Sparkling Combustion

Part 26


Some day I'll get this edited, it's just easier for you to read it right away without tedious waiting. I have no time for back-and-forth sending to get it edited.


I sat on the front porch, awaiting Ryan. My heart beat less wildly, but still erratically. Butterflies stormed through my stomach in bursts, speeding up and then slowing down to a gentle hum, then increasing pace all over again. I felt like if I tried to speak I'd spit out slugs, that's how clogged my throat felt. And yet, I also felt like if I opened my mouth, words would pour out until none remained inside.

Headlight glared as a car pulled up into the driveway.

My heart stopped beating.

I held a hand up to shield my eyes from the bright light of the car headlights. A moment, two, three, and then a door slammed. Ryan emerged from my blind spot. He walked steadily towards me, jaw set, eyes trained directly on me. I stood and walked towards him as well, meeting him halfway.

It was a tense moment. A part of me disintegrated into happiness at seeing him walk up and the other part dreaded it. I stood in front of him and gazed up into his crystal clear gaze, his handsome face was as beautiful as ever in the light of the moon. I wished I could carry that image of him forever. We stood still like that for several minutes, then I took a deep breath and my face broke into a sheepish smile. His tense face relaxed and he smiled back at me equally as awkwardly. I felt like kissing him.

"Kyle." He said simply, reaching out to clasp my hand in his own bigger one. I looked at him pensively, wondering at his gentleness, at his breathlessness, agitation, his need to come speak to me in person, his refusal of hearing what I had to say. I let thoughts fade though, I stopped thinking. I thought too much, I let myself get too lost in analyzing something. Ryan always knew how to make me feel and not over-think. He was the only one who succeeded. I closed my eyes momentarily and reveled in the feel of his cold hand encircling my own. I wished I could lean closer and bury my face in his hard chest.

Ryan seemed to read my thoughts somehow. While I gazed into his face, I felt him coming closer, nearing me. It was no sudden movement like it had been before, there was no sudden meeting, and it was gentle, like the caress of his skin against my hands. His lips hovered just above mine. I didn't think. I just let myself feel. I should have backed away, I shouldn't have let him do that to me all over again, but what part of me had ever been rational around him?

He seemed to be saying, `it's all up to you this time. You make the move.' He'd told me he would respect my feelings, that he understood, and so he wouldn't kiss me, that would be disrespectful.

Despite knowing better, I leaned up and completed the gesture. I met him halfway again and it was utterly beautiful and so pacifying, I swear my heart let out a sigh of deep liberation. It was no frenzy of lips and hands seeking to get closer, seeking selfish pleasure and wanting to capture another person's soul for their own. Rather, It was like a gentle wave that sought to put a child to sleep, that sought to give pleasure in the purest form.

My hands didn't want to let go of his, but so much love was I pouring into the kiss, that I needed to hold onto him for support. It seemed like he was pouring his own soul into the kiss and his hands were at my cheeks, cupping them and holding me to him like I was a fine piece of china. He sighed into the kiss and his one hand travelled to my back, pulling me closer, holding me to his body where it felt like home. I sighed and let my lips slip away, resting in the hollow of his neck.

Love has a tendency to overflow; to flow over the brim like a cup full of tea.

Ryan's arms around me felt so comforting and so utterly...right that I didn't ever want to let go. I wanted to remain within them forever, clichéd though it may sound. Within moments, the thought of what I had intended to do had faded and the only memory I retained was that of Ryan's nearness, that of my love for Ryan.

Lights boomed behind us from the porch. I felt Ryan release me and I turned to witness Jeremy standing at the front porch. I smiled wanly at him.

"Kyle." He said. "What are you doing?" He sounded neither upset, nor unhappy, but resigned to a disappointed and rueful state.

"I called him here." I explained. "I had to talk to him about something."

"Talk...I see." Jeremy forced a smile. "I'll be inside then. See you in a bit." He turned to go. Before the door closed, I saw a few other faces peer out and then pop away from sight.

It seemed all curiosity hadn't faded however, because Josh came bounding out seconds later before we had even turned back to each other. I still had my back to Ryan. Josh didn't say anything, though. He just walked up, past me to Ryan. "Josh, what--." I didn't finish that sentence though because Josh had just thrown a punch at Ryan, catching him off guard. "Josh!" I exclaimed. "What are you doing?"

