Where the Truth Lies.

Reads: 161  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 1

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Elise Rigsby is new in town. Having moved into her brother Dean’s house eighteen months after his death, all she wants is to have somewhere she can grieve and feel close to him.

When she meets Drew Meuller - an old friend of her brother’s, their memories of Dean bring them together.

As the rumours surrounding Dean’s death begin, their relationship is tested, leading Elise back to the life she left behind.

Is Drew the man she thought he was? And why, after eighteen months, does she still not know where her brother is buried?

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Where the Truth Lies.

Submitted: January 19, 2013

Reads: 135

Comments: 1

A A A | A A A

Submitted: January 19, 2013

A A A

A A A

He’d seen her several times before, each time his curiosity building a little more. Each week was the same; she’d arrive alone, stand by the wall, have a few drinks, and leave alone in the same introverted manner in which she had arrived.

Tonight, as he sat alone in the corner of the room, sipping on the bottled drink he had in his hand, watching the crowd, she arrived again. It took all his strength to seem uninterested, but as she entered the large room and passed by his chair, he couldn’t help but take another fleeting glance. She acknowledged him with a polite nod of the head and continued on her way.

She was pretty with her long brown hair which fell graciously down past her shoulders, springing to life with each step she took and her fine features that held barely a single scrap of make-up – not that he thought she needed it – showing off her beautiful brown eyes. She walked in a slight swaying motion with a limp that he hadn’t noticed before.

He immediately knew where she was going.

Heading towards her usual first stop upon arriving here, she stopped barely metres away from him and turned towards the wall to read the words on the plaque.

Dean Rigsby,
(1989-2008),
Football Captain 2007-2008,
A man of courage and bravery,
Well-loved and sorely missed.
R.I.P

Dean Rigsby. He knew who he was; there wasn’t a single person around here who didn’t. Leaving behind the legacy of being the youngest captain ever to grace the campus pitch, it was hard not to know who he was.

He turned his attention back to the girl in front of him and took in her form. She was wearing her usual attire of flared jeans with a long sleeved top and had tugged at the right sleeve so much; it had grown longer than the other.

With such tenderness that he was initially surprised, she reached up and traced her fingers along the frame mounted on the wall and visibly struggled to hold back the tears, to keep her composure. Her voice broke as she spoke, her words barely above a whisper. “Oh, Dean.”

Ignoring the herds of people around her, her gaze didn’t once falter as she stood, seemingly calm with her arms down straight in front of her, holding one in the other. As she played idly with the ring on her right forefinger, she muttered to herself, mumbling an inaudible prayer.

He sat watching her inquisitively, her whole being intriguing him leaving him eager for more. In the few times he’d seen her here before, there wasn’t much she had managed to give away, but from the many brief encounters had, she seemed nervous and timid yet somehow, in some way determined and strong willed.

After glugging the last of his beer down and pulling a look of distaste, he slammed the bottle down on the table and stood, swaying a little. His hand came down to rest on the chair as he righted himself into a safe standing position and stood to his full height, tall and strong.

Taking a step around the table, he hesitantly walked around it, then made his way in the direction of the girl in front of him.

Tormented by her thoughts, she hadn’t noticed him standing behind her until she felt a hand on her shoulder and she jumped, flinching away from him, rubbing her hand over the same spot he’d touched. With a warning look she turned back to the focus of her attention.

Curiosity was rife in him as he wondered why this girl seemed so distressed by the plaque on the wall. It wasn’t long since that he had been the one staring at it wondering, wishing. Having someone come in and steal his place to grieve was in a way unsettling to his routine.

“You knew Dean?” He placed his hand back on her shoulder and squeezed lightly, then leant over her and wiped some settling dust from the plaque with the arm of his shirt.

“Yeah.” The young girl frowned and turned to look at him. “How do you know him?”

“Did.” He corrected. “Dean and I were doing the same course here – English Lit.” he averted his gaze back to the plaque for a brief moment. “He was on the football team too so everyone at least knew of him. Popularity does that to you.”

“He was popular.” She confirmed with a thoughtful nod.

For the first time, he noticed something other than grief on her face - it was evident in her smile as she spoke about him that she was filled with admiration for the late, great Dean Rigsby.

“It was sad.” He told her with hesitation in his voice. He wanted to know more about this strange girl in front of him, but quickly established that she wasn’t going to be as forthcoming as himself. “The day he went-”

“I know what happened, thank you.” She interrupted hastily. “I don’t want to hear about it anymore. These past eighteen months have been tough on everyone and I just want to remember the Dean that we all knew and loved.”

