Authors Note: Suggestive themes. You’ve been warned.
Here is Riley’s bedroom.
Noah’s Point of View
I brought Riley back into my life – once again – about 4 months ago. When I tell you I’ve never felt more awkward in my life… I’m not even joking. Yes I love Riley very much but she would flinch if I even sat too close to her on the couch! Every day I would tell myself that this would be the day she would finally tell me what happened, but it just never worked that way. Although being here for 4 months she did start to warm up to me… sort of.
“Alright the dishes are done. I’m going to be heading off to work now Snoot. Do you need anything before I go?” I sighed, rinsing the suds from my hands.
She peered over her shoulder, “Uhm, n-no I’m okay.”
Yeah I wish that were true. It doesn’t take a genius to see she’s uncomfortable being around me. Even if she does claim she ‘cares’ for me, she still doesn’t completely ‘like’ me. I don’t give up so easily though. I’m going to keep showing her how much I care until one day she cares enough back. Isn’t that what love is about? Being able to stay strong and never give up on the person you love?
“Are you sure?” I questioned, “I can run to any store right now and get you anything you want. Well… as long as I can afford it.”
I heard her laugh a little. God, I wish she would laugh all the time. It’s so adorable.
She shook her head, “No, that’s okay. I’m fine, thank you.”
I just stared at her smiling. She was just so beautiful. Who could have hurt her so bad that she’s afraid to speak; to even look at anyone?
“Well if you say so…” I sighed, “Then I’ll just be heading off to my doom now. I’ll see you later Riley.”
Right before I was about to walk out the door Snoopy came creeping over to Riley.
“Oh there you go!” I laughed, “Snoopy will keep you company while I’m gone.”
She barely spoke, “Doesn’t he always?”
“Oh well excuse me.” I chuckled, “Well anyways, see yah Snoot.“
It doesn’t matter what that girl is going through, she is still so feisty!!
At work I would find it so hard to concentrate anymore. I’d be sitting there going through different reports and all of a sudden my mind would start to wander all over the place. The thoughts would start out small and harmless, like I would think about Riley and how much I loved her smile. Then they would go deeper and my mind would start picturing her naked and climbing on top of me. Okay they weren’t the cleanest thoughts ever but come on… a guy can dream.
“Yeah, that’s the right spot…”
My boss chuckled, “I hope I’m not interrupting anything…”
I nearly fell jumping out of my chair, “MR. HEMMING!” I blurted out, my face burning bright red, “I was- I just- I’m working?”
He shook his head, “Calm down kid, we both know that’s not true.”
I sighed, “Sorry sir.”
He put up his hand, “Save it, that’s not the reason I came in here. I have to go to court for another trial on the Robinson case, the thing is that it’s going to take up the rest of my afternoon. I need you to go in my office and sort some of the other case folders I have on my desk. Just look through them and file them for me alright?”
I hung my head, “Am I being punished?”
He rolled his eyes, “Boy don’t make me come over there and smack you upside the head. Stop acting like a baby and start acting more like my employee!”
I groaned, “Yes sir…”
Why did he haft to make me do the boring paper work? Don’t I do enough of that already??
“Oh and Noah?”
“Don’t screw up my office, or it’s your head! You got that??” he glared.
I nodded my head, “Yes sir!”
If I have to say ‘Yes sir’ one more time, I think I might explode.
For a moment I just wanted to sit back down in my chair and day dream again ’cause let’s face it, it was a really nice day dream. Although I knew that if I did that Mr. Hemming would have my head.
“Jeez look at all these folders! I’m going to be here until my 90th birthday!” I swiveled back in forth in the chair, “Aw, how come he gets the spin-y chair? I want a Spin-y chair…”
Yeah I’m obviously distracting myself.
Whining about it is not going to get me anywhere, that’s for sure. I better just start reading through one case at a time…
I picked up a folder and opened it. There were a few pictures from the crime scene but nothing more than that. I read into it a little bit and found that it had something to do with this woman getting kidnapped and someone getting shot and killed. The description of the man who did the shooting was about 6″1, and he had purple and black hair. The crime scene investigators claim that the bullet came out of an Anaconda.
I put the folder back on the desk and just sat there thinking about what I had just read. For the life of me I can’t figure out why that sounds SO familiar. God, now this is going to drive me up the wall until I figure it out! Ugh….
