The Happiest Place On Earth
Chapter 44: It's Been Too Long
What do you say to someone who closes themselves off from the rest of the world and refuses to look anyone in the eye? Do you tell them that everything will be okay? Or do you tell them the truth - the brutal and hurtful truth - because that could inevitably make or break them? Everyone knows that the truth hurts, but not everyone knows that sometimes it's necessary to feel pain in order to feel happiness.
Kaylani hadn't left her bunk on the tour bus since her breakdown. She was waiting. Waiting for the minute Ryan arrived and demanded to speak to her. Waiting for the minute that someone else would betray her and break her already shattered heart into even smaller pieces. Waiting for the moment Harry would decide he had enough of her drama and walked away.
She could handle pain, but she finally felt like she was close to breaking. Kaylani had skeletons in her closet. Skeletons that know one knew about except for her parents. That was until Ryan came along. She confided in him. She told him all of her deepest secrets and her darkest memories and she finally felt like a weight had been lifted off of her shoulders. However now she knew it was too good to be true.
Kaylani's feeling of betrayal wasn't just towards Jake and Ryan - it was towards herself. She promised herself that she would never let her demons take control. She promised herself that she would never reveal her secrets because she didn't want that stress to be put on someone else's shoulders. No one deserved that except for her. She promised that she would protect the people she cared about, but somehow she continuously breaks those promises. As a result, she pushes people away just as she was doing now.
Harry had been sitting in the dining area of the bus for the last couple hours trying to figure out what he could do to make this all better. When he originally brought Kaylani back to the bus he sat with her and tried to comfort her, but after two hours of complete silence he couldn't handle it anymore.
After Kay's breakdown she eventually calmed down enough to stop crying. However that also meant she calmed down enough to completely shut off. It was like she was running on autopilot. She wouldn't make eye contact with anyone. She wouldn't eat. She wouldn't move.
He tried to get her to open up to him and he tried to ignore her slight flinch every time he would touch her, but he soon realized that no matter how hard he tried he just had to give her space. She would open up to him eventually (or so he hoped) and whether she liked it or not he was going to be there for her. He was pissed off at Jake but he knew he had to keep his promise to him - Harry had to make sure Kaylani was happy.
Just as Harry made a decision - a decision that would change his life - the sound of footsteps gradually got louder until they stopped just outside the door to the bus. He figured it was one of the boys coming to check up on them, but was proven wrong with the light rasping of knuckles against the metal door. None of the boys or even Jake, Alanis or Sam would bother knocking.
Harry took a deep breath before making his way to the door already having an idea of who it was.
As the metal door opened, a light breeze ruffled Harry's mop of curly and disheveled hair from the countless number of times he ran his fingers through it. He wasn't happy with the situation, but he would suck it up because as much as he hated to admit it, Jake was right - Kaylani needed to do this.
"Ryan." Harry gave a curt nod as he noticed the shocked look on Ryan's face. He obviously wasn't expecting Harry to answer the door. "Come in."
Ryan took a hesitant step inside the bus as Harry walked ahead of him. He couldn't help but notice the mixture of anger and worry that were swirling in his eyes. He knew Harry wouldn't be happy about this, but he was glad he wasn't beating the shit out of him the minute he saw him at the door. He had no problem with Harry, just the idea of him and Kaylani together.
"Um, thanks." Shifting on his feet Ryan avoided Harry's penetrating gaze. "I know you probably don't want me here, but I just want to talk to Kaylani."
After a few agonizing seconds Harry finally let out a deep sigh. "She's in the bunks."
Ryan's eyes flickered to the area where the bunks were before giving a slight nod and making his way over. He didn't know if Harry would be staying for the conversation, but he hoped he wouldn't. Just as he reached Kaylani's bunk he heard the sound of the bus door shutting and was grateful that Harry decided to give them space.
"Kay." Ryan couldn't help but let out a breath of air as he took in her frazzled state. Her hair was all over the place, her eyes were red and puffy from crying and she had a distant look in her eyes that he had only ever seen once before.
At the sound of her name from a voice other than Harry's, Kaylani lifted her head and made eye contact with Ryan; however, the distant look in her eyes remained. She kept her eyes locked on his waiting for him to make the next move. She was done trying to be strong and she was done running from the pain - it was time for her to face it head on.
