Tumbling Down

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  1. matt merrel 1.jpg
    Syracuse, NY – March 7, 2013

    For the first time in seven long years, Ryan was not wearing the hunter green button down shirt with the baggy elastic pants. Large stenciled letters did not mark him on his back nor a number above his right chest pocket. For once in the long years that have passed, he was almost free. The tracker securely locked around his right ankle. Until deemed otherwise, it will stay around his ankle until the Parole Officer thinks it’s unnecessary. He was Ryan Cooper again, not R-man or Cooper. Whatever stupid nicknames his mates had given him. That life that he had lived for the past seven years was over. Under no circumstances can he see his mates again but most of them are in that damn prison for life.

    The clothes he was arrested in are long gone, only the gray duffel bag in his right hand with a dozen denim jeans, crewneck sweatshirt, sweatpants, hoodie, web belts, and shirts both buttoned, V-neck and workout shirts. There is an assortment of color but Ryan hasn’t even looked in the bag yet. His most prized possession is his worn down leather jacket. He was reminded of limestone when he looks at it, the once smooth and pristine texture easily loose around his skinny arms. (http://www.lyst.com/clothing/7-diamo...emovable-hood/)

    All the doors were opening instead of closing, letting him out instead of shutting him in. These events confused Ryan, making him frown even though, internally, he couldn’t have been more overjoyed. His freedom is –almost- fully restored. Yet, the weight of the tracker latches onto his very soul. There is

    He is driven to the Parole Officers office and forced to answer questions as well as told what would happen from here on out. Ryan has to see her every single week, no questions. Not even knowing her name at first, he is to call her ma’am. Feeling powerless, Ryan abides, being warned that his life is in her hands. She has the power to send him right back to jail within a blink of an eye if he steps out of line. The two of them glare across the table at one another, waiting for his ride to pick him up.

    “A girl, my good friend, has generously offered to give you shelter so that you may start your own life once again, Mr. Cooper. Her name is Milly Walker. Don’t try anything or else you’ll be put behind bars perhaps even longer than the ten years you were to serve.” Her words are stern, the unwavering eyes like those of a prowling lioness.

    "Understood," Within the next breath, Ryan adds, "Ma'am." A knock comes at the office door and Ryan can feel his heartbeat stop, letting out a shallow breath. ​What will she be like? Pretty? Cruel? Judgmental? OCD? Talkative? Oh god... The officer easily slips from her chair, brushing her shoulder length brunette hair from her face and nearly jogging to open the oak door.
  2. Milly had been told by her friend of hers, Sophie, that she is going to let a criminal inside of her home. At first, Milly refused to let this guy, whoever he is, step inside of her home - not even into her life! But then, after plenty of talking with Sophie, she agreed to do it. This criminal obviously needs a place to stay, and Milly owes Sophie - she had been reminded several times during their conversations - big time.

    In a way, Milly wish that the guy who is going to live with her, will get hit by a car before she gets the chance to meet him. She bites her lip as she slows down, pulling over. Where is she? She looks at the map - she has never been good at those - and tries to navigate herself to where she is heading. She knows that it has to be done, she can't avoid it any longer. Hopefully it won't be long, Milly thinks, as she drives carefully through the crowd of people. Obviously, the road she is driving at isn't supposed to be driven at. She apologizes over and over again as she carefully makes her way through the crowd, and soon, she is out on the road again, able to continue her thoughts on what is going to happen, how she will be able to handle this.

    As she gets to where she is going to pick him up, and probably see Sophie as well, she pulls over. "Damn. I hate this", she says, and steps outside, locking the car. She looks at the building - why would anyone be there by their own free will? Milly doesn't understand. An officer of some kind - all Milly can figure out is that the man is working here - waves at her. Milly walks up to him, smiling gently. After a quick chat about why she is there, the man follows her into the building. Her reaction is to run away, but she forces herself to keep walking, close to the officer showing the way. She has to do this, she reminds herself. She owes Sophie.

    Lets make something good out of this, she thinks, as she is standing in front of a door made of oak. This is it. The criminal and Sophie behind it. Milly bits her lips and takes a deep breath. She has decided to at least try to give it a chance. Maybe this guy isn't as terrible as it sounds, she thinks, and opens the door. She looks at Sophie for a few seconds, and then she looks at the criminal. A guy, just as Sophie has told her. Milly puts her light brown hair behind her ear and walks in. "I'm Milly", she says, reaching her hand out, for him to grab. After maybe not even a second, Milly turns over, facing Sophie. She looks at her as if she has just been told that she will spend the rest of her life with Ryan. "I'm doing this for you, remember that", she says, sounding as if she'd like to kick Sophie's ass. Then she turns towards Ryan again. A bit of a smile is spread on her lips. "Guess it's you and me, then. And your name is...?" she says, not being able to avoid being a bit irritated about it all. Milly knows that she can sometimes behave like a bitch, a bastard, a jerk, or whatever, but this time she isn't trying very hard to cover it up.
  3. Syracuse, NY – April 1, 2013

    Only a few days short of a whole month living together, Ryan wakes up in his usual spot. The twin sized mattress of the guest room contouring uncomfortably to his body. He at least has his comforter, soft pillows, and an itchy wool blanket. Anything is better than that "brick" I slept on for the past seven years. He remembers telling himself every time he thinks of complaining. Being a guest in Milly's house has grown on him and he hopes it has grown on her as well. Over this first month, Ryan has tried to steer clear of Milly, even going so far as to take his meals in his room so he doesn't disturb her. She never set a placemat for him or even offered the chair to him. As far as he is concerned, she hated him being there so he humors her, hardly sticking around during the day and spending most of his time in the guest room.

