Chapter 6 There
Sabre bolted up right, standing on my thighs and looking up out of my window where Ryan’s upside down face peered through with obvious strain; he tapped again to wake me from this sudden development. I stood up onto the bed and lifted the cold latch of the window then jumped off the bed so there was room for Ryan, Sabre followed me. I heard Ryan’s breathing as he opened the window wide enough and then his trainers hit the floor on the other side of the bed, making dull thuds that I was sure Nanny couldn’t hear. Then very slowly, Ryan’s long legs slid through the window frame and he landed with a muffled thud on the bed. Sabre trotted over to him and lifted his paws to his chest.
“Hey Boy.” Ryan said, grabbing Sabre’s paws and making him dance.
I was laughing so hard I could barely breathe, when he put Sabre down, Sabre gave me a resigning look and retreated to his bed in the far corner of the room. He had a blanket and a pillow covered with pictures of bones.
Ryan had changed his clothes, he know wore a plain t-shirt and khaki shorts. His brown hair was still a mess and his skin still tinged with orange.
“What are you doing here?” I asked him breathlessly, covering my mouth with my hand as I laughed. He sat on my bed, his eyes amused at my laughter. I stepped forward and knelt between his legs.
“I always come here” he said plainly, tucking my hair behind my ear. His brown eyes still watched me in wonder.
“Oh that was what was missing” I hit my forehead with a slap. Ryan frowned “Don’t worry” I shrugged.
His presence did feel natural in this room, it was familiar. The room now felt complete with him here. I wondered how often he had slept in here. I wanted to ask but then Ryan was on his feet.
“So does Nanny know that you make these frequent visits?” I asked, lying back onto the bed. The cold duvet made goose bumps appear all over my arms and legs. I sat up a little to watch Ryan, he was setting his watch on the desk next to his picture, but he hadn’t noticed it. He pulled his t-shirt off with one quick swift movement, leaving me breathless as I took in his muscular chest, the broadness of his shoulders, the pretty tan skin that covered his muscles. There is no way this perfect person was mine. I thought in awe.
“Hey, you’ve seen all this before” Ryan opened his arms in playful exasperation then chuckled as he got on to the bed with me. The warmth of his skin was better than any duvet. I let my fingers trace up and down his chest, the muscles flexing on his arms as he pulled them away with a strange, confused expression.
“It feels all new to me” I said in a frustrated voice. “Nanny says we’ve been together since we were children and although my body knows you I can only remember parts”
“Its fine” he said quickly “look, you are still the same person you were before, and so am I. I mean I’ve got no problem you taking full advantage if you need reminding of me” he winked and the corner of his mouth pulled up into a cheeky, half smile.
I laughed and kissed his lips slowly. “There we go” he chuckled, kissing me harder and pushing me into the bed, his hands were on either side of my head pressing into the pillows. A white hot fire was burning in my chest as his hand moved from my waist up my stomach and neck, where he held my face, gently rubbing his thumb along my jaw line. His whole body laid the length of mine, and it was so perfect I never wanted it to end. With his other hand, he wound it around my knee, hoisting my leg around his waist. I caught his bottom lip in between my teeth and he chuckled.
There was a sound. Both of us stopped abruptly. There was the sound of creaking footsteps on the stairs. I panicked.
“Gah! Where do you usually hide?” I was pushing Ryan away from me as quickly as I could.
“Under the bed” he replied and he was gone.
Apart from my frantic heart and the dangerous temperature of my skin, he may not have even been there. Nanny rounded the corner towards her bedroom. She stopped midway and called: “Night honey” then continued walking.
“Night” I called back, cringing at how high pitched my voice sounded. It hung in the air to taunt me. I counted to thirty and then said “Ok, you can come out now”
Ryan crawled out from under my bed and cradled me in his arms; I rested my head on his warm chest, feeling his skin beneath my injured cheek - I had forgotten it was there. My fingers twirled shapes on his strong arms, whilst his hands rubbed the skin on my back beneath my vest.
This felt right, now I felt as though I could sleep. I closed my eyes and inhaled his heavy scent.
“So hows does the memory work? Are they-do they hurt?” Ryan asked into my hair. His voice was muffled and quiet.
“No, no it’s like flashes or little bursts of a feeling or a sound, or a touch” I licked my lips and turned to lie on my back. Ryan’s hand lay on my stomach, his head beside mine. In the darkness I could see his eyes were closed. His perfect face was expressionless.
“Oh” he said into my neck, his breath made my skin tickle. “Can you remember what it was like...when you were dead?” he said the last word in such a whisper I figured he was appalled to say it. I rolled my eyes, expecting someone to ask me what death was like.
