The next day, I was back to normal. The migraines faded and the nausea left, leaving me to clean up the mess in my social life. Dax was upset about something that happened that night at the club, and Riley was blowing up my phone with apologetic messages and voicemails. I wished I could remember what had happened, so I knew how to feel and how assess each situation.
So when I finally felt well enough to answer Riley’s call, I found myself back at his parent’s restaurant. When I arrived, a waiter seated me at a table in the back, where I was told to wait for Riley. Ten minutes had passed before Riley appeared from the kitchen, holding two plates of food and a bottle of wine. He set the plate down and poured me a glass of the aged Chardonnay, but said nothing.
“What happened at the club?” I finally broke the silence, Riley’s face paling slightly at my question. He cleared his throat.
“I was drunk- Upset and drunk.” He said, glancing up at me and then back down to his food.
“Upset about what?” I pressed, watching as he squirmed in his seat. His normally warm eyes seemed guarded, defensive even.
“You.” He replied, taking a large gulp from his glass.
“Me?” I found myself pointing to myself in confusion.
“We’ve been dating for a couple months, I was getting tired of waiting.” He avoided my confused stare, “When you turned me down, I was really hurt. I kept thinking there was something wrong with me, maybe you thought I wasn’t attractive enough, I don’t know.”
“Let me finish.” He bit his lip before continuing, “My friends asked me if I wanted to go out, and I stupidly agreed. I was just so bummed out, Jane. You have no idea how awful I felt about myself. Anyway, we get to the club and we drink. A lot. Before I know it, I’m plastered and fucking four girls in the bathroom.” I choke on air, noticing a few heads in the restaurant turn toward us. Pushing my embarrassment aside, I watch him in disbelief. “And then I see you there with him, and I just freaked out. I shouldn’t have pushed you.” He dipped his head down dejectedly. “I’m sorry.” I was quiet, minutes passed and I had said nothing.
“Please say something.” He pulled my hands into his. Their familiarity seemed distant now.
“I forgive you.” I sighed, removing one of my hands from his to gently squeeze his arm comfortingly. He let out a deep sigh of relief and leaned forward to kiss me. But I, of course, pulled away. “Right, you need time.” Riley nodded stiffly, but I shook my head.
“No, I forgive you, but we’re done.” And for the first time since my parents died, I felt strong. I backed out of my chair and stood, leaving Riley at his overrated, overly expensive table to dine alone. Once I reached the parking lot, I opened my car door and was about to get in when I saw Riley exit the building.
“You can’t leave me! I settled for you, I could’ve had any girl I wanted but I chose you!” He came up to my car and slammed the door, cornering me between himself and the vehicle. “You don’t leave me, I leave you.”
“Fine.” I shrug, craning my neck to the side to avoid his heavy breathing.
“Do you not give a shit at all?” Riley spat, desperately trying to rouse me in some way. Part of me was sad about losing my relationship with Riley, I felt like I had wasted so much time with the wrong guy. When I didn’t say anything, Riley pushed himself away from my car and turned away from me. After a few moments, he whirled back around to face me, pointing his index finger toward me. “This is because of Dax, isn’t it?”
“Yes.” I said without another heartbeat. His skin paled slightly and he shook his head.
“I should’ve known,” He chuckled maniacally and grabbed my chin roughly. “Have fun with your nobody cop, slut.” Riley shoved my face away and he walked back into the restaurant. My heart pounded hard in my chest, but not because Riley had hurt me. My heart was pounding because I was free. I jumped into my car and pulled out of the parking spot, speeding onto the highway.
Half an hour later, I found myself at Dax’s door. With the sudden adrenaline I had an endless supply of today, I knocked at the door continuously. But after minutes of knocking, I realized he wasn’t home. I dejectedly walked home, my feet dragging against the sidewalk. As I approached my front door, I ran my fingers through my hair and sighed.
“What would you have said to him?” I asked myself, my forehead against the cool wooden door. “I’m single now, let’s finally makeout?” Scoffing at myself, I shoved the key into the lock and opened the door, shutting it flatly behind me. I threw my purse on the couch and made my way to my bedroom before seeing the door was already open. On guard, I quietly tiptoed inside. The bedroom was empty and I let out a sigh of relief.
“Dal, just make sure everything’s ready. I’m waiting for her to get home right no-” Our eyes met as he exited my bathroom, a duffel bag in hand with a variety of my stuff inside. “I’ll... Call you back.” He hung up, but we continued to stare at each other. “I can explain this.”
“Please do.” I nodded breathlessly.
“After you left this morning, Dorian Smith broke into your house and took Vivian hostage,” My heart sunk, black spots appearing in my vision. “Thank God Dalila was coming over to take Viv out. Dal shot Dorian in the thigh, giving her enough time to get Vivian out safely, but Dorian got away.” My heart lifted slightly at the thought of Vivian being safe. “But he knows where you live now, you can’t stay here. We’re leaving.”
“Leaving where?” I bit my lip as he continued to pack my bag.