I've got eeeeverything sorted.
I'm like the wolf...
The wolf who had everything sorted.
Yeah, that's me.
I woke up with panda eyes the next morning, partly due to not bothering to wash my eye makeup off the previous night, and partly due to sleep deprivation. How I wished that absolutely everything that had happened yesterday was no more than a dream- or rather, a nightmare. A nightmare in which I played the role of the monster, of course.
The rest of the evening (as in the part after I stupidly agreed to be Spencer’s girlfriend) passed by in a blur. I believe his reply was ‘awesome’ and we danced and laughed (falsely, on my behalf) to avoid conversation. I headed to bed as soon as we got back to the beach house, and pretended to be asleep when Kate came in. As soon as she fell asleep (which never takes her long), I went back to staring at the ceiling and chewing my nails, whilst thinking about how horrible a person I truly am.
I told a guy I don’t even think I have feelings for that I would be his girlfriend. I mean I obviously have to do something about this. The sooner the better...or is it? What if he’s already told the others? I wouldn’t want to humiliate him by breaking up with him within less than a day of going out. Now that would be cruel.
I sighed and rolled over. Kate’s bed was empty and neatly made. In fact the whole side of her room was pretty immaculate. Her belongings were no longer scattered on the dresser or lay at the foot of her bed. Oh of course- we would be leaving today. I breathed a rare and brief sigh of relief.
I finally dragged myself out of bed. I suppose I couldn’t stay up here forever.
I decided to pack my things after breakfast, got dressed, and went downstairs.
Everyone was sat in the kitchen, eating breakfast and chatting happily enough amongst themselves. I was glad that yesterday’s gloom hadn’t survived through the night. However, there was a slight pause in all dozen conversations as soon as I entered the room.
‘Morning dear’ Lucy sang brightly, from where she stood, frying a couple of eggs on the stove. ‘What would you like for breakfast? I can fry you an egg if you’d like, or we have cereal, toast...’
‘Cereal will be fine, thank you.’ I said, walking over to the table and picking up an opened packet of Frosties. I poured them into a bowl and sat down in the only available seat, which happened to be next to Spencer (which I doubt was just a coincidence) to pour in the milk. I turned to give him a small smile of greeting, which he returned with an added blush.
‘Cute’ Jane commented, before eating her spoonful of Froot Loops.
Well she seemed in very good spirits about this at least. She was probably rather proud of herself; after all she apparently saw this coming a long time ago. But the rest of them didn’t appear to share her...enthusiasm.
Ryan didn’t exactly watch us with an expression of joy. He seemed to be trying hard to keep a neutral expression on his face. Most probably, I realised with a feeling of deflation, it was something that linked back to his band; seemingly the most important thing to him. Maybe he felt that I would be a distraction, like along the lines of what he had said to Brent?
Or maybe, it was purely because Spencer was his best friend, and he didn’t feel I was good enough for him.
That’s probably true. After all, it’s Spencer, this amazingly decent, funny, sweet and clever guy. And then there’s me; the brainless idiot who acts before she thinks and carelessly messes with her friend’s feelings.
Kate, although not exactly acting particularly bitter to me or anything, still seemed to have something...off with her that definitely felt like it was somehow my fault. I had a lot of theories running through my head. A few stood out more prominently than others.
Brendon was confused. Plain and simple. He seemed to be breathing intentionally deeply and was rubbing his temples with his finger tips whilst flicking his eyes wildly between all of us, as if trying to make as much sense of this as possible.
I hoped he was having butter luck than I was.
_ _ _
After breakfast I excused myself and headed upstairs to pack. To my surprise, Kate offered to help me. I wasn’t fooled by this thinly veiled excuse to talk to me about Spencer. She brought it up casually, after criticizing my packing methods (apparently she’s not a fan of the scrunch-and-squeeze).
‘So you and Spencer...’ She said, picking up my various makeup utensils that were scattered on top of the dresser. ‘I have to admit, I didn’t see that coming.’
‘I don’t think anyone did’ I said, unravelling one of my tops and attempting to fold it neatly into fours to keep Kate happy. I paused, and looked up at her. ‘Are you not OK with this?’ I asked ‘because I totally get that you’ve known him for so long, and it must be a little weird for you...’
‘Maybe a little.’ She said, with a vague smile ‘but that doesn’t matter. I’ll get used to it’ – she gulped as if those words were physically hard to swallow – ‘All that really matters is that you guys like each other, right? And as long as that’s true, then I’m happy for you. I really am.’
