Rylie felt Luke's exceptionally long fingers wrap around her small hand, and the immediate feeling of warmth soothed her nerves slightly. They stepped in unison into the hotel, and was greeted by a chaotic lobby of tourists and suitcases. Rylie's heart was pounding as she dreaded the judgment Katie's face would give off. She had so many people to tell, and feared for every reaction. This was not something she could predict; she had never guessed she would be having a baby at 18, and never really thought about having to tell anybody. It was a nervous anticipation that she hated to feel because it crept into her lungs, making the oxygen in the air deplete and the dreadful cloud of depressing smoke fill her body, draining her of any good outcome.
She led Luke to the elevator, and quickly pushed the button for the third floor. The elevators closed, and a silence deafened her ears. Not even any elevator music.
"What's your sister like?" Luke broke the silence as he chewed on his lower lip, breaking the tiny scab from his previous addiction. "Will she like me?" Luke was probably just as nervous as she because they were raising the baby together, and even if it wasn't his, Michael would want him to step up and take responsibility. They hadn't had time yet to let everything sink in, and as soon as the adrenaline wore off, the real realization would be enough to sweep them off their feet.
"I never really saw her as a sister until recently. She was always a snobby prep, but while I was sulking over you, she helped me a lot. We're more alike than I thought." Rylie appreciated her sister now that they had gotten through that hard two weeks. They were closer than they have ever been, and it felt nice to really have a close family member to lean on. "She's cool..." Rylie added.
"What about you mom?"
Rylie laughed at the statement. Her mother would surely hop on that plane to Australia, and beat the living daylights out of her. That really wasn't fair because she had Katie at 19, which is still pretty young. However, no one can forget she's prefect, and Rylie never was.
"My mom...won't take it well..."
The elevator doors slid open, revealing a horrible rose wallpaper, and olive green carpet.
"All this time, you had been right in this hotel..." Luke shook his head in astonishment as he climbed into the claustrophobic hallway.
"So close but so far away..." Rylie stifled a laugh at the pun, but she could not bring herself to put a smile on her dejected face. Her stomach lurched with a ferocious intensity of what was next. Katie had never met Luke, and only seen Michael once, but yet she would have to hear the news Rylie was pregnant. Her baby sister...
"This is it..." Rylie stood in front of the door and pulled a card from her bag to unlock it. The predicted look on Katie's face played in her mind even after Luke wrapped his loving arms around her frail waist, and left a gentle kiss on her temple. She felt the pad of his thumb trace against her jawline as he pushed loose hairs away from her cheek. She tried to hold in the inevitable tears, but very few fell from her eyelid, and she batted them away with her eyelashes before Luke noticed. She didn't know exactly why she didn't want him to see her tears fall, but she tried to pull a strong face. His touch on her skin made her want to retreat with him somewhere where only they could go, and just go back to before everything happened. Even though she was okay with the child, and after what happened, Luke and her were stronger as a couple, she wanted so badly to go back to when things were simple and she didn't know about the song, and Michael wasn't dead. It was so much easier to be happy. She didn't have to have her guard up all the time. It was a amazing how many obstacles she had faced in so little time.
Instantly when the door opened, a flustered Katie frantically stuffing clothes in her bag appeared before Rylie's eyes. Katie's hair was pulled up in the messiest of buns, and she tried to balance her phone between her ear and shoulder as she grabbed clothes off the floor, and allowed them to remain mangled in her suitcase. So unlike Katie.
"She could be anywhere....yes I know there are a lot of people in Australia, but...I already told you what she looks like!" Katie rambled on, oblivious to Rylie as she took steps farther into the room.
She was so worried. The bags under her eyes were prominent, indicating she hadn't slept all night. Rylie hadn't realized how concerned she was, and she wished she would have taken the time to tell her everything was okay.
"Katie..." Rylie spoke, breaking Katie from her knitted thoughts. Katie looked up, and a flood of relief and surprise passed onto her face.
"Um...Never mind..." Katie put her lips to the phone, and immediately hung up. She met Rylie's eyes, and stayed frozen in place for a slim second before enveloping Rylie in her arms. She squeezed tightly, making the muscles in Rylie's body scream for release. She could feel the worry disappear off Katie as she gripped her back lovingly.
