Chapter 10 Confused
There had been a question I had wanted to ask Ryan, after dinner he had said his goodbyes and gone to park his car on the curve of Silvanus wood. He told me that was where he left the car every night when he came to stay with me.
I knew the question was something that I could ask, because it had to do with him and me. It was an important question too, but I wished that I could have just peeled away a layer of my memory so that asking him was unnecessary. I lay on my bed, waiting for his face to appear outside my window, I heard the birds in their tree but for once it was an annoyance, something to remind me of how slow time can be. When I finally heard the scrambling of feet on my roof and then the gentle groan as Ryan pulled himself up, I lost all nerve. I got out of bed quickly, so that he could jump onto the bed, my palms were sweating and my heart was racing around my rib cage. The window cracked open, and Ryan slipped through the opening in silence. I couldn’t look at him, I stared at my feet. I heard the window close again and then soft thuds as his feet hit my carpet.
“Hello?” He said, taking my face in his hands. The contact of his skin on mine, made me braver, made me confident in my question or more like my motives. I pulled my mouth over his, forgetting the necessity to talk and hoping he would too. My hands pulled at his arms to hold me closer and then the seams of his t-shirt before I was able to pull it over his head. Only then did I break my lips from his, he looked up at me with a cheeky grin on his face. Which obviously meant this was what he wanted. Our lips moulded together so perfectly, it was like they had been designed to kiss.
When he was sitting on the bed, I straddled him, putting my legs either side of his waist and sitting on the bridge of his knees. His hands rubbed the skin on my back underneath my vest and I was wondering why he hadn’t removed it yet. His breathing was shallow and hot against my skin; his strong hands moved me beneath him, my legs wrapped around his waist. He was softly kissing my neck when I ran my hand underneath his jeans. That’s when everything stopped.
“Livvy...” Ryan breathed. He tried to control his breathing but it caught with every gasp. He knelt back onto his heels, and I pulled my legs up, tucking my arms around them in shame.
“I couldn’t remember whether we had or not...I guess this means not” I buried my face in my knees and waited for him to talk. To my surprise he scooted closer to me, and put his hand on my head, when I raised it his thumb brushed my cheek.
“It’s no big deal” he shrugged “we just haven’t got round to it yet...” his brown eyes were wide, and his voice was gentle
“-But then why did you pull away? We could be doing it right now” I whispered. Through my confusion, the white hot desire in my chest would not cool - every breath of his skin I breathed fuelled it. Ryan smiled that small pull of his lips.
“Yeah I know but...I feel wrong doing it now...you’ve only just come back to me and you’re memory still isn’t perfect. I want to wait, just – I want to make sure you are alright? Ok? I don’t want you to feel I'm taking advantage, and like we’re only doing it because you’re back. You need to remember why it would be right to do this.”
I had no idea what he could mean by that.
“I am perfectly alright” I insisted, thinking this reason was ridiculous and he should take the opportunity I'm giving him. I moved closer to him, trying to hide a nervous smile unsuccessfully. He raised his eye brows at me. “Really I am” I giggled, “Come on” I wrapped my arms slowly around his neck. I knew begging him was low but he seemed to be yielding.
“Ahh now, Pleading with me is just cruel...I’m not saying no...” he slid his hands to my waist to push me away.
“Just not right now?” I sighed and let go of his neck. Ryan nodded; his dark eyes were amused as they searched my face. “You do want to with me? Right? ”
Ryan laughed tucking me up into his arms, his skin was almost as hot as mine felt. I felt like I was hugging a soft, scented radiator. I nestled my head into his broad shoulders, looking blankly around my room. “I love you y’know” he whispered. I hadn’t asked him that, but I loved the way his voice made the words sound, I remembered him saying it to me before the attack. I closed my eyes and before I could say I loved him too, there was a deep rumble from his chest and his snores blew through my hair.
The next morning when I woke up Ryan was there. I lie there, feeling the warmth of his chest beneath my hands when there was a sudden, high pitched, angry scream coming right from inside my head. I felt like my ears would explode, and coupled with my own screams as it jolted me awake I felt my very brain cells burst.
“What’s wrong?” Ryan asked, his hands flew up to my face pulling it towards his own.
The scream shook me, the second it was too loud for me to breathe; it vanished, as though it were never there. It felt as though the nightmare had gone, the sun was bright outside, the birds were singing. I gulped away my tears and said “Nightmare.” My voice croaked out each syllable, my throat was sore from the screams. I was thankful Nanny had not burst in to see Ryan here.
“What was it about?” Ryan ran his fingers through his thick brown hair, and sighed - the muscles in his arms flexing.
“I can’t remember.” I felt like this was my new mantra. I said it more than anything else. Ryan could probably see the annoyance on my face; he rubbed his nose against my shoulder, and then kissed it, leaving a burning line, scorching my skin.
“It’s ok; if you can’t remember it - it’s probably for the best” Ryan said, jumping out of bed and throwing on a clean t-shirt from his bag. This one was plain, and black. It made his skin appear darker than ever. “Breakfast?” he said after a moment, I had been watching him hungrily in silence.
“Sure” I said, pushing away the covers and stretching.
Ryan cooked eggs, sausages and everything else he found in our fridge and cupboards. He seemed that he loved breakfast. I shook my head to his offerings picking up a banana and watching the sunlit garden through the window, Nanny was outside picking through her flowers that were at the end. Her bright pink sunhat bobbed up and down out of the bushes.
“So you don’t have work today?” I asked hopefully, thinking it would be real nice to just go to the desert and hang out like my memory told me, we did all the time.