Kate was taken aback with surprise when I stood up to hug her – with added enthusiasm. But I wasn’t hugging her for the reason she thought – because I’d got her blessing or whatever. It was because I had just come to a realisation of sorts. Or rather; realisations that interlinked with each other.
I had never met anyone like Kate – and I had met many people. In all the various schools I’d been shifted between in the past, I had never befriended someone so selfless, innocent, and...kind. She was my opposite in a large amount of ways in fact, and my first realisation was how much I truly cared for her. I had never had that before. I’d had friends – friends I’ve considered close friends. But they were easy enough to leave – to move on from. To forget. I cared about all of them, not just Kate, but Brendon, Spencer, and of course, Ryan. And maybe even Jane too, if I didn’t let my jealousy get in the way.
The reasoning behind this sudden thought of mine was my first realisation – the reason why Kate may not be so comfortable with Spencer and me dating. It was etched all over her face when she watched us this morning. Surely it was the same look I wore on my face every time I saw Ryan and Jane with each other. It was nothing but jealousy.
I knew from first hand experience the torment which comes with the emotion, and I felt unbelievably guilty being the one to make her feel like that. It hurt me to know I was putting her through that. She didn’t deserve it. She was adorable, compassionate, kind-hearted Kate.
She was my best friend.
_ _ _
‘Thank you so much for letting us stay here.’ Ryan said politely, as we stood beside the car to say goodbye to Lucy and Rick.
‘The pleasure was all ours.’ Said Lucy ‘I hope you enjoyed yourselves.’
We nodded at her.
‘Bye dad’ Jane said, hugging him briefly. He kissed her on the forehead and ruffled her hair.
‘Take care of yourself kiddo.’
He released her and turned to Ryan. ‘It was nice to meet you’ He nodded, sticking out his hand, which Ryan shook. ‘Maybe you can send me a copy of your demo CD when it comes out.’
‘Will do.’ Ryan smiled.
‘Well have a safe journey home.’ Rick said addressing all of us ‘and enjoy the rest of your summer.'
Easier said than done, I thought as we got into the car, chorusing cheerful ‘goodbyes’.
Jane sat in the driver’s seat. It looked like she was in charge of the first half of our journey back. Ryan sat in the passenger seat next to her. I sat behind in the middle of Spencer and Kate, which I figured was a true analogy for the three of us. I wondered whether Spencer sat next to me as he felt it an obligation, or whether it was merely because he didn’t want to spend several hours as Brendon’s cushion again. It was probably a combination of both. Brendon sat behind by himself. I hadn’t spoken to him since yesterday. He seemed like he wanted to talk to me, but I figured that there hadn’t exactly been a great moment to do so yet. I don’t even know what I would begin to say when he asked what the hell was going on.
The journey back went far better than I had expected. It was as if it were the first journey all over again. Like nothing had changed. Kate seemed to be more or less back to her usual self, chatting happily to me about anything and everything. Spencer was quiet at first, but it didn’t take him too long to instinctively join in with our laughter, and from then on it was just back to being the three friends we were. So much so, it was almost easy enough to forget what had happened yesterday. Because there was no current evidence at that moment in time that it had actually happened. It certainly didn’t feel like I was sitting next to or joking with my boyfriend. The word sounded so strange. It didn’t feel at all natural to describe Spencer as that.
If only it was Spencer I liked, and not Ryan. If that were the case, then everything would be relatively perfect for me at the moment. But it wasn’t. Spencer didn’t come close to giving me the same exhilarating rush I felt when Ryan merely smiled at me.
Not even marginally.
_ _ _
I was asleep when we arrived in Summerlin, but this time it was Kate who gently woke me from my slumber. I blinked my eyes open and rubbed them tiredly. Out of the window I could see the familiar sight of Ryan and Kate’s house. Ryan and Brendon already stood outside, transferring mine and Brendon’s suitcases into Brendon’s car which had stayed parked in the Ross’ driveway during the trip.
Then I noticed that once Kate left the car, only Jane and I remained. ‘Where’s Spencer?’ I asked.
Jane smiled at me ‘He’s already been dropped off, silly. You were out of it though and he said it wasn’t worth disturbing you to say goodbye. Sweet of him, huh?’
I nodded vaguely as I undid my seatbelt.
‘See you later’ She said, as I merely nodded at her some more, and got out of the car so that Jane could leave.