“I don’t remember it at all...because I don’t remember being alive, apart from the little memories. It was bright and cold when I woke up, but then I saw your face...it was the only motivation I had” I sighed and smoothed my hair at the back of my head. The gash there was prickling.
“I knew you’d come back.” He said quietly. He was speaking into my hair, his breath tickling my skin.
“What is your last memory of me? When did you last see me before today?” I bit my lip, Ryan’s hand curved around my waist pulling me to face him in the darkness. The full moon fit into the frame of my window. It shone directly over us. Ryan opened his eyes.
“I saw you everyday...you’d come to me in the desert. If I fell asleep, or if I drank enough...you’d come to me...obviously, I was dreaming or hallucinating or whatever...but it was worth it.” He said, his voice was strained and his eyes were pained. This is not what I meant, I had forgotten to say when was the last time you saw me alive?
But the question was probably too abrupt.
“You wouldn’t say anything or respond to me in anyway. It’s why I was so weirded out the first time you spoke and when you moved today. All you would say, if you said anything would be that you were here. Or that you kept your promise. It was the worst torture, waking up without you there”
His pain was so evident on his face. “But now I know you are here” he said, kissing my forehead and resting it on his chest. I was overwhelmed with exhaustion. I felt so terrible about how his dreams had tortured him. I vowed to never let him feel pain ever again and then I found his other hand and kissed it, before nestling my head into his chest again and falling asleep almost immediately.
The sun was shining straight into my face and there was something odd about how I was sleeping. My body curved around itself, and in the small space of my bed I knew Ryan couldn’t be there too. There was just not enough room. I squinted into the brightness, hearing the birds in the trees. Something crunched as I turned over, my elbow hit it and I picked it up. In scruffy handwriting that was familiar to me there were the words.
Good morning. Don’t worry I'm only at work, I finish at two so I’ll come over after. This is normal too. I hope you slept well. I did x
I smiled down at the note then threw the duvet off me to get dressed. Sabre wasn’t in his bed and my door was opened a fraction. I knew that I had slept late; it seemed a normal occurrence, as Nanny hadn’t woken me up. After I showered, I pulled a t-shirt and shorts on, along with my orange dusted trainers. The clothes seemed to be all the ones I had. My wardrobe consisted of shorts and t-shirts and beneath them, in neat rows was different coloured tennis shoes.
I ran the comb through my hair and bounced down the steps, jumping when I reached the forth one from the bottom. It was normal to feel the air beneath me as I jumped. It felt like I was in slow motion. Sabre, right on cue barked at my entrance.
I could smell marmalade as I rounded the corner to the kitchen, smiling. Nanny was sitting in her usual chair, reading the newspaper, my memory bursting with other times I had seen her sitting there.
“Good morning honey, how’d you sleep?” she raised her head to look at me, she smiled so warmly it made my heart melt. She stroked Sabre’s snout, who looked her hand.
“Really good thanks” I said sitting opposite her. Again there was the cup of hot tea sitting in front of me. It didn’t look appetising at all. I cupped my hands around the mug, tapping my nails against the porcelain. “You?”
“Fine hon” she looked down at her paper.
“So, Nanny...do I go to school?” I looked at her expectantly, she didn’t look at me, but her fingers hit Sabre’s nose and he sneezed shaking his head.
“Yes, but you don’t have to worry about that right now. You are in your third week of the holidays. Your accident, happened the day school finished” she spoke calmly, I watched her bit her lip whilst taking a little sip of the hot brown liquid. It was too hot to taste, but the sugar softened the reaction I was expecting.
“Am I good? At school I mean.”
“Your teachers think so...all your reports are excellent” She smiled brightly at me. I felt her pride thickening her smile. I took more gulps of the tea, familiarising myself with its taste.
“Do I work? Ryan works” I said, loving how my voice wraps around his name. “He says he will pop over later...after he finishes”
“Of course honey, he always does.” She giggled; it seems she loved him almost as much as I did. “And yes, you do have a job. You’re a waitress at the restaurant up at Bullfricks. I wouldn’t go back for a little while though, honey. See, most of the people here know about what happened to you. I don’t want anybody making things harder on you by asking questions or any such thing.” Her voice had adopted that fierceness again, and her hand in mine had tightened. “We’ll take it slow alright?”
I nodded, taking a slice of marmalade toast and biting into it. The toast crumbled in my teeth and the marmalade was extra sweet. My memory told me, Nanny made both the bread and the marmalade.
“So what shall I do today?”
Nanny made a snorting sound and folded her newspaper away. “You don’t have to do anything; you’ve just come out of hospital - rest.”
This was no help; I couldn’t remember anything that I would usually do at home. I fumbled with the handle of my mug. “What do I usually do?”