I woke up early the next morning, Ryker was sleeping on his back with his face facing towards me. I glanced at the scars that more-likely than not came from the car accident on his stomach, I’d noticed them as well as the ones on his legs earlier.
My phone started ringing interrupting my train of thoughts. I rolled over and pulled the phone off the bedside table. I looked at the caller ID. It was Maya. Why wasn’t she texting me? Especially, when it was this early? It was 7:00 am, and we were on Christmas holidays, we were supposed to be sleeping in.
I answer the phone sitting up.
“Maya?” I questioned when she picked up.
“I know you said you weren’t coming back to the fifth, but do you think you could come back sooner?” she asked.
“Why? What’s going on?” I ask.
“Umm…it’s just…Julian’s being a dick…” she starts.
“Why didn’t you just stay at your parents’ longer?” I ask.
Technically, school didn’t start until the 11th, she could have stayed another week and a half at home if she wanted. Ryker and I liked our alone time and we had tests to study for so we were going back a little early. It was also what the school recommended.
“They don’t know I broke up with him…and I’m already here so…” she explains.
“Right,” I reply.
Why had Julian come back early? Was this his plan of how to get Maya back? Without us around?
“I’ll see if our parents we’ll drive us back tomorrow,” I reply.
What were a few days more there?
“Okay, I’ll see you then. Porter, I’m sorry I interrupted your holiday,” she states a hint of guilt creeping in.
“It’s fine, you’re our friend, friends are there for each other,” I reply.
“Right, of course,” she replies quickly. “I’ll see you tomorrow, then.”
“Yeah, see you tomorrow, goodbye,” I reply.
“Bye,” she said quickly and hung up abruptly.
I set my phone down and rolled back over to face Ryker who was awake.
“Who was that?” he asked blinking as if his eyes were still adjusting to the light.
“Maya, Julian’s bothering her. She wants us to come back early,” I reply.
“Can’t leave her alone, can he?” he states.
“Guess not,” I answer.
“Do you want to go see Hilana again before we leave?” he asks.
“Yeah, we’ll have to wait a few hours until she’s up though,” I reply.
“Guess we should pack, right?” he continues.
I move closer to him, leaning over him.
“But I want to stay in bed with you a bit longer,” I whisper. “Since we won’t be sharing beds as much once we get back.”
He smiles and laughs. He leans up and kisses me.
“I know,” he murmurs. “But if we don’t pack now, we’ll have to pack later. And we won’t want to do it later either.”
“You’re not wrong,” I reply smiling.
“So, let’s do it now and get it over with,” he continues.
“Okay,” I finally agree.
“What about my clothes that need to be washed? Do we have time to wash them?” he asks.
“You could leave them here until spring break. I can bring them back with me,” I reply. “You have enough clothes anyway, right?”
“Yeah, I guess so,” he replies.
We get up and start picking up our clothes, sheet music, toothbrushes, everything we brought from the school here and pack it into our suitcases. Ryker’s case is a little lighter without all his clothes.
By the time we’re packed and the room is cleaned it’s 10:00 am. Ryker is folding the bi flag he got from Hilana and putting it in his suitcase. I’ve texted Hilana to tell her about Maya and us going back tomorrow and she’s finally answered.
So, what do you want to do on your last day in Lexington? She asks. Do you want to spend it with me? What about Ryker?
I’ve lots of time to spend with Ryker, I won’t see you until spring break. Of course, I want to spend it with you. You’re my best friend. I answer.
Do you want to go to the club? She asks.
She was talking about Spark. Spark was an all-ages club, we had started going back in ninth grade. We’d dance to blasting music together, forget about the world for a while and pile in a cab to get back before our 12:00 am curfew on the weekends.
The place always looked like a disco party regardless of the time because it was underground with nothing but rotating disco lights in a dark room.
Of course. I reply. It’s early though, isn’t it?
It’s never too early for a dance party. She comments.
Okay. I answer.
“We’re going to a club,” I tell Porter.
“With what? Fake IDs?” he questions.
“It’s all ages, don’t worry,” I reply.
“This early?” he continues.
“We have a long drive tomorrow if we go later tonight we won’t want to get up tomorrow,” I answer.
“Is this okay to wear?” he asks. “I’ve never really been to a club.”
He’s wearing skinny jeans, a grey shirt, and a blue, black, and white plaid long sleeve over it.
I step closer to him, “You look perfect,” I whisper in his ear.
He looks up a me, clearly not convinced.
“It’s a club, what do you think people wear? Suits?” I reply.
“Don’t know, again, never been,” he repeats.
“Haven’t you seen movies?” I question.
“Piano genius, remember? Didn’t exactly have a lot of time for movies,” he replies.
“What about in Shadowhunters?” I question. “They went to clubs in that, right? What were they wearing then?”
“I feel like they had a lot more exposed skin, then again, it wasn’t winter,” he replies.
“Okay, maybe that was a bad example considering this is an all-ages club, you’ll be fine,” I continue. “Trust me.”
“If you say so,” he replies.
“Come on,” I say, offering my hand.
“Should I wear my glasses?” he asks, suddenly.
“Ryker,” I say.
“Fine, fine, I trust you,” he replies putting his hand in mine.
I text Hilana to meet us at the club.
We go downstairs and tell my parents about Maya and going back tomorrow and that we should be back from Spark by 4:00 pm.
