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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21. 6 month stress

 

I fasten Daisy into the car seat, kissing her nose, and I hand her blanket to her. “Tar.” I coo.    

   “Come on Megan, otherwise we’re going to be late!” I shout, but I don’t think she hears me. I get into the car that was badly parked on the driveway last night, and tap the steering wheel with the car keys, until I realise I’ve forgotten the baby bag.    

   As I rush through the front door, I bang into Megan.    

   “Sorry darling.” She says half-heartedly, without even glancing in my direction. I watch her swing her body into the car, shutting the door too loudly, which irritates me further.    

   As I get back into the car, Megan is messing with her hair in the mirror.    

   “Is there any need?” I ask. She doesn’t say anything, but slams the mirror upwards. It’s safe to say we aren’t friends at the minute.    

   I reverse out of the drive and drive fast; I can’t be in the same place as Megan.    

   Daisy revs into life, crying and throwing her blanket on the floor, creating more of an uproar. Megan hushes her, but nothing changes, apart from my temper.    

   “Oh shut up Daisy.” I yell. Megan smacks my leg.    

   “Don’t talk to my daughter like that.” She shouts loudly into my ear. I shout back.    

   “Our daughter.”    

   “Then treat her like she’s yours.” I know this slinging match could go on for a long time. We are both so tired and spend too much time together, yet we never speak. Not about anything other than Daisy anyway. In fact, I don’t know what else there is to say.    

   “Yelling at a 6 month old baby is not going to do anybody any good.” She mutters after I bite my lip refusing to reply to the earlier outburst.    

   “I don’t know right from wrong anymore. Either way you yell at me.”    

   “There he goes again. Can you here him Daisy? Spinning everything round on me.” She looks at me, point blank, as if of course, it’s my entire fault.    

   “Grow up.” I say bitterly. She doesn’t say anymore, but she does laugh, as if she’s shocked at my remark.     

   We pull up outside my mum and dad’s house.    

   “What’re you doing, Karen was going to look after her?” Megan questions.    

   “Well she’s not now. My parents haven’t seen her for weeks, and it’s about time you shared her with my family.” She shouts abuse at me, but I don’t here; I’m already out the car and unloading my baby girl, along with her necessities. I know this will throw Megan over the edge, but I want to know what she’ll do once she’s over it.     

   I knock on the door, and it opens to the smell of home. It makes me smile broadly, something I don’t do very often these days.    

   “Hello!” My mum exclaims. To hear her voice is so refreshing. I kiss her, and she hugs both Daisy and I.    

   “Wow, look at you! You’re getting so big.” She coos at Daisy. I pass her over and put her bag down in the hall.    

   “Hi mum.” I say.    

   “How’re you getting on?”    

   “Terribly. We don’t talk anymore, we just argue.” I shut the front door.    

   “Oh darling. You’ll be fine, you just need to settle in, get a routine going and I’m sure things will calm down. It’s a hard time for both of you at the minute; Megan will be going through a lot of change with her hormones.”    

   “I know, but it’s so stressful, and I can’t bear believing that we hate each other’s guts.”    

   “You don’t hate each other, don’t be daft. Once Daisy starts sleeping through, and you can get back to a regular sleeping pattern, I’m certain you two will be the loving couple everyone knows you are.” She always speaks so much sense, and even if it’s a bit far-fetched, I’m reminded why I love my mum so much in times like this.    

   “Where’s my dad?” I ask.    

   “He’s just having a shave and then he’s off to work.” She says, whilst flattening down Daisy’s cream dress.    

   “Okay, well tell him I’ll catch him later.”    

   “Bye love.”    

   “Bye Daisy.” I wave as I open the door, “Thanks mum. I love you girls!” And then I walk out into the blinding sun. Megan’s sat in the car facing away from the house, fumbling through her school bag. Her uniform makes her look incredibly young, and I feel like her father, instead of her boyfriend. I make my way to the car. Inside, it’s boiling. Megan has put her sunglasses on and is refusing to look in my direction. I turn the radio on as I pull out of the drive, but the music is sad and depressing. It reminds me of cold winter days where it doesn’t stop raining, and all the trees are naked, lined up, ready to be shot down. I turn it off, and silence comes slamming down unexpectedly, even though I knew the music would stop. It’s too quiet between us, and the tension is close to unbearable. The sound of the car hitting the road makes matters worse, and the early morning traffic feels awkward, like we’re trespassers. I decide to talk.    

  “Look Megan, we need to talk.” It feels like a weight is lifted from my shoulders after the words pour out, but they stay hanging in the air on strings, refusing to go away. She doesn’t reply.    