"How could you do that?" Katie breathed out, her tone of voice laced with tears. "I was so scared..." She pulled away to examine Rylie and make sure she was okay. She conjoined the palms of their hands. "You went to find Luke, and then I don't hear from you all night...can you imagine how I felt?"
"No..." Rylie looked down, ashamed. She had forgotten that she had a family too. She had gotten lost in Luke's love. "I'm sorry..."
Katie nodded, accepting her apology. She let out a heavy sigh, and glanced up to see Luke hovering behind them. "Oh..." her lips parted in surprise and they soon formed a small smile. "This must be the Luke..."
Luke smiled and his cheeks grew a rosy red. "It's nice to finally meet you..." he held out his hand to shake, but Katie rejected it with poised lips. Her eyes glared at him as she trailed his long body in dissatisfaction. Before anyone had time to comprehend what just happened, Katie lunged forward, spreading a pampered hand across the side of Luke's face.
"You broke my little sister's heart!" she yelped in his ear, sending droplets of saliva his way. Rylie's eyes widened at the sudden outburst because Katie was not one for surprises. She rarely got so angry that she violently chastised someone with body parts, but she guess it was well deserved. If their roles were switched, Rylie would have done the same thing to stand up for her sister.
Luke's face was stunned as well and he reached his hand up to his cheek to feel the throbbing heat radiate off the redness forming in his skin. He looked to Rylie for some explanation, but she just shrugged.
Katie exhaled slowly, and straightened her crinkled top. "Now that that's off my chest, it's very nice to meet you..." she smiled, showing glimmering white teeth, and patted Luke on the shoulder. "I had seen pictures of you online, but you are much taller, and handsomer I might add, in person."
Rylie rolled her eyes, and pretended to gag at her sister. Nevertheless, she reached for her sister's body again, and offered another loving hug.
"We have to leave..." Katie commented. "I'm so done with Australia."
Rylie let go of her sister's body, and made eye contact with Luke, sending the signal of what was to come. "I can't go with you...I still have a lot to do."
Katie raised her eyebrows in confusion at Rylie's reply. "What do you have to do?"
Her heart ferociously pounded, and she could feel the palms of her hands grow sweaty as she led Katie over to the side of the bed for her to sit down. She was so scared that she would disown her right after they had grown so close as sisters. "We have something to tell you.." she looked to Luke as he stepped over to them, and wrapped a solid hand around Rylie's back. She could tell Katie already knew something serious was going on.
"Oh no, what is it?" Katie whispered.
Rylie decided to just say it. There was no avoiding the inevitable. "I'm pregnant."
She cringed, fearing Katie would explode, but it was only disappointment residing on her face. "Rylie..." she shook her head, knowing there was no evidence of a joking matter. She looked to Luke to scold him, but she was smart enough to calculate the situation, and her mouth gaped open. "It's Michael's, isn't it? The pill didn't work..."
Rylie nodded, feeling the water fill up in her eyes. The last thing she wanted was Katie to be disappointed. She would rather her be angry. If only she could see that the baby was a blessing.
Katie sighed, and glanced at Rylie's stomach. For a moment, everyone allowed the silence to take the room as their thoughts roamed.
"Well, I figured I would get pregnant before you, but if you're happy, I'm happy." Katie smiled, and grabbed Rylie's hand.
"I'm happy! I'm so indescribably happy!" Rylie pulled Luke and Katie in for a group hug, feeling the joyful tears run down her face. Even though she didn't need the approval, it was nice to have it. A piece of the puzzle was complete.
"You better take care of her..." Katie put a stern finger on Luke's chest after they ended the cheerful hug, and glared into his blue eyes.
Luke nodded as if he was being addressed by her mother. "I will..." he nodded in reassurance, and reached for Rylie's hand to lock fingers.
Katie nodded and glanced around the room, locating a phone from the bed. "You know what you have to do." she sighed, and Rylie did. Her fellow family would not take it as well as Katie did, and she knew that. She knew the astonishment and anger would fill them with shame for her, and she had to be brave enough to take it.
Just a few days earlier, they had practically disowned their mother, so she couldn't imagine what she would sound like when Rylie dialed her number. She was heartbroken. Rylie knew what that felt like, and she hated she was the cause of such pain, but lessons are learned out of pain and regret.
