View Full Version : Faye/Riley/Tyler/Deb Offshoot RP [Friday]

Ghanima Atreides
10th Mar 2010, 5:12 PM
Hi everyone,

This is an offshoot RP involving mine and Atropa's characters from the Sweet Sixteen thread which we decided to take here due to the fact that we don't have the time to play it out in the regular thread.

It will involve Riley Martens, Faye Griffith, Tyler Young and Deborah Jensen, and time-wise, it takes place on Friday, which will be skipped in the regular RP.

Hope you will enjoy! :)




Faye sighed; she raised a questioning brow up at Kelly who, following that plaintive croon, was now grinning like Cheshire Cat in another attempt to persuade her friend to join her for a smoke. It was a new habit of Kelly's, picked up from that boyfriend of hers, but he wasn't around so she wanted to drag Faye along instead, who wasn't exactly thrilled by the prospect. For once, it was cold, secondly, she'd be reduced mostly to standing around shivering while Kelly finished her cancer stick and thirdly, she was annoyed because she knew Kelly had only taken up the habit to “fit in better” with her boyfriend's crowd.

“Come on, just five minutes, ok?” Kelly tried again. “Promise.”

Giving her a hard look to emphasize that five minutes was indeed the longest she was willing to endure the cold, Faye caved.

“All right, fine!”, she declared. “Let's go.”

Those five minutes turning into ten, Faye's extremities were starting to feel numb by the time Kelly crushed the cigarette butt beneath her heel and was ready to go, the bell having already announced the end of that particular break. The girls however did not make it back inside together, since at the last moment Kelly discovered she'd forgotten to take a book from her locker, so she went back to get it, while Faye advanced towards the back entrance, which would bring her closest to the part of the school she needed to be in.

Rubbing her hands together for warmth, she rounded the first corner of the building and caught sight of the entrance, just beyond the stairwell leading down into the basement. It was quiet, though the soles of her chucks made only the softest of scraping sounds against the concrete lining the edge of the building, while the winter winds whistled above and beyond, ruffling her hair.

Suddenly, a different kind of noise emerged from nearby: a pained moan, and some words Faye did not quite catch in the moment it took her to focus on them. She stopped in her tracks, listening intently, eyes scanning around for the source. Nothing, and then, another groan, this time trailing painfully into silence, and Faye realized where it was all coming from: the basement stairwell!

She had to pass it by, or else go back. It didn't take long to connect the sounds with a conclusion, and realize what must have been happening, which frankly made her rather uncomfortable, but now that she knew, Faye experienced an eerie compulsion egging her on: she had to at least find out who was involved. Having yet to decide what was going to do with the information, cautiously she tiptoed on, crouching for extra safety, and only dared a glance once she'd reached the concrete parapet fencing the stairwell.

What she saw, came as a complete shock.

Doubled over against the basement door, was Riley Martens. Riley, Faye's friend since childhood, and the strong arm pinning him there belonged to none other than Tyler Young, presumed local bad boy. No longer presumed in Faye's mind though, who'd already caught him passing drugs to another student and gotten away very lightly herself, but if that encounter had left her with something of a “friendly rogue” impression of Tyler, the scene before her eyes shattered it to a million pieces.

She couldn't believe her eyes: though she knew what Tyler dabbled in, when her senses flared up in alarm, the first thought to come to mind had been “Why?!”; indeed, why, why was Tyler doing this to Riley?! It didn't even occur to her until the next punch landed with a sickening thud and Tyler spoke something about “having no choice” that the revelation hit her in the gut with just as much force, sucking the air out of her lungs: no! Not Riley, not...drugs! She felt dizzy, she couldn't think about all the times her friend's behaviour had seemed odd, but she, like everyone else, had brushed it aside, blaming it on his recent tragedy; the more she tried, the sooner the images scattered, like the fading memories of a dream. She couldn't even stop to think about the events leading to Riley getting beat up by Tyler Young, and what the implications were: her mind was racing out of control, and all she could think of was getting him to stop.

Watching that strong arm swing time and time again, unstoppable and merciless, knowing the split second before the fist buried itself into Riley's stomach, and his painful moans tearing at her through the silence, gave rise to a boiling rage within Faye, swelling beyond constraints. She saw red, and her breaths were coming out in gasps; without stopping to think or reconsider, she leaped out of her hiding place and, fists balled at her sides, cried out at the top of her lungs:

“Stop! Stop it!!”

13th Mar 2010, 4:35 PM

'Please let the coast be clear. Please let him be somewhere else entirely. Please please please let me get to class without running into him.'

His back against the tiled wall next to the door in the boy's first floor bathroom, and his eyes closed in silent plea, Riley Martens was hoping to God that his luck this lunch hour wasn't about to run out, and he'd end up finally running into Tyler Young, after having spent the past week or so dodging him as best he could. He knew Tyler wanted "a word" with him, about the almost 400 bucks that Riley owed him by now.. not counting whatever interest was being slapped on there... He also knew, that since he wasn't anywhere near being able to cough up the doe, despite the ardent assurance he'd given when asking to buy on credit, Tyler wouldn't be very happy with him. At all. And by now, Riley knew from experience what happened to those who promised Tyler Young things they couldn't keep. It wasn't pretty. His arm still hurt at the memory of how Tyler had twisted it behind his back and pressed him up against the wall, the first time he'd come to collect, and Riley had made the mistake of thinking that just because he was an amiable guy, Tyler wouldn't actually do anything. That his bark was worse than his bite, and that since his bark had actually been quite friendly in the first place, that his bite would be pretty much non-existent. Now he knew better. And frankly, he was scared shitless.
Hence why he'd spent most of the lunch hour hiding out in the bathroom, just to avoid confrontation with Tyler.

Though he knew there was no way he could fully avoid him. In fact, he hadn't managed to do so in the first place, despite having still managed to avoid ending up alone with him. The two of them were unfortunately in the same class, and so keeping himself out of Tyler's sight at all times had been downright impossible. But he had still managed to slip in and out of the class room without Tyler having a chance to stop him and corner him for a "talk". Last to arrive, first to depart, that was his strategy. And it had worked so far. The biggest problems was this time of day; lunch. There was no telling where Tyler would be, and since lunch lasted for far longer than the quick breaks in between classes, the chances of running into him and not being able to weasel out of it by pointing out that the bell was about to go, and that thus they had no time to talk, were too great for comfort. And so Riley did his best to stay out of sight.

The problem now was, he really had to get going, or else he'd be late for class. He really couldn't afford that, unless he wanted to subject himself to another "serious talk" with his parents and teachers, regarding his so-called situation. He didn't want to talk to them about how he was feeling, he didn't want to talk to them about Jordan and the aftermath of his death, and he didn't want to see his parents look at each other, and then at him, and see the disappointment in their eyes, that unlike Jordan, he left a lot to be desired, where grades and school work was concerned. He'd already skipped plenty of classes over the last couple of months, to go off and get high instead, and since he was already in school today anyway, he might as well go to class. He just had to get there without running into Tyler.

Thus, having said his little prayer and hoping that Lady Luck was still on his side, he carefully pushed the door open just a little bit and peeked outside into the hallway beyond. With a few minutes left until the bell, it was still fairly packed, with students milling about, on their way to or from their lockers, or just standing around talking and making the most of what little time they had before the next boring class would commence. But no sign of Tyler.
So far, so good then. Now remained only a couple of hundred yards of hallway between Riley and the classroom where the next class was to be held, and he'd be home safe. For now.

Quickly, and with his eyes scanning the hall as he moved, Riley thus slipped completely through the door to the bathroom, and started on his way towards History. With a little luck, Tyler had repeated yesterday's schedule, and decided to ditch the rest of the school day. Riley didn't know why he'd done that, but he did know enough about Tyler to feel fairly confident in venturing a guess regarding what had happened. And with not having seen neither hide nor hair of Tyler during all of lunch...? Maybe, just maybe, the universe had decided to give Riley a break?
One could only hope.
So much so that, in Riley's case, that his wishful thinking eventually started leading him down the precarious path of conviction.

He'd just started feeling somewhat confident that he wouldn't run into Tyler, that he'd get to make it to class and thus another safe haven - Tyler couldn't very well confront him with twenty other kids around, and only a few minutes or even seconds left to go before class started - when, from one end of the hall, he spotted the other boy near the opposite one, and froze. He stopped dead in his tracks.
Dammit! What did he do now? 'Think fast, think fast'. Crap, crap, crap...! He couldn't get to where he was supposed to go, without running the risk of Tyler seeing him, and managing to corner him.

The side entrance! Riley had just passed the smaller hallway leading there, and so if he could just backtrack real quickly, and duck into it, he could go around Tyler, outside the building, rather than head straight for him.
Yeah... Yeah, that's what he'd do.

With a quick, last glance over at Tyler, just to make sure he hadn't noticed him, Riley thus pivoted and darted into the nearby hallway, to make a beeline for the smaller side entrance near the back of the school. Another glance over his shoulder a couple of seconds later revealed that Tyler wasn't following, and Riley found himself slowing down a little, and breathing a big sigh of relief.
Phew, that was a close call!

What he didn't realize, was that Tyler had already spotted him, and, what was more, the way in which he was clearly trying to dodge him. But, while before he had settled for knowing that the mere sight of him served as an obvious reminder to Riley that payment was due - this wasn't the first time over the last week that he saw Riley head in the opposite direction on sight - things had now gone too far for him not to give a far more pointed reminder. Again. He didn't enjoy it, or even like it, but it had to be done, since Riley clearly hadn't learned his lesson the first time around.

Granted, Tyler could just wait him out, and have Riley come crawling when his stash was starting to run out. Which, if he had Riley's habit correctly pegged, after a week would be really soon. The problem with that was, that a junkie who was starting to feel the withdrawal would promise any and everything, just to get his fix, and his word wouldn't be worth a bucket of piss. Furthermore, payment really was due already, and Tyler didn't much care for not being able to account for what he had sold, to his employer, nor did he care for having to foot the difference, to cover for those among his customers who had yet to pay up. So, it really was time for Riley to make good on his word, and give Tyler the money he owed.

Therefore, when he saw Riley turn around and slip off in another direction, knowing that odds were that he'd try another route to get to history class and that, judging by the direction in which he was heading, he was opting for the outdoors one, Tyler decided to intercept. In no particular hurry, he smoothly deviated from his own previous course, and headed towards the main entrance, knowing that unless Riley was deliberately setting out to be late for history, that was the entrance he too would be heading for, and thus regardless of Tyler's pace, they'd bump into each other.
And sure enough.

Tyler had just left the front of the building behind, and was walking alongside it towards the back, when only ten or fifteen yards ahead of him, Riley rounded the corner from the opposite direction. And if there had been any doubt whatsoever that this manoeuvre had been meant for him to dodge Tyler, it vanished in a flash, when at the sight of Tyler's imposing form approaching right in his path, Riley's eyes widened in horror, and he once again stopped dead in his tracks. He started to look around in panic, for a way out, or for someone, anyone, whose presence he could point out to Tyler, to get him to back off. Because he knew where this was heading. The firm albeit not hostile expression on Tyler's face said it all. But, there was no one else around, and before Riley had a chance to scamper off, Tyler had grabbed him by the upper arm, and was resolutely nudging him towards the nearby basement stairwell.

"We need to talk", came his deep and, to Riley, ill-bodingly calm voice.

"N-no, Tyler, wait!", Riley tried to protest, as Tyler's strong grip forced him down the few stony steps and out of sight behind the parapets on either side. "I swear you'll get the money soon. I swear! You don't have to - ugh!"

His words died abruptly and turned to a strained huff instead, when Tyler shoved him up against the freezing cold metal of the basement door.

"It seems I do, Riley. I'm not kidding around, but apparently, this is the only way you'll get it."

And with that, before Riley had a chance to utter another syllable, Tyler swiftly buried his fist deeply into his gut, and the only sound to come from Riley, was a loud groan as he doubled over in pain. The blow forced the very air out of his lungs, and he felt his legs go weak and give in. Had it not been for Tyler's firm hold of him, keeping him pinned against the door, he would've surely dropped to his knees.

"I'm sorry, man, but you leave me no choice", Tyler said, as he pulled him upright again, but only to deliver yet another punch, still to the gut.

He hated having to beat people up, but he would do it when necessary, when he had to remind them of the fact that he was not at the top of the food chain here, and that there were bigger sharks out there that would do things far worse to their customers, if they didn't pay up. And when it happened, when such reminders had to be given, the abdomen was Tyler's target of choice, because it was effective. It hurt like hell, but at the same time didn't give any bruising that couldn't be easily covered up by clothing, which was usually to as much relief to the guy getting beaten up, as it was to Tyler himself. Neither him nor his customers tended to want to give people reasons to ask too many questions. Though he took no pleasure in it, and there was a big part of him that did feel bad, when he saw Riley's features contorted in pain, and heard his shallow and uneven gasps for air.

Jesus Christ, it hurt. It felt as though an explosion kept going off in his gut with every blow of Tyler's fist, and for a moment, Riley felt as though he was even about to vomit from the pain. But, just when he thought that the next blow would be the one to send his very intestines hurling up his throat and spill onto the ground by his feet, a sharp cry tore through the roaring in his ears, and stopped Tyler's fist just as it was about to ram into Riley's crumpled frame again.

