So I'd finally done it, I'd broken up with James. After two years of being cheated on and lied too, I'd finally done it. This was a good thing, I knew it in my bones, in my heart and even my skin knew it was true but my mind was playing tricks on me; tears covered my face.
At sixteen, I shouldn't be so sad about a relationship ending. Yes it was two years but I'd always known it wouldn't last and I had a lifetime to find a relationship that would stay grounded. However I knew why the tears flowed down my face so vigorously, no matter how much I hated to acknowledge it, I was simply still a girl, a girl who needed her best friend. Wrapping my quilt tightly around me, I curled into a ball on my bed.
I wanted to call Ryan - desperately - I wanted someone who would listen to me ramble on and have a good moan but I knew it was not the best idea. Ryan had never liked James, in fact Ryan hated James and I knew that if I was too call him he would be pleased, he would laugh, he would say all the horrible things about my ex and he would make me laugh, however I knew how carried away Ryan could get. How he would make everything about James seem much darker than it actually was.
I realized then I wanted to be alone for a little while longer, just to give my mind time to clear. I closed my eyes and remembered the day vividly.
I replayed the scene in which I walked up to James, told him it 'was over', his face became expressionless, his fists clenched, my heart had sped up as he'd spat at me before storming off. Feeling the pain, only a teenage girl can feel when she knows she's hurt someone who had loved her - treated her like dirt yes, but had indeed loved her - and I cried, closing my eyes so tight hoping no more tears would seep through.
I heard a loud tapping noise on my bedroom window, I opened my eyes, and they were sore as was my throat. I sat up and turned to face my window.
I couldn't help but smile, I unwrapped myself from the cocoon I'd made with my quilt. I walked over to my window and lifted it up. I sat with my legs dangling outside and my bottom comfortably placed on my windowsill. I was glad at how big the window was and I'd done this a thousand times because there was someone doing the exact same thing as me, someone who'd practiced the art of conversations through window panes.
A mere two feet apart - with a 12ft drop to the separating garden wall - I smiled at Ryan.
"One day, I'll throw a penny at your window so hard, it will crack you know" he said looking down at the drop below us. Ryan's bedroom lamp provided the light we always needed to see each other in the deep darkness of whatever a.m. it was.
The light always highlighted him so well. His dark blonde hair was in what seemed a perfect mess, it was mid length, clinging to his nape and curling slightly around his ears. His barely tanned skin made his almost black eyes seem even darker and his beautiful smile could never look bad, no matter what light.
"I know" I said while rolling my eyes, "so I take it you know?"
"Of course I know." His voice, sounded somewhat cocky. Then his voice became slightly more serious, "how'd it go?"
I put a hand through my hair, feeling slightly uneasy. "He..." I suddenly realized it was best not to mention the fact James spat on me, Ryan might not be too pleased "...didn't take it well, stormed off and that" my voice sounded bland, like I didn't care - which I knew I should feel guilty to feel but I didn't at all. I should have sounded just how I felt - awful - but I didn't want Ryan to know I was hurting. I was far too proud for that.
"I'm glad the windows are two feet apart" Ryan said, changing the subject.
"I know me too. I do believe we've had this conversation countless times" I laughed quietly and I kicked his leg gently.
"I can't believe you finally broke up with him" I could hear the astonishment in his voice. We sat in silence for a few moments, kicking our feet back and forth. The night air was pleasantly warm against my legs. I never felt self conscious around Ryan, if I was sat talking to anyone else wearing nothing but pyjama shorts and a vest top, I'd feel so uneasy. With Ryan everything was always so simple and carefree when it came to my appearance. My gaze shifted to Ryan, I looked behind him into his room.
"Ryan!" I shouted.
"What? Why are you shouting? You'll wake up my parents!" he said angrily.
"Is that a box of cigarettes, on your dresser?" I shook my head mock disapproval.
Ryan then looked behind him. "Yeah, it is." He smiled at me before stretching back and reaching out to get them. He sat back up and stared at me, holding his pack of cigarettes happily.
"I thought you were quitting?" I said with a raised eyebrow.
"Well, I said I'd quit if you quit..."
"But I never said I would" I replied.