The ringing in her ears postponed the trembling of her fingers. Questions filled her spacious mind. She gripped Luke's hand, and took a death sentencing glance at Katie for encouragement.
"Hello." Mom's voice was weak and almost giving out. Rylie could feel the tears from a world away.
"Mom." Rylie smiled, knowing her mom could feel it.
"I...I'm so sorry..." she started off the conversation with an apology to lighten the tense air. Maybe it would make the reveal easier, but that was doubtful. Her mom was wounded with an ache of the mind, and that takes time to be fixed. That ailment added so much anger towards Rylie that she knew her mom's words would sting like knives.
"It's...okay." Her mother breathed out a shuttered statement, like the words tasted like vinegar in her mouth. Rylie was stunned because she was not one for accepting an apology, or acknowledging one's fault.
"Mom, I have to tell you something..."
"Okay." Short words but so much meaning. Rylie could tell her mom was doing everything in her power not to raise her voice. She was trying to establish a better relationship. She was trying...
"You remember when I slept with Michael?" Rylie stifled an inappropriate laugh at the irony. "Well I'm having his baby."
A slight cough was heard on the other side of the line, but that was it. The beeping of an end call rang in Rylie's ears, and she pulled the phone away to look at the dead screen. Her heart ached. That was the worst reply. Silence. Her mother was pondering the thought, and her enragement was increasing in intensity. She had always been so disappointed in Rylie and now she had a legit reason to be. Her teenage daughter pregnant. It was icing on the cake.
"She hung up." Rylie felt the need to tell the other bodies in the room, and she felt her stomach tighten as the tears flooded down her face. She just hung up, dismissing her own daughter. She wouldn't call back. That was a fact. She wouldn't support the baby. She would never want to see it. No matter how hard Rylie tried, and even if she didn't want to try, she could not please her mom. She was a failure, and the thought of her foolish mistake haunted her for a moment. She had to think positive. She could not let negative thoughts overrule the positivity of the situation.
How would her father take the news? Man, if she lost him too, the baby would only see one side of the grandparents.
Her body was so wounded with grief at her mother's failed reassurance, but she had to go on. She had Luke's strong arms to soothe her sadness, and all she really needed was him. He helped her scroll through her many contacts to find her dad, and he helped her start the call.
"It's going to be okay...I promise.." Luke's lips brushed against her ear as he whispered a gentle speech to heighten her courage. He kissed her temple with delicate and calloused lips, leaving so much love that Rylie still didn't understand how it was humanely possible to love someone so much.
"Rylie!" her dad's cheerful attitude brought a smile to Rylie's face as she wiped away the tears.
"It is so great to hear from you again..." his voice was muffled over the distant call, but she felt so close to him. She had practically forgotten about the whole Amnesia predicament, and she was more than willing to start over.
"Well how's it going?"
"It's...actually..well, I have something big to tell you." The calls had been so short but Rylie was tired of small talk, and she wanted to get it out as soon as she could.
"Okay, is everything alright?" Paul's concern tone reached across the detached ocean, and she really wanted to hug him.
The next words were routine; there was no life to them; just a monotone statement that she too soon grew tired of saying. "I'm pregnant."
Her father took the same initial reaction she did by laughing at the non-comical remark, but he stopped as soon as he realized he was the only one laughing. "Are you serious?" he questioned, indicating he was hoping for a no.
"I don't want you to be mad or disappointed with me, Dad. Mom already hates me for my mistake, and I need your support." Rylie pleaded, knowing her father would never truly understand her emotions, but she loved that he didn't need to. He would always have her back from now on until forever.
"I'm not mad, honey...but I'm going to kill Luke."
"Well it's not Luke's. It's Michael's, so it's too late for that." Rylie cringed at her awful remark, but couldn't fathom how true it was. He was gone, and she would never be over it.
She sensed Paul's shutter. He was a funny man, and wanted to laugh, but it was too serious. "If you want me to have your back on this, I do, but it's going to take a while for me to get used to this. Come to England so I can see you."
"I will, Dad, as soon as I take care of everything first."
"Okay, I love you."
"I love you too."
Luke took the phone from her hands, and breathed out a sigh of relief. "Who else?"
Rylie smiled, thinking about everyone who deserved the news.
