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‘And, well I have to ask, do any of you have girlfriends?’ The interviewer attempted to look somewhat embarrassed and awkward as she stared down the line, but her tone indicated blatant interest. Ryan looked down at his hands to realise that he was slowly twisting the ring that rested on his right middle finger. He then cast his gaze down the line at Zach and Max and shrugged his shoulders at their returned looks.
‘Oh no, not at the moment.’ Max started.
‘Same here.’ Zach continued with a smile. The interviewer focused on Ryan with a sense of finality, curving her lips up into something resembling a smile and asked,
‘And you Ryan?’ He shifted his eyes back down to the boys before focusing on his hand, twisting the ring faster.
‘Oh, ummmm yeah I have a girlfriend.’ He rushed out looking at the interviewer quickly and then back at his hands.
‘Really? For how long?’ The interviewer sat back and raised their eyebrows.
‘Coming up to a year.’ Ryan replied a bit more confidently.
‘Well you kept that quiet didn’t you?’ The interviewer tried to joke looking at Max and Zach for support, but they were focused on Ryan with matching looks of surprise.
‘I guess? It’s never really come up.’ He shrugged and his twisting of the ring became more rhythmic then frantic.
‘How is that possible? Have you been hiding her?’ They pressed.
‘Well, no she’s not in hiding. Just a bit more private about it.’ Ryan defended, shrugging again.
‘Well she must be quite the girl to tame you.’
‘Don’t really need taming, but yeah she’s a great girl.’ The twisting went back to frantic but he remained focused on the interviewer who blinked slowly before they fumbled with their cards and looked over at Max and Zach.
‘Great. Well it’s been lovely talking to you boys. Good luck.’
‘Thanks.’ All three said, almost in unison, cheerfully accepting the interviewer’s outstretched hand individually.
‘Lizzy, are you aware that Ryan just confirmed your existence?’ Dylan asked from his position in the middle of the floor, surrounded by blueprints, looking up at where Lizzy was curled in the corner of the sofa penciling down notes in her book. She reluctantly pulled her eyes from the pages and looked down at her brother.
‘Huh?’ Dylan pointed at the TV playing softly in the background.
‘Ryan just said he had a girlfriend on national TV.’
‘Oh did he?’ She muttered, running a hand through her hair, getting the pencil tangled up with it in the action.
‘Yeah he mentioned how you were a great girl, so maybe he’s sick or something.’ He joked.
‘Oh, haha.’ Lizzy responded louder reaching out with her left hand to grab a cushion and throwing it in his general direction while she shook the pencil out of the ends of her hair.
‘I thought you’d be freaking out or something.’ Dylan stated as he picked the cushion up and placed it under his elbows.
‘I think I’ve already done that.’ She laughed.
‘This is different though.’
‘It’s not like we could keep it a secret forever. I mean it had to come out sooner or later.’ She shrugged, sticking her fingers back in her hair.
‘Look how mature we’re being.’
‘Shut up, this isn’t maturity, this is acceptance of an area of my life that I happily welcomed.’ Lizzy said bluntly.
‘Well I’m still prepared for a freak out.’ He assured and Lizzy laughed.
‘How very boy scout of you.’ Dylan stuck his tongue out and looked back down at a floor plan just as Lizzy’s phone rang. She stuck her pencil in her book to mark the page and answered quickly.
‘Hey…’ She started.
‘Sorry.’ Ryan rushed out and interrupted.
‘For?’ Lizzy asked, playing with a frayed corner of her book.
‘Oh, you don’t know?’
‘No, I think I do. Just wanna know why you’re apologising.’ Dylan looked over at her from the corner of his eyes and smiled, Lizzy waved her hand out at him dismissively.
‘Because we haven’t had really had the going public conversation.’
‘Well you don’t have to be sorry about it. I mean it’s fine, it’s been a while right. This had to happen eventually.’
‘Yeah I suppose so. I guess I just didn’t mean to blindside you with it.’
‘It’s not like you gave out my full name and address babe.’ She joked.
‘No I know, but I still kinda want to do this on your terms.’
‘Well I exist, so you can act as such in whatever you’re comfortable with.’ She stated confidently.
‘Okay then, well I have a question and I’m totally okay with you saying no, but I might as well ask now given what just happened…’
‘Ryan, the question.’ Lizzy interrupted fondly.
‘I have a plus one to the Brits tonight if you want it.’ He rushed out.
‘Tonight? As in later today tonight?’ She clarified among her shock.
‘Yeah…you don’t have to obviously. I get you’re busy with uni and stuff. I just might as well ask right?’ He asked nervously.
‘If I come what would it entail?’
‘Not a lot. You’d sit at our table mainly. We can keep you pretty out of it.’ He assured.
‘Right. Wait wouldn’t you have had to confirm a plus one ages ago?’
‘Yeah, I couldn’t figure out how to ask you.’ He admitted quietly.
‘If you had asked earlier I would be better prepared.’
‘Yeah but this way if you say no I know it’s completely my fault and not because you have crafted a creative exit strategy.’ He said light-heartedly.
‘Fair enough, but I’m saying yes.’ She responded with a sense of finality.
‘Yeah I mean I’m hugely unprepared and part of me thinks it might be an awful idea, but it should be fun right?’ She finally let nerves seep into her voice.
‘Yeah it will be.’
‘Then I’m in.’
‘Alright cool. I’ll pick you up around half 3ish.’
‘I’m at Dylan’s, so come here.’ She said flippantly.
‘I…um…I don’t know where he lives.’ He admitted nervously.
‘Oh right, sorry. I’ll text you the address then.’ She said brightly.
‘See you later then babe.’
‘Yeah, bye.’ Lizzy hung up and dropped her phone onto her thigh.
‘So I’m going to the Brits tonight.’ She said as she looked down at Dylan as he dragged his gaze over to Lizzy.
‘I heard.’ Dylan smiled cheekily.
‘Yeah, right of course.’ She mumbled distractedly.
‘Is this a freak out?’ He pushed up to a seated position and eyed Lizzy carefully.
‘Not 100%. But like, what do I wear?’ Her eyes widened.
‘Oh well, we should figure out what you have here and work from there.’
‘We? Aren’t you busy?’ She gestured vaguely at the floor.
‘My sister needs to get ready for the fucking Brits tonight, that out does schematics and blueprints by millions of light years.’ He pushed to stand up and walked over to Lizzy.
‘I see. Well thanks.’ She accepted his hand and pushed up to her feet.
‘Don’t thank me yet, you still don’t have anything to work with.’
‘I know there is a dress in this house somewhere. I think we can get something together.’
‘I think I know what you’re talking about. I’ll go see if I can find it, you text Ryan the address before you forget.’ He handed Lizzy her phone from where it had dropped onto the sofa cushion.
‘Right yeah, I’ll do that.’ She nodded as she looked down at her screen.
‘You’re gonna be fine Liz.’ He placed a hand on her shoulder gently.
‘I know, I know. I’m more excited than anything else right now.’
‘Remember that feeling later. And also trust Ryan okay?’
‘Yeah I will, thanks.’
‘Meh, it’s nothing.’ He smiled and then made his way out of the room.
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