When Scott walked out of the hotel room, it felt to Riley, as if he walked out of her life. The more time that passed, the more she had almost expected the police to come and arrest her at any time. And the longer she worried if Scott would return. Feeling ill and vomiting, she spent the day crying on the cold bathroom floor.
Walking along the beach for hours, Scott was crying and confused, angry and hurt. It was nearly eleven PM when he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket, to call a close friend of his, a prominent criminal attorney. Talking to him for over an hour, he explained the entire situation to him and asked for advice. Telling him about the cabin, the motive, the murders, proof of the attacks, the lack of evidence, the lack of any kind of past criminal record and her diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
After Scott’s discussion with the attorney, he felt confident that the best thing to do was to turn herself in. The lawyer could contest her confession stating it was not viable due to her mental state. And because of her severe PTSD, she could not be accountable for her actions.
Trying to sort out his thoughts and emotions, Scott sat on the beach all night, staring out over the ocean. Riley cried the entire day, couldn’t eat, and couldn’t sleep. Never feeling so alone in her entire life, she wanted to pick up the phone and call her family, but feeling ashamed, she avoided it. Spending most of the night in bed, she stared up at a blank ceiling. As the hours passed, she began to believe he was not coming back and the thought of suicide drifted through her mind.
Overcoming her fear of heights, she opened the sliding glass door and slowly stepped out on the balcony. Drawing in a deep breath, she reached for the railing and held it with a tight grasp. Peeking over the edge, she looked down at the dark beach, wondering if Scott was out there somewhere. The sky was just beginning to get a light hue on the horizon as it was getting close to sunrise.
Seeing the distance to the ground, she thought about simply falling over the edge of the railing, free falling until her life was gone. Not being able to bring herself to do so, she stepped back into the room and shut the door. Feeling ill again, she ran to the bathroom to vomit in the toilet. Reaching over, she turned on the water and pushed the plug into the drain.
Pulling herself to her feet, she took off her clothes and threw them on the floor. Seeing Scott’s razor in the small black bag on the sink, she stared at it for a minute before grabbing it out of the bag. Pulling at it and smashing it against the sink, she broke it, pulling the small blade out. With the razor blade in her hand, she stepped into the bathtub and turned off the water. Leaning back, she cried as she looked at the razor blade in her hand.
Scott drew in a deep breath and pulled himself up, brushing the sand off himself. The sun was lighting up the sky, but had not yet appeared as he walked back towards the hotel, kicking at the sand with his bare feet, holding his shoes and socks in his hands. Pulling the room key out of his pocket, he quietly opened the door, thinking she may be asleep.
Walking past the closed bathroom door, he looked around the room but didn’t see her. Opening the bathroom door, he found her in the bathtub, bleeding from one wrist. She opened her eyes and looked at him with a weary look upon her face as he seen the razor blade in her hand.
“Riley! Oh my God, what are you doing?” He almost yelled as he grabbed a towel and took two quick steps towards her. Grabbing the razor blade from her hand, he threw it on the floor as his other hand brought the towel to her bloody wrist. “Here, put pressure on this.” He said, then ran to the in-room phone. Calling the front desk, he told them to call an ambulance for room 809. Hanging up the phone, he ran back into the bathroom to her side. The water had a pink hue to it as it diluted the blood that had dripped into it. Her eyes were dilated and she was lethargic.
Pulling the plug on the drain, he pulled her out of the water and carried her to the bed where he could cover her and better attend to her wrist. Leaving the room door open, it seemed to take forever for the ambulance to arrive. Hearing Scott’s voice like an echo in her head, she couldn’t make out his words.
As the paramedics invaded the room, Scott moved out of their way. Sliding on his shoes, he grabbed the room key and left with them, pulling the door shut. In the back of the ambulance, he sat and watched as the paramedics did what they needed to do. Once at the hospital, he ran behind them as they took her straight into a room where the doctor was waiting.
“She’s four months pregnant.” Scott informed the doctor.
“And you are… her husband?” The doctor asked.
“Yes.” Scott answered and stood in the corner, watching as the doctor saved her life. Again. In his state of panic, he blabbered to the doctor, but wasn’t sure what he was saying to him. After the rush was over and he knew she was going to be alright, Scott calmed down and followed them as they transferred her to another room.
Riley opened her eyes and looked around the room, seeing Scott standing by the window, looking out of it. “Scott…” She spoke softly.
