Author’s Note and Trigger Warning: This chapter deals with topics some may find difficult to deal with such as references to attempted rape and drugging someone for the sole purpose of taking advantage of them. Please do not read if this is makes you uncomfortable.
Ramsey stared at his phone wondering what Bruce needed to talk to him about. After their breakup he had been afraid to call him. Well maybe not afraid Ramsey corrected there wasn’t much he was afraid of. He had been concerned about the blonde’s welfare. He heard that Bruce hadn’t taken the breakup well. If his tone was anything to judge by he still wasn’t over it.
Was that why he called? Did he want to get back together? Did he want that? Maybe he should call him back and decline the offer to come over. He pulled up Bruce’s number on his phone realizing he had never deleted the number from his contact list. What did that say about him?
On second thought maybe he should go and hear what Bruce had to say. Frowning he bit his lower lip. There was something off about the way Bruce sounded on the phone. He wasn’t the same confident guy he normally was. There had been a note of fear in his voice. Why would he be afraid?
His mind made up he decided to ditch his plans for the evening. Not like he had much planned. A thrilling night of re-runs, beer and waiting for Eddie to call. It’s been weeks since that night on the beach. He had to move on. Accept that Eddied wasn’t going to call. He had his answer whether it was the one he wanted or not.
Rory drove up to the house that Trent’s directions led him to. A loud sigh escaped his lungs. How had he let himself get talked into this? The last thing he wanted to do was carry a bunch of heavy boxes and furniture up and down stairs. Getting out of his car he resigned himself to his fate.
Gayle ran up to him a bright smile upon her face. “Thank you for helping….”
“Yeah whatever,” he mumbled. It wasn’t just because she was his sister. A sister he never wanted, didn’t need or even knew. All three were good reasons for why he didn’t like her but it was also her incessant cheerfulness. Didn’t she ever have a bad day?
It seemed like she was constantly shoving her good mood down everyone’s throat. Just once he’d like to see her without a smile upon her face. The smile his best friend found so fascinating was the same smile Rory found so irritating. He never ceased to find little ways to pick on her until her smile faltered and disappointment replaced it. He could see the hurt in her eyes. It never failed to prick him with guilt but it was never enough to keep him from doing it again.
“If you didn’t want to come…” she started to say but the haunted desperate look in his eyes stilled her words.
“Sorry,” he mumbled looking down “just tell me where stuff goes.” He walked over to the truck where Trent was busy unloading boxes.
“Glad you could make it,” Trent greeted him ignoring the angry irritated glare Rory gave him.
The apartment was too quiet or the neighbors were too loud. Eddie couldn’t decide. The sounds that once were a source of comfort were now grating on his nerves. He had expected a response by now to his text. Had Rory decided he wasn’t worthy it anymore?
There was a burning sensation behind his eyes as he blinked trying to ward off the tears that were building. Why couldn’t he be stronger? Why wasn’t he more emotionally stable? Why did everything reduce him to tears?
Groaning he got up from the couch where he had been aimlessly flipping through channels. Nothing was going to change unless he did. With renewed determination to put the past behind him he decided to go out. His stomach twisted into knots as he thought about going out on his own. Meeting strangers had never been his strong suit. The idea almost paralyzed him. He wanted to stay at home where no one could hurt him.
Shaking his head he went to the bedroom for a change of clothes deciding on a shower before he went out. He was tired of who he was. He wanted to be someone else at least for tonight. Stepping into the shower he missed the soft chirp of his phone.
Liono kicked Milo under the table. “What?” the blonde asked looking up a frown creasing his forehead.
“Put the phone away,” Liono hissed “the girls are coming back.”
Nodding Milo did as requested. Whatever Bruce wanted could wait until they got home he thought. Smiling he turned his attention to Jillian getting up to pull the chair out for her.
“Thank you,” she murmured “as she sat down.”
Elyse snickered “such a gentleman.” Her eyes dancing with amusement.
Liono glared at his friend “show off” he grumbled.