   “We don’t have to talk now, but if we don’t, we will have to sit down tonight and talk about us.” This changes things.    

   “Dylan, I don’t know what there is to say.” She blurts, but it isn’t cold, it’s slow and sad. The words almost hurt, because I know she thinks this could be the end of us.    

   “Then just listen. It’s clear we haven’t been getting on lately, and I hate it. I love you so much, but right now we’re tearing each other apart. We’re tearing us apart. I don’t want that. Before Daisy was born, I was certain I would marry you, but now it feels like we’re a lost cause. What we have Megan, is right. We just need to get over this hurdle. I want to make it work, because I love you, and it hurts so much when we fight. I don’t want this for Daisy either, it isn’t fair on her. I am so sorry for being such an idiot towards both of you, but it isn’t all on my head. You’ve said and done some pretty nasty things. I’m willing to forgive and forget, but only if you are. Please, don’t break my heart.” I look at her, and see she’s crying.     

   “You’re breaking me right now Dylan.” She sobs, “You have given me a child, and now you’re telling me all this and I can’t.”    

   “You can’t what?”    

   “I just can’t Dylan. I can’t do this. It hurts so much. When I look at you, I feel nothing but pain. I feel so old, and tired, and ugly. You just put be down and make me feel worse.” She breathes heavily, wiping the tears from her cheek. I look away, feeling guilt seep through my skin.    “You never tell me I’m pretty anymore, and you never tell me you love me before we sleep. You don’t ask me how I’m feeling, or if I’m coping okay, and it hurts. Stuck in that little house is suffocating me, you haven’t tried to make it feel like home, and I feel dead inside.”    

   I pull over in a lay-by and hold Megan in my arms. I wait a few minutes before I speak.    

   “Oh Megan. Megan, Megan, Megan.” I kiss her forehead. “How can I say sorry enough?”    

   She sits up abruptly.      

   “Come on, we’re already late, let’s talk about this later.” She wipes the rest of the tears from her face and sniffs one last time.    

   “Are you sure? I hate myself for making you feel how you feel. We could have the day off?”    

   “No. Just drive. We can talk later.” I do what she says.    

   For the rest of the journey to school, we don’t talk, and I’m not sure if we’re on better terms or worse. She seems angry and upset with me, like how I feel towards myself. I suck in the dense air, which fills up my lungs with a mossy wet sensation.     

   I pull into a spare parking space, and before I turn off the engine, Megan climbs out. She doesn’t slam the door. I quickly get out too, but she’s already walking off, bag flapping by her side.     

   “Megan!” I shout after her. She turns around and waits for me to close the gap between us. We stand closer together than we have been for what seems like an age.     

   “You’re beautiful.” I say, twisting a small lock of her hair between two fingers. She smiles shyly and looks at our feet. They’re centimetres apart. I close the gap, and she laughs quietly.    

   “I love you.” I say. I kiss her lips softly, and she presses into me, filling me with a warm hopefulness that we’ve just overcome the hurdle.    

   “And I love you too.” She walks off, leaving me stood in a baking car park, stunned.    

   “See you later Alligator!” I shout after her; something we haven’t said to each other since we were ten.    

   “In a while crocodile.” She says, spinning round and flashing me a smile. I laugh to myself. I knew she’d just given me a test, and I’d passed.  

 

I stand outside Megan’s classroom, fiddling with my hair, making sure I look my best for her. Normally we meet in the car park, but today, I searched on our school database for her timetable, and I’m making a special effort so she knows how much I want to make this work. I lift my arm to my waist to check the time, and then the door of classroom 86 swings open, nearly clipping out my teeth. Hormonal monsters poor from the room, shoving each other, and calling. People wait outside for their friends, and then go skittering off in bunches holding hands. It’s hard to believe I was just like them this time last year.     

   Megan walks out, second to last. At first she doesn’t see me, but walks over to a small group of girls she used to mention when she was pregnant, the ones who stood by her.     

   “Megan, I think someone’s after you.” The tallest girl in the group giggles. She spins around, blond hair flying, and when she sees me, she grins.     

   “What’re you doing here?” She says, walking over to me slowly. I kiss her.    

   “Don’t I get a hello?” I tease.    

   “Hello, what’re you doing here?” She laughs.    

   “I thought I’d come and pick you up.” I say.    

   “How did you know where I was?” She looks puzzled, but I just tap my nose and walk off, dragging her gently by her fingertips.    “Dylan?” She exclaims, still laughing. I sense that she turns and waves to “the girls” as we walk out a door into the school grounds.    

