Pain seared down her spine, Rylee was letting out long loud moans and groans. She heard a guy’s voice then Blake’s panicked voice. “She fell pretty hard. I hope she’s not going to be physically disabled or something,” Blake was saying. She sounded truly worried, Rylee knew she was being silly though, she wasn’t going to be a vegetable. She tried to get up but it was too much pain, she began to panic herself, what if she couldn’t move anymore? She felt strong hands help her to her feet though and she was standing again.
She looked around to see all of her homework scattered all over the floor, she let out a frustrated noise before diving to pick up everything ignoring the stabbing pain in her back to save her homework which she worked hours on. When everything was gathered she looked to see the person who bumped into her. She found herself meeting with the same green eyes that she met when she was once drenched with coffee.
“You again,” she practically yelled, she was angry then also she was in pain and she had to clutch her back slightly. Toby, she remembered, stood there looking shocked from her yell. But she just continued, “I’m tired of you! Are you out to get me or something? Did you know that my boobs were bruised for days from you dropping hot coffee on them?”
He coughed and scratched the back of his neck, “Uh well…I’m sorry, about your boobs…”
“Well, they don’t except.” Rylee snapped, bending down to pick up her text book and shoving the stack of papers into the middle of the book and closing it. She looked over at Blake who was unpacking the new makeup that was sent in, she had started when she saw that Rylee was okay. “I’m going home,”
“Text me,” Blake returned lightly.
“I’ll walk you out,” Toby called after her, he raced to catch up to her quick pace.
“Why? So you could fall on me and practically break my back again?” She asked coldly.
Toby caught her by the elbow and she stopped looking up at him like he had went insane. He stared back at her hopelessly, “Look, I’m sorry, it was a accident.”
Rylee sighed and snatched her elbow from his grip, “Just make sure it doesn’t happen again,”
She pushed the doors open of the theatre and out into the still pouring rain, leaving Toby standing in the doorway staring after her.
Upbeat dancing music greets her when Rylee opened the apartment door later that night. She glanced in the living room to see Emily hopping around copying the vibrant lady on the TV. Rylee put her text books on the counter, kicked off her converse and padded off into the living room with Emily. She plopped herself down on the sofa as Emily started doing kicking. She was all over the place.
“Why are you doing this?” Rylee asked dryly, she already knew the answer so she wasn’t sure why she was asking.
Emily glanced over her shoulder at her before going back to her work out and shrugged, “Ian thinks…”
She didn’t even listen to the rest, she was already walking out of the room and down the hall to the kitchen. After finding a strawberry yogurt in the fidge she went back out to watch Emily, Emily looked over her shoulder at her. Her eyes dropped hungrily to the yogurt in Rylee’s hands. She groaned to herself and snapped a rubber band tightly wrapped around her wrist several times.
“What are you doing?” Rylee asked slowly.
“I do this when I get hungry,” Emily said, sounding like she became suddenly fatigued. “And I forgot to drink a water a hour ago to stop the hungriness. I’m so stupid,”
Rylee hated her friend putting herself down this way. She sighed changing the subject, “So when are you going to stop working out?”
Rylee watched closely as Emily picked up another work-out tape when the one she was previously working out to came to a end. She watched Emily shrug, “When I feel like fainting,”
Rylee felt a sick feeling crawl up her throat. Seeing Emily like this brought up painful memories of her mother, Rylee sharply turned throwing away the half eaten yogurt on the way to the room. She closed the door somewhat blocking out the loud thumping music.
She sat on her bed and looked around the room. Glasses of empty bottles covered her dresser along with cosmetics, she rubbed her eyes and tried the avoid the feeling of the walls inclosing on her and it wasn’t help with the thumping music seeming to stab her head. She closed her eyes tightly and gripped the bed when she felt that stupid empty feeling in her chest. She took deep breaths but it didn’t go away. It never did. But at that moment it was more prominent. The fabric of the bed sheets gripped tightly in her trembling fingers. Her breathing was hiked, her quick pulse sounded so loud that it was all that she could hear. Then and there she zoned out of the room. She zoned out of present and was back in the past. A young scared little girl never feeling so alone.
