Helen is down with the flu.
"Only the pure in heart can make a good soup."--Ludwig van Beethoven.
Ryan bit his lip as he stood in front of the Starbucks, which hid soothing aromas of to-go coffee and tender whispers from delicate lips. It had been two weeks. Two entire weeks. Two whole weeks that Ryan had forbade himself from entering this infamous place of guilt and repent. Two whole weeks of cycling through insanity, for his conscience nagged him until he was irritated enough to take action. Two whole weeks without talking to Elle, when he should've been man enough to confront her with sincere apology. The truth was though, Ryan was scared. He was scared of Elle and her possible rejection. He kept on having visions of her murdering him with vicious glares and words; venom curdling from her smirk. Ryan cringed a little and thought about turning back. As you can see, Ryan never did well with rejection. Whenever he was, he'd usually beat up himself over it; taking brutal stabs from his esteem.
Alas, all the time he spent with Helen, she urged him to 'do the right thing'. Which, by the way, Helen always did. No matter what, she was always did the right thing. But, Ryan didn't mind it all. He actually kind of liked having Helen lavish her optimism on him. It always kept him thinking 'what would Helen do?' in crossroad situations. And, he always ended up doing the right thing. Which was more handy than ever. He actually felt better about himself, which was rare for Ryan, since he still despised ever single cell in his body. But, within time, Ryan could easily see himself enjoying who he was.
And the weird thing is, he was kind of scared about that. He spent his whole life thinking the negative of things and thinking how horrible he was. He didn't want to turn back on himself. It's who he is and he always wanted to keep it that way. Even if he wanted to be more like Helen or not, he sort of wanted to be himself, even if it was who he hated. He didn't quite understand it, but he surely felt it.
He finally gained enough courage to enter Starbucks, as a jingle clattered in harmony above him, from the bell. As he did this, each customer looked his way, causing Ryan to blush and duck his head in insecurity. Especially since one particular pair of dark green eyes were burning bitter holes into his skin with malicious flame. He darted to the counter as Elle clucked her tongue and narrowed her eyes as if the sight of Ryan was completely repulsive. Even if she did think this, Ryan couldn't blame her.
"May I help you?" she spat, rather rudely, as Ryan bit his lip, a sick sensation twisting through his guts.
"Um, no. I just... I just wanted to apologize, for, you know, the other day." Ryan attempted, locking his gaze to his twiddling fingers.
"And it took you this long to do it?"
And there it was. The rejection. The very thing Ryan wished he would avoid. Alas, wishes never came true, especially not Ryan's. He had another vision of his murder brought by Elle, which caused him to flinch in horror. A deep red tainted his cheeks; blemishing them with embarrassed blush. He shouldn't of came down here in the first place. He should've just walked around with the guilt smothering his conscience, until it finally faded into cold negativity. How could he possibly think Elle would forgive him for his actions? He wasn't worthy of her forgiveness and he felt like quite the fool to even attempt anyway.
"I-I'm sorry." he replied, a rock forming boldly in his throat.
"Fine. I don't care. Now, I know you need a job, considering that you've had no luck so far in finding one. I could use someone to clean up and stuff, if you're interested. If you aren't, please just say so, and don't yell at me."
Ryan just looked at her in surprise, utterly speechless.
"Helen told me that you haven't found a job, yet. And as much I didn't want to, she urged me to offer the job again. She knew you were just upset. And I do need a hand around here. So, what do you say?" Elle asked, cocking an eyebrow.
What? Ryan thought she just rejected him. And now she's offering him a job? Is this her way of forgiving him? If so, Ryan is more than willing to take it. He knew Elle was reluctant with forgiveness and maybe it just took two weeks for her to warm up to him and realize that day was just blown all out of proportion. Still, he felt foolish for assuming so quickly that she already rejected his apology.
"Uh, sure. That'd be great, actually." Ryan answered, smiling stupidly.
"You start Monday. And don't be late." She warned, throwing him a green apron, before returning to a customer.
"Uh, do you know where Helen is? She's usually here by now." Ryan asked, as Elle poured coffee into a paper cup, steam rising into warm puffs above her.
"She's sick. She has the flu." Elle replied, adding sugar and creamer to the beverage as well as a lid.
Elle gave the customer her coffee before turning to Ryan and looking at him as if he were a complete idiot.