I had been sat down so long my legs were numb, causing me to stumble my way over to Brendon’s car where the others stood.
‘Ah, look who’s up.’ Ryan said, slamming the boot of the car down.
‘Mngh’ I replied.
‘Bye guys.’ Said Kate, giving me and Brendon a quick hug.
‘Yeah, see you later.’ Brendon said, nodding at Ryan.
I gave him a small smile, which he returned, ensuring a momentary feeling of elation.
Brendon and I drove to my house in silence. Not a particularly uncomfortable one, but an unsurprising one. He obviously didn’t feel able to properly portray what he wanted to say to me with his hands on the steering wheel and his eyes on the road, which is why he waited until we stopped right outside my house. He let his hands fall to his lap, looked at me and said ‘whoa.’
‘I know’ I sighed.
‘First things first – how?’
I knew instantly what he was referring to.
‘Ugh. Basically, Spencer and I talked – but it didn’t exactly turn out the way I had...anticipated. Instead of telling me that he just wanted to be friends, like I thought he would, he told me that he ‘’likes me too’’, I mean, what do you say to that? And the next thing I know, he’s asking me to be his girlfriend. I guess I was taken by surprise – which is an understatement. I should have said no, I realise that, so spare me the lecture, but I didn’t. You didn’t see his face Brendon! He was...terrified. I couldn’t shoot him down like that! It was my fault for making him believe I liked him in the first place, you can’t blame him for taking the natural approach to the whole situation! And once the word escaped my lips there wasn’t exactly any possibility of going back on it. But obviously, I’ve made things 10 times worse now.’
I sighed, and looked out of the side window at the house which had been my home for almost two months. Is that really all it’s been? It felt like half a year.
‘So you’re just going to....be his girlfriend now? Isn’t there something kind of wrong with that when it’s not actually him you like, but his best friend?’
I sighed. ‘I’ve tried to think of away of solving this that spares his feelings, but it’s impossible. But I’ve decided I can’t exactly dump him straight away can I? That would hurt even more. So then I thought, maybe I could get him to dump me? But I don’t now how to get him to do that without either hurting him and/or ruining our entire friendship for good. So maybe instead, I just give it time, and then tell him I don’t think it’s working out between us? And then he’ll ask why, and I’ll tell him...tell him...tell him that I’m a lesbian or something. Anything, whatever.’
Brendon looked thoughtful. ‘Well...’ He said after a moment or so ‘I don’t think you should go with the lesbian thing, because that kind of news can be scarring for the both of you. And whilst I agree you should probably wait a little before breaking up with him, you probably shouldn’t leave it too long either. In case he falls in love with you over time or something.’
‘Fall in love with me?’
He nodded and shrugged casually.
‘I’m not sure about that, but I see your point.’ I said ‘I don’t want to leave it too long either. And OK, I won’t go with the Lesbian idea, but I can’t think of another explanation to give right now.’
‘How about the truth?’ He suggested.
‘The truth?’ I repeated, as if in need of confirmation ‘what? That I never really liked him and I only kissed him because I happen to have an ever expanding crush on his best friend, and that I only agreed to be his girlfriend because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings?’
‘Well, maybe not the whole truth...’ He said ‘but maybe you could tell him that your feelings for Ryan have grown stronger than your feelings for him and hope that he understands? At least you wouldn’t be lying to him then. Besides, he’d have probably figured it out anyway once you do get together with Ryan.’
‘I love how you sound so certain’ I said rolling my eyes.
‘That’s because I am.’
‘Well I’m not. I’m the opposite, in fact. Judging by the last three days, it seems fairly clear that he’s perfectly happy with his current girlfriend.’
‘I wouldn’t be so sure about that.’ Brendon said with a smirk.
‘What do you mean?’ I asked curiously.
‘Well I learned a few pieces of interesting information last night. This was after finding out about you and Spencer...It really is a lot to take in in one night you know? Anyway, so after I had...heard, and the three of us – Ryan, Spencer and I – were in bed, I asked Ryan what he thought about it, once Spencer was asleep of course. He said he was surprised and very confused, and you know why?’
I shook my head, prompting him to continue.
‘Because apparently he thought that you and I had ‘’a sort of thing’’- as he put it. Can you believe it?’
‘What?’ I yelped ‘Why? Why would he think that?’
Brendon shook his head. ‘That’s what I asked him. He said it’s what it looked like to him, because we were together quite a lot of the time or something...I don’t know, he didn’t even sound too sure of what he was saying himself.’
