Shut Up, Okay?
by alejandra

Summer thinks Seth is an idiot. Anna thinks he just needed some time alone to get his head together. Summer wants to know why Seth couldn't get his head together in Newport, and what does he have to get his head together about anyway? Anna reminds her that Ryan is as close to a brother as Seth's ever had. Summer doesn't care about that, and why should she? She was Seth's girlfriend and now she's not, because he left without a word, and with only a stupid note telling her he was sorry.

Sorry for what, she wants to know!

Anna tells her to stop being indignant, and Summer wants to know if that's the same as incendiary, and Anna wants to know where Summer learned a word like incendiary and if Summer wants to come to Pittsburgh for a while, but it doesn't work out because Anna's parents want her to come back to Newport to stay with them for part of the summer.

Summer's dad gets her a different cell phone plan so that she and Anna stop running up huge long distance bills. Summer thinks that possibly being rich should mean never having to worry about your long distance bill. Anna agrees but tells her not to worry about it, since soon they'll be in the same town again anyway. Summer doesn't think she's looking forward to that, since she and Anna didn't really get along except for when they were flossing, but now that they aren't competing for the affections of the same boy, Anna doesn't think it will really matter.

We can get pedicures, she says, and we can eat chocolate and drink coffee and drive around and sit on the beach with 50 SPF sun block, and, most exciting of all, we can pretend Seth doesn't exist. He needs our sympathy, but that doesn't mean he's not being a jerk.

Finally, Summer and Anna agree on something.

They don't agree about Ryan, but no relationship is perfect.

Maybe they secretly agree about Ryan, but Summer would never admit it. Anna thinks Ryan is delicious and always has been, that bad boy façade, he really just wants someone to love him, he just wants to save everyone, it's all really tragic and beautiful.

Summer just thinks he's hot, without all the baggage Anna puts into everything, but there's no reason to even say something like that when Ryan is clearly Marissa's and would never be anyone else's.

And she says this to Anna‹no, actually, she says, "Well, whatever you think, Ryan is gonna stay with Marissa once he's done with Theresa," and Anna very cleverly points out that, "If Ryan and Marissa were really meant to be together, he never would have gone off with Theresa again in the first place, and he definitely wouldn't have done anything that could have gotten her pregnant. And where is he now?"

Of course, Ryan came back from Chino when Theresa said to him, "I can't live with you; you're driving me crazy. Go home, Ryan, and I will be fine."

Summer only knows this because she was getting a pedicure when Mrs. Cohen came in for a haircut, and they ended up talking because Summer convinced her to have a manicure before her haircut. A manicure makes everything better, Summer told her, and she wasn't lying, because when your nails look good, it makes you feel good‹nothing is insurmountable with the right nail polish.

Anna says Summer can no longer surprise her with multi-syllabic I-words, and that it has to do with self-confidence, not with emotions, except it's all tied together. Summer doesn't care. Your nails should match your handbag, and failing that, they should match your shoes, and failing that, they should match your underwear.

Mrs. Cohen‹call me Kirsten, Summer, really‹says that it makes sense that when one looks good one feels good, and Summer says, yeah, except that obviously isn't working for you, and I didn't mean that to sound so horrible, and that's when Mrs. Cohen‹no, really, call me Kirsten, it's fine‹tells her about Ryan coming back.

At least one of your sons is home, Summer says to her, and Kirsten says, Seth is back too.

Now, Summer's not too upset about Ryan not calling her, because they never were close, and she doesn't care about Ryan not calling Marissa, because not even Summer calls Marissa anymore, not since the incident with the horse and Caleb and the bottle of vodka‹but Anna tells her that Ryan called Anna, so apparently they were a lot closer than Summer thought, so Anna's assessment of Ryan's relationships is probably totally right.

Which Summer can handle, because Anna's not the kind of girl who likes to rub it in and flaunt how smart and sagacious she is, and Anna says, what, are you studying for the SATs or something? That smarts, ha ha, but it really does, but since she kind of is, maybe‹not that she cares where she goes to college or whatever, but, you know, it would be embarrassing to only be able to go to a crappy state school that no one cares about if she could have gone someplace better. Not that she even wants to go to college.

Of course, says Anna. Why would you want to do that if you could just marry someone rich and become subsumed into their personality and life and not have anything left of yourself?

Summer knows when Anna is being nasty and sarcastic, even over email, so Summer just replies with one of those little icons that stick out their tongues, and next time they talk, Summer announces that she has her own money, thank you very much, but there's no such thing as having too much, and didn't Anna ever see The Sound of Music? We must keep all that lovely money in the family.

