Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Chapter 66 (1/18/17)

Hi all!  Please accept these rapid fire posts as my way to make up for my disappearing act.  This is the last post for this week.  There will only be a couple posts left.  I hope to get them up next week, but I will keep you posted!  (One will go up for sure next week, not sure on more than that.)

I paused briefly to try to remember which way our hotel was and then turned left.  Ryan caught up with me after about a half a block, jogging to catch up.  “Jenna, you’re going the wrong way,” he said, slightly out of breath. 
The frustration and alcohol finally got to me, and all I could do was look at him helplessly.  I shivered and suddenly realized how cold it was.  I hadn’t brought a coat.  Ryan immediately took off his jacket and pulled it around my shoulders, over my half-hearted protests.  “Come on,” he said gently.  He took my hand and we turned around.
We were silent the entire walk to the hotel.  I stopped outside.  “I have a key,” I said glumly, finally subdued.  “You can go back if you want to.”
“I don’t want to,” he said. 
“I promise I won’t be mad if you do,” I insisted.  “I don’t want to ruin everything.  Tell them I wasn’t feeling well or got tired.  Please, go back.  I'm sorry.”
He shook his head.  “Going back is the last thing I want to do,” he said.  “Not many of the people I really wanted to see showed up, anyway.”  I shrugged, looking towards the street and watching the cars go by.  “I’d much rather be with you, even if you’re really pissed at me.  Which you are, and which I probably deserve.”
“Probably?” I asked, looking down at the sidewalk and then over my shoulder towards the hotel behind us.
“Definitely.  I’m sorry, Jenna.  Please, can we go up to the room?  You must be freezing.”
I nodded and let him lead me through the lobby to the elevator.  I leaned against the elevator wall, closing my eyes against the harsh fluorescent elevator light.  When Ryan tentatively put his arm around me, I shifted my weight to slump against him instead, pressing my face to his shirt.  I didn't really want to be physically close to him right now, but I suddenly didn't trust my ability to stand up on my own.
When we got to the room, I kicked off my shoes and flopped onto the bed facedown.  I folded my hands under my face, not even bothering to take off my dress or Ryan’s jacket, which I had worked my arms into while we had been walking.  I felt the mattress move as Ryan sat down next to me.  He began to rub my back, one hand stroking up and down the length of my spine.  I had let it work me nearly to sleep when he said, “Look, Jenna, about what you said on the dance floor…”
I rolled onto my side and looked at him woefully.  “I get it, you don’t want that.  You said you did, and maybe you did at one point, but I waited too long and I fucked it up.  I get it.  It’s fine.  You don’t have to apologize.  Please don’t, actually.  That would be humiliating.”
I scooted to the end of the bed and stood up.  I shed Ryan’s jacket and handed it back to him, then grabbed my toothbrush and facewash and walked into the bathroom.
“Jenna, that’s not it at all, actually,” Ryan said, while I put toothpaste on my toothbrush.  I paused to pull my hair back into a haphazard ponytail.  He stood there, waiting and watching me while I brushed my teeth.
“Do you mind?” I mumbled with a mouth full of toothpaste.  He held up both hands and stepped out of the bathroom.  I finished brushing my teeth and I washed off my makeup, patting my face dry carefully.  Back in the room, I dug through my bag, searching for my moisturizer. 
“Would you stop freezing me out and listen to what I have to say for a second?” Ryan asked, exasperated.  
I found my moisturizer at that moment and sat down on the edge of the bed, clutching it tightly in my hand.  Ryan sat in front of me on the edge of the other bed so he could look at me and took my hands.  I freed the hand with the moisturizer in it and dropped it on the bed before I offered the hand back to Ryan.  Ryan held my gaze for several seconds, then said, “I want you to be my girlfriend more than anything.”
I frowned.  “Then… I don’t understand.”
“But I want you to be my girlfriend because that’s what you want,” he said.  “Not because you’re jealous, or drunk, or because you don’t want me to sleep with my high school girlfriend.  I’ve been waiting to hear that from you for so long, but I hated everything about the circumstances under which you said it tonight.”
“Why do the circumstances matter?” I cried, frustrated.  “I do want it.  I wouldn’t have said it if I didn’t want it!”
“You said it drunk on the dance floor while we argued about Eleanor,” he said gently.  “It’s just…not how I wanted it to happen.  I want to know you’re serious.”
“I’m serious as a fucking heart attack, Ryan,” I snapped, yanking my hands out of his.  
“Jenna,” he said.
“Stop it!” I exclaimed.  “Are we seriously sitting here and arguing about if I really want to be your girlfriend or not?  And are you really telling me that I don't?  You don't get to tell me what I want!”
“I really, really think we should talk about this in the morning,” Ryan said. 
“You're the one who insisted on talking about it now!" I pointed out, frustrated.  "Go back to the wedding, Ryan,”  I stood, contorting myself to unzip my dress.  Ryan moved to help me, but I shook him off.  I pulled shorts and a t-shirt out of my bag and turned my back to Ryan while I took off my dress and put on my pajamas.  I tried unsuccessfully to get the dress on the hanger three times, then gave up and left it in a pile on the floor.  “You can have that bed when you get back,” I said, pointing to the one we had slept in the night before, the one closer to the door.  I pulled back the blankets on the other bed and climbed in. 
“I’m going to go for a walk,” Ryan said softly.  I didn’t respond.  “I’ll be back in a little bit.  I have a key.”  I stayed silent.  “Jenna…never mind.”  I heard the door open and close, and I was finally alone.  The tears finally came, and I laid in the bed in the empty hotel room and sobbed until I fell asleep.

