All she planned on getting was some water, really.
I woke up feeling thoroughly confused. Where was I? And why did my head hurt so much? I turned my head sideways and tried to make out certain objects through the darkness. I was in someone’s room no doubt, but I was worried whose. I noticed a familiar school bag a few feet away from the mattress I was lying on and relief washed over me. I was at Kate’s. Why was I at Kate’s?
My head pounded so hard I felt like it was in danger of exploding. My throat was dry and I craved water. Like a miracle, I noticed it just then, a glass placed by my bed with some aspirin pills next to it. I sluggishly reached for it and propped myself up with all the strength I could muster. I finished it in a matter of gulps and was still thirsty for more so I dragged myself out from under the duvet and, groaning as softly as could so as not to wake Kate who was sound asleep in her bed, I slowly made my way out of her bedroom and into the hallway.
I found my way to the stairs thanks to the illumination from a light that was still on in one of the rooms. I was too preoccupied with feeling crap to even wonder why someone would be up this late.
I stumbled down the stairs, clinging to the banister for dear life and managed to find my way into the kitchen. I swiveled the light switch so it cast just a very dim glow upon the modern but messy kitchen. I refilled my glass at the sink, chugging it down and then returning for seconds. I turned the tap off and turned around only to practically jump out of my skin at the sight of a shadowy figure standing in the doorway.
‘Ryan?’ I said, croakily, my hammering heart gradually calming down as he entered the kitchen and revealed himself. He held a plastic carrier bag in his hands, which seemed slightly strange.
‘Feeling better?’ He asked, but not in a particularly caring way.
‘Uh, yeah thanks...thanks for letting me stay here.’ I answered, despite.
‘No problem’ He said blandly.
He folded his slim arms across his chest and averted his eyes to the floor, as if suddenly very interested in his feet. Only then did I notice he was in his boxer shorts, his only other item being the large orange Blink182 shirt that hung baggily off of his skinny frame. It covered him enough to give him a fair amount of modesty, but I still found it slightly amusing to see Ryan out of his smart school uniform or ridiculously sexy party outfit, even If I did find myself getting a little bit embarrassed.
I was still in the outfit I wore last night, all crinkled and messy, and I hated to think what state my face and hair were in right now.
‘What happened last night?’ I asked after a few moments of silence. My voice showed how much I feared the answer.
‘Let’s see’ Said Ryan, lifting his head up and unfolding his arms, in way that told me I wouldn’t like what he was about to say. ‘We went to a party. You ditched my sister somewhere and got drunk. You made out with Josh and almost ended up sleeping with him. And I think you finished the night by puking in our flowerbeds.'
I widened my eyes and put my hand to my mouth. ‘Oh shit.’ I breathed 'That's right, I did throw up. Ugh, and me and Josh were...oh Ryan I'm so sorry.' I said earnestly 'I didn't purposely ditch Kate, I wouldn't have done that, i think we just got separated somehow, and then I was looking for her and found Josh, and I think he gave me a drink...'
‘And you drank it?’ Ryan said incredulously. Needless to say, I was becoming quite uncomfortable.
‘What else would I do with it?’ I said, exasperated.
‘Not drink it.’ He said 'You don't know what he could have put in there. This is Josh we're talking about, he was trying to get you drunk so he could take advantage of you.'
I flinched. ‘Well how was I meant to know that?’
‘It’s Josh Bromley.’
‘Please, I’ve been at this school for a week, how am I meant to know what he’s like?’
‘Because I told you!’ He said sharply ‘But you obviously didn’t listen. And you obviously didn’t listen to yourself when you gave me your ''solemn promise’’ you’d stay with my sister.‘
‘Well she was fine wasn’t she?’
‘That’s not the point!’
The air went quiet.
‘Look, I’m not a bad person Ryan.’ I said softly. ‘I admit it, I screwed up. But you have hated me since the day we met and I don’t understand why.’
He flared his nostrils in agitation and unfolded his arms.
‘Look, I don’t hate you OK?’ He sighed. ‘I just- I just care about my sister, and you, your so-‘
He paused and scratched his neck. ‘Did you really get expelled from your last school?’
‘Oh I get it.’ I said, rolling my eyes. ‘You’ve been hearing all these stupid little rumors about me, and you believe them.’
‘So it’s not true?’
