Summer night city.
About: Ryan Lafferty
Warning: deals with the topic of suicide
Disclaimer: B&S and Ryan Lafferty belong to ABC, which is a shame, because I think the kid deserved a better chance... (sigh)
Summary: Ryan needs to get OUT of George Lafferty's house and nearly makes a stupid decision. Takes place after "A bone to pick"
Extra: Couldn't leave my own Walker challenge # 9 unanswered, now could I? ; = D
Of all the cd’s that could have been in this car, it had to be ABBA, his mother’s favorite band. The music she had listened to day and night, night and day.
“You’ve got to be kidding?!” Ryan says to no-one in particular, as he’s alone in his car. No, that is incorrect, it isn’t his car, but his dad’s, or rather it is George’s…
See, that is the problem. Nothing makes sense anymore. He had asked to borrow George Lafferty’s car because he needed to get out of the house, but he had no idea where to go. He had just driven off, no particular plan in mind. Just go away, get out, get lost.
It’s been three months since he left Pasadena, left the Walkers and left Ojai, not to mention that he got away from Dennis York, and still everything that happened is on his mind. Every day. Sometimes it’s just a passing thought, sometimes he feels completely locked in his own little world, because no one can possibly understand what he has done and where he has been.
In fact, he doesn’t get most of it himself. What had he done? Where had he been? He had never been cruel, mean or hateful, but when George had told him about William Walker something had shifted in him. It had been as if he locked up himself someplace and unleashed another part of him…
“… there’s a good chance that this William Walker really is your biological father…” with those words, George had completely shuffled the way that Ryan saw the world. He was suddenly a half-brother to his own siblings and he somehow ‘gained’ three half-brothers and two half-sisters… another family. A family who seduced him with one hand and pushed him away with another…. A family he had fallen in love with and hated at the same time…
The empty feeling in his stomach gets worse and he knows, deep down inside, that it’s not hunger for food that puts it there, it’s a hunger for a place to be, to belong, a place to call home, but there isn’t such a place anymore. He had burned his bridges everywhere…
After he had recuperated from helping Kitty with the bone-marrow-transplant, he had returned to Bakersfield. George had received him with open arms, his brothers had been there to listen to him, but he found it impossible to talk to them. They wouldn’t understand, they wouldn’t recognize the Ryan he had been in Pasadena.
Tears fill his eyes as the music plays on. His mother’s favorites. George had put them on a cd… “Dancing queen” fills the air and Ryan pulls over to stop. He can’t drive on. He’s too tired. He lets his arms rest on the wheel and starts to cry for real… “You are a dancing queen, young and sweet, only seventeen…”
How often had he not seen his mother dance in the kitchen to this song and she’d smile at him and grin.
“Can you imagine, your dad and I used to dance this song…” He can still hear her words, her voice, her joy, …
He also remembers how his father, George, would look at Connie with love in his eyes, as if it was such a special memory…. Ryan had always been so sure of it all. His parents had loved each other, they had three sons together… His brothers were more like his dad, he was more like his mother…
Now, he no longer believes in that fairytale, but he can’t change the story anymore either. Connie is dead. She killed herself… And it was not William’s fault. It was Saul’s. Just before Ryan left, Saul had confessed that he had been the one who had sent Connie away… after which Connie had driven herself into a pole…
Something tells him that should be as angry with Saul, as he had been with William, but he couldn’t. Saul had just been the messenger of William’s dirty messages and even if Saul had been more callous about the news he brought Connie, it didn’t mean that Connie had to end her life.
He cannot ask William anything anymore, because he’s gone and Nora had simply known too little. George couldn’t help anymore either, for the same reason as Nora. They had both been confronted with the truth after the death of William… long after Connie’s death… And now the vital pieces in his life are missing.
He can never ask if he was wanted, if he was planned, how much William really knew, why Connie kept it a secret or if she ever planned to tell him about William or would just have gone on, as if George was his father… It keeps revolving around the same thing. His real mother is dead, his real father is dead. He has no idea who he is.
