Actually, judging by how friggin' long it took to post this, you probably do.
The day was a miserable looking one. As soon I had stepped awkwardly out of the front door, I had been greeted by a spray of cool but sticky rain. With a frown, I hobbled a little dejectedly over towards the all familiar car which Ryan currently awaited me at; I had been hopeful that it would be a dry day today.
‘What’s up kid?’ Ryan said, as I approached him; my newly moistened cheeks slightly pink at him having to see me in my crippled state. ‘You look down.’
I avoided his eyes as I tried my best to force a believable smile on my face. Whether or not I had succeeded, I was not sure. ‘Nothing’ I said, as lightly as I could ‘I just… miss the sun.’
Ryan turned to open the front car door ‘You mean the one that you never stop wining about normally?’ He said, gesturing me decorously towards the front passenger seat. I turned and sat down, thanking him as he took my crutches from me.
‘I do not always wine about it’ I said defensively. He said nothing, but smiled and shook his head as he laid my crutches down across the backseats behind. I swiveled my body forward so that my legs were in the car and slammed the door shut, blocking myself from the spit of rain, which was ever so gradually increasing in size.
I flipped the vanity mirror down to study my appearance; shiny wet skin, and slightly smudged mascara. I groaned to myself as Ryan sat down in the driver’s seat beside me. I actually found myself not wanting to be so close to him; the closer he was, the greater the detail he could study my face in. I flipped the vanity mirror back up in annoyance.
Ryan blinked curiously at my sudden vexation, but decided against commenting on it. We exited my driveway in a silence which remained for the first 5 minutes of the journey to Jane’s house. I spent the entire time watching my fumbling hands, which were tangling together as a result of my anxiety. When I finally lifted my thumbnail to my mouth, Ryan noticed. ‘What are you so worried about?’ He asked.
I dropped my hand back down to my lap and turned to rest my forehead against the cool glass of the window, which vibrated against me with the motion of the vehicle. ‘Nothing’ I said in an exhale. I knew it wasn’t at all believable, but I didn’t feel much like putting on a show.
‘I don’t buy it’ Ryan said, and it didn’t surprise me. He turned to glance at me briefly. ‘Are you sure your ok? I can take you back if you want…’
The idea was so tempting; it took every effort to say ‘no’. But I knew that if I didn’t, it would only lead to questions later- questions that I didn’t have answers to.
‘Are you sure?’
‘Yeah. I’m fine. I’m just a… a little nervous I guess.’ I said, shrugging.
‘Why? Oh- because it’s your first date with Spencer?’
Our conversation ended there, and we pulled up into a street I realized I recognized. A neat, tidy street that held only large, grand looking houses each with front lawns that were significantly bigger than my garden. Jane’s house was easily noticeable; as it was the largest and grandest of them all, and it had the shiniest and most expensive looking cars parked in its drive, which we pulled up next to. Ryan turned off the engine and turned to look at me ‘You ready?’ He said. I nodded, and he got out the car to collect and deliver my crutches to me.
The rain was harder now. Still not classifiable as a downpour, but it was on it’s way. We quickly hurried up the front porch steps to Jane’s house. Well, Ryan hurried – I hobbled frantically behind him. My hair was soaked by the time I had joined him at the front door. ‘Oh for the love of God’ I groaned, flipping my drenched hair over my shoulder and twisting it in a hurried attempt to get rid of the excess moisture. I sighed and let go ‘Great, I bet I look ridiculous.’
‘You look fine’ Said Ryan who was standing opposite me ‘It’s inevitable that we were both going to arrive looking like drowned rats.’
‘At least you’re not a crippled rat.’
Ryan rang the doorbell and gave me a lopsided smile. ‘You still look nice, don’t worry’
I had guessed it was likely that he was only being polite, but I smiled slightly nonetheless.
We waited, facing each other and shifting our eyes about in every direction possible whilst numerous dogs barked loudly from inside the house. Our eyes seemed to turn back to each others at the same time.
