Riley had me cornered, and there was nowhere left to run. Things were going so well, and yet here I am with my back to the wall faced with certain death.
“I don't understand,” I said. “How could this happen?” I asked her.
“You were a fool to doubt me,” She replied quietly. “Now die.”
She raised her Battle-ax, and brought it down on my head.
Dear_Vixen has defeated BlackList Flashed across the screen as I was slain.
“Muahahaha!” Riley laughed dramatically, and held her game above her head like a trophy.
“I made that character specifically to counter yours... How could I lose?” I asked, stupefied.
“Well I'll admit, you had me on the ropes for a minute there, but you forgot something,” She said with a grin.
“...and that is?”
She stood up and began making her way to the library's entrance, but looked over her shoulder towards me and said, “I'm the bomb diggity.”
The wha-... Hey wait a second!
“Riley, did you read my mind!?” I called across the library. The few people scattered about looked at me. Some confused, some curious, most annoyed.
These scrubs are reading stories about the life I'm living right now. Ever had a vampire read your mind to beat you at a video game? No? Didn't think so. I bet I could think you out of existence right now if I tried hard enough. Who knows what powers I'm capable of “discovering” right now.
Riley gave me an exaggerated wink and waved me towards her as she and Tessa, who just arrived, made their way out.
I'll follow her, but not because she told me to. I'm doing this of my own free will, dammit.
The walk to Tessa's house was awkward and unusually quiet. Tessa seemed nervous about something, and Riley was picking up on it. I decided to keep my mouth shut. Tessa was tense, and it all just made me wonder exactly what I was about to encounter at her house. Then again if previous events of my life are any indicator, I'm sure it will be anything but dull.
We rounded one last corner into an old apartment complex and made our way up a flight of slightly rusty steps. The second floor, door 2B was where we stopped. Tessa stuck a key in the knob, turned, and looked back at me apologetically before opening the door.
When I looked inside, I was completely underwhelmed. It was so... boring. The entryway opened into a small living room with a little gray couch, tv, and coffee table. To the right was a small kitchen, and dead ahead was a hall with what was presumably two bedrooms, and a washroom. I was expecting much worse.
Tessa led us to the back room, and opened the door. The bed was completely unmade, there were little personal items all over the dresser and desk, and there were posters of various bands and movie characters all over. This was definitely Tessa's room.
“Welcome to my place, or whatever,” She said to me.
“Thanks... I think?” I'm not sure how to respond to that. “Am I missing something here?”
“No,” She said. “I'm going to take a shower, and then we'll get started here. I still don't understand why you invited him to study with us,” Tessa said without looking at either of us.
“I didn't invite him to study with us,” Riley replied haughtily. “I invited him to study with ME... at your house.”
“Riley, you're an idiot,” Said Tessa and I in unison as Tessa walked out of the room.
“Isaac! I thought you were on my side,” Riley whined.
“I play for the winning side,” I said with a wink.
“Are you sure?” She asked. “Because I'm pretty sure I mopped the floor with you earlier.”
“You cheated,” I said. “Doesn't count. Besides, that was a video game. I'm undefeated in real fights.”
The sound of a shower in the next room could be heard through the wall. Riley squinted her eyes at me.
“Have you ever actually had a real fight?” She asked.
“That's irrelevant,” I said as I looked away.
Riley bent at the knees and pounced across the room towards me. I tried to dodge but she was too fast and hit me like a freight train. Tessa's bed squeaked as we landed on it. I threw my hands up and tried to resist, but she immediately pinned me. Her hands held my own wrists down, as she straddled my stomach. She was inhumanly strong.
Her eyes had a mischievous look in them as she stared down to me. Her hair hung past her shoulders, brushing against my face. I could smell the autumn leaves again, and feel the curves of her legs against me as we lie there. She leaned down to my ear and whispered,
“How does it feel to be helpless?” She asked.
“... I wouldn't know,” I said. “I never have been.”
“What would you call this, then?” She asked.
“This? This is the kind of lap dance that gets you kicked out of the strip club,” I said.
