The Quiet Friend Pt. 01byclarkcrow©
To the readers.
First of all, a massive thanks for anyone who read, commented, favourited, etc, on my debut posting. The feedback was unexpected and I'm incredibly grateful to everyone who sent me some. It was encouraging to say the least.
This next story is in two parts, since I considered it to be too long for one single posting. While this first part is non-erotic, the second part will not be. Hopefully, I will not take as long next time to post something new.
And finally, a massive thank you to LadyFalcon for patiently going through the story with me and helping me edit and fix grammar!
Hope you all enjoy...
... ... ... ... ...
The Saturday after Greg had turned twenty years old, there was a party thrown for him. Rowan decided he would take the train to get there during the afternoon and spend some time with his friend before the party actually started. He did not expect Sarah.
When he knocked, the door was opened by a blue eyed girl of about the same age as him, with long, wavy, dark blonde hair halfway down her back which ended in a natural curl. Her eyes were brilliantly piercing, so much so, that at first he felt uncomfortable.
He stared at her for a second or two and then looked at the room number on the door. It was definitely Greg's flat. Besides, this was the male corridor of the dorm.
"Uh. Hi. Hello?" She said.
Rowan looked at her again. "Sorry. I'm looking for Greg."
She smiled. "You must be Rowan."
He nodded, taking note of how much he liked her warm, crooked smile.
"Hi. I'm Sarah." She held out a hand. "Greg's just inside."
"Oh. Hi." He shook her hand and walked in as she moved out of the way.
"He's just ironing his shirt. And this is where I say goodbye."
Rowan turned around.
She reached down to pick up a pair of shoes, but did not put them on. "I have to go get ready. You're going to be at the party later, right?"
"Then I'll see you there!"
"Right." Rowan wanted to know who she was, but didn't ask. Greg would explain.
With another quick smile, she left barefoot while Rowan stood for a few moments looking at the door. It had been brief, but those eyes stayed with him; he had never seen eyes as pale as that before. He turned, guessing Greg was probably in the living room, and walked to him.
"You got here faster than I thought you would," Greg said, as he walked in. Greg stood topless, ironing a black shirt.
He had that smirk on his face. The one that Rowan knew meant he had something to tell him but he was going to just drop it casually into conversation as if it was nothing. Rowan already guessed; that blonde girl must have been Greg's girlfriend.
Rowan sat down on the sofa nearest the TV. "I got lucky with the traffic. And the bus come to think of it."
"You didn't drive up?"
"No. I'll just get the train back tomorrow."
"Idiot boy. Should have taken the car! Could stay until Monday. We could chill out tomorrow, maybe go into town or something."
"I've got too much work to do this week."
"Hmm. You should live a little, Rowan. Work isn't everything."
"I know it isn't. There's also procrastination."
Greg shook his head and chuckled. He finished his ironing and picked his shirt up, holding it in front of him and checking it was to his satisfaction.
Then, in the most calm manner he could muster, he asked, "I take it you met my girl?"
Rowan closed his eyes and smiled to himself. "I was wondering when that was coming."
"What'd you think?"
"You've never mentioned her. That already tells me you're not serious about her," Rowan said, opening his eyes to look at him.
"When am I ever serious about a girl? Besides I've only been going out with her for about three weeks. Not so sure about her."
"Still," Greg winked, "Better than you'll ever get."
Rowan rolled his eyes in reply.
... ... ... ... ...
The party didn't quite kick off until around nine at night, though several people were there already by then. There were a few people he knew from previous visits and several people that were new to him. All of them brought drinks and soon the flat was full of intoxicated people and loud, heavy music that made him feel as though his head was vibrating.
Rowan mostly sat in the corner and watched everyone. It was times like these he felt slightly apart from everyone. He was enjoying the music, even the atmosphere and watching some of the people dance, but there was still a sense of barriers between him and everyone else. He wasn't suited for parties. Greg had always been the far more sociable one and even in their current group of friends, Rowan was the one most likely to stay at home or only appear if there were fewer people at an occasion. He had got teased about it by his friends, but they had accepted his introversion almost from the first moments they knew him.