    That's how life was for him in the first two weeks. He, wanting to keep his build he gained in prison, goes for runs and maintains a gym membership, utilizing it every single day. In return, he fixes anything that breaks, washes the dishes and goes grocery shopping since he still doesn't have any income nor money to spend. The less he runs into Milly, the better he feels because he predicts she is happy about rarely having him around. The gym, still today, is a great way for Ryan to blow off steam, using the weights as well as "shooting hoops" or swimming. The rest of his time was spent in the guest room, drawing pointless thoughts on computer paper or reading the newspaper. Ryan noticeably tries to understand what happened in those seven years.

    As for a job, over the long month, he searched and searched, ending up talking to Milly about it one night in the middle of March. He holds that conversation responsible for Milly inviting him to eat at the table with her instead of in his room. He is always polite to her, even if he is noticeably in a sour mood. He thought she had given him his chance to prove himself to her and so they talked all throughout their meal about the world he knew and the world she is a part of now. It's obvious that he is still trying to cope with the changes and, not to mention, the rapid growth in technology. Ryan doesn't even have a phone!

    Still not being able to be reached on his long walks around the city, searching for a job or just taking in his freedom, Ryan knew that today he had to talk with Milly about it. Being April 1st, Ryan doesn't even pick up the tradition of April Fools Day. To him, it's just another day to put himself out into the world and be rejected. The ceiling is happy to greet him as well as sweet rays of sunshine from the early morning sun coming through the single window. Slipping out of bed, feeling groggy, his tired legs guide him to the bathroom down the hallway. He sleeps shirtless and most of the time in navy sweatpants taking on the role of pajamas.

    Knocking at the closed door, he waits to hear an answer from an occupied room or the echo of silence. With his toothbrush in hand as well as his razor, his free hand comes up to brush the dirty blonde hair off of his forehead. His mind flickers to first meeting Milly, the strong shake he gave her with a genuine smile. She, to him, has saved his life or else right now he would be living on the streets or dead. Shivering, he blinks, remembering telling her his name for the first time, "Ryan Cooper, nice to meet you Milly." It seemed like so long ago but the memory is fresh in Ryan's mind, the way she sounded irritated and hardly took a good look at him. Since then, at least they are eating together and conversing. Ryan being content with anything other than her fiery side.
  4. Milly had thought that Ryan would be a pain in the ass, but now, after having him in her home for almost a month, she has almost changed her mind. She wouldn't say that she likes him, but at least, he isn't disturbing her. It surprised her how fast Ryan seemed to 'get it' - she is doing this because of her friend and nothing else. Recently she started having second thoughts about it, reconsidering it, the picture that she had about what Ryan is like. After all, Ryan had been doing a good job not getting in her way and doing whatever he did, and now he didn't seem to be the all-bad-guy that she had first thought of him. Talking to him about it has crossed her mind several times the past few days, that he is nicer than she thought he would be, and maybe she was a bit too fast at judging him, but she isn't sure if she is going to say anything or not. He seems to be just fine the way it is, and she doesn't mind, but having a man in her home that is almost a stranger to her, feels a bit weird.

    Althouh it's April the 1st, Milly hasn't thought about it. Well, she did think about doing something fun, maybe some kind of joke to Ryan, but she hasn't thought of anything, really. Maybe Ryan doesn't know about today's date - the thought has struck her, and so, it feels a bit unfair to fool him. A bit of a grin is seen on her face when she thinks about it though - why not? It's only once a year. She had been talking to some friends about it over the phone - especially Sophie - but they didn't like the idea. She sighs and looks at herself in the mirror. Maybe just being a little bit nicer than usual will be enough, she thinks, and opens the door. She looks out the window once she's in the kitchen - what a lovely weather, although it's a bit chilly. She drinks a cup of coffee, glancing at the doorway now and then, wondering if Ryan is still sleeping. After spending about 30 minutes drinking her coffee and looking out the window, she decided to go outside, just for a little while. She grabs a piece of paper and a pen, sits down and starts to write.

    I'm out, meeting up with some friends. Know we haven't talked to each other that much, thinking that you and I could do something tonight. If I'm not mistaken, in a couple of days, someone will check up on you (to see how you're doing). Maybe it would be a good idea to talk things through in case they-

    She puts the pen down, looks at what she has written. Is it too much? She bites her lip. She draws some lines across everything except for the first two sentences about the two of them doing something together.

    'Honestly, it feels weird living with a guy I still feel is a stranger to me. I'm sorry if I've come across as rude and bitchy - I'm not proud of it - but I'd like to get to know you some. After all, we're going to live together for a while, so why not make the best of it?
    // Milly

    She looks at the note, thinking about maybe throwing it away. She writes her cellphone number right after her signature and glances out the window. She takes the piece of paper and makes it into a ball, like you do when you're throwing a piece of paper in the trash, and looks at the time. "Oh gosh!" she says, realizing she should have met up with her friends ten minutes ago. She drops the paper on the floor rushing down the hallway to go outside.
  5. Ryan, keeping to himself, never let Milly see him if he wasn't feeling like himself. Ever since his second year of being cooped up in that jail, he knew that something wasn't adding up. There were times where he felt as if he was a completely different person, wishing to be called names such as Nicholas, Walter, Harry, Leonard, hell, he even felt like a girl sometimes, wishing to be Penny or Sarah. These different personalities within him, were triggered by events of the day. He has told no one of the changes though, most likely running to solitude to deal with this stupid sickness of his. Telling someone about it is the last solution on his mind. Milly might have caught hold of his suspicious actions throughout their time spent together. Normally keeping his door open, he feels, gives Milly comfort to know that he is still there and not plotting to kill her or something criminalistic along those lines. There are times where she can hear him talking to himself and sometimes even shouting but when asked what's wrong, he will just say 'I dropped a book' or 'Stubbed my toe' and even, 'I smacked my head against the wall.'

