I apologize about the formatting issues on the last few chapters. They look okay but when they show up on nifty...I dunno. Anyway, as usual, this isn't edited and any mistakes are mine.
My evening with Rob sustained me for the rest of the week. Due to Laura's pressing him, Josh was a little more subdued about trying to set me up again. I can't comprehend why he felt like it was up to him to somehow get me a boyfriend, which is absurd. The guy is absolutely mental. Rob is a great guy and I told him I wanted to be friends with him, but only that.
"I can meet people on my own if I feel like it." I told him repeatedly. "Besides, I'm only sixteen." Laura looked at me with an approving gaze when I said this to Josh and it made me feel a bit better about having to bitch at him
On Friday, the last day of school before school was out for the March break, Jeremy skipped class and came over to our school. Seeing him walking across our cafeteria during our spare made me smile. When he sat down, I cheered. There were small groups of people sitting here and there, but since it wasn't a regular lunch period, the cafeteria was mainly empty.
"Jeremy!" I exclaimed. "It's good to see you."
Josh gaped. "Why are you so nice to him?"
"He's not." Jeremy assured him. Jeremy's expression was wry, his silver eyes twinkled.
"Because he's awesome." I said to Josh.
"I'm awesome too." Josh said.
"You're not as awesome as Jeremy though." Laura batted her eyelashes.
Jeremy flashed his million dollar smile, his silver-eyes flashed wickedly. "God, if only you were straight, Laura." He said jokingly.
"Back off, she has a girlfriend." Josh warned.
"What are you, her spokesman?" I asked.
"Shut up, Kyle."
"See, that's why Jeremy's my best friend."
"What?" Josh exclaimed. "Dude, I thought I was your best friend?"
Laura rolled her eyes, and looked at me with a grin on her face. I winked. "No...Jeremy's my best friend."
"No, I'm your best friend." He corrected. Jeremy just sat patiently through this, examining his nails.
"Okay, you're my best friend, Josh. Better?" I asked.
"Yes. Thank you. That was not a good joke."
"Oh, there's Ryan. Should I call him over, Kyle?" Laura asked. Everyone still felt the need to be hesitant and question me every time something concerning Ryan came up. "Yep, call him." I shrugged uncaringly.
Jeremy raised an eyebrow. "Something I'm missing?" He asked.
"Ryan's cool." I shrugged again
"The question is, are you?" Jeremy cocked his head. The bastard!
"Yeah, I'm better." I said simply, not feeling a need to explain myself at this point.
Ryan came over to our table and grinned. He looked around at everyone before settling on Jeremy. His smile faded, seriousness overshadowed happiness. "Hey." He said, looking away quickly.
Jeremy said. "Hey," Tentative at first, then, "How you doing?"
"I'm great...you?" Ryan asked, sitting down beside me. His forearm brushed mine. It was a delicious sensation because it was Ryan. I groaned inwardly.
"Fine, fine." Jeremy said.
"Wow that was really tense." Josh observed.
I don't know why I found that so funny, but it just was. I burst into laughter and found that I couldn't stop. Everyone sort of shut up and watched me half in amazement and half in amusement. "Sorry," I wiped my eyes minutes later. "I don't know why that was so funny..."
Ryan laughed beside me. "I've never seen you laugh that hard." He said.
"I have." Jeremy said. "That time I tickled you."
"What the fuck? Dude, you did not just say you tickled Kyle." Josh stated.
"Uh, I did actually." Jeremy said. "I'm gay, remember?" He said.
"Actually, you're bisexual." Laura corrected. I looked sharply at her. "What?" She asked defensively.
"You always correct everyone."
"I do not!" She said and subsequently shut her mouth, realizing that arguing would only prove my point. Josh engaged her in another argument soon enough.
"Anyway," Ryan tapped my shoulder. I turned to him, feeling my heart melt a little. Why, God, must you do this to me? "How was your date?" He asked me, seeming eager to know the answer. "I never got a chance to ask you."
"Oh..." I thought back on it. "Oh yeah, I ended up not going."
Ryan appeared passive. "How come?" He asked.
"I forgot I had a report due Tuesday." I explained. "But Rob came over to help me with it and stuff..."
"Oh..." Ryan said. "I see. Well, that was nice of him." I nodded awkwardly.
"What's this you guys are talking about?" Jeremy asked, detaching himself from Laura and Josh's conversation.
"Oh, Kyle had a date on Monday so we were talking about that." Ryan explained.
"A date?" Jeremy frowned. "Explain."
