|After the Letter
Author: Nutmeag PM
Picks up right where the series left us, with Angela getting in the car with Jordan. Please read and review, it's my first fanfic, I'm not sure exactly where I plan on having it go!Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Angst - Words: 3,258 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 1 - Published: 04-06-12 - id: 7997712
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
AN: I have never ever written a fan fiction story before! I actually don't even like to write - I'm a science teacher. I was just really inspired by the show and other writing I saw on here. This is just how I imagined things happening after the series ended. Comments and reviews would be extremely welcomed and appreciated, but please be gentle, it's my first time ;) I will most likely write more, so anything you can tell me to help me improve would be wonderful!
I own none of the characters, etc.
Jordan closed the passenger side door for her and began to walk around to the driver's side. Even sitting there, in Jordan Catalano's front seat, going God knows where with him, her eyes were fixed on the boy sitting on his bike, bathed in the pool of light from the streetlight above. Somewhere behind her she heard Jordan close the door and start the car, almost too distantly, and she felt them starting to pull away. She watched Brian for as long as possible, not knowing what to think, dazed by the day's events, trying to decide what to do next.
"Angela?" his voice called softly to her. She snapped out of her head and realized she had no idea how long they had been driving. She peered outside the car window and saw they were in a park clear across town from her house. Without thinking, she got out of the car and made a beeline for the swing set 100 feet away. She needed to be out of his car.
The sound of a second car door closing confirmed that Jordan was following her.
As Angela collapsed into a swing, she was turned to face the approaching Jordan Catalano. She felt deflated. He had lied to her. Let her think the words of love in that letter were his, let her kiss him again. And now she had left with him to this park and was so far from her house, there was no way of escaping. Thoughts of anger and confusion swirled in her head as she closed her eyes. She couldn't watch him close the distance between them.
"You know I didn't write it, don't you?" he said, watching her on the swing, dangling there almost like a sleeping puppet. She looked so tired and drained.
Slowly she opened her eyes to look at him. He was still a few feet away from her, at the edge of the mulch that delineated the swing area. Jordan almost looked afraid to come any closer. His eyes, those beautiful eyes, were full of sadness.
"I figured it out, yea," she finally replied heavily, after what felt like an eternity to him.
Angela looked hurt. Not really mad, but rather over the whole thing. Jordan was not used to her looking at him that way, like he didn't matter.
"I can't believe you could do that to me. I mean, what was the point? You were supposed to be apologizing, feeling bad, making amends, but you lie? How could you?" Her anger building as her voice broke ever so slightly on her last few words.
"In school, I tried to, like, tell you, but you were just so happy and you had forgiven me. I didn't know how. I couldn't bring myself to make you sad again."
Angela's brow furrowed as she remembered their interaction from the hallway earlier that day. He was stammering, trying to tell her something, but she hadn't cared what it was. All Angela wanted to do was blissful slip back into Jordan Catalano-land.
"Oh, that…" her eyes drifted away from his and focused on her shoes, watching her toes graze the mulch as she hung on the swing, drifting back and forth ever so slightly.
"I meant every word of it, even if they weren't my words. Brain – I mean – Brian; he just understood what I needed to say and how I felt. He helped me. It was kind of like using a poem or a song or something." Jordan crossed over and sat on the swing next to her, grounding himself with his feet, something he noticed Angela's legs were too short to do.
"But don't you realize that he wrote that letter from him? Jordan, he meant those words, too. To me! Even if he couldn't tell me that out there in the street right now." Angela looked over at Jordan. She could see by the way his head dropped and he hid behind his hair that this was not exactly news to him.
Jordan sighed. "I figured it out when I started to read it and rewrite it. At first I was just excited I got what it was saying and how perfect it all was, but then it sort of, you know, dawned on me. I felt awful, but I didn't know what else to do. As soon as I slipped it in your locker, I regretted it. That's why I wanted to tell you, and I was sort of, you know, hoping to do it before you found out from someone else or figured it out on your own. Because seriously. Like I could ever write something like that…"
Angela was transfixed. That was the longest she had ever heard Jordan speak in one chunk. His confession left him looking completely dejected. All the confidence and bravado she was so used to seeing was all but gone. He was slumped in the swing, his shoulders leaning against the chains, keeping him from turning into a complete blob on the playground.
"I just wanted to make you happy again, so you wouldn't, you know, totally hate me anymore. And now I've ruined that, too, " he barely whispered. "I'll just take you home now."
As he shifted to get up, Angela realized that all her hurt or anger or whatever it was she had been feeling just moments earlier had almost completely melted. Jordan had opened up to her, and really, that's what she had been needing. She thought for a second and she was pretty sure that it wasn't just because he was the Jordan Catalano, well, not entirely. He seemed genuine, changed, honest. She stood up from her swing before Jordan had gotten the chance to pull himself off his own. Angela stepped in front of him. Jordan looked up at her, standing roughly a head above him, as though he was surprised to see her standing in front of him.