I noticed a small rain drop was slowly making its way down Ryan’s cheek, and I instinctively stepped forward and placed my hand beside his head to wipe it away with my thumb. His eyes bore into mine and I froze slightly. The door opened and we both sprung instantly apart.
Jane stood there with the widest grin. It took her two steps before she was connected to Ryan’s face. I looked on dazedly, and told myself to calm down. They were greeting each other; a kiss was like…practically mandatory.
That’s when I noticed Spencer walking up the hall towards the doorway. He smiled at me and I forced a smile back. He stopped in front of me, spent a few moments blushing, and then finally stepped forward to give me a hug and a brief kiss.
Kissing Spencer didn’t feel weird. It didn’t feel gross or even unnatural. It just didn’t really feel like anything.
Once he had let go, my face was suddenly buried in a cushion of brown curls as Jane threw her arms around me. This is I was not expecting. ‘Oh you poor thing’ She said, releasing me ‘How is it?’
‘Fine’ I said ‘Hopefully I should be able to walk again by next week.’
She nodded, and there was a momentary lapse of silence.
‘Well…come in’ Said Jane, linking her fingers with Ryan and pulling him into the hall behind her. Spencer and I followed after.
‘How long have you been here for?’ I asked him.
‘About 10 minutes.’
‘Did it get a little awkward?’
‘You have no idea how relieved I was to hear the doorbell ring’ He sighed dramatically. ‘Her stepdad kept calling me Ryan, and told me he was very pleased to see I had put some more meat on since last time he saw me.’
I snorted with laughter, and Spencer joined in as we fell down onto the couch beside each other. Ryan sat at the other end as Jane excused herself to use the bathroom.
He faced away from us, twiddling with the hair at the nape of his neck.
_ _ _
It was about three quarters of hour into the second movie, and I didn’t know where to look.
They were everywhere; in the reflection of the TV screen, the patio doors, my peripheral vision. I buried my head further into Spencer’s shoulder. He had fallen asleep about 15 minutes ago, and had left me alone with them.
I contemplated leaving, but realized Ryan was my ride back. I could beg Spencer to detour, but he might get curious. I could walk. Oh no, wait – hop.
I was stuck here, in my very own personal hell. It’s not like there was any point in me being here now. My date was asleep, and I’m sure those two were far too preoccupied with each others existence right now to even notice my own. No-one was watching the film either. I couldn’t follow it because I couldn’t read the translation of what the Chinese guy was saying, and they had spent the last half hour staring into each others eyes only.
I automatically turned to look at what I had been trying so hard to avoid. Ryan and Jane were still entwined; legs over-lapping, arms around the other’s waist. But instead of the sickly look of contentment she wore on her face last time I saw them, Jane now looked up at Ryan questioningly.
‘Sorry’ He said ‘I have a bruise there, that’s all.’
‘Oh I’m so sorry!’ Jane gushed, taking her hands away from where they had been against his sides. ‘How did you get it?’
‘Um’ Said Ryan and he paused to look over to where Spencer was sleeping beside me. ‘Skateboarding’
‘Really? I didn't know you skateboarded. How long ago did you do it?'
‘Pfff… a couple of days ago.’
‘Oh when you were round Spencer’s?’
‘It’s a bit of an odd place to get a-‘
But poor Jane never got to finish her sentence; for Ryan cut her off with a sudden kiss, that neither she nor I were prepared for. It was no mandatory greeting kiss either.
I couldn’t blink, I couldn’t swallow; I just stared. My heart deflated and drifted down to my stomach which churned uncomfortably and consequently shredded and devoured its pathetic remains.
My so called silver lining had vanished in an instance. It was clear that Ryan had changed his mind, and in fact decided he did want to stay with her after all. What if he had come realize that he loved her? She is perfect for him. She’s beautiful, and she is smart…and she has some of the longest fingernails I’ve ever seen.
