This is another short story from the Tyran Universe, I don’t really know why I keep calling it that, but oh well. It’s following his father, Ronan, and is set before Tyran is even born! I have a lot of their lives worked out and I really enjoyed creating their back stories. I also tested out my idea of using lyrics to inspire some of the stories, and Streetcar by Funeral for a Friend worked out incredibly, it already had so many ties to what I have in mind for the relationship between Ronan and Elyn (Tyran’s mother!). So, I hope you guys like the addition to the collection, and I am to write some more stuff soon. Also, please support those guys in Funeral by checking out the song or some other things, they are one of my favourite bands and although they have just split up in May, I truly believe they deserve so much more credit and love! 🙂
Ronan sat on the boulder at the edge of the cliff. Below him, the waves crashed and tumbled like his own emotions, churning until they broke the shore and sent small ripples of water into the sand, like there had been no trouble at all. He grit his teeth against the bitter wind that ripped the collar of his coat up and down against his neck. If only it was as easy as shattering into nothing. It was never easy.
The phone signal was barely surviving the outskirts of the coast, but Ronan had felt there was no other place to go that could guarantee almost certain isolation. He heard the ringing, endlessly looping, almost giving up hope that it would end until a connecting click signalled that Elyn had picked up the phone.
“Elyn. It’s me.”
“Ronan? Why are you calling so late?” Her voice was as sweet as he remembered. If he closed his eyes, he could see her blossom pink lips turning into a scowl, her mouse brown hair pulled into a messy ponytail with strands falling to cover her eyes. Did she wear that ponytail anymore? Did she wear lipstick instead of leaving the natural colour of her lips take centre stage?
“It’s not that–”
“It’s twenty four past eleven. At night.”
“Sorry…” Ronan ran his free hand along the smooth surface of the rock below him. Its edges had been jagged once. Now they were worn down with time and constant beatings from the weather. Just like me, huh? He thought.
“And where are you? It sounds like hell,” Elyn said. The wind was still howling and the waves below sounded like certain doom for anyone if they fell in.
“Hell sounds fitting. How are you?” A small smirk played on Ronan’s lips and his grey eyes had almost warmed up from rock solid to liquid mercury.
“Tired. Ready for bed. Sleepy.” A breathy snort of laugh came through the speaker. “It’s hard to stay awake after a night of socialising!”
Socialising? Elyn had gone out? She went out now?
“Oh? Sounds… sounds good!” Ronan said meekly. He internally swore at himself for sounding like such a teenager. Then again, he had been a teenager when they last saw each other.
“It was! A few of the girls showed up, and Cane.” Elyn’s voice took on a dreamlike quality. Cane. Even his name made Ronan want to punch his throat in.
“Yeah, so we all went out for dinner… had some drinks. The usual stuff, you know.”
“Are you with this Cane guy?” Ronan asked. He had meant to sound innocently curious, but his temper showed through more than he had wanted. It sounded like an interrogation. Like she was committing a crime seeing somebody else. Get over it, get over it, get over it, Ronan muttered internally. It was no different to him seeing Ciara.
“Is that your business?” Elyn shot back. “Who I spend my time with now that I’m over you?”
Over. Over him. For a few seconds, Ronan didn’t even care that the wind was biting through his coat, that spray from the chaos below was beginning to reach his feet. When he caught a tear running down his cheek, Ronan cleared his throat and kicked his heels into the boulder. It sent a sharp pain shooting through his legs, enough to distract him from the worst things she could really have said.
“I guess not,” he muttered.
“You guess correctly. You clearly got over me two seconds after I left so–” Ronan swore out loud and pushed himself to his feet.
“I never got over you,” Ronan interrupted.
“—I think I have a right to- what?”
Ronan caught himself. His breath stopped in his chest and weighed it down like ice. Stupid, stupid mistake.
“Nothing.” Ronan pressed a hand to his face and squeezed the bridge of his nose, running his fingers and thumb over his eyes first.
“Sure,” Elyn said. Her tone was short and Ronan knew that on the other side of the world, it felt, she probably had her free arm crossed over her chest, and one leg relaxed so she would be standing in that sassy pose that screamed “excuse me?”
