Brendon closed his mouth, which had been agape for the past five minutes and shook his head ‘I still can’t believe he kissed you. This is huge! Did he say what time he was going to call?’
‘No. He just said it would be sometime after he broke up with Jane.’
‘And you’re going to meet up?’ – I nodded – ‘And then you’ll get together? Like officially?’
‘I don’t know about that’ I said ‘It’s really not that easy is it? I broke up with Spencer the day before yesterday. We can’t just suddenly start dating.’ I finished my otherwise cheerless sentence with a sudden random squeal.
‘The idea of it exciting you?’ Brendon said knowingly with a smile.
‘Yeah’ I said bringing my knees up to my chest and wrapping my arms around them tightly, as if I was physically trying to contain my excitement.
‘Yeah it’s a tricky situation’ Brendon said, leaning back on his arms and nodding to himself.
I was glad he’d calmed down since I had reached the part of the story where Ryan kissed me. He screamed so loud he awoke my mother, which is really saying something.
‘So what do you think will happen tonight?’
‘I have no idea’ I said, resting my chin upon my knees ‘I guess we’ll just talk. Anything could happen though. I mean he could decide that it’s best we don’t date because he doesn’t want to risk affecting his friendship with Spencer or upsetting Kate – you know how much her feelings matter to him. And I guess I wouldn’t blame him.’
‘Nah, that won’t happen’ Brendon said sitting up ‘Think about it; he’s breaking up with Jane because he doesn’t think it’s fair that his feelings for you are stronger than they are for her. That tells you something already. Ryan wouldn’t just say ‘So yeah, broke up with my girlfriend, let’s just forget this now’ would he? What use would that do? You’re best friends with his sister – you’d see him all the time. You can’t just carry on as normal when all you really want to do is jump each other. It just wouldn’t work.’
Ignoring his rather blunt phrasing at the end of his insight, I lifted my head and smiled at him ‘You really think so?’ – He nodded – ‘But then what will happen? It’s like there’s no easy solution Bren, we either end up together or we don’t, and there are cons for each outcome.’
‘See, I don’t know’ He said, scratching his chin and looking thoughtful ‘I mean you and Spencer were only together for like one week or something. And let’s face it; it wasn’t much of a relationship anyway. And you said Spencer seemed to take the break up pretty well. For all we know, he could already be over you.’
I dropped my jaw and gave an offended exhale ‘Ok, he is not over me yet. We were together for a week! Are you saying he went off me during the time we were dating?!’
Brendon was looking at me as if he was finding me very amusing. It was annoying but I knew what he was thinking. ‘I’m sorry’ I groaned, flopping my face back down into my knees ‘Right. Spencer might be over me. I don’t care, whatever. Go on.’
Brendon cleared his throat. ‘Anyway, yeah, so even if he was initially a little pissed off at the two of you, I really think he’d get over it. He and Ryan have been friends since practically forever. I’m pretty sure their friendship will survive this. And he can’t be mad at you for long either. It’s not like you really did anything wrong.’
I lifted my head up and released my legs ‘Yes I did. I agreed to be his girlfriend when I liked Ryan.’
‘Sure; but he doesn’t know that does he? And what he doesn’t know can’t hurt him.’ He said with a shrug.
I sighed; ‘I guess. What about Kate?’
‘For all we know, she could absolutely love the idea of you dating her brother. She might get all excited about being sister’s in law or something.’
I snorted ‘I doubt it. No, she’ll hate it. She’ll think it’d be too weird and worry about it making things awkward.’
‘And she doesn’t suspect anything between you?’
‘Not a thing. But this is Kate we’re talking about; we could make out with each other in front of her, say we accidentally slipped, and she’d probably believe it.’
Brendon laughed and nodded in agreement ‘True.’
We fell silent and simultaneously glanced over at the digital clock on my bedside table, which read; 16:47.
Because last night had been sleepless, I woke up at one. I called Brendon at around two-thirty, and he had been here since quarter to four. Time was passing fast, and Ryan still hadn’t called.
‘So...’ Brendon whistled as we turned back to each other ‘now what?’
‘Now’ I said ‘I will wait in agony for his call, whilst you try your best to take my mind of it.’
‘Ok’ He said. ‘Although, do you think I could have something to eat first? I could really do with some Lays. I haven’t eaten half three.’
I lead Brendon downstairs into the kitchen to get his desired potato chips. I threw in a Red Bull too to his delight. And when we returned to my bedroom, we wasted time together, discussing last night’s dreams and informing each other of our takes on the latest TV episodes.
I appreciated Brendon being there, more than he would be able to tell. Surviving yesterday was hard enough; I had Ryan on the brain constantly. I couldn’t think of anything but him, and it was hard to do anything else. I knew I couldn’t relive that again today, so I called Brendon. He had a nice way of distracting me with laughter and bemusement.
