DISCLAIMER: FX owns these characters and concepts even though they abandoned it early in its prime.
NOTE: I love The Riches and definitely think the abrupt ending was not only uncalled for but also disappointing to the avid followers of this show. Anyone looking for a good little show; this is it. I'll be picking up a little after the final episode (Season 2, Episode 7) and delving into the topic of incest. In the setting of the show I don't think it's to unrealistic that this would arise and felt it was there in the undertones of the acting. Don't read it if you don't want to.
"Di Di…come on!" muttered Sam through his small teeth, tugging on his sister's alarmingly short skirt. Her father's nose and forehead were bleeding profusely on the green felt of pool table and the large biker didn't seem anywhere near his finale.
Sam shoved a large wad of money in the back of his jeans and made a run for the door to start the car. As he pushed open the door to the crowded bar, he looked back at his sister before bolting for the parking lot.
Delilah Malloy stood frozen, beer bottle dangling dangerously from her fingertips, staring at the scene in front of her. The plan had been to make a clean sweep of the crowded, small-town bar while Wayne kicked some buffer asses at the pool tables. The night hadn't worked out quite as they had planned. The three of them just couldn't pull off the scams they used to with Cael during Dahlia's time behind bars and they were nowhere near as strong as a unit of five.
Di Di suddenly felt the eyes of no less than six men at the bar on her and observing the emotions she was evoking watching the middle aged Irishman being bludgeoned. She quickly tried to cover herself and flash them a gleaming smile but it was too late. They had caught on.
"Well, well, well…looks like our traveller scum has a little slut sidekick," a tall blonde in flannel laughed over the roar of the crowd.
"Well I can see why he'd keep her around," another grunted, closing the space between him and Di Di. Others whistled and hollered as a small gang formed a semi-circle around the slim brunette, backing her up into a corner near the door.
Self-consciously Di Di wrapped her milky arms around her stomach, only forcing the neckline of her top to droop lower. This caused another round of shouts and calls from the group of men ranging from near her age to that of her father.
"I…I don't know that man…I swear boys…how about another round, bartender?" she called weakly only to see the young woman's back turned to her. The two shared a lingering look of fear for a moment before she disappeared into the kitchen.
"How about you pay for your friend's mistakes one-on-one with me in my truck?" the blonde spoke lowly to Di Di, rough skin fingering the cross at her neck. Suddenly expertly close to the girl he tucked a chestnut ringlet behind her ear and whispered something in her ear. Her breath hitched and she pulled all her strength to slam the heel of her boot onto the man's foot and distanced herself from him as he let out a loud cry of pain.
Just as she watched the rage flash in his bright eyes and another man reach to his side, she felt strong hands grasp the bare skin above her leather skirt.
"Get your hands off me! What do you—oh," she exclaimed as she was whipped around to face her attacker. Before she could say anything more she felt warm lips enclose over her small mouth, the arms pulling her close before moving to cup her chin.
"Now, now Miss Delilah, seems like someone is in need of a little assistance," came a hasty hushed response enveloped in a think Irish brogue.
Di Di stood there, stunned, mouth hanging open as her savior pulled away, leaving a protective hand on her lower back as he turned to the group of men, his voice suddenly languid and rough.
"Joey…Joey Pontiff? Is that you?" he asked the one who had gotten too close for comfort with Di Di only moments before he had appeared out of nowhere.
"Yea? Who's askin'?" came the alpha-male automatic response.
"God damnit I haven't seen you in years! God, you home from State? Football scholarship, right?" he continued, taking a step forward in his heavy black boots. Running a hand through corn husk hair, the act continued.
"Shit…you have no idea who I am, do you? Lou…Lou Boudreaux? Our Mee Maws used to have us play during their little gossip hours?" he finished, holding a hand out for the man in front of him.
"Yea…Lou…sounds right. You dated the younger Benoit girl for a while, right?" he staggered forward, clasping the hand tight and patting the stranger on the back.
"Yea for a while…'till I met this one back here. Send her to pick up a couple six packs and she stays at the bar for hours!"
