Sparkling Combustion

Chapter 14


   It'd been several days since the night of the dance and Nathan and I had barely spoken a dozen words to each other. We were on pins and needles; or treading thin ice, as a more elaborate way of phrasing it. Oh we spoke, alright, if you could even call it that. There was too much politeness, too much hesitancy and it was enough to make me bash my teeth together—whether in frustration or anger, or maybe even both.

                          There was Jeremy, who was there when I needed him. Beautiful, mysterious, trustworthy Jeremy, whom I was attracted to but whose friendship I valued too much. If the world were a perfect place, Jeremy would be it. That's right, "it".  I don't know why I felt that so strongly; perhaps it was just one of those things.

                Jeremy kept telling me to talk to Nathan and I kept saying I would, but there I sat, carton of milk in my hand and waited for Laura and possibly Nathan. Despite my assurances to Jeremy that I would really talk to him, I had no idea what was going on with Nathan and nor was there any planning on my part to attempt at finding out.

                It was all too much.

                Oh and on top of that, add a history essay, an English paper on whether a part time job is beneficial to a student or not (juvenile and boring!), and three journals on an autobiography of my choice, and one starts feeling slightly frustrated.

                I ran the tip of my finger along the edge of the now empty milk carton.  Looking up, I saw Laura walking towards me with a not so happy face. Laura had been dealing with problems regarding Ashlynn the past few day, who it turns out was not quite so drunk or innocent as perceived by Laura initially. It turns out Ashlynn was quite the party-girl and was actually quite prone to doing the things that Laura had assumed were done innocently on Ashlynn's part.

                "Hey," The greeting sounded exhausted. She set her bag down on the table and ran a hand through her hair, settling at her temples and rubbing. It was an action that was so uncharacteristic of Laura that I found myself more surprised by this than the slight bags under her eyes.

                "Hey, I see you're not feeling any better. "I stated.

                "Nope, I just broke up two people for the first time in my life." She set her head down on the table.

                It hit me right away, but I wasn't sure what to say or do. A mixture of emotions ran through me, from a sense of feeling relief deep down, to happiness and then anger that I felt these things.  I settled on curiosity, pretending it didn't affect me. I simply said, "elaborate," and waved the selfish and pitiful monster inside of me to lay low.

                She raised her head in frustration and blew a puff of breath,"What is there to elaborate on? "The girl" Ashlynn `effing broke up with "the boyfriend", Ryan, because she says she wants to "try things out" with me after just one stupid drunken thing." Laura finished.

                "Wow, you must be really good," I said, immediately regretting my bad joke at the vehement glare I received.

                "Not funny, Kyle, she hasn't left me alone the past few days, kept asking me out and I've been nothing but terrible to her. She still wants me though. What can I say; I must be really good like you say." Except she didn't look the least bit happy about it.

                "Laura, she randomly decides she wants to pursue a lesbian relationship? You're good, but not that good, I'm assuming."         

                "No, she's bi-sexual. She's known since she was 12, and in fact," Laura lowered her voice considerably, "it turns out she's even been with other girls from the school, some that I wouldn't even have imagined to go that way!"

                "No way, little miss perfect with a religious family and all. Who `woulda thought?"

                "That was stupid, even for you, Kyle." She said coldly.

                "I'm deeply sorry."

                "I'm sure." She glared at me.

                "Okay, okay, do go on, it's just know difficult to believe."

                "Kyle, there's nothing left to say. She broke up with him, she wants me and says she'll give me some time to think about it," Laura stated.

                "What's the problem?"


                "Yes, I'm here."

                "Very funny, Kyle, I broke her and—"

                "Listen, that's over and done with. It's life what can you do? Do you like her? Ask yourself that." I said.

                "Well..." Laura looked away.

                "Well?" I prodded.

                "Okay! Okay!"


                She glared at me. "I like her, Okay. `Dammit,  I really really like her. I feel so terrible."

                "No, don't. Want my opinion?"

                "Yes please." She said eagerly.

                "I say go for it; At least one date."


                "She felt something strong enough, that's saying besides sexual attraction, to break up with her boyfriend," I didn't say his name, and I knew we both noticed the fact, "And I personally have not ever seen you like this, especially not because of a person, a book maybe..."       

                Laura laughs. "Yeah I am pretty wired up. It's just like, you know when something just feels...right, but it feels wrong at the same time." Laura looked up and smiled a little, only a little, but I could tell she'd fallen hard. "From the start it's like you have this-this-this--."