He managed to do so until about five-thirty, when even he couldn’t steal my attention away from the clock which I had come to watch religiously. Instead he dragged me away from it, taking me downstairs and into the living room to watch some TV, in hopes to take my mind of it. There was clock there too though, so I watched that instead.
When it had passed six o’clock, I was extremely agitated. It showed in the way I was constantly fidgeting. Brendon suggested that we went out somewhere, and I was horrified at the thought ‘B-but, I can’t miss his call!’
‘Take your cell with you, he’s got your number right? If he can’t reach you on your home phone then he’ll try calling you on that. Come on, for all we know, Jane could have invited Ryan round for dinner – he might not even be over there yet. Besides, you don’t want to seem too available.’
‘You’re right’ I said, standing up ‘I have to be aloof. Is that the right word? And since when do you know about all that anyway?’
‘I read my sisters magazines when I’m bored’ He said, standing up from the couch too ‘So where do you want to go, into the city?’
‘I would say yes but I have absolutely no money on me. It would seem a bit a pointless. Besides it’s too far. And it’s late.’
‘Well...’ He said, folding his arms and looking out of the window ‘We could just go for a walk?’
A walk sounded nice. The only thing that put me off the idea was the heat, but Brendon eventually persuaded me that, with a bottle of water and a baseball cap, I’d be fine. ‘Wait, you’ve got a sister?’ I said as we stepped outside and began our aimless stroll down the sidewalk.
‘Two sisters’ He said ‘and two brothers. They’re all older than me. I have a nephew too – my oldest sister’s son.’
‘Really? You’re an uncle?’ I said, surprised and a little ashamed that I hadn’t known this about him. I suppose every time we spoke the conversation always seemed to revolve around me and my life – or at least the ‘love’ part of it. In my defence, he never seemed like he minded.
I wanted to make up for it anyway and took the opportunity, whilst we were wondering the streets of Summerlin, to prod out every piece of information about him that I could. It not only took my mind off thinking about Ryan, but I also found myself quite interested in what I was learning about the boy who had grown to become such a good friend of mine. And I had learnt a lot about him by the time we reached the park gates.
I had known his family was religious, by the way he often complained about being forced to go to church, but I had no idea that they were Mormons. Or that his parents were giving him grief at the moment because he didn’t want to continue the practise.
There were arguments, he said. Lot’s of arguments erupting at home between him and his parents because he’d rather spend his time being with the band than going to church -- which is why he was more than happy to wait with me as long as I wanted; any excuse to stay out of the house as long as possible.
I continued to listen intently to him as we swung slowly back and forth on the swings. I always seemed to unintentionally end up here at the park. The experience this time was a lot more pleasant than the time I was here with Kate though. Because it was now the evening the sun wasn’t quite so incinerating – though still a little hotter than I was comfortable with – and there were still a few dog walkers around, but apart from that it was relatively quiet and peaceful.
‘You know’ I said softly, as my feet dragged slowly across the woodchips beneath us ‘You can come round mine anytime you want.’
‘Yeah, even if it’s like midnight or something. My mom’s never really around anyway, and I’m sure I could always use the company.’ I shrugged.
Brendon gave a wide smile and bowed his head as he kicked a few woodchips ‘Thanks Steph.’ He said, and then he sighed ‘I’m really glad you came to Summerlin.’
My heart broke. ‘Really?’
‘Of course’ He shrugged with a lopsided grin ‘Why does that surprise you so much?’
‘I dunno’ I shrugged with a smile, leaning my head against the metal chain my hand clung to. ‘I just can’t help but think you guys would be better of if I never came here.’
‘What?’ He said, raising his thick eyebrows at me ‘Why would you think that?’
‘Who am I benefiting? Ryan wouldn’t feel the need to break up with Jane if he had never met me. And who’s to say he won’t regret doing it? I have nothing to offer him that she doesn’t.’ -- Brendon opened his mouth to retort, but I cut him off – ‘I would never have been with Spencer either. He and Kate could have gotten together by now.’
Whoops. I really have to learn to control that speaking before thinking problem I have.
Brendon’s eyes were wide, and blinked at me in surprise. I sighed. ‘I think Kate might like Spencer’ I said as Brendon took a sharp intake of breathe ‘But you can’t say anything ok!? I’m not even one-hundred percent sure myself, it’s just... a feeling I have.’
‘Oh my God’ Said Brendon shaking his head ‘but, they’re like BFFFF’s.’ He kicked his legs up and leaned his torso back as he swayed once back and forth, making a weird sound in the process with those voluminous lips of his. He plunged his feet back upon the ground, causing woodchips to fly everywhere ‘See nothing interesting ever happened here before you came.’
‘Great’ I said rolling my eyes and taking a swig of water from the bottle I held. I swallowed ‘Nice to know the only thing I bring to this place is drama.’