"This asshole won't leave you alone. I saw him kissing you. What the fuck does he think you are, huh? I know I treated it like it was nothing and made you do stupid things, Kyle, but he's not worth it." He glared at Ryan, who was incredibly wise for not saying anything after such a hard punch.

"Fair enough." Ryan said. "But I think you don't know the half of it, even, so you can leave."

"Fuck off. C'mon, Kyle."

I glared at Josh. "No. Leave now."

"Kyle, don't be stupid--."

"I said: Leave. Now!" I spoke each word with enough force that even Josh had to stop and widen his eyes. He got that I was really upset by his actions. He glared at the both of us before storming back inside. Even though I heard the door close behind us, I didn't turn back to Ryan. I was breathing heavily, really upset.

"It's okay, Kyle." Ryan gripped my shoulder, forcing me to turn back around and face him. His hand lingered.

I examined Ryan's jaw in the light of the porch that had been left on. It looked okay. I wanted to touch it but didn't dare.

"I'm fine, Kyle." Ryan said. I looked up into his eyes; he was smiling.

I stiffened. "Sorry about that. He completely killed the moment." I forced a laugh.

"Yeah, tell me about it." Ryan chuckled. "I think the moment was hurt more than I was."

"Bad joke." I snorted, still tense and frowning a little.

"I came to tell you something." Ryan said. He wasn't smiling anymore, he looked tense. I wanted to reach out and smooth his worries away.

"No, you came to hear something." I corrected, relaxing. "I had to tell you something."

"I'm going to tell you something first."

I didn't say anything, merely looked up at him and waited for him to continue. Eventually, Ryan caught on. He took a deep breath. "I was going to wait," He explained, "felt this way for a while, but I was going to wait. And then lately I've been more and more straight with myself. Tonight, when you called," Ryan gulped, "Well, I couldn't let you tell me you're going to get over me."

"How do you know what--." I began, really confused at this point.

"Let me finish." Ryan interrupted. "It's been...hard. This entire year has been so confusing and stressful on so many levels. I spent most of it hating myself and hating you, but I knew there was more to it at the core." Ryan paused. I could see the struggle working within him, trying to think of the right things to say. "I don't know when I began to see things differently, but I just did. I do know that I slowly began to become aware of it. Fuck...bear with me, Kyle."

"I'm listening." I assured him. I didn't think, I just reached out and grabbed his hand. He relaxed a little, sighed.

"It's just...slowly everything became clear and eventually I knew I couldn't hide or run away from it, and that I wanted nothing else." Ryan said. I was so confused. I waited patiently though. "Its...I--, God, I've never done this before."

I squeezed his hand, comforting him.

"I'll just come right out and say it. Ignore the rant before."

"I love you, Kyle." Ryan said. "And I know that it's bad timing," He rushed to say without letting me grasp his words, "But I can't contain it. I don't know when I fell in love with you but I don't want anyone else anymore."

"But I know you want something different, like you said, you weren't happy with what we had going and I get that. I wasn't either in my own way. I want-I want more than that with you. I want to be with you." Ryan took a deep breath.

"You're ready to move on though. You want to get over me and I get that too, but I don't want you to. Just give me a chance. I can show you that I'm worth it. And know that saying...all this is...isn't easy for me. I'm not great at this and I don't know how to show you what I feel. I wasn't going to bother you with my feelings again, but then things changed when I realized something and I knew I couldn't let you go. I had to try."

My hand slipped from his. I took a step backwards, my jaw agape, my heart beating madly in my chest. Half with hysterical happiness that wanted me to grab onto him and the other half with disbelief, with fear that caused me to ease away from Ryan.

"I-I-Ryan...I don't know what to say." I managed.

Ryan didn't speak again. I know it had taken a lot of effort for him to make the admission of love, to say everything else he had said and I didn't expect him to say anything else. Perhaps a normal human being would have gone with that happy part of their heart that wanted to make everything right and good. They would have eagerly run into Ryan's arms. I was far from normal.

"Say something." Ryan finally said.