    After preparing himself for a day of relaxation around the house, Ryan comes out of his room, dressed in an ordinary red shirt, blue pants and his boots. Moving to the kitchen, he takes a bowl from one of the cabinets and checks the others for a type of cereal that he prefers, "I guess Corn Chex will have to do today for me." Ryan mumbles to himself, setting the milk next to the dry bowl of cereal. "And some strawberries too!" He delightfully chimes to himself, moving towards the refrigerator to grab the plastic container holding the succulent fruit. Upon picking it out of the chilled box, something drops and the next thing he knows, there is a splintering of glass and olives bouncing over the kitchen floor. Standing there in shock, Ryan starts to shake, the sound of shattering glass taking him back to a time he doesn't wish to remember.

    "Ryan will be fine." He utters, reaching to place the strawberries on the table. While shaking from head to toe, Ryan starts to curse at himself in the dark Russian accent of Nicholas, one of his personalities. "You're good for nothing! Can't even take the fucking strawberries out of the damn fridge. She won't forgive you - she will kick you out on the street and you'll be never allowed to return. You couldn't even last a fucking month!" Bending down, he somehow thinks it's a good idea to start picking up the olives and broken glass shards by hand, placing them in his other palm. More shaking occurs as well as the throbbing of his heartbeat because he doesn't know where Milly is. "Damn, damn, damn." He repeats over and over, mumbling to himself half in Russian.

    Hours pass and he soon calms down, the mess cleaned up by hand. When he picked up all the pieces he could, he brought the vacuum into the room and did a thorough clean. It is when he is putting away the vacuum, he finds the crumpled piece of paper. Tenderly, he picks up the crumpled and now damp paper from the juice inside the olive jar, and unfolds it, surprisingly seeing his name. Am I meant to see this paper? He asks himself, looking around. Sure that Milly is not home or else she would have come to see what the smashing sound was as well as the use of the vacuum. Going over the note over and over again, he can't seem to comprehend why she wants to make amends all of a sudden. Knowing it's most likely a bad idea to get to know his tenant, he moves back to his room and dresses up for the occasion with a button down shirt. Being sure to stay around the house for the day, unaware of the time that Milly will return home. In the meantime, he sits on the couch and sketches in a notebook, writing some and drawing. Don't call her. He reminds himself the whole time he doodles.
  6. Milly doesn't feel like talking about Ryan, but of course her friends are all over her, trying to get something out of her. She tells them, over and over again, that there isn't much to say. Honestly. After all, she doesn't know much more about Ryan than her friends. It makes her feel a little embarrased, realizing that she should know more. "It's non of your business", she repeats, taking a sip of her drink. Milly can understand their curiousity to a hundred percent - she would have been just as excited as they were if one of her friends had a criminal at home. Or, someone who had been criminal in their past. Or maybe she wouldn't. "Look, all I know is that his name is Ryan, and he is, actually, a nice guy. At first I thought it would be a nightmare living with him, but it has turned out that he's, believe it or not, quite nice", she says, looking at the eyes of her friends' - eagerly listening to every word she has to say. "I thought we'd have a nice time out, not asking me about Ryan for the past few hours", she says, although she knows it has only been about an hour and a half.

    "Good bye", she says, hugging her friends one by one, before walking down the street. They had a great time, she thinks, even though they asked a bit too much about Ryan. She's happy she doesn't know more than she does - she knows how hard it can be to keep quiet when there's just so many things you'd like to share. As she walks home, she thinks about Ryan. What has he been up to? She checks her cellphone for the second time, but, nothing. In a way she's relieved that he hasn't called - it would make it difficult for her. She isn't even sure if she was thinking about the possibility that he might actually call her when she wrote that note, she wrote it to be nice. Not to be as bitchy as she appears. Honestly, she feels a little bad for Ryan - he has been behaving so well all this time, and still she behaves like a bitch. Or, not really, but she wished she'd be a bit more friendly. Or, maybe that would be difficult for Ryan as well... Maybe he likes it the way it is, him being out of her way and they not really having anything with each other to do? Milly sighs. When did things get so complicated?

    "I'm home", she says as she steps inside. Home. Her home. She didn't say 'I'm home' that loud - more as if she was talking to herself. Meeting Ryan somewhere wouldn't surprise her though. She bites her lip as she remembers the note. Has he read it while she was gone? Did she really throw it in the trash, or did she just run away? She's happy she thinks of it now and not just after she had left - she wouldn't like to worry about the note when she was spending time with her friends. She goes to the kitchen, yes, things looks as usual. And then she thinks of it - didn't she wrote she thought that they could do something tonight? She shakes her head. He hasn't even read the note. And she threw it in the trash, she thinks, when she doesn't see it on the floor. Happy about not feelings forced to make any big plans because of what she wrote on the note, she sits down on one of the chairs. But, honestly, wouldn't it be nice to do something?

    After a bit of hesitation, Milly knocks on Ryan's door. No turning back now. She opens it, carefully, as if she's scared of awakening him - not like she thinks he's asleep or anything. "Ryan", she says and looks at him, bites her lip. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea, she thinks. "I thought that... you and I could, well, maybe go out for dinner... or to the cinema... or rent a movie and watch at home... something like that", she says and tries to smile.
  7. The longer Ryan sits on the couch, the darker his thoughts become. With fingers black from the gritty charcoal, his portrait of his tormented mind finally are able to see the light of day. At first it's just a man, head lowered to the ground, scarring on his face. Crumpled, thrown and deleted from memory. The next picture is still the same man standing in a dark room, reaching for -- crumpled, thrown, and deleted from memory. This process goes on and on until Ryan finally is satisfied with what he sees growing from the paper. The dark man stands, only his tattooed back seen to the viewer, in a dark room. Instead of bare walls like all the other drawings had been, these ones have shadows. Black, skeleton like figures coming out of the wall. Are they friendly? No. The man is tormented from their presence, his hands going to his head. Drawing on top of the original image, Ryan whimpers, making the figure scream before him. The sound would, no doubt, echo through the dirty room. - crumpled, deleted, thrown. Pad and stick are placed on the table in front of the TV and couch.

