The Whole Truth
Because some things are meant to be.
And some are not.
And also because …Ozzy says it best.
The ride home is quiet. She's not surprised. They're sitting next to each other but neither is on that bus, bumping along the poorly paved roads. Ephram glares at his hands, headphones in place, and she can already tell that he's trying not to think at all – focusing instead on the music in his head. It's his escape.
Music is his Colin.
"Ephram," she begins, her voice soft, half-hoping that he can't hear her over the sound. He looks up, but doesn't meet her eyes - she's grateful. He has such intense eyes that sometimes it scares her to look in them. "I'm sorry that I lied to you."
He grins that half-hearted grin that she's grown used to. "You didn't lie. You just didn't tell the whole truth, is all." She blows wind out of her nose, the noise substituting for a laugh. He looks away, mouthing the words to his music, before sagging against the seat. "I wish you'd told me," he says finally. "I don't understand why you didn't. I mean," he shoots her a wry glance, "I do, but you didn't have anything to be afraid of."
She smiles at him, eagerly grabbing his hand. "I know that," she tells him with a grin. "I guess … I just didn't want you to think that the only reason I was befriending you was because of Colin."
He looked darkly amused. "Wasn't it?"
"Well," she admits, "yes. I just … "
"Didn't want me to know that."
She looks away, letting him tug his hand free. "I'm sorry," she says again, and she is.
"It's fine, Amy." That grabs her attention, and she turns to face him. He's smiling, not the tired, half-hearted I'm-not-really-happy smile, nor his I'm-smiling-for-more-than-the-obvious-reasons-and-it-has-to-do-with-you smile, and not even her favorite, the you've-made-me-genuinely-happy smile. It was an all new one, but she thinks it might be a I'm-not-going-to-let-you-know-how-I-really-feel-about-this smile. He runs a hand through his hair and tugs the earphones from his ears. "Really. It is."
She frowns at him, cocking her head to the side. "You aren't mad?" She asks.
"I'm furious," he answers honestly. "But not at you, not anymore."
She grins weakly. "You can't really get mad at a girl who's in love with someone beyond out of reach," she points out.
"I can sympathize," he says with a shrug, and for a second she's smiling. Then it shifts and she doesn't push the issue, instead scooting toward him. "What are you listening to?"
"It's called the 'Why I Hate The World Mix'."
She grins at him. "Wow, you must have a lot of them. That's a pretty long list."
"Nine to date. I'm working on the tenth."
"Hey, it's not easy being emo."
And it's comfortable, this bantering. He leans over, and she freezes. He's close, closer than they've ever been and she jumps, turning her face to look at him a little. He laughs – but not a I-think-this-is-funny laugh – and says, "Relax, Abbott. I'm just giving you a little relief from the world that, I think it's safe to say, screwed us both over without batting an eyelid."
He tucks one of the ear pieces into her ear. The music pours in, notes and keys on an endless string. She likes being connected to him like this, hearing what he hears.
Yesterday is gone and come
Tomorrow will I find the sun?
Or will it rain?
Everyone is having fun –
Except me, I'm the lonely one…
She glances at him and he grins sheepishly. "I made it right before leaving New York," he explains, but he didn't have to. She knows just what he's feeling – she thinks that if she'd made one just after the accident, this is what she would have said.
They're connected in a lot of ways, she realizes as she lets her head droop to his shoulder. He smiles down at her, his I-save-this-smile-just-for-you-Amy smile.
She likes it, maybe a little more than she should, and that, she wants to tell him, is the whole truth.