Opening his eyes, seventeen-year-old Twister Rodriguez groans in the midsummer brightness that has invited itself into his bedroom. The sun has never seemed brighter as he awakens from a failed attempt to sleep off his hangover. God, his head hurts. Just hurts, a dull, incessant ache that chips away at his attempts to move. Just moving hurts. Just breathing hurts.
Settling on his side facing the rest of the room, he opens his eyes. Allowing a quick glance at the clock he sighs. 7:03. It's good, definitely good. He had assumed it would be some ridiculous time, his gut saying 3:00 PM sounds about right. Figuring he still has upwards of seven hours left of slumber, he closes his eyes once more.
"Twist." A voice causes his eyes to snap open, his heartbeat quickening in his chest. The disturbance comes as a whisper, harsh and sharp, yet questioning and feeble. There is an underlying factor to the voice that causes dread to form in his chest however; the fact that, despite the hushed nature of the voice, it is still familiar.
Standing on the opposing side of the room, arms draped self-consciously over her midsection is Reggie Rocket. Her hair looks less perfect than usual, a refined messy that signifies someone who has put some effort into trying to restore some order. The tool is evident as she runs her fingers through her hair, shifting uncomfortably as she returns her hands to her middle, fingers digging unconsciously into her side. She looks like she has just woken up… just woken up?
"What…?" Twister begins, too confused and too tired to formulate an intelligent question. Why is she here? He doesn't remember her saying she was coming over… how long has she been standing there? It doesn't make sense, none of this makes sense, as he racks his brain for some kind of explanation. His head still heavy with the party from last night, he can't come up with anything. The confusion shining through in his eyes, he looks to Reggie for an answer.
The girl shifts uncomfortably once again, tracing an invisible pattern on the carpet with her foot. She digs her toes into the sand-colored strands until her cherry-red pedicure nearly disappears, watching the action intently, as if the scene is intriguing. Shrugging, she swallows hard before glancing to him disbelievingly.
"You don't remember?" Her voice sounds strained, like tears are blocking its clarity, and the look in her eyes causes fear to rise in Twister's chest. Don't remember? Don't remember what?
"I… I don't…" he begins, swallowing to regain a sense of his surroundings, realizing that somewhere in the course of all this he has found himself in a sitting position. Upon this realization, he swings his sleep-heavy legs over the edge of the bed, rubbing his temple with his fingertips. Returning his hand to his side, it brushes against bare skin. Glancing down, he sees he is wearing only his boxers, just a thin layer of gray plaid fabric. He pulls his bottom lip in, teeth readily finding their way into the skin. He doesn't remember…
Studying Reggie he can tell she's hiding something. Something big. Swallowing, he murmurs, "I don't remember, Reg. I'm sorry, I… tell me? Please?"
Visibly trembling, arms draped protectively around her midsection as she shakes her head. "We messed up, Twist."
"Messed up?" he repeats prior to allowing the words to seep in. "What… what do you mean we messed up? I…"
"We messed up," she repeats, emphasizing the word to the point it's almost painful. A long pause sets in before she elaborates painfully, "We… we were pretty drunk last night." He stares at her blankly. He remembers drinking, He remembers…
"Okay," Twister says stupidly. He remembers the party. It was a friend of theirs, Tommy, his party. A bunch of people were there. Everyone was pretty tipsy, to put it lightly. He remembers drinking more than he should have, remembers stumbling, laughing… but nothing he remembers could have gotten him here. Nothing he remembers involves being here with her.
"We… we…" she starts awkwardly, as if afraid to continue on. "We… you know…" You know? What the hell is that? You know? Seriously… then realization sets in. No. Oh God. It couldn't have been that; she can't be talking about that. Oh God…
"You mean…" he begins slowly, unable to finish the sentence. Dwelling on the final syllable, he glances up to her, a questioning look in his eyes. She has always been the one to fix things for him, like a big sister. Protective. Can't she protect him now, like she has so many times before? Can't she just tell him he's wrong, stupid even? Just for old times sake?
"Yes, Twister," she snaps out of frustration, tucking her hair behind her ear. She sighs shakily, lowering her voice. "We slept together."
Mouth agape, the words start to sink in. God… oh God. That's just… no. She can't… she must be… lying. She's lying. She has to be, there is no way… there's just no way. But as the facts start to set in, his mouth open in shock, it seems… plausible. Not good, not acceptable, not okay… but plausible.
"No…" he shakes his head, wide eyes concentrating blankly on the floor. "I…"
"I know," she sniffs, swallowing hard.
"I…" he starts again mindlessly, no real intent behind the word but to prevent the silence going on around him. Internally, though… that's a different story. Really- Reggie? Of all people, Reggie? He had grown up with her, known her since he was in diapers. She had always been kind of like an older sister, her younger brother serving the role of his best friend. Otto had been kind enough to share his older sister, to let her be Twister's too, and this is how he repays him? Given, things have changed since those toddler days- they have grown up. Their friendship has morphed into something more complex, something they have both been drifting apart from lately, with all the stresses and realities of life. Some kids just grew apart, most did. Twister just hadn't ever thought that they would.
