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"Trouble in Paradise"

“I hate rain!” Aria yelled out the cracked window. She was ready to go outside and train for softball season. Hands on her hips she stomped out of the living room and up the stairs. She went to her room, slammed the door and pulled out her weight set. Aria was cranky, as her thoughts raced through her mind like wild mustangs in an open range. If I can't go outside and train, then I will just do strength training. She thought angrily about her ex-boyfriend, how he had caused her so much pain, mentally and physically. I need to run, I know I shouldn't but my knee is doing better, if I could run from Randall on the day of the accident then maybe I should run from the memory of him stabbing me and him haunting my dreams, Jake is all I have that keeps me from running away, but I really just want to make my knee better so I can get into collage and get away from this town and Randall. She worked on strengthening her knee, soon she would be able to run out on the field again. As she worked out she, took short pauses to text her boyfriend, Jake. In the middle of their conversation, the one person she never wanted to talk to again called. She answered and said, “What do you want Randall?” Her tone mellow but dripping with annoyance.

“I just want to talk,” Randall pleaded.

“No, I'm busy, fixing what you destroyed,” she said starting to get irritated.

“I'll just keep calling you.” His tone turning threatening.

“Why, you tried to kill me,” she said, getting p***ed off, “three times.”

“No I didn't, those were accidents.”

“So the abuse,” her words dripping with sarcasm, “was an accident too?”

“Yes.”

“Leave me alone Randall!” She yelled as she hung up and pushed herself harder, until she forgot all about him.

Then the rain had stopped, so she got up and went outside, to continue her training. Her parents were gone for the day and her sixteen year old brother, Wyatt was at football camp. She locked the door, behind her, put her headphones in and started running. As she ran, her knee started hurting, at first the pain was bearable, but was increasing with every step. Just as she reached her two mile mark, when, over her music, she heard someone’s horn. Thinking it might have been Jake she stopped, removed her headphones and turned around.

Randall pulled over and said, “Hey. I was always good at finding you.”

“Why won't you leave me alone?” Aria said, with rage mixed with sarcasm, coloring every word red.

“Because I don't want to leave you alone.”

“I want you to leave me alone.” Her sarcasm turned to pure anger.

“To bad, now get in the car,” as if he still had control over her.

“No, I hate you!” She started running again, just faster than before, but he just kept pace with her. “Go away Randall!”

“No, just get in the car.” He tried asking nicely, his grip tightened on the wheel.

“No, leave me the hell alone!” She sped up, even more, and sprinted towards the high school, as her knee screamed in protest. He followed her until she ran into the parking lot.

He sped away from her shrinking figure, thinking to himself, She knows she misses me. It's just a matter of time before she wants to relive being with me. He couldn't stop thinking about her, he drove to the old baseball field and set in the bleachers waiting for her to call.

Aria ran, from the person that haunted her dreams. She kept her pace going as she ran into the football stadium. Her knee was finally pushed to its limit and she fell by the bleachers. Wyatt, who was younger than her but still taller and always goofy to make her feel better; he usually acted like a ten year old but when his sister needed him he was as mature as he possibly could be. He saw her fall and ran over to her. “Ria, what happened?”

“I pushed myself to hard, that's all.”

“Did you run all the way here from home?” Concern flooded his voice like an open dam on a river.

“Yeah, I use to be able to do it.”

“I know, but you were down for a while. What made you ran from home?” He asked, with a questioning tone.

“Nothing I just wanted to get back into shape for softball.”

“Really, Aria who are you running from?” He was starting to figure it out. He thought, If Randall is back then Jake is going to be so overprotective. I hope he won't find out.

“I wasn't running from anyone.” She looked away from him as he helped her on to one of the bleacher.

“Yes you were, you know you can't run that far. Who was it?”

“Fine it was Randall, are you happy?” She yelled at him, and then quickly calmed down.

“Of course I'm not happy, did he follow you all the way here?” He looked into the parking lot, but didn't see Randall's car.

“Yeah, that's why I ran too far and way to fast.”

“Okay, well let me call Jake to take you home, just sit here and rest,” he said, wondering if she would be okay after seeing Randall.

“Thanks Wyatt, but don't tell Jake that Randall is back around.”

“No problem and I won't Ria; I promise.” He walked away and she laid down on the damp, cold, stone bleachers and waited for Jake to show up.

She felt a hand on her arm and flinched away from it. “Ria, it's me.”

She opened her eyes, “Oh, hey Jake.” She quickly set up and gave him a hug. It's what she did when she did something she thought might upset him.

“Come on, I'll take you home.” He pulled back and then looked into her eyes. He saw some fear but didn't want to ask why.

“'Kay.” She got up, tried to walk but her knee wouldn't let her. Jake picked her up and she said “Jake, you don't have to carry me.”

“Yes I do, you can't walk and I don't want you to push your knee anymore today.” As he climbed in he said, “Baby, why did you ran the five miles from your house to here?”

“Cause, I thought I was ready.” She looked out the window, trying to keep the tears back.

“It's only been six months since the accident.” Jake avoided mentioning Randall's name and the stuff that he did to Aria.