Turning around, he looked at her, then came up and sat on the edge of the bed. Reaching his arms out to her, he pulled her against him. “Riley, I love you, please don’t ever do that again.” He whispered almost in tears with his face against hers.
“I’m sorry, Scott, I really believed you weren’t coming back to me. You were gone almost twenty four hours. What was I supposed to think?” She said and started to cry again.
Looking at her, he wiped her tears away. “Riley, please don’t cry. I’m here now. I was not kidding when I said I do. This is probably the worst thing that could happen in our marriage but I’m not willing to give you up that easily. And no matter what happens next, I’ll never give up on you. My love for you supersedes all else.”
“Scott, what are we going to do? I’ll understand if you will have to turn me in…”
He placed his finger over her lips. “Shhh, we are not going to talk about this right now. Right now, you are going to rest and know everything will be fine. And you’re going to stay in the hospital this time. Until the doctor releases you. Don’t forget, it’s not just you anymore.”
She smiled at him but couldn’t keep the tears from coming. “I love you, Scott.” She said then leaned back against the pillow.
He stroked her hair back. “I can tell you’ve been up all night worrying. Just shut your eyes and get some rest. I’ll be right here, I’m not leaving your side.”
Closing her eyes, Riley felt content with his return, but worried about her future. Scott sat on the edge of her bed and stroked her hair until she fell asleep. Then sat in the chair and reclined it to watch TV. After not having slept all night either, he quickly fell asleep too.
It was approximately one thirty PM when the doctor came in, making his last rounds. They were both still sleeping when he picked up her arm and began to remove the bandage around her wrist. She opened her eyes and startled at first, jerked her arm away. Realizing it was the doctor, she relaxed. Glancing over, she saw Scott sleeping in the chair. She smiled and turned her focus back to the doctor who was inspecting her wound.
He was quiet as he spoke to her. “This looks pretty good. I don’t see any reason why you have to stay. I am going to give you some steep antidepressants and I want you to take them, faithfully. Don’t worry, they won’t hurt the baby. I would, however, like to talk to your husband.” He said and started walking towards the chair he was sleeping in. “What is his name?”
“Scott.” She answered him.
Touching his shoulder, the doctor called his name. Scott opened his eyes and looked right at the doctor. Pushing in the leg rest of the chair, he stood up to shake hands with the doctor. “I’m going to release her, but I want to make sure you keep a close eye on her. Usually we won’t release a patient after a suicide attempt, we assess them for two weeks in the psychiatric wing. But I understand you’re on your honeymoon. I gave her some medication and I want you to make sure she takes them. I told her they won’t hurt the baby.”
“Thank you so much, Dr…?”
“Dr. Conley.” Scott repeated as he shook his hand. “I will definitely heed your advice.”
The doctor left and they realized she didn’t have any clothes. Wearing the hospital gown, they left the hospital and he took her directly back to the hotel room, holding her hand and observing her the entire trip. She still felt emotionally numb and didn’t have much to say.
Reaching their hotel room, she didn’t hesitate to get dressed. Now that the initial shock of their situation was over, her appetite returned with a vengeance. “Scott, are you hungry?” She asked as she pulled her jeans on.
“Very. I’m sure you are too.” He answered her.
“Very.” She agreed.
“As soon as you’re ready, we’ll go wherever you want.”
“I’m ready.” She said as she slipped on her sandals.
Leaving the room, she chose the closest restaurant which was the in-house restaurant. Looking at him, she realized she didn’t almost just kill herself, she almost killed his baby. It left her feeling guilty and ashamed. “I’m so sorry, Scott.” She said, trying to fight back the tears.
“Riley…” He reached his hand across the table. “I understand how you were feeling and I don’t blame you. I’m not upset. Let’s not worry about the past. And we have two weeks before we have to worry about the future, so let’s just forget about everything for now and try to enjoy our honeymoon.”
She smiled at him. “You’re right, Scott. But before we go on, there’s more I need to tell you.”
“What do you mean there’s more?”
“I was forced to give you my confession. I got a phone call the night of your bachelor party. I was home alone. It was a threatening phone call. The man stated that he knew what I’ve done and if I didn’t turn myself in, there would be consequences.”
“Consequences? That’s what he said?” Scott asked and Riley nodded a response. “What does he mean? Who is this man?”
“I’m positive it’s Chuck’s brother. He didn’t tell me his name but he looks just like him. I know it is, at least, one of their brother’s, from what he said on the phone. And at the wedding, he threatened me again, flashing a knife and a gun at me.”
