The Art of Fields

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Sixteen: "Rainbow after a storm?"

Emily and I, as I have said before, basically grew up together as soon as we were given birth to. Emily and Ricky were pretty good friends, as well, and she knew a large chunk of my family. Hence, she came with me when we went to the hospital the day Ricky was getting out.

He was sitting on a wheelchair, the colour back on his skin and one hand intertwined with Eliza’s hand. I smile at them, definitely ship that. Alan came to the hospital first and hugged his cousin dearly. Ever since Ricky came in for the holidays, those two have bonded more than Alan and I have for the past seventeen years. I think I’ve emphasised how bad my relationship with Alan is right? It isn’t all that bad when he’s in a good mood, we share some light stories, friendly pissing each other off sessions and eye conversations when our parents are yelling at us. Are all brothers like that? I don’t know.

My heart clenches a little knowing Ricky, Sam and my aunt and uncle were going to leave soon. The house would become so much quieter, and deadly. I shake my head off the thoughts and take in the beatific present shared with family, Eliza and Emily.

〰▪〰

Storming down the stairs, I grab the coat of the hanger and shift into it. Releasing a relief sigh from its warmth, I chuckle at seeing Emily’s impatient face. “I’m going out for a while!” I yell at the top of my lungs so everyone hears me. They have a tendency of not hearing me and when I come back, smash me into a pulp because they never heard me leaving the house.

My mom questions, coming into our view, “Where do you two think you’re going?”

Emily answers for me, “We got a project so we need supplies.”

Her eyes squint at Emily, I wouldn’t be surprised if she yelled at Emily considering how she treats her like the second daughter she never had. “If you two go to the cafe, you can but not for too long.”

Emily grins, “You see right through us, Mrs K.”

Mom rolls her eyes and goes to the living room, “Be safe!”

“Bye!” I call out and we were out the door just before I see Sam, Ricky and Alan laughing as they descend the stairs with dad close behind them, possible cracking a joke. I smile softly at the sight before shutting the door, diverting myself from an array of questions from my father.

We get into Emily’s car which was parked in the driveway. She reverses and we drive to the cafe shop, a fifteen-minute drive away. We were too lazy to walk in the freezing cold. Dialling in Jake’s number, I press speaker and keep it on the dashboard, balancing it carefully.

“Babe.” He says with a slight slur in his voice. I give Emily a ‘this isn’t going to end well’ look and she nods in agreement. Jake turns into the most cheesiest romantic person when he’s drunk. “Babe?”

“Ashley.” I sigh, “Jake, it’s Ashley.”

“But you’re babe.”

“Give the phone to the someone who got you this drunk.” I chuckle slightly at his tone, expecting him to be making a puppy dog face on the other line.

Lucas whines on the other line, “Chase get the phone, Jack needs my help.”

I can sense Chase pouting, “Why didn’t Jack ask me to wingman for him?”

Lucas’ voice was a little distant, “Cause he likes me better, duh.”

Chase grunts and there’s fumbling on the line. “Jake, give me the damn thing before you confess your dying love for Ash.” My heartbeat stops and I don’t move an inch, feeling Emily’s stare piercing through me. Chase said that on purpose so that I would hear it. He always does that. I convince myself and wait for him to respond. “Finally, you twat. Hey Ashley.”

“Don’t ‘Hey Ashley’ me.”

“Uh.” He says sounding confused, “Bye Ashley?”

“You said that on purpose.” I say, “The thing you said before.”

The line goes silent for a while and I hear distant whispering, “Ha-ha.” Chase finally says, “You got me.” Something off in his voice but I didn’t want to dwell on it any longer or I’d probably think about it till, like, forever.

“Meet us at Caribou in fifteen.” Emily says when I, supposedly, blanked out. “Are the girls with you?”

“No,” He replies in a duh tone, “What do you think we meant by guys only? Fifteen minutes, maybe--”

I repeat, “Fifteen minutes, Chase.”

“But Jack actually likes the girl he’s kissing.” Chase says in a whiny tone, “Actually, he probably doesn’t. We’ll be there in fifteen.” The call ends. I quickly text Alexie, Diane and Zoey to meet us there too. After a few minutes, my phone rings.

“Jake?” I ask.

“Ashley!” He says loudly and yells curse words to Chase who’s, apparently, trying to get the phone from Jake. I chuckle at the familiar situation. “You know, you’re pretty cool. I didn’t mean it when I said you were one of the guys, I just thought you’d get jealous at some point if I kept telling you about--”

The call ends.

I look at the phone in bewilderment. A sea of questions drowning my mind, I look at Emily, “Why do you think he got drunk, Em?” She shrugs and bites her lips. She always bites her lips when she’s nervous or in this case, lying. “Em, tell me.”

She grunts loudly, “You told him you liked Drake, didn’t you?”

“What.” I ask, blown away by the idiotic question, “No, what the hell. I told him that the date was horrible but then, when we were talking, I mentioned that Drake was pretty cool. Why would Jake drink for that?”

“You’re such an idiot, Ash.” She parks the car in the parking lot of the cafe and we leave the car. I asked her what she meant but she never replied, not even a syllable about the matter.

Jake drinks for everything, well he used to. Now, he just drinks when stuff gets him upset. Why would Drake-- Wait a minute, no way. He couldn’t have gotten.. no. I laugh to myself, “Impossible.” I murmur to myself as I sit on the booth with Emily.

She studies my face for a while but let the matter go, as the girls walk to us and take a seat around us. The guys roll in a few minutes later. Jake was stuffing his face with food, trying to get sober. I fill them in on Ricky’s situation and they smile, genuinely happy for me.

Jake ordered tons of food at the table. Unfortunately for him, we took it as an opportunity to gobble and hog most of it. He didn’t stop knowing full well, he couldn’t finish all of it even if his life depended on it.

Do you know that part in the ending of movies where just before the credit scene, it zooms out of a very happy part of the characters? I would call this, nothing less, than one of those picture-perfect moments. Everyone breaking into laughs and chuckles at jokes being cracked all around. If you told me a few years ago, that the nine of us would be spending a night out just laughing to our heart’s content, I would slap you with a banana and kick you in the shins.

Maybe it’s true that a rainbow appears after a storm.

I felt like taking a screenshot of the moment we were lost in together, where we couldn’t care about anything else than just being here and relieving stress.

Then, I realised I only got a part of the phrase right. It is possible that after the rainbow, no matter how short or long the period of time may be that you see it, it is possible to have a storm reenter.

My skin sweats, the fork in my hand drops onto the plate in front of me. My lips press together, and the perfect moment was long gone from my mind. One by one, everyone saw the figure walk to us, a sly grin playing on his lips. I feel Jake’s hand squeeze mine under the table, he obviously saw my edgy state, probably expecting me to faint.

The figure played with his dark brown hair as he grabbed a seat and pulled it over to us, with his two ridiculously large men behind him. He grins from ear to ear, “Well, isn’t this a beautiful sight?”

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