"No, Ryan. She's not sick. I'm completely lying to you. In fact, she's in the back making brownies!" Elle exclaimed sarcastically, causing Ryan to roll his eyes are her snarky attitude.
Ryan escaped the place filled with sarcastic comments and scents of flavored lattes, ignorant of what to do now. He clutched the green fabric in his hand, smiling. He couldn't help but to recall what Elle said, about how Helen urged Elle to offer him the job. It seemed like no matter what, Helen was always trying to spread her goodness to all of those around her. Or that she was thinking of Ryan. Or the fact that she somehow knew he was going to apologize, even though Ryan admitted to her that he was unsure of what he was really going to do. It was like, Helen thought the best of him and that he would turn out to be doing the right thing after all. Nobody has ever thought the best of Ryan. Everyone he once knew, always expected him to fail. But, not Helen.
Suddenly, he frowned. He just realized that Helen and Elle discussed him. And the must discuss him frequently if two weeks have passed and Elle knew that he was still in need of a job. He could picture the women, sitting on the caramel stools, sipping their coffees, and snickering on and on about Ryan and his action. He blushed at the thought, wondering what other secrets Elle knew about Ryan.
Of course, Helen wouldn't be able to talk about Ryan so much if he would've just kept his guard up. But, that thought was long-ago passed and never heard of again. Ryan had opened up to Helen like he has with no one before. He told her about Brendon and his insecurities and mostly everything. And the weird thing is, Ryan didn't care. He actually enjoyed diving into deep conversations with Helen, reaching bottom thoughts that dwell in dark places. Oddly though, Helen hardly talked much about herself or her past. Which always left Ryan wondering if there was a different piece of Helen he was ignorant of. Of course, he would just shrug it off until she was ready to introduce this piece. Right now, Ryan was happy with what he had now. And he had a caring, warm Helen.
He looked to the sky; the sun doused the world in golden luminescence, oozing the atmosphere in a thick heat. This was the kind of day in which storms were nonexistent and the only darkness you saw was that of children's shadows. The kind of day where there were scents of pollen were drifting from various flowers as birds echoed small tunes beneath canopies of leaves. The kind of day meant for tank tops and sunscreen as the beach calls your name in sandy whispers. The kind of day that would be such a shame to be spent indoors. The kind of day Helen loves, but is missing.
Ryan suddenly felt bad for Helen. While she was indoors, down with the flu, while the whole world had suddenly stopped its raining spree and took a break. She would hate to miss the sunshine, considering her comments on how 'gloomy' rain was, despite Ryan's arguments. He bit his lip, unsure of his next move. But, all his thoughts repeated 'what would Helen do?'
About a half hour later, Ryan found himself knocking on Helen's apartment door, a container of hot chicken noodle soup in hand, with a smile on his face. It was such a lovely day outside and he knew Helen would hate to miss it, so he thought he'd do something to cheer her up. There was no doubt that Ryan would love to spend some time outdoors as well, but, for the first time, he put someone before himself.
Nicole opened the door, revealing a smiling, yet anxious Ryan. She seemed a bit confused, as she dropped her eyes to the container of chicken noodle soup, but greeted him, nonetheless.
"Uh, hey Ryan. What are you doing over here?" Nicole asked, her eyes still latched onto the container.
"Um, I thought I'd bring Helen some soup." he replied.
"Oh, well, uh, she's in her room."
Ryan walked in, instantly catching faint whiffs of tea from the stove. He figured Nicole made it for Helen. He darted to Helen's room, cracking open the door just a little, before revealing himself.
Helen looked up to see who it was; surprised to find Ryan creeping through the door.
"Ryan?" her scratchy voice called.
"Hey, I brought you some soup." Ryan announced, proudly. He walked over to her and kneeled down beside her as he placed the container on a small table beside her bed; the blankets and pillows around her swallowing her into the mattress.
"Awe, Ryan. You didn't have to do that." she said, sitting up.
"Nonsense. I thought you'd like some company."
"Actually, I'd love some company. Thanks."
Ryan smiled and leaned in to kiss her, latching his lips onto hers, as Helen quickly slithered her arms around his neck, pulling him in close, as they both smiled into the kiss. Alas, Helen soon pulled away.
"No. You might catch what I have." she giggled.
"I don't care." He replied, leaning in for another one, as she giggled and pushed him away.
"I have to eat my soup." she said, as Ryan groaned in frustration.
