You Look Your Best When You Walk Away

Chapter XVIII: You Can Rent The Space Inside My Mind... At Least Until The Price Becomes Too High.

Late the next evening, I found myself rapping on Chris's apartment door. I didn't expect him to answer, really. Part of me thought that he didn't want anything to do with me.

I guess part of me was right.

Then, part of me had to be wrong.

He opened the door. I guess that part of me expected him to open the door in his boxers, his ebony hair a mess. Matt would be calling to Chris to return to him in the background.

I think that my worst fear was coming face-to-face with the fact that Chris was no longer mine. But, that didn't stop me from smiling politely at him.

"R-Riley... hey..." was his answer to my presence. He looked the same as he did at Haze's funeral (I hadn't seen him since then, which was about a two weeks ago). His black hair had grown out since the time that we were in my room, the neon posters reflecting rainbows on his pale skin. His charcoal eyes hadn't changed much. They were still my favourite shade of silver. His skin was still as white as a moth's; flawless and smooth. I noticed that he'd lost some weight, too. It was probably for a role in the theatre.

"I think we need to talk, Chris." I said to him. He nodded and held the door open for me, the perfect gentleman. I went in and waited for him to instruct me to sit down on the couch.

He ran a hand through his hair before he asked, "What do you need, Riles??"

Sighing, I said, "I think you know what I'm here for."

"No, actually, I don't."

"You know that Dru and Jag left, right??" I fiddled with the ankh necklace around my neck.

"Yeah, I asked Jag why he was packing, and he told me. I think that it's wonderful that they're having a baby and naming it after us. It's sweet."

"I agree." I looked at him finally, "That's not why I came, though."

"Then why did you??" He handed me a cup of tea that he made while we had talked about Jagger and Drucilla. I took it and blew a bit of the steam away, watching the white smoke thin out in the air.

I set the cup down without taking a sip, "It's about Matt."

"Matt?!" Chris jumped, which sent his cup tipping in his hands. "W-what about Matt??"

"And about us."

"Like... as a couple??"

"Yeah."

"Well," Chris ran a finger around the edge of the glass, making the faintest of whistling sounds. "Shoot."

I noticed that it had begun to rain while we were talking, making the sky a misty white-grey colour. The water droplets were making small puddles around the edge of his apartment. I watched little children being pulled in by their mothers, only to have said mothers put rain jackets and galoshes on them so they wouldn't catch cold. It reminded me of my little siblings. How Dad would be careful in changing Mack's diaper. How little Susanna would come to me, showing me a picture she drew or a new talent she discovered. It made me... homesick.

"Riley??" Chris's smooth voice brought me out of my trance, his silver eyes locked onto me. Blushing, I started to explain.

"I don't want to say who... But I heard from someone that you and Matt... slept together." I blushed even more as Chris's mouth opened slightly. Maybe I was wrong in accusing him, and he's so shocked that I wouldn't trust him. Or, maybe he's shocked that I found out... Oh, gods, I feel sick.

"Please, Riley... tell me." Chris lightly commanded.

"Tell you what??"

"Who told you."

"Why??"

"Because... I want to know how they found out." He hung his head solemnly. "I was going to tell you, really, I was. I was just waiting for the whole Hazel thing to blow over."

"You're... cheating on me." I said, trying almost too hard to grab that concept.

Chris sighed, running a hand through his hair again, "Riles, we weren't dating. You can't seriously think that we were."

"Chris, I love you." I tried to reason, though my voice cracked and hot tears threatened to spill.

"You're sixteen, Riley. You know nothing of love."

"Oh, and because you're seventeen already, you know?!"

"No, that's not what I'm saying. I'm trying to tell you that you're not in love with me. There's no way you can be. You don't fall in love when you're sixteen. You have to wait."

"Wait until what?? Wait until I'm single, in my forties, living with my youngest sister so she can pay the bills by walking the street??" I practically screamed at him. He had absolutely no right to tell me how I felt. Really, who did he think he was??

"What??" He was confused, and I knew it. Hell, nothing I had just said made any sense to me, either.

