Misfits

(Short story)
Rhiannon Turner hasn't been to the Cornish village of Pur Lowen in years, not since her Grandfather died. In that time a lot has changed, and Rhiannon has found himself, and become Ryan.
When Ryan returns to Pur Lowen for the summer holidays he finds himself oddly drawn to Raven June, the beautiful girl next door, who's unsettling past keeps her, and her sister Mapelli, silent most of the time.
But Ryan knows a thing or two about overcoming challenges, and he's determined to reach Raven, despite her selective mutism.
What Ryan doesn't realise is that there's more to Raven and her sister than that which meets the eye...and Raven has a secret

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14. Chapter 14 ~ Ryan

“Ryan! Don’t do it lack that, it needs to hang, not droop…here, give it to me.” Zoe barges over, snatching the party chains from my hand and fiddling around with them. I just sigh and let her finish, not seeing any difference in the end result. “There, much better.” She steps back, admiring her work. I shake my head walking over to pick up another load.

“I can’t see any difference.” I mutter, just loud enough for her to hear.

“That’s the problem…” She trails off, breaking out into a small laugh at the end. Today’s festival day, and everyone’s busy trying to set up. There’s only one festival each year in Pur Lowen, the festival, nobody quite knows what it is for, but we enjoy the party and celebrations anyway.

“Hey, um you come to this thing every year, is it usually, like, really busy? Does the entire village show up?” I ask causally, stammering a little. Zoe sighs, seeing right through me.

“Mapelli and Raven June won’t show up today Ryan.” She tells me, “They never do. Besides, I thought you were giving Raven her space.”

“I was.” I nod, “And that wasn’t what I was asking.” The second part is a lie, and we both know it.

“Anyway, we’ve got to focus on finishing these decorations,” Zoe changes the subject, “Or at least, I have to focus, you should just sit down and try not to mess anything up.” I laugh, and just like that, the tense atmosphere is broken. I step back and let her take the lead, fetching a couple of colas, and in no time we’re finished. “Right,” Zoe speaks up, taking another gulp from her bottle, “I say we go out and enjoy this festival. First of all, dancing.”

“No.” I say automatically, “Absolutely not, you know I hate dancing-”

“Oh come on, lighten up!” Zoe whines, “It’s a festival for crying out loud.”

“I’ll just look stupid, you can dance, I’ll sit out of your way and wait for you.” I suggest.

“No...I need someone to dance with.” Zoe groans, “And everyone will look a bit stupid, that’s part of the fun of it.”

“I’m still not sure-” I don’t get the chance to finish my sentence, Zoe grabs my wrist and runs off, dragging me behind her. Before I can pull away we’re on the dance floor, and she’s tucked my arm inside hers, a victorious glint in her eye. “Why do you always have to be so stubborn?”

“I’m not stubborn, I just like winning.” She smiles, skipping along.

I give in and join her as we dance around in circles, chuckling at the sight of one another. I have to admit, dancing isn’t really all bad. I actually quite enjoy the spinning round and round, although that could be the sugar talking. From skipping arm in arm, to drifting around on my own, to bouncing up and down like a basketball, I do it all, letting the music lead me. When we take a break to catch our breaths Zoe runs off and buys a flower garland for her hair, with pink tulips and green ribbon. Before long it’s the afternoon, and two hours has gone by in what feels like two minutes.

“Told you it would be fun.” Zoe grins smugly, “I’ll go and get us some more drinks.” Before she goes she rests her garland on my head, smiling. I roll my eyes and stay put, still a little out of breath. I look around, the sun’s a little lower in the sky now, and the sky is a dark navy blue colour, combined with a warm reddish pink. I can smell the salty sea air, I can hear the chatter and laughter, I can see the celebrations, and I know that this is one of those moments I’ll never forget. I spin around a little, looking off into the distance, when I spot something, or rather, someone.

Raven.

She’s staring back at me, but in a weird way, like I have something on my face. I jolt when I remember I’m still wearing Zoe’s garland, which I quickly take off, fixing my hair afterwards. I move to walk over, but she automatically steps back, her eyes apologetic.

“Do your friend a favour Ryan, give her some space.”

I remember Zoe’s advice to me, but my curiosity overwhelms my better judgement, and I continue to walk over. Raven turns and makes a hasty retreat, keen to get away from me, but I still don’t stop, I even break out into a slow jog, desperate to see her. I run all the way out of the festival, into the fields, wishing it was lighter so I could see better. I see her outline near the trees, and head in that direction, not letting her out of my sight. She runs right in to the balcony looking over the cliff edge, trapped, and I quickly catch up with her. She turns around to look at me, pleading with me with her eyes. I just sigh, unsure of what to do next. Without really thinking I reach up and put the garland on her head. She looks beautiful in it.

“Can I talk to you?” I request. She thinks for a moment, and then nods. I smile, still a bit stunned, it feels good to have her with me again.

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