Friday, April 17, 2009

Raising Rachel [part 7] (Friday Fiction)

This weeks' Friday Fiction is hosted by Peej herself @ Patterings. Click here to read and share more great fiction.

Author's Ramblings: In a rush this week and can't fix the spacing, I'll work on it later, or else I'll be late. Not sure when the next installment will come, I've got finals coming up, so bear with me and enjoy!
NOTE: I made and I'm back, just have a few minutes to fix the spacing, and hopefully, leave a delightful twist for all my faithful readers. ^_^ have a great weekend!

The silence in the car was awkward, but Rachel couldn’t bring herself to fill it. As it was, she was just barely processing the events of the last few hours, much less the actual reality of what had happened.

Her head was still spinning when Pete escorted her up the motel stairs and offered a smile, holding the door open. He hesitated in the doorway. “Can I uh, get you anything?”

Rachel forced a smile. “uh, no thanks. I’m fine. Thanks.”

Pete nodded, then backed out of the room. “I’ll be getting back to uh-”

“Tell Uncle Thom I’m fine. I’ll be here. I won’t go anywhere.” Rachel closed the door behind him, turning the locks and hooking the chain. She bit her lip once, then stopped, pinching her finger as she turned.

It didn’t stop her heart from pausing several beats.

Ben stood scowling in the center of the room, arms crossed over his chest.

Rachel winced. “I wasn’t running.”

“You weren’t?”

“No.”

His arms slowly uncrossed, falling to his sides. “I’ll take your word for it. This time.” His gaze shifted to the window. “Who’s that? Your uncle’s second partner?”

“Yeah, that’s Pete.” Rachel started for the window and stopped halfway there. “How did you know he was Unk’s second partner? You never even met him!”

“Did I have to?” He asked, matter-of-factly.

“N-no. I guess not…what are you doing here?”

“Thanks for the welcome, I think.” Ben scowled. “I’m here to ask what did you think you were doing? Were you trying to get yourself killed? Because you almost succeeded! In all the years I’ve been working and believe me, I’ve been working at this far longer than you’d care to know, I have never seen such a stupid stunt where-”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Rachel whined.

“Yes you do.” He glared at her. “You most certainly do!”

“I do?” Rachel stared at him miserably. The negative events were beginning to pile up on her. “How do I know that?”

“Okay, let’s back up really slowly.” Ben said. “Let’s try, you blacked out for three days…what normal person does that?”

“A normal person who makes a dumb mistake and gets mixed up with people like you.” Rachel glared back. “What kind of normal is that?”

“The kind that is entirely clueless and doesn’t realize that every little thing like a one-time-save-your-life kind of deal is usually the kind that requires that life to be used for the rest of that-”

“Mark doesn’t have that kind of hold on me.” Rachel said hotly. “And neither do you!”

“I never said any of us did.” Ben said evenly. “But we do have a protection over you and if you’d like it to stay active, then you’ll have to work off your end of the bargain to pay the coverage fees.”

“So you’re really just here to rant at me?”

“No, I’m here to yell at you. Let’s talk about that intruder. What happened there? Please, do tell. I would so love to know.”

Rachel shrugged. “Well, there’s not really much to tell at all. Some lady came in the house.”

“Lady?” Ben cut in.

“Yeah…Unk said it was a lady.” Rachel frowned. “At least I think I heard him say that…”

“Go on.” Ben encouraged.

“yeah, well she came in the front door and then somehow ended up coming upstairs and I was hiding with Jeanette under the bed.”

“I take it Jeanette is that insufferable brat that never turns off her hyper mode?” Ben asked dryly.

“Something like that.” Rachel blushed. “She’s not really all that bad…I think.”

“Go on.” Ben sighed. “and try not to slow it down a bunch for my sake, I’m sure I can keep up with the plot twists.”

Rachel rolled her eyes. “Yeah, sure. No problem. We just hid under a bed and she came under there and yanked Jeanette out.”

“Jeanette or you?” Ben had suddenly grown rather still.

