Out of Reach

This is a story of a teenage romance which blossoms into something beyond beautiful. It has twists and turns, where a young couple fall in and out of love with each other and other people. How do their lives pan out in the end though?


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24. 21st alone

 

“Right, here’s a bag of her clothes, if you could just make sure that she does her homework that would be good. And you’ll need to help her with it; she’s learning how to take away numbers. You need to feed her tea too.” Megan hands me a pink rucksack through the door. Tonight I’m looking after Daisy because it’s Megan’s birthday and she’s having a party. It’s her 21st.     

   “Okay.” I say, “Is there anything else?”    

   “Oh yes. Her blanket.” She hands me Daisy’s baby blanket that she’s slept with all five years of her life.    

   “Thanks.” I gesture to the cloth I’m holding in my hand.    

   “Goodbye sweetheart, have a good time with daddy, be good and be careful.” She kisses Daisy’s cheek and then watches with loving eyes as she steps outside. She used to look at me like that.     

   “Are you ready?” I ask Daisy, taking hold of her little hand and giving it a quick pulse. She does the same back to me, only gentler.    

   “Yes.” She says, smiling up at me.     

   “Come on then.” I say, walking her to my car, “Say goodbye to mummy.” I tell her.    

   “Bye mummy.” She waves to Megan with her spare hand, who is standing in the entrance of her new house, a pretty three bed roomed semi-detached, located in the bronze estate. It’s much nicer than the little house that we bought together as teenagers, which I still happen to vacate.    

   Megan waves back to her daughter and blow her a kiss.    

   “Happy Birthday Megs.” I yell over my shoulder. She frowns, and shuts the front door. My heart sinks for a minute, before I feel a gentle tugging on my arm.    

   “Daddy, can we go to Paulo’s Pizza Place for tea?” Daisy’s sharp voice pipes up.    

   “Of course, but only if I hear some magic words.” She laughs at me.    

   “Please.” She sings.    

   “Good girl.” I praise, “Do you know what sort of pizza you’d like?”     

   “Cheese.” She grins, just like I taught her to do when she smiles for a photograph.    

   “Is that your favourite topping?”     

   “Yep!”    

   “It’s mummy’s as well.” I say, tucking her under her chin.    

   “Is it yours?” she asks.    

   “Yes, I suppose.” I smile down at her. She runs up to the car, her blond hair flapping about in the breeze.   

   “Come on then Daisy, calm down, it’s time for bed.” I say, fetching her pyjamas for her to put on.    

   “But I’m not tired.” She whines.    

   “Then I’ll tell you a story.” I say, whilst unbuttoning the back of her dress.    

   “Can it be about flowers?” She asks.    

   “Yes, I think I can make one up about flowers.” I say, as she pulls her yellow top over her head.     

   “Can I be in it?”     

   “Of course.” I smile, “Now settle down, it’s late.” I look at the clock hung on her wall. It reads half past ten. Megan would kill me if she new.    

   “Okay, are you comfortable?” I ask. She nods, “Then I shall begin.” The same words that are recited on Daisy’s favourite program.    

   “Once upon a time, there was a little daisy growing in a field. The little daisy had a mummy and a daddy who loved her very much, and they decided to call their little daisy, Daisy.”    

   “What is Daisy’s mummy and daddy called?” Daisy asks.    

   “How about... Megan and Dylan?”    

   “No! They’re silly names. I think they should be called... Danny and Dolly.” I laugh, because she’s so cute.    

   “Okay, Danny and Dolly it is. So, Danny and Dolly flower loved Daisy flower very much, and watched her grow and grow into a beautiful young flower. But one day, Mr. Lawnmower came rolling down the fields, and tried to chop up Danny flower, Dolly flower and Daisy flower.” She gasps.    

   “Why?” She asks.    

   “Because Mr. Lawnmower was naughty.”    

   “This story’s rubbish.” She whines.    