    Forgetting of the residue from the charcoal, Ryan runs his hands over his face. A burning sensation starts in his left eye and he winces. "Ow!" comes his muttering before getting up, collecting the crumpled papers, and heading to the bathroom. The grit from his coal clings to his face, easily washing off with some soap and water. The crumpled papers lie in his front pocket, Milly's letter folded neatly in his back one after it dries properly. The soft cloth of his towel soaks up the excess dirt and leaves his face and hands clean once more. Moving to his room, he plucks a lighter from his nightstand, cheap, reliable and bought at a local gas station. Moving to the window, he opens it, taking his paper and twisting it, looking out onto the dead street. Best to destroy the evidence. Concludes Henry, his own version of a crooked FBI agent, They'll never be able to find something that never existed.

    The wheel is turned and the yellow flame faithfully appears, eating up the paper within a blink of an eye. Holding it by the end, Ryan turns the mass upside down and watches as the flames travel up to where his fingers pinch the parchment together. Ash crumpling off and freely moving through the air. Burn baby burn. He laughs, knowing that They'll never catch me. That's when he hears the door slam, knowing it ought to be Milly. Freaking out, Ryan bounds over the bed and shoves the lighter in the drawer to the nightstand, picking up a avocado colored tennis ball, quickly throwing it against the wall and watching it rebound. Always being good at baseball and other sports, Ryan is quick to catch the spiraling ball, rinsing and repeating the steps as he quickly sits in the corner of the room by the open window.

    The door opens and he gives the ball one last toss, Milly entering on the complete other side of the room away from his range. Glancing up, Ryan looks calm on the outside. Oh if only Milly could see his heart beating away at his chest, knowing he will have to tell her the truth about breaking the olive jar. Swallowing down a dry throat, Ryan quickly stands, ball still in hand. Walking over to her, he stands tall and his shoulders square as if presenting himself for some sort of role call. For being in jail for so long, Ryan has forgotten what it's like to be free and Milly finds him all the time just -waiting- for some sort of order before even thinking about moving. Oh the horrors of prison. "Dinner and a movie?" He ponders aloud, making sure not to move into her personal space. The less she knows about him, the better.

    His muscles tighten as he defensively folds his arms over one another and across his chest. "I'd love to." Comes his unconvincing, snarky voice. Quickly blinking, he cracks and shutters at first, remembering that she is his source of shelter, "I... yes, of course. My mind is elsewhere. Um... your refrigerator. You might be -lacking- on your olive supply." Drumming his fingers on his biceps, the buttoned shirt crumpling in the middle. His eyes are still cold though, stance very defensive and repelling. It's obvious that he doesn't trust her one bit and he knows that she ought to not trust him in return. "But dinner and a movie, are you -sure- you want to? Would you like to catch an early dinner and then the show or vice versa?"
  8. Milly's first thought is, that maybe asking if they could spend some time together wasn't a good idea. She is almost about to take it all back when she hears how unconvincing he sounds when he says that 'he'd love to' - but she doesn't. She knows that she has to do this. It would be weird of her to all of sudden say that she didn't want to. Her thoughts are still spinning as Ryan speaks again, and she smiles a little. The smile on her face disappears as quickly as it came, when he tells her about the refrigerator, or, rather, the olives. She nods slightly, it's not a big deal, she thinks, but keeps her mouth shut. For some reason, seeing Ryan like this - defensive and cold in a way - makes her feel insecure. She tries to not think about it though - he deserves a chance, she thinks. She can always let everything go back to what it has been since they met each other, barely talking and doing their own things. The thought of that makes her feel a little better, maybe even a bit brave. She won't be living with Ryan for long, she reminds herself. Better make the best of it. What is the worst that could happen? She quickly decides not to think about it - there are probably lots of things that could go wrong, and right now, that's the last thing she needs.

    After a while, they had decided that they'd see the movie and then have dinner. Milly thought it sounded like a good idea. And then the question, what movie would they go see? Milly had looked through the papers to see if there was anything new, and after a while, she had found some suggestions that she thought that he'd like, or at least that sounded decent. Action, that can't be wrong, she thinks, as she pays the two tickets in the middle of the saloon next to each other. Row 7, number 14 and 15. She gives one of them to Ryan, and then they just have to wait.

    Milly doesn't hate action, it can be quite entertaining sometimes, and this movie turned out to be a good one. At least she thinks so, and hopefully Ryan thinks so as well. She hasn't looked at him more than glanced at him one or two times during the movie, 2 hours. She has been all caught up in it - about a woman escaping some secret police, and her family who has no idea about her 'other' life, catching the bad guys. Milly didn't love to movie, but she thought it was OK, a good movie to watch with someone she didn't know that well.

    When the movie ends, Milly feels a bit relieved. Now it's the dinner left. She knows plenty of restaurants that has good food to offer for not a too high price. While watching the movie, she had been thinking about some alternatives, what restaurant they'd go to. She asks Ryan as they walk outside, and she feels a cold breeze through her hair. As she had thought, Ryan doesn't say much, obviously, since he doesn't know about what restaurants there are. It doesn't concern Milly though - she knows the perfect place.

    They sit down in a restaurant, not as big as some other in the town, but pretty cozy. It's not that kind of lights that there are in hospitals, more like the ones you have at home. The restaurants usually has different themes now and then, and this time it's, thankfully, no theme. Milly doesn't think sitting in a submarine or something like that would feel good, so she's happy that the restaurant is normal. There isn't too many guests, but it's not quiet either - honestly, she loves the atmosphere. What can go wrong? They're sitting at a table for two not far away from the windows. The furnitures are made of wood, and on the floor there are carpets in different colors - green, brown and red. Somehow it makes Milly feel as if they were underground and not in the middle of the city. That's what Milly loves about this place: it makes her feel as if time has stopped. Well, almost.
  9. Her picking the movie is indeed the easier part of the evening for Ryan didn't have to waste any brain power. Thinking she wants to see a gooey romance, he winces at the thought of having to sit next to a girl he hardly knows in a theatre full of wooing girls. Girl meets guy. They fall in love. Guy is stupid. Guy loses girl. Somehow she stupidly takes his dumb ass back. That is what comes to mind when Ryan has to ponder on a movie choice. Thinking he couldn't handle sitting in a gushy movie with Milly, since they've really just met aside from the occasional conversation and a light one at that, Ryan immediately offers up other choices. Thankfully she chooses something that will have guns and action - something Ryan loves.