"Uh," I gulped, "I'm sorry."

Ryan's face looked as if it was carved in stone. Gone was the vulnerability, the gentleness that had filled his magnificent high-cheekbones. It broke my heart to have to say that, to back away from him as though I didn't return his feelings. I couldn't bring myself to say the words. I love you too. I would get hurt again. Ryan didn't know what he wanted. Ryan didn't love me. He'd hurt me and I'd be broken all over again, even more broken than before.

Deep down, my heart had sucked in the admission of his love. Deep inside, I believed, or rather wanted to believe. On the surface, there was a different tale to be told

"Then you didn't mean it?" Ryan said softly. His voice was hollow, rife with fresh hurt. It cut into my soul.

I looked at him questioningly. "Mean what?"

"You told me you loved me." He said gently. "It made me take this chance. I couldn't let you go if there was any chance you loved me." He explained. "You didn't mean it."


"You were drunk," He told me, "A week ago or so ago."

"At the party." I realized. "I don't remember."

"It's fine. I understand." Ryan said. He looked at me like someone memorizing the face of something precious. I grimaced and looked away from so deep a gaze.

"I'm sorry." I said simply. I turned around and walked away from him, aware of his gaze burning into my back the entire time. I rushed up the steps and almost fell, then opened the door, walked in and shut it gently behind me, pressing my back against it and closing my eyes in relief.

Immediately upon walking in, Jeremy was at my side. I saw Fancy peer around the corner. She grimaced and smiled at me hesitantly. I smiled back rather wanly, trying to tell her without speaking that I would be fine. No words came out. I didn't want to see anyone at all.

"I, um, want to go home. Jeremy, do you mind dropping me off?" I asked him, wanting his company more than a ride home. Calling my mother wasn't an option at the moment.

Nathan was beside Fancy. I caught his eye. He cocked his head and offered a small smile. It said a lot. `I feel your pain.' I knew at that moment that despite a changed relationship, Nathan was still a good friend.

Laura peered around the corner at me, her expression worried. She held up her hands. "I thought it would work out, Kyle." She offered hesitantly. I still didn't question her role in the preceding events. I wouldn't do so. I'd told myself I wouldn't.

Josh made a move as if to come closer to me, but Laura held him back with a hand on his arm and a prodding look into his eyes. I caught Josh's eye and smiled briefly through the dull throbbing of my pulse, wanting to let him know it was alright. It would always be. These people were my friends.

"I'll take you." Jeremy said with his solemn expression sealed in stone.

I said a quick bye to everyone and followed Jeremy to his car parked on the side of the road. We both sat down. Jeremy pulled out and drove in silence to my house.

On the way there, I didn't speak. My mind simply recounted what had happened. Ryan had told me he loved me. It was something I had never imagined would come out of his lips. I couldn't let the happy part of me out though because that would mean opening myself up to pain.

Dimly, I became aware of the fact that Jeremy had pulled into my driveway. I didn't turn to him, but stared straight ahead at the white door of the garage. "He said he loves me." I said, my own voice sounding foreign.

Jeremy was silent too, thoughtful. He looked like what I imagined I must look like, although I don't know why he would. "I see." He said.

I snorted. "No advice this time?"

Jeremy shook his head, staring off into the space before him. "I don't know what to say." His voice was exhausted sounding, his expression pained.

"Yeah." I leaned my head back onto the seat although my eyes remained wide open. "Me neither."

"What's the problem, anyway?" Jeremy asked. "He loves you, you love him. Be happy. Others aren't so fortunate." Jeremy's voice was gruff.

I turned my face to him. "Hey, it's not like I control what I feel."

"Actually, you do. You can choose to be happy, or sad."

"Sometimes you can't. Sometimes a feeling overwhelms you."

"So you chicken out and run away from love when it slaps you in the faces and dances around you yelling, `here I am, take me,'?" Jeremy asked.

"If he, your guy, told you he loved you tomorrow, and you felt afraid, you didn't want to be hurt, would you still take it?" I asked him.

Jeremy didn't smile like I expected him too. He didn't look at me, but kept staring straight ahead. "I'd take it and run. Fear isn't enough to keep you from something, it shouldn't be. Like I said, others are less fortunate."