“Right, I’m sorry.”

“No need. Anyway, it was nice talking to you…”

“Drew.” He revealed at her hesitation. “Drew Meuller.” Holding out a hand in greeting, he was pleasantly surprised when she placed her hand in his and shook it lightly.

“Drew. Well, it was nice talking to you, Drew, but I have to go, there’s some fun to be had.” She nodded in the general direction of the kitchen where stack upon stack of beer would be stood awaiting her presence.

“Right, well enjoy…Sorry; I must have missed your name, what is it again?” he prompted as her hand returned to her side and slid back up her long sleeved top.

“Elise… Just Elise.” She nodded and he noticed her eyes drift to the plaque on the wall, the brief smile he had managed to create disappearing from her face.

“Elise.” He affirmed and gave her a wondrous look as his mind toyed with the idea that he’d heard the name before. Having come to the conclusion that his subconscious was merely playing tricks on him, he bade her goodbye. “I’ll let you get off, have some fun.”

With a curt nod, she stepped past him and hurried away towards the kitchen area, not once sparing a glance back in his direction. The sudden disappearance of the body standing next to him caused the whole space between himself and the plaque on the wall to turn cold, bitter – just how it was meant to be.

“Dude, who was she?” A voice cut over the music interrupting his thoughts of the pretty girl who’d been standing before him just seconds earlier. To his left, holding out a bottle of his favourite beer was blonde haired Grayson Butler whom, however wise for his twenty years had the libido of a sex-crazed pest unable to control his self-pleasing antics. “Someone as pretty as her, I’d have had her against the wall right here.”

“We’re not all like you, Gray.” Drew accepted the bottle from his friend’s hand and took his seat back in the corner of the room, out of sight from prying eyes once more. “We’re not all out to get a quick fumble anywhere and everywhere we possibly can.”

“Harsh.” He shook his head, then nodded with a chuckle. “But true. So who was she? I’ve seen her around a couple of times, but she’s never spoken to anyone before – she’s quite the introvert.”

“Her name’s Elise.” He admitted in an impassive tone, the words simply tumbling from his mouth, not caring much for thoughts. “She seems to have a slight fondness for our friend up there.” He lifted his bottle and pointed it towards the wall.

Gray frowned. “Dean? Poor bloke’s barely had any visitors for the past eighteen months, why now?”

Drew shrugged his shoulders and gulped down the rest of his drink. He’d often wondered the same himself. Dean Rigsby, although a well-loved, well known advocate for student life, his memory was soon forgotten, not a single person bothering to stop and remember the sacrifice he made for several of them.

For a long moment, Drew gave no answer, but swept his eyes across the room, hoping to catch a glimpse of the brown haired beauty that had managed to capture his thoughts, his imagination.

Soon enough, he found her. Sitting across from him in a corner of her own, she held a glass of what looked to be cider in one hand, whilst in the other she held a suspicious piece of paper.
Drew was unable to take his eyes away from her. There was something about her that drew him to her, captivating him like no other. Maybe it was the look of anguish, of pain, or the look of years of suffering and guilt etched in her dark brown eyes. Or maybe it was the way she held herself – confident, yet as though she had the weight of the world on her shoulders.

Deep in thought, he almost leaped out of his skin when Grayson’s gruff voice entered his mind.

“Why don’t you go over and ask her?”

Drew shook his head. “I don’t know.” He replied, answering Gray’s earlier question. “But she seems quite reserved. I tried to talk with her, but it was as though she was shut off and she scarpered at the first chance of opening up. Am I the only one who thinks I’ve heard her name somewhere before? I mean, I know she’s not likely to be the only Elise in the world, but it seems more familiar to me than you’d expect.”

Gray shrugged. “I don’t recognise her. I don’t think she’s been here long at all either, she must be a first year.”

“Yeah, probably.” Drew wasn’t convinced. The niggling doubt in the back of his mind told him that he should be wary of the girl; that she’d been through a lot more than he could ever imagine.

~

Elise looked up to see Drew watching her again. His intense gaze bore through her, pushing past the walls she’d spent her life building, working its way through to her soul. Determined to get out, away from the stares of Drew and his friend, she chugged down the rest of her drink and scurried to the door without a second glance back to him in his corner.

As she pushed her way through the crowd she subconsciously wrapped her arms around herself and bowed her head and ignored the lustful jeers being thrown at her from all directions. Usually, her coming to a party like this wasn’t the norm, but her need to be close to Dean was more prominent now than ever – this being the best place for it.

