Vengeance None the Sweeter
Warning: Blatant disregard for the use of the f-word (and among other not so pleasant words) with suggestive scenes.
"When you're in love, it shouldn't matter who hurt who because in the end, the fact still remains that someone got hurt."
Friday nights weren't supposed to be like this – especially not in college.
In fact, they were supposed to be impulsive, a go-with-the-flow kind of thing. They were supposed to be nights for parties, staying up until 5 AM, wasted with only a tinge of regret from intestinal reflexes of too much to drink and the stench of one's breath that could only be mustered by a piece of spearmint gum and a Tic-Tac.
But for Riley Bryant, things weren't much like the envisioned – in any degree.
For the third time in his relationship with Leslie Evans, she threw a hissy-fit in the middle of hallway, after a romantic - and quite expensive – date when a little conversation erupted into accusations about his ex-girlfriend Samantha Oakley – or as she had put it, "the bitch with a bad fucking excuse to be alive".
Of course, Riley laughed a little at first – until Leslie began throwing large, blunt objects into the hallway with a raging tantrum of sorts. She was the jealous type and Riley knew that he should just let her cool off, and then remind her of something he couldn't quite believe himself.
"I'm over her," he kept repeating, as he ducked left and right between a blow dryer and a basket, whicker, not metal – to his luck.
Leslie scoffed, retorting with confidence, "Over her my ass, you mother fucker."
Cringing, Riley sighed. "Now, Leslie, let's be rational."
Leaning against the doorway, a hand placed casually on her hip, possibly out of things to throw at him, she smirked with moment's pause. "I'm not the rational type."
"Apparently," he muttered. Riley cleared his throat and then resumed to assure her. "Leslie, you know that I would never cheat on you, or even consider cheating on you. You mean a lot to me. I love you. I really do love you."
He was close on choking on his words.
Going back into her room, she arrived back at the doorway with a baseball square in her hand. Leslie began juggling it in one hand and then with a glint of aggression in her eyes, she replied smoothly, the words sliding out of her mouth with a hiss, "Thing is, Riley, I don't believe you."
"Why not?" he asked, cautiously approaching her, his hands in front for protection.
Glancing at the ball, and then back at Riley, she smiled. "A boy's little room can be one hell of a passageway into what he's thinking. And apparently, you have yet to stop thinking about the little bitch. You still have her pictures, her little gifts, everything in that little box underneath your bed." She paused, her smile vanishing from her face. "Where are the pictures of us? Huh, Riley? Let me guess. You have a box for me. A bigger box, you'll say. You're a liar."
Gulping down in fear, and gazing at the baseball floating in the air for a brief second, Riley responded hesitantly. "Leslie, those things aren't… they're not…" He was at lost for words.
"They're not what? Evidence? Proof?" Shaking her head, she spat back, "Fuck off."
She slammed the door in his face.
"Leslie!" The door opened and the next thing he saw was the baseball in direct contact with the lower abdomen. He cursed silently to himself, as he clutched his pelvis, only inches away from a major painful run-in with his family jewels. "Shit, girl's got aim."
So now here he was: sitting in his dorm room, swiveling around in his swivel chair, box in his hands, glaring at it. Riley was tempted to open it, to look inside and take a painful trip down memory lane. He tipped the top open with his fingertips and then shut it closed. Originally, he had stored it at the bottom of his bed because he didn't have the guts to throw it out. Part of him wasn't over it. Leslie had been right – he knew it, but he cringed and hid it away from his sight. But now that it was in his hands, he hesitated even more.
Luckily his roommate wasn't there to call him a fag for this.
Grimacing, he opened the box and then pulled out a set of photos of him and Samantha. He looked at them with nostalgic bias in his eyes, hoping that some part of him would be able to put it back in the box, shut it and leave the room.
It didn't work quite as well.
She was like the vision of an angel to him – his angel. Though property-like terms couldn't be applied anymore. She was no longer his. She made that perfectly clear to him.
Spreading his fingers against the picture, Riley could almost feel the sensational feeling of pure innocence at the tip of his fingers. He closed his eyes briefly, and saw her face, porcelain heart. The soft radiance of her brown lush locks flowed down behind her shoulders.
