Hopping into Puddlesbynerd4music©
Author's Note: I've been itching to write this story ever since I heard a certain song. Everyone interprets things in different ways. This is how I pictured this song. You're probably wondering what song I'm talking about. It's called "Hoppipolla" by the Icelandic band Sigur Ros. If you haven't heard it before, check it out. It will change your life. Happy Reading, Sienna Hawthorne.
The rain fell heavily onto the pavement, the sound slapping loudly in the silence of the ever darkening sky. There was movement everywhere; people scrambled to their cars to avoid the weighty downpour; the green trees surrounding the rapidly emptying parking lot whipped in the wind, leaves swirling intricately in the summer storm. The water pounded a rhythm, varying from fast and heavy to fast and light. It was not going to be a quick storm.
Despite the movement and the surrounding chaos, one figure remained absolutely still. His face was tilted to the overcast sky, the red of his hair deepened by the downpour and plastered to his scalp.
No coat, no umbrella in hand. The green t-shirt he wore clung heavily to his lithe frame and his blue jeans began to drag from the weight of the water now filling his pockets. Yet he stood, head back to the sky, his body paying homage to the sky.
He suddenly realized he was standing in the middle of the parking lot as a car whizzed by, nearly missing him. The driver slammed on his horn before zooming out the lot, the bleat an angry sound that piercing the roaring rain.
Chuckling softly, he pushed his sopping red locks from his eyes and turned. Before he had gotten caught up in the storm, he had had a mission. And then the panic returned, the dread creeping back into his heart. He knew what had to be done, yet it was killing him. His fingers itched to grab for the emergency cigarette hidden in his back pocket but that clearly wasn't an option. It was definitely waterlogged by now.
He sighed, a sound that seemed almost laughingly thunderous in the midst of the storm still in progress. Gathering up his slowly fading courage, he walked towards the red brick building. It was rather sad looking in the gray light of the sudden storm. By the time he got to the front door, he was already shivering, the slight chill reminding him of his stupidity.
The glass doors opened automatically and he brushed past the small group of people huddling in the foyer who were trying to wait out the storm. He blinked rapidly, his eyes struggling to adjust to the fluorescent lighting. He ignored the curious stares of the customers, the people wondering why the hell the rain-soaked boy invaded their coffee-scented existence.
With his wet fists balled in his damp pockets, he walked swiftly, past the shelves and rows of books to the dimly lit area in the back of the store. His heart fluttered when he saw her, wearing her tiny black apron and matching visor. Her head was bent down as she stacked paper cups and plastic straws.
As he approached, she looked up. The frown on her face was almost enough to make him stop in his tracks but he continued on. She pretended to busy herself, organizing the coffee sticks.
His brown flip flops clacked loudly on the linoleum as he walked up and rested his palms on the dark stone counter. She stared at him hard, her hazel eyes practically glaring at him.
"What are you doing here, Aiden?"
He gulped audibly. The words tried to come out, but his lips held them prisoner.
Her full lips pursed in irritation. "Did he send you to do his dirty work for him? He say to make it extra embarrassing?" She scoffed. "Well you can tell him to go to hell, you hear me?" She slung a used cup into the trash before turning her back to him.
Aiden could see her shoulders shaking. She was pretty pissed.
"Bryn," he croaked. She turned around slowly, her once happy hazel eyes now red-rimmed.
"Just go," she whispered. "Please."
Aiden turned to leave, his pace picking up until he broke out into a slight jog. His feet slid across the floor, made slick by tracked-in water and his soggy sandals. He didn't slow his pace even after he hit the front door until he was back outside under the bookstore's awning.
There was another man there, casually smoking a cigarette. Before he threw out the butt to leave, Aiden bummed a stick and light from him. He took a slow drag, breathing in the nicotine slowly. His heart slowed down considerably and at once the shame of his actions washed over him.
He smoked silently and watched the rain, still pouring down. It would have to let up soon. He had walked five blocks to get here, all the way from his apartment he shared with Jonas.
Jonas. That asshole. Making him do his dirty work. He had been at home less than an hour ago when Jonas messaged him from Elin's house. Elin was his new girl. Pity he didn't seem to have the courtesy to let his old one go first. Aiden was the audience for the soap opera that was Jonas' life.