"Stop! Stop it!!"

Hanging limply in Tyler's grasp, Riley just barely managed to lift his head and glance up the stairs, his mind still swimming with the pain and his lungs aching for air, and at the same time, Tyler too turned to look, without letting Riley go. Two sets of eyes locked onto the form of a girl familiar to them both. Faye Griffith. She was standing at the top of the stairs, her hands formed into tight fists, and her eyes ablaze with anger.

"Faye...", Riley croaked, his voice weak and raspy, barely more than a whisper.

Thank God she'd shown up! He didn’t think he'd be able to take more "reminding" from Tyler. He already felt as though he might die, even though deep down, he knew it would take more than a couple of punches to accomplish that.
And at the same time; crap! Of all people, why Faye?! Riley didn't want her to figure it out, and he really didn't want her to get in trouble with Tyler too! Tyler who, after a brief glance at Riley, had obviously put two and two together already, and figured out that the two of them knew each other.

However, while Riley was right about Tyler having made the connection, it wasn't the first thing that had gone through Tyler's head. After having had to probe this very same girl just the other day, when she'd obviously witnessed the exchange between him and Linus, his first thought now had been "Her, again?". This girl had some seriously bad timing!
And, friend or not, Tyler wasn't the least bit interested in having her put her nose into this any more than the deal between him and Linus. He might have made his point with Riley, and been intending for this last punch to really be the last one before he let the guy go, but that didn't mean the conversation itself was over. There were still a few details to sort out.

"I'd advise you to keep walking", he thus said, the look in his eyes as they locked on Faye firm and unwavering. "This is between Riley and me."

Ghanima Atreides
17th Mar 2010, 6:24 PM

Oh God, thank God...he stopped.

The one thought Faye's mind had been entirely bend upon was that, getting Tyler to stop punching Riley, by any means necessary. All else came second. The sight of him doubled over, his face reddened and twisted in pain, the uneven gasps and the groans, and above all that the relentless swing of Tyler's arm formed a scene unbearable to look at, and do nothing. It wasn't just her friend's suffering, it was the fear of what would come next – not thinking clearly in her frenzied state, Faye's imagination ran wild with disquieting possibilities. How dangerous was Tyler Young? How serious was the trouble Riley was in? What if he had a gun, or a knife, and was intending to use them? All these thoughts flitted through her mind in rapid succession as she stood planted at the top of the stairs, hoping fervently that her intervention would have an effect.

Then, suddenly, the pounding ceased. Tyler strengthened himself, ready to turn around, but Faye wasn't looking at him: she was giving Riley a quick assessment, looking for obvious wounds but since she couldn't see anything she had to assume all that have been involved were fists to the gut. Not that it made any fraction of her anger melt away; the viciousness of it, the obvious way in which Tyler used his superior strength to beat up someone weaker than him, plumbed the darkest depths of Faye's psyche, stirring memories of a time when she herself had lived in fear of those with the power to hurt her, just because they could. Because it was Riley made it all the more personal, but her anger was divided: the boiling rage was aimed at Tyler but deep inside she felt the dull ache of betrayal too. She could have helped him! He could have told her, told...someone, instead of getting himself in trouble with this, this vulture! They'd know each other since they were seven! Faye heard Riley croak out her name and discovered she couldn't bear to look him in the eye: she couldn't deal with that blister of confusion then, not while Tyler was there, not while she was bursting at the seams with venom.

"I'd advise you to keep walking" Tyler said evenly and gave her a hard look, "This is between Riley and me."

Faye glared at him, arms twitching at her sides. In different circumstances, reason would have advised caution, reminding her that the young man before her who had just beaten up her friend could do the same -or worse- to her as well, but reason was currently lagging behind on all counts. Instead, Tyler's warning took on an offhand arrogance in her ears, provoking her temper even further.

“Or what?” she demanded. “Are you going to beat me up too?”

Faye almost spat out those words, a wave of reckless satisfaction crashing over her as she did. It felt good to tell it just like it was, though she had to bite back the tirade that wanted to push its way past her lips, disdain flickering openly in her eyes. Consideration of consequences loomed remotely somewhere out of reach.

“How very brave of you, taking on a guy half your size,” she sneered. “Do you have any idea what he's...”

Faye stopped abruptly, a surge of loyalty inhibiting her from mentioning Riley's situation. No, she wasn't going to give this bastard one more weakness to exploit, and he had no business knowing anyway. The fact that he was exploiting vulnerable kids for profit, that he'd done this to Riley, repulsed her. In her mind, there was no way Riley could have told him, when he obviously felt unable to come to her with his problems.

“Just...leave.” Faye ended on a bitter note, her anger almost spent. Now all she wanted to do was get away from that drafty stairwell, and for Tyler Young to disappear.

19th Mar 2010, 12:05 PM

The phrase "in the nick of time" had never felt more tangible and real to Riley. Never had he understood better what it meant. Pressed up against the cold metal of the basement door, with only Tyler's firm pressure against his shoulder keeping him on his feet, and his fist a split second away from burrowing viciously into Riley's gut all over again, "in the nick of time" was indeed exactly when Faye had showed up to intervene, and stop Tyler mid-swing. It was only thanks to her, that it seemed like Riley would get to keep his quickly ingested lunch after all, instead of vomiting all over his shoes, or worse, Tyler's boots. And it was only thanks to her, that he could begin try to draw deeper albeit painful and strained breaths, instead of having what little oxygen remained in his lungs be squeezed out of them by yet another crushing blow to his abdomen.
Thank God she'd shown up, or he probably would have blacked out.

He'd known he had it coming, really. Tyler's treatment of him. He wasn't stupid - though he might have done quite a few stupid things over the last couple of months - he'd known he owed the other boy a lot of money, and he'd known he'd of course want it back. He'd known of Tyler's reputation, and had heard from Jimmy, the guy that first put him in touch with Tyler, what happened to those who didn't keep their word to him, and didn't pay up when he came to collect. He'd known that Tyler was a friendly guy, but only to a point, and that dodging him wouldn't work in the long-run. He'd known all of this. It was just that with the drug either in his system, or on his mind, it had been so easy to put it off, to block it out and forget about it. To add it to everything else he didn't want to deal with or even think about. So very easy. When high, nothing else mattered. And even though sooner or later, reality always caught up, it didn't keep Riley from hoping somewhere deep down that there would come a time when it wouldn't. When the effects of the heroin would just stick with him, and never wear off, and leave all the problems for a tomorrow that would never come. It didn't matter what they said, about how trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result was the definition of insanity. Riley still kept trying. Or at least tried to convince himself that he was.

Following Faye's outcry, and Riley's whispering her name, for a moment, all that was heard were his sharp gasps cutting through the chilly winter air, and the coughs as his huddled body vehemently protested against drawing in so much air all at once. Though to Riley himself, neither cut through the silence, as his ears still roared with the strain of enduring the effects of Tyler's abuse. He barely even heard what Tyler said, and only registered out of the corner of his eye, that he'd turned around to look at Faye, and that his strong arm was still the only thing that kept Riley from crumbling by his feet.
But the cutting tone of Faye's reply, he heard. It reached him clear as day.

"Or what?" she spat at Tyler with utter resentment. "Are you going to beat me up too?

From beside Tyler, there came a vague, tell-tale groan of horror at her words, her attitude. For obvious reasons, Riley was scared to death of Tyler, because he knew what he was capable of, and suspected he still didn't even know half of it, and so feared that by provoking him like that, Faye would get herself into trouble with him too, had she not done so already by interrupting.
Faye, on the other hand, didn't seem to realize it, or care, for she didn't exactly go on to smooth things over.

"How very brave of you", she continued, with even more venom in her voice, "taking on a guy half your size. Do you have any idea what he's..."

As she fell silent, Tyler cocked an unimpressed brow. Did he have any idea that Riley what? That he probably had some sob story, just like everyone else that came to Tyler for drugs on a regular basis, but couldn't pay up once came time to do so? No one hit the harder drugs without having reasons that they, for whatever reason, couldn't bear to face and deal with. True, she had a point in that he didn't know Riley's particular story - Riley had only hinted at a personal tragedy, in his attempts to persuade Tyler to let him buy on credit - but it didn't change the fact that Riley had known the rules, and gotten himself indebted anyway. It didn't change the fact that it was entirely Riley's choice to do so.

And perhaps Faye realized that, or perhaps she just figured that she was about spit out something that might be too personal to share with someone like Tyler, who, judging by what she said, in her mind had apparently taken on the form of a big, bad thug by now, who got off on beating up kids weaker than him. A misconception she was most welcome to, just as long as she stayed out of his way, and kept her nose out of his business. Such ideas of who he was and what he was capable of, mostly just came in handy, as it discouraged people from causing trouble where he was concerned. But either way, Faye cut herself off and fell silent for a few moments, before finally finishing;

"Just... leave."

By then, the anger in her voice had cooled to little more than a simmering bitterness, but her aversion still shone brightly in her eyes.
Still, regardless of her feelings, or perhaps even because of them, Tyler had to give her credit. Again. Just like last time, she was showing quite a bit of guts. Somewhat foolhardy guts, some would say, but guts nonetheless. Especially since what she had witnessed this time, was not "just" a transaction between buyer and supplier, but that Tyler did indeed have it in him to get violent if he had to. And while he wasn't particularly impressed with her way of reasoning, or her misconceptions, he did have a certain appreciation for those who stood up for others. When said others had not brought it all on themselves. Riley had, willingly and knowingly, and Tyler had no obligation whatsoever to go easy on him just because he, like most kids, was having a rough time. Everyone chose their way of dealing with their problems, and Riley had chosen his.

However, while Tyler didn't much appreciate the interruption itself, he had no need of sticking around anymore, least of all just to make his superiority further known by making a show of hanging around and leaving only when he damned well pleased, just to spite Faye. Glancing down at Riley's still huddled, faintly gasping form, it was obvious he'd gotten his point across, and so there really was no reason to linger. Therefore, he firmly but gently shifted Riley's weight away from himself, towards the nearest cemented corner of the stairwell, knowing that he was currently Riley's only physical crutch, and that if he just simply withdrew without giving him something else to lean against, the wobbly blonde would most likely fall down within seconds.

"Monday", he said, eyes firmly on Riley to make sure he heard him, and not budging until the other boy had given a vague nod of understanding, head lowered and eyes cast towards the ground.

Only then did Tyler let him go, and turn towards Faye. His gaze then on her, as firmly as it'd just been on Riley, he ascended the few stony steps of the stairs, with a casual assurance that would have forced her to get out of his way as his imposing frame towered over her, had she not stepped aside willingly. Though she did it calmly, as if to mark that while she did move out of his way rather than challenge him back, she didn't do it out of fear, but rather out of simple common sense, more interested in actually having him leave, than to square off with him.

"I've got my reasons", he said however, pausing only ever so briefly right in front of her to give her a coolly pointed look, before moving past her. "He knew the score."

Without then giving as much as a glance over his shoulder at either of them, he walked away, heading towards the nearest exit; the same one that Riley had come from only minutes earlier.
From his position down in the stairwell, Riley couldn't see him, but as he heard the sound of his footsteps melt away, he finally cave in to the urgent call of his whole body, and slid down the concrete wall until his knees hit the icy snow on the ground. He didn't care that the cold took only seconds to bleed through his clothes, or that dampness was to follow. He had to sit down. His legs would carry him no more.

Ghanima Atreides
24th Mar 2010, 12:14 PM

In the ensuing silence that seemed to linger endlessly, Faye's nerves were tightened like a bowstring, reflected openly in the stiffness of her posture. A drift rustled her hair, whipping across her cheeks, flushed pink with inner heat. There was a palpable finality in the aftermath of her rant, a significance that for the first time was able to reach through the blanket of her receding anger: there was no taking back what she'd said. Whatever happened next, would be affected by her actions, one way or another. Suddenly, she felt exposed.

Faye's eyes darted from one boy to the other, aware of the way Riley barely managed to keep himself from crumpling to the floor, mostly due to the fact that Tyler's arm continued to pin him into the door behind. Seconds crawled by with unbearable slowness, and each of them that passed and Tyler had yet to move away from Riley added to Faye's concern that he would simply go back to punching him, or, annoyed by her provocation, take things to the next level. He seemed, if anything, unaffected by it all.

Then, a single word sliced through the silence, the final, pointed warning Tyler saw fit to give Riley before letting him go:


Faye heard it, then watched Tyler swivel his muscular frame around with unconcerned determination, his steely gaze landing on her instead. His feet found the first step out of the stairwell and for a split second Faye wondered if he was about to do the very thing she'd challenged him to. A pang of sudden fear tightened her stomach as he got closer and closer, the impulse to move herself out of his way becoming almost irresistible. Faye did, in the end, step aside to let Tyler pass without further provocation, though goosebumps covered her skin the moment his arm brushed against her, and it took every ounce of self control she had to subdue the urge to move even further, to a safer distance.

"I've got my reasons", Tyler coldly told her, "He knew the score."

