Boulder (Riders of Apollo #5)

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Riley Everett

“Why didn’t you call us?” Rubble asks as he lays down on my bed next to me. I rented a flat for the next few weeks because I hate hotels and I hate imposing on people. It is currently three in the morning, we have managed to get drunk, raid a local Target, sober up and get deep.

“It’s not because I didn’t want to or that I hated you guys or anything it’s just... I was in a hospital bed for five months of my life. I never thought I’d be able to walk again or do anything again, I just kept fucking dying. After the coma, I woke up and couldn’t even remember my mum. It was devastating for her and I was terrified. I was in an unfamiliar room with unfamiliar people in so much pain.

God the pain. It was excruciating. Like whenever I moved everything was on fire, no matter how much pain medication they had given me. I figured nothing would ever be the same again, even though I didn’t even remember what came before. I was strapped to a bed, tested on and left alone. I was dragged around and basically tortured with no one to lean on.

My memory didn’t even come back until a month later and then the doctors thought that I would lose my leg, which would mean giving up my entire career. The pain was worse then... I knew how much my job meant to me, how I needed it to survive so I didn’t want to anymore. The only reason why I didn’t...”

“Kill yourself?” He asks, looking at me in surprise. I tear up and my throat clogs, God I hate thinking about it.

“Yeah.. I didn’t know what I would be if I could no longer do that but my mum was there, every night squeezing my hand and telling me that everything would be okay. Two surgeries later, I was back in physical therapy and hating every second of it, I would black out or throw up from the pain, I would cry a lot and I just wanted to be left alone. I just wanted to sit in my shower or my bed and be alone.

I didn’t call you because I couldn’t take it, I’m not making excuses, I know I scared you and I left you to believe that I had died. But I thought it would be better that way because I didn’t think I’d make it through and I didn’t want to give you hope because I had none. I am sorry, looking back on it, I wish I did but it would’ve been horrible for you. I was so nasty and cruel to my mother and I’ve got a lot of making up to do. Starting with you.”

“I forgive you.”

-------

“Wake up! The girls are blowing up my phone.” Rubble shakes my entire body and I groan in annoyance. Thankfully, I drank enough water last night to chase away the hangover but that doesn’t get rid of the fucking jetlag. God, the movie stars weren’t lying. “If you don’t wake up, I will resort to violence.”

“I dare you.” I grumble and turn over to look into the light. “I’m up.” I clamber out of the bed and drift into the bathroom, leaving Rubble in my kitchen making tea and coffee. Very sweet of him. I shower and brush my teeth before fixing my hair, which now reaches my midback, into soft curls. I slick on some makeup and deodorant before falling over my suitcase.

I pick out a short floral skirt, revealing the large scar across the middle of my left thigh and the surrounding scars from the rest of the debris. I look at myself in the mirror in just my bra and the skirt and I can see everything. There’s a large scar in between my boobs where they had to crack my chest to get my heart working again, a large scar underneath my right boob where they had to remove shrapnel, burns over my left hip and a scar to the left of my ribcage where they had to fix a metal plate.

I know there are more scars on my back, burn marks, bullet wounds and cuts. I’ve been through hell and yet I stand in front of some IKEA mirror alive. “Damn.” I spin around to look at Rubble, who is staring at me with wide eyes. “When you explained... I didn’t think it was that bad.”

“I still look hot though.” I wink at him before slipping a cropped top with short sleeves over the wounds, leaving only the ones on my mid-torso on show. “Right, shoes and then we’ll go.” I choose out some knee high boots with large heels on.

“What about the tea I made?” I grab the mug with my keys and my phone before shoving Rubble out the door. “You’re bringing that with you in the car?”

“Yeah, I’ll sacrifice my car seats for tea without question.” Chief - who is now the commander of MI6 - sent me another Aston Martin because I said how much I liked the other one. This one is navy blue instead of the grey and I am already in love. “I’ll meet you there.” I wink at him as he straddles his bike and I get in my car.

I settle my mug into the cup holder and race the fucker to the compound. Of course, I win. “You fucking cheated!” He shouts at me as we cross over the threshold of the building, my tea in hand.

“No, you’re just a sucky driver.” I tease and walk into the lounge. All eyes turn to me with angry looks on their faces. “Hi guys...” I wave slowly, backing up next to Rubble so that I can use him to protect me.

“Fuck have you been?” Lexie demands, her hands on her hips as she glares at me.

“Hospital... in England?” I sound like I’m questioning it even though I know exactly where I’ve been and why I haven’t spoken to anyone in a year. “I’m sorry for not calling, okay? There were a lot of reasons and I...” I start to panic, I don’t want anyone to hate me and ever since this whole thing went down I have a harder time collecting myself.

“Hey, woah, Lexie calm down.” Marielle hurries over to me and grips my forearms, she notices the scars on them and her face turns somber. “We missed you.” She hugs me tightly and I respond in kind, I’ve missed them all.

I’m then passed between all the women and then Bear shakes my hand, Adrian attempts to give me a noogie but I elbow him in the stomach before he can get me in his grip. “Rolo would be proud of you.”

“No, he wouldn’t. He’d be fucking furious, he’d tie me to a wall and keep an eye on me all the time.” Adrian agrees and I hug him properly this time, I catch Boulder’s eyes over Adrian’s shoulder and I flashback to the dreams I had.

I did lose my memory but I remember the coma, the dreams I had of him. Granted, I didn’t know his name or where he came from, just that I wanted him and he wasn’t there when I woke up. Which is largely my fault. “You okay, Riles?” Cassidy asks as I settle down on the floor next to her and her little baby.

“Yeah, I’m okay. How are you and little Rolo?” Adrian and Cassidy named their child after Rolo, his real name obviously, which was Octavian. I still call little-un Rolo even though Adrian tells me not to.

“We’re doing well, he’s sleeping through the night and putting on weight well. That’s probably because his grandma keeps sending him British snacks every week.”

“Yo, if you have any of those left you can donate them to the charity of Riley.” I grin as she laughs.

“Trust me, anything that’s left over Adrian eats in seconds. He’s obsessed with this thing called a Tunnock’s.”

“We love a good Tunnock’s tea cake.” I sigh blissfully as I think about the sweet treat that I used to eat by the dozen.

Now I just need to talk to Boulder.

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