Chapter 62: A Chaotic Night

Once we made our way to the living room I quickly followed Julie into the kitchen to help her set up like the good guest I wanted to be.

"We can still leave you know?" Ryder quietly suggested to me as he walked into the kitchen as well

I rolled my eyes "It's okay Ry Ry, I made a commitment and I'm going to follow through with it"

He frowned and reached for my wrist before I could grab the plates and said "I'm serious Katy; you don't need to do this"

"That's where you're wrong; I'm going to make that man eat his words" I stated seriously as I recalled what he said

"Words?" Ryder questioned before a flame lit up in his eyes "What did he say to you?"

By the anger on Ryder's face I realized I slipped up so instead I ignored his words and hurriedly grabbed the plates and scurried out, I felt his intense gaze and footsteps follow me out. Continuing to avoid him I set the plates down and heard him say in a threateningly low tone "Katy... . ?"

I frowned and finally turned to face him "you know what? I'm very angry at you right now"

His eyes widened in surprise "What for?"

Pouting I pointed to my attire and explained "I dressed up all fancy today and you haven't even said anything about it, even Julie complimented me yet you were so stuck up about your father that you barely noticed"

This was my best attempt at changing the topic and by the way Ryder's face dropped I saw that it was working, I honestly didn't really mind him not noticing but I had to make him believe it so I simply walked past him and returned to the kitchen. Grabbing one of the dishes that Julie made I went to keep it on the table too but almost dropped it when I turned to see Ryder standing right behind me.

"I'm sorry" he stated solemnly "its just that...when it's about dad my brain gets so preoccupied and I can't think do look very pretty by the way"

With a grin I placed the dish in Ryder's hands and leaned in to give him a light kiss "thanks and trust me; just by talking to him for a bit I can gauge the kind of man your father is so I sort of understand how you must be feeling"

He forced a smile as I continued "...but; I really do want you and your dad to make up soon, I always regret not spending enough time with my father before he passed away and unlike you I don't have that chance anymore. So no matter how he is; he's still your father and I doubt he's as bad as he seems"

I said those words with ease not realizing how wrong I was half an hour into dinner when Mr. Jacob Carlton (apparently he has a last name that neither Ryder nor Julie took on) finally spoke up to ask "he's tutoring you? Why? Couldn't find someone more qualified?"

Julie and I were discussing about how my tutoring was going when Mr. Jacob butted in, his voice surprised me so I jumped slightly before glancing at Ryder and answering "He's plentiful qualified, Ryder is very smart"

Letting out a humorless laugh Mr. Jacob put his elbows on the table and fully turned to me in an intimidating manner "of course to someone like you he must be the most intelligent man in the world but why would you're teacher allow such a delinquent to teach you is the real question"

"No offence Mr. Jacob but Ryder is a straight A student so naturally-"

"Straight A? I doubt he's even seen a B appear on his report card before!" Mr. Jacob countered interrupting my statement

Angrily clenching the table I tried to suppress my frustration as I replied "well Mr. Jacob, it seems like you don't know your son as well as you think you do"

"And what, you do? How long have you known him? A month? Maybe two?" he questioned condescendingly

"Okay that's enough!" Julie exclaimed "this is a nice dinner and I don't want any fighting!"

Frowning I apologized to Julie and felt Ryder grab my hand from underneath the table and gave me a helpless smile as if to say that it wasn't worth it. With a sigh we continued to eat in silence for about 10 more minutes before Julie began to mention how Ryder joined the football team and Mr. Jacob couldn't help but comment "I'm surprised he didn't join it sooner...after all some people never change"

I frowned; turning to Mr. Jacob I politely asked "do you not like football Mr. Jacob?"

Mr. Jacob's sharp gaze landed on Ryder who at the moment was sitting expressionless while lightly pushing around the food on his plate obviously no longer having an appetite. Noticing his stern face I gave his hand a light squeeze in reassurance as he has done for me so many times.

"I loathe it" Mr. Jacob finally answered his eyes still not leaving Ryder "and I loathe myself for teaching and pushing my delinquent son to play; cost me my daughter"

Silence followed his statement as Ryder's grip on my hand tightened and Julie's face fell. Pursing my lips I bravely asked "But surely you don't blame Ryder for what you?"

