IMPORTANT NOTICE: I somehow just realized that I didn't actually finish writing chapter 12. I found more in my notebook. I didn't miss very much, just about a page and half to 2 pages. But I did replace the old one with the finished version, so if you'd like PLEASE GO BACK AND READ THE LAST BIT OF IT. It doesn't matter all that much, because it can sort of be explained in this chapter. Anyway onto my regular…
AN: Well, after two years, here it is; chapter thirteen, I tried to make it longer, and this also more of a serious chapter, addressing issues that should have been brought up in previous chapters, or things that were unrealistic that I'm trying to fix without having to re-write the entire thing. I don't know why I skipped ahead on the timeline, I just started writing and this is the result. I'm very sorry about the wait, you guys. I'm gonna keep trying to get this done. Enjoy.
"Cameron, stop!" Ryleigh was protesting between laughs, "come on Cammie, I can't… breathe…" more laughs. Cameron was laughing too, as he had Ryleigh pinned on the carpet, tickling her.
Brian scowled as he lay on his bed with his hands behind his head.
This couldn't be happening. How does Cameron come back into Ryleigh's life after three years, turn it upside down and mess with her emotions, but yet still get her back?
He couldn't believe it. He'd been by her side through everything. He was the one always holding her hair back while she threw up the bottle she'd demolished; it had been him who held her in her arms when her dad burnt down her house, and the many time after that when she'd woken up screaming and sweating from the nightmares that haunted her almost every night.
It wasn't fair. She should be with him, not that useless piece of trash who had never been there for her. He scowled again as he thought back to the first time he'd realized that he had fallen in love with her.
"Ryleigh, can you please just pick a damn movie? Seriously I'd like to watch it before Christmas!"
"Brian, it's February," Ryleigh said pointedly.
"It won't be by the time you pick a damn movie!"
"Oh, you're such a drama queen, honestly. I'm not that bad," She replied defensively.
"I have been sitting here watching your scratch your head and bite your lip and mutter to yourself for 25 minutes! If you don't pick a movie within the next minute, I'm going to put in the last season of Trailer Park Boys and MAKE you watch it," He threatened.
"Nooo! Okay, okay, I'll pick something," She paused for a second and smiled, "Speaking of before Christmas…" She held a movie and said happily, "This!"
Brian groaned when he saw the cover, "Please, not Nightmare Before Christmas again!"
"This is your fault. You threatened me with Trailer Park Boys," She pulled a face. She'd never understood what the big deal was about them; they were disgusting, boring and dumb. They weren't even a little bit funny.
Brian sighed grumpily, but put in the movie anyway, bracing himself for the irritation that was bound to follow. But he was surprised. When Ryleigh began singing along to every song, ("Get it? Sandy CLAWS?"), instead of finding it annoying, he found it cute, almost… endearing.
He was amused instead of bewildered as he watched her hold onto every word, every action. The sparkle in her eye reminded him of a small child on Christmas morning. He tried to pay attention to the movie, but he found himself paying more attention to her, captivated by her childlike behavior.
Later on, after they changed movies, she fell asleep with her head on his shoulder. It was when he realized that he was too afraid to move in fear of shattering the moment that his feelings dawned on him. How long had he felt this way?
He didn't know, but it changed everything.
Throughout the years, he watched Ryleigh fall in love with Cameron; swoon and gush over him, and then he watched her pine over him after he simply walked out of her life.
He was done being the one behind the scenes. It was time to end this, but how? Murder? Nah, too risky. Confess his feelings? Nah, too girly… and also too risky.
He was pacing around his room, trying to think of the perfect way to get rid of Cameron for good when something hit him.
Ryleigh's words from the last fight they had popped into his head. (Eavesdropping? What? Nooo…)
"If the words, "It's over", come out of our mouths ever again, it really is over."
