Chapter 21: Hooky
I stood in the doorway for a few minutes without saying anything. He looked at me with the same face that he did when I used to sit on the couch every Saturday night with nothing to. A look that said pity.
I looked at my mom. She looked guilty as she stared at the ground. After a few seconds, she looked up to make eye contact with me.
“Rylie hone---” she started before I turned around quickly, pulling the door shut behind me with a bang.
So many emotions crashed on to me at once. I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t think I would ever see his face again. I didn’t think I would ever have to look into his eyes and see my own staring back at me again. We were always told we had the same eyes. It already was hard enough to see his eyes whenever I looked at myself in the mirror. But to see them in person after almost two years, was a lot to handle.
I burst into tears as I felt the same abandonment that I had felt the night he left. I knew that he was going to leave eventually but I didn’t think it would be that night. Nor did I think he would completely disappear from my life for good. I at least thought he would keep contact. But we got nothing. Except checks.
I almost relapsed into my cutting after he left my mom and me. I had to return to the therapist after to stop myself from the cutting.
I wandered the hotel for what felt like 3 hours. I couldn’t leave because I had no idea what city we were even in. I couldn’t go back because I didn’t want to face him. So I settled in a staircase on the other side of the hotel.
What was I even supposed to say? Why was he even here? What did he want from my mom and I? It didn’t make any sense.
I looked down at my phone. 3. We were leaving at 3:30 for Wantagh. I had no option. I had to go back. I made my way to the room slowly. When I arrived there, I knocked on the door once again. It swung open and I saw my mom, behind her was my dad seated on the couch.
I walked in without a word, threw all of my belongings into my suitcase, zipped it up and set it up so I could pull it. I looked at my dad and he looked back at me. I had nothing to say to him.
“Rylie. I know this must be confusing and upsetting but you just need to hear me out. Your mom contacted me because she is worried about you. You seem to be back at that place that you were at after you and Luke stopped being friends. I would hate to see you revert back to your old ways. The last thing I want is my daughter to be harming herself in anyway. It was hard enough to watch it happen the first time and to know that I couldn’t do anything to help you. So that’s why I’m here now, to help you. I understand if you are upset, but just give me a chance to help,” he finished.
I felt the blood rush to my face in anger. I didn’t want to speak a word to him, but I couldn’t hold my tongue.
“You came back to HELP me? You came back because you are WORRIED about me? You’re joking right? If you wanted to ‘help’ me, you would have never left me in the first place. You know nothing about me anymore Dad. I almost broke down after you left. I almost started cutting again. But I didn’t. You know why? Because I couldn’t. I had to be strong for my mom. I had to sit there in pain as she cried through the day and throughout the whole night. I had to watch her as she tried to understand why she wasn’t good enough for you anymore. I had to comfort her and help her pay the bills when your checks didn’t quite cover it. I watched her search for a job for over a year because we both couldn’t survive on the money you gave us. I had to be strong because if I wasn’t my mom and I might not have made it to where we are now. So I think that I have cured myself, thanks. I think that I am strong enough to know when I need help. I am not a little girl anymore, and I don’t need your help to realize that.” I finished sharply.
I watched his face contort to an expression of upset. I didn’t feel sorry. I put my purse over my shoulder, put on my backpack and pulled my suitcase out the door without a single glance at my dad or mom’s face.
I rode the elevator down to the lobby as I tried to regain my composure. When the doors opened, the first thing I saw was Luke smiling at whatever Calum was saying to him. I watched as he busted out laughing. He looked so happy and carefree. He suddenly looked up at me and we made eye contact. His face contorted to an expression of worry. Ugh I hated how easily he could read me.
The elevator door almost closed on me but I stopped it last minute as I pulled my stuff through the doors. I dropped my purse. Before I could reach down and pick it up, I saw a hand reach for it. A very large hand.
“Do you need some help Rylie?” Ashton said as he handed me my purse. I looked up at the sound of his voice. He looked completely miserable.
“Umm no. I got it. But thanks.” I took my purse and quickly pulled my suitcase towards the doors to get it on the tour bus. I heard the elevator ding and its doors open as I was walking.
“Rylie?” I heard my dads voice yell after me. I kept walking. I got out the door and handed my suitcase to the driver of the bus to put in the storage compartment. I quickly boarded the bus.
When I got on the bus, I went back mine and my mom’s room, shut the door and locked it. I needed a nap. This is was all too much.
I woke up the next day to the sound of singing.
It took me a few seconds to remember everything that had happened today. What the hell was I going to do? The bus suddenly came to a stop. I didn’t move. I didn’t want to risk being thrown into a situation the involved my dad, my mom, Ashton and Luke. Even though I knew it was bound to happen eventually, I wasn’t ready to face it.
I stayed on the bus while I heard it empty out. We must have been at Wantagh. I sat in bed hoping no one would come for me. 15 minutes later there was a knock. I sighed. I knew that was coming.
I got out of bed to tell my mother to leave me alone.
“Mom, I’m not gonna talk to him.” I said as I unlocked the door and slid it open.
“Oh. You’re not my mom.” I said stupidly.