                "This thing," I complete for her, "Yeah I do."

                She keeps smiling.  "Thanks Kyle, you're a good friend."

                "Ahh my Laura is back." 

                Laura just laughed and rolled her eyes. "No there she is..." For which I received a joking punch to the arm.

There were a few minutes of silence in which both Laura and I processed our thoughts. All I could think was, `Ryan and Ashlynn broke up.' My feelings were almost impossible to decipher completely, I was like one big hurricane, a jumble of thoughts and sucking more thoughts in. However I refused to allow myself even one moment to sit down and let my mind wander and foolishly fantasize about situations in which Ryan would beg me to take him back and profess his undying devotion to me.

Just then Nathan walked into the cafeteria; Perfect timing. Seems Laura had spotted him also, following my gaze. "There's Nathan," She said, stating the obvious. "He's probably not going to sit with us again today."

"Yeah, probably not," I said distantly, my mind wandering.

"Gonna do anything about it?"

"Yeah, I am, "I said, "He's been avoiding me like the plague."

"Kyle, didn't you see this coming? Nathan's been on thin ice, lately."


She sighed. "Kyle I'm going to have to break this down for you." She paused, and then continues. "Nathan. Likes. You."

"You mean?"

"Yes, he has feelings for you."

"How can you be so sure? I know for one, that things never really got far with us at all."

"Trust me, I'm sure."

"Has he said anything?"

"No, but it's in the way he looks at you, how much he hates Ryan and Jeremy because he's jealous, and I can tell just in general. It's fairly obvious!" She seemed exasperated that I was so dim.

"So you're sure?" I wasn't sure how to take that.

Laura just raised one eyebrow in response; I grimaced. "Nathan has feelings for me..." I did not see that coming and though I'd accepted it, I don't think I truly believed it. Seems I'd have to talk to Nathan as soon as possible. Would I have to tell him how I felt about Ryan? It would hurt him but I felt he had a right to know, pathetic as my situation was. I then felt guilty about keeping Laura in the dark then. Josh not so much, we talked every once in a while but the guy was off in his own world. I still loved him to death though. That's the thing about true friends, you won't have spoken for about a year, but when you do it's like that gap didn't exist. Nothing is awkward and everything just flows.

When the bell rang for the end of lunch, Laura said a quick bye and ran off to her next class. My mind barely registered it. I sat there, not particularly thinking about anything anymore but just in a dazed state. Soon thoughts invaded and nothingness faded. I thought about how much I'd changed just this past year alone. I was stable before, my life was in order, and now both inside and outside of me was a disorganized mess. Yes, messes can be organized and mine wasn't.

It's funny, when you're a kid, you never think you're going to reach that golden age of sixteen, and it just hits you one day, the joys of being a kid are long gone. You just get older and older and even sixteen feels old then. Sometimes I felt like I was forty instead of sixteen, but that was just me for you.

As I thought, my mind felt more and more at ease. With my chin resting on my arms, my eyes began to drift and I felt at peace once more. I was settled between that state of drowsiness and sleeping, drifting along for a few minutes.

Of course, when a loud book barged on the table, my eyes opened and peace vanished. I raised my head. My mind went blank for a second. There in front of me sat Ryan. What in God's name was Ryan's deal?

"Going to class?" He asked me.

I grabbed my i-pod and shoved my earphones in my ears, only to find out it was dead. I threw them back onto the table, refusing to move or be moved by Ryan's presence, and so I put my head down. Ryan, for some reason, was persistent. "Enjoy the dance? You seemed to be having a good time."

I felt like pointing out what his girlfriend did in a second of lashing out, but I knew I must remain strong. How incredibly melodramatic! I once again could not see why I had feelings for this...this...thing! I couldn't even remember the good in him anymore.

"Gonna ignore me forever? I remember you did this before, and lasted quite a while." I knew he was only trying to goad me into saying something stupid because he still hated me and that kept me from responding.

"I don't like you." He continued childishly, as If I wasn't made aware of this simply by his existence. "I don't know why I'm speaking to you but sadly, I have nothing better to do currently."

That's it...that was the last straw. I didn't need to sit here and hear this. I grabbed my things, got up and began to leave. All I heard is, "Got to you huh?" I felt like giving him the finger but I resisted the urge to do so.

As I walked, I took out my phone and texted Jeremy.

More problems, come over l8er round 9? Take my mind off of it. Let's have sum fun. :D.

A few minutes later I got a text back.

