Friday, September 10, 2010

2 1.16 Memory Lane

Instead of going for a honeymoon vacation, Connor and Ashton preferred to spend their wedding funds on renovating the house.

And their idea of honeymoon was to sit under the starry night, sitting around the fire pit, chatting away. And because they had each other, nothing else mattered.

But tonight was a little different than the previous night fires they had spent together.

Tonight, Connor invited someone else to join them. Someone as a closure to what Ashton already knew about Connor's past. Someone to complete his part. Someone none other than...

"Yellow, girls!" said the newly arrived guest. Inappropriate as ever. "Don't mind me crashin' yer honeymoon!"

"Here comes Mr. Souvenir," Ashton nonchalantly announced.

"Aww, c'mon, Ashton," Cyclone cringed. "You still holding that against me?"

"Sit down, Cyclone," both Connor and Ashton simultaneously instructed. None of them even made eye contact with him.

"Aite, aite!" Cyclone had no choice but to comply. "Geez, can't believe you guys are synchronized already. Married couples are scarieee."

When he finally got to his seat, Cyclone helped himself with the pit rake, playfully distributing the coals around. Sparks spitting out of the embers like tiny cosmic insects.

"Alright, Ash," Connor suddenly muttered as he chewed on his warm marshmallow. "It's about time you knew -"

"Gawd, no!" Cyclone interrupted abruptly. He had a bad feeling something like this would happen. It's either deja vu, or he just knew what Connor was going to say. "I knew I shouldn't have crashed in! - "

"That Cyclone's -" Connor was still talking.

"Quit it, Connor!" Cyclone exclaimed, but he was all too late. And in situations such as these, he can do nothing about it.

"Real name is Derek Wilson," Connor calmly revealed. A smug look on his face. "And he's also my almost step-brother."

"Your name is Derek?" Ashton was shocked beyond words. It had never crossed her mind to ask or know what his real name was. "The Cyclone Sword. Is a Derek Wilson?"

"Teehee," he flashed an awkward full teeth smile. "You're still gonna call me Cyclone, right, girl?"

"Depends," she smirked, it flushed away his hopes down the drain. It was all too funny to know that Cyclone is just as normal as everybody else. But as she thought about it... "Wait, did you just say step-brother?"

"Almost. Step-brother," Connor rectified. "His father, Derek Sr., was dating my mother."

"I hate family talk," Cyclone mumbled to himself while making sure the other two heard him emphasizing the word hate crystal clear.

"So that makes you Derek Jr.!" Ashton just had to laugh. It amused her that Cyclone seems so in denial. Like having his immortality stripped down. "That sounds much better than calling you Mr. Souvenir."

"Having fun, eh?" Cyclone kept poking the fire as he tries to hide his uneasiness. Attempting to get a warmer blaze. "Thanks a lot, bro'nnor! You just made my day."

It then struck Ashton that while she was making fun of Cyclone's true identity, she didn't process the details much sooner; Connor's mother and her boyfriend did not survive Thelma.

Cyclone must be acting like this because it reminds him of his father, since they shared the same name, Ashton thought.

"Sorry about your dad, Cyclone," she tried to console him by deciding to still call him by his pen name. "It must have been hard for you."

"You kidding me?" Cyclone was surprisingly okay about it. "He wasn't a good fella. - Derek Sr. was a gambler, a womanizer and all those shits. I don't know what Connor's mom sees in him."

"Me neither," Connor too, was seemingly okay as he went along with Cyclone. "That was why I snucked into the cargo."

Somehow Ashton wondered if guys are less more affected by a tragedy. Even until now, she's still being sentimental when talking about her past. Especially about what she had lost. She felt a twinge of envy about these two. She wished she coped as well as they had.

"And because Connor was being suspicious," Cyclone continued after him. "I followed him into the cargo."

Yet another shocking truth for Ashton tonight.

"You're not saying... that... you're..." Ashton was dumbstruck. "What did you just say?"

"Ya' heard me, girl," he calmly smiled at her. "I was in Thelma too. - Was sleeping in a safety boat with a life vest on, and then the storm happened, and I got tossed in the ocean. Consider me lucky to be floating alive."

"I can't believe this," her feelings were overwhelmed. A mix of many feelings all at once. "How come you never told me about this? You guys! - Honey, you could have mentioned this to me."

"Sorry, Ash, I would," Connor went for his third batch of marshmallows tonight. "But it was better to have him tell you about it himself."

"Nah, what difference does it make," Cyclone was acting like it doesn't bother him one bit. But Ashton could now see that he's the kind of person to hide his emotions behind that dark glasses. Most of the time, she couldn't figure him out except by his gestures.

But she figured, right now, Cyclone is just being plain Derek.

"You should've seen the look on Connor's face when he saw me on the rescue boat," Cyclone changed the air. "Boy, that was priceless!"

"He never expected me to be there! He didn't even realized I was tailing him around the ship," he babbled on. "I think I make a good private eye, you know, this tailing people thing is potentially a decent career."

"Oh yeah?" Connor got back at him. The flickering light from the fire accentuated his grin. "You should have seen the look on your face when you saw I was alive, Derek. All teary eyed and thanking the heavens."

"Why wouldn't I?" Humiliating as it may sound, Cyclone did not deny what Connor just said. His voice trailed as he fixed his eyes onto the burning flames.

"I would have blamed myself if you were gone," he confessed. "I regretfully told myself over and over again back then... if only I have given you an extra vest..."

But then, here they are, sitting around the fire, very much alive.

Though each carry a different story of the devastation,
be it forgotten or hard wired onto their memory;

To be able to breathe to tell about it was an amazing chance given to them.

And for this, they share a bond that could never be broken by any storm.

They are the living proof of that.