"Not right now. Right now, you have to kiss me." Ryan said, attempting for another one, yet, was soon rejected.
"No. My soup will get cold." she protested, snatching the container from the table.
"Yeah, well I don't care if your soup freezes. Kiss me."
And with that, Ryan tangled his lips with hers, before she could protest. Ryan couldn't believe how incredibly cliche and 'cute he was being. He hadn't acted this way since he'd been with Brendon. But, even with him, Ryan didn't usually do the cliche boyfriend things one does. He found himself delivering her favorite flowers (which yellow roses that Ryan didn't even know existed) on unexpected notices. Or whispering remarks in her ear which made her giggle and swoon. He seemed to be doing things on impulse a lot, lately. Which, by the way, he never did. But, as time passed with Helen, he was finding himself doing things he never usually did. And oddly enough, he didn't care.
"Ahem." a loud voice emerged from the door, as Helen and Ryan departed from their kiss, awkwardly and hastily as Nicole stood in the doorway, a cup of tea in hand and an annoyed expression on her face.
"Your tea? Or, is Dr. Ryan over here giving you a special treatment." Nicole asked, smirking, as the two blushed.
"Uh, thanks Nicole." Helen said as Ryan stood up, awkwardly.
"Um, Ryan? Can I talk to you?" Nicole asked, as confusion oozed into his thoughts in bewildered drops. He looked to Helen for some sort of explanation, but she just shrugged.
Ryan and Nicole walked out of Helen's room, as Nicole eased the door shut quietly, before turning to Ryan.
"Okay. I know you've been dating Helen for awhile now..." Nicole started.
"Yeah, so?" Ryan asked, a little offended that Nicole thought she could just stick her nose into his business.
"Well, I just wanted to talk to you about that."
"Well, you aren't really Helen's type..."
"Her type? Well, do you mind telling me what her 'type' is, then?" Ryan asked, a little bitchy.
"Ryan, no need to get offended or anything. It's just, I know you are a little... Pessimistic." Nicole said, as Ryan blushed. Helen talked about him to Nicole, too.
"And, Helen isn't. And, I know you don't believe in love or any of that crap, because I don't either. And we both know that love is just a four lettered word for bullshit. But, Helen doesn't believe that." Nicole continued.
"But, what does that have to do with me and Helen?"
"Because she is one of the last people in this world who is good and actually thinks there is justice somewhere in people. And she definitely thinks there is justice somewhere in you, even if you don't think so. She does. And you make her really happy. But, I swear to God, if you break her heart, I will break your neck. She's been through a lot, and if she looses her hope, she won't have anything left. If you hurt her, then you're a dead man, Ross." Nicole warned, scaring Ryan with how serious she was. Ryan usually knew Nicole as to be goofy or extremely emotional. Never serious.
"Um... Okay." Ryan said.
"Good." Nicole said, smiling, before returning to the kitchen.
Ryan was just a tad bit confused. Did Nicole expect Ryan to break Helen's heart? Because, if there were to be any heart breaks, Ryan thought he'd be the one to get the worst of it. Besides, it wasn't like Ryan was intending on hurting her in any possible way. She was way too amazing for that. And he really liked her. So much, that he was always thinking of her or what she was doing or if she was thinking of him. But of course, everyone always expected Ryan to fail. But, maybe it was because Nicole and Ryan were so alike and that if Nicole always failed in her relationships, she thought Ryan would too. But, that's one thing that Ryan and Nicole differ. Ryan was determined to make this one last. He had someone who he knew he could trust. And Nicole didn't.
Plus, Ryan was finding himself change. I mean, he delivered her flowers, whispered affectionate things in her ear, and remembered all the little stuff about her that he usually wouldn't care to even think about. I mean, he never put people before himself, but today, on a beautiful, sunny, Saturday, instead of spending a rare sunny day outside, he was delivering her a container of warm soup.
The thing is though, if all the chicken noodle soup in the world freezes, he wouldn't care. He would just want to kiss her.
Author's Note: Thanks to infinite-oddity, Life_is_42, medicatedlives, webba141, MrSz. Or3o, and Emo_Monkey_ATD for their wonderful reviews.
Sorry it took so long for me to update. I had some trouble writing this. =/
I sincerely hope you enjoyed this chapter. I wanted to make it rather cute. :]
I'd love to hear what you all thought! Reviews help. ;]
Do with it as you like.