I look at him sincerely awaiting for him to speak up,but he doesn't.He just looks down looking upset as ever.It isn't long until he looks up and notices me staring at him with guilty eyes.I can't look at him right now,I feel too guilty having him open up to me about this.I look down not wanting to see his face but when I hear him say my name in a gentle tone I look up hesitantly and my eyes meet his.I gaze into them for a moment but then he looks down and sighs.
"After my mom complained to the school,the principal called me into her office one day while I was in class.She sat me down in her office and told me that my mother complained about me being bullied in school.She asked me if my mom's accusations were true and I was hesitant at first but I told her the truth.She was surprised to hear that I was bullied and she had me tell her how I was bullied.After that people were instructed to watch over me at school.No kids would really bully me anymore but I would get glares here and there.After some time,I got used to it but instead of being bullied at school,people would start bullying after school so they wouldn't risk getting caught.When high school started,everything started all over again.People would pick on me at school and trip me like they used to.I would put up with it like I did before until one day..." He pauses looking down and I feel to nervous to say anything. "One day I was walking to class in the hallway and some guys tripped me.I dropped my books and papers but I just ignored them and tried picking them up but one of them stepped all over one of my assignments and then tore it in front of my face.He got up in my face and said, 'What are you gonna do about it momma's boy?' I didn't say anything but then the guy spit in my face and then he said, 'Nothing?That's what I thought,all your good for is crying home to your mommy like a little bitch.' I still ignored him and just took everything that he said to me like nothing but then he reopened a faded wound from my past.He told me, 'I knew you wouldn't do anything for yourself,you couldn't if you tried and that's exactly why your daddy left you.He knew you'd turn out to be nothing but a worthless piece of shit!' That hit me hard like a hammer banging me into the wall as if I were the nail.I don't know what came over me but I couldn't contain the anger and pain that had been built up within me for all those years.The guy turned around laughing and acting cool in front of his friends.He wasn't even expecting it when I gave it to him."
It grows silent.
"Ryan what did you give him?"
"I like to think I gave him what he deserved...but the principal thought otherwise."
"Did you...hit him?"
"Yeah...right after I tackled him to the ground and started strangling him." I look at Ryan with intense eyes unsure of what to say or do. "That little act out got me a trip to the principals office and I told him the entire story and he even pulled in witnesses.The principal did understand my side of the situation but in the end it came down to who blew the first punch."
"But you did?"
"Yeah I know...that's why I came here."
"What do you mean?"
"I got expelled (YN),fights do tend to lead to those kind of consequences."
"But that isn't fair it wasn't your fault!"
"I did hit him first.I understand how you see it as unfair but life isn't always fair."
"It doesn't matter my mom saw the move as an opportunity for us to start over and start fresh.She took me to see my therapist continuously so that I would be ready when I entered a new school and a new neighborhood.He told me I would have to completely change.He told me to smile and be friendly not hostile and secluded.Also to try fitting in more.I guess you could say he wanted to give me an entire makeover but I mean he did help.My mom even helped with my attitude adjustment."
"Is that why you were so friendly your first day?"
"Yeah,I wanted to try making sure I could be a likeable person and gain some friends.I was really nervous to be completely honest but I think I came through."
"Do you really?"
"I don't know...I did meet you." He smiles at me.
"I still can't believe you were expelled and that you got into a fight.Wouldn't that go on your record or something?"
"Yes it is,so if I get into a single fight I'm done here and I have to transfer schools." The thought of Ryan leaving makes me feel uneasy. "Are you okay?You look nervous."
I look up to face him with an upset look on my face. "I don't want you to go." He smiles lightly and then he kisses my lips softly.
"Don't worry,I'm not going anywhere,I won't get into a fight.I promise." He holds out his pinky and I take it with mine. "I promise that I'm not going to leave you,I'm going to stay right here with you."
"Always?" I say teasingly.
"If you want." He says with a smile.