Faye stared somewhere in the distance, her features constricted with the force of the restraint she was struggling to maintain: she kept her mouth firmly shut and her mind focused on Tyler's imminent departure, which was what she wanted. The unspoken retort was heard only within the walls of her mind: did he actually expect her to approve of his methods, after having not only preyed on other kids but bled them dry as well? Riley could end up in hospital or dead or a criminal himself and he wouldn't give a damn.

Gradually, Tyler's footsteps melted away, leaving Faye and Riley alone at last. With the immediate threat removed, she was finally able to focus on her friend, which brought back those earlier feelings of mixed hurt and concern, with disappointment lodged like a thorn in her heart. A fresh wave questions darted through her mind as she watched Riley slump to the floor in exhaustion: what exactly was Tyler Young selling him? For how long, and how much? She remembered the curt warning: Monday. This was far from over, wasn't it?

With slow, almost reluctant steps, Faye descended in the stairwell and positioned herself with her back against the concrete parapet facing Riley. She watched him silently for a while, bewilderment still fresh in her mind and finding no words to adequately portray it.

“Riley...” Faye began at last in a rather strained tone, “what is going on?”

25th Mar 2010, 4:17 PM

Riley had never been the lying type. No more than six or seven months ago, had someone asked him if he lied a lot, he would have been able to answer a firm no, and it would have been God's honest truth. He did of course lie every now and then, just like pretty much everyone did, but it was far from a lot, and usually only just to stay out of minor trouble. A little white lie to explain why he'd been home half an hour after curfew wouldn't hurt his parents any more than it would hurt him, right? And it really wouldn't hurt them nor Jordan to think that he had some big essay due in Monday, and had to spend all Saturday at the library, instead of going to one of Jordan's football games, right? They had only been the occasional little white lies, to make life a little more comfortable, and a little less dull. Because really, who wanted to spend yet another Saturday wasting away with boredom while big brother showed off on the field, when one could go over to Stephen's place and play GTA or Modern Warfare?

However, that was over six months ago. These days, had someone asked him the same question, whether he lied a lot, Riley's answer would still have been no. But this time, that would have probably been the biggest lie of them all. Over the past few months, Riley's lying had grown more and more, starting out with how he needed money for "new clothes", or for "going to the movies to take his mind off things", until it now permeated his whole everyday life. One lie here and one lie there, and then other minor lies to cover for the first ones, and even more lies to cover for them. It was a vicious circle, that seemed never-ending, the endless work of not being caught lying, lest the whole web of deceit he had going would start to unravel. He lied to everyone. He lied to his parents, to his teachers, and to his friends, to keep them all from realizing just what was going on with him, what he was up to. Hell, he even lied to his dealer!
Hence his current situation, of having just been roughed up to the point where he could no longer stand on his own, and so had sunk onto his knees in the snow.

Not that he'd noticed, at first. He'd been in too much pain, and trying to recover from the abuse he'd suffered, as well as so overcome with relief at having Tyler finally leave, that it was only just now that he was starting to feel the chill. Without his jacket, the cold was seeping through his gray hoodie and the t-shirt underneath it with the greatest of ease, and the icy snow beneath him had started to melt a little as it lapped up every ounce of body heat that his skin had to offer through his jeans.
Yet, he couldn't bring himself to stand. The pain was still too great for his legs to carry him, and so he stayed where he was, despite the cold, and the shivers it was starting to send to ripple through his body.

He heard the sound of footsteps coming down the stairs, towards him, and glanced up. Oh right, Faye.
Crap. She'd seen it all, hadn't she? She'd seen Tyler hitting him, and so he knew she was bound to have questions. There were very few at this school that didn't know who Tyler Young was, or hadn't heard the rumors of what he was involved in, and in the case of Faye, she knew Riley wasn't the type of guy to get into random fights. She'd know something was up.

Dammit. He now had quite a bit of explaining to do, and he wasn't looking forward to it. Faye was one of his best and oldest friends, she knew him better than most of the people he had to lie to, and while he had been able to fool her until now, just like he'd fooled everyone else, this time it would be so much harder. Convincing someone you were telling the truth was so much harder when they were expecting you to lie, than when they were completely clueless to the possibility, or at least had reason to think you were lying not because you had something to hide, but because you just wanted to be left alone.

Still, despite the problems that her presence currently brought, at least she was here and could help him up off the ground.
Only, she didn't.
Riley felt her presence there, and he saw her form out of the corner of his eye, but she wasn't reaching down for him, or even coming closer. Another glance up at her revealed that she just stood there, with her back against the concrete wall behind her. She just simply stood there, looking down on him. In both senses of the word.

"Riley...", she started tentatively, as though she didn't really know what to say, or where to begin, "what is going on?"

At the sound of her voice, Riley glanced up at her again. And, while he clearly saw the disappointment and the confusion in her eyes, as a regular expert on escaping the cold clutches of his guilty conscience - or, trying at least, considering success in doing so was often proving elusive - he tried his best to ignore it, and simply shot her a bit of a glare instead, turning his focus from the disappointment she was obviously feeling with him, to the one he was feeling with her. She was seriously just going to stand there looking at him, without helping him?
Well then, fine. He'd manage by himself.

Placing one hand on the wall next to him, and the other against the one behind him, he started trying to push himself up off the ground, to the sound of a strained groan, until finally, he was standing up fairly straight, if a bit wobbly and still leaning against the wall for support.
God, his stomach hurt. What he wouldn't give for a fix right now. Just to make the pain go away, and soothe the anxiety that was churning within him to the point of muddling his mind, in the aftermath of the encounter with Tyler, and the warning that had come with it. If he could just get to relax for a little bit, he'd be able to think straight. To think straight, and maybe come up with some way to get the money he owed.

Problem was... the gear was in his backpack, and his backpack was in his locker. And even if he'd had it with him, it wasn't as though he could just shoot up with Faye around. He had to get rid of her. And the only way to do that, as fast as possible, was to convince her that everything was okay. Otherwise she'd probably just get in his hair, and never leave him alone. Though frankly, he didn't have a clue how to go about it. Faye wasn't stupid, she had clearly figured out that something fishy was going on.
Not that it would stop him from trying.

"It's nothing", he muttered, and grimaced as he finally managed to straighten his back against the concrete wall opposite of the one she was leaning against, and then went on to wrap his arms protectively around himself, against the winter cold.

However, knowing that he probably wouldn't manage to convince her that nothing was wrong, by being grumpy and defensive, he then looked up at her and forced a weak smile, in an attempt to end the conversation right there, by having her think the situation was no worse than that he still had smiles to offer.

"I owe him a bit of money for some stuff", he said; the situation Faye had witnessed had been too obvious for him to try some other excuse. "I just forgot I was supposed to pay him back a couple of days ago, that's all."

Ghanima Atreides
30th Mar 2010, 4:47 PM

Without even being aware of the seconds ticking by while she stood watching Riley in silent befuddlement, Faye struggled to bring some order to the mess her mind was currently in. A million thoughts fought for attention in her head, always ending with another question added to the myriad already in existence, but eventually one concern dominated the rest: the object of Riley's dispute with Tyler. Not the money, that much she'd figured out already, but what he'd bought with it. Faye had already caught Tyler passing weed to another student, but the situation with Riley reeked of something more severe than that. Looking back at the past six months and reviewing the clues there pointed away from that possibility and towards another, more ominous one: for once, she'd never caught the scent off Riley during the frequent times they'd hung out, and though she had no idea what Tyler's rates were, she imagined he reserved this sort of treatment for larger debts...debts created by more expensive stuff. Or, so her brain reasoned in its frantic state. Then, there was Riley's behaviour: his moodiness, his weightloss, all the things she'd blamed on his recent tragedy, that suddenly took on a different and far more worrying look. And she hadn't even considered there might be something other to it than his mourning for Jordan...just like everyone else.

A wave of guilt raked through her, which along with Riley stirring on the frozen ground jolted Faye out of her musings and with a start she realized she hadn't even offered to help him up. She started to move forward but he was already pulling himself to his feet, albeit painfully...the moment was gone. It did however add to Faye's growing anger which was directed at herself for failing to notice what was happening to her friend, simply due to one explanation having seemed so obvious, as opposed to considering the more troubling alternatives just because it was so much easier not to...stupid, so damn stupid!

Despite the fact that she still smarted over the fact that her oldest friend had deceived her all along, Faye recognized the fact that getting him help was more important than that. Not only to get Tyler Young off his back, but to deal with whatever substances he was poisoning himself with. So she waited eagerly for a reply, nurturing the hope that Riley would trust her enough to open up to her then, that almost ten years of friendship would have earned her that much. Imagine then the sting of hurt and disappointment she felt when his actual response arrived:

"It's nothing" he claimed in a surly voice, the words whipping through the winter air like a gust of icy wind. Faye recoiled inwardly, this time correctly anticipating the follow-up.

"I owe him a bit of money for some stuff" Riley continued with a tiny smile, "I just forgot I was supposed to pay him back a couple of days ago, that's all."

He was still lying to her, even then, even after she'd seen that creep beat the stuffing out of him? While she could understand how it would have been so much easier for him to avoid a difficult conversation simply by allowing people to dwell in their ignorance in the past, this...this was different. He was now lying straight to her face, and that hurt. She winced, averting her gaze, her lips pursed together.

“How much?” Faye ended up asking with a sigh, figuring “a bit” was just as much of an understatement as the rest. Once more she felt unsure of what to say, what words she could choose that would not end up pushing Riley even further into his web of deceit. Should she confront him with her knowledge about Tyler's dealings?

“Riley...if you're in trouble, you know you can talk to someone, right?” Faye concluded, deciding to give him one more chance to come clean of his own accord, and took a step towards him as though to emphasize her point. “You can talk to me.”

1st Apr 2010, 9:31 PM

The best way to keep a secret, is to not tell anyone else. To share it with no one. It's the only way that you will ever be perfectly safe, because the moment that you open your mouth and let someone else in on what you don't want the rest of the world to know, no matter how much you trust them, control will no longer be yours and yours alone. You can never be truly certain that the other person will keep your confidence, and your secret. People are betrayed by their friends all the time, be if for good intentions or bad ones. Mistakes are made, and accidents happen. There are never any guarantees when sharing a secret with someone else, that it won't eventually get out.

This, Riley knew, and so for the past couple of months, he'd lived by it, almost religiously. As well as he could anyway. He guarded his secret - his drug habit, and everything it entailed - and would often resort to lies and deceit in order to do so. Yet, despite all the precautions, there was no way that he could keep it entirely exclusive to himself, for obvious reasons; a drug habit required a supplier, a dealer. Drugs (sadly) didn't just magically appear from out of nowhere, and so of course there had to be at least one other person who was aware of Riley's habit. In this case, Tyler Young. It was a price that had to be paid, of course, but even though he knew that Tyler probably didn't give a rat's *ss about him one way or the other as long as he paid for the merchandise, and probably had no interest of telling anyone about Riley being a customer of his, Riley's current debt to him was a major cause for concern to Riley, on so many different levels. His health for one, which had been proven to be a very real concern, given what had just happened. Second, his future supply; if he messed things up with Tyler, he'd no longer be a welcome customer, and Riley honestly didn't know of any other dealers in Brooklake, nor did he want to ask anyone, because again, that would involve people getting an idea of what he was up to. He'd never actually approached a dealer he hadn't already been involved with. They had just always somehow managed to spot him, and approached him instead.
Thirdly, even though Tyler probably had as little interest in snitching on Riley as Riley did in snitching on Tyler, that didn't mean that if Riley failed to come up with the money in time, Tyler wouldn't end up figuring that he'd take it out on one of Riley's friends instead. It was such an effective method after all, because while some people would accept a beating because of their own failure, very few could stand the thought of one of their loved ones getting hurt because of something that wasn't their fault. And Riley was one of them. He didn't want anyone whom he cared about to end up getting beaten on or being threatened, because of him. Nor did he want any of them to realize through such an event that something was very, very wrong, and start asking questions. It was hard enough as it was, without everyone getting on his back about t, which he knew they would if they ever found out.

However, currently, Faye was dangerously close to figuring it out. In fact, when Riley caught the look in her eyes, just before she averted her gaze following his reply to her question, he got the distinct feeling that she wasn't buying what he was telling her. At all. There was still that look on her face, of disappointment at, despite his claims, finding that something bad was going on, and he hadn't shared it with her, one of his very closest friends.

What she didn't realize was that there had been times when Riley had wanted nothing more than to just spill his guts, and confide in her. To just lay it all out there, in a desperate attempt to have someone see what he was going through. To just hand it all over to them, to drop it all in their lap in the hopes that they would just make it go away. That they would fix it, and make everything okay.
But he just couldn't. He knew they would never understand just how badly he needed the heroin. He knew they would try to make him stop, and that if that happened, he would go back to being depressed and miserable. They just wouldn't understand. Not even Faye.
He had to lie to her. Or at least try.

"How much?", she asked, with the air filtering out of her lungs in a dejected sigh.

