Alright, this is just something that came to my head when I was having writers block with all my other stories. Now that I've posted it I'm going to work on To Lose is to Gain because it's been a long time since I've wrote anything to that. Enjoy. It's a one shot.
Nobody understood why I wanted to do it. Nobody understood that I had to do it. I had to do it for my peace of mind, for my absolute sanity. When our director had brought up that the famous Ryan Torment wanted an interview with our magazine, my heart started going a million miles an hour. I immediately told him I would do it. He told me it wasn't necessary for me to handle this one. I argued with him in private, we both knew I was the best damn journalist that the company had. He finally caved.
When it came time for the interview, I requested a dark room, where I couldn't be seen. I didn't want Ryan Torment knowing that it was me. He would know my face, even if I had removed all my piercings and quit wearing the heavy make up. No matter how much I changed my appearance, he would know my eyes. He spent a long enough time looking into them, and writing about them. Oh, but did he have a way with words.
I sat in my chair and waited, crossing my legs and shaking my foot up and down. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes, exhaling deeply. I needed to put on my journalist face. It was the only way I would survive the interview. It wasn't actually an interview, Ryan Torment wanted to tell some of his secrets, the ones I knew he kept locked away. I had always imagined this day, and finally it was here. I would know him again. I would be the one he spilled his secrets to, and he wouldn't even know it was me.
After he left our small town, I disappeared off the face of the planet. I changed my name, changed my act, changed my looks. I made sure he wouldn't be able to find me ever again, just like I promised him. He had chosen his career over me. I didn't blame him. Music was always his true love, I didn't even try to compete with it, I didn't want to. Music made him come alive more than anything. I loved the spark in his bright blue eyes whenever he was planning a show, the life that emanated from him when he was on a shitty stage in whatever equally shitty building he could afford at the time. How could I even want to steal that from him?
The door opening brought me from my nostalgia. I looked up, though I could only see his silhouette. "If you take a few steps forward and feel to your left there is a chair Mr. Torment," I said in my professional voice. I didn't even sound the same as I had back then, so he wouldn't recognize my voice. I watched as he found the chair and sat back in it. Now it was just him, me and the darkness around us.
"Well, this is something new," he said. I could hear the humor in his voice. His voice was like music to my ears. He had started smoking a long time ago, and they caused his voice to get deeper and scratchier, I loved it.
"I thought it would fit the atmosphere of the story and that maybe you would feel more comfortable if you felt like you were talking just to the darkness," I explained. If he requested to turn the light on, I would deny it. This would be the only way for it to work.
"It feels like home. I tell the darkness everything, it's perfect. Of course, the darkness has never talked back before," he said with a laugh. I smiled.
"No, I would imagine not, shall we get started?" I asked him, turning on my tape recorder.
"Indeed, we shall," he agreed.
"Why did you pick our magazine Mr. Torment?" I started off with.
"Well, I had a handful of magazines who wanted an interview with me, and when I decided that I needed to get something off my chest, I went to them and did eenie-meanie-miney-mo," he chuckled. "It's how I choose things when I'm indecisive, which is always," he admitted. I couldn't believe he still did that. He had gotten that habit from me.
"Well, lucky us. Did you want me to ask you questions, or did you just want to talk? Feel free to say anything Mr. Torment, if there is anything inappropriate, well, our readers will eat it up," unlike most magazines, we didn't edit anything which sometimes caused some problems with the more uppity stars, but after twenty years of the magazine being out, they caught the drift. We weren't around to make the rich and famous look good. We were raw and real.
"What is your name?" He asked, I thought about giving him my original, birth given name, but no, that would be too dangerous.
"Rachel, my name is Rachel," I said quietly.
"Rachel?" It sounded like he was testing the name on his lips. "This is my problem, Rachel is a beautiful name, but it just doesn't sound right on my tongue. Only one woman's name will ever sound right on my tongue, and I don't dare let myself say it too often," he said with a sigh. My heart sped up.
"Is it the woman you mention in some of your songs?"
"Would you be willing to give us her name?" I asked. I hoped he would. All those nights knowing, yet still wondering if the songs were about me drove me mad.
"Maybe it will slip sometime throughout the interview, but I'll give you a clue: her name means 'beautiful,'" he said.
"Is she who you wanted to talk about today?" I asked.