She reached for her dresser and pulled out a flask of whiskey. She was no alcoholic, she knew that she could stop when she wanted because she did stop for a period of time but recently she was just having trouble dealing with the emptiness when she wasn’t alone at all, the proof was Emily working out unnecessarily in the next room. Alcohol seemed like her only way out of the cruel cold past that crept up on her.
She let her head fall back as the liquor burned going down her throat. She laid back on the bed and let her body shake with sobs as she waited for the alcoal to kick in. It didn’t take long to be in the warm fuzzy place that drinking took her but she then she realized she still felt that empty feeling. She sighed doing the only thing she could do to get the feeling out of her chest, she stumbled over to her closet and threw on skimpy clothes: a tight shirt that exposed her stomach and a short skirt that could pass as a belt. She stumbled into Emily’s room who was still bouncing around in the living room, she went into her closet, shoes were stacked neatly on wracks that were mounted to the closet’s wall. She reached for the red pumps which matched her tight shirt.
She felt hazy so she didn’t try to drive, she waited for the bus and traveled to the local bar. It was a late night rush when she stepped in, she captured a couple of men’s gazes right away. She went to the bar where a guy sat with his head ducked as he moved around a glass staring down at it. She planted herself next to him, propped herself on her elbow.
“You seem down,” she said, resting on her palm as she stared at him.
The guy looked up at her but sighed and looked away, “Yeah…pretty down,”
She stared at him for a while longer, “Well…I’m down too, so why don’t we try to have fun?”
She dragged out the last word.
He looked at her again, his brown eyes meeting her blue ones.
“I don’t even know you,” he said, shaking his head.
She smiled and held out her hand, “I’m Rylee,”
He stared at her hand but finally a smile appeared on his face and his hand enclosed around hers as he smiled, “Dave,”
Only minutes later they were out behind the bar in a dark ally, she felt his hands roam all over her body. She then felt the brick wall of the building get slammed into her back and his lips meet hers again.
“You’re right to the point, huh?”
Through her foggy drunken state she felt a lazy smile on her face and she slurred out, “Your place or mine?”
Hours later Rylee rolled over just as she felt Dave clasp on the bed beside her. She gripped the sheets to her, and although she was drunk she still felt that emptiness in her. She shut her eyes tight and felt more horrible when she felt Dave sluggishly sling his arm around her and drag her back to his front, kissing up her neck.
A person she barely knew.
She pushed those thoughts to the back of her mind as she tried to focus on not feeling empty anymore. She turned around and kissed the stranger passionately like she knew him all of her life.
You look like utter crap,” Shane said.
Rylee had just walked into the dressing room where Blake and Shane was already doing make-up, Lynn liked all of her actresses and actors to be in costume even during rehearsals. Shane was the one to look up and say that in disgust when he saw her attire.
“Oh, Shane, you know how to make a girl feel wonderful,” she grumbled, parking herself in a chair that was off to the side.
Blake peered over at her from where she was doing a chick’s rosy cheeks. “Are you okay from the fall?”
Rylee just nodded. Shane was looking at her attire with disapproval, that morning she didn’t care what she wore. She just threw on a pair of old jeans that hung off of her and her old worn high school pride shirt that was getting a bit snug. Black ray-ban sunglasses where perched on her nose and a plastic cup of black coffee in her hand.
“Someone had a wild night,” Shane probed, dragging a brush through the girl’s hair. Which was a wig, he reached for the curling iron and began to put the hair in bouncy curls. He was a god at what he did.
“You can say that again,” Blake laughed.
Rylee glared at them both before taking a sip of the black coffee, she made a face as the bitter taste went down her throat. Before admitting, “I did have a little bit to drink last night,”
Shane rolled his eyes, “Right. And I’m just little bit gay,”
Lynn walked into the room and sighed, “Shane this is not the time to tell all about your journey out of the closet! I need my minions on stage in ten minutes! Chop! Chop!”
