Monday, June 28, 2010

Hev99 Week 8 Entry: Storm in a Cider Can


Hev99's Choice: Both

Storm in a Cider Can

"Shurrup!" I groaned, at the incessant banging noise which pierced through my skull and invaded every single cell of my tender brain with it's unrelenting evil.

Groaning, I rolled over onto my back, rubbing the lack of sleep from my eyes and straining to look at my bright pink alarm clock to see which particular un-Godly hour I was being woken at.

Not there.

Not my night stand.

Not my bedroom. And therefore, most decidedly, not my bed.

A light snore from behind me brought my bleary eyes sharply into focus. Utterly terrified of what I would see when I looked, I twisted slowly where I sat, taking in an array of Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica posters on the dull brown walls. Then, taking a deep breath into a mouth that was frankly furrier and more disgusting than a mole's backside, I closed my eyes tightly and swung the rest of the way round to face the snoring culprit.

I cracked one eye open ever so slightly then I snapped it shut again quickly, too much of a pussy to find out whose bed I apparently fell asleep in last night. Reaching instead with my hand, hoping to perform some sort of miraculous identification using only my sense of touch, my fingers alighted on what felt like a pair of glasses, perched on the bridge of what felt like a distinctly non-female nose.

This method of snorer identification was not working. If I was honest with myself, it had been doomed to failure from the start. But who is honest with themselves when they're that level of hungover and trying to figure out where the hell they spent the night? Show me one person who would just swing right on round and look with their eyes!

Inwardly flinching, I tried to see through my closed eyelids, moving them apart just enough to let small flakes of light through, but no actual images. This was not going well.

I sucked in a deep breath, bracing myself for what I was about to see, as I tried to suck it up, when I was interrupted in my bravery by a sudden snort followed by a shifting of the bed.

"Umm," a croaky voice beside me started before a rasping cough took it's place. That was no use; how was I supposed to figure out somebody's identity from one word? Not even a word really. Barely even a syllable, just a noise and then a cough. Definitely not enough to go on.

Forcing my eyes quickly into the open position before I could talk myself out of it, I found myself face to face with the last person on the planet I expected to ever wake up next to.

'Not cool, Donna,' I mentally chastised myself. What in the name of all that's holy was I doing in a bed with him?

It appeared that he was engaged in a similar activity to me, his eyes were squeezed tightly shut and his fingers were hanging in the air, pointing right for my chest. I didn't even dare look down to see whether those babies were covered up or not.

Having said that, the potential for getting the hell out of there before he plucked up the courage to open his eyes, was going to be severely depleted if I didn't even know my naked status.

Forcing my chin to tilt downwards against it's will, my brain twisted and swirled painfully inside my skull, a reminder of just how much cheap cider I had imbibed the previous night. Making a mental note never to drink again, I plucked up the courage to do a quick inventory of my body, scanning downwards and sighing with unbridled relief when I caught definite sight of underwear.

I did a quick scan of the room and spotted my bright blue dress on the floor beside the bed. Diving for it, I managed to completely screw up the move, winding up on the floor with the bed sheet twisted around me and his confused eyes gawping down at me as I nursed my poor aching head.

"Donna?" his painful sounding voice managed to croak out as he continued to gawp at me.

"Ah... yeah?" I responded, trying to sound innocent and nonchalent, as though lying, half naked on his floor, with absolutely no memory of how I ended up there, was a completely normal activity for a rainy Sunday morning.

"You're on my floor," he stated. Well d'oh.

"Yes, so it would seem," I came back lamely. Well his statement was hardly The Gettysburg Address. Lame for lame; it was only fair.

"You've not been there before." More ground-breaking words of wisdom from the king of stating the obvious.

"Also true," I agreed, nodding then instantly regretting the movement and cringing at the agony in my poor, poor brain. "Any painkillers down here anywhere?" I raised my eyebrows hopefully, but let them fall in disappointment at the regretful look on his face.

