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Innocently Falling

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Chapter 17

They continued to start at each other for a lengthy period of time.

Examining the plans of their faces and taking in the emotions playing in their eyes. They were just inches apart from each other. So close that she could see the detailed stubble on his chin and smell the faint masculine cologne that was only distinct to him.

She willed herself to turn away, to go find Ryan, but she found that she couldn't. She was mesmerized by those green eyes that haunted her for so long.

Luca closed the remaining distance between them. Now they were standing almost toe to toe, and almost nose to nose.

"Meg." He started looking down at her wide brown eyes.

She waited patiently for him to continue.

"Megs." A different voice came, making her jump back a little. She turned her head to find Ryan coming through the door with a very confused and pained look that he was desperately trying to hide.

Ryan looked from Luca to Megan, and his frown deepened.

He nodded towards Megan, "Is everything okay?" he asked her gently.

"Yea. Who was on the phone?" She asked trying not to let Luca's earlier closeness affect her.

If possible Ryan frowned even more, "Just a friend who needed some help."

Then he added, "Hey, would you mind driving me back? I have some things I need to take care of." He looked at Luca before turning back to Megan, "and I need to talk to you about something." He said hesitantly.

"Yes of course. Let's go." She said and headed towards the door. Then as an afterthought she turned back to find Luca glancing off into space. "There is pizza in the oven if you are hungry." She told him.

The drive to Wendy's house was unusually quiet. Ryan, who was always so chatty, was starting out of the window deep in thought.

Megan parked the car in Wendy's driveway and turned to him.

"What's going on?" she asked quietly, not quite sure she wanted to know.

He turned to her slowly, his eyes glistening. He looked broken.

"Ryan?" she whispered wrapping her arms around him. Trying to comfort him even though she didn't know what she was comforting him from. It was hard to see someone who was always smiling, look like this.

"I don't know what to do Megs." He mumbled into her hair.

Running her hands up and down his back she soothed him, "It'll be okay Ryan. Whatever it is it'll be okay."

He pulled back slightly and took her face his hands. He leaned in and kissed the top of each of her brows.

He finally let go and settled back into his seat. He closed his eyes for a minute and leaned back against the head rest. Megan thought he was falling asleep. The only noise coming from his was the sound of his steady breathing.

She wondered if he was actually asleep. He slowly opened his eyes and turned towards her once again.

He drew in a breath, "She is dying." He said running his fingers through his hair.

Megan shook her head, "Who's dying?" she asked softly.

"Michelle." He turned back to look out the windshield. "She has lymphoma. She refused to visit the doctor when she first started to show symptoms and now it's too late. It's spreading rapidly and she is refusing radiation or chemotherapy."

"Is this the same Michelle that visited you at school last year?" she asked remembering a petite blonde. Ryan told her that she was his childhood best friend. Megan recalled her being very intelligent and extremely sweet. She had a very thick southern accent that made her sound even sweeter.

"Yea." He said trying to control the falter in his voice.

Megan didn't know what to do. She knew nothing she could say or do would make him feel any better. Learning that your best friend was dying is not something anyone ever prepares for.

She gently rubbed his arm with the palm of her hand.

"Ryan, I'm so sorry. You should go visit her and make her understand that she needs to undergo chemo." She took in face. The tears that refused to fall from his eyes were coating the tips of his eyelids.

"You don't understand. I can't talk to her." His voice was choked. The tears finally falling free.

She reached out to wipe them away from his face.

"Why not?"

"Because," he paused, "because the last time I saw her she told me that she was in love with me and I just laughed it off. I just thought she was joking at the time because it was so out of the blue. Only after she stopped picking up my calls or replying to my thousands of messages did I realize that she actually meant it."

He took in a deep breath.

"I started to miss hearing her voice so much, and seeing her face. It felt like a part of me was missing. That's when I finally realized that I loved her too. But by then it was too late, she wouldn't talk to me, or hear me out. She spent the summer in Argentina so I didn't see her over break and eventually I got the message, and decided that I needed to move on."

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