I finally managed to force myself to turn away. I reached for the bowl of popcorn and placed it on my lap, and sat there repeatedly placing singular pieces in my mouth. I was finding it hard to chew them. Even harder to swallow.
She sighed, and I turned. Brown bore into brown lovingly. It was too much and not bothering to fight the sudden urge that came over me, I flipped.
I literally flipped.
The popcorn went everywhere, but it did what I had intended it to, and they broke apart in confusion at the shower of corn kernels that fell upon them. They both turned to look at me, holding the now emptied popcorn bowl. It took me a moment or two to respond.
‘I’m so sorry…’ I began. ‘I didn’t mean to…I’ll clear this up…’
I began busying myself with digging the popcorn from out the sides of the sofa cushions. ‘Don’t worry about that, I’ll get the vacuum cleaner in a minute.’ Said Jane - who was still looking at me as if I had suddenly turned crazy.
Maybe I had.
‘Oh ok, I’ll go refill.’ I said.
My crutches kept me from making the quick escape that I had wanted so badly right then, but the relief of getting out of there hit just as strong. I hobbled my way into the kitchen and propped myself against the large metallic fridge, pressing my forehead against the cool door and groaning to myself.
I remained that way for a few moments, until I heard someone walk in. I turned my face away from the refrigerator to see Ryan standing there with the red plastic popcorn bowl.
‘What was that about?’ He said.
I shook my head ‘I don’t know…the film was making me jumpy.’
‘Isn’t it meant to be a comedy?’
I didn’t answer.
Ryan frowned, his eyebrows creasing together, and he looked concerned. He stepped forward, somewhat cautiously, and placed the empty bowl down on the table to the side of him.
‘What’s wrong?’ He said.
I shook my head, silently.
I didn’t even really know for certain. But I’m guessing it something to do with the fact that I was pretty sure I had just experienced my first ever heartbreak.
‘Do you want me to take you home?’ He asked gently.
I shook my head ‘I don’t want to ruin your night.’
‘The films practically over now’ He said, shaking his head ‘I’ll help Jane clear up then we’ll head back, ok?’
I stood propped on my crutches, feeling useless and guilty as Ryan and Jane began clearing up the mess of popcorn I had created. Ryan dug pieces out from the side of the settee with his hands as Jane turned on the vacuum and steered it over the mess on the floor. Spencer finally awoke from the noise. ‘What’s goin’ on?’ He yawned, sitting up and causing a couple corn kernels to fall from their previous position on his stomach and onto the floor.
‘The films over’ Said Ryan ‘we’re just clearing up.’
Spencer studied the mess in confusion.
‘I sort of…spilt the popcorn’ I explained.
Spencer nodded as he yawned again. ‘Can’t believe I fell asleep’ He said, standing up and brushing his clothes down. He suddenly looked over at me worriedly ‘I am so sorry Steph’
‘Don’t worry about it’ I said shaking my head ‘I was practically falling asleep too.’
The air became quiet as Jane turned off the vacuum. ‘Ok, so I think the floor’s clear, Ry, how are you doing?’
‘Still a bit left’ He said, starting to pick pieces out of the tasseled cushions and tossing them into the bowl.
Jane nodded ‘I’ll get a dustpan’ she said, leaving.
I sat myself down on the arm of the settee and leant a crutch against the wall. ‘Here’ I said, taking one of the cushions. I picked out a piece of popcorn and chucked it towards the bowl. It hit the rim of the plastic and bounced off onto the floor instead. ‘Whoops.’
‘Got it’ Ryan said, bending down to retrieve it and revealing a large purple mark on the side of his waist he did so.
I frowned at the nasty looking contusion with a creased forehead. ‘Strange place to get a bruise.’ I commented. ‘You really did that by falling off a skateboard?
Ryan stiffened before sitting up and tugging his shirt down ‘Uh huh’ He said, not looking at me.
