Lynette stirred in her sleep several times and her lips moved as though she was calling out to someone or something. I didn't hear anything though. Whenever I leaned in closer to hear her words, she would become still and return to her peaceful state which led me to move back to a less personal boundary-breaking distance.
By her considerably rowdy personality, I had this small thought inside my head that gave me the impression that she would snore or kick me as if I were her covers in her sleep. But there she laid, motionless with little to no movement. And guess what? Lynette doesn't snore. Go figure, right?
The bus ride was pretty long and the seats weren't even close to comfortable, but Lynette slept like a baby (which, if you ever took care of a baby, is a terrible expression to use). I wasn't able to sleep, but my eyes sometimes drifted close for a minute or two and shot open whenever the bus ran over something on the road. For the sake of every animal out there, I hope the road is riddled with potholes...
Anyway, rather than sleeping, I allowed my mind to wander for a little while; I went as far as to think about the most outrageous things that could be deemed as inappropriate at a time like this. I wondered whether I studied for that one chemistry test coming up, if Lynette was dreaming of me, or if Ashley was at the mall. Why would I think about such useless things? I just saw a girl crying - I just saw Lynette crying! Shouldn't that make me feel awkward? Shouldn't I have fidgeted uncomfortably when I held her hand? I broke the invisible rule of no physical contact doing that and I was more than sure I would do that again...but I also knew I shouldn't have been the man to comfort someone like...someone like her.
If I knew she was going break down right there, I wouldn't have come to that tutoring session. If I knew that she would corner me with her soft eyes and be swayed by my piano playing, I would have never casted a single glance at such a person. Because Lynette wasn't the type to do that...she wasn't a tiny porcelain doll, resting delicately on the shelf of some antique shop. And yet, here she was. Her head resting on the window and looking so bloody --
"GAH!" I put my hands my head and crunched down in frustration. I don't care if I was getting any odd looks from people; I was just trying to stop the stupid rush of thoughts running through my head at a merciless speed. I wanted to have the solitude of a clear mind again, like whenever I was in my study. Oh, how I missed that study right now. There wasn't any one to disturb me (well most of the time); no judging eyes of high school students to anger me and no strange looks from strangers, and certainly no Lynette.
"Ethan?" I snapped up instantly at the voice calling my name and turned towards the girl next to me. Had she woken up? Was the worried tone in her voice directed towards me?
No...Lynette eyes had not fluttered open and she had not called me. I felt a small pang of annoyance churn inside of me. Had the voice been my imagination?
"Ethan? Is that you?" It was coming from the other direction.
I turned to get a good look of whoever was speaking and there she was in a dark brown coat and red hair, Ms. Catherine Finn. She seemed to have only gotten onto the bus now and she looked absolutely surprised to me as I was her. The bus driver, however, was kind enough to break the tension with his annoyed scowl and rough voice, "Look lady, you can go sit with your boyfriend or get off my bus. There are other people trying to get on, you know!"
Catherine, being as high strung and well breed as she was, whipped her head around to stare at the man coldly. She quickly turned her icy glare to a forced, near terrifying smile and gave him a mocking nod of her head and sat down near me without a word. The driver scoffed and hurried the boarding passengers up before closing the door, all without sporting his scowl that had since disappeared.
When she sat down, her gaze on me did not waver; it began to become uncomfortable. When the bus lurched forward, I broke the silence with a sigh and I turned my body so I was completely facing her in my chair. "Hello, Ms. Finn." I greeted.
Catherine didn't even make a move to correct me, but instead said, "Ethan what are you doing here?"
How was I going to explain that one to her? Maybe I could lie, but then again I had a sleeping girl right next to me who was Mr. Brooks' daughter and I doubt Catherine ever figured I would be the type that preferred public transport. Which I don't.
I thought quickly. "I...I could ask the same thing, Ms. Finn."
She probably expected I'd say something like that. She smiled sweetly and shrugged carelessly, before saying in an equally fond manner, "Your mother and I loved riding buses when we were young," I didn't expect her to say that and my face twisted a little at the mention of my mother, Elaine. I had opened my mouth to speak but she denied me the right to say something, "I gave you my answer, now you must give me yours."
My shoulders fell almost immediately and I scratched my chin trying to lie. And failed in the process. "Well, I-I-I...ugh, fine. I'm helping a friend, okay?"
