11/14/2011: This is the re-edit of Chapter 1, which was originally posted way back in 2009. This was my first attempt at fan fiction and since I had no clue what I was doing, much of what I wrote resembled a script or a screenplay. Since then, I'm happy to say that my writing has evolved and I wanted to make this first chapter consistent with the others. Hopefully, the original version wasn't a turn off to too many people. Looking back now, I'm not sure I would have continued reading. Thanks to all of you who did. I'm sure this version will read a bit better than the last. Thanks again.
Angela sits quietly, staring out of the window, her thoughts swirling.
"Did Brian just admit to writing that letter? That incredible, beautiful letter? How could Brian be capable of writing something so completely amazing? What does this mean? Oh God, Brian Krakow is like in love with me? Oh my God, it's not possible, please God tell me it's not possible…I'm like, Brian's Jordan? Could this night get any worse?"
Her silent plea to heaven above is cut short when she hears Jordan speak.
"You okay? Angela?" He asked tentatively, glancing at her briefly. She's unable to read the look on his face, never having seen it before. It looked like guilt, or maybe fear, but then again it looked like neither.
"Yeah, I'm fine, I guess." She mumbled back at him.
Jordan pulls into the parking lot of a local playground. His shoulders seem heavy as he reaches forward to turn off the ignition. They sit in silence for a minute. Had she been looking at him, Angela would have notice the three false starts to this impending conversation. She would have seen his knitted brow and notice the way he gripped the steering wheel as he thought of how to begin. Instead, she remained lost in thought, staring out of the passenger side window. Hearing him clear his throat, she turns her head slightly, though she's still not looking at him. Jordan can tell this is going to be bad already. There has never been a time in their history when she wouldn't look at him, except after the incident with Rayanne and that had caused them to end horribly. He imagined this conversation would take the same route, braced himself and started talking.
"I came by because there's something you need to know." He began. "I tried to tell you today in the hallway, but you were like, all happy and I couldn't believe you were actually forgiving me. I didn't want to screw that up, but I told you before, I never lied to you." Jordan takes a deep breath. "I didn't write that letter. I meant everything it said, I can even tell you what it said word for word, that's how much I meant it, but I didn't write it."
Jordan thought to himself, Okay,that'sit.We'redone.Goodjob,Catalano.Idiot!
His confession hung in the air between them, almost a tangible thing. It felt like a barrier to each of them, this thing that had been erected between them and around which neither was sure they'd find their way.
Angela stared straight ahead, looking through the windshield, her face void of all emotion, which in Jordan's mind was far worse than facing her anger or her tears. He took it to mean she no longer cared one way or the other. He didn't think anything could be worse than having her hate him, but having her not care at all, that suddenly seemed so much worse.
"I know." Angela finally responds in what is almost a whisper.
"Brian told you." DidhejustsayBrianinsteadofBrain?Focus,focus.
"No, it's not important who told me. I know that Brian actually wrote it. He tried to deny it, but I know it was him." She answered, her voice hollow and far-away sounding.
"You're mad, right?" He looked at his hands, nervously tracing the jagged edges of each one.
"Not exactly, I'm not sure how I feel right now." Angela turns to look at him. "I was so amazed at the words in that letter and the fact that you wrote them…for me." She hesitates; refusing to let the 101 emotions she's feeling control this conversation. Collecting herself, she continues. "Only, now I find out that they're someone else's words. What does that even mean? How am I supposed to feel? I such an idiot."
"How are you an idiot? I'mthe one who can put a sentence together to tell you that I'm sorry, that you didn't deserve that. I'm the one who screwed everything up."
"So, that whole "unconscious wish" thing…that was Brian too, wasn't it?" She asked, already sure of the answer.
"Sort of. I told him that you hated me and wouldn't speak to me and he started telling me how what I did was undefendable and how I did this to myself and that maybe I like, wanted to punish you or something and everything he said was exactly how I felt, I just couldn't put it into words. So I used his. I swear, I wasn't trying to trick you. I told you, I meant every word."
That's the second time I've heard that tonight. How weird is that? How can they BOTH mean it? And how can Jordan mean it if they weren't even his words?
"I just, I needed to tell you that I was sorry, but you wouldn't talk to me. Brian said I should write you a letter. It sounded like a good idea except that I couldn't. I tried, but I couldn't think of what to say. Brian's good with words, so I asked him to help me. All I was thinking about was the way that you would look through me, past me, like I didn't exist. I just didn't know what to do or what to say. What was I supposed to say to you? There are like…no words."