“Well, anyway,” Ronan started, a smile plastered on his face in the hopes it would be audible, “how’s Scoot?”
“So not only do you care about me now, you care about your seven year old daughter that you abandoned? You’re a great guy, Ronan, you know that?” Sarcasm vibrated through the phone, pummelling Ronan’s very soul as it travelled.
He took a deep breath in, letting the freezing air clear his head before he spoke. Why was it that everything he did with Elyn was wrong? All he wanted to do was make her smile. Make her happy like he clearly didn’t do the first time around.
Words didn’t come. Ronan simply returned to his perch on the boulder and let the ocean spray drench his feet. He pulled the phone away from his face and looked at the minutes. Fifteen minutes, eighteen seconds and counting. Just over fifteen minutes of torture by phone call… He hovered his thumb over the end call button, wondering if that would just end every single awful thing related to Elyn in his life.
He shook his head and ran a hand through his dark hair. Elyn wasn’t the awful part of his life. Not being with her was. Having to wake up every day to Ciara knowing that he’d made a mistake was his punishment. Every hour spent without Elyn felt like days.
“Ro?” Elyn’s voice barely made it through the wind. It’s tinny, phone altered version just a snippet of what he would never hear in real life again. Ronan wiped yet another tear from his face and put the phone back to his ear.
“I’m here.” The last time she had called him Ro, she had been holding his hand just after Scota had been born. He had kissed her and then held the tiny bundle of life that was his daughter. The now seven year old who would rather be called Scoot.
He would always be there. But it was too late to offer that now.
“That was an awful thing of me to say, I’m sorry.”
“I deserve it.” Another small laugh emitted from Elyn.
“Yeah, you do.”
“Same. I mean, you deserve to be happy, not punished.”
An easy silence fell, as though somehow all of their problems were fixed for that short moment in time. The wind still ripped at Ronan’s collar. The waves still battled to the death below him, but it didn’t matter anymore.
“This Cane guy, he’s just a friend,” Elyn said tentatively. Another image of her biting her lip and holding it in place with one hand popped into Ronan’s head. Her dawn blue eyes shimmered with anxiety and another strand of that flyaway hair was threatening to fall into them. That was the day she kissed him.
“Don’t,” Ronan whispered. He cast his eyes out to the darkness of the night. More tears threatened to fall from his eyes. That liquid mercury had changed once more into filthy water. Had she looked like that before they had kissed? Had she gone from biting her own lip to his?
Ronan clenched his fist and thrust his hand into his pocket. That was it; the end had finally reared its head and begun pulling the light of his life over the horizon.
“You should move on, Ronan. Or you’ll rip yourself apart,” Elyn said, as gentle as a lullaby.
“I already am. I can’t even handle being with Ciara anymore. Every kiss tastes like you. Every single one.”
“You picked her,” Elyn spat. “You didn’t want me then and you don’t want me now, you just can’t handle me carrying on without you.”
Maybe that was the truth, but it was also a truth that Ronan wanted nothing more than to kiss Elyn again. He prayed nearly every night for that and perhaps it was his fate not to get it.
“Goodnight, Ronan.” The finality shook Ronan through and through. That was goodbye. Not goodnight, I’ll see you in the morning. He couldn’t feel the same anymore. He couldn’t love Elyn. He couldn’t lie about loving Ciara. He couldn’t think of anything he was supposed to feel except for “nothing”.
Ronan closed his eyes, squeezing them shut before the floodgates opened and his emotions drowned him. He pressed the palm of his hand into his eyes too, another restraint to stop him from processing the fact that the biggest part of his life was truly over.
“Goodnight.” Ronan barely choked the words out before the dial tone resonated like a flat heart rate monitor. He swallowed hard and gasped in a lungful of air before letting it out as a scream. He threw the phone, letting it fall like a rock into the water below. He didn’t need to look at it to know it was already being smashed into pieces. He knew it because he could feel his own heart mimicking its brutal death.
Ronan slid to the floor next to the boulder he had occupied for the whole conversation. It was the only thing left to support him. Mentally. Physically.
He couldn’t feel the same anymore.