In the morning, after a peaceful rest and time to think, Riley was much himself again.
While they ate breakfast Cole questioned him about his odd behaviour. Surprisingly though, Riley was baffled and didn't remember anything.
"I really don't remember" he confessed getting up to put his dish in the sink.
For a moment Cole glared at his plate, then spun around and saw Riley putting his bowl in the drying rack.
The chair legs squeaking he backed out and whispered to Riley. Not wishing to worry Andrew who had gone to answer the door.
"You mean you remember nothing?"
Riley threw his hands in the air defensively and promised he was telling the truth.
Cole watched his every step, every move. He was calm and peaceful. Nothing like the Riley he saw last night.
Andrew appeared moments later, only he wasn't alone. He was with a young man, about Rileys age, attractive.
When Riley saw him, he was instantly struck with terror. It all came back to him and seized control of his body. The strait jacket, the cushioned walls, never being able to see the sun. The screaming and yelling. " You'll never leave this room again! There's no way out!"
"Cole, this is Greg Monahan. Mr. Monahan, this is my other son, Cole." Andrew didn't need to introduce him to Riley.
Cole shook hands with him. He'd met Greg a couple of times at the Residential Treatment Facility.
Greg reached out to shack hands with Riley, but he declined.
"Well" he said setting his brief case on the table. "Now that the formalities are out of the way. Shall we get started?"
With a fake smile Cole excused himself and pulled Riley out of the room by his arm.
"What's he doing here?"
"Don't you remember? He was my nurse at the treatment facility."
"Dressed in a good looking suit like that?"
Riley only shrugged his shoulders.
Before they could finish their conversation Andrew came in, and asked them if they'd come into the kitchen.
Once they were all comfortably seated Greg cleared his throat, stating it wouldn't take very long.
"The Treatment Facility Riley attended has placed me in charge of being his counselor, or sometimes called recovery coach, for the next few weeks."
"I don't need a recovery coach!" Riley yelled sitting up. Gripping the arms of his chair.
"Don't raise your voice, Riley" Andrew ordered.
Still angry Riley leaned back in his chair and rested his chin in his hand. Cole watched him very closely. The announcement had caught him by surprise too.
"It's customary for the hospital to appoint a counselor to live with the patient after his release for one to two weeks" Greg continued without a hint of annoyance.
"I'm not gonna have some ridiculous counselor watching over my shoulder twenty-four hours a day" Riley yelled. And stormed out of the kitchen.
Cole looked to his father, who seemed a little disappointed. But Greg seemed to understand.
"I'm sorry about Riley" Andrew said.
"It's alright. I've seen it more times then I can count."
"What would happen if Riley refused the recovery coach?" Cole asked.
"He'd be placed back in the Treatment Facility."
Cole felt his body stiffen, little chills running threw his body. Asking how long he would have to stay. Learning it could be one, to two month he stared at the back door Riley had gone out.
"Who is closest to Riley?"
"That would be Cole" Andrew answered. Staring at his son looking at the book door.
"Cole" Greg said turning to him. "I want you to go outside. Talk to your brother. Get him to accept the idea."
With a heavy sigh he said he would. But he didn't promise anything. Seeing Riley in the mental hospital was hard on him too. And he couldn't stand the idea of seeing him go back.
It was early in the morning. The sun was golden and of the out utmost beauty. It hadn't shined like that in some time. The clouds were outlined in gold. Pretty little dew drops scattered on the ground.
Riley was leaning against the side of the house. His arms folded about his chest. There was a light, crisp breeze that didn't seem to bother either of them. Riley's gaze was directed at the slowly rising sun.
Cole shut the door and they heard that old familiar creaking they always heard when they went outside to play as kids. Cole stood stiff and stuffed his hands deep into his pockets. He was about to speak when Riley said:
"You know Cole, this is the first time I've seen the sun rise in seven years!"
"Riley, why are you so against having Greg? He'll only be here for a week or two."
"You really wanna know why I'm so against it?" Riley turned to him.
Cole said nothing. Maybe the wall would finally come down.
"For years I was kept in that mental hospital. Before that my life was perfect. I was just married, my career was about to skyrocket. I was at the Kids Choice Awards and after went out to celebrate with some friends. By some stupid mistake, I don't even know how it happened, I got drunk for the first time in my life. That night I got a call from the police, telling me my wife had been murdered! Not more then a month after her death, some complete strangers drag me off to that hospital. Treating me like I was insane."
But he had no intention of stopping. "All this happening and you, you of all people just stood there and watched. I really couldn't believe."
"Once I realized I was wrong I tried to get you out. But the court wouldn't hear of it" Cole protested. Trying to justify his actions.
"A lot of good it did me."
"That's not fair. I tried for close to a year. They told us we couldn't move you. That they claim you were mentally unstable."
Riley had it firmly fixed in his mind that it was Cole's fault, claiming he was mentally unstable, causing him to suffer seven painful years alone. Without hope. Never knowing one day from the next. And this he blamed his brother for.
Riley became so inclosed and isolated when his wife died. Cole was concerned about him and feared something might happen. And it did. He found Riley one more near dead from an over dose. And that's when he knew it was time to get him help. Although when asked about it, Riley didn't remember. And all those years he claimed his was innocent. He didn't remember taking all that medicine. And never once admitted that he would ever try and harm himself.
He only wanted to help Riley overcome his pain, the sorrow of his loss. Instead he caused Riley more grief and suffering than the murder of his wife had. Time and time again he told Riley he was sorry.
On the surface, it appeared like Riley had forgiven him. But deep down Cole knew he still hated him. Hated him like he said seven years ago.
Cole knew from that day that that was something he would have to live with for the rest of his life. And now, it seemed to grab hold of his heart and squeeze the life from it.
"Please Riley, give me a chance to correct my mistake" he pleaded. Placing his hand on his chest.
"After all that happened. And you expect me to forgive you?"
Cole prayed and hoped over all those years that Riley would forgive him. But it looked like he hadn't.
"I understand how you feel. But if I knew it was going to hurt you, I never would have done it."
Riley listened keenly to his brother. Then lowered his eyes as he continued.
"No matter how you feel about me. I'll always love you Riley. You're my brother."
Cole really didn't feel any better after saying that. But at least it was all out in the open now. Sadly he turned around to go in the house when Riley stopped him.
Cole turned around, feeling his pulse beat faster. Riley hadn't noticed a look in his brothers eyes like that in years.
"I don't want you to live with the feeling that I hate you, because I don't."
"I know you've been through a lot and I blame myself for that. But together we can beat this. Together we can beat this fear. You just have to reach out to me."
The brothers stared at each other in silence for a long time. Riley was never able to express himself very well with words, unless they were written down. He reached out to Cole and gave him a brief hug. As they embraced Cole was so relieved to find out that their relationship had not been broken, just in need of repairs.
"I'll never hurt you again Riley. I promise" he sobbed feeling a tear slip from his eyes.
The sun was now high in the sky and the birds sang a beautiful song.
"So you'll accept Greg?"
Once they were all gathered at the kitchen table and Greg described the rules. Riley leaned back in his chair wondering if things were going to be as happy and cheerful as they seemed to be now. Or would it be the beginning of the same ugly nightmare?