Since junior high, Jonas had been the popular one, the heartbreaker. Aiden was the slightly less popular one, the nicer one, they called him. It was code for he basically did Jonas' bidding. He was his errand boy, and he knew it. That's why Jonas sent him to end things with Bryn.
Sweet Bryndis. She was the best thing that had ever happened to Jonas. And now he'd gone and fucked it up. Correction: he had sent Aiden to do it.
He flicked the cigarette out into the heavy rain, the glowing embers dying quickly. Aiden leaned against the brick front of the bookstore. Part of him wanted to leave. Bryn knew the score now. Technically he had fulfilled his mission.
That asshole thought quickly dissipated. Aiden Duffy, all around Nice Guy. Pfft. Grade-A patsy was more like it. Jonas could talk him into anything, especially if it involved Bryn. He'd do anything for her.
He snorted. Tragic, wasn't it? In love with his best friend's girl, the girl his best friend was practically throwing away.
He couldn't leave her, especially in her current state. Jonas could move on easily, but Aiden couldn't bear to leave her behind. He waited for her, standing outside under the bright blue awning until the heavy rains gradually died down, until the storm was barely a shadow of its former self. He was itching for another cigarette, but stuck to chewing the nail on his thumb.
Every so often he would push back his chin-length auburn hair, the shaggy skater-boy mass now matting up considerably. It was going to be a pain to get a comb through it now.
Aiden felt around his pants pockets and realized he must have left his cell phone at home. When Jonas had called him, in a daze he left the apartment, barely remembering to take his keys. Now he didn't even know the time. It felt like he'd been standing out in front for hours. He wasn't even sure what time she got off work. All he knew was he wasn't going anywhere.
The sky, once almost dark, was now a steely gray. He was about to head back home when the automatic doors eased open and she stepped out under the blue awning. Her black apron was gone, probably stuffed into her large black purse. She had changed out of her uniform of black on black and was now wearing a dark denim skirt, white tee and black flip-flops. Her shiny black hair was pulled back into a messy bun. She pushed the black frame glasses further up on her nose and looked out at the watery dull world before her.
Aiden cleared his throat softly and she jumped.
"Fuck," she cursed. "You're still here?"
"I wasn't going to let you leave like that."
She sucked her teeth loudly. "Whatever. Don't act like you're not his messenger boy." Her hazel eyes gave him the once over, taking in his disheveled appearance. "You look like a drowned rat," she remarked. "How long were you out in the rain?"
Aiden shrugged. "Dunno. Lost track of time." He turned to look at her, his eyes perusing her features; it was something he'd been doing a lot of lately. His eyes drank her in. He simply couldn't get enough of her: the smooth hazelnut skin, thoughtful eyes, slender hips, long legs, perfectly round ass. She was Freya incarnate, with the sharpness of a Valkyrie. How the hell could Jonas just treat her like garbage?
"Well, what are you still doing here? Shouldn't you be off having a laugh with your friend?"
He could hear the hurt in her voice and it pierced through him like a lance.
"Bryn, let me explain..."
She held up a slender hand. "You know what? Just drop it." She stepped out from under the awning and started walking across the parking lot. "Well, are you coming or not?"
With his long legs, he caught up easily with her. They walked in silence, leaving the parking lot. They ambled down the tree-lined sidewalk and Aiden was careful to sidestep the large puddles on the ground. His brain was trying to come up with the right thing to say. "Looks like rain again."
Smooth, Duffy. Real smooth.
Bryn chuckled dryly. "That the best you can come up with, Aiden?"
"Sorry," he said, shrugging his broad shoulders.
"You're not giving me much to work with."
"Why should I?" she shot back testily.
Because I'm not him, he thought.
Bryn sighed, a heavy sound that made him ache.
She was so hurt. Fucking Jonas, he thought bitterly.
"I don't mean to take this out on you, Aiden."
She kicked a large stone, sending the wet rock soaring into a large puddle off the curb. It landed with a loud plop, the water splashing the tops of her feet.
Aiden shrugged once more as they continued their slow shuffle down the sidewalk. He was doing his best to waste time. He didn't want to leave her just yet. "Don't worry about me, Bryndis. Besides, I deserve it."
She stopped walking and turned to stare at him. He looked a little wild. His auburn hair was nearly dry; it would be a frizzy spectacle soon. When Jonas first introduced her to Aiden over five months ago, he called him 'Brillo head', making fun of his curls. She thought they were adorable, and told him so.
