"I have a feeling this is gonna last..." Luke said, the tiredness clear in his voice.
"What?" Rylie yawned, and closed her eyes. She didn't quite catch the last part, but she thought she heard, "Us."
There it was. It was a massive house, large enough for two families to live comfortable in. It was a waste that only two people occupied the large space. The house was pearl white, with ivory pillars holding up a decorative balcony overlooking the entire neighborhood. Rylie had so many fond memories as a child in that house. She used to play a pirate, and every room had adventure to get to hidden treasure. That was before her parents divorced. That was when everyone was happy, and Rylie's mom cared about her family more than her job.
Everything's changed since then. After her dad moved out, her mom and sister saw that she was different. They saw she didn't want the business lifestyle, and that she only wanted to play music. That's when they decided to throw her away like trash. Her sister was always perfect in her mother's eyes, and she was never good enough, even though she tried to be. Her mom held her nose up at Rylie, and treated her like an outcast, bound for the streets.
It was an unfortunate predicament that Rylie now stood in front of their door. Her makeup ran down her face, making her look like a deranged clown. She had a one small suitcase behind her, and the world was against her. She sobbed quietly, hurting from the ominous pain attacking her from the inside out.
Rylie reached her frail, and shaking finger up to the doorbell, and pushed it. She waited. It was midnight so she didn't expect an answer right away.
The anticipation grew, and Rylie wanted to turn back and run. Maybe she could live off the streets. It wasn't too late to turn back...
The big door swung open, and a middle-aged woman stood in the doorway. Her hair was up in her rollers, and her silk pastel robe was wrapped tightly around her body. She somehow always managed to stay pampered and perfected even in her sleep.
Her make-up less eyes, the same shade as Rylie's, bore into Rylie's soul. She could feel the surprise and judgment wrapped up in one stare, but her mother's facial expression didn't change.
"Well, isn't this a surprise..." Her mom touched her own cheek with a perfectly manicured hand, and smiled an, "I knew you'd come crawling back," smile.
"Hey mom..." Rylie hiccupped as she sobbed, and a tear rolled down her cheek.
"You look pathetic." her mom shook her head, and motioned for Rylie to come inside.
Rylie expected that kind of comment. No, "Oh, dear, what is wrong?" No, "My poor baby, you must have been through a lot!" Rylie sometimes wondered if her mother even loved her. She knew when she moved in with her dad, her mom and sister were jumping up and down with joy for days. No, they were too proper for jumping.
Rylie passed the threshold into the extravagant house. She immediately saw the Victorian lantern above her, and to the right, she saw the huge fireplace, detailed with hand-painted swirls and curves.
Her mother grabbed her shoulder, and pushed her further on into the kitchen. She pulled a glass out of the cabinet, and poured some water from the faucet into it. "Here.." she handed the water to Rylie, and sat down at the kitchen table, waiting for Rylie to join her.
"Now what brings you here in the middle of the night before Christmas?" Rylie's mom asked, her eyes tracing over every part of Rylie's face.
Rylie breathed out another sob, and explained what had happened. It hurt so much to think about it, and Rylie wanted to crawl under a rock, and rot there forever. After she vaguely explained the incidents earlier, she looked at her mother for some sign of pity or condolences.
Her mother just pursed her lips, and shook her head. "You are sulking over an immature guy who didn't even love you?" she laughed into the air. "Now c'mon, darling. I thought I raised you better than that."
Rylie's eyes grew big, and she gulped back another sob. There was no words. Her mother was incapable of comforting her. Rylie had this fantasy that her mom would attack her with warm hugs, and make the pain somehow dull. She was oblivious.
Rylie just looked down at the puddle of tears forming on the table. She wanted the conversation to end so she could run upstairs to her old room, and hide under the covers forever.
Her mom must have seen her discomfort because she grabbed Rylie's hand, and squeezed it gently. "He's a fool for letting someone as amazing as you go."
Rylie looked up, and smiled a weak smile. That astonished her. "Thank you.."
"I missed you." her mother met Rylie's eyes, and smiled an actual comforting smile. "I know you don't think I did, but it's been a year...and you are my baby girl." Mom wiped a tear appearing at her eyes, and exhaled quickly, regaining her posture, and emotionless expression.
"Now, you can just take some money from my checking account for your Christmas present, and Katie and you can eat takeout for dinner tomorrow." Her mother stood up, and rubbed the crinkles out of her robe.
"What are you talking about?" Rylie asked.
Her mother pushed a stray hair out of her face, and looked down at Rylie. "Oh, did I forget to mention that I'll be away for a business trip for the next week. I'm leaving in the morning."
"You mean you won't be here for Christmas?" Rylie questioned. She should have expected she wouldn't be able to spend time with her mom. She should've known her mom would rather work than spend time with her family on the day that it is most important.
