All These Things We Feel

Chapter Eight


For the first time in my life, or so I thought it was, I was observing every single detail of my surroundings. The fleeting proximity of Summer's wavy brunette hair as she opened the white, Victorian styled front door of her apartment and stepped inside, away from view. The flooding of warm rays of sunlight from their broad windows, designed with settable cushioned windowsills and the light traces of dust particles in the air. A faint musk of something comfortable yet unrecognisable which I felt like calling cosy, and homelike. The distinct feeling of – suddenly, my train of thought was abruptly interrupted by the sharp sound of my suitcase slipping out of my fingers and thudding against the dark wooden floors. I was barely conscious of the fact that I was standing just outside the premises for so long that Summer's flatmate had slipped past me to enter; that my hands were so tightly wound around the handle of my bag that they grew tired of the tension and let go. I regained my cool, calm composure and carried my bag inside, brushing a collected hand over my messy hair as I did so.

Once inside, I peered around and decided to settle my suitcase by the coach in this main room, which I identified as a mixture of a living room, kitchen, dining room and lobby. Not that I was complaining, Summer had her living much better compared to mine and Zack's shared dorm room – which I might add was no larger than this room. In the silence, I found myself wondering where Tink was and somewhere at the back of my mind, hoping that she wasn't alone with that 'other guy', as he was nowhere to be found as well.

Unfortunately, my doubts were proved accurate when I heard a murmuring of two voices in a room to the left of this one, which I assumed was one of the bedrooms. If it did, I thought my heart sank a little, but that wasn't right in the balance of all things – my heart did not sink. And my heart certainly did not sink for Summer. Or did it?

I settled myself on a high stool at the kitchen bar, not looking in the direction of, but with my ears perked in the attention of catching the conversation in the bedroom. Even with the door slightly ajar, I could only hear the words "stay… nowhere…" and "tonight" drifting into this empty room. I more or less caught the gist of the conversation.

I hoped they made the decision to not make me a homeless person.

At least just not for tonight.

Summer burst out of her bedroom with her typical authoritative enthusiasm, carrying an assortment of newspapers, forms and miscellaneous papers in her arms and her 'other guy' following behind, rubbing a hand across the back of his neck. I couldn't quite place the expression his face, but it was something I thought I'd understood. What was it… discomfort? No… jealousy? No… just disagreement?

As Summer approached the bar I was sat at, she set down the pile of papers in front of me and cast the 'other guy' an upturned eyebrow and side glance as he passed by the both of us and straight into his bedroom. A moment later, his door was shut and I heard the faint mumble of Nirvana through soundproof walls – meaning his music was being played moderately loud. After I acknowledged the drum riffs of the song 'Come As You Are', I looked at Summer's averted face and realized we were alone.

I was alone with Summer and I was afraid, because I didn't know how I felt. I didn't know what I might do… considering I had already ruined the life I had always known. I had ruined it, and as if I was trapped in some alternative universe of the real world… I was sitting in Summer Hathaway's apartment wishing somewhere inside myself that she would let me stay the night… on her couch of course.

My eyes lingered on the curves of her delicate hands as she sifted through various things a little too long that I felt guilty. I felt wrong. I could not feel this way and I would fight it all I wanted.

I swear, I could ask to want any other girl but this one.

"Okay, here. Fill this one out," She finally spoke, breaking my gaze which was trailing up at the shape of her arm, "I picked it up for you yesterday morning."

She turned to me but did not look into my eyes, instead she pushed a light blue form into my hand – which I had not realised until now was outstretched and open in her direction. With disbelief I took the opportunity to turn away and the silence between the both of us was broken by the sound of pen scraping paper. I filled out the details I'd known to fill out without thinking… my name: Freddy Jones. Age: Eighteen. Occupation: Lost Cause. Rebel. Student. Transferring from: Stanford University, College of Music. Reason…

My eyes and hands were focused on writing, but my brain was painfully and vividly aware of the presence and the closeness of Summer Hathaway. So much that the skin on my arms and back seemed to spark or was just too hot for me to concentrate fully on the words I was writing. But I was sure my composure and expression gave nothing away – as far as anyone was concerned, Summer still made my skin crawl, and not in the good way.

"You'll have to hand that in on Monday when you go into the University," She spoke up again just as I was signing my signature and dating it, with her convenient timing, "If you want I can go with yo-"

"It's okay, I can go by myself." I interrupted, not meaning to, but obviously sounding irritated.

She sighed a sigh I didn't understand, "Oh sure. I guess… Well, Nathan and I agreed at you could stay here for tonight or until you can find a place of your own because our landlord doesn't allow more than two in the apartment..." From her pile of papers she slipped out a newspaper, appropriately opened on the property and lettings pages (she really didn't leave things half done, did she). "Have a look here and I'll help you out when you find something." Summer added, and by her attitude I could tell I was making her feel awkward. I thought I'd help her escape this trap that was me.

I stood up from my seat and scooped up the forms and newspapers with one hand before chucking them neatly to land on top of my suitcase. I walked across the room towards the front door trying to look cool and indifferent to this entire situation.

Without turning my body and merely giving Summer a quarter of a side glance, I responded, "I think I'm going to have a look around, see whatever you've got here." I put my hand on the door handle and made a gesture to leave, I knew she wasn't going to but why did I kind of want her to stop me and ask me to stay a little while. "Uh, Thanks for this Tink." I added, with a weak half smile.

I didn't need to look at Summer to know that she had a smile on her face too, I could hear it somehow as I passed the doorway.

"Welcome to town, Freddy."