"Where did you two run off to?" Liz asked as she raised a sly eyebrow at the two. She was in the office, organizing some books when a nervous Luke and Rylie stepped in.
"We went to the doctor..." Rylie bit her lip as she leaned against a cabinet. She wanted Luke to be the one to tell his mother since she really didn't know her that well. Plus, they had a rough start in meeting each other, and there was no telling the reaction.
"Why?" Liz took the glasses that rested on the bridge of her nose, and placed them in a crooked stance on her head. She still hadn't made eye contact with them, and it was a good thing too because then she would see the fearful eyes.
"Because Rylie wasn't feeling well." Luke placed a hand on his mother's shoulder, forcing her to look up. Her ocean eyes met his, and she instantly knew the air was serious.
"And is she okay?" They became lost in their own world, forgetting Rylie was standing right there.
Luke picked at the hem of his Misfits tee shirt, and sighed. "We're having a baby, Mum."
It was evident the statement caught her off guard. She wrinkled her nose and glared at Luke, trying to see if he was joking or not. Once she decided he wasn't, her wide eyes wondered to Rylie. "You're pregnant?" The girl she had only known for a day was technically having her son's baby.
Rylie nodded, meeting the beige carpet. She couldn't handle the obvious judgment on Luke's mom's face.
"Luke! How many times did I tell you to be safe? All those girls you used to bring home, I thought I taught you to use protection, so this wouldn't happen, and now..." Liz threw her hands in the air in a flustered frenzy as she scolded her son. "You're 18, Luke! You're a father! Congratulations! You might as well throw your life in the bin! Your singing career is over...you might as well just work at th-the servo!" Liz stuttered slightly as she spoke fast, squeezing every word out. Her cheeks grew red as her heart beat so loud that Rylie could hear.
"Mum-" Luke spoke calmly, trying to calm her down.
"And you..." Liz turned her attention to Rylie and raised a threatening finger. "You're family must be so ashamed. You are in no mindset to raise a child!" Rylie frowned at the words. Liz didn't know her. Even though she was trying to look at her as a mother, she didn't know who Rylie was, and had no right to say those words.
"Mum!" Luke broke her insane outburst. Liz looked at him with her lips parted like she had stopped mid-sentence. "1. I love Rylie, and we're gonna raise this baby to be the best it can be. 2. No matter how much I already love it, the baby is not mine. It's Michael's." Luke spoke with such a soft voice that it was almost intense.
Liz drew her lips in a straight line as tears welled in her eyes. "Luke..." she tugged his elbow towards her as she opened her arms. Luke bent down and buried his head in the crook of her neck as she patted the back of his head. Her eyes screwed shut as she embraced him with such love. "When did you get so grown up?"
Rylie shuffled her feet in an awkward stance. She felt so excluded, like she didn't belong. She appreciated the mother, son moment, but she was slightly jealous. She didn't have that relationship with her mother, and it was heartbreaking. It was obvious Liz didn't like her, and she had expected to build a bond with her. She could've been the mother she never had, but so much judgment clogged her mind that it must have been impossible.
Liz released her tight grip on her son, but kept one arm wrapped around his waist. She smiled at Rylie, and motioned for her to join them.
"It's me and her, mum. Forever." Luke told Liz as he opened his arm too.
Rylie felt that warm feeling of want fill her insides, and she gladly took one hand of Luke, and the other with Liz as they enveloped each other in a hug. Having Liz's arm wrapped around her in a warm embrace made her feel so much better. Maybe she was accepted.
"I'm sorry." Liz whispered in her ear. "I've just don't know what to do when it comes to having a daughter."
Daughter. That was the word that got Rylie's heart to melting. She was accepted.
Liz broke away, and allowed Luke to hold Rylie completely in his arms. He wrapped both arms firmly around her waist, and lifted her off the ground just a tad. He met her eyes, and gave her a small kiss on the forehead. Rylie loved when he did that. She loved him so much.
She placed her hand on his chest, and looked at him seriously for a moment. "So tell me about all those girls you used to bring home..." she smirked, and tried to bite it away but she couldn't help but laugh at his stumped reaction. He let out a soft chuckle, and hugged her harder.
Michael's family. Those were the last people they would tell for the day. They were both exhausted at the crying and running around. The sun was setting, and Rylie wanted more than anything to cuddle up with Luke. Katie had probably already left for the airport, and they had to figure out an arrangement.
