The flicker of the street light did nothing to illuminate the little park where Paul and Ally were sitting on the swings. Alone and unaided, it fought a constant struggle against the darkness of the night. The other lights, long since abandoned by the local council, had now given up on their allotted purpose. Nevertheless, this light at least was still fighting the good fight.
Thought processes like these scared Paul a little, but somehow they could always be found in his mind. The park was more depressing than he recalled. The lights were broken, or at least all but one. The grass was dying and one of the four swings had snapped in half. Either part of what was the seat was now hanging limp from it's chain.
He was sitting on a swing beside Ally with several bottles of vodka at his feet. He was mostly still but she was going back and forth quite happily on the swing. Her movements were smooth and calm - her legs graceful. He was watching her as she moved. In his mind, he told himself that it was the emptiness of the park that brought his eyes to her. Of course, it was all her. He adored the very sight of her. Her hair was flying in all directions and, when the swing took her all the way back, he could see just the smallest of amounts up her skirt. He felt perverted to look, but he couldn't help himself.
As they had entered the park, they had passed a place that Paul remembered all too well. There was a place, surrounded by flowers, where he and Ally had kissed. The memory had been teasing him since they had passed it. Ally had not mentioned anything. Paul could only assume that she was intentionally ignoring it. This did not make him feel wonderful; his bottle of vodka was much more depleted than Ally's.
"He wants me back in the studio again next week, " he continued. They had been discussing the same thing for a while: Matthew Cooper. Being able to talk about the whole situation was proving very beneficial to him. Like a wound being drained of infection, it felt so good just to talk about it. "If I do, he's pretty much assured Disbelief more gigs in Fuse. I can't be too sure though can I? There's every chance Disbelief isn't going to be around to do any shows. If Jace and Adam can't sort things out then I don't have a band, do I? What do I do then? "
"Do you think they'll be able to work it out? " Ally queried, still swinging to and fro. Hair was undoubtedly finding it's way into her mouth, but she didn't seem to care. "Pass me a drink, " she said, slowing down just enough to grab the bottle when Paul picked it up to hand to her. She didn't stop to drink, instead she drank as she went, keeping the bottle with her afterwards in case she wanted more.
"I don't know, " Paul answered with an exhausted sigh. "I don't seem to know much lately? Maybe I shouldn't even try any more. Not much is really going my way, is it? "
This brought Ally to a stop. It took a while, with her heels scraping across the ground, but the swing came to a halt with her beside Paul. "Why so glum? " she said in a soothing voice. "Things haven't been going your way, but things never go your way. It's never stopped you before, has it? You always work things out in the end, don't you? You're good at getting what you want, aren't you? Better than me at least."
At her words, Paul could feel a sad smile overtaking his face. "I don't always get what I want, " he said in reply. "Sometimes I try and try, but never get it. Sometimes I have something for only a day, or one night to change a man's life."
Ally turned away and began to swing again. However, Paul marked the redness of her cheeks as she did so. She was rejecting the memory perhaps. He took another drink from his bottle.
"Do you ever think we could have worked out? " Ally asked, still swinging back and forth and looking straight ahead. The question caught him off guard, but he couldn't deny the leap he felt in his heart. Officially, Ally and he had never been 'together', but they had come close several times. The memories all played across his mind. He wished, momentarily, that she would look him in the eye, but dismissed the idea quickly. He wasn't sure he wanted to see what might be hidden there.
The answer came to his lips quickly. "I think we would have worked out fine, " he told her. "Better than fine. I would have done anything just to have you as mine. I would think, after all this time, you'd know that. Been on your mind, has it? "
He had noted her pensive mood. It was not often that she wished to go to the park with alcohol. It only happened when she had a lot on her mind. In truth, she was not a major drinker unless she was a little unhappy with her lot.
"A bit, " Ally answered, showing no sign of committing to a definite answer. "I've been thinking a lot lately, ever since everything happened with Sean. He still thinks we're dating, you know. Every time I talk to him, he insults you in every way he can imagine. He thinks he's so superior to both of us and I have no idea why. He's a complete pain in the arse."
"He really thinks bitching about me is going to make you want him back? " Paul asked, already knowing the answer. The memory of Sean and his two henchmen was still a fairly fresh one in his mind. Thankfully, Paul was not really one to hold a grudge. He trusted that Jace's retaliation would be enough to keep Sean's face from resurfacing any time soon. It had been a while since anybody had heard from Sean, except Ally it would seem. "How's he been talking to you? "
"On the phone mostly, " she replied without a moment of thought. Digging in her heels, Ally came to a stop quite suddenly and turned to examine Paul quite intently. "I'm sorry, " she began, which came as quite a surprise to Paul. "I never seem to have anything good to tell you recently. It must be really depressing. We came here to talk about you and we've still ended up talking about me. You must get so sick of me."