"You can't tell me what I'm feeling. I can't tell you what you're feeling. Just... believe me. I love you. It hurts to be away from you. Everyday I don't see your face, it gets worse. Until I can't hardly breathe or have one thought that isn't about you. Physically, I get sick when you're not here. My stomach goes haywire with anticipation of when I'll get to see you again. Chris, it hurts to love you... but it hurts worse when you walk away from me." I said, tears now falling freely down my cheeks. There, I talked from the heart. Just like Atticus told me to do.

"Riles..."

"Please, just let me tell you everything before you leave me..." I pleaded. Chris's cell phone rang from its place on his belt. He vaguely looked at it, but shut the ringer off. "I've never told anyone. And I think you deserve to know. When I told Hazel that I was in love with you, he decided it was time to show me how much he wanted me. It started off innocently, just him kissing me. Then..." I choked and had to take a drink of my now-cold tea, "He eventually made me have sex with him. He... raped me, you could say."

"Oh, my god, Riley!!" Chris made to hug me, but I stopped him.

"Then... he got hooked on cutting himself. He would bring home prostitutes every night. Daisy and Silincio. I told him to check himself into rehab and therapy. He never got the chance. The next night, when I came home, I found him dead." I finished, my voice and eyes blank. It hurt to talk about Hazel. Maybe even more than it hurt to have Chris sleep with Matt.

"Riley, you... Oh, my god..." Chris ran another hand through his hair as he sighed heavily. I let him wrap his comforting arms around me as I cried.

I really shouldn't have told him that. I should have told Dr. Strait way back when.

I shouldn't have…

But I did.

And now there's no way to take that back. Just like there's no way to take back what Hazel did to me.

"D-do you want to stay here??" Chris asked me as I wiped my tears away.

I shook my head. "I'm not intruding on you and Matt."

"Riley, really, I was planning on telling you." Chris tried to reason. "I knew you would take it this way, that's why I waited. I wanted Hazel's funeral to be done, and you to have some time to sort some things out. I'm… sorry."

"Sorry's not good enough this time, Chris." I said.

"Then I don't know what is."

I sighed and got up, heading towards the door, "I love you." I whispered to where he couldn't hear. God, it hurt to say it again.

Or maybe it hurt to know that that moment was the last time I would say those three words…

The End.


A.N.:Let me start out the last AN by saying that I hate this ending. With ever fiber of my being. Gosh, I coulda done so much better.

But I did want to finish it. Geh, whatever. There's a sequel. Be happy. Dangit.

Onto the thanks:

servatis-a-pereculum: Thanks for reviewing this!! I know I've probably thanked you before, but I'm thanking you again, XD.

"me": Hehe, thanks. I love when my stuff is cute.

Xanthofile: I've probably thanked you before, too, but, gawds, I love your reviews. They make me proud to write!! I hope you've read the whole thing, too.

Luci-chan: Eep, it sucksers that you can't have access to the internet now. But, that's okay, you'll have a bunch to read on this when you get back X3.

Limited Edition: I apologize for snapping at you, and I do hope that you've stuck with this story. If you haven't, I understand.

Fish bowl life: Thanks for the review anyways, it means a lot!!

Shadow 3103: Ah, thank you for reviewing ME!! I do hope that you read all the chapters, and I hope you liked the ending. Thanks, again1!

Zena: Boy, you boost my confidence. I do hope that you've read the rest of this. I thank you, too, for your wonderful reviews!! Hope you liked the ending to this!!

The Forgotten Child: EEP!! Koi-chan!! (tackleglomp) I hope you got the chance to sit down and read all of this!! We'll have to hang out some more, we've only seen each other, lyk, twice this whole summer!!

Blue Socked Llama: Dude, I adore your name. And your review. And your story. I'm glad that you liked Hazel, but I hope you're not too mad. Gomen!!

xXxthesepoisonlipsxXx: Ah!! (hides) I'm sorry!! Maybe I'll write Hazel's backstory or something?? For you!! Haha, I'm a girl, BTW.

Sakru angelqueen: Ah, I apologize for not making a happy ending. But, there's a sequel, so I hope that you'll read that!! Maybe that'll have a happy ending… (winkwink).

Again, thank you everyone who's reviewed, and (maybe) WILL review. It's been a pleasure writing this, and I hope to see you all reviewing the sequel. BTW, the first chapter is due out in the next couple of days, so if check back!! Thanks and good night!!

--K.

PS: Kudos to those of you who know the song name/band whom I got the name of this chapter from.