AN: I know you've been waiting awhile for an update and I'm sorry! I hope you're still interested lol. Anywho, I hope you all like the chapter. Tell me what you think! :D
The next few days went by in the same mundane fashion for the most part. Rainey stayed in his loft, writing, only having contact with Eden to tell her what next to clean or repair. Eden complied and kept the harsh comments to herself- ticking off a killer was the last thing she wanted to do. Come to think of it, she mused, he really doesn't act as crazy as Wiley let on. Rainey was irritating and neglectful and rude and a total ass but he didn't seem crazy. Aside from the day they met (after he found his house vandalized), he really didn't show any signs of being a psychopath. No sudden rages, no death glares (although she did catch him staring a few times mighty creepily), no split personalities, no attempts to kill her. He seemed relatively normal, if cranky anti-social writers were normal, that is. But that didn't have Eden convinced though. Like the guys had said, if he looked and acted crazy, he'd have been locked up ages ago. There were plenty of normal looking serial killers out there- she watched those forensics shows before. It was best if she just played it safe for a month and then she was out of there!
The Monday after she had started, Eden found herself outside washing his car. She had just finished scrubbing the dirt and dead insects from the windows and crevices when Rainey came out onto the porch. She paused to watch him sit down on a step; he looked back at her. She turned and tossed the rag into the bucket and made for the side of the house. She needed clean water to rinse the jeep off.
"What are you doing?" Rainey asked.
"Getting water," she said evenly.
"Why don't you pull it around?" he suggested.
"What?" She stopped.
"Can you drive?"
She paused before answering. "I have my permit…"
He tossed her his keys which she barely caught yet at the same time spilled some of the soapy water on her legs. She shut her eyes momentarily to suppress an outburst. Mort the Murderer, she thought to herself, don't do anything stupid.
"Pull it around," Rainey told her.
She stared at him. "You want me to drive your car?"
"I thought I made that clear," he said. "If you want I can rephrase it."
"Are you incapable?" she asked, annoyed.
"Didn't your mother say to listen to me? I'm sure I heard her say that... I could just call her and check." He made to get up and she sighed.
"Don't bother…" she mumbled.
She set the bucket down and headed over to his jeep. Was he setting her up? Was the thing rigged to explode when she started it?
"The one with the green cover opens the door and the silver one starts it," he called.
Why couldn't he do it himself? She unlocked and opened the door. No bomb yet… She climbed into the jeep and sat down, feeling unsure. He was still watching her as she shut the door and put on her seatbelt- playing it safe never hurt. Eden took a breath as she turned the key in the ignition, it started easily and she sat there. She could just leave now… This whole situation was weird and his staring was creeping her out! Surely taking a car could be excused if she could prove he had ill intentions; he was a killer after all! Oh that's right, he was still innocent but hell, everyone knows he did it! The police would be grateful for another chance to nab him! All she had to do was cry "Molester!" and he'd be in handcuffs in a heartbeat. Right?
"Any day now," he called. "Before your funeral, would be nice."
She froze. Was that a threat? Or was he just toying with her? He knows of his reputation, was he using it to scare her? Shaking her head, she put it in drive and carefully edged around the house, his eyes watching as she did so. She parked it as close to the hose as she could without running over any corn stalks. She got out after turning off the engine and shut the door behind her before trudging over to the hose. Having experience with the damned on/off knob, she used both hands to try and force it to turn.
She gritted her teeth. "No."
Rainey, slightly amused, watched her struggle with the knob before growling and giving up. She stepped aside for him and went to pick up the hose with her now red hands.
"Fine..." she muttered.
He turned the knob almost easily and smirked at Eden who only turned away. "Are you sure it's on?" she growled. Only a trickle of water came out.
"Maybe it's clogged," he suggested, hand still on the knob.
"No," she snapped. "It was fine an hour ago."
She looked down the nozzle, trying to make out any dirt or rocks. Hearing a squeak of the knob twisting, she made to turn around to face him but immediately stopped as water rushed out the end of the hose. She shrieked and tried to dodge the stream but was too late. She was soaked from the waist up and despite the relief the cold water gave her in the 90 degree weather, she couldn't help but glare at him. It was so painfully obvious that he had done it on purpose.
