Summary: Being in love isn’t supposed to be easy. Not when you’re in love with the married man next door. The same man that has a pregnant wife and works alongside you in a musical that you have written. Love isn’t easy. Nor is almost being killed and being hunted down by someone who knows your every last secret. The only way to stop being killed yourself is to seek and find the person who is laying claim to your life.
Author’s Notes: This is a piece of fictional writing, all names, places and words in this are my own.
It was always a long drive to work; she had often wondered why she had decided that this would be the best working place for her. The answer was always the same, no matter the mood she was in or if the price of petrol had been raised again: it was her passion. For Riley, her passion was acting and writing. She was lucky enough to be working in one of the very few live-action horror mazes in the country and was also fortunate that she had left one of her scripts behind in the casts “mess-room” as her boss had picked it up and read it, thinking nothing of it. The next thing that Riley had encountered was her signing a contract to perform it at the nearest theatre. She and her boss had been given a grant to make the words on the page a reality. They had set up auditions for the workers in the maze and then opened it up to the public; the auditions hadn’t been well heard of – just a few fliers around the park itself, a few around Riley’s college and on the website of the theme park. It was only a small production by people that weren’t well known, it was a decision that not a lot of open auditions were held.
Riley always kept her work and her personal life separate, but at the auditions it had all merged together, and like a car crash, became a mangled disaster.
Daily, she thought of the actions that had got her in this mess, and though she regretted them at every turn, they were always worth the risk.
The final days of auditions and the role of Simon still hadn’t been cast. Both Riley and Sean, her boss and the director of the production were worried that they may not be able to find someone to fill the role, or worse yet, they would have to hire someone that didn’t have the talent that they so desperately wanted.
Riley was part of casting and part of the audition process. She sang and played piano for the auditions, singing alongside the hopefuls. After an abominable two hours of listening to mediocre singers – some not even mediocre, both Riley and her boss/director, Sean were going out of their mind thinking they weren’t going to find a man that was perfect for the leading role. It was the only part left to cast and they were both starting to think that there would be no show if they couldn’t find him.
The last person to audition, Riley didn’t bother to look up from the piano as he walked in, he stated his name, Christian, Riley shook off the familiarity of his voice and asked him what he was singing, when he stated that it was a duet, Riley tried to hold back a sigh and nodded. She, as with most of the songs the men had gone to sing, had it on her iPod - or in most cases, had taught herself it on the piano. She pressed play on the song and waited for his cue with dread.
“Never knew I could feel like this. Like I've never seen the sky before, I want to vanish inside your kiss. Every day I love you more and more - listen to my heart, Can you hear it sing? Telling me to give you everything. Seasons may change: Winter to spring. But I love you until the end of time. Come what may. Come what may - I will love you until my dying day,” Riley gasped when he sung – unlike the other people that had sung today, he had a perfect voice. She felt her knees go weak and turned to face the man whose voice was making her feel things that she had never felt before and looked down as she recognised the all too familiar face of her next door neighbour and the man she had been harbouring a crush on for some time. She looked at the rugged face in front of her, the stubble that she found irresistible, and the way his green eyes shone against any light. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, nearly missing her cue to join in singing with him.
“Suddenly the world seems such a perfect place. Suddenly it moves with such a perfect grace.” She smiled as he turned to look at her, his eyes shining with emotion that needed to be conveyed in the song; Riley had to hide the blush that was forming on her cheeks. She attempted to hide the shiver that went up her spine when he started singing alongside her.
When the song concluded, the room was stunned into silence. Riley blushed at how close her and Christian had become whilst singing. He was thanked and was excused; Riley looked at her boss slowly and bit her lip, nervously, awaiting his reaction eagerly.
“Two things, Ri,” he said, his voice bubbling with excitement and amazement. “That’s what I wanted to see from you all morning, and that performance was the best we have seen all morning – the way he connected with you, the way the pair of you compliment each other’s voice. I think we may have found him.”
“You think so?” Riley asked in disbelief, somewhat more nervous than expected and smiled.
“Of course I do, I think we should go and tell him now. The connection between you two was magical; I can’t wait to see some more of that.” He excused Riley and made her go out to find Christian. Her cheeks were flushed, her body was trembling slightly as she made her way over to the bench where he was sat, a cigarette hanging from his mouth, unlit. She smiled at the man softly, sitting next to him.