“Um…Jeanette.” Rachel frowned, thinking back. “I’m pretty sure it was Jeanette, though I don’t know she didn’t grab me first, I mean, I was there first and I was the one who was sticking out of there the most.”

“You killed her.” Ben said quietly.

“What?” Rachel stared at him.

“The intruder.” Ben turned away for a moment. “A peak emotional surge…oh, Rachel!”

“What? I killed what? What are you talking about?” But the sudden anger was fading and a new tremor had come to her voice.

“The lady, Rach.” Ben rubbed his face with one hand. “you killed her.”

“No I didn’t!”

“Don’t, Rachel…you’ll make it worse.” A soft moan escaped and then his head raised up. “I’m sorry. I just didn’t…this is what I’m talking about, this is what you should have known.”

“I might actually know something if you weren’t always talking in riddles.”

“Am I?” He asked. “Rachel, did you honestly think you weren’t going to get changed at some time or another.”

Rachel felt the new energy slowly draining away from her. “What?” Her voice was a whisper. Now some of it made sense. “I have a power.” She swallowed. “That’s what this is about, isn’t it?”

“Yes, you have a power.” Ben was struggling to keep his voice even and light. “And you just made a mistake that trumps all-”

“Shut up!”

“Excuse me? Don’t you dare take that tone with me, young lady. If I didn’t care a fraction of a billionth for you, I wouldn’t be here right now-”

“Just shut up and go away!”

“I can’t.” Ben said simply.

Rachel squeezed her eyes shut, images now replaying in her head. The sudden shock, the scream and the limp body falling to the floor. “I didn’t kill her. I didn’t.”

“That’s funny, because she sure looked dead to me.” Ben snapped. “That’s it, you’re getting out of here.

“What?”

“I mean, it you’re going out.” Ben moved towards the door and began to undo the locks.

“Hey! What are you doing?”

“We. Not I.” Ben opened the door, slowly, without so much as a sound. “Hurry up.”

“What? No, Ben! I can’t leave! I just told Pete that I’d stay here.”

“Did you promise?”

Rachel stared at him, her brain struggling to understand exactly what he was suggesting. “I said I was going to!”

Ben nodded slowly. “So you swore on your honor that you would stay?”

“I-I…you’re mixing me up!”

“I’m not doing anything of the sort. If you didn’t swear it, you are now hearby released of your duties on my account. Out.” Ben held the door open, pointing to the hall.

“I’m not going out there!”

One bushy eyebrow slid upwards ever so slightly. “Would you like me to yell at you here?”

“I’m not going out there.” Rachel repeated, gritting her teeth. “And if you-”

“Then have a seat.” Ben shut the door, gesturing towards the armchair near the window.

“Because we need to have a little chat.”

Rachel cautiously eased backwards into the chair, smoothing her jeans over her knees with her hands. Her hands were cold. She swallowed. “About what?”

“Your attitude is an excellent starting point.”

“Quit it, Ben! I don’t have the-”

“I don’t care what you have or don’t at this particular moment.” Ben interrupted. “You’re completely failing to grasp the gravity of the situation.”

“which is?” Rachel challenged. “Which is really what? I’d sure like to know!”

“You love to know what you don’t really need to.” Ben countered. “I’ve had enough of dealing with all the invisible backlash that you don’t care to think about.”

“How can I care to think about something that’s invisible!” Rachel popped up from her chair. “Would it kill you to quit jabbering in riddles for once in your life? Why can’t you ever just talk to me?”

“I’m trying.” Ben took a deep breath. “believe me darling, I’m really trying. However, you don’t seem to be doing much on your end, at least as far as trying is concerned.”

“And what’s that supposed to mean?”

“That’s supposed to be a cue for you to shut up and me to keep talking. Rachel, I understand that there is a great deal going on right now that may be too much for you to take in all at once. I’m sorry. But, there’s not much anyone can do about it and you don’t really have a choice.”

“Hold it right there!” Rachel held up a hand. “It’s my life and I don’t have a choice?”