"Luke, when I went to see her, she was packing to move." Rylie told him as she walked down the familiar sidewalk.
"Knowing Karen, she's still at that rat hole of a house." Luke remarked.
Rylie slapped him on the shoulder, but couldn't help but smile. The house wasn't that great which surprised Rylie because Michael made a lot of money, so they could've easily moved into a better place. Maybe it was the memories that haunted them to stay. But then again, the haunting memories would surely make them want to move.
Speaking of the house, they approached the mailbox that had the name, "Clifford," in big, black letters. The house looked better in the approaching dark, and Rylie suddenly felt sick to her stomach. It wasn't a pregnancy sick, but the kind when you have a nervous dread, knowing anything could go wrong. Telling Karen was different. It wasn't like telling Liz knowing one day, that would be her mother. The only thing connecting Karen and Rylie was their love for Michael, and the growing baby inside her stomach. Imagining how Karen would take the news was scary. She probably didn't want the burden of having a grandchild, and seeing Michael in it. Hopefully, the baby favored Rylie, but that was doubtful. Maybe she'd be thankful because that would be the only grandchild Karen would ever have. Michael was an only child...and dead, so there wasn't any chances of anymore reproduction. Would Rylie end up growing close with her? She already liked her a tad more than Liz, but that would surely change, wouldn't it? Rylie was worried because the more time she spent with Michael's family, she more she would miss Michael, and she didn't want Luke and her relationship to be affected. There would surely be days in her life that the complication of Michael would cause them to fight, but it would work out. It had to. Michael's family deserved to know. She couldn't keep them in the dark.
"I haven't seen Karen since the funeral, and even then, we didn't speak." Luke spoke lowly as he followed her up to the door.
"I went to see her the next day. It helped...a little." Rylie admitted, remembering Luke didn't even know.
For a minute, they just stood outside the door of the Clifford household, waiting for the other to do something.
"I miss him." Luke interrupted the silence.
"You know we hated each other for like a year before the band formed? Then, I guess we realized how cool the other was, and we became best friends..."
Rylie didn't know that. She just nodded as his smile replayed over and over in her mind. She didn't know him as long as Luke did, but she loved him just a much.
"I remember one time when I came over, and we climbed on top of his roof to smoke a joint." Luke smiled at the memory. "I felt so ashamed, but it sure made me feel cool."
Rylie pictured it in her mind even though she was never there. They never really talked about their past much. Only the future. She didn't know how Luke was before she met him. She hadn't heard many stories of his past. He didn't know about her past life; high school, rebel phase, etc. She made a mental note that they should talk about it later.
Rylie knocked on the door, ignoring the doorbell.
Only minutes passed before it opened to see a man that looked just like Michael...only older. Rylie widened her eyes, expecting to see Karen. She hadn't met his father yet.
"Daryl." Luke stated, addressing the man.
Daryl squinted in the dark light, and his eyes lifted with happiness when he identified Luke. "Luke!" he exclaimed, and pulled him in for a hug. "It's so great to see you. " His eyes met Rylie's and his eyebrows furrowed.
"Who's this?" he pulled away from Luke, who towered over him.
"This is my girlfriend Rylie." Luke introduced her.
Daryl reached out his hand for Rylie to shake, and she couldn't help but see Michael in every move he made. She thought he looked like his mom, but he was an exact replica of his dad. Daryl's hair was still full on his head, but slightly graying. His figure was quite stocky, but he wasn't a very tall man. Luke looked like a giraffe compared to him. Then again, Luke looked like a giraffe compared to everybody.
"Did you know Michael?" Daryl asked her as their hands locked.
Rylie glanced at Luke, practically reading his mind. He was thinking about the whole reason they were there in the first place, but Daryl didn't know that.
"Yes sir, he was my..." Rylie questioned herself on what to say. "Friend." she decided, and Daryl smiled.
"Well any friend of Michael's is a friend of mine. Come in." Daryl opened the door wider, and Rylie nodded a thank you at him as she followed Luke inside. She was so used to everyone's Australian accent that she hardly noticed Michael's dads.
