They were going to blame me, but I didn't do anything. He tried to kill me. I stumbled backwards into a stall then regained control of myself and ran out of the bathroom.
I very nearly tumbled down the stairs like an idiot. I just wanted to find my friends and get the hell out of here and never return.
I ran passed people who were dancing to Rita Ora, she was performing on stage with backup dancers and props. I was so shaken I couldn't even be mesmerized.
“We have to leave,” I said grabbing Frankie’s arm, she stumbled forward and giggled.
“Where have you been? Rita Ora is here! We have to meet her where's Cassidy?! We have to meet Rita I'm a big fan!” Frankie was so drunk.
“Yes let's find Cass.” I said trying to get her moving once I had all two of them we would bolt out of here.
Cass was sitting on the lap of a man in his mid thirties. She was playing with his tie and giggling.
“Bitches! Where have you beennnn!” I was panicking what if he wasn't alone and the others where looking for me.
But when I scanned the room there was no one suspicious looking around us.
“Paul these are by bitches-”
“Cass we need to leave,” I said quickly. “Why Val? It's not even 2 a.m yet.”
“I know but we just need to-” A loud blast cut me off. People screamed and began to scatter. Then another loud blast and Rita Ora was ushered off the stage and Paul bolted out of his seat, dropped Cassidy on the floor.
I helped her up to my feet. “Let's get out of here,”I said.
We made a mad dash out of there, three drunk girls were bound to fall in the midst of the chaos. We had to hold hands to make it out together.
We got out and stood outside of the massive nightclub, next to Cassidy’s Subaru. I panted, trying to catch my breath as Frankie and Cass broke out in a fit out laughter.
“Are you guys seriously laughing?” I asked, dumbfounded.
“Yeah, that was so funny. Oh my gosh I lost a shoe.” Frankie said, leaning into the car, staring down at her naked left foot.
“It's okay Val it's the Pentagon things like that happen all the time.” The scene around me was still chaotic, patrons of the Pentagon fled into their cars and drove like manics into the streets.
We were back at my dorm, I let Cass use my bed while Frankie and I camped on the floor. Frankie was out like light. She didn't even bother changing. I was still shaken and in pain from being beaten by that man. I felt the burns and bruises on my body, but I just didn't want to know what I looked like. My friends hadn't mentioned it, they either were too drunk to notice it, or my injuries weren't as bad as I thought.
“Cass?” I started. I wasn't sure if I should tell her what happened. I was scared, how had I killed that man? Cass sat on my bed texting rapidly.
“Paul just texted me, such a douchebag.” I wanted to keep my mouth shut forever and never utter a word to any living soul, but the guilt was eating me up inside. The horrible imagine of that man's wide eye and stare of death were just stuck in my mind.
“Cass?” I said again.
“Listen, Val-” she put her phone down for a second. “Stuff like that happen all the time at the Pentagon, it was probably just a prank anyways. Not everything that happens at the Pentagon is legal, that's why people freaked out so much. There is nothing to worry about.”
“That's not what I wanted to talk to you about though,” I said.
“Take some water lots of it or else you'll have a horrible headache in the morning. Go to sleep Val.” She rolled over in my bed and turned off my tiny bedside lump.
I had a mini fridge in my room where I kept important stuff like water and chocolate bars and fruit and take out. I only drink bottled water because the water at SilverLake College wasn't exactly safe right now.
I drunk three whole bottles and by then my friends were dead asleep. No matter how hard I tired I couldn't fall asleep, the night was silent. The memories were making so much noise for me I couldn't sleep.
I pulled out my Samsung from under my pillow and dialed the only person who would listen to me at three in the morning and not get pissed at me.
He picked up the second ring.
“Ava?” His voice came out husky and manly.
“Yes, who else calls you this late?”
He chuckled the sound of his laughter always made me smile. “Everything okay? I told you girls night was a bad idea.” He said, suddenly sounding more awake.
I thought about how great things were, how excited I was then I was nearly killed, or worse. There are worse things than death…
“Maybe you were right…” my voice broke. I'd never been beaten like that before. Mom slapped me for being disobedient once in a while but never had I ever been battered like that.
