Ryan begins to see his relationship with Helen for what it is...
Ana couldn't believe there was a way she could make this situation any worse but she had just found it. What was she doing? She kept asking herself that question and her conclusion was that the combination of being drunk, lonely and jealous was a dangerous one. She felt a little like she needed a slap at that point something to jolt her back to reality before she hurt even more people she cared about. She adored Brendon and she would be lying if she said she didn't find him attractive but that wasn't the point. What she needed to remember was that the road back to Ryan was certainly not passing through Brendon's bedroom. Ryan came to mind again and she felt sick, she was sure he would want to slap her right then if he knew the mess her mind had got into. She wished she had him at her side to help her feel that calmness and that sense that she was worth something.
"It's not necessary to flirt in front of me." She heard his voice behind her and she spun around to see those sad eyes looking back at her, that beautiful face. "You don't have to do that." He added as he lit a cigarette and offered it to her. Ana knew what he meant but she pretended she didn't as she took the cigarette from his hand and frowned. "You don't have to make a point of it." He then said.
"I'm not making a point of anything." Ana replied.
"I'm jealous." He said it without looking at her. "It doesn't change anything but I'm jealous."
"It doesn't change anything?" she asked him.
"No of course not." Ryan lied as he took the cigarette back from her.
"I didn't think so." Ana's heart sank a little further and wished she had have been smarter. In fact she wished she was someone else altogether. Someone he would fall in love with, someone beautiful and clever and kind and soft. "I guess sometimes it's impossible to go back." She said.
"Exactly." Ryan answered.
"Ryan!" they both turned to see Helen stood in the doorway to the cloakroom. "Are you coming?" she asked in her brutal tone. Ryan nodded. He took one last look at Ana and with a smile he handed her back the cigarette.
"Take care." He said and walked out the cloakroom.
Brendon felt a hand grasp his arm as he passed the bar and he stopped in his tracks. Pete looked at him for a moment with a sympathetic expression.
"Dude I think Ryan went after her." He warned Brendon. "Why don't you have a beer with me and we can talk about shit?" he offered. Brendon considered that idea but all he really wanted was to find Ana.
"I can't help it man." He told Pete when he saw his look of disapproval.
"Shit Brendon the whole love triangle thing?" he shook his head. "It's pretty fucking soap opera man. Are you sure you want to do this?"
"There's no love triangle." Brendon replied with a smirk on his lips. "Pete you worry too much."
"Believe me I've had more experience than you with this shit." Pete told him.
"I know that." Brendon seemed to give in at that point and he joined Pete at the bar.
"You do realise she's still in love with him don't you?"
"Yeah of course." Brendon replied as he practically stroked the glass of orange juice in front of him. "I'm not trying to fuck her." He then said. "I just get confused when she flirts with me."
"Dude I know you already did anyway." Pete shook his head at his young friend.
"I fucking didn't!" Brendon replied quite seriously.
"You didn't?" Pete was surprised that he had got it wrong it wasn't like him to get that stuff wrong.
He was good at seeing these things happen, he always sussed people out before they sussed themselves out. He could never work out why people always made bad decisions when it came to lust. It was like some trip switch that short circuited the brain and it baffled him how it could happen again and again and still people wouldn't learn.
"The other night when she was in your room though?"
"She stayed in my room but nothing happened man." Brendon seemed offended and Pete felt quite bad for getting him wrong. "I might have thought about it." Brendon laughed trying to ease the tension.
"Sorry dude I totally jumped to conclusions on that one." Pete seemed unusually subdued to Brendon and he wondered what was actually wrong with him.
"It's ok." He smiled at his friend. "Everything alright though?" he asked him. "You seem a bit down."
"Oh no I'm fine." Pete forced a smile. "I'm just tired, shit you know how that goes." Brendon nodded understanding exactly how that was after shows and press and no time to yourself. They finished their drinks together talking about how hot it had been for that time of year and how much money they spent on room service at the hotel. Brendon couldn't help but feel something was wrong though and it bugged him all night.
Helen was stuffing a pair of shoes into her suitcase, trying desperately to fit them in even though she knew the case wouldn't close if she did. She was angry, she could feel the distance between her and Ryan growing bigger with every moment Ana was there.