Almost immediately Mr. Jacob looked at me with a deathly glare that made me shiver in fright, he then glanced back at Ryder "I see you told her about our family's most greatest tragedy...hah, in fact you probably used it as a pick up line to lure her in with sympathy; am I right? Just when will you stop acting like you're the victim when my dear daughter is the one LYING DEAD IN HER GRAVE!"

"JACOB!" Julie stood up and shouted; shocked by her husband's outburst

Mr. Jacob slammed his hands on the table and stood up as well "No Julie, tell me? How many more people have to suffer for him to straighten up?!"

"Only one!" I exclaimed not being able to control my anger any longer, slamming my hands on the table like Mr. Jacob did; I too stood up and repeated solemnly "Only one"

"With all due respect" I began "you say you want Ryder to change and learn from his mistakes and move on yet you're the one stuck in the past!"

I pointed my finger at Mr. Jacob and continued "Ryder is no longer the immature kid that he was before yet you will only see him as so...I understand that your daughter's death had taken a toll on you and Julie-"

"Watch yourself! You don't know anything! You didn't know her!" Mr. Jacob warned

"You're right" I stated calmly "I didn't know her; but I do know Ryder and frankly I know him way more than you cared to"

"You forget that I'm his father; I raised him!" He reminded

I narrowed my eyes and countered "until your daughter's death sure, but what about after? You didn't even know he is one of our school's top students when it comes to academics!"

"You-" he started only to be cut off by me

"You what? Is the truth too hard to handle sir? Because you know what, I think you want to keep thinking of Ryder as the delinquent he once was just so you have someone to blame for what happened!" I paused to catch my breath and calm myself "you try to act all righteous when in fact you know that what happened was no one's fault because no one could have foreseen it"

Mr. Jacob seemed to look like he was about to murder me when he yelled "you weren't even there!"

"I didn't need to be! Mr. Jacob you might have lost a daughter and I couldn't even begin to imagine the pain you and Julie must be feeling but unlike Julie you've turned that pain into resentment and are now pushing away you're alive and well son because of it"

"A bimbo like you-" he insulted only to be interrupted by me again

"I might be a dumb bimbo Mr. Jacob, but you my dear sir are an ASSHOLE and you know it!" I shouted before grabbing my bag and storming off.

As soon as I reached the front of the house the brunt of what happened and what I said finally hit me and I groaned "oh god did I just do that?"

I heard footsteps behind me and turned to see Ryder approaching me looking very serious. Before he could reach me I quickly apologized "I'm so sorry Ryder, once I started I couldn't stop and-"

My rambling was cut off by a pair of lips touching mine and kissing me very passionately I might add, not knowing why I was being rewarded for my behavior I slowly pushed him away only for him to comment breathlessly "that was hot"

Staring at his hooded almost lust filled eyes and mischievous smirk I questioned "You're not mad?"

To which he answered by kissing me one more time, once we pulled away he then suggested we go out to eat since we didn't get the chance to earlier. Agreeing with him we headed to his car and drove to the nearest McDonalds, bought some food and then drove to the track.

"You called him what?!" Tom shouted while Jared and Julie broke out into laughter after hearing the story, mortified by their reactions I covered my face with my hands not being able to face the hysterical crowd as I repeated "an asshole"

"Wow!" Tom commented in pure amazement "you turned out to be way gutsier than I thought"

I frowned "I'm not; I just don't know what came over me"

"Well-directed anger is what it was" Ryder replied bitterly "he deserved to hear every word of what you said"

"I know but still..."

"No buts that man did sound like a asshole so what you did was simply state the facts love" Jared added

Still unconvinced I swung my legs back and forth on the make shift chair I was on and glanced around the track, it was crowded as per every weekend but something about this very dirty and strange place has always giving me a sense of comfort and coziness. The people here don't judge you and practically only mind their business, nobody really pays attention to the races as much; other than the usual betters and it's just an overall simple and carefree place to hang out. It was the perfect place to come after the disaster of a night I had just had.

When I met up with the others I naturally told them what happened with the exception of all major details concerning Ryder's family tragedy and only mainly told them that that I had a fight with his dad and then called him an asshole.

"Well I'm glad coming to the track had at least some effect on you, I was worried you'd be a cowardly little girl your whole life and never stand up for yourself" Julie (Flag Girl now Jared's girlfriend) said nonchalantly

"Hey! I stand up for myself...sometimes" I answered with obvious uncertainty

She scoffed ''really? Like when?"