‘That’s not all you bring’ Brendon said.
He shook his head, his floppy hair falling in front of his dark eyes. He brushed the strands away and looked at the ground.
‘I don’t have many friends at school.’ He said ‘Not any good friends anyway. The only people I’ve really ever been close to is Brent, Spencer and Ryan. I guess I talk too much sometimes. I’m either the kid who talks too much or the vegetable, because of all the ADD pills I have to take. And I guess neither of those persona’s go down well with the kids in my school. Neither does the fact that I’m Mormon really. They think it’s weird. Especially the girls.’
He had previously been dwindling slightly back and forth on the swing, the tips of toes brushing the ground beneath him lightly, but he stopped now. His head which had been bowed rose up to look at me.
‘But you’re not like them.’ He continued ‘You don’t treat me like I’m some sort of freak. And you’re twice as hot as any of them!’ – I chuckled – ‘I’ve never had a close friend that’s a girl. I mean Kate and I have always got on well, but she’s always been closest to Spencer. I ‘m glad you came along. You’re not only nice but you’re fun to be around and really good at making people laugh, and...’ – he cleared his throat and shrugged – I appreciate having you in my life. And I know that the others do to.’
I clutched a hand to my swelling heart and blinked furiously at him, worrying he had made me a little too emotional and that my eyes were in danger overflowing ‘Brendon’ I squeaked ‘That’s one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me.’
I hopped gently down from the swing, dropping my bottled water on the floor, and tugged at his arm to pull him up with me. I immediately embraced him as tightly as I could, my head buried into his shoulder. ‘I’m privileged to be your friend’ I mumbled into his shirt ‘and if none of those other idiots can see what an amazing guy you are, then it’s their loss.’
He rubbed my back as I clung to him ‘Thanks Steph’ He said softly. I released him enough to stand back and smile at him. He smiled back, his head ducked slightly out of bashfulness.
I was still found it hard to believe that any of the others were better off because of my arrival in this state, but there was one thing I was sure of; that I was undoubtedly far better off now that I had come here.
True friendship was definitely something new to me. And I felt very blessed that I had been given the opportunity to know it.
I turned and bent down to retrieve my water bottle from the ground and brushed off the dry dirt from it. My shadow did the same. I peered at it strangely, it had become rather long. In fact, they all had; Brendon’s, the swing sets’.... and the surrounding light had dimmed somewhat, turning slightly orange. I looked up at the sky. The once brilliant blue had started to turn pink. ‘Brendon’ I said ‘What time is it?’
He glanced at his wrist watch. ‘Seven-forty’ He said.
‘We’ve been out here for over an hour already?’ I said, surprised by this. I dug a hand into my pocket and dug out my cell phone. No missed calls. ‘I don’t understand Brendon, why hasn’t he called me yet?’ I said, sounding panicked. ‘What if – what if he doesn’t call at all? What if he’s changed his mind? What if he’s not going to break up with her? What if –‘
‘Hey, hey, hey’ He said, placing his hands on the sides of my arms and shaking me a little ‘listen to me; he is going to call you. And if he doesn’t, it would be for a good reason. I know Ryan. Look, he’s probably breaking up with her as we speak. Now are you sure he even said he was going to call you today?’
I nodded ‘Yeah, he hugged me and said ‘tomorrow yeah?’’– I almost melted purely from the memory –‘I assume that meant it was when we were going to see each other again. At least, I think so...unless he meant tomorrow he’s going to break up with Jane. But I don’t... I don’t think that’s what he meant’ I kneaded my forehead with my knuckles. ‘I’m not sure.’
‘I don’t know Steph’ Said Brendon ‘I would have thought he’d meant today too, but... I don’t know.’
‘Maybe we should head back to mine’ I said ‘In case he’s called there. Who knows, maybe he lost my cell number somehow. It’s not like he’s ever used it before.’
The rusty gate creaked as I opened it to exit the park. In typical boy fashion, Brendon chose to hop effortlessly over it instead. Even the idea of me attempting to do the same was pretty laughable.
We began our stroll back, this time in a pretty comfortable silence. That is, until I looked to the left of me, where behind the fence we walked along, ran a stream that brought back one or two hilarious memories. I burst into laughter.
Brendon looked at me strangely, but all I could do was gesture to the side of me. He eventually realized what I found so funny and rolled his eyes. I had to stop and clutch the top of the fence momentarily to steady myself because I was so weak with laughter – and my healing foot was becoming increasingly tired which didn’t help.
‘You’ I wheezed ‘falling over – lying in the- and the- and the woman – and the dog – and it peed!’ I gave another insane shriek and doubled over. It was one of those things that were just so delicious to remember suddenly. I couldn’t get the image of Brendon lying face down in the water out of my head.