"Sorry, dear, but if you hadn't have moved away, you would've known this. Now go get cleaned up. You look ridiculous."
Rylie was left alone in the kitchen in the middle of the night uncomforted and still heartbroken. Her mom had one comment that really made Rylie feel wanted, but then she just threw her to the dogs again like always. She really had no one. She was truly abandoned, left to cope with her thoughts alone and disoriented.
After minutes of self-pity, Rylie got up, and walked up the steep, carpeted stairs into a large hallway. She searched in her memory for the door leading into her room. It wasn't hard to find because she immediately saw her name plastered to a white door. On the other side of the hallway was her sister's room. She contemplated whether to see her sister, but she had enough judgment for one night.
Rylie turned the doorknob, and the door swung open, revealing a fairly big room with a queen size bed in the middle. Memories came flooding back to her of the time she spent in that room. All the memories of laughing with her old middle school friends, the tears shed by Liam, and the days where she laid in bed watching Netflix and listening to Nirvana. Those were always the best days.
She had moved in with her dad a few years back, but because of joint custody, she had to visit her mom until she stopped a year ago. She had gone through so many transitions in that room. It used to be Barbie themed. Then, she just wanted zebra print everywhere. The theme she had before she moved away was music. Music everything. The room was fairly bare, but records of old bands like Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, and The Beatles covered a wall.
Rylie walked over to a CD rack and traced her finger along the dusty CDs that lined her wall. She had just stopped crying, and she wanted to cry again, but not because of Luke. Because she missed the happy times of her house.
Rylie walked into her bathroom, and looked at her mangled self in the mirror. She did look pathetic, and weak. Most of all, she looked heartbroken. She looked like a person who had given up hope of being happy. She didn't want to be that person. She didn't want to look up, and see tear-stained cheeks, puffy eyes, and runny mascara. She wanted to be the strong girl she was. She just had to find that girl again.
Rylie pulled off her itchy dress, and shoes before climbing in the shower. She felt so relieved to feel the hot water run over her body, cleansing her of the previous events. She washed her face, and then stood in the shower for a good hour, allowing the steam to take her thoughts and make them evaporate into the thin air. It was an hour she was released of the thought of Luke and Paul, and everyone else. She had taken many a shower in that bathroom, but that one was the best.
Once her body began to soak in the water, and wrinkle up, she knew it was time to get out. Rylie dried herself off, and held a towel around her body as she searched her drawers for old pajamas. She found Liam's sweatshirt that she had left behind, and she pulled it on, not even caring anymore. She crawled under her black duvet, and let her wet, tangled hair scatter among her pillows. She smelled the familiar scent of vanilla in her sheets, and even though she no longer considered it home, it was her bed. For the first time in months, she wasn't sleeping in hotel beds or bunks on the bus. It was her smooth, warm bed.
Rylie might've drifted to sleep, but horrible memories came flooding back to her, tearing her down again. She saw Luke smiling his handsome smile, and she watched her hand reach up to touch his soft cheek. She watched his mouth form wonderful words that made music to her ears. "I love you..." he spoke, but his words became distant. Rylie watched him grow small and smaller, and she tried to run after him, but he was already gone.
She spun around, and saw him again, only this time, his eyes were dark and despicable. He frowned at her, and spat at her feet.
Rylie stepped back as he moved towards her, engulfing her with dark shadows. "Luke..." she whispered fearfully. That wasn't Luke. Luke was always happy and understanding. His eyes were filled with life and love. Rylie couldn't see Luke in the man who looked down at her with dead and distant eyes, tracing over her body in mutilated hunger.
"You honestly think I loved you?" he laughed in her face. His voice was cold and malicious.
"You told me you did..." Rylie's defended. Her voice was small, like a child's.
In Luke's hands appeared a red object, dripping with red drops of blood. It beat repeatedly, and Rylie knew it was her heart. Luke smirked at her before taking her heart with both hands, and ripping it down the middle. He laughed evilly as Rylie grabbed her chest in pain, feeling every sharp sting shoot up her body. She gasped for breathe, but there was none there.
Rylie jumped up in bed, and immediately threw her hand up to her chest. She inhaled, feeling the breath flood into her lungs. Rylie sighed in relief. It was just a dream. She looked at her window to the moonlight seeping in, and knew she had hours left to sleep. However, Rylie couldn't sleep after that nightmare. It had only made her think of Luke more, and how much she wanted him so bad, but she couldn't have him.
The tears came suddenly, and there was no end. Rylie sunk back on her bed, and slid the cover over her, crying into her pillow. She thought this amount of tears was bad. She thought the pain couldn't get any worse. It was only the beginning.