Rain hammered noisily against the metal of the garage door with an effect similar to that of bullets being fired from a machine gun. The sound of the impact, mixed with the occasional rumble of thunder was all that could be heard to the seven of us as we sat in a still silence. Well, still for the most part at least; although Kate’s reaction to the thunder was not quite as dramatic as it had been earlier, I still felt her jump slightly beside me each time. We spent a fair few minutes just waiting, not necessarily for anything in particular, but merely for just something to happen.
I eventually tired of the waiting and sighed. ‘I don’t think it’s going to come back on anytime soon.’ I said, being the first to break the silence.
The darkness was also beginning to creep me out a little. The entire garage was cloaked in it; everywhere you looked, all you could see was black. I was pretty sure there were absolutely no windows anywhere to offer the slightest shed of light from the lightening that struck outside. It was definitely eerie.
A deep sigh came from somewhere else in the room. ‘Yeah, let’s just go.’ Ryan’s voice spoke, sounding extremely dismal. ‘First band practise in weeks and we get a power cut’ He continued, bitterly- there was a clunking sound which I assumed was him setting down his guitar- ‘Perfect.’
Another clunk and the scraping of stools along the stone floor meant that the rest of them were abandoning their instruments and standing up as well. I followed suit, as did Kate.
‘How are we even going to get out of here?’ Jane’s voice questioned from somewhere to my right. ‘I can’t even tell which way I’m facing anymore. Who’s nearest to the door?’
‘Me I think.’ I said. She had a point; we might as well have had our eyes closed for all the use they were to us right now. ‘I’ll try and find the handle.’
I turned to my left and stumbled blindly forward, reaching my arms out in front of me in a hope they would collide with the hard metal before I did. I felt nothing and inched forward slowly. ‘Be careful’ Ryan warned.
I merely mumbled an acknowledgement to his suggestion and stepped forward , yelping in surprise as my foot caught underneath something, preventing me from proceeding any further and instead causing me to collide very suddenly with the hard ground below. My yelp of surprise was followed by a groan of pain; the impact of my palms smacking onto the stone floor beneath me made them sting, and my hip felt sore and bruised from landing on my side. Six voices simultaneously called out to me. ‘I’m fine.’ I tried to assure them ‘Think I must’ve tripped on a lead...’
I attempted to sit up and dust myself off, but as soon as I tried to ever so slightly shift my right foot I immediately let out another wail of pain at the searing sensation it had caused in my ankle. I instantly let it drop back to its pervious position, too scared to further pursue my attempts at moving it. ‘What’s wrong?’ Ryan immediately called ‘are you hurt?’
‘It’s my ankle’ I groaned ‘It hurts quite a bit- I don’t think I can move it.’
‘Are you serious? Oh, crap.’ He said, obviously becoming more and more stressed out. He had not been in his lightest of moods originally anyway and I felt somewhat guilty for making it even worse, even thought it obviously was not my intention. But then again; it never is.
‘What are we going to do?’ Jane asked, her question only being met by silence for the first few moments or so as I waited as still as a statue upon the ground, afraid that the slightest movement of mine would bring the horrible pain in my ankle back.
‘I’ll try and find you.’ Ryan said eventually ‘somehow. It will be a miracle if I don’t end up injuring myself in the process. I have no idea where you are.’
I heard him stumble around slightly, cursing suddenly, and mumbling something about stubbing his toe. ‘Has anyone got their phone on them?’
The phone lights were not much help at all. They’re radius was pathetic and the majority was swallowed in the surrounding darkness. Although they made Spencer, Kate and Jane’s faces appear in various points in the smothering blackness, not a single one reached me. ‘I’m not too far in front of Kate.’ I offered. Kate stretched her phone out further, but it hardly made any difference. I could hear him stumbling still, cursing every now and then when he bumped into something, though at least it did sound as if he was coming closer. ‘Please don’t step on me.’
‘I’ll crawl.’ He said softly, and not long after I felt something poke my arm. ‘Is that you?’
‘Uh-huh’ I said, his more immediate presence leaving me feeling considerably more settled and comforted than I had been previously, lying in the creepy darkness alone – at least as far as the majority of my senses were concerned.
I was not prepared for what came next. Ryan leaned over me; the warmth of his body, the pleasant smell of his aftershave, the tickle of his breath against my cheek all overwhelming me at once; the absence of one of my most vital senses only heightening the effect it had on me. I felt my breath momentarily catch in my throat. He placed a hand firmly on my arm and slid it slowly up to my shoulder, and back down again, then gently behind in a bid to find my back. His touch left a tingling sensation on my skin, and I was suddenly very glad it was dark because I was certain I must be blushing profusely. I was also very thankful towards the insane volume of the pounding rain, for drowning out the sound of my ricocheting heartbeat, which I could feel easily in my chest.
‘Where are your legs?’ He asked softly. I felt around for his other arm, and lifted it. He allowed me to guide it underneath my knees, and as soon as he had a firm enough hold, he pulled my closer towards his body and stood up from his crouched position, bringing me with him so that he was holding me bridal style.