Yeah, sure thing. Ceya @ 9, K?

Jeremy knew how to make me smile and laugh. I felt alright. Afterward, Jeremy texted me though and told me he actually couldn't hang out that evening, something about his foster mom or whatever, and told me I should take the time to talk to Nathan. With a sigh, I decided I'd finally confront him about what was going on with the both of us.

When I got home that day the only thing I did was eat minimally and call Nathan. He was as stoic and polite as ever on the phone but agreed to meet me later. I thought of little else that night and felt a case of nerves hit me as I left the house.

I walked to the park at a reasonable pace. I walked neither fast nor slow but at a steady speed, surveying the things around me. I passed by the houses and the local middle school, taking a left turn into a pathway through a field, entering some narrow bit of trees, through which the path lead to the lake. When I stepped to the edge of it finally I could see a couple sitting on a bench at the other end. Other people strolled about and some stood by the edge of the lake. Small as it was, it was a nice quiet spot for people to come to think. I stood there staring at the water for what could have been five minutes at the most. I sighed and realized I was nervous, and I didn't know how I was going to deal with this or what I was even going to say.

I heard footsteps and turned my head to the left a bit. From the opposite end of the path from which I came, walked Nathan. He looked straight ahead at me. He walked solemnly, his expression was unreadable and it made me more nervous. By the time he was walking up, the area was empty and everyone had left.

He approached and stood beside me, not looking at my face which was turned towards him. Neither of us spoke for a minute and then he broke the silence. "So, I'm here, Kyle." He finally looked at me.

I tried to smile. "So I see, Nathan."

"You had something to talk about?"

I sighed, "Nathan, don't act as if you don't know what I want to talk to you about. You clearly know why I called you here."

"Why's that?"

If I didn't care so much about him, I'd strangle him. "I called you because I'm worried about you and about our friendship."

He smiled bitterly. "Are you really?"

"Yes, Nathan, I am worried. You are important to me, don't you know that?" I didn't wait for him to answer that. "You've been treating me coldly lately, you've been distancing yourself. You can't even look at me anymore. Look at me!" I exclaimed, to which he turned his head and gazed into my eyes. I took a step back at the expression in his eyes. They were stormy, cloudy, and bitter. "Why?" I asked simply.

He smiled another bitter smile and took a step closer to me. "Why?" He took another step. "Why?" I stepped back. "If you don't know the answer to that then you are the biggest dumbass I know, Kyle." He took two steps towards me and I didn't have time to step away, my back hit a large tree and Nathan merely pressed against me. He lifted my face and I saw the coldness in his eyes and it was then that I knew completely. There was so much feeling in his gaze that I had the desire almost to look away or give him a moment.

Nathan was in love with me.

His lips descended to mine but I was too shocked to make a move and push him away. It wasn't a soft kiss, it was hard, brutal, punishing. He stood there and pressed against me, his lips claiming mine in a way that spoke of ownership. He wanted me for his own, his lips wanted to punish me for it, his lips sought to claim.

Finally, I pushed his face off mine and turned my face. I looked into his eyes for a second and saw the torment there. "Nathan, no." I tasted blood on my tongue.

"I know, Kyle, I know." He turned my face again and kissed me softly this time, sweetly as if wiping away the memory of the bruising kiss. His tongue licked at my bleeding lip as if seeking for an apology, as if trying to make it feel better and I melted inside.

Finally he pushed back and turned to face the water. I walked up, not angry at him, and placed a hand on his shoulder. "I do love you, Nathan." His hand grasped mine on his shoulder.

"I know, Kyle."

"I just-." He turned, "Shhh," he said, placing a finger against my lips. "I know, I love you despite the fact that you don't return the feelings, at least not in the way I'd like. I just-" He paused and stared up into the sky in one painful moment, then he looked back at me, "I just hope he's worth it." I felt a vibration and realized my hand was trembling momentarily. It stopped.

He continued, "You don't stop it and you can't even if you tried. That's what it does to you, it's unexplainable, it's miraculous."

"I'm sorry." I said simply.

"No, don't be. I'm the loser, I could have had you but I gave you up. Now you're the only thing I want and..." he laughed bitterly, "...I can't have you."

"You're not a fool, Nathan, never. You're a great guy, man." I told him, "I guess it just wasn't meant to be. I never believed in fate but maybe it just wasn't meant to be, Nathan. Don't call yourself a fool, I know you'll get over me and you'll find someone who loves you to death and who you love back even more"

He smiled. "I know, I'm quite lovable." He laughed and so did I, then he turned serious. "I love you, Kyle." He kissed me one last time and I kissed him back, his forehead rested against mine and I said, "I love you too Nathan. I'm always here for you."