“Would you like a light?” She asked nervously, over the time she had been living next to him, she had not once noticed him smoking. He chuckled and shook his head.
“No, thank you. I don’t smoke – any more – it’s a habit, stress-related,” he smiled, watching her softly. “Have you come to deliver some bad news?” Christian asked his tone more serious than it was before. Riley bit her lip, her eyes searching his face softly and after a moment of tense silence, shook her head.
“We’d like to offer you the part of the leading man,” she breathed, watching him. “I can give you the script in a bit, you know, if you’d like to take it now, but, I understand if you’d like to think on it...” She trailed off, her pale cheeks turning crimson as she rattled on about nothing in particular. Christian watched her, his eyes intensely watching her with curiosity.
“Now would be a good idea,” he breathed and stood up slowly. “Thank you for giving it to me,” he smiled, holding his hand up to help her up. Shakily, she took it and dropped it as soon as she was on her feet. “When do rehearsals start?”
“Next Monday, the cast is being asked to come in and have a read-through and any problems with the script can be addressed.” Leading him back to the room, she rubbed her hands together, giving him the information that was needed for Monday and the information of what they had worked out thus far for the schedule.
Christian signed his contract, a little formal, he thought, but mentioned nothing and took a copy of the script along with him. The surprise on his face when he saw Riley’s name on the front of the script was something that made her blush, albeit nervously. She watched as he walked away, trying not to admire his lower half as much as she was.
She couldn’t wait to work alongside him, but she was overcome with the knowing rejection that was to come.
One thought that plagued her, he had seen her face before she had seen his, why did he choose that song? The song of secret lovers from ‘Moulin Rouge’ – she shook herself out of the daze, she was over thinking the situation as she had many times before.
Riley managed to return home at 4am that evening, her body was exhausted, she had been sat in a discussion, helping pick out the right paints and props, the costume designs and the colour scheme of everything. She was ready to curl up in her blanket and sleep for a year. Unfortunately, she could only grant herself five hours sleep. She still had so much work to do, whether she liked to admit it or not. She was falling behind in her academia. She got out of the car, her body resisting walking, her hands not wanting to cooperate with opening the door. She let out a sigh as she dropped the keys, her eyes were drooping and she wondered what the worst could happen if she fell asleep on her doorstep.
“Hey, let me get that,” Riley jumped, turning to see Christian walking up her path slowly in a woollen jumper and a pair of jeans. She frowned, confused as to what he was doing up so early, why wasn’t he asleep with his wife, and why instead was he picking up her keys and opening her door for her. Riley weakly thanked him and in return, Christian picked her up and carried her upstairs.
She couldn’t help think that her head fit perfectly against his shoulder, that his body was just the right temperature to keep her warm of a night time, that his scent was comforting. She sighed against him, her fingers tiredly playing with his collar as he set her down on the bed. Riley felt him removing her trainers, jeans and hoodie, leaving her in a long-sleeved t-shirt and her underwear, his hands were cold against her skin as he tucked her in and kissed her forehead, his fingers lingering against her cheek for a while too long. She smiled against him and watched Christian’s hand softly, her eyes flickering shut, but before they did, she managed to press her lips against his ever so lightly.
In the morning, it would feel like a dream, but deep down in both of their minds, they knew it would be much more than that.
Riley parked her car in her designated spot, she played with the bracelet she wore on her left wrist as she made her way to the staff changing rooms, her rucksack on her back, in her own world, back to pretending that she was single and that she didn’t need a man in her life because she had her friends, her writing and her work. Riley transformed back to the nineteen year old girl that had planned her life out, that was studying and working as hard as she could to make all her dreams a reality. She went back to being the sweet, innocent girl, not the home-wrecker that she thought of herself as on her off days.
After she was changed into her blood-soaked t-shirt and jeans covered in excrement and yet more blood, she opened her locker to find a message stuck to the door in bold, block capitals, words that shook her to the very core:YOU’LL PAY SOON ENOUGH FOR YOUR ACTIONS. BETTER LOOK OUT, I’LL BE WATCHING.