I’ve been writing these stories up on a separate page on my blog. But, I decided to start doing them as posts instead so they’ll be more visible. I’ll still be adding them there as well, after I write up the post. You can check out the others I’ve written here.
Today’s prompt was ‘Not You’ and while Rylan isn’t the complete opposite of me, he does handle confrontation differently than I would. I avoid it at all costs. That’s not quite the way he does it(warning for mention of past domestic abuse):
Rylan stopped picking up around the living room at the knock on the front door. He listened for a moment and still heard the water running in the bathroom. So, Kirsten wasn’t out of the shower yet. He’d have to answer the door.
Who would be coming to see her now though? Most people knew she’d be going in to work, didn’t they? He probably shouldn’t have come over, either, but he’d been driving himself crazy thinking about her. He grinned a little as he headed for the door. And was he glad he’d come. He’d dreamed about being with Kirsten for years. But, the reality was better than anything he could have imagined. And he had a damn good imagination.
The grin fell away when he looked through the peephole. It wasn’t Kirsten’s neighbor like he’d thought it might be. Not one of her co-worker’s or a fellow student from one of her college classes. One hand clenched as he reached for the door with the other. “What are you doing here?” he demanded as soon as he swung it open. “I know Kirsten told you to stay away from her place.”
“I could ask you the same thing,” Kenny said on the other side of the doorway. “Why are you spending so much time with my wife and daughter? What’s in that for you?”
Rylan had always thought the term blood boiling was a bit ridiculous. But, right now he was pretty sure his was doing just that. “There’s nothing in it for me,” he insisted, “except enjoying their company. You’ve never been able to see how lucky you are to have them. And no matter how many times you say the word, it doesn’t make her your wife.”
“She’s mine,” Kenny insisted, shoving against Rylan’s shoulder. But, he didn’t budge. “She was mine first, and I will get her back. I’ll get both of them back.”
“You won’t.” But, the thought of Kirsten taking Kenny back shot a thrill of fear down Rylan’s spine. “I know what you did to her. You can bet you’ll never put another bruise on her. And I won’t ever let you hurt that little girl.”
Kenny sneered at him. “You can’t do anything about it. I’ll handle my family however I see fit. Now, let me see them.”
Rylan didn’t move from his position in the doorway. People always had the misconception that because he was just an artist, he was weak. That he could easily be pushed out of the way. Sometimes he let them think that, because it was easier. Not this time. “You were told not to come here,” Rylan reminded him. “You’re to contact Kirsten when you want to see Cora. Away from here. I don’t have to let you do anything.”
“I have the right to see my daughter.”
“You want to keep that right, you should probably start watching how you handle yourself.” Rylan knew he probably shouldn’t bait the man. He could just tell him Cora wasn’t here, a. nd this would probably be over. But, he couldn’t seem to help it. “You won’t have either of them.”
Kenny launched himself at Rylan, and this time he did stumble back. He saw the fist coming toward him and ducked under it. Before either of them could make another move, he heard Kirsten’s voice behind him. “Stop. Both of you stop that.”
Rylan stepped back, but Kenny’s fist was still swinging and glanced off his chin. Lights burst behind his eyes, but he kept his feet right where they were. He wanted to lunge at Kenny even though his head still spun, but Kirsten put a hand on his arm, and he kept himself still.
“You can’t be here, Kenny,” she said. “Cora isn’t even here. She’s with my parents this weekend. We can set something up during the week so you can see her.”
She sounded so calm, but he could feel her hand trembling against his arm. How could she think she was weak? She had to be the strongest woman he knew.
“I’m not going anywhere until he does,” Kenny said, glaring at Rylan. “I don’t trust his intentions around my wife and daughter.”
“Oh, for Christ’s sake,” she muttered. “I’m not your wife. I’ve never been your wife. I’ll never be your wife. I wanted that at one time, and you didn’t. Now, I’m glad for it.” Rylan felt her draw in a breath and let it out again. “Now, go, before I’m forced to call the cops.”
Kenny looked like he was going to argue, but apparently he believed her about calling the cops this time. “I’m not giving up. I will have you back.”
“No,” Kirsten said as Rylan closed the door, “you won’t.”
He turned to her, but she pushed back from him. “You should go, too,” she told him.
The words felt like they nearly shattered him. After what they’d shared, she was pushing him away, lumping him in with Kenny. She must have seen something in his face because she reached out for him. “I have to get to work. We’ll talk later.”
He wanted to believe her. With everything he had, he wanted to believe her words. But, it felt like she was already pulling away. And he wasn’t sure how much more his heart could take of that.
“Yeah. Sure. Later,” he said and walked out of the apartment.