'Like I don't exist.' Well, at least he knows how it feels now.
"How about 'I'm sorry?' That's usually what people say when they hurt someone or do something wrong." She replied, her voice thick with sarcasm and resentment.
He glanced at her, shame written all over his face, but still she saw something else. It irked her that she couldn't identify what that other thing was. She wondered, was it deception? Was he lying to her, playing her? Somewhere in the back of her mind, she thought, "there'snowaythatJordanCatalanodidallthistogetmyforgiveness,likeImattertohim,atall."
"Sorry just didn't seem like enough, y'know, for what I did. Believe me, I'm suffering for what it and I know I deserve it, but I just wanted you to stop hating me, even if we couldn't, y'know, be together or whatever." The last part of the sentence was barely audible. He knew that this might be the only chance he had to explain himself, so he forged ahead. "After it happened I felt so bad. I couldn't stand myself, so I understood how much you hated me and "sorry" just seemed so lame. Everything I tried to say to you, it came out all wrong..."
He closed his eyes, leaned his head back on the headrest, and hoped she would hear the sincerity of his explanation, that she would at least consider being friends, if nothing more. The thought of not having access to her at all made him miserable and while friendship is not what he wanted, he'd settle for it, knowing it was more than he deserved.
"What you just said was perfect." Angela said, a trace of exasperation in her voice. "Look, I know it's not easy for you and if you stumble a little over the words, I don't care because at least they're your words. I just wish you had tried to tell me yourself and if you needed help, anyone but Brian would have been better. I have to see him everyday. Every morning on the bus, I'm going to have to see him and know that those were his words. He's like this third person in our relationship or whatever this is." She gestured between them, frustration was evident on her face and the somewhat shrill quality of her voice confirmed for Jordan that this was not going to end well.
"Brian's the only friend I have that gets it, gets this, us." He explained.
Yeah, because he feels the same way, Ughhhh Wait a minute, did he just say he considered Krakow his friend? The weirdness of this whole situation just grew like, exponentially.
"Tino, Shane and the guys, they don't talk to girls, they hook up with girls." Jordan continued. "It doesn't mean anything. I know because I used to do the same thing, but that's not how I want it to be with you. It took awhile, but I get it now."
He knew he was baring his soul and she was going to spit on it, but he felt he owed her an explanation of his actions and whatever he could tell her tonight, he would, because it would likely be the last time she ever spoke to him. That thought saddened him, but he wouldn't dwell on it with her sitting right here in front of him. He would take whatever time she was willing to give and simply enjoy the bright green of her eyes that were staring into his. He would find a way to kiss her one more time, so that he could remember the feel of her now silent lips on his. He would trace them with his thumb, because he knew how much he would miss the softness and fullness of them. He fought the urge to touch her face as they sat there in silence staring at each other and just when he thought he was about to give in to that urge, she spoke.
"Do you?" She asked. "Do you get it?" She folded her arms across her chest and regarded him skeptically.
"Yeah, I do. I get that what I did to you was completely f*cked up and I don't deserve for you to even talk to me. I get that I should have just said sorry instead of getting Brain to write that letter. I get that it's more than a hook up with you. I'm really sorry, Angela."
"I just, I guess I'm stupid or something, but I never thought you would do…I didn't believe it when people told me, I couldn't believe that you would do that to me. Why? Why would you do that to me?" The thought had been rattling around in her head since the day she found out. It was a question she had for both of them, but she never thought she would actually have the opportunity or the nerve to ask him.
Jordan sighed heavily.
"The Graf thing was just stupid. Me, being stupid. I saw you with that Corey kid and it seemed like you just forgot about me, moved on. I guess I was mad or something. I went to Louie's to get drunk and forget about it, but Graf came in and when I saw her, all I could think about was you. I-"
The way that Angela's body jerked, caused him to stop speaking. The tears in her eyes and her horrified expression cut into his chest like a knife. He didn't mean to hurt her all over again. He was just trying to explain to her how it all happened, in the hopes that she would see for herself how meaningless and stupid it was.
"You saw her but all you could think about was me? What are you saying? She was getting angrier by the second. "You thought about me so much that it made you have sex, in this car, with my best friend?" Starting to cry, "Look, I don't want the gory details about you having sex with Rayanne Graf. It's hard enough to be in this car without thinking about that!"