Trying a different tack, I tilted my head on my shoulders, trying to ignore the tiny people playing billiards with my brain in pursuit of the truth.

"We didn't...?" I was clinging on to the still-very-much-on-my-body underwear with every fibre of my being as I waited for his confirmation. It didn't come anything like quickly enough for me to be confident of his answer, and when it did come it was less than convincing. His eyes went wide as he shook his head slowly, his expression strongly suggesting that he was telling me what I wanted to hear.

"Peter, do you even remember last night?" I only felt ever so slightly hypocritical asking him that, considering that the last thing I remembered clearly was stealing a can of cider right out of the hand of one of the boys on the football team. I had chugged it down in one, before cheekily placing the empty can back in his hand, patting him on the cheek in thanks and then dancing away.

His deer in the headlights look told me that he had about as much party recall as me. Dammit, I always thought those geeky types were supposed to be responsible or something.

"Riiiight," I started, reaching for my dress with rather more coordination than the last time. "Well," I pulled it over my head, feeling instantly better for being covered up. "Whatever happened here..." I gestured between the two of us, my finger darting back and forth. "Didn't happen. Okay?"

He nodded quickly, then moaned, his hand shooting to hold his head, before he fell back down against his pillows, his fingers tangling in his spiky brown hair and his eyes shut tight behind his thick glasses.

"See that, right there," I pointed to his aching head. "That is why you keep painkillers in your damn bedroom!"

"Yeah, thanks for the tip, I'll bear it in mind the next time... Oh no wait, I'm never drinking again!"

I couldn't help but laugh as he echoed my sentiments from only moments before.

"Yeah, me either," I snorted, using the edge of the bed to pull myself shakily to my feet. "I guess I'll uh, let myself out. Thanks for the bed and.... whatever."

I plucked my ridiculously high heeled shoes from the floor, considering putting them on for all of about three seconds before coming to my senses and opting for bare feet instead.

"I'll see you around, I guess," I murmered, before heading for the door, finding the protagonist of the irritating banging noise on the other side with his fist raised to start pounding on the door again.

His eyes widened with shock as he took me in, leaving Peter's room, having obviously spent the night.

"He's all yours," I said, snorting at the slogan on his t-shirt, which read, 'Magic is just stuff science hasn't made boring yet.'

"Right... okay," he returned, backing into the room slowly, never taking his eyes off me as I watched him until the door closed behind him.

'Great," I thought to myself. I was barely out of his door and the walk of shame had already afforded me one sighting. How many people would see me before I made it back to the sanctuary of my room, where I could down half a bottle of tylenol and bury my head in my pillows?

Thankfully, I didn't encounter anybody else while I walked, head down and messy, tangled hair hanging in limp curls around my embarrassed face. Nonetheless I expected that by the following day my unfortunate choice of accommodation for the night would have spread around the campus faster than bubonic plague.

Arriving at my room, I gratefully worshipped at the shrine of the Tylenol Gods, taking more than I ought to have done in an effort to silence the samba band in my brain, before collapsing onto my bed, still in the blue dress, and falling asleep.

The following day I dressed carefully in my finest butter wouldn't melt in my mouth ensemble, loose fitting jeans and a blue gingham shirt. Gingham always made people think of The Wizard of Oz and there was no movie heroine quite so innocent as Dorothy Gale.

Reaching the door to my building I did an about turn when I saw the heavy black cloud lingering in the sky. Typical. Marching back up the stairs in a strop worthy of Naomi Campbell, I grabbed my raincoat and ran back down, now running late for my first class of the day and still in desperate need of coffee.

