Ryan is getting sucked into Helen's world.
"I will survive, as long as i know how to love, I know I will stay alive."-- Gloria Gaynor.
"Come on! We'll go to Starbucks across the street until the rain stops!" the woman yelled over the clamor of the rain, tightening her hand around Ryan's. Ryan only nodded before they both dashed into the direction of Starbucks. Ryan had no idea where they were going, he only followed the yellow woman, because she seemed like she knew where she was headed. All Ryan could see around him was rain and gray oblivion. If it weren't for this stranger's hand, he could've been lost in a storm of gloom and precipitation. He counted on her hand to lead them the way. He counted on her.
Suddenly, a bright illumination slithered into their view as they came closer to a building that Ryan guessed was Starbucks. It became more apparent as they got closer, for a big, fluorescent sign atop the building radiated a green 'Starbucks'. They entered the building, where the aroma of coffee stung their nostrils instantly, causing Ryan's nose to twitch. As they entered, a tiny bell chimed above them, as a few customers curiously peered over their caffeine intoxicated beverages.
Suddenly, a booming voice thundered into Ryan's ears, startling him.
"My God, Helen! You are soaking!"
He turned his head, where his sight was immersed by a short woman with strawberry-blonde hair sweeping across her shoulders, with one bang swaying slightly across one of her dark green eyes, which were outlined in black with absolute perfection. When she walked out from behind the counter after she finished giving change back to a customer, he also noticed a black mini-skirt hidden beneath the Starbucks apron, that was tied tightly around her thin waist. She had nice legs, only one scar that you could barely see because it had faded into her pale complexion. Ryan figured it was because of a shaving incident.
He peered over to Helen, who was smiling, folding back her yellow umbrella.
"Yeah, I know. I was in the rain." Helen replied, stating the obvious, without really realizing it.
The Starbucks employee just looked at her as if Helen were a complete idiot or just really slow. Or both. She just shook her head and gulping away the insult that was harboring on her tongue, thinking it was far too easy. Suddenly, she peered over to Ryan, finally acknowledging his presence after about ten minutes or so.
"Oh, Helen! Who's your new friend?" the Starbucks employee asked, delivering Ryan a sly smile.
"We're not friends." Ryan answered, too quickly, as the Starbucks employee and Helen both exchanged a look as another awkward silence suffocated them.
Ryan blushed and wished he hadn't said anything. He wished he didn't even take this 'Helen' character's hand and he wished that he didn't exist. Of course they weren't friends. They didn't even know each other and Ryan hadn't even had time to explain himself. But, it's not like Ryan was going to give her full-on detail about why he was hurting so much. It would let her inside; allowing her to take peeks at his thoughts and feelings. And Ryan could not have that. He had lost his trust in humankind for too long to just cave in now. Even if she was extremely nice and so generously kind, she was still human. Which meant she was still unworthy of trust. If Ryan had let her in, she would find some way to destroy him in the future, for she was knowledgeable of his emotions. But, there wasn't going to be a future between them, anyway.
If that was so true, though, then why had he taken her hand? Why had he let her guide him through the rain and his depressed state? Why had he been so willing to let himself get caught into her friendliness and make an appearance in her world? Why? This left Ryan confused and cold, grateful for being in Starbucks, where it was warm and safe, just like in Helen's world. And for a split second, Ryan wouldn't mind living there for awhile.
"Um, Elle, this is Ryan. Ryan, this is Elle, my best friend." Helen introduced, her awkward expression still clinging to her tan features.
"Um, hi." Ryan greeted, shyly shaking Elle's hand, which was delicate and soft.
"Hi." she replied back, still giving him that sly smile that made him feel kind of uncomfortable.
"So, do you guys need anything? Coffee, towels...?" Elle asked, returning her post behind the counter as Ryan heard splutters of coffee gurgling behind her.
"Uh, just get me the regular." Helen requested, sitting down on a plushy couch.
"What about you, Ryan? Do you want anything?" Elle asked, seeming business like, yet flirtatious at the same time.
"Um, no. I'm fine." Ryan replied, averting his gaze from her dark green eyes, which were seductive emeralds that could break any man's heart.
