|Like A River Through This House
Author: rahleeyah PM
When one of Sharon's children goes missing, she and Flynn must face their demons in order to save her before it's too late. *Story is on hiatus. Will come back, you know, eventually.Rated: Fiction M - English - S. Raydor & A. Flynn - Chapters: 6 - Words: 10,661 - Reviews: 39 - Favs: 11 - Follows: 27 - Updated: 11-01-11 - Published: 09-17-11 - id: 7390751
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
If regrets were like raindrops
There'd be a river running through this house
-James Wesley, "Didn't I"
Sunday, 7:30 pm
Sharon looked at the box, smiling softly as she uncovered its contents, half-drunk glass of wine forgotten for the moment. She could always count on this gift, same day, every year. He never sent it through the mail, but somehow managed to leave it on her doorstep while she wasn't home. She'd left the house for no more than an hour today, and yet when she came back from her flying trip to the grocery store, it had been sitting there. Plain white box, little red bow.
It was always the same thing, and coming from anyone else, any other former-lover, she would have thought it vindictive. She knew better, though. She knew why he sent it.
Inside the box, sitting neatly on folded white tissue paper, was a pair of panties and a bra, matching pale pink silk and lace. He sent her underwear (expensive underwear) not to imply anything, but because he knew she loved having nice underthings. More than she loved a new pair of stilettos. If she told him the gift made her uncomfortable, he'd probably send her shoes, and they'd probably cost just as much as the slips of fabric in this box.
She knew he'd be no different the next time he saw her. He would offer her no smiles, would not be nice. But he'd know she would be wearing his gift, because she always seemed to see him the day after her birthday, and she always wore them the next day.
And this year would be no different. She knew she'd see him tomorrow. She'd been seeing a lot of him lately. And he'd been angrier with her lately; so much so that she was beginning to wonder if she could expect this gift at all. But in the eleven years she'd known him, he'd never missed her birthday. And his gift was always the same, because this was what he'd gotten her that first year, that first birthday after she met him, when they were still together. Or at least as together as they ever were.
She reached over for her glass of wine, wondering absently what time it was as she ran her fingers over her present.
She really did like these.
She wondered if this would be the year she thanked him for his gift. If this would be the year she smiled at him, that smile she knew drove him crazy. If this would be the year he would follow her, instead of letting her walk away again.
Too much wine, Sharon, she thought, shaking her head.
That would not be this year.
That would never be them.
There were certain things they would never say to each other. Certain apologies they would never make. He would keep sending her panties on her birthday and she would keep giving him the cold shoulder and he would keep calling her the Wicked Witch because they'd broken each other and they were both much to proud to ever admit they were wrong once.
But once a year, Andy Flynn told Sharon Raydor in his own way that he cared about her, and that he hoped she was still ok, no matter what he told her to her face.
She drained her glass and rose on unsteady feet. It was still a bit early to be drinking, and the kids would be home any second, but fuck it today was her birthday and if she wanted to get drunk before the sun went down then she would and no one could tell her she was wrong.
People didn't really tell her that ever, anyway. The mighty Sharon Raydor wasn't wrong.
Except that she was, and on this day in particular thoughts of all the things she'd done wrong floated through her head alongside a picture show of the people she'd lost and the mistakes she'd made and all the little moments she wished had gone differently.
Andy Flynn featured prominently in this little slideshow, and that thought disturbed Sharon more than she really wanted to admit.
She put the box on her dresser, not bothering to stash its contents in the drawer, card tucked away inside, unread. She never did read the card. It could be blank every year for all she knew. She didn't read the card, and she didn't worry about someone seeing her present and asking questions. The kids wouldn't come in here anyway. What was the point of putting them away when she was just going to pull them out again in the morning? And they really were pretty. A little bow between the cups of the bra. One on each side of the panties. She wondered how he always knew what she wanted. Wondered if he imagined what she'd look like in his gift.
She knew he did, knew he put thought into it. Andy was actually a pretty thoughtful guy, regardless of what he wanted people to think. Hotheaded; yes. Temperamental; sometimes. But thoughtful, too.
She heard the sound of a car pulling into her drive, and cursed herself for spending so much time thinking about Andy Flynn. She wrapped her robe more tightly over her thin frame, and headed for the door.
Sharon always met her kids at the door, whenever they came home. She hadn't been able to be the milk-and-cookies-after school kind of mother, but she tried to make up for it where she could.
By the time she got to the door, the car outside was speeding away, and a little alarm bell started to go off in the back of her mind. It was too early yet for her to be afraid, but the fear was there, lying dormant where it had been since the day her first child was born.
She opened the door right as her sons came up the walk in front of her sprawling house, and the fear in her heart doubled in size. Her daughter was nowhere in sight.
The three of them had gone to a friend's house for the weekend; the Sharpe's had three kids, each corresponding in age almost exactly to Sharon's. They had more money than God and a huge house, and every once in awhile would host all three of Sharon's kids. She returned the favor occasionally, though not nearly as often. Sharon had a job. Marybeth Sharpe did not.
Lee and Sam, fifteen and thirteen years old, respectively, approached their mother with apprehension. They knew they had made a mistake. They knew they were in for the ass-chewing of their lives. They faced the firing squad like men.
"Boys," Sharon said in her deadly calm voice, "Where's your sister?"
Lee shrugged and stared at his shoes. Sam chewed on his lip and stared anxiously at his brother.
Sharon's daughter Emma, a high school senior newly turned eighteen, had driven the boys to the Sharpe's house on Saturday morning. Sharon had given her a car for her birthday, a nice, sensible used car even though her parents had reminded her (none too kindly) that she could afford a new one. Sharon knew she could afford it; she was simply loath to spoil any of her children. Emma had not driven the boys home.
The boys weren't giving their big sister up; not yet, anyway.
"Samuel," Sharon said quietly, and her youngest son broke. That was all it ever took to get the truth out of the boy. His name, said in a sharp tone of voice, and he would tell her everything she needed to know. After a years of interviewing her children, criminals were a piece of cake.
"Emma didn't go with us," he said quickly, and his brother socked him in the arm. "Ow!" he exclaimed. Lee just glared at him.
"What do you mean, she didn't go with you?"
"She dropped us off and then she went to Ashley's."
Sharon sighed. She really thought that Emma was past the anti-authority stage in her life, but evidently not.
"All right, in the house, you two. And straight to your rooms!"
The boys grumbled about their stupid sister getting them in trouble, but they did as they were told. They knew better than to cross their mother.
The fear that had begun to fester upon seeing the boys without their sister was beginning to turn into full-fledged panic. Sharon willed herself to remain calm and went back inside, already planning the diatribe she was going to unleash at her daughter the next time she saw her.
Sunday, 11:30 pm
Sharon was crying. She hated herself for it, but she was crying. She was terrified, and she was alone.
Emma hadn't come home. Emma's cell phone had gone to voicemail. A very contrite-sounding Ashley admitted that Emma had never actually gone over to her house that weekend, but that Ashley had agreed to cover for her. None of Emma's other friends knew where she was. The conversations always went the same way. Sorry , but I haven't seen Emma since Friday.
Sharon wasn't proud of what she did next. She just didn't know where else to turn. She picked up the phone and dialed the one number she hadn't called yet.
"Andy?" she said, grateful to hear his voice, hoping he couldn't hear the tears she was fighting back. "I'm so sorry, I know it's late, I just didn't know who else to call."