A Riorti Story
Ali and Matt arrived only five minutes after the party started, and already the school's parking lot was full. They had to park in the parking lot of the old trading warehouse next door. But Ali didn't mind the walk, despite the fact that there was no sidewalk and the ground was uneven, causing her to twist her ankle a few times. Matt kept her entertained. He was charming and funny. In the back of her mind, Ali wondered why Sam thought he was so terrible.
The school gym was full of people, dancing, laughing, and shouting over the awesome DJ set up on the doors opposite them. Jessica and Peter, as well as the rest of their group, attacked them as they entered. They were thrilled to see each other.
The dance turned out to be great. Ali forgot all about Sam. She danced and ate pizza and laughed with friends and had the best time. Finally, when the night was over, Matt walked her back out to the car.
"I had a great time," Ali smiled.
"Me too," Matt grinned.
"I still can't believe Kayla fell flat on her back," Ali said, laughing.
Matt laughed along with her, "Yeah, that was hilarious."
"Man, I haven't danced that much before in my life," Ali said with a satisfied smile.
"Well, you looked amazing doing it," Matt said honestly, a grin plastered on his face.
"Shut up," Ali laughed, shoving him gently, feeling herself blush. Her heels were in her hand. She had taken them off about three songs in. They were definitely not dancing shoes.
"I mean it," Matt laughed. Finally, they reached the car. Most people hadn't stayed the whole night, so the parking lot was empty. "You look absolutely perfect."
Ali smiled, but didn't say anything. Then, suddenly, Matt leaned toward her and kissed her on the lips. Ali was surprised and for a moment she didn't know what happened. When her brain finally caught up, she didn't pull away. She did the opposite, leaning into the kiss. Finally, they pulled away. Ali's heart was racing. She was grinning widely, her face turning red under her makeup.
Matt cleared his throat, a small smile plastered to his face. "Well, maybe we should go," he said softly.
"Yeah, maybe we should," Ali agreed, still grinning.
"Well wasn't that just so sweet," Ali's grin vanished, hearing the voice she hoped she would never have to hear again, not after she pushed her into the ocean. Slowly, Ali turned around. Scarlett stood about five feet from them, her arms crossed, a satisfied smirk on her face. Ali glanced around her. They were surrounded. There were four guys with her, two of which were easily big enough to be pro football players.
"Hey, we don't want any trouble," Matt said, his voice a little shaky. He moved in front of Ali slightly, as if protecting her.
"Oh, really? Well, too bad. Because I do," Scarlett growled. Just then, the two guys closest to the two high schoolers made their move. The one closest to Matt grabbed his arm and yanked him away from Ali, then punched him hard in the face, dazing him and causing him to double over. It was then that he hit the pressure point in his neck hard, like Ian's people did to Sam when they first took him.
"Matt! No!" Ali cried, trying to go to him, dropping both her heels and her clutch bag. But the other guy, the one that had gone for her, was gripping arm tightly, and she could barely take two steps before he stopped her. The guy that had hit Matt and one of the football players hauled Matt's limp, unconscious body up off the ground as Scarlett approached Ali.
"Hello again, Ali," She grinned. Ali glanced at her, her eyes fearful, then returned her gaze to Matt's unconscious form. "Are you going to come quietly, or are we going to have to have some fun with your boyfriend, over there?" Scarlett asked. Ali's eyes, a hurricane of fear, worry, and just a hint of rage, didn't leave Matt. Scarlett sighed. "Ali, I can't read minds. That is not one of my powers."
"I'll do what you want, ok?" Ali snapped, turning to Scarlett, rage sparking in her eyes, drowning out the fear and worry. Then the fear and worry smothered the rage as she turned back to Matt. "Just don't hurt him
Scarlett smiled. "Good choice," she mocked. Then, on her command, the guys holding Matt carried him to a van that must have arrived after Matt got knocked out, otherwise, Ali would have noticed.