Anna tells her to calm down, and wants to know if she's seen Seth, and also she's in California, she just didn't want anyone to meet her at the airport or anything, so does Summer want to hook up and get dinner? And Summer thinks: Hook up?

But she doesn't say it, because that would be juvenile and‹and puerile, take that, SATs!‹and so instead they meet at P.F. Chang's, which is maybe sort of a hook up, like if Anna was on the water polo team, it would be the first stage of a whole seduction scene.

Anna shares her curried vegetables and crispy tofu, and Summer knows better than to offer her some of the swordfish and spinach sautéed in butter, and they split bananas with honey and ice cream for dessert, and it's the best non-date Summer's ever been on, which is weird, because Anna is a girl and Summer is a girl and dinner with Marissa was never like that.

Summer suggests it's because they both dated Seth, so they must be compatible. Anna doesn't quite see the logic. Summer says logic is overrated‹because it is. Just ask anyone. Anna wants to know if Summer's heard from Marissa, or if Summer knows anything else about Seth and Ryan, and Summer knows a subject change when she hears one. It's okay, it's all good, it's fine, surf's up, whatever, blah blah.

She can move on.

It's not like she was really interested anyway.

They can stake out the pool house, suggests Summer. Hailey's moved in with Jimmy Cooper, yeah, don't ask, and Marissa doesn't live next door anymore because Caleb moved them all into a big house, so there's no one to see Summer's SUV, and yes, yes, yes, Summer does know that she shouldn't be driving an SUV, but what would Anna suggest she drive instead? A Volkswagen?

Anna is driving a 1967 Mustang painted bright yellow with orange seats, and Summer says, Yeah, I'm sure that gets more than ten miles to the gallon, but she has to try it out, so she lets Anna drive her home, but of course they don't go home‹they go to the pool house, because two is better than one when you're gonna confront your ex-boyfriend.

Not that they exactly broke up, exactly, but Summer figures that Seth took off and left without even saying goodbye, and his crappy cop-out note didn't make up for that, and they hadn't had sex in weeks anyway‹well, a week and three days‹and he was always in love with Anna the whole time anyway‹

And Anna snickers at that, as they pull into the Cohens' driveway‹way to be stealthy, Summer, she says to herself‹and then she turns to Anna and demands to know why Anna is laughing when it's so clear‹

Of course, the only thing that's clear is that Summer is a complete idiot who can't see what's right under her nose, because, duh, says Anna, Seth is really in love with Ryan.

He was obsessed with you, she adds, because you're his absolute ideal‹and Summer preens at that, and tosses her hair, she can't help it, it's just one of those knee-jerk reactions‹but, Anna continues, it's Ryan that he's going to end up with.

Summer says, no one is going to end up with anyone, because this isn't a fairy tale, and Anna agrees with that and says it's more like a pop song, and Summer says, people die in pop songs too, and Anna says, if you pull out a gun, I'm leaving, Eminem, and Summer says, do you really think I'd ever do that to my hair? And they both laugh, and get out of the car‹the Mustang! Where is Ryan when you need him? He'd love this car‹and they go to the pool house and Ryan is laying on the bed and staring at the ceiling, and Summer is almost overcome by a wave of love for him, like older sister love, like she wants to protect him or something, and it makes her feel like a real loser, so she storms right in and demands to know what's going on.

Ryan looks at her and says, You look good, and she says, Of course I do, and Anna says, How are you? Ryan kind of sighs the way Ryan does and says, I'm all right, and Anna says, Yeah, you always are, and suddenly Summer feels like she's in another dimension where Ryan and Anna share and brain, and they totally would have been a great couple, because Anna knows all about him and can tell what he really means whereas he's always been a mystery to Summer and Seth.

And that is why Summer never told Anna how she really felt about Ryan, because she always knew that Anna had those feelings for Ryan‹well, if you're gonna talk about feelings, you might as well talk about feelings, right?

Except they're not talking about feelings, they're just staring at each other, and Summer backs out of the pool house, and can't decide if she feels bad for Anna because Ryan will always love Seth and Marissa and Theresa more, or if she feels bad for Seth because of Anna, or if she feels bad for Ryan because he has to choose‹it was so much easier when she didn't have to feel bad for anyone because everyone was stupid and it was an easy blanket statement and nobody mattered except Marissa.

Now everyone matters except Marissa, and Summer doesn't even care, but she's angry, but it's not a caring kind of angry, it's just that she gets angry when she thinks about it, which is why she tried not to do that! People just don't get it, Anna especially, she always has to push.

