Takeoffs & Landings

Chapter Twenty-Nine: Back To School

Even though I enjoy the holidays I was so relieved to get back to school. Everything has just gone haywire. I have no control over my life; I'm beginning to think I never will. There is far too much going on.

For starters we have prelim exams in about a week, which I have barely studied for. Then there is the whole Jeremy, Casey, Hart situation which will blow up any day now. I can just see it being another blood bath like last time between Megan, Darcy and Ryder. So I'm not really looking forward to that. But just to make things more problematic this is the last month the transfer students are going to be here and I don't really want them to leave. That also is going to open a big bag of worms up with Donnie and Emma.

I just want to know, when the hell did my life become this complicated?

I won't even start on the situation with Tristan. I can't begin to register what's happening. When I think of Tristan I also think of Aaron. I loved the idea of being single, no guy trouble, but that just doesn't seem to be happening. Those two are my friends and yes I have been more than friends with both but at the moment I'm not sure I want to take it further.

Tristan is leaving in one month so there really is no hope for anything to happen. Aaron is staying but I don't know if I could ever go back to liking him like I did before we broke up. Back then he was my protector, the guy who looked out for me and I liked him from the start but now, getting to know him a little more puts him more in the friend's category.

He did have a point when he said most girls that go out with him just want to be friends because that's the conclusion I'm coming to on him. Tristan is at moot point. He's leaving, I have to keep remembering.

At the beginning of this school year I was worried about just surviving but now, I don't know. Everything just seems to be an uphill battle and there has to be a solution to this. I don't want to have to deal with all the chaos that is about to begin in the next few weeks. What I really want right now is just a break from life; just to fast-forward up to June then hit play again.

It would relieve me of so much stress.

We all arrived back at school one day before term has to start, it gives us time to get prepared for the torturous weeks that are about to follow. After settling everything back in the dorm room, awkward situation if there ever was one, I decided to go see Josh. I never really spent much time with him since he arrived and I feel kinda bad about that.

Entering the music department I could hear the all too familiar tune of Josh playing the piano in the main recital hall. Opening the door confirmed my suspicions as he sat at the grand piano playing softly, not noticing my presence.

Slowly and quietly I walked up to see him, finally falling in his eye line gaining myself a smile as he finished off the piece. I sat down next to him on the plush piano stool as he hit the last key and turned to me.

"Hey, have fun unpacking?" I grimaced slightly.

"You could have cut the hostility in that room with a knife. I'm not talking to Casey, Megan's trying not to get involved, Emma's ignoring Casey because I am and Casey is trying to make peace with everyone, which I won't agree to until this has all come out. In other words, she needs to tell Jeremy."

"When's he coming back?"

"In about a week. That gives them plenty of time to get their story straight." I leant against his shoulder and he wrapped his arm round my body, holding me against him so I didn't fall off the back of the stool.

"We haven't really spent any time together have we?" I said quietly.

"No, we haven't. But that's okay. You've been busy, had a lot to deal with and I understand." Josh said casually.

"What's going on with your father? Found somewhere to live yet?"

"Eh...yeah actually. He met some girl, not woman she's eighteen, and she lives in Paris so he's relocating there. Bloody stupid if you ask me but it's his life."

"So what does that mean for you?"

"I'm leaving here in about a week and half to attend the new all boys' boarding school in the south of France, so I'm sort of close to him." He didn't seem particularly impressed with this development.

"Did you ever think it would turn out like this?" I mumbled, thinking back of the last few months.

"Honestly I knew things would fall apart eventually. That's what you get when attending boarding schools miles away from home. People move and you got to get past it. Things were falling apart anyway before you left. I knew about you and Tristan and I understood why you were going to choose him over me. I never exactly treated you with much respect.

"But can you remember everything ever truly going your way before you moved? Because I know that you were always struggling with something. If it wasn't me or Tristan then it was your parents and lack of their parental skills. How are they by the way?"

"Who knows, they don't talk to me about anything." I grumbled back, still resentful over them. Yes they gave me a great education and allowed me to meet lots of new people but for once maybe I want a bit familiarity in my life.

That thought struck a chord in my brain, making me think about a few things for a second. Leaving Josh and me sitting in silence. I would think it's safe to say that I never truly fitted in here, even after the first few weeks I was still thinking of things back home. Or more to the point, the people I left

back home. But I made do with what I thought at first was a bad situation only to learn that it's not so bad.

"What's going on between you and Tristan?" Josh asked after a few seconds, pulling me from my thoughts.