Suddenly, Riley threw the picture into the box, unable to hold this feeling beyond imagination. He shuffled his hand through the rest of the container and pulled out a broken, bandaged book from the bottom and he smiled lightly. As a man of horror stories and movies, Riley was often caught up in such fictional renditions of haunted houses, or cursed legends. Samantha had bought him a rather large book – a collection of short stories by Stephen King, autographed and addressed. Samantha always knew what would make him smile: these little things that could make him beam.
She was beyond the surface of a girlfriend.
To him, she was his other half.
Grinding his teeth in memory, Riley dropped the book into the box and then threw the whole thing onto the bed. He swiftly grabbed dorm key and flew out of the room with as much speed as someone chasing him. He needed out of that room more than he needed air.
But without a conscious thought, Riley stormed down the hallway.
Although he wasn't twenty-one, it wasn't too hard to get a beer if you knew where to go at what time of day. Some of his friends were with the frat houses and they could easily slip him a couple, enough to get him drunk and forget at least.
On his way, he made an unusual turn, the way he normally wouldn't go, and spotted Samantha, coming down the other way. This was why he avoided this hallway. But it never occurred to him that she would be out at 2 AM in the morning, looking like she did.
With her hair upswept in a side ponytail, lazily put together, she looked down immediately at the floor when she saw Riley heading towards her, eyeing her cautiously as he did. It wasn't necessarily that she was scared of him, or even worried. But she was embarrassed for how she looked. She was laced with hair slung to the side like she just woke up, t-shit slightly tucked under her blue jean shorts and heels way too high, even on a Friday night.
In her opinion, she looked somewhat like a slut – and that did not bode well with her.
And more importantly, she was coming back from a date with Aaron Welsh, infamous for his numerous girlfriends. Even with this common knowledge, she still decided to go out with him. What harm could it do? Aaron Welsh was just another guy, another face.
But Aaron had standards. Supposedly, these standards were short of respect, which required Samantha to wear such shoes with such shorts with such shirt. She wanted to impress him for what reason she did not know. But she knew that she had blown him away, blown Aaron Welsh right out of his hormone crazed, slug-infested water, that perhaps it wasn't her fault with Riley.
As a matter of fact, Riley was the one who should be sorry.
Hypocritical, she knows.
So as her eyes gazed the floor, she turned quickly to her room, fishing the key out of her pocket.
And as she stopped in front of the door, still the footsteps, which belonged to Riley, continued, as she saw from the corner of her eye, stopping right next to her. Shooting her head out from the edge of the door, she looked at him, eyes cold and emotionless, "Hello, Riley. Out stalking the halls, are we?"
He looked her, head to toe, contemplating what mind control device was in that little head of hers that would make Samantha Oakley dress in such rather degrading clothes. Grimacing at the sight, he replied coolly, "Now that's just mean."
She choked her smile. "I'm a mean person."
"And apparently, other things too," Riley replied, still gazing down at her shoes and thin, slender legs that seems forever climbing.
Folding her arms against her chest, she implored, "And what's that supposed to mean?"
He shrugged, responding coolly, "Well, you know. The way you're dressed. Ain't that a new look for you? Or is it just you without your make-up on?"
Riley knew he was being a bit rough, a bit harsh, but hell, he wasn't the one who was dressed like a hooker at 2 AM in the morning. This look struck him in the heart more than he was able to muster out of his mouth in any witty remark.
"Hm, funny," Samantha answered sarcastically, pulling out the key. "But not really."
Giving her another look, he glared and said with such bold words, indicating the impolite notions of her scandalous attire, "So, do I like, have to pay for this conversation or something? Or is that only if I get something out of it? You take a check or you prefer cash?"
"Fuck off," she bit back. "Why don't you go call up that whore of yours?"
"Oh, whore. Nice comeback. I like the pun of it," Riley smirked.
Opening the door, Samantha leaned against the doorway, much like Leslie earlier that day (much to Riley's demise) and spoke with such confidence, "You're overworking my little remark. So let me guess. You screwed it up with her, huh? What happened? She got into the pants of another man? Well, I'm sure that's nothing you can't handle. So run along. Play 'Who's Got the Bigger Hoo-Ha' with whoever stole your girlfriend instead of bothering me." Waving her hand toward the direction of the end of the hallway, she grinned maliciously at Riley's fallen face.