“Do you want me to pick you up?” He offered. “No, Rider I just needed to talk to someone.”
“Come on Ava let me pick you up, I know it's late-”
“I'll come to you.”
“No, please it's late and I'd never forgive myself if something happened to you on your way here. I'm already out of bed babe.”
I blushed at how protective he was off me, he'd gotten into a lot of fights back in high school, not because of me. Oh no, he just has a bad temper. He once got into a fight, well they almost fought, but didn't get around to it. Rider almost beat up Shane Norman - my arch rival - I had to break it up because I knew Rider was on his last warning.
It was an impulsive thing that could have landed one of their fists in my gut. That's how we started hanging out.
“I'll be fine. I don't think I can sit around and wait for you to get here. I need to get far away.” I said in a medium tone so not to wake my sleeping friends.
Rider was silent for a minute at the other end, “okay fine. Don't take more than 10 minutes to get here.”
I slipped into a pair of comfortable grey sweatpants and a yellow long sleeve top, no bra. I grabbed the keys to my rundown SUV that belonged to my late grandfather. He'd always joke about getting me a car, he'd say wait for me to die then you can have mine. He was only sixty-three when he passed unexpectedly.
I made sure not to wake anyone on my way out. I walked passed Cassidy’s grey Subaru on my way to where I'd abandoned my scarred SUV. It was morning, but the night still lingered.
SilverLake isn't the safest place to be, neither day nor night time. But I grew up in these wild and mysterious streets, I knew them just like the back of my hand. I knew anything could happen at anytime on any street. No matter how lavish and posh.
SilverLake spared no one that's what my Dad always told my Mom before he vanished anyway. Mom never let me say he left us, because according to her he didn't and he would never willingly leave us.
For some reason I found myself thinking about him, Ceasar Carmichael, I only barely remember his face. I had so many questions and anger that I kept bottled up inside.
I had no reason to explode at the world. I packed up all my questions and frustrations, my insecurities about him leaving in a big old suitcase and tossed it in room that's located deep inside my mind. I often found myself in that room, it hasn't been easy to control myself I'm not going to lie.
Tears rolled down my cheeks and I felt pathetic, I wiped them away quickly, touching a bruise as well. It burned, but I still refused to see what that animal did to me.
Maybe he did deserved to die.
The guards at Riders house were used to me by now, I'd come here a million times, they knew my car well. They let me in, and I parked my car behind Rider’s white Range Rover.
I didn't know if his parents were home or his older brother. I didn't see any other car other than Rider’s so I assumed he was home alone. I rang the doorbell twice because I was impatient.
He opened the door wearing his boxers and a plain vest. He looked sexy and sleepy. I dived into his arms and squeezed him tight. His enormous arms circled my waist pulling me closer to him.
I sniffled, but at the same time I was taking in his masculine scent. His hair was all ruffled and I felt bad for waking him. I'd done it before never really felt bad about it. I was just so happy to see him, I felt safe to fall apart and I did.
I lost control and tears slowly fell down my face, then I began sobbing into his shoulder. I was shaking and crying so hard, he just held me and ran his long fingers down my hair.
Eventually he lifted me off the ground and into his arms and carried me into his bedroom where he laid me on his bed. He didn't say anything for a while. He waited for me to calm down then interrogated me.
He turned on his bedside lamp and turned to face me. Rider laid beside me staring into my eyes or at my bullied face.
“What the fuck happened?” He said in a gentle whisper. I sighed, avoiding his gaze I relayed the events of the night except the part where a bright light came out of nowhere and zapped a man to death. I made up a small tale about narrowly getting away.
Someone will find him eventually and they'll find out you killed him Avalon…
“Son of a gun. Why the hell were you at the Pentagon anyway?” He sat up in the bed. I stayed down looking straight up at him.
“I didn't know it was a bad place Rider! Cassidy-”
“Cassidy, Cassidy, Cassidy! I'm so sick of her. She's an irresponsible brat.” He spat.
I sat up surprised at his sudden rage and it was at the wrong person. If anyone was to blame for this it was me.