With one last swift movement, she managed to reach the door with no more trouble, leaving the drunken yobs behind her. Taking her coat from the hook beside her and slipping it over her shoulders, she took a deep invigorating sigh and stepped out the door to brave the cold night air.

Away from the pounding music from the house and into the open air, she finally found it in herself to relax and loosen her arms from around her body, releasing all her inhibitions, letting her mind wander.

Who was the strange boy back there? She thought as she traipsed her way down the pathway leading to her house. With his dark hair, captivating hazel coloured eyes and his tall, rugged looking form, she couldn’t help but wonder who he was, why he was so interested in Dean.

As the night air grew colder, the skies turning darker, Elise tightened her coat around herself and quickened her strides on her way. Pushing through the strong howling winds of the storm she was sure would soon arrive, she soon found herself standing at her front gate gazing up at the house before her.

The house was the most beautiful house she had ever seen; the stone cladding walls, the huge bay windows, flowers lining the white wooden porch. It never became a bore to take in this house, the aroma that filled her senses each and every time she walked through the door, the wonderful memories it held.

With one last look at the house from the outside, remembering every detail as she had each time before, she opened the gate and made her way inside.

~

“You’re back, then.” The young girl came down the stairs and greeted Elise with a hug. “Gosh, you’re shivering. You must be cold, there’s a storm brewing out there, y’know.”

Teeth chattering, body aching, Elise tugged her arms out of her coat and hung it on the hook by the door, then allowed her friend to usher her into the living area.

“Thanks, Sarah.” She mumbled when she was gently pushed down onto the sofa and a blanket was placed over her shivering body. Sarah took her seat next to Elise and turned to face her.

“Been to see Dean?” Sarah asked and was answered with a nod.

Sarah had been there for Elise from the start of the summer. The blonde haired Business student had been wandering past the house on her way to campus and, being the kind, good natured, caring person she was, had stopped to help Elise move in.

Elise had never regretted having Sarah move in with her; she simply welcomed the company, knowing full well that the house would be too big, too cold, too lonely for her alone.
In no time at all, instead of being only housemates, they’d grown to be friends, sharing all kinds of secrets, home truths and even at times, their clothes. Elise knew most everything about Sarah, and vice versa.

“Do you know a Drew Meuller?” Elise asked, turning her head in her friend’s direction. There was something about him that was intriguing her, desiring her to know more about him.

“Drew Meuller.” Sarah pondered, her lips curled upwards in thought. “Oh, Drew: rugged looking thing, but actually quite handsome?”

Elise chuckled. “Yes, him. He seemed quite interested in Dean. What do you know about him?”

“As much as you, I’m afraid.” Sarah admitted. “Although, I have heard from a few of the girls in my Business lecture that they were friends for a while. I don’t know what happened, but it must have been awful because Dean would turn the other way if he saw him approach.”

Elise’s thoughts ran in overdrive as her mind conjured up several radical, disbelieving reasons as to why Dean would act so cold, so callous towards another human being. From all that she could remember of him, he was a calm, collected, soothing man with neither a harsh nor a bad bone in his body.

Sarah noticed the apprehensive, indecisive expression work its way onto her face and retracted her last comment.

“They’re just rumours though, Sweet. They could be completely wrong. You know what they say -

‘Buy the rumour, sell the fact.’ Don’t believe a word of the scuttlebutt that spills from their mouths. If you really want to know, you go and find out yourself. But honestly, don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s simply not worth it.”

Elise gave a profuse grin. “You know, there’s a reason that you’re my best friend.”

“And don’t you forget it.”

~

Drew stood from his seat as the room began to empty and drunken shenanigans were moved to the outside area. Having had enough for tonight, his main priority was getting through the crowd of troublemakers and stumbling on home to bed.

Head spinning and body faltering, Drew lifted his coat from the same hook Elise had taken hers from earlier, swung it over his shoulders and stepped out into the crowds of dancing drunks.
Uninterested, he pushed through towards the road, shoving several innocent bystanders out the way with barely a care in the world.

His attempts at keeping a low profile were futile when in an instant a shoe came flying out of nowhere knocking him to the floor. Pushing himself up and picking up the offending shoe, a low growl emitted from deep in his chest and a snarl curled on his top lip.

The crowd quietened, the music turned down to a reasonable level and suspense hung in the air.

“Oops.” An egotistical voice boomed from behind him.

“A stiletto? Really Carl?” he asked with a shake of his head. “How about something heavier next time, like a rock? Do a little more damage?”

“Hmm.” Carl tapped his chin in jest. “Didn’t think of that one. I’ll have to remember that.”