Why hadn't he thought of that sooner? It was perfect. With the instability of both their emotional mind frames, it really wouldn't be hard to get one of them to end it. A few twisted words here, a lie or two there, and the big whammy right…there, and bam! They're done and he can slide right in. Brilliant…
Now all he had to do was perfect it.
Cameron shot up in bed, soaked in sweat and panicking. It took a couple minutes for him to realize where he was. In bed. At home. Safe.
He breathed a sigh of relief. Those nightmares could get pretty brutal. He desperately wished that Ryleigh was next to him, but since they were going slow, they'd decided not to have sleepovers yet.
Things were going well though; it probably wouldn't be much longer. The thought relaxed him a little.
He looked at his alarm clock and sighed again; 3:03am. He didn't know how he was going to get back to sleep after that nightmare. He thought he could handle them at first, but they were becoming more frequent and vivid.
He cursed under his breath. If it wasn't for them, everything would be perfect, but he didn't know how to make them stop.
This one was bad. He didn't always have re-occurring ones, but when he did, like this one, they were always about Kyle. He wasn't even 19 yet and… Cam shook his head. "Don't even go there, man."
They weren't normally this bad. Most were relatively mild where he could go back to sleep after simply realizing his surroundings, and many times, redirecting his thoughts to Ryleigh.
He managed to smile as he did so. She was doing fantastic. Time was going by pretty fast and summer would soon be coming to a close, but she had used that time to try to get a handle on things. It took awhile of being the designated driver and choosing movies over going to a bar, but she had gotten her drinking under control. She could still drink occasionally, but instead of using it as an emotional escape, she drank in moderation.
She had worked hard to conquer it, but Ryleigh was a fighter and she always made sure that nothing kept her down.
Cameron had done his best to help her. He didn't burden her with his nightmares, or tell her any of the horrific things he had witnessed. He wanted to protect her from that. The day they decided to try again, he'd also made a secret decision to keep that part of his life separate from his life with Ryleigh.
He smiled again. Life with Ryleigh. It was almost surreal. He couldn't believe he had her back in his life.
Their relationship together as teenagers seemed as though it was a whole different lifetime. He never thought he would be able to live it again.
Even though things were different now, and it was a lot harder, he wasn't going to let her go again. He couldn't imagine having gone through the last couple months without her there. She had no idea how much she was helping him just by giving him another chance. On top of that, just watching her face her battles so fearlessly made him believe that he too, could get through anything.
He thought back to the week before when she had to see her dad in prison. She had been a nervous wreck, but refused to let it show.
"Ryleigh, you don't have to do this," he said to her softly as they sat parked outside of Windsor Jail.
"Yes, I do," She said forcefully, "I'm never going to get over it if I don't get closure. Whether I tell him I forgive him or that he's dead to me, I need closure."
Cameron nodded and was silent for a moment before he asked, "What is it?"
She gave him a questioned look and he clarified, "Do you forgive him or do you tell him to go to hell?"
She looked at him and shook her head. She didn't know yet. He grasped her hand and squeezed it slightly, "You can do this, Riles."
She pulled her hand away and undid the seatbelt at the same time she was opening the passenger door of his Monte Carlo.
"Let's go," she said firmly.
They walked into the jail and went through the process of signing in and being searched for anything prohibited. They walked through the metal detector and were led to a small room where they were told to wait.
Cameron sat first. Ryleigh looked around quickly then slowly followed suit, sitting next to Cameron with her back straight and butt on the edge of her seat. One hand rested on each thigh, and he could see her struggling not to fidget or bit her nails. He shook his head slightly at her determination to show no emotion.
"Ryleigh Jackson," a guard called out after a few minutes.
She stood up quickly and wiped away invisible lint from her black leggings. Very slowly, she began to walk towards the guard.
"Ry, do you want me to come?" Cameron asked suddenly.
She stopped, and for a moment looked like she was going to say no, but then she nodded and held out her hand. Cam got up and grabbed it, squeezing it lightly, silently assuring her that he was right there with her.
