What would have happened if Marissa didn't walk out on Ryan on Valentine's Day season three?
"So what do you want to do?" Ryan asks, lying down on his bed next to me.
"I'm doing it," I sigh, keeping my eyes closed as I feel the weight of him on the bed.
"I mean tomorrow. Valentine's Day," he tells me. I know what he means.
"Can we talk about tomorrow… tomorrow?"
"Not if you wanna do something." Well maybe I don't.
"I don't wanna do anything," I tell him. He sighs and rolls over next to me.
"You mean you don't wanna do anything specific? Or, uh, you don't wanna do anything at all?" He's upset.
"Ryan, you've never liked Valentines Day before, so don't suddenly act like it's your favorite holiday."
"I'm not," he says softly.
"It's just really hard for me, okay?" I look away,
"Yeah, well it's hard for me, too." He rolls back to the other side of the bed.
"I can't explain it," I try.
"I was there, Marissa. What is it you think I don't understand?" He snaps, sitting up.
"I'm gonna go," I say, getting off the bed and heading towards the door.
"Marissa, don't walk away," he says sternly standing up. I turn around to face him.
"Why? So you can pretend you know what I'm going through. So you can say you know how I feel? You're glad he's gone, aren't you? Now you have me all to yourself," I spit out. Wow. That was cold. Maybe I shouldn't have said that. I slowly turn around and head back towards the door. He stops me again.
"Don't walk away," he tells me again, only this time he's angry. "Is that what you think?" He asks me as I turn around to face him. This time he doesn't sound as angry. Just hurt.
"Why shouldn't you feel that way? I've left you more than once to go to him, I told you I wasn't gonna see him anymore and I did anyway. It was my fault he was drunk that night, Ryan. It was my fault he fell off that cliff, and it was my fault he died." I tell him. I don't know whether to break down crying or storm off. I look up at him and stare into his eyes as a single tear drops down my face. I guess as much as I want to storm off, my body just wants to break down. I won't let it though. I quickly wipe away the tear and take a deep breath. "Is that what you wanted to hear?" I ask him before turning away and turning the knob, hoping he won't stop me this time. He does.
"Marissa, stop walking away from this!" He yells this time. I let go of the door but I don't turn around to face him.
"What do you want from me, Ryan?" I ask. My throat it sore and I want to cry, but I won't do it right now. He doesn't answer right away; instead he comes up from behind me and locks the door, keeping the key in his pocket. "What are you doing?" I ask, getting angry. I turn around to face him.
"You're not leaving until we talk," he tells me, walking back over to his bed and sitting on the end.
"You can't just keep me here, Ryan. Unlock the door."
"No, not until we talk." Since when is he a talker?
"You can't tell me what to do, give me the key," I tell him.
"I will when we talk." He tells me.
"Fine. Talk. You already heard how I feel," I say. I won't let myself be vulnerable for him. Not again.
"Marissa, I'm the one that didn't catch him,"
"Don't turn this around to be on you," I shoot back.
"Right," he smirks, standing up. "That's your thing." Oh, he did not just say that. He must have noticed that my eyes widened because he looks surprised that those words just left his mouth.
"What is wrong with you?" I ask him, taking his spot where he was sitting on the bed only a moment ago.
"I'm sorry. That was a low blow," he says, lowering his head. I look over at him.
"Don't be sorry," I tell him angrily. "That's obviously how you think of me. A self-centered drama queen that only thinks about herself!" I say, yelling at him for the first time in a long time. "Say it! You've said it before, say it again!"
"That's not what I meant, and I never said that before," he says, trying to reason with me.
"Don't lie to me. That is what you think!" I shoot back. "And you did tell me that. You told me that I should think of other people instead of always thinking about myself! And after you said that I tried really hard to, Ryan. And I thought I was doing a pretty damn good job… Apparently I was wrong! And even if I am wrong, it's okay to look out for yourself once and a while! You should know, Mr. I Sleep With My Ex Ten Minutes After I Break Up With Someone!" I scream at him. At this point I have lost it. Tears are running down my face. But I won't let that affect this conversation. As quick as they are streaming down, I manage to wipe them away. Within the next few seconds they stop pouring out.
"That was three years ago, Marissa. What do you want me to say? I'm sorry, alright?!" He tells me, as if he's trying to make an excuse for himself.