I decided to forgo the coffee and ignore the beast within that craved it, in order to be on-time for class. I slid into the back, hiding behind my books and keeping my head down in anticipation of the stares I assumed were coming. I braced myself for the dagger feeling of being glared at by a room full of people, but it never came. I peered over the top of my text book, sweeping my eyes around the room expecting at least someone to be staring, but all eyes were front and centre, just as normal. Was it too much to think that maybe, just maybe, Peter's friend had not reported to the student population in general that Donna Murphy spent the night with a member of the chess club. Someone with Battlestar Galactica posters on his wall. I cringed at the thought that I knew what he had on his wall.

Leaving after the class in which I must have heard a maximum of about twelve words, I dared to hope that nobody knew, and it seemed I was right. Nobody looked at me any more than usual, and certainly not with the level of disdain I would expect considering where I spent the night.

As heavy drops began to pound to earth from the sky, I instantly regretted my choice of hair down and no umbrella. I was just breaking into a run in an attempt to get to my next class without ending up looking like Shirley Temple, when I felt a hand close around my arm and pull me into the entryway of the nearest building.

My nose collided painfully with a strong chest and I pulled back, rubbing it angrily. My eyes took in a red t-shirt which read 'There are 10 types of people in this world. Those who understand binary and those who don't.'

Groaning, I turned around and made for the exit. I only knew one person who wore cryptic t-shirts like that, and I wasn't ready to talk to him.

"Donna, wait, please," he called after me as my hand closed around the big brass handle of the physics building. I eyerolled at my own inability to just walk the hell out of there. I wanted to kid myself into thinking it was the possibility of crazy girl hair that kept me standing there, but if I was being honest I knew it wasn't that.

I didn't turn to him, I just dropped my hand from the door and sighed heavily.

"Why do you wear t-shirts that nobody understands?" Beside the point? Yes, yes it was. Avoiding the point? How did you guess?

"I... umm... can we talk?"

"Talking, yeah, great! I like talking. What do you want to talk about? I'm pretty sure the weather is a dead topic..." I gestured to the heaving rain on the other side of the glass door and the sky which was splitting with thick bolts of lightening.

"It doesn't have to be." His cool hand on my arm startled me and I jumped, yelping quietly in alarm. "Can I show you?"

"Show me what?" I asked, eyeing him warily as his face lit up with hope.

"The weather."

"I can see the weather. In fact, I can go one better, I can feel the shit in my hair, proving to me that even bothering to own a set of straighteners in this rain-drenched town is utterly pointless." I ran my fingers through my hair, shuddering at the areas of frizz I could already feel springing up where the rain had caught it before I got pulled to safety.

"You don't like the rain?" Well d'oh!

"Oh, I love it," I enthused fakely. "It's the greatest." I heard him sigh beside me and his grip on my arm loosened.

"Okay, I'll leave you alone, I guess." He turned from me, dropping his hands into the pockets of his faded blue jeans and started to saunter away, obviously feigning nonchalance.

"Peter?" I almost whispered, bringing him to a stop where he was. He didn't turn to face me. Touché. "Have you... I mean, did you..."

"No, Donna. I haven't told anybody. Your precious secret is safe." He spat his words at me, still facing away, but there was hurt in his voice. Surely he hadn't thought that something would happen between us?

He walked away from me quickly, before I could answer, and started heading upstairs. I watched his retreating back, placing my hand back on the cool door handle and wrestled with myself internally for a solid five minutes to just walk away.

Then finally, I took the plunge and pushed into the door, re-entering the monsoon outside, holding my book bag over my head in a vain attempt to shield my poor hair from it's unwanted shower.

I turned as I reached the building opposite, scanning the physics building, not entirely sure why, but jumping, startled when I saw his form, standing on the roof of the building, staring out to the horizon. His eyes flickered to mine after a moment of staring at him, and his expression became suddenly and overwhelmingly sad.

'Walk away!" My brain screamed at me while my feet ignored my brain more completely than I ignored those Enjoy Alcohol Responsibly adverts on the TV, and walked back towards the building he was perched on.

