A/N :: if you haven't read my one-shot -Love at Eleventh Sight- go read! )
Alynna had been listening to the same ticking of her clock for the last fifteen minutes. She stared at her ceiling, beautified with hanging glow in the dark stars and ornaments, as her mind drifted into a faraway land. The image of an ordinary looking young man with striking blue eyes constantly appeared in her mind. She had yet to fully grasped the depth of Kyan's confession.
Yeah! How could he be? I mean… he looked…normal.
He IS normal.
But he's freaking deaf!
Doesn't concern me…
He's handicapped. Impaired. Imperfect.
Alynna tossed around her bed. Then the memory of Morgan floated into her mind.
That dude is weird.
He was just trying to help.
He interrogated you.
He wanted to touch you.
At least somebody reached out.
Alynna sighed. She couldn't seem to decide on whether she liked the new people she met. For every pro she awarded them, some part of her found a con to doubt them. She had always been a loner in high school, hanging around only a few friends and she lost most of them when … when…
She became a changed person, meeting new people, adapting new attitudes which eventually got her into this whole social work thing. She had never really attached herself to anyone else and lately, she hadn't trusted anyone…not even Tess and the whole gang and most of the time, they were not too bothered with her either. The gang's main function was just to hang around and have fun to take their minds off all the crap in their lives. But who had what crap? None of them knew. None of them cared.
Suddenly someone cared.
That was something new for Alynna. Nobody had cared since…
Mom had to marry that creepy assed lawyer.
And Dad had to marry his beloved beers.
Alynna let out a muffled yawn and reluctantly got out of her bed. A shower, a change and a make-up session later, she tiptoed down her stairs and listened carefully to any sounds emanating from the house. She was about to reach the front door when her stomach gave a soft grumble.
Oh, come on. Take it as a diet.
As her stomach gave another low growl, Alynna turned around and walked slowly towards the kitchen. She peeked inside. She had successfully avoided her father since her first night home and she had no intentions on seeing him again, at least not anytime soon. The kitchen looked safe so she walked in and ran towards the fridge.
Let's see. Beer.
Few days old pizza.
And surprise, beer!
She shook her head and closed the fridge before turning towards the door.
"AHH!" she yelled as the image of her father's face appeared right before her eyes. She jumped backwards and started breathing heavily.
"Err…hi Dad. I gotta go."
Her father moved faster than the lightning. He grabbed hold of her hand, this time, much softer and looked her in the eye.
"Where are you going?" he asked gruffly.
"Out," she said while pointing to the door unconsciously. Her father raised an unamused eyebrow. She dropped her finger immediately.
Then she blurted bluntly, "You look sober today."
His expression changed. He was not angry but he showed no sign of being amused either. Alynna could not read his thoughts but the longer she stayed with him, the more restless she got. She tried to wrestle her hand free from his grasp.
"Where are you going?" he repeated his question.
"Why do you care?"
"Because I am your father."
"Oh, really? Did you remember that when you hit me?"
A temporary flash of anger was reflected upon his eyes but quickly he looked away.
"I am your father Alynna, whether you like it or not."
"Clearly, I don't."
Alynna saw him raise his right palm and she closed her eyes in preparation of the impact but she didn't move her face away. A few seconds passed before she realized that the impact wouldn't be coming. She opened her eyes slowly and saw that he had turned his back on her. He had even let go off her but she hadn't realize it. She took a few steps forward, unsure of what he meant by turning away. He seemed to have his eyes closed, leaning forward on the counter, not looking at her. She walked towards the kitchen door but paused when she heard him mumble something. She looked back at him but he still had his eyes closed.
She then heard him say very softly, "I am your father…"
His tone was too familiar. Alynna had a sudden flashback.
I am not hiding…
A thought descended into Alynna's mind.
Is he trying to convince himself?
Alynna took one step out of the kitchen door before stopping. She sighed.
She did not have to look back but she knew he heard her. She opened her mouth to say something but found no words coming out. She shut it close again.
In the midst of the moment, she mumbled a quick, "See you, dad."
Then she ran towards the main door and out of the house.
It took her a whole five minutes of walking down the sidewalk before noticing that she had not brought her skateboard with her. She paused and pondered if she should go back to retrieve it. She shoved her hands into her pockets. Something crumpled.
She pulled her right hand out and along came the image of a few ten dollar bills. She checked her other pocket and could feel the outline of her wallet. Not that her wallet had much money left…but she knew that she certainly was not in possession of these notes when she woke up this morning.
You didn't see him shove cash down your pocket?
No…maybe it was when I closed my eyes.
You didn't feel him shove cash down your pocket?
No…I don't feel anything much anymore.
Alynna averted her mind away from the thoughts of her father. She walked a block down and decided to take the bus. Fifteen minutes later, she was back at Chadwicks. She had not returned to the lunch outing after her talk with Kyan. She was stunned at Kyan's confession that he was deaf but once she recovered from it, she had turned and walked away. She located their bus, took her skateboard and left.
Now she was back and she didn't even know why. Sure, she had to complete her hundred and twenty hours but she could take her time doing it. She didn't have to opt for completing it in three months…but she had. So she was scheduled for social work three times a week.
She waited for the security guard to let her in and then walked down a hallway and pushed open a door. The lounge was packed. More than half the residents were sitting around, chatting or watching television or doing things that she could not care less for. She took a few steps forward, eyes scanning for a familiar face. She contemplated if she should go to the staff room first to report for duty.
Then suddenly, "Alynna."
She recognized the voice but she did not turn around. A few seconds later, she felt a hand on her shoulder and a man stepped in front of her.
"Good morning, Alynna."
Alynna cast her eyes down and remained silent. He did not remove his hands.