"I know you'll always be there for me. I'm sorry for being a jerk these past few days," He said, slipping away again.

"Yeah you have been quite a jerk but I've been an insensitive, blind jerk so that's okay." I laughed. We stood side by side and gazed off into the distance.

"Promise you'll be safe?" He said.

I promise," I replied.

"Good, because Ryan is the scum of the Earth and he doesn't deserve you."

I laughed, "I agree, I'm sure it will pass." He looked at me and raised an eyebrow, I smiled falteringly.

"Trying to stop doesn't help, does it?" He asked knowingly.

"No, it doesn't."

"I feel better now, thank you Kyle." He smiled.

I grinned, "I'm glad you're feeling better."

"Let's stop with this mushy crap, I think I'll puke."

I laughed and plunked down, he fell beside me. We both sat there for a long time silently and just stared at the water and the sky, both thinking about and wishing for things we really couldn't have. It was strangely peaceful and I stared up into the breaking light of the sky with a sad smile.

When we left, it was with a silent bond between us, one stronger than friendship. It was then that I truly realized the complexity and uniqueness of an individual's relationship with others and how each one varied so much. Nathan and I had left that part of our friendship behind but now we were entering another one.

Jeremy called that night and asked me whether I'd spoken to Nathan and I could proudly say that I had finally done so. He seemed pleased and didn't want to intrude on our private matters but I knew he was secretly anxious about me so I told him it would all be fine.

That night I went to bed with my head feeling a little lighter than normal and a more positive outlook than I'd seen in days.

Despite the fact that I'd assured myself I'd have no contact with Ryan whatsoever if I could help it, it really was inevitable after all. What with him attempting to antagonize me or goad me into doing something stupid anytime I happened to be alone near him within the next week, It was really hard to maintain some level of composure that didn't result in me breaking his jaw in multiple relishing ways.

kept myself busy during these frequent bouts of taunting that Ryan seemed to love dishing out, by gazing off into the distance and day-dreaming about hurting Ryan in many ways. Most of these fantasies involved some form of sexual torture but some of them were just a strong desire to beat him to a pulp. I surprised even myself with the level of constraint and dedication I could show to something and realized that eventually this had become a challenge of sorts to see who would break first.

I didn't talk about him; I didn't mention him even to Jeremy and just took everything in stride. It really was immature if I really thought about it. I mean when I really thought about it, if he really didn't give a fuck about me he wouldn't waste so much energy trying to piss me off or goad me after all. He was acting like a child and he really needed to wake up and just get over it. The immediate response would then be either leaving me alone for good, getting over all the crap and going back to how things were like before, or just plainly being civil. Then again if he was realistic, smart, or mature he wouldn't be Ryan and we wouldn't be in this position right now.

I admitted to myself that if he were any of those things nothing would ever have occurred with me in the first place. And yet foolish as I was, I still cared for him and a part of me (however tiny!) thought he was slightly, slightly cute when he did those stupid things.

Jeremy had dropped me off after a quick lunch together that Friday—he claimed I'd gone too long without seeing him and that I was probably going into withdrawal soon and felt he should act right away. It was a nice day and I'd enjoyed my time with him very much. Jeremy had a tendency to make you feel like you didn't have any worries and that you were comfortable and safe.

Everything was the same and yet different.

and I got along better but our relationship was nowhere near the same as it had been before. We were nice to each other and still joked around but there was an unspoken change. Perhaps it would get better with time and perhaps it wouldn't. Laura hadn't spoken much about her recent contact with Ashlynn but by the looks of her I could see things were going fine.

The only stable thing in my life at all times seemed to be Jeremy and that was saying a lot because on the surface he seemed like such a nomad. Yet he was my rock.

Still, as I gazed into a turbulent sky one morning, I knew that the worst of the storm really hadn't come to pass.


Well I've finally gotten this chapter out though it's been written for a while. I don't know if I'm happy with it really so it would be nice to get some feedback if you all still care! I know I've been a rather neglectful author. Chapter sixteen is all done but rather a big one ( in terms of events) so I'm taking some time to really be sure of it. Although I'll end up submitting it half heartedly as usual.

Hope you enjoyed that and as ever you can reach me at:

Oh and join my group as well: