Chapter Fourteen

The following week seemed to have passed by lethargically. Ian was still intent on ignoring me. I saw him every day after school, yet after Monday, he didn't so much as look my way for the rest of the week. I was desperate to the point where I thought it sucked that Libby and I didn't have a project to do anymore… just so that I could maybe go to their house and see him.

Pathetic right? I sure felt that way. I'd never moped like this about a guy before, and contrary to popular belief I have had a crush before… but well that didn't turn out to well seeing as I'm at a different school now. Even after everything that happened with that, the reason I was sad then was because of the events… not because I lacked the company I had previously.

It was the other way around now. I missed Ian a lot. More than I would like to admit to anybody—even myself. He was such a calming presence, especially after everything that had recently happened in my life. It didn't matter when I was with Ian. Throughout this train of thought two phrases stuck out in my mind.

The first one was "You don't know what you've got till it's gone." That one pissed me off. After all the time I spent thinking that I couldn't let Ian in… that it'd be too much for me, when I finally do let him in he turns his back on me. It hurt, and a part of me wasn't sure why I missed him if he was being so cruel about it… that's where the second phrase came in.

"You're in too deep." Not being around Ian hurt a lot… but it was nothing compared to the ecstatic feeling I had when I was around him. Past all the nervousness and fright of somebody who was so in tune to me, I delighted in being around him. I knew that no matter how much his ignoring me hurt, he had his reasons for doing it and that it wasn't my place to judge him on it. I accepted that, but it didn't make the pain hurt any less.

I was disturbed from these drowsy thoughts on a Saturday morning by my phone ringing. I groaned and buried my head under my pillow. My bag was across the room and I really didn't want to get up yet. When I looked at the clock and saw it was 10:30, I figured it was a respectable hour to call and reluctantly made my way out of bed, across the room and towards the incessant ringing of my cell.

"Hello?" I muttered drowsily in to what ended up being the wrong end of the phone. I hurriedly (as hurriedly as can be after just waking up) turned the phone right side up.

"Maddy? Maaaaddy? You there? Hellooo?"

"Jenny, I'm here, okay? Stop you nattering," I told her dryly.

"Yay!" she cheered. I silently thought that it should be illegal to be that happy in the morning. "We're doing something today, okay?"

"I take it I don't have a choice?" I wondered vainly.

"Of course not! Get ready. Adam's going to pick you up in an hour, then drop us off at the mall."

"The mall? You hate shopping," I deadpanned.

"I don't hate it Maddy," she corrected me. "Besides, I need new jeans."

"Right. Okay, well if I only have an hour I better go get ready…"

"Okay see you in a bit!" she stated happily before hanging up.

I stared at the phone for few seconds, still wondering how she could be so happy this early. Then I got off my bed and prepared myself for a shower.

Adam was on time, picking me up almost exactly an hour after my phone call with Jenny. I got in the back, as Jenny occupied the front seat. I was still half asleep even after my shower, and luckily the siblings knew better than to try and get me to talk before noon. They had their own conversations up front while I dozed.

It only took us a few minutes to get to the mall. Jenny and I got out, thanked Adam for the lift, then made our way inside.

"Okay, first thing's first, Maddy," Jenny told me, completely serious. "You need coffee."

I made an incoherent noise as she led me towards Starbucks. The very same Starbucks Ian and I had our little incident in. The same Starbucks where I'm sure the manager now hated me… but more importantly the Starbucks that commenced the pivotal moment in Ian and my friendship that caused us to open up to one another.

I stopped short seeing where she was leading me. "Can't we go to another coffee shop?" I asked, a slightly panicked edge in my voice, though the words were surprisingly logical. Jenny looked at me like I was crazy.

"First off… wow that actually made sense. Secondly, why? You love Starbucks… and thirdly there isn't even another coffee shop in the mall, unless you want to live without."

"Oh… well umm… it's okay I guess… yeah… I'll be fine. This one's good," I told my best friend unconvincingly.

She looked at me hard before speaking again. "Look, Maddy… I have an ulterior motive here."

I cocked an eyebrow at her. Ulterior motive? For what?

"You've been out of it lately… and Adam and I are worried about you… so seriously, what's wrong?" she spoke quietly, but with authority. I knew she wouldn't believe me if I didn't fess up.

I stared at her guiltily. I hadn't meant to leave her an Adam out of the loop; my thoughts have just been elsewhere. "Let's talk over coffee okay?" I asked.

She smiled. "That's the Maddy I know," she responded. She slung an arm around my shoulder (despite my bubble-complex) and walked us both towards the Starbucks.

Once we'd ordered and received our drinks, I refused to sit inside the shop. I made my way out in the mall to sit on one of the benches there. Jenny followed me, thankfully not asking why I didn't sit at one of the many open tables in the café.

We sat sipping at our hot coffee's for a few minutes before Jenny prompted.

"So?"

"So… I guess… well, no. I know it has to do with Ian," I started.

Jenny nodded. "We thought it had something to do with him. He's being a royal ass. He's not even talking to Adam. My brother dearest has called a few times and though Ian'll talk he won't get in to anything and always has an excuse to not be on the phone long or not to do anything. It's getting old."