I pursed my lips in thought before saying "I've told off Casey a bunch of times, I've punched Mason once and even got a scar-"

"It was a scratch" Ryder corrected

Ignoring him I continued "-I fought this guy in the monster truck show and last but not least I fought with Ryder's dad"

Julie lightly shrugged at my examples but the rest seemed genuinely impressed, Jared then commented "wow love, didn't think you'd turn out to be such a tigress"

"Hey! She could only come up with 4 times she actually stood up for herself while I have more than I can count" Julie protested in jealousy

"But you're different babe" Jared tried to sooth; not helping the situation

With a glare Julie said "so what? You're saying she's better than me?"

I gestured a 'no' to Jared in panic and he being him didn't listen "I never said that, you both just have separate redeeming qualities"

Realizing that Julie seemed just about to burst I decided to jump in "What he means to say is that like let's say Ryder and Jared, me and you have separate things that make us who we are for example your super hot and I'm...not"

"Debatable" both Jared and Ryder choose to chime in; Julie turned her fierce stare towards me while Ryder did the same for Jared

"Uh- how about that you are good at flag-girling and me absolutely terrible at it" I fumbled, thankfully she seemed satisfied with that and the others agreed as well which kind of made me offended.

However, Tom still wanting to see a fight chooses to ask "then what about Ryder and Jared? What's an example for them?"

Now all eyes were at me including Ryder who also looked curious, scowling I tried to use the same trick I did earlier with me and Julie "well, Ryder is amazing at racing and Jared not as much"

Jared and Julie's expressions dropped and Tom excitedly smiled at us as if already knowing the outcome my words would bring, Ryder seemed satisfied by my answer and didn't refute it which only seemed to infuriate Jared more.

"What makes you think Ryder is better than Jared in racing?!" Julie exclaimed angrily

I shrugged "My apologies but I just made an assumption based on what I see"

Jared huffed "In that case you better look again love because there's no way he's a better racer than me"

"Oh really?" Ryder challenged "your constant losses say otherwise"

"You-" Jared began only to be cut off by an eager Tom "there's a simple way to settle this guys"


Everyone's attention almost immediately spiked on the mention of the two names clearly showing how popular they were, the betters had already started hustling as Tom continued "AND WE ALL KNOW THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO SETTLE THIS"

As if on cue the whole crowd roared chanting "DRAG IT OUT! DRAG IT OUT!"

"Drag what out?" I asked Ryder through the noise

He sighed and explained "they mean 'drag race' it out, they basically want a race"

Nodding in agreement I joined the chant and so did Julie giving a competitive Jared and a reluctant Ryder the go-to to get in their cars and head to the starting line.


Hurriedly meeting Ryder at the line I slipped into the passenger seat next to him, turning to the side I saw Julie do the same with Jared's car.

"What are you doing?" Ryder questioned incredulously

Rolling my eyes I replied "isn't it obvious? I'm coming with you"

He shook his head "oh no you're not, it's too dangerous"

"Oh come on! It's too boring waiting at the finish line, besides what's the danger when you're driving" I flattered trying to put on a cute face

Staring at me for a few moments he finally relented and let me be, he then reached out for something in the backseat and handed it to me.

"A motorcycle helmet?" I questioned examining the helmet that I've worn all too many times on his bike

Nodding; he instructed "wear it"

"But why? We are in a car Ryder; not your bike" I stated the obvious

"ARE THE RACERS READY?" Tom announced on the speaker, Jared roared his engine in response while Ryder simply waited for me to put on the helmet unhurriedly "I don't care where we are, it's for your own safety; put it on or get out"

I sulked but nonetheless did as I was told "when did you get so bossy"

With a satisfied grin Ryder started up his engine as well giving Tom the signal to start the race, a flag girl came to the front and held up the flag waiting for Tom's cue. I faintly heard Julie comment on how the girl's stance was all wrong as Tom shouted "READY...SET...RACE!"

Ryder' car boasted forward like a rollercoaster going downhill, my back instantly got squeezed to the back of my seat and only went further back as Ryder sped up. Craning my neck to the side I saw Jared's car not too far behind us about to catch up. Ryder was wholly focused on the wheel and didn't seem to notice their advancement.

"Ry Ry, they're about to-" I began only to have him suddenly change lanes blocking Jared from coming forward 'wow, I guess he was paying more attention than I thought he was'

We played a little game of side to side not letting him through before Jared angrily went off course and nudged his way to the side of us so that we were now racing neck in neck. Shocked by his technique I questioned "is that even allowed?"