   “I can’t tell you that.” I keep walking, my vision fixed on the car park ahead.    

   “Oh come on!” She pulls on my arm. I stop and face her.    

   “Guess I’m just stalking you.” I wink at her and then walk off, knowing she’ll be by my side any minute. I was right. She catches up and laughs, but neither of us mentions it again. Instead, she presses her palm against mine, and our fingers tangle themselves together. We haven’t held hands for so long.     

   In the car, Megan puts on the radio and turns it up full blast. I wind down all the windows, and we drive home singing at the top of our voices. It prevents us from having a talk, and we both know it.     

   After a quick change to our work uniforms, I drop Megan off at the pizza place on the outskirts of the estate; she’s been working there for about a month now as a waitress. Then, I make my way to the supermarket, where my part time job of three dragging hours awaits. To be fair, recently I started to enjoy my time stocking shelves. I made a few friends, and it got me out of the house, but now, all I want to do is sit with Megan and my daughter, watching all Megan’s favourite soaps, and kissing every so often.     

   

Alas! My time of stocking shelves is over. Before leaving, I pick up a few essential bits and pieces, using my staff discount, and then head to the pizza place where my perfect princess awaits. She’s stood waiting outside, clutching her bag and staring at her feet when I pull up along the double yellow lines of the main road. She climbs in and I kiss her cheek.    

   Our journey to my parent’s house is full of quiet talking and shy smiles, like when we first got together. That’s about a year ago now.    I walk through the door into a fully air conditioned house and breathe a sigh of relief to feel the cool air on my skin. My dad comes out of the living room with Daisy in his arms like she’s an aeroplane, and he makes her fly over to us. I pick her up and twirl her round, watching her blue eyes light up as she gurgles and laughs. Then I sit her on my hip so I can converse with my dad.    

   “Hey son, it’s good to see you. You both look well.” I know this comment isn’t on our physical appearance, it’s on the fact that we came in holding hands, and smiles are on our faces. He knows we’ve been arguing recently.     

   “You too dad.” I smile. He pats my shoulder and tucks Megan under her chin as we make our way into the living room.     

   It’s a small room, with pictures all over of me growing up, of me and my cousins, me and my friends, me and Megan. There are wedding photos hung in black and white, and trophies are set out on a dusty bookshelf in the corner – horse riding awards. Behind them are hundreds of worn books that my mum, dad or I once read and threw back on the shelf.  There are two green fabric sofa’s and a matching arm chair sat around the room, facing the direction of a stone fireplace and old fashioned TV set, the kind you’d find in the early 2000”s. A patterned rug lies in the middle, covering a greying carpet that I’m sure used to me cream, and the walls are covered in bumpy wallpaper. Three lamps scattered around resting on side boards are lighting up the dingy space, and in the winter, the fire lets off a warm glow, making this otherwise cold house, cosy and warm.     

   I take a seat on the sofa beside my mum, and Megan sits on the one beside us. I put Daisy on the floor so she can squirm around. My dad sits down in the armchair and folds up a newspaper, tapping my mum on the head with it. She tuts.    

   “So are you two okay then?” My mum asks.    

   “Yeah, yeah, we’re good thank you.” I reply, giving her a reassuring smile.    

   “That’s excellent. Good to hear.” She smiles back, a conversation with our eyes.    

   “How’s school going Megan?” My dad asks.    

   “It’s good. I’ve been studying so hard lately, and now I’ve done my exams I feel like I can relax again.” My dad just smiles. I know he doesn’t really care, he’s just being polite.    

   We chat and catch up for half an hour until Daisy becomes restless, so we say our goodbye’s and head home. I’ve made a vow to myself that next weekend I shall start on the decorating. The only rooms that have been completed are the bathroom and Daisy’s room.     We get in and put Daisy to bed, it’s nearly eight “o” clock. She cries for Megan once or twice, but eventually we can curl up together on the sofa and talk.    

   “Megan, I love you.” I tell her.    

   “I love you.” She says, “I’m sorry for my outburst this morning. It was inappropriate.”    

   “Don’t be, you shouldn’t feel like that about me. I don’t ever want you to resent me. I’m the sorry one.” I squeeze her hand. We aren’t facing each other; I am curled round her, her back pressed tight to my chest. I can feel her smooth breathing.    

   “I could never resent you Dylan. Things just got on top of me and I needed to get it off my chest.” This time, I press her further into me, so we’re nearly one person. I feel my eyelids grow heavier, and then I let myself drop down further, until I feel light and weightless, to a silent sleep.  

 

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