He smiled. "You were right, it wasn't clogged."
With every ounce of self control she possessed, she held her tongue and turned the hose on his jeep, rinsing off the suds. He's lucky he's a psychopath, Eden thought bitterly, or else he'd be drenched too. She heard him snicker softly and she shot him a sneer over her shoulder. With an uneasy thought, she noticed her T-shirt now clung to her and the outline of her bra was visible. Thank God I'm not wearing white! Blushing slightly, she told him to shut off the hose.
"What now?" she asked.
He furrowed his brow. "It'd be better to leave you out in the sun to dry off but you finished the yard work. You might as well come in and I'll find something for you to do."
"And the car?" she asked fishing the keys out of her pocket.
"Just leave it," he shrugged and took the keys.
Rainey led her inside and she stood there awkwardly looking the cabin. "Stay here," he said heading up the stairs. Eden frowned noticing a small puddle was forming at her feet. I'll have to mop it up no doubt, she thought. It was his fault she was soaked in the first place! She carefully pulled at the front of her shirt so it didn't stick to her and scowled. He was probably a perv! God help her if her mother didn't believe that once she dug up some proof- oh that's right, so long as he didn't get tried and arrested for any accusations, he was guilt free!
Eden's scowl deepened. Her mother didn't even believe he was a killer. "If the police didn't arrest him then he shouldn't be prosecuted", her mother had said, "It's 'innocent until proven guilty', isn't it? Not the other way around." Seventeen years of being married to a cop and she didn't even see the reality of law enforcement. Not everyone gets what they deserve- some just get away.
"Hey," Rainey called from the loft.
She looked up in time to see him throw a towel at her. It unraveled and landed on her head. Eden wrenched it off and reluctantly began to blot herself off, starting with her hair then her clothes.
"Do you want to borrow a shirt?"
He was still there? She caught herself before she answered. Of course she didn't want to wear any of his things, she barely accepted the towel. But… she didn't like the idea of walking around a strange man's house in a wet top.
"Okay," she deadpanned.
He had anticipated her answer and had a red plaid button up in his hands. This time she caught it and pulled it on over her damp shirt- the more layers the better. "What should I do now, Mr. Rainey?"
He scratched his head. "Just straighten the place up a bit. Ask if you don't know where to put something."
She nodded and started towards the dining room seeing as the living room and kitchen were, for the most part, in order if not a little cluttered. There were a number of papers and letters strewn across the table. Curiosity struck her as she shifted various letters around. She doubted he'd leave incriminating evidence lying around but it looked like the pile of paperwork had been growing for months. Maybe if she was lucky…?
Swallowing hard, she peeked out to see him sitting in the loft, typing at his laptop. She sat down at the table, sorting through the papers closest to her. Bills, bills, pages 34, 78, 5 and 112 through 153 of a manuscript(not necessarily the same one), fan mail, dental card, bills … envelope from lawyer? Eden glanced over her shoulder, expecting him to be there. She opened the manila envelope and pulled out a few papers that had been ripped in two. At the bottom she saw one signature, Amelia Rainey, and a space for one more which had been left blank. Its divorce papers, she realized.
"What are you doing?"
Eden jumped and spun around to find Rainey standing behind her. She hastily put the papers back on the table. "I was just trying to organize all this."
Rainey sighed and walked around her to pick up the divorce papers she tried to hide. She looked at her feet trying to avoid his gaze. They were silent for a moment and Eden shivered in the warm air. Rainey broke the silence finally.
"A man is reluctant to leave the woman he once loved so she runs off with some other guy to avoid him and suddenly he's a killer," he sighed.
Eden didn't say anything but looked up to see that he was looking at her sadly.
"I didn't kill Amy or anyone else for that matter. The whole town doesn't believe me," he said sourly. "I don't expect you to be any different."
He tossed the papers back on the table and walked into the kitchen. She heard a few glasses clink softly and the refrigerator open. "You can leave for today," he called.
Eden bit her lip nervously. He came out of the kitchen with a can of Mountain Dew and raised his eyebrows. "Is something wrong?"
