Author's Note: So after Christmas and New Year's, you're left with the most miserable time of the year. It's still cold outside, and it's downright terrible where I live, thanks to the monster snow storm that got just about every car in the city stuck in it's driveway. So there's nothing left to do now but dream about summer, so that's why this story's placed when Lily and Ray are enjoying summer break.
I also noticed that in the third season, Lily and Ray didn't seem to be "clicking", as Ray so quaintly put it. In the first and second season, what I like to call the "Golden Years", Ray and Lily were inseperable. They were always joking, flirting, but they never seem to do that in the third season. At the beginning of the season it didn't seem so bad, but then they seemed to completely ignore eachother! Oh sure, they'd take turns lusting after eachother, but never actually talk properly. I blame this mostly on Grace(Has anyone else noticed that when Ray gets girlfriends, Lily ignores him like she thinks he doesn't need her?) and partially on the writers.
So anyways, here you go, a little bit of Ray/Lily fluff. I hope you enjoy it, and if you don't... well, review and tell me why!!! xx And don't worry, only x number of days until summer break.
This old park is where Ray and I first met. It's summer now, and my bare feet scatter gravel here and there. If you look around, you'll think it isn't much. The paint on the monkeybars is chipped. The slide is rusty. The swingset creaks every time you move. Reaching as far back into my memory as I can, I realize even when we were kids this park was in bad shape. But I couldn't think of a more wonderful place in the world. So many memories are tied to this old park. When I was five years old, this was where I first saw that Arabic boy who would be such an amazing friend to me, and few days after, Ray brought Robbie McGrath to meet me here, the moral African-Canadian kid who got Ray and I out of a lot of tough situations later. After that, we'd spend a lot of time here together, playing. We'd be pirates and dragons and even pretend to be grownups. It was the simplest, most wonderful time of our lives, when our biggest worry was when our parents would call us in for dinner.
And then we did grow up, and it seemed like our entire world was turned upsidedown. We went off to highschool and nothing was the same after that. Some things that happened were good; we did meet Travis in highschool. Mostly everything else just complicated things, though. Robbie started to like a girl named Kim. Ray fell in love with me. I fell in love with him. It's funny, though; the fact that he liked me was the reason we aren't friends anymore, at least not like we used to be. Even though it was blatantly obvious, we never admitted how we felt about eachother, because we knew it would change everything. So Ray started dating some other girl to try to forget about me. Her name was Grace. We basically ignore eachother now. I think Ray's getting over me, and I don't want to ruin it for him by telling him I still love him. He doesn't need me now, anyways. He has Grace.
I remember the day Ray and I promised we'd be best friends forever. We linked pinky fingers and said an oath. I can even remember how it went.
"I swear on the moon and the stars and pepperoni pizza that Ray Brennan will be my best friend forever or until the end of time, and if not, God so help me!"
And then comes a more recent memory, where Ray told me how he guessed some things change, and then he kissed me. (Well, almost.) And he was right. As much as we try to deny it, or stop it from happening, things change. And they're going to keep on changing. We're going to graduate, go our seperate ways, and one day Ray will be nothing more then "a friend I had in highschool".
Which is why I had to make things right with him while everything was the same. I looked up, and there was Ray standing over me, a cocky smile lit up on his face, brushing a strand of silky black hair that had fallen loose out of his chocolate-brown eyes. My heart fluttered in a way it hadn't for a long time, and I was frustrated with myself for feeling like that. Those feelings belonged with a time long before now, when I was still best friends with Ray and hadn't realized what they meant, when we flirted and joked innocently.
"Oh, hi Ray," I said dismissively. It sounded cold, but it was one of the friendliest greetings I had given him in months. The smile had disappeared, but he still looked pleased to see me.
"Mind if I join you?" he asked politely, as if he didn't have as much right to this park as I did.
