Short Story: Meeting Ryan

Hello, friends! I come to you today with another short story that I wrote for class. This one was a lot of fun to write, and I really like how it ended. I hope you enjoy it! Don’t forget to vote for Twinepathy in the TCK Reader’s Choice Awards! If you have questions, you can read my post about it here. Now, on to the story! (Make sure to comment your thoughts below, too! I’m eager to hear what you guys think.)

I see things clearer—or at least more logically—than most people. That may not sound like a big deal, but it’s frustrating. Very, very frustrating. Mostly because I’m not as blinded by emotion as other people, and I can look at things objectively. I have an outside opinion on a lot of situations, but people… they just don’t listen to me.

“Are you listening to me, Natalie?” my best friend Destiny asks, her voice pitched higher than usual in annoyance.

I shake my head, clearing away my intrusive thoughts. “I’m sorry, I got distracted,” I admit. “It’s so loud in here.”

That’s not a lie. People’s conversations and shouts echo in the school cafeteria, a messy blend of voices screaming, yelling, and hollering. Dishes clank against each other, and every once in a while, there’s a screech as someone scoots their chair back from a table. The noise is overwhelming, and I can’t help but feel a little claustrophobic.

“So I think you should meet Ryan.” Destiny’s raised voice brings me back to our table.

I sigh. “Your new boyfriend.” Of course that’s what she was talking about. “I mean, are you sure? You don’t think it’s too soon? You guys just started dating, what, four weeks ago?”

“Of course!” She grabs my hand. “You’re my best friend, and your opinion really matters to me.” She hesitates. “Plus, you always have a good sense about people, and you always look at situations objectively.”

I smile, a warm feeling rising in my chest. “And besides, talking about boys is what best friends are for, right?”

She laughs, high and clear, and I can tell it’s a genuine laugh. “So, do you want to meet him tomorrow? We could meet up at the park after school, at our usual table.”

As much as I don’t really want to meet Destiny’s boyfriend, I do want what’s best for her. “Okay, sounds like a plan.”

“Awesome!”

The bell rings, making me jump. Destiny’s chair scratches backwards as she leaps up and gathers up our dishes. “Come on, let’s go to class.” She grabs my hand and drags me through the crowd of people that are stampeding to the exit. I hate being among the crush of bodies, with all the yelling and the smells, all in close quarters. Lucky, Destiny is an expert at maneuvering us through the crowd, and before long, we’ve escaped from the masses and are on our way to class.

The rest of the day goes by as usual, same old boring routine, except that I can’t get my mind off of meeting Ryan. I honestly don’t know what Destiny has told him about me, and I just feel like no matter what, it’s going to be awkward.

Who am I kidding? It’s always awkward for me when I meet new people.

Destiny comes and finds me after school the next day, and by that point, my anxiety is jumping through the roof. I slip on my sunglasses and try to play it cool as we walk over to the park. She squeezes my hand way too tight as we walk, but I know she’s just excited. I can practically feel the energy radiating off of her as she blabbers on and on. Finally, I manage to get a word in edgewise.

“What does he look like?” I ask her.

She lets out an excited squeak that sounds like a mouse. “Well, he’s about the same height as you, and he has longish brown hair. He has these beautiful green eyes…” She squeezes my hand tighter, making me question whether or not my hand will still be attached to my arm when we get to the park.

We walk a little farther and turn into the park. The path changes from hard concrete sidewalk to gravelly dirt that crunches underfoot. Birds tweet overhead in the trees, and I can even hear squirrels chittering at each other and scampering around. I inhale, enjoying the scent of the recently-cut grass and cool afternoon breeze.

I inhale again. “It’s going to rain.”

Destiny sighs. “Of course.” She stops. “Okay, you stay here at our picnic table and I’ll go see if I can find him. That way we have it covered, whether he comes here or I run into him. Maybe we can go to the ice cream shop or something so we don’t get rained on. Sound good?”

“Sounds good,” I reply and slide onto the bench of the picnic table. I freeze. “But how will I know it’s him if he comes by?”

“Oh, I’ve shown him pictures of the two of us together, so he should be able to recognize you.” Her footsteps crunch on the gravel as she walks away. “Oh yeah, and you can ask him what my middle name is, he knows,” she calls, her voice fading as she leaves.

“Wow,” I murmur, picking off pokey wood splinters off the table. “She must really like him if she already told him her middle name.” It took her forever to tell me what her middle name was. It’s not like it’s super embarrassing… just weird.

It’s kind of nice to listen to the sounds of the park without Destiny talking so much. Children laugh nearby, and I can pick out different bird songs, separating them from each other in my mind. A dog barks somewhere in the distance. The most prominent sound is probably the wind rustling the trees—either that or footsteps crunching on gravel as people walk by.

I start to hum as I pick at the splintering wood on the picnic table. The crack as I break off the bigger splinters is really satisfying. The wind brushes against me, pushing my hair in my face, and I can’t help but smile.

“Hey, you’re Natalie, right?”

The deep voice next to me makes me jump, and I turn towards him. “I am. Are you Ryan?”

“Yep, that’s me!” The bench creaks as he sits down. “It’s nice to meet you, Natalie. Where’s Destiny?”

“Looking for you,” I answer, fiddling self-consciously with my sunglasses before going back to picking at the table. A sharper splinter stabs me, and I wince. I tilt my head. “Destiny said I could ask you what her middle name is, to prove it’s actually you, and not some random weirdo.”

Ryan laughs, and it’s a deep, full laugh. “It’s Allegra. Her parents chose it because of its Italian meaning, without thinking about the medicine.”

I nod and grin. “Poor girl.”

The bench creaks again as Ryan leans forward. “So why is Destiny looking for me? I thought we were going to just meet here and hang out.”

“It’s going to rain,” I explain. “We were talking about moving to the ice cream place, just in case.”

He hesitates. “But the forecast didn’t say anything about rain.”

“Smell,” I tell him, and I hear him inhale and exhale. “Do you smell that dampness on the air? It’s definitely going to rain.”

Ryan sniffs again. “I can smell it, barely. That’s so cool.”

“Ryan!” Destiny’s voice carries across the park, as does the sound of her running feet. She stops next to the table, out of breath. She spoke between huffs. “I’ve been… looking for… you!” She puts a hand on my arm as her breathing grows closer to normal. “I’m glad you guys are doing good. Let’s head over to that ice cream shop.”

The table creaks as Ryan gets up and I slide off my side of the bench. “Lead the way, Destiny.” Now I get to judge Ryan and see if he’s right for my best friend.

Destiny hooks her arm in mine. “Rock on your right,” she tells me, and I sidestep neatly out of the way. “I’ll get your cane out of your backpack in a second,” she added.

“Wait, what?” Ryan asks, his confusion evident in his voice.

I laugh, hitting Destiny’s arm. “You didn’t tell him!”

“You must have done a good job being subtle,” Destiny says, and I can hear the grin in her voice.

“Tell me what?” Ryan asks impatiently.

I pull down my sunglasses and turn towards his voice. “Tell you that I’m blind.”

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18 thoughts on “Short Story: Meeting Ryan

  1. Pingback: Three Recent Book Favorites | Mini Book Reviews – green tea with books

  2. Love the twist!
    I had been wondering why, aside from Destiny’s brief description of Ryan, there were no visual descriptions. Great job on that! 😀
    (I almost closed my eyes once or twice, what with all the focus on sounds/smell. Then I realized that if I wanted to keep reading– I felt like I was “listening” more so than reading–then I had better keep my eyes open. XD)

    Liked by 1 person

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