“I hate you so much,” She said with a laugh. Her laughing smile is the most genuine thing I've ever seen.
“Yea a lot of people do. There's a line. Take a number,” I said.
For a while we talked like this, and I hated myself for not shutting her down. I can't bring myself to do it.
I heard the shower stop in the next room and footsteps as Tessa made her way around the bathroom. Riley went to Tessa's computer and started snooping around.
“Trying to find out what her fetishes are?” I asked.
“I already know what she's into...” She said in a dark, unsettling manner. I don't think I'll push the issue.
I looked around Tessa's room. I guess it's not really much different than what I expected. It's a typical rocker girls room I suppose. All except for her calendar, which was pink and excessively girly. I noticed that a date, the 19th of November, had a birthday cake sticker on it. Two weeks from today. I wonder if that's her birthday.
Suddenly the door opened and Tessa walked in with her hair wrapped in a towel. She was wearing silky pajamas and little black socks. She looked worried as she spoke to someone on the phone. I couldn't exactly make out the words, but the man on the other end of the line sounded very tired.
She walked over to her calendar and listened to him speak.
“...Mhm... Oh.... No it's fine... No really, I get it.” She said sadly. “Don't be... What you're doing is more important.”
As she spoke she reached up and scratched the birthday cake sticker off of the calendar. I guess plans got changed. I looked over to Riley, who was looking at me.
Is her birthday on the 19th?
Is that her boyfriend?
She shook her head.
Riley made a sad face and nodded.
“Ok... Well be safe...” Tessa said, defeated. “Yea, I love you too.”
She placed the phone on her dresser, and with her back to us she quickly wiped her eyes. When she turned back to us, her face was as blank and expressionless as always. I feel like I almost witnessed a side of her I wasn't supposed to.
She turned on her stereo, and for the next few hours we sat together and studied. It was like any other group of high school friends. For a few hours, I wasn't the protagonist. I was just another high school kid over at a friends house. I began to wonder if what I had been running from all of these years brought me here, or if this was where I was meant to be all along.
The next morning, Saturday, I slept in later than I had meant to. I crept out of my room and downstairs to find Quin and my mom on the couch watching tv. Both had a snack, both were curled up in a blanket, and both were glued to the romance being played out on the screen.
“Good morning,” I said.
They both gave me a quick wave and a smile.
“Quin, I'm going to the mall today,” I said. “I need a girls opinion on something. Wanna tag along?” I asked.
“Normally, yes, but as you can see...” She said pointing to the screen. “We're in the middle of a marathon. Don't be rude.”
“That raccoon was more loyal you know,” I said. I feel so betrayed.
I ate a bowl of cereal, and weighed the pro's and con's of what I was about to do. I sighed, and headed next door to Riley's house. As I came to the porch, I looked up to see Riley opening her window.
“Jump on in,” She said with a wave of her hand.
“Riley that's a ten foot jump,” I said.
She sighed dramatically. She jumped out of her window and fell gracefully towards me. She landed gingerly on the ground and looked up at me with a wink.
“Good morning,” she said with a warm smile.
“Yea, morning,” I said. “I'm going to the mall.”
“And you want me to go with you?” She said. She didn't even try to hide her excitement.
“Yes. I need a girls opinion,” I said as I turned around. She was too giddy about this.
“So... Like... A date?” She asked.
“No. Not a date. It's two friends going to the mall and buying things,” I quickly replied.
“Can I call it a date?” She pleaded.
“No. You cannot,” I said flatly.
“Fine.” She whined and pouted her lips. “Let me get dressed.”
“Mista Gray,” Riley said to me in a terrible British accent. “Will your trip to the mall today be one of business, or pleasure?”
“How would you classify birthday present shopping?” I asked her.
“Definitely serious Bid-Nass,” She said, dropping the accent.
As we walked together, I couldn't help but notice the occasional glances Riley got from men along the way. I peered at her out of the corner of my eye. She was wearing a frilly black skirt with a matching bow in her hair. Her leggings accented the curves of her legs, and caught the eye of each passerby.
Is it... Is It possible that Riley is actually really cute?