Spencer looked over, and for some reason, snorted. ‘Dude, you tried skateboarding again? I thought we’d given up that dream a long time ago…that’s why we decided to take up instruments remember? We thought they’d be a lot safer…?’
I looked sharply up at Ryan with a furrowed forehead ‘I thought you said you went skateboarding with-‘
But he met my eyes and jerked his head sharply to the side, his jaw clenched tightly. And I dropped it.
_ _ _
Spencer and I did not kiss goodbye. He made no advance, and I wondered whether it was because he wanted me to initiate it this time. I couldn’t, however, so we merely ended up hugging, rather awkwardly - and not just because of the crutches.
He gave me a guilty smile as I turned away. It suddenly hit me why he hadn’t kissed me this time; he thought I was angry at him for falling asleep – when really that was the last of my worries.
I opened the car door and climbed in. Ryan, who was all ready inside, didn’t look at me as I sat down next to him.
The rain was bucketing. Mini rivers were gushing down the car windows as the windscreen wipers fought manically to get them out the way. I was quite terrified; as well as the downpour outside it was also pitch black, and seeing as I couldn’t see where we were going, I had no idea how Ryan could.
We sat in silence for the first few minutes; the awkward air between us only interrupted by the sound of the harsh pounding of rain against the car.
I had spent the entire time trying to figure out some sort of explanation for why Ryan would have lied about the skateboarding. I racked my brain for any possible reason but I had little success coming up with something that made sense. One idea, one horrible dark idea, I kept returning to, but I ignored it and told myself I was being too farfetched and over paranoid.
But the more I thought about it, the more I started to believe it.
‘… It’s like my dad is acting kind of …guilty around him…’
My stomach dropped.
‘I have this feeling that something bad happened here when I was round yours the other night.’
I glanced at Ryan who was focusing intently on the road ahead, his hands gripping the steering wheel tightly. He hadn’t looked at me or in anyway acknowledged my existence for the entire journey.
I cleared my throat and was the first to break the silence. ‘I have a theory’ I said, and Ryan finally gave a brief glance in my direction. ‘…and I really don’t want it to be true, so if you could explain to me what really happened, and you know, set the record straight a little, I would be very, very grateful.’
Ryan stared fixatedly forward but gulped. ‘What’s your theory?’ He murmured.
‘I don’t want to say.’
‘Incase its wrong and I just end up sounding way...dramatic.’
Ryan said nothing for a moment.
‘My dad sometimes gets aggressive when he’s drunk.’ He said eventually, and I sat up straight, in shock ‘It’s not that regular an occurrence…we were arguing the other night when Kate was round your house, and he just got a little violent.’
He exhaled and turned to look at me warily. I turned to face forward and stared ahead blankly. ‘Right’ I said, gulping ‘what I thought...’
‘It’s not a big deal.’
I bit my lip trying to fight it- thankful to realize we were pulling up beside my house. All I had to do was make it until I was out of the car.
I forgot one minor detail however; I couldn’t get out the car until Ryan had handed me my crutches. It felt like he was taking forever – though it was probably only around fifteen seconds. I blinked furiously as I waited for him, trying to hold back the tears that were threatening to spill down my face. I was suddenly very thankful for the rain; it would disguise them once I was out of the car.
I didn’t make it, and I broke down as soon as he got to me.
I tried to wipe away the tears that streamed down my eyes as I sobbed hysterically in my seat, but they were only replaced by fresh ones straight after. Ryan watched on in shock for a moment or so, at loss of what to do. ‘I’m s-sorry’ I squealed, as I continued to soak through the sleeves of my top.
The more and more I cried, the lighter the rain seemed to get.
I tried my best to gather myself enough to be able to climb out of the car and balance myself as I got on to my crutches. I tried to keep my head bowed as much as possible the whole time. By now the rain was only a slight shower. The moon and the surrounding street lamps were the only source of light. My hands felt too weak to help me move, and I was also scared that another attack of tears would throw me off balance completely.