"Sorry for what?" I ask him a steady voice. "Telling me I'm self-centered or sleeping with Theresa as soon as we broke up?"
"Both, I guess," he tells me, his voice softening up. As quickly as his voice softened he became angry again. "But don't act like it wasn't your fault, too."
"See, why do I need to put the blame on myself? I've got you for that…" I say in fake cheerfulness.
"All I'm saying, is that you're the one who didn't believe me about Oliver in the first place!" He spat out.
"Yeah, you're right. It's all my fault. I decided, hey, even though this guy is so clearly crazy, I think I'll hang out with him anyway! That way I can lose the trust of the only person I love, break up with him, and put my life in danger all at once! That'll make life more interesting!" I say sarcastically. "I was wrong, Ryan. Okay? I made a mistake, too! I should've believed you but I didn't! Maybe I decided it wasn't worth trusting someone who went through my personal stuff!"
"I've already told you like a million times that I'm sorry for that! I shouldn't have looked through your locker, and I shouldn't have read the letter, but for the record, it's not like I wanted to be right about him."
"Whatever. This isn't about Oliver," I say, trying to change the subject.
"Well if it isn't about Oliver, who is it about? Huh? Luke? Johnny?"
"It's about us, Ryan! Not Luke, not Oliver, not Theresa, and not Johnny! It's about us! And why we can't seem to get it right…" I say the last part softly, almost hoping he won't hear.
"What are you saying? You just wanna give up?"
"No. But clearly, we're not doing something right. So I'm gonna go," I tell him yet again.
"Don't walk away!" He yelled. "That's what we're doing wrong! We're not talking and it screws everything up! So would you just stop walking away and talk to me?!" I slowly turn around to face him.
"Maybe it's too late for that, Ryan. You weren't there when I needed to talk, you can't change that," I tell him straight forward. "Why do you think I went to Johnny in the first place?"
"I don't know! I'm sorry I wasn't there, okay? It was hard for me, too! And maybe I should have been there! Maybe I was wrong, but I can't do anything about it now except tell you I'm sorry! I'm so damn sorry I wasn't there for you, Marissa! I hate that I wasn't there. Every minute of every day I regret not being there for you. But I didn't know how to be! Because no matter how you slice it, it was MY brother, Marissa. I let him stay here, I asked you to hang out with him. I trusted him back then, Marissa, but I shouldn't have let you. And I'm not saying that to make this about me," he continued, "I'm saying it because it's true," he finished softly. Silence.
"What do you want me to say to that, Ryan?"
"I don't know," he admits. Suddenly the conversation was interrupted by the sound of my phone ringing. I reach into my pocket and ignore the incoming call. We sit in silence for quite a while. He paces around back and forth while I choose to lie back on his bed. Eventually I break the silence.
"Would you stop pacing? You're making me nervous," I tell him.
"Sorry," he says softly, sitting on the bed across from where I'm lying.
"It's not your fault either, you know. No one saw it coming," I say. I hope he knows I'm talking about Trey. I'm sure he does.
"I should have, though. I should have seen it coming," he replies. I knew he would know.
"But you didn't. And nobody blames you for that, Ryan," I say softly.
"It doesn't matter that nobody else blames me. I blame me, because I know that I should have seen it. And then… God, I accused you of cheating on me with him," he says in a voice that shows how disgusted with himself he is. I know it's selfish but I can't help but feel a little better over the fact that he knows he should've trusted me back then. Of course that feeling doesn't last long when I see how upset he is over it. I want to say something, anything, to make him feel better. But I can't come up with any words worth saying.
"I'm sorry," he says, finally breaking the silence.
"I forgave you for that a long time ago," I say honestly.
"How can you forgive me for something like that?" He asks me. When I look up at him, my eyes meet with his, only to find his stare sad and confused.
"Because you didn't know. And you didn't know because I didn't tell you."
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"He's your brother, Ryan. He's like, practically the only family you have left. I didn't wanna hurt you like that."