"Whoa, Angela, just listen. He reached out toward her and grabbed her hands, which she promptly pulled out of his grasp. "You deserve an explanation and…" He ran his hand through his hair. "I don't think I can get through this again, so just let me say it." Angela sits back, sullen and staring straight ahead through the windshield.
"Graf walked up to me and asked for a beer, so we went out to my car to get it. We didn't plan for anything to happen. She was drinking and I was drinking and we were both ripped. The stupid thing was, the whole time, we were talking about you." He snickers "I was wishing you were there and wondering if you were with that Corey kid. I was really drunk and I don't remember everything, but I remember that. I closed my eyes and wished you were there, but I kept seeing you smiling at him and hearing you say that you'd love to do whatever, go out or whatever with him. I knew the minute it was over that I did something stupid and that you would hate me forever. I just kept hoping you would never find out and life could go on like it never happened, because I wish it never did. I am so sorry, Angela. I tried to tell myself that it was no big deal, it meant nothing cuz we weren't even like…together or whatever, but it still felt wrong." His stance mimicked hers now. He swallowed hard and stared straight through the windshield at nothing in particular, shame plain on his face.
"That's because it was wrong." She started, her voice colder than he'd ever heard before. "So, you want me to forgive you for the thing with Rayanne and for the letter; is there anything else? Maybe some dead puppies you need to explain?" She said sarcastically.
Jordan sat back in his seat looking defeated. "I just want us to be okay again. I know I messed up. I never meant for this to happen. Any of it. I just wanted you to know how sorry I was and that I get it. I never thought I would want to like, be with someone. I didn't know until all of this happened. When I saw you with Corey, that's when I knew. It felt like he took something of mine and I wanted it back."
Angela stared at him for several minutes, saying nothing. Looking at his face. His eyes were closed and to anyone else it would have appeared as though he were asleep, but every so often she saw him swallow hard as though he were fighting to keep something down. That's when she realized what the unrecognizable expression was…sincerity. Jordan Catalano was sincerely telling her exactly how he felt about her and what he did to her. He was remorseful and for once, he was willing to let her in.
Too little, too late? Is this what that means? I feel like a month ago, something like this would have been more than enough, but now…it's just…not. This changes nothing. He still slept with Rayanne, he still made me feel like some kind of sideshow freak, hiding me from the world. He still hurt me and I'm not so sure he wouldn't do it again first chance he got.
"Do you know what I would have given to have you talk to me like this just once? Now it's happening and I'm numb. Part of me wants to forgive you and get past all of it, but I just keep feeling like it's always going to be like this. Me waiting for you to decide that this is real, that I'm like, a real person, that I deserve to be treated with some…respect. God! I can't do that anymore, Jordan. Either we're both in this or neither of us is. I used to think I would be happy to have you any possible way, but that's not true. I'm not willing to make myself less just to be with you. Do you have any idea what I had to give up to be with you? The way you hid me from your friends like I was a freak, like I was nothing. I deserve better than that.
Where did that come from? Did I just give him an ultimatum? Oh well, that's it for sure. This is soooo over.
Silence, awkward silence ensues. Angela turns to stare out the window.
"You're not nothing." It was barely a whisper, but she'd heard it. She turned to face him, needing to see his face when he said whatever he was going to say next.
"I seriously could not sleep or think…because of you. Noone ever did that to me." He sighed heavily before turning to face her. "This is all new for me. You're like, different…really different and I didn't know how to deal with that…I still don't." He pauses, as if to gather his thoughts. Angela watches him blink, his eyes searching as if somewhere outside the window there are cue cards to help him remember his lines. Finally, his eyes settle on hers and that expression is back. "I can't undo this. I wish I could. All I can do is say I'm sorry and I want to be with you and I swear I'll never do anything like that again, the rest is up to you."
He can feel the pit growing in his stomach as he waits for her to respond. He watches as she knits her brow and her eyes travel between their laced fingers and his eyes. He can't even remember grabbing her hand and he takes some comfort in the fact that she hasn't pulled away, but the weight of the silence is almost painful and he can't take it anymore. "So what happens now?"
"That depends. What are you asking me? Are you asking for us to be together, like together, just us, because that's all I wanted, but I have to be able to trust you. You can't just stomp all over me and expect me to be there. I don't know if I can. If I can trust you." She looks at him pleadingly, wishing that all it took was for him to say the words, but she know that's not true.