“It’s not my fault. I was taught to treat a lady right,” He glance at his friend who had made him suddenly doubt himself. Looking down at a soft touch patted his hand he met Jillian’s blue eyes and smiled.
“I liked the gesture,” she told him to the combined groans of their companions. Glaring at Liono “don’t pick on Milo for doing what you should have done too.”
Milo covered his mouth with his hand. He lips twitched in amusement. He enjoyed watching Jillian put his friend in his place. He knew Liono well enough to know he shouldn’t show his amusement or he’d pay for it later. “You have to admit she does have a point” he said talking Jillian’s hand in his.
Ignoring him Liono turned his attention to Elyse “did you think I was being rude?” he asked in his blunt way.
Shaking her head laughing she said “you are who you are. I wouldn’t want you to do anything that wasn’t you. It wouldn’t be real that way.” Humming along to the soft music that was playing she asked “care to dance?”
Milo watched the couple move off towards the dance floor. “I’m shocked,” he murmured to himself.
“Why?” Jillian asked “Elyse has always liked the rough around the edges type of guy.”
“That fits Liono to a tee,” he laughed “he’s a good guy once you get to know him.” He picked at the table-cloth before asking “what kind of guy do you like?”
Her cheeks turned pink as she clasped her hands. Shyly she looked up meeting his gaze “I like the quiet, reserved gentleman.”
He didn’t know what to say. He had gotten used to being the last one picked, the second choice or the tender morsel to the shrew. Her admission left him speechless.
The room lurched and swayed around him. Closing his eyes he hoped it would still the room’s rotation. It did little to steady the room. He jerked as someone put their arms around him. A voice saying “let me help you.”
Blinking he tried to focus, to move away from the arms that held him tight. His body refused to obey his command “I don’t…” he mumbled as he fell onto a soft surface. He hadn’t realized he was moving until he wasn’t. Somehow his body didn’t feel attached to his head. Closing his eyes as a fresh wave of nausea and dizziness swept through him. “I don’t…I don’t” he licked his parched lips. Why couldn’t he move? Why couldn’t he form the words he needed to say?
“Here baby” Amber said holding a glass to his lips “this will make you feel better.”
He looked into her beautiful blue eyes. Malice and a predatory gleam stared back at him. He tried to move his head away. Despite his efforts liquid poured into his mouth faster than he could spit it out. He could feel it dribbling down his chin soaking his shirt. “Come on baby just swallow. You’ll feel better once you do.” Her voice thick like syrup. He was drowning. Couldn’t breathe. She was relentless. He couldn’t help it. It was only a matter o time before he had to swallow the contents.
Gayle knelt to retrieve her brother’s phone from the ground where it had fallen. She should just hand it back to him she knew. Curiosity had her hesitating as she allowed herself to bring up his photos. Gasping she found what she was looking for. Pictures of Eddie and Rory together. What she didn’t expect was how happy Rory was in the pictures with his arms around the good-looking blonde. This was the person she wanted to get to know not the grumpy irritable guy that went out of his way to get under her skin.
She wondered what she could do to help him. He gave off a persona of not needing help of not caring. Everyone at some point in their lives needed help. Maybe if he was happy she’d have a chance to get to know him. The real him.
She heard the grump coming. Hastily she exited his photos before saying in an overly cheery voice “look what I found just lying around.” She waved his phone in the air “I wonder what little goodies we’ll find in here.”
“Give it to me” Rory demanded his voice deadly serious.
Deciding not to tease him further she handed the phone to him. She moved over to Trent who had been giving her hand signals to stop the entire time. She felt his arms slip around her shoulders. She watched her brother’s face. It was an interesting sight changing from anger, relief to surprise and finally sadness. Moved despite herself she put a hand on his arm “why don’t you invite him over?” She took a gamble it was Eddie that was the cause of the myriad of emotions flitting across his face.
Nodding Rory didn’t seem to notice or care that he hadn’t said who had sent him a text that had caught his attention. “Yeah I think I’ll do that,” he agreed half listening to her. His mind more on the long-awaited contact than on anything else.
