Chapter Eight: "If It Kills Me"
"How long can I go on like this
Wishing to kiss you
Till I rightly explode?
-If It Kills Me, Jason Mraz
My long white dress billowed in the fierce wind. My hair tossed in the wind like a romantic cloud of mahogany.
He stepped from the trees. Like the last time, his face was concealed, but I could see the cruel, malicious lift of his lips.
"Do you know all you should know about your precious Riven?" he asked in a voice that sounded like their were thousands of him speaking at the same time.
The hairs on my arms rose as I recognized the words from my recent note.
"Who are you?" I choked out.
He stepped closer and said, "You ask all the wrong questions, Siberia."
I then smelled something burning. I looked up and realized the trees were on fire. The forest was steadily burning.
I looked back at him and realized I could now see his eyes. They were a pale, cool gray.
"You're different than the others," he said as the flames flared up around us. "They were nothing. Meaningless. But you...you're special."
He grabbed me by the throat, fixing me with his cold, gray eyed stare as he squeezed.
I kicked and struggled as he lifted me off my feet, squeezing tighter and cutting off my breathing.
I woke up with a start. My hair was sticking to my temples and to my neck. My eyes were wide.
My breathing was shallow, there was no such thing as too much air to me at that moment.
The sun is up and I could smell the breakfast my mom was preparing.
I immediately flicked the covers off of me. I placed my feet on the cool wooden floor carefully.
I hung my head, still freaked out about my dream.
Those cold gray eyes. That malicious grin...
It was Saturday. I reach over for my phone and find over fifty missed calls, seventy new texts and forty voicemails.
I sighed, remembering yesterday's events. Josie and Riven had driven me over the edge. It almost had me on the verge of tears, though I wasn't sure I was ready and willing to admit that yet.
I sighed a second time, standing up now.
Those notes had me freaked out so much, my mind had created a person subconsciously to take responsibility for the unknown enemy.
At least that's what I told myself.
I turned to my door, ready to get out of this room and get this day over with when I saw it: a small rectangular piece of paper taped to my bedroom door.
My heart stopped as my mind cried, not again.
I slowly walked toward the door and I peered at the note.
"Tears are for the weak," it read. "And dreams are for the lucky."
After breakfast, my dad decided it would be a good idea if he and I had some father-daughter time.
He didn't know that I had overheard his conversation with Mom last night. But I was completely dreading my dad trying to pull answers out of me
So after I had gotten dressed, I sullenly made my way downstairs.
We ended up in a frozen yogurt place, we sat across from each other, eating our frozen yogurt silently.
As long as my dad didn't try to ask me what was wrong, we'd be fine.
Dad cleared his throat and I mentally groaned. Here we go.
"So, Siberia, your mother is worried about you," Dad began.
I took my time swallowing my fro-yo before asking, "Really? Why?"
"You've been acting weird lately, Siberia. You've been very reserved."
I stared down at my yogurt, no longer wanting any.
"And I think I know why," Dad said softly.
My head snapped up in surprise and my eyes met his.
"You do?" I asked.
"Of course," he responded. "It's all the arguing your mom and I have been doing lately, isn't it?"
"Yeah," I lied.
Dad nodded, seemingly pleased he'd figured out what was wrong with me.
"It's all going to be fine, Siberia," he said reassuringly.
Then he began talking about how all married couples have their fights, but how he didn't love my mom any less than the day they first met.
While this was nice to hear and while I was relieved to know my parents weren't getting a divorce, I still had discomfort in my heart.
Riven had said girls had been found dead after receiving mysterious letters.
Was all of this a coincidence or was I in danger?
I sighed and looked across the street at the clothes store when something caught my eye.
The billboard over the interstate looked different than normal. Instead of the Victoria's Secret model that was usually displayed for the world to see there were words that read:
"Daddy doesn't know about me, does he, honey?"
It was clearly for me. Somehow the person who was stalking me had heard my conversation with my dad.
I paled. It felt like the world was caving in around me.
"Siberia, are you alright?" Dad asked, sounding very worried.
"Yeah," I said, feeling numb. "Let's just go home, please."
Madison showed up at my house later that day looking frantic.
"Oh my god, Siberia, I was so worried about you," she exclaimed, hugging me. "You just rushed out and then I called and called and you didn't pick up."