   “What’s wrong with it?” I ask, actually quite offended.    

   “It’s nothing like mummy’s stories.” She says.    

   “I’m sorry I’m not as good as mummy.” I say quietly, the words having a double meaning. I kiss her forehead and tuck her quilt in around her so she doesn’t get cold, “Good night my angel.” I turn her night light off and close her bed room door behind me.     

   I’ve ruined my life.   I sit down by the fire that I daren’t turn on, and open a can of beer. It would’ve been so easy to just say no to Sophie. She’s beautiful, but now I’m dying inside because Megan, the love of my life hates me. She’ll never forgive me for what I’ve done.    

   I soon fall asleep, and fall in and out of a dream, or a nightmare.    

   My head bangs against a wall, and my nose is filled with the smell on sanitation. A constant rise and fall of beeping surrounds my ears, and I can faintly see a pretty young girl with blond hair lying on a hospital bed. It’s Megan. My hands look fresher and less hairy than before, and my veins aren’t as prominent beneath my skin. I soak up the rays of sun that pour through the windows.    

   Megan looks badly injured, with bruises around her head, and a cut lip. Her hair looks dirty, and her body looks cold. I want to reach out and hold her, but I can’t, I am just watching her breathing.    

   I pull myself awake, because I hated seeing Megan like that the first time round, and the alcohol is now pulsing round my head, causing it to throb. I stand and look in the mirror, seeing shadows under my eyes, and flushed cheeks from the beer. Tears pour from my eyes quickly and silently. I am so hurt and cut up. This room was where we sat up and chatted, where we cuddled up together and watched rubbish on the TV, where Daisy said her first word. Now it’s all meant to mean nothing. It wouldn’t matter if I killed myself now. Soon, Megan will have some other bloke to keep her warm at night, and tell her she’s beautiful. Soon, Daisy will have a cool new step-dad that’s always there for her, and is really fun to be around. And as for me, I shall have to find somebody else. Maybe even Sophie.    

   I pick up my phone without hesitation and search through my contacts, until I reach the person I’m looking for. I press the green phone and press my mobile up to my ear, listening to the droning ring that’s connecting us.     

   A groggy voice answers the phone, “Hello?”    

   “Hi.” I answer. You can tell I’ve been crying because my voice is heavy and thick.    

   “Oh, it’s you.” Her voice comes quietly down the line. I hear rustling and clicking, and imagine her in bed, sitting up and turning on her lamp.    

   “Yeah, it’s me.” I reply. I’m not sure what to say now I have the chance to say it.    

   After a pause, she says, “What’s wrong?”    

   “Look, I need you. I miss you a lot, and can’t stop thinking about you. Daisy’s fast asleep in bed, why don’t you come round?” Words suddenly gush from me fearlessly.     

   “Dylan, I can’t do this.” She sighs.    

   “But... I love you. I have always loved you.” My words speak the truth.    

   “You don’t need me. You have... her.” The way her voice pauses over “her” kills me.    

   “But I don’t. She’s never loved me the way you have. And I’ve never loved her the way I love you.”    

   “Don’t be daft.” She sighs again, and sounds bored of me.    

   “I’m not being daft. This is what I’ve always wanted. You and me together.”     

   “But it’s not Dylan, and you know it. I bet you’re just sat at home lonely, because you’re little girlfriend doesn’t want you anymore.” Her words sting.    

   “No, I don’t want her Megan, I want you.” I start to cry again, and remember the night she couldn’t stop crying, because I was such a monster.    

   “You know Dylan, you’re all I’ve ever wanted.” She whispers.    

   “Then come home.” I plead.    

   “I am home.” She says.    

   “No, come to our home, the home we’ve raised Daisy in, the home we decorated together, and bought when we were just teenagers. Please.” I’m crying and spluttering and begging down the line.     

