I'm Here to Fix You

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Chapter 11

SILVIA

“May I be honest?” Ryan wondered as we walked down the dock. It’s pretty uh ... romantic at night. Tess’ idea, of course. Like it was taking him to a football game, since he loves it so much. I thought it’d bore the hell out of me, but damnit, Ryan didn’t even pay attention to the game, he spent the whole time chatting with me. I’m sure Tess would say that’s one more telltale sign he feels.

“Yeah?” I agreed, discreetly munching on a cookie. Gosh, I’ve never been this much careful to my every word, my every move, my everything. Hell, I’ve never put this much effort into trying to get a guy to like me.

Ryan smiled, making my heart skip a few beats as he grabbed my hand, to stop my walk, and pulled me into him. “This was the first time a girl invited me out, not the other way round.”

I chuckled nervously. “Really? I thought it happened on a daily basis, given the type ...”

“The type?”

I slyly threw the cookie away and did a background check on my mouth with my tongue, in case any residuals were left. “Well, you know, handsome and sweet ... girls love this kind of guy.”

He chuckled. “Oh, really? I thought they went for the bad boy type, like ... your friend there, how was it ...”

“Jake.” My stupid mouth. You see, even though the date went beautifully well, there were moments where I was unsure and feared the conversation would die in an awkward silence, so ... well ... I might have filled that silence with um ... anecdotes from the office, and ... a lot of these concerned my boss, so ...

“Yeah, that one. He’s the very face of the bad boy, you said?”

I bit my lip. “I think, yeah. The ... tough guy that has everything under control, the one with that ragged look, James Dean style ... that type. Girls definitely do like it.”

“But you don’t?”

Good thing the gasp died in my mouth. “Well, I mean ...”

“I mean, if you liked that kind of guy, you wouldn’t be here with me tonight, would you?” Ryan inquired, and I had a feeling there was an underling to his words for some reason.

“Well, I don’t really care much for the bad boy type, to be honest ...”

“Exactly my point.” Ryan smiled, caressing my cheek. “So that’s why you’re here with me and not with your friend Jake.”

“Why ...”

“You said you like me because I’ve got brains more than just good looks, right? Well, you wouldn’t insult my intelligence by claiming you have no feelings for him, would you?”

“Rye ...”

“No, it’s fine, really. I just want to be sure. I mean, you asked me on a date. We spent a beautiful day together. And I see it, I’m not blind, you’ve put a lot of effort into this, I just ... can’t help but wonder ...”

“How come Jake is in so many of my discourses? That’s easy, I-”

“You were nervous and talked about the first person that came to mind, yes. But you see, the point is, how come it was Jake the first and not ... say, Tess? Or your parents. Your country. Anything. Why was it Jake?”

“Oh, come on, I ...”

“You like me.”

What the ... ah, fuck. I turned around to spot the very same guy we were arguing about. “Jake ... are you stalking me or what?”

He laughed, that damn charming laugh of his. “No, baby, you just think of me a lot.”

I frowned. “What?”

“I’m there. I’m here. I’m everywhere, aren’t I?” The voice came from Ryan, yet it wasn’t his, it was Jake’s. I turned to him, and was surprised to find Jake there, holding me like Ryan was a moment ago.

“What ...”

“Come on, Sissy, you of all people should recognize a dream.”

“Huh.” That explains the weird aura surrounding this whole situation. “What are you doing in my dreams, then?” I asked, trying to pull back, yet unable to. Not because he didn’t let me, but because my own body wouldn’t move. I mean, my brain said move, my body actually refused.

“Wrong question.” Jake quipped.

I rolled my eyes. “Fine. Why am I dreaming of you?”

“You know the answer to that, baby.”

“Ugh, no ...” I finally disentangled from his clutches. “It’s not that. Definitely not that.”

“You sure?” He bit his lips seductively, giving me that predatory gaze that’s been driving me insane these months.

“Pretty sure.”

“Yet here I am ...”

I shook my head violently. “No, I’m not ... it’s not ... I ...” DRIIIIIIIIN. Ugh, fuck. Stupid subconscious dreams. I would almost rather one of my nightmares. Nightmares are easier to control, these goddamn dreams are ridiculous.

With a sigh, I rolled out of bed. I know what you’re thinking. It’s a sign, isn’t it? That Jake would pervade even my dreams about Ryan, it’s a sign I’m making the wrong choice ... well, you’re wrong, not I. Case closed.



“You’re nervous.” Tess pointed out with a short laugh.