"We're friends." He laughed and smiled accusingly at me.

"You two have always been friends. So let's try again, what's going on between you and Tristan?" Josh did have a point there, we were always friends, even when we were fooling about but the label of friend is too loose when describing our relationship.

"I have no idea. I...don't know what to think since he's leaving at the end of the month." Josh seemed to think over my thoughts before answering.

"If you asked him to stay he would." I froze completely. There was no way I was ever going to allow my brain to even process that thought, it would only lead to me getting my hopes up.

"I couldn't do ask and you know that." He nodded softly but didn't accept my response.

"Perhaps you don't want to take that chance with Tristan since you know he would stay for you. Riley I know how you two interact, your friends know it too, why deny that you like him when it's true. Yes he's an asshole most of the time and it won't be all lovey-dovey since it could never be that way between you two but you could at least give it a shot. Unless you want him to leave." I sighed loudly and pulled away from Josh's body so I could lean against the piano.

"Don't do this Josh. You know I don't want him to leave but there is no way I'm going to be able to keep him here. Plus it's up to him, I can't ask him and I won't ask him to stay. That would just be selfish. Also it's not like he has any reason to stay, I'm a friend to him, I couldn't give him what he wants and he would get bored with me then what? Do what Hart did. I'm not going to put myself through that."

"Tristan isn't Hart." Josh pointed out.

"No Tristan is worse. Tristan doesn't care about anyone unless it benefits him. You two were friends because you could both get girls, Wes helped him with his schoolwork whether he wants to admit to it or not, Emma was friends with me therefore friends with him, and he had to be friends with me since you were 'dating' me. The first chance he got to cheat on me he would take it."

I had snapped and everything just came tumbling down on me. I didn't mean half of what I said but at some point in time I had thought it.

"You're not giving Tristan enough credit. When you left you didn't see how he was. Hell he actually found a girl who drove him crazy, in the good sense, and hell in some weird way he wanted to commit. When was the last time he ever wanted to call a girl his girlfriend? Never. Riley you got under his skin, maybe because he couldn't have you so wanted you more, but at the end of it he liked you a hell of a lot more than any other girl." Josh took a deep breath then continued in a more understanding tone.

"I know it's hard for you to believe since you know the cruel jackass Tristan better than the one who actually has some emotional depth. Give him a chance at least. If it doesn't work out then he's going to go back at the end of the month and you won't have to see him again unless you want to. Don't just shut him down because you're scared of what might happen."

"I'm not scared I just know it won't work out."

"So you're not even going to give it a shot." He said, getting rather angry with me.

"No. I don't want to be with Tristan. Hell it would just be better if he left then I wouldn't have to deal with all this crap. Yes I'd still have to deal with Aaron but once I told him we could only be friends I'm sure it would all work out. But Tristan and me, definitely not, he should just go home." I stood up to leave but when I turned to leave the door had just shut. Someone had been listening to us, to my outburst. God I pray it wasn't Tristan.

"Look I'm going to go." I said to Josh quietly. "I'm sorry about everything that's gone on." Slowly leant over and kissed his cheek then left the music department as fast as I could, hoping to catch sight of whoever it was that caught us.

When I went outside I didn't see anyone around. Walking back to the main building, thinking whoever it was probably went that way, I met Tristan and Aaron both grinning like idiots. Well it's safe to say it wasn't either of them since I doubt that would be their reaction.

"Hey, we were just looking for you." Tristan said as he wrapped his arms around my shoulders and led me in another direction.

"Why? Where are we going?" I asked as they stood on either side of me.

"We're going for a swim, thought you might want to join us." Aaron said as we rounded the path that led to the indoor pool.

"Well I would love to but I don't have anything to wear." I pointed out.

"So?" Tristan said before glancing down and giving a thorough pursuit of my body. I rolled my eyes and he smirked. "We don't either, so what does it matter?"

"There is no way in hell I'm going to get naked in front of either of you." The chuckled when we approached the door. Aaron removed a set of keys from his back pocket and began the long process of finding the correct one.

"We don't expect you to. Look we're going in with our boxers on, just keep something on if you don't feel comfortable. Okay?" Tristan said, engulfing me against his chest as we waited for Aaron to open the door.

"Remind me why we're doing this?" I asked as we finally entered the main hall and headed along to the changing rooms, which you have to enter to get to the pool.

"It'll be fun." Aaron said before shrugging and entering the guys changing room. I headed into the girls one and was followed by Tristan.

