Chapter Seventeen:

Peyton starred down at the note Riley had left on his pillow, now old and crumpled every time he had tried to throw it out some how his better judgment had sent him back into the garbage looking for it. All it said was "Sorry… I can't do this…." Simple and scribbled on a piece of paper. He didn't know what it meant, but he had been doing his best to stay away which had been somewhat easier than he'd anticipated since suspending his deputy for wrongful conduct and having to look after almost everything in town practically on his own. Cole haddn't said much either, what was there to say really? He doubted Riley had returned to the bar since her incident with Davis, she was probably hold up with Nate at the university working out or doing what ever it was she did.

His cellphone began to ring, its usual chime like an annoying cuckoo clock.

"Yeah?" he answered in his usual way a sort of way of letting the caller know that they weren't very important to them and he was hoping to get them off the phone as soon as possible.

"You know who's bones those are?" the gravelly voice asked, it seemed like it was a phrase that had been cut out of some horror or thriller movie. "Well you better figure out which Hudson is buried out on Elias' field before you go diggin." The person paused and Peyton had half a mind to hang up as he heard the person take a large breath. "Or better yet before your girl starts diggin." It hung up, Peyton stayed on the line and eventually pulled the phone away from his ear, he didn't know what to think. But he knew that he had to look for answers and he had to find them all before anyone else figured out what was going on.

"Riley you know you don't have to work this hard" Nathan told her as he stood with a stop watch beside her as she worked on the rowing machine, eventually writing down her sets on a chart he had fashioned onto a clipboard.

"Nate. If you have a problem you can just leave because wether you're here or not I'm still going to be doing this." She barked at him as she continued to push her self past her breaking point. The gym was empty except for a first year walking on a treadmill while reading notes and even she had her music turned up so loudly that they could both hear it.

"Working out, is not going to change what's happening." Riley looked up at him with fierce eyes, a look he had never seen on her face before, she looked like she was going to tear him to shreds and that was enough to make him back down, atleast for the moment.

"Nathan! I am not going to talk about this now." She yelled stopping in mid spin, the first year turned around quickly as if she had been startled, her headphones fell from her ears.

"WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM KID?!?" Riley yelled at her. She quickly picked up her notes and ran like a scared dog. Nate looked down at Riley, but she was too busy starring out the window, a scowl still on her face as she patted her forehead with the towel.

"You didn't have to be so mean, that poor kid is probably never going to come back here because of you." Riley shrugged as if she didn't care, she did, she actually felt bad but she had no idea where all that anger had suddenly come from. And she knew that Nate was starting to notice a big change in her between this week and the week before.

"Riley I don't know what's gotten into you, but I think you need to go see a doctor, or atleast a counselor especially after what happened…" Riley looked up at him like she was ready to go, like she was ready to tear his head off.

"What happened Nate? You tell me!" she yelled at him looking him in the eye. "you weren't even there you have no idea what happened, so until you know, until you go through what I had to go through leave me the hell alone." She continued storming out of the gym, she picked up her gym bag on her way back to the dorms and went to have a shower.

She was standing in the shower, she could barely function. There was a dull knocking at the door that Riley chose not to listen to, the water had already become cold as she had been there for longer than anticipated. Days were long and nights were longer, they were never ending moments of darkness. She hated sleeping, mostly because sleep would never come, and occasionally when it did, when it snuck up on her in her moments of weakness and brought with it the horrors of the previous week. She starred down at her stomach almost in disbelief, as she had every other time she had taken a shower. It didn't look any different, it did not seem to be any larger than it had previously been, she was expecting some sort of drastic change since discovering she was pregnant but still none had happened. Which made it seem even less real. Sure Nathan wasn't pushing her as hard as he used to but they both knew that she needed to keep up her scholarship at least until the school year was over. And neither had any idea what she would do then, moving back home seemed illogical, running back to her aunt pregnant with no college degree, she wasn't supposed to be making the same mistakes of her mother. She was supposed to be better, she had a sport, she could have been an athlete a real Olympic athlete. But this school that was supposed to be her savior had set her up for failure since her arrival.

"Riley?" she looked up to see the door shaking as if someone was trying to get in. but she didn't care, she slumped further into the bathtub. There was no going back, and more than ever she wanted to go back, she wanted to go back to when Peyton first searched her and she wished that instead of letting him do such a ludicrous thing she wish she had hit him or something provoked him in some way that would have forced him to leave her alone for good. Maybe if that had happened he never would have come after her, and maybe she never would have gone after him and in the end nothing would have happened and at this moment she wouldn't be sitting in her shower starring down at her stomach half heartedly wishing that it was a lie.

She got up half hour later to find Nate sitting on her bed waiting while looking through one of the novels she had to read for her English class.

"What are you doing in here?" Riley asked sort of quietly, she felt bad about blowing up at him earlier and was surprised to even see him waiting there.

"I really think you need help." He stated looking down at his shoes as if he was ashamed, and he was, he didn't know how else to say it but he knew that she needed to get everything off her chest, he couldn't even begin to imagine what had happened with Davis and he knew it. But he also knew that it was unhealthy for her to keep it all in, because now all she was doing was pretending everything was normal, acting as if she hadn't experienced hours of horror at the hands of Davis, but every once and a while she would break, she would become uncontrollably angry. And she wasn't sleeping, he knew that for a fact, she even told him sometimes, it was scaring him and he knew that if it was scaring him it must be affecting her in ways he couldn't even begin to understand.

Riley however shook her head.

"No Nate… I" Nate stood up.

