Washed Right Out, Chapter Nine. Prompts used: give me a kiss, now see that's a problem.
The idea came to Riley later that night, long after Sonia had cleared out with her bag of legal papers (but not before she ordered him dinner and then stood watch for the delivery person, as if expecting Jonathan to sneak in under the guise of a Korean restaurant employee). In retrospect, he should have seen it coming, but he’d been distracted up until that crucial point.
He sat hovered over a Styrofoam bowl of spicy beef pho, with a pair of disposable chopsticks, eyes fixed on the HD screen as he watched Viola Davis remove her wig and make-up on prime time television. His attention was wholly given to the last scene of the newest episode of his Thursday shows, but somewhere in the background of his mind, a series of gears were slowly rolling around with his current real life dilemma.
Minutes later, Riley was hastily texting back and forth with his fellow Shonda followers about the end of the show, slurping up noodles and meat with one hand and handling his mobile with the other. It was when he dumped the empty bowl and dirty chopsticks into the kitchen trash can that the idea hit him in its fullness. He stood in the middle of his kitchen in his sweatpants and T-shirt, bare feet glued to the cold tile floor.
Clarity, for the first time in forever, was his.
He wanted to have more faith in what Sonia was doing to make him safe, but he didn't. Sonia hadn’t seen the look in Jonathan's eyes, the pure desperation so uncharacteristic of him. His ex had crossed over to the other side of sanity, and the only person who could protect Riley was Riley.
It was late, and he knew he should spend his time getting ready for bed, but that didn't stop Riley from turning on his Macbook and opening up a browser window with his search engine of choice already loaded.
Searching for "how to get away with murder" didn't give Riley anything to work on, much to his surprise. The related searches that popped up underneath his results were interesting—a lot of people looking to dispose of bodies and exact revenge upon their loved ones. He almost clicked on one, but thought better of it. It wouldn't look good in his search history, having "how to kill someone and hide their body" amid everything else. Viola Davis would be disappointed in him.
Just in case, his next search was "hashtag nine words viola davis", just to throw off the scent. He then spent ten minutes reading hastily thrown together think pieces on Alfie Enoch and the art of wig snatching. That was just curiosity on his part.
All of his experience watching "Scandal" and "Law and Order" told Riley he couldn't exactly look online for a 'how to' article on rolling someone's body up in a carpet and throwing it in the river without looking guilty. Between the digital paper trail and the amount of security videos at the docks, he’d be walking into a life sentence, and that would be a problem. But he couldn't do this by himself.
"Wait, what am I doing?" Riley asked to an empty room. He had no idea what he was doing. For the time being, he admitted defeat. He shut off his laptop and quickly went to bed. Somehow, his sleep was as peaceful as it had ever been in the past week; he only woke up once.
He woke Friday morning to a slate-colored sky, and rain hitting his bedroom window in thick sheets. The morning routine of getting ready for work now included finding his favorite overcoat—a plaid number in brown, with shiny black buttons that came down right above his ankles, and his black knee-high Wellingtons. His usual sprint to the bus stop was performed under the protection of his umbrella.
Even with the rain coming down fast and hard, Riley took ten seconds at his apartment building's front door to look for Jonathan. The relief that swept through him when he realized his ex was nowhere to be seen was short-lived.
At work, Riley had just enough time to hang up his overcoat and slip out of his boots and into the spare pair of Dr. Martens he kept at his desk before trouble reared its head again.
He’d scarcely begun diving into his work inbox when he felt an overeager presence nearby. A stack of folders shifted on his desk. He looked up to see Eren perched on the edge of the desk, his thin hair drenched and plastered to his scalp.
"If it isn't my favorite favorite in the world," Eren drawled. He picked up a spring-loaded pen that said Belle Facce in fancy script from Riley's utensil cup. and played with it between his fingers. "Busy much?"
Riley sighed. His chair squeaked in protest when he leaned back. "Observant much? And good morning to you, too."
"And to you! By the way, higher-ups loved your re-shoots from yesterday. Thanks for that. I had business elsewhere, had to take care of it, you know how it is."
"With you? Yeah, I can imagine." Riley began mentally rescheduling his entire day. He could already tell that Eren was planning on hijacking his Friday work plans. "So what's up?"
Eren looked around, as if making sure no one was listening. It was futile, since at that time of the morning on a Friday barely anyone was awake, much less in the office. Aside from them, there were only a handful of people working the morning shift in the layout and photography sections.
He leaned in. "Listen, Riley, can I ask you a favor?"
Riley frowned. "Depends. What's the favor?"
"I need you to follow me into the downstairs lobby and kiss me."
Here are my fellow bloggers who are also flashing this week: