Chapter 14 - Interstate Love Song (Stone Temple Pilots ; 1994)

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I have never ran this fast in my entire life. I didn't even think twice about leaving all of my belongings behind in the classroom as I sprinted after Brendon. Apparently he had really wanted to get away from me, seeing as, even as I entered the courtyard, he was nowhere in sight. I looked around in circles a few times before sighing heavily and turning back into the art building.

Some of the students from my class passed me in the halls and gave me short congratulatory words, myself responding to them just as shortly. I had my hands in pockets and my head hung as I walked back into the classroom to retrieve my things, only looking up when I heard soft rustling in the room.

I looked forward to see Matthew Healy gingerly putting my utensils in my bag for me, as well as carefully removing my sketch from the canvas pad.

I cleared my throat softly, causing Matthew to snap his head toward me. "Oh," he said shortly, "hi, Ryan! Mr. Way asked me to get your things together so that when you came back you could just grab your things and go."

I nodded toward him, walking over and accepting my bag that he handed out toward me. "T-Thank you, Matthew," I said softly.

"You can just call me Matty," he said with a small grin. "I like that better; it fits me more."

I laughed softly and nodded, agreeing with him.

"Is he your boyfriend?"

I turned my head to face him, my cheeks flaring up brightly as I looked at him. "B-Brendon?" Matty nodded and, at first, I was going to try to steer the conversation in a different direction, but his face looked serious and sincere, so instead I just sighed. "I d-don't know," I admitted. "We h-haven't put a label on us yet, b-but I doubt he'll want to after t-this."

Matty gave me a little side smile and put his hand on my shoulder. "I can honestly say I know how you feel," he said softly, causing me to raise an eyebrow at him. "My boyfriend, George, and I have been together since high school. We almost got separated after graduation because, even though we applied to the same schools, we didn't get accepted by the same schools. He got accepted into his dream school, and I got accepted into mine, but we wouldn't have been together, so we settled for this one; the only one we both got accepted into."

I looked at Matty in slight awe at his determination to keep his relationship together. I felt my eyes gather with tears and I shook my head softly. "W-We aren't even officially t-together and I already kn-know I'm about to lose him."

I felt my tears fall down my face and Matty pulled me into him and I didn't even object. I just cried into his chest for a few moments, feeling pathetic over the fact that I was crying someone I'd only known for about a month. It wasn't like we were Matty and his boyfriend, we hadn't been dating for years, hell, we hadn't even been together for weeks, but I still feel so connected to him that it hurt me to think about leaving him.

"I don't w-want to leave him," I breathed out softly.

Matty smiled and patted my back.

"Then you should let him know that, Ryan."


I found myself running again as my legs carried me in the direction of Mr. Way's studio, hoping that Brendon would still decide to meet me there. I could see the familiar formation of trees just ahead of me and I slowed down my speed as I began walking up to the small building. I looked in through the side window and, to my surprise, Brendon was seated on the leather couch, his hands linked together and covering his mouth. I got a little better look at him and noticed obvious tear tracks on his face, and his eyes red and puffy from crying.

I bit my lip to keep it from quivering and sighed softly as I reached forward and grabbed the small brass door handle, twisting it slowly and pushing the door open. My eyes landed directly on Brendon, who visibly tensed, but didn't turn his head toward me. I felt tears gather in my eyes as I closed the door behind me and dropped my bag to the ground unceremoniously.

My feet carried me over to him, and I immediately dropped to the floor in front of him, not missing how his eyes closed just as I came into his line of site. I reached up and grabbed his hands in my own, trying to pry them apart so I could see him properly. "B-Brendon, p-please," I whispered softly, my voice thick with emotion. "P-Please listen to me.."

I watched as his face scrunched in what seemed like pain as more tears fell from his eyes. It made my own tears fall, seeing him so broken like this. After a few moments of silence, he spoke up, his voice sounding raw and used up. "When were you going to tell me?"

I reached up and cupped his jaw in my hand, making his face point toward my own. "I w-was going to t-tell you tonight," I said softly, "that's w-why I asked you to m-meet me here t-tonight. I would've told you y-yesterday when the decision was m-made, but we d-didn't see each other yesterday."

He nodded softly, his hands finally coming undone and his fingers lacing with the ones on my free hand. I pulled his face down to be level with mine, resting our foreheads together softly as my thumb brushed absentmindedly against his cheek. "I w-wouldn't dream of leaving without t-telling you," I whispered softly, a small whimper leaving his lips at my words.

"But you're still leaving," he whispered softly.

I felt more tears gather in my eyes as I nodded hesitantly against Brendon's forehead. He unlaced our fingers and, instead, brought his hands to clasp at the nape of my neck for some kind of support as we just sat holding each other. I knew that it would hurt the both of us to have me leave, but I didn't think it was going to be this bad. What would even happen while we were apart? He would be singing and modeling for the class, whereas I would be sketching portraits of him for the world to see--


Portraits.. of Brendon?

I lifted my head to look at Brendon, his eyes snapping open at my sudden movement as we peered into each other's eyes. I immediately began smiling and Brendon looked at me with a cocked eyebrow, probably thinking I'm nuts.

"You have to go with me," I said in a matter-of-fact tone.

Brendon furrowed his eyebrows and tilted his head to the side. "What do you mean I have to go with you?"

I began laughing gently as I stood up and began pacing softly, Brendon following right behind. "My e-entire display," I started, "Mr. Iero w-wants my entire display to be s-sketches and portraits of you! It only m-makes sense that you have to g-go!"

Brendon furrowed his brows again, processing this new piece of information. My hands reached forward to grab onto his, pulling him closer to me. "Mr. Iero and Mr. Way can t-tell the dean why you h-have to go, and you'll s-still get credit for your c-classes. I can't q-quite make a bunch of n-new portraits of you without you b-being there."

Brendon smiled softly, shaking his head as he looked up at me with soft eyes. "Would they allow that?"

I shrugged softly. "They'd h-have to."

The silence settled over us once more as we thought over everything. I didn't want to leave Brendon, and he sure as hell didn't want me to leave either.

We could make this work.

Brendon smiled once more, picking his head up to look at me again.

"Let's go talk to Mr. Way."

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