"This, like, honesty and openness, that is all I have ever wanted from you. I don't think you've ruined anything…yet," she smirked. "And I don't think I am quite ready to go home just yet."
Before she lost all her nerve, Angela slipped her hands behind Jordan's head and brought her lips down to meet his. She kissed him gently and sweetly, unsure of how to convey everything she was feeling or how to help him understand that the words he had just said were exactly perfect.
Jordan was taken by surprise. He was not expecting this to be her reaction at all. In his mind, he had blown his last shot. As he got over the shock of her lips on his, he pushed himself off the swing, standing and pulling Angela closer to him as he began to return her perfect sweet kisses with more urgent, passionate ones. Angela could practically taste the desperation mixed with his relief in his kisses. Jordan's grip on her waist felt so tight, like he was never planning on letting her go. Part of her never wanted this to end, but the other part, the one that had moved past the complete obsession for everything Jordan Catalano, fought her back to reality.
Angela leaned back slightly. Jordan's hold on her was so tight that she literally couldn't step away. Even leaning wasn't quite enough; she needed to go so far as to place her hand softly over Jordan's mouth to quell the onslaught on her own. Jordan again looked surprised and slightly upset.
"We need to talk about a few more things, if this is actually going to happen," Angela said softly, no anger or accusation left in her voice, but he could tell she was deadly serious. "I can't go back to the way it was."
Jordan sighed and nodded, his brow furrowed. He was worried. Talking wasn't exactly his strong suit, which had sort of landed him in this position in the first place. His worry allowed her to wiggle out of his hold. Angela took his hand and walked him over to a picnic table near a streetlamp. After the way he had just kissed her, she didn't know if she could trust herself to be alone in the dark with him and maintain her resolve. He was still Jordan Catalano, after all. Those kisses left her knees a bit weak.
Jordan climbed onto the top of the picnic table and sat expectantly, waiting for whatever she had to say. Angela thought he looked like a little kid waiting to be scolded. Jordan was leaning forward, elbows on his knees. He was looking at his hands, clasped in front of him. His nerves showed in his hands. Jordan was picking at the cuticle around his thumb.
She sat a little closer to him than she had originally planned, hoping he would relax. Also hoping to prevent him from actually drawing blood, she reached over and took one of his hands in hers, ending the nervous fidgeting. She could not believe she had him this worked up. Oh how the tables have turned, she thought with a small smile.
"So…" she said abruptly and instantly his body tensed beside her. Angela rubbed Jordan's hand in hers and started again, more softly. She couldn't let him shut her out, not now.
"So, what you said to me in the hallway the other day?"
His eyes turned to meet hers and immediately dropped again.
"Brai, um, Brian," he responded. He heard her take a breath to ask him something else, but he needed to get his part out. "Just like the letter, I meant all of it. Brian just took what I said to him and made it sound so much better. So much better than, like, I could ever come up with on my own. Everything I thought to say in my head just sounded stupid."
Angela looked at him. Choosing her words carefully, she responded. "Jordan, I want your words. You are not stupid. Think about those songs you wrote. They are amazing. And either way, I don't care about Brian's fancy metaphors for things. I just wanted you to talk to me."
"But you do want someone who can say things like that. You were, like, head over heels about what I said. You didn't even think about the fact that I'm too stupid to think of that on my own. Please just admit that you want me to be, like, smarter or whatever," Jordan felt his own frustration with Angela building. Normally, he didn't let his emotions come this close to the surface. He was becoming angry with her for that.
Angela was taken aback. He was right. Not about her wanting him to be smarter, but about how willing she had been to just accept his words, both the ones he spoke and the ones on the page. Did she want him to be smarter? Or did she really just want him to succeed and make use the potential she saw in him? She let Jordan's hand drop as guilt came over her. If she thought about it, a small part of her did want to change him, but she didn't know whether or not she was wrong for wanting him to be better at school and help him move past his reading problems.
"We should probably just face the fact that I'm not good enough for you," Jordan said, barely above a whisper, when she didn't respond. Afraid that by saying it, she would realize that he wasn't.
"No! Oh God, no!" Angela yelped, grabbing his face in her hands so he had to look at her. "You are not not good enough for me. I owe you an apology."
"Ha. For what?" he scoffed. His mood was quickly deteriorating as the realizations of their issues and incompatibility came crashing back.