Eddie wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. He hated going out to eat. He couldn’t trust that someone hadn’t put something in his food or drink. It had happened once. A night he couldn’t remember but had lasting ramifications for the rest of his life. That night resulted in two adorable kids he wasn’t quite sure he knew how to cope with. He stood in front of his mirror styling his hair. He had always wanted kids and had never doubted he would some day have some but not this way.
He had never dreamed the kids he would have would be the result of rape. It had never even entered his mind that he would suffer from that particular degradation. A part of him believed that he should have been able to prevent it. Guilt that he had allowed himself to be so vulnerable. Shame that he had let it happen kept him from doing the things he wanted to do now. Often he felt like he was locked inside a self-induced prison, forever looking at his life through iron bars of his own making. He was tired of being a victim. It was time he took his life back with or without Rory.
Unsure where or what he was going to do he was outside on his deck when his phone vibrated. Glancing at it his heart leaping into his throat as Rory’s smiling face popped up on his screen. Breathing hard he lifted the phone to his ear “hello.”
Ramsey walked casually from the elevator. He felt light on his feet humming a tuneless melody strolling down the hallway towards Bruce’s apartment. He had never been here before. All he knew was he shared expenses with two other guys, band members of Rory’s.
He stopped in front of the door, heart pounding in his chest. He rubbed a hand along the sides of his jeans wondering what Bruce wanted to talk to him about. Did he want to get back together? He put a hand up to knock hesitating as he heard muffled voices from inside.
Bruce wasn’t alone. He felt like he had just crested the top of a high roller coaster. Filled with anticipation and trepidation as the car hovered over the edge. Of course Bruce wouldn’t be alone. He did share an apartment with two other people. Was this Bruce’s way of telling him he had moved on? Had he lost his chance?
Half turning from the door Ramsey stopped, concern lining his handsome face. Something wasn’t right. He had heard fear in Bruce’s voice when they spoke earlier. He could sense something wasn’t right. He pressed an ear to the door straining to make out the muffled sounds.
Amber pressed her lips against his running a hand up his shirt and across his toned chest. Pulling away she licked her lips “very nice” she purred.
Bruce followed her with his eyes. Her movements were jerky and exaggerated to his drug induced haze. His body felt like lead as it refused to obey any commands to push her from him. “What…”
She put a finger to his lips shaking her head “no talking.” She climbed into his lap grinding her body against his as she devoured his mouth.
He could see her excitement grow as his body responded to her gyrations on his lap. Shame descended over him like a thick blanket as she removed his shirt that he was helpless to prevent. His arms hung heavy to his sides. “Please stop…” he attempted again.
“I know you want this as much as I do,” she brought her lips down to his chest kissing across his skin.
“No stop,” panic rising giving strength to his voice.
She glanced up hands hovering above the waist of his jeans. “Your mouth says no. Your body says yes.” Her hand slipped inside his jeans.
“No” the word exploded from his mouth. His pleas fell on deaf ears.
Amber jumped as the door came crashing in. Frowning she stood up to confront the intruder “get out” she shouted.
Ramsey’s eyes went from her irate half crazed face to the blonde on the couch. Taking in his half-dressed state he mumbled “Bruce…” Had he misjudged the situation? The near panicked one word plea had galvanized him into action.
He walked around the couch confused why Bruce wasn’t reacting more to having such an intimate moment disrupted. Peering closer he could see the terror in the blonde’s blue eyes stoking the fire to his anger. What was happening here? “Bruce” he took a step closer observing the tears forming in the blonde’s eyes and rolling down his cheeks. Ramsey knelt beside Bruce reaching a gentle hand up to brush the tears away.
Bruce jerked his face away fear brightening his eye. “I’m sorry…” he mumbled looking away.
“What did you do to him?” Ramsey snarled getting to his feet to confront the girl. Silence greeted his question. While he was preoccupied with Bruce she must have slipped through the broken door. He took a step to follow her when a thud had him turning back to Bruce who was retching on the floor.