    Bringing his usual jacket along with him, the limestone tan over his gray hoodie, Ryan's hands stay in the safety of their pockets the whole walk or ride to the theatre. It's obvious to anyone glancing his way that he indeed feels insignificant in comparison to the "free world" people around him. For they have jobs, family, a home, and most importantly, no criminal record. Hating every single one of them, he looks unhappy and out of his aura. If asked about this, he will decline and slap a fake smile to his face, knowing he has to be polite for her if anything else.

    Throughout the movie, in the dark and surround sound, Ryan feels as though every single eye behind him and even those around his sides are looking at him. It's not just a casual glance but a knowing look, one that speaks to him. They silently tell him with their eyes that they know his story. They all know that he is a criminal. Several times throughout the movie, Ryan's leg starts to bounce up and down in a jittery sort of rhythm. It's not so much due to what is projected on the screen but its all about those around him. Attempting to pay attention to the movie, Ryan keeps his arms off of the arm rests, having them saved for Milly and the lady to his left. This lady, having a brighter blonde shade than Ryan as far as hair goes, won't shut up. Throughout the movie she is leaning over the arm to whisper a question or comment in his ear. This makes him nonchalantly shift his body more in the direction of Milly. The first few times, Ryan answers in a simple and gruff manner, hoping to scare her off but she is persistent for his looks are quite striking.

    Once the picture is done, Ryan surprisingly really enjoying his time, he stops Milly from getting up right away. "It would be nice to see the credits." He informs her, knowing that she could very well just walk out. If she chooses to stay, he starts a delicate conversation on how she liked the film, nothing much or too exciting. Milly could see that Ryan has a very creative eye, not focusing so much on the story but the cinematography that goes along with it and the angles or speech the director has dictated. As the two of them make their way outside, Ryan, once again, shrugs his shoulders at a place to eat. "Your choice. You have the money." Walking beside her, his hands in his pockets as usual. Once reaching the restaurant, he can't help but relax at the smells of the relaxing little hole in the wall place with enough space to satisfy an entire Greek family.

    Feeling the need to reach out to her, noticing the conversations and hand holdings going on at other tables, Ryan leans forward, placing his arms on the table. It's not that he means to be rude, it's just part of his nature, not to mention he wants to make sure he hears her when she speaks. The drumming of his anxiety pounds in his ears, still getting that feeling of wondering eyes. "You..." He starts out, glancing at a necklace she has around her neck. His hands fold over themselves only to unfold and then try again. "Look nice. With the necklace on. Not that you don't all the time but the brown in the scenery helps focus it against your skin." Pointing it out harmlessly, he adjusts himself in his chair, scooting forward a bit. "I guess we should make small talk, yes?" Frowning a little, he blinks and looks down to the table. I can't trust her ... I have to though. What in the world would she be interested in? This night is already turning downhill now that we have to -actually- converse.

    Starting simple with the green of the carpets reflecting in his eyes, Ryan speaks slowly. "Do you come here often? Do you have a favorite dish on the menu?" Not knowing what else to possibly say, he waits for her to answer, fiddling with his hands again.
  10. Milly is happy that they went to the restaurant they chose - to her, Ryan has seemed a bit anxious most of the night. She couldn't help but glance at him as they watched the movie now and then. Mostly because of the lady whispering in his ear and being a little disturbing, but also because of his bouncing leg, and, well, everything, in a way. She wonders why Ryan would see the credits though, but she doesn't say anything. Of course she stays if he'd like to, but it still makes her a bit surprised. Who cares about the credits, really? She doesn't want to be rude though, and tries not to think about it too much. Just because she hasn't met anyone who wants to see the credits doesn't make it all that strange - or does it? She decides not to think more of it, and instead concentrating on the dinner that they're having. She hopes that the choose of restaurant will make him relax a bit, as she feels a bit bad for dragging him out here, because that's what it feels like, honestly.

    "You...", and then a little pause, which makes Milly swich her full attention to him, as she has been in her own thoughts, "look nice. With the necklace on." She smiles slightly, feeling surprised but happy about his compliment. It surprises her a bit though, as he talks about how a part of the scenery helps focus it against her skin. She isn't used to that kind of talk - what an observing man, she thinks. She is determined to make something good out of this, or at least try, and maybe make it up for the not all good feeling while watching the movie.

    "I'm not here that often, actually. Only with my friends once in a while", she says. She glances at the menus that has just arrived, and she grabs one and takes a look. "I prefer this one. I choose it almost every time", she says, lowering her menu for him to take a look as well. She points at number 58, pasta with olives and chicken. After choosing her drink as well, she glances at Ryan. "You don't have to rush it", she says, feeling a bit guilty for choosing so fast and kind of leaving him behind. "I could give you some advices if you like", she says, and looks at her menu again. She points out a few that her friends usually order, and which ones are better and some that are not so good, in her opinion. After letting him know all about the food on the menu, not even making sure if he wanted to hear it or not, she almost feels a bit exhausted. She notices someone walking towards their table - a waitress that she knows pretty well, from all the times she has been here. "Well, I'm having the usual... number 58... and a glass of...", she says, looking at the drinks again. "Soda", she says, looking at the waitress again. Then she looks at Ryan. "...are you ready?", she asks, and then looks at the waitress again. "He hasn't been here before", she says with a brief smile.