"Exactly, so therefore I can smoke" he opened the box, he had thirteen left and a lighter tucked inside.
"I remember when we first tried smoking" I laughed
"It was a disaster, we forgot to factor your asthma and my ability to panic" he picked up a cigarette and lit it up. "It was so stupid, we were like eleven" he chuckled at the fond memory and began smoking his cigarette.
"Hey now," my eyes focused on his packet of temptation, he lit me a cigarette and handed it to me. I smiled as I saw his hand; I tried not to laugh as I took it from him.
"What's so funny?" He said while blowing smoke.
"You're wearing a ring" I giggled.
"Oh, shut up" he couldn't look at me in the eyes, knowing if we made eye contact he'd laugh.
"I'm so glad me and James are over, I was sick of him fucking with my head" Ryan's head snapped up and he gave me a disappointing look. I let out a long sigh. Ryan didn't like me swearing.
"It's just swearing, I'm sure you swear" I crossed my right leg over my left.
"When have you ever heard me swear?" I looked up to see he had his tongue out. I laughed.
"Never, okay never" I said trying to hold back more laughter.
"Exactly, you should never swear in front of ladies or children" He stubbed his cigarette out on the outer wall of his house and then handed it over to me; I took it and put it into my waste bin. My mother knew I smoked, but Ryan's parents where blissfully unaware of his habit.
"I take it, I'm both of those things" my voice quieter than what I thought it would be. I stubbed my cigarette out on the brick wall of my house before throwing it in my bin.
"No, no you're not...your no lady" he said jokingly as he nudged my leg with his.
"Tosser" I retorted, I opened my mouth to say something else but I heard a knock on Ryan's bedroom door. We both immediately threw ourselves back into our bedrooms, closed the windows and ran into our beds, I pulled the covers over my face and prepared myself to wait. I curled up on my bed for a few minutes before taking a look through the window; Ryan wasn't in his room.
I got up, opening my window and resumed the position I was in before; legs over window pane. I saw Ryan out on his front porch hugging his mother.
I felt myself turn a little green with envy over Ryan's family life. My mother was never around - she wasn't even here tonight - she was either on a bender, in a prison cell or god knows where. Ryan had this lovely family, a family which were always kind to me and treated me like I was there own. He had the type of mother that baked cookies and wore pretty dresses and the type of dad who was respectful, handsome and earned big bucks. I was always unsure why Ryan's parents hadn't moved after Ryan's dad became the boss of a law firm that was successful; it was obvious he was bringing in a massive pay check. Maybe they were just attached to the house, heck I didn't know and when I'd asked Ryan he shrugged.
After a few more moments I heard Ryan's bedroom door open. He walked up to the window and opened it, but he didn't sit on his window pane.
"What was that about?" I asked.
"My parents just left for their holiday" he said leaning out the window.
"Why aren't you going?" the confusion in my voice obvious.
"It's kind of there second honeymoon thing, it's Paris" he rolled his eyes.
"How long they gone for?" I tied my hair up.
"A whole month" he said making a popping sound with his mouth.
"Does this mean..." I waited for him to finish the sentence, which he did within seconds.
"Yes, yes it does, come on" He said his mouth breaking out into a smile.
I clambered back into my room and grabbed my make-up bag, a pair of jeans and my purse. I rushed back to my window and handed these things to Ryan who put them all on his near-by desk.
"Right, haw-way" he said two arms outstretched.
I nervously crouched on my window pane; I grabbed the wall behind me - inside my room - for support and put one of my legs out of my crouch and into Ryan's grip. I let out a long breath and came out of my window and with one swift movement found myself falling into Ryan's bedroom his grip on my waist. We fell; we fell hard onto his wooden floor.
"I never get that right, you always do it better when you come in my room" I said breathlessly, I stared up at Ryan who'd landed on top of me.
"It's because you're clumsy!" he moved from on-top of me and stood up, he put out his hand. I took it and he pulled me up. I found myself face to chest of my best friend.
"You can't have grown again" I complained.
"Five foot nine now" he smirked and then patted me on my tiny head.
"Not my fault you're a midget" he joked.
"I'm not, I'm five two!" I said angrily.