"I'd like that." I lean in to give him a kiss and he kisses me back.After we pull away I rest my head on his shoulder and begin thinking to myself how much I enjoy being with Ryan,not just as a couple but how we are now;being with him has me feel secure and I know that may sound cliche but I really mean it.I can be myself around him and be open.Even from the beginning when he said hi to me on that first day I smiled and said hi back I didn't have to do that.I could've just ignored him like I did with everyone else but not him.For a moment I start thinking that maybe Ryan getting into a fight had it's benefit of the doubt,after all he did have to move schools because of it and of all places he came to my school where he just happened to sit right next to me.I don't know if I'd call it fate just yet but I definitely feel like we were meant to help each other.He helped me with overcoming memory and I helped him simply by being his friend.I know it's been sort of a rocky journey but I don't regret any of it because all of it has led to this moment here with the two of us sitting beside each other in his bedroom my head on his shoulder and his arm over mine with me feeling more secure than ever.I could live in this moment forever but I know we will have to leave it eventually.I don't mind because we can come back to it from time to time on our journey together.I know it will be a long and happy one.I just hope that we can both stop every now and then to enjoy our most precious moments together because they will be the memories that help us when we are in our most darkest or painful times.Just to think about each other will be enough to overcome the negativity in our lives and everyday will be an even better one knowing that we still have each other.I may not be very affectionate as Ryan is but I do ensure that I feel just the same as he does about me.All that matters is that he makes me happy and I hope that I make him feel that way too.
I got up just like I did any other day.I changed into some clothes and continued with the rest of the getting up and ready process.When I was finally ready,I went to make myself some toast to eat for breakfast.All that was left to do was wait.It wasn't long until I heard a knock at the door.I answered it eagerly only to see him smiling sweetly at me. "Miss me?" I smile and pull him into a hug followed by a sweet kiss.He accepts it,of course,and the two of us leave for school.
A lot has happened in the past nine months.First of all Ryan and I started dating.I wasn't too sure how things would turn out but everything is fine,I mean just look at us now.There was also Saidee's,a school dance where the girl asks the guy,and since Ryan and I were together I figured why not ask.That was definitely something worth remembering.Oh and there was also summer!When school ended the entire school couldn't help but be thrilled that classes and exams would finally be over,at least until school started again.Everyone spent their summer at the beach,with their families on a summer vacation,and some people even got summer jobs.As for me,well I spent most of my summer days with Ryan.We'd go on dates or spend time at each others houses,either way we were still together.Summer couldn't last forever,but it was definitely one of my best summers yet.Unfortunately when August came around so did school but I didn't mind so much because now I was officially a senior.My final year of high school and I get to spend it with Ryan.Each day that goes by I still feel excited just thinking that Ryan and I will cross stage together.I'm so glad I have him in my life and I like being his girlfriend but just because I'm his girlfriend,it doesn't hide the fact that he's my best friend.He's the only person that really tried to get to know the real me while everyone else was too intimidated to,I'm really thankful that he did.
We've been in school for about two months now so I've already adjusted to my schedule and everything.I don't have Ryan for a class this year but we still see each other at lunch and after school so I don't really mind.
Today is Friday and Ryan has plans after school.He said we'd be out until late so I'm kind of excited to see what he has planned.When we arrive at school Ryan walks me to class and then I kiss him goodbye.My first period is Statistics,I didn't really want it but it's better than taking Calculus.For second I have Economics and for third I have World Literature.My fourth period is photography.For fifth period I'm a Teacher's Aid in a sophomore class and for sixth period I have culinary arts.My schedule is pretty easy,but when you're a senior it usually is.
The day went on and when I got to fourth I was already wishing for school to end.I took my seat at my desk and waited for the bell to ring.For class we would just be walking around campus and take photos,it was Friday so he wanted the class to be a bit calm for the end of the week.When class ended we all returned our cameras.I packed my things to go and head out of class.I saw Ryan waiting outside of class for me like he always did.The two of us made our way to our spot at my tree.We spent lunch how we always do with laughing and talking along with some hand holding and kissing.When lunch ended Ryan walked me to class and then we hugged each other goodbye.The day went on like usual.When sixth period ended I was thankful that the day had ended and now I could spend some time with Ryan.Before I could walk out of class I almost bumped into Derek,Derek is in my class but I don't talk to him.We made quick eye contact and then I took a step back so that he could go before me.When he left I followed after him out the door.I saw Ryan making his way towards me so I met him halfway.The two of us walked out of school together and we began to walk off of campus.