“The wedding? He was at the wedding? Oh my God, Riley, why didn’t you tell me this before, I can’t help but think that you’re life is in danger.”
“I couldn’t tell you, Scott. I had to first confess to you what I had done. But before that, I had to gather the courage to do it. To me, it was much more important to stop lying to you, than it was to tell you just because of the threats. I feel a powerful relief because I’ve confessed to you, but now, I’m scared. I don’t want to go to jail.”
“Riley, “I’ve kept your secret about the cabin fire, but this is too big. It could destroy my career. And I have to tell you that I’ve already talked to an attorney. He’s agreed to take your case. He is very good and thinks you have a good, strong case for a not guilty plea. And he’s a good friend of mine. I think we should face this, together, when we return. I have to add that you were very good at it, not having any evidence against you. And me, I was blind from the start, I couldn’t see through what I was feeling. And I consider myself a good cop. How could I not see this? How did you do it?”
Riley just looked at him, almost in disbelief that he had discussed this issue with someone else. She wasn’t sure if she should be more scared, or relieved. “You know, Scott, we could just stay here. We don’t have to go back. You could get a job here.”
“Riley, what about our families. What about Cosmo. My job, your classes? We can’t do that. It’s out of the question. I’m scared too, but we have to go back.”
“Scott, I can’t have this baby in jail. Please?”
“I don’t believe you’ll have to. We’ll go back, enter your confession, bail you out of jail and fight this with everything we can find.”
“Well, Scott, like you said, we have two weeks before that happens. Can we please be done talking about this now?”
“Yes, please.” He said and tugged on her hand. “Come over here.” Riley got up out of her chair and went to him to sit on his lap. “Despite your confession, with you as my wife, and having my baby, being here with you right now, in this beautiful place, I couldn’t be more happy than this moment.”
“You always did know just what to say to me.” She smiled and leaned down to kiss him.
For the next couple of days, they invaded the beach, swimming and getting sunburns. She was already starting to feel the effects of the antidepressants. Scott called Luke and asked him to gather any information he could find on any brothers of Aaron, David and Chuck. Although, he didn’t yet reveal anything to him about Riley’s confession.
She tried to talk him into going horseback riding, but he refused to allow her, due to her fragile physical state. Attending a carnival instead, they played games and enjoyed a few gentle rides, such as the merry go round and the Ferris wheel. The food was unbelievably good, but gave her intense heartburn.
Friday night, they attended a movie at an outdoor pavilion, with chairs spread across the lawn and speakers placed at certain places. Beginning to feel a strange sensation in her belly, like butterflies, it slightly tickled and made her rub her belly. She smiled and looked at Scott. Taking his hand, he laid it on her belly.
“I think I can feel the baby moving.” She whispered through the silence of the crowd surrounding them.
“Really?” He smiled and held his hand in place.
“I don’t think you’ll be able to feel it yet though.”
“I will soon.” He said and leaned over to kiss her.
The following night, at the same pavilion, they attended a local karaoke contest. Scott entered Riley’s name without her knowledge, then encouraged her to join. She refused to abide by his request, but by the time they called her name, she reluctantly agreed. Hearing them call her name, she looked at Scott and smiled. It was the first time she had been called by her married name.
Her hands were shaking when she stepped onto the stage and took the microphone. Looking behind her, Scott was standing just at the steps of the stage. Motioning for him to come with her, she needed his inspiration. Looking at him as the music started, she cleared her throat and swallowed hard, anxious.
A silence fell over the crowd as she began singing. Recognizing that they were enjoying it as she looked over the crowd, she began to loosen up and move with the music. Scott danced along with her as she danced and sang. Trying to catch her breath at the end of the song, she smiled when she heard the crowd roar. Looking at Scott, who was smiling back at her, she jumped into his arms and hugged him.
For a few hours, they stayed and listened to the karaoke contest. She assumed she was the only one who performed that hadn’t been drinking. Just as they were announcing the winner, Scott and Riley got up to leave. “Riley Goldman.” She heard them announce her name. Stopping and turning towards the stage, they announced her name again.
She looked at Scott, smiling. “Oh my God, I won?”
“Come on, let’s go see what you won.” Smiling, he slid his arm around her, walking with her to the stage.
The crowd cheered again as they seen her walk out into the spotlight. The man with the microphone hugged her and gave her an envelope. She thanked him and waved at the crowd before she walked off the stage to where Scott was standing.