"It's drag racing, there are no rules" Ryder answered while pushing the accelerator even harder bypassing Jared who seemed to be purposefully lessening his speed.

Noticing that there was a turn ahead I asked "shouldn't we be slowing down too?"

Ryder reached out for his gear and was about to change it went he gave me a quick glance and exclaimed "why aren't you wearing your helmet?!"

Sheepishly smiling at him I replied "I had to take it off! It's dark and I couldn't see anything!"

"Why do you need to-" Ryder started to argue only to have me interrupt him by yelling "RY RY THE TURN!"

Instantly turning back to the road he forcefully turned the steering wheel; skidding the car past the turn just barely missing the wall that was a few meters away from the road, his late save let Jared pass him as he and Julie hooted at us in mockery while Ryder brought the car back to the road. My heart rate sped up at the near collision experience and couldn't figure out whether the sudden energy I felt was from adrenaline or fear.

Tightly holding onto my seat I watched as Ryder bolted the car forward towards Jared's before voluntarily going off the course much like how Jared did earlier; yet just when I thought he was going to overtake him he instead stayed a little behind him to the side. Confused at his tactics I was about to question them when he said "hold on!"

Immediately doing as I was told this time I noticed Jared slowing down again making me look ahead to see another curve in the road and this time it was a u-turn since it was the end of the line of this area full of warehouses and factories. Much like last time Ryder slightly increased his speed and just when we were about to reach the turn he spun the wheel to the left completely making the car do a whole 180 spin as it skidded on the off road area.

It was as if time slowed down and I could clearly see Jared and Julie (whose car was turning normally on the road) with stunned expressions staring to the side as we went past them and reentered the road in front of them. After we were back on the road it was a straight to the finish line, Jared couldn't possibly catch up to us with the lead we held after that turn.

Everyone cheered for us (mainly Ryder) when we got out of the car and I too ran to his side and gave him a huge hug and a kiss, which received quite a lot of hoots from the crowd. Surprised by my excited display of affection he nonetheless felt proud of his win.

"That was so cool!" I squealed in his arms "is that the kind of turn you were trying to do on the first curve?"

Slightly embarrassed by that mishap he said "Yeah...let's just forget that ever happened"

"Already forgotten" I replied happily

Jared and Julie dejectedly got out of their cars as Jared huffed towards us "That was cheating!"

With a quirk of an eyebrow Ryder was about to respond when I choose to step in and contradicted "there are no rules in drag racing love"

Not satisfied with my answer Jared turned to Ryder for an explanation only to have him walk up to me and put his hand on my waist "you heard the lady"

Huffing in frustration Jared stormed off and Julie followed after to comfort him, looking back at Ryder I put my arms around his neck as I commented "you were really attractive out there today"

"You just realized I was attractive?" he joked whilst bringing me closer to him

"Nope, I always knew you were and frankly I just can't believe my luck" I replied honestly

He lightly pressed his forehead against mine and whispered "that's my line"

We were just about to kiss again when Tom jumped out of nowhere and congratulated us for the win. We both then soon rejoined the others as Mason and Tony came to the track as well whining about how they just missed the match between Jared and Ryder, as we all sat together Jared also got over his defeat making an oath that he would one day beat the Dark Knight. An hour later Cole and Gabby ended their date early and came over as well due to Tom's constant posts about how much fun we were having.

For the rest of the night we just talked and laughed like usual, it was as if the whole argument and dinner that we came from earlier didn't even happen. However, there were many things that I said during the dinner that may have crossed the line and couldn't be brushed off so after it got a little late I requested Ryder to take me back to his house.

"Why do you want to go back?" He questioned

"I just want to apologize to Julie for ruining the dinner she so painstakingly arranged and for yelling about things I had no right to talk about" I answered genuinely feeling guilty

Ryder didn't seem to agree though "you weren't the one that ruined the dinner it was him, so you have nothing to be sorry about; as for the other thing...I bet mom doesn't mind since you were just trying to make a point"

"Yeah but I used a tragic incident to do so!" I exclaimed before sighing "look...I just really need to get this off my chest; so can you please take me back?"

