“Chase, is this yours or mine?” Ryder asked holding up a dark blue shirt that I knew for a fact was mine.
“Yours.” I replied knowing that Ryder liked it more than me.
“Do you think Wild will like it?”
I rolled my eyes. I was sitting on Ryder’s bed watching him rip apart his closet trying to find something to wear.
“Does it even matter what you wear? It’s only going to end up the floor of her bedroom.”
I wasn’t sure how Ryder had gone from being a virgin to a sex-addict within a couple of months. It had come to the point that the girl who sold condoms at the pharmacy down the road was one of his best friends.
“If you’re not going to be helpful, you can leave.” Ryder said throwing a clothes hanger at me.
“If it makes you feel any better, Wild is stressing as well.” I said reading a text from Blaze narrating Wild’s very detailed outfit selection process and how he was on the verge of strangling her with a shoelace.
“Chase?” Ryder snapped throwing another hanger at my head, “Focus up, you’re going to see Blaze soon.”
“Not if you don’t hurry up.”
Wild, Blaze, Ryder and I were going to watch a movie together which should have been an easy task for a group of friends by instead was like trying to co-ordinate a suicide operation. Wild couldn’t watch thrillers and murder mysteries because she got angry at the characters, Blaze had nearly started a movement when we’d suggested a horror film, Ryder wouldn’t admit that he likes romance films even though we all knew he did, and I just wanted ice-cream, which meant we had to drive out to the theatre out of town because, in the local one, the ice-cream machine was broken.
“Blaze for the last time, Phoenix is not going to eat Storm.” Wild hissed as we walked into the movie theatre.
“You didn’t see the way he looked at her this morning before breakfast, you would’ve have thought she was a stack of pancakes by the way he was staring at her.”
Since Phoenix’s incident, he’d been a little different, he was hungry all the time according to Blaze and Wild but didn’t seem to be gaining any weight, which the doctor said was fine. The only sad thing was how he talked now. His Doctor had warned Blaze that there was a chance Phoenix may take a while to recover fully, and after the fall, he’d had a slight stutter. None of us minded it, but Phoenix hated it, so he only spoke if he really needed to at least that was what Blaze said. I hadn’t seen Phoenix since the accident.
“What the fuck are you wearing?” Ryder asked looking at Wild.
Now before everyone reading this gets all angry, he wasn’t talking about her outfit exactly. He was looking more at the huge swell of her stomach under her shirt, Wild looked 8 months pregnant.
“I am not paying for movie snacks.” Wild hissed.
“She does this when she loses her debit card.” Blaze sighed, “Its just a plastic bowl filled with packets of sweets and stuff.”
I was about to say something when a familiar face caught my eye sending chills down my spine. Ryan. What was he doing here?
“Hey guys, I’ll meet you inside.” I said, “I need a drink.”
“Ugh, fine, but make sure you come before the previews end.” Wild sighed.
As the three of them left, the cinema staff giving Ryder and Wild disappointed/horrified looks as though they’d never seen a pregnant teen before in their lives, I made my way over to Ryan.
“What are you doing here?” I asked keeping my distance, a full 2 and a half metres away.
He shifted a little uncomfortably. I hadn’t spoken to him since I’d run away and stayed at Blaze’s place, that had been nearly two months ago.
“I tracked your phone, I wanted to see you.”
He wasn’t drunk which was strange, he wasn’t exactly apologetic either. It was a strange combination of emotions.
“What do you want?”
“I want you to come home.”
“I am home, I live with Ryder.”
Ryan scoffed and out out of pure reflex, my fists curled up by my sides.
“Alright, easy there.” Ryan laughed holding his palms up, “Look, say whatever you want, but that’s not your home.”
“If that’s all you wanted to say, I’m leaving.” I said as calmly as I could.
“Caylex.” Ryan sighed as I turned away, “Look, I know we’ve had our differences in the past, and I know you hate me, I don’t blame you for that. But you’re my son, and I need you to come back home.”
Never in my life had Ryan displaced this level of affection towards me. It was more frightening than anything else, to be honest.
“You tried to kill me.” I said quietly.
Ryan rubbed his face and walked closer to me.
“Can we talk outside?” He said gently.
Hesitantly, I followed him outside and leant against the wall. It was an uncomfortable position but I hoped it would look kind of intimidating.
“I would never have killed you Caylex.”
The crisp certainty of his voice as he spoke was slightly unexpected like he was telling me the truth- for once.
“Right, you would’ve just torn me apart with a meat cleaver and left me half-alive.”
“Caylex, don’t do this to me.”
To him? To him? Was he the victim here all of a sudden?
“Do what? You should be in jail Dad. You hurt me, you, you, you abused me.” I stammered.
Abused. It was the first time I’d referred to myself as abused. Ryan too had clearly never heard the word before, his eyes widened in shock.
“Abused? Son, I nev…”
“Don’t call me son!” I shouted.
It came out of nowhere. Perhaps it was all the frustration and anger and desperation I’d been feeling ever since I was a small child. Perhaps it was the fact that I felt I was finally brave enough to stand up for myself. But honestly, I think it was more that I was done. Done with Ryan. Done with my old life.
“I was trying to protect you.” Ryan said quietly.
“Protect me? What the fuck did I need protection from?”
Ryan took a deep breath, part of me wanted to make that his final breath, part of me wanted to wrap my hands around his neck and squeeze until my palms ached.
“I didn’t want to raise a homo.”
That was what this was about? All this time?
“It doesn’t matter Caylex, because I know you’re with Holly, and I know I don’t have to worry any longer.”
Now it was my turn to take a deep breath.
“Ryan, you hurt me, you hurt me all the time, ever since I was 4-years-old. You hurt me, and now you want to come back? I don’t fucking get it.”
“I was scared, that day when you came home, spouting some nonsense about wanting to marry Ryder June. I needed you to know it wasn’t right.”
“I was a fucking child!” I shouted, “You’re a monster, you’re a fucking monster.”
“I only did it because I loved you.”
“Loved me?” My voice dropped, “How was that love?”
“I wanted you to feel fear under a man’s grasp, I wanted to make sure you would never long to feel the touch of a boy.”
This was some next-level psychotic bullshit.
Few seconds of silence.
“What is wrong with you?”
“I love you.”
“You don’t know love.”
Ryan scoffed again.
“And you do?”
It was strange. I had thought I’d known what love was. I loved Ryder he was the closest things I had to a brother. But then there was this other type of love, a recent kind I hadn’t felt before.
“Maybe I am in love Ryan. Maybe I’ve found the one.”
“That’s what I’ve been saying, who would have thought, Holly V…”
“It’s not Holly.” I said strongly, “It never was.”
Ryan softened, I began to slowly walk away. I didn’t need him or his love, I never did and I never would.
“I’m sure whoever she is, she’s lovely.” Ryan called finally.
I turned back, it would be the last thing I would say to my father for a long time.
“Yes.” I said, “He is.”