Well, this is the last part of Follow The Rules, then i've finished my first story!
This chapter's a little longer than the other's as well, but i felt if i were to split it, they would be too short and it just wouldn't work.
Let me know your thoughts, and please please please review! I really do appreciate it! - thanks to Kari for the review, I'm glad you enjoyed it :)
Enjoy, loyal readers!
Two Years Later
"Thank you, have a nice day." Oliver said for the hundredth time since he started his shift at the local supermarket one Saturday afternoon. It had been almost two years since he had been kidnapped and after he broke down out the front of Daisy Harts house, he had somewhat managed to piece his life back together. He had been working at the supermarket for a little over a year now. It was a way for him to acquire his own money without having to involve his Dad and while they were getting on a lot better than before it all happened, be wanted to gain as much independence from his family as he possibly could. Getting a job was just step one on the ladder. He worked there every Thursday evening and every Saturday and not only did it bring in money, it was a good distraction from everything.
So, twice a week he sat behind a check out, scanning items and ringing them up on the till which was an easy enough job to be getting paid ten dollars an hour for.
Oliver sighed when he looked at the time on the till, seeing that he still had an hour left to go of his shift. Afterwards, he was going to meet John and Matt and the rest of his group at John's house for a night of video games and pizza. At first, Oliver had been hesitant to rekindle his friendship with his team mates, feeling too embarrassed and self conscious to face them after the way he'd acted towards them, but John had insisted that even if he didn't go back to playing football, his team wasn't going to give up on him. That's how his life worked now, more or less. He'd refuse to do something but with the insistence of family or friends he'd eventually feel so guilty that he'd give in. After he'd completed whatever it was they wanted him to do, he'd always doubt why he hadn't wanted to do it in the first place. Patience. That's how his friends and family dealt with him. Give him time and support and eventually he'd come around.
He had in fact gone back to football the beginning of his Junior year. John got captain and insisted that even though he'd "had a break" from it for a while, that he knew Oliver was still as good as he had been and that he should try out again. It was awkward at first, occasionally when a player tackled him to the ground and pinned him down, bed flash back to the memories of that weekend. But after the neighbours had called the cops that night at Daisy's, complaining that there was a domestic going on next door, it didn't take long for people to find out what happened. Of course it wasn't like he lived in a small town where everybody knew everybody else's business, but faculty at his school were informed of the situation so that they could "accommodate to his needs" and soon most of the students knew. Not that he necessarily minded no one besides the people who were there that night knew the details. All they knew was that he had been kidnapped. Most people thought he deserved a medal for bravery or some shit like that when they found out, but that was only because they didn't know what happened.
After a few months the gossip died down and people moved on which Oliver was eternally grateful for. It was only then that he felt like he could try to move on from it all when people stopped making excuses for him and started treating him like a regular kid again. Of course he wasn't regular and he was reminded of that every Monday afternoon when he had his appointment with Melissa. He refrained from using the word therapist because that made him feel like he was crazy, and on days where the memories were too much, even now, two years later, he honestly felt like he was going mad. Instead, they simply called it their weekly chat where some weeks he didn't have to mention the kidnapping or how he was feeling about it at all, and it was simply a chat with a friend. She had to be patient with him as well because it took weeks of seeing Oliver two times a week before he even mentioned the kidnapping again, shutting down again after he recovered from his break down to his father. Everyone had to start from the beginning with him again, trying to get him to open up to them like he had never said anything in the first place. But he got there, slowly. But he got there.
Daisy was the most of help of all. She went back to doing what she did best, and even though it made him feel guilty as hell, he still sort of used her as a distraction for everything. But she understood. She was willing to be there for him for as long as she needed and eventually, as Oliver began to open up about himself just as much as she was, he realised they were actually becoming friends. After six months, it was Oliver's turn to surprise Daisy with a kiss. A kiss that didn't remind him of George. A miss that meant a lot more to both of them than either one realised. Oliver couldn't believe that after everything that had happened, he could actually have a girlfriend. And even after two years, they're still there for one another. Every now and then on one of his bad days, he flashes back to that weekend, but Daisy's good at taming the panic. She's patient. They work.
B and George were never heard from again and the police didn't have enough to go on, considering there was next to no evidence from the rape kit and Oliver hadn't been able to give the police anything to go. And even though he told every except Melissa that it didn't bother him, that he didn't care, deep down he never stopped looking over his shoulder scared that one of his kidnappers was waiting around the corner, ready to punish him for breaking their rules. But they hadn't shown up since and the police dropped the case, so it was soon forgotten.