I was too absorbed by the feel of Ryan’s rather unsteady heartbeat against me to pay too much attention to what happened next. I know that after a fair amount of stumbles and swearing Brendon eventually managed to find the handle to the garage door and open it, so that we were greeted by the vicious downpour that had only worsened since we had last seen it. Ryan carried me into it, soaking him and myself to the absolute bone. With no hood for protection, my hair was plastering itself to my face and excess water droplets were trickling down my nose and soaking my cheeks, but in the current circumstances, I didn’t care at all.
There were no orange lights descending from the streetlamps to illuminate the area, but at least we could see our surroundings moderately better now, thanks to the shared glows from the many candles that were placed in the windows of the surrounding houses – and the brief offering of light from a car that passed, and the even briefer flashes of lightening. I was disappointed when Ryan very carefully sat me down in the back of his car; the rush of having his arms around me evaporating as quickly as I was soaking his car seat. He leant across me to switch the light of his car on. The sudden brightness hurt my eyes.
Jane and Kate both climbed in as he crouched down, still completely exposed to the rain, to lift the end of my sopping wet jeans up slightly and inspect my foot. He gently rubbed a hand lightly over my ankle. ‘It’s swollen’ He muttered, standing back up ‘looks like you might’ve sprained it.’
‘Let’s see’ Said Brendon, who I didn’t even see at first because his black hooded sweater merged too well with the shadowy backdrop. He peered round Ryan’s side and bent to look at it. ‘Ouch’ He said, pulling a face ‘Yeah that looks bad.’
I bent to see it myself. He was right – it wasn’t pretty. My ankle was bright red and puffy. How could a guitar lead have caused that? Kate was at my side, also peering at it in interest, as was Jane who was bent over the back of her seat. I noticed Spencer hadn’t joined us yet, and looked up to try and see where he’d gone. ‘Where’s Spence?’ I asked.
Ryan beckoned over his shoulder towards the garage ‘Think he’s taking a phone call.’
Brent moaned something to Brendon about leaving, so Brendon bent to give me a quick hug and a plea that I heal fast, which I thanked him for. I said goodbye to Brent, and he nodded with a quick smile. Ryan shut the door for me and climbed into the driver’s seat and we sat waiting for Spencer to join us. I was surprised to see him jog over to me and open the door on my side. He ducked his head slightly so he could see us all ‘My parents just phoned, they want me to stay here with Gran –they don’t think it’s safe for her to be alone. They’re already on their way over.’
Ryan nodded at him. Spencer turned to look directly at me. ‘How’s the foot?’ He asked caringly.
‘Swollen.’ I said ‘Ryan thinks it’s a sprain.’
He smiled at me lopsidedly ‘Well look after yourself yeah? Take it easy for a few days. If you need a slave at all, call me and I’ll be at your service.’
I smiled at him ‘Thanks Spence.’
‘No problem.’ He hesitated, before swooping down and pecking me briefly on the lips, before I was even aware of what was happening. ‘Bye.’
‘See you later.’ I murmured, and he shut the door and jogged back towards his grandma’s house.
The rain was positively streaming down the windows of the car. It got worse as the journey continued; not helping Ryan’s stress levels as he fought our way through the flooded roads.
‘Is your mom home?’ He asked me at one point, his eyes briefly glancing at me in the rear-view.
‘I doubt it.’ I said.
‘Oh no’ Kate gasped ‘we can’t leave you by yourself. Maybe you should come-’
‘I don’t think that’s the best idea Kate.’ Ryan interrupted.
Kate paused and frowned. ‘Right’ she said, looking down.
I glanced between them both in curiosity. I think I had a vague idea of what was going on, and it made my stomach twist. What had happened? Is this why Ryan’s mood’s been so bad? Of course, I didn’t question them then and there. ‘I’ll be fine by myself.’ I said ‘I’m sure she won’t be too long back.’
Ryan nodded, as we pulled up into my drive. The car stopped and he turned to look at me with an apologetic look etched in his eyes. ‘It’s fine.’ I mouthed, looking as reassuring as I could as I took of my seatbelt. He turned back round and took off his too. The rain was flowing down the car like a river. ‘Oh- you don’t have to get out’ I began to say.
‘I’d rather not have to watch you drag yourself along the ground.’ He said ‘And I’m not so cruel that I’m not going to at least make sure you’ll be alright before I leave you injured and alone.’
I didn’t argue back. It would be pointless, and I really would struggle without his help. So no more than 10 seconds later, I was in Ryan’s arms again, as he carefully took me from the car and carried me through the downpour over to my house. It wasn’t with ease; his almost skeletal frame wasn’t exactly covered in muscle, and I suppose it was lucky that I was of similar structure. Of course the dark made it hard to see where we were heading as well.
I fetched the key out of my damp pocket once we reached the front door, fumbling as I tried to put it in the lock. Once successful, he carried me into my house where the rain could no longer reach us. It was dark, but Ryan had left his headlights on so we could just about make out our surroundings.
‘Do you have any candles and matches?’ Ryan asked.