"Sure," I invited him. "Pull up a swing." I supposed it would be good to talk with him again. I wanted my friend back. He sat down heavily on the seat beside me, and the swingset gave a gentle creak in protest. I lifted my gaze to look at him, really look at him, for the first time in a while. He was wearing a sleeveless, figure-hugging white t-shirt, which gave me an easy view of his broad shoulders and admiriable physique. My eyes travelled upwards to his face. His black hair still curled at the bottom and over his ears the way I liked so much. I remembered then a piece of advice my mom had given me once. "A person's eyes tell stories about their soul. Anything important you want to know about a person, you can see it by looking into their eyes."
So I looked into Ray's eyes, even though I wasen't sure what I was searching for, and what I found suprised me. He still carried that gentle, admiring, loving look in them that they had every time he saw me. I realized then that Ray hadn't changed at all. He was still the same boy I always knew. I wondered if my eyes still looked the same. He suddenly broke my gaze and stared straight ahead, signalling he was probably about to say something hard for him.
"I guess you should know I broke up with Grace yesterday." Yesterday was the last day of school. I was shocked. Why would Ray want to lose a girlfriend right before summer and have no one to spend it with?
"Why did you break up with her?" I asked, trying to keep the nosy curiosity out of my voice.
"Because she wasen't you, Lily." He glanced back at me when he said this, I suppose because he wanted to look in my eyes again. I felt like my insides were being flooded with warmth and sudden affection towards Ray... like chocolate ice cream on a cone that you hadn't eaten fast enough, and it had melted and started running onto your fingers. I liked the way he said my name, too. Lill-ee. I think I could almost taste it. So sweet, he gave me a sugar rush. Ray continued.
"Do you know why I started dating her in the first place? Do you know why I liked her so much? It was because she reminded me of you, Lily. She was sweet and pretty and a lot of fun to be with, just like you." My heart was thumping dully in my chest, and I could almost feel the blood colouring my cheeks. I had tried so hard before to ignore feelings like this, but I knew this time I was out too deep. I was drowning in him. Ray kept talking.
"But you and Grace aren't the same person. In a lot of ways she's completely different from you, and after a while I started really, REALLY missing Lily Randall. No one can replace you. You're the only girl I want to be with." I could feel my heart rising and realized vaguely what Ray was saying. I don't know why, but I got up and walked over to the monkey bars so Ray wouldn't see how red my cheeks had turned.
"So I guess what I'm trying to say is... will you be my best friend again, Lily?"
I liked the way he had said "best friend" rather then "girlfriend". Because that's what we were really good at being. Best friends. Best friends forever.
"Of course, Ray. Come here." I gave him the widest, warmest smile I could muster and he got up off the swingset. His feet, bare like mine, crunched on the gravel softly and he came towards me. We hugged, me pressing my body against his, and we seemed to fit perfectly together. It felt good to touch him, to be near him again.
"Why did we stop talking, Lily? Why did we stop being friends?" he mumbled into my hair.
"Well, you know... I didn't think you needed me. You had Grace." It was what I had always thought. When Ray had a girlfriend, he didn't need me.
"I'll always need you," he said firmly. He let me go and I beamed at him again.
"Do you remember how we met, Ray?" I asked, crunching over to to the monkeybar ladder and climbing it. I hadn't touched the cool blue, chipped metal in years, but somehow it still felt familiar.
"How could I forget?" he replied, smiling. I swung myself over and climbed on top of the bars, over to the fifth rung. I hooked my legs around the bar and let myself drop so I hung upsidedown.
"I was right here, hanging from the fifth rung," I said. "And I had gotten myself stuck there. I was screaming and screaming for help but there was no one else around."
"And I was looking out the window of my house," Ray continued, playing along. "My mom was making supper and I could hear you from there. And I asked her, 'Mommy, isn't that the next-door neighbor?' but she ignored me and asked if I had cleaned my room lately." I laughed, my long blonde hair swaying slowly in the slight breeze.
"So then I thought you were so pretty I decided I couldn't let you just hang there, so I left the house..."