“I’m so proud of you.” He smiled and hugged her. “Come on, let’s go back to the carnival and grab a bite before we go back to the hotel.”
Walking away from the pavilion and towards the carnival, she stopped and opened the envelope beneath a street light. It contained two hundred and fifty dollars and two tickets to a restaurant they’ve never heard of. They decided to find the restaurant and use the tickets the following night.
Returning to the hotel room, she was again, suffering from severe heartburn. Taking a couple of antacid tablets, she changed her clothes and laid in bed. Starting to feel some relief, she fell asleep while Scott sat beside her and watched TV for a while.
The next evening, they found the restaurant for the tickets she had won. It was the island’s most extravagant restaurant. Both feeling under dressed as they walked through the door, she looked around the fancy room. Promptly, they were seated and served. The sensations in her stomach seemed to get more frequent or perhaps she was just more observant to the fact.
The food was delightful and Scott indulged in one glass of red wine. Although she felt full when they left the restaurant, she had a strong craving for chocolate ice cream. Scott drove the entire island looking for an ice cream shop, finding one on the other side of the island. Sitting at a table outside, they looked about their surroundings while eating their ice cream. Spotting a mini golf course, she suggested they visit tomorrow. Scott agreed, thinking it would be fun. Returning back to the hotel room, she took a hot bath before laying down in bed.
Every morning she woke up, it seemed her nausea had decreased and her energy had increased. Feeling less tired during the day, she slept better and felt well rested when she woke. She had not had any dreams, good or bad, since the one about Chuck’s brother shooting her in the stomach. But the closer it got to the end of the honeymoon, the more nervous she became, knowing she would soon learn her fate, legally, this time.
Riley played mini golf very well, Scott not as well. Riley admitted that she played golf on a league in high school, but not since, really. After she beat him at the game, he stopped along the way to the hotel, at a building he had noticed on their way back to the hotel the previous night. It was a gun range. He wanted to teach her how to shoot.
Nervous with a gun in her hand at first, it took her a while before she could hit the paper, but she eventually relaxed and adjusted her aim. When her shots began to hit the target, she changed to a different gun. Again, she had to adjust her aim, and began to hit the target with that gun too. Smiling, he told her she was a better shot then him, then took the gun from her and emptied it on the target from the first shot.
By the time they left the gun range, he was confident with her ability and she was starving. Finding a different restaurant, they liked the small establishment. Next, they stopped at the video store, then the grocery store to purchase drinks and snacks to last the duration of the four movies they rented. Watching only one movie that night, they spent the next day in their room, watching the rest.
For the remaining days of their honeymoon, they crammed as many activities in as possible. Since the morning he returned to find her bleeding in the bathtub, he had not left her side. It was the last night of their honeymoon. After dinner, they put on their bathing suits and walked out on the beach. Sitting in the sand together, merely feet from the waters stretch, they sat and watched the sun set and go down.
As darkness fell across the water and people vacated the beach, they remained in their spot, the water now splashing up to their thighs with the incoming tide. Just as she laid back against the sand, they felt the rain drops. Looking at her in the darkness, he leaned down to see her more clearly. The raindrops fell harder as he leaned down to kiss her.
As the lightening approached from a distance, they made love in the darkness with the water splashing against their bodies and the rain pouring down on them. Finished and trying to catch their breaths, he looked into her eyes with the lightening growing closer and lighting up her face.
“No matter what happens Riley, I will love you for the rest of my life.” He said in almost a whisper, just above the roar of the rain falling around them. Then kissed her again.
“Scott, you’ve healed my pain and I’m completely happy with you. I love you more than anything in my life. But I’m so scared.”
“Shhh, I know, I know.” His voice growing quieter as he leaned against her and hugged her.
As the water began to splash up to her neck, he pulled himself up, then pulled her out of the sand. Adjusting their swimsuits, they began to walk towards the hotel. As they walked closer and the lights grew brighter, he looked down and noticed for the first time, the small bump. Stopping just under a light, he rubbed her belly.
“You’re growing, Riley.” There was excitement in his voice.
“Yes. A little.” She smiled, elated that he noticed.
They continued walking into the hotel and up to their room. After they both showered, they raided the left over snacks as they gathered all their items and threw them into the suitcases. Having an early flight again, they would have only enough time to grab breakfast before boarding the plane. Worried about her return to reality, she laid awake most of the night.
