Comfortably Numb

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Chapter 6

Dinner was... interesting.

Between Arrow and her pop, there wasn't much quiet. I got the feeling that this is how it always was at Arrow's home. Mr. Cardinal sat quietly beside his husband, smiling in amusement and occasionally adding a comment or attempting to pull either Ryker or myself into the conversation. Rowan was sitting beside Arrow, across from me, and he spent the entire meal bugging Arrow any way he could. She ignored him, turning to talk to me or answering her parents. I smiled and nodded throughout dinner, but the anger radiating off of Ryker as he sat beside me was making me incredibly nervous.

Finally, after everyone had stuffed themselves as full as possible, it was time for me to go home. Arrow stood and reached for her keys from the counter. I felt my eyes widen in horror; I hadn't forgotten what a terrible driver she was.

"Ready?" She dangled her keys. I looked at her, then at the keys, then back at her...
"C-Can I d-drive?" She looked surprised, then suspicious. I had tried to sound as innocent as possible, but it seemed to not have come across as well as I had hoped.
"Why?" I bit my lip.
"Arrow, when are you going to learn that you're a terrible driver?" I turned at the sound of Rowan's voice. He stood, smirking at Arrow. He looked at me, winked, and then turned back to face her. Arrow scowled at him, then turned to look at me with a pout.

"You don't think I'm a bad driver, do you?" I stared, wide eyed. I didn't want to hurt her feelings, but... I also didn't want to sit in the passenger seat while she was driving... She took my silence for what it was, and looked crestfallen. Her pop walked into the front hall at that moment.

"What's going on?" Arrow sniffed and looked at him.
"I was just gonna drive Andy home, but..."
"She thinks I'm a terrible driver!" Whined Arrow. He let out a bark of laughter. Arrow scowled at him. I opened my mouth to object, really not wanting to hurt her feelings, but her pop beat me to it.

"Sweetie, no offense, but you are a terrible driver. Lord knows you only passed your test because of who dad and I are" he laughed. Arrow scowled and scuffed her feet against the floor.

"Nick told me I was getting better..." Arrow mumbled. Mr. Cardinal laughed again, and then turned to look at me.

"Don't worry, dear. I'll get you a ride with someone less likely to kill you on your way home." I blushed and looked at the floor, smiling. My smile immediately dropped, however, when he yelled out, "Ry!" He emerged from the kitchen with a roll in his mouth. He'd tugged his hair into a bun at the top of his head. I dropped my gaze again.

"What?" He rumbled out. I felt a shiver dance down my spine. Weird.

"You're going to drive Andy home."

"What? Why? She's Arrow's friend, let her take her" he growled. His pop folded his arms.

"Arrow will go with you, I assume, but you are driving. No arguments, Ryker." He grumbled, but stalked towards us anyways. As he passed me, he slammed into me, shooting electricity along my arm and my heart into my throat. My skin tingled but didn't crawl.... I glanced down at the place he had touched me, confused. He paused for a second, shook himself then continued out the front door.

Arrow smiled weakly at me and motioned for me to lead the way out the front door.

Once outside, I lost my breath again. Parked in front of the house was the most gorgeous truck I had ever seen. It was blacker than the night, almost as tall as the trees beside it, and had wheels so big I could stand up with my arms spread out against them and still not reach the top. It was astonishing, and I really really really hoped it was Ryker's so I had the opportunity to ride in it.

I gaped at it, floundering for something to say.

"Nice, right?" I jumped as Rowan spoke beside me. He smirked at me and shook his head before hopping into the truck. I barely heard him mumble, "So skittish" as he passed. I squared my jaw and followed after him. He had to use the step ladder on the side, and for some reason I found this strangely hilarious.

Arrow walked out of the house then, stopping beside me. She sighed.

"Well, after you." I pushed my hand through my hair, and then walked the last few feet to the massive truck. I stepped onto the rail that ran along the bottom of the door, and struggled to pull myself into the back seat while also shoving down the urge to break into a happy dance.
I was actually riding in this massive black beast!!

Finally I managed to get in and swing the door shut behind me; Arrow followed a second later. The boys took one look at us as we panted in the back seat and dissolved into laughter. Rowan laughed so hard at Arrow's red face he fell forward and smacked his forehead against the dashboard. Me and Arrow looked at each other and burst into a fit of giggles at his expense. I couldn't help but notice that Ryker was roaring with laughter too, pointing at his friend. Rowan pouted as we laughed, but said nothing.