“That's not true. She couldn't have done anything to help me he was so massive-”
“You can say that but she should have at least had your back-”
I cut him off, “not you too Rider please. You don't know what the girls mean to me.”
He ran a frustrated hand through his hair. “Ava, okay I get it Cassidy’s amazing. You got hurt babe and she was getting wasted and high with some old bag.”
“You just have a problem with Cass,” I said, trying to defend my friend. I don't know why he has such a problem with Cass.
“Maybe I do, but it was your first time there she should have at least-”
“I've heard enough Rider. I didn't come to fight with you. I really really need you right now and you trying to place blame on my best friend isn't helping.”
He sighed and kissed my forehead gently. He laid back down next to me, wrapping his arm around me as well. “Don't go back there, okay?” He whispered into my hair. I nodded.
Rider found all my bruises and cuts and cleaned them, he cursed while he was at it. He was so concerned and it warmed my heart. He wasn't mad at Cassidy anymore his anger then turned to the man that did this.
After I was cleaned Rider turned on me and instantly made my body surrender to his. We made love until the sun shone through his curtains. Our bodies tangled in his bed sheets that would surely need changing. He was the first guy I'd ever been with, and he made me feel really special.
I guess that's how it is with your first love. As I watched his chest rise and fall over the sunrise my heart settled and I fell asleep. I woke up with his hands playing with my long brown hair.
“Morning,” I murmured. “Afternoon to you too.” He chuckled.
I stared up at him wide eyed. “I'm only joking. You feeling any better?” He asked. I put my hand behind his neck and pulled him in for a good morning kiss.
“Much better.” I smiled. Rider’s room was large, painted a light shade of brown. He kept several ancient looking paintings in his room that were associated with the darkness of ancient Greece.
There were actually a few paintings like that around the house, particularly an Angels vs Demons landscape in the hallway. It always freaked me out. I've been here so many times I've just gotten used to them.
He had a massive king size bed that centered the room and a cute orange rug I hand picked to brighten up the room. Rider kept a picture of us on our anniversary, by his bedside table next to a grey lava lamp.
Yeah, Rider wasn't one for bright colors. He looked great in white and grey which is what he wore most of the time.
Rider offered to make us breakfast and I blushed… how lucky could I get? Just a few months ago I was stuck with my mother in our two bedroom apartment with my insane grandmother visiting once in a while. Mom and grandma barely ever got along, it was because of the way they lived life.
I sighed, not wanting to think about unnecessary family drama. I slipped in one of Rider’s shirts, one of his college t-shirts.
I found him in the kitchen trying to make eggs for me, I smiled at his cute attempts at cooking. I wrapped my arms around his waist and caught a glimpse the tv from behind him.
“Are you watching the news?” I giggled. “What?” He grinned.
“Since when do you watch the news babe?” I laughed a little.
“Well you gotta know what's going on in the world. Turn the volume up, will you?”
I found the remote on the kitchen isle and turned it up, nothing but politics, nothing that would spark my interest until news about the Pentagon came on. Then they had my full attention, Rider glanced at the tv for a second before going back to his eggs.
Must be some gossip, I thought.
“Last night at SilverLake’s illustrious nightclub the Pentagon turned into a sense of pandemonium after reports of several minor bombs going off in the night club…”
“You didn't mention anything about any bombs Avalon.” His voice turned serious. I knew it was serious when he called me by my full name.
“I didn't know about any bombs,” I whispered.
“... there have been reports of injuries and one death. 19 year old Skylar Dean was found dead in one of the bathrooms, her cause of death remains unclear. Yolanda Dale for SilverLake News.”
I gasped as a high school picture popped up on the small kitchen screen. A young girl with a beautiful smile and bright brown eyes and short black hair. That could have been me.
My mouth hang open, not because that could have been me, but because I knew that girl. The eggs must have been burning behind me because I heard the sizzling. Moments laters Riders arms wrapped around me from the behind.
I was in a state of shook, Skylar and I didn't just go to high school together, but she was Frankie’s first cousin.
Oh my gosh, this is horrible.
That could have been me.