By the end of the day I was completely worn out. I must have been in Mr. Hemming’s office for over 4 hours just going through all those files. I thought MY job was tough, I could never imagine being a lawyer! They have SO much paperwork; I thought that my brain was going to explode!
I stumbled through the front door to my apartment and just stared ahead of me. Something was wrong… it was too quiet.
“RILEY?!” I shouted. No response. Oh god, don’t tell me she left AGAIN!! I’m seriously going to have a nervous breakdown if she’s gone! I can’t take all that pain again!
I called out for her again and when I still didn’t hear anything I ran towards her bedroom in a panic state. I guess I shouldn’t have gotten myself so worked up because when I turned the corner our heads smacked into one another!
“Riley are you-“ WHAM!
God I really need to stop doing that, this is the second time I ran into her. She’s just so quiet; it’s hard to tell where she is! It also doesn’t help that she’s so tiny and barely makes a squeak when she walks…
I rubbed my forehead, “Oooo… ow. Sorry Riley, I didn’t get a response so I… err sort of freaked. My bad.”
“Did you think I left?”
I looked up at her, “For a second I- Oh my god, Riley? Why are you crying? I’m SO sorry! I didn’t mean to hurt you to the point that you cried. It was an accident…” I placed a hand on her shoulder, and she shivered, “Are you okay?”
I hate it that I ramble so much when I’m panicking… I sound like a total loon.
She shook her head, “It-It’s not that.” she sniffled.
I stared at her puzzled, “What is it then?”
“It’s just- I just- … Just forget it.” she cried, wiping away her tears.
“No.” I stated boldly, “I’m not just going to forget it. I’ve been doing that for the past 5 years; I always wanted you to have your space. Even when I was just a punk kid, I had enough respect to stay out of your personal life as much as I could. I’m tired of pretending I don’t ‘care’ about what you’re going through. Riley I’m your friend, you can tell me. I promise I won’t run away.”
Her eyes welled up with more tears, “O-okay.” she nodded, “Come on, I’ll tell you.”
She walked over to the kitchen table and pulled out a chair. I drug the other one across the carpet and placed it next to her. This was it. She was finally going to tell me the truth. The real reason behind everything she did. To be completely honest I was kind of nervous as to what she was going to say…
“I-… I’ll start back at the night I left you outside.” she sniffled, another tear sliding down her face.
I sighed, “Just take your time Riley. It’s okay.”
Riley’s Point of View
Where do I begin? How do I tell him the things I’ve been through? I can’t get around any of it easily. It was all so dark… So cold… So… painful.
“I’d like to say my problems started only just on that night… but they didn’t. My life was never an easy one to begin with. My father died when I was 4 and my mother had to raise me on her own until she met my step-dad when I was 12. He treated her like crap and he treated me even worse. He only cared about the money she brought in. My mother was a full-time nurse that worked herself to the bone. If it wasn’t for her struggle to press on, I don’t know what would have kept me motivated.
After my mother had gotten in that crash… my life became a living hell. My step-father would drink more, and when he drank more… he’d hit me 100 times worse. He didn’t care what he used; he’d just beat the crap out of me day in and day out. I tried so many times to do something about it, but I was too small… and I felt so overpowered by him. I wanted to tell the police, but I always froze once I got even a tiny bit close to telling them. It wasn’t even like the marks were in visible spots either. He may have been drunk, but he still made sure to hit me where it was hidden.
The night that I slammed the door on you, I turned my back against it and just cried my eyes out. I had no idea they pulled the cord on my mom. I didn’t mean to make you upset, but I just couldn’t let you see how I lived. I didn’t want you in my hell. You deserved someone else as a friend.”
“I remember standing there crying for about 10 minutes until my ‘father’ came downstairs. He approached me and I could just smell the alcohol on his breath. It wasn’t a big surprise to me that he would go and down a couple bottles in a span of an hour. It’s what he did best.
“You’re crying again you little skank?” he shouted at me.
I cringed at his words. They were like venom as he spat them at me.”
“On any other night I would have taken his abuse, and sucked it up. I always tried to say as least as I possibly could when he was hammered like that. Although on that particular night something inside of me just snapped. How could this man pull the cord on his OWN wife?! How could he just kill my mom like that?! He didn’t even ask me, or even give me the respect of telling me he did it!
