Chapter 17: Rylie's POV

I left Colton's after eating breakfast with his family. He hadn't woken up yet and I knew when he did, he would want to discuss last night in full detail. I wasn't ready to discuss it yet, if I ever would be. Usually with Colton by my side I would sleep more soundly than I do alone. However, last night was not the same. I barely got a wink of sleep. I spent a majority of the night staring at the ceiling with troubled thoughts. I watched Colton sleep too, playing with his hair to occupy my mind. It helped a little, but not enough. How could Dylan do that? I kept envisioning that question in my head as I tried to close my eyes and see the blackness of sleep. I hated him. I hated myself for believing I could be different. I also hated myself for not trusting my best friend. I walked across the street to my house, sighing as I opened the front door. I was guessing that Colton's parents had told my parents about last night given the fact that I had a handful of missed calls from them. Instead of answering and being glued to the phone for who knows how long, I sent them each a text and told them we would talk later that night. Luckily for me, they had left for work thirty minutes prior. I purposely planned my departure and arrival time for the sake of missing them. I just wanted to be alone for a while.

The house was quiet and empty as I glanced around. It wasn't something I was used to. Generally, my parents and little sister were home or Colton was over. For once, I was glad I had solitude. I wadded the disguting clothes from last night in a ball and headed up the stairs to my bedroom. I never wanted to see the clothes again. They would only serve as a reminder to a night I never wanted to relive again.

After a long, mental battle with myself to dispose of the clothes, I finally placed them in my hamper. I knew Taylor would be very displeased with me if I burned an expensive outfit of hers. However, I'm sure she'd burn the clothes herself when they were given back to her. I glanced down at myself, groaning as I realized what a mess I was. A glance at the mirror and it only proved to be worse than I thought. My hair was dry and tangled from the amount of times I had run my hand through it last night, even after my shower. My makeup had smeared, making me resemble a rabid raccoon. How in the hell did Colton's parents not say anything to me? Especially Rhett?

I walked into my bathroom, removed Colton's clothing from my skin, then proceeded to step in the warm shower. The water felt warm and relaxing as I scrubbed at my body and hair. I tried desperately to remove Dylan's touch from last night. I scrubbed at my skin until it was blotchy and raw to the point where it hurt to even touch it. Silent tears fell down my cheeks and I pounded a fist against my forehead several times in frustration. Stupid, stupid Rylie! I repeated shampooing and conditioning a second time, feeling displeased when I still felt dirty and used. I stepped out and wrapped a towel around me before the chilly air hit my skin. I grabbed some black, track sweatpants that had Mathews written on the pockets, a dark blue tank top, then a gray sweatshirt of Colton's. His scent flooded through my nostrils and I sighed in contentment. Even if he wasn't there, his smell could still relax me.

I walked down the stairs and headed into the living room. I snuggled into the couch, wrapping a blanket around me and turning on the television to some show I didn't bother to know the name of. I'd done this to take my mind off of things, but it seemed to make me think even harder. I didn't want to think about Dylan; I knew I shouldn't think about Dylan. However, I couldn't get the images of what he'd done last night out of my mind. Think if Colton never would have shown up. I clutched my stomach as it began to feel queasy at the sudden realization. Would Dylan have actually gone through with it? There was no doubt in my mind now that the answer was yes. He hit me. Do you think he was playing around, Rylie? It was hard to believe, a guy, a seventeen year old guy, could be capable of such evil. But it does happen and it happens a lot more than people want to admit. Was I the first girl he'd ever violated? Had the others seeked help? The questions gnawed at me and I wondered if I would've kept in the shadows if Colton didn't show up. I sunk further into the couch cushions and pulled my blanket up to my nose. I couldn't believe he only pretended to like me so we would have sex. He did choose the perfect girl though. Little miss vulnerable who had no experience with dating or boyfriends whatsoever. What a sick game to play.