"Hi, how you going?" Another phrase he had repeated for the umpteenth time today as he began scanning the next gentleman's items through the till, willing the time to go faster so that he can leave.
"I'm good thanks Ollie. How are you?" And he froze. Halfway through scanning through a box of cereal, the voice sent his blood running cold and his body practically jolted from the shock. Slowly, ever so slowly, Oliver lifted his head for fear of what he might see, and he wasn't sure if he really wanted to look up. But when he looked into the eyes of the large, blonde haired man's deep brown eyes, there was no mistaking it.
It was B.
Standing in front of him, smiling as casual as if he had just seen an old friend, was the man who kidnapped him two years ago. Oliver's body was still frozen mid scan, staring up at the man who didn't look as old as Oliver pictured him to be. He looked like your typical, middle aged man, who, had the man not said a word, would have passed by Oliver as nothing more than the everyday man. B apparently saw the horror on Oliver's face because he shifted uncomfortably on his feet and his smile vanished to a look of anxiousness, looking to the people behind him in the queue, looking apologetic for the momentary hold on their shopping.
"Look, Ollie," B began but Oliver visibly flinched at the voice and caused B to hesitate. What was he doing here? Did B know he worked here? Was he stalking him? Wanting to kidnap him again? Was George around? What did he want?! Eventually, Oliver snapped himself out of his fear.
"What are you doing here?" Oliver's voice was quiet and shaky, like addressing the man made the problem all the more real.
"I-," But B was interrupted when a new, different, out of place voice spoke up.
"Daddy hurry up. I want to go the park." Oliver's attention was dragged away from the deep brown eyes to a little girl he had to practically lean over the counter to see. She couldn't be older than six or seven and had blonde curly hair and big brown eyes to match... her father's? Oliver looked between B and the girl pulling on her Dad's shirt eagerly. He had a kid? He kidnapped him from his parents and all this time he had a child of his own?
"Oliver, can I talk to you?" B asked, a look on his face that Oliver couldn't quite place but even though it didn't seem to have any evil in it, the thought of being alone with this man again, terrified him.
"I don't..." Oliver said slowly looking back to the box of cereal still in his hand and forced himself to continue his work, focusing on every move he made and not on the man standing in front of him.
"Please, Ollie," the man said desperately but paused to shush the girl begging at his side. "Just five minutes of your time. Please, that's all I want."
Oliver glanced at the time displayed on the till, his mind spinning. A man in the line behind B coughed loudly and eyed Oliver, annoyance clear on his face, so Oliver quickly finished scanning and packing the items without saying a word. He was surprised when B didn't push it any further, and waited patiently, while Oliver used the time to think over his options.
"That's twenty one, sixty." Oliver said lowly, not raising his eyes from the screen on the till. How could B expect him to say yes? How could he turn up after two years, and talk to him like he didn't kidnap and hold him hostage and practically ruin his life? B handed over the money, with a look that showed that he knew he had lost. He couldn't just turn up with some random kid and expect Oliver to trust him. But why had he turned up? Why did he want to speak with him? And who was this kid?
"I finish in an hour." Oliver said shortly, taking the same approach as a bandaid, do it quickly and don't think about it. Because the more he thought about it, the more stupid the idea seemed. And meeting up with B was a stupid idea. He kidnapped him. Knocked him out or something and held him hostage for almost three days. But he needed answers. Melissa tried to give him the answers he wanted, as did his parents and even his friends, but there were always going to be answers no one could ever explain. No one but B.
B looked shocked for a moment, staring at Oliver like he didn't believe what he had just heard. Oliver didn't say anything else. Couldn't say anything else. Instead, he took B's money, gave him his change and smiled forcefully at the next person in line, too shaken up to say his usual lines.
"Daddyyyyyy." The little girl whined, attempting to pull her father away from the counter, where Oliver was already scanning and packing the next mans items, trying to forget about the meeting he'd just agreed to. B smiled at his daughter, repeating 'okay' until she let go and began to walk towards the exit.
"Do you know the park at the end of the block? The one with the playground?" B asked, awkwardly hanging around the checkout and ignoring the glares the man Oliver was serving was giving him. Oliver knew the park. He used to play there as a kid, so he nodded, but kept his attention on the items he was bagging.