As Elle worked on Helen's coffee, Ryan awkwardly sat down next to Helen on the caramel pattern. They sat there, still lavished with awkward silences and shy glances, as they awaited for the gurgling off the coffee to sputter to a stop.
"So, are we just going to sit here like strangers all day?" Helen asked, fracturing whatever awkward phase that happened between them, but not quite breaking it all.
"Well, I know what you're going to say." Ryan stated so matter-of-factly, it seemed as though he could read minds.
"Oh, do you now?"
"Yes. You're going to ask if I'm okay, if I need to talk it out, and all that junk. And when I do, you'll feel sorry for me, which, by the way, I don't need any sympathy from anybody. And then, you'll give me crap advice like, 'Oh, you'll be okay' or 'Everything will turn out for the better' or 'He wasn't worth it, anyway' or something along those really cliche lines." Ryan answered, seeming satisfied with his conclusion.
"You're awfully judgmental for someone who was crying his eyes out in the pouring rain."
Ryan felt hot blood shower his cheeks as he sank back into the cushion. Fortunately, Elle came to deliver Helen's coffee just in time to prevent Ryan's response, in which he wasn't really too eager to give at this moment. Alas, there had to be someone to help this conversation.
"Well, are you saying that wasn't what you were going to say?"
"Actually, no. I was just wondering why someone would be depressed enough to go out into the rain and cry his eyes out. That's all. I mean, it was raining! I can't stand rain. It's just so, gloomy." Helen answered truthfully.
Ryan was in a minor shock. How could she seem so honest? She had to have another motive lurking beneath those pouty lips and blinding-yellow outfit. But, it didn't seem that way. It was as though, she didn't care of why he was crying, but that he was crying in general. That any tear shed was worth someone's sympathy. Even if it were something stupid or if it were just recalling vague memories. If anyone hurt, they deserved to be treated with the utmost kindness, just because their heart was wounded. Again, Helen took Ryan's breath away. Ryan thought any human was scum. If they were in pain, they deserved it. Ryan thought he deserved this heartbreak. But, as Helen looked to Ryan with her luminescent brown eyes that were full of honesty and mystery, he began to realize that maybe sometimes pain wasn't always deserved.
"Well, I happen to enjoy the rain." Ryan replied.
"Why?" Helen asked, completely in appall at his like in rain.
"There's just something... Peaceful about it." he said with a shrug.
"Peaceful? How is gray and gloom peaceful? Rain makes me feel all lousy."
"Well, not everyone can be so bright and cheerful as you. I mean, what is this?" he asked, motioning towards her yellow outfit.
"Oh," she laughed, "this is a long story."
"I have time."
"Well---" Helen began, but Elle soon interrupted her as she came bustling through Starbucks looking worried impatient.
"Helen! Nicole just called." Elle said, distress apparent on her mysterious features.
Ryan looked over to Helen, as she too, had the same perplexed expression on her face. Cautious brown orbs scanning dark green ones.
"Is she... Okay?" Helen asked, biting her lip, preparing for Elle's answer.
"No. It's about Joe. She's having problems with him again." Elle replied, emphasizing 'again'.
"Oh no!" Helen shouted, springing to her feet.
"What's happening?" Ryan asked, extremely puzzled.
"Come on!" Helen said, grabbing Ryan's hand and leading him out the door in haste.
The dashed to the Starbucks parking lot, in which held only a few cars. Helen's yellow Converse pounded the pavement with loud thwacks! as her hand was still laced together with Ryan. He had no idea where he was going, who Nicole was, and why they were in such a hurry for her problems. But, as they passed a faded red truck and a slick black Convertible, Ryan seemed to be sucking himself into Helen's world. With her quirky best friend Elle, and now her already unstable friend Nicole, he only wondered what else was in store for him.
He soon got his answer as Helen stopped in front of a bright yellow VW Bug, that looked so new, that it could've been for sale at Starbucks. Helen fumbled through her keys as they chimed together in melody as her clinking bracelets did the same. It was a sonnet of metal, jingling with movement. She finally reached the right key and unlocked the doors, as she sat quickly into the car and turned on the ignition in such haste, it was as though it didn't even happen. As if it were already there. But, as Ryan was about to comment on this, she sped off, leaving Ryan dazed and confused.