“JUST SHUT UP!” I screamed, “You killed my mother! You didn’t even give her a chance to pull through you bald scum! I HATE YOU!”
“He gripped me up by my shirt and pinned me against the wall. He was inches from my face; the smell on his breath was now even more intense. I seriously wanted to throw up it smelled so badly.
“You’re talking back to me? YOU have the nerve to open your fat mouth and freaking TALK BACK to me?!” he shouted, spit landed on my face.
I tried to speak, but I was really afraid at this point. I knew what was coming next, he always looked at me that way when he was about to beat me. I just closed my eyes and let tears pour. I was powerless under his grasp.”
“But like I said before, this was a different night. Normally I would take the beating without so much as a fight… that night though, I gave him hell. I kicked and screamed and tried to run. He was too strong though and any time I would get a little bit away from him he would pull me back and hold me there.
“Don’t even think about running from me you little slut! You’re not getting away with that back talk!”
“LET GO OF ME! SOMEONE HELP!” I screamed.
“I screamed and struggled some more until I fell flat on my face. He grabbed my ankles and turned me around pulling me towards the basement door. That’s where he always made me go when he wanted to beat me. He’d lock the door and just do whatever he wanted. Sometimes I just wish he’d left me alone. I wish he would have done anything other than hurt me so bad.
As he pulled me across the rug, I moved and twisted until my shoes flew off and his grip was loosened. That was my chance to run, and run I did!”
“I ran out the front door and I didn’t stop running. I could hear him screaming at me from the porch. He was saying things like ‘Don’t ever come back’ and ‘You’ll be sorry you screwed with me.’ I didn’t care though; I never wanted to go back to that man again. I was so tired of living that life. I didn’t have my mom anymore, so there was no reason for me to be there. That man hated every fiber of my being, and I’m sure if I would have let him hurt me that night… he would have killed me.”
“The night you found me on the beach was not the first time I tried to kill myself. Ever since my mother had brought that man into our lives I’ve tried on many occasions. Yeah I know what you’re thinking. ‘Why didn’t I just tell my mother about everything he did?’ Because I was afraid of him that’s why. Yeah it’s pretty twisted; being afraid to die, yet trying to kill myself. You haft to understand I was never thinking straight when I lived that life. In a way just knowing there was a way out always made me feel better. Just knowing that I had a chance to escape and never return.
So that night I went out to the beach and decided that I was going to let the water take me away. I felt that if I should die, at least it could be in something so beautiful.”
“I didn’t even get close to the water though because about halfway up there was a boy sprawled out on the sandy floors. Mind you once again I was in a terrible mind state, and in a way you could say I was zombie like. I didn’t care about anyone or anything at that moment. I just wanted to die.”
“Instead of doing what a normal person would do and make sure the boy was breathing… I went over to where he was laying and saw the needle that caused him to OD. The train wreck inside my mind was screaming at me to pick it up.”
“So that’s exactly what I did. I picked up that needle, and shoved it inside my arm. The rush felt intense, and I almost felt like I was going to die; but just… almost.“
“From that point I’ll skip a little closer to the present day. After that one experience with drugs it’s everything I sought after. I didn’t give a crap about who I hurt or what I stole, I just wanted more and more of that same feeling. I became so addicted to the stuff, and lived in a box just so I had enough money to buy more. How I wound up in Bridgeport is because I fell into the hands of the wrong crowd. We were all a bunch of druggies that just devoted our lives to it. We’d go anywhere just to find more of it. I lived in Bridgeport for about two years when one day I just snapped. I took one look at myself and couldn’t believe what I had turned myself into. I looked like a freak, I smelled terrible and… I just wasn’t Riley Smokes anymore.”
“That same day just had to be the same day that “Nip” came into my life. I have no idea if that was his real name or not, but that’s not important. The important thing is I fell for every lie he fed me.”
“He saw me sitting there, and how broken I was. He knew I was such an easy target to snag in his web. I fell for everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING he told me. How he saw me and felt so bad for me because his sister died out on the streets. That if he just had a second chance to help someone else in that situation it would make him feel less guilty for not helping her.”