"Yeah…" I replied, my eyes lowered to my coffee.

"So what's bothering you so much? Just the fact that he's not around?" Jenny asked me. She didn't say it with any kind of malice or mockery, but once I heard her say those words I felt incredibly stupid. Was I moping just because he wasn't around?

"Yeah, I guess…" I muttered vaguely, not really wanting to get in to it despite the fact that I felt bad at not telling her.

I heard Jenny sigh beside me. "You really like him don't you Maddy?"

At this my head snapped up and I looked at my best friend sharply. "He's my friend," was all I told her.

"He's more than that and you know it," she snapped. "I honestly don't know who you're trying to convince, yourself or everyone else. Geez, Maddy, anyone with eyes can tell you guys are in to each other. Hell, I bet a few blind people could! Maybe if you stopped being so damned blind yourself you'd realize that and just go for it." She finished with letting out a large breath.

Silence followed her words. Jenny never snapped at me like that. She was the most easygoing person I knew… to hear her say things as harsh as those words were stung. I was speechless, not only because of her tone but because of what she'd said. It made sense, but it wasn't reassuring.

She sighed again before continuing. "Look, Maddy, I'm sorry I spazzed out like that, I didn't mean to be so mean. It's just… I don't like seeing you like this. All down and shit. It's just not right. And if it's just because of an asshole like Ian—"

"He's not an asshole," I exclaimed before I could stop myself. Rather than being offended at my outburst, she only looked amused.

"You pretty much just proved what I was just saying Mads," she told me laughing.

I scowled but decided to let it drop. I guess a certain part of me… well, more than a certain part… did like Ian. I suppose I liked Ian quite a lot. It's just… it's a scary thing to admit you know? I'd been through a fair amount lately and this… this… what was it? A crush? On top of it all wasn't very helpful.

"Come on, let's go shopping," Jenny told me consolingly, as though reading my thoughts. We took off in search of clothing stores where Jenny could get some pants.

About three hours and several pairs of jeans later, Jenny and I were at the park (ironically also the same one Ian and I had been at). We were finishing some ice cream while sitting on those turning playground things that I didn't know the name of. We chatted aimlessly, soaking in the sun and admiring our new purchases.

"You totally have to burn that CD for me," Jenny told me, referring to The Ataris's So Long, Astoria that I had just bought

"I shall, I shall, no worries," I assured her, smiling. My mood had greatly improved from earlier. All I had needed was a dose of Jenny to make things good again. Well, I still had the nagging feeling of something missing at the back of my mind, but it wasn't difficult to tune out throughout our shopping experience.

Yes, things were perfectly all right until Ian decided to take a jog through the park. I looked up and saw him slowing down, and then stopping at the water fountain to take a drink of water. I was sure he hadn't seen Jenny or I. Not yet, anyway. I thought too soon, because as soon as it popped in to my mind, he looked up and our eyes connected much like they had on Monday.

Like on Monday, I found my heart speeding up a little bit. Ian slowly wiped his mouth with his hand. We didn't do anything but stare at each other at first. I was vaguely aware of Jenny trying to get my attention, but I couldn't focus on her at the moment. All I could think of was the intense green of Ian's eyes. She must have noticed him as well because she stopped talking for a second.

"Um… Maddy, I'm just going to… go, okay?" she said tentatively. I nodded, with a slight smile. She smiled back; picked up the things she'd bought during the day and walked away while digging out her phone—most likely to call Adam for a lift.

Ian and I both watched her leave. It was obvious that she wanted us to talk—hell; it's what I wanted to. It all depended on Ian right now. On if he walked away again or if he walked towards me. I hoped fervently for the latter.

The sun was starting to set, which was very reminiscent of the first time Ian and I had been at the park together. By this time all the younger children had gone home to eat, so it was practically deserted.

Hesitantly, Ian came towards me. He sat down beside me without a word, his elbows resting on his knees and his hands supporting his head.

Neither of us said anything for the longest time. Finally, Ian spoke.

"I'm sorry." He had looked up and was now staring straight at me. The look in his eyes was so sincere that I did the only thing I could think of at that moment.

I kissed him.


AN: Okay...so I was going to make this one longer but I decided to torture you guys a bit instead. I quite like this chapter. It's intense, jah. Ian and Maddy will talk in the next chapter and things will maybe be a bit clearer for you readers. So yeah...this is probably one of my favorite-er chapters.

Now to answer a comment that some coughtwocough reviewers mentioned...

Why wasn't Riley peeved at Maddy?

Well uhh...I actually thought about rewriting that so that he was a bit more pissy...but the story is written from Maddy's point of view and since Riley and her aren't terribly close he's not just about to go an tell her that she really pissed him off. So I wrote it so that it seemed like he was really easy going about the whole thing but he was actually a little hurt. But I had to write it in a way that would make sure it didn't look like he was interested in Maddy anymore because I have plans for him. Muahaha.

Anyway...Review! I don't care what it is you say...even flame me if you want lol. I want to know anything and everything...ask me questions, give me your comments...whatever you wish :) As long as you tell me what you think, I am happy. :)

-Megan