Lynn, the director, was very vibrant and always singing during her speeches. Which is why she sung out the word ‘chop’ at the end of her sentence. Rylee did have many moments when she worried that Lynn was truly insane but she made brilliant productions so she didn’t have a place to complain. Lynn’s gray eyes fell on her, she was trying to sink into the chairs so that she wouldn’t see her.
“Rylee, it’s nice to see that you’ve joined us. I need you to talk to Bill, I want the second song changed to…” Lynn started. Rylee dragged a sigh before doing her job and grabbing up her note pad and pen, jotting down all of Lynn’s needs while trailing behind her.
After Delilah arrived, Rylee gathered her things and along with Blake they raced out of the building and to Blake’s small Toyota. Blake started the car and switched the gears before she speed out of the parking lot and toward the town’s college.
“Professor Webber hates it when people interrupt his lessons,” Blake reminds.
Rylee nodded, “I know. Hey, do you have anything to snack on? I’m starving,”
“Um…I think there’s some gummies in the back seat,” Blake responded.
Rylee found them quickly and shared with Blake. Less than twenty minutes later they made it, they were a few minutes late and Webber glared at them as they moved along to claim unoccupied seats in the back.
“I think he has issues,” Rylee whispered.
Blake covered her mouth as she giggled.
Back again?” Lola asked, crossing her arms over her big belly. Rylee’s eyes traveled to her belly before she looked back up into her vivid blue eyes.
“I was just leaving,” Rylee whispered, gathering her mother’s diaries and shuffling out of the door with Lola’s eyes still on her retreating back.
She sighed and placed the diaries in the back seat before climbing into the front and slowly drove away. She felt light, as if she
were just on autopilot as she moved around the streets. It was only nearing nine at night on Wednesday evening so there wasn't much traffic.
She was searching for a way to not feel empty, she hated the feeling and it seemed to get worst. She sighed dragging a hand through her hair as she switched lanes on the expressway and headed toward the airport where Cameron’s late flight was coming in.
She crossed her arms as she waited in the waiting area for him, she tucked a piece of hair behind her ear as her eyes wondered to the list of flights. His landed only minutes before, she should see his face at any moment.
“What is someone you doing in a classy place like this, Lyons?” Cameron asked from behind her, she whirled around and smiled at her best friend. He looked the same, unruly brown tangled hair, vivid brown eyes, and an amazing smile.
“What a line,” Rylee smiled, before throwing her arms around his neck and pulling him to her, squeezing him tightly.
“How was the family?” Rylee asked, she took one of his suitcases from him and rolled it along behind her as they went for the entrance of the airport.
Cameron reached up and scratched his head, “Weird. My dad has this new model girlfriend…and she’s hot,”
“And she sat me down telling me that if I wanted I could start calling her mom, but all I could think about was jumping her bones,” Cameron mumbled with a frown. “I guess if she’s into those sort of kinky things…we could role play,”
Rylee gasped bumping her shoulder into his, “What happened to Zara?”
Cameron stared at her blankly.
“You know? The blonde chicks sister?”
“The chick that gave you a blow job the first day in?”
“Oh! Her!” he snapped his finger as they walked to the parking garage. They entered and it was rather dark, she had parked on the fifth floor. “What about her?”
“You know? Her sister? The one who was working at the restaurant,” Rylee reminded him, she pocked the elevator door’s up button.
“Oh! Forgot all about her,” Cameron said, looking off into space as she pushed the number 5, the doors slid closed and it made a ding noise as they bumped up each floor.
“She was really pretty,” Cameron finally breathed, scratching his head. “I’ll work my magic on her later,”
Rylee nodded at him before they started off to her Jetta, he pushed the suit cases in the trunk while Rylee started the car.
“I’m hungry,” Cameron announced.
They pulled into a passing McDonalds, Cameron stuffed himself with fries and a Big Mac. He explained that he didn’t get a chance to eat at all, it was his first time eating in the day.
When they walked into the apartment building, Zara was in the foyer checking her mail. Cameron was staring at her in the same stupid boyish way again, Rylee sighed.