“Not when you trade your life in order to live!”

“What?”

Dark eyes drilled straight into her. “You heard what I said. Would you like me to repeat it?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It’s supposed to mean that when I come in here and I ask you to go somewhere…you go. No questions asked. It also means that when you have a job to do, you get it done, without someone having to come along and twist your arm or your heart, with the option of breaking either.”

“A-are you trying to tell me something?” Rachel licked her lips. “Because if you are, why can’t you just-”

“I’m suggesting that you might want to go for a walk after all.” Ben deliberately turned back to the door and held it open. “Coming?”

Her feet seemed to meld to the floor as Rachel gazed out the open doorway and into the hall. Her emotions were torn in different directions already and now here was Ben ripping her loyalty apart as well.

“Rachel….”

“Let me get my duffel.” Rachel moved forward, pausing long enough to retrieve the duffel she’d dumped near the door. “Where are we going?”

“Somewhere to finish this conversation.” Ben waited for her to duck under his arm, stepping out in the hallway to lock the door behind him. “Whether you realize it or not, you nearly killed yourself.”

“So you keep saying.” Rachel hoisted the bag over one shoulder.

“Can you manage that?”

“It’s not my backpack.” She shot back. “What are you talking about?”

“your powers.” He said simply. “Or have you not noticed that you can do more than read minds?”

Rachel stopped short, stumbling forward when he collided into her. “I can what?” The precious overdrive reserve for her mind had just maxed out and then some common sense clicked in. “Wait a minute, if I can read minds, why can’t I read yours?” She whirled at once to face him and then her brow furrowed as she attempted to concentrate.

He rolled his eyes.

“What?”

“That’s so typical.” He snorted.

“What?” Rachel demanded. “Stop laughing.”

“I’m not laughing…and if I am, then I genuinely can’t help it. You can’t get a read on me, because I’m blocking you.”

“You can do that?”

“Of course I can.” One hand slipped over her shoulder and tugged the duffel off. “Now let’s play a guessing game.” His voice was dangerously calm. “What other power do you suppose you have?”

“I have more than one?” Rachel swallowed, allowing him to take the duffel from her. “How many do I have?”

“How many do you think you have?” He countered.

Rachel hesitated. There was a certain cold, calculating way in how he asked that question. She wasn’t sure she wanted to answer, but it didn’t appear that he’d let her off so easily.

“Well?” He guided her through the lobby and out the front doors. “Are you still thinking?”

“Yeah.”

“Then stop.” His grip tightened on her elbow. “You over think too many things.”

“Oh yeah? For real?”

“Stop.” He directed, halting at the walkway and waving the car past. “Yeah, for real, kid. Get in.” He let go of her arm long enough to open the door and then dump the duffel on her lap when she was safely seated inside.

He tipped the valet before climbing into the driver’s seat and pulling out onto the busy street. “Have you done any work at all since your arrival?”

“No.”

“No?” He repeated. “That’s all you have to say? No?”

“What do you want me to say?”

There was a moment of silence, before Ben suddenly sharply turned the corner. “Get out.” He said, pulling the car to the side of the road, near a stop.

Rachel pretended to fiddle with the fabric handles on the duffel bag. Ben reached over and yanked it from her lap, tossing it to the backseat.

“Out. Now.” He slid out from the driver’s seat, keys in his pocket, walking around to her door.

Rachel scrambled out of the car, trying not to twist and wring her hands together. She did a double take when she saw where he’d brought her.

Copyright 2009 Sara Harricharan

3 comments:

Catrina Bradley... said...

Ok, now we're getting somewhere. I loved Ben's line about following the plot twists. ;) "Enjoy" your "break". O_o
Love
Cat

Hoomi said...

Wow... I have a lot of catching up to do on this story! You've gotten a lot of writing done here!

Dee Yoder said...

Full of electricity she is, eh? Lots going on, Sara! The plot thickens. Maybe you'll get the chance to do more writing over your summer break--won't be long now!