    "I hope you don't mind me asking, but", she says as they've ordered, "why did you want to see the credits of the movie?" she asks, trying not to sound as curious as she actually is. "It's just that I haven't... met someone before who has wanted to see them", she says with a brief smile. "I don't mind though", she adds.
  11. Having a lot of time locked up in a cell, one gets very keen at picking out the small details. Ryan was known for his observations in the jail and he won't just drop what he knows out in the real world. It's one of his skills. Forgetting about his hands for a moment, knowing they too have his father's witty craftsmanship but his mother's shaking. Even when sitting still, his fingers find themselves trembling a bit. Now that he thinks about it, perhaps it's not caused by his mother but by the nervousness he feels right now. Speaking to Milly, finally in a public place with eyes on them, does make him shake. Knowing he is a lesser man. A convict. Blinking and taking his gaze off of the necklace is the easy part, breathing in a long sloo of air before continuing with their conversation.

    "But it nice--" Ryan shakes his head, grumbling a bit at his fault in speaking properly. Under the table his leg starts to bounce again but his torso keeps still, not wishing for her to know. "Um, but it's nice to know what you want. Is what I meant to say." Glancing around the room, he gets lost in his surroundings, occasionally looking back at Milly and asking a simple question such as sauces or appetizers that go well with a meal. Beer, wine, or any other alcoholic drink is far from his mind. It's odd because he used to pride himself in how much he could drink without having a horrible hangover the next day. He gratifies his Russian roots, having an odd preference of a drink mixed with Vodka. He hears her order and his thoughts come back to reality, the small pull of craving in his stomach. Martini... Blue Moon? Screwdriver? So many choices. Shaking his head and taking a breath he nods his head, signaling that he is ready to order. Knowing that anything will be better than the meals he has had for the past seven years, Ryan orders whatever is cheapest on the menu for he feels guilty. Milly is paying for everything and he, a man who should be paying, has nothing.

    "I'll have the Caesar salad with chicken." Closing the menu, Ryan hands it to the waitress, forcing a smile on his lips. If he were seven years younger, he would make some flirtatious comment or try and touch her hand for a long period of time, causing her to blush. But that is the old Ryan - this new man is nothing like he used to be. Quiet, calm, and reserved for he doesn't trust anyone anymore. They're all out to get him. The slightest disturbance and he'll be shoved into that cell again.

    Leaning forward, he presses his elbows into the table. "My brother work-" Comes his voice, cracking and stopping mid statement. His eyebrows curve inwards above the bridge of his nose. "I'm not sure anymore but my brother used to work in Hollywood. I just... thought I would be able to see his name." Moving the conversation away from his personal life, Ryan is quick to add more to what he is saying, "And! Might I add, all those people who worked on the movie should be given attention. Even the clean up crew who sweep up the mess after a scene is shot. It takes years and years to make a film possible to be projected on the big screen. All that time and money spent so more people should sit and give all those hard workers a chance for their name to be seen. You may not know them but they're there. They're real." Figuring he has said enough, Ryan holds his tongue, the prospect of people being there even though no one cares for them is more about his time spent in jail than the actual workers on the set and in the production of the movie.

    "I hope it was fine - I ... it's ... unique. I know. You - I just hope that I didn't waste your time with something silly like that. Do you go to the movies often? Or are you more of a TV home viewer kind of girl? You understand that I'll have to make this up to you somehow. The dinner and the movie."
  12. Milly can't help but to notice how nervous Ryan still feels - she is surprised by the way it sounds so difficult for him to talk. What is wrong with him? She doesn't say anything though, as she tries to see it from his point of view - being in prison for a long time couldn't be easy, and then all of sudden being thrown out into reality must be really hard. She has a hard time to understand it though, since she has never actually been to a prison, more than the time when she had met him for the first time. She swallows, trying to think of what she has been so determined about earlier on the evening - making the best out of it. Is she going to let this screw everything up? After all, he is actually trying, at least it seems like he is, which makes Milly pretty happy about it. At least I have accomplished something, she thinks, as she nods as a respond to what Ryan says.

    He is right, she hasn't thought of it that way before. They are also people, the ones who has worked with the film. She doesn't think much of his brother as it is clear that Ryan doesn't want to talk about it. That he has shared it with her makes her feel a bit better though. "Oh, no, it's not silly, not at all", she says, as Ryan said that he hopes that he hasn't wasted her time. "I'm mostly home watching the TV or renting a film. I don't go here that often... and if I do I'd go with my friends, but honestly, being out like this isn't really... my thing, you know", she says, and smiles slightly. She nods quietly - he has to make it up to her. Not like she would ask him to, but now that he has mentioned it... she thinks of it, realizing that maybe he should. "It's very nice of you, wanting to make it up to me somehow", she says, thoughtful.

    The food arrives, and Milly wonders if maybe it's all too much, as the waitress pours something into her glass - honestly she has forgotten what she has ordered to drink - and gives herself a mental slap. I should have thought of it, he isn't used to this, she thinks, as she begins to eat. She swallows and glances at him. "I... I hope you think this has been... good", she says, not quite sure of what to say any more. All of sudden, things feels so wrong, as if she has made the wrong decision by even bringing him here. She reminds herself of that the choose of restaurant is a good once - she hasn't screwed everything up, at least not yet. "How come things turned out this way? I mean, you ending up at my place..." she says, thoughtful, with a bit of curiosity in her gaze as she looks at him. "I don't know much more than what Sophie has told me - that she needed some help, and since I owed her, I had no choice but to let you stay", she says, and in the seconds the words lefts her lips, she realizes how stupid it sounds. She bites her lip. "I-I don't mean that I don't want you here, it's just that it wasn't planned... from the beginning, I did it purely because Sophie asked me to", she says. "...if you'd like to... tell me, of course. How you got in touch with Sophie, maybe", she says, and drinks some.
  13. ((Tried to make this one shorter to fasten the RP pace :D ))

    "Well, I hope you're having a nice evening out. Even if this really isn't too much of your forte." Swallowing, Ryan takes his leaning arms off of the table as the food comes. The waitress easily brings down the tray, slipping plates in front of the customers. Blinking, Ryan picks up his fork, practically forgetting about the heavy weighted silverware, nearly dropping it in a clatter. "I... oh, yes." Realizing he is very unspecific, Ryan clears his throat and tries again. "Yes, I really am. It's nice to finally speak with you. And as you... said before with the whole getting to know me thing. Um... good call." Nodding, he starts to dig into the salad. Enjoying the crunch of the fresh lettuce and the creamy taste of the dressing, Ryan actually starts to smile.