"Everything comes back to her, Rachel, no matter what. Everything comes back to one girl, in one small town, a very long time ago," his voice was sad. "She was everything to me, second only to music," he laughed humorlessly there. "That was one of the things I loved about her. She knew that my music would always come first in my life, and she accepted it. I have never met anybody else who accepted that."
"How did you meet her?" I asked. My heart was pounding so loud, I was sure he could hear it across the room.
"Oh man," he said with a laugh. "I was twelve, living in a small town that isn't even located on a map. She had moved there over the summer and started middle school with everybody. She was very quiet, very shy and the most innocent person I had ever met. Even my younger sister was more corrupt than her. Most people thought she was ugly, I never did. When I first saw her, I thought she was the prettiest girl I had ever seen.
"She isn't what America would call beautiful. But I say, fuck America, they have no idea what they're talking about. I don't want my women a size two, eat something fattening. I personally don't want to feel as if I will break whoever I'm having sex with. Anyway, I'm getting off course. She was a larger size and got made fun of for it for the first couple weeks. Soon though, everyone realized how nice she was despite the verbal abuse.
"It took me a full four months to approach her," he stopped and laughed a little. His laugh was empty though, I had yet to hear his true laugh through all of this. "We were both in band, you'll probably never believe this, but I played the tuba. I also had no sense of style and out of control curly blonde hair," he paused, I had to stop my laugh from bursting out of my throat here, I was remembering him. Little did he know I had had a crush on him since I first went to the school. He was tall for a sixth grader and had the prettiest sky eyes.
"Anyway, she played piano and was damn good at it. I use to watch her fingers move across the keys, playing it like it was an extra part of her body, I wished to be that piano, even at twelve years old," he sighed here. "Finally, it was at a band festival that I talked to her. We were waiting for the results in the school's cafeteria and she was sitting alone. I went over to her, my heart practically trying to pound it's way out of my chest. I sat down across from her and smiled. She returned my smile hesitantly and I noticed her eyes for the first time. If they weren't the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen I will give you a million dollars," he said.
"You've written about them, yes?" I asked. My eyes were watering slightly from him going over our memories.
"Probably whole notebooks full. I know it's cliché, and that is something I try hard not to be, but it's hard when it comes to her eyes. But, when she looked at you it was like, she was taking in your whole being. Not just your outward appearance, but your soul… Except for with me, because I've come to the conclusion that I don't have a soul. But she could read me. She could tell what was going on inside of my head, and my heart without me having to tell her. She knew me. She's the only person who has ever been able to understand me.
"Everyone looks for that in someone. They want another person to be able to know what they're all about without actually having to put it into words. But, I'm not sure that they understand how vulnerable that makes you. I could never slip anything past her. I could never pretend I was okay when I wasn't. I couldn't pretend to be happy to make her feel better. She saw though the façade that I put on for everybody else. I tried a few times, to deny the anguish I was feeling over something that had happened. She never let me. We had the most honest relationship that is possible just because I couldn't lie to her. I've never been more open with somebody in my life."
"Did that scare you?" I asked with a very balanced voice for all that I was feeling.
"It fucking terrified me. But it made me feel more alive, more at peace with everything, than I'd ever felt before."
"Could you read her the same?" I knew the answer, but I figured everyone else would want to know as well. I tried thinking as if I were a third party who had no idea about anything that went on. It was one of the hardest things I had to do, because I was so lost in memories.
"For the most part. I'm definitely not as good of a people reader as she was. I guess I'm self-centered and didn't really care what anyone else felt. Her and I were polar opposites for the most part. But I did care about her, I loved her more than anyone else. That's probably the only reason I came anywhere close to reading her. She didn't like talking about her problems though. I soothed her in other ways," he paused and I could picture the look in his eyes even though I couldn't see him.
"What other ways were those?" I asked. Soon we would be getting in dangerous territory, but I didn't care.
"I'm sure you have heard of the Love Languages?" He asked. I nodded, and then realized he couldn't see me.
"Yes, I have," I replied.
"Well her love language was physical touch. That's how I helped her. I tried getting her to talk to me, and on rare occasions she would. But she preferred to shut me up with her mouth when I asked those kinds of questions. But that didn't come until later. Not much later, but still, later," he said quietly.
"I'm sorry Mr. Torment, please continue where you left off in her story," it was so hard to talk to him in the professional voice when I wanted to talk to him like he was my oldest friend, which he was one of them.