"You wish" he laughed. I looked around Ryan's room, it was large, with a single bed, cream walls, a desk just below the window, a wardrobe beside that and on the wall a framed photo of me and Ryan at prom and then a corkboard which was filled with various pictures. I walked over to inspect the prom photo closer and Ryan followed me.
"You looked so suave" I turned to him smiling, then looked back at the photo. Ryan's suit had a black blazer and trousers, with a white shirt and a cream tie. His hair was the usual effortless mess and his right arm around me. I was wearing a white dress with a glittery bodice and puffed out skirt. My hair was nearly white blonde at the time and I actually looked quite nice. I had a poppy corsage on my left wrist, which matched the one that was tucked in the lapel of Ryan's jacket.
"I'm wrecked" Ryan sounded drowsy.
"Cuppa and tab chat?" I asked and he nodded. We went downstairs, he made two cups of hot tea and we sat on his white porch. I held my cup in my right hand and my cigarette in my left. We'd done this so many times now it was like second nature, Ryan left the porch light on when I could come sit down with him and we'd talk and talk.
"You busy Saturday?" Ryan suddenly asked.
"No, you know I have no life, why?" I said while taking a draw.
"I have a gig" his voice was somewhat embarrassed.
"No way, Ryan, that's awesome!" I exclaimed.
"My sets like twenty minutes, it's at this place in Newcastle, you sure you can come?" he asked me.
"Yes, of course. Wow, Ryan I 'am so excited for you" I felt like dancing, he'd been working so hard. I was excited to hear him sing too, I'd only ever heard him play guitar.
"Just think in five years we could be stars" his voice was thick with joy.
"Pfft, you mean you." I took a sip of tea and looked away from him.
"Yes us!" he said firmly "You'll get published, I'll be a famous singer and we'll be rich." Ryan was always so confident. He put a hand on my thigh and squeezed lightly.
"I'll not get published my books a pile of shit, you've only read the first chapter" I turned my gaze back to him.
"It's not a pile of - well never mind that word - it's really good, it's clever, witty and oozing with talent" as he said the words I looked at him in disbelief.
"You're the one with star potential. I've heard you play guitar like you're a rock god, it's amazing. I've never heard you sing but I'm assuming your good at it, you're good at everything. Your already a rock star so when you get your big break, promise not to forget me?" I stated simply and drank the rest of my tea.
"I won't forget you, I'll be looking after you." His voice was so fierce, I found myself lost for a reply. I held his gaze for a while longer and found that for once I couldn't identify his emotion. His hand still resting on my thigh I rested my head on the chest of the only real family I could ever have - or ever want - my Ryan. I looked at the stars and wondered what Ryan would be like when he became famous; would he change? Would he try drugs? Would he forget me? I sure hoped he stayed the same and I wanted him to look after me. Selfish and childish but after having my life of sixteen years looking after the woman who'd conceived me; I think I deserved to be looked after a little. As if Ryan could sense my worry he changed the subject "You know I started reading Catcher in the Rye the other day" he took a long draw of his cigarette after he spoke.
"Do you love it? I bet you love it!" I exclaimed excitedly since I'd been trying to get him to read it after months of pestering.
"It's great, anyway you have the same last name as Holden, and do you not think that's cool?" I questioned him.
"From what I've read so far I think Holden is an un-diagnosed manic depressive" He said with too much concern.
I sighed and then looked up at him; I saw he had an odd look on his face, a look that made me nervous, nervous because I had no idea what it meant. He put his mouth close to my ear "I'm tired, let's go to bed" his voice was soft and seemed to make me tired too. I stood up and took his cigarette off him.
"Go ahead, I'll throw these into my garden then wash the cups" he nodded and walked up the porch steps into his house. Barefoot through the grass I walked up to the stone wall that separated mine and Ryan's lives and stubbed out our cigarettes and threw them into my garden. Suddenly I felt the urge to grab and rip at my hair, I didn't exactly know why but something about the cool night and the weird vibes I was getting from Ryan had begun to worry me.
It made me feel insane.
It made me feel like I should be worrying about something more, something bigger, but I didn't know what that was yet but I knew it was bad.