    Knowing how awkward he must sound, his sentences taking a while to formulate, his heart pounding in his head. With sweaty palms he rolls his fingers against his palms, placing his silverware down for a moment to look at Milly again. "I should really apologize for not being... better company. The whole socializing deal. It's going to be tough since..." Just trailing off, he gives her a nod, not wanting to get too into it right now. Moving on, he starts to eat and talk, making sure not to speak with his mouth full. Hunching over his food slightly, Ryan eats, only straightening up once Milly starts to speak.

    "Do you not want me there? At your place. I ... know it's been strange but I have been trying to leave your business to your business for I know. A complete stranger, and not to mention my history, in your home. The reason, however, is something you should talk over with your friend, Sophie." Not meaning to sound cruel at the end, Ryan immediately adds in a lighter tone, "I was assigned to Sophie by my warren. Nothing else really to it I'm afraid." Biting his lip, his leg starts to bounce again, "I can always move out once I find a job. Do... and please tell the truth. Do I scare you?"
  14. ((Great!))

    Milly starts to eat her pasta as it arrives, feeling a bit relieved that there isn't really no need to have a conversation any more, although she enjoyed it. She can't help but to feel that maybe it was a bad decision from the beginning, but seeing that he's obviously new to the whole thing, but still tries his best, makes her want to do her best as well. When he smiled, she immediately feels a little better about herself, maybe this wasn't as bad as she thought.

    She nods slightly when he mentions something about 'the whole socializing deal', although she doesn't understand it all, she is pretty sure what he's talking about. It must be hard coming right out of prison, she thinks, as she drinks some. "Don't worry about it. I haven't thought about it... and honestly, I feel a bit bad about dragging you out here", she says, not sure if she's telling too much. On the other hand, she'd like to be open since he is.

    Milly gets a serious look in her eyes as he starts to talk about him being at her place. She nods slightly, she understands. She should talk with Sophie about it. She bites her lip slightly as his question comes. Is he scaring her? She swallows the piece of pasta in her mouth before she answers. "Well... at first, I was... a bit scared, yes. I had no idea who you were and I felt a bit anxious having you at my home", she says, thoughtful. "It has changed though. As time passed by I realized that it wasn't too bad... you did your things and I did mine... as if you weren't even there", she says, with a bit of embarrassment in her voice. "I... I've started to see you as more of a friend now, or... at least not... maybe I should say room mate", she says, having a hard time getting her thoughts into words. "...instead of... someone to be afraid of", she says and looks away. She drinks some before she looks at him again. "Or should I? Be scared, I mean", she says, and puts a piece of her pasta in her mouth.
  15. Feeling the crunch of the lettuce between his back molars, Ryan actually starts to smile. "I think it is good, yes." He mumbles to himself, answering an internal question of his. Clearing his throat, he grips his silverware in his hands and looks back up at Milly. "Don't." Comes his assurance to her feeling bad about dragging him out. Ryan feels that's all he needs to say on such a matter. Placing another wad of lettuce into his mouth, he chews on it, remembering what it's like to be free. Oh how he has missed such opportunities. A move, good company, well alright company, and food.

    Any other man would see Milly's discomfort in such a topic but Ryan doesn't back down. Hearing her chopped up words, they actually give him more incentive to keep speaking. For some reason, he revels... strangely, in her discomfort. At least half of his body does and he has to suppress the itching urge to smile. Not just smile but grin, letting his teeth shine. Prison is all about thrusting your authority upon people. Manipulation. Lies. Blinking, Ryan is quick to push those thoughts from his mind and answer her in a clear tone.

    "Why do you think I purposely stayed out?" His tone souring. "I know you don't want me there, Milly. Your friend... has very poor judgement if I ought to speak my mind. Putting -me- in a house alone with you?" He chokes on his laughter, "Yes, I have tried and tried again to be a good patron," his voice lightens to a troubled whisper, a hand coming up to run through his hair, "But do you really just want me as a room mate? A shadow hiding away from your light? You need to be the judge of if I am dangerous for I... am not. I know the risks of laying a finger on anyone or anything that is not mine or does not want my touch. My filthy touch. You should be the judge of my character - we should talk more. You know nothing about me. Nothing. And I you."
  16. Syracuse, NY - November 21st, 2013

    "You like this one?" Milly asks and glances at Ryan. She then looks back at the couch. It's bigger than the small one she has always had in her livingroom. After Ryan actually spending some time in the livingroom now and then, Milly decided it'd be good to buy a couch where both of them could sit - Milly had began seeing her home partly as Ryan's home as well. She strokes her hand over the red leather, glancing towards a brown one made of fabric.

    Syracuse, NY – February 3rd, 2014

    Almost a year after that they first met, Milly is sitting in her room, writing.

    'Things aren't as they used to be. It's different now. I don't know what it is, but I feel like I've gotten closer to Ryan. It scares me sometimes. After all, all of this would just be temporary, but it seems like it's not. I don't know whether to cry or laugh about it... I enjoy his company, but I'm afraid I don't know when to let go.'