"Please, call me Ryan," he paused. "Anyway I can't remember what I said to her, but I'm sure I was a complete idiot. But by the end of that conversation I had asked her to a school dance and she agreed. I was the happiest boy on the planet in that moment. We continued talking, she was funny but shy, and almost every time I talked she would blush. Fuck, I would never get tired of that blush, not even years after I met her. We went to the school dance, and being immature sixth graders it took all of our friends to force us to dance. I made a fool of myself. I had never danced with a girl before, and even though we stood an arms length apart, my feet were so huge I stepped on hers a lot. But she laughed it off and didn't say anything about it for a long, long time.
"I asked her to be my girlfriend after that and she just smiled and nodded. I worked up all the courage I had and gave her a hug. I was a little chicken shit, that's for sure. It's kind of funny to look back and see how I've progressed. Now I just have to look at a girl the right way and she'll come to me and I have no problem with talking or touching. Back then I stuttered a lot and couldn't even hug the girl of my fucking dreams," he said with a laugh. I felt the small pang of jealousy when he mentioned other girls, but I wasn't stupid, I knew he'd probably been with tons of girls since me. He was a rock star it was what was expected of him. And he needed some way to fill the emptiness.
"I'm sure that none of your fans ever pegged you for the shy type," I didn't say I didn't, because even if he didn't know it was really me he was talking to, I wasn't going to lie to him. And like he said, I knew him inside and out. "I've seen you on stage Mr. Torment, you have so much charisma it's astounding," I couldn't make myself call him Ryan. The way his name rolled off of my tongue tasted too good and I would want to say it in a more intimate situation like I use to. He obviously ignored the fact that I had called him Mr. Torment even after he asked me to call him Ryan.
"Music, it makes me come alive like almost nothing I've ever felt. That's how I get out of myself. I become a different person. I'm no longer Ryan, yet I am at the same time. On stage it isn't really me, yet at the same time… It is. I'm sure none of this is making sense, but she would understand me," he said and I heard the longing in his voice with the last sentence. He was right, I did understand him.
"Anyway, things went well for a long time. I grew out of my awkward phase, as did she. I dyed my hair and bought a straightener, she did as well. She learned about make up while I got a style. She got piercings and I got tattoos. We grew together, and we grew closer. We went through hardships and had plenty petty fights. Who doesn't? Nobody is perfect and we are not exempt from that. When I turned fourteen my uncle bought me a bass guitar. That started my love for music. I just felt so energized when I played. I taught myself, I was never really good at anything before that. I'm not smart, I don't play sports which was what my school was all about, I just didn't have anything else going for me. So I practiced a lot, learned how to read tabs, and started making my own music.
"She was with me through everything. She was supportive and understanding. She knew how important learning the music was to me. She sat with me some days, curled up on my bed, doing homework or just watching me as I practiced. She would make me food and bring me drinks, all without me even asking her to. Like I said, she could read me and knew when I was hungry or thirsty. She was a Godsend. But, no matter how much I was into my music, I made time for her. Sure, we were sort of spending time together when I was practicing and she was doing whatever, but I made 'us' time. I took her out on dates and we went for walks or whatever. I made sure she never felt neglected.
"When I was sixteen, I had learned how to play fairly well and I had a core group of friends, mostly from band who all knew how to play different instruments. We started a band and we were pretty good for four sixteen year olds with no lessons or anything. We got our first gig at a local hall. The night I found out I snuck over to her house and we celebrated. Her parents were never home at night, they were drinkers, so they'd hit up all the local bars and come home around the time the bus came to pick her up in the morning for school.
"That was the night I remember most though. I've lost a lot of my memory from drugs and alcohol and other stupid shit, but the memories I have with her are still there. This one, this is the strongest. It was the first time we admitted our love to each other. We had been together for four fucking years. I had never even been tempted to cheat, and I doubt she had either. I knew what we had was real, even at the young age of sixteen. We made love for the first time. It wasn't anything magical for her I'm sure, but for me it was the best experience of my life. We did it multiple times that night and it got better. I made sure that she was taken care of, even if junior didn't last long," he laughed at himself, and his laugh was getting truer. I was blushing and smiling. I remembered that night so well. He was right though, the first time was shit for me. But the second, the third, the fourth… And so on, he was amazing. We were amazing. "I knew my life was heading somewhere. I knew that she would always be a part of it, I knew that I was going to live the dream. Unfortunately, I was ignorant. I had high hopes and saw no reason that they could go wrong. But they did.
