Not Like Us
Disclaimer: I do not own!
A/n: It took one of my reviewers sending me a message to get me in gear. Sorry, guys. I really have started avoiding computers since I started working at a desk job so updating was kinda... delayed for me.
But I'm here now~! Love y'all!
Riley sat in complete silence during the car ride home. Since he technically wasn't a member of Cindy's family, he wasn't allowed to ride to the hospital with her. He had heard from Jasmine, who had gone to the hospital with her mom, that Cindy was awake and talking just fine. Jasmine had offered to take Riley along with them, but he really didn't want to be a bother.
And he honestly didn't want to see Cindy right now.
The guilt was eating at him in the worst way possible. As he leaned against the cold window on the passenger side of his brother's car, he could feel the icy frost seeping into his very own heart. How could he have let her do something so dangerous? Cindy knew that no jewelry was allowed on the court, but she had the necklace on anyway.
But he couldn't blame her. He knew Cindy took good care of anything that she truly appreciated. He knew she would love the necklace when he gave it to her. But why did she have to put herself in danger? Over a stupid necklace!
"It's not your fault." Huey knew, from Jasmine, that the reason Cindy had taken a fall was because she was trying to keep her precious necklace safe. He also knew his stupid brother would blame himself for the accident.
As they pulled into the driveway of their house, he knew his assumptions were correct.
"..." Riley didn't give Huey a reply as he handed him some gas money and got out of the car. He was in the house by the time Huey was turning the car off. He closed the garage door and made his way into the house as well, giving a small wave to his granddad who was sitting in his usual armchair.
"Boy, what's yo brother's problem? He ain't even speak when he passed me! See, I'mma have to remind him whose house he lives in-!"
Huey shook his head softly, and he could tell that Granddad understood the serious look on his face, "He'll be all right. He's just learning about love, Granddad."
"Well damn. I don't know shit about love, so I can't help him. Shit, I'm bitchless now! I can't help him, nah-uh."
Huey chuckled as he said good night to his granddad and made his way upstairs to his room. He thought about peeking into Riley's room to offer him more advice, but decided against it. His little brother needed to learn about relationships... and himself... on his own.
Two Days Later, At School
Everyone kept stopping Cindy in the halls to ask if she was okay. They all told her that she was a great basketball player, and that she was absolutely dedicated. Even the teachers were shocked that she had come to school so soon.
But what puzzled Cindy the most was that she hadn't seen Riley. He hadn't called her or texted her since the incident, either. Cindy was seriously ready to tell him off, but worse... she was starting to get worried about her relationship.
She finally made her way to her locker, where Jasmine and Miami were waiting with balloons, a stuffed elephant and chocolate candy.
"Awwww guys!" Cindy hugged the two girls close to her, as Jalysa walked up with an extra balloon.
"Man, I got here a little late. Blame my idiot brother." Jalysa got in on the group hug, before handing Cindy her Welcome Back balloon as well.
"So... have are you feeling?" Miami asked, leaning against the locker next to Cindy's.
"I'm good, but..."
"Oh no! YOU DON'T HAVE CANCER, DO YOU?!" Jasmine cried, tearing up almost immediately. What would she do with her life if Cindy had cancer?!
"No, dummy! I'm fine! There's nothing wrong with me; not even a scratch on my head." She had a few scrapes on her arms, but thankfully, she was wearing long sleeves.
Cindy rolled her eyes and turned to watch the expressions of Miami and Jalysa, "So can any of you tell me where Riley is? I haven't heard from him since the accident."
The silence that rolled over the group was deafening.
Cindy watched as Jalysa began to shuffle her feet, and Miami bit on her bottom lip as she looked away from Cindy's eyes. Only Jasmine, who had her hands clasped in front of her chest and a pitiful look on her face, would look her in the eye.
"What? What happened? Did he get a new girlfriend or something?" Cindy questioned, with her heart on edge.
The three girls shook their heads fiercely, almost in unison. Miami could believe what she was hearing, "Riley would NEVER cheat on you, Cindy. Don't you remember what happened?"
"Riley told your mom off in front of the entire school," Jalysa added, while Jasmine nodded in agreement.
"He even said he loved you. In front of EVERYBODY. It was crazy." Miami replied, while Cindy tried not to faint.
"He's taking your accident really, really hard. He was so worried about you. Especially since you got hurt because you were trying to keep that necklace safe." Jalysa said, giving Cindy a matter-of-fact look.
Cindy stared at her friend with her mouth agape, "What? That doesn't even make sense."
"Riley knows that you jumped out of the way to keep that necklace safe. Since he's the one who gave it to you, he feels bad. Like it's his fault you got hurt." Jasmine told her, a sympathetic look crossing her face.
"What? It's absolutely not his fault! Why would he think I would blame him for that?"
But all she got in return was silence. No one but Riley could answer that question for her.
Slamming her locker shut, Cindy grabbed her books and turned to her friends, "So where is he now?"
"We don't know. I know he comes to school, but Robin is the only one that actually has a class with him. He just hasn't been hanging out lately. He doesn't sit with us at lunch and he either goes straight to practice or goes home."