"What were you talking about?" she asked him, trying to keep her voice calm even though she actually screamed the question in her mind. Ryan shrugged his shoulders which infuriated her. "You need to stop smoking too." She added.
"I know I do." Ryan told her as he fiddled with a pack of Marlboro lights. He couldn't help but feel irritated by the situation because it was something he felt trapped by. He had Helen on one side of him bitching and whining at him and he had Ana on the other teasing and manipulating him. He felt like he might go mad if one of them didn't leave soon. Thankfully Helen was packing her suitcase ready for her flight home to California and although Ryan daren't speak the truth he was pleased it was her leaving and not Ana.
"She controls you still." Helen then announced as she stood in the middle of the room, her hands resting defiantly on her hips.
"Please can we have one night where we don't talk about her?" Ryan asked.
"Are you fucking kidding me?" Helen shouted at him and he rolled his eyes. "I don't believe you have the balls to act like I'm the one trying to give you a hard time!"
"You are!" Ryan shouted back at her.
"She's the one that has control over your mind!" Helen pointed towards the door to their room as she spoke about Ana.
"She isn't a fucking Jedi." Ryan grinned even though he knew it would fuel the argument more. Helen just stared at him and he could tell she was going to start crying. "I'm sorry." He said getting up from the chair. "Listen I'm just so tired of arguing about her." He added as he reached out for Helen's hands. "I just want to pretend she doesn't exist." Helen's teary eyes shot up to his.
"Pretend?" she repeated. He nodded. "Is it that hard for you not to think about her?" Ryan sighed. He couldn't answer correctly, whatever he said she would make it sound bad. "Someone like you can't be with a girl like her you know that don't you?" she then spat at him.
Ryan could hear the spite and he hated it when the conversation finally began to fill with spite because that's when he was tempted to say horrible things himself.
"What do you mean by that?"
"You need someone who can look after you." She told him.
"Look after me?" Ryan was confused. How the hell did Helen look after him? What the fuck did she ever do for him?
"Well you're the kind of guy that needs a strong woman." Ryan stared at Helen a moment because he could tell she felt the hole she had started digging.
"What you're trying to say is I can't run my own life successfully." He said.
"No." Helen lied. "Imagine being with her though." She then added. Ryan took a moment in his mind to imagine. "Your life would be so unstructured."
"Fun you mean?" Ryan replied angrily. "Spontaneous maybe?" he continued as he saw Helen frowning. "Wouldn't that be a fucking disaster?"
"You need to have structure like me." Helen insisted. "Life isn't fun Ryan, spontaneous people don't have successful careers. You're too relaxed, you need to grow up."
"You sound just like your father!" Ryan laughed. Helen's father was a cold man who ran successful businesses and had an extremely harsh view of the world.
"Look how successful daddy is!" Helen felt as though she had made her point but Ryan saw it as a flashing red light going off in his head warning him of approaching danger. He had to accept this was not the girl for him.
Ryan was sure his mouth was hanging open slightly as he sat down in the arm chair behind him. Helen was watching him with a curious expression on her face; not sure why he appeared to have been stunned into silence. Everything was falling into place for him at that moment and he was realising that his relationship with Helen had been complete bullshit from the start. She wanted a rich boyfriend she could mould into another version of her father and he wanted, he thought about that only for a split second, he wanted Ana.
"Ryan?" Helen asked him as she cautiously approached him. The phone rang out making her jump. She picked up. "Yes." She answered in her professional voice. Ryan could see his future being mapped out for him until finally he was her puppet and had nothing left inside. Helen put the phone down. "The car's here to take me to the airport." She told him.
"Ok." Ryan said and smiled at her.
"Are you ok?" she asked him. He nodded. He stood. "So I guess I'll see you in a couple of weeks?" she hugged him but his body was rigid.
"Call me when you get back." He spoke softly.
"I will." She gave him a kiss on the lips but he didn't respond to her. "Take care." She smiled well aware that something important has just happened but she wasnt sure if it was good or bad. He seemed stunned and as she picked up her bags to leave she hoped he would see things from her point of view eventually.
"Bye." Ryan forced a smile as he watched her leave, he was already wondering how difficult she would make their break up.