I shifted my feet uneasily. ‘OK, yes, that one happens to be true. I got expelled. But not for drugs, or leading riots or whatever people will try and have you believe.‘
‘Then what did you do?’
‘I flooded the girl’s toilets’ I sighed ‘By accident. I was- I was climbing the water pipes in a cubicle and one of them broke and water started spurting out everywhere. I didn’t know what to do so after a dozen failed attempts to fix it I just had to stand on top of the toilet whilst everyone ran out screaming. The water rose so rapidly I had to wade out. I had to return to my classroom soaking wet.’
To my surprise, I saw Ryan smile. ‘I bet that was a sight.'
‘You have no idea.’ I sighed ‘I tried to pass it off by saying I’d had an accident in the sink, but the water had began seeping out into the hallways so I was pretty much busted.’
Ryan’s face slowly broke out into a grin and he began laughing, gently. I’d never seen him smile as wide as that before- he had always seemed so moody around me. It was excellent, and I found myself laughing along with him. Even though the memory seemed almost painful to revisit, I had to admit it must sound pretty comedic.
Our laughter softly died out, leaving just lingering smiles on our faces and twinkles in our eyes. It was a nice moment, and one I didn’t see happening.
‘So why were you climbing the water pipes anyway?’ He said, after a few moments spent gathering ourselves.
I gave a sheepish smile and looked at the floor, tugging on the end of my top. ‘I’ll be honest with you. I wasn’t solely expelled because I flooded the school. I was also expelled for excessive rule infractions. Which, for me, included skipping class and hiding in the toilets. Someone had come in looking for me and I hid in a cubicle and climbed the pipes so they couldn’t see my feet.’
‘But why do you even do this? Why do you skip class and start food fights, and-‘
‘Hey, wait up.’ I said ‘I'll have you know, that food fight was not my fault at all. Honest to God, it was a total accident.'
Ryan gave me a suspicious look. ‘Even so, what about everything else?’
I shrugged. ‘I hate school. I hate lessons. I hate English. I hate words and numbers. I can’t do anything well apart from drama. If people can’t bother with me, I don’t bother with them. I’m pretty stupid. I think that’s why.’
It was the first time I had ever admitted that to someone, let alone myself. Then again no one had really asked me so directly. No one had ever cared enough to even try and see why. I thought that was how I liked it. Yet here I was, unloading my thoughts to some guy I barely knew, someone I hadn’t even been getting along with. I felt oddly vulnerable after saying it, a feeling I loathed.
‘That’s ridiculous’ Ryan said, raising an eyebrow and folding his arms. ‘Maybe you find it so hard because you don't even try.’
‘I used to.’ I said ‘I spent any spare time I had trying. But it’s useless. I know why I find it hard. But there’s nothing I can do about it. There’s nothing I want to do about it.’
‘What do you mean?’
Feeling uncomfortable about where the conversation was going, I hastily changed the subject.
‘You wouldn’t understand. You’re naturally good at everything. Don’t think I’m the only one people talk about. You’re a top student, and everyone loves you. You’re set.’
Ryan scoffed. ‘That's not true at all’ He said, sitting down on one of the stray kitchen chairs and dropping the plastic carrier bag on the table where it landed with a slight tinkling sound.
‘What’s in there?’ I frowned, walking over to the table.
‘Nothing’ He said sharply, quickly tugging a handle on the bag towards him. He pulled it slightly too hard, because the motion caused a shiny metallic cylinder to shoot out and drop onto the floor. The empty can rolled by his feet and he quickly dove to pick it up whilst I took the opportunity to discover the contents of the bag. What I saw shocked me. It was completely filled with numerous empty cans of beer, bottles of whiskey, rum, cider – the works.
‘Ryan...what is this?’ I said, still staring inside the bag in disbelief as Ryan looked on, defeated.
‘It’s, it’s-‘He began, scratching the back of his neck and looking uncomfortable.
‘This isn’t why you’re up so late is it? You don’t even seem that drunk-‘
‘What? No!’ He said ‘It’s not mine.’
‘Oh God.’ I said, widening my eyes and lowering my voice to whisper ‘It’s not mine is it?’
‘Thank goodness' I said, relieved 'Then who’s is it?’
Ryan sighed and bowed his head. Now he was the one looking vulnerable, a side of Ryan I never really expected I’d see.
