"Does that hurt?"
"That's not a real answer, Ryan."
"I can handle it."
"That's what you say now," Rylie said. She examined the gash near Ryan's right elbow. "If this swells up, tell me immediately. That could mean there's an internal infection."
Ryan grunted. Rylie held his hand up to wrap a fresh bandage on top and pressed her hands against his arm to smoothen the creases. Ryan turned to look at her, but she appeared to not notice. The small blonde put back her equipments back with an air of a well-practiced healer.
She closed her case shut and spoke to Ryan, "Well, you seem fine. Just tell me if you notice any changes."
"You'll be sure to see them first." He replied teasingly. Rylie gave a brief smile before she headed towards the living room.
"Hey." Ryan voiced out. Rylie ignored him and walked on. When she reached the front door of his apartment, Ryan spoke again, "Are you leaving?"
"Yes." Rylie replied, determined.
Her eyes flashed. "You should be the one to know that answer."
Ryan became confused. He stood up from his bed and slowly walked to her. "I
Rylie closed her eyes and took a deep breath. When she opened them back, he was standing close. She said, "It's fine, Ryan. I'm over-thinking things that's all. I should go."
Ryan grabbed her wrist before she could touch the doorknob. "I want to know," he said earnestly. Rylie looked uncomfortable with the request.
"It's nothing. I'm just being silly." The blonde tried to wriggle out of his grip, but his grasp was strong.
"Ryle. Tell me."
Rylie avoided his green eyes pooling with concern. She bit her lip and said, "I just care too much. Like you always say, I worry a lot."
Rylie gave up on resisting her feelings. She snapped her hand away from Ryan and placed both her hands on her hips. "I care too much, idiot. I care when you're missing for weeks and I don't hear anything, and you come back at the brink of death! I'm scared all the time because I don't know the next time that's gonna happen, or even if you're going to survive. And I hate it when you come back and we pretend things are normal when I had gone through hell waiting!"
Rylie stopped and breathed in and out heavily. She had only snapped like that twice before in her life, and she hadn't planned on this. She felt her heartbeat thumping in her ears as she looked up to Ryan.
Oddly enough, the boy looked calm. He kept his distance from her and nodded. "I'm sorry," he said.
Rylie sighed. "No, I'm sorry. What I said was stupid. This is our job, I should know this--"
"I care too." He said gently.
"I care, Ryle." Ryan gave her a smile. "Have you forgotten? I
I love you." With that Ryan leaned forward and placed his lips on her forehead. Rylie closed her eyes and sighed at their contact. Ryan too, had his eyes shut in that moment.
When he pulled back, Rylie snaked her arms around Ryan's neck. Instantly, she gravitated towards his bare chest. Rylie placed her head against his beating heart.
"I've missed you
a lot," she said. Rylie snuggled her nose in between the crevices of Ryan's well-toned torso. She felt calmer when Ryan caressed and played with her unbound hair. He then pulled her in for a tighter embrace.
They broke apart at the beeping sound of a transmitter. Rylie felt her heart sank when Ryan approached the thumb-size device to look at the message.
"Who is it?" She asked.
"Oh. For paperwork?"
"No." Ryan headed towards her. "New mission."
"Of course." She said drily. She rubbed out the dust that got into her eyes before smiling at Ryan. "It was good while it lasted."
"It's switched off." Ryan handed her the transmitter.
"You will go anyway."
"Maybe not this time."
"Ryan, we signed up for this. It's our responsibility." Rylie stepped closer to him. She wrapped her arms around him strongly and let herself be indulged in the moment.
"Ryle, you must know," Ryan whispered above her head. "I will change this one day."
Rylie loosened her grip. "Please. Don't talk."
The latter bent down until he was at eye level with the girl. His green eyes had a tint of sadness. "I promise you, Ryle. For us."
Rylie let their foreheads touched as she replayed his words again in her head. She felt overwhelmed with different emotions. But all her thoughts were lost when Ryan grazed his lips over hers. A burning intensity was released at the contact: each touch they shared was more poignant than the last. For a moment, their world was timeless as they engaged in one kiss.
Their connection shattered when Rylie's transmitter began beeping in her pocket. They let go of each other, slightly confused. Then quickly, Rylie checked her message.
"It's Zack. Maybe I'm joining you guys." She said cheerily. A faint crunching sound distracted her from newfound hope. She looked up to see Ryan's fist clenched tightly on his transmitter. The device had broken into a few pieces, which Ryan threw forcefully into the trash bin.
"Was that necessary?" Rylie asked, shaking her head. Ryan nodded as he stared at her long mane that was swinging along with her motions.
Rylie sighed and moved towards him. "Someday, right? You promise?"
Ryan stared longingly into her eyes and felt their bodies reconnected. He nodded again as he sank his head to stay next to hers in their embrace.