I rolled my eyes as I checked my attire for the umpteenth time. “You don’t say?”

“But why?” she asked, munching on some chips, sprawled as she was over my bed. I asked her to come for support, to help me decide what to wear, but she’s been mostly mocking me and snorting every time I mention Ryan. Obviously, she doesn’t like him even without knowing him.

“Why, do you think?” I snapped, not at all satisfied with my attire. What am I even supposed to wear on a first date? And why, why the hell am I so nervous about it? I’ve never once, not one single time been nervous about a date. Not even with my ex. Not even on my very first date ever. Then why am I nervous now?

Sigh. I like Ryan. That’s all. The other dates were a simple attempt. A ... well, let’s see what happens. With Ryan it’s ... complicated. I’m really trying, really hoping, really ... into it. Matt was right, I wasn’t really into it with him, but Ryan ... Ryan is really different. Ugh, damnit, this makes it all the more complicated!

I mean, I’m not used to being in a vulnerable position in these cases. Usually it’s the guy to ask me out or Tess hooks me up, I really don’t care how it goes, so whatever, but now ... I really want this to work, so I get all tense and anxious because I think it might not go as I hope and it’s maddening, damnit. I almost regret asking him in the first place.

We’ve spent these past three months, after that day at the fair, tranquilly chatting, playing around, having friendly fun together. He came over often, with the excuse of seeing his grandma, so we spent a lot of time together, and ... the thing is, I think feelings have started taking the worst route for me.

That’s why I’m so nervous. Because I really like Ryan. Hell, I probably more than like him. I’m seriously starting to feel strong, like, really strong about him, and it confuses me. When have I ever had such heavy feelings for someone? Never! And it scares the living daylights out of me because, come on, what grants me he feels the same?

Angrily taking off the blouse I’d worn, I groaned, sitting on bed beside my friend. “Tess, what do I do?” I whined miserably. “And please, keep your snarky comments about him to yourself. I know you’d rather Jake, but Ryan-”

“He’s a decent guy, yeah, I know ...” she sat up and came to wrap me up in her arms, so that I left my head on her shoulder. Hers is the third best hug ever, second only to Violet’s and my dad’s. “You’re really into this, huh?”

“I just ... I’m scared.” I admitted. “I mean, he’s been with her for five years. Five years, Tess. I’m not sure I can live with the ghost of such a heavy past. And she’s even determined to get him back, so what tells me he’s not gonna ditch me someday to crawl back to her?”

“He won’t.”

“How would you know?”

“Because ... as much as I’m against this nonsensical choice you’ve made, I can see Ryan really cares for you.” She rubbed my scalp soothingly. Sometimes even I need someone to baby me, alright? “I mean, the guy flies over to Boston every weekend to see you. He spends his days texting you and at night he often skypes you. If that’s not a telltale sign, I don’t know what is.”

“I know, but ...”

“But what? Just take a deep breath and relax.” She smiled, pulling back to look me in the eyes. “You’ll knock him out, I’m sure.”

I sure hope so. Or ... at the very least, I hope all these feelings won’t be for nothing. If there’s one thing I hate, is not being in control of myself, and all these goddamn tingly feelings drive me nuts. I really hope it’s worth it.

“Nervous?” Ryan wondered with a kind smile once we’d settled in his car.

Really? What gave me away? The fact that my hands are clammy and shaky? The fact that I can barely let out a decent answer without chuckling hysterically? Or is it the fact that I stammered even when I greeted him?

Ugh, I hate this. I hate this stupid part where I’m all tingly all the time, where his every word in my head has more meaning than the most complex poem. I feel butterflies fluttering in my stomach, my nerves are as thin as ever, my heart does somersaults every time I hear his voice, I smile like a stupid idiot every time he skypes me or texts me.

Ryan is my very first thought in the morning. I go to sleep thinking of him, and I spend the day thinking of him unless Jake is around pestering me. When I don’t have nightmares, I dream of him, and if I’m lucky it’s some mushy dream about us together and not some super-confused absurdity where Ryan turns into Jake.

I hate this side of relationships. The ... oh my gosh side where everything’s incredible and tingly and it’s all emotional, and I feel Goosebumps every time he touches me and I’m so happy that it’s sick. Ugh.

It didn’t happen with my ex, aka my one and only boyfriend, how come it’s happening now? With my ex it was very simple: he came to me and said “I like you, go on a date with me”, I laughed in his face; he made it a goal of his to be with me, I made him sweat it for over a month, then finally gave in, because in the end I did like him too, it’s just that I couldn’t accept that he would swagger in like that and order me around. Tsk.