So when Summer bumps into Seth, who seems to be on his way to the pool house, she shoves his shoulders and says, You asshole, and he looks kind of shocked, so she keeps shoving, and he's all tan and skinny and looks like he hasn't had anything to eat in three months, and she's yelling at him: Why didn't you call me? How come you don't love me? Why are you such a dickhead?

And she didn't mean to ask that second question, but how could she not? Why doesn't he love her? He said he did in front of the whole school and then it turned out that he loved Ryan more and just setting aside the issue of her feelings for a minute, that made her look stupid in front of the entire school‹stupider than dating him did to begin with.

By the time she's finished shoving him back, they're at the pool and he's in the pool, and Anna is laughing and Ryan is sighing and raising his eyebrows and Summer is furious and she storms back to the car and she says, Let's go, Anna, and Anna follows her, still laughing, and with one last look at Ryan Anna hops over the side of the car and into the driver's seat and starts it up with a roar and they take off.

You sure told him, says Anna. That wasn't why we were there.

Summer tilts her head back and lets the wind stream through her hair and ignores Anna.

Anna turns on the radio and sings along to sad songs on the stations Summer never listens to.

Summer is annoyed and the next day when they talk on the phone Summer can't explain where the impulse to push Seth into the pool came from.

I saw it on t.v. once, she says. You remember that girl from that show about vampires? She did it once on a show about New York.

Anna says, Right, whatever, and that is annoying, so Summer says, Don't be dubious at me! and Anna says, I'm taking away that SAT course book, and Summer growls a little and hangs up her phone and later on they meet, like they'd planned it, like they both knew all along, and Anna buys Summer a coffee with extra hazelnut flavor and Summer buys Anna madeleines and they sit on the hood of Summer's SUV and watch the sun set and Anna says, Not to‹

Summer says, Shut up, okay? Just for a minute.

Anna does, so they watch in silence and they miss the moment where twilight turns into the evening, which is okay, because Summer figures that she's lived her whole life without seeing it‹but it really upsets Anna, and Summer had forgotten how Anna tended to fixate on things, and that reminds her to ask: When are you going back to Pittsburgh?

Whenever, says Anna and shrugs, and Summer realizes that she hasn't thought about Seth or Ryan this whole time, but of course she had to go and ruin it, and she's totally ready to go back over there and make Seth explain himself.

That's not a good idea, says Anna, but Summer doesn't care. She's in pain, damn it!

Are you really? is the question, and Summer guesses maybe she's not, and Anna nods like she knew it all along, so all Summer wants to do is push her off the car, but she's got the madeleines, so she has to stay, and she's bumping her shoulder into Summer's and Summer bumps back, because what else are you supposed to do?

That's a good question, she thinks to herself. That's a good question. What else are you supposed to do?

She must have said it out loud because Anna turns to her and says, You just do what you can. That's what my grandma says.

That's what Mr. Cohen says too, replies Summer. And the nana said that.

You met the nana? Anna looks down and takes a bite of the cookie. I never met the nana.

Yeah, says Summer. It was complicated.

Isn't everything?

Are you ever gonna tell me about Ryan? asks Summer, and Anna is all pretending to look confused, and Summer pushes into her a little harder and Anna pushes back, and Summer says, Come on, I know, just admit it, and Anna says, there's nothing to admit, he's just‹you know. He's just one of those guys. He pulls you in with the sad eyes.

He doesn't have sad eyes, says Summer. Seth has sad eyes. Ryan is a hoodlum.

Give it up, says Anna, and she laughs, and it tinkles. Everyone is in love with Ryan. Me, you, Seth‹even Kirsten Cohen, I think, and even Sandy.

That's gross, says Summer, but she knows it's true. What about Seth?

What about him? Anna tugs the coffee cup from Summer's hand and takes a sip and makes a face, and Summer grabs it back, and takes a long drink, and it's dark and getting darker by the second and she says, Just about him, you know? What about him? Should I just‹let it go?

You never let anything go, says Anna, and Summer says, that's because I'm tenacious, and Anna says, Right, tenacious. Pertinacious. Resolute.

Ooh, pertinacious, I like that, says Summer and resolves to remember it, and takes another sip of coffee and says, I can let go of Seth. I mean, I never really had him and‹

And you never really wanted him anyway, finishes Anna. You just like to be worshipped.

He was fun! Summer says and Anna makes a funny hmmm noise and laughs again and Summer laughs too because she does like to be worshipped, and the next night when she meets Anna for coffee again, Anna's got a little hickey on her collarbone and Summer doesn't feel bad for Seth at all, but she kind of feels bad for herself, and that's okay, anyway, because Summer never told anyone about how she feels about Ryan and Anna and Seth, not for real, so it's like she never felt it to begin with.


Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Updates / Silverlake Remix