I could tell that Colton hadn't been too thrilled over the fact that I had lied to him. He may not have shown it, but I knew that it had pissed him off. He even told me it was stupid of me to believe I would be different with Dylan. What was I thinking? Little miss innocent school girl could make the charming bad boy fall in love with her? Reality wasn't some cheesy romance novel. Life was life and that was that. I thought back to the phrase Colton mentioned to me: Love makes people blind. It was the strangest saying because for one, I had been blinded by Dylan. And for two, it seemed that Colton had been thinking the phrase over. I could tell by the way he said it, that there was something more to it than he was going to admit. Did I know what it meant to him? No and I was pretty sure he had no intention to tell me... if he ever did.

I touched the side of my cheek as I thought, flinching back moments later. The slaps from last night surfaced to my mind and I remembered the bruise that was apparent on my skin. I rubbed it softly, wishing that it would disappear before tomorrow. I didn't want people to start asking questions; no matter how much it could ruin Dylan's reputation. However, I knew that the bruise would still be visible for at least a week.

I pulled out my phone and checked the gazillion messages I had gotten from Taylor and an unknown number. I was cautious as I opened the unknown number's text only to sigh with relief when I realized it was Bailey. I had never really talked to Bailey, just the occasional hi there since she was on my basketball team, but we weren't close by any means. The fact that she had contacted me to ask how I was, even though she didn't know me, was heartwarming. I replied just one text to each of them saying I was fine and was at home. I guess I wasn't too surprised when there was a rapid knock on my door nearly 20 minutes later. I slugged out from under the covers and opened the door to reveal a sympathethic Taylor.

"Hey," she said gently, examining my current state. I half smiled at her and stepped back so she could enter. Instead of taking the cue to walk in, she thrust herself at me and engulfed me in a giant hug. She rubbed her hand down my hair and I didn't care that I was getting wet from the melting snowflakes upon her jacket, I only cared about the tightness of her hug. I couldn't help but sob a little into her neck. My body started to shake with unreleased sobs and when she told me to let it all out, I lost it. Wails of agony and pain ripped from my mouth and I clung onto Taylor's body with all my might. I had held it in since it actually happened and was desperately releasing the pressure that had built up inside of me. I hadn't realized Taylor had shut the door and moved us to the couch until I looked up and noticed I was curled into her lap on the couch.

"Rylie... tell me everything."

So I did.

She sobbed along with me when I got to the intense parts. Shaking her head and saying it was her fault she hadn't kept her eye on me.

"I knew he gave me an uneasy feeling for some reason," Taylor said with watery eyes, "I never should have let you wear that outfit. What was I thinking?"

"Taylor," I tried to calm her, "It's not your fault, don't ever think that. You didn't know much about him either."

"I know, but I knew he was a bad boy, how many girls he's hurt..."

"Yeah, but I think you wanted to believe that he would be different with me. Like I so wished he was."

She nodded, wiping away the tears that had fallen from her eyes and playing with my hands.

"Let's just forget about it," Taylor said suddenly, "He won't ever hurt you again."

It was quiet for a few seconds, the only sound was that of a terrible singer currently belting out the lyrics to a Miley Cyrus song on the television.

"I brought some candy and snacks and a few gory movies to watch with you today," Taylor mentioned with a small shrug, "It's not much, but I figured it might help take your mind off things for a while."

I smiled at her, grateful for her presence, "That sounds perfect actually."

I borrowed Taylor some fuzzy gray pajama pants and a comfy shirt. We both grabbed as many blankets and pillows as we could find in the house to create a pallet on the ground in the living room. I broke out in fits of laughter when Taylor missed a step and squealed in fear at her loss of balance. We had stacks of pillows and blankets in front of our faces it was hard to see where we were walking. Taylor and I assembled the best pallet to ever be made in the history of ever. We highfived each other and jumped down onto cushioned pallet with a huff of our breath. Taylor dragged a bag to her side and opened it to reveal it stacked full of candy and snacks.

"You are the best," I told Taylor, rummaging through the endless amount of sweets.

"Even better than Colton?"