Grasping this ominous notion from Samantha and gathering back his senses, he retorted slyly, poking fun at her choice of words, "Hoo-ha?" He laughed a little. "Aw, don't tell me. You're too scared to say dick? Penis?"
"If you had one…" she replied coyly.
"So what about you, Little Miss Skimpy? Where's your boy toy?" He paused, and acted sympathetic for a brief moment. "Oh, don't tell me. He got one look at you and went for someone with a bigger chest? Which could mean any girl on campus. Oh, ouch. Sorry."
Samantha bit her tongue, holding in the anger that desperately wanted to seep out of her teeth. She didn't know why she kept playing this game with him. Why it was so hard to have a decent, normal conversation with him. Pursing her lips together, she stayed silent. And then she spat back with her hand against the doorway in anger, "Why don't you go stick your dick in your ass, Riley?"
So apparently she wasn't going to help to lower the fury in this situation.
"Would, but gotta admit, that would be painful," he rose his eyebrows knowingly.
"Why don't you go die in hole and leave me alone?"
Raging out of her room, she pushed him out of the way with both hands against his chest. "What the hell is your problem tonight? Why the hell do you have to be such a jerk?"
Like she actually had the right to ask him this question and expect an answer.
Riley backed off, surprised at the tone of Samantha's voice. As much as Riley had seen her angry and frustrated, Samantha actually seemed somewhat, sad. And in some part of his body, Riley was happy. He was so happy that he had made her so upset because it was like payback – sweet revenge he could only get if he pushed the right buttons and leave her off the edge – kind of like what she did to him.
Looking at her once more, the happiness faded. The look in her eyes slowly penetrated his heart and the next thing he knew, he said, "Sorry."
Shaking his head, he reminded, "I don't say sorry too often. So take it as it comes."
"Go fuck yourself," Samantha said, marching into her dorm room, furious at the apology.
Riley leaped forward before the door could shut in front of him and pushed it back. Albeit Riley was stronger than Samantha and he could hold his own against her, it wasn't like she was pushing him back out. She slowly let the door slide back without saying a word. "Wait," he said. "Just wait a minute."
"You know, Riley. I don't know why the hell you can be so bipolar sometimes, but I can't take this right now. I have work tomorrow morning and then, not that it's any of your business, I have another date with Aaron Welsh. And if that's beyond your comprehension, I'll say it again – fuck off."
"Aaron Welsh?" Riley repeated, clenching his jaw at the name. "You are actually considering going out with Aaron Welsh? You know all he's interested in is getting in your pants, so why the hell would you give him the time of day?"
Standing smack in the middle of the doorway, Samantha answered, "It's none of your business."
Riley nodded repeatedly, smiling tightly and then frowning. "You know what Samantha, I just made it my business. So what gives with Aaron?"
To Riley, Samantha owed him this much.
Investigating his impulsive reaction, Samantha stared at him closely. Riley wasn't the type to make anything his business. He wasn't the type to pry, even if he desperately wanted to. And this absurd behavior made Samantha curious, interested even.
"He asked me out, and I agreed. Do you wanna know where babies come from too?" Samantha replied sarcastically, pulling down her t-shirt that went up a bit from the heated rage and anger she spewed towards Riley.
With his jaw still semi-frozen, Riley responded flatly, "Dump him."
"Don't you know that it's been awhile since you had the right to tell me what to do? News flash, Riley, I'm not your girlfriend anymore. And furthermore, I don't think that you have the right to judge whom I decide to associate with," grabbing the knob of the door, she slowly fiddled with it as the words slid out of her mouth. Somehow, it was harder to say the girlfriend part.
"Fine," Riley raised his hands in defeat. "You wanna be labeled a slut, go ahead."
With her eyebrows furrowed, and her hands folded up against her chest, she heaved in anger and confusion as she asked aggressively, "Why the hell would you care anyway?"
Momentarily, Riley gave thought to that question. And as a reflexive movement of the mind, it replied back to her in his head with such ease and confidence, assurance and fluidity: Because I care about you. But then he remembered. He didn't need to give her a reason for anything that he did. She never gave him a single reason, a single explanation for anything. So why should he actually explain to her his feelings? She was prying in a place that she wasn't allowed to. And he was apt to keep it that way.