"...Crossing the street your mom told you never to cross without her around..."
"And I came over to you and held out my arms," Ray held out his arms as if about to catch me, "and I said, 'Here, let go and I'll catch you!'"
"You won't drop me, will you?" I asked in mock-nervousness, imitating the high voice I had spoken in when I was little. I couldn't help but smile even wider. The best part was about to come.
"No, I promise I won't!" Ray said, smiling just as wide as he tried to speak like his voice hadn't cracked yet. Instead of telling the next part, I unhooked my legs from the bar and let myself drop into Ray's arms. Just like when we were kids, he staggered under my weight before collapsing in the gravel, still clinging to me.
"See? I didn't drop you!" We looked at eachother and laughed. It started out as a giggle and progressed into a loud, raw sound that shook our chests. It was funny, it had happened exactly like when we were kids. It died down in a moment, and Ray was left smiling at me in a very cute way.
We stayed out for the longest time after that, the friendship we had prized so much repaired easily. We could never stay angry, or stay apart for very long. I had never even gotten into a real fight with Ray, the kind where you don't talk to someone, because I figured it would be just too hard. Our houses were just across the street, so we thought it couldn't hurt. We talked and the time somehow flew by. We were lying on our backs in the grass, shoulder-to-shoulder, gazing at the sky.
"Uh-Oh. Looks like there's a storm's blowing in," Ray commented. The sky was a shade of bluish-gray, and I realized he was probably right. "Want to go home now?"
I didn't want our day to end. I wanted it to stay like this forever, Ray and me and this park, suspended in time. I only had time to realize then that my heart had stopped pounding and my cheeks had returned to their normal tempature a long time ago. I thought it was right. I should always be comfortable around Ray. I shook my head. "Nah. We can wait until it starts raining." Ray didn't say anything, but silently reached down and touched my forearm, letting his hand rest there. It tingled where he touched me, but only for a second or two. We lay and watched the sky in silence. Somehow it was still as beautiful as if it had been blue and cloudless. White tendrils of lightning crackled across the sky, and soon we began to hear the thunder booming off in the distance. It soon began raining on us, but we still didn't go inside or even say anything. It was only spitting,(we hardly even got wet) and it never became heavier and quickly let up. A lot of thunder and lightning but not much rain. As I watched the sky I realized that things wouldn't be like this forever. Time would change us, our relationship, and our lives in general.
"Ray," I said, a lump rising in my throat at the thought someday Ray and I wouldn't be together. "What's going to happen after our graduation? Everything's going to change, and we'll never be like this ever. I might never even see you again after that."
Then Ray suprised me by saying something more mature then I expected of him. "I'm really not worried about that at all."
"Why not?" I asked, more curious then anything.
He grinned, like the answer was so obvious to him. "Well, because!" he exclaimed. "Maybe we'll never be like this, side-by-side, two teens in the best years of our lives, but we'll always be together." I closed my eyes frustratedly and sighed.
"Ray, you know things can't stay the same forever..."
"No, I mean it," he insisted. "It doesn't matter to me where you are, Lily Randall. You could be a bajillion miles away for all I care. All I have to do is close my eyes and think of you, and I'll remember the way you look and the sound of your laugh, the smell of your perfume and what it feels like to be right next to you, and you'll be right there," Ray said, and then he glanced at me. "Smiling at me like you are now. Because you'll always be here." He placed his hand in the center of his chest. And I knew it was true. I'd always be there with him, no matter what.
I decided it was the perfect moment, so I sat up and Ray followed my lead. I pulled him closer to me and could feel his heart beating. I placed my hand on his cheek, trying to remember everything about this moment and immortalize it in my mind. And then we kissed. Ray's lips were so soft...
My mom and Ray's dad were standing on the doorsteps of our houses across the street, yelling at us to come inside.
"Son! Time for dinner!"
"Lily! Come in and eat!"
But we couldn't hear them.