Nonetheless, she is Reggie- no matter how pretty she has gotten or how many times looking at her has caused a flutter in his chest that he has always done anything possible to stifle, she is Reggie. There have been moments that he has allowed himself to think of her like that, to consider the possibility that one day they could possibly develop into something other than friends, and entertaining that possibility has always left him rigid. If they were ever to cross that line, there would have to be very clear rule to follow. Getting drunk, getting her to bed and then forgetting about it was never in the plans.
He never thought she'd go for it, he never thought she would ever cross the line. Never thought she would even think about kissing him, let alone actually act on it. This meant she had kissed him, right? He doesn't remember, but she has to. She must remember something… or everything. But what if she hadn't acted on it? What if it was all him, what if…
"Reg, I'm so sorry, I'm sorry, I… was it… did I- I didn't force you, did I?"
"Like rape me?" she states blankly before scoffing. "No, Twist, you didn't rape me. And for the record, I didn't rape you either." The boy lets out a sigh of relief, but the relief is short lived as he realizes that's just one of the issues on the mountain of problems he has somehow created.
"That's good." Why does he have to sound so dumb? Why can't he be cool about it, sweep in and tell her he will fix everything before somehow making it up to her? He can't because this isn't something he can just sweep under the rug. This is like trying to cover a mountain with a gum wrapper, like that will fix it and make it any less prevalent. No, this is at the forefront and it creeps him out to think that she knows what he doesn't. She knows how things went.
"Yeah," she murmurs, breathless. He can't help but stare at her, half in spacing out, half in awe. She's just so pretty, so beautiful… and something about the night before must have opened the gates to allow him to think about her like that.
"I, um…" he starts, voice low and gravelly, yet somehow still gentle. "Did we uses… you know… protection?" He clears his throat before the final word, once again mentally cursing himself for being so awkward. He sounds like a wide-eyed little kid, innocent and clueless about the world.
"Yes," she murmurs quietly, almost embarrassedly, a relieved sigh escaping from Twister's lips.
"Good," he nods. "Good." She nods as well, shifting uncomfortably as she digs her fingernails further into her side. Another silence sets in, this one as heavy and awkward as the last and Twister feels the need to break it.
"Look, Reg, I'm sorry, I…" he starts, her gaze pulled abruptly to his.
"Damn it, Twist," she snaps, much to Twister's surprise. "Just stop it, okay? It isn't some national tragedy, no one died, it just happened. It just happened, and…" She stops, sniffing as she blinks wet eyes away to the wall. The boy studies the girl carefully, shock laced with his pupils at the realization that she is crying. Reggie never cried, ever.
Studying the girl, vulnerable and small, the realization sets in. It might not have been ideal by any means, but it still means something to her. He's pretty sure it was her virginity, positive, actually, and whatever happened last night has to serve as a milestone. And here he is, apologizing, acting like the world is going to end, leaving her to deal with it by herself. It's not ideal, by any means, but it is theirs.
"Come here," he murmurs, receiving a questioning glance from Reggie as he scoots over on the mattress, allowing room for her to lay down by him. "It's early, still." She gives him a sideways glance, still unsure, but carefully makes her way over to the mattress, laying down on her side, rigidly, beside him, but not facing him. He takes the comforter up to cover both of them, slipping his arm around her waist and pulling her close. She is stiff at first, but after a few moments she melts back into the embrace.
"I'm sorry," he whispers. "For acting like an idiot, you know. For being a jerk." He can't see her face, but he knows she is fighting a small smile.
"It's okay," she offers, voice small and shy.
"I just wish… you know, it didn't happen the way it did," he continues. "I wish I could remember." Her head turns to face him at this, an amused smile on her face.
"Do you, now?" she laughs. His eyes go wide, a deep blush setting in his cheeks.
"No, no… not like that, I just…" he defends blindly, unaware that she has shifted to face him, a smirk on her face.
"It's okay, Twist, I get it." Her eyes skim his features, sinking down to the small amount of skin on his chest peeking out from above the blanket. "I've missed you." The comment seems so random, so out of context that, ironically, it makes perfect sense. Chewing his upper lip, Twister nods.
"Missed you too," his voice is small, soft and delicate, and his eyes dust over the blanket, back up to hers. A shy smile creeps across his lips, like an adorable little kid apologizing for taking the last cookie, and Reggie smiles warmly, sweeping her hand up behind his head. Warmth pulsating between the two, feelings and emotions, Reggie works up the strength to speak.
"So… this… I mean, like, you and me, could it…" she struggles with her words, much as Twister had earlier. Her eyes shift from his eyes and Twister leans in, inches from her face, to force the connection.
"Yeah," he answers her, the invisible question she had posed of a possible relationship. "It can," offering her a soft, gentle kiss on her cheek he pulls back. "We'll take it slow, k? Like as slow as you want. The last thing I'd ever want is to hurt you." Tears form in Reggie's eyes and he once again brings her to his chest, arms wrapped protectively around her slender form.
"Let's try to get some sleep, okay?" he yawns, chin atop her head as he closes his eyes. "It's early, still."