"My," she took a breath, "My mom said that I should stay till six to help you… but I-I don't want to be in your way! I can just go and tell her you wanted to be alone."
He cleared his throat. "Yeah, if you get in trouble, I'll straighten it out. There's really no reason for you to stay."
She nodded. "Okay."
"Do you need a ride into town?"
Eden hesitated. "Uh, no it's okay. I don't want to inconvenience you."
"It's no problem," he said setting his now empty soda can on the table, "Besides, you're technically my responsibility for the time being. I don't need you getting into trouble on my watch."
"I'm not a child," she muttered which she realized sounded very childish.
"Oh, of course not," Rainey mocked, walking into the living room. "You're a responsible young lady, is that right?
Eden didn't answer.
"I suppose that's why you vandalized my house, yes?" he asked, grabbed his keys. "Hm?"
She remained silent, staring at her feet. Rainey watched her as he opened the door. He noticed that she seemed more embarrassed that outright guilty- another hint that his suspicions of her not being the culprit were right.
"Alright, come on," he said, motioning for her to leave.
Eden did so silently, still avoiding his gaze. They went around to the side of the house where the jeep was still parked. "Sorry if I get your seat wet," Eden muttered awkwardly, getting into the passenger side.
"What?" he asked quickly, as if he hadn't heard her correctly.
She looked at him oddly. "My clothes are still kind of damp."
"Oh… Yeah. It's okay, it'll dry," Rainey nodded dismissively, starting the engine.
The ride into town seemed longer than she remembered. "So…" Eden attempted to break the silence weighing on her, "What're you writing about?"
He seemed surprised she spoke. "It's a sequel to one of my novels, Secret Window. You read it?"
"Um, no, sorry."
He paused. "Have you even heard of it?"
"Yeah," she lied. "I'm just more into… romance novels."
Rainey looked at her curiously behind his thin framed glasses. After seeing her blush and avoid his gaze, he turned his attention back to driving. Eden didn't say anything after that. Okay, so I suck at conversations. Why should I make small talk with him anyway? She suddenly felt as if he could read her mind and glanced worriedly at him but Rainey was focused on driving.
After a few minutes more, they reached the main road. Just as they neared the ice-cream parlor, Eden spoke up, "You can drop me off here."
His jeep slowed then stopped just before the shop- she didn't exactly want to be seen with a known killer in public. He watched her get out. "Thanks," she said quickly and made to leave.
"Sure and say hello to Mrs. Peterson for me."
She turned and raised an eyebrow. "You mean Peters?"
"Oh, right. Yeah," he said flippantly.
Had he honestly forgotten her surname? It didn't surprise her if he had forgotten her first name as well. He never called her Eden, or anything really.
Eden pursed her lips and quickly left Rainey sitting in his jeep. As she walked up to the ice-cream shop, she could see Wiley's spiked hair in the window. The bell jingled as she entered and she made for her brother's window table. Just as she sat down, she saw the jeep pull away.
"Shouldn't you be at the cabin? You finally run off on him?" Wiley asked, a half eaten sundae in front of him.
Eden shook her head. "Got off early. Er, where's John?" she asked, seeing that the third from the trio was missing.
"Summer school, remember?"
Now, she remembered.
Bill snorted. "What's up with the shirt? Getting ready to go to a hoedown?"
Eden realized she was still wearing Rainey's shirt. Damn it, she thought, why'd he let me walk off with it? "Ha ha," she deadpanned, "Very funny."
"No, really," her brother pressed. "I thought you hated plaid."
She blinked. "I don't hate it."
"Yeah, you do," Wiley continued. "You nearly threw up last Christmas when mom got you that one sweater."
"You're exaggerating," Eden glared.
"Yeah but it's hilarious to picture," grinned Wiley.
Eden turned as a waitress came up to the table. "How are you all doing?" she asked, "Can I get you anything? What about you, miss?"
"'Nother sundae for me," Bill said, handing her an empty bowl.
"Oh, er, a root beer float, please," Eden said.
"I'm fine," Wiley nodded and the waitress walked off.
Eden stared out the window for a bit until she felt eyes on her. Turning her head, she saw both Wiley and Bill staring at her. She frowned, "What?"