Drew laughed broadly. “At least you know for next time.” He scanned his eyes across the crowd and found the rightful owner of the shoe.

With a flick of his wrist and a confused pout, the shoe was tossed back to Jenny, the redhead attempting to hobble around on one foot.

Why wasn’t she whining and moaning? He thought. Jenny, the self-obsessed bimbo would usually be screaming to the high heavens at the mere thought of someone touching her thousand pound designer stilettos.

Shrugging it off, he turned to Carl and the conversation at hand.

“How ya been fella?” Carl pulled Drew close and slapped him on the back in greeting.

Drew nodded. “Not bad, mate, not bad. Things are looking up, finally. Anyways, I’m gonna head on home. My bed’s calling.”

With a nod to the crowd, he bade his goodbye and turned, stepping out from under the shelter into the rain. The wind tousled his scraggy hair, blowing it in all directions.
Contentment washed over him as he pushed through the storm. His thoughts came to that of Elise once more; the girl who, in just a mere five moments, had captured his soul.

It wasn’t long before he was approaching Leisan Street. As he crossed the road on Hughforth Lane, ready to cut across the field, a blunt force smacked him across the head, followed by a punch to the gut. Blow after blow, Drew tried to pull himself to his feet, but was knocked down once again.

Groaning, he lay in wait, hoping, praying that the thug would begin to tire. His eyes closed, rain falling onto the lids, his fight gave up and slipped into unconsciousness.

Upon hearing a commotion outside the house, Elise stood from the couch and peered through the window. Living away from the centre of town, noises like this were uncommon.
Elise was surprised to see one man running away down the street and a second lying in the middle of the road. A gasp left her lips as she ignored Sarah’s pleas for her to stay inside and ran out to help him.

“Drew?” she asked when she was close enough to recall the face she’d met earlier tonight. The face, however, wasn’t quite how she remembered. Bruises camouflaged most every inch, cuts laced his chin, cheek and eyebrows and blood poured from the wounds. “Drew?” she knelt beside him, pushing a strand of hair away from his face and out of the blood.

Shocked, she called Sarah out. “Wow, what happened to him?” sarah asked.

Elise shrugged. “I think he was beaten. There was a man running away before. Let’s get him inside and I’ll call the Doctor. I have a feeling a hospital will be out of the question with him.”

Together, they lifted Drew to his feet and with one either side, lugged him away from the road. Once inside the house, they lay Drew a semi-conscious Drew on the sofa and placed a blanket over his shaking form. Elise pulled the first aid kit from the kitchen cupboard and began cleaning up the wounds she could see. Once finished with that, she fumbled with the buttons on his shirt, hesitant to know what lay beneath the fabric.

“I’m terribly sorry.” She told him. “I don’t know what happened to you, nor do I know why, but you what I do know is that you don’t deserve this. However, this, I’m afraid is like pulling a plaster and…” she winced as she lightly fingered his blood soaked shirt. “it’s going to hurt.”

In one swift movement, the shirt ripped open, peeling the fabric from the ensanguined wounds.
Elise drew in a sharp breath and tended to the cuts and bruises colouring his torso. Running the sponge from the base of his neck down to his very obvious oblique muscle, her eyes raked over his taught body, appreciating his good looks.

He definitely looks better topless, she thought, absentmindedly washing the blood from his chest.

“Doc says he’ll be here in fifteen minutes.” Sarah stopped at the living room door and watched her friend tend to their guest. “I wonder why he wears these baggy clothes.” She wondered out loud. “Look at those abs! It has to be a crime to keep those under wraps.”

Elise shrugged. “Maybe he’s annoyed with the constant ogling the girls did so decided to keep his body covered. I don’t know. Don’t quote me on that, though; I only met him tonight, I don’t know anything about him.” “I don’t know what he’s like or the reasoning behind the baggy clothes so if you want to know, ask him yourself.”

Sarah recoiled in shock. “Alright, Snappy! But can you honestly tell me that you weren’t staring at him when I walked in?”

“You’re right.” Elise sighed. “You’re absolutely right, I was staring.”

A smirk plastered itself onto Sarah’s face. “Told yer.”

“I was staring at the bruises, you dunce!”

She smiled a knowing grin. “O’ course you were, lass. Them eyes there were appreciating his good looks and there’s no denyin’ it!”

With a frustrated toss of her head, Elise placed the blanket back over Drew’s body. A loud groan emitted from his lips and his hand came up rubbing his head. “What the-?” he groaned.

“He’s awake! Sarah, get him some water.”