Ali was shoved inside and onto a bench built into the side of the van. One of Scarlett's people sat on either side of her, and Matt was dumped onto the cold metal floor. On the opposite bench sat Scarlett's two remaining people. One of them had a gun in his hand, aimed at Matt. Ali's eyes never left Matt, even as the van roared to life and started moving. Ali blinked rapidly, trying to keep the tears from her eyes
"Ali's voicemail is broken. This is her refrigerator. Please speak very slowly, and I'll stick your message to myself with one of these magnets," Sam couldn't help but smile listening to Ali's voicemail. Her friend Hannah did it for her a couple weeks ago. Dutifully, Sam waited for the beep.
"Hey, Ali, it's me. Look, I know you're mad, but I'm getting a little worried. Just, give me a call, ok? Or, you know what; you don't even have to call me. Just text me or something, please," Sam sighed and hung up the phone, falling back on the bed. He was still wearing his suit, minus the jacket and tie, and was just about to get ready for bed when his phone rang.
"Hello?" he said when he picked up.
"Sam?" Lucy's voice was crisp and clear from the other end of the line.
"Oh, hi, Lucy," Sam said drowsily. "What's up?"
"Well, we're just calling to check in," Lucy sighed. "How's it going over there? You and Ali doing ok?"
"Yeah," Sam lied. "We're great. Ali was pretty tired when we got home, so she went straight to bed."
"I figured she might," Lucy said with a slight laugh. "How was the dance?"
"It was awesome. Megan and I had an amazing time. And from what I hear, Ali and Matt did, too."
"That's great. Well, I guess I'll let you get to sleep."
"Great. I'll see you guys when you get back on Tuesday. Tell John I said goodnight."
"Ok, I will. Goodnight, Sam."
"Goodnight," with that, Sam hung up, guilt burning in his chest. He really hated lying to them. They deserved better. After all, they practically saved their lives.
Sam got changed and brushed his teeth, going through the motions, in a daze. On his way back to his room, he noticed Max was camped out in front of the door leading to the staircase to the attic. If he didn't know any better, Sam could have sworn the dog looked worried.
"Hey Max," At his name, Max twitched his ears and lifted his head from his paws. Sam squatted down beside him and scratched him behind his ears. Max's tail started wagging slightly. "I know, boy," Sam sighed. "I'm worried about her, too
" Finally, after a moment's pause, he couldn't take it anymore. Sam took out his cell phone and called his dad.
"Sam?" Jason asked when he answered the phone. He sounded sleepy, as if he had just woken up. "It's after midnight, what do you need? And can it wait 'till morning?"
"Ah, no, not really, Dad," Sam sighed, taking a seat next to Max. "Is Ali with you? We had a fight before the party, so I thought she might not want to come home right now
This woke Jason up. "No, she's not here. She's not answering your calls?"
"No," Sam replied, his heart starting to race.
I'm sure it's nothing
" Jason sounded anything but sure. "But just to be sure, I'll have Henry trace her cell phone. You get some rest, ok? I'll talk to you in the morning."
Sam wanted to protest, but he knew Jason was right. There was nothing he could do until Henry traced Ali's phone. Finally, he sighed, "Ok, fine. Talk to you later."
Sam hung up the phone and laid down on the floor with a sigh. He rolled over and smoothed Max's coat. After a moment, he smiled slightly.
"Admit it. You like her better," Sam said with a grin, scratching Max behind the ears. Max whined and looked at him with his shining eyes. Then he licked Sam's face. Sam recoiled, a smiling. "Gross, Max!" he laughed. He gave his companion a quick hug and headed off to bed, clicking off the lamp beside his bed and plunging the house into total darkness
Ali watched as Matt stirred on the other side of the cold, dark concrete room. She guessed it was about two in the morning. She could still see the stars in the sky through the small window she was leaning against the wall beside. They had left the party at eleven, so since she guessed she they had been gone for about four hours, two in the morning seemed about right.
