10. Your Happiness is more than my contentment
The beat started and she began nodding her head to it then she glanced over at him and smiled. "Omg this song."
"Causal affair by Panic at the disco." Rick answered. Normally, he didn't play their songs, because he prefer darker, more metal and scremo songs but this is in both ways dark and has a good tone to it. She smiled and Rick couldn't help smiling back. She was so radiant when she wasn't panicking over something.
Rick glanced over to see her watching out the window as she tapped her fingers against the door, humming softly along with the song. What is this girl doing to me? Rick didn't usual get close to anyone, but that was mainly because he prefered solitude, but something in Cyndi just stood out to him. Maybe it was her bright green eyes that left him speechless sometimes, or her face when she blushes because of something he'd said or simply because of his presence.
She was unlike any other girl that he had ever interacted with, she was real, nothing fake about her. Rick think that's why he asked her out, that's why he was currently bringing her to one of his favorite places.
He parked his car at the curb next to a tall oak tree, which was a mile away from a quaint small town of small shops and hangouts, and quiet nooks. Rick turned to look at her. She took a second to realize that the car had stopped then whipped around to watch him. "A—are we here?" she asked as she peeked out the window, her face visibly paled and Rick chucked at her. "A—a park? Are you planning on killing me and burying my body?" she questioned, covering her mouth as she noticed her words.
Rick couldn't help but smile at her. "Yes, but that's not why I brought you here." her cheeks lit up and she chuckled nervously. Rick smiled and laughed at her assumption. "Ha, sorry."
"No hard feelings, come on." He got out of the car, took out a basket from the backseat and walked over to her door, holding it open for her and bowing playfully. "Ma lady." Rick tried in a poorly attempt at a British accent then stretched a hand out for her, she covered her mouth as she tried not to laugh and then she blushed and bowed her head shyly.
She slid her hand into his. Her small hand fitting so well in his. Rick stood and helped her out of the car, shutting the door after her. She was freaking out, he knew that because he was still holding her hand and she was silent besides him. Rick nudged her as they walked and her head snapping up as she stared at him wide eyed. "Don't be so nervous. I promise you'll love it." she nodded and bit the inside of her cheek.
"Where are we going?" she asked as we walked on the soft grass.
"You'll see," it was a quiet night, not too cold or too humid which set a nice date night mood. "Do you trust me?" Rick asked as he stopped walking. She stopped along with him and glanced away a little.
"I trust that you won't scare me away." her eyes seemed to be getting glossy as she spoke. She was so virtuous and simple, yet there was so much more to her.
Rick came closer to her, and cupped her warm cheek in his palms. "You being happy tonight is my main concern and I promise that you'll have a great time." his eyes searched hers and saw how truly pure she was. She was too much of a nice girl to have a crappy first date.
A small smile touched her lips and his heart skipped a beat at her simple expression of happiness. She was simply perfect and he was honestly taken by her.
Rick squeezed her hand and continued to guide her into the park.
The night was so peaceful, the lush green grass making the water up ahead look even more beautiful as it glistened in the night sky. The night even smelt good, the blooming flowers making everything seem so romantic and fairytale like.
The fact that Rick had a woven basket in hand made me smile alone, but we were in a nice park on a nice night. I was happy and awaiting the night. My nerves were amazingly calm now and my happiness was greater than my nervousness.
"Here we are." he said as we walked up to a large clearing where the view of the water was just so stunning. It was as if it had crystals on the surface of it. I smiled big as the sparkling water mesmerized me. The water had me so entranced that I hadn't taken note that Rick had slipped his hand from mine and had walked away. When I turned back around to find him, he had already spread out a huge red blanket and was opening the basket.
"Never thought you'd be the romantic type."
When he heard me, he lifted his gaze and chuckled. "Always expect the unexpected." he reached a hand out to me and I slowly came forward and took it, he caught me entirely off guard when he pulled me in close against his chest. My heart fluttered as my cheeks burnt and my stomach sank as I felt his breath against my forehead. Rick had my hands on his chest as we stood there, so close that my head started spinning and my legs felt like goo. I lifted my head to his and gasped, his eyes capturing mine not letting mine go as he leaned in, pressing his lips to my cheek. A cold shiver ran down my back and I shut my eyes, not being able to stand any longer as my knees buckled. "Cyndi." I gasped as he held me close in his arms. "Talk about getting weak kneed." he laughed, "Do you feel lightheaded?" I nodded like a bobble head and he grinned brightly and guided me to the blanket.
We sat down side by side and I couldn't help but feel free and safe around him. He was so comforting and made me feel as though the troubles of the world weren't there and that I could stay here with him just simply having a nice night out and staring out at the beautiful gleaming water. "So when does the date begin." I asked sarcastically. He burst out laughing, head thrown back and all.
"You're so mean."
