Sequel: If Only Until Morning

Pictures on Silence

Chapter 54

My foot jostled on the floor, annoying the girl next to me to the point of insanity. Half my fingers between my teeth, I stared intently at the clock on the wall. Seven minutes. Six minutes before this torment known as finals was over, and another one of me running to the car--which had better be outside, dammit-- and urging my brother to drive faster to the airport.

You see, because today finally concluded the fall semester of my junior year, and because I had cash enough to pay for the plane ticket, I was flying straight to Vegas for a surprise three-day visit. Well, I guess it wasn't really a surprise seeing as Brendon and Spencer helped plan it. But it was a surprise for Ryan.

I hadn't seen him since the fifth, and almost two weeks is a long time to go without seeing one's boyfriend... lover... person-one-dotes-upon. So I didn't know what to call him. It's not like either of us specified titles over the phone!

Sighing in aggravation, I shifted in my seat, suppressed a wince, and glared at the ceiling. I had already finished my test a whole half-hour early, giving me far too much time to wait and feel sick to my stomach. I tried listening to my iPod, but the stupid proctor tapped me on the head and told me to put it away.

I hate you, Ms. Whoever the hell you are. Do you even teach here?

One minute left. Glancing at the woman in the back, I silently picked up my shoulder bag from the floor and held it in my lap. Swallowing anxiously, I watched the seconds tick by in painfully slow motion.
Fuckbunnies! God, why must you torture me like this?!

The bell (though it was more of a atonal hum) rang throughout the school, making those who hadn't finished groan and whine, making those who had sigh in relief, and making me leap from my seat, slam my test on the desk at the front, vault over a desk in my way, and sprint out the door.

Trust me, I was shocked I didn't kill myself with a stunt like that. Dancers are not known for their grace outside the theatre.

I jumped into my brothers red Civic, thankfully parked out front. "Drive now," I ordered, fumbling with my seatbelt.

Aibhlin laughed as he reversed into the street. "Chill out, Ange. Your plane isn't going anywhere for another two hours."

"Don't remind me," I groaned, settling into my seat with my heart racing. "I don't think I can stand waiting for anything right now."

You know how when you're nervous about something, your insides won't stop squirming and it makes you feel like you're going to throw up? Imagine having that as well as a migraine twice the size of Paris Hilton's ego. And the hurting in my stomach fed the hurting in my brain, which was also fed by the ludicrous brightness of the morning sun and airport lights.

Whoever thought it was funny to give me my body processes should be handcuffed to a wall and have someone tattoo the inside of their eyelids.

Once I boarded the plane, I called Brendon and cleared everything with him. "Operation: Get-Ryan-Laid is a go-go, Penelope," he informed me, snickering.

I rolled my eyes at the seat in front of me. "I'm hitting you when I land."

And I did.

"Ow!" he whined, holding his arm. "I didn't think you were serious!"

I smiled and swung my arm around his neck. "Never distrust the words of a redhead, kiddo," I advised.

He rolled his eyes as we walked down to baggage claim. "You're three years younger than I am, jailbait." That warranted a smack over the head.

I yawned and leaned my head against the window as we drove lazily through Vegas to the suburbs. It was barely noon but the flight took a surprising amount out of me and my adrenaline-fuelled fretting had made me crash.

Brendon laughed beside me. "Maybe we should grab you some coffee before I drop you at Ryan's," he said, glancing sideways at me. "He's going to be a little disappointed if you're falling asleep on him."

Lifting my head enough to glare lightly at him, I recalled pointedly, "You called me jailbait not twenty minutes ago. Make up your mind: dissuade or encourage me to make Ryan Ross a statutory rapist. Not both." That only made him laugh harder.

We ended up swinging by Bren's beforehand anyway. I sipped distastefully at my can of Red Bull while he ate the bowl of Cocopuffs he'd left in the fridge before he left. I made a sickened noise at the fact that I actually finished it and clanked the can on the table, leaning on my elbow impatiently.

He shook his head at me. "Almost done," he promised, slurping down the discoloured milk. He shot me a toothy smile. "He might not even be up yet."

"It's twelve thirty!" I cried incredulously.

"Yeah, about that." Brendon smiled innocently when I sent him a narrow-eyed glare. "Spence and I might have kept him up late last night with video games so he'd sleep through your arriving this morning. It's for your benefit, I swear!"

I nodded dryly. "Uh huh."

Bren grinned again and grabbed his keys. "Let's go wake up Sleeping Beauty." I groaned and followed begrudgingly. You accidentally refer to someone as a faerie tale princess when you're mostly asleep, and you never hear the last of it.

We drove by the house so I was sure which one it was, and then Brendon parked a little down the block. "Call me when you're on the doorstep, okay?" he confirmed. "And I'll call him to say there's a surprise for him."

"You'd think I was popping out of a cake," I muttered as I climbed out of the car. My singer-friend reminded me that could be arranged as I shut the door.

Rolling my eyes, I wrapped my jacket closer around me and walked briskly down the sidewalk. Damn. I was nervous again. And my ribs still hurt from the Anthony incident. Just don't throw up on him.

Something caught my eye as I passed Ryan's front window. I bit my lip to keep from laughing loudly and catching his attention, and fished my phone from my pocket.

"I have a better idea, Bren," I told him, leaning sideways in front of the door to peek in the window again. "You just go on."

"Have fun," he teased suggestively. "Use protection!" And thenthe little shit my wonderful, caring, thoughtful friend hung up. I shook my head and scrolled down in my phone.

Stepping back as it rang, I watched Ryan get up from the couch and answer his cell where I could still see him. "Hello, Angie," he greeted sweetly.

"You know, if you're going to walk around in your boxers all day," I said, unable to contain my laughter any further, "You might want to shut the curtains."

His head shot up, and I wiggled my fingers at him through the window. He dropped the phone and sprinted to the front door, banging it open and yanking me inside. The door hadn't even shut by the time his lips crashed onto mine, so the impact of our bodies upon it made a nice loud slamming noise.

When he finally pulled away for air-- you know, that unimportant little thing-- he nudged my forehead with his and beamed. "What are you doing here?" he asked blissfully, flitting kisses all over.

I smiled coyly. "Currently being pressed against your front door and smothered with mouth music," I replied lightly. I giggled when he raised an eyebrow at me and planted another kiss on my lips.

Jell-o molds have nothing on me. Dark chocolate fudge swirl ice cream hasn't got chance in hell up against Ryan's kisses. They're like feel-good atomic explosions.