‘And you told him we weren’t right?’
‘Yeah, I told him we were just friends and that’s all we’ve ever been.’
I just shook my head at the absurdity of it all. ‘So I like Ryan, Spencer likes me, and Ryan thinks – or thought- I liked you?’
I left out where Kate came into this equation – the current line-up was confusing enough anyway.
‘Pretty much. Anyway, the thing is’- his eyes flashed with excitement- ‘He was so totally bummed out! Seriously Steph, I really don’t think he’s happy about you and Spencer.’
I sighed. ‘I noticed that too.’ I said ‘But, I don’t think it’s because of the same reason that I know you think it is.’
‘Of course it is! What else would it be?’
‘Remember when we found out Brent liked me?’ –(Oh yeah, another name to add)- ‘And you phoned me that day I was ill after Ryan confronted him about it, and you said Ryan would be pleased I didn’t like him back because he was getting serious about the band and he didn’t want any distractions?’
‘Well...yeah, I guess, but this is totally different.’
‘It’s just...It doesn’t seem to be like it’s just the band that Ryan’s thinking about.’
‘Brendon you know how much he loves the band. I just- like I said, he’s happy with Jane.’
‘And like I said- I wouldn’t be so sure. You see, in an attempt to turn the conversation away from the kind of awkward subject it was on, I made a joke about betting whether the two of you would last as long as him and Jane or something, and he kind of got really quiet and then sighed and said that he was having doubts whether there was going to be a him and Jane much longer.’
My jaw dropped. ‘For real?! Did you ask why?’
‘Yep, and he said – and I quote: ‘’I like having a girlfriend...and I like Jane...I mean, she’s smart and she’s pretty, and everyone’s saying how we’re so right for each other or whatever, but I’ve kind of felt like I might be losing interest, you know? I don’t exactly feel – and have never really felt that it was destined to last that long between us anyway. I like her...but I just don’t think I like her enough.’’’
‘Uh huh’ He said, nodding vigorously ‘I told you!’
‘But they were...but now he’s...and she’s not...so he’s...and I’m with...’ I said, stumbling over my words. I tugged on ends of my hair with my hands and groaned in frustration, stomping my feet.
‘Aren’t you happy?’
I let go of my hair and sunk back into the seat ‘Yes, I am, relatively. It’s just so unfairly ironic that when he becomes single, I won’t be.’
‘Man this is perfect’ Brendon grinned, tilting his head back.
‘How? I said, looking at him questioningly. There were many words I could use to describe this situation, and perfect was not one of them.
‘Don’t you see? Once Jane’s out of the picture, Ryan will be the one who turns all Jealous. Let’s just hope that this time round he doesn’t try and kiss me or something.’
‘He won’t have enough time to be jealous’ I said grumpily ‘He’ll find an even prettier girl to date soon enough.’
‘I doubt that for two reasons; 1: The fact Ryan went out with Jane was miracle enough for us. He’s so oblivious to all the girl attention he gets; I doubt getting a girlfriend will ever be top on his to-do list, you see, he never really goes looking for girls, they find him, and like in Jane’s case, they even seem to have to make the first move. He’s that unaware. 2: Why would he ‘find’ a prettier girl to date, when he has someone as pretty as you right in front of him?’
‘Aw, Brendon’ I cooed ‘You are so sweet.’
‘Yeah, doesn’t mean that you can kiss me though.’
I narrowed my eyes at him and aimed a swipe at his head, which he ducked while laughing. I gave in and let a smile come to my lips.
‘Well I’m going’ I said ‘Goodbye...and thank you – its big relief to have someone I can talk to about this.’
He smiled ‘Anytime.’
I reached across and hugged him tightly, suddenly very glad that I knew this boy. Who knew Vegas was home to such spectacular people?
I walked up the path to my house and opened the door with only one destination pictured clearly in my head as I marched down the hallway.
‘Oh your back.’ My mom said, walking out the kitchen as I passed ‘did you have nice time?’
I ignored her and headed straight upstairs, into my room, not stopping until I reached my bed, which I fell down upon, burying my face into the pillow and screaming.
Please review. I'm in an asylum for crazy people with chains around my wrists and they say 'Ducky, if you dont get enough reviews, we're going to cut off all your hair to make wigs for bald men with wide necks.' And I say 'I am the wolf! I have everything sorted.'
You have no idea how late it is right now and how many cans of kick I've just had.