"Me?" I questioned touching a hand to my chest. "I'm a sweetheart, you're the mean one." I accused jokingly.
"Oh really, well how so?" he caught me on that one. I tried to stutter out an answer but came up with nothing and shut my mouth back. He shook his head. "I thought so."
"Oh whatever, but I'm not mean." Rick defended. He rolled his eyes,
"Pff you're the meanest."
"What?!" He exclaimed. "I never." we sat there in a cool silence until we both broke out in a fit of laughter.
"That was a good one," I started. "You're way too kind to be anything less than that."
"Aww really?" He sighed. "Yeah, if anyone's mean it's that stupid girl who tried to act like she ruled the world." Although he didn't say her name, I just knew he was referring to Jenna.
"You mean Jenna right?" he shrugged.
"Whatever her name is. She has no right to act like that towards anyone." he was angry while he said those words.
"Well, she is rich and—."
"And nothing Cyndi, she has no place talking to you like that. She isn't made of gold and you of copper. She isn't royalty and even if she were, she's just a dumb bully." I thought about his ranting words for a second, realizing that he was right. Jenna had no right to be the way that she was, and someone needed to make her see that, but who? I shrugged and slumped against his shoulder, finally being able to not completely freak out about touching him.
"Well, life isn't fair."
"No, it's not but we can change that."
I glanced up at him, "and how do we do that?"
"By not letting people like that Jenna girl tell us what to do. She isn't the queen of the world, nor will she ever be. She's just a spoilt brat with daddy's money." I chuckled at the last part, and lifted my head up so that I could look at him while he gazed out at the water. He looked so out of place, his gothic tattoos and dark clothes made him seem so harsh and hard, but the softness in his eyes didn't in the least make him seem as scary as he looked. He had so much stories that I wanted to know, and they were all on his skin, forever marked on his arms, and face and head. Everything was covered, and for a second I really just wanted to know how he looked before the tattoos. "Why did you cover yourself in all those tattoos?" I didn't get time to stop my mouth from blurting out that question, and in actuality I didn't want to take it back. I really wanted to know.
He didn't look at me instead he stayed watching the calm water. "It wasn't something that I ever planned to do, but then I never thought I'd live long enough to even regret it." he stopped there, and one thing he said caught me, "... I never thought I'd live long enough," his words kept replaying in my head and my heart sank, I felt the onslaught of tears coming in and I almost had to hold my hand to my chest in fear of my heart falling out of it. Rick didn't seem to want to look at me in that moment, then I felt as he inhaled deeply. "I was still the same person, gothic, weird, reckless and fun. But that day..." he paused and I did't think it was for dramatic effect. It appeared to be a very hard subject for him. I had to calm myself down and listen to him so that I didn't jump to conclusions that were gonna make it hard for me to sleep. I wrapped my arms around his bicep and came closer to him, hugging his arm to me as I fought back tears. "It's okay Rick, you can tell me." as much as I tried to sound strong I knew that he could hear me breaking inside.
"I had gone out with my friends, Jaxon and Hardin. We were just at the park talking and relaxing, we've had a long week you know, with school and all. But then it all happened so fast. We were talking about a concert that was coming up, and how much we wanted to go and hoped that our parents would allow us. Then I just stopped. I stopped talking, and they both looked at me, trying to nudge me but I just couldn't speak. Now, I remember forcing myself into speaking but nothing came out and I started to panic in silence, something was wrong I could feel it, I could just sense it. I got so scared. I was young, I wasn't ready to die yet..." he trailed off and I could have sworn I heard him sob. He shook his but went on. "My friends were already calling my parents when I felt myself getting light in the head. Feeling as though my whole body was paralyzed, and then I fainted, my vision too behan to fade as I began to cry. I was so scared but I didn't know what was happening. I could hear voices, some shocked and others just talking but I couldn't heard any words, I couldn't make out any of those voices." he paused. "Then it all went black."
The silence that fell between us was thick and I was afraid to break it, somehow my tears had managed to fall from my eyes without permission. My cheeks were damp as my mouth hung open. I couldn't even begin to imagine the fear he must've had, the pain he must've felt. The thoughts that were going through his head. I bit my lip as the tears continued streaming down my face. When none of us said anything for a long while—which felt like hours, but were maybe a few minutes. Rick finally trusted himself to look over at me. He saw my face, tears staining my cheeks as I fought to stop them. He pulled his arm away from my grasp and pulled me close, wrapping his arms around me and he pulling me onto his lap. He shushed me, running a hand over my hair. Soothing me with sweet words that my brain couldn't make out over the sound of my sobbing.
He held me there for sometime until the tears subsided and the sobbing ceased. And there I was balled up in his arms, in his lap while he comforted me. I felt selfish, I should be comforting him not the other way around. "Rick, I'm sor—."
"Don't, you have nothing to be sorry for." he whispered in my ear, making my spine shiver.
"Please... go on." I asked. He nodded.