"I'm probably the last person you want to see but I couldn't take it anymore. Talk to me Kay, please." The desperation in Ryan's voice would normally have made Kaylani spill her heart out to him, but now all it did was make her look away and swallow the tears threatening to spill.
"What do you want me to say Ryan?" Even as she answered Ryan could tell that she had given up. Her voice was barely above a whisper.
"Just talk to me. I want to work this out. I can't lose you. Not again."
"You lost me the minute you decided not to tell anyone you were alive."
"Don't. Don't do that. Don't just throw away everything we had. I made a mistake, but I did it for my brother! Do you understand what I went through? For months I had to avoid all of you as I thought of what I could possibly do to tell you all that I was alive without freaking everyone out. I never wanted this! I wanted my brother back and that was it! But look where that got me! I lost everything in one day because my brother failed to tell me that he was dying. I don't blame him and I certainly wouldn't change anything that happened because it gave him the chance to have his family back, but I also never wanted any of this to happen. I never wanted to hurt you."
"It's a little too late for that Ryan." Focusing her eyes back on his Kaylani decided it was finally time to tell him exactly what the news of his death had done to her. "I haven't been happy in months, Ry. Months. I was waiting, wishing that it was all a joke and that you would come back to me but that never happened. I had to go to therapy because I almost killed myself! I couldn't handle it! It was like every skeleton in my closet had come out to take over my life and they were winning. They were fucking winning Ryan." Kaylani knew that she was losing the battle against her emotions the minute that her voice cracked.
Ryan had to look away as she spoke. He knew she was talking about her depression. She may seem like a happy-go-lucky girl with one of the bubblies attitudes ever, but she was just good at hiding secrets. When they got together he could tell there was always something a little off by this look she would get in her eyes, like she was never fully there, but he ignored it. It was a few months into their relationship when Kaylani had a breakdown and spilled everything.
"But then Harry and the boys came along. They picked up the pieces and put them back together. There's a few pieces missing, but it was better than nothing."
"I want you to be happy, I just can't stand to see you happy with him. With them. I can't stand to see you happy without me." Ryan couldn't look Kaylani in the eyes as he confessed his true feelings. He knew she would resent him for it, but it needed to be said.
"Why not?" Kaylani placed a finger under Ryan's chin and forced him to look at her as she spoke to him in the most desperate and pleading tone she could muster.
"Because I feel like he's taking over my life. He has you and Alanis and Jake and who knows who else wrapped around his finger. I was supposed to be the one to comfort you. I was supposed to be the one to make everything right. I was supposed to be the one for you. The only one." Ryan was losing control of his emotions and he knew it because he couldn't stop his voice from cracking. He had never loved anyone as much as he loved Kaylani and he doubted he ever would again.
"I wish things could go back to how they were Ryan, I really do. But it's too late. The damage is done."
"Will you ever be able to forgive me?"
"I forgave you the minute I realized you were alive." Kaylani smiled sadly to herself as she noticed Ryan lean into her palm that rested on his cheek. "But I need you to understand that things can't go back to how they were. Maybe we can be friends again, but for now I need space and I need you to understand that I'm with Harry. He makes me happy, but he will never take your place. Remember how I said there were pieces missing to my puzzle of a life? That's because you took those pieces with you. You deserve to happy too Ry and I know that's not going to be with me. There's too much pain in our past for us to pick up where we left off."
As much as it hurt him to admit it, Ryan knew she had a point. He might not like the idea of her and Harry together, but he knew that he made her happy and that was the best thing he could ever ask for her. All he ever wanted for her was her happiness.
"I'm sorry Kaylani. I'm so so sorry." Ryan broke down as the words left his mouth. He couldn't help but feel angry at himself for what he did and heartbroken because he lost the best thing that's ever happened to him.
Kaylani wrapped her arms around Ryan's shaking torso as he lost control of his emotions. Just a little while ago she was in his place. She was the one who was breaking and Harry was the one holding her. She knew that things might not ever be the same between them, but she was grateful to at least get somewhat of a clean slate.
"I know. I'm sorry too. But I forgive you Ryan, I just hope you can learn to forgive yourself." Kaylani let her cheek rest against his head as she held him in her arms. A lot of what she was saying was for her own benefit as well as Ryan's. She knew she was happy here and she knew Ryan would be happy again someday too. They just needed to accept that things would never go back to how they were in their relationship or in their own separate lives.