“Do you want us to pick you up?” my father asks. “When you’re done?”
“Sure,” I reply, “We’ll text you.”
“Have fun kids, stay safe,” he says as we get dressed for the walk to Spark.
“We will, Dad,” I reply, I wave to them as I and Ryker step out the door.
Spark is about a three-block walk, unlike most clubs, it’s farther from the city center, downtown area, and lot more well-lit in the area, probably for the safety of the younger crowd it draws in.
Ryker holds my hand as we walk through the mildly cold weather, past snow-covered cars, snow drifts. As we near the area close to Spark, you see a lot more people, because it’s all age, they’ve forbidden drugs and alcohol of any kind inside and out just because of fake ID use in the past. It’s still great fun in my opinion, you go to a club for more than the substances, right? Or I hope most people do.
As we enter “Dare You” by Hardwell ft. Matthew Koma is playing. We hang our coats and spot Hilana waiting on the edge of the crowd. We approach her and she spots us. She excited and ready to go. We hadn’t been to Spark together since last summer. There are disco lights dancing around the walls and floor and people dancing for miles. But it’s also less crowded because of the all age and no substances policies which is good for Ryker’s ears.
Ryker hesitates standing behind us watching.
“Come on,” Hilana says grabbing his wrist.
He looks at her a little unsure.
I take his other hand.
“You said you trusted me,” I state. “I promise, it’s fun.”
He takes a breath as if he’s preparing to dive underwater.
“Okay,” he replies.
I pull him out onto the dance floor with Hilana’s help. She starts dancing, bopping to the music.
“Break Free” by Ariana Grande starts. I start grooving. I keep hold of his hand and spin him around. I smile and I can see one creeping into his expression as well. He starts moving on his own. I laugh as we dance together, it’s not good or anything but it’s fun, and that’s what matters. We dance around each other, moving together, with Hilana and all the others around us.
“I Gotta Feeling” by the Black-Eyed Peas start and I sing along.
Ryker laughs as I step closer still dancing.
We dance for about half an hour until the first lulling slow song comes through. We all decide to take a break and get some soda, rehydrate ourselves, and get ready for round two. Ryker and I find a booth while Hilana gets us drinks.
“Well?” I ask Ryker.
Our breath is still trying to settle and the adrenaline is still wearing off.
“I’m glad I trusted you,” he replies timidly.
“I am, too,” I reply.
Hilana comes back with the drinks, she sets ours on the table and sits on the other side of the booth.
“So, are we having fun?” she asks looking at Ryker.
“Yeah,” he replies more confidently this time.
The disco lights are moving around more slowly now that there’s a lull and the dance floor is clearer with more couples dancing visibly. I look out at the couples. Hilana can see me looking, she smiles and nods.
My hand slips closer to Ryker’s, he glances down. I stand up slowly still holding his hand. He nervously takes a breath and follows me back out onto the dance floor. “Six Feet Under” by Billie Eillish is playing.
I pull him close to me once we’re back on the dance floor, one of my hands is on his waist and the other on his chest. I can see the slow revolving disco lights flashing over him, reflecting in his glasses and eyes. I rest my forehead against his, looking into his eyes.
“When did you think your first slow dance would happen?” I ask quietly.
“Not until after I escaped high school honestly,” he replied quietly. “I had no clue who it’d be with either.”
Our lips brush against each other. I thought I felt Ryker pull back slightly. We’d never kissed publicly with this many people around. He glanced down and then back up, the light in his eyes intensifying behind his glasses.
His hand came to rest on the back of my neck, he pauses again looking between my eyes and lips. Maybe he felt others were watching us.
“No pressure,” I whisper close to his ear. “We’re here for fun, remember?”
He leans in and kisses me, hard.
“Kissing you is fun, people watching and judging, not so much,” he murmurs when he pulls away.
We shouldn’t be fugitives for loving someone or for being who we are.
“Bird Set Free” by Sia starts.
I reach up and cover his ears.
He stares up at me.
I lean closer, “I love you. And you love me. It’s not theirs, it’s ours and no one can take that from us,” I murmur close to his ear.
He stared up into my eyes. The Leo pendant around his neck glittered in the darkness. He bowed his head a bit and I saw a blush spread across his cheeks. I rested my cheek on his and we continued to sway and turn with the slow music.
When the music starts to kick back up we go back to the booth and drink our sodas. Hilana is dancing and talking to people nearby.
By 3:00 pm we’re danced out and I text my parents to come get us. We throw on our gloves and beanies but with our adrenaline still going and the warmth from the inside of the club and dancing still bleeding off us we just carry our coats. We lean against the building, waiting.
“That was a blast, right?” Hilana inquires asking Ryker.
“Yeah,” he replies smiling.
You can tell the adrenaline has started to wear off and the crowded space the club is becoming is starting to hurt his ears a little. He takes the beanie and pulls it over his ears to deafen the surroundings a bit.
My parents pull up soon and whisk us away from the noise of the club. They drop Hilana off at her house after we hug and wave goodbye.
“Take care of him,” she says eyeing Ryker.
“I will,” he replies. “I promise.”
She waves and exits the car. She walks up the sidewalk to her house and goes inside where she’s safe from the cold elements of the outside world.
My parents drive us home and we eat dinner together one last time. Ryker and I go upstairs and bury ourselves underneath the covers of my bed, one last time.