For the first time in what felt like forever, Rylie was crying tears of joy. She wasn't sad. She was so happy that her body wasn't used to the unnatural sensation. It grimaced as her stomach twisted with butterflies. It was so used to an empty feeling, and a broken heart that now that Rylie was getting back on her feet, and feeling her heart gradually improving, it was foreign to everything else.
Rylie blew into a tissue, and waved a goodbye to Jenna as she finally left. She smiled at the ceiling, knowing Michael was still with her. He would always be with her, she presumed.
Katie gently closed the door, and faced Rylie. "I can be an awesome sister sometimes." she said, and smirked narcissistically.
Rylie burst into a fit of laughs as she engulfed Katie in a strong and loving hug. Katie was caught off guard and took a minute to recollect what was happening before she hugged back. It was unlike any hug they had ever exchanged. It was filled with love, and a bond only sisters had.
Ryle pulled away, and grinned from ear to ear at Katie. "Thank you."
Katie nodded. "I figured I owed you. So much has been going on, and I gave up on you. You deserve a happy ending."
"I don't have a happy ending yet." Rylie admitted, thinking about Luke.
"Go get him back!" Katie urged, gripping Rylie's shoulders and shaking them gently.
Rylie sighed. "I'm going to wait another day just to collect my thoughts, and figure everything out." Rylie needed some time to estimate how everything should go. He probably hated her, and she couldn't just go knocking on his door, begging for forgiveness. She didn't even know where he lived, or where he could be.
She grabbed her bag yet again, and left the hotel, telling Katie she had some friends she really needed to talk to. On her way down to the lobby, she texted Niall, and told him to meet her at an old skateboard park. She had passed by it on the way to Michael's house, and it had an odd peace about it that Rylie liked.
It only took a few minutes to get there, or maybe it was just the excitement that made the time fly by. Ryle couldn't take the smile off her face even if she wanted to. Maybe there was no reason to be that happy, but Rylie was allowing herself to feel good for once in two weeks. It wasn't a crime.
She kicked her dirty Converses at the gravel as she walked over to the dilapidated area. The sun cast shadows on the trees above her as she looked down at the huge concrete hole in the ground. Graffiti adorned almost ever space, and old, destructed skateboards were thrown every which way. There was a small tunnel further in the distance that rounded perfectly at the tops.It looked sketchy, where drug dealers slip cocaine to drug addicts, but Rylie couldn't put her finger on the simplicity of it all. She could almost relate to the area. It was fun for a while, but got thrown to the dogs, and now enjoyed the alone time, even though it desperately wanted a companion. Sound familiar?
Rylie thought of herself as she looked at the place, and smiled at her deep soul, looking way more into something. It was probably just an old place where teenagers skated and did illegal drugs.
Suddenly, she pictured Michael in the midst of her vision. He was beginning to get into the rebel phase, and he came down there, joining his friends in a joint-pass around. Rylie didn't judge him for it, and it may not have even happened, but she enjoyed looking around at the places he grew up, and seeing him in everything.
Rylie turned around to see Niall holding his hands up in confusion.
"Niall!" she yelled, and ran into his arms, gripping his back roughly. "I missed you!"
"Whoa..." Niall quickly hugged her back, but pulled away. "What is going on? I almost didn't recognize you; you had a smile on your face!"
Rylie crinkled her nose and punched him playfully in the shoulder.
"But seriously, why are we in this rat hole?" he cringed his nose at the awful smell in the air, and tried to dust dirt off his perfectly white shoes. "You know how sneaky I had to be with paparazzi to get here?"
"Why does it matter where we're at? I have isolated myself from my true family, but I'm back now." Rylie spun around and threw her hands out from her sides as she glanced up at the blue sky. It was crazy how the weather changed according to her moods. "Bask in the glory."
Niall shook his head, but his lips lifted as a smile protruded from his mouth. "Well I'm glad you're back."
"Man, me too!" Rylie felt the heat of the sun on her cheeks, and she felt radiant in happiness. "I had forgotten what it was like to be truly happy."
Niall touched her elbow, and pulled her over to the edge of the deep ramp. He sat down, letting his legs dangle over the side, and Rylie did the same.
"We need to catch up, because I'm so confused." Niall looked out at the leaves rustling in the wind.
Rylie eyed him happily. She had missed him so much, just like everybody else. He would've helped her get better, but she was being so stubborn in loneliness that the idea of anybody trying to help was enough to send shivers up her spine.
"I'm sorry for leaving you behind." Rylie started, ready to apologize for all the things she had messed up the last two weeks. "After I found out what Luke had done, I had to get away from everyone."
Niall nodded in understanding. He looked deep into Rylie's eyes with a pleading expression. "Rylie, I promise no one else knew about the blackmailing besides Luke and Paul. If I had known, I would've told you immediately. "His voice was urgent, like he had to convince her.
"I know." Rylie simply said, knowing Niall was telling the truth. He was one of her best friends. He would never do that to her.
Niall exhaled in relief. "That was really messed up, what he did."
Rylie nodded, agreeing with him more than anyone. "What bothers me is he could've backed out. He acted like he had no choice, but he did. Me or the band? He lost both in the end anyways." she shrugged, feeling slightly bummed again. The bubbly excitement was wearing off, and she didn't want to start thinking about what Luke had done again. Besides Michael's death, that was all she was thinking about. She had forgiven Luke and the only way to do that was put it in the past. On the other hand, it was an unusual relief talking about it with Niall. She had figured she was being a blind fool the entire time, but everyone else was just as surprised as she.