Though while Riley frantically tried to think of an answer - he'd kind of figured that she was going to ask, and so had seen the question coming, but he just didn't know what kind of sum would make for a believable one, since it had to be big enough to get beaten up for, yet still small enough to seem like no big deal... not to mention the fact that it had to match whatever he was going to say he'd needed it for, since she was bound to ask about that too - it would soon turn out that maybe he wouldn't have to, because only seconds later, Faye herself offered him a way to dodge it. For now.

"Riley...", she said as she ventured somewhat closer, sounding as though she was trying to find the right way to approach a delicate matter, "... if you're in trouble, you know you can talk to someone, right? You can talk to me."

It was then, at those words, that Riley suddenly committed the cardinal sin to all liars; he looked away. If there was one thing that would give a liar away face to face, it was the reflex inability to look the person they were talking to in the eye. And with Faye, Riley couldn't. Not until he caught himself, and forced himself to look up at her, to deliver his reply. It had been only a split second glance towards the ground, and so he hoped she hadn't noticed, or that if she had, that she didn't interpret it to mean uncertainty; that he was lying, or being evasive.

"I don't know what you mean", he said, and successfully resisted the urge to squirm in discomfort, managing another smile instead, and trying to make it look as reassuring as possible. "I'm fine. Really. Thanks for helping though. He was getting kinda zealous..."

Ghanima Atreides
8th Apr 2010, 3:44 PM

To earn the trust you've obviously been denied, to pry into a secret the owner clearly didn't want to share, then do precisely what they dreaded: the right thing. That idea was currently making its way into Faye's mind, slipping past the receding wave of confusion and bringing with it a budding sensation of helplessness: she just didn't know what to do. Every instinct screamed for a solution, some magical way to make this whole mess go away and Riley well again, free of drugs and Tyler Young breathing down his neck, but it was just that...the human instinct to flee from a difficult situation, and imagine it would fix itself. Faye was much too aware no solution was going to be simple; especially not while Riley clung to denial.

Part of her wanted to grab him and shake him until he saw reason, angry at the way he hurt himself and lied to those who cared about him, and the other part pointed the finger accusingly back at herself: what right did she have to demand anything from Riley when she'd been around him for half a year and didn't even start to imagine he was going through more than just grief? The clues had been there. That was useless, circular thinking though, and Faye willed herself away from it; she could guilt-trip herself later, she couldn't afford to lose the opportunity at hand, not when she was so tantalizingly close to getting the truth out of him. What happened next she had no idea – they'd cross that bridge when they got to it.

Faye watched Riley like a hawk, in the hope that her familiarity with his expressions and mannerisms would tip her off somehow, or at least help in choosing the right words to guide the conversation down the right path; she listened to the loud pulsing in her temples, a silence that seemed oddly complete closing in around them. Remotely, she thought of the class they were missing, but couldn't bring herself to care. Then, with a renewed pang of dejection, Faye caught Riley avert his gaze in reaction to her question, in that all too familiar way people did when trying to hide a lie. It was a classic impulse, and it suddenly occurred to her that she might fail to persuade Riley to tell her the truth, something she'd deemed ridiculous when she'd first stepped into that stairwell. She frowned, feeling another bit of control slip out of her hands, then shivered abruptly.

"I don't know what you mean" Riley claimed quite blithely, as though he hadn't noticed her expression and bodylanguage, "I'm fine. Really. Thanks for helping though. He was getting kinda zealous..."

Faye had to fight the urge to stomp her feet in frustration: fine? He was barely standing, not to mention whatever substances he was taking...how could he just say that?! A deep, morose sigh filled her chest: she had to think rationally, Riley was a junkie and junkies were known to go to great lengths to protect their habit...and that very thought, thinking of Riley as a junkie, felt utterly alien. Then, she decided: flicking a sharp, steady gaze up at him, Faye planted both feet firmly in the ground and wrapped her arms on her chest, chin lifted slightly:

“And Monday? What do you think he'll do then?” she challenged, though a brief quiver of her voice at the end belied her emotions. When she spoke again, there were palpable cracks in her assertiveness: “I know what Tyler Young does: I've caught him deal drugs to some guy yesterday, and give him the same sort of warning he gave you.” She moved even closer, and placed a hand on his arm, her tone compelling yet softer: “That being said, can you truly tell me you're fine? Can you promise me that?”

11th Apr 2010, 10:44 PM

A big part of why it had been possible for Riley to lie to people for this long, was because practically speaking, it had been easy. Emotionally and morally, not so much, but in practice, it had been a piece of cake, just as long as he managed to keep track of all his lies, and all his cover-up lies. He'd had a personal tragedy to hide behind, and blame it on, whenever he was being somehow approached about being sad, depressed, skipping school, loosing weight, being moody or wanting to be left alone. All he'd had to do then, was to hint at having a rough time, and people would jump to the conclusion that it was because of the grief of loosing his brother. Sometimes they'd ask if he'd be alright, sometimes they'd ask if there was something they could do, but regardless of whether they did or not, they would all always eventually back off, and leave him be, to work through it all at his own pace. And the thing was, in a way, the excuse had never really been a complete lie, because the fact of the matter was that Jordan's death really was the crux of it all. Had he still been alive, the family would have been complete, without the empty room and the empty chair around the dinner table slapping them in the face. Memories of the past, whether good times or bad, wouldn't all have been accompanied by a violent stab to the heart. There wouldn't have been this huge emptiness ruling the house. Mom and dad wouldn't have grown so distant and preoccupied, turning to each other for comfort, and Riley wouldn't have been left in the permanent shadow of his brother, with no chance of ever emerging from it, because how did you defeat someone who just wasn't there? He wouldn't have felt so alone, and invisible, and so wouldn't have felt the need to escape it. He wouldn't have been tempted to try that "little pick-me-up" that guy Mike had offered him back in New York, and he wouldn't have experienced that blissful peace, that freedom from everything that had been weighing him down. He wouldn't have gone seeking it again, and again. And he wouldn't have discovered what a useful front his loss was, to help keep his addiction concealed from others, because it was so genuine, for the most part. He wouldn't have been able to get away with his lies and excuses for this long, without someone smelling a rat.

Now, for the first time, he was being confronted for real, by someone who'd finally witnessed something that simply didn't add up, something that didn't fit the picture of Riley going through "just" the loss of his older brother, and who thus was past writing off his behaviour as an expression of his grief. To his horror, he discovered that it instantly made it so much harder for him to hide, and produce a lie believable enough to explain what was going on. It had started with his split-second inability to look Faye in the eye, and it wasn't about to get any easier after that;

"And Monday?", she asked, assuming an assertive posture, with her arms folded demandingly across her chest, despite her voice gradually losing it's determination as she continued. "What do you think he'll do then? I know what Tyler Young does: I've caught him deal drugs to some guy yesterday, and give him the same sort of warning he gave you."

Riley cringed.
Crap! He'd figured Faye knew of Tyler's reputation, but he hadn't known that she was THAT well informed of his activities. Granted, rumour did have it that Tyler dealt drugs, and so Riley had known that Faye might have considered it a vague possibility that it was what was going on between him and Tyler, but had foolishly thought that he'd be able to easily convince her that it had nothing to do with drugs, but instead just a simple loan. Tyler did have a reputation for that too, after all.
Although... Maybe there was still a chance? Maybe he could still convince her? She had no proof, all she had was her suspicions, and so if he just stuck to his story, he might be able to make her believe it? They were friends, and so if he just maintained that it was just a matter of money and nothing else, she ought to end up taking his word for it. Right? That's what friends did.
However, just as the possibility occurred to him, and he decided he had to try, Faye played her trump card.

"That being said", she added while reaching out and gently touching his arm with her hand, "can you truly tell me you're fine? Can you promise me that?"

With that simple question, she had him trapped, and she knew it. He couldn't promise her. Just lying plain and simple was difficult enough for him, and made him feel bad, but lying by promising something... That was something he just couldn't do. He couldn't. He couldn't bring himself to sink that low, and be that false. Especially not to Faye, one of his very best friends, if not the best. He couldn't do it even if he'd wanted to. All he could do was to cringe yet again, squirming under the weight of her scrutinizing gaze, and aim his own at the ground in guilty evasion of their eyes meeting.

"It's nothing...", came a mumble in a feeble attempt to brush it off. "It just helps keep me on an even keel, you know? It's not a big deal..."

Ghanima Atreides
15th Apr 2010, 11:15 AM

Like most people who had never been confronted with drug use and its consequences, the first thought Faye associated with them was that they were bad. They caused addiction and health risks and if left unchecked would eventually lead to an untimely demise – such was the mantra playing inside her head of its own accord, generic in essence. Before her eyes flashed images of what she'd seen on TV or read over the internet or heard from various people, depicting broken and unstable addicts who would stop at nothing to get their fix, with the promise of a overdose looming in their uncertain future. It was the sort of thing that always happened to other people, not your friends and family...until it did.

Faced with the reality of Riley's habit, whatever it entailed, Faye began weighing the various possibilities, trying to gauge the severity of it. She was no expert on the various substances and their exact effects, but she did know some were worse than others, and it depended as well on how old the habit was, how established the substance was into his body. Part of her dreaded the answer, a glimmer of idle hope insisting that Riley would be able to provide solid proof that things weren't as dire as they seemed, and she would be able to breathe a deep sigh of relief. Faye would not have minded being proven wrong in this case, not at all; she awaited his response with an inner urge to cringe, despite having been the one to push for it, playing the final and ultimate card she had left. If appealing to the trust and friendship between them, directly instead of in the previous, roundabout way, didn't do the trick, Faye honestly didn't know what would.

The question hit home and Riley squirmed before her, avoiding eye contact, his friend receiving his reply with a sinking feeling in her stomach:

"It's nothing..." he mumbled feebly, "It just helps keep me on an even keel, you know? It's not a big deal..."

Faye's gut tightened uncomfortably at this, and she drew a slow, quavering breath: there it was, the confirmation she'd both wanted and dreaded. Possibilities had been torn away, only the cold, hard truth remained, and now that she had it, Faye was no closer to knowing what to do. She suddenly felt like a stupid kid rendered powerless before a situation she did not have the skill nor the experience to deal with.

“Um...what is it...?” she mumbled in reply, peering apprehensively at Riley. She still didn't know precisely what sort of “pick me up” he was using to keep him on “even keel”, and it was sort of important. The question, on its own in the encompassing silence, felt empty and inadequate, lacking the elusive quality Faye was grasping for in the dark, ever slipping through her fingers.

“You don't have to, though!” she followed quickly, helplessness and underlying fear mingling in her tone. “There are other ways, you could ask for...help. You don't have to go through it alone.”

The words rang empty in her own ears, the sort of thing a parent or teacher might say except for the harried tone which betrayed the difficulty Faye was having with the whole thing. The message though was genuine in its urgency: getting Riley out of the downward spiral he was in.

18th Apr 2010, 9:19 PM

It really wasn't that bad. It wasn't that big of a deal. So he needed a little something to help him keep his sh*t together, relax, and not think too much about all the bad stuff. So what? Lots of people did. Lots of people were on antidepressants and stuff, and they were doing just fine. Just like Riley was. Sure, there was quite a bit of difference between heroin and antidepressants, as far as the general opinion went, with heroin usually being considered the worst and most dangerous substance you could use, but as for the purpose and the effects, Riley didn't really think the two were all that different. People took antidepressants to cope with everyday life and the hardships it entailed, and that was the exact same reason why Riley was leaning on his own "antidepressant". Really, it wasn't like he did a lot of it, or did it all that often, right? He wasn't like the street junkies, who had gotten hooked and whose existence was only about scoring their next fix. He wasn't. That would never happen to him. Never. He was being really careful, only taking enough to keep him on an even keel, just like he'd told Faye. He would take just enough to keep himself from thinking too much, remembering too much, or feeling too much.
Honestly, it really wasn't that bad. It was just that other people didn't understand. To them, heroin was like this massive, evil entity of destruction, that devoured people and wreaked havoc all around them, and anyone who touched the stuff was either pitied or looked down upon. Was it any wonder that Riley wanted to keep things to himself?

It was past that now though. It was too late. Faye had cornered him, and he'd caved. He'd folded like a house of cards, and confessed to doing what it seemed like she had been suspecting anyway; using drugs. There'd been no way for him to dodge her request for a promise, and... even though he kept insisting to himself that he was fine, that the drugs were just something he needed right now, to cope with all the difficult stuff and feel a little better, Riley had known what she meant, and thus couldn't play dumb or try to twist things around in his mind, to make his reasoning fit within the frames of a truthful promise. Nor could he escape the constantly lingering feeling of shame, the little voice from somewhere deep down within him, whispering to him of how weak and stupid he was for using, since deep down, he really did know that what he was doing wasn't good for him. The voice that only ever fell silent when the drug pushed into his veins.

Because of that little voice, he couldn't bring himself to look at Faye now, at the expression on her face, knowing that whatever it was, it would only make him feel worse than he already did. So, he stubbornly kept on staring intently at the ground at his feet instead, with only the occasional glance up the stairs on his one side, or the wall on the other; anywhere but Faye's face. Though it didn't keep him from hearing the shaky breath of hers that fissured through the brief silence that his confession had left between them, a fleeting whisper on the wind, of horror, and hope lost.