"Well?" asked Wiley.
"Well what?" snapped Eden, getting annoyed already.
"Well, what's with the shirt?" Bill asked.
Eden glared. "Nothing."
"Why are you being so defensive?" Wiley laughed.
"Sure sounds defensive to me," Bill said and the boys both snickered.
Eden rolled her eyes, "Whatever."
The waitress came back with their orders and Eden gladly accepted the distraction. "We're not giving up, you know," Bill smirked over his ice-cream, "Not until you tell us what's up."
"Nothing. Is. Up."
Wiley sat back and eyed her. "Well," he started, "It's clearly not yours."
She glared at him as he continued. "Not only is it too big on you and its pattern is capable of making you blow chunks, but I don't remember ever seeing you wear it before. And it isn't new looking so you couldn't have just bought it."
"Ooooh! Does Eden have a boyfriend?" teased Bill. "John's gonna be heartbroken!"
"I don't have a boyfriend," growled Eden, stabbing a hunk of vanilla with her spoon.
"You guys are making a big deal over nothing," Eden said.
"If its nothing then tell us," Wiley grinned.
Eden sighed, realizing that they wouldn't let it go. "I had to borrow a shirt, that's it."
"From who?" they asked in unison.
"From Rainey, okay?"
"What?" Wiley yelped, staring at her with wide eyes.
"You're wearing his clothes?" asked Bill, looking at her weirdly.
"Why'd you need to borrow a shirt?" Wiley asked, the humor gone from his voice.
"B-because my t-shirt was wet so-"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold on," Bill gaped, "You were all wet? Do we even want to know why?"
Eden glared. "I was washing his car and the hose got me! It was an accident!" Well, that's debatable, she thought sourly to herself.
"Did he make you sit on the hood in a bikini while you washed it?" joked Bill, who doubled over in laughter.
Wiley hit Bill in the shoulder. "Hey, shut up!" he said then turned to Eden. "I'm going to ask you something and I want an honest answer, okay?" he began seriously. "Are you boning him?"
"What!" Eden shrieked, her voice at the same pitch as squealing tires.
"Yes or no, Eden."
"What the hell is wrong with you?" Eden growled.
"Oh my God," Wiley moaned, "You are, aren't you?"
"You're- what?- nineteen and he's like fifty!" Bill exclaimed.
"I- he's not fifty," she hissed.
"So delusional." Bill shook his head.
"Tell me you're not serious, Eden," Wiley demanded.
Eden looked between both boys with her mouth agape, utterly speechless.
"I didn't know your taste in guys was that fucked up," said Bill. "There's a difference between bad boys and serial killers, Eds."
"Eden," Wiley started, shaking his head. "You don't wanna go messing around with this guy. This dude is bat-shit crazy!"
She slammed her fist on the table. "I AM NOT," she shouted then lowered her voice to a whisper and leaned forward. "I am not boning him- or anyone!"
"You swear?" Wiley asked, looking at her hard.
"Yes! Geez, you're both sick in the head!"
"Well," Bill sighed, "You just got a lot less interesting."
Eden scoffed and stood up, stalking towards the door.
"Where you going?" Wiley asked.
"Away from you jerks!"
"Hey, you forgot to pay for your-"
Eden was already out the door before Bill could finish his sentence. She continued down the sidewalk with a scowl on her face, thinking of her idiot brother and his idiot friend. Talk about jumping to conclusions! They're such freaks, she thought. Seriously. Her and Rainey? She could barely stand being in the same room with him!
After a few minutes more of walking, she calmed down a bit. She crossed her arms and was quickly reminded of whose shirt she was wearing. What was that smell exactly? Some sort of cologne, not that Axe spray all the guys were wearing. She couldn't quite place it but it smelled good. The thought disturbed her- she was actually pondering over what Rainey smelled like. She glared at the shirt as if it were its fault. Unfolding her arms with a groan, she checked her t-shirt to see that it was still damp but wearable. She pulled the button down over her head and folded it over her arm as she walked home. Surely, holding Mort Rainey's shirt was better than wearing it. However, she noticed with a frown that its scent lingered on her still.