College!Fic. A guy at the coffee shop seems a little down, and of course Ryan takes notice. (Revised... finally)
Finally (half) revised.
Ryan stares at the couple sitting across the table from each other at the cafe near the chair he has claimed. The guy is smiling ear to ear, from what he can see. He can also see the girl who just has a straight face as she listens to the guy ramble on about something surely she doesn't care about. He cares though. A smile that bright means he cares.
Ryan traces his fingers along the pages of his book and looks back down on it. He never remembered a time when The Scarlet Letter was actually interesting, or a time when finding new ways to make the book better actually worked.
In fact, he had to read it in Sophomore year and he could only read a chapter a day. Needless to say, foreshadowing that a guy is going to get dumped in the next two minutes is much more fun.
Especially when he's right.
"The guy", Ryan has decided to call him, is frozen in his seat, visibly looking smaller as the girl speaks and places a hand on the back of her neck. Ryan reads her lips, "I'm sorry," and watches her walk off with a swing to her hips.
The guy slumps in his wooden chair and places his head on the table. Poor thing, Ryan thinks, maybe he should be like me and refuse to fall in love.
And he almost feels guilty. Which is funny- because he had absolutely nothing to do with it, but he feels the need to go console him. Not going to happen. Ryan isn't that social, nor does he have many friends.
"Did you see that too?" Jon asks in a quiet voice, sitting next to him.
"I totally called it, actually." Ryan deadpans, looking down at the book.
"Hey, I deserve the time of day more than the book. Especially that book."
Ryan sighs and puts it on his lap. "So, are you going to be rebound guy?"
"Are you kidding me," Ryan scoffs, leaning his head back into his chair. "He just got dumped by his girlfriend, Jon. And I haven't seen his actual full features-"
"Ryan, judge people by their personalities," Jon shakes his head, "and you're feminine enough for him."
"Fuck you. I don't even know the guy!" Ryan shakes his head and stands to grab an extra napkin because his nose is running. Stupid Chicago winters, Ryan thinks, it's December and it has barely snowed, but yet he gets sick anyway. Whatever, then. "And 'm sick."
"I have cough drops,"
"I'm not even... just, go back to work and I'll go back to mine." Ryan bites.
"The Grinch. You're The Grinch." Jon laughs.
"Because I'm ruining the spirit of Christmas?"
"No. You're just an asshole."
Ryan gets up, staring down at Jon. "Well, assholes are invincible."
Ryan turns over his left shoulder and makes his way to throw away old napkins in his jacket, glancing at the guy. He has dark, rather long hair and, well, that's all he can tell. He's wearing a red hoodie, and his fingers are playing with the ragged strings.
"Give this to him." Jon slides over a tall eggnog latte to Ryan, smiling stupidly, showing all of his teeth.
"Oh my God,"
"Ryan let's face it. You been alone for way too long. You could use a third friend." Ouch. "Or a boyfriend. Can't use contemporary literature to fill the void."
"I hate you," Ryan grunts, taking the warm cup.
"Love you too!"
Ryan looks at the guy who is shaking. It's not like the guy could be that mean; he looks rather sensitive. He thinks about changing his mind, but it's too late once the guy peers up at him. Eyes red and puffy, the guy sits up and stares at Ryan.
Maybe if he just puts the coffee down and runs...
"Hey," Ryan says in his monotone. "Um, I... are you alright?"
The guy continues to look up at him through thick eyelashes. "I got this for you." He scoots the coffee over to him using his knuckles, moving it closer to the man's hand.
"'Cause I'm nice, and everyone likes an eggnog latte." Ryan shifts uncomfortably.
"So what has got 'cha down?"
The guy doesn't even answer and Ryan has concluded he either A) just needs time to cool down or B) is a complete and utter bitch because who wouldn't want to talk to him- and interesting english major who is going most likely nowhere in his life?
"Yeah. Just got kicked out of my own apartment. So basically, I'm homeless by tomorrow."
"Surely your buddies got you back though, right?" Ryan thinks out loud.
He laughs and then cries, hiding under his hoodie again. Ryan forgets what day it is.
"Hey, uh, listen, it's gonna be fine." Ryan quiets his voice.
"I'll keep your mind off of it, or something- icebreakers, I dunno. Like hi, my names Ryan, I'm an english major at this shit hole of a college, I shit you not, and I have no idea what I'm doing with my life other than rereading books from high school."
"English majors are usually very formal speakers."
"You should see my writing. It's very high class."
That makes him look up and smirk, Ryan taking notice of his puffy brown eyes and the right corner of his mouth turned up.
"What about you?"
"Uh, Brendon. Music major. Homeless. Basically the same." Brendon takes a sip of the coffee.
"Music is so hard. I considered auditioning, but then I'm really scared of those people... so I decided to bull shit this major in hopes to just be an author or something."
And then they go on about a conversation about music, which Ryan assumes Brendon was talking about before he figured out that girl has kicking him out of the apartment. Ryan and Brendon both play guitar and Brendon's majoring in piano, which he could probably talk about for hours nonstop.
"And then I had this crazy twelve string guitar which I had to learn on, and it was impossible 'cos my hands were so small and it was my dad's guitar. So I got my first one for Christmas one year and I actually was alright. But yeah, piano is something I always have done. Ever since I was five."
"Wow, yeah." Ryan cracks a small smile.
Ryan can't help like feel like a failure talking to this guy. Yeah, he taught himself to play guitar when he was twelve, and that's as far as he has gotten. And he is kind-of-sort-of good at writing and barely got into college. He wins when it comes to actual academics, he knows it, because nobody is a master at multiple subjects.
"Hello," Jon greets Brendon, "Ryan, I was wondering if you are going to that party at Tyler's tonight?"
"It's Wednesday," Ryan crooks his eyebrows.
"So? And are you going to bring your... friend?"
"Uh," Ryan looks over to Brendon, who's smirking down at his coffee.
"They have your favorite beer. Corona?" Jon persuades, rocking back on his heels and shoving his hands in his apron.
Ryan doesn't even like beer; he like's wine. It makes him feel more classy. "I... have a paper due tomorrow that I haven't really started, so... err, I can't."
"That has never stopped you from reading three other novels in one night has it? And anyway, Ryan's friend, would you like to come?" Jon asks.
Ryan has always been jealous because Jon is too good at talking to people and making them feel comfortable.
"Yeah, yeah, if Ryan's going, then yeah." Ryan never heard the word "yeah" used that many times in a sentence.
"So you have to go, Ryan. For your friend..."
"Brendon," Ryan interrupts.
"Brendon's sake." Jon finishes, patting him on the shoulder and walking off.
"So, Tyler's having a party?" Brendon questions, looking up at Ryan who is hunched over in his seat.
"You know Tyler?"
"I don't," That makes Brendon almost laugh and crack a smile.
"Doesn't matter in this shit hole, does it?" Ryan replies, referring to Excellis University. He looks down at his hands then. He's used the word shit hole a lot in this conversation; he should probably pick different adjectives considering he knows so many.
"Guess not," Brendon laughs shortly, then sighing contently.
Ryan looks at the time on the watch and has an inner panic. "Okay, so I have to go to class but I'll see you tonight?"
Brendon gleams, "I'm counting on it."
They make eye contact for a split second and Ryan freezes, then finally gets himself to nod.
"Okay, yeah. Awesome." Ryan babbles, waving off and tripping over his own feet. He can hear Jon laughing his ass of behind the counter.