"I went through a few different bands, three actually. I got kicked out of one because of drugs. The others, we parted on good terms, we just didn't click. Finally I found the band that I'm with today. I knew that we were going to make it. There was something inside of me that was screaming, 'this is it, this is your perfect band,' and that voice was right. We played in a local competition and won. We got studio time and were able to send out demos to recording companies for free. Someone picked us. I was eighteen at the time, a high school drop out, living with Allene," he paused. "Well, I guess I let her name slip. No matter, now everybody knows and maybe someone who reads this will know her. Maybe she will read the article, who knows," my heart skipped a beat when he said my name. I felt like flying or falling, I couldn't tell which. It sounded so beautiful coming from his lips.
"Anyway," he went on, ignoring the pain I could sense in him, the pain that just my name had caused. "We were living together, she had just finished high school and was going to go to college for journalism. I told her the news that night. She was happy for me, but not completely. There was a sadness in her eyes. Everything we did that night had a solemn under tone. We took our time, explored each other more thoroughly than we ever had before and held on tighter when it was all over. I knew that something drastic was going to happen. Something I wouldn't like.
"The next morning she made me breakfast. Banana pancakes were always my favorite, so I woke up smelling them with a smile on my face. I started thinking that maybe the night before was all in my head. She served me and gave me a kiss on the side of my head. She sat down with a Mountain Dew, no coffee for her. I still remember the conversation like it was yesterday. Every word, every expression. I remember it all.
"When are you leaving?" She asked me. I noticed then that she hadn't said 'we'. I corrected her when I answered.
"We are leaving in a month," I told her. She shook her head, eyes not meeting mine.
"Ryan, I can't go with you," she said quietly. I could hear the sorrow in her voice. I knew she was making a hard decision.
"Why not? We've gone through the whole band business together, there's no reason to stop now," I said, suddenly not hungry for the pancakes she had taken the time to make.
"I'm going to college in the fall. I don't want you to have to support me through life. I need to do something for myself," she said. She still wouldn't look at me. I could practically feel my heart breaking in my chest.
"You can take online classes babe, then you can still travel with me and be a part of what I do, while doing your own thing," I reasoned, she looked at me then. Her eyes were glassy with tears about to break the surface. I'd seen her cry only a handful of times in the years I had been with her. I saw the sadness, but I also saw the conviction. I knew there was no hope of her coming with me.
"I would be so distracted by everybody. You know my study habits Ryan, I can't be around people while I'm trying to do something. I would go to the parties, go to the shows, go to the photo shoots, and I would forget about school. I wouldn't go anywhere in life and rely on my rock star boyfriend if I wanted anything. And there are going to be tons of girls begging for you, you could get sick of me, and then what do I do? I'd be homeless, jobless, and have no education under my belt. This is what's going to be best for me Ryan," she said in a firm tone. The tears broke free then, but not from her, from me. I crossed the table and slammed it away from her chair, knocking the plate that I'd forgotten about onto the floor. I knelt down in front of her and grabbed her around the waist, putting my face into her chest.
"Please babe, I could never get sick of you. I love you. There will never be anyone else for me. I can't do this by myself. I need you," I cried into her. Her arms wrapped around my shoulders and she set her chin on my head. She sighed.
"Ryan, listen to me. You don't need me. Everything you've done, you've done on your own. You're strong. Your music makes you stronger. You will make it. I have absolute faith in you. You will make something of your life. You'll live your dream. Eventually you'll forget about me. You'll move on. You have wanted this since we were fourteen years old. You have to go, this is the next chapter in your life. I'm not going to be a part of it. But know, I'll be supporting you from where ever I am. I'll always believe in you, I'll always love you," usually she would end that with 'I'll always be with you,' but she didn't that time and it hurt. I knew it was finally the end. Seven years I had dedicated to this woman, and it was finally over.
"Will I see you again? Maybe after you're finished with college, you can come with me. You can write about the band, submit it to magazines, everyone will want you because you have the inside scoop. That could work baby, it could," I insisted. I could feel her shaking her head.
"Ryan, honey, when you leave in a month, you will never see me again," she said. I felt cold in that moment. A cold worse than being out in a snow storm naked. I would say numb, but I wasn't that lucky. I could feel the pain coursing through my veins. I could feel the space where my heart was, emptying. I could feel a part of me dying. But I gathered myself.