“It wasn’t even like he was a scary man either. He seemed so sweet and so broken about his sister. I guess that’s what you get from a professional liar. When he offered me food, shelter and clean clothes… I of course accepted without even thinking it over. I was so weak Noah. If I would have known he was a bad man, I would have never agreed to it!”
“He brought me back to his house and showed me the entire thing. It was SO HUGE! When he offered me shelter and some clean clothes I just pictured some ratty apartment.” After I had said that Noah made a face, but I just continued on with my story.
“But anyways I didn’t think this guy was rich and living in a house on a hill- Literally!
“Welcome to my humble abode.” I remember him saying so smugly. You would think I’d catch something like that, but like I said before… my mind set wasn’t right. I don’t think it was possible for me to get any lower than I already was.”
“Even in the mindset I was in I will never forget the tone of voice he used, and the look he gave me when he told me to stay away from his office. It was so cold, and his eyes so dark. In a normal mindset that would have been a clue for me to get out of there, but I didn’t. I stayed because I needed his help more than I wanted to believe.”
“I was there for about 3 weeks but still each and every day I would just be mesmerized by the soft quaint pillows and the plush pillow-top mattress. Three weeks of sleeping on an actual bed again felt like I was in heaven. Each day right before I took a nap I’d fluff up the pillow and just run my palm against its touch. It was like a dream living in that house, but everyone knows you haft to wake up from them eventually.
“After living there for about 5 weeks I let my curiosity get the better of me. When I knew for sure that ‘Nip’ was out of the house and that he wasn’t coming back for a while… I went to the office door. At this point in my life my mind was clearer, I was regaining health and I looked really good. The old Riley was slowing being pieced back together. Although just as that was happening; before I knew it I would be crashing back down again.”
“I hesitated at first because I was really uncertain if I should go in or not. I didn’t want to go in because Nip was really serious when he told me not to go in there. I’m a curious person though and after 5 weeks… I just had to find out what was hiding behind that door.”
“What I saw shocked me big time! I just pictured a bunch of bookcases and a computer, but in that room was a stair case to the basement! Now I’m not a fan of basements for many reasons, but I never knew of anyone to hide one. There just had to be a reason as to why he kept me out of there. So, me being me… I decided to go down the stairs.”
“I crept down the staircase slowly and stopped halfway when I heard noises. I peered over the banister and saw Nip and this man talking! I thought Nip had left! I had no idea he would be down there and with another person nonetheless! The conversation was disgusting, and what I found out he was hiding… made my skin crawl.
“So, 15 thousand for the night?” A man in a blue suit asked Nip.
Nip grew angry at the man and told him there agreement was for 18 thousand. He screamed that he would not accept a penny less! The man in the blue scoffed at Nip and told him to prove her worth.”
“Nip called out for the girl and the poorly dressed woman drug herself over to the man in the blue. She sat on his lap and started feeling him up and down, and making noises for his pleasure. After a minute Nip snapped his fingers and the girl got off of the man.”
“The man in the blue was out of breath from that one minute connection. Nip smiled smugly at the man and asked if she was worth what he asked. The man in blue only nodded his head quickly and got out his checkbook. I could not believe what I was seeing! Nip was keeping girls and selling them off for high prices! He was a freaking pimp to rich perverts! Apparently they put on shows for the men and had sex with them. In so many words they were kept against their own will and forced to do anything and I do mean ANYTHING the man asked of her.”
“I wish – and I truly do mean this with every fiber of my being – that I would have never gone into that basement any further than I did. I wish I would have just seen him down there with that guy and just took off for good. I had to be stupid though and stumble down some stairs.”
“The funny part about all this is that he was expecting me to come into that basement. He wanted me to get curious enough to fall into his trap. The moment he saw me down there he just grinned and told me it took me long enough. He said he was beginning to think he’d have to force me to come down.
Just as I was about to make a run for it, he took out his gun and pointed it directly at me. He told me if I didn’t listen to him he wouldn’t just kill me. He said killing me would just be too simple. He’d make sure I suffered before he even though about placing a bullet in my head. What other choice did I have than to do what he said? I didn’t want to be tortured. That’s worse than dying… and he knew it.”
“After I had agreed to listen he forced me into this outfit he wanted me to wear and he told me to make my hair look nice and pretty for him. He said if he didn’t like it he’d ‘help’ me perfect it.