Since then he'd been growing his hair out. Now it was surfer shaggy and incredibly cute. His soft grey eyes always held a kindness in them that she found refreshing. But still, it was hard to look at him and not think about Jonas.
"Aiden, you might be Jonas' errand boy but you don't deserve the tongue-lashing I plan to give him."
She began walking once more, her feet intentionally splashing the water. Aiden strode quickly to her side. "I'm not his errand boy," he said tersely. He wasn't sure why he was so upset: because she said it to his face, or because it was true.
Bryn snorted. "Yeah, okay."
He could feel his cheeks flush and had to remind himself that she was hurting. "I just...Jonas and I have been friends for awhile now."
"Oh. Well, I thought we were friends too." She came to a stop in front of a small puddle on the sidewalk. "How long did you know?"
Aiden leaned against the white fence from a nearby yard. "I just found out a couple of days ago."
When she looked up at him, he could see the hurt in her eyes and he fought the urge to cradle her to his chest and kiss her pain away. She steeled the thoughts in her brain, her hazel eyes once more masking her true feelings.
"Who is she?" she asked. She pointed her foot, dipping her brown toes into the puddle, skimming them lightly across the top.
Bryn's sharp laughter pierced the quiet of the late afternoon. "That horse-faced girl I met at an office party? He's banging his boss' secretary?"
Aiden nodded, a small smirk on his lips. He crossed his arms and propped one foot on top of the other as he leaned once more against the fence. "Yeah, that's the one."
"Figures he'd leave me for some blond bimbo. You think she's prettier than me?" He was taken aback by her random question. A sad smile crossed her face and she chuckled awkwardly. "God, don't even answer that." She covered her mouth bashfully and turned to walk away. "So stupid," he heard her mutter.
"Wait, Bryndis!" He grabbed her arm as he leaned down. "She could never hold a candle to you. You are the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. Jonas is clearly blind on top of being a douchebag for even thinking about letting you go." His heart was pounding and he felt as if he might faint.
Bryn watched him curiously, noticing the change in his eyes. The grey became a soft, hazy color. She had noticed the way he'd been looking at her for the past couple of weeks, but she was enamored with Jonas and wouldn't have believed anyone if they said Aiden was crushing on her. He had always been very nice to her, but that wasn't anything out of the ordinary. Aiden was just nice to everyone. But now, after looking at him today she wasn't so sure if this was normal nice Aiden, or something completely different.
For the first time that day, Bryn's lips turned up into a genuine smile. "Thank you, Aiden."
He returned the smile. "No problem."
They started walking once more, the silence heavy but this time more comfortable than before. He heard her chuckling softly to herself and he longed to kiss the secret smile, to share something with her that was just for them.
"What's so funny?" he asked.
"Nothing," she replied. "I guess I'm just surprised that I never picked up on the Elin thing. I'm usually pretty perceptive."
"Well, I don't think anyone really wants to be right about their significant other cheating on them. It's not like there's a nice prize for it."
Bryn smiled. "True. I guess part of me knew something like this was bound to happen. I always thought I was so lucky to have Jonas. I never thought he didn't feel the same way."
"Why did you stay, then?"
"Why do you?" she countered.
Aiden was thoughtful. It was a good question. Jonas could be a nice guy, when he wasn't a complete dick. And he'd been that way since they were kids. Aiden supposed he had just gotten used to his antics. "Touche," he said.
"He's a charmer, you know? " her smile was warm as a distant memory played out in her mind. "The day I met him, he was in the coffee shop. He had been in a couple of times before but I wouldn't give him the time of day. But he was persistent, always coming at me with a sweet line or a funny joke. And it didn't hurt that he was so cute. With that long blond hair, he gave me visions of some powerful Norse god. Finally he just broke me down and I accepted his offer for drinks." She sighed, her shoulder sagging a little. "And the rest is history."
Aiden remembered that time. Jonas would come back to the apartment and tell him about the "hot black chick" who worked at the coffee shop. To Jonas, Bryndis was uncharted waters, something to satisfy his curiosity. Aiden wondered how he was even with Bryn for five months.
Most of Jonas' relationships didn't make it past the morning after. But that was the magic of Bryndis Eriksson. She had the power to make even the most self-absorbed asshole stop and take notice.
He didn't deserve her.
"What did you say?" she asked. She stopped walking and eyed him warily.
Aiden's grey eyes widened. Did I really just say that aloud?
