"Wouldn't it be really weird if we were like a real family? Like we lived here? And like, Damien, you were the dad, and Raven, you were the mom?" Kiara mused optimistically as she let herself fall back into the warmth of the pink blanket.
"I think she raided the parent's alcohol cabinet," Raven teased to Damien, in regards to the very sleepy blonde who seemed to be simply making word vomit at this point.
"No… Seriously, guys! Like that would be so cool! I think about that sometimes." Kiara said with her voice slightly muffled by the piece of cloth near her mouth.
"Okay, we're leaving," Raven demanded. Kiara didn’t think Raven knew how serious she really was. They could be a family—all of them. They could relocate, change their names and appearance. They could be brand new people. Kiara so desperately wanted Raven to understand.
What Kiara didn’t realize, is that Raven knew just how serious she was. She had, at one point, wanted a family too. She wanted a big wedding, and kids, and a home that she could go to at the end of the day. She wanted to be normal. But she wasn’t. She didn’t have the perfect husband, with kids, and a job, and friends. She had Damien, and now Kiara. She had to settle with what she had, and not complain. She knew Damien would never go for the whole “let’s get married” thing. And kids? That was a joke! Raven and Damien couldn’t be parents.
Raven only wished that Kiara could realize, without her telling her, that she knew exactly how she felt. And that she wanted the exact same thing. She just couldn’t afford to look weak, and didn’t want Kiara getting any ideas that they might have some of the same dreams and desires.
Today was Nico’s birthday. She just turned 8, and the 3-now-adults had worked for weeks to get stuff for a birthday cake. They had managed to fix the house up as much as they could, and it almost looked like it did in Raven’s tapes. Even in the tapes it looked rundown, but it was a lot better than how it was Rylee’s whole life up until that point. The 18 year old held Nico on her lap while she blew out the single candle on top. Rylee finally had a family. It gave her something inside, something warm she couldn’t erase. Finally she belonged somewhere, these people accepted her in a way that could very well be unexplainable. She then looked at the smiles on all their faces and she heard Nico’s sweet laughter.
“Can we cut the cake now?” Nico asked in great excitement.
“We sure can.” Rylee said getting up and setting the little girl down.
She grabbed the knife and pulled out the candle, carefully slicing it down the middle and then a few squares. While dishing out the cake she looked up and caught Sean’s eyes as he quickly turned away still smiling. After giving everyone their cake they all sat in silence enjoying the moment of peace they were all sharing.
“It was a good idea to do this.” Sean said.
“I completely agree.” Rylee smiled as she looked over at little Nico passed out from the long day she had. “I think it’s time for Nico to go to sleep...I might as well retire to. Night guys.” she picked up Nico and carried her up to bed leaving the boys by themselves.
Sean watched her leave and Ethan stared at him with squinted accusing eyes.
“Could you stop staring at something that’s not yours?” Ethan said.
“She’s not yours either.” Sean snapped back.
“I’ve already made my mark on her, she is mine.” he replied.
Sean got an evil look in his eyes, thoughts of getting rid of Ethan ran through his head but then they were gone just as fast like they never happened. He got up and left the room going to his room and closing the door behind him.
Who the hell did Ethan think he was?! Sean thought, I practically raised him and he’s treating me like shit over a girl?! A beautiful, wonderful, dangerous girl—but a girl nonetheless! Sean was completely baffled by the thought of his little brother trying to take Rylee. Rylee belonged with him! She is the perfect mother figure for Nico. Well—besides the fact that she murders people and video tapes it, and that her parents were even more psychopathic than she is. But she cares for Nico, and they seem to love each other. Sean barely glanced at Rylee, and Ethan had blown up on him. And then it hit him, Ethan is jealous. He knows that Rylee is better suited with me!
The delusion, jealousy, and egos ate at the boys all week. Every time they saw Rylee they would compete for her attention. The strain grew in the house between everyone. Even Nico knew something was going on with her dysfunctional family. Eventually Rylee had to find out what was happening in their home.
“Sean... Ethan… What’s going on between you two? You guys are making everything even more miserable here than it already is!” She said, all three of them sitting at the table. Nico was in the other room watching the tapes that Rylee’s parents had made. Neither of the boys said anything. They just looked at each other like deer caught in the headlights.
“Well?” Rylee insisted. Still the two men stayed quiet. “One of you better start spilling it, or else I’ll kill the both of you!” Rylee continued, only half kidding.
“Sean likes you!” Ethan blurted out suddenly. The three of them looked in shock.