"Um...what is it...?", she started awkwardly, as though she didn't really know what to say now that she'd finally squeezed the truth out of him.

Yet, before he had a chance to even consider how to answer that one in a way that wouldn't have her flying off the handle, a way that would fit his claim that it was no big deal, she hastily added;

"You don't have to, though! There are other ways, you could ask for...help. You don't have to go through it alone."

There was an urgency in her voice, as though she was afraid that if she didn't point to the other options - as she saw them - as soon as possible, and tried to convince him that they were the better ones, Riley would end up never seeing them, and be forever ensnared in whatever reasoning had lead him down the path to Tyler Young and his services in the first place. But, as genuine and heartfelt as her desire to help him was, Riley didn't want to hear it. He'd already heard it so many times before that to him, it was starting to sound like a broken record. Especially the last part, about how he didn't have to go through it alone. He'd heard it from teachers and counsellors and God knows what, and all they'd ever had to offer were words. Words that in the end ended up meaning nothing to him, because they didn't change anything.

For the first time since his admittance, Riley cast a glance up at Faye, in the form of a glare. "Help"? He didn't need any help. Least of all by some know-it-all PhD who, just because they happened to have aced their course in psychology, thought they knew anything about that he was going through. They most certainly didn't, other than in theory perhaps. And as for Faye, she didn't understand either. The loss, that she could perhaps understand, since she herself had lost her mother, even though it was at such a very young age, but she didn't understand Riley's way of dealing with it. That much was plain to see just by looking at her. Judging by the helplessly distressed look in her eyes, she didn't understand how badly he needed the stuff to stay afloat, how much it helped him to cope.

"What do you know?", he snapped at her, defensive since something he needed to believe in was being questioned, and he was feeling more and more cornered by her. "You don't know jack! Just leave me alone!"

He shot her yet another glare, while making a silent point by pulling away from her, only to then turn without another word, and bounding up the stairs to get away from her.
He didn't need this bullsh*t, not any of it. Least of all now.

Ghanima Atreides
19th Apr 2010, 8:40 PM

It felt like a slap in the face. The very essence of those words, laced with defensiveness and aggression lashed at her, sharp and accusing.

"What do you know?" Riley snapped, voicing one of the thoughts lurking about in Faye's own mind. It bothered her on some level that she couldn't quite pretend she understood, the way it bothered her that she didn't mourn her mother the way he grieved for Jordan, that she'd been much younger at the time and recovering in hospital while the worst was going on, and that she'd had the support of a loving father to help her cope. "You don't know jack! Just leave me alone!"

She'd seen the effect her words had on him before anything was spoken, as he tore his gaze away from the patch of frozen ground he'd been staring at for the past minute or so and glared at her in rejection. It had made her heart sink, but the backlash was worse. It made it personal, despite Faye's attempts at keeping her distance from it. No longer just a matter of arguing a point over the other, it was her friend lashing out at her after she'd faced his dealer for him. The thought seared her mind like a flash of lightning, and her eyes narrowed with suppressed anger. Faye could feel the heat rising in her cheeks again, and her tongue itched for a retort. He wanted her to leave him alone, did he? Fine! She would gladly comply!

Riley however moved away first, turning his back to her and beginning a hasty retreat up the stairs. As she watched him leave, a forlorn sensation of loss filled her, and no words came out of her slightly parted lips. He was beyond reasoning at that point, and frankly Faye didn't have the energy to try. She felt...drained, emotionally, and she couldn't think of a single helpful thing to say to him anymore. All she had were stupid emotions and pointless tirades.

What a complete, utter mess everything was.

Faye waited until Riley's steps faded completely into silence before emerging from the stairwell herself, rubbing her hands together for warmth as she headed for the nearest entrance. She would be hopelessly late for class, but she didn't care.

22nd Apr 2010, 11:46 PM
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Deborah rubbed the nape of her neck stifling a tedium yawn and shutting the book that she was scanning, she raised from the library chair where she had just spent the end of lunch break, courtesy of that Brian kid. You would think that someone who choose to sit next to you on the front row would actually listen to the class, right? Wrong. He had been a constant distraction, preventing her from being able to pay attention to the chemistry experiment by blathering with excruciating details about his life, his dogs and his big brother that was according to his sayings the coolest guy on earth because he shaved one of his dog and painted the other one with an army camouflage... Poor things. That makes you wonder what to do with all these useless information stored in your brain. Was there a fast way to get rid of it ? She sure hoped so. And of course, when it had been their turn to reproduce the experiment, let's say that Mr Carpenter had been unimpressed, to the least. She should have not let him get anywhere near it. A quiet observer, that's all he should have been.

Now filled with a perfect understanding of what went wrong besides her poor choice of partner she was lightheartedly putting back her books in her bag. Hell, she even used the occasion to also master every aspect of the clock reaction, theoretically at least, which was next time study lesson. That should make up for it. Now all she had to do was showing up early to the history class and sit next to someone who was really there to study to ensure that this time everything would turn out as wanted.

The bell rang just then and she frowned worryingly. Already? So much for being early. And the history classroom was – she quickly glanced at her schedule- just on the other side of school. Great. What the hell was happening to her? She really had to start focusing and planning things ahead like she used to because doing otherwise clearly wasn't working. The uncomfortable realization that even if she hurried she might get late crossed her mind and the sight of the hallways slowly emptying as she made her way to the history class was not proving her wrong. She hated to be late. Way to make a hit! And here she was and the door was already closed. Crap.

Deborah opened the door and froze. Huh, these were definitely not her fellow students. Which means wrong class. Trying to ignore the mocking whispers of the bunch of seniors that was staring at her as her cheeks were turning red she faltered an apology before closing the door.

Now what? She was at the right class, the one written on her schedule, which meant... that she managed to mess up her schedule. Wow, that was a new low. And now she was not only late but horribly late. No way. She wouldn't skip it, late or not. She had to find out where was her class, fast, and opening every door until she could find the good one was not a suitable plan. Was it the wrong number? Or did she swapped classes? As she went through her schedule once more to sort out what went wrong a noise attracted her attention and raising her head she caught the sight of a solitary figure rummaging into his locker. Wait. Maybe he would be able to help her? And moving closer from behind him she cleared her throat and inquired :

“ Hey, do you know... ”

She stopped abruptly and her eyes opened wild with surprise at the sight of the familiar features that were now facing her. No way, this couldn't be him... Here? How? She stayed motionless and gapping for a few lingering seconds, before pulling herself together and articulating:

“ Riley?”

((OOC: Hope it works ?))

27th Apr 2010, 6:43 PM

Man, this day sucked. It totally and completely sucked. The entire morning had been spent being nagged first by his father and then by his mother, about how after failing to show up for the last couple of meetings with the school counsellor, Mrs Howard, he really needed to go to the one that was scheduled for today, because apparently, he needed to "talk about things", as they put it. Meaning, they felt he needed to talk about what had happened to Jordan, and everything surrounding it. Again. Or rather; still. They kept claiming it was good for him, to get things off his chest, and whatever other nonsense they kept talking. What they didn't get, was that Riley didn't want to talk about Jordan. Least of all with Mrs Howard. She so didn't get him, and so what was the point? Meeting with her was completely meaningless.

But, mom and dad had nagged him so badly that in his frustrated desire for them to back off, he'd promised he'd go. And he'd kept his word; he'd shown up for the weekly appointment they had arranged for him when he'd first enrolled at Brooklake High a couple of months ago. He'd spent all of first class in Mrs Howard's office, staring out the window in disinterested silence while she prattled on, just like all the other times over the past couple of weeks, before he'd decided to simply not go at all. Hardly surprising, nothing had come from this meeting either. It had been a complete waste of time. Just like he'd known it would be.

Then, there had been lunch, most of which Riley had spent in the boy's bathroom, in his attempt to dodge Tyler Young as best he could. Fat lot of good that had done him though. He'd just started thinking he'd made it safely all the way through to the next class without running into Tyler, when fate had decided to kick him in the gut once more, and hand him over for Tyler to finish the job. And as if getting beaten up hadn't been bad enough, along came Faye to witness it all, and while she did kind of make Tyler back off, she had ended up figuring out what was going on, and had stuck her nose into it. Within two seconds flat, she had been on his case.

The word echoed with disdain between the walls in Riley's head as he stalked through the empty hallways, on the way to his locker, having left Faye behind in a huff, and he couldn't help but to give a small snort to himself at the thought of what she'd told him. He didn't need help. What he needed was to be left alone. He was just fine, couldn't she see that? At least he would be if everyone just stopped dogging him. He'd already found his way of coping, he didn't need for anyone else to butt in and pretend they knew better. He knew what worked, they most certainly didn't. And Faye better not run off to tell someone else about what she'd found out. She better not ruin this for him. He'd seen the look on her face when he'd admitted to buying drugs from Tyler; she didn't at all approve, and knowing how tight she was with her dad, she better not rat Riley out to him, in her conviction that she knew better than him what he needed. She better not do that to him. He'd never forgive her if she did.

The thing was - and Riley did reluctantly realize this, on a purely logical level - that unlike him, Faye probably wouldn't consider it something she did to him. She'd probably think she did it for him. He knew her, he knew that she cared about him, and that she worried about him. She may not have said too much about his behaviour lately, but simply let him be when he'd asked to be left alone, but he wasn't blind, he had see the look in her eyes when he had. She did care about him. She didn't understand, but she did care.

Thinking of it like that, he almost started regretting that he'd stormed off the way he did, after biting her head off for offering what she thought to be a solution, useless though it may be. For a moment his steps slowed to a near halt.
Should he go back? Should he go back, and talk to her, try to explain?

Nah... It was too late for that. It wasn't like Faye would be standing around where he'd left her, waiting for him to return. She'd probably hurried off to class already. And going there, for Riley, was not an option. Not after all this. Between meeting Mrs Howard, getting beaten up by Tyler and having a falling out with Faye, all Riley wanted was to go home, and forget this day had ever existed. All days lately seemed to suck, but of them all, this one sure sucked the most.
And unfortunately for him, things weren't about to get much better either.

He'd just pulled open his locker, in order to retrieve his backpack with the now much coveted little plastic bag hidden in the lining, shoving a couple of carelessly dropped off books aside in the process, when a voice coming from behind him cut through the otherwise silent hallway.

"Hey, do you know..."

Thinking at first that it was one of the hall monitors approaching him to bug him about not being in class, Riley cursed silently to himself and rolled his eyes before turning around, ready to claim that he wasn't feeling well and thus was going home. But no words ever made it out from between his lips, for when his gaze locked on the person addressing him, shock wiped his mind clean of them all. For a split second, he recognized the pretty face, but since it was so very out of place for him, it took him another brief moment to realize who it was. And when he did, his jaw dropped in complete surprise.

"Riley?", came the almost disbelieving voice of the other person, who seemed just as baffled as Riley did.

Though the young man just stared at her, as though he couldn't believe his eyes. Deb?What the hell...?! Where'd she come from? What was she doing here? Why wasn't she back in New York?

"D-Deb...?", he faltered slightly once his ability to speak returned, and his eyes briefly widened even more when he realize that it really was her, and not just his imagination. "How... What are you doing here?"

(((ooc: Sorry it took me a while. Working a lot, and always seem to be so incredibly tired. :/ )))

30th Apr 2010, 6:09 PM
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Riley. Of all the places where he could have been, he had to be there. In Brooklake. In her high school. In that hall. With her. Now. What where the odds of that?

Seeing him there was evocative of so many things. It brought her back to New York. To home, with all the memories that came within, good or bad. To all these little things that she took for granted until she had to part from them. Seating on their favorite couch of their favorite coffee shop with Maura and Caitlin, laughing, chatting about everything and nothing on a rainy day. Hanging out with Alec at their spot. Enjoying the intriguing work of an unknown artist at an art exposition. And Riley.

He was one of these persons who seems not noticeable at first but progressively grow on you. She had discovered that he was not only some guy from her class but someone that was funny, easy-going, trustworthy. He had turned the long workings hours that they spent together into something less dull than usual and he was one of the few persons she felt at ease with and enjoyed hanging out with. A friend. That's who he was for her.

That was how she felt about him until... that day. She had replayed the scene so many times in her head, relentlessly trying to see how she could have avoided it, to make it better. What if I'd done things differently? Maybe I shouldn't have tried to comfort him that way? Did I somehow send the wrong signals? But how could I know? And what if I had provided him with a less sucky apology? But all of it had been and was useless. It happened. And even if she had tried her best not to hurt him she knew she failed. She rejected him while he was already down and she had felt like a heartless bitch who had pushed under water the head of someone who was already drowning. No wonders he avoided her since. And a few weeks later, he moved and she thought she would never see him again.

But now, he was here, right in front of her. And as she faced him once more, after all this time, her feelings toward him were mixed. If a part of her was genuinely glad to see him there, she couldn't help but feel this strong urge to escape, to run away from him. But she just couldn't pretend not to have seen him and be on her way and as much as she wanted to just be oblivious of what happened, to put this where it belonged, behind, in the past, she couldn't. When she saw him standing there, looking back at her, it all struck back. The awkwardness and the guilt. It all came back distressingly, and with it all the unavoidable stream of interrogations. Did he still resented her for what she had done? Will he confront her about it or will he pretend that nothing ever happened?

