Stuck Between Two
Author's note: Came up with the inspiration when I went beach camping last summer.
Can't Stand ItChapter 5
My parents have been here for four days, three nights now. Tonight’s their fourth night. Guess what they decided they wanted to do? Yeah, that bon fire none of us had got around to yet. I guess that’s what they were going to come in use for while they were here. It was mid afternoon. I was cleaning up parts of the house. Zack had come over a week ago to officially introduce himself to everyone staying at this house. And tonight’s the night that he is going to meet my parents. Of course, if he’s up to it. He came knocking on the door. My parents were out shopping for tonight.
“Hey,” I said, unlocking the door for him.
“Hello beautiful. What’cha doing?” he asked, giving me a hug.
“Cleaning. My parents want to throw a party with all of us, so we’re gonna do a bon fire and volleyball BBQ thing in a couple hours.”
“Yeah, so you’re staying. Because you’re gonna meet them tonight.”
He looked surprised and nervous.
“Am I?” he questioned.
I shook my head, continuing to clean the dirty living room.
“Yes, you are. So, whenever you’d like, go get cleaned up and come back over here at five.”
He grabbed me from the back of my torso and whispered in my ear, “Only if you sleep in my bed tonight.”
I turned around, smirked and hit him with the towel that was in my hand. He began laughing.
“What was that for!?” he said playfully. He slapped my butt, intentionally. I wacked his arm with the towel again. He tried grabbing me but I started running so he wouldn’t catch me. Then he stopped and just looked at me, smiling. And walked out the door, just like that.
Four fifty- five hit the clock and everyone was helping inside and outside. My dad on the BBQ along with Dylan, who in fact still isn’t talking to Shelah. And the girls and my mom were in the kitchen chopping up lettuce and getting all the condiments together. I was putting on my amazing playlist of music on the loud speakers. Can’t have a BBQ without some music to go along with it. The side door slide open as I was bent over looking for the iHome next to the TV. I felt someone come up behind me and lift me up. He swiftly turned me around.
“Hello,” he said with a grin.
I wrapped my arms around his neck.
“You came,” I said with a smile. Being in his arms felt completely right.
“Of course I did. Why wouldn’t I?”
“I don’t know. You just walked out earlier.”
“Yeah, to go get ready like you said to, duh!”
I laughed and completed my hug.
“Payton sweetie, who’s that?” my mom said.
I jumped back and remembered why I had asked him to come over in the first place.
“Right, mom,” I said, while leading Zack by the hand over to my mother.
“This is Zack. He’s who I’ve been staying with.”
Her smile widened and she shook his hand. He politely smiled, introducing himself.
“You’re the guy she’s been talking about, eh?” mom said.
All the girls had their eyes on him in awe, again. I guess I can see why. After all, he did have a beautiful tan and huge muscles.
“I suppose so,” he looked at me with one eyebrow raised. I just smiled.
“It’s nice to finally meet you,” she said, looking back and forth between Zack & I.
“You to ma’am,” he said.
I took his hand again and lead him outside to my dad.
“Daddy-O!” I yelled. His attention turned to me.
“Yeah hun?” he said, glancing at Zack.
“This is Zack. The guy I was telling you about the other day.”
“Oh yeah!” he whipped his hands off with a cloth and leaned over the grill to shake Zack’s hand. Zack was fairly nice about all of it, too.
“Nice to meet you sir,” Zack said.
“You too, son.”
Son. The word sounded kind of funky. I mean, I know it’s just a word that older men use when talking to a younger boy, but it really did sound odd. Considering that Zack was nothing like a brother would be at all.
“Pay, go ask the girls if the stuff is done in there because we’re just about done out here,” dad said.
I walked back inside and I noticed Zack stayed out there and popped a squat next to Dylan. When I walked back in though, Shelah was on the couch, literally, bawling her eyes out and my mom was rubbing her back in light circles. She was trying her best to comfort and calm Shelah down. I rushed to Shelahs side and pushed my mom out of the way. Not that hard though, I wasn’t that rude. I wrapped both arms around Shelah and cradled her into me. I lipped to my mom “what happened?”And she mouthed back “Dylan.” I kept her into a tight hold for a little longer and then whispered, “Come on, let’s go talk.”
She carefully stood up as I held her grip together. She was completely unstable. She must have been trying to hold in something this whole time. I led her over to the game room where there was one comfortable couch that we both sat on. She whipped her eyes with the palm of her hand, smearing all her makeup over her face. I didn’t really want to say anything to her because whatever it was that was going on between the two of them, I definitely knew what it felt like to talk about it and it hurt even more. I took hold of her hand and squeezed it gently. She was so fragile. Inside and out. But she definitely had a big heart. The two of us go way back. Elementary back. I could tell you her story inside out. She could also do the same for me. She sniffled a couple of times, gasping for some normal air. I spoke, finally.
“Want to talk about it?” I asked. She shook her head.
“There’s nothing to talk about. It’s done.”
“You and Dylan?”
She nodded again, holding back tears. I knew what she meant. And that just didn’t make sense or add up at all. She and Dylan had been together for nearly twenty months. That’s a long time. And that one phone call she got blew everything up for them? It just wasn’t right.
She sat there, crying for another ten minutes or so, and I didn’t let he go because she needed me. If I were in this situation, I knew she wouldn’t let me go either.
She sat up and lifted up her head. Between sniffles, she managed to say, “You said he’d get over it Payton. He didn’t.”
I shook my head. “He’s dumb Shelah. I know, it doesn’t seem right. He really has no excuse to be like this. But he blew something amazing and if he can’t see that, then obviously he wasn’t worth it in the first place.”
She nodded. Hopefully she’ll realize that. Then I remembered I could share with her a similar story because you had done the same thing to me, which made you a total douche bag.