"I wasn't trying to change you for me, I don't think. You are like, such a great person and so much more than you let people see. You have all this potential that you can't see or something. I just wanted to help. I don't know why I was so willing to accept what you said the other day. I think has something to do with the potential you have. You have said it yourself, Brian has really been helping you and you've been improving. Between that and how articulate you can be when you write songs, I just was willing to believe everything. I never meant to make you feel bad or something. I'm sorry." The words spilled out of her mouth, as if the faster they came out, the more quickly she could right her wrongs.
Jordan watched her eyes as she spoke. They were becoming slightly wet, as though she was on the verge of tears. He knew she wasn't lying to him. Angela really did have his best interests at heart. After all, he was doing better, a lot better, in school since meeting her. He reached up and covered her hand on the side of his face with his own.
Angela actually laughed a little. "Ok? That's it?"
"Yea," he said with a smirk.
She leaned her head forward and met his forehead with hers, a smile still playing on her lips. Only Jordan Catalano could really get away with answering her ramblings like that.
They sat like that for what felt like forever. Just being together. Angela's hand along his jaw, his thumb drawing slow circles on the back of it.
Jordan found himself very content with just this. It surprised him. Sure, he wanted to be kissing her again but this was good. Better than good. He'd never been like this with any other girl, just still, calm, together. He knew there was something else that needed to be said. This whole clearing the air thing, she was right. They had to start with a clean slate.
"Rayanne…"he said faintly.
Angela startled from her place of contentment. She pulled back and slid away from Jordan, thinking he had just whispered Rayanne's name instead of her own. She glared at him.
"I need to, I don't know, explain about everything. I want you to know…" Jordan saw how hurt just the mention of the name had made Angela. She looked angry. He was pretty sure what he said now would make or break this reunion.
Angela sat waiting for Jordan to start talking. All of the hurt and anger was seeping back in.
He was deep in concentration, like he was trying to decide what to say. Her patience was wearing thin. Why the hell did he bring her up right now? she thought.
"Well?" she snapped. She hated herself for this whole new "talking" thing she had decided was necessary.
Jordan drew a deep breath. He knew he just needed to get it all out there to make her see the truth.
"What happened with Graff, it wasn't because it was Graff," he finally said.
"But it WAS Rayanne!" Angela said, standing and walking a few paces away from the picnic bench putting distance between them. She had been perfectly content to shove this topic out of her mind, to try and forget.
"I know, but who she was didn't matter. I was miserable. You were with that Corey kid and I had been drinking, more than I should have. All I wanted to do was forget about you. Like, move on, or whatever, like you had. Graff was just…there. We were both, like, wasted. And I have never felt so alone, like, ever. I thought I'd lost any chance of having you…it was one of the worst feelings I've ever, you know, felt. I've never had feelings like that for a girl before. I didn't know what to do," his voice got quieter and quieter as he spoke. He barely got the last few words out. "I was desperate and depressed and she was just there."
Jordan stole a glance at Angela. She had drifted back towards the picnic table. He could tell her mind was racing a mile a minute, processing, and likely over-processing, what he just said.
Angela couldn't help but notice the glint of something wet and shiny on the inside corner of Jordan's eye before his head dropped back down to staring at his hands. He sniffed hard, and gulped, like he was trying to force that wetness back down.
Something about what he said made her feel much better. Not about everything that happened, but about how much he really did feel. And those feelings were for her. She definitely was not okay with what had happened, but it stung less. And really, hadn't she kind of been trying to make him a little jealous with Corey? They weren't even actually together. Not that it excused his behavior, and it absolutely didn't excuse Rayanne, but this whole situation was partially her making.
"You were jealous?"
Jordan looked up at her with surprise. She had a sad smile on her face. Angela closed the distance between them and stood in front of him, hesitantly resting her hands on his knees. Jordan placed his hands on hers and nodded, cautiously.
"I'm sorry," he said, watching her face, wanting to grab her and kiss her again.
"For what now?"
"For taking so long to realize how amazing you are," Jordan said, matching her small, sad smile.
Angela laughed and flushed red. Things were not perfect, but this is what she needed. Talking, honesty, sharing of feelings. The mushy crap he claimed to hate. He let down his wall for her. She knew it wasn't all the way down, but it was better. He was trying. Her heart felt like it was sort of swelling in her chest.
"I think I'm done talking for now," Angela said softly. She threw her arms around his neck and pressed her lips into his, toppling them both backwards onto the picnic table.
Jordan laughed, relief swelling inside him. He grabbed her waist and rolled her so they were lying side-by-side. A chunk of her hair flopped down into her eyes and he instinctively reached up to brush it back behind her ear. Angela mimicked his motion, only using her thumb to touch the tiny amount of damp skin under his eye. And for the first time ever, she had the pleasure of seeing Jordan Catalano actually blush before he smiled at her and covered her mouth with his.