"We'll be there, okay? By the playground." B said. "Just come find us, okay?" Oliver nodded and he could hear the excitement in his voice and he presumed he had come here, not expecting to get the answer he did. As he watched the man run after his daughter who had pretty much made it to the door by now, he hoped beyond all hope that he wasn't making the wrong choice. For the rest of the hour, he couldn't shake the thought that he probably was.
He had been standing around the far edge of the park for about fifteen minutes debating whether he should venture further inside or not. He could hear kids playing on the play equipment which wasn't surprising since it was the first nice day they had had in weeks. Maybe that was a sign? Bullshit.
Eventually, after convincing himself that there was obviously plenty of children with parents around the park, so B would have to be an absolute idiot to try anything in such a busy place, he began walking down the tree lined path towards the playground. He spotted B almost straight away, sitting on the opposite side of the playground on a bench, watching with a smile as his daughter run around the equipment excitedly, her blonde curls bouncing around on her head wildly. Oliver slowly made his way across the ground, constantly looking over his shoulder and scanning the place in case George was somewhere, ready to jump out and grab me. Or maybe he had a new partner. Anything was possible.
B noticed Oliver approaching and immediately tensed. Why was he tense? He wasn't the one meeting his kidnapper. B opened his mouth to say something but quickly shut it, instead just moving down to one end of the bench, Oliver taking a seat on the other side, practically squishing himself up against the arm rest as much as he could while still looking casual. B noticed. He noticed everything though.
They sat in silence for a while, Oliver joining B watching the girl swinging across the monkey bars. She managed to make it across the whole way without dropping off. Oliver was kind of impressed.
"How old is she?" Oliver eventually asked, breaking the silence, however he kept his eyes on the girl, not looking at B and B reciprocating the action.
"Six." He replied simply and they fell into a silence once more. Six. So she was four when Oliver was kidnapped. He had a four year old daughter and held a sixteen year old hostage for what? A hundred thousand? Oliver hoped the kid went to a god damn private school now or something.
"She was," B started, before taking a deep breath, and Oliver did the same, knowing that answers he had longed to hear were finally going to be revealed. "She was really sick. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Cancer. The doctors said they could treat her. Chemotherapy and all that, but it cost a lot of money. Money we didn't have."
With that, Oliver turned to look at him. B didn't look to Oliver though. Instead, he kept his gaze on the girl and Oliver could see the sadness in his eyes as he was obviously remembering.
"My job's insurance said they could cover the treatment and I'd never been so grateful in my entire life."." He continued, sadness and guilt laced his words. That was until me and about a hundred other people were laid off, simply because of budget cuts. No job meant no insurance which meant no treatment. My wife and I had to watch our daughter become sicker and weaker, and there was nothing I could do to help her with the pain, except get her that treatment. I took the company to court, saying they couldn't lay us off the way they did. That we had families to take care of. That I had a family. A sick daughter that they were supposed to help with." B looked down and took another deep breath, however, this one seemed to be to control anger and Oliver immediately tensed, until B looked up at him. There was anger there, sure, but overpowering that anger was sadness, betrayal, conflicting emotions.
"Let's just say your father is very good at his job." Oliver could hear the bitterness in his voice. So it was about his father. His father had won a case. Won against B. B and his family. His daughter. Oliver looked over to the girl who slid down the slide happily, squealing in excitement as she did so.
"I couldn't let her die Ollie. And I may not have known anything about law, but I knew that as a father, your dad would do anything to get you back." B said and when Oliver looked back to him, he saw that he was watching his daughter again also, his eyes glistening with unshed tears.
"I hated what I did to you. What I let happen to you." B continued. He was talking like Oliver wasn't even there. Completely immersed in watching his daughter. Happy. Healthy. "And I'm sorry, but, I don't regret it for a moment. I mean. I regret what happened to you. That was never part of the plan. Never. And I feel guilty for it every day. Everyday I'm thankful for Katie's remission, there's always that guilt at the back of my mind. I've never, will never, forget about you."
Oliver didn't know what to say. It wasn't exactly an apology. He pretty much said that if he could go back and change it, he wouldn't. He'd kidnap him again if he had to. But for some reason, Oliver couldn't blame him. As if on cue to make Oliver feel especially bad about himself, the little girl slid down the slide again and bounded over to her father.
"Daddy, play with me." She said happily, jumping up and down on the spot. Oliver noticed the immediate smile that spread across his face as he looked at his daughter, absolutely beaming.