There stood Luke. Hands in pockets, giving me the puppy dog look.
“Wanna play hooky?” he said quietly with a small smile.
20 minutes later, I sat on a bench while Luke bought us ice cream. We were sitting on a pier in Jones Beach. I didn’t really have to think about his offer. I had to get away from everyone. Even though Luke was one of the reasons I felt trapped, he was also the person who knew everything about me.
I watched him smile as he paid for the vanilla cones, and then again as he turned to see me looking at him. I looked away awkwardly, and pretended I was looking out into the ocean.
I heard him sit on the bench next to me. I breathed in the familiar sent of the shampoo he had been using since he was 11. Men’s Axe, because he “wanted to attract the ladies”. I rolled my eyes at the thought. I turned to him to take my ice cream cone out of his hand. We ate in silence for a while.
“Why is your dad here?” Luke asked, startling me.
“Umm he said because he is worried about me. My mom called him.” I said truthfully. I didn’t feel up to making up some elaborate story.
“Why are they worried about you?” he asked sounding worried.
“I don’t really know. It’s not like I’m cutting again or anything. I guess I’m just homesick.” I said. Which was sort of true, but not the whole reason.
Luke didn’t say anything for a few minutes.
“Rylie? Why did your dad leave in the first place?” he asked. There it was.
“After you and I stopped being friends, and I had my depression problem, my dad and mom started fighting a lot. About finances, about me, about everything. My dad wanted to start making his music again but my mom said that he couldn’t quit his job. Being a washed up musician wasn’t going to pay the bills. They fought repeatedly about it. Then one night, my dad just left. I had been in my room listening to them yell at each other for hours. He came into my room when I was sleeping, or pretending to sleep, gave me a kiss on the forehead said ‘I’m sorry, I love you’, took his guitar and suitcase and walked out. I haven’t seen him since then. And then he just showed up today out of nowhere.” I said ending quietly.
Luke didn’t say anything.
“I just really wish he would of stayed away. He isn’t doing anyone any favors by coming back. I don’t need him.” I said firmly.
“Want to go ride the Ferris wheel?” Luke said suddenly.
I laughed out loud before I could stop myself.
“What?” he said with a chuckle.
“I just tell you my sob story and all you ask is if I want to ride the Ferris wheel?” I said through laughter.
“I just think you need a break from your own thoughts for an hour or two.” Luke said seriously.
I stopped laughing and looked into his eyes. So painfully familiar but still so beautiful.
“Yeah. A break would be nice.” I said.
We finished our ice cream and headed to the carnival that was at a pier down the beach.
I watched him attempt the ring toss onto a bottle game. He was terrible at it. I actually won. I picked out a bright blue monkey as my prize. I laughed as he attempted a numerous amount of other carnival games in which he sucked at all of them. Finally I convinced him he was wasting money and got him to ride a few rides.
It’s funny how completely normal it felt to be here with him. I completely forgot about the last two years of separation, Ashton, my dad and my mom and anything else that was causing me to freak out.
Finally we made it to the Ferris wheel. The sun was setting, and we were discussing stupid things we had done as kids as we went round and round.
“Remember the time we tried to have a lemonade stand to try and raise money for a new bike and our only costumers were our parents and the old lady that lived down the street? We were so excited and we thought we would get so much money.” Luke said as I cracked up at the memory.
“Yeah we did some silly things. But we always had the most fun doing them.” I said. I turned and looked him in the eye. He had a serious expression.
“Umm Rylie, I just wanted to say that I’m sorry. For everything. I never meant to hurt you. I thought by what I heard you say to that girl that you wanted nothing to do with me. So I left. I never thought it would cause such an impact on you,” he said looking into my eyes.
I was quiet for a few seconds.
“What’s in the past, is in the past Luke.” I said, keeping all my feelings inside.
“Yeah I suppose. Also I wanted to tell you, I—“ he cut himself off. He looked at the ground. We had now stopped at the top while they were unloading people. I felt my stomach contort. What was he going to say?
“Tell me what Luke?” I said encouragingly. He looked up at me. He closed his eyes. He started leaning towards me. Before I had time to react, I saw them over his shoulder. What caught my eye was Michael’s now bright purple hair.
“Mom?” I said loudly.
Luke opened his eyes immediately. He turned to look in the direction that I was looking.
“Shit” I heard him say.
My mom and dad, Ashton, Michael, Calum, and their manager were all suddenly at the bottom of the Ferris wheel, looking up at us. My mom, dad, Ashton and the manager all looked seriously pissed off.
We waited in silence until it was our turn to get off the ride. We walked over to face whatever was about to happen.
“Excuse me young lady, what do you think you were doing? You can’t just take Luke. He has a show tonight and a lot of stuff he has to do before it including sound check. This is unacceptabl—”
“Ashley, this was all me. Rylie has nothing to do with it. I was the one who brought her here.” Luke interrupted her. Everyone’s eyes shifted from me to him. Except Ashton.
As Luke explained, Ashton locked eye contact with me. His face went from anger, to extreme disappointment. Suddenly he turned in the other direction and walked away.
It took everything in me to not run after him.
This was a never ending mess of confusion.