She woke extremely exhausted as they scurried to gather their things and get to the airport. Riley’s hands were shaking and she was growing nauseated as it grew closer to the time to board the plane. After handing in their tickets and passing the gate, they walked down the tunnel towards the plane.
Riley suddenly stopped. “I can’t do this, Scott, I can’t go back. I can’t go to jail.”
Scott turned to her and grasped her by the shoulders. “Riley, please don’t do this. We have to face this right now. It’s the only way we can put this behind us. So we can move on with our lives, peacefully. Please, Riley.” He pleaded with her as he tried to gently force her towards the plane. She was crying and resisting his push, but eventually, she got on the plane.
Being seated and strapping on the seat belt, she found herself more nervous about the plane ride. Sipping on a soft drink, she couldn’t eat. She couldn’t seem to relax. She wished she wouldn’t have gotten on the plane, but she needed to be by Scott’s side. And she needed him by her side. And she knew he was intent on going home.
The rough landing had left her shaky and terrified, but everyone was safe. Standing to get off the plane, she nearly passed out from the anxiety and exhaustion combined. Scott walked with his arm around her as they got off the plane and walked through the airport. Obtaining their luggage, he escorted her to where they had parked the car when they left.
Unlocking the doors, he threw the luggage in the trunk as she got in. Sitting in the drivers seat beside her, he shut his door and looked her over before speaking. “Ok, here’s the deal. I know you’re extremely exhausted and you need rest. You need to eat. You need to relax. I’m giving you some time to recuperate and do those things. Tuesday morning, when I go into work, you’re going with me so we can start to get this over with. Ok?”
Without looking at him, she merely nodded, tears running down her face. He reached over and took her hand. “Riley, I’m going to be right beside you through this entire thing, ok. I have faith and confidence that we can beat this.”
She looked at him. “I hope you’re right, Scott, because I’m not as certain.”
He stroked her hair back. “Come on, let’s get something to eat and go home.”
Aleah was sitting on the couch, but Cosmo knew they were home as he was waiting by the door when Riley came through it. Reaching down, she greeted him, then walked around the corner to find her sister as Aleah turned to see her. Jumping off the couch with a smile on her face, she came to hug Riley.
“How was your honeymoon?” She asked Riley, excited.
“Well, it was great, except for the part when I told Scott about what I’ve done. And he walked out on me for nearly twenty four hours. And I tried to commit suicide.” She showed Aleah her wound.
“Riley, Oh my God…” Not knowing what to say, she just put her arms around Riley and held her tight.
Scott walked into the room and Aleah approached him. “What’s going to happen to my sister, now that she’s told you everything?”
“Are you telling me that you’ve known about this the entire time?”
“Yes. I am her sister. Not only did I know what she did, I knew that she was going to do it. Or at least something like it. What’s going to happen to her, Scott.”
“Well, she’s going to enter her confession Tuesday morning. We already have an attorney who is working on this. We will bail her out, plead not guilty by reason of mental disease or disorder, and fight this with everything we have. Aleah, she is my wife, I love her very much and I don’t want to see her go to jail any more than you do. But we have to end this… I suppose you knew about the man who’s been threatening her too?”
Aleah drew in a deep breath as she looked at Riley, then back at Scott. “Yes.”
“Aleah, her life is in danger, how could you not tell me. I’m a cop, I can protect her. I can go after him. Like I told her, no more lies. No more secrets. You guys have to tell me these things.”
“Yes. I know. But I did try to get her to tell you about these things earlier. She just wasn’t ready yet. I couldn’t tell you her story, it wasn’t mine to tell.”
“I understand.” He said and drew in a deep breath as he looked at Riley, knowing she had heard their entire conversation. “I’m just glad everything is out in the open now. Did she tell you that she tried to commit suicide?”
“Yes, she did.”
“I have to go back to work tomorrow. Is there anyway you can stay with her while I’m gone?”
“Yes. Absolutely. I don’t mind. I always love to bug my sister.” She smiled and looked at Riley.
“Scott, that’s not really necessary. I’ll be fine, I’m no longer thinking of suicide, if that’s what you’re worried about. Besides, she’s been here two weeks, she probably wants to go home.”
“Riley, you should already know that that is only part of my worries.” Scott said.
“Yeah, Riley. I don’t mind, really. I too, am concerned about your safety, ya know.”
Riley merely nodded and came to hug her sister. “Thank you, I love you, Aleah.” She pulled back and looked at her sister. “I’m really tired so I’m going to bed now.”