"Sorry," I mumbled, returning her hug. "I haven't been by my phone."
And it was true, I had been purposely avoiding my phone all day.
"Because of what happened between Riven and Josie," she stated knowingly.
"No," I lied, my voice an octave higher than it should be.
Josie was giving me the "stop lying" face.
"Maybe..." I grumbled, looking at her "no bull" expression. "Okay, yes! It bothered me that Riven was flirting with her. Happy, now?"
"Very," Josie said laughingly. "So, what are you gonna do?"
"There's nothing I can do," I told her seriously. "I don't have a right to be angry or get jealous. He's not my boyfriend, Ryan is."
Josie didn't look very convinced, but she nodded.
"Then you can come to Josie's party tonight."
"Josie's party?" I tilted my head.
"Yep, yesterday Josie decided she wanted to throw Riven and his siblings a welcome party. Josie would be peeved if you missed her party."
Madison was right. Josie would never let me hear the end of it if I missed her party.
I rolled my eyes.
"When does it start?" I asked.
Madison checked the time on her cell, then said, "In twenty minutes."
I sighed. "Just let me change."
The party was packed, filled with drunken, handsy idiots who were completely unaware of their surroundings.
"I can't believe I actually decided to come to this thing," I yell in disgust over the thumping bass and the loud voices.
Madison pursed her lips.
"Yeah, I know," she said. "We'll only stay for a few minutes, then we can do something less-" her eyes strayed over to where a boy bent over and emptied the contents of his stomach. "-disgusting," she finished.
I nodded in agreement, scrunching my nose up as we passed a couple who was heavily making out against a wall.
"Let's just find Josie and let her know we're here," I suggested.
Madison nodded and we pushed through the crowd.
I eventually spotted a familiar head covered with long blonde tresses surrounded by four heads covered with dark tresses. Josie was clinging very tightly to one of them.
"Josie!" Madison called as we moved closer to them.
They turned and I saw Raveena and the two handsome brothers, I saw Josie and she was clinging tightly to Riven.
"You guys, I'm so glad you could make it," she shouted enthusiastically.
"Yeah, we are too," I said with false cheer, smiling thinly. My heart was breaking seeing Riven and Josie together like this.
Why did I care? I had Ryan. I loved Ryan.
"It's so nice to see you, Siberia," Raveena said, thankfully breaking through the awkwardness I felt. "You left so fast yesterday. Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," I said smiling, this time it was genuine.
And then, as if she was trying to ruin my night, Josie ran her hand up and down Riven's muscled arm and stood up on the tips of her toes, whispering something in his ear that made him grin.
Jealousy curled in my belly, strong enough to wipe out New York City.
"I'm gonna get a drink," I grumbled, storming off.
I knew I had no right to feel this way. He was single. He could do what he wanted.
I snagged a beer from the refrigerator. I took a swig, watching the party goers as they laughed and danced.
"Having a good time?" a deep voice asked from behind me.
I looked up and met Riven's heavy lidded blues staring at me. Butterflies and a cat and I think a pony danced around in my stomach.
"Not really," I answered honestly.
"Parties aren't really my thing. I only came because Josie would never let it go if I tried to bail."
He nodded. "So you didn't come for me?"
I snorted. "Not even in your dreams, pretty boy."
"Definitely in my dreams, Angel. Trust me."
His words made my heart pound. I was on the verge of spontaneously combustion.
And all that did was make me angry. Who did he think he was to play with my emotions like this?
I spotted Josie. She was standing off to the side talking to Madison and Carmella who must've just arrived, but she was throwing glances at Riven and me.
"You should get back to Josie," I said, jerking my chin in her direction. "She'll probably explode if you don't."
Riven casually looked over at Josie and then looked back at me.
"I'm fine where I am, thank you." He smirked.
I rolled my eyes and took another swig of my drink.
And if I thought standing next to Riven, feeling on the verge of combustion was bad it was nothing compared to what happened next.
There was a tap on my shoulder and when I turned, warm lips met mine. The kiss was familiar and I knew who it was immediately.
Opening my eyes, I confirmed I was right.
Ryan was here.
And Riven looked like he was on the verge of hitting something.