I eventually managed to navigate my way to the roof of the building, only discovering after about ten minutes of searching that there were signs pointing to the stairwell that led to the roof. I couldn't understand why they would possibly have it signposted until I saw all the telescopes and satellite dishes on the roof. I guess that made sense, it was the physics building.

"Peter?" I approached him cautiously, not wanting to scare him and make him fall over the edge.

"I'm not planning on jumping, Donna. You can walk away. Guilt free." His voice was cold and hard and he didn't turn to face me. I felt a stirring of pain in my chest which I didn't understand, I barely knew this guy. Sure, we went to the same high school before ending up at the same college, but before the previous morning he had just been the guy my ex had stuffed into lockers.

"What are you doing up here in the rain, Peter?" I took a few steps forward, my head starting to spin like a merry-go-round when I saw how high up we were.

"Woah steady, Donna." His hands gripped me around the waist as I swayed on the spot. "You can't be getting dizzy this close to the edge, you could fall."

"Yeah, thanks, that's very helpful," I snarked back, burying my head into his chest as he held me up with his surprisingly strong arms.

"You okay?" he asked, rubbing my back soothingly with his hand.

"Sure," I muttered, my voice muffled by the soft cotton of his incomprehensible t-shirt. "I just don't routinely stand on the roofs of tall buildings in the middle of America's answer to the monsoon."

"Maybe you should try it sometime?" he smirked at me as he tentatively released me from his arms. "The storm looks amazing from up here."

"Oh yeah?" I looked out, intending to see what he was talking about, but stumbled back as my stomach rolled with vertigo.

"Easy, Donna." He gripped me once again around the waist and pulled me to him. "Maybe you should sit down before you do yourself an injury."

"I'm not that tall. Sitting down is only gonna take off about five feet, it's the other million that's causing the problems." His responding chuckle was entirely at odds with the comforting arms he had clasped tightly around me as I fell blurrily against his chest once more.

"You really do have an answer for everything, don't you?" he laughed, holding on to my upper arms and guiding me to sit against a chimmney or something.

"I have a strong suspicion that were you to ask me one of those scarily difficult, scratch your brains out, physics questions, I would struggle," I retorted, pretty much proving his point in the process.

"I'll have to test that theory out sometime," he laughed, sitting down next to me and allowing me to slump against him wearily.

My eyes were firmly shut in an attempt to stop the crazy spinning, and my head was resting on his shoulder. Breathing deeply to try to get the oxygen circulating around my brain again, I caught a hint of apple. He smelt like apples.

I love apples.

"Mmm?" Shit. Did I say that out loud?

I shook my head, then cracked one eye open warily to the sight of him looking down at me, with a look of affectionate amusement on his face.

"Better?" he asked, his eyes widening behind his glasses. His eyes were really blue. I had never noticed that before. They were that piercing shade of blue, the colour I always imagined when I thought of the Pacific Ocean.

"Yeah much, thanks."

"Better enough to maybe open the other eye? Maybe catch some of the storm? It's pretty amazing." I forced the other eye open, but remained gazing at him, finding myself completely lost in his deep blue pools.

Laughing, he took my chin between his finger and thumb and turned my face away from him.

"The storm is that way, Donna."

"Right, the storm... yeah." My eyes flickered briefly back to him before staring out at the rain soaked horizon.

Lightning tore across the sky, lighting it up in hues of purple and silver as the roaring thunder burned in my ears. Without thinking I pressed myself further into his side and felt his arm snake around my shoulders.

"Is it safe up here?" I whispered, the might of the storm suddenly making me feel terribly small.

"As safe as it is down there," he replied, running his hand up and down my arm. I felt a light tingling sensation running in a trail wherever his fingers moved, drawing my eyes away from the amazing show that nature was providing and back to his eyes.

"It's so beautiful," I said quietly, my eyes locked with his and staring unashamedly.