Cindy couldn't believe what she was hearing. What the hell was Riley thinking?
A Week Later
Cindy was furious. A week had gone by and she still hadn't seen Riley. She had managed to get brief glimpses of him, but whenever he walked into his classrooms, he would stare out of the window and not once look in her direction. She couldn't very well storm into his class and demand he talked to her; she definitely didn't want to make a scene.
She had tried calling him, texting him, hell, she even sent him an e-mail and went to his house twice!
There was no way that she was going to take his stupid silent treatment any longer.
"Ugh! I am SO sick of him not speaking to me!" Cindy slammed her locker shut and nearly jumped into the air from fright, to find Jalysa behind her locker.
"So he's still avoiding you, huh?"
"Yes! What the hell? I'm his girlfriend! How can he just ignore me like this?"
"Well, understand how he feels a bit too. He's probably worried that you blame him for the accident as much as he blames himself."
"But I don't!"
"We know that. He doesn't." Jalysa patted Cindy's shoulder sympathetically as they walked to their classes. "I heard rumor that he'll be in the art room after school today. Maybe you can catch him there."
"Well good luck~!" Jalysa walked into her classroom as Cindy continued on down the hall. She waved as she saw Robin come around the corner, with Miami on his arm.
"Hey, you two!"
"Hi Cindy. I heard that Riley will be painting in the art room today. You should totally go see him." Robin gave her thumbs up, while Miami just grinned from ear to ear.
"Ok, seriously, what are you guys planning?"
"Well, we managed to talk his art professor into giving him some homework."
"Eh? You did?"
Robin winked, "Are you serious? Don't you know what I'm capable of?" Robin laughed loudly as he and Miami walked away from Cindy. She giggled a bit too; goodness her friends were silly.
Cindy made her way into the art room as quickly as she could. Sure enough, Riley was sitting in the corner of the room, facing the window. He was painting the sunset on a large canvas with bright oranges and fading pinks. The scene was beautiful and he wasn't even finished yet. She stepped up behind him, standing close enough for him to hear her.
"So how long do you plan on avoiding me, Riley Freeman?"
The paint brush halted briefly, and then continued its slow, continuous strokes.
He painted quietly, not answering her, because really, what could he say? He felt like shit for getting her injured, and he felt even worse for ignoring her. But that was what was best for their relationship, right? If he avoided her, maybe Cindy would get angry and lose the necklace. Maybe she would throw it, and him, away.
But did he really want that?
"Riley! Damn, are you even gonna look at me?" Cindy yanked his shoulder to make him face her and the paint brush fell from his hand. He looked down at the brush, as auburn paint splattered on the floor, before turning to face Cindy, an irritated look on his face.
"Why would I look at you?! Why would I wanna see the bruises and shit that happened cuz of me? Huh?!" Riley stepped around the chair, getting all up in Cindy's personal space. She took a step back and found herself backed up against a nearby table.
"Riley, how does that even make sense?! I play sports. People get hurt in sports! Why you trippin' over small ish?"
"Small? White Gurl, you were knocked out. I WATCHED you smack ya head on a metal chair and fall. You had to go to the hospital! That ain't small!" Riley clenched his hands into a fist as he gripped the table behind Cindy. She could see the immense amount of worry and disappointment in his chocolate brown eyes, and for some reason, it was hard to be angry. "None of this woulda happened if I just gave you something else for ya b-day. You wouldn't have no necklace to wear on the court..."
"Riley, you so damn stupid."
"I said YOU STUPID. I can take a few bruises. I'm the best damn player in this school. You think I can't take a lick? You know I'm betta than that." Cindy cupped her hands around Riley's face, as he stared at her in surprise. "I put the necklace on and wore it durin my game, not you. I made the choice to foul out so that girl wouldn't touch me, not you. But you can't just... cut me off without tellin' me or talkin' to me. That ain't cool. I thought you had found a new chick or some shit."
"What the hell? Now who's sayin shit that don't make sense?" Riley tried to look away from her, but seeing Cindy's smiling blue eyes made the anxiety and stress in him melt away.
"I know, baby, I know." Cindy hugged Riley close, listening to the calming sound of his heartbeat. She closed her eyes slowly, so happy to see him again. It had been way too long. "Reezy, I love you. You can't not talk to me. I ain't seen you in a week."
"Hey, you can't be throwin out heavy ass four letter words in the middle of a-"
"They told me you said it in front of the whole school already. Don't front. So after sayin the shit out loud in front of the whole school. That's why this whole thing didn't make any sense to me. How you gone say you love me to my mama and then ignore me? How you think that shit made me feel?
"Milky, I don't wanna talk about yo feelings right now." Cindy opened her eyes and leaned back to look into her boyfriend's face. He definitely was feeling better already.
"Oh? Whatchu wanna talk about then?"
"Well see, we got this supply room ova here and... I think I'mma take you to see it. You ain't eva seen it, right? Here come look."
Cindy laughed with a red flush on her cheeks, as her boyfriend led her towards the secluded supply room.
It was so great to be back together.
End Chapter 9