"Oh you didn't know? Well, Kyle was--."
"I think I'd like to hear it from Kyle, thanks anyway, though Ryan." Jeremy said, casting a sharp glance at Ryan. Ryan merely nodded and let me speak, although he gave Jeremy a vehemently cold look.
"It was nothing." I said. "I'll tell you about it later."
"I don't talk to you for a few days and you go out doing something stupid...again. What is with you and making stupid choices?" Jeremy asked. I felt my face flush because Jeremy felt some need to say this in front of Ryan. Lovely...
"Um, I think Kyle can do what he likes." Ryan said to Jeremy.
"Thanks, but I think I know Kyle a little better than you."
"What are you, his keeper?" Ryan asked.
"Something like that." Jeremy waved him off.
"It was Josh's idea." I burst out. No one seemed to hear me though.
"Well, frankly, I don't see how it was stupid. He seems like a nice guy and Kyle really likes him. If it makes Kyle happy, then what's wrong with that?" Ryan asked.
"I'm here guys..." I said, but still no one paid attention to me.
"I think you're the last person that needs to worry about Kyle's happiness." Jeremy asked, raising his voice a little now. "Considering how you treated him. You know what they say. A leapord doesn't change his spots."
Ryan opened his mouth, shut it, and then just looked down at the table.
The hum of Laura and Josh's voices were audible in the silence that followed. Ryan remained silent. Jeremy looked bored and stared at his hands. I sat there, shocked at what had just transpired. I was upset that they would do that. Both of them. Ryan, however, had shown a lot of improvement. Everyone deserved a second chance and Ryan had been nothing but nice lately. Jeremy shouldn't have said those things. That was running through my head and yet I didn't speak.
Finally, I decided not to remain silent anymore. "That was unnecessary, Jeremy." I said, raising my eyes to his.
He shrugged. "Whatever."
"No, really. I think I can speak for myself, and the fact is that Ryan has been really nice. So that was rude and unnecessary. I think you should apologize." I insisted, sparing a cold look at Jeremy.
"I don't think so. I'm not going to apologize for stating the truth." Jeremy crossed his arms.
"So you think people can't change?"I asked. "That's actually what you're saying?" My eyebrows were in my hair.
"No but I'm not wrong about the fact that he treated you like shit."
"I treated him like shit too, Jeremy." I glanced at Ryan apologetically. He was looking at me with a funny expression on his face. "You're a little biased, it makes sense, but come on. You cannot actually make the statement that people can't change." I was almost incredulous at Jeremy's temerity!
"Fine, I think you're an asshole and I don't care how Kyle treated you because you're worth shit, but I apologize for saying, no implying, that you can't have changed. Kyle's being nice to you because he can't help it." Jeremy said this all in one breath, looking directly at Ryan's unblinking face the entire time.
"Wow," Laura said, "What a line to tune into. I'd ask, but I'll just pretend I didn't hear that. Seriously, though, intense stuff!" Josh, meanwhile raised his eyebrows, whistled, and took out his phone, wanting nothing to do with this obviously.
Ryan smiled though. "Whatever, dude," He said, "I don't care what you think I'm worth. Thanks, Kyle." He threw me a smile. "You're a good friend." Jeremy rolled his eyes at this. We all ignored him.
"Aww," Laura said, "This is a picture worthy moment. Group hug first!"
So with a lot of fussing, Laura managed to grab a person and had them take a few pictures with her camera of all of us after forcing us into a group hug. Jeremy and Ryan made sure not to make contact. Josh was looking at his phone in a few, and in some he made stupid faces.
Laura was upset at him when we viewed them after. "You're such an idiot. What part of `let's take a group picture' means that you should get out your phone and text people?"
"Sorry, it's Friday, last day of school before March break and there is one kickass party tonight!" He exclaimed. "So, yeah the texting was important."
Laura rolled her eyes. "Typical."
"It's at my friend's, friend's, friend's brother's parent's cottage." He explained. "The weather's nice today. You guys in?"
"Hell, yeah!" Jeremy exclaimed.
"You and Jeremy should get married."I told Josh.
Josh rolled his eyes. "Nah, I'd rather marry a girl." Then he laughed. "Hey I'm the only one here who hasn't done a member of the opposite sex."
There was a moment in which the only person laughing was Josh. Jeremy joined in. I squirmed and felt myself blushing. I decided I'd kill Josh later. Honestly, was he dim-witted?
"Sorry, Ryan." Josh winked.