He starts the car again, the tears he cried haven't brought much relief and it seems almost fate, that it's only now that he sees where he is and it sends chills down his spine, because this is about the only place where he should not be. Not here. Not this street.
But this is it. The street where his mother died. The street that enters a small village and then the road climbs out of the village and on that strip of road going out of the village, she had driven fast and faster, obviously sinking deeper and deeper into despair until the only way to stop the pain must have been the lamp-post…
He closes his eyes and presses the accelerator. He drives out of the village, his car moves faster and faster. The road moves up. And he has to press harder to keep the car going at the same speed as his mother had been driving when she killed herself….
Still, it seems to take forever… There it is. The lamp-post. A new one. He clenches his teeth. He needs to stop that pain, the emptiness… The pole comes closer and closer and he closes his eyes….
His foot hits the breaks with so much strength. It’s an involuntary reaction of his body. The car swerves, passes the pole by two inches and stops besides it, just off the road. For the first few seconds he doesn't dare to open his eyes, afraid he killed himself after all. Ryan breathes heavily, his entire body shaking with distress, his eyes wet with tears, his knuckles are white from his grip on the wheel.
He’s aware that a car stops behind him and he opens his eyes to see a man walk up at him.
“Hey, kid! Are you alright? What were you trying to do, you moron? You nearly killed yourself!” He yells and Ryan nods slowly. Yes, he had nearly, but not entirely, killed himself.
“I’m sorry.” He stammers. “I’m s-s-sorry.”
“Kid, you shouldn’t be driving. Why don’t I take you to the nearest police-station and let you call someone to pick you up?”
“I have a phone right here… but thanks for your concern, I don’t need anyone.”
“I’m just not sure you should be behind the wheel of car, boy, if you’re trying to kill yourself… and the police know better how to deal with kids like you.” The man says uncertainly, making Ryan smile cynically. The man means well, but obviously doens't want to get involved either.
“It’s alright, thank you for your concern, sir, but I’ll be fine.”
The man still seems to doubt Ryan, so Ryan tries again:
“There’s a truck-stop a bit further up the road, no?” The man nods. “How about I’ll stop there, get some coffee and maybe call someone from there?”
“Alright then.” The man must feel that this would be safe enough.
Predictably the man follows Ryan, until Ryan turns into the parking-lot of the truck-stop, then the man slowly drives by, raises his hand in greeting and drives off, leaving Ryan to think over his next step, which is... to get some coffee and maybe call someone… Or not.
The coffee smells strong and tastes like tar, but at this point Ryan doesn’t mind. The near-accident seems to have awoken him from his sleepwalking state. It had hit him hard to realize, in a few seconds, that maybe he had not wanted to die, but somehow Connie had not wanted to live. Not even for him.
And that serems to be the answer. He always wanted it all. Mom, dad, brothers, nice house, good in school, then grow up, get a girlfriend, get married, have a baby and grow old with the girl he loved… And then his mother died, and his father turned out not to his father, and his brothers were only his half-brothers and he had other half-siblings…
He had recognized that seem need, for a place to be, in Rebecca, which had attracted him to her. He had felt., that she was the only one who could understand what he needed… and he had been so caught up in his own needs, that he had not been able to see, that she needed someone else to complete her….
He sighs and looks out the window to the place where his car is. It waits patiently for him. So, he pays for his coffee and returns to his car. The music switches back on and the first thing he hears is the intro to ‘Summernight city’. He leans back in the chair.
“Waiting for the sunrise, soul dancing in the dark Summer night city….” He hears and he closes his eyes, he can see Connie moving her hips to the music, she’s in the kitchen and he can see George, shaking his head, with a smile on his face. The memory doesn’t hurt this time, it actually puts a smile on Ryan's face.
He opens his eyes, it’s time to get this car back to George. He turns the music louder and smiles as he hits the road, back to his father’s house. He still has no idea what to do next and he knows he hasn't solved his problem, but he finds himself fully agreeing with ABBA:
“Lots to take and lots to give, Time to breathe and time to live…..”