Ryan leads the way and we make our way to a small Italian restaurant not too far from school.We go in and then we are immediately seated at a table since it isn't too busy at the time.We are seated at a small table for two where Ryan and I sit across from each other.There is a rose in a vase centered at the table and the utensils are already set.Ryan smiles at me from across the table and I allow myself a slight grin.
"Is this your special surprise?"
"It's still only the beginning."
When they take our order Ryan and I decide to share a medium pizza and we both order a cherry coke to drink.As we waited for our food to come Ryan and I kept ourselves amused with jokes and interesting stories about school and of course our moms as well.When they finally bring our food Ryan and I are ready to each take our first slice.
We managed to finish the entire pizza ourselves.We both joked around calling each other fat and teasing that one of us ate way more slices than the other.Ryan payed for the meal and I was planning on leaving the tip but before I could put my money down on the table Ryan caught my hand and stopped me.I looked at him confused.
"It's my treat."
"But it's exsp-,"
"My mom gave me money for a reason.I planned this out so it's my treat.I don't want you spending a single cent today,okay?"
"Ryan that's not fair to you."
"This was my idea so I think it's pretty fair."
"Look I planned out this entire day,don't worry I have enough for the both of us.It's fine,I just want you to have a good time."
"How can I know you're having a good time too spending all your money on me?"
"Because I'm with you." He smiles at me and then his eyes meet mine.We are in a moment and I can sense that Ryan wants a kiss but instead I break our eye contact and then I give him a smile.
"Should we go?"
He grins at me and says, "Yes." He takes my hand and the two of us walk off.
We walk together and pass by some streets.We come to a stop and then Ryan leads the way into the building that sits before us.He guides me into the building and it takes a moment for my eyes to adjust.It's dark inside but there's some bright colored lights inside,not bright enough to light up the building but just enough to be able to see.I look around and see an air hockey table,some race car game stations,and even a photo booth.I look to Ryan who is smiling at me. "So do you wanna mess around for a bit and save the best for last?" I respond with a smile.
Ryan walks over to the register where a young looking guy attends to his service.Ryan gives him some money and he gets change back.He comes over to me and tells me to close my eyes.I do and then he says to stick out my hand.I do what he says and I feel something being wrapped around my wrist.When he finally says, "Open!" I look down at my hand and see a bright orange paper wristband wrapped around it.I look to Ryan who says, "Surprise!" then continues with, "It's an all day pass so we can do whatever we want,no limits whatsoever.Haha." I look around observing the arcade. "See anything you wanna do?" I glance over to the air hockey table.Ryan notices and instead of asking,he takes my hand and walks me over to it.He sets up the game and then he gets the puck.He hands it to me and allows me to go first.Of course right after he does,he makes a snarky remark and then heads over to his side.I hit the puck and on my first hit,I make a goal.The score blinks brightly,one-to-zero,Ryan smiles slightly.I give him a simple grin and he gets the hint not to play easy because that would just bore me and I wouldn't be amused with a game that had no tension or some friendly competition.He takes the puck and places it before him,before hitting he squints his eyes at me then smiles.He hits the puck and sends it straight across the table into the slot,scoring himself a goal.The score now blinks brightly one-to-one.Ryan is the one grinning now and I immediately know this is going to be a fun game.
Ryan and I messed around the entire arcade playing every game possible.We had the opportunity to with our wristbands so why waste it.Once we played every game available in the arcade,some more than once,I assumed it was time to leave.I was about to rip off my wrist band when Ryan stopped me. "What are you doing?"
"Taking off my wrist band."
"Didn't I tell you we were going to save the best for last?"
"There's nothing left to play.We've done everything."