She nodded and said, "Morgan."
Morgan smiled at her. "Would you like to chat?"
Alynna finally looked up at him. His dark warm eyes were so full of concern…they looked at her as though she was the only thing he was focusing on and indeed she was. His eyes showed more care than her whole gang of so-called friends had ever shown her. Her lips parted as she felt a sudden sense of gratitude and a deep feeling of respect. Her mouth was already opened but she wasn't sure of what to say.
"I…err…," she stumbled.
"Would you like to join me in my walk around the park?" Morgan offered.
They walked towards the back door of the lounge which proceeded into the back lawn and garden. A number of residents were there too, relaxing and taking in the warm Sunday air. Morgan led her around the garden silently and pointed at a few different types of flower plants before stooping down at a jasmine. Alynna stared at him before following his gaze towards something beside the plant on the pathway. She saw something flutter and stopped static. Then it fluttered again. And stopped. Alynna inched closer and took a better look. She let out a gasp.
Before her eyes was the most beautiful butterfly she had ever seen. Its lower wings were a shade of lilac with pink linings. However, the part that caught her attention was the larger upper wings which were slightly …crumpled…crushed…bent…or maybe, broken. They were in a beautiful shade of golden yellow etched with deep brown patterns.
Alynna squatted by Morgan and edged the broken butterfly onto her palm. Without knowing or realizing why, she blew softly onto the wounded wings and stood up. Morgan watched her silently. A few minutes passed without any words spoken. Alynna finally looked up from the butterfly lying on her palm. Two pairs of eyes met hers. The striking blue gaze which stripped bare her soul caught her by surprise
"Hello," greeted Kyan with a smile.
"Hey," she replied.
Kyan took a few steps towards her and reached out to hold her hand. Alynna let out a gasp but silenced herself when she realized that Kyan was actually looking down at the butterfly and tilting her palm down towards his. A few seconds later, the butterfly fluttered on his palm. Kyan looked down at it with full interest.
"Can you fix it?" Alynna asked.
Kyan did not respond. She wanted to hit herself for being silly. She poked him on the shoulders a bit till she got his attention and had his eyes planted on her.
"Can you fix it?" Alynna asked again, this time mouthing the words slowly.
Kyan smiled. "I can try to heal her."
The glint in his eyes made her wonder if that statement was meant for her or the butterfly. She mouthed an OK as Kyan turned around and walked away with the fluttering creature carefully placed atop his palm.
Alynna watched him leave and continued staring even when he was out of her sight.
Morgan's voice brought her out of her reverie.
"Yeah?" she asked.
"What were you thinking?"
Morgan chuckled the same way he did yesterday. "I see. Still hiding are you?"
"Morgan…let's not go there again. I said I'm not hiding."
"If there's one thing schools need to teach teenagers, it would be to confront themselves. You can lie to the world, Alynna, but you can't lie to yourself."
Alynna stood there with her hands akimbo, staring at Morgan defiantly.
"Why are you so convinced that I am hiding?"
Morgan took a few seconds to think.
"You wear dark make-up to build this exterior that no one else can break through."
Alynna furrowed her brows. But Morgan went on.
"You dye your hair," he said while pointing to her head, "because you don't want anyone to know your true colours."
Before Alynna could say anything, Morgan continued, "and… you wear contact lenses because you're afraid the world can see through you just by the look in your eyes."
The last statement made Alynna turn away. She broke off the eye contact with Morgan.
"Or maybe, I just thought I would look cool like this," Alynna said nonchalantly.
"Or maybe not."
"You're just guessing," Alynna said softly.
"Maybe. I'm a pretty good guesser though."
Alynna began to walk a few steps forward and circled around some plants aimlessly.
"You can't be sure that what you said were true," she commented suddenly.
"No, I can't. Which is why I'm asking," came the immediate reply. "Alynna, why is it so hard for you to face the truth?"
Alynna kept quiet for a while but when she answered, she no longer denied that she was hiding.
"Because not facing it is much easier," she said in a barely audible whisper.
"But you have not tried."
"I don't want to."
"It might not be as difficult as you think it is."
Alynna laughed bitterly. "I know it is. What's easy about having to face a whole load of shit alone?"
"Well, maybe you're not alone."
"I am, Morgan. I am."
"You were. Maybe, you were. But you're not anymore."
Alynna stopped pacing and looked up into the deep stare. "You're saying I have you now? I have you and Kyan and all these people?" She waved her hand around.
She smirked. "Who do you think you all are? Just because you're all around me don't make you a part of me."
"And maybe that's because you're not letting us in."
"Why should I, Morgan? Why should I?" she hissed. "You're nobody."
Morgan seemed to be thinking. Then he asked, "Alynna, why did you help that broken butterfly?"
"Because it was helpless."
"Are you helpless?"
That question caught her by surprise. "Wha-?"
"Let us help you then."
"You're crazy! Why can't you just leave me alone?!"
"Because you don't want to be alone, Alynna. You want people by your side."
"You like to play guessing don't you, Morgan? You're so full of yourself! You don't know everything!" Alynna raised her voice slightly.
"But I know enough about you."
"Oh yeah? What's my real hair colour then? Or my real eye colour?"
"It doesn't matter. What matters is that I know the colours now aren't real. They are not you."
She rolled her eyes. "You're a full load of bullshit."
"You know I'm right."
Alynna just shook her head. She looked around the park and saw an elderly lady trying to walk across the lawn. She just waved him away and walked over towards the lady. For the next few hours, she just kept her path clear of Morgan and preoccupied her swirling thoughts by helping every resident that came into her view.
She looked at everyone but Morgan. Morgan looked at no one but her.