Scott turned to go back out to the car and retrieve the rest of their luggage that contained an assortment of souvenirs from different areas of the island. Taking a few mild pain relievers for a pounding headache, Riley went straight up to her room and changed her clothes before laying down in bed. Scott chatted with Aleah for awhile before coming to bed and finding her asleep. Quietly, he climbed in beside her without waking her.
Awoken by soft kisses on her neck, she smiled and opened her eyes. As she drew in a deep breath, he looked up at her. “I love you, but it’s time for me to go.”
Feeling hot under the covers, she threw them off. “Ok. I love you too.” She returned.
“Riley, please do me a favor and call me if you go anywhere. I want to know where you’re at.”
“I will, but only if you kiss me…. Right here.” She smiled as she lifted up her shirt and pointed at her belly.
Without a word, he smiled and leaned down to kiss the spot where she pointed. “I love you too, my little baby.” He said then laid his cheek against her belly.
She was smiling with a tear in eye when he leaned back up to kiss her. “After all the fun time we just spent together, I hate to leave you now. But I have to. You know I’ll probably call you sometime throughout the day.”
“I will look forward to it.” She answered.
“Bye.” He kissed her one last time before walking out of the bedroom door.
Rolling over, Riley pulled just the sheet over her, trying to get comfortable again. Scott quietly walked through the house, seeing Aleah still sleeping on the couch and wondered why she wasn’t sleeping in the guest room, then forgot about it as he got into his car and pulled out of the driveway.
Just as she fell asleep, Riley heard the phone ring. Looking at the clock as she reached to answer it, she realized Scott had only been gone for fifteen minutes. “Hello?” She said when she picked up the phone.
“I was going to come and visit you, but I see your sister is staying with you. You should have expected my call, to see if you’ve told your husband. Or at least some other law official.”
“Yes, I did. I told him everything. Even about you.”
“Good girl. But I can’t help but wonder why you’re not at the police station right now. Is he going to keep your secret? Try to help you get away with it?”
“No, actually, I’m taking this day to rest. Tomorrow morning, I’m going to give them my confession.”
“Ok, I’ll be watching to make sure you do just that. On that note, I suspect your husband will pay me a visit, so I must get rid of this phone now. It was nice talking to you and I’ll keep in touch.”
“Listen to me and listen good. I don’t know your name but I’ll find out. And I’ll find out where you live. If you hurt anyone in my family, I will come after you and kill you. Just like I did your brother. So leave me the fuck alone.”
Her hands were shaking as she smashed the phone against the base, hanging up on him. Her anger was overflowing as she climbed out of bed to use the bathroom. Somewhat settled down when she went downstairs, she found Aleah still asleep on the couch. Looking at her for just a minute, she decided to let her sleep.
As Scott reached his office, he pushed all his other cases aside, to concentrate on hers. Luke gave him all the information he could acquire about their brothers. Knowing that she had mentioned that she assumed it was Chuck’s brother, he found the information on him first. Opening the folder, he saw a mug shot of the man. Tracing his finger across the paper, he discovered his age and date of birth. Then he discovered he had been arrested numerous times for domestic violence. Grabbing only that folder, he headed to his car.
Picking up the phone, Riley took it into the bathroom so she wouldn’t wake Aleah. Dialing Hannah’s number, she hoped it wasn’t too early. After three rings, she heard her voice, sounding as if she had woke her. “Hannah, I’m so sorry if I woke you.” Riley said.
“Is this Riley?”
“Yes, I want to ask you if you know if Chuck has any brothers, and what you know about them.”
“Hank?” Hannah said. “He only has one brother and he is about your age. I didn’t go to school with him, so I don’t really know him. Why?”
Riley drew in a deep breath. “I’ve been having a man calling me, threatening me to turn myself in. He even came to my wedding, flashing a knife and a gun. It makes me nervous, wondering if I made a mistake somewhere.”
“Well, Riley, I can tell you, the whole family is quite a rowdy bunch. It wouldn’t surprise me if Hank was just like Chuck. What are you going to do?”
“I’m turning myself in tomorrow, so I may need your testimony. Please?”
“Yes, Riley. Since I told my parents about it, I’ve tried to prepare myself for this. I will help you.”
“Thank you, Hannah. You don’t know how much that means to me. How much it’ll help me.”
Riley hung up the phone and went to the kitchen, starving. The smell of French toast drifted through the air and woke Aleah up. She rubbed her eyes as she walked into the kitchen. “Just in time.” Riley said and handed her a plate.