"Then I guess we will make this month the best one possible," I said and kissed her.
"She was being honest when she said that I would never see her again. I've looked. God, I've looked everywhere. I went to her house, not that it did any good. She had never been close with her parents, and the minute she turned eighteen she moved in with me, not even saying good-bye to those low life scum. But I was desperate. I visited her grandma, who she had been close with growing up, we went over there for dinner sometimes. But grandma told me that she was given specific orders not to tell me where she was.
"She ditched all her friends, never answered their calls, according to them. I heard rumors she changed her name. But I looked until I finally gave up. The only good part about all of this, is she gave me the inspiration for a lot of our songs. Even from far away she's still my muse. And I know she kept her promise, she wasn't one to break them. Wherever she is, she is supporting me wholeheartedly. She's got my back. I'm sure she did something great with her life. She always had so much spunk. If I could only see her again… Maybe she'll read this. Maybe she'll come back to me. My phone number hasn't changed since I've known her. I feel like, maybe if I get some closure, I can let go," he said. His voice was so broken that I was crying silently. It had been years since I had cried. The last time was when he left and I walked out of that small town, never looking back.
"Do you really feel like closure would help?" I asked, my voice shaky. I sniffed as quietly as I could. He was silent for a good long while.
"I think, that if I saw her again… I would hold on and never let go. I would do anything to be with her again. I'd quit the band if I needed to. I'd do anything at all," his voice was earnest and I couldn't help myself. I got out of my chair and went over to the light switch. I flipped it on and met his cold blue eyes.
There was a moment of confusion before his whole body tensed and he started breathing deeply. I couldn't look away. I had seen pictures but they didn't do him justice. His hair was long and black, it was sticking up all over the place with some matted to his forehead. His eyes, oh his eyes had not lost their depth, and they were surrounded by black eyeliner. His nose was pierced with a hoop through it. His lips were full and decorated with three rings. He had tattoos aligning his neck and I noticed that one of them was the Hebrew spelling for my name.
I'm not sure how long we stared at each other, but the electricity running through the room was almost tangible. Slowly, almost as if he was wary of scaring me off, he stood. He was so tall, taller than he was even at eighteen. I came up to only his chest. He walked towards me slowly and reached out a hand. He touched my cheek with black painted fingernails. I closed my eyes and sighed, a few tears slipping from the cracks in my eyes.
"It's really you?" He asked, amazed. I nodded, not opening my eyes to look at him again. "Allene?" His voice was soft and broken, it brought more tears to my eyes.
"Ryan," I stated. It had been years since his name had slipped past my lips. It felt so good and natural now. I opened my eyes to see that tears were running down his face. He pulled me to him so quickly I couldn't react. His arms went around my body and he clung to me. I breathed in. He smelled the same, cigarettes, cologne, and a hint of just him. I hesitantly reached up and put my arms around his waist. He hung on tighter.
"I've searched everywhere," he whispered. "This has to be fate Allene, it has to be," he said fiercely.
"No Ryan, it's a result of a stupid child's way of picking things."
"But you're the one who got me started on that. Like I said earlier, everything goes back to you," he said, pulling away slightly to look at me. "I meant what I said, I'm never going to let you go now," he said with conviction. My breathing stopped for a minute. But I knew I was ready for him again. I had been since I let him go. I shouldn't have done it. But I was glad I did. If I hadn't I never would have been able to find myself, to get myself through college, to learn to be independent. Things wouldn't be right and I'd feel useless. It was worth it. There was nothing standing in my way.
"I'm never going to let you let me go," I whispered. A smile, bright and blinding lit up his face. He leaned towards me and automatically I turned my face up towards his and met his mouth. I could feel all of the pent up emotion in that kiss. I could feel that his emotions were true. I knew that he loved me and hadn't lied about anything. And I knew I still loved him, maybe even more than I had before. We were one again and I wasn't going to let it go for the world. I started laughing and he pulled away.
"What?" He asked, breathless.
"I'm just thinking, what a story the public is going to get in the next issue," I said smiling at him. He laughed again and pulled me down for another kiss. Life was good.
Comments, criticisms, anything would be nice. I didn't take my time on this or edit it really. So it's okay if you want to tell me it completely sucked. Someday, if it's liked, I'll go back and re-write it. Thanks