Di Di suddenly let an over-exaggerated giggle out, finally catching onto the plan. They had pulled it countless times, just not in this particular…manner.
Thirty minutes and a fifth of Jack later, Joey and his gang were passed out, one attempting to sing along to "Country Roads" on the radio.
Di Di shoved the last wallet in the shirt pocket of a snoring high school senior, snatching his fake along with a wad of kale.
"You ready to split, Di?" a warm body suddenly behind her and a firm grip on her forearm.
Inhaling deeply, Di Di nodded and leaned back only to feel his presence lacking. Whipping around she found herself alone, Wayne's blood stains still splayed across the green felt. Dragging her finger lightly across the sticky top of the bar, she breathed in deeply, closing her eyes briefly before slamming the double doors behind her.
The cool southern breeze rushed in her mouth as she called after the figure distancing itself with every step towards his car, "Cael…Cael, wait up!"
Turning around slowly, he shoved his hands in his pockets and stood to face her as he always did, with that half grin only reserved for her.
Catching up with him, her brown eyes were brimming with tears, her mouth shaking, attempting to make words. "Thank…thanks for saving our asses back there."
"Would've thought Da called it off long before any of that had to go down," he murmured, eyes resisting the urge to meet his sister's.
"He did…I ignored the warning. I knew those boys were the ones with the real koosh, though, and couldn't let them get off with being such jerks," she quipped back, her chapped lips shutting firmly after her last word.
"Yea, well…you always were one to carry it out no matter how far in the shitter we were," he responded roughly, glancing down before glancing away again.
"Don't be an asshole, Cael. You were gone…you left us…" she tried, the tears forming again. She silently cursed her hormones before attempting to regain her voice.
Suddenly he was holding her, his large hand on the back of her head, pressing her against his muscular chest, chin resting atop her brown locks. He let her sob into his t-shirt, tears turning the fabric dark as he closed his eyes and let a soothing sound escape his lips.
"I'm sorry," he barely muttered, "I thought it was what I needed. To be back with our people. I was wrong…" he finished, a tightening in his own throat beginning to form.
Pulling away she lifted a hand to his cheek, she forced his eyes to meet hers, "How did you find us?"
"Called Ma. She said she hadn't seen you guys in a week or so but knew in what direction you'd headed off. Figured you were just gathering funds in case the deal fell through," he told her honestly.
He had been speaking with her on and off, only hearing parts of the story. He knew something was wrong if his mother was begging him to reject their roots and come back to Eden Falls. Quinn had grown more interested in his life and in Cael every moment he spent with him and soon the young Malloy put two and two together.
Roseleen finally broke down and admitted that Quinn had sought her out to lure Cael to the camp to use as leverage against his real target; Wayne. While he had strong feelings for Rose, he couldn't deny the fact that he had been used. Being welcomed as royalty suddenly didn't seem as real anymore as he started to notice every stare and look from the community.
"Where's Sam? He didn't get hurt did he?" Di Di asked worriedly, glancing around for her father's car.
"No, no…I sent them off as soon as I got here. They went back to Eden Falls. Da was hurt pretty bad but Ma'll know what to do," he calmed her, leading her to the car parked nearest them.
Sliding in the passenger seat, Di Di breathed in the comforting smell of stale cigarettes; one that always reminded her of Cael. Reaching over, she grabbed his hand as he pulled out onto the dirt road, the clock ticking over to 2:00AM.
"We haven't used the hitched trick in a while…" she trailed off, stroking the small scar on his knuckle absently with her thumb.
"You know Ma always felt uncomfortable with us playin' that card," he responded, his new affected accent still foreign to her ears.
"I know…" she replied almost silently, pulling her eyes toward the windshield and focusing on the night sky.
"I'm never going to leave you again Di, I'm here now," he told her firmly, squeezing her hand tightly before re-adjusting his hand to lace their fingers together.
Di Di managed a smile as a silent sob escaped her lips in the darkness of the stolen car, feeling suddenly more at home than she ever had in her life. As they sped back to the life of the Riches, each Malloy sibling wondered if things would ever be the same.