   “Dylan, stop it. You hurt me so bad, and I can’t forgive you for that. Now I’m successful with my writing, and have a chance to be happy.”    

   “You could be happy with me.”    

   “No, I couldn’t be. Every time I look at you I remember the night I saw you in the store cupboard, I see your face, the way you looked at me like you were scared of me, and the way you laughed at it like it was all a big misunderstanding. I saw how she gasped, how the guilt ran across her face, how she said your name. She called you Dyl.” Her voice is quiet and emotionless, but the words are like knives.    

   “There must be something I can do to make you forgive me.”     

   “Look, I can’t forgive you. Accept that.” She puts the phone down on me, and I’m left with the memories of her words slitting me open. I gulp down air from the can of beer I opened earlier, expecting something to be inside, and then go to the kitchen to fetch myself something stronger.     

   As I rummage through the cupboards, I find an old bottle of whisky from a few years back. I bought it because I thought it made me seem more sophisticated. It’s full.    

   I unscrew the cap and take a swig from it. The flavour makes my taste buds scream, so I swallow fast, but it burns the back of my throat, like an inferno lighting in my head. I take another swig, and it does the same, but I can feel myself suddenly become heavier, and everything looks duller. My senses numb as I take another mouth full, and I like it. Soon I have to sit down, because when I stand, I sway. I rest my head against the arm of the sofa, and let my body sleep.   

   

“Dylan.” A soft voice calls to me, and a cold hand on my arm shakes me awake, “Oh, it’s alright, he’s awake now.” The voice says.    “Oh thank goodness.” I know that voice; it’s my mum’s.     

   I sit up quickly, but my vision goes spotty and weight knocks against my head, making me moan. I lie back down again, and after a few minutes open my eyes. I can hear Megan and Daisy talking in the kitchen.    

   My mum appears before me and shakes her head.    

   “Oh Dylan, what have you done?” She asks.    

   “I’m so sorry.” I say, starting to cry again.    

   “Hush, don’t worry.” She says, and sits down on the floor beside me.    

   “I want Megan.” I tell her.    

   “Okay, she’s just trying to calm down Daisy, she’s very worried about you. She found you stone cold this morning and didn’t know what to do. It’s a good job Megan was picking her up this morning.” Then she walks out the room, and I hear muffled talking.    

   Megan steps into the room gingerly, and sits where my mum sat.    

   “Look at you Dyl.” She whispers breathlessly.    

   “I am so sorry Megan.” I sit up and look her in the eyes. She sits beside me, picking her fingernails.    

   “I’m sorry too.” She says.    

   “Why can’t we work this out?” I ask.    

   “Because we can’t. You’ve ruined everything.” She speaks softly.    

   “I know. I hate myself Megs; I look in the mirror and don’t see myself anymore.”     

   “Well you did this all yourself.” She looks away from me.    

   “Can’t I fix it too?” I plead.    

   “I doubt it. But you can be a good dad for our daughter, even if you couldn’t be a good boyfriend.”    

   “I was a bad boyfriend?” I ask, surprised.    

   “Dylan, you cheated on me.” I look away from her this time, ashamed.     

   “I’m a bad man.” I say, and reach for the whiskey bottle that is half empty. Megan snatches it away from me.    

   “No, you’re a good man Dylan, you just got lost.”    

   “Then take me back, and let me find myself.”    

   “I can’t.” She says shortly. I make a grab for the whiskey bottle again, but she jerks backwards, “But I think it’s best if you stay at mine for a bit, until you find your feet again. I don’t want you drinking like last night. It’s dangerous.” She stands up and walks out the room before I can reply or argue, with whiskey bottle in hand. I watch her float out of the room wearing a floral tea dress that emphasises her tiny waist.    

   I breathe in and out, heavily, steadily, going through the motions.    

   “Daddy, daddy!” My little girl runs into the room, also in a pretty dress, “You’re coming to live with us!” I smile at her. Things will look up, I tell myself.  

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