"I can't promise that I'll be like 'boyfriend of the year' or whatever and I'm probably gonna f*ck this up, but I hate the way things were before. Can we just start over?" He asks.
Angela was beginning to warm to him. Didhejustsay 'boyfriend?'
"So you want to be my "boyfriend?" She teased.
"I-I dunno," Jordan nervously shrugged his shoulders and averted her eyes. "I guess that's what this is."
He's nervous! Oh my God! I made Jordan Catalano nervous!
Jordan breathed deeply and looked her in the eye. "I mean, yeah, that's what I want."
"And you'll talk to me, even if you think you don't know what to say?"
"What about the whole sex thing?"
"I'm up for it?" He smiled seductively.
"Nothing has changed, Jordan I'm serious. If you can't deal with that, there's no point in start…"
Jordan cut her off with a kiss.
"I was just kidding" He smiled.. "I know. I mean, I really want to, but if you're not ready, you're not ready. I'll live."
Angela searched his eyes for any trace of insincerity before responding. "Then I guess we can start over." She said, cautiously.
Jordan reaches over and kisses her. It's a deep soulful kiss, filled with relief and hope. When the kiss ends, they stay forehead to forehead with their eyes closed.
"Brian! Telephone!" Bernice Krakow calls up the stairs.
"Brian, it's Rickie. So?"
"So what?" A dejected Brian responds.
"So, did you tell her?" Rickie asks in exasperation.
"Kind of? Come on, this was your shot. How could you blow this?"
"I didn't blow it." Brian barks at the phone. "Jordan showed up and swept her away…again." Brian explains.
"She went with him?" Rickie asks, surprise evident in his voice.
"Yeah." Brian responds, solemnly.
"Even after you told her?" Rickie asks.
"Yeah" At this point, Brian isn't even attempting to mask his annoyance.
"She didn't like, say anything to you? She just left?" Rickie asks, trying to reconcile what he knows with what has happened.
"Yes, she just left. I poured my heart out and she stepped on it on the way into Jordan Catalano's very fast, very hot car!" Brian yelled.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you feel bad. I just can't believe she's like still into him after all of this." Rickie responded.
"Yeah, well, welcome to my world."
Jordan and Angela are parked in front of the Chase house, talking between passionate kisses. They are oblivious to the curtain on the front window that keeps moving, just the tiniest bit to expose one probing eye.
Jordan pulls out a kiss just long enough to ask her a question.
"Want a ride in the morning?" His voice is husky and affects her in ways she doesn't completely understand.
He dives back in without giving her an opportunity to answer. Minutes later she pulls away.
"Ok. I'll be ready by 7:30" She responds breathily.
They've been parked for fifteen minutes when the porch light begins to flash. It takes another five before either of them realize it.
"Uggh, that's my mom. I better go."
They share one last kiss and she reluctantly exits the car.
"Bye." She says wistfully as she closes the passenger side door and watches Jordan drive off.
Angela steps into the street and looks around before she addresses the air around her.
"Brian, I know you're out here somewhere. Can we talk for a minute?"
She waits until she hears the rustling of leaves and sees legs dangling from the tree in front of the Krakow house.
"What's the point Chase? There's really nothing to talk about. You're happy, he's probably going to shatter you heart into a million pieces but right now, you're happy."
"Why do you have to say things like that?" She yells. "God! I was trying to have a normal conversation with you and you have say things like that. You are impossible!"
"I'mimpossible?Me? Are you serious? You get into his car; he says whatever it is he says and poof, instant forgiveness and I'm impossible? Brian rants as he paces in front of her gesturing toward the direction in which Jordan left. "I've never done anything to you even remotely on the scale of what he's done over and over and you treat me like gum on the bottom of your shoe!"
"Brian…" Angela begins, her voice level, staring at her boots. "…he admitted that he didn't write the letter. I didn't have to say anything, he told me before I had a chance to say anything. He tried to tell me earlier today, but I didn't give him a chance. He was saying that he didn't want to pretend that he wrote it, but I thought he was saying something else. Anyway, he admitted it before I told him that I already knew. He had no intention of taking full credit for it."
"Well Bravo! Jordan Catalano has, like, ethics. Yet one more thing for you to moon over. He's still going to break your heart. It's like inevitable." Brian folds his arms across his chest.
