Luke looked down, and caught Rylie staring at him. He kissed the top of her nose. "What?" he asked.
"I'm just so lucky." Rylie whispered.
"You really are back..."
Rylie opened her eyes, and the sunlight seeping in the window almost blinded her. While her eyes adjusted to the light, she saw a blurry figure towering over the bed.
"Oh hey sis." Rylie rubbed her tear-swollen eyes, and pushed herself off of the mattress. She stretched and yawned while her sister, Katie watched her intently.
"Do you mind?" Rylie asked awkwardly.
"You haven't changed a bit." Katie said, a hint of shock in her voice.
"Right back at you." Rylie eyed her preppy sister up and down. She was the exact replica of her mother. Her hair was shoulder-length, with perfect spirals, and her eyes were the same light shade of brown like the rest of the family. Her polo was secured around her slender figure, and it tucked precisely into a white tennis skirt. Her yellow cardigan was tied around her shoulders, and her lips poised matter-of-factly. Not a nail chipped. Not a hair out of place. The most perfect preppy college chick.
"You look like shit." Katie commented on Rylie's disheveled self.
"Thanks..." Rylie pushed the sheets off of her, and climbed out of her bed. She searched for her suitcase on the floor, and zipped it open, throwing her items out among the floor. "Has mom left?"
"Yea, an hour ago. She told me what happened." Katie smirked, and sat down on the floor beside Rylie, crossing her legs. "Merry Christmas to you..." she laughed.
Rylie snorted while she dug through her crinkled clothes for some jeans.
"What's it like?" Katie asked, picking up one of Rylie's band t-shirts, and looking at it with a disgusted expression.
"What's what like?" Rylie asked, looking up at her sister.
Rylie laughed, and exhaled slowly, trying to keep from crying. "It...sucks!" she answered, seeing no other way to describe it. If she went into detail, she would burst into tears, and she couldn't handle the agony at that moment. The pain wasn't that bad, but she knew throughout the day, it would steadily drag her down to her knees. "It's like getting stabbed endlessly with a knife. The pain just doesn't stop."
"You've been stabbed with a knife?" Katie raised an eyebrow as she dug through Rylie's makeup bag. She was always so nosy.
Rylie shook her head. "I'm just guessing it hurts like hell."
Katie shrugged, throwing Rylie's makeup bag behind her shoulder.
"Do you mind?" Rylie groaned. "How would you feel if I went through your stuff and threw it all over your room?"
"That will never happen because you will never go in my room. I'm the adult, and you're just a teenager."
Rylie's blood boiled. Katie was only 3 years older than her, but she talked down to her like a child. However, Rylie kept her mouth shut because she was in no mood to comment and get into a petty argument.
"So what's the tour life like?" Katie asked, resting her hands in her lap.
"Well, it was pretty awesome...until..."
"Until your boyfriend used you for a stupid song, and ruined your life?" Katie said, getting right to the point.
Rylie sighed heavily, trying to keep her cool. Katie was just adding to her pain, and she couldn't take anymore pain. Having a broken heart hurt enough.
"How's dad?" Katie's voice quivered, almost like she was embarrassed to ask. She was asking so many questions, distracting Rylie from trying to find something to wear. She didn't even know why she was looking, though. She would just lay in bed all day crying. It was something to do at least.
"He's..." Rylie couldn't think about her father in a nice way. He had literally blackmailed someone to get her song. It was wrong, and manipulative. Rylie couldn't think of him as a good man anymore. She saw him as a coward, not even able to ask his daughter for a song. She wouldn't have given it, but at least he asked. "He's...doing fine. Happy with himself, I hope..."
Katie got up, and dusted off her skirt. "Your wardrobe is horrendous."
"So is yours."
Katie breathed out. "When you're ready to come downstairs, I'll make some breakfast." Katie turned on her heel, and headed towards the door. She stopped midway, and turned to the side. "I like that you're back. I missed someone to bicker with." Katie laughed at her almost sincere comment before exiting the room.
Rylie was relieved she was gone, but Katie's statement was true. She kinda missed her sister too. Bickering was the one thing that kept them similar, since they were by no means alike. It actually kept Rylie's mind off Luke.
She found her phone at the bottom of the suitcase after she had dug everything out, and sprawled it on the floor. It was low on battery, but messages continued to flash.
Where are you?-Harry
What is going on?-Michael
Rylie, answer me!-Michael
Come back to us!- Louis
I need you...-Luke
She hovered her eyes over Luke's message. Why did he continue to torture her with such simple sentences? Why couldn't everyone let her grieve in peace?
Rylie turned off her phone. It was best. The more she looked at the messages, the more she wanted to go back to them, and make everything okay. Nothing was okay. She probably couldn't even look Luke or her father in the eyes.