Once I was dressed in that horrible get-up he forced me into the back room and told me to dance for him. He wanted a little show before the main course. I remember standing on that stage just staring at him. He sat there emotionless with his gun resting gently on his lap.”
“I turned from him and started crying. I told him I didn’t want to do this and that I didn’t know how. He screamed at me again shouting ‘DANCE!’ over and over. The more he screamed the louder I cried. I didn’t actually do anything until he stood to his feet and cocked his gun. It scared me enough to do as he asked.”
“I just hugged the pole and started spinning around it. I didn’t even know what the heck I was doing, but what I did he still seemed to enjoy it. The entire time I just kept crying and crying. At that moment I wanted my mom. I wished with all my heart that she was still alive and that I could be in her arms again. She always used to hold me close to her when I was scared. We’d snuggle under the blankets in her room and she’d rub my forehead and sing me to sleep. That’s the only way I got through that terrible time. I just had to think about my mom; she was my everything.”
“I wish dancing in front of strange men was the worst of it… but it wasn’t. That first night Nip forced himself onto me. No matter how hard I tried to push at him and kick; he was just too strong for me. I had no choice but to let him have his way. Nip wasn’t the only one though. I was there for what seemed like an eternity dancing for men who paid for me and then those men making me do unspeakable things to them. It was by luck that I found a way to escape one night. I don’t even remember how I did it or really when it happened. All I know is that I got away and not long after that I ran into you.”
Noah’s Point of View
I just sat there staring at her. Every time I tried to open my mouth to say something no words came out. I said I was nervous about what she was going to tell me and I had every right to those nerves! I can’t believe Riley had been through all of THAT! That sick scumbag! I want to know who he is so I can kill him myself!
“Riley, I have two questions.” I started, “One, why did you leave me after I had brought you back here the first time? Two, where is that scumbag who did that to you?!”
“Noah, I have no idea where he is. I’m sure if I saw that house again, I’d remember… but it was all such a blur. I was going through such a terrible time, you would have been lucky if I had remembered my own name.” she continued; sighing, “How could you expect me to accept such an offer you were giving me? I’m scum Noah! I’m what the world made when they wanted a joke of a human being. I mean nothing to anyone and I have nothing left in this life to lean on. Why would someone like you want to care for someone like me? I never will be good enough to be your friend. You’ve done so much for me and I can never repay you.”
I stood up abruptly, “Don’t you EVER say that! You’re not scum Riley! You’re just as important to this world as any other human being. I should be thanking YOU for giving me the time of day. I was hurt so badly the night you told me off, but I never stopped thinking about you… not even once. You may have lost your parents, but you will always have someone who cares for you. Who- … Who loves you.”
Her eyes filled with tears. She looked up at me and just shook her head.
“No, just no!” she cried harder, “Noah I won’t have you- I can’t have you do that to yourself.”
“WHY NOT?!” I shouted, nearing closer to her, “Why can’t I say that I love you? I don’t care that you did horrible things! That doesn’t mean anything to me! You’re so much more important than that. You’re not worthless because disgusting people treated you that way. You’re perfect. I would never change you.”
She stood up from her chair and quickly darted for her room. I called after her a few times but she didn’t say anything back to me. GOD, why did those people haft to do those terrible things to her!? I can’t even convince her how important she is because those maniacs scarred her so terribly!
I slammed myself against the back of her door.
I tried over and over to say something to her again, but what more can I say? I just freaking confessed my love for her after she told me the most devastating story ever. I know I should have waited but I’m TIRED of waiting! I love Riley more than anything in this entire world; I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I just wish she’d see me loving her as a good thing and not as another chance at her getting hurt; I’d rather die than hurt her.
Just as I was beating myself up over saying those things to Riley… it finally came to me; I know why that guy sounded so familiar! I know who the man in the case file is!
Thanks for reading! So now everyone knows the truth about what really happened to poor Riley. Don’t be so hard on her for freaking out at Noah’s confession. She’s VERY broken and it scared her. It’s not easy to confess your darkest secrets and then have someone confess they love you. She hasn’t been loved since her mom was alive. She doesn’t know how to react. What if she got hurt again? We all know that Noah would never do that, but she’s too scarred to realize it yet.