A first element of answer was given by Riley himself when after mumbling her name, he finally inquired, his eyes wide open in astonishment as if he was just waking up from a dream and trying to determine if any of this was real:

"How... What are you doing here?"

Well, that didn't looked like the face of someone who was glad to see you and that was not what you could call a warm welcome but that was not meaning anything right? Acting as if nothing happened. That's what she'll do. That could work, right? But that didn't helped to make her feel at ease. He was as surprised as she'd been and maybe once he would be over that, he'd spill the beans. Her mouth quirked up into a queasy smile to hide her nervousness as she answered in a cheerful voice, her gaze flickering over him, trying to decipher his body language as she talked:

"My dad moved here so.. here I am... at Brooklake... yay!"

All right, now I'm gettin' plain cheesy. Kill me now. Deborah unconsciously folded her arms protectively before adding :

"What about you? I haven't seen you since such a long time!" Realizing a little bit too late that she really didn't wanted him to answer to that she hastily went-on, slightly tripping over her words: "So you're in Brooklake now ?"

(((OOC: oopsie, wish I'd done a better job, sorry :blink: . Tell me if it needs editing. I was uncertain between saying not enough or too much)))

2nd May 2010, 8:31 PM

Riley felt like an idiot. Like a complete and utter idiot. And for so many reasons, too. Firstly, here he stood, simply staring at the person who had just spoken to him, with his mouth ajar in pure surprise, like some imbecile, and tripping over his words when he finally managed to speak. A friggin' goldfish probably looked more intelligent than he did at that moment.
Secondly, he'd actually thought that the universe was done kicking him while he was down, for now, and had called it a day; he actually thought that he would be allowed to just go home and forget about this entire miserable day. Talk about being a sucker.
Thirdly, the person standing there looking back at him, was none other than Deborah Jensen. Deb. The girl Riley'd had a crush on for months back in New York, before it had eventually faded when he'd started briefly seeing Jenny, only to flare with renewed passion in a moment when he'd been so very vulnerable, and Deborah had been nice and wanting to comfort him. It had been a Thursday night, his first day back at work after Jordan had been killed, and... he just hadn't been ready. He hadn't been ready to try and keep it together and keep up appearances for four hours straight. Just one and a half hours into his shift, he'd cracked, but had luckily managed to sneak off before anyone had noticed, and had hidden in the back of the storage room to be alone. Somehow, Deborah had found him there, a sobbing mess, and being the kind, gentle girl that she was, she had sat down with him, just to be there for him while he cried. She'd even put an arm around his shoulders in silent support, trying to comfort him and soothe his sorrow. Gradually, his sobbing had ceased, and when finally he had lifted his head to look at her, and seen the softness in those velvety eyes...

God, he'd been stupid. So very, very stupid. She'd just been trying to be nice to him, for crying out loud. She'd just tried to be a good friend, and he, vulnerable and in such dire need of someone who would just hold him, had seen that person in her, and done what he had bitterly regretted ever since: He'd tried to kiss her. Sitting so close to her, and feeling her arm protectively around his shoulders, his lips had brushed lightly against hers, seeking to trigger a response in her warmth. But instead of drawing closer, she'd frozen, and pulled back in surprise, confusion and, worst of all, rejection.

Oh, the embarrassment and the shame that had haunted him after that... For the weeks that had followed, until the move, he hadn't been able to bring himself to look at her, let alone talk to her. He'd been so very ashamed, and perhaps even a little angry, at himself and her both, that he'd just simply avoided her as best he could. He'd sat far from her in class, and with the pending move and him obviously not being up to working anyway, he'd simply quit his job at the burger joint where they'd both been working part-time, and shared quite a few good times. They'd been friends, and gotten along really well, with her friendly, down-to-earth disposition, and his sometimes rather quirky sense of humor. They'd had a lot of fun together, and for those couple of weeks following The Incident, he'd really missed all that. But he'd just been too ashamed to try and get it back.
And then him and his parents had moved, and it had all become just another memory he didn't like to think about. Every time he did, he felt the crimson hue of humiliation stain his cheeks, and he would wish he could just erase it all from history, or at the very least from his own memory.

Even now, several months later, he still cringed at the very thought of it. And finding himself suddenly standing face to face with the very source of his embarrassment, didn't exactly help. No matter how good Deborah was at keeping a straight face, and sound all blithe and perky.

"My dad moved here so..", she explained with a smile, "... here I am... at Brooklake... yay!"

Riley simply stared at her. Was she friggin' kidding him?! Of all the places in the US, in the world, her dad decided to move here? How twisted was that? It was insane, that's what it was. Unbelievable... Seriously, if there was a God up there, he sure had one sick sense of humor... Here Riley had been taking a little bit of comfort in the idea that of all the things that had been haunting him, there was at least one he'd be able to put behind him and move on from, one thing that he could just block out and never have to deal with again. And then BAM, Deb showed up from out of nowhere, like a bolt of lightening striking him from a clear blue sky, and making it all flood his mind with that one memory he'd thought he was rid of.
He couldn't believe it...

Neither could Deb herself, it seemed. For despite her merry countenance, Riley thought he did see a shadow of something not quite as casual flutter by in her expression, behind the mild enthusiasm. Or maybe it was just his imagination, or him projecting his own feelings. Though to be honest, he didn't think that was the case. He'd known her back in New York, and so had learned to read her at least a little bit. Her lightheartedness didn't feel perfectly genuine to him.

"What about you?", she inquired, folding her arms over her chest, in a gesture that only futher cemented his impression that she wasn't as comfortable as she was trying to pretend. "I haven't seen you since such a long time!"

Though no sooner had those words come out of her mouth, than she seemed to want to bite her tongue, and she went on to quickly change the subject a little bit, without giving him a chance to comment her previous statement;

"So you're in Brooklake now?", she said.

Still somewhat stunned, and trying to come to terms with standing face to face with her, Riley could only muster a faint, distracted nod at first. He didn't know what to think of all this, let alone how to feel about it. His insides had been in complete turmoil even before she'd shown up from out of the blue, and now it was just... total chaos within him. Still, he did notice one thing, probably because he was dreading it's opposite; she hadn't said anything about the... the incident. Nor was she being really awkward, like he'd thought she'd be back in New York, which thus had been part of his reasons for avoiding her back then. And who knew, maybe she would have been, but even so, she wasn't being all that awkward now. In fact, it seemed to him like she was doing her best to pretend that whole thing had never happened, going about their current freak run-in as though they'd parted on good terms. Or at least neutral ones.

He could do that too... Right?

"Uh...", he started hesitantly, while trying to pull himself together. "Yeah... We used to live here before we moved to New York, so..."

He gave a slight shrug of his shoulders, leaving that small gesture to tell the rest of the story.

"So, uh...", he then said, trying to think of something fairly casual to say, and ending up with a rather lame; "How are things?"

(((ooc: I just went with the flow. Hope it works, but if not, let me know, and I'll change it. :) )))

4th May 2010, 2:50 PM
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Even is she had paid close attention to the way he reacted, she came to doubt her abilities to actually be able to make something out of it. I mean, she hadn't had a clue about something as big as the fact that he was kinda into her, how could she expect to be able to know exactly what was going on there? Still, his body language could maybe drop a few hints so she had kept seeking for anything other than that dazed stare he was giving her and all she had received was an obscure nod followed by a awkward silence. She didn't need to be a good mind-reader to get that he was as happy to see her as could be someone who's just learned that he's flunked his SATs.

Deborah uneasily shifted from one foot to the other. Was he torturing her on purpose? As resolved as she was to keep her cheery composition, Riley didn't made that easy on her and she felt her smile stiffening. When he finally seemed to made up his mind and give a more proper answer the only reply that she got was an halfheartedly :

"Uh...". Either he was really at a loss of words or he didn't made any effort to feign any interest in the conversation. But Riley finally replied "Yeah... We used to live here before we moved to New York, so..." followed by a self-explanatory shrug.

When she'd learned about Jordan's sudden death, she knew that noone could ever quite understand or know what he was going through and no matter how hard she'd try to make things better and that the only thing she could really do is to be there for him. She had experimented the sudden loss of a kin and the emotional swirl that ensue so she could somehow relate to what he and his parents were facing. She remembered how after the initial disbelief had came the harsh realization that things would never come back the way it was, and with that unbearable feeling the need to hold onto these little things that remind you of the person, a poisoned chalice when every little things that surrounded you seemed still imbued with the lingering essence of the missing one, acting as a constant and oppressive reminder of their absence that nurtured the transient and deceptive impression that you didn't really lose him, that he was still there, in a hopeless struggle against the time and the fear of seeing him slowly sliding off into oblivion, irreparably loosing him.

That was partly what had driven Deborah to photography. She remembered liking it when she was little. It was something that she could do with her mum, that they shared but, she had never felt the passion that she was experimenting now when it came to it. Taking a picture was not an ordinary act. It was so much more. It allowed her to transcend the vividness of an emotion, to fix a given moment in time before it slips away. Something never to be forgotten, a memory that will never fade.

And after having so badly failed at being there for him, the last thing she had wanted was to make things even worse for him and no matter how much she had missed his company, he obviously didn't wanted to have anything to do with her anymore so she had respected his wish and kept her distance. And when she had to face the fact that Riley was gone, she presumed that they had obeyed the impulse to get away from this place where their life had suddenly fell apart and she kinda felt that for him it was for the best, that it might help him dealing with the grief and move on toward an acceptance of the unacceptable, and maybe after some time finally find some kind of peace. But this didn't made too much sense to her. Why moving from such a meaningful place to another meaningful place?

She took a careful glance at his features and her brows grew closer in a worried stance. If her unwelcome presence could explain the long face his drawn look was not really exuding wellness and his new environment hadn't seemed to prove that efficient in helping him cope with everything he had to face. But maybe she was reading too much into it. Maybe she was wrong and he was just having a bad day. And before she could even think at what she could say next he went-on :

"So, uh...", and as another of these awful silence where she was hanging on his every word established itself, she was anxiously awaiting for the following. Oh, this wasn't good. He was going to say something about it, was he? But putting an end to the jittery wait, he finally opted for a rather casual "How are things?"

Breathing in and then out. Right. That's how it worked. She couldn't get any more tense than she was now and a little bit taken by surprise she answered without taking the time to think everything through before it went out, anything was better than another silence, feeling that every word that came out of his mouth had to be dragged:

" Things are... uh... new. You know how it is. A new home, a new job, a new high school with new people..." Who are right now attending history class. And she wasn't. Shoot, she had completely forgot about that. She scowled. " ... and a new schedule that I managed to mess-up so instead of being in Mrs. Carstens's class I'm... here. I know. How stupid can I be... "

9th May 2010, 10:11 PM

"Things are... uh... new."

Deb's reply came fast, yet was somewhat stained by the same kind of hesitation and uncertainty that had lingered in Riley's own words only seconds earlier, as though she wanted to keep the conversation flowing at any cost, and keep those brief bouts of awkward silence between them from forcing them to talk about what it seemed neither of them wished to discuss. Neither of them seemed too keen on the idea of talking about what had happened the last time they spoke; what Riley had done back then, how Deb had reacted to it, how she'd tried to explain her reaction without hurting his feelings, and how he'd fled from her, feeling hurt nonetheless. And so very, very embarrassed. They'd both been given more than one chance to bring it up by now, and neither of them had. And if Riley had the look on Deb's face correctly pegged, neither of them would.
Thank God.

With that realization dawning on him, Riley nearly gave a loud sigh of relief and gratitude, but managed to contain it to be nothing more than an inward sigh instead. Partly because he didn't want to be so obvious, partly because it would be completely counterproductive to give such a visible reaction to something they were both trying to pretend didn't exist, and partly because he knew better than to assume that just because he was now fairly sure Deb wouldn't bring it up, that didn't mean that she wouldn't. If anything, the past hour or so had showed him that he should never expect to be safe from sudden backlashes. He'd learned his lesson by now.

"You know how it is", Deb continued, and with Riley now able to relax just a little bit, he finally managed to focus more on what she said, than on the pure shock of running into her. "A new home, a new job, a new high school with new people..."

To that, Riley gave another small nod, although this time it was far less distracted than the last one.
Yeah, he knew what that was like. For even though the recent move had taken him and his parents back to a town that was already familiar to them, with people they already knew and were friends with, the school itself had been a new one, with many other students he'd never met. And the ones he had been in school with before the move to New York, had since grown up, and thus had changed into people he didn't know.

Plus, he still also remembered what the move to New York had been like, with the new school, and the new kids there. He remembered the uncertainty that had stuck with him for the first couple of weeks, and he remembered how he'd gotten lost in the endless maze of hallways on his second day, and how one of his teachers had eventually found him and guided him to the right classroom, where the rest of the class had been waiting. He remembered how long it had taken him to settle into his new room, and get used to all the unfamiliar sounds in their new house, and he remembered how Jordan, like the overbearing, know-it-all brother that he was, had teased him at first about how he couldn't sleep because of them, but then eventually had tried to think of ways to help him, ending up lending Riley his own MP3 player, since Riley's own had gotten lost in the move.
It was Jordan in a nutshell; he was such an *sshole most of the time, but when push came to shove, he could be really nice, and all... big-brothery.

