Sequel: If Only Until Morning

Pictures on Silence

Chapter 15


The seven of us sat awkwardly after Angie left. Brendon probably didn't know what he did wrong. I sure as hell didn't.

"Should someone go after her?" Jon asked, breaking the silence.

"Don't worry 'bout 'er," Sean answered, staring distantly into the floor. "She'll be fine."

We all knew we should have occupied ourselves. But nobody moved. My stomach felt queasy. "I don't think we should leave her alone like this," I said, mostly to myself.

"Then go find her," Brendon said before getting up and going into the back. I rubbed my cheek and hit myself on the forehead before getting a coat and going out. I rubbed my hands together and looked around. The fog had cleared a little, but I could still barely see fifty feet in front of me.

Come on, Ross, I compelled myself. If you were a distraught girl, where would you go? Unfortunately, it occurred to me that most would just walk straight and eventually in a circle, but Angie wasn't most girls. With that in mind, I probably had a snowball's chance in hell of finding her before sound check. Taking a risk, I walked around to the other side of the bus.

After four blocks of fog and eerily similar houses, I got discouraged and sat down on the sidewalk in front of someone's house. I crossed my arms on my knees and leaned my chin onto them to think.

Why am I doing this? I asked myself.

Because you'll feel guilty if she gets lost or worse.


Molested, mugged, raped, murdered-- you know.

I groaned, trying not to think, but I couldn't forget about it. I couldn't say why, but I wanted to protect her from anything bad. Wait, do I have a thing for Angie?

No way. I've only known her a week. We're friends though. I think.

Something sniffled about fifteen feet away and I looked to my left. In a similar pose as myself, this persons head was covered and buried in their arms and they wore... Spencer's coat?

"Angie?" I asked aloud. I got up and sat next to the form huddled in on itself. "Angie?"

"Go away," she muttered. "Don't look at me."

"Angie, come on." I pushed back her hood to reveal the shock of her hair against the grey day. I put a hand on her back. "An--"

She raised her head and I stopped. Wet spots littered the sleeve where her eyes had been. I watched as she hastily wiped at her eyes and cheeks. She laughed faintly. "Told you not to look at me. It was for your own good."

"What are you talking about?" I asked, mildly confused. This had to be the first time a crying girl didn't just sob into my shoulder when I showed up to help her. Call me Mister Compassionate.

Her eyes sparkled brightly. "No one looks good when they cry, Ryan." She kept on that smile, like she was trying to convince me she was okay when she obviously wasn't. "God, this is embarrassing," she laughed weakly.

"Why? Everyone cries. It's, like, a natural phenomenon."

"It shows vulnerability." Angie rested her chin on her arms. "No one likes to be vulnerable."
I honestly didn't know what to say to that. "What's really the matter?" I asked, changing the subject.

Angie smiled again, and it made my stomach move. "It's just... I thought I finally had something, you know? Something just for me." She scoffed. "Even that was for other people." She took a deep, shaky breath and stretched her legs into the street.

"Everything I do is for someone else," she informed me glumly. "Grades, job, hobbies, whatever. My whole life revolves around other people." Her eyes darted to me just long enough to see tears forming before she brushed her palm against them.

She didn't want me to see her cry. She thought it made her look weak. Apparently there was more to Angela Callaghan than what she let on. "Well, you know, they say people cant live properly without other people," I said.

"But what's life if you don't have love?" Angie continued to stare out into the street, watching the cars and people go by. Her expression didn't change. We must have looked weird, two kids in coats sitting on the curb having a deep conversation.

"People love you," I assured her. "The band, your family. What about that guy you talked to yesterday on the phone?"

She gave a genuine laugh. "That was Aromi, Ryan," she said.

"Oh." I smiled. "But even so."

Angie's real smile faded and the fake one grew instead. "It isn't the same," she argued. "No one loves me like that. Like my parents... or Aero and Charlie... or Spencer and Haley." She looked down. "Not that I've much to offer anyway," she mumbled.

"Sure you do," I encouraged, moving closer to her. "You have a great sense of humour, you're a great person to be around, you sing and play better than anyone I've heard."
"Except you," she corrected with a half-smirk.

"You're younger than I am, but you're way better than I was at sixteen. Plus we're having this great conversation about life. How many guys can say that about a girl?"

"Guys don't care about that." She shook her head and looked at the dispersing clouds. "They want some skinny blonde thing who'll worship them and do whatever they want."

I frowned. "Hey." Angie smiled up at me and shook her head. "No, we don't. That type of girl only serves one purpose and it isn't a relationship."

"Better that than nothing," she muttered.

"Angie," I reproved.

"Ryan," she challenged in the same tone.



I stuck my tongue out at her, causing her to laugh. Her eyes lit up and, in the glare of the sky, I noticed how really beautiful she was. And she didn't see it. "Your eyes have a ring of blue in them," I observed. She smiled, exaggeratedly fluttering her eyelashes at me. "And here I thought they just dilated a lot."

"Most people think that," she said, nodding. I rubbed my hands together. "Here." Angie clapped her hands together hard, rubbed them rapidly, and enclosed mine in them. So warm. I thought gratefully.

We sat for a few minutes with our hands together until she pulled hers away, cheeks pink. "How about we head back?" I suggested. "I kind of can't feel my toes."

Angie laughed and pushed herself up. "I have to apologise to Brendon," she stated, pulling me up. "I couldn't stop thinking about what a bitch I was to him."

"Nah, you were upset. Everyone has right to get mad. Come 'ere." I held out my arms, and she looked at me awkwardly a moment before moving into them. Angie hugged me stiffly before relaxing a little more.

Letting go, I looked up and down the street. "So, uh, any idea where we are?" She nodded and started walking, teeth chattering. I put my arm around her shoulder and she slipped hers around my waist.

"Hey, Ryan?"

I looked over at her; we stood about the same height. "Yeah?"

"I can't feel my butt." I looked at her, keeping the grin from her face, and laughed for the rest of the block.

"I'm not surprised," I laughed. "It took me forever to accidentally find you."

She gave me a strange look. "Why didn't you get my number from one of the guys?"

I blinked. "You know, I honestly never thought of that," I admitted. She smiled and shook her head, messing up my hair. "Hey, watch the do. People work hard to get it messed up like this." That just made her laugh.

"Hey, Ryan?" Angie said again as we neared the bus.

"Yes, Miss Penelope?" I replied.

She grinned and stopped in front of me, back to the door of the bus. Angie leaned in close with a sparkle in her eye. "You smell good, too," she whispered with a grin, and then ran inside.

I found myself smiling. Charming, witty, and a great smile. How very wrong you are.