Besides, he liked it, being quiet and in the corner, observing all the others around him. In his opinion, you could see a lot happening, simply by watching patiently. Across the room, two old friends were talking animatedly while a girl from a group nearby was watching one of them carefully. In the other corner of the room, a couple were kissing, but the female of the two had most of her body turned away from her boyfriend. Rowan wondered if that was a sign of things to come in their relationship.
Greg was somewhere, lost amongst the thronging crowd, some of which were in the middle of the room dancing drunkenly to music. Rowan had only imbibed three shots of whiskey and had already resigned himself to the fact that he was not feeling like getting drunk.
He stood up, moving past a couple of dancers and walked into the hallway toward the room nearest the front door. There was a phone in there. The door was locked however, and he sighed and left it alone. Walking back to the main room, where the music was loudest, he stopped and watched some of the girls dancing.
The music was obviously designed to induce some state of arousal, at least judging from the way some of them were moving. For a moment he was mesmerised by one pair of swaying hips, until he felt a tap on his shoulder.
He turned around to see Katarina, who was smiling lightly at him. She pulled him into a hug, greeting him right in his ear and then pulled him toward the balcony. He followed willingly.
Once outside, she slid the balcony door shut, blocking out most of the music and breathed out deeply into the night air.
She looked at Rowan directly in the eyes and said in quite a serious voice, "I think my eardrums were trying to escape from my ears."
"You still haven't fixed that problem? All you need to do is cut their legs off." Rowan said, an amused look on his face.
She shook her head and flashed him a smile. "Hello, Rowan."
"I was about to call you, you know? To see if you were coming."
"Why didn't you?"
"Greg's room door was locked. I left my mobile at home. He's got the only phone in the flat in his room. I'm glad you're here."
"I almost didn't come. Now I'm wondering why I did."
"Platonic obligations perhaps?"
"Hmm. Either that or the alternative was sitting at home listening to my sister talking about her latest perfect boyfriend with oh-so-lovely eyes and a large package in their pockets."
"... I take it you mean their wallets?"
With a straight face, she replied, "Why, what else would I mean?"
Rowan grinned. "It's good to see you."
Katarina looked down at the ground. They were six floors up, something which Katarina was not happy about. The car park down below was lit partially by flood lights and for a moment she looked for her car.
"I don't like being this far up, but this is the only quiet place we can talk for a bit," She mumbled. She turned to him, shrugging. "At least no one else is out here."
She sat down leaning against one of the side walls of the balcony, which was made of stone. They could see everything happening inside the room and feel the bass thudding underneath them. A paranoid thought flared through Rowan's mind as he hoped the glass wall opposite the door, at the far end of the balcony would not shatter from the effects of the music. He sat down at an angle to her, resting his back on the glass.
"Rowan, don't do that."
"Don't do what?"
"Lean against the glass."
Katarina narrowed her eyes at him. She shook her head. "Never mind."
"Nothing will happen. I'm sure these things are designed to take the weight of someone leaning on them."
"Hmf. Let's not think about this."
"Greg's got a girl. How long do you think this one will last?" Katarina asked after a few moments of silence.
Rowan shrugged. "I've barely spoken to her. She was around when I got here but then she left me and Greg to it for a while. Something about needing to get ready."
"Which one is she?" Katarina asked, waving her hand toward the living room.
Rowan glanced at each of the people in the room in turn. Then, spotting a flash of dark blonde hair, he watched carefully. There was a dub-step track playing and he could feel the heavy beat pulsing through him. He almost felt the need to move with it.
From the crowd, Sarah appeared. Rowan stared, speechless. It was the first he had seen her since she left earlier and he was not prepared for the effect her appearance and movement were having on him. Her hair was tied in a bun slightly off to one side at the back of her head and she wore a simple t-shirt with a neckline that went straight across her clavicle, exposing her shoulders and the black bra straps. She wore jeans which were surprisingly not tight fitting as every other girl seemed to be wearing, but still clung to her body in a way that left no doubts about her round curves. Her body was definitely a pear shape. He was entranced.
Her dancing exuded a confidence and sexiness that outweighed everyone else on the floor. It was more intense than any of the other dancers he had noticed earlier. Her eyes were closed and she moved slowly, swaying hips, her arms folded so her hands were touching her shoulders and neck. She looked completely lost in the moment.
