Rianne woke with a jump to the sound of a phone going off right next to her ear. The obnoxious thing continued to ring even as she hit the silencer button. She checked the watch on her wrist only to find out that it was five in the morning. With a sigh, she picked up the phone and checked the caller id. The number was one she didn’t recognize which usually meant it was one of her mothers ‘friends’. Cursing, she placed the phone back into its cradle and started folding the blankets she had used. As quietly as she could, she snuck up the stairs and put the blankets and pillow away. Then decided to check on her mother.
When she walked into her room, her mother was on the phone. Most likely accepting a date for tonight. Rianne walked over to her desk and wrote on a piece of paper, “what would you like for breakfast ma?” She handed it to her mother and waited for the answer. Yes would mean that she had accepted the date, and no would mean this was the break up call which would lead to hell for Rianne. Her mother looked up at her and nodded. Not even a hangover could get her to take a break from men. Rianne smiled at her then grabbed her clothes for the day; a pair of faded light blue jeans with a black tank top along with a gray bra and matching underwear. Her mother was off the phone by the time Rianne had gotten everything together.
“Good morning ma.” She said with another smile. “How’d you sleep?”
“Fine. When are you gonna make breakfast?”
“Right after my shower.”
“Wake me up when it’s ready.”
“You got it mama.” With that she slipped out of the room and into the bathroom. Placing her clothes on the corner of the sink, she grabbed a towel from the cabinets above the toilet. She glanced at the cabinet below the sink with shame. Not today, she promised herself. Rianne tried to refocus herself by getting undressed and stepping into the hot water. Rianne rushed her shower, leaving no time to linger and feel the tension leave her body. When she got out, she wrapped her body in one towel and quickly ran her hair between a smaller towel to dry it.
As soon as she was dried and dressed, she was downstairs making breakfast. Fifteen minutes later, she was serving it to her mother in bed. She waited until her mother was absorbed in eating to ask about her plans for tonight.
“ I’m guessing he’s coming over tonight, right?” she asked timidly.
Her mother shot her a fierce glare. “He has a name, Rianne. Use it. But yes Tony is coming over tonight.”
Rianne wanted to take her mother and shake her while screaming, “How can you do this to yourself day after day?????” But instead, she said, “ What time?”
“He’s coming at four. And I want you here before he comes.”
Rianne didn’t know what to make of what her mother had said. Being home for these things was never a good thing. She needed to get out, like now. The last time she had been requested to stay flashed through her thoughts causing her to shake.
After excusing herself, she went back downstairs. Trying to keep the memories from overtaking her, she began washing the pan she used to cook with. From there, she began to wash the floor and the entire kitchen. Finished with that she now needed something else to do. Seeing as the cabinets were bare, she decided to go grocery shopping. Before she went, she called up the stairs and told her mother. Rianne found the car keys then bought along her hoodie just in case.
The nearest grocery store was twenty minutes away so she cranked up the music nice and loud to accompany her as she drove. She put in a mix Aiden had made her a few months ago. It had the perfect combination of metal and rock. As she neared the shopping complex she turned the volume down. Once she put the car in park, she grabbed her wallet from the glove compartment and walked into the store.
Looking around the store was almost completely empty. Rianne checked her watch again. It was 6:20. She made a mental note to shop this early again if she could. That way there wouldn’t be any long lines or trying to go down an aisle filled with carts everywhere. She took her time getting everything she thought the house could use. Before she knew it, the cart was full. She was making her way to the registers when she heard a familiar voice call out her name. Slowly she turned around hoping she wasn’t right about the voice. Please don’t let it be her. Please…
“Rianne, honey! How are you?” Mrs. Treenko said walking up to Rianne.
Rianne smiled. “Good morning Mrs. Treenko. I’m good, and you?”
“ Good, good. But my little boy’s eye isn’t too well. Its all black and blue, do you have any idea what caused it?” she cocked her eyebrow.
Rianne’s first instinct was to be ashamed, but to tell the truth she wasn’t. He deserved what he had gotten. “I punched him.”
“What did he do now?”
“He lied about loving me and then while trying to persuade me he invites the school slut over to his locker to ‘do him a favor’. You know what, I really wanted to believe him; I really did, but after that how could I? He deserved it.”
“Rianne, a swollen face won’t teach him to be a straight shooter. It’ll just push him to try and get you to come around even harder. He loves you, and he’s not going to give up until you either tell him you love him back or he gets to you to admit you know he loves you.”
Rianne looked down at the watch on her wrist. Time was flying by. “ Shit. No disrespect Mrs. T, but I have to get going. I have to get lunch ready and if I’m not home on time, I will never hear the end of it.” She smiled.
“Why are you making dinner? You’re mother should do that for you. I remember when your father was around…”
Rianne couldn’t bear to hear that sentence be finished so she interrupted. “She’s having a friend over and doesn’t really have the time. I kinda volunteered to cook it for her.” as much as she hated it, she was forced to lie. Mrs. T would flip at the truth.
“A friend?” there was nothing subtle about her concern.
“Yea… its no big Mrs. T.”
“Why don’t you leave your mother and her ‘friend’ alone for the night and spend the day at our house?”
“I would love too, but you know I can’t. She really wants me home by four.”
“Rianne, honey, you know you’re always welcomed at our home, right?” Mrs. Treenko asked placing a hand atop Rianne’s.
“Thank you Mrs. Treenko, but I really can’t tonight.”
“You know, I’m sure if you let me talk to your mother she’ll let you come.” She sounded desperate now. The last time she saw Mrs. Treenko like this was when Aiden… Wait… Aiden! He wouldn’t have told his mother what happens during the visits, would he?
Memories from that night crept back into Rianne’s thoughts. The most recent one occurred a few weeks before, her mother had invited one of her ‘friends’ over for some after hour’s fun. What her mother didn’t know, or better yet, what her mother knew but refused to admit, was that when the man was done with her mother, he tried to reach for Rianne. During one of her mother’s fits the previous week, the lock on Rianne’s door had been broken, creating the perfect opportunity for the jerk to sneak in at night while she slept. Rianne had woken up with him on top of her, his body pinning hers to the mattress. The second she opened her mouth to scream he had slapped her right across the face. Wide-eyed, and terrified Rianne did the only thing she could think of; hit him. When he lifted his hand to hit her again she raised her own and punched him first. Momentarily shocked he slightly moved off of her, leaving enough space for her to get up. As she ran for the door, he grabbed her and with enough force to break her arm, he pushed her into the wall. He hit her again and again until she finally crumpled to the floor. He laughed as he bent down next to her, drinking in the sight of her bruised and mangled body. Then he eventually left to go take her mother again. God only knows what his original intentions before she hit him were that night.
Rianne looked down at her arm, the throbbing sensation was returning.
“Rianne?” Mrs. Treenko asked tentatively.
The sound brought Rianne back to the present. She shook her head as if to clear it. “Yea?”
“Are you ok?”
“Yes ma’am.” She replied. Right now, she could almost feel the rushing pleasure of flowing blood. It was time to take her razor out again. “I have to go.” With that, she rushed to the register and quickly paid for her groceries.