Turning her attention to the injured man in her living room, she helped him sit up from his laying position.

Drew took in the surroundings curiously and winced. His voice cracked as he spoke, the words he wanted to say struggling to come out. “Where am I?”

As he looked around the room, his initial thought was that he’d never been here before. There wasn’t a single item of furniture that he recognised in this cottage-like building. But as his vision focused and he caught sight of more of the room, the feeling of familiarity washed over him, crushing his chest in one fell swoop. He’d definitely been here before.

Elise didn’t reply, but instead waited for him to familiarise himself with the place. When the look of conversance crossed his features, she realised in that instant that he knew.

“You…” he breathed heavily. “You’re… What are you doing here?”

Impassive, she told him, “This is my house now.”

“But, Dean-”

“It’s my house, Drew, so deal with it.”

Although wanting to discover more about this girl, he sensed the reproving tone in her voice and nodded. Reluctantly, the subject of Dean was dropped for a while longer.

At the sound of a door closing, Drew looked up from his intent gaze on Elise, his eyes now trained on Sarah sauntering in with a glass of water in hand.

Staring him out, she spoke to him cacophonously. “Care to explain the clobberin’ you received out there?”

Drew shrugged. “Some people bare too many grudges, I suppose.”

In the hope that he’d managed to brush off explaining the attack to them, Drew changed the subject.

“You’re Sarah, right?”

She scoffed. “Don’t bother. I know what you’re trying and it won’t work, Buddy.”

Just then, there was a loud rapping at the door, the sound echoing around the room. Sarah shoved the glass of water into Drew’s hand and retreated to the front of the house.

“Doctor!” she exclaimed when the door flung open revealing a balding man in his fifties. Holding a haggard briefcase under one arm and a bag full of instruments in the other, his irritated and blatantly obvious posture told Sarah all she needed to know.

John Butler, although undeniably a brilliant Doctor, was the most cantankerous old man Sarah had ever seen. No matter how happy and joyous she acted around him, he never failed to spoil her mood.

“The patient.” He muttered grumpily.

“I promise I won’t touch your stuff this time.” She told him as memories of the last time the Doctor had been called out to this house flashed in her mind.

Without being invited in, John arrogantly pushed his way past Sarah, and set his sights on the bloodied male on the sofa.

“Ask no stupid questions, get no stupid answers.” He muttered to himself.

Setting his bag of tricks down on the floor, he pulled out his stethoscope and a pair of latex gloves.

As the blanket rode down, revealing the contusions camouflaging Drew’s body, John let out a deep exhale and with a shake of the head, got straight into examining every part of Drew’s body, taking extra care of the larger cuts lacing his torso and legs.

“I won’t ask, Son, ‘cause quite frankly, I don’t want to know. Couldn’t care less what you get up to; I get paid either way.”

Drew snarled. “Good, you ignorant fool! I wouldn’t have told you even if I wanted to. Arrogant git.”

With a light huff, the Doctor scribbled on a piece of paper and passed it to Drew along with a bottle of painkillers, packed his bag, then without another word exited the house.

“Bloody buggerin’ hell, I’m glad I were sat down or I’d have fallen!” Sarah exclaimed. “Someone managed shut the old rotter up.”

Drew snorted. “Rotter?” He’d never even heard of the word, though he could imagine the meaning behind it without asking.

Sarah laughed. “Aye; rotter.”

“He’s not that bad, Sarah, you know he’s had a hard time of late.” Elise warned. “He can be really nice when he sets his mind to it; he helped me, remember.”

Sarah’s face softened. “He did that, but he’s still a miserable, grumpy-”

“And he has right to be.”

Fed up of arguing, she stood from her seat and stomped up the stairs, returning moments later with a pillow, a quilt and two more blankets.

“You can stay here tonight, Drew. I’d like to make sure you’re okay.” He opened his mouth to protest, but Elise was ready for the rejection and continued, hastily adding, “The bathroom’s upstairs; last door on the right and in case you’re hungry at all, the kitchen’s through there. Feel free to help yourself.”

Defeated, he agreed. “One night and I’ll be out of your hair.”

With a nod, Elise silently retired to her room, exhaustion setting in from the unusually long and eventful day.

Once undressed and changed into her nightclothes, she crawled under the warm and inviting sheets, tucked them under her chin and relaxed with sleep beginning to take over her. Dreams of Dean were soon interrupted by haunting ones; dreams of which Elise could do absolutely anything to rid herself of.


© Copyright 2019 Adele Oldham. All rights reserved.

Chapters

Add Your Comments:

Comments

avatar

Author
Reply