"You don't have the right to ask me that question," Riley replied monotonously.
"Oh, and your interrogation about my life is totally within limits of your rights," she retorted.
"Well, you owe me," Riley said.
"Owe you what?"
"What you couldn't give me before. An explanation about your feelings for me."
"Are we back to that again?" Samantha exclaimed, raising her arms and then smacking the palm of her hand at the edge of her forehead. She didn't want to go there again. She hated that part of her life, not because she hated him, but that she regretted the situation that she put them in. She hated the very essence of remembering what they were and what they lost. Primarily, it seemed to her that it was her fault, and her regret mustered out of her anger. "That's over," she said in a tone more as a method to reassure herself.
Riley scoffed, licking his lips and shaking his head, "That's what you like to say."
"You have some nerve to-"
"No, Samantha. No I don't. I don't have the nerve, you do."
"Well then what the hell do you want from me?"
"I want what I've always wanted – a simple explanation to why you walked away from everything that we had, from everything that we were. You owe me that. You've always owed me that," Riley replied, staring at her, his hand twitching at his side, somehow compelled to brush that strangling piece of hair against her cheek. He controlled it as best he could.
Taking a step backward, she felt her throat closing up on her. His eyes, those intense brown eyes that she's always be trapped in, seemed to be beckoning her and she looked away, but then slowly met them again as she whispered, "It just wasn't working."
"What wasn't working? You and me? The relationship?"
"I wasn't working. I couldn't do the things you were doing for me. I couldn't give half of what you gave me. I couldn't be who you wanted me to be," Samantha answered slowly, words coming out from a place deep inside of her, a place that had strangled her emotions for him, stifled them like fire.
Riley looked at her. "You do an awfully wonderful job at being confusing."
"I knew you wouldn't understand. I knew you wouldn't understand me," she said, shaking her head, looking at her hands that seemed to be shaking more than she had imagined. Clenching her fists to her sides, she suddenly got angry. "You know what? God, what the fuck am I doing? Huh? I owe you nothing, Riley. I wasn't the only one in that relationship. You chose to go gallivanting with one girl after the other, without any remorse, without any sense of regret and so … what the hell was I supposed to think?"
Laughing incredulously, Riley backed up against the wall across form the doorway and continued to hurl himself in laughter, bending his legs and leaning his head against the concrete. "No, you did not just … No. You told me it was over so many times. You repeated it time and time again. You said, 'Riley, there's no more you and me'. You were shutting me out. If there's no more you and me, you seriously expect me to just pine for you, hurt for you, need you forever? I couldn't do that. So you left me no choice."
"So it's my fault?" She somehow already knew the answer.
Riley shrugged. "More or less."
"You have the balls to say that," she spat back, holding her voice closer to her.
Holding in his breath for a moment, Riley frowned, still with his head against the wall. "My friends couldn't take the fact that I was drinking everyday. They couldn't take the fact that I wouldn't get up in the morning because of my fucking hangovers. So they set me up with a couple of girls. So really, Samantha – did you really want me to suffer? Have no sort of peace between you an me?" Riley asked.
"So this is the kind of peace you want?"
"Apparently it's all that we can have."
"Okay, fine," Samantha finally succumbed, looking at her feet. "I didn't leave you a choice. But you have to believe that you didn't leave me much of one either."
Raising an eyebrow, Riley asked, "What do you mean?"
"You needed me. You kept me in this closed out corner that I couldn't breathe in."
"So I suffocated you?"
"You had these expectations of me that I didn't know if I could live up to."
"I don't understand that, Samantha. I just wanted you and me. That's it."
Samantha tucked the falling piece of hair behind her ear and then spoke, "You were ready to trust it all. You were ready to believe in it all and I didn't know how you could have done that. How could you have believed in us so much? I couldn't. Not yet at least. But you wanted that."
Running his fingers through his hair, Riley began thinking. Did he really trust the relationship so much? Of course he did. He knew what he felt and he just believed that she did too. "I didn't need it right away … I wasn't trying to…" He placed his hand over his face and then slowly slid it down, closing his eyes as he did so. "I'm sorry."