I paused to think. ‘There should be some candles on the cabinet in the living room, with a lighter next to them, and I have some in my room.’
Ryan gently set me down at the bottom of the stairs, and I waited as he went to collect the candles from the living room, and returned setting them upon the hallway window sill -where the light from his car shone brightest-to light them. Immediately the hallway was illuminated in a dim orange glow. The reflections of the various flames flickered on Ryan’s face, leaving his features outlined in shadow and glowing with a pale luminosity. The effect was altogether kind of... stunning.
He left one candle on the window sill and placed another in the living room, and the other in the kitchen. ‘Shall we light the ones in your room?’ He asked. ‘Or were you planning on staying downstairs?’
I glanced over my shoulder at the rising steps behind me. ‘You might not be able to carry me up them’ I said ‘I’m sure I could crawl though.’
‘I can carry you up them just fine.’ He said ‘I’ve done it before, remember? Though of course, you won’t remember, because you were asleep at the time.’
I grimaced. ‘Sorry again about that...and for throwing up on you... and for falling asleep on you.’
‘You didn’t fall asleep on me. You collapsed on me...spent a few minutes zoning in and out of consciousness ... then we spent about twenty minutes trying to make you shut up enough so that you could drink an efficient amount of water...then you fell asleep on the couch.’
‘Ah’ I said ‘You see I don’t remember that at all. How scary! I didn’t say anything too embarrassing did I?’
‘You made up a song. Wait, let me try and remember it...’
I groaned as his face became thoughtful.
‘Oh yeah, it was something like ‘I am Stephy, and you are Ryan...something, something...iron...let’s do Christmas.’ Or something along those lines.’He said, snorting 'You have talent.'
I snorted,How come Kate never mentioned this?’
‘She was in bed- like I said; it took you a long time to shut up.’
I didn’t ask what else I’d slurred in my drunken state. I probably didn’t want to know.
‘Sorry.’ I squeaked, looking up at him guiltily. I was relieved to see he didn’t look angry about the memory, but instead amused. He glanced down at me and his expression changed-softened almost. He smiled kind of weakly and then sighed, still looking at me, before turning away and running a hand through his messy wet hair.
‘Anyway.’ He said, ‘let’s head up.’
I was back in his arms for the third time today as he carried me up the stairs; he did manage, like he said he would. I pointed to my door and he carried me into my bedroom, setting me carefully down upon my messy unmade bed. That’s when I started panicking. Ryan was in my bedroom! It was too dark to really see it at the moment, but once he lit the candles... I tried to remember what state I had left in before I left...oh God...did I have underwear lying about? Were there any bad photos of me sitting around?
‘They’re on the window sill’ I said, and Ryan headed there, striking a match and lighting the two candles. The room lit up in the same orange glow that had cloaked the hallway downstairs, and he carried one of the candles to the other side of the room and set it down upon my drawers.
He straightened up and put his hands in his pockets, glancing around. I gave the room a quick scan myself. No underwear luckily – just the damp towel I used this morning – afternoon- heaped on the floor. My pyjama’s hung sloppily off the edge of my bed and a few make-up products lay scattered around in front of the mirror, but that was really as bad as it got. Any framed photo’s I had lurked indistinguishable in the shadows.
His eyes lingered on something placed upon my bedside table; it was the pretty pink shell he had rescued from demolished Castle Urie back at the beach. It was pretty much the only form of decor I had in my entire room- the rest of it was pretty bland.
He finished his curious study of my bedroom and walked over to me, sitting down on the very edge of my bed, and peering at my injured foot again. ‘Seriously, you should get that checked out tomorrow.’ He said.
I nodded, before my brain had even processed his words. He had that weird effect on me sometimes.
He looked up from my foot to meet my gaze. I felt my face heat up. I’m pretty sure no one has ever made me blush so much – in fact I don’t think I was even aware that I could before I met him. I wondered if he ever noticed anything. No-one else apart from Brendon had cottoned on...but I couldn’t exactly blame Spencer for being led to think it was him I had feelings for...and so did Jane for that matter, which didn’t really make any sense at all – wasn’t she meant to be like insanely smart? Did she not notice anything in the way I acted when the two of them got too close in front of me? Kate was understandable – to her I was just her best friend, and he was just her brother. I hadn’t known her that long, but I liked to think I knew her well enough to know that she wasn’t exactly quick on the uptake usually. Which was odd, because her brother was the opposite- which made me a bit nervous; he was definitely very perceptive- he’d said so himself. But then Brendon had said he was strangely oblivious when it came to girl attention...
‘Hey Steph.’ He said, shifting slightly in a way which seemed as if he was either going to ask me a question or make some sort of confession. It turned out it was the latter ‘I guess there’s something I should tell you, and I know right now probably isn’t the best of times to do so, but I don’t really know when I’ll get to talk alone with you again...’
‘Is this that thing you’ve been meaning to tell me since like forever?’
He nodded. ‘Please don’t hate me.’
Review and i'll update as soon as can. Might not be any school tomorrow cos of snow:)