Sequel: If Only Until Morning

Pictures on Silence

Chapter 33

I pasted on a congenial smile and nodded at the sorry attempt at humour. Jesse's boyfriend Anthony had brought himself into existence for the first time, and I had to say, he was less than remarkable. I've found more interesting things than him on the bottom of my shoe after a concert.

But Jesse seemed happy, and that was good enough for me. I glanced away from the television where I'd been watching Sean and Matt play Golden Eye to acknowledge Jesse volunteering to retrieve more sodas. Anthony moved to the seat next to me, and I smiled briefly at him before redirecting my attention.

"I saw the way you looked at him," he muttered for my ears only. I shot him a frown without moving my head. "You have a thing for my Jesse. You called him earlier, and I heard it in both your voices. You two have something I don't like."

Can someone say paranoid? I thought to myself, a little weirded out. "I don't know what you're talking about," I informed him quietly, as not to grab the guys attention.

Anthony scoffed, staring at the television. "Sure you don't. Just stay the fuck away from him, or else. I've seen your type before, with your massive amounts of sex appeal and expert flirtation."

Now I turned my head and gaped at him incredulously. "Okay, now I'm really lost."

"Don't play dumb, slut," he hissed. "You think I don't know why you're in this goddamn garage band? C'mon, three gorgeous guys and you ex--"

He cut off abruptly as Jesse re-entered the room, smiling blithely with cans in hand. Trill tossed each of the guys a random can and handed me a cream soda. "Just for you," he said with a smile as Matt switched off the console, "Because I know how cream soda's your favourite." My right eyelid started to twitch as I felt Anthony's burning glare in the side of my face. Forget paranoid. This guy's fucking psychotic.

We decided to play Scrabble, because that was slightly more social than video games, and round about the time Sean sat down triumphantly with the dictionary to prove that peptic was an actual word, I was begging in my head for someone to call as a distraction or for a wandering archer to shoot through the upstairs window of Jesse's house and strike me through the neck. Anything was better than Anthony glaring at me.

So when my phone began ringing, I jumped up and practically ran out of the room, muttering, "Thank God." Once out of the room, I pulled the phone from my pocket and answered, "I don't care who this is, but I love you more than lime jello."

A laugh that I recognised as Ryan's sounded on the other end. "Well, that's good. To what do I owe this obviously immense honour?"

"I'm at Jesse's with the guys," I answered, sitting on the back steps, "And his boyfriend Anthony is here."

"Oh. You don't like him?"

"The guys a fucking nutcase, Ryan!" I exclaimed in a whisper. "He thinks I'm moving in on Jesse and he won't stop glaring at me; he actually used the phrase 'or else'. I feel like my head's going to explode. Not only that, but he insulted the band."

"Hmm. You want me to beat him up for you?"

I laughed, shutting my eyes. "No thanks, Slim. I don't think it warrants a wasted plane flight out from wherever the hell you are right now. I can hold my own, at least for a while." I shivered. "God, but he's so... shady. Gives me the heebee-jeebees."

Ryan laughed a little. "Heebee-jeebees, huh? No wonder Matt texted me."

I leaned back and looked up into the twilight. "When did Matt text you?"

"Just before I called," he replied. "It said 'Call Angie; she needs to be saved'. I figured he wouldn't enlist help unless you really needed it."

I smirked. "Remind me to thank him profusely." I got up and walked through the ankle-high grass. "So how are you, Mister George Ryan Ross?"


"The third," I added.

Ryan chuckled; I smiled, enjoying having made him laugh. "Well, Miss Rhiannon Angela Callaghan, I'm pretty good. We're getting ready for a show."


He laughed again. "You're the coolest nerd I know, you know that?" I made a happy noise and climbed up onto the big trampoline in the middle of the yard. "Aside from Creepy Boyfriend, how are you?"

I lay back in the middle of the circle. "Honestly? I miss you." I paused. Where had that come from? "And I know that sounds incredibly romantic comedy--"

"I miss you, too, Ange," Ryan interrupted. I smiled, but it faded into a cold loneliness. Suddenly I felt very small and very alone, lying out underneath the big sky like I was. Everything seemed incredibly far away, even the guys inside the house not a hundred feet away. Imagine what that meant for the distance between me and the person on the phone.

I exhaled a chortle, mildly amused all of a sudden. Ryan asked what was up. "You know, until I met you guys, my brother was the only one who ever called me that." Ryan hummed thoughtfully, and for a few seconds, silence lay between us. That's a pretty picture we paint, I decided as the back door of the house opened.

Sean stuck his head out. "We're gettin' a bit antsy, love," he called. "It's your turn and none of us can come up with any words with your letters."

Smiling, I sat up. "Ryan? I'll talk to you tomorrow, okay? I have to go kick some college-boy ass at Scrabble."

He laughed. "Okay, Angie. You do that."

What I next very nearly blurted out surprised me. So I merely said, "Have a good show," hung up after a second or two, and headed into the house. Sean cocked his head at me as I brushed past him.

"Why are y'blushing?" he asked curiously, following me up the stairs.

I glanced quickly at him over my shoulder. "I'm not." He raised his eyebrows. "Shut up, Butch Cassidy. Prepare to have your vocabulary handed to you on a plate along with Matt's ego."

Sean whistled. "Big plate."