"I see how happy he makes you and that's honestly all that matters to me so I'll try to warm up to the two of you together. Thank you for talking to me, Kaylani. You could have completely ignored me, but I'm glad you didn't." Ryan gave her as genuine of a smile as he could before pulling away completely and wiping the remainder of his tears off of his cheeks. "I guess I should be going now. Goodbye Kay."
With one final small smile Ryan turned to leave the bus. Kaylani jumped off of her bunk and walked with him to the door. Just as Kaylani opened the door she noticed that everyone - the boys, Jake, Alanis, and Sam - were gathered in a huddle by the bus. When they heard the door open they all turned around and looked between the two nervously.
"Um, hi." Kaylani couldn't help but smile as she took in the sight of all of her friends. The smile that lit up her face was confirmation enough for everyone else to let out the breath they had all been holding. "I'm pretty sure you're all confused or curious or both right now so I'll just come out and say it. Everything's okay. It's been hard for both of us to get past something that had such an impact on our lives, but we agreed to try and be friends. I hope that means that none of you try to kick his ass because he didn't hurt me intentionally. But all of that is in the past now and that's where I want it to stay. Jake," Kaylani focused her gaze on her best friend who couldn't stop fidgeting. "Thank you. For everything. I might have been pissed off at first but I know that you were just doing what you thought was best. You've never steered me in the wrong direction so I should have trusted your judgement more. I'm sorry and I love you."
As soon as the words left her mouth Jake ran forward and pulled her into the biggest bear hug he could muster. He hated having her mad at him but he was glad that everything worked out. "I love you too, boo."
Ryan cleared his throat which effectively brought everyone's attention to him. "I just wanted to say I'm sorry. To all of you. I don't know what previous thoughts you have of me, but I hope that one day I can change them. I never meant for anything to go this far and I never meant to cause this many problems. It's just hard to let go of someone as amazing as Kaylani." Ryan smiled at his ex-girlfriend who stood in the arms of his brother, both smiling back at him. His gaze then shifted to Harry, someone who he realized he could probably be very good friends with if the circumstances were different. "Harry, I just want to say I'm sorry. I'm sorry if I made you think poorly of me. It's hard for me to see you and her together but I'm glad that it is you because I can see how happy you make her and that's all that matters to me. As for the rest of you, thank you. Thank you to everyone because you were there for her when I wasn't and you made her happy again. I don't know if any of you could ever forgive me but I'm genuinely sorry. Thanks for letting me come here to sort things out and I'll be getting out of your hair now."
Ryan let his eyes meet everyone else's before he finally stepped down from the bus stairs. Right as he was passing Kaylani he squeezed her shoulder and offered her and Jake a small smile. He was about to head back to the car he rented so that he could drive to his hotel when the sound of a voice stopped him in his tracks.
"Hey Ryan? Like Kaylani said, we should put the past in the past so let's start over. How about you stick around for a while and hang out?" Ryan was shocked by Harry's offer just as much as he was by the soft smiles on everyone's faces. There wasn't a single harsh or bitter look and for that he would be forever grateful.
"I'd love to."
THIS ISN'T THE END. There's still more to come, I just thought this would be a good place to end because it was either I end the chapter here or I keep writing until the chapter is ridiculously long.
I tried to be witty by making the chapter title something that pertained to the chapter as well as something that pertained to the fact that I haven't updated in about half a year.
I'm not going to lie - I have had time to write and update. However my time has been spent either trying to relax (I've been crazy busy) or it's been spent hanging out with friends and/or family. I could choose to update instead of going out (I used to choose that option all the time) however I'm moving from CA to NY on August 24 for school so I'm trying to spend as much time as possible with my friends and family. I hope you all understand, but thank you for staying subscribed and continuing to follow along with this story. I'll never be able to repay you for your support.
I'm sorry if this chapter sucks. I haven't written anything in a very long time so I'm still trying to get back to my writing style.
PS - Depression is a very serious thing. If you or anyone you know has it, don't be afraid to talk to someone about it. I want you all to know that you are all worth it and you are all important. No matter what anyone else says. If you ever need to talk, I'm here. I may not update that frequently anymore but I still get emails when I get comments or messages. I love each and every one of you. Stay strong. Stay beautiful.