“Okay.” Rylee said, “Well—that’s a start.”
“Sean likes you likes you.” Ethan said, sounding like he was in elementary school. Sean started turning red and tried to defend himself.
“That’s not entirely accurate, Rylee.” He started, “I just think you’re great with Nico, and didn’t like how Ethan described you.”
Rylee squinted her eyes, “As?”
Sean hesitated, looking at Ethan before replying, “He described you as his property.” Rylee looked appalled by this, and opened her mouth to scold Ethan, but not before he interrupted.
“THAT’S NOT TRUE!” He yelled, “I just said that she wasn’t yours because I had already made my mark on her! I didn’t really—“
“Excuse you?” Rylee cut in, “Ethan, do you think that we’re a ‘thing’? Because I’m sorry sweetie, but just because we had sex one time years ago, doesn’t mean we’re a couple. It was an experimentation thing.” Ethan’s face became red and he let the shame he felt be seen by everyone in the room. Sean smirked slightly, finding the humor in his brother’s pain.
“Could you not?!” Ethan asked, glaring at Sean. The room fell quiet. The awkwardness and hatred hanging in the air between them all.
“Come on!” Rylee said, “We’re all adults! Can’t we act like it?! Ethan, Sean—you two aren’t acting like you’re 21 and 24! You’re acting like children! I can’t even believe we’re actually having this conversation! It’s late, I’m tired, you two are acting like idiots, and I’m going to bed. You guys need to as well.” She stormed off, shaking her head in disbelief. Were they really acting like that? She thought. Unbelievable.
Sean and Ethan glared at each other before slowly making their way to their rooms. A fight in the house was about to brew up, everyone could feel it, but no one wanted to face it head on. They avoided it as much as they could until one of them was about to blow.
"I-I don't even know what to say to you… You're not even freaking human! You're an emotionless pit! Did you ever feel anything for me or was everything we went through together just so you could sleep with me?" Raven attempted appealing to the side of Damien that maybe, just maybe could feel, as she stood up. There was a pleading look in her eyes. A very similar look to the one that was in her eyes when Damien and Raven first met several years ago on that street corner.
"Oh, now she gets it!" Damien responded with a slight laugh in his voice. It was obvious that he wasn't taking Raven, or her guilt trip seriously. This was like a game to him.
Raven's sadness converted to anger as she pushed Damien up against the wall. "You are such a selfish prick!"
Damien looked at Raven in a moment of disbelief for a moment. Resentment bubbled up inside of him as he realized that Raven had had the audacity to shove him.
"Who the hell do you think you are?" Damien hollered as he threw Raven back against the opposite wall, causing fear to begin brewing in the pit of her stomach. "If I hadn't saved your slut ass, you probably wouldn't even be alive right now! You haven't changed a bit since we first met! You're still the same whiny little bitch who only wants people to feel bad for you!" As Damien spoke, his voice became more raspier as his rage built. "And you know what?" Damien grabbed Raven's neck, and began applying pressure, "When I first brought you home, I had every intention of killing you. I really should've followed through on that one."
Immediately, Raven grabbed Damien's strong arm with her hands, and tried to pull him off of her. The feeling of powerlessness was settling in on her. A feeling she hated, and was one of the few things that truly scared Raven.
"Who the hell are you, Damien?" Raven asked as tears began rolling down her cheeks. "The night you saved me, you told me you would never let anyone hurt me! That you would never hurt me… What is going on with you? Was it Warren dying that turned you into a complete dickhead?"
With the mention of Warren, Damien slightly loosed his grip. For some reason that was unknown, even to Damien, Warren was a touchy subject.
With adrenaline coursing through her, Raven managed to pull away from Damien's grasp and dart down the hallway, searching desperately for a weapon. There seemed to be a lack of anything in the abandoned residence. A house that once seemed full of various possessions of monetary value had never seemed so empty.
At the end of hallway, Raven hit the door hard, and tried to push it open. It was locked.
"Goddammit, ugh…" Raven choked under her breath as she realized that she didn't have another escape. She turned around to see Damien just inches from her. He punched her hard in the face and grabbed her to hold her still. "Let go of me!" She shrieked, "Please? I just want to leave and go home and forget about all of this! I hate you! I hate you! I just want to go!" Getting into hysterics, Raven thrashed, trying to break away from Damien as he dragged her into an open room.
Sitting in the empty room was Kiara, who was recording herself, and speaking very quietly, a few stray tears rolling down her cheeks.
"Turn off the camera and get out." Damien demanded coldly.