He stared at me thoughtfully for a minute or two before finally conforming "fine, if you say so"

Smiling gratefully at him we then headed back to the scene of the crime. The house seemed deader than it was a few hours ago and the gloomy atmosphere that surrounded it made me kind of nervous. With hope that Mr. Jacob was asleep by now I slowly crept into the house like a thief while Ryder walked in normally with like nothing was wrong, we heard some shuffling in the living room and to our pleasure we saw Ryder's mom sitting on one of the couches with a glass of wine in her hand. She was dressed more comfortably now as she lazily sat observing a few pieces of documents that were kept on a coffee table in front of her.

"Hey mom, we're back" Ryder announced softly prompting Julie to immediately snap out of her daze and turn towards us

"Oh hello dears!" she greeted sweetly as usual, we walked to her and I couldn't help but notice that the documents on the table were all of Ryder's past report cards. As I suspected he was a straight A student. Ryder also quickly recognized the papers and questioned "How did you find those?"

Julie (Ryder's mom) shrugged "oh please, your bottom drawer is no hiding place"

"You went through my stuff?!" Ryder exclaimed in horror

"Not your stuff, just your underwear drawer" she replied nonchalantly only making Ryder redder than he already was

Holding my laughter in I tried to get back to focusing on the real elephant or the asshole who wasn't in the room "As entertaining as all this is, what I really came here to say is that I'm sorry for storming off earlier"

"It's alright dear, Jacob was the one in the wrong; he was being really rude to you" she said comfortingly

"But, it was my fault for saying things that were out of line" I insisted

She gently grabbed my hand and said "you did nothing of the sort; you said what needed to be said"

She then guided us to the kitchen as she continued "ever since Jasmine passed away this family has gradually drifted apart, Jacob in particular channeled his helplessness in that situation into anger and grief and put the entire blame onto Ryder even though he knew he wasn't to blame"

Ryder put his head down guiltily "and I; who saw this change happening did nothing about and instead pretended like everything was normal and that time would fix everything. In all honesty, I realize now that I was only trying to suppress that incident in my mind and so made the mere mention of her death a taboo subject"

We reached the kitchen and she finally faced me with unshed tears in her eyes "today you did what I never had the guts to do, you made Jacob and myself confront and talk about what happened head on instead of running away from it like we always have"

Seeing the reluctance on my face Julie added "I know you might think that it wasn't your place but in fact someone who wasn't directly involved and could fairly examine what happened is the only person who can give an honest opinion on the matter...and that's what you did"

She then chuckled "you know I've never seen Jacob so angry and speechless before, what you said really struck him because he asked me after if I knew where Ryder's report cards might be and silently stared at them before retreating to his room"

Ryder seemed slightly startled that his dad actually cared and I could see by Julie's expression that she too believed that there was hope for this father-son pair after all. Julie soon walked to her fridge and brought out boxes of the leftovers from dinner and handed them to me in a bag.

"If I have raised my son right then he must have already fed his hungry girlfriend dinner so just take these leftovers and be sure to eat them later with your mom and tell me how they were"

I smiled and didn't refuse her kind gesture "thank you, I'm positive they'll all be delicious"

We could faintly hear some footsteps coming from upstairs and Julie saw our faces of dread and laughed"don't worry; the asshole probably won't be coming down to the scene of the crime until tomorrow morning"

Mortified by her comment and I immediately apologized again only to have her brush me off saying that she found the word very funny slightly fitting to how he was acting at that moment. We talked a little more before I told her that I should be heading home now so with a quick goodbye we began to head to the door when we halted on seeing Mr. Jacob standing at the top of the stair case surprised at our presence as well. At this point I simply expected him to ignore us and walk away but instead he gave us a stern nod of acknowledgement.

"Goodnight sir!" I called subconsciously

"Just Jacob is fine" he corrected softly with a light cough astonishing everyone in the room

I couldn't help the smile from appearing on my face as I nodded happily 'maybe he doesn't completely hate me after all', he then was about to retreat back upstairs so I hurriedly blurted "sorry for calling you an asshole!"

Julie broke out in laughter again and Ryder sighed helpless as Mr. Jacob looked back at me in shock for saying that out of the blue, instantly getting nervous under is stare I lost all the confidence I had earlier during our fight and mumbled "I'm very charming...?"

And for a flicker of a second I thought I saw him give a ghost of a smile before returning back to his stoic expression and walking off, Julie soon caught her breath and send us off and that finally concluded this chaotic night.

'At least it seems Mr. Jacob might be warming up to me a little, with time he might actually start being kind to me' I then glanced at Ryder 'after all the apple doesn't fall far from the tree'