Finally, Matt opened his eyes. He looked drowsy, and didn't seem to register what was going on for a moment. Then he remembered, and fear sparked in his eyes.
"Matt?" Ali asked softly.
"Ali!" Matt's voice was heavy with relief. He forced himself to his feet and walked over to her, wrapping her in a hug. "Thank God you're ok!"
"Thank God I'm ok? Thank God you're ok!" Ali said, returning the hug. "You're the one that got knocked out by a freaking pro wrestler."
Matt laughed slightly, not letting go.
And then they were blown back into the wall behind Ali as something exploded. It wasn't long before the room was engulfed in flame.
Matt doubled over. There was blood seeping out of the back of his suit. Ali had some cuts on her face, but was otherwise unhurt. She thought fast, looking around. Finally, she found a metal chair in the corner to her left, fortunately a safe distance from the flame. Coughing from the smoke, she walked over to it and dragged it back to the window. She picked it up, and, using strength she didn't know she had, she slammed it against the window above her head. The glass broke, but didn't shatter. She hit it again, and this time got the result she was looking for.
Ali set the chair down and turned to the coughing, bleeding Matt. "Can you walk?" she shouted over the roar of the flames.
"Do I have a choice?" Matt shouted back, still coughing. Ali smiled slightly, then broke into a coughing fit. She worked through it, putting the chair against the wall and helping Matt onto it. He was just small enough to fit though the small opening. Still coughing, Ali scrambled after him, cutting her hands and arms, as well as her right knee, on the broken glass still stuck in the window frame. She fell onto the grass with a soft thud, stumbling back into the building and using her hand to catch herself. She winced at the pain from the cut on her palm hitting the brick, then doubled over coughing. Eventually, she went down to her hands and knees. She remained on her hands and knees, coughing, gulping down the fresh, chilly night air.
Finally, once she regained her bearings, she stood up and looked around. "I know where we are," She said after a moment. "Come on, I know someone who can help up. It's not too far."
"Call me crazy," Matt said, breathing heavily. "But shouldn't we wait and call the police?"
"Matt, think about this," Ali sighed. "Those guys tried to kill us. I sincerely doubt they were inside when it exploded. I'm willing to bet they are still nearby. We have got to get out of here." Ali grabbed Matt's arm and started walking away from the building, into the surrounding trees. At first, Matt protested, but finally, he gave in and walked with her, into the dark of the night
Sam woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of his phone going off. Sam squinted at the light from the screen and groaned, grabbing the phone off of the side table and opening the text he had just received. It took a while for it to come into focus, but when it did, his eyes widened.
The message was a picture of a burning warehouse-type-building. There was an arrow pointing to it, with the words "I am here" written beside it. Above it was the message: "While you were supposedly watching out for me, you should have been watching me."
Just as he finished processing the information he had just received, another message popped up in another bubble on the screen of his iPhone:
I told you I'd take everything. This is war. S
Sam didn't have to think who "S" was. He knew. His heart racing, he quickly called his dad and told him everything.
Sam, I need you to get over here. Now," Jason said. "I don't want you home alone."
Sam nodded, even though Jason couldn't see him, "Alright. I'm on my way." Sam hung up the phone and pulled on his shoes, not even bothering to get changed. He grabbed his phone and wallet, then jogged downstairs, grabbed the keys, and headed for the door. Max, to his surprise, stopped him, refusing to move from his place in front of the door. He whined, looking at him pleadingly.
After a moment, Sam understood. He sighed, then grabbed Max's leash. "Alright, boy," he said with a half smile as he clipped Max's leash to his collar. "You can come, too."
Together, Sam and man's best friend made their way out to the car. Max leapt up into the back seat and Sam climbed into the driver's seat.
Sam took a deep breath, trying to slow his speeding heart. Then he turned the key in the ignition, rolled down one of the back windows for Max, and pulled onto the street, driving away into the night...