"Hell no, get out." I told him as he stood smirking at me.

"What? Why? Like you said, you're not going to get naked so it's not like I'm going to see anything." He tried to play it off. I was not changing in front of him, whether or not he would see anything or not.

"No. Now go or I'll walk straight out of here." He finally took the hint, but not before he kissed me quickly, it was so quick I wasn't even sure it happened, then headed for the door.

I removed some of my clothing so I was in a tank top and my underwear, minus the bra. I shoved my remaining clothes into one of the lockers and headed out to the pool, to see Tristan lounging about in the water in nothing but his black boxers that left nothing to the imagination.

"Where's Aaron?" I asked as I slipped into the water letting out a yelp at how cold it was. I thought the pool was heated. Tristan smirked and moved closer to me, we were both standing in the shallow end so our bodies weren't completely in the water.

"He went to find the switches to heat the water, as you found out its cold." He was still smirking at he slowly started to run his hands up and down my arms.

"What are you doing?" I asked when he started walking towards me, making me step back. I do not trust myself to be this close to him when he's only wearing one item of thin clothing that barely covers anything. I may be good at holding onto my inhibitions but these stupid hormones are driving me crazy.

"I'm heating you up, you're cold."

"What makes you say that?" I tried to move but noticed he had backed me up towards a corner. His eyes went down to stare at my breasts, finally catching on I folded my arms over my chest not to make it obvious just how cold I was.

Tristan chuckled and continued to walk forward. The look in his eyes was one I didn't trust. I know he would never do anything bad to me but I just don't trust it since it's the one that makes me putty in his hands.

"I'll warm you up in no time." I was now pressed against the edge as his lips descended on my shoulders, slowly pushing the strap of the tank top off down my arm. I shivered involuntary as my insides melted with his touch.

This is wrong. He's leaving for heaven's sake. I told myself as I placed my arm round his neck, for support just in case my knees gave out from beneath me.

"I like you a lot Riley." He whispered, slowly making his way back up to my jaw. "I like you but right now I want you. I want you like you want me, don't even try and deny it." He had pulled back and was looking at me straight in the eyes.

"I can't Tristan. We've been here before." I reminded him.

"If it's because you like Aaron then I'm willing to share." I frowned at him completely lost with what he was saying. "I mentioned something to Aaron and he was totally fine with it. We could both have you, no problems what so ever." I felt like slapping him. So I did.

His face had turned away from my slap across his cheek. It was slowly starting to turn red. Tristan's breathing had changed and I knew he was pissed at me for that. Before he decided to yell at me I started in on him.

"I am not some cheap slut who would like to be passed around among friends. How could you even bring the idea about 'sharing' me up with someone? What did you expect me to do? Jump at the opportunity to have both of you. Well here's some news for you. I don't want either of you Tristan. You treat me like dirt half the time and the other half I'm like some cheap hooker. I can't help but think that if we did ever get together you would leave money on the nightstand." I pushed him out the way but didn't quite make it out the pool.

Tristan pulled me round hard causing me to slam into his chest. I knew he had a temper and I was slightly worried he might hit me but the warming water told me Aaron would be back momentarily so he wouldn't try anything.

What I didn't expect for him to do was kiss me softly on the lips then gradually put more passion into it. My body just lapsed into him, like he was my drug that I had been deprived of for so long. My brain was screaming that I don't want this but that was quickly dissolved when his tongue entered my mouth.

I was in heaven for about a few minutes before I realised I needed to breath and quickly broke the kiss. We were both standing there breathing heavily as we looked into each other's eyes. I couldn't read his emotions very well but from the frown on his face I'd say he's just as confused as I am about what the hell is going on between us.

"I...you..." He sighed heavily then ran a hand through his hair before continuing. "I don't know what we are Riley but I do know what we could be. I just need a chance." He paused, looking down at the water. "I don't know how to win with you." He confessed.

"You don't need to win with me Tristan."

"Fine. I don't know how to win you."

"You can't." I kissed his cheek before walking out of the water and made my way back into the changing room.

Why does everything have to be so bloody complicated?

A.N.

I'm sorry about the delay. Usually I'm not that bad with updating and it shouldn't happen again. You would have had this chapter about a week ago but my health drastically deteriorated and since then I've had countless hospital visits and am on numerous amounts of pills, so I'm a little out of it. I'm not exactly getting better so I don't know when the next chapter will be but I promise you won't have to wait another month for it.

On another note, I have a poll on my profile and it would be greatly appreciated if you could answer it. Thanks

Michelle