Ryan laughed. "It's no big." He looked at me and grinned. I let out a sigh of relief. Beside me I felt Laura release her breath too. She winked at me.
"Yeah, we all know you did Kyle." Josh said.
"Josh, that's enough!" Laura said with a gasp. Even I was shocked he had the nerve to say that aloud. None of us had openly spoken of it in front of Ryan before. I pretended to be really immersed in the pattern of my jeans, which had no pattern.
"Hey , it's cool, Laura." Ryan insisted. "I don't mind. It is what it is. I'm not ashamed of it." He said, shrugging. I saw Jeremy raise his eyebrows, giving Ryan an approving glance.
"Don't worry, Ryan," Josh winked again, "We won't tell anyone else."
"Like I said, I don't really care." Ryan shrugged.
"Um, okay." Josh replied. "Well, you're a champ. I guess you don't even mind that Laura's dating your ex-girlfriend."
Ryan wasn't fazed. "I know." He said. "Laura told me." Laura smirked at Josh who frowned at her.
"You guys talk?" Josh asked, glancing at his phone occasionally while he spoke.
"Yep." Laura said. "I'm a very good listener."
Josh snorted. "Right, have fun believing that. Anyway, I have the address, my friend just texted it to me. You guys in?"
I shook my head. "Nah."
"Come on." Jeremy said. A good party was something even he would tell me to go to, even though he acted like my mother at times.
Ryan shrugged. "I'm in," He said.
"Me too. I'll bring Ashlynn." Laura said.
Josh frowned at her. "You know you talk about Ashlynn more than anyone, and we've only met her a handful of times."
"I know, I know, she just feels odd being around you guys because...well her history with uh...Ryan," Laura glanced at Ryan uncomfortably, "And the fact that Kyle has a history with Ryan too. She thinks it might be uncomfortable." She said carefully. She'd never told me this before...
Josh nodded, already forgetting what she'd said probably. "Well, you in Kyle? You're the only one who said no."
"This is lame. All of us are going?" I said.
"Why's that lame? At least you'll know plenty of people there instead of one or two." Laura said.
Jeremy was the only one who'd stopped trying. Ryan tried this time. "Come on...you should bring Rob if you want...if it'll be more fun that way..."
They all cheered.
It was going to be one hell of a night, I decided.
Rob was supposed to meet us by the front of the house. Meanwhile Ryan was driving Laura, Ashlynn, and Josh. I was tagging along with Jeremy, whom I was upset at, but I still spoke to because frankly, I couldn't go long without speaking to him.
"So, Rob and you are just friends?" He asked again.
"Yes, for God's sake." I said for the fifth time.
"Sorry, but I respect him already. He backed off when he realized the situation."
"Okay, Mother. No wait, you're worse than my mother." I rolled my eyes.
"Shut up, you love me." Jeremy said.
"I'm mad at you." I crossed my arms angrily.
"Save it. We're here." He pulled onto a
gravel road and a makeshift parking space.
"Looks like the others have arrived already. There they are," He pointed to the front of the lovely looking cottage. It didn't look like it was packed yet. Good.
We got out of the car and made our way across the paved road to the front of the building. I spotted Rob standing beside Josh. He was talking to Laura who was standing beside Ryan and Ashlynn.
"C'mon," I said to Jeremy, "Let's catch up."
"Kyle!" Rob said enthusiastically as I approached. His eyes lit up in a devilish way. He walked over to me and embraced me, literally. It was a little much for a friendly hug. Laura coughed. Josh grinned. Jeremy raised his eyebrows. I didn't gauge Ryan's reaction; He seemed indifferent.
"Hey," I laughed, "Very funny."
"What can I say? I'm a comedian." Rob winked, and then mumbled in my ear. "Damn he's a hot straight boy." He backed up. "Ready to party?" He asked everyone.
"See y'all later," Josh laughed and jogged inside. Ryan stormed off after him. Ashlynn and Laura already had drinks in hand and were walking down to the beach. Couples...
Only Rob, Jeremy, and I remained. Rob nodded at Jeremy, and then held a hand out. "You must be Jeremy."
"And you must be Rob," Jeremy said with a grin, "Nice dramatic greeting."
"I'm not going to sleep with you, no matter how cute you are."
"Convincing yourself?" Jeremy smirked.
"Protecting myself, more like. Kyle's told me a lot about you." Rob said truthfully.
"He exaggerates quite a bit."
"Really? I was under the impression that he lays it on quite thin." Rob winked.
"Depends who you trust."