"Katie, can't you see I've got company?" B said, nodding towards Oliver who strangely began to feel awfully uncomfortable. It was one thing to watch the girl that his kidnapping and rape had saved, but to actually meet her? No.
"You're my Dad's friend?" She asked, leaning her hands on her Dad's knees and rocking on her feet, using her Dad to balance. Oliver nodded and tried to smile.
"Katie, this is Oliver." B said, picking her up and sitting Katie on his knee so that she was facing Oliver.
"Nice to meet you." She said and smiled broadly, revealing two missing front teeth as she stretched out her hand. It was adorable. She had such good manners for a six year old. He hadn't even said hello to her yet.
"Nice to meet you too, Katie." He replied reaching out his hand to take the little girls tiny hand in his, and this time the smile that spread across his face was not forced. Her happiness was infectious, and there was something about meeting this girl, a girl so adorable and sweet and well mannered. In a weird way, he felt like he had saved her. He had sacrificed everything he lost that weekend so that this little girl could go on and live, spreading her happiness and energy.
"Okay, honey, go back and play and I'll come play with you in a moment." B said gently pushing her off his knee. The girl didn't need any convincing. She bounded off back to the playground, completely unaware of the rarity of the exchange.
"She's... uh..." B started, completely aware of how individual his child was.
"Precious." Oliver finished for him. B looked to Oliver and the two shared a smile, something Oliver would never have imagined happening since that day. Smiling at his kidnapper. Sharing a moment. No. Was that his plan? To use his daughter against him. Make him feel guilty for hating B all this time?
"Was this why you wanted to meet with me?" Oliver asked, completely changing the tone of the conversation with the thought. He couldn't fall for this trap. He wouldn't let it happen again. "Show me your daughter and expect me to forgive you for everything. That I'd pretend that it was all worth it because by saving your daughter's life, you had to ruin mine?"
B was silent for a moment, processing Oliver's bitterness, watching him intently, as though trying to read between the lines of his words. Oliver shifted uncomfortably and looked back out to the playground frowning.
"You know, Ollie." B began with a sigh, and Oliver could tell he was about to go on some long tangent, probably about how that wasn't what he meant to do but they had to get going now anyway, and he'd leave him just as confused about everything before they had this meeting.
"You weren't a random, spare of the moment thing." B continued. "I followed you for weeks, wondering whether it was the right choice, learning everything about you. I knew your routine better than anyone. I knew your class timetable, I knew your practice timetable, I knew your route home, I knew-,"
"Is this supposed to make me feel better?" Oliver interrupted angrily, but his anger wasn't really directed at B. Had he really been followed for weeks and he'd never noticed?
"What I'm saying is. I knew you. You were strong and smart, and kind of arrogant, and I knew that if I took you, held you for a few days then sent you back that you'd be fine. You'd know that it wasn't your fault. You'd power through, you'd go back to life and maybe not forget about it, but you wouldn't let it bother you."
"Well that didn't really happen, did it?" Oliver asked bitterly, giving B a sarcastic smile that he seemed to ignore.
"I know. George, he... He was a last minute addition to the plan. Reinforcements. He had apparently had experience with the whole thing."
"I bet he fucking did." Oliver muttered under his breath.
"What happened, wasn't supposed to happen Ollie, and I hadn't taken that into consideration when I had simply planned to hand you back and move on, without giving you a second thought." This caught Oliver's attention. He said he planned on not giving Oliver a second thought. Was he talking about this meeting or...
"I didn't know how you'd cope with it, so I needed to keep an eye on you." B continued, and again Oliver felt the confusing mix of fear and anger at himself. After the incident, he had been hyper aware of his surroundings, on edge all the time, yet he had still failed to notice that B was there, watching him again. "I'm well aware that you didn't go back to your life. I'm well aware you quit football, and pushed away your friends and family and I'm well aware that it got a lot worse before it got better." B paused to brush a hand through his hair and exhale heavily, shaking his head. "Fuck Ollie, you have no idea how hard it was not to grab you, shove you in my car and drive you straight back to your house the day that you left your home drop down drunk. But instead I settled for driving close by, a lot closer than I would have normally allowed myself and since you didn't seem to have any idea about anything that night until you got to that house, I thought it couldn't hurt."
What? He was watching that closely? He had followed him all the way to Daisy's. The whole way and he hadn't noticed. What was wrong with him?