It took us all a few minutes to calm down; when we had we fell into an awkward silence. Ryker cleared his throat then started up the car. We drove in silence until we reached the edge of the forest. I had a feeling that the only reason the silence had reached an end was because Ryker didn't know my address.

"Where am I headed?" He didn't look my way, causing a strange feeling of annoyance to stab through me. I ignored it in favour of mumbling my address.

"605 M-markham road" Arrow turned to me, smiling creepily. I raised my eyebrows at her, wondering what was wrong with her. She shimmied closer, and I moved back. Rowan turned around in his seat.

"What's wrong with your face?" Arrow's smile turned into a glare.

"Shut up dummy" she turned back to me, and her creepy smile returned. I raised my eyebrow, sliding as far as possible, stopping only as I was pressed right against my door.

"You're freaking your friend out" rumbled Ryker.

Arrow's smile dropped and she glared at the back of his head before turning back to me, creepy smile completely back in place.

"W-why are y-you smiling like that?" She bit her lip, and shook her head.

"It's just..." she sighed, "I didn't know where you lived. Actually, I don't really know anything about you. Not that you have to tell me anything! I mean, you can tell me anything you like! Or nothing! I mean, you don't have to tell me anything but if you WANT to tell me something feel free and I will 100 percent listen! I mean..." She paused to haul in a deep calming breath, "I just mean... I'm really glad that we're friends." She smiled brightly at me. I bit my lip for a second before giving her a slight smile in return. I looked out the window, getting lost in my thoughts.

Arrow was right. She really didn't know anything about me. But that was a good thing... wasn't it? The less she knew... So why did I want so badly to tell her something? I wanted her to know something about me, but I was so scared about what that meant. It was better that she didn't know anything... Wasn't it? With the monsters of my past, any connection with me, no matter how flimsy, could spell disaster. Wouldn't it be better to keep her as far as possible?

"We're here." I sighed, shaken from my thoughts by Ryker's rumbling voice. I turned back to Arrow, shot her a brief smile, grabbed my bag and swung the door open. I looked at the back of Ryker's head.

"Thank you" I breathed out. I waited until Ryker nodded his head, still not looking at me, and then climbed carefully out of the truck, jumping to the ground. I walked up to my front door and pulled out my key. Before I could get it unlocked, though, it swung open itself. Blake stood in the doorway, glowering down at me.

"What the hell happened to your phone?" I shot him a confused look. He huffed and folded his arms over his chest.

"Well obviously something must have happened to it otherwise you would have answered one of my hundred and one text messages!" His nostrils flared, and I blinked at him, feeling nervous. Slowly, I reached into the front pocket of my bag and pulled out my iPhone.

Pressing the home button, I gave Blake an apologetic grin. There were literally one hundred and one text messages. I went to answer him but suddenly—
"Hiya Blakey!" I turned around and smiled at Arrow as she approached us. I noticed that both Rowan and Ryker had also hopped out of the truck, but they were still perched along the rails beside their doors, just watching.
Arrow had reached us now, and she was twirling her hair around her finger. Blake sighed, frustration dropping from the sound. He glanced behind her to the truck and then leaned back against our front door."Hi..." He folded his arms over his chest and Arrow smiled wider. She took another step so she was right in front of him; he sighed again.

"Blakey, I'm sooooo sorry," She ran her fingers through her hair, tossing it over her shoulder.

"Dinner went longer than we expected," she giggled, "I was kind of hoping that you'd show up to get her..." She bit her lip and leaned closer to him. His eyes darted behind her, widened and then he fumbled for the door handle. Arrow giggled as he tripped.

"It's fine, Arrow. Just... just don't let it happen again. I'm... I'm going to bed." And with that, he flung the door open and sprinted upstairs to his room. Arrow and I giggled, and I gave her a grateful smile. She returned it, then brushed her hair out of her face again and rolled her eyes at something over my shoulder. I turned slightly to see Rowan and Ryker had gotten back in his truck, and were waiting impatiently. In fact, Rowan looked honestly pissed.... Arrow sighed.

"Well I guess I should get going. Goodnight, Andy."