"Me too," she replied. Maybe, she believed, she could leave it at this. Leave it at a simultaneous apology from both sides and actually end on a somewhat, relatively good note. She didn't know how much more she could take of this – of him – before she couldn't control a part of her that wanted him. "Now I need to go to sleep, so if you could…"
Riley got up from his position, unbent his legs and then stood in front her. "You are not serious. You cannot shut me out again. You do this. You do this all the time. I get a little bit closer and hell, you run. Why is us so scary to you? Why?"
"It's not just you and me … it's a lot of things all the time. It's life."
"No," Riley said fiercely, stronger than anything he's every said in his life. "No, right now, it's just you and me. And I want to know everything. I want to know how you feel right now. It's just you and me and no one else. So why can't you give me at least something?"
With her hands in the air, she screamed. "That's the thing, Riley! I can't."
Walking closer to her, Riley looked into her eyes and straight into her heart, deeper than anyone else and she felt it beyond her bones. "You're scared of me?"
Breathing in deeply, "No."
Taking her a little bit longer, she replied, "No…"
With both of his hands rising up to her face, cupping it gently, he slowly lowered his mouth to hers and asked once more, "Of this?"
A sensation filled both of them, something untouched for a long time that burned at the very moment they met. It was like a fire deep inside both of them that had slowly been suffocated with time, but finally, with enough fuel, had begun to spark again, had begun to burn as fiercely – if not more - as it had before. The deeper they were, the more they didn't want out.
As Riley pulled away, Samantha opened her eyes to his brown orbs gazing intently on her. It was beyond rational now. It was impulse; it was passion. She pushed him against the opposing wall and then grabbed him by the neck and felt their bodies against each other as one. With her fingers digging in to his neck and a free hand playing with the bottom edge of his hair, Samantha felt him so close to her and Riley, trying to gain some sense of control, kissed her back as her invitation warranted.
If anyone had walked past them, the heat would have scorched them head to toe.
His hands slowly unraveled on her slim waist, while his fingers felt the heat of her skin from underneath her shirt, only barely, but enough to send him higher, deeper. One hand slowly slid below to a loophole on her jeans, holding it there, leaving it there as if it had gone numb.
As they parted once more, Samantha pulled him by the shirt toward the room.
Riley, with his eyes intent on her moving form, said, "This isn't right."
"I know," she said, in between kisses.
"We shouldn't, we have … we can't …" his breathing became heavier, still making strong contact with her begging lips.
"I don't care," she replied, hands sliding up his shirt, loose at first on the skin.
In a moment of the heart, Riley replied, smirking a little, "Me either."
His foot caught the door and slammed it shut.
Author's Note: Yeah, uh, I didn't think I was capable of writing such … things. But it came out – perhaps always there because I, well, wanted to write something strong and true. Okay, I wanted to experiment with what my mind can come up with in terms of … lust-like behavior. Yes. That's it. :)
Albeit, the scenario was wholly mine, a lot of the idea came from a plethora of songs that I've been listening to for awhile since January. So let's commemorate the following: Lips of an Angel by Hinder (Biggest Influence for this), Better than Me by Hinder, Only One by Yellowcard, Let Me Go by Three Doors Down, When You're Gone by Avril Lavigne and 'Til I Get Over You by Michelle Branch.
So I guess I really wanted to write this story because the songs could have fit to any scenario or any ex-couple. And I gotta admit, it was really interesting writing it, especially since I'll be going to college in about a year and I might be seeing some unusual things at night.
I'm rating this under T for Teens, but if you guys think it should be higher, let me know. I'm pretty sure I got the rating right.
Please, REVIEW! And tell me if I did a decent job on this or if you have any constructive criticism. Was it realistic? Thanks.
I feel like I should end with something profound. Like, "Use the F-Word sparingly unless in a lover's quarrel and in need for cursing variation" or "Play 'Who's Got The Bigger Hoo-Ha' with parental consent and don't flip it out too fast" or "Tis better to have love and lost, than to not have loved at all" – perhaps the last one wasn't wholly original, but the first two were. Kudos for that, anyone?Eva
P.S. The title might seem similar to the band, "Sixpence None the Richer" – what is with me and these musical connections?