The guard led them through a door then pointed to a booth. It looked just like in the movies, with a cubby hole type place that held a thick glass window separating the prisoner from the visitor and a phone on each side.
"He'll be right out," the guard said, emotionless, and turned back to stand at the door with a firm look on his face.
Ryleigh sat down in the chair while Cameron stood behind her.
A door on the other side of window opened, and he felt Ryleigh tense.
She let out a barely audible gasp as they led out her father, straightening her shoulders a little more.
He sat down and they both slowly picked up their phones.
"Ryleigh," her dad said softly.
"Dad," Her voice was harder. She was trying to hide all emotion, but her anger was peeking through.
"Ryleigh, sweetie, I'm so glad…I thought you'd never visit…"
"Don't, okay? Just don't. I'm only here for closure."
"Have you been eating, Ry Bean? You look awfully thin,"
"Oh stuff it, you're one to talk," She snapped harshly, "You have a lot of nerve pulling that shit right now."
Her dad looked slightly taken aback, but brushed it off. "Listen, baby, I know I hurt you, but you have to understand." They both waited for her to scoff, but surprisingly, she sat quietly, with her back getting increasingly straighter.
"How?" She finally whispered, Cameron could barely hear her, "How do you expect me to understand?"
"I know what I did was wrong, but I thought you should know that I'm being treated for bipolar disorder and that well, I've found God."
"You what?" She spat out.
"I found God."
Ryleigh removed the phone from her ear and took a sharp breath. Cameron could see that she was considering just throwing in the towel right there and walking away. Her back was to him, but in his mind he could see her face filling up with rage.
She slowly put the phone back up to her and took a deep breath.
"God, eh? So while I've been drinking myself into a stupor and having outrageous breakdowns, you're telling me that you found God?" She wasn't yelling, she was talking very low, almost inaudible, but her dad heard her loud and clear. He visibly flinched but she continued, "You poured gas all over my mother, you threatened my life, you killed Allie; your own daughter… is dead… because of you. And you're going to sit here and boast about God? Yeah, tell me that you're bipolar so that makes it okay?"
"No! Don't you dare call me that. Do not even address me. See, here's the thing. I'm no longer your daughter. You are nothing to me. I came in here trying to be open-minded, because, well, you're my father. But fuck that. You ruined my life, my family, my childhood. You took away my baby sister, you took away my mom's smile, and you stole my love for life, and all you have to say is that you found God? Here's what I have to say: your trial is in two weeks. I don't care if you get out, if you get life, or if you get a slap on the wrist. You will not contact me, you will not speak to me, and if I ever see you around, you will definitely not acknowledge me." She was still talking low, but she was talking faster, getting angrier.
"Shut UP, I don't want to hear it. Whatever you're sentenced, I wont be here to see it. I don't care what the judge says; you will never pay for what you've done. Whatever happens, you're dead to me. I hope you burn in hell. Goodbye."
Ryleigh slammed the phone down and stood, ignoring her father's protests to sit back down and listen to him. She turned away from him an faced Cameron. Her face was blank, but her eyes were screaming.
"Come on," She said quietly, and Cameron obeyed. She gave no signal that she wanted to be touched, so he kept his hands to himself and followed behind her quietly.
Ryleigh walked with her head held high, not even looking back as her father began pounding on the glass and was led forcefully away by the guards on his side.
The door was buzzed open and went through it, walking briskly without even checking behind her to make sure Cameron was still there. He was, he stayed closed without saying anything.
She didn't slow down or look back until they were outside in the bright light, where she suddenly stopped.
She held her hand to her heart a painful noise escaped her mouth. Her legs gave out as she tried to take a step and Cameron immediately grabbed her by the waist and pulled her to him. She didn't fight it. She silently welcomed the support as she leaned again him.
He led her to his car and she instantly reached into the glove box and withdrew a pack of cigarettes. She fumbled with them, so Cameron gently took them from her and lit one for her. She inhaled and exhaled deeply, never making eye contact, never saying a word.