“What time does Scott return home from work?” Aleah asked.
“Usually around five. Why?”
“I have to be to work at five.” Aleah answered.
“Oh, you got a job? Awesome. Where are you working?”
“At the Newport Veterinary Clinic. I clean the exam rooms, cages and other areas. I feed the animals. And whatever else they need me to mix up or do.”
“That sounds great. I’m so happy for you. Don’t worry if you have to leave before Scott gets home, I’ll be fine.”
“Are you sure?” Aleah questioned.
“Yeah. You know me, you don’t have to worry.” Riley said, then continued to eat, dropping the subject.
Scott pulled up into the street in front of the house. Still living with his parents, it was the same house Riley had found just after the attack at the cabin. Scott knocked on the door and waited for a response. An older man answered and he assumed it was their father as he showed his badge and asked to speak with Hank. The man turned his head and hollered for Hank.
“What’s this about?” The older man asked.
“I just want to speak with him.” Scott offered no information to him.
As Scott seen the slightly younger man walk towards the door, he recognized him from the picture and flashed his badge again. “Hank Vanderlin?” He asked.
“Yes, what can I do for you?” Hank asked.
“Can you step outside and talk to me for a minute?” Scott asked him.
Hank shut the door behind him as he followed Scott halfway down the sidewalk. Not completely sure he was the suspect, he was careful with what he said. “I’m under the assumption that you know who my wife is. Am I correct?”
“Should I?” Hank asked and crossed his arms before his chest.
Grabbing his shirt with both hands clenched, Scott pulled him forward. “Don’t play stupid with me. You know as well as I do that it was your brother and his buddies that kidnapped her and took her to that cabin for the weekend. Raping her and beating her and leaving her for dead in those woods. And when your brother went to her apartment to kill her, she killed him instead. That pissed you off, and now, you want revenge. It’s not going to work that way. I could arrest you right now for the threats, but you would just be out in a week or so. That doesn’t do us any good, so instead, I’m going to threaten you. You have any kind of contact with Riley or any of our family, and I’m not going to take you to jail, I will kill you. And don’t forget, I’m a cop, I will get away with it.”
Hank pushed himself away from Scott. “I hear what you’re saying, but that doesn’t mean I’m listening. I just want her to go to jail for what she did.”
“Well, she will, tomorrow.” Scott said, not offering any information in her defense. “So now I trust we wont hear from you again.”
“As long as things go as planned, no.” Hank said.
Clenching his fists, Scott’s anger built to a peak. With a quick punch, he connected with Hank’s jaw and knocked him to the ground. Hank rubbed his jaw and looked up at Scott. “I could have you suspended for that.” Hank threatened.
“I don’t care. It would give me more time to protect her from you.” Scott said and walked away before his anger overtook him and he did get suspended for sending Hank to the hospital.
Getting into his car, he drove away from the house where Hank still sat on the front yard. With his next assignment trying to push through the anger in his mind, he drove towards Chesterfield. Scott’s anger still peaking above his concentration, he didn’t realize he was speeding. Seeing the lights flashing in his rear view mirror, he cussed and pulled to the side of the road.
As the officer walked towards the car, Scott pulled his badge out to show him. Rolling the window down as the officer stood at his car, he showed him his badge. “I’m really sorry, I didn’t realize I was speeding. I’m on assignment, on my way to Chesterfield.”
“Ok sir, just slow down, please?” The officer tipped his hat to Scott then walked back to his car.
The traffic stop seemed to divert his anger as he was now more calm. Walking into the hospital, he went to the front desk of the emergency room. Flashing his badge, he asked to speak with the doctor who treated her that night.
She pointed him in the right direction as he was fortunate the doctor was there. Scott flashed his badge as he approached the man. “Dr. Burke?”
“Yes.” The doctor answered him.
“I would like to speak to you about a young woman who came into this emergency room on the night of Sunday, January fifteenth. Her name was Riley St. Claire and she had been raped and beaten and dropped off by an anonymous woman.”
“Actually, I do remember her. She was in very critical condition when she came in. We don’t see things like that much around here. Let me grab her file.” The doctor said and went into a small file room.
Scott waited for him to return, looking around the large emergency department. Setting the file on a counter, the doctor opened it. “I assume you must be investigating the case. This is all we have here, you may want to check the police department. She did state to me that she was kidnapped and indicated that there was more than one attacker. She was unresponsive, but held on for three days, until she finally woke from her state of sleep. Then she left the hospital without being released.”