"Hey, don't you worry about that, " Paul told her, hoping to cut off any more of this type of discussion. "I don't think I've ever failed to enjoy your company. You lighten up my day, you do. Obviously, I don't say it often enough, so start taking it as read." As he spoke he could see the smile on her face widening slowly. She was watching him very intently. "Since I was a kid I've loved just being around you, especially in parks. We've had some good times in parks."
Ally let out a giggle but stifled it quickly. Looking up at him through her eyelashes, her voice dropped to a volume that made him lean closer to hear her. As he did so, the smell of her perfume rose from her throat to greet him. "Well Paul Taylor, aren't you a flirt? " she asked him, still smiling widely. "You've always looked after me, haven't you? "
"And I always will, " he replied. "You forget - it's my job. I have to make sure you know you're pretty, all of the time, because you are. You're as pretty now as you were when I first met you, and that's very pretty. I can appreciate it more now though. Now you're sexy as well as cute."
Paul didn't think about any of the words that he was saying. He didn't have to: the truth simply came out of him, refusing to be prevented. He was telling her exactly what he thought of her and the smile she gave in answer was exactly the reward he desired. It inspired him to continue, but, fortunately, she didn't let him. Instead, with a wide smile and a mischievous glint in her eye, she leant forward and kissed him.
Paul didn't stop to think. He fought back his sense of surprise and kissed back.
"Quietly, quietly, " Ally told him, opening the door to her room and shooing him in from the corridor. She came in behind him and closed the door quietly, leaving them both in a complete and all-consuming darkness. "It's late, you don't want to wake anybody up, do you? " she asked him. Paul couldn't claim to care at this point.
She flicked on the light, illuminating the little room that the University had assigned her. The walls were bare and plain, and the only real contents on the room were her bed, desk and bookcase. These three things however, were cluttered beyond belief. Her bookcase was extremely disorganised, with both fiction and non-fiction stacked haphazardly here and there. More books littered the floor around it, as it had long since run out of space. Her desk had many pages of writing on it beside her laptop, which was on, displaying her Leonardo DiCaprio wallpaper. Her double bed, with thick crimson covers, had two small brown teddy bears nestled in the covers. It also had several books, CD cases and pieces of writing on the side nearest the wall. On the other side lay an electric blue bass guitar. It wasn't something she played much, but it was typically there as part of the furniture.
"Can I just make something clear? " Ally asked him, a little breathlessly, drawing his attention back to her. She emptied her pockets of her mobile phone, purse and keys, placing them all on her desk.
"Go ahead, " Paul answered, equally breathlessly. Their trip here had not been particularly quick, but it had been extremely passionate. Every time that they had travelled as much as ten feet, they had found a place to stop and lock lips furiously.
She sighed, seemingly steeling herself for something. "Just because you're in my room, " she began, "that doesn't mean that you're getting into anything else, okay? "
Paul attempted to escape feeling disappointment, and he was pleased to find that he was mostly successful. There was something of an awkward silence where the idea of getting into everything else of hers he possibly could crossed his mind. Quite suddenly, he felt very disappointed.
"I wasn't expecting that when I walked in, " he said, perfectly truthfully. He had no plans of telling her he hadn't been hopeful, that would be a lie. However, having said that, he found himself without any ideas of what to say next. They was another moment of awkwardness where she looked at him guiltily, her fingers fidgetting idly with her clothing. Then, as if by design, they both stepped forwards into each other's arms and returned to what had easily become Paul's favourite pastime of the night. If his lips were not busy, Paul would likely have laughed.
Tangled in her arms, he fell backwards, dragging her with him. He landed squarely in the middle of the bed, with a confused and unsteady Ally landing directly on top of him. The contents of the bed moved towards them under their weight, all except for the bass guitar, which Paul's hand knocked. It fell from the bed, landing both loudly and heavily upon the thinly carpeted floor.
Everything went silent for a moment as they both paused to look at it. Surely the noise would have woken somebody. They looked at each other guiltily, Ally still atop him, though on her knees now. Before the moment had passed, her phone began to ring.
"I'll get rid of them, " the purple-haired beauty told him as she clambered across his prone body until her feet were back on the floor. She scooped up the small item from the desk, pushed a button and, bringing it to her ear, said: "Hello? "
Her face dropped at whoever was on the other side. Her smile dissolved completely, but she began to reply to them noncommittally. Her answers were all single words, but apparently the person on the other end was happy to simply continue talking.
Putting her hand over the microphone she brought the device from her ear, looking at Paul as she did. "I have to take this, " she told him. Her words came quickly, showing her evident distraction. However, her actions were just as fast. So, quickly, he found that she was opening the door and directing him out. He tried to talk to her, but she silenced him quickly with her ear against her mobile phone. Instead, horrendously disappointed, he did as she requested and left.
He turned so that he could say goodnight in her doorway, but she had already shut him out. Silently, he cursed his bad luck and, his unsatisfied erection leading the way, went back to his own room.