Rylie moved beside Luke to stand in the familiar house. It was a huge contrast to what she had seen before. Only a few boxes occupied the floor then, but now, the only thing in the large space was a couch. The person on that couch was Karen. Her hair was pushed back in a ponytail, and her legs were crossed Indian style as she scribbled in a notebook. She looked up, and pulled the reading glasses from her eyes. She smiled at the pair, and her eyes met Rylie's.
Daryl's voice spoke behind them. "Honey, it's Luke! And this beautiful young lady is-"
"Rylie..." Karen smiled. She closed the notebook, and set to the side before she got up, and walked over to the two, embracing both in a hug. So many hugs lately...but Rylie wasn't complaining. Hugs were such a perfect show of affection.
Her cheek squished against Karen's but it was fine.
Karen broke away, tears brimming her eyes. "It's so good to see you two..." she looked back and forth from Luke and Rylie. "I'm so glad you two are good now."
"We're glad that you're still here." Luke replied. Seeing the look on his face told Rylie that he loved Karen as a second mother. She couldn't imagine all the time him and the other boys must have spent at that house. Karen loved him as a second son, too.
"Not for long..." Karen invited them over to the couch as Daryl brought over two seats since there wasn't enough room. Rylie thanked him as he placed the seat in front of her, and she sat down, surprisingly not feeling awkward at all. She really liked Karen, and Daryl seemed nice too. It hadn't been too long since they last talked, but so much had happened.
"How are you doing?" Rylie asked the two.
Karen looked down at her lap, and Daryl planted a hand on her shoulder. "We're...we're making it through every day." he answered.
"He was a great guy." Luke nodded his head. "A great friend."
"A great son." Karen added.
"A great singer." Daryl threw another statement out. This was the best way to mourn. Think about all the great things he was.
"Let's face it." Rylie said. "He was a great human being."
Everyone nodded in agreement as they admired their laps.
"So what brings you here?" Karen asked. She placed her hand on Daryl's thigh, and looked between the two.
Rylie had almost forgotten the whole purpose they came. "We have something very important to tell you...and it involves your son."
Karen gasped. "You're pregnant!"
Rylie furrowed her eyebrows in confusion, and glanced at an also stunned Luke. How did she know? How did she guess that? That was a reaction she was not expecting. What next?
"How did you-" Luke stopped mid-sentence, utterly flabbergasted at the sudden reveal. Everyone was stunned. Daryl's eyes darted around the room as he tried to comprehend the statement. Rylie just allowed her mouth to gape as she slowly nodded.
"How-how does that have anything to do with Michael?" Daryl asked, and his wife shot him a glance saying that he was too clueless.
"Sir..."Rylie looked at him with sincere eyes. "It's his child."
Daryl stared blankly at her for a moment as he blinked away the realization. "But...how?"
"Daryl, you were at the funeral! You heard what she said." Karen wiped her eyes like she mad at Daryl for not understanding right away. She turned to Rylie. "I knew it! I had been expecting it. I had this uneasy feeling in my gut that there was something else. That you were going to give me what I've always wanted: a grandchild!" Karen jumped from her spot on the couch, and lunged for Rylie. She wrapped her arms firmly around her body, and swayed back and forth, bringing Rylie with her. "Please tell me you're keeping it?" she whispered in her ear. "Please keep it, and keep us close..."
"I will..." Rylie had been so stunned at the sudden display of love, but she rubbed Karen's back, offering comfort. "I'm so excited to have Michael's memory live on..."
Karen pulled away, and offered puppy eyes at Rylie. Her lips parted like she wanted to say something, but she didn't know what. Her eyes flooded with tears as they streamed down her face. "Bless your soul. You're my un- biological daughter. Oh, my sweet girl..."
Rylie's heart warmed at the statement. She had become a daughter to two new mothers in the past hour. That child would have a lot of family to love. It felt so amazing to have a heart again. It had been broken so long that the thought of it whole was so foreign, but she had missed the sweet feeling of having love surround you.
She nudged Karen away slightly and leaned in to whisper. "Have you cleaned out his room?"
Karen nodded. Rylie frowned in disappointment. She was hoping she could look at it again, but instead, it was an empty room. Nothing more...
"Can I go in there anyway?" she asked sheepishly, feeling like a silly girl wanting to just go in a room to talk to a dead person. That was just the one place she really felt comfortable talking to Michael even though he was gone.
Karen smiled, and nodded a yes. She extracted herself from Rylie so she could get up.