‘This isn’t because of what I just told you, is it?’ Ryan asked with a gulp. His arms were wrapped around himself and his head was slightly bowed as looked at me with concern etched in his eyes, whilst biting his lip in anxiety.
I sniffed and shook my head – before changing my mind and nodding. ‘Its s-sort of l-like the last th-thing I w-wanted to hear r-right n-now.’ I stuttered, my breathing ragged and uneven.
‘Yeah, you seem to have been having a rough day, huh?’ He said with a small lopsided smile. I kept my head bent towards my shoulder but nodded.
‘You don’t have to stay’ I squeaked, wiping my eye on my shoulder – as my hands were now otherwise occupied ‘I’ll be ok in a m-minute.’
He sighed ‘I’m not going to drive off and a leave a crippled girl crying alone in the rain.’
I sniffed and finally looked straight at him, trying to ignore how much of a mess I must look ‘I feel so ridiculous right now’ I said. My voice was still thick with tears.
Ryan stepped forward gingerly, so that he was now stood right in front of me. He studied my face, his brown eyes glistening whilst the rest of his features lay swamped in shadow. He was so flawless and innocent-looking. How could anyone ever hurt him?
As soon as the thought re-entered my head, my eyes spilled it back out again. Ryan frowned and lifted a hand to the side of my face. He swept his thumb gently across my cheek, stopping the tear in its tracks; much like I had done with the raindrop earlier, on Jane’s porch. I looked up to meet his eyes. ‘I never knew you cared so much’ He muttered lightly, twitching the corner of his mouth up briefly.
My return smile was watery, rather sad, and ached immensely. The rainstorm had now ended for the night- much earlier than it had done previous nights, I noted. The air was quiet and still once again.
Ryan dropped his hand away from my face. I shifted and looked up at him slightly apprehensively. Of course there was no contemplation; with me, there never is. It was on the tip of my tongue and I set it free without a second thought.
‘I'm doubtful that you’ll ever know exactly how much I care about you, Ryan.’
If the tone of my voice didn’t do it, then the look in my eyes would’ve. I probably shouldn’t have said it, but I did. I could meander round it easily enough, but I didn’t want to. I looked away and waited for his reaction.
He stayed still as a statue. Somehow in that moment, everything turned silent; as if the world had been drained of noise completely. The five seconds he took to reply to me, were the longest five seconds of my life. ‘What do you mean?’ he said finally, his voice barely above a whisper.
I balanced myself as I lifted an arm up to wipe a wet cheek across it. I sniffed as I repeated the action with the opposite arm and cheek. ‘You know exactly what I mean’ I said, my voice shaking slightly.
Ryan closed his eyes briefly, and when he re-opened them, he was staring at a spot on the ground, looking as if he was desperately trying to make sense of something in his head. We were back to silence again; one which somehow even deathlier than the last. It was agonizing.
When the silence and the waiting – and the terror that became with it, became too much to bear, I left. I didn’t look back; there was no need. My house was empty and dark, and in the reflection of the black kitchen window, I saw him watch after me.
Once in my house, I closed my tired eyes and counted fifteen seconds before the car door was slammed shut, and a further twenty seconds until I heard the rumbling of the tires as they rolled backwards out of the drive. I flicked on the lights, and spotted a note stuck to the staircase which read;
Probably won’t be home tonight.
Hope you had a nice time out.
THE END.That was very frustrating, i'm glad it's over. I probably won't be writing a sequel....I KID DON'T WORRY, I KID.
^That is my attempt and a really bad and really late april fools. This story is not even close to ending.
Next chapter out soon, i hope...it's the easter holidays sooo i'll have more free time to write.
Apparently e-mail subscriptions of ficwad don't actually work, which makes me worry when i've been gone a long time that you will never come back =[
If you want you can mail me or add me on msn (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I can like tell you when there's an update.
Thank you so much for the biscuits and cocoa. My favorite things in this world are tea, knickers and shoes, for the record.
Aloves you all.