She didn't buy it though. Her head titled to the side and got a better view of Lyn, before she smiled in a wicked and teasing fashion. All sorts of ideas were likely running through that mind of hers, most of which I would be far too awkward to hear. And when she spoke again, her voice was laced with all sorts of suggestions that I worried for the children on the bus, "And this "friend" of yours is just by chance a Brooks AND a girl? And all these years I worried you didn't like women or men...."
I loved this woman because of her connections to my mother, but at this very moment, I was close to ringing her neck. I did neither sadly, but I faced Lynette at the risk of looking flustered in front of Catherine.
I watched her chest fall and rise and her eyes move behind closed lids in effort to bring down my rising temper. I noticed two very strange things while watching her. 1) That when Lynette slept her breathing seemed almost shallow and painful while it wasn't; and 2) That watching a girl sleeping calmed me. Lovely. This day just got weirder and weirder, but at least Catherine didn't speak again. In fact, she kept her lips shut but I could feel her dark green orbs, staring at me with curiosity and endless questions. When the bus came to a stop again and the driver called out, I darted my eyes to look outside.
We were at our stop. I gently shook her shoulder, "Lynette...wake up."
I didn't even bid a goodbye to Catherine when we were off the busy, but I saw the look plastered on her face. It was a look of amusement and triumph. She waved at me with her gloved hand and mouth a couple of words I could only guess were, "I'll see you soon." And boy, did I not like the sound of that...
I carefully led a still drowsy Lynette across the road, but she didn't need my assistance. I knew that she wasn't a damsel in distress, and I expected her shove my arm away. She did, but I offered it again and, in my mind, she gave in with a look of defeat. Next thing I knew, her hands were comfortably wrapped around my arm in an almost endearing way.
With all honesty, when we entered through the gates of the cemetery, I wasn't sure where to go. And I had a silent worry that she didn't know as well. So, in an effort to break the silence that blanketed us in an unusual way, I stopped walking for a brief moment and looked at Lynette's soft face. "Do you know where...the grave is?" I asked softly. Her nod was weak, but to me, it held a little bit of the strength that she carried in every step she made when she re-latched her hands around my arm again and led me to her mother's resting place.
The cemetery was rather lavish (for lack of a better word). I could see mossy grass, tall trees, and stone pathways from every direction. We walked on the large, wide pavement that probably was the main trail starting from the entrance and through the entire graveyard. There were also small paths that drifted away from the one we took and to the graves.
We walked in the silence of our footsteps and the chirping and scratching of the animals that had yet to return to their shelter. The only gesture or move we made aside from the scrapping of our feet was when Lynette put her head on my shoulder and closed her eyes.
After maybe ten minutes, I felt the pressure and warmth of her hair disappear along with grip of her hands on my bicep and I turned to find her walking down a dirt path to leave me behind to watch her retreating figure. I stood there for a moment and when she disappeared from my sight, I made my first steps to follow her.
Lynette, with her shaking shoulders, faced a gravestone with diming golden words craved into the marble. I didn't make a move to comfort her and when her knees gave in and she fell to the ground, I couldn't do anything but watch her cry and mumble words that I knew wasn't gibberish, but was to my ears.
My gaze didn't leave her though.
When her head lifted and I watched her tears fall at an alarming rate, I wanted to hug her at that moment, but I didn't when she cracked a smile. Her words began to be less unclear and understandable. Most of what that had left her lips were prayers that, in a minute or two, turned into a child pleas of, "Mommy, I miss you."
As I stood in silence without uttering a noise or allowing my thoughts to taunt me again, I saw Lyn become calm, but she still cried. Her tears were not like before, but they fell slowly and ran down her rosy cheeks. Her fingers began to trace the words on the grave stone and her voice was still crackled, but under control when she whispered things to her mother.
I turned my back to her. Not in cruelty or disgust, but to be kind and respectful. Others would have done the same when they would come upon such an intimate thing like this. She was talking to her mother... But in her quiet words, she directed her clouded attention towards me with a hushed sense of relief in her struggling voice. I smiled when I heard them and shut my eyes to listen closely to it when she repeated them several times only to return to her mother soon after.
"Thank you, Ethan...Thank you..."
Even now, when I have her weak and tired body laying against me for support and clutching to my burgundy shirt, I was still smiling at such angelic words.