‘My dad’s’ He mumbled. ‘He, uh, he likes his drink. He’ll just sit in the living room drinking all night. I wait until he falls asleep and I clear up after him. I don’t feel comfortable with the idea of Kate finding all that mess in the morning. He usually wakes up later on during the night and makes his own way to bed.’
‘Does Kate know?’ I breathed.
‘She knows he has a problem. Just not the exact extent of it. I prefer it that way. She shouldn’t have to deal with it, she’s just a kid.’
‘Ryan, you’re only a year apart’ I said with a sad smile.
He shrugged. ‘I'm still the oldest. And she doesn't even have a mom. And my dad's stupid habit gets in the way of him doing any form of particularly good parenting.’
‘It makes sense now’ I said, sitting down on the chair beside him.
‘Why you’re so protective of her. Why you don’t like me being her friend.’
He gave me a glum smile. ‘You won’t tell her will you?’ He said softly.
‘Of course not’ I said sincerely.
‘Not a soul.’
‘Thanks’ He said gratefully. He paused. ‘I don’t mind you being friends with my sister that much. I just worry...’
‘You don’t need to. Kate’s smart, and she’s sensible. Maybe I’m not, but even I wouldn’t let her do anything stupid. I like Kate. She’s a great friend.’
‘I’m guessing we throw this away?’ I said, picking up the carrier bag and dumping it in the bin. ‘Y’know’ I said ‘my mum has a fair few drinking habits herself. But not quite like this.’
‘Do you get on with your mum?’
‘No, not at all. Do you get on with your dad?’
‘Sometimes. Other times not so much. Usually only when Kate’s around.’
I nodded. ‘Hey look...I’m really sorry about what happened earlier, I was stupid and reckless, and an idiot. I swear, I really don’t usually do that sort of thing.’
‘I’m sorry if I’ve been too hard on you. I shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions about you from some stupid rumors.Maybe you're not all that bad.’
‘It’s all good.’ I shrugged. ‘So tell me, what else have people been saying?’
Ryan looked thoughtful. 'Well you have like a dozen different plots going on at the moment. Like defacing the statue of our founder principle, and such.'
I let out a snort of laughter. ‘Why would I even want to do that?’
‘You have your reasons.' He said 'So, what kind of things are people saying about me?’
I cleared my throat and put on my best preppy voice. ‘Oh my God!!! Isn’t Ryan just like the hottest guy in school? Ryan’s sooo smart, Ryan’s sooo sensitive, Ryan’s sooo talented. Oh my God!!! Ryan’s in band..., everything Ryan touches turns into gold!’
I clasped my hands to my chest for dramatic effect and smirked at him. He gaped, looking amused. ‘OK, I don’t believe that in the slightest.’ He said.
‘Suit your self’ I shrugged with a smile, escaping a small yawn.
‘You should go back to sleep.’ Ryan said.
‘So should you.’
‘Yeah, I will...I’ve just got to finish...’
He got up and started stuffing some kitchen tissues in the bin to cover the exposed cans. I think it was probably one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen.
‘OK, well, night Ryan.’ I said, with a sympathetic smile.
‘Night’ He said quietly, looking up at me and giving me a small smile, before resuming his tissue covering duties.
I left the kitchen, walked upstairs and crept back onto my mattress in Kate’s room with the strangest feeling inside of me. It was quite hard to take in all that had just happened, or even today’s events as a whole.
I lay awake staring at the ceiling, my thoughts all over the place. About 5 minutes later, I heard footsteps coming up the stairs and the landing creak. A door closed, and after a few moments, the small slither of light which crept underneath the door from Ryan’s bedroom opposite, disappeared.
I turned over and drifted back to sleep.
I hope this wasn't too terrible. This story is only really getting started baby. OK so next chapter? Let's see...I believe another secret is revealed? And there are brownies and possibly some more events that take part in the middle of the night? I forget. Only, not really.
Oh, and I think we should start getting the rest of the Panic boys in here really, don't you?;)
You can't have a Panic fan fiction without Brendon and his spectacular ways.
You know how to let me know. You guys were great last time. Your reviews make me so happy, and although this chapter was pretty long and was pretty stressful to write and re-write until I was happy, I did it for you=D So please, spare like 10 seconds of your time to let me know what you think of it, so that I want to give you the next chapter.:)