“I’m going to make her mine,” Cameron declared under his breath, staring after Zara making her way up the stairs.
Rylee rolled her eyes and brought out her key to check her own mail.
Could you hurry up in there? I have to take a leak,”
Scott called through the bathroom door. Toby looked at the closed door with a sigh before finishing up on shaving his jaw. He opened the door only to have Scott push him out of the
“Finally!” Scott exclaimed, dancing into the bathroom and kicking the door shut behind him. Toby heaved another sigh before walking off to join Will in the kitchen, he was dabbing his bagel with cheese cream.
“Where you headed? I thought you just left from work,” Will asked, placing the top back on the cream cheese before taking a bit out of the bagel.
Toby nodded and reached for the other slice, “I’m going to the nursing home,”
Will nodded before carrying his bagel away to his room. Toby took another bite before dumping the rest in the trash can and heading out of the apartment.
“Mr. Larson,” a elderly lady greeted when he walked into the nursing home. She was behind the large desk and smiled widely at him, “It’s always good to see you,”
Toby smiled at her, “Hello, Rose,”
Rose smiled widely, “Your always so charming and handsome, boy, if I was only a few years younger,”
“Then I would defiantly court you,” Toby chuckled.
Rose put her hand to her heart. Nora walked by, another volunteer and rolled her eyes playfully, “Your such a player, Toby,”
Toby exchanged goodbyes with Rose before catching up with Nora, they walked together to the dining room where the residents were all sitting around with more volunteers. He became familiar with the regular attendees’ but from time to time new volunteers showed up.
He made his rounds visiting every patient but his personal favorite was Ellie. Probably the oldest one who was able to talk without losing their track of thought and pausing in the middle of a random sentence then start up again. Toby made his way over to her for cup of tea, she smiled when she saw him.
“Ah, if it isn’t the charmer, Toby,” she said.
It was the same every week, they would talk about her life and about his. What he liked about her most was the way she got so into what she was saying. It was most effecting when she talked about her granddaughter.
“She’s so beautiful,” she was saying, a smile on her face. “And when she smiled! It lit up her whole entire face and it was just so beautiful! I think it was most beautiful because it was so rare and as humans I think rare things pull us in more…”
It was one of the those moments when Ellie would get quiet and look out of the window. Her face evident that there were difficult thoughts churning in her head. Toby stood from the seat and reached over to cover his hand with her small gnarled one. “I’ll be back next week, Ellie,”
“Such a gentlemen to leave me with my thoughts,” she murmured, “thank you, Toby. I will be looking forward to seeing you,”
Toby watched her lose herself in thoughts again and he didn’t think she noticed that he was still there staring at her looking off at nothing in particular but it looked like she had a lot on her mind. It interest him. She interest him. Or rather her rare smiling grand daughter.
He found himself randomly thinking about Rylee, the way her lips were in a firm line, her eyes blazing, the way she just walked off into the rain without covering up…without a care in the world.
“Son? Are you alright?” Richard, Toby’s father asked.
Toby sighed rolling his shoulders and positioned the rifle in his hands again, he had missed his target and shot a tree.
“Just fine, Dad,” Toby answered, waiting for the next disk to fly in the air so that he could shoot it.
It was something that him and his father did from time to time, it was how the bonded. The next disk flew in the air, effortlessly Toby aimed and shot. He loved the feel of being powerful with the deadly weapon in his hands. He loved that he was one out of a handful of people in Bay View who could shoot as skillfully as he. They used to shoot wildlife but as it wasn’t hunting season they had to settle with disks.
He felt a hand pat his back, “Now, that’s what I’m talking about!”
They shot and aim for the next hour and Toby tried his best to keep his mind cleared of anything except aiming and shooting, also casual talk with his father. Toby stole a glance at his father as he took a shot, Richard was tall and lanky, dark hair like Toby’s although he was getting old he still had a hair full of hair with only one gray streak.