"When I woke up, I was in the hospital, I remembered the strong scent of the clean sterile alcohol being the only thing I could smell. I looked around and saw my mom sitting beside my bed, she was asleep. I searched around trying to see if I could see my dad, but I didn't see him. Then a hand touched my arm and I saw my mom's weak smile as she spoke, telling me he had gone for some food."
"I didn't hear what she said after that because I had fallen back asleep. When I opened my eyes for the second time since I fainted, I saw the doctor and my parents standing there as he spoke to them. I tried to call out to my mom, but my throat burned so much from dryness but my mom turned around anyways and saw that I was awake.
She came over and gave me some water through a straw when she saw what I was pointing to. I smiled at her, and she smiled back, but it didn't reach her eyes. I asked what was wrong with me and that's when I saw my mother's face fall. The doctor came to me and told me the bad news. They had found a brain tumor the size of a golf ball growing on the left side of my brain. My first thought was that my mother couldn't lose her only son." he laughed dryly. "I didn't even think of myself as I thought that. I just didn't know how else to think." by this time again, I started to cry. A brain tumor. I didn't want to hear anymore but I also didn't want him to stop talking. I brushed away my worrying and hugged my arms around his neck. He had long stopped talking and had now buried his head in the crook of my neck as he sobbed against me. His hand resting at my back as he cried. Rick moved my position from sitting in his lap to facing him fully, with my knees on either side of his thighs. I sighed and began to realize how much he didn't stop crying until I started to rub his back. As I hushed him, telling him that it's all gonna be okay, I bit my lip because even though I didn't believe those words myself, I wanted him to.
We stayed like that for a long while, he hugged me tight to him as I hugged him to myself. My hand on his head as I soothed him while we rocked back and forth. His crying had stopped but he was still holding onto me and then he suddenly he lifted his head. His gentle eyes searching mine. His eyes were glassy from crying and I bet that mine were as well. A small smile tipped up the edges of my mouth. "I guess I shouldn't say I'm sorry for that." I whispered after some time. I don't know why but I started laughing, then he smiled and joined in.
I held his face in my hands, and just looked at him. "Is that why you got all these tattoos?" she nodded.
"They told me I only had four more months to live." my face dropped, then he shook his head. "That was a year and six months ago and I'm still alive."
"But you're still sick."
"Yeah, but I feel fine. I promise."
"Why a skull... why a skeletal tattoo?" I had to know. I needed to know the reason, the meaning, and the why and the cause of it all.
"Because Cyndi Fenton, everybody has their own ideas and opinions on what beauty is, and this is mine. The beauty of death and life. The suddenness of it all. How we can live today and die tomorrow. How it can all end or continue in a matter of seconds. Life is precious, but death doesn't mean that it's the end. My parents understood that when I got these tattoos and so did my friends. Do you understand that Cyndi?" he waited for my answer. His eyes focused on the water again as I thought of a reply for him. I understood his reasons and the meaning behind it, but the 'because' had surprised me, the why was still a bit of a mystery but then so were a lot of things about everything. "I do, but why?"
"Because fuck it, that's why. I was gonna die in a matter of months Cyndi. I didn't want my last moments on Earth to be meaningless or wasted sobbing and crying and feeling sad. I wanted to do something worthwhile with my life while I still had it. A lot of people didn't understand but that's the point, you're not supposed to. You're supposed to just be happy and okay with it and nothing more. Just be happy while I'm happy until I'm not here to be happy anymore. I was taunted in school for it but I didn't care. Because no one there knew that I was dying, no one knew my reason behind it, and no one cared to ask why or actually listened to me while I told them why. I felt like it, and I don't regret it. I don't." a comfortable silence settled over us and it was just perfect. I finally knew why he did what he did, and the reason and the 'because' and the meaning of it all. I hugged him again. This time closing my eyes as I took in the scent of pine and mint on him for the first time. I hadn't noticed how sweet he smelt, how soft he was against me and how safe and comfortable I felt in his arms. He fit so perfectly against me and I didn't want to ever let that go.
After Rick told Cyndi the reason behind his peculiar choice of tattoos and why he chose what he did the pair sat down and ate fruit salads then strawberry swirl cheesecake and talked about other things, like why the twins were at her house. Cyndi laughed at his curiosity about the twins and she told him the crazy story of how she was freaking out over their date and how the twins offered to help out. She also spoke about Issac and Mike's arrangement and how she was beyond scared out of her existence to go on this date.
He told her that she had every right to be nervous or scared. But she didn't have to be scared of him. They went on talking until I checked the time and saw that it was nine thirty-five. He stood up and helped her to her feet. Telling her that he wanted to show her somewhere before it got any later because she had to get home early so that she doesn't go to bed late since it was a school day tomorrow. She sighed, not wanting the night to end but agreed nonetheless.
They packed up and left the park hand in hand.