    Milly bites her lip, about to doodle what she has just written, over. She sighs and looks out the window for a second. Thinking back at the first months of their time together, things has really changed.
  17. Ever since that dinner way back when, he tried his best to at least be presentable to her and converse more and more. It's strange but the more he talked, whether it is about his family or his pre-adoption past. He lived in Vladimir, Russia, until the age of 14. His father was in jail, like father like son one could think, and his mother worked at a bakery with two other sons. Growing up was tough and that's part of the reason Dimitri, or Ryan, was adopted by a middle class American couple. It took years for him to get used to the change in language, environment and just straight personal freedoms.

    The rest of his years were demanding - having to learn English and keep up with his education. Before long, he started to fail and dropped out after high school. Moving to Syracuse, he found himself practically living on the streets and scrounging around for any job he could find. Even illegal ones. But, of course, he has only told her half of the story. He has left out the abuse and the crime that resulted from such horrors. The loneliness and the exile from his own family. Although he may talk about his adoptive parent's more... they're no better. Ryan does his best to push the subject away and talk about current events - not his past.

    Syracuse, NY - February 3rd, 2014

    Not liking the confinements of the small room, Ryan even keeps a blanket draped over the back of the couch for he knows that he'll most likely fall asleep there anyway. Having this space reminds him of the freedom he has - being able to choose where he sleeps. At least his decision making skills are starting to come back and he is less shaky when he speaks. (Especially with Milly)

    "Milly!" Ryan calls from the front door, pulling the key from the lock and letting the old thing close itself behind him. "Milly! You won't believe the good news!" Moving right to her door, he knocks eagerly and awaits her answer. Beaming in both his eyes and the smile spread across his lips, he literally rolls onto the balls of his feet. "I got the job!" He announces in a gusto of ecstasy. For a year now he has been trying to pin down a job yet no such luck as come to him. They always looked at his records, seeing that he was indeed a criminal, and practically denied him on the spot.

    "I'll be working practically every single day except weekends and a given day during the week. And the pay is good... I mean," He throws up a hand, shrugging as he pushes his papers in her direction, "As much as you can get on minimum wage. Fuckin' government." Grinning, he continues to show her the schedule as well as the letter he received in the mail telling him that he is now working for a local diner as a bus boy. "But it's great! Right?" Seeking her approval, he licks his lips and focuses on her expression.
  18. Syracuse, NY - February 3rd, 2014

    As she hears Ryan's voice in the hallway, she immediately puts the pen down and pushes the notebook away from herself. She looks at it for a moment before putting it in the middle of a pile of books. She stands up, walks over to the door and opens it. She looks at Ryan in surprise as he seems very excited, and she can't help but to smile at it. She nods slightly as she sits down when he tells her the news. She glances at the papers that he pushes in her directions as he speaks, not really sure if she understands it all - it's all moving so fast. Just a minute ago, she was sitting in her room by herself writing, and now Ryan is home, announcing that he has found a job?

    Milly realizes that she should say something as he has shut his mouth - finally some time to think - and nods slightly, again. "That's great", she says, although she doesn't sound too convinced. She smiles a little and takes a look at his schedule and the rest of the papers for a few seconds before looking at him again. "I mean it", she says, a bit thoughtful this time. "That's a great start", she says, not feeling like having anything else to say to him. She feels a bit guilty as she feels she shoudl be just as excited as he is about it, but for some reason, she isn't.
  19. Ryan's smile melts as soon as she slowly utters her words after a nod. He doesn't even register how fast he was indeed taking and he now thinks that he has disappointed her in some way. The corners of his lips pull down for a moment, the spark that was in his eyes fading. "Well it isn't exactly -great- is it?" He throws up his hands, knowing he should have reached higher in the job market. A damn waiter? What was he thinking... that's a job for lower folk. But again, who is he to judge? It's a job and will bring in some sort of revenue for him to leave Syracuse. That's his end goal but he wouldn't dare tell Milly.

    "Well, it's at least a start." Releasing a long sigh, he doesn't take her assurance so well that it is great. "Perhaps I'll start it and see how it goes. Perhaps I can be promoted quickly if I apply myself hard enough." Glancing back at her open door, a strange feeling subsides in his gut from all the excitement. He practically ran from the diner to here in order to tell her and now... well, that moment is over. "Well, uh, thanks and I hope I haven't interrupted anything. Oh and I start tomorrow." He lifts up the plastic bag he is holding, "I just need to buy some shoes and pants but here," he takes the nice blue shirt from the bag with "Phil's Diner" printed on the right breast pocket. "Pretty nice, right?"
    #19 Vacyr, Apr 29, 2013
    Last edited: May 7, 2013
  20. Milly listens to what he says, feeling slightly guilty, now that she realizes that she probably made Ryan in a not-too-good-mood. He doesn't seem as happy as when he opened the door, she thinks to herself, looking away for a moment. Damn, why was she always so... stupid? Why can't she just be as happy as he is, for once? Why does she have to ruin everything? She looks back at him with an effort to a smile, knowing that it probably won't cheer him up, anyways.

    "You didn't inderrupt anything", she says, realizing as soon as the words left her mouth, that it's a lie. He did actually interrupt her, in her writing. That's not a big deal though, she thinks, nodding towards him. "That looks great", she says, actually feeling a bit happy for him. He got a blue shirt with the words "Phil's Diner" printed on it. Who wouldn't be happy over that?

    Tomorrow. For a moment, Milly's gaze is almost worried. He'll be starting tomorrow. She looks at him as if she just now has registered what he told her. She feels guilty for that too, not paying enough attention to it all. "You know... what you'll do, right?" she says, not being able to hide the fact that she's worried. After all, she doesn't know much about his life before. She reminds herself of that he's actually a grown up and can make his own decisions, though. "Wishing you luck tomorrow. I hope you're not too nervous... I was pretty nervous one time", she said, thinking about the first day of a job that she had had.
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