The thoughts played out in her mind.
"When you and Liam broke up, I knew you had written a song, and I knew you would never show me...So...I...I hired Luke to sweep you off your feet so you could trust him enough to sing him the song. I promised in return to bring his band on this tour, and if he got Amnesia, then they could use the song to make it big and become famous. If he didn't, I would destroy his career."
It bewildered her. How did she never notice? Rylie's fists tinged with regret as she wanted so desperately to punch them in the face. She didn't really care about her father that much. It was Luke, the love of her life, that was playing pretend while she lived the reality. Did he not think it wouldn't affect her? Did he not think she wouldn't fall in love with his angelic self? So many questions would remain unanswered.
Luke didn't understand the trauma and impact his actions would have on Rylie. Deep down, she knew he really did love her, but she just couldn't see it. How could someone do that to a person if they loved him or her? Rylie knew he had an internal conflict over choosing between his band and her, but obviously couldn't win with both.
It was as simple as this: Rylie had swam too deep; Luke would be able to climb out of the water, and walk away unharmed; Rylie would drown just like the rest of her sorrows.
She stuffed her clothes back into the suitcase, and picked up a heavy hoodie that weighed heavily on her arm. She looked at it, unfamiliar with it. She sprawled it out of the wooden floor, and traced her fingers over it. It was Luke's. She knew it. She must have accidentally grabbed it, and stuffed it in her case when she was in such a hurry to get away.
Rylie looked at it's massive size, and she pushed it up to her nose, smelling the familiar scent of Luke.
She sat it back down, and her hand travelled up and down every stitch. Then, Rylie noticed the dark cloth forming in the middle, and the water dripping onto it. The tears had come again. Rylie was used to not going more than 10 minutes without crying. She had cried herself to sleep, and woke up with a soaked pillow, probably crying in her sleep.
Rylie grabbed the hoodie, and held up to her chest, tightening her grip around it. She fell back against the edge of her bed, and sobbed into it. Why did a part of Luke have to be there with her? Why couldn't she just be happy?
"You finally joined me-have you been crying again?" Katie looked up from the skillet in her hand, and shook her head at Rylie in disappointment.
Rylie threw herself on the teal couch in the living room that conjoined the kitchen.
"Don't be so careless! That is an expensive couch!" Katie scolded.
Rylie got up, and put her hands up in defensive. She rolled her eyes, hoping Katie would notice. Why did she have to be particular about everything? It was just a stupid couch.
Katie motioned for Rylie to join her at the kitchen table, and she sat a plate on Rylie's placemat.
Rylie told herself she had to eat, even though she wasn't hungry. She dragged the chair out, and sat down, picking up the fork and poking her eggs.
After minutes of silence, Katie swallowed hard, and dabbed her mouth with a napkin. "Did you love him?" she asked with curiosity. That was the difference between Katie and her mom. She was actually curious, and cared to see what Rylie's life had been like the past year. Her mom just let her in because it wad the civil thing to do. To her, Rylie was another person in her life that she looked over, and not at.
Rylie stared at her plate, agitated with Katie for not letting it go. Her bottom lip quivered. "Yes, I do love Luke." she corrected. She still loved him. That didn't change. That's why it hurt so much.
Katie nodded slowly..."I think I love Miles."
"You're still with him?" Rylie looked up, stunned. Miles had been Katie's boyfriend of 3 years.
Katie nodded, smiling with a giddy expression. "However, our love isn't as twisted as yours."
"Twisted love is sometimes fun. It's mysterious. You never know what might happen. You could end up like me, but the best and worst part is, the love never goes away; even if you want it to."
Katie's mouth dropped at Rylie's words. "I hate to say this, but you've matured. I don't know...Luke...but I know he must be better than Liam."
Rylie nodded, thinking about Luke like he wasn't on her mind constantly the past 3 months. She wanted to hate him, but then his smile appeared in her mind, making her feel warm inside.
She got up from taking a couple bites of her breakfast, and walked over to the tall Christmas tree, looking outlandish in the modern living room.
"What a wonderful Christmas..." she sarcastically remarked, looking at an old ornament she had made when she was little. Rylie searched for some kind of happiness on that Christmas morning, but she couldn't find any.
"I'm sorry I didn't get you anything. I didn't think I would see you again." Katie admitted, appearing behind her.
Rylie shrugged. "It wouldn't have helped." she sighed, feeling a flood of agony come again. "I'm going up to my room. Please don't bother me for the rest of the day. If you hear screams of pain, it is just me thinking about how bad my life has become." Rylie walked past her sister who stood frozen with disbelief, and she climbed up the stairs into her room, slamming the door, and throwing herself on her only friend: her bed.