"Yeah... beautiful," he replied, his eyes searing with intensity as he brought his hand up and brushed my cheek lightly with his thumb. A spark shot through me at his touch and I covered his hand with mine, holding it to my cheek, enjoying the strange sensation it was sending through me. Something in his expression and the way he formed his words made me believe that he wasn't talking about the storm any more.

His face leaned in slowly towards mine, his eyes intoxicating as they held my gaze. Then, so slowly that the movement was barely discernible, his lips found mine, brushing against them softly, like a ghost's touch. An incendiary of fireworks broke out throughout my body at that, his lightest of touches, and I pushed forwards, making the kiss more definite, more real. His lips felt so soft, so smooth against mine and his apple scent was clouding my mind and fogging up my senses. My caged mind was trying to scream at me that I was insane; that I was losing the plot entirely. But no matter how loud it hollered, it couldn't drown out the feeling that this was right somehow.

As his tongue ghosted along my lips, I parted them slightly, allowing our tongues to entwine and dance together. The contact was enthralling and despite myself I found that I didn't want it to end.

But eventually our mutual need for oxygen forced us apart, and his eyes immediately darted downwards, as though he was regretting kissing me. I pulled back, hurt coursing though me at his obvious regret. As I did his eyes flickered up to mine, filled with uncertainty and confusion.

"That was amazing," I whispered, smiling shyly at him and watching the corners of his mouth twitch sightly and then turn upwards, his eyes widened in surprise.

"Nothing happened," he started, averting his eyes from me once again. "After the party. I was walking you home, but you were so unsteady on your feet and you couldn't remember where your room was. I didn't want to leave you, and you had no cell phone on you, so I carried you to my room and we fell straight to sleep. You were drunk, but you weren't that drunk." His last words held a slight edge of bitterness as he started to claw at the grit on the roof we were sat on.

I placed a finger under his chin, tilting his face up so that he was looking at me. His eyes were slightly glassy, as though he was fighting back tears, and his hands were shaking. Then suddenly his arm was gone, and he was jumping up and backing away from me.

"I'm sorry, Donna. I should go."

I couldn't understand the feeling I had as he began to walk away from me. It was as though the image of his eyes, glazed over with unshed tears had burned itself onto my retinas and I couldn't shake the feeling that letting him walk away would be a big mistake.

"Peter, wait!" I shouted after him, just as he reached the door to the stairs that would carry him away from me. "Don't go," I pleaded, my eyes locking with his once more and sinking into the sapphire depths.

"I can't stay," he returned, hesitating slightly by the door, his fingers still caressing the handle.

"Why not?"

"Self preservation, Donna. This," he spat, his finger gesturing between us, "hurts too much. I can't do it, I'm sorry."

The heavy rain sluiced down relentlessly, plastering his dark hair to his forehead and running down his cheeks in trails which could easily have been hiding tears. Shivering with the cold, I slowly moved towards him, feeling the cold raindrops saturating my hair and running down my back in streams.

"Please," I whispered, placing a hand on his arm. Not restraining, pleading. "I want you to stay; I think I need you to stay."

He huffed sarcastically, rolling his eyes and shaking his head.

"Sure," he said, bitterly. "Donna Murphy wants to hang out on a roof with Peter Davis, and oh look, a flying pig."

I couldn't prove it with words. If I had opened my lips to speak right then a sarcastic retort would have slipped out and ruined everything. So instead, I did the only thing I could think of to do. I threw my arms around his neck, pulling him to me tightly as I pressed my lips against his with wild abandon. He was hesitant at first, trying to pull back, but I persisted and eventually he gave in, his lips moulding against mine as his arms snaked around my waist.

The rain continued to fall down around us, the storm clapping and lighting up the sky as the electricity sizzled between us. I didn't know exactly what this was that we were doing, but I did know that it felt more right than anything had ever felt before.

As we finally parted, our foreheads rested together and our arms still holding the other tight, I giggled slightly, unable to stop myself.



"Will you explain your t-shirt to me?"