Rylie took a quick glance at Luke before she disappeared behind the hallway, and tried to remember where his room was. It wasn't hard to find, and when she opened the door, a blank room appeared before her eyes. There was nothing. Empty. All the junk; the action figures, the guitars, the bed, everything was gone.
Rylie sighed, and walked over to the middle of the room where she sat down on the uncomfortable floor, and hugged her knees. She paused, searching for something to say. She knew Michael was in there with her.
"This is crazy, Mikey..." she said, looking around the room, hoping she could catch some insane sign of him. She waited for a reply, knowing she would never get one.
"This life continues to surprise me every day..." Rylie thought about everything she had gone through the last year of her life. She had found herself. She had found the best person she could be, and that was with Luke. All the laughs, all the smiles, all the complications, all the kissing, all the crying, all the hardships. Strangely enough, she didn't regret a single moment. She had fallen in love with Luke so fast that she barely remembered a happy time without him. They were relationship goals for most people. The tears she cried for him could fill an ocean; the smiles she sent his way could warm the sun; the love she had for him could save children in Africa. All the battles they had gone through; death, betrayal, almost suicide, infidelity; all of it that brought them together stronger as a couple, and now they were raising a child. They were too young; people would tell them they couldn't do it; they would have to think of Michael every time they looked at it; nevertheless, Rylie and Luke would love that child so much, and Michael would watch over it from above.
"I can't believe this is happening." Rylie spoke to the ceiling. "Michael, I promise you that you will never be forgotten. You're a legend in my eyes, and you're child will know how great of a man you are. I am honored to be able to carry your baby. I really am, and I hope you're okay with Luke standing in as a father figure...I'm sure you are. If it's a girl, I will raise her to be as strong, loyal, funny, understanding, and caring as you are. She's going to break boy's hearts, and she'll most likely give me and Luke hell, but I'm so okay with that. If it's a boy, he's gonna be a mini you. He's gonna kill on the guitar, I know you would want that. And I will surely emphasize protection because, call me a hypocrite, but there will be no children at a teenage age." Rylie smiled, so lost at talking to a wall that she didn't even realize Luke had entered the room.
"I love you, Michael. I will always love you, and we had a great time getting to know each other. I wish it didn't have to end this way, but it did. This won't be the last time we speak though, so don't leave me..."
Rylie met Luke's eyes as they filled with tears, and she opened her arms so she could hold him. Her Luke. No one else's. Luke kneeled down and pushed his body against hers. They allowed no space to seep between them. They needed each other. Rylie wrapped her arms around his neck, and allowed herself to get lost in his familiar scent.
"I kept my promise, Michael. I forgave him..." Rylie brushed her cheek against his as she closed her eyes to fully enjoy the moment. "Thank you for bringing us together because he is my soul mate."
Luke pulled away, and looked at her with eyes of infatuation. He kissed the tip of her nose with a tender devotion, and she smiled at his sweet gesture. She looked at him to really look at him. He was so handsome. He was so perfect, and the thought of being without him again was horrible.
The tears came so suddenly, and they were so powerful. Luke cried. She cried. They just held each other as they let everything hit them at once, and consume them.
Rylie held her breath as she tried to contain her emotions, but then she saw how pointless it was, and let her defenses be washed away in salty tears.
There was no style in her tears. It wasn't like in the movies when you pretty cry. The pearl-shaped tears rolling down her powdered cheeks from luminous eyes left streaks down her skin, clumping her eyelashes together. The drops of water dripped from her cleffed chin, and clear, watery snot protruded from her nostrils. She didn't care how she looked. Neither did Luke. Letting everything out was healing them both. Luke met her watery eyes, and leaned, sealing a wet and salty kiss. Every time he kissed her, she had butterflies. Every time. They had so much passion and love.
She loved him with every fiber in her being, and couldn't wait to start their journey as parents. There would be hard times. There would be hateful words, and loud screams, but they would always make up. That's what they did. They made up, forgetting the unfaithful memories, and becoming stronger.
Love was so confusing. Neither could control what was happening. Love was an emotion that overwhelms logic and common sense. They didn't plan on falling in love. It just happened. Were they ever strangers? The day she laid eyes on him, she felt like they had known each other for eternity.
Love is weird.
Of Book 1