He smiles and says, "That's what you think." I look at him confused but he only seems to find amusement in my expression.He takes my hand and leads us towards the back of the building.It's a bit darker over here than the area we were at before.There's several more neon lights though but not enough to be able to see someones face,only their figure.There's a bunch of people gathered in a line,way more people than I saw earlier.I saw two employees standing at a door waiting patiently.I heard the sound of a door opening,I look to my left and see a crowd of people exiting out a door to the side.Once they exit,the two employees standing in front of the other door,which I assume is the entrance, open the door and begin letting people in.Ryan pushes me gently from behind to follow the rest of the people.I walk towards the crowd and the employees allow us to enter along with a few more people behind us.We all sit in the room,I sit with Ryan looking around curious as to what's going on.The two employees then stand in the center of the room and call to everyone's attention.They announce the name of the game which is laser tag.Then they begin to announce the instructions to how the game works and they show a demonstration of how to put on the vest and the proper way to carry the gun.Right after that,they announce the rules to the game basically stating what you can not do in the laser tag arena.The employees state that running,jumping,climbing,tripping,kissing and fighting are prohibited to do in the game.Once they conclude everything they let everyone through door to the side of the room.Ryan and I walk in together and we see three different colored vests.People are rushing to get the colors they want.Ryan asks me what color team I wanted to be on,I tell him red and he smiles.We go towards the red vests and Ryan gets one putting it on himself.He gets another one and puts it on over me.He stands in front of me and buckles the vest securely.We then get in line with the rest of the red team.I begin to feel anxious and really nervous.I've never played laser tag before,I bet Ryan's played before even if he's only played once,it's still more experience than I have.I hear a strange sound and the different colored teams begin to enter through their own separate sections.I tell Ryan to take the lead and I follow close behind him.
Its even darker in the game area.I don't know anybody else on our team and I'm unsure if we should follow them or stay to ourselves.I see a green lit vest on someone and I decide to try shooting.I remember the rules they announced to us on how to play and I finally shoot.I hit the person in the green lit vest and his vest flashes white.Ryan compliments me on my aim and then he decides to start aiming for targets.He gets a few shots but the people he shot at began to start firing back.Ryan took my hand and led us into a dark secluded corner.My back was pressed against the wall with Ryan very close to me.He turns his body so that he is now facing me.I can just barely see he bright blue eyes staring at me.I study his face closely trying to get my eyes to adjust to the darkness in the room.My eyes have adjusted enough for me to see his lips formed in a delicate smile.I feel him move his body in closer to mine barely giving me any space to move.His smile remained on his face and he continued to stare at me as well.He moves in even closer,this time pressing his body against mine.I feel my anxiety grow.I begin to wonder what is going on through his head at the very moment.
"What are you thinking?", I ask.
"Stuff," he replied with his smile still on his face.
"What kind of stuff?"
"This kind...", he slowly begins to lean in closing his eyes.He is just inches away from my lips when I remember the rules they announced earlier. No running,jumping,climbing,tripping,kissing or fighting.Ryan and I would have broken one of those rules if it had not been for me turning my head so that his lips met my cheek.I felt him pull away and then he asked, "What's wrong?"
"The rules," I paused for a moment. "No kissing...that's what they said earlier." He smiles and lets out a soft chuckle.
"Well aren't you a goody goody."
"I just don't want to get in trouble."
"No one can see us here (YN),we're pretty secluded from everybody else." Right after he says that I see a person with a blue lit vest passing by.I shoot Ryan a look with a raised eyebrow wondering if his eyes had adjusted enough to see. "They didn't notice us so were fine." He begins to lean in,this time with a smile on his face.
"Ryan its breaking the rules." He stops himself without pulling away and his face is still very close to mine.
"No one will know." He slowly begins to lean in again.
"We'll know..." He stops.
"I'm fine with that." He continues to lean in again with no hesitations.I close my eyes and I feel him press his lips against mine but I don't kiss back.He pulls away shortly after and he leans his forehead against mine. "That wasn't so bad was it?", he jokes.
"I don't know...", I tease.
"Maybe we should try again then." He leans in but I put my hand in front of his face.He tries to move around it but I keep my hand in front of him.I begin to giggle;the more Ryan fights off my hand for a kiss,the louder I get.
"Ryan stop!" I pause to giggle. "Were going to get in trouble!"
"You'll never be in trouble with me." He grabs my hand with his and gently puts it down.There is nothing separating our faces from each other now.I could easily just lift my other hand but I choose not to.Instead I remain still with my back pressed against the wall and a light smile on my face.He leans in closely and our foreheads begin to touch.
"What if they find us?", I say softly.
"I'll protect you." He instantly presses his lips on mine.I didn't kiss back at first but it isn't long until I give in.I feel a smile form across his lips as he kisses me knowing I gave in.When he's finished he pulls away slowly.I bite my bottom lip and he notices. "Was that better?"