"Yes you did," she replied. "Again."
"Fuck. Sorry Bryn," he muttered. "I didn't mean..."
"Of course you did." She waved his apology away. "And you know what? You are so right. He didn't."
Another warm smile. "You are so weird, Duffy."
He smiled, glad she didn't take offense. "So they say."
They came to the end of the sidewalk and he noticed her face brighten considerably. "Look," she said excitedly. He followed where she was pointing. Across the street from them was a playground. It was deserted, the swings blowing gently in the soft wind.
Aiden grinned. "Seriously?"
"Why not?" she questioned. She took off running, surprising him with her speed; she was definitely in flip-flops. The bun came undone, her raven hair flying loose behind her. Aiden took off after her, hoping his sandals wouldn't make him eat pavement. By the time he caught up with her, she was already in the playground. She had kicked off her flip-flops which now lay tangled in the sand. Aiden kicked off his and ran to join her.
Bryn stood by the merry-go-round, idly fingering the metal bars. "I used to love going on these," she remarked. "At recess there used to be this mad dash to get to it. I was always the smallest kid, so I squeezed in wherever I could. When someone started spinning, everyone else grabbed hold of the bars. But not me."
Aiden grinned. "You little daredevil."
Bryn's laughter rang out in the empty playground. "I so was. I used to try and stand up while it spun. One time whoever was pushing grabbed the bars and stopped suddenly and I flew off. Everyone screamed when I landed but I swear I wasn't even hurt. I just remember landing on my ass and laughing so hard. It was so much fun."
"Wow, that's crazy."
"Yeah. You should totally push me." She hopped up onto the large metal merry go round, still wet from the afternoon shower.
Aiden glanced up at the sky, the dark grey clouds swirling. "You sure about this? I think it's gonna rain again."
Bryn straddled one of the metal bars, her short skirt riding up. Aiden gulped audibly; dear sweet gods I can almost see her underwear. "Come on, Duffy. You totally owe me."
Shrugging his shoulders, he rubbed his large hands together before setting them on the bar. "You ready?" he asked. Bryn nodded excitedly, her pretty hazel eyes bright with anticipation. Aiden began pushing the merry-go round, moving slowly with it.
"Faster!" she yelled.
He picked up speed, running along with the merry go round, his bare feet nearly slipping in the sand. There were large puddles of water all around but he splashed right on through. She was moving faster, her dark hair billowing around her gorgeous face. He stopped running and began pushing it hard, the taught muscles in his arms flexing. She watched him as he worked to move the merry faster. He looked so happy.
When he hopped up on the merry-go-round with her, she shrieked happily. "Oh my god! Aiden, you're crazy!"
Aiden grinned and grabbed a hold of the bars to steady himself. "You can't be the only insane one!"
"I guess we're gonna have to wait until it stop spinning" she called out to him.
He could feel the drops of rain start to fall lightly. "It's gonna start pouring soon."
"Who cares?" she yelled back. A large gust of wind made the merry pick up considerable speed and Aiden suddenly had the feeling of flying. It was exhilarating; his heart was beating so loud and hard he thought it would shatter. It was one of those impossibly perfect moments he always heard people talk about. Even better, he was sharing it with the woman he desperately loved.
"Let's jump!" he called out.
"What?" she yelled back, turning to face him
while still grabbing hold of the bar.
Aiden held out his hand to her. "Come on. Let's do it."
"Okay!" she called. "Don't let me fall!"
"Never," he replied. Her hand grabbed a hold of his. He felt dizzy as the merry-go-round spun madly and the rain started to fall harder.
"Ready..." he called. They stood up at the same time. "NOW!" he yelled. They jumped hand in hand.
Aiden felt his feet leave the metal spinning disc and he held her close as they landed knee-first in the largest puddle in the playground. Bryn let out a squeal of happiness as she splashed him soundly with water.
A large thunderclap signaled the second round of the summer storm as the heavens opened once more and showered the earth with her nourishment. Aiden stayed where he was for a moment, kneeling in the water as he watched her run around, her bare brown feet dancing in each tiny body of water, her endless brown legs high-kicking and splashing.
There was a girlish glow around her and the white tee shirt she wore clung to her wet skin in the most tantalizing fashion. Bryn ran back over to him and he watched her supple breasts bounce with each light-footed step. She held out her hand and pulled him up soundly.