Three weeks after Rye's apology and our makeup, I was back to walking on my own. My limp faded with time, and here we are in May, standing for prom photos. Danielle and Nora keep saying how handsome and beautiful we all are. Reese and Spencer, Paul and Daria, Rye and I, and Quinn and Sadie are all going to prom together, and of course the house has been a flurry of activity all day between the girls getting ready and our moms coming to take photos and see us off. Rye loves every minute of it, ever the socialite, and I'm sulking slightly from the attention. Granted, it has been five hours of people cheering and cooing. Any normal person (which of course excludes Rye) would find that annoying.
He can tell how sour I'm getting and he squeezes my hand and smiles at me. I return it and try to lighten up. I know I'm probably looking annoyed in most of the photos. When Danielle and Nora have Rye and I take photos together, I try to look less pained.
"Foster, give us a real smile! You should be excited!" Danielle encourages. I sigh and try again. She grimaces.
"Well, that will have to do." She says hesitantly. Rye leans towards me, ducking his head and shielding us slightly with his hair, which has been cut considerably, but is still somehow very long.
"You look fantastic. And I really like you." He says. I roll my eyes but grin anyways. He stands back up straight and smiles at Dani, who snaps the photo.
"Thank god! A smile! I didn't want to have the others developed," she jokes. I sigh, but Rye holds loosely onto my fingers and grins calmly, swaying a bit in the slight heat. My smile only lessens slightly.
"I hope someone good wins Prom court," he muses as Dani rushes to get photos of Spencer.
"Oh, well, if a douche bag wins, it won't ruin my night," I say.
"Well I'm glad you're excited deep down."
"I am excited. I just don't love all the attention."
"I know. I'm glad you finally agreed to go with me though."
And I had made him ask me four times before I agreed, and then he had to help me find formal clothes to wear. I was difficult about it. I know. He really put forth a lot of effort to make this night happen.
I smile apologetically. He doesn't seem to notice and spins us to return to the AC in the house.
The Prom itself is just a mess of sweaty kids and loud music. Rye and I do dance for awhile, which consists of us pressed together in the crowd almost uncomfortably. Most of the time we wander around the building with Quinn and Sadie, riding the elevators up and down until we had cooled off enough to return to the dance and drink punch and talk to kids.
A senior girl in my sixth period wins Queen. She's nice enough, and Rye is pleased with the results, and congratulates her, though he admits he doesn't know her. The strangest things hold his attention.
Rye and I make a brief appearance at a party afterwards in my neighborhood until we decide to simply walk back to my house and hang out. The walk is slow and quiet and he holds my hand as we rehash the night's events (namely the girl that came drunk and fell, ripping her dress in the first hour and how she cried like a two year old on the dance floor). Rye's bowtie is undone and hanging around his neck with his sleeves pushed up to his elbows. I lost my tie at the prom. Whoops.
Back at my house, Rye and I are watching a nature special and talking easily.
"Foster?" Rye asks me as he goes to get us some soda.
"Yeah?" I ask, turning slightly in my seat on the couch to look back at him. He's facing the counter.
"Did you have a good time tonight?" he asks me, getting the sodas quickly.
"Yeah. Of course."
"Are you glad I made you go?" he asks, smirking. I smile.
"Good. You look really, really good in a tie, you know."
"Thanks. You clean up pretty good too," I reply, taking my soda from him as he sits down next to me close enough for me to feel the heat coming off of him. I take a sip from the can and lean forward to put it on the coffee table. As I sit back up, Rye maneuvers my shoulders and leans in to me to kiss me. I squeak.
"You think so?" he asks, pulling back.
"What?" I ask, brain fogged.
"You think I clean up good?" he clarifies, smiling goofily.
"You think I'm handsome, don't you?" he teases. I turn red.
"Admit it. I'm a total dish."
"That word's only for girls."
"I'm reclaiming it."
I want to argue that he can't reclaim something that was never his, but he has gotten really good at knowing when I'm about to argue and he kisses me again, silencing me. I can feel him smiling.
It escalates quickly, as it usually does, and I think Rye's shirt tore as he pulled it over his head. Or maybe it was my shirt? It doesn't matter.
In fact, in my opinion, the only thing that matters right now is the way Rye is driving me insane biting my neck gently right over my pulse. He knows what that does to me.
I jerk up at a particularly rough bite.
"Jesus—Rye," I gasp, holding onto his shoulders roughly.
I make an unhappy noise as he looks down at me, not showing any intention of returning to what he started.
"Foster?" he says.
"Just—God, can we—?"
"Can we what?"
"Let's go to my room."
Rye seems confused, and then surprised, but is up and pulling me behind him into my room quickly.
"You do know that I'm in love with you, right?" he asks in my doorway.
Rye smiles and pulls me after him to my bed. We climb on messily, and he pulls me on top of him. I kiss his jaw as he speaks.
"Well, I am. So, there." My face goes hot and I hide in his shoulder.
"I love you too," I say into his shoulder.
He kisses the side of my face and asks me if I'm sure I'm ready.
"I'm sure," I promise.
I'm like, decently sad that this is over. I wrote this ending around the thirteenth chapter was posted, and I was sad then too. It's always sad to end a story you like, even when you're writing it. Maybe especially then.
I have absolutely nothing planned for the near future as far as posting goes, but I am working on a large handful of different stories. It's simply a matter of time until one strikes my fancy. So, please don't expect anything until January from me.
Thank you all so much for reading. The feedback has been amazing, and you're all great for taking the time to send me a bit of love. Thank you for making my first Fiction Press story a success. I am forever indebted. So serious.