Brendon groaned at first, but to my surprise he eventually started to laugh along too – tittering slightly at first, and then eventually it became a full on howl. We were both planted there with weak knees clutching our aching stomachs and struggling to catch our breath as passers by either smiled at us or rolled their eyes. Kids.
We eventually began to calm down, and I wiped the tears from the corners of my eyes as I stayed bent with my hands upon my knees; Brendon in a similar position.
Then a familiar ringtone started to play.
Brendon and I stood up suddenly and exchanged shocked glances with each other. I dug a fumbling hand in my pocket and took my phone out which vibrated in my fingers. I couldn’t help but screech when I saw the caller ID. ‘It’s him!’ I squealed, looking up at Brendon ‘Oh God Brendon, it’s actually him! What do I do?’
‘How about answering it?’ He suggested, in a smartass way.
I did so and placed it against my ear, hopping frantically from foot to foot in euphoria. ‘Hello?’
‘Hey Steph’ His beautiful, beautiful voice came ‘I’m sorry I’m calling so late. It took longer than I expected it to. And then no-one was picking up your home phone.’
‘Oh that’s fine!’ I paused, and stopped hopping, becoming still with steady anticipation ‘Wait – did you – did you um, do it then?’
My phone was pressed so firmly against my ear in eagerness to hear to his answer, that it would surely leave a mark.
I looked at Brendon, who was watching my expression apprehensively, and smiled excitedly. He grinned back and gave me two thumbs up. I can’t believe he actually did it! The thing I had been praying to happen for weeks and weeks now had finally occurred. Oh the knowledge that I’d never have to see the two of them kiss again was wonderful.
He laughed ‘Yes, really. Um, so... did you want to meet up then?’
‘Don’t worry if you can’t - we could do it tomorrow if you –‘
‘Now’s fine’ I said, maybe a little too eagerly. ‘Where?’
‘I don’t mind. Where are you?’
‘Um’ I said glancing around me and shrugging to myself ‘near the park.’
‘Did you wanna meet at the park then?’
‘I can probably be there in like five minutes’
‘Ok. I’ll see you there then.’
‘Ok, great’ He said.
I let my hand drop from my ear so the phone dangled by my side. ‘He wants to meet me at the park.’
‘I told you!’ Brendon said, smiling ‘You should probably head back then.’
‘But... but what are you going to do?’ I asked ‘I mean you haven’t even had dinner yet, what if your family’s already eaten – ‘
‘I’m sure they’ll have saved me something to microwave’ He said ‘Trust me; I’ll be fine.’
‘Ok’ I nodded ‘So how do I look?’
‘Oh!’Brendon said, flinging his head back and holding his hands up ‘I am almost blinded by your beauty.’
I laughed. ‘Oh wait, I can’t wear this’ I reached up and pulled the cap off my head, ensuring that I was now left with an excellent case of hat hair. I ran fingers furiously through my locks ‘My hair?’
Brendon hooked his finger round a piece that was probably lying out of place upon the top of my head and pulled it to the right side of the parting. ‘Perfect’ He said.
‘Can you take these for me?’ I said, handing him my bottled water and slightly sweaty baseball cap ‘And drop them in my house before you go?’
‘Sure’ He took the water from me and placed the cap backwards on his own head, making me laugh as his floppy fringe of dark hair poked messily through.
‘It suits you’ I snorted.
‘Thanks’ He beamed ‘So are you ready?’
‘I think so’ I said, biting my lip.
‘You’ll be fine.’ He said.
He nodded and stepped forward to give me a quick hug ‘And remember’ He said, as he stepped away with his hands still on my shoulders and looked me ‘seriously’ in the eye. ‘A cold spoon cures a hickey.’
‘Brendon’ I said, shaking my head slowly from side to side ‘Your wisdom is infinite.’
He laughed and dropped his hands ‘Well, good luck. You’re phoning me as soon as you get back to tell me what happened. Although you said I could come round anytime so I might already be waiting at your house for you when you arrive.’
I laughed ‘Yeah, feel free.’
‘Nah, but you will phone me yeah?’
‘Good. See ya Stephy’
‘See ya Bren.’
With one last exchange of smiles, we turned away from each other and went our separate ways. I headed nervously and excitedly back to the park, my hands upon my unsettled stomach and my strides brisk, suddenly wishing I had gone to the toilet before I left the house.
‘I HEAR TOOTHPASTE HELPS TOO!’
I wish Brendon was my friend.
YOU GUYS ARE LIKE THE BEST EVER. For reals. I was like shiiiz man, who do I dedicate this chapter to?
But I've decided this chapter is dedicated to InsertWittyNameHere I know this probably wasn't the chapter you were thinking it would be but I hope you like it anyway. I mean it's got Brendon, so...
Please review, I've said it before and I'll say it again, it really does motivate me to write. x