"So I shouldn't be afraid?"

"You can be afraid." Jeremy responded.

"But then what are you saying?" I was confused.

"Fear is normal, it's human, and human is all you can be. Love is extraordinary and I wouldn't let fear of hurt get in my way of love. You know what they say, it's better to have loved and lost then to have never loved at all."

"I don't know if that's true though." I pleaded.

"I do." Jeremy said.

"Damn," I said, "You make me feel dim-witted."

"Don't feel stupid. Feel fortunate that I'm here. What would you do without me?" Jeremy smiled for the first time, albeit a little stiffly. His eyes had a cold, steely look to them now that made me pause for a second.

"I don't know," I admitted. "I have to go see him." I said.

"Now?" Jeremy asked.

"Or never." I gulped.

Jeremy started the car. "Aye, aye captain."


"Thanks for being there for me." I said to Jeremy, glancing at the huge house in front of me through the window.

"Always." Jeremy said simply. "Go on, now."

"Wish me luck."

"You won't need it."

"I hope not." I mumbled, getting out of the car. I glanced back one last time. Jeremy smiled supportively before driving off. I'd told him to leave me, that I'd find my way home.

It was really late.

I knocked tentatively on the door once, then once more--louder this time. I waited for someone to come to the door. Footsteps on the stairs, coming closer to the door, I shifted restlessly. The door opened and Ryan's mother stood there in cool perfection.

"Ah." She said upon seeing me. "Come in. I wondered why Ryan came home in such bad spirits several minutes ago."

"Uh, Hi," I said, and entered.

"He's upstairs. Although, I must warn you, he is in an awfully intense mood so you should tread softly around him." Mrs. Melbourne said. She smiled at me, taking me aback completely. "How are you? I haven't seen you around here in a while, I might add."

"Erm, I'm okay. I should go see Ryan..." I'd never been good at talking with parents.

"Alright. It's best that you do. Well, you know the way. Keep it...erm...quiet." She said, leaving me alone as she walked into a door I assumed was her study. I watched her receding form before I looked up at the great staircase before me. Slowly, I climbed my way up and came into the hall. I walked to Ryan's door and knocked.

"I'm not hungry." Ryan said.

"Uh, it's me." I said.

No response. No movement. A flurry of bed sheets, bedsprings shifting, then soft padded steps to the door. Ryan stood in front of me then in a pair of blue boxers, his chest bare, hard and golden in a way that should be unfair.

"Kyle," Ryan said gruffly. His hair was mussed and his eyes were heavy-lidded. "I was about to fall asleep. Come in." He said. I followed him inside. He stood several feet away. "Why did you come here?"

I looked hard at the ground, gulped, and looked back up into Ryan's green eyes again. I held my chin up. "I'm sorry about before."

"I think we established that." Ryan said rather coldly.

I flinched. "No, not that. Well, I-uh..." I ran my fingers through my hair. "Okay, let's get this straight, I'm not good at this whole talking thing either."


Ryan watched me curiously. "Earlier," I explained, "I was really uh, confused, and taken by surprise. I didn't expect that to come out of your mouth, so I didn't get much time to think. The thing is that I don't...fuck...I don't not have feelings for you." I said.

"What?" Ryan asked, clearly confused.

"I don't not have feelings for you." I repeated.

"English please?"

I flushed. "I, well, you were right in thinking that I had feelings for you."

Ryan raised an eyebrow. "Oh?" He was much better at this than I was.

"Fuck this all to hell!"I shouted. "This is getting ridiculous. I have never heard of a more incompetent admission of love in my life! I mean what's all this for? We've been circling each other for ages and even when we meet each other halfway, we end up taking five steps back again. It's time for this to end. We either break the circle and walk away or finally meet on common foot!"

Ryan's face slowly slid into a small smile. "Admission of love? Is that what that was?"

"Did you completely miss the point of that?" I asked, agitated. We still stood three feet away from one another.

Ryan took a step forward. "Is that what that was, Kyle?" He asked softly.

I blushed. "Uh, well, yes."

Ryan smiled, and then laughed. He came real close, reached out and me, pulling me close. With his lips against my ear, he murmured. "In that case, I don't not have feelings for you too."


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