"You are a hateful person, you know that? How is it possible that you could write something so completely beautiful and amazing and still be this horrible, hateful person? Why do I even try with you Krakow? Why did you help him if this is how you feel about me being with him? Do you want him to hurt me? Would that make you feel better?"
"I helped him because he asked me to." Brian answers matter-of-factly. "He was pathetic. He couldn't put two words together. I felt…sorry…for him. Oh, and by the way, nothing would make me feel better right now. Nothing." They're both silent for a minute, neither knowing what to say or trusting themselves not to say something regrettable. "What do you see in him anyway? You can't possibly have a decent conversation with him. I get that he's, like, physically perfect, but that only takes you so far, at some point, like actual words have to be spoken. Oh, wait, I guess there isn't a whole lot of talking when you're with him anyway." Brian quips, venom creeping into his voice.
"Ughhh! Krakow, this is what I mean. How can you have compassion for him and make fun of him at the same time? You feel sorry for him, but then you trash him. I can't have this conversation with you." She begins to walk away, angry and disgusted by Brian's attitude. She takes several steps before turning back. "I just wanted to tell you that I really did love the letter and I'm sorry that I don't feel the same way. Part of me wishes I did, because what you wrote was exactly what I needed but I can't just turn off my feelings for Jordan. Believe me…" She scoffs. "…there have been times that I wish I could. My life would be so much easier, but I can't do that anymore than you can. In a weird way…we totally understand each other." The two of them stand in the middle of the street staring into each other's eyes. "Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that."
"It's getting late, you better go inside." Brian gestures toward the front door of the Chase house.
They turn from each other to walk in opposite directions, each to their own home.
"Brian?" Angela calls to him without turning around.
"Yeah, Chase" Brain answers, still facing his house.
"You and Sharon are my oldest friends and I can't imagine what growing up would have been like without the two of you,..I'm glad that we're friends, even if you are impossible."
"Me too. Goodnight, Chase"
Angela enters the house and makes her way to through the living room.. Hearing the front door, Patty calls from the kitchen, "Angela, is that you?"
"Yeah mom, I'm going to bed."
"Did you eat something, Honey? Are you okay?" She asks as he enters the living room through the kitchen door.
Angela heads up the stairs "Yeah, I'm fine, not hungry. Going to bed. Goodnight."
Patty leans on the banister, looking up towards the disembodied voice of her daughter. "Okay, well…goodnight." She stands in the living room, looking a little forlorn, wondering what happened with Angela and Jordan, but she knows better than to press for details.
Angela and Jordan arrive at school the next morning and spend some time alone together in his car.
"So, I never asked you, what did you and my mother talk about. Are you guys like best friends or something?" She teases.
Jordan smiles mysteriously, "You're mom is cool." He responds, gathering books and opening the car door.
"My mom? Patty Chase? You're kidding right?" Angela laughs.
"Serious." Jordan responds still smiling like the cat who ate the canary. "You should give her a break" He tells her as holds her door open while she climbs out.
This can't be happening. What, did they bond or something? Scary. My James Dean boyfriend and my Wonder Bread mom on common ground. Okay, seriously, what universe is this and how did I get here?
Angela looks up at the sky before entering the building
"What?" Jordan asks, following her gaze.
"Nothing, just looking for flying pigs." She answers a confused-looking Jordan.
"Hey." Rickie greets Brian, having spotted him from across the cafeteria.
"Hi, I mean hey."
"So, you okay?" Rickie asks, cautiously.
"What do you think?" Brian looks at Rickie with sad eyes.
"Look Brian, at least she knows now and you got it off your chest. You don't have to like hold it all in until you explode. There has to be some relief in that." Rickie says, patting Brian on the shoulder.
"Right, now my humiliation has an audience instead of it being my own private hell." Brian responds.
Ricky rolls his eyes. "At least you can be honest with the person you like. You have no idea how lucky you are."
"Luck is not how I would describe this, but I get what you mean. So, how's it going with Delia Fisher?" Brian asks, trying to think of anything other than Angela and Jordan.
"Nothing is going on with Delia Fisher, we're just hanging out." Rickie huffs at Brian. "She's really mad at you."
"I know. She hates my guts and I deserve it." Brian shrugs. "Maybe I should get Jordan Catalano to write a letter for me?"
"Funny." Ricky says sarcastically, as the two of them exit the cafeteria together
A/N: Be sure to check out my other story, Yesterday'sTears, a future fic of sorts. It's been up for quiet some time, but I would still love to hear your thoughts, so leave a review.