“Shelah, you know, I understand what you are going through. You remember how last year I was pregnant?”
She shook her head.
“Well, he wrote me a letter. The day you came out to tell me that Dylan was being an asshole to you. Well, that’s the same day that I got the letter from him and it blew me away! Honestly.”
I stood up quickly. “Wait here, I’m gonna let you read it.”
I ran over to my room upstairs and grabbed the letter that I hid in a drawer.
The letter was sort of wrinkly. I had squished it up into a ball because I was so angry with what you had said. But I unfolded it because I also felt bad and I knew I would need it for future references some day. I was still deciding on whether or not I was going to go see you in three days like you wanted me too. I really didn’t want to. Because I knew I had to stand my own ground. But your beautiful figure and how you made me feel, and remembering how in love I fell with you, it was hard to resist. And I knew somehow, some way, I was going to give in. But was I going to regret it?
When I got back to the room, Zack was in there sitting next to Shelah, shaking his head as she opened up to him and talked. I tried to not making myself visible so they could continue to talk. I didn’t want her to all of a sudden stop talking just because I was in the room. And this way I also got to hear what they were talking about. I know, bad me, snooping. She sure as hell had a lot to say. And the funny thing was, she had a lot to say about how Dylan is such a freak and retarded and an asshole. She was confident about saying it all, too. In some areas, she even made Zack laugh at the way she said something or acted out how Dylan would have reacted. It just all didn’t make sense. But I know she was only trying to do it to feel better about herself. I probably would have done the same thing.
After fifteen minutes of standing there and listening to the two talk, Zack probably have seeing me and all, they finally both got up, gave each other a hug and walked towards the door.
Shelah immediately gasped once she saw me.
“Payton! How long have you been standing there for?”
I smiled innocently. Zack just chuckled.
“The whole time,” I said.
She looked up at Zack. She was so short next to him and so tiny.
“Did you know she was there the whole time?” she asked him. He nodded.
“Jerks.” She put on her pouting face again. Zack seemed to make her happy. Maybe they’d be good for each other. He wrapped her in a sideways hug and she leaned against him.
“I’m sorry. You’ll be alright,” he said.
I saw a light smile spread across her face, which for some reason made me smile and happy. Happy for her. Happy for him. And just happy in general.
I remembered the note I had brought down for her to read. But I didn’t want Zack seeing it, so I didn’t show it to her.
“Come on, I think the foods ready,” I said.
We all walked out, filing behind each other, leaving me in the very back. I folded the paper up and put it in my back pocket. This would be an interesting evening.
After dinner, stupid jokes, making memories, and a bon fire, we all called it a night. The night ended up turning out a lot better than I expected it to be, considering Dylan and Shelah didn’t even talk. But Zack and Shelah did. A lot. And it didn’t make me mad one bit, or jealous. I mean, I was a little sad that he barely talked to me. But it’s not like anything between us was going to get serious or anything. We were just friends for all I was concerned. I talked to Dylan here and there, and my parents chatted it up with everyone too. It was a good night. One night of my summer I will definitely not forget.
“Hey,” Zack said as he approached me from behind as I was unfolding the covers back from my bed.
“Hey,” I said, turning around to see him without a shirt on.
“Can we talk?” he asked.
I sat down on the bed and patted a spot next to me.
He came over to me and sat down. My body jolted with an electric shock. A good shock though. Something along the lines of butterflies. But it sort of felt weird too. Because even though Zack had this amazing body and he was sitting next to me on this bed like this, I still didn’t think of him as anything more than just a really good friend. He was a great guy and all. Probably one of the sweetest, nicest boys I have ever met. I was just confusing myself.
“What did you need to talk about?” I asked.
He looked at me. I could feel the tension between us. But I didn’t know what it was.
“Payton, I have the strongest feelings for you.”
I believe my heart stopped for a fraction of a second. Maybe a minute. I wasn’t too sure. The words coming out of his mouth made it seem so unreal. He’s never said anything about me like that before. At least not to me.
“You do?” I said hesitantly.
He shook his head. His hazel- green piercing eyes flooding my memory just like they did the last time I stared deeply into his eyes.
“Yeah. I really do.”
I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t expect something like this to come from him. I mean, I don’t know how many times I’ve heard how much someone likes me, but not like that. Not like the way he said it, flat out. And for some reason, that’s what made everything so much more real. Even though it felt so unreal. And right then, I couldn’t hold myself back. I leaned closer to him and he did as well and we both collided into each other’s formation. Sparks flew in the air. My head got light headed, as I’d like to say, it filled up like an airhead with empty space. He took his hands and reached up from the back of my hair line and gripped his hands onto my hair. I took my hands and cupped his face into them. We kept that kiss going for awhile. And it felt amazing. Those were the first pair of lips I had touched since last summer with you. Because that was the first thing since you that actually felt right.
After a minute or two, he pulled back. I didn’t want him to, but he did. There was a smile on his face and I guarantee there was one on mine too but my lips were so numb, I couldn’t tell.
“I’m sorry,” he said in a cocky apologetic tone.
“What for?” I asked breathlessly.
“Letting go. I needed to breathe.”
“That’s okay, but I wasn’t finished,” I said, playfully hitting his shoulder.
“Oh, you weren’t?” he raised an eyebrow. I nodded. Then he smiled again and leaned in to embrace me with another airhead filled kiss. And magically he gently pushed me back in a laying position, climbed more onto the bed. And things started happening. Not anything to bad though. Just simple making out.
I couldn’t believe this was actually happening. It was magical. It was breathtaking. It was something I’ve wanted to feel again for so long. Zack wasn’t you, but he was everything you weren’t.