"I saw you break down. And it wasn't until then that I realised how much I had hurt you. How much you were struggling. I knew you hadn't told anyone about what happened because I could see it eating you up from the inside out." B was talking softly, slowly, and again Oliver could see him remembering that night, which was interesting for Oliver since there were parts that he could hardly remember himself because of the alcohol. He looked genuinely sad. Guilty.
"When you pulled out that gun, Oliver, I knew immediately why you had it with you." B continued. "Your friends, your Dad, they might have been too worried that you were going to hurt someone, but I knew you wouldn't. You wouldn't hurt them no matter how mad you were. The gun was there to end your life. I couldn't let that happen." B paused for a moment and while he looked back at his daughter, Oliver's mind reeled over what B had said. "I couldn't let that happen". What did that mean? What had he done? He definitely didn't turn up and grab the gun out of his hand or try to talk him off the ledge. No matter how drunk he was, he would have remembered if B was there. No one else came, except...
"You called the police." B simply turned to him, a guilty face that showed all he needed to know. B called the police? "Why?"
"Fucking hell Oliver. Sure I wanted my daughter to live, but I didn't want you to die." B replied, like the answer was obvious, but Oliver still couldn't make sense of it.
"But you said not to tell the police. You and George, you both said not to tell anyone." Our little secret. "The police, they asked questions and I gave them answers. I told them everything, even though you said-,"
"I know what I said." B interrupted sternly, but he wasn't angry. "But you couldn't go on having all that inside you. To be honest, I didn't think you or your parents would actually follow the rule. I thought the second you got out of there the first place they'd take you was the police station. Instead, you just sat there with everything building up inside you. All of you. Your father as well."
"But you said... Weren't you afraid of getting caught?" Oliver said, still perplexed. He expected them to tell the police? Why?
"Oliver, I knew you couldn't tell them anything worth going on, and I knew you were all too nervous or scared or whatever to take any notes the day we gave you back. I took precautions. They weren't going to find me." B shrugged casually. He was so certain. Maybe that's why he seemed so confident when Oliver was with him over that weekend. Confident until he found out what had happened to him. What George had done to him. George...
"You don't have to worry, you know." B said, as though reading his mind. Or maybe it was his body language. Oliver hadn't been so great at hiding his body language after what had happened. "He's gone."
"What do you mean?"
"After that day with the gun," B clarified. "I needed to give you some peace of mind, even if you didn't know it. I guess it was kind of peace of mind for me too. I went to see him. I don't think I intended to do what I did, I hope it was just a spare of the moment thing and I hadn't planned to do it, but either way. He won't ever bother you again." Oliver didn't push it further. He thought he understood what he was saying, but he didn't really want to know for certain. For some reason he knew he'd feel guilty if he knew. Guilty. For knowing the man who'd raped him was dead out of vengeance. He almost couldn't believe it himself.
"Listen." B said, pushing himself up off the chair and pulling out a small business card. "I know what a risk this is, and if you think it will help, I don't care if you call the police. I got what I wanted." He looked over to his daughter who was now swinging on a swing aimlessly. "But I want to give this to you and I want you to know that you can call me any time you want for any reason. Or you don't have to. You can throw it away as soon as I leave if that's what you want. Just know I want to be there for you. I owe you more than you can ever imagine." Oliver hesitated for only a moment before accepting the card. B looked relieved when he took it, and let out a content sigh, shoving his hands in the pockets of his jeans and nodding.
"Honestly, Ollie. Any time." B reiterated before calling for Katie to jump off the swing. Oliver looked down at the card in his hands and couldn't help the smile crawl up his face before looking up to the man standing in front of him, a hand held out towards him. "I hope to see you around, Ollie."
"Yeah." Oliver stood up to meet him, and he was surprised that they were almost the same height. For some reason, he wasn't as big and scary anymore. He took the hand offered to him and shook it. "See you around, Ben." He smiled. Ben smirked back and laughed a little before letting go of his hand and taking Katie's who waved goodbye to Oliver. For some reason, Oliver wanted to keep in contact with them. Both of them. He wanted to know what happened to Katie. He wanted to make sure she was alright, that they were both alright.
Oliver watched as the two left the park, oddly content after such a strange encounter. It hadn't necessarily answered all his questions, but Ben was willing to answer them if he needed. He pocketed the park and walked off in the opposite direction, headed for his friend's house.
For the first time in two years, he made it the whole journey without looking over his shoulder.