For a few brief, bright seconds, he could read that feeling around her, emanating from those hip movements and her closed eyes. It was that feeling of nothing in the future and nothing in the past. The same feeling he got when he read Neruda or listened to his favourite music.
Rowan jerked his head right to look at Katarina. "Sorry, Kat. Uh, it's her. The blonde one. The one dancing right there."
"Oh. Wow. She's gorgeous."
"Yeah. I suppose."
Katarina was about to point out that he had been staring at the blonde girl, but stayed quiet when she realised he seemed a little troubled by something. She was about to ask him about this when the door opened and the blonde girl walked out, shutting the door behind her. The sudden loud rush of music had surprised them both and they were momentarily disorientated as they looked up at Sarah.
"Hey. Hi, Rowan."
"Sarah," Rowan said, glancing at Katarina. "This is Katarina. Katarina, Sarah."
"Hi," Sarah said to Katarina, smiling enthusiastically. "It's hot inside. I came out for a bit of air."
"There is plenty of air out here for all of us," Katarina said with a straight face.
"Y'know, I'm very glad to hear that. I was worried there might be a shortage with all those people inside."
"Only a shortage of cold air. I'm sure there's enough hot air in some of those idiot boys inside to ensure total Hindenberg flight."
Sarah laughed, half puzzled at her words. Katarina stood up and held out a hand which Sarah took and Katarina shook it. Then without so much of a word, she glanced at Rowan and then went inside. Sarah turned back to Rowan and raised an eyebrow.
"That was a little strange."
"That's Katarina for you. She got it slightly wrong though. The Hindenberg had hydrogen in it. Not hot air."
"She's a friend?"
"Old friend. I went to school with her and Greg."
"Ah. Hey did he tell you? Turns out I grew up only a couple of miles away from you both. We might have ended up in the same school, but I think I was in a different catchment area."
"Oh. Wow. Hell of a coincidence."
"Yep. Funny that we met here."
"It probably happens a lot more than people realise."
Sarah looked out at the view from the balcony, resting her hands on the top of the wall. She leaned forward a little and Rowan could not help but glance at her feet. She was wearing trainers. Smiling at this, he turned away, only to look back again when he heard movement. Sarah had sat down beside him.
"It's good to finally meet you," She said. "Greg's mentioned you a few times."
"I wish I could say the same."
"That is a little strange. That he wouldn't tell you. Isn't it?"
Rowan shrugged. His loyalty to Greg kicked in. "I haven't spoken to him for a while so I guess the opportunity didn't come up."
She nodded and brought her knees up in front of her, putting her arms on them and relaxing her back on the glass. Rowan watched her the entire time, thinking of the one obvious, glaring reason which he did not want to express; that Greg had no interest in a long relationship. That she was just like any number of other girls he had been with for a short time and moved on from after he felt the 'relationship' had run its course. It was one aspect of Greg that Rowan didn't like.
Now that she sat right beside him, he could see her features more clearly. She had a long neck and pale, full bodied lips. Her shoulders were somewhat delicate and there was a tiny mole on her neck, just under the jaw.
Rowan shook his head at himself, looking into the living room. What was he doing? He shouldn't have been paying that much attention to her features. Rowan had always been a curious person when it came to people, but there had to be limits, didn't there? He swore at himself under his breath. It was just the alcohol, he thought to himself.
"Are you okay, Rowan?"
He looked up. "Yeah. I'm fine. Tired."
"Why are you out here? And not inside."
Rowan shrugged. "I'm not good with crowds."
"Oh. Neither am I, really."
That was a little too hard to believe. "You seemed to be doing fine in there when you were dancing," Rowan said, in what he hoped was a vaguely calm, disinterested voice.
"You were watching me dance?" She asked with a raised eyebrow.
Rowan stammered and shook his head. "N-Not quite. I j-just noticed, that's all."
She grinned. "I'm teasing you. It's fine."
He gave a half hearted smile in return and looked ahead at his hands. She said nothing. He could hear her breathing becoming calm from the earlier exertion. It was then, he realised, that she simply felt no need to speak. Strangely, for the first time in a long while, he felt completely comfortable with someone he had only just properly met.