"N-night Row" Arrow froze, and whirled around. She had her creepy smile on again. I raised my eyebrows at her. She shook her head, whispered, "Row" and then took off towards the truck again. I watched as she climbed into the massive vehicle and waved as they drove away before finally stumbling into the house and locking the door behind me.

My dreams that night were the same as usual, but instead of plunging the knife into my chest, he chuckled and carved his way from my wrists to my shoulders. I still woke up screaming.

I ended up back in my basement, sprinting so fast it felt like I was flying. I ran and ran and ran until my legs were numb and all I could think about was a cold drink of water. I only stopped when the alarm rang for school. I showered, chugged down two bottles of water, and threw on a stained pair of jeans and a multilayer of baggy shirts before heading downstairs. Once there I grabbed a glass of orange juice and the lunch Blake handed me before stopping at the door to wait for him.

I paused though, because the same gorgeous black truck I'd come home in last night (now dubbed The Beast) was parked in my driveway again.

"Arrow called earlier to ask if it was OK for you to get a ride with them. I told her it was OK with me if it was OK with you" Blake spoke behind me. I bit my lip and turned to him. Nerves were causing my heart to beat wildly, and my throat felt seriously constricted. Getting to close could spell disaster, and I'd already had so many....

"D-do you think it's a g-good idea?" Blake sighed and closed his eyes for the briefest second before he ran his hand through his hair. I knew he wanted to take my hand, but I was grateful that he didn't. I was already paper thin to a breakdown, any physical touch and it would happen for sure. I was struggling today to keep all of my emotions locked in their box, and that box locked in the back of my mind.

"I think it's a wonderful idea. You can't keep everybody away forever, Andy. The whole reason you're in this school is for people like that. You need friends. And I don't think Arrow's going to let anything keep you two apart. Believe it or not, I think she's good for you. Don't push her away just because you're scared."
I closed my eyes, and let the memories float to the surface for a second. I wasn't scared at the idea of being her friend, but I was terrified at the idea of her being mine....

"I-I'll ride to school with them, and I'll k-keep hanging out w-with her, b-b-but I'm not t-t-telling her." Blake sighed, but smiled nonetheless. He ran his fingers through his hair once again, twisting the black strands between his fingers.

"Whatever makes you happy, little sis." And then he retreated back into the house, and I slowly advanced towards The Beast. I struggled into it again, and before I had snapped my seatbelt in place we were racing off towards the school; once again in total silence.

When we got to school, Arrow and I quickly jumped from The Beast, saying quiet thank yous before we slammed our respective doors shut. We reached the steps of the school, but turned around to look behind us as we heard a scream. I stared in shock as people mobbed the Beast, shoving and jarring to get closer to the doors.

"RYKER'S BACK!" I rolled my eyes at Arrow, who was pretending to gag as half the student body flanked Ryker's truck. I watched him emerge from it, smiling and waving at his gaggle of screaming fans. I felt my breath catch as I finally saw all of him. He truly was beautiful. His shoulders were broad, and his arms were massive. His skin was flawless-a beautiful golden colour. He looked even taller than he had last night, surrounded by much shorter groupies. His hair was an inky black that spilled over his shoulders and down his back in gentle waves, and his jaw could cut steel.. I stared for a second longer, something almost... warm settling in my belly.

Arrow shocked me out of my thoughts.

"Come on, we'd better get to class before the moron and my brother decide to head that way." She started walking towards our lockers, and I scurried after her confused. She glanced at me as I caught up with her and she sighed when she saw my confused look.

"The dummy twins are in all of our classes. Go figure right? Well, all except second, they both have something else that period... You know what I just realized? We have all our classes together except second, and that's the one class we have without the boys as well. Funny, huh? "

I nodded, a little surprised that we shared all the same classes. I stayed quiet as Arrow chattered on, nodding mutely every now and then. We reached our first period and I settled into my seat, prepping for another boring lesson. The class slowly filled up, but there was no sign of Ryker or Rowan until the bell rang. They waltzed in just in time, and spoke to the teacher for a moment before settling into the only seats available: the two just in front of me and Arrow.

Ryker sank into the seat in front of me and Rowan smirked over his shoulder at Arrow before daintily perching into the seat in front of her. I wished there were other open seats because honestly.... Sitting just behind Ryker's massive form was surprisingly causing me heart palpitations.

I had a feeling that this might not be as boring as I had originally thought...
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