I woke up when Ryan came back in.  Glancing at the alarm clock through barely open, swollen eyes, I saw it was only about an hour and a half after he’d left.  I couldn’t have been asleep for long.  I kept my back to the door and listened to him go into the bathroom.  The toilet flushed, the sink ran, turned off, and ran again.  I wanted him to get in bed and fall asleep so I could move into a more comfortable position.  I didn’t want him to know I was awake, because I didn’t want to argue any more.
I bit back my irritation when I felt the mattress move.  He didn’t follow directions very well.  But he didn’t get under the blankets.  I almost jumped when I felt his hand skate lightly over my hair.  He paused for a moment; I smelled whiskey and wondered if he’d made it back to the wedding after all.  Then his fingers lightly smoothed my hair off my face.  Moving lightly across my forehead, Ryan brushed strands of hair back.  It was soothing, and I almost sighed.  I was just starting to relax when he spoke softly, his voice barely above a whisper.
“I love you, you beautiful, ridiculous, strong-willed woman.”  Then, leaning over me carefully, he touched his lips to my forehead. 
I forced myself to keep breathing evenly while he shifted his weight and stood.  I heard him getting into the other bed, then I heard the white noise app on his phone start to emit a soft whooshing sound.  He could never sleep without the noise of a fan.
I laid there without moving until I heard a gentle snore.  Then I rolled over, facing his bed.  “I love you too,” I whispered.


  1. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!! I love it! It's not a "perfect" way to have your lovestory unfold, but what is perfection, anyways!? This is so so so good.

  2. Jenna is ridiculous. I can't stand her, and she definitely does not deserve Ryan. Ugh, of course they will end up together.

  3. I love it and love how Ryan is so patient about her being so stubborn and scared to get in a relationship again. He lets her get there in her own time its so sweet!

  4. I feel like Jenna should apologize too. She has some blame here, too, and it's unrealistic that Ryan is the one who shoulders all of it. I know she's scared, but that doesn't mean she gets to lash out at the one person who has been kind, supportive and patient.

    I really hope she's able to see how she handled things wrongly, too. Otherwise, I'm not going to be able to buy the Saint Ryan thing for very long. Underneath it all, there is love, and when that is the case you should know when an apology is needed. Not always just for your sake, but for theirs.

  5. She's a hot head, for sure! mum