"... and a new schedule that I managed to mess-up", Deb kept going from where she stood a couple of feet away, and thus snapped Riley out of his short and increasingly depressing trip down memory lane, "so instead of being in Mrs. Carstens's class I'm... here. I know. How stupid can I be..."

Riley blinked.
Wait, what? Mrs. Carstens? Oh sh*t... Deb was in the same class as him? Mrs Carstens' class was the one he was currently supposed to be in, and the one that he was currently in the process of ditching. And Deb was in it too?
Oh, for crying out loud... He'd have to spend the rest of the school year in the same class as her after all, when he'd been so relieved to move away from New York, because he'd thought it had meant that he wouldn't have to deal with the whole mess involving her ever again.

Not that he didn't miss her friendship, and wished they could go back to the way things had been before that awful impulse of his had ruined everything. It was just that... Avoiding talking about it once obviously worked, but avoiding talking about it day after day after day... Eventually, one of them would say something, or something would happen, that would drop the subject right at their very feet and make it impossible for them to ignore it any longer. And Riley really didn't feel like going down that road. Ever.

"Uhm...", he started again, knowing that he really wasn't coming across as the most intelligent person right now, but much like Deb, those awkward silences got to him too, and so he'd rather say something, anything, instead of letting it spread itself between them again. "You're not stupid for... you know..."

Not knowing exactly what to say, however, his voice died in hesitation as he struggled to find the right words, but after only a few moments he decided to just change the subject and say something else instead;

"I'm in that class too", he said, and upon realizing she had to wonder what he was doing in the hallway if he was supposed to be in class, quickly went on to explain; "Usually anyway. Right now I'm going home, cuz... Well, nevermind."

He waved his hand dissmissively, as though it wasn't important, and closed his locker, the backpack now over his shoulder. And since with that all said, it would be really weird at this point if he didn't offer to help her out, not to mention that it would be really mean, he then added;

"Want help?"

(((ooc: Again, sorry for the slight delay. Work and post overload. *s*)))

15th May 2010, 8:44 PM
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Riley seemed a bit puzzled, probably wondering how to answer that one. She didn't even needed to wait for his reply to got her answer : Admitting her own stupidity to him was kinda stupid. Even if she did felt stupid he didn't need to know that and she certainly didn't need to give him more ammunition against her. She hadn't have to wait too long for receiving the end of his reply, crushing in the process her tiny hope of having him just ignoring that last bit :

"You're not stupid for... you know..."

Deborah had to force herself not to look at her feet as she kept stoically waiting for the following. Wow that was a relief. She was not stupid for that, just for the rest, though? But fortunately for her, after some thought he after finally settled in a change of subject saving her more embarrassment:

"I'm in that class too..."

What? But... that meant... Deb was so stunned by the aftermath of her latest discovery that she didn't really registered the following, racked with her inner conflict. Burying her head in the sand waiting for the storm to pass had been a pretty efficient way -not- to deal with it so far but you can't stay that way too long or you might choke. And as much as she resented the very idea of having some kind of confrontation about it, she was getting so sick of pretending over everything. Could she do it over and over again? Did she even wanted to? She could try to avoid him, again but... it was somehow counterproductive. Wasn't constantly trying to avoid something just a way of obsessing about what you've been trying to forget in the first place? She started to wonder if the anticipation of the blow wasn't worse than the blow itself. If she had to go through these awkward silences fraught with the unsaid one time too many, she was not sure that she could refrain from rooting out the evil. But in the other side, she was not sure that it'd help make things right, even less for him than for her, without even considering the fact that it could potentially make things even worse. After all, it had proved to be pretty much unsuccessful the first time she'd tried. Maybe her lame explanation had contributed to it but... all right, let's face it, it did. She could have told him about Alec but she kept it to herself. She had a chance to make it better but she blew it. Quite selfishly. But that was the past for god's sake. And she couldn't keep flagellating herself about it eternally. Couldn't he just...

The noise of the closing locker dragged her out of her thoughts, and Riley offered
"Want help?" successfully droving her attention back to him, in the form of a surprised and really eloquent "uh..." followed by a silence in which she was taking a second look at him.

The shade of a more sincere smile drawled over her lips. He was not the kind of person who's nice to you to stab you in the back later. If he offered his help, he meant it. This was a good sign, right? Maybe he was trying to work it out too? She could ask him to escort her ? Nope. Probably not a good idea. He was more likely ready to skip class. She started to answer :

"Yeah," Oops. That was a bit wry. She went-on with a wider smile "I mean, of course. Thanks... huh... Can I borrow your schedule? You know, to correct mine?"

But as she was talking, her thought process was not over and another thing struck her. If Riley was in her class, she should have seen him yesterday, or this morning. Was he sick? Or was he dropping out? But why would he go to school during lunch to go back right after? That didn't make a lot of sense... Well, it's not like she could tell him bluntly – so, I'm curious and a bit concerned why are you bailing out?- and expect an answer, or the answer anyway, and she didn't saw the point of intentionally casting another cloud over the already cloudy sky right now so instead she went for the first light thing that popped into her mind:

"Well, if we run into someone, you could invoke food poisoning and explain that I'm escorting you to the nurse office. Given the overall quality of the food we have to ingest here, that's a valid excuse, right?"

(((OOC: I hope it makes sense :rolleyes: Otherwise you know what to do)))

20th May 2010, 10:30 PM

Baby steps. That was the word currently echoing in Riley's mind, as he and Deborah were both trying to find a way of communicating that didn't involve the last time they'd met (if one didn't count the few times they'd come across one another in the hallway back in New York, after The Incident, and Riley had either turned on to a different route, or pretended not to see her). They were manoeuvring through the conversation with baby steps, slowly and gradually feeling their way towards a mood that wasn't marred by awkwardness and reluctance, but instead by ease and relaxation. It wouldn't happen in two seconds flat, obviously, and they weren't anywhere near hugging like friends and getting on like they used to. But, now that they both seemed to have gathered that the other was just as determined not to talk about the past as they themselves were, a joint effort could be made to establish a mood that was somewhat neutral, at the very least. A mood that was neither chilly and notably reserved, nor overly friendly to the point of being strained, and so obviously faked. Small steps, baby steps, were being taken in the right direction, that were meant to allow them both to lower their guard, and be civil. Even though not all of those steps passed as smoothly as others.

"Uh...", was to be Deb's first and, as mentioned, not so smooth reply.

It was followed by another one of those brief silences that they were both trying so hard to annihilate from the conversation, before her face then brightened somewhat with the shadow of a smile.

"Yeah", she said, replying properly this time, and her smile widened a bit as she then went on to elaborate a little; "I mean, of course. Thanks..."

There, she paused ever so briefly, as though she was trying to think of something else to say, or maybe of what he could do to help her out, that wouldn't end up taking them right back to being all awkward again, a soft "huh" passing through her lips in the process, before she decided;

"Can I borrow your schedule?", she asked. "You know, to correct mine?"

Whether it was a deliberate and well thought through strategy or not, Riley didn't know, but either way, he inwardly thanked her for it, because to him, it was the perfect compromise: It was a way for him to help her out, without having to walk side by side with her while trying to think of things to talk about that wouldn't risk bringing them onto dangerous territory. He'd just give her his schedule to compare, let her make whatever corrections she had to make, and then they'd both be on their separate ways, to cool down and come to terms with all this, so that they could handle it even better the next time they met. Which, he realized, with them in the same class, would be soon.

Shrugging the backpack from his shoulder, to drop down onto his arm, so that he could reach to zip it open in search of his schedule, his paused momentarily when her voice reached him again, and caused him to glance up at her.

"Well", she said, in the tone of voice of someone who'd just thought of something, "if we run into someone, you could invoke food poisoning and explain that I'm escorting you to the nurse office. Given the overall quality of the food we have to ingest here, that's a valid excuse, right?"

That was a comment, that much to Riley's own surprise, drew an instant smile from his lips. A small but perfectly genuine smile; his very first one today. His very first one in what felt like an entire week!
Food poisoning... Oh, wasn't that the truth? Having seen his fair share of the goo served in the cafeteria, meant to pass for actual, nutritious food, he was surprised the entire school hadn't suffered food poisoning already!

"Amen to that!", he laughed lightly, the humour of it all draining him of most of the tension that still lingered in his body, despite the discovery of their mutual efforts to avoid a very specific subject.

Then, as it was getting difficult to rummage through his backpack with one hand while holding it with the other - with all the stuff he had in it, the thing felt like it weighed a ton - he ventured over to a nearby bench to set it down.

"Okay, here it is", he then said after a few more seconds of searching, and pulled out a worn and folded piece of paper, that he held out for her to take. "Nevermind the doodling. I get bored in class..."

24th May 2010, 6:31 PM
http://img101.imageshack.us/img101/9030/5630495eb37a751m3.png (http://www.BannerFans.com)

"Amen to that!", he answered, letting escape a tiny laugh.

Her smile echoed Riley's one. Seeing him laugh about her previous comment, even if it was far from being a belly laugh, was not something that she would have foreseen with all that palpable tension that still lingered between them but it did happened, didn't it? She had thrown her last cue as one of the small rocks that she had to throw in her attempt to build a way to cross that gap between them and despite the risk of having it hit rock bottom, it had landed quite successfully. Deborah already felt lighter as her features distended. She'll get through this. Now, she was quite sure of it. They'll find a way. But probably not today. Or even tomorrow.

Even if she was partially relieved, she was still far from being comfortable around him as she was before. She knew that she still had to weight her every word and to fill the blanks by some random small talk, but still being careful that it didn't lead to the point of no return. That was kinda tricky and it really took the cake considering that it was something that she never had to do before with him. While with some people she had to say what they wanted to hear, due to their easy-going temper, there had been a somehow natural connection between them and she hadn't felt the need to use the tiring process of analyzing the reach of her every word or to pretend with him. He'd just been so easy to talk to and now, even if they were moving slowly toward a new way of interacting with each other without wanting to hide underneath at the bare sight, she was not sure that they could ever get that back.

She was already fumbling for her schedule in her bag when Riley voice came to her ears, announcing that he finally got a hold of his own "Okay, here it is" before handing it to her, adding :

"Nevermind the doodling. I get bored in class..."

Why did he get so self-conscious about some random doodling? It's not like she never saw him doing so in class before. And as Deb reached out for it with her free hand, she addressed him an appreciative smile:

"I know, thanks"

As her eyes fell upon the said doodling, a little bit intrigued, she restrained from any further commentary. It was way too soon to comment about any of that stuff even if there was nothing that personal like hearts or the such to tease him about. Not that she expected him to have developed a habit of drawing that kind of cheesy things on his stuff anyway. People do change but not that much and not that fast. Or maybe he did but she just never saw him doing it or any evidence of it. Uh... She really couldn't picture him doing that but who knows. If that had been the case well, he'd have found an excuse not to give it to her. No, it was just some typical doodling, lots of abstracts signs and... Who was that supposed to be? Uhm... The teacher in cause of his annoyance maybe? Whoever it was it was so not flattering. Great, now she was wondering if he made some of her. All right focus, you're supposed to use it for your schedule, not stare at it. I need... right, my schedule. She pulled it out. Here it is. Oh, and a pen would help too.

And since now that they were next to a bench using it seemed a more comfortable way to proceed with the correcting operation, she did so, hoping that he'd not stood tall rooted to his spot staring or rather trying not to stare at her as she proceeded. That'd be awkward. And as she dove back on her bag that featured now on her knees in her quest for the lost pen, she started, realizing that she might have been a tad bit too generous with her brooding time, without really knowing yet what she would say:

"So..." C'mon, quick, a safe subject... and making up her mind about it, she promptly went-on, looking up at him, keeping up her friendly composure : "From New York to Brooklake, that's quite a change. How is it, moving back here? You've got a chance to catch up with some old friends?"

(((OOC: About the doodling thing tell me if extrapolated too much, I'll correct it :) )))

6th Jun 2010, 3:58 PM

Back in New York, and even back when he'd lived in Brooklake the first time around for that matter, one of the reasons why Riley had been "just" the average student, was his inability (or, as was sometimes the case, his disinterest) to keep focused on whatever it was that the teacher was prattling on about at the front of the class for almost an hour on end. He got bored, he stopped listening, and slipped off into his own thoughts, daydreaming about things he was going to do when he got home, or things he wanted to do in life, things he wanted to accomplish or just plain experience. Sometimes, those thoughts were accompanied by random and absent-minded doodling on the paper in front of him, his thoughts materializing themselves on it, in the forms of random shapes and figures. Or, sometimes, he would just doodle to keep himself from falling asleep, and end up drawing actual pictures. Or at least something that was meant to resemble a picture; a portrait maybe, perhaps a caricature, or why not something depicting a scene in his head, from a dream or a memory of a movie, or even a visual of a song? He wasn't all that talented, but hey, it wasn't like he was drawing in order to actually accomplish a work of art. It was just simple, random doodling, to keep himself from dying of boredom.

