The Red Dahlia

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Chapter 16-A brother to die for-


To say I was pissed off, would be a huge understatement and I hate lies more than anything. Wrong. First on my list, is Jake freaking Lockwood. The stunt he pulled in the dining hall, was uncalled for.

The fact that he actually had the nerve to claim that he still loves me, sent me over the edge. Who does he think he is? Playing with my heart like that?

I thought that I had moved on from all that drama, but I guess not. He just has to make my life harder with his irrational and childish behavior.

What bothered me the most though, was the fact that he catcalled Ryer. I am very loyal and protective when it comes to people I deeply care about, which is part of the reason why I don't take shit from anyone. And especially, not from a jerk like him.

After sitting and listening to his shit for what felt like forever, I finally had enough and stormed out of the dining hall, tears flowing down my face.

Is life ever going to give me a break? Probably not.

My thoughts were clouding my mind and I was hardly paying attention to were I was going. All I wanted, was to get as far away as possible away from him.

Suddenly, I heard Ryer from behind me calling out to me. I could here him clearly, but instead ignored him. I appreciated him being worried for me, but right now I needed to be alone more than anything else.

He continued to call out to me, and I continued my way. When he finally got close enough, he caught my wrist, turning me around to face him.

"Ryer, let go!" I hissed at him, trying to pull away, only for him to hold on tighter.

"Rayna, don't run. I'm trying to help you. Let me help you." he spoke softly.

I couldn't handle this right now. I was emotionally wrecked apart, and having him so close to me didn't help at all. Why can't he just listen to me for once? I am his leader after all.

"Ryer, I don't want your help. Now, let go!" Ι insisted pulling away. But before I could take another step forward, he grabbed me from my waist, bringing me close to him in his embrace.

Despite being upset and enraged, I instantly calmed down just by being in his embrace. That much of an effect he had on me.

"Hey, shh Rayna it's okay. I got you. Don't cry darling, I'm here." he whispered in my ear. I found myself calm from all the crying and the exhaustion. He didn't let me go though. To be honest, I didn't want him to either.

"Thank you Ryer. And I'm sorry for yelling at you. Jake got me really pissed." I exclaimed clinging to him tighter.

"Don't mention it love. You have nothing to be sorry for. Jake is a real asshole and he had it coming. Is there anything else I can do for you?" he asked still holding me in his embrace.

He had no idea how much I appreciated his concern. He might not know Jake personally, but he still sided with me nevertheless.

Something about him surrounding me, felt familiar and safe. It felt like home.

As much as I loved this moment, it didn't change the fact that I was hurt and I was in a big need of my brother. River has always been there for me throughout all the kinds of shit I have gone through, so he is my safe place to land whenever I need to. One of those times would be now.

"Yeah, actually there is something I need you to do for me. Can you please take me to River? I need my big brother right now." I inquired with a smile.

He must have seen the need in my face, because although he didn't want to leave me either, he immediately added, "Anything for you Ray. Shall we go?"

Is it possible to fall head over heels for someone only in a matter of a few weeks?

I promised myself to take it easy after Jake and Millie, but on the other hand, it didn't mean that I should stay forever alone healing. As long as I had moved on, which I had, why not give it a shot?

I can't yet though. First, I need to make sure that the feelings are mutual.

As much as I wanted River, I also didn't want to leave Ryer's embrace. I kind of got used to it.

"Can you hold me for a little longer? I feel better when I'm with you." I claimed with a fresh new blush. I really hated this new habit. Blushing at every chance I got. I made it so much easier for him to figure me out, and if you haven't realized it yet, that's not a good thing.

"I'll hold you for as long as you want to Ray. Even if that is forever." he smiled giving me a kiss on my forehead.

I couldn't help the butterflies swarming in my stomach. No one could make me feel the way he did.

I then smiled at him and hugged him tighter. I was addicted to his scent. He returned the gesture, wrapping his arms around me bringing me closer than ever.

Needless to say and admit, that I was in love with Ryer Hamilton.

A little later, after our emotional moment, we parted ways. I knew that Ryer wanted to come with me when I would talk to River, but I told him to keep out of this one. This time.

As I made my way to River's bedroom, I couldn't stop thinking about Ryer. Although we had become quite familiar with each other, he still managed to make me feel things I haven't felt before. Things I had never experienced, not even with Jake.

It's like every time we are together, I discovered a new part of him.

I was now outside of River's bedroom ready to knock on the door, when he suddenly opened it, causing me to stumble backwards.

"Rayna? What are you doing here? And, are you okay?" he asked me with concern and confusion written all over his face.

"Uh, yeah sorry if I am bothering you, but I really needed to talk to you. As for the second question, I'm not really fine." I replied to him.

As much confident as I wanted to look, River could see right through me. I could never hide anything from him. Guess that's the advantage of having to grow up together, they way we did.

"Of course you're not bothering me. You're my sister Ray. Now tell me, what's going on. Do I need to beat up or shoot someone?" he asked me with a serious expression.