After a few moments of reckless driving, Ryan attempted at conversation.
"So... Who's Nicole?"
"She's my roommate." Helen mumbled, latching her eyes onto the road and nothing more. She looked determined to get there as fast as possible, and conversation seemed like it was going to slow her down. So, Ryan just sat back onto the black leather, letting the cushion swallow him as he collected his thoughts.
They pulled up to an apartment building as Helen parked, quickly getting out as Ryan followed her, trying to keep up. Ryan didn't know why he was following her. He felt like a lap dog. But, Helen seemed interesting. And as much as Ryan hated to admit it, he needed a friend. Helen seemed honest, yet Ryan still had trouble thinking he could trust her. His whole life was based around people who hurt him. How could he give up so easily now?
First I was afraid,
I was petrified.
Kept thinking I could never live
without you by my side.
A poppy beat emerged out from a door, following by another voice, that was off key and possibly louder than the music itself. Which was hard to do, considering the music was up to the highest volume.
"Oh, no" Helen mumbled, fumbling through her keys, again.
But then I spent so many nights,
thinking how you did me wrong.
I grew strong.
I learned how to get along.
Ryan could hear clanking noises behind the door, and another wail of lyrics coming from the off key voice. Finally, Helen found the key.
And so you're back,
from outer space.
I just walked in to find you here,
with that sad look upon your face.
As Helen open the door, an aroma of different smells thrashed itself into their noses, as the music and waling grew louder.
I should have changed that stupid lock.
I should have made you leave your key.
If I had known for just one second,
you'd be back to bother me.
As they dashed around the corner, they saw pans and pots everywhere. Scents from all different food groups more apparent than ever as more wails cascaded through their ears.
Go on now go walk out the door,
just turn around now.
'Cause you're not welcome anymore.
In the kitchen, a girl with jeans on and a Invader Zim tee-shirt hugging her curves with perfection was at the oven, setting a temperature, while still singing the Gloria Gaynor song off key.
"Nicole...?" Helen said, as Nicole spun around, eyeliner and mascara smudging making her blindingly blue eyes seem a shade darker. Tears seemed to be cascading down her cheeks in misery as the song played on.
"He did it, again." She screamed over the music, wiping her eyes.
Ryan blushed. He felt bad for being here. As though, he shouldn't even be here, witnessing this woman in her weakest moment. He peered over to the counter, where food of all kinds were laying there in assorted colors and smells. They were all baked, cooked, steamed, boiled, fried, or anything else that you could do with a stove and oven. It smelled delicious, causing Ryan's stomach to hiss a growl. He didn't realize how hungry he was. And the food was right there, if only he could just...
"That fucking bastard slept with her... Again!" Nicole yelled over the music
Weren't you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye?
You think I'd crumble.
You think I'd lay down and die.
Oh no, not I.
"Now, Nicole... Just calm down. Are you sure?" Helen asked, as Ryan edged closer to the food.
"Yes! I went over to his apartment, and she was there. That stupid fucking whore! I want to gouge her eyes out, slaughter her head, pull out her esophagus, wrap it around her neck to prevent the squirting of blood, and stick her eyes into the neck along with any another intestine I can pull out of that sluttish body of hers!" she yelled, as Ryan flinched from the graphic description.
"Well, how do you know he slept with her?" Helen asked, attempting at positivity.
Suddenly, Nicole just stopped and took a breath as she fell to the ground, hugging her knees.
"Helen. I just know. The perfume on his clothes. The way he doesn't always say, 'I love you' anymore. The signs are there. And it sucks, because I love him so much. That's why I keep coming back, and I know I'm stronger than that. It's just... I love him. And he doesn't love me, " she said, as she looked over to Ryan, who was staring at her intently, realizing, if though the didn't even know each other, they were more in common than anyone.
"And it really sucks."
I will survive,
as long as I know how to love.
I know I will stay alive.
I've got all my life to live.
I've got all my love to give,
and I'll survive.
Authors Note: My thanks to infinite-oddity, Panicfanatic08, and rclukins for their amazing reviews.
Do with it as you like.