No tingly feelings, no nervousness, no butterflies in my stomach ... nothing. It was purely rational. I liked Alex, he liked me back, and once we got past his huge ego, our relationship went fine. Boom, end of the story.

Of course, there’s that small detail where he’s not content with having to wait to get the VJ therefore he cheats on me with all the girls that a) were dying to get a piece of him; b) were dying to spite me. But that’s just a small detail. Had I felt for him even a half of what I seem to feel for Ryan, it would have hurt a lot, lot worse. But I didn’t, so it was really easy for me to get my payback and laugh it off after.

I gave Ryan a bigger smile than necessary, which obviously gave me away, so that before switching on the engine, I yelped as he placed a hand on my bare thigh, offering me a sweet smile of his. “Take a deep breath. It’s everything alright.”

Yeah, take a deep breath, take a deep breath, why do people keep repeating me to take a deep breath? As if that even worked. Tsk. I smiled nevertheless.

“I know it feels odd, but it doesn’t have to be awkward.” Ryan claimed as he drove off.

“No, it’s not that ...” I bit my lip. “It’s just ...” Sigh. “Well, there are a lot of expectations here ...” and if we fail, I’ll have ruined one of the greatest friendships I’ve ever had. If we fail, I don’t know how will my heart react because all these feelings I have, they’re so completely new that I feel like I don’t even know who I was before anymore.

“There’s a lot at stake, yeah, I get it.” Ryan agreed. I flinched when he entangled our hands, but it was ... a nice feeling. “But we’re here now, and we should make the most of it.”

Banal line, I guess, but ... reassuring nevertheless. I mean, at least he’s not accepted just not to disappoint me. It’s a good sign, isn’t it? Could be the beginning of something awesome.

“So, was it that awful?” Ryan laughed.

I chuckled. “Well ... I guess it wasn’t that bad ...” You kidding? It was spectacular! I’m never this excited, but gosh, I can’t wait to tell Tess! I could barely contain my excitement. This was by far the best date ever, I swear.

I took him to a football game, because I know he’s into the sport. I hate American football, but it was really fun. Ryan tried to explain me the rules, but when he noticed I couldn’t care less, he simply gave up the whole game and spent the whole time chatting and laughing with me.

Then we went bowling, and I had so much fun that I’d have never thought I could. I mean, I’m not a people person, I’m not the kind of person that enjoys public places, yet playing bowling was fun, the football game was fun, even a banal dinner at a drive thru was fun with Ryan.

“You still nervous?” He asked, leaning in to place an arm at the side of my head.

I bit my lip, trying hard not to let him notice I was mentally devouring his. Gosh, I’ve been dreaming of those lips for so long now. “Well, I wasn’t ... but your smooth move reminded me, sir ...”

Ryan laughed, and God, God, God, I love that sound! I’m going insane, I swear. I’ve never been so excited, so ecstatic, so ... emotions all over the place. Is it this? Do normal, sane relationships feel like this? Is it this what girls crave?

The thrill of the first date, the heart thumping in your chest when he leans in so close, the Goosebumps all over your skin when he caresses your cheek, and that question, that goddamn question erupting in your mind: is he gonna kiss me?

Ryan smiled, raising my chin with his fingers, enough for our foreheads to brush. “It’s not protocol, but would a first date kiss be too much to ask?” He wondered in a whisper, unleashing a furious battle inside me.

Heart says: God no! Just kiss me, you fool!

Mind says: Play it cool, idiot! Or he’ll think you’re already dying for him.

Heart says: Screw it. Kiss him. Kiss him. Kiss him!!!

Mind says: ... oh, well, whatever.

So I leaned in and did it. I kissed Ryan. It was just a peck, yet my whole body was already trembling, adrenaline rushed through my every vein. And when he kissed me back, I felt on top of the world.

Ryan cupped my cheeks, pushing me against my door, and kissed me deeper. In that kiss my rational mind would have read so many things like craving, lust, desire, but also tenderness, sweet affection. However, I was too busy trying not to let my heart explode to think of all that.

One kiss, a myriad of emotions I’ll never forget in my entire life. I suppose this is how it feels like to be ... a normal girl. Just a normal girl enjoying the best night of her life. A normal girl enjoying the first date with her crush. A normal girl trying not to liquefy as her crush kisses deeper and deeper, yet without any sexual intention.