“That sounds like her.” Scott mumbled.
“Excuse me, what was that?”
“Nothing. I’m going to confiscate these files for her case.” Scott held his hand out to shake his. “Thank you for talking with me.”
Next he located the local sheriffs department and went inside. Talking with another detective, he retrieved the file, then handed it to Scott. As soon as he opened it, he saw the pictures of Riley the night she was brought into the hospital. Horrified by what he saw, it hurt him. Then he found the confirmed DNA samples from the rape kit. Gathering the information, he took it with him.
Scott left the police station feeling confident that the information he obtained would help her case. He stopped to fill his tank before heading to the location of the cabin that she had burned down. Although he didn’t think he would find anything to help, he stopped anyways. Getting out of his car, he walked around the entire cabin, looking into the remains and looking into the woods. The thought sickened him as he imagined what she must have gone through.
Riley began to get worried as she repeatedly tried to call Scott but was in the area where the was no cell phone service. Just after lunch, she sat down beside Aleah looking like she was about to cry. Riley finally told Aleah about the phone call that morning and that she couldn’t get a hold of Scott. Aleah hugged her, telling her everything was going to be fine, attempting to console her.
Approximately forty five miles from Newport, Scott heard his phone beep as he entered into a service area. Digging it out of his pocket, he looked at it to see missed calls. Panic came over him as he seen the six missed calls from home, thinking something had happened. Immediately, he called home.
Riley recognized the number as she picked up the phone. “Scott, where have you been? I’ve been trying to call you.”
“I just saw that. I’m so sorry, is everything ok?”
“Yes… but I did get another call this morning, just fifteen minutes after you left.”
“He must have called you just before… I had a few words with him, he shouldn’t be bothering us.”
“What do you mean? Are you sure he was the right man?” Riley asked him.
“I pretty much figured out it was when I went to visit him.”
“He said you were going to. And he said he had to dispose of his phone.”
“What else did he say to you?”
“That he would be watching to make sure I was turning myself in. I told him I would be tomorrow.”
“Well, I’m on my way back from Chesterfield. I went to speak with the doctor who treated you. He remembered exactly who you were. I got your files. I’ll be home soon.”
“Ok. I’ll see you when you get here.”
Aleah took a shower and got ready for work. Sitting beside Riley on the couch, she got her attention by taking her hand. “Riley, I really like this job. I started it just after you left for your honeymoon. I’ve been thinking about staying in Newport.”
“Aleah, I think that’s a great idea, but I can’t help but be concerned for dad. He’ll be alone. He’s not used to that.”
“I know, but on the other hand, he may enjoy his solitude. I think he’ll tell me to go ahead. I’m sure he would like for me to be on my own, learn how to survive in the real world. I’ve been living with him since I was born. Maybe it’s time to spread my wings. But there’s only one problem. Where am I going to go?”
“Let me talk to Scott. Maybe we can let you stay here and help you get your own apartment.”
“That would be awesome, Riley.” Aleah smiled and hugged her sister.
As Aleah left for work, Riley went to the kitchen to search for something to make for dinner, expecting Scott to be home soon. Just as she finished, she heard the front door open, then heard Scott talking to Cosmo as she came around the corner. He came to her and hugged her tightly.
“She had to go to work. Apparently, she works nights at the vet clinic. She wants to move to Newport and I kinda told her I would talk to you about letting her stay and helping her get on her feet.”
“Riley, I am a firm believer of safety in numbers. That would be perfect if she works nights, she can stay with you during the day. At least until she finds her apartment. Yes, I will agree to that. She can stay in the guest bedroom.”
Riley hugged him again. “Thank you Scott, I’ll be excited to tell her the news. Come on, I have dinner ready.”
“Hold on, I have a picture here. I want you to tell me if this is the man.” He said and handed her the picture of Hank.
As soon as she seen the picture, she shook her head, confirming that it was the same man he suspected. The same man he had spoken to the previous morning. The same man she had seen at the wedding.
As the day drew to a close, she grew more nervous about what she had to do the following morning. Just before she went to bed, she called her father and informed him of what she was about to do and asked him to come, bringing with him, his checkbook to bail her out.
Scott and Riley indulged in each other, making love one last time before she was certain to go to jail. At least for the day, until they could post bail. She was still completely unsettled, afterwards, both laying wide awake in bed. Unaware that each was having trouble sleeping, they laid silently in each others arms, both knowing it may be a while before they could share their love with each other.