Coasting Down Memory Lane;
The visions of white sand and crystal clear waters were interrupted by the shocking sound of the doorbell. It was nine o’clock on a Sunday morning and Riley’s day off. She grumbled and muttered oaths in French as she rolled out of bed. Seeing her reflection started only another round of cursing.
“Merde,” she muttered, raking a hand through her hair, violently.
She opened the door without looking through the window to see who it was. After all, she thought, it was probably just some girl guides selling cookies. So it was a surprise to her when she was blinded by a flash of light.
“Goddamn it! What the hell?” She jerked back and blinked rapidly a dozen times.
“Okay, let’s get a shot of the bedroom and everything else you possibly can,” Cooper ordered from the door.
The cameraman was denied entrance when Riley shot her arm out, blocking him. He whined some but she tuned it out. She had her sights set on the leader and planned for him to be the victim of her wrath. “Cooper, what the hell are you doing?”
“I’m doing my job. Actually, I’m ahead of the pack.” He gestured behind him where there was a small crowd forming on her front lawn. Everyone there seemed to have a camera with them. All the colour drained from Riley’s face when she counted thirty-four people.
She lost her focus just long enough to have her arm fall limply at her side, and have the man with the camera run inside the house. She thought about going after him, she'd have fun causing him bodily harm, but pushed that idea away when she realized that if she left the spot where she was now it would only allow the others the chance to sneak a peek inside her home.
Riley felt some relief when she saw Brett’s truck pull up in her driveway. She watched him get out and scan the crowd with a scowl. Their eyes locked and she could see the heat in them as he rushed to her.
“What the hell?”
“There’s one inside,” Riley told him quickly. “Go in and don’t be afraid to hurt him if no other choice prevails.”
He nodded, and made sure to give Cooper a decent shove on his way in.
“You’ve got one minute to get off this property,” Riley told Cooper once Brett ran up the stairs, “before I call the cops and have your ass taken in for harassment and trespassing.”
“That’s not fair,” he debated. “You of all people would know these are my journalistic obligations.”
She let out a humourless laugh. “Don’t bullshit me, Orson. Now get off my property. Oh, and tell your little posse there to do the same.”
“Gee, not having Sid around puts you in a sour mood.”
“No, having a lousy journalist in my face on a Sunday morning puts me in a sour mood.”
“Did he leave you?”
“That’s none of your business.”
“No, it is,” he said matter-of-factly. “You see, people like drama—it’s a known fact. Who wants to read about a nice happy couple having a nice lunch? No one. Hockey’s superstar having relationship problems is what they want to and will read. And,” he added at her bland stare, “you can be sure that I’ll be the one to spread the word about Sidney’s precious Riley being in Pittsburgh alone –no, spending all her time with another man—while he’s back home with Mom and Dad.”
With her face blank, Riley responded in a calm, clear voice. “Go ahead and print your story. But you can be sure that if and when I get wind of it I’ll destroy you. Say goodbye to your cushy job, you kiss ass, because I have that power and I’m not afraid to smear your reputation and crush your reliability.”
“Is that a threat? Is Riley Jacobs threatening me?”
“You can take it however you want,” she said still smoothly. “I’m simply informing you of what can and will happen if you publish a story based on lies about me and my personal life.” She smiled, slow and feral and watched fear flash in his eyes. Oh yeah, she thought, you are done.
“God, you disgust me,” Brett stated as held the cameraman by the collar of his shirt, then threw him out the front door.
The cameraman made a beeline for his car while Cooper rushed after him. The rest of the media crowd on Riley’s front lawn concluded that there was nothing else to see and left.
Brett slammed the door shut and pulled Riley into a hug. Even though she was still riding on seething anger, she wrapped her arms around him. She could feel tears threatening to spill over, but pushed them back. Riley preferred the red rim of anger outline her vision rather than the blur of tears.
He led her over to the living room and told her to sit while he went to get a glass of water. He didn’t even make it to the kitchen when they heard the front door open. Shock and confusion spread over both their faces when they saw Jordan Staal and Kris Letang rush in the house and pull Riley up and into their arms.
“Are you ok?” they both asked simultaneously.