Chapter 6

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Authors note:
This chapter has a scene of mild child abuse.

Riley

Work flew by quickly as I entered all the information into the computer. I barely needed to think about this stuff as I did it. I was just glad that I didn't have to deal with customers. That I would hate. I just stayed to myself in the back. I understood the computer. It wasn't complicated like people. You put the numbers in and that was it. Simple. I could do all of this data entry and still think about my first day back to school. Grayson, Grayson, Grayson. He's all that went through my head. His eyes. Light steel blue. No one had those eyes but him. It hit me so hard when I looked into them for the first time. I could hardly keep myself upright. I didn't know what came over me. It was so powerful and confusing. I knew those eyes. I had dreamed of them for the last three years. But I didn't know who they belonged to. Just that they meant something to me. Something good and right and powerful. They made me feel safe and loved. I couldn't explain it If I had to. It was just something I could tell was part of me. And then the powerful electrical pull to him. I had to resist touching him all throughout class. It was so bizarre. How could a guy make me feel like that? No wonder all the girls were so caught up in him. He was magnetic.

But when he was sitting there next to me, turned toward me, I felt like I was the only person in the room. His colors were the best part. I saw so many amazing emotions from him as he sat next to me in Science. He was genuinely happy. He was fascinated, by me. Then it got even better during art. When I walked into that room, he started sparking joy. I saw shades of delight and bliss when I sat down. You can't fake the colors. I know them all. I have studied them and analyzed them meticulously. When he told me that he loved art, I knew he was being honest. Cotton candy pink was firing off all around him. That is the color of love. He must honestly love art.  He wanted to be in that art class, sitting there next to me. But why?

I analyzed every moment that we spent together today. Every look, every glance. Every color. No day had ever been this good. Was I loosing my mind? This totally hot, sweet guy was never ever going to be interested in me. Why was I even thinking about him? I just barely met him 8 hours ago and I was already totally wrapped up in him. I couldn't let myself do this. I had goals. I had the girls to think about. Did I just think I was some normal high school girl who could crush on a guy? That wasn't me. That wasn't my life. I was kidding myself by even thinking about him and his gorgeous, penetrating eyes. Oh God, there I go again! I have to stop. He is just a boy. A boy who could easily break my heart when he turns his attention to the next girl he sits next to. Had he been that nice to all the girls today? Oh, this is just ridiculous. I need to come back down to reality. He isn't interested in me.

I trudged home and hoped Gwen was in a decent mood. Of course, she wasn't. "What took you so long to get home?" "This is the time I always get home from work when I'm in school." I reminded her. "Oh, right, school. Forgot about that. Make the girls some dinner. There is mac and cheese in the cabinet." Then she was out the front door. I hoped It was at least Kraft. That was the only good one. The girls came out and gave me a hug. They were why I kept coming back here. I fed the girls. Played with them and put them to bed. Then I started on my homework. Thankfully not too much on the first day of school. Homework was always easy anyway. The only thing that kept me from it was always the never-ending drama at home.

I was just finishing brushing my teeth when I heard Hank stumble in. It was only ten. He came home early from drinking tonight. Great. I tried to rush to the bedroom before he noticed me. I was still in the sweatshirt from earlier thank goodness. I tried to never change until the moment I got safely into bed. He blocked my doorway just as I was about to catch a break. "Where do you think you're going?" He seethed. His whiskey breath hit me in the face. I closed my eyes and tried to compose myself. I opened them to look at his colors. It wasn't good. Sickly brown which was his standard along with lust. Oh heck no. "I told you that you would owe me for putting me in jail. Did you think you were going to get out of it?" "No, I just have school in the morning, so I need to get to sleep." I said as kindly as I could. "Oh, I'm going to put you to sleep alright. But not until I get what I deserve."

He reached out and grabbed me by the butt, pulling me into him. I tried not to gag as I felt him against me. His other hand went up to the back of my hair and pulled back hard. "Do you think I just let you live here for the heck of it? I have had a lot planned for you ever since you came here. You should be glad I waited this long. Waited until you could handle it." "I don't think I'm ready." I said sheepishly, hoping it would work. "Oh, I think you are Riley. I think you have been ready for a while. I can tell what you have hiding under those big shirts. You are a grown woman. And you need me to show you how to act like one." I thought I was going to throw up. The pain in my head and the fear was starting to overtake me. I couldn't pass out. Then he would do whatever he wanted. I had to think. "I will be 18 in a week. Won't that be better?" I asked. That was so dumb. But its all I could think of. "I think it would be better if you kept your mouth shut." he shouted. He pulled me closer again. His colors were turning from lust to rage. That was so not good. I had to do something. I was terrified. I could feel that energy building up in me again like the day he went to jail. I couldn't do that to him again. Gwen would kick me out.

I closed my eyes and tried to calm myself. "That's right, just give in. You know you've been wanting to." He said in my ear. Dread ran through me. He started pushing me back towards his bedroom door. I tried to stay still where I was. It didn't work. He shoved me hard and I hit the wall behind me. Pain shot through my head. Then I heard a loud knock on the door. Hank turned towards it. "Who the hell is it?" He yelled. "Pizza delivery." I heard. "We didn't order a pizza!" Hank bellowed. "Well, someone did, and I have to get money for it. So, you might as well have pizza for dinner tonight sir." The guy said rather kindly through the door. Was that Grayson's voice? My mind must have been playing tricks on me. "Go away!"  "I'm sorry, I can't do that. I can't afford to pay for this pizza out of my own pocket. Tell you what, I will give it to you for half price." What was this guy doing? He would pay for half our pizza? That's ridiculous. Hank for some reason decided to actually open the door. I could see that his color was confusion and suspicion now. I guess he needed to see who this stubborn pizza guy was.

As soon as the door opened, I saw a fist come straight into Hanks face. He suddenly flew backward and hit the ground. Blood was pouring out of his nose.  He jumped up and headed to the door. "I will have you arrested, you dumb punk!" Hank yelled at the retreating form. The guy clearly didn't have a pizza delivery uniform on and he certainly didn't have a pizza. I ran outside and tried to catch a glimpse of him. But it was too dark. We didn't have much light around this neighborhood. I must have imagined it was Grayson's voice. But whoever that was, I owed them big time.  My head was still throbbing. But I wasn't on the verge of passing out anymore.

I went to the room I shared with the girls and locked the door. Gwen had given me that lock when she heard hank was getting out. I was so glad for it now. I heard Hank grumbling in the other room and then the front door slammed. I really hoped he was gone for the whole night. That was really a close one. I needed to be better prepared tomorrow night. I will be in my room with the door locked as soon as I hear his key in front door. Thank God the girls were safe from his anger this time. I looked over at them. They were in bed together crying. Of course, they heard everything. "Are you okay Riley?" sweet Bella asked. She was the spokesperson for the both of them. Ava we really quiet. She could talk, she just didn't like to. "I'm fine Bella. Don't worry about me. I can handle him. I won't let him hurt you girls again." I promised.

I got in my bed and they both climbed in with me. I put one arm around each of them. "I love you Riley, please don't ever leave us." Ava said quietly. I kissed her and Bella on their heads. "I love you girls too." I told them. I couldn't promise I wouldn't leave. But when I did, I would make sure they had a different place to live. I wouldn't leave them with that monster. My head felt weird. It hurt, but I also felt some sort of electrical current in there. I grasped the amber necklace. It was warm. I don't know what it meant, but it somehow helped. Soon I was soundly asleep.

AN: please vote. If this was too intense,  let me know. I don't want to trigger any bad memories for anyone suffering from abuse.

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