the only person that he could blame, was himself. And as Ryan thought all of this, he realized he had been playing the Blame Game for his whole life; faulting everyone but the obvious player: Himself. But the Blame Game wasn't a game of two or more; it was mere Solitaire.
As Ryan looked to Elle's livid eyes and her grim smirk, all the blame he placed onto everyone in his whole life came washing down in sorrowful waves. She was right and Elle knew she had some impact on him by the dense silence suffocating him. And for once, Helen didn't have any words to break this silence, because she probably knew it was true too. This made Ryan sadder than ever. Just when he thought he could remotely belong in Helen's group of friends and life, Elle makes him realize that he had no place upon her list. He wanted to, oh yes, he did. But, he was a misfit of this bundle and he had no choice but to run, just like every single time a crisis came his way.
Ryan looked to the drizzle of rain outside of the warm Starbucks, and ran out into the gray storm. But, this time, as he left what he wanted most, he didn't even consider looking back.
Authors Note: Special thanks to iluvsmiliez, infinite-oddity, Panicfantatic08, and MrSz-Or3o for their lovely reviews.
I'd also like to apologize for the lack of update. Believe me, I had sources that have been nagging me to write this for awhile, now and I've finally gotten around to doing so. Writer's Block and procrastination do NOT mix well, my friends.
I also wanted to mention that I'm sorry because the first three chapters, were, well, in a lack of better words, Boring. It was more like an introduction to the characters than mere plot, but I hope this fourth chapter makes up for it. But, I'm deciding if this is a filler than actual plot. Since my insecurity prevents me from thinking that anything I do is all that good, I'm thinking it's rather filler-esque. But, I assure you that there will be some sort of plot.
While writing the chapters of You Remind Me Of A Former Love, I've been constantly thinking of how much this sucked, I should stop with all the adjectives, this is so boring, nobody wants to read this, my characters aren't realistic enough, I should've done first person, etc. So, as you can see, I've been have self-esteem issues with my writing. Maybe reviews can encourage me a little? [hint, hint]
And, if there is anything that you suggest I need to improve upon, let me know. Critiques help me as a writer, and I need to know whatever I can do to become a better one. :]
Or, if reviewing isn't your thing, feel free to rate. :]
Do with it as you like.