She looked at me and smiled shyly. My face burned red hot with the realization that she hears my thoughts. We both walked awkwardly for a little while without saying another word before she finally spoke up.
“Um. So is this gift going to be for Tessa?” She asked.
“Yea,” I said. “She seemed pretty down about that phone call. It's as cliché as It gets. Someone important to her won't be home for her birthday.”
“Well... Never-mind,” She said.
“...What?” I asked.
“She wouldn't want me to tell you. Forget I said anything,” She said as we walked into the malls north entrance. “Where should we start looking?” She asked with a distant look in her eyes.
Of course there's a twist. For crying out loud, why can't anything ever be simple? I guess I could just say screw it and head back now. Then again, Riley got all dressed up for today... Wait, why do I care? Since when did I lose myself in this place? I will not become the main character! Not again...
“Look... Riley... I just remembered, I uh...” Riley was looking at a passing couple. They were holding hands and sharing an ice cream cone. They were even sharing headphones, one bud in his ear, the other in hers. What a couple of saps.
Riley tore her gaze away to look at me. She had been eating their relationship up. She wanted every part of it for herself. “... You just remembered...?” She asked.
“Oh... I was just thinking... Maybe we should check out a music store or something?” I said. I'm such a coward.
After buying Tessa's present, Riley demanded we stay a while, despite my desire to go straight home. After being her coat rack in a clothing store, testing “Monster Slayer 5” in a game store, and wasting too much money on massage chairs, we found ourselves in the food court eating over priced pizza.
Riley took a cheesy bite of her pizza and smiled cheekily through it.
“Don't look so happy about that,” I said. I made an O with my thumb and index finger and said, “Thats-a notta pizza! Thats-a triangle bread with ketchup.”
“Well well well,” came a Nasally voice from behind me. “Riley and Isaac, at the mall together? You two on a date?”
I looked over my shoulder to see Logan eyeing us with a grin from ear to ear.
“No.” I replied flatly before turning back to my triangle bread.
“Sure looks like a date to me,” he said. “What brought you two here, then?”
“We came to get Tessa a birthday present!” Riley explained cheerily.
“You brought Riley on a date to get another girl a gift?” Logan asked. “Man you are ice cold my friend.”
“It's not like that,” I said. “And you and I aren't friends.”
“That hurts man, really. I'm hurt. Do you guys mind if I sit with you?” He asked.
“I would rather you didn't,” I said as he took a seat anyway. There was an empty seat next to me, and yet he pulled up a chair next to Riley. An in-explainable feeling of annoyance made it's way into my chest.
“I came here to check out the “Monster Slay 5,” demo. Have you guys seen it yet?” He asked. We both nodded in unison.
He continued excitedly, “Man what I wouldn't do to be IN a game like that. Honestly, real life is so boring. If my life could change today, I wouldn't hesitate.” His rambling was giving me a headache. I also find it funny how people always think the grass is greener.
“Well, I guess I hope that works out for you, man,” I said. “Let's go, Riley.”
Riley chugged the last bit of her soda and hurriedly caught up to me.
Logan, if only you could have been born with this curse instead. Maybe you would be the hero I never want to be.
I soon found myself once again outside of Riley's house.
“Well... Here we are...” She said, stalling before going to the door. She looked at me hopefully as she slowly reached for the door knob. She was hoping for something more from this day. Her entire being was reaching out for me to make a move.
“Yep.” I said. “See you Monday.” I turned away and headed across the yard to my own house, closing the door behind me without a second look.
If you liked it, leave a comment at the bottom, please. I have no way of knowing if people are reading and enjoying any of this otherwise!
Isaac was born to be the main character, and
he knows it. Though, were it up to him, that would
not be the case.
He wants a quiet life. A normal life. For seventeen
years Isaac has done everything he can to avoid
the lead role.
Supporting characters practically throw themselves
head on into Isaac's path as he desperately tries to
derail whatever Pilot Episode, Prologue, or Opening
their "Chance Meeting" might result in.
Isaac Gray might not be a bad guy,
but he is certainly
No One's Hero.