"You did good baby, you did so good," he told her.
She was silent for a moment longer then she finally looked at him, "Yeah?"
She nodded, "Okay, we can go."
Cameron opened his eyes and saw that it was almost 10:00am. He felt relieved that he'd fallen back to sleep. He thought about Ryleigh's unbelievable strength for another few minutes before getting up.
As he got up and stretched, he remembered that they'd made plans to go to the beach today, so he said a silent prayer for Ryleigh and headed for the shower.
Ryleigh came to slowly, blinking her eyes against the harsh light. She groaned when the light fully hit her and pulled the covers back over her head. She adored the summer, but the sun came up way to early for her liking. She made a mental note to get dark curtains for when they finally painted the apartment.
She groaned again because she knew she had to get up. They were driving to Grand Bend today for a beach day. Cameron brought the idea up because no one had to work. Things had slowed down a lot with modeling, but it would be another week or so before they picked back up for the fall collection. Ryleigh agreed to go because she knew her schedule was going to be jam packed.
She'd had to cancel on her therapist though. She couldn't ask to plan for the beach for another day because no one knew what she was doing.
She felt a little twinge of guilt for hiding it, especially from Cameron. He thought she was so strong for doing it on her own, but she wasn't sure she was able to. She shrugged; it wouldn't matter soon. Both her and her therapist had agreed on one more scheduled appointment, and then she would be able to call only if she needed him. She was glad; it'd been exhausting keeping it from everyone.
She knew she'd made the right decision by going to him though. Her pride was a little damaged from having to admit she couldn't do it on her own, and she'd been a little reluctant to open up, but he'd gotten through to her, and he'd really helped.
He helped her come to terms with her drinking. He advised her to drop it for awhile and be the driver. It helped her to not only see the effects alcohol has on other people, but also to realize that she wasn't as dependant on it as she had thought. She had been destructive because she wanted to be. She didn't need alcohol. When she did go out sober, she didn't feel jealous or even the urge to drink. All she felt was regretful that she'd let it get that far.
Once she realized she could do without, her therapist suggested she tried having a drink if she felt comfortable. She actually preferred. Instead of getting fall-down drunk, she learned that she could drink socially, or, if she chose, not at all. She realized how close she'd come to falling into the deep, dark hole of alcoholism and it scared her. Luckily, she'd managed to stay on the right side and get help just in time.
It had also been her therapist's idea to go visit her father. She was dead against it at first, but he wore her down and he ended up being right. It wasn't easy, it was one of the hardest things she'd ever done, but she got through it, and she was damn proud.
She knew it wasn't the end of it though, it was still an uphill battle, but she had the support.
She dragged herself out of bed and hopped into the shower. While washing her hair, she began thinking of the time she'd spent with Came. He'd been patient and understanding, and he never pushed her.
They said they were back together, but it was used more of a term to keep them from seeing other people. Not that either of them wanted to. Nonetheless, they were more very close friends than a couple. They'd had no sleepovers, and they hadn't had sex again. Hell, they hadn't even gone past first base.
Ryleigh rolled her eyes at that thought. She appreciated his thoughtfulness, but come on. She sighed. Although she brightened up a little when she remembered that they had decided to stay in Grand Bend overnight. It would be their first sleepover and she was pretty excited. It was probably for the best that they had waited this long anyway. This had been such a big time of change; sex probably would've mucked everything up anyway. He'd been her support, her rock. Her friends were great, but they'd been dealing with her for so long, she was sure they were exhausted. Brian had been acting strange lately too. She understood that he was upset about the past, but Cameron had been a complete gentleman since the few…incidents when they'd first ran into each other again and seeing Ryleigh had been an emotional overload. Besides, if she could forgive Cameron, why couldn't Brian too? He knew how happy Cam made her.
Ry shrugged off the slight annoyance she felt at Brian. After all, he was only trying to protect her.
