By Kylee Day
“So, why’d you decide to move to Bellwich?” Rory said the words in a tone that suggested she didn’t understand why anyone would want to move to the small town. Aryn ignored that and just answered the question.
“It’s…” She trailed off, not being able to find the right words.
“Complicated?” Rory provided with raised eyebrows. Aryn nodded. “Yeah, I kind of get that vibe from you… like you say everything is so complicated, when really, you just don’t want to say the truth.” Aryn thought about this, but didn’t say anything. After a moment of silence and the waitress walking back over to hand them the receipt, Rory spoke up once more.
“Are you free tomorrow?” She asked. Aryn brought her eyes up from her skateboard that she had been rolling back and forth under the table.
“I think so, yeah, why?”
“I want to show you something.” Rory told her. Show me something? What would she want to show me? Aryn thought.
“Okay,” was all she said. Rory paid and the two walked out of the diner in silence, Aryn didn’t say anything until Rory got to her bike.
“Do you want me to call tomorrow or…” She trailed off. The redhead was too anxious to ask the question, “Do you want my number?” and she had no idea why.
“Meet me at the arcade. I can be over there around twelve, but if you want, you can always get there earlier than me and play a few games.” Rory said with confidence in her voice. Not a single stutter or indication of insecurity. Yet, she felt like her stomach was some sort of bouncy house.
“Okay, that’ll work. Where’s the arcade?” Aryn asked, looking around and as far as her eyes could see.
“It’s two blocks over on Sam Street. You can’t miss it with the big neon sign out front.” Rory replied.
“See you then, Rory.” Aryn said the girl’s name as if it were the first time the letters spilled from her lips and out into the air. Rory smiled and let out a small chuckle at this.
“You too, Aryn.” And they were both on their ways home.
When Aryn had returned home, everything was back to normal. At least, as normal as it could be. Her mom was in the kitchen making lunch while her stepdad sat at the dining room table, both of them laughing as Aryn walked in. But the bruise on her mom’s left cheek didn’t go unnoticed. Certainly not by Aryn, being the observer she is, but it almost seemed as though it did go unnoticed. Unnoticed to her mother and unnoticed to her stepdad because in that moment, they looked like a happy family. If one were to put this moment in a movie or a book, would they be labelled as such? Or would the thoughts in their minds unveil the truth to their lies? Aryn would never know… as she let the moment be, for which it was rare to see her mom smiling in not just her lips, but her as eyes as well. And it even made Aryn smile, just a bit, just enough for her to have a little hope in this little family.
That night, Aryn drifted off to sleep, her tiredness measured in the weight of the things she had done that day, and not the tears she had shed. Although, in the back of her mind, Aryn knew this was only the eye of the storm. The calm before the reckoning. But the little hope she had gotten from her mother’s smile led her down a path of expecting a little more happiness in her life. And that path would only lead her to disappointment, down the road.