Niall looked at Rylie's forehead crinkle as she grew lost in thought and he smiled. "You said you forgave him at the funeral. Is that true? Cause no matter what he did, you two are perfect for each other." Niall ran his long fingers through his perfectly styled hair.
Everybody felt the need to address that they were perfect for each other. Rylie nodded in answer. "What I said at the funeral-about not loving him- it was a complete lie."
"I know," Niall responded, "but why'd you say it then?" his Irish accent was thick as certain words rolled off his tongue.
"I thought I was a monster." Rylie breathed out, vowing to not cry. "I thought that I was responsible for Michael's death, and Luke deserved someone better."
Niall shook his head. He raised his voice slightly, and the words echoed off the desolate space. "Michael's death was not your fault!"
"I know that now." Rylie clarified. "And I realized what a mistake I have made trying to push him away. I want him back."
"It's not too late."
Rylie prayed that it wasn't. She needed Luke, and her grief was blinding her in sensible decisions. You can't just go around telling people who you love more than the air you breath that you don't love them. She wondered where Luke was, or what he was doing. She was nervous, but at the same time, she had an indescribable feeling in her gut that everything would be alright in the end.
She looked up at the sky, and watched the clouds gradually move. The hot summer air was warm on her pale skin, and she breathed in an almost rustic smell of metal, and dandelions. There was no shadows cast on the treeless environment; all that was left of the wasteland was trash and dead grass.
Rylie heard a sniffle to her side, and she turned to see Niall dab his eyes, and embarrassingly stare down in the deep hole beneath him. He concentrated hard as he watched his stubby legs rock back and forth, his dark jeans contrasting with the beige ramp.
"What's wrong?" she touched his shoulder, offering little comfort.
"It's just..." Niall paused, not yet meeting her eyes. "We needed you too, Rylie. You left us to grieve over Michael's death. The One Direction boys and I were hurt, maybe not as much as you, but he was a great guy...and you practically disowned us!" Niall's tears dripped on his jeans, and he let out a small sob. "Everyone was upset."
"I know...I'm sorry." Rylie soothed him as she rubbed his back gently. "I'm sorry I was so selfish in my own needs...but I'm here now. " Rylie felt so ashamed. She had been living in her own world, not realizing the entire world was disappointed over Michael's death. Fans opened their hearts to let Michael in, and they fell in love with his charming, easy-going self, only to have him gone too soon.
Niall wrapped his built arm around Rylie's waist, and pulled her in for a hug. She offered her full warmth, and smiled at his embrace. She missed him. She missed everybody. His hands found the small of her back, and he clamped them together, holding on tight. Hugs were such a great sign of affection, and Rylie's heart fluttered at the tying of another loose end. She rested her chin on his shoulder, and felt his head tuck into the crook of her neck. She heard his sobs muffled through the fabric, and she smiled as he finally let out what had been bothering him. She knew Niall too well. When they found out the news, he cried some, but held up his strength for the good of the group. Now it was time to cry and let the tears disappear into the wind.
Rylie made soft, shushing noises, and continued to rub his back. "I'm here now..." she repeated, making sure Niall wouldn't forget it. She promised herself that no matter what, she would not abandon her friends again. They were a pack; they needed each other equally. Rylie missed the old days before what happened, but it was a new start. She could start over with Luke, and everyone. Rylie hadn't really thought about her father much lately, but she supposed she would have to forgive him too. People make mistakes, and forgiveness is key, despite how horrible the mistake might be.
No matter how sad she was over Michael, she now saw why he went. Even though her and Luke's love was eternal, he would always be a complication. Rylie didn't care, though. She wanted his complication, now more than ever.
Niall pulled away, his eyes alive with a vivid thought. He seemed to have suddenly gotten better."I remember something you said at the funeral." he chuckled at the statement, and Rylie blushed, already knowing.
"Oh gosh..." she mumbled under her breath, wondering how long she would have to explain herself to everyone.
"You had sex with...Michael?" Niall asked with a tone of disbelief. The corners of his mouth lifted up in a cheeky grin.
Rylie rolled her eyes, and slowly nodded sheepishly.
Niall burst into laughter, and he gripped his stomach. Rylie suddenly frowned. It wasn't a joking matter. Yes, it was an awkward predicament, but she didn't regret a second.
Niall glanced at her, and instantly stopped his laughter, seeing her disappointment. "Sorry...it's just...wow!" he was at a loss for words. "I had thought you would've done it with Luke a long time ago, but somehow, it was Michael."
Rylie glanced at her lap, closely examining the stitched fabric of her jeans. It was crazy. Everyone made assumptions. Life was so unexpected. "I don't know what came over us," she admitted, "One minute we were talking, and then, bam!" she made a gesture of explosion with her hands, and chuckled.
Niall nodded. "How was it?"
"Niall!" Rylie raised her eyebrows in shock and let her mouth dangle open as she slapped him on the arm.
Niall raised his hands in defeat, and laughed. "I'm just curious!" he defended.
Rylie blushed. She should've known Niall would ask such private questions. "It was..." Rylie smiled as she looked for the right word. "Thrilling..." she decided.
Niall smiled again, chuckling through his teeth.
"C'mon." Rylie pulled herself up, and helped Niall to his feet. "Let's go."
Niall nodded, and wiped his tears of laughter off his face. "My driver is parked down the block, and paparazzi is surely standing around it, so I have to get going anyways."
He stepped away, and started to head on, but he stopped, and turned slightly to meet Rylie's eyes. "Next time I see you, you'll be gripping Luke's hand tightly."
Rylie nodded, blushing at the thought of finally holding his strong, loyal hands.