"Lots.", I say.
"Well now we know where to go if we feel like making out anytime soon." I laugh because I know he's only joking but he is also partly serious. "Shall we continue the rest of the game?"
I smile at him and say, "We shall." Ryan and I leave the secluded corner together and then we join everyone else in the game for the remainder of the time we have.
Ryan and I played about five different rounds of laser tag.After awhile we decided we had played enough and it was time to leave.Ryan asked me if I was hungry and I had to admit I was a bit hungry after all that game playing,Besides it was already seven o' clock and the last time we ate was around three.
Ryan and I walked with him leading the way but I walked beside him and we were having a conversation over our laser tag sessions.When I told Ryan it was my first time playing he was surprised.He said I did pretty well for a first timer.Ryan admitted he had been only a few times but he wasn't good enough to brag about.Our conversation while walking was so distracting that I didn't even know where we were going.When we finally arrived at our destination I was surprised to see that we were at the park.I was confused.I assumed that when Ryan asked me if I was hungry we were going to go to his house to eat something or maybe even get something to eat that was close by.I began to wonder why Ryan would bring us all the way here.
He led us to a tall tree and then we came to a stop.He looked to me smiling. "Do you mind...waiting here for a bit?"
"N-not at all..."
"I'll be down in a bit."
"Oka-, wait what?"
And without even responding he jumped up reaching for a branch and began to climb the tree.I looked up at him until he completely disappeared from my sight into the leaves and branches.I heard rustling and I could hear Ryan's movements in the branches.This made me remember the time he asked me to the buddy dinner.The thought made me smile.I was soon distracted by my memory at the sound of Ryan's voice calling my name. "(YN)!" He paused for a moment and I heard more rustling. "You may wanna take a few steps back." I did as he suggested and waited for him to come back down. "Did you move back?"
"Yes!" I replied.
"Okay,wish me luck." I heard more rustling and the sound of Ryan grunting.After a bit more rustling branch sounds Ryan came springing down from the tree.He landed perfectly on his feet and tried catching his balance right after.He looked up at me and smiled.
"What was all that for?" I asked.
"This." He revealed a picnic basket he was hiding behind him and I looked at it then back to him. "Hows about a picnic?" He knelt down to the floor and set the basket down before him.He lifted the lid and reached inside,pulling out a blanket then spreading it out onto the grassy floor.He took a seat on the blanket then looked over to me who was still standing a few feet away. "Come here," he said. "I think after nine months you should be used to my romantic gestures by now." I smiled and walked towards him taking my seat beside him on the picnic blanket.He reached into the picnic basket again this time pulling out a container of pasta,paper plates,and plastic forks. "You were hungry right?" I nodded and watched him as he served two plates full of pasta.He handed me my plate with a fork and began to look at me as if he were waiting for me to take my first bite.Since the situation seemed that way I decided to shovel some into my mouth.I began to chew and swallowed. "That was my mom's famous chicken alfredo made with the assistance of yours truly."
"It's good." I said.
"I'd say thanks but it was really my mom who cooked,I was just her little helper,haha." Ryan reached into the basket again and pulled out two wine glasses.I was confused for a moment but then he pulled out a large bottle that was labeled as apple cider so I let it go.He glanced over at me with the two wine glassed in his hands. "I thought apple cider would give us a more romantic atmosphere."
I laughed lightly and said, "Does your mom know you stole her wine glasses?"
"No actually," he laughed, "I told her about the apple cider but she assumed I'd use plastic cups."
"Boy was she wrong."
"What can I say I'm a rebel."
"Yes,because my mom would be so open to the idea of me dating a rebel child like yourself."
He smirked. "I sense sarcasm in your voice."
"You're not wrong."
"Well I for one am insulted that you don't think of me as rebellious.I live for danger."
"You're so over dramatic."
"Maybe that's a sign that I was born to be an actor."
"I could just picture it now, and the Oscar goes to...not Ryan Dawson."
"Ha ha ha," he laughs sarcastically, "Very funny,I'll have you know I starred as the lead in my elementary play."
"And what play was that?"
"Oh,you played Peter Pan?"