Ryan looked a little guilty as he chewed his breakfast and then said “yeah I do. I just start later today.” He took a sip of his tea and cleared his throat. “But I was thinking when I finish you and I could go to a party?” he asked me hesitantly but my memory proved to me that I liked parties. A smile started to split my face.
“Sure, that sounds fun” Ryan looked at my smiling face but looked worried. “What?”
“Nanny told me that I should take you, to get you back out with your friends, but I don’t want people hounding you about what happened.” He loaded his fork up and shoved it into his mouth, trying not to look as angry as he felt.
“I'm going to have to go out sometime...plus, I think it will be fun. I can remember parties now that you mention it. Music, friends, and dancing” I nodded enthusiastically. Ryan chuckled.
“Yep...you like the dancing” he said, he wore that warm smile that melted his already blissful eyes.
Ryan went to work, and I tried drawing. When I told Ryan why I feared to, he gave me such a look that made me think he was disappointed in me. I had to prove him wrong, I was brave enough. I picked up a not so full sketch book and lay outside in the garden, waiting for an inspiration to come to me. Nothing did.
Flicking through the sketch book I noticed that this book was for the flowers I would draw. This helped; I saw the rose bush from the end of the garden in my head and drew what I thought it looked like. This didn’t seem so bad; my hand seemed to move without any thought to it. When I was finished and my fingers were covered with lead and I had a pretty decent rose bush. I was looking at it thoughtfully, looking for things to change and improve when I heard slow footsteps crunching the grass.
“Morning Hon” Nanny called, waving to me as she approached. “Let me see what you’re working on” I opened the book, feeling a little bit embarrassed. She nodded sweetly. “It’s lovely honey”
I opened the book in front of me again, and started to sketch around the roses. “What is this?” she asked, kneeling down and pointing her long nails at a pattern I hadn’t realised was there, a funny, looping pattern that was distinctly bolder that the rest of the sketch.
“I-I don’t know. I didn’t notice it before” it was definitely darker than the rest of the sketch; my eyes were drawn to it every time I looked at the page. Nanny gave me a puzzled look, and then stood up to refill her water tank. She seemed unfazed but I was curious.
I wanted to know what that meant and just as the determination in me built up, a voice spoke inside my head, quieter than the scream this morning, and it said be warned of this symbol. The voice was as clear as if Nanny had whispered into my ear; although it wasn’t Nanny’s voice that spoke but the same stern tone was there. My mother’s voice was easier to detect now.
I picked up my books and ran into the house and up the stairs to my room. I tried to remain level headed and calm but my heart was jumping around in my chest. Throwing my sketch book onto the bed I whispered. “Mom?” there was no answer. I closed my eyes and took deep breathes in and out, picturing the memories that I had of my mother and willing a response.
“Mom?” I said again, this time louder hoping that she would hear.
Be warned of the symbol Olivia the voice was louder this time, radiating through my skull. The stern tone chilled me to the bone. This time I was able to feel her in my head. For the brief moment she spoke I took the backseat of my mind, feeling my head jerk backwards as her voice echoed through me.
I calmed myself down by curling into a ball on my bedroom floor. I could hear the birds chirping in the tree outside my window, and the sun was just too bright for me to hide beneath my eyelids in oblivion. I was bracing myself for the frightening fact that I can hear my mother’s voice...in my head.
This is not good I told myself repeatedly, going through scenarios in my head and thinking of ways that I could either confess or ignore this glitch. If I told anyone, they would lock me up in a mental hospital and if I didn’t...?
The logical part of my brain was nudging me towards the question why can I hear her? It seemed that whenever she spoke, it was only brief, and this time she was warning me - warning me of the symbol. I uncoiled from my ball on the floor and opened the sketch book, and stared at the symbol. It didn’t look like anything I had seen before, and even my poor memory could not provide. The intuition was telling me that, I should memorise it, that I had to heed my warning. I looked at it over and over, until it was tattooed on my mind.
Nanny called me down ten minutes after my little revelation. She was scrubbing the floors and wanted to know what I would like for lunch. I felt awful seeing her cleaning and then worrying about my needs.
“Oh Nanny, why don’t I fix us up some lunch? Or maybe I could finish that for you?”
“There is no need for that Hon, these bones haven’t given up on your Nanny yet” She winked at me and continued scrumming.
“That’s not what I meant, I feel like I should help you a little...give me a task that you don’t like and I’ll do it”
Nanny laughed and said “I don’t like ironing”
I didn’t like ironing much either. After the first couple of loads, my thoughts straying from my mother, to tonight and my ever impending memory, I had just about had enough with myself. I pulled Ryan’s iPod out of the pocket of my shorts and turned it up so that all I could hear was the music. I was separating our clothes out when I noticed the sun dived into the Silvanus Woods.
Ryan will be here soon I thought cheerfully. Folding the clothes into piles and carrying them upstairs.
Nanny was in the kitchen fixing lunch, as I carried our loads up the stairs. I felt awkward about going into her room, so I left the pile outside her door and went into my room. My pile was significantly smaller than hers, seeing as I hadn’t worn clothes during my time in the morgue. I lay the clothes out, thinking about what to wear tonight. Ryan had said that it was an outdoor party, with barbeques and music.
I sighed as I looked over the very boring plain t-shirts and shorts, I must have something prettier.
I hung up my clothes and searched my wardrobes, throwing aside t-shirts and khaki cut offs until a brush of white linen caught my eye. Gorgeous my mother’s voice affirmed, my heart made a little stutter as her voice filled my head but I was also happy to hear her. The dress was gorgeous, the white linen was cut short, and the straps were thin. I pulled it out and laid it on my bed seeing as this was as pretty as my wardrobe was going to give me.