“Boys!” his mother called from behind them, Toby looked back to see his mother standing on the deck of the house. Her blonde hair pulled back, like his father, she was tall and lanky. She wore a tan dress with a same shade of heels which made her look even taller. “Lunch is ready,”
“What boys?” Richard grumbled back, shooting another disk as Toby started toward the shed to put his gun away. “There are only men out here,”
Toby looked around as his mother tilted her head, slight irritation in her voice as she corrected herself, “Men, lunch is ready,”
Irritated and cool conversations passed between his parents often lately, Toby sighed at this and placed his gun on his usual shelf. He passed his father out of the shed and took the steps two at a time to get to the warm good smelling food that he was sure the cook made. When he walked in his mother and Kammi were already sitting. Kammi had her ear buds in, music was blaring loudly.
When Richard walked in and plopped himself farthest away from his mother, everyone began to eat. The only noise was forks scratching glass plates and Richard groaning every bite he took.
“Is something wrong, Rich?” his mother asked tightly.
Richard looked up at her and said slowly, “Maybe it’s time to tell the kids, Beth,”
Beth swallowed and her grip on the spine of her wineglass tightened, “I thought you said we would think about it,”
“I did, and I think it’s best,” Richard said evenly.
That’s when Beth cracked, “Richard! We only decided last night!”
Richard stood from the table and walked over to Kammi, he snatched the ear buds from her ear. She looked up at him and rolled her eyes, snatching the ear buds back and promptly placing them back into her ear as she cut into her steak. She must have not seen his angry face because his hand then lashed out against her face. The smacking noise filled the room and it had never been so loud, he tugged the ear buds out of her ear once again, when she didn’t make a move to put it back in, he walked to his seat and plopped himself down.
Toby looked at his mother but she just looked down and then at his father who sank a glass of Brandy. Is this what was going on at home?
“What in the hell was that?” Toby asked calmly, the muscles in the jaw twitched.
“Discipline,” Richard answered.
Toby looked over at Kammi who was quiet, her hair a curtain to her face. “Since when do you discipline that way,”
“Since she became a bitch,”
Toby stood from his seat and stared down at him then at his mother, “And why has no one told me this new way of discipline?”
He was getting angry then.
“Sit down, Toby,” Beth begged softly. Toby stared at her for a moment before he sat back down. His body rigid.
“Before we were interrupted,” Richard said, folding his fingers on the table top. “I was saying that we will be sending Kammi to a boarding school,”
“What? Why!” Kammi exclaimed. Richards eyes blazed and he started to get up but Toby pushed him back down. He looked at Toby surprised.
“Send her with me. I’ll take care of her,” Toby said.
Beth looked at Richard hopefully. Richard was looking at Toby for a long time before he finally said, “Okay, fine. But put your hands on me again then it will be a problem.”
Toby rolled his eyes and looked away.
Kammi didn’t even protest she went straight to her room then started to pack. Toby couldn’t even look at his parents so he waited for Kammi in the foyer.
Kammi was quiet the whole way back into town and Toby stopped at his brother’s apartment. Nina opened the door brightly but when she saw Toby she frowned, “Are you moving back in?”
“Nina? Who’s at the door?” Toby heard his brother shout. Nina sighed and opened the door for Toby but looked surprised when Kammi followed in behind him.
Tyler looked surprised as well, “What are you doing here, Toby? Kammi?”
Toby sighed pointed to the table, Nina walked off into the master bedroom which used to be Toby’s room. He guessed that they moved there after he left.
“Did you know about dad hitting Kam?” Toby asked angrily. “Because if you d-”
Tyler’s looked angry then, “Dad did what?”
“He hit Kammi in the face,” Toby said, his jaw clenched. He was surprised that Tyler could even hear him talk. “Ty, he never laid a hand on us. Or Kammi until now. Something is up. Something is defiantly up,”
Tyler looked over at his sister who was sinking in her seat, looking as if she wanted to be any place but there. “Is this true, Kammi?”
Kammi sighed but nodded slightly. Toby couldn’t even look at her for long because the side of her face was getting swollen.
Tyler sighed leaning back into his seat while rubbing his face, “How long?”
They didn’t hear anything for a while then so softly, almost inaudible, “For a while now,”
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