As someone who knew him, or at least had known him at one point, Deb was most familiar with this habit of his. Obviously;

"I know", she said with another one of those kind smiles that seemed to embody her very nature, when he handed her the folded piece of paper containing his schedule, "thanks."

Right. She did know. She'd seen his random figures and attempted drawings before. She'd even sat next to him on a couple of occasions back in New York, and seen him do them. And they'd laughed so hard that one time, when she'd pointed at the "portrait" he'd made of Mrs Fields, their sturdy home ec teacher, and asked if it was the principal, Mr Hargrove. Though in retrospect, considering he'd both included and somewhat enhanced Mrs Fields faint moustache, who could blame her?

Thinking back on that day, a small, distant smile emerged on Riley's lips at the memory, and even widened somewhat when his mind wandered to some of the other good times he and Deb had shared, before her sudden movements right now, in front of him, made him wake up and snap back to reality, when she sat down on the bench and hoisted her own backpack up onto her lap.

"So...", she started, as it was her turn to rummage about among her things in search of something, but then lifted her gaze to look at him when after the brief pause she continued, with her smile still lingering within her eyes: "From New York to Brooklake, that's quite a change. How is it, moving back here? You've got a chance to catch up with some old friends?"

Having followed her example to sit down, Riley had just lowered himself onto the bench as well, with his own backpack sitting safely and conveniently between the two of them and thus putting a bit of distance between them, without being all too obviously intentional. But, at the sound of her words, he momentarily froze, and his brows furrowed ever so slightly. Not so much at the question itself, but rather at the thoughts that sprung to life in his mind upon hearing it, and he shot her an awkward glance, bordering on being defensive.

How it was, moving back to Brooklake? The place just brimming with memories of Jordan and happy times that were gone for good? How did she think it was? Did she expect him to say that it was just lovely, and that everything was great, as if moving here had somehow erased everything that had happened back in New York, and given him his fairly uncomplicated life back?
Yeah, right...

Though he stopped himself right there. Feeling himself slip further and further into a darkening and increasingly brooding mood, he cut himself off and put an end to his train of thought. He was getting aggressive and defensive - it was a streak that had been growing gradually in him over the past couple of months, he'd noticed - when deep down, he knew she meant well. He knew it, because he knew Deb. She was the kind of person that never meant any harm, and that would never intentionally step on someone's toes, or feelings.

Okay, so, calm down. Just chill. She's trying to be nice, and civil, and avoid The Incident. You should be co-operating, not getting all riled up.

That thought in mind, Riley eventually - in what felt like forever, but in reality was only a couple of seconds - managed to attempt another faint smile, and even though it probably looked as strained as his casual tone sounded forced, it was still obvious that he was doing his best to relax, even if just a little;

"It's okay, I guess", he said with a slight shrug. "Really different from New York, but I grew up here, so I'm used to it. And yeah, I've run into a couple of old friends, like Faye, and Jeremy. It's kind of weird though. I mean, me and Faye stayed in touch the whole time, so things just sort of went back to normal with us, but there are other kids I used to know that have just really... changed, you know? People I used to hang out with, but now it's like we never knew each other in the first place, because we're so different."

Pausing there, Riley looked as though he pondered it all for a moment or two, and then a small, lopsided and ironic smile tugged at the corner of his mouth, when his thoughts touched on a couple of other students, mainly the preps, that he'd never really hung out with, but had still always known who they were.

"And then there are of course other kids who don't seem to have changed a single bit...", he added as an afterthought.

10th Jun 2010, 10:12 AM
http://img101.imageshack.us/img101/9030/5630495eb37a751m3.png (http://www.BannerFans.com)

As she saw Riley frown, Deb realized she might have picked an ungainly subject. Although it was a casual question, the -how do you like it there- kind of question that popped on her mind probably due to the the numerous occasions that she heard it since her arrival, each time having to answer -different or new- for a lack of better words or rather the lack of want to find a even more embellishing word, he wasn't exactly a random interlocutor. She knew him enough to turn this casual question into an invasive question. A disguised way to ask how he was doing. And the following glance he shot her made her stiffen even more. Shoot. He really took it the wrong way whereas all she had expected was … not much since she didn't had time to think it through. Some small talk about the town, school, friends whatever in fact that was not about them and especially that day, nothing that could seemed too personal. And as she nervously played with the pencil that she just found, making it twirl between her fingers her thoughts were bustling in her head. Should I say something? But what? Jeez, if this last too long we'll end up talking about the weather for a lack of a safer subject.

But, Riley seemed to get a grip on himself and flashing a distant smile cutting her thought process by finally answering in a constrained tone:

"It's okay, I guess", accompanying his words by a tiny shrug "Really different from New York, but I grew up here, so I'm used to it..."

Translation: it sucks but I'm used to it, or to the fact that everything sucks. Wish I could be surprised. What was I expecting anyway... Alright so here is Friday...

"...And yeah, I've run into a couple of old friends, like Faye, and Jeremy. It's kind of weird though. I mean, me and Faye stayed in touch the whole time, so things just sort of went back to normal with us, but there are other kids I used to know that have just really... changed, you know? People I used to hang out with, but now it's like we never knew each other in the first place, because we're so different."

Changes that drifted people apart, that makes you grow into total strangers? Yeah, she knew. That was something she had been overly familiar with. And even if the links are strong enough to maintain a connection, it sure feel different and it is different. You have to reconcile the person they were with the person they are and that requires some adjustment and above all the will to make these adjustments. Deborah had left New York expecting things to be right where they were when she'll go back but will it really be? Could it be? Somehow hearing about Faye and him was reassuring. Oh! There it was, history class with Mrs. Carstens! Right time... but wrong class number. Corrected. Maybe I should check if there wasn't any other mistake. Wait... Faye? There was a Faye in her class, right, in THEIR class. Could it be The Faye?

"And then there are of course other kids who don't seem to have changed a single bit..."

Well, some things are bound to stay the same. A tiny smile crept over her lips as she answered adopting the same wry tone he'd been using:

"Who would people be gossiping about if they changed? You can't ask ..." A sudden noise coming from her bag prevented her from ending her sentence by chiming out the first notes of a catchy tune and she frowned. Who could be calling her while she was supposed to be in class. And she directed an apologetic smile to him while opening the front pocket of her bag to reach for her cell.


As soon as she saw the name displayed on her the screen of her cellphone she let out a surprised interjection before turning back her attention to Riley, adding:

"I've got to take it, sorry".

And as she raised from the bench to take the call a little bit further away, she got rid of her bag by briskly dropping it down on the bench, oblivious of the fact that the front pocket was still opened and spilling in the process some of its contents in the form of a golden locket.

(((Bleh... Sorry. Tell me if it needs editing)))

19th Jun 2010, 11:44 AM

"Who would people be gossiping about if they changed?"

Deb's voice when she replied to his observation matched Riley's own tone in terms of irony perfectly, almost as though she'd read his mind, and knew exactly what people he'd been referring to. Though he supposed maybe it wasn't too hard a guess. Many of the preps had been popular since childhood and probably wouldn't know what to do with themselves if ever they weren't the centre of attention. Thus, overall, they were possibly the one clique that didn't change as much as the others did, because they didn't want to change. Not that Riley really had anything against them in general, except for a few stuckup twits that had been stuckup even the first time around that he'd lived in Brooklake, and that still were, and the occasional ones that had dared to treat Faye like crap - like Kyle Matherson, Matt Sidle, Marie-Elisabeth Normandy, and Frank Jaeger, to name a few, and many of whom belonged in the former category as well - but he did enjoy making fun of them as much as the next average student did. They were easy targets, and totally had it coming, for making fun of everyone else, and looking down on them, didn't they?

"You can't ask...", Deb continued, but then suddenly cut herself off in the middle of the sentence when a cheerful tune started playing from somewhere inside her bag, and once she realised what it was, pulled it out to see who it was. "Sorry"

Judging by the expression that then followed on her pretty face, whoever the caller was, it was someone she didn't expect.

"I've got to take it, sorry", she apologized quickly, before getting on her feet and putting a bit of distance between herself and Riley by venturing down the hall a bit, before answering.

Left behind, still sitting on the bench, was her bag. And Riley. He had actually managed to aim a soft, understanding smile in her general direction when she'd apologized, silently communicating that it was okay, that he didn't mind. But that smile had since frozen, and faded from his features, as his eyes locked on what had come trickling out of the bag when Deb had taken out her cell phone. A beautiful golden locket, with a matching golden chain. Valuable, no doubt.

Riley's first instinct was to just leave it. When Deb came back, she'd see it, and put it back in the bag, no harm done. His second one, fuelled by something that had started stirring at the back of his head, was to put the locket back in the bag himself, and pretend he hadn't seen it. All because of his third instinct, and the thought that had stirred in his mind, and now surfaced; to take it. To just take it. With the sight of it, had come the reminder that he still owed Tyler Young a lot of money, and that he needed to get it somehow. He didn't have that much himself, and he sure as h*ll couldn't ask his parents for it.
So... Should he? After all, how important could it be, anyway? She'd just carelessly left it laying around in her bag, and didn't even notice when it fell out. People didn't just carry around their valuables or other stuff they treasured like that. Especially not in a school bag.

Come on, take it. Take it. What are you waiting for? It's right there.

Glancing anxiously up at Deb's form down the hallway, he saw that she was still there, immersed in the phone call and with her back turned towards him. If he took it now, there would be nothing to implicate him. She hadn't seen the locket fall out, and so for all she knew, she could have dropped anywhere.

Take it.

No, he couldn't. She was his friend. Well, she had been. He wasn't sure just what she was these days. But she had been his friend at one point, and he really liked her. He couldn't do that to her.
Could he?

Nervously, he looked around himself in the hallway, empty save for himself and Deb, and then, with another glance over at Deb, started reaching for the locket, hesitation lacing his every move, and stopping him midway.
No. No, he couldn't.
But if he didn't, how would he ever get the money to pay Tyler back? The locket probably wasn't worth that much, but at least it'd be something, and maybe, just maybe, it'd be enough to buy him some more time.

After what seemed like an endless inner debate with himself, Riley's hand finally shot out, snatched up the locket, and then dove back into the front pocket of his hoodie. A shivering sigh slowly filtered out of his lungs.
There... He'd done it. And just in time, too, because looking over at Deb again, he saw her lower the phone from her ear, and snap it shut, before turning around to return to him.

Seeing her face then, with the kind, apologetic smile, was like being punched in the gut all over again, with a force far worse than the one Tyler had used earlier. And that was saying something. Guilt crashed over him where he sat looking at her, with a force that felt as though it almost knocked him off the bench. Guilt over what he had just done, over knowing that she'd never expect him to actually steal something from her, and guilt over how nice she was to him, despite their messy past. He couldn't bear sticking around.

Trying his best to act calm and casual, he quickly stood from the bench as she returned, and hoisted his own bag up onto his shoulder.

"I better get going", he said. "I have to... be somewhere."

Completely lame, but at the moment, he couldn't think straight, and thus, the rest that spilled out of his mouth, came automatically.

"It was nice running into you", he said hastily. "Seeyouaroundbye."

And without waiting for her to reply, he then fled the scene of his most recent and possibly lowest crime yet.

(((ooc: Hope it works?)))

14th Jul 2010, 5:56 PM
Some days were good and others just sucked was the thought that was on Deborah's mind as, her call over, she turned to come back to Riley. It was safe to say that this Friday belonged to the latter category. She had gone from one surprise to another and as much as she liked to be surprised, pleasantly surprised would have been more adequate, and none of her daily surprises had been the former. First, she turned up at the wrong class, which was the definition of a bad surprise. Then, bumping into Riley, even if that turned out to be less awful than expected, wasn't fun either. And now, even that unexpected call from Alec that first seemed like a nice surprise had turned into a bittersweet surprise. Little she knew that it was about to get worse.

She threw a concerned glance to Riley's figure still on the bench. The last thing she wanted was for him to feel left out and as she made her way back to him, she aimed an apologetic smile at him, brushing aside any trace of worry that could still be lingering on her face. But as their eyes met briefly before he looked away, almost as if he was avoiding her glance she bit her lips apprehensively, realizing that there was definitely room for concern here. And as she was about to utter an apology, he was already on his feet, his bag on his shoulder, ready to make an exit as he delivered his goodbye speech:

"I better get going, I have to... be somewhere."

Somewhere? That could easily be translated into anywhere away from you. Always nice to hear. Was he mad at her? Over a stupid phone call? She opened her mouth, about to blurt an answer but once again, he didn't let her say anything as he added hurriedly: "It was nice running into you. Seeyouaroundbye." before buzzing off.

She stood there, her regular traits frozen in bewilderment for a split second, watching him going away. What just happened there? He just escaped as if she suddenly became plague-stricken or something. Deb frowned, slightly irked. That was just great. Just as she was starting to think that things were getting better between them. Nevermind, she was determined to handle one problem at a time and now the more urging matter was the history class where she was supposed to be a while ago. And grabbing her bag, she quickly made her way to the classroom, while trying to come up with the best apology she could for such an horrendous delay less embarrassing than the truthful : I got lost.