"No,Wendy." I shoot him a strange look and he looks down laughing.
"Are you serious?"
"I wouldn't tell you if it wasn't." He laughed. "I was runner up for the lead but they gave it to some other kid."
"I'm sure you were a way better Peter than that kid."
"Oh I was."
"What then why didn't they give you the role?"
"They said I had a feminine face and that I should play Wendy because all the girls were really bad at playing the part."
"It's a kid play does it really matter?"
"It did to them.It doesn't matter what's done is done.I played a hot Wendy."
"You were a kid,I doubt that."
"If you don't believe me then maybe I should just show you."
"What you have pictures?"
"No but I can put on the costume for you if you want.I just have to go buy one my size."
"I think I'll pass but thanks."
Ryan and I continue to eat our pasta and we even eat seconds and thirds since there is a lot.When it began to get darker Ryan pulled out some Glade scented candles that already came with light and that didn't need to be lit with a match. "I thought a candle lit dinner in the park would be romantic but then I realized we'd be in a park which has grass.Grass and fire,not a good idea so I went with these instead."
"Aren't you the smart guy."
"Just trying to protect the environment,haha.Why are you into Eco-friendly guys?"
"No,just you." He seems surprised by my remark but I just smile at him.His expression gives into a smile and we stare at each other. "I think this is what you would call an 'in the moment' thing."
"I guess it is."
"You're not going to kiss me or anything?" He remains silent for a bit and then his expression changes.He realizes that he didn't notice the moment and feels embarrassed.
"Crap I totally screwed it up!I'm sorry.I tried so hard to be romantic and I end up being to oblivious to realize I was having a moment with my girlfriend!I feel like such a-," I put my finger over his lip forcing him to stop.
"You're not,you're sweet and you're the best boyfriend a girl could have." A slight smile forms across his face.
"Are you trying to recreate the moment?"
"Just shut up and kiss me." He leans in and plants his lips upon mine.He kisses me sweetly and I kiss back gently.We both pull away and continue the rest of our picnic.
We spent the rest of our picnic laughing,talking,and of course eating.The scent of the candles grew stronger as time passed giving off a sweet nourishing aroma.I assumed we were done here but then Ryan reached into the picnic basket again.He pulled out a container of chocolate covered strawberries.He opened the lid then he looked at me. "I know you didn't think I would plan such a nice dinner for us without any dessert."
"Where did you get them from?"
"These I actually made all by myself,haha."
"It's really not all that hard haha." We sit in silence for a moment then Ryan takes the first strawberry and holds it right in front of my face. I look down at the strawberry then to him with a smile on his face. "Take it,I want you to have the first one." I reach for the strawberry in his hands but he pulls it away then says, "No,I have to feed it to you." I smile at him and then I open my mouth big enough for him to put the strawberry in.He takes his time putting the strawberry in my mouth;when I finally take my first bite I savor the flavor combination of the strawberry and milk chocolate coating over it.For some reason I was enjoying this chocolate strawberry better than I ever had with any other chocolate strawberry I've ever had.Maybe it was because Ryan had made these himself or maybe it was because Ryan was feeding it to me.Either way,both reasons for my enjoyment of the strawberry related to Ryan and that made me happy.
We finished up the picnic,as well as all the chocolate covered strawberries, and decided it was time to head home.We cleaned up and put everything back in the picnic basket.Ryan and I left the park hand in hand.It was pretty dark but I didn't mind.Ryan had showed me a good time and I was glad I spent the day with him.Ryan walked me home.We arrived at my house and he walked me all the way to my door.I pulled out my keys and was ready to unlock the door but he stopped me by saying, "There was something I wanted to say to you today." He paused. "I was trying to find the right moment,I thought at our picnic it'd be perfect but I was having such a good time that it completely slipped my mind."
I remained still and silent unsure of what to do or what to say.I wondered what it was that he wanted to tell me.It seemed like he wasn't going to speak any further until I said something.I thought about so many things to say at that moment but all I could let out was, "Okay." He straightened up his posture and stared at me with his bright blue eyes;I was able to see every little detail of them because we were standing in the moonlight.He remained silent but I didn't do anything.I knew he had something to say and I was going to let him say it.It didn't take too long before it came out.
"I love you."
. . .