FINALLY. I am FINALLY updating this and I REALLY hope I haven't lost my loyal readers. This chapter probably isn't all that I would have hoped it to be but it is so mean of me to keep you all waiting months to read more. So, here I am ...and I hope I can finish Rileyisms soon - and I hope you all still love it. PLEASE REVIEW??
Nerves. I felt sick to my stomach. My first "important" publishing meeting had turned out to be a total brain meltdown for me. NOT because I wasn't prepared. My manuscript was all written out to the best of my ability. I did my research and had confidence the material I wrote about made sense and was true. I had a passion for history, conspiracies and other Riley inspired muses that no one could deny.
But, I couldn't do it.
Regnery Publishing loved it. They thought it was brilliant. They thought I had class and that a book like mine should sell just fine. They offered me a good cut on the deal – and even opportunities to travel and promote it… I would go to NYC. A place I had ALWAYS wanted to travel to – but never really had the time or means whereby to do it.
So what was my DEAL?
As I left my meeting I sent Riley a text that simply stated: No go. I need you. Meet me at Le Bon Cafe asap?
It was slightly cryptic but most things were between Riley and I. After the weekend I had just been through with him though, I knew that he was my ONLY comfort.
I sat drinking my lemonade, taking in the sights of busy downtown D.C. I honestly couldn't imagine where all these people were going as they maneuvered the sidewalks in a hasty fashion. I wondered if I was the only one who stopped and noticed the beautiful spring flowers blooming around me. They sure smelled good.
I sipped more lemonade and twirled my pen nervously in my fingers. Where ARE you Riley? I thought to myself. I was growing impatient, and I wasn't normally the type to behave that way.
I was ecstatic when I finally saw him coming into view.
Riley hustled over to my side, "Hey. I got here as quick as I could." He stooped down and kissed my cheek before taking a seat across from me.
"You hungry?" He looked around and then back into my eyes, "Kate…"
I bit my lip and began playing with my straw, "I couldn't do it. Riley, it's your world… not mine. These ideas I have written are all based on what I have learned from being with you this past year…" I stopped short, feeling my eyes sting with tears. "It's the sequel to the book YOU should write. It's yours."
"Katie…now we talked about this— I told you-- " Riley began to protest but I cut him off.
"I know how it sounds to you. It's ridiculous - I shouldn't feel this way. It was a DREAM of mine to get published – especially about something that I TRULY do love and care about. But, I never thought I would feel this way… guilty about taking some of your glory away. Riley. I simply MUST feel right about this before I accept any offer that Regnery gives me." I bit my bottom lip and blinked away a single tear that slid down my cheek, "Riles…" I grabbed his hand across the table, "You're a part of every thought that is in that book."
I watched as he straightened himself in his chair, licking his lips, clearly uncomfortable trying to find the words to say which would make everything better. I wondered what he would come up with. How on earth could he possibly make my feelings of inadequacy go away?
"Kate…" He began, his grip on my hand tightening, "I need to tell you something."
Riley had opted for contacts today, and somehow the intensity his blue eyes held made my heart beat a little faster though I had no idea what was to come next.
Riley took his free hand and ran it down my cheek, "You… are so much a part of me now. Kate, I think… Look, I have faith in you to write something amazing. I believe in you. I know you want this."
I opened my mouth to respond, but I felt my throat tighten with emotion. Riley was far better to me than I could even imagine. There were so many things I wanted to say to him. I wanted to take him in my arms and confess my love and adoration… but, I couldn't. It STILL wasn't the time.
I blinked slowly. I think the look on my face told Riley everything.
He winked and said, "Would you like some bacon or ham perhaps?"
The corners of my mouth curved into a smile, as a small giggle escaped, that was just so like him. As much as I wanted to stay upset, it seemed impossible. Just being in his presence seemed to make almost everything better.
-- A Few Days Later --
I watched as rain pelted against the window, the sun was completely hidden behind dark clouds. Hah. So much for accomplishing anything today. It didn't seem to matter though. I was content lying on the floor on my stomach. My laptop, books and pictures scattered all around.
Riley approached me from behind, I could tell it was him by the way his footsteps fell on the tile. Was I really THAT crazy that I had actually MEMORIZED how he walked? Wow, I must have it bad.
"Mm, hey beautiful." Riley's voice was husky, and sort of… umm, well, sexy? Oh, crap. I couldn't help but laugh silently about that one.
"What's so funny?" He asked, flopping onto the floor next to me. He lied down on his back, staring up into my eyes.
I shook my head and smiled, "Nothin' – hey, did you get new glasses?"
I watched as he took his glasses off and placed them on the heap of papers next to us. He then proceeded to rub his tired, glazed over looking eyes. "No. Those are a backup pair."
"Been on the computer a lot?"
"Oh yeah. Ben's got me workin' on some new, how shall I say this, projects?"
"Haaaah. Another treasure hunt, I presume?" I questioned, playfully poking his stomach.
"Maaaayyybeeee." The way carried out the vowels made me laugh again.
Thunder rolled outside and rain seemed to beat against the windows without respite.
I couldn't take my eyes off of him – I thought silently about how much I would love to never leave this floor where we could be so close. I wanted to be near him forever. With these thoughts and my heart pounding, I leaned down and brushed my lips against his. He tenderly kissed me back, running a hand through my hair.
"Mm, Riley… how… I love… you." I stuttered between kisses. The words were spoken before I had a real chance to think about it. In an instant the secret I had been trying to keep… the feelings I had felt about my BEST friend… were brought to the surface. The two of us were silent, I sat up and looked down at him – he still lay flat on his back – his hand resting on his stomach.
What I felt was so intense. I felt my eyes starting to burn, my throat squeezed shut... Riley blinked slowly two or three times and then sat up on his knees facing me.
To my surprise, he smiled – WIDE - and began to laugh. HE WAS LAUGHING AT ME!! And it wasn't a laugh of disgust or disbelief – it was joyful, ecstatic laughter.
"Ahahaha… Oh Kate. You should see your face." He wrapped his arms tightly around my waist and pulled me close.
I squeaked out a small giggle, "But…" I thought about it, I probably looked like an emotional wreck. I felt my cheeks burn and I knew I was blushing.
"Katie," He cupped my face in his hands, "I love you too," He kissed me softly, "I think I always have."
Complete contentment and joy was all we felt the rest of that night. We cuddled on the floor, the rain pouring outside, and our laptops side by side – the secret I had held onto for so long was finally out. Finally, I could breathe.