A pure kiss. Not innocent, but neither sexual; not leading to anything, but neither void of any desire. A pure kiss to say God, I want you right here right now, but I won’t do anything because I want this to be perfect. A pure kiss to say it’s killing me not to go further, but I care too much to ruin this moment.

Okay, okay, too poetic. I’m a translator, people, I work with words. Call it professional bias.

I leisurely wrapped my arms around Ryan’s shoulders, and in the back of my mind I was waiting for the moment he’d ruin the delightful romance to make it sexual by sliding his hands beneath my blouse or gripping my ass, but ... he never did. He remained classy and tender, and my goddamn heart melted.

When he finally pulled back, Ryan still remained an inch or two away, and smiled, that gorgeous smile of his that I love so much. “Well, now leaving you is gonna be one hell of a lot harder ...”

I chuckled, pecking his lips. “It’s Saturday, though ... you don’t have to leave until tomorrow.” What the freak did I just ask?? OH, he’s gonna think so bad ... my stupid mouth ...

“I could come in and we could keep talking and laughing or ...” he pecked my lips “... kissing.”

Don’t disappoint me by making it sexual right now, please don’t, please don’t ...

“But ...” Ryan continued, and I barely held a sigh of relief, “it would spoil the romance, and I can’t allow that.”

“Rye ...” Part of me did want him to come in, though. Maybe we wouldn’t have sex, but I didn’t want the night to end, damnit.

He stroked my cheek with his thumb, cracking a small smile, his other arm around my waist making my skin boil. “Step by step.” He claimed. “The first date was perfect. We’ll wait for the rest to come. Agree?”

How couldn’t I? Grinning, I nodded. I’ve never felt so blissfully stupid in my entire life. I felt like my heart could seriously explode with how much it swelling, and I kept taking mental picture of each and every single moment, each and every single feature of his, afraid this bliss would fade away in the blink of an eye.

I’ve never been a normal girl, I’ve never had a “normal” life, but this ... with Ryan, right here, right now, it felt so right, so perfect, that my hands were starting to quiver at the thought it would end in nothing.

I hate being vulnerable, I never am, but ... if being in Ryan’s arms is the reward, then maybe it couldn’t be that bad, could it?

“It’s morning.” I realized in a whisper.

Ryan smiled. “I know.”

“We’ve spent the whole night talking. How crazy is that?” I laughed.

He grinned, stroking my cheek with his thumb. “It was a perfect night.” He spoke softly, kissing my forehead as he, sadly, sat up with me in his arms. “Time to move.”

I didn’t let him. “Nah, just a while longer.”

He chuckled, wrapping his arms around me from behind. We lay on this freaking couch all night, can you believe it? Snuggled together, just ... talking. About nothing and everything. We spent the whole night, the entire freaking just talking, and now it was 6 am, the sun was just rising, and we were still there, unable to part, or almost.

“I’ll make you breakfast if you let me stand. Deal?” Ryan bargained.

I giggled – me, Silvia Banchi, yeah, actually giggled! –, tilting my head up to meet his blue sky eyes. “Only if I get to watch you.” I proposed sappily. Okay, where’s the frigid girl? Where did she go? Why was I never like this, and why am I now?

“Fine with me.” Ryan agreed. I laughed as he stood with me still in his arms, and headed to the kitchen still holding me, his arms around me. His lips peppered kisses over my neck and shoulder now and then, making me giggle – again! –, and once we finally got to the kitchen, he didn’t even let me go.

“You think you can cook like this?” I teased.

“Probably no, but I’m not even thinking of letting go.”

I chuckled. “So what am I supposed to do? Cling onto you all the way through breakfast?”

He hooked our arms, and guided us to the fridge, kissing my cheek. “Fine with me.”

“Rye ...” I laughed.

“What? It’s working.” He said as he retrieved milk from the fridge. “You’ve got nothing for American breakfast, have you?”

“I usually drink coffee and eat a croissant. But I have cereals, if you like. Next time I’ll go buy pancakes batter and all, I promise.”

“Next time, huh?” Ryan teased, nuzzling my neck. “So you plan to have me over for breakfast on a regular basis?”

Oh, believe me, babe, if this goes where I hope it goes, you’re gonna be over for breakfast, lunch, dinner ... for a long, long time to come.

Normal. This is how it feels like to be normal. A normal girl, a normal guy, having breakfast while subtly, implicitly, building up what could be the best time of their lives. I just hope it’ll last enough for me to enjoy it.

I’m not saying a lifetime, but can I have at least a few months? Or why not, years? Just enough for my heart to feel whole for once. Just enough to pretend my life is normal.

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