Perhaps it was that comfort, which made him ask his next question. "Do you always feel like that when you dance?"
Sarah looked at him. "Like what?"
Rowan stopped there, wondering how he was supposed to proceed. Then he smiled to himself and shook his head. "Never mind."
"Tell me." There was a deep something to her tone of voice which Rowan couldn't quite identify at first, but the look on her face told him it could only be interest.
"... I guess, caught up. Caught up in it. Nothing else around. The feeling I mean. In dancing," Rowan said, not sure if he was quite making sense.
Sarah tilted her head to the side a little. "You really were watching me." There was that emphasis she took care to express.
Rowan shrugged. "I just noticed. That's all."
Sarah was silent for several seconds. Then she asked, "If you could think of a song that expresses that feeling; that getting caught up in the moment, or even just living in it; what would it be?"
Surprised at the question, Rowan took his time to answer. At first his mind was blank until it started to race through all the times he had felt so completely caught up in the act of listening. Several songs came to mind, but there was one song which he had consciously felt wrapping around him as he listened to it.
"Have you ever heard of Robin Trower?" Rowan asked, not at all expecting her to know the name.
She nodded. "Bridge of Sighs album?"
Rowan said nothing, nor made a move. He was in awe.
"Let me guess. 'About To Begin'?" She asked.
"I love that song," She said with a smile.
They talked for hours that night.
... ... ... ... ...
Around a year and a half after he first met Sarah, Rowan stood at Greg's front door, sighing in relief as it shut and his date for the party was gone.
He was at a graduation party. It was late, which meant most people had already gone home or moved onto other parties and only a few close friends remained, scattered around the flat.
Rowan went back to the balcony, past Greg and some other friends who were arguing about music. On the balcony, sat Katarina and Sarah.
"Is she gone?" Sarah asked.
"Oh. Thank God for that. She was doing my head in. So boring. Definitely not your type."
Rowan raised an eyebrow at her as he sat down, his back against the glass as he always did. "You're the one who told me to ask her out."
"I thought she was fun! She seemed it when we saw her down that, um, nightclub."
"Oh. She was drunk at the nightclub. That's probably what it was."
Sarah rolled her eyes. "Sorry, Rowan. Next time I tell you to ask someone out, you're welcome to tell me to fuck off."
Rowan smiled at her. "I'll keep that in mind."
"Rowan, please don't do that," Katarina said, an expression of worry on her face.
"Lean against that glass. You know I hate it when you do that."
"I do it all the time. Nothing's happened yet."
"I know, but I'm slightly stoned and I've had too much to drink. So, for the sake of my sanity, I will ask again. Please don't lean against that glass."
"I'm with her on this," Sarah said in a tone which wasn't quite serious but not playful enough for him to be sure. She was sitting opposite to Katarina.
Rowan looked at both of them in turn. Then he shook his head and sighed, standing up.
"Oh, so you'll move for her, but not for me?" Katarina asked, then laughed at his scowl.
"Hey, it's two against one here," Rowan said.
He stretched his back, out of no real need to, but rather as a way of delaying having to sit down. He had no idea which side to go for; Katarina's or Sarah's, and sitting against the door would have meant having to move every now and then if someone wanted to go through it. He was feeling too lazy for that.
Katarina solved the problem for him. She stood up. "I'm going to get another drink. Either of you want one?"
Rowan had already had a few shots and was beginning to sober up already. He shook his head and glanced at Sarah. Sarah was deep in thought.
"Sarah?" Katarina said.
"I don't know. I'm thinking."
"About whether you want a drink?" Rowan asked.
"It's a serious decision."
"I think you're drunk."
"And it's nearly two in the morning. So maybe no more drinking?" Katarina sighed.
Sarah sighed with a feigned depressed expression. "Fine, fine! No more for me!"
Katarina went inside while Rowan went to the opposite side wall to sit down but Sarah's voice stopped him.
"Rowan. Sit here." She moved over to the side, closer to the door, and patted the space next to her.
He felt awkward all of a sudden. It seemed easier if he didn't go near her so much; handling all the strange feelings in his slightly befuddled mind. He wanted to refuse, but he knew it would only draw attention, so quietly, reluctantly, he walked over to her side and sat down. She smiled at him.