"Stop flirting!" I exclaimed. "I'm outta here."
Later, I left Jeremy and Rob and walked in through the door that everyone else had walked through. It seemed like most of the furniture had been set aside so that a makeshift dance floor was formed. I peered around several people and spotted a familiar blond head in a far end of the large room. His light blue collared shirt was easily recognizable. I was about to call out his name when I saw that he had a girl attached to his arm. Her blood red nails held on to his arm as he leaned over to talk in her ear. Suddenly the smile melted off my face. Then they were already making out. I felt like barfing.
The room seemed less beautiful. The mahogany wooden floor lost its charm and I looked around forlornly. I looked back. They were still at it. She had her arms wrapped around his neck; his hands were gripping her waist. Hands that had touched me...
I closed my eyes, fought the tumult of emotions that seemed resigned to resurface. Fuck. What was the point of even trying to get better if a single split second could make it all come back? I turned on my heel and thus made my decision to get completely smashed.
It wasn't fun or amusing and it certainly didn't make me happy, but I did it anyway out of some sense of desperation and some anger (at myself and Ryan, I think). My friends had left me entirely on my own, or I had left them. I couldn't remember eventually. I just danced and talked with random people. Everything was suddenly funny. Every person was brilliant; Hell, even I was pretty brilliant by then!
Actions became slurred, words became funny loud noises, thoughts became bright and I developed an extrasensory gift of being able to detect brilliance. Lamps were brilliant and so were floors, and people were amazing, I thought. Yet great moments, as easily as they commence, do have to conclude.
I cannot recall how I got there but I was suddenly outside with several people and I don't even remember what they were trying to get me to do, but it wasn't particularly intelligent, and yet I was definitely contemplating agreeing to do so. What I can remember is that while such amazing feats were going on in my head, other troubles were obviously brewing.
I looked up and saw three different faces, all too similar to differentiate between, yet all attractive in a weird way. I tilted my head and they became prettier. Then a fourth face. Hair the color of wheat and pale skin. Pink lips. A familiar face, I realized. Coming closer, lips turned down into a frown.
"Jason." I realized aloud. Then, punch, "Shit." I was knocked to the ground by the impact of contact against my cheek. I tasted blood from where I bit my lip. I realized blood really did taste metallic. "Hi, Jason. You always were charming..." I smiled blindly, struggled to get up.
"Fuck you." He said, sneering. He punched me again. I was prepared for it this time and wasn't knocked down but I wasn't in any state fit to fight back. I laughed. "That hurt."
"Fight, fight, fight!" The onlookers yelled. I wondered why I'd found such a crowd. Shouldn't they care? Were they my friends? Hmm no.
"I don't like you guys," I said. "I'm drunnnnnk. I can't fight, see?" I said, demonstrating a jab, and catching Jason unaware. Oh, he was pissed now. He gave me a big one; I let him and fell with a soft thud on to the hard ground. My skin hurt but I couldn't pinpoint the exact location.
"Ouch. Okay, bye Jason." I waved. "Ta-ta."
"What the fuck is going on?" A familiar voice this time. I blinked and looked up: A fifth face. This one was pretty. Ryan.
"Ryan! You look nice." I admired. "Wait, I don't like you right now." I couldn't remember why but I knew I didn't.
"Kyle, why's this guy hitting you?" Ryan asked again, holding out a hand to help me up.
"I'm fine," I said, waving his hand off, "He's just pissed because I knocked him out at a party a while ago. Except, he started it!"
Ryan's jaw tensed. He grabbed my arm and examined it for some reason. I pulled it back. I wondered why he did that but didn't get to finish that thought because he'd turned around and was walking up to Jason. He just walked right up and thrust his clenched fist at Jason's square jaw, knocking him off balance. A second later, he had Jason on the ground and was punching the shit out of the poor guy.
From where I lay, I raised myself up on my elbows to watch. "Yeah! Go Ryan!" I yelled. "Woo!" Jason did get a few good hits in, but Ryan wasn't making any moves to let the guy go. The sound of flesh hitting flesh was nauseating. I felt like throwing up but managed to control myself.
I sat up and crossed my legs, holding my chin in my hand. This was getting boring. Why didn't Ryan come back? I wanted him to come back.
Eventually, while I sat there cross-legged, a few people had to come in and break the fight up. Jason was lead away by his friends, I saw lisa-may and Jennifer among them flash me funny looks. I decided I'd delete their numbers off my cell phone if they were friends with Jason the jerk.