"I wish you did," he whispers, looking away. I don't know if he meant for me to hear that or not, so I don't say anything. "You know, when we were at the hospital, I felt so guilty, because all I could think about was how I hoped he would be okay. A few hours before, I wanted to kill him. But then I would've done anything to take it back. And I felt so guilty, because I thought that by wanting my brother to be okay, I was betraying you," he says looking into my eyes for the first time since he began telling me this. "And at first, I did want to talk to you about it, Marissa, I did. But I didn't want to say something to make the whole thing worse." I've never heard him say so much. "I wanted to talk to you, Marissa. But I didn't know how. And I'm sorry. I'm really, truly sorry for that," he finishes.
"It's okay," I tell him. "It's okay that you wanted him to be okay. You said so yourself - he's your brother."
"Yeah, but you mean more to me than he ever could," he says. As the words come out of his mouth, he looks directly into my eyes, but as soon as he's finished he turns his eyes away and looks down. It's times like these where I just want to go to him, put my arms around him, and tell him everything will be alright. Not necessarily because of what he said, more because of how he said it. Softly, not looking me straight in the eye afterwards. Showing me more vulnerability than anyone thinks he has. Because once you pass the exterior of Ryan, you get to the boy inside who's still scared that the people he loves will leave him. I want to tell him not to worry. That I wouldn't leave him like that. But who am I to talk about not leaving? I've been trying to get out of this poolhouse for hours and this conversation for longer. Slowly I make my way over to him and pull him close. He finally looks over at me as I take his hand in my own. I look back at him and for a minute we don't say anything. We stare into each other's eyes as if we are trying to see what the other is thinking. Eventually he breaks the silences.
"I love you," he says softly, leaning his forehead against mine. His eyes are looking down, almost closed, and I know how hard it is for him to say that. I breathe deeply and brush his cheek lightly with the back of my hand.
"I know. I love you, too," I whisper. He finally looks up at me and our somewhat sad eyes meet. We're leaning in closer, and our lips barely touch before the moment is ruined by the sound of Ryan's cell phone ringing.
"Sorry," he sighs, pulling away regretfully. He picks up the phone off his night table and looks at the caller ID before silencing it and turning it off. "Seth," he explains. I nod, and we both sigh. We both want to go back to where we just were, but the moment is already ruined. A wave of exhaustion comes over me, and I don't know if it's emotional exhaustion or physical exhaustion, but I have the sudden feeling that I can't hold my hold weight, so I give in and let myself fall back on his bed.
"Marissa?" Ryan says softly as I feel the weight of him on the bed.
"Hmm?" I mumble, keeping my eyes closed.
"Marissa… we should finish talking now while were still in the moment," he tells me. I don't say anything, but I feel the back of his hand softly caress my check. "Riss," he whispers, lying down next to me and putting his face right by mine.
"I'm awake," I say quietly. "Talk."
"Marissa, come on," he tries.
"We talked, Ryan," I say, opening my eyes slowly. "What more is there to say?"
"I don't know," he says. I feel like he has more to say that that. Like he's holding back. Suddenly, I'm more awake then I was, and I have the nagging urge to know what's going on in his head.
"You sure?" I ask, sitting up. He looks at me and then lets his eyes wander.
"It's dark," he says. "Are you hungry?" Sighing softly, I reach out and bring his wrist close to my eyes so I can read the hands on his watch. It's almost three in the morning. We have been talking for hours. I shake my head.
"No. Tell me what's on your mind," I demand. He doesn't say anything for a while. In fact it feels like a lifetime before his lips move.
"When I left that summer…" he starts. "When I left, we talked for a while. Like, really talked. And as much as that summer sucked more than anything in my life, I felt like I could tell you anything. And then we stopped. And I don't want that to happen again." He doesn't look me in the eyes as he says this. I can tell it's harder for him to say than it is for me to hear.
"It won't." I hear the words come out of my mouth before I remember telling myself to say them. But I mean it. I mean it so much.
"Deal?" He asks, holding out his right pinky. I looks up at him.
"Deal," I agree softly, hooking my own pinky with his. We both smile softly and our hands drop. He slowly gets off the bed, pulling me with him. Keeping one hand in front of him and linked with mine, he reaches his right hand deep into his pocket and pulls out the key. Letting go of my hand, he holds the key in front of me. I look at him before taking the key and sticking in to my own pocket. He chuckles softly and pulls me close.
"You know… Technically it's been Valentine's Day for three hours now," he says softly into my lips.
"Yeah? I guess we should talk about it now," I giggle.
"So what do you want to do?" Ryan asks, kissing me softly.
"I'm doing it."