"Riley as your friend I am telling you you need help. I wont tell anyone else but I am serious when I say that I will to everything in my power to make sure you get that help." She shook her head again and sat down on her bed.

"YOU don't understand!" she yelled at him, by this point he was getting very angry, he could understand up to a point but now she was stomping on his last nerve. "Nate I have no idea what to do, everything I worked hard not to be I'm becoming, I mean I came here for a fresh start, I came here so I could be something and now look, look what I've become another fucking statistic, another young pregnant woman carrying a man's baby a man who I know could never be a good father, and then what else? Oh yeah I got raped. Its just too fucking much." Nate seemed to be a little taken back by her bluntness and even she noticed it.

"Yes Nate, he threw me down in the dirt and made me have sex with him repeatedly and you know why I can say that because I'm so fucking fed up that it doesn't feel real. I mean do you know what its like to not be able to come to terms with what has happened. I wanted to rip his throat out, I see him everywhere. I cant eat, I cant sleep because he's everywhere. I cant even think about Peyton because when I think about Peyton I see him. They have the exact same tattoos!" she began to cry, so many tears they were uncontrollable. Nate hugged her close to him all that he could do was hold onto her he felt the exact same way that Peyton felt when he had found out about the rape.

It was ten minutes later that she finally caught her self, her sobs turned into hiccups and she looked at Nate with puffy red eyes.

"I hate him Nate, I hate him." She continued as a few more tears fell. Nate brushed her hair out of her face.

"You know I love you Riley, but you need to tell Peyton about this baby…"she looked back at Nate, he looked like he too had been crying. She kenw that he loved her he was like a brother she had never had but she couldn't do it, there was no way she could tell Peyton, she didn't want to know what his reaction would be.

Peyton starred down at the notes in front of him, files and evidence on the six year old case were strewn across his, it was late and he had been working so long that even the janitor had come and gone although Duncan Mathers was still at the front desk since he had lost a bet with some of the other guys. By this point the words were all beginning to jumble together.

"Peyton Pierce." The old booming voice of Mathias Neilson called from the door frame where he stood watching Peyton work from his desk

"Mr. Nielson, how can I help you?" Peyton asked standing up from behind his desk and offering the old man a chair, as soon as he sat down Peyton closed his office door.

"Well now sir I didn't know if I'd ever see you again after you left for two months." Peyton smiled a little bit and the old man chuckled. "Nothing to worry about everyone needs a vacation everyone and a while." Peyton nodded politely playing along. He knew that Mathias haddn't just shown up at the sheriff's office late at night just to say hello and talk about his recent trip to nowhere, there must have been an ulterior motive.

"Well it was Christmas, and I needed to go visit my sister." Mathias nodded.

"Ah yes, and your father I hear, how is he doing?" Peyton smiled and said nothing, now he knew Mathias really meant business, no one was supposed to know that he had visited his father, not even Cole knew. So either Mathias had been talking to his father or someone else had told him about it intent on him using it as a bargaining chip.

"Does it matter Mr. Nielson?" Peyton asked sarcastically. Mathias smiled a toothy grin.

"I'll never underestimate you intelligence again Sherriff." Mathias joked before leaning in towards Peyton.

"I must request a favor from you sir." Peyton raised an eyebrow, it was always something or another with Mathias, he felt almost as if he wasn't the town's honorary mayor, he was not however he did hold an unusual amount of power for a little old man. "You see you sir put a friend of mine on suspension, now I don't think he deserved that, do you?" Mathias asked, Peyton opened his mouth to say something but Mathias stood up. "Now Mr. Pierce I'd watch my mouth if I were you, you see as I see it you had no right to put that young man on suspension, he didn't do anything wrong. Now there are things he's told me that I simply wont believe, because I know how you all get, I know that one little pretty young thing makes you forget your morals, don't worry your father was the same way. But your friends are always there to set you straight and to make sure you end up back in the right direction, I mean Davis well he was just doing you a favor."

Peyton's blood boiled as he starred at the old man, he was beginning to realize that maybe he knew, maybe he knew all about Riley and was just holding back so as to prove to Peyton that he had something to hang over his head. But then again if he actually knew all about Riley she probably wouldn't be alive as Mathias was a card carrying member of the Klan, and practically its president in these parts.

"Sir with all due respect that is my decision I am the county sheriff." Mathias nodded.

"Ah yes Mr. Pierce you are, but tell me for how long do you think you'll be the sheriff? I mean a ball park figure. You were just like your father, you all think you're in control of this little town, but you all forget I'm the one that gave you that damn badge, and believe me I'll be the one who buries you with it." Mathias smiled and stood up waving his hand around as if it was nothing.

"Anyways I am sure that you have lots to do sheriff, and I don't want to keep you. But don't you ever underestimate my powers, if you think Davis hurt that girl, you have no idea what I'd have done to her." Mathias raised his hat and nodded leaving the room. Peyton looked at the clock angrily, he needed to see Riley, he had to tell her what had to happen, to tell her what Mathias was capable of and maybe even try to get her to press charges against Davis. She needed to be safe and there was no way she would be safe if he stayed away for her, of course he chose not to think that there was also no way she'd be safe if he went near her either.

Because in the end Mathias would have his way, and he wanted Riley dead and gone.

a/n: sorry it took so long, I had no idea that second year would be this difficult but I'm trying. I had a huge writers block for the longest time and I didn't write anything! It was horrible ahah I felt like I'd broken something, but I'm back in the saddle and hopefully I can wrap this up neatly.

I also noticed that the passion from previous chapters is definitely lacking and I will try to improve that in chapter eighteen.

Please do review though! I like hearing what you all think!