Ryan came back. This made me happy. I smiled at Ryan. He smiled back ruefully, wiping his forehead. He held out a hand; I stared at it.
"C'mon, Kyle, Lets go sit by the beach." He said. His blond hair lay matted against his forehead. I wondered if he'd gone swimming.
"Did you go swimming?" I tried to grab his hair.
Ryan laughed warmly. "You are completely trashed aren't you?"
"I want gum; do you have gum?"
"Yes, I have gum. Now c'mon!" Ryan chuckled. "I've never seen you this drunk. Wow, Kyle completely pissed is hilarious."
I placed my hand in his; it felt right. I wanted to leave it there, so I did even when I was completely upright and we walked together to the beach. We didn't speak anymore. I love Ryan, I remember thinking. We sat in cool sand on the beach. I wasn't worried about getting sand between my toes so I took my shoes and socks off. It was slightly chilly; after all it was dark now.
"I wonder where Rob and Jeremy are." I thought aloud.
"Oh, they were um, getting cozy." Ryan said uncomfortably. "I'm sorry, Kyle."
"Hmm?" I looked at him instead of the water. "You're prettier than the water." I observed, tilting my head.
Ryan laughed. "I'm glad you think I'm pretty."
I smiled. "Do you think I'm pretty?"
"I think you're very handsome." Ryan said, grinning.
I frowned. "Handsome?"
"Yeah, handsome. Boys are handsome, girls are pretty." Ryan clarified.
"But what If I think you're pretty?"
"Then you think I look feminine?" Ryan laughed.
"No, you're sexy in a manly way." I said
"Yeah?" Ryan's eyebrows went up. "That's fantastic to hear."
I hiccoughed. "I like your hair. Can I touch it?"
"Yeah, go ahead." He leaned foreword as if to allow me to do so, bending his head so his hair was level with my hands. I placed my hands in his hair. It was soft to the touch, silky. I wanted to wrap my fingers in it. I remembered doing so when he was fucking me. It seemed like something I should say at the time.
"I always liked your hair, especially when I wrapped it in my fingers when you fucked me. Remember?"
Ryan stilled, and then slowly backed his head up again. "Yeah, I remember," He said softly, looking off into the horizon at something perhaps only he could see. "Man, no inhibitions, huh?" He stated after a while, shaking his head at me. "Is that why you don't care that your new boyfriend is making out with Jeremy?"
"Rob and Jeremy? How nice." I said. "Jeremy needs someone like him. Rob's not my boyfriend by the way. You're stupid, Ryan."
Ryan didn't seem to have heard much I said. "He's not your boyfriend?"
"No," I said, giggling, "He's not."
"Oh. I thought you two went out?" Ryan asked curiously.
"We did, but something wasn't right. Hmm...something tells me I shouldn't tell you this, but, I dunno." I shrugged.
"Tell me what?" Ryan asked, interested.
I moved closer to him, laid my head on his shoulder and yawned. "You see, I'm in love with you, kay?"
Ryan didn't say anything. He was still.
Still nothing. I yawned again.
"Well, anyway. I tried to forget about you. It was no good. No one else is any good." I couldn't stop yawning. I felt so utterly tired, so exhausted, it felt like I hadn't slept in years. "You're so stupid; I dunno why it's like this." I closed my eyes. "I'm tired."
Ryan was still for a long time. I felt no movement. I shrugged it off and felt my eye-lids getting really heavy. Sleep was so near. "Hey, wake up!" Ryan shook me awake again. He was in front of me, gripping my shoulders. His green eyes were intent, concerned. I frowned. "I wanna sleep."
"No, you were knocked around on your head a bit. Even if it's nothing, you shouldn't sleep now, okay, Kyle?" Ryan said softly.
I groaned. "Fine." I pouted. "You weren't saying anything."
"Yeah, that's because I was thinking about stuff, Kyle."
"Lots of stuff." He smiled at me. "About you, actually."
"Me?" I lit up. "Really?"
"Can I sleep now?"
"No, you can't, Kyle." Ryan repeated, still watching me closely. "What about now?" I asked. "No, Kyle, you can't." He repeated patiently. He smiled suddenly and leaned forward, kissing my forehead gently, lips lingering. Soft, sweet, I felt warm inside. I felt happy. I felt his lips on my cheek then, spreading a warm glow through me. I reached out and stroked the skin of his arm.
"What was that for?" I wondered. He backed up again.
"Just because." Ryan shrugged, grinning.
I smiled. "I like `just because'."
Ryan chuckled. "Me too."
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