She finished up in the shower and stepped out. She wrapped her hair in a towel and dried herself off. Keeping her hair wrapped up she put on the neon yellow bikini that she'd brought into the bathroom with her. She grabbed her make up bag from under the sink and applied a small amount of SPF 8 foundation and a little bit of waterproof mascara. When she was content wit her face, she tracked back to her room and threw on a bright pink tank top and a pair of denim short shorts.
On her way back to the bathroom to do her hair, her eyes caught a date on the calendar. Tomorrow was her dad's trial. Her breath caught in her throat.
He was being charged with assault, attempt murder and arson: disregard for human life. If he was convicted of even just arson, because someone had died, he could face life imprisonment. This in Canada met 25 years with mandatory parole after 2/3 of the sentence. Ryleigh snorted. Stupid justice system.
If the judge was dumb enough to let him off or give him a slap on the wrist, she'd… she shook her head. She was going to think about it. She wouldn't let him get to her again. He wasn't allowed to control her anymore.
She pushed all thoughts of her father away and continued to the bathroom. She took her hair out of the towel and without brushing it, put some moose in her hands and scrunched her hair up. After a few minutes of doing that, she had achieved perfect beach waves. She sprayed a tiny bit of hairspray; enough to hold the waves but not enough to keep her from putting it in a ponytail if need be.
She smiled at her hair. It was getting so long, she could almost tuck it into her shorts. She flipped it around a bit and went to make some breakfast.
As she was putting on a pot of coffee, Brian came of out of his room.
"Morning, Bri!" She greeted brightly.
"Hey, Ryleigh," He muttered, heading straight to the coffee and not looking up at her.
"Are you excited for Grand Bend today?" She asked, trying to start a conversation.
Brian tried not to flinch, "Yeah, I can't wait."
He had decided that he had to try and act normal. If he let onto anything, his plan might not work. He had to make her believe that he was trying to support her and any weird behavior was only mistrust and protection. If she thought anything was wrong she might not believe him when he dropped the bomb… whatever that would be.
It was driving him crazy seeing them together, but he kept remind himself of the end result. When he was with them, instead of pouting the whole time, he looked for anything he could use against Cameron; anything to break them up for good.
"Brian? Are you even listening to me?" Ryleigh questioned, slightly annoyed. He hadn't even noticed she was talking to him.
"Sorry, I was just kind of zoned out, what was that?"
"I asked if Brooke told you that the two of you were driving up separately. Me and Cam decided to make it a night, but you both have to work tomorrow."
Brian felt his back begin to stiffen, but he fought it.
"Oh yeah, I forgot about that, that's cool though," he tried to say nonchalantly.
"Okay. Well I'm going to meet Cameron for breakfast; we'll be back in a bit. Brooke should be back by then so we'll be ready to go," She gave Brian a bright smile and bounced out the door.
"Off to meet her prince," Brian muttered under his breath. He had no idea how he was going to make it through an entire day at the beach with them. He made a mental note to bring a flask and trudged off to his room to continue sulking.
AN: I guess that's it for now. I'm going to do the beach and sleepover in the next chapter, because I still need to think of how to structure everything. I hope this was okay. I know it's been such a long wait for such a serious and eventless chapter but it's building up and I really wanted to address some things.
To Serahei: Thank you for your reviews and opinions. I want you to know that I didn't put Brian in this light just because your mention of him in the reviews lol, I've always had this planned out in my head. Also, I appreciate you pointing out how wrong Cameron's behavior was because I'll admit, it was extremely dramatic, cliché and just a little off. I did jump into all the drama to quickly I think, and it was pretty unrealistic so as I said in my beginning author's note, I've tried to fix that without having to do a whole re-write because let's face it, the story would never finish lol.
Anyway, thank you again, you did open my eyes to how weird the whole thing seemed and I'm going to try to take it more slowly now. I hope you can enjoy it more.
Lastly, to anyone else reading this, well, thank you for being loyal. Please let me know what you think. Hopefully next chapter will be more exciting.
Peace and love