I laughed a little at her best friend competitiveness, "Yes, but don't tell him that."

Taylor muttered yes victoriously and we both laughed.

"Are you ready to watch gorey, bloody movies that will fulfill our dark fantasies?"

I eyed Taylor cautiously, "You're having dark fantasies? Should I be worried?"

"Probably."

"Maybe we should start with something mild," I said hesitantly, eyeing Taylor's wicked grin, "How about Scream?"

Taylor sighed in playful reluctance, "Fine you weenie."

I popped the movie into the DVD player and asked Taylor to toss me a pop. She threw it in the air and I pretended to slam dunk it into an invisible net. We munched on cheetohs and caramel popcorn as the opening credits of the movie began to roll through.

Taylor wrapped one of her skinny arms around me, "What happened with Dylan was sick and I just wanted to cheer you up," Taylor began, comforting me, "And I was talking to Bailey about him last night after everything went down."

"Didn't Bailey used to go out with him?" I asked Taylor, the thought resurfacing in my head. Now that I had thought about it, Bailey had gone out with him over a year ago.

"Yeah," Taylor said, looking down sadly, "She told me that Dylan was very good at being manipulative and sweet at the same time. Like you, she believed he wanted her for her, not sex."

I shook my head with a roll of my eyes, "Typical."

"And get this," Taylor began, her hands moving frantically in front of her, "You know how Dylan told everyone he broke up with her?" I nodded so she continued, "Well it was actually the other way around, but nobody believed her."

My heart ached for Bailey. I could not deal with seeing his disgusting self ever again.

"There's more," Taylor continued, noticing I was about done with the topic of Dylan, "Bailey broke up with him at a party. He tried to get her in bed and she refused, then left. Thankfully, they weren't in private when she refused, because … well …what he did with you …" She trailed off, biting her lip nervously. I waved it off with my hand, fiddling with my hands.

"I'm just thankful Colton found me when he did, he saved me," I said my throat clenching up emotionally. I could feel Taylor's eyes on me, but after a few minutes she looked away.

"Colton cares more for you than I care about food," Taylor stated after a few moments of silence, "Which is quite a comparison because I love food a lot."

"Trust me I know that Taylor," I laughed at her comparison before biting my lip and looking down into my lap, "I just hope he's not mad at me. I did lie to him about where I was going. I probably ruined his and Bailey's date..."

"Bailey already told me to tell you not to worry about it," Taylor began, hesitantly saying the next words, "She said she saw them more as just friends anyways. But..."

"But what?"

Taylor rubbed the back of her neck, "We kind of agreed that we couldn't see you two as just friends."

I looked over at her sharply, my eyes wide, "What do you mean?"

She smiled at me, "Oh don't be so blind. You two are perfect for each other! The way you look at each other and talk about each other is…" she started, but I cut her off.

"I don't think so," I stated matter-of-factly, shaking my head to get the image out of my head. I felt my cheeks warm and put my head down so Taylor wouldn't see my blush.

"So, do you like him?" She asked with slight hopefulness. I thought this was a party to cheer me up, not make me even more terrified party. I shook my head, the blush increasing.

"No, I don't…"

"Then why are you blushing?" Taylor asked quickly. I glanced over at my best friend defiantly.

"I'm not!"

"Rylie, you look like an overripe tomato," Taylor pointed out, a huge grin breaking out across her face. I pulled my hood up over my head, crossing my arms and scrunching my shoulders up.

"Can we just watch the movie?" I asked quietly. Taylor chuckled quietly beside me, knudging me with her shoulder before pulling a blanket around her. I couldn't focus on the TV screen for the entire movie because my thoughts kept drifting to Colton. I'd had those thoughts before and they were thoughts I didn't like to think about.

I did not like Colton. I did not like Colton. I did not like Colton. I repeated that phrase over and over again in my head. But, who was I kidding? Some part of me felt something for Colton that I couldn't deny any longer. I did like Colton and that, was a very big problem.