I couldn't help but smile at his overprotective brother behavior. Even if we had only two years difference, that didn't stop him from protecting me 24/7.

"River, relax. You're not shooting anyone. At least not now." I said seriously.

"How can I relax when I see, that my baby sis is hurt and upset? But fine, I'll refrain only for you." he replied.

"Good to know. Now, please try to restrain yourself for what I'm about to say." I said warily. "I had a fight with Jake at the dining hall earlier, about our breakup and how about he still claims to love me and shit." I spoke quietly unaware of how River would react.

"He did what?! I swear I will kill him. Asshole has no morals at all. This is just bullshit. Please tell me you didn't believe him. When he said that he still loves you?" he asked me, rage flashing in his eyes.

"Hell no, I didn't. How could you actually believe that I ever would?" I retorted. "And that's not even the worst part." I sighed, knowing his next reaction.

"I'm sorry Rayna. I know you would never believe him, but you also know how manipulative he can get." he apologized.

"It's fine River. I know you're doing it because you care about me." I smiled.

"Wait, hold on. Did you say that there was something worse?" he inquired, the anger evident once again.

"Yeah. He had the nerve to blame it all on me, and also he disrespected Ryer. He called him a jerk and me a whore. Well, he didn't say it out loud, but his words were a clear meaning of it." I spoke.

Right this instant, River was burning in rage. His eyes had darkened and his knuckles had turned white, due to him clenching his fists tightly.

That was the last straw for him.

"He called you what?! A whore? That's it Rayna. I know what I promised you, but this is the end of my limits. No one disrespects my mates and especially not you. I'll end him. I don't care if he didn't say the word directly. What matters is that he still meant it." he yelled while heading towards the door, but I stopped him.

Despite being angry as hell right now, he stopped in front of me looking at me with anger and concern at the same time.

"River stop. You can't go to him right now. Not like this. Need I remind you that he is Taylor's son? The man who took after us when we were at our most difficult time of our lives? Please River, I know you are mad and so am I more than anything, but right now you can't afford acting irrationally. Is this the way you are thanking Taylor for what he did for us? Please, stay with me. I need you." I spoke softly, hoping he would listen to me.

Thankfully, he didn't move towards the door, but instead hugged me tightly.

"I'm sorry Rayna, I really am. I just hate him for everything he has caused you. But you're right. I can't kill him, not when Taylor has been like a second father to us. I appreciate him too much to hurt him. Just because I can't kill him, it doesn't mean that I will let this go Ray. He disrespected you in the most offensive way for a woman, and I'm not letting that go. No one hurts you. Understood?" he finished with a serious expression.

He was literally the best thing that has ever happened to me.

"Thank you River. And don't worry Jake will be handled. I just don't wanna see you get hurt because of him. Or worse, lose you. I could never bear with that. I suggested we talk to Taylor and explain what happened. Besides, in case you forgot, he was the one who gave him a real piece of his mind just for hurting me. Like I said, Jake won't get away with this." I assured him with a smile.

"No, you're right Rayna. That's what we'll do. I love you so much and I want you to know, that I will always protect you no matter what. You're my little sis and I'll sacrifice anything for you." he said kissing my forehead. I hugged him tighter, giving him a kiss on his cheek.

"Do you want to go talk to him now, or would prefer doing something else?" River asked me after we pulled away.

"As much as I want to get this over and done with, I think I'll spend some time with the girls. I have been hanging out with Ryer a lot, and I haven't seen them for a while, so I'll go to them. If that's okay with you." I told him smiling.

To be honest, I had missed my girls like crazy and we really needed to catch up on a lot of things.

"Yes of course. We'll talk to Taylor whenever you feel ready. You should really go see them, because they have been complaining to me that they miss you, and that Ryer has totally stolen you from them. Which by the way, brings me to my question. What exactly is going on between you and Ryer?" he asked me curiously.

I really didn't expect him to ask me that. What the hell was I supposed to answer him now? That I was falling for his best friend?

Yeah, not a chance in hell.

"What do you mean? We're best friends that's all. What's the weird in that?" I asked him, narrowing my eyes.

"Just friends? I never said that it was weird Ray. I'm just a little curious to know. You're my sister after all. Am I not allowed to ask?" he sent me a wink.

Yes, he is my brother and yes, I love him to death, but damn, the boy could be really infuriating sometimes.

"Yes friends. Be careful brother dearest because you know what they say, curiosity killed the cat. And you don't have to know everything about my social circle." I replied with a smirk.

"Fine fine, I believe you. I'll let this go, for now. I know you're hiding something from me, and I will find out what it is. That's a promise." he claimed returning the smirk.

I was officially worrying now. What if he had figured out about my crush on Ryer? He can read me like a fucking book. Well, that's something I'm gonna have to worry about later.

Right now, I need to get the hell out of here.

"Have fun with that brother. And do inform me if you figure it out." I said smirking as I walked out of his room.

Time to spend quality time with my partners in crime.

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