“You know, you can actually say what happened.”

“I know, I just don't want too.” he said, she smiled and scooted closer to him. He wrapped his arm around her waist and said, “I love you Baby.”

“I love you too babe.” He drove to her house and when he pulled up another car was sitting in the driveway. Aria gasped; fear closing in on her, with heart racing, she said, “Jake, let's leave.”

“Why?” Then the driver got out and Jake said, “What the hell is he doing here?”

“I don't know, I haven't talked to him since the accident.” she was just wanting to get away from him. That's all she wanted in life was to get rid of Randall.

“I'm gonna go talk to him.” Jake's tone was angry, he just wanted to protect Aria and if the meant going to jail he would, he was just that protective of her.

“No, let's just leave, please?” She begged him.

He looked at her and saw the fear in her eyes. Thought about it for a fraction of a second and then said, “Okay.” He pulled back out of the driveway and headed to Broken Arrow Park. When they pulled into the parking lot, he looked at her and said, “Aria, I know you don't talk to him but why was he at your house?”

She got out of his truck and slammed the door. “What part of I don't know, do you not understand Jacob?”

“Don't yell at me,” he said as he climbed out of his truck, “it was just a question.”

“I'm so sorry. He just scars me.” She was afraid that Jake was going to leave her, she started crying and then as she calmed down she looked back at Jake.

“I know, he hurt you and you won't ever heal all the way, but Baby I'm here to protect you.” His tone was loving and she wasn't use to that yet.

“I know, I just don't want you to get hurt or worse.”

“Fine, but come back over here.” She limped over to him and he wrapped his arms around her waist. “I promise you Aria, he will not come near you while I'm alive.”

“You are so over protective,” Aria said playfully, with a smile and then kissed him. They went and sat down on the picnic tables, as they talked Wyatt pulled up with Jenna in the passenger seat. Aria looked and said, “Jake, our alone time just ran out.”

“Dang, well than we will just have to go somewhere else.” His tone turned playful and it made Aria laugh.

As they got up Wyatt said “Ria, we need to talk.”

“About what?” She was instantly on edge.

“Randall.”

“Why?” She started getting choked up.

“He says you talked to him.”

“I did not. He is just trying to mess up my life again.” She started crying a little and her voice went up an octave.

“Well, why are you getting all defensive if you didn't talk to him then you should be totally calm, so really sis, did he just follow you or did you talk to him?”

Aria was getting ready to say something but Jake stood in front of her and said “Wyatt, stop bringing him up. Don't you see your sister is terrified of him?” His fists were balled up at his sides and he was ready to defend his Baby-Girl.

“I'm sorry, but why did he come back now?” Wyatt said, with a tone that was just irritating.

“What happened exactly six months ago today?” Jake asked, seeing if Wyatt could remember what happened to his sister.

“What's today's date?” He sounded so confused and lost.

“March ninth.”

“You and Aria started dating.”

“What else?” Jake was starting to get irritated with Wyatt. His knuckles were turning white because he kept squeezing his fists tighter.

“I don't remember.” Wyatt was confused and also not paying attention.

Aria looked at Wyatt and said, “Randall tried to kill me for the third time.” She lifted her shirt, just enough so he could see her scar from the stab wound, and some of the marks from the other abuse Randall had given her.

Wyatt looked at his sister, “I'm sorry Ria, I forgot all about that.” He sounded sincere but his face and the stiffness of his body still read, to everyone, like he really didn't care.

“Yeah, you always forget about me.” She ran pass him and climbed in Jake's truck.

Jake looked at Wyatt, shook his head and rolled his eyes. “Good job dude. Now I have to go calm her down...again!” The irritation rang in his words like the bells, Edgar Allan Poe wrote about.

“Dude, I'm sorry I...” Jake cut him off, he didn't want to hear anymore out of Wyatt right now.

“Save it Wyatt.” Jake walked away and left Wyatt standing there in shock. When he climbed in his truck Aria was crying. “Baby, what's the matter?”

“I can't believe Randall is doing it again.” She was so scared; she was curled up in a ball in the seat of Jake's truck.

“Doing what baby?” Jake reached out to her but when she retracted from his touch he pulled his hand away, as though she stung him.

“Ruining my life.” She was mumbling but it was only because she tucked her face into her chest.

“He's not, you're letting him in your mind again.” Jake was getting irritated and surprisingly it wasn't even with Aria, it was with Wyatt and Randall.

“I know, I'm sorry.” She set up and looked at Jake. She was still crying a little so Jake pulled her over to him for a hug, he tucked her face into his chest. He barley heard her when she said, “Jake, can we go see if he is still at my house?”

“Of course.” He started his truck and pulled away, while keeping her close to him. The drive to her house was quiet. Jake's thoughts were racing faster than a fast ball thrown in the major league. Why has this a** come back? I swear if he touches her, I will kill him.

“Jake, he's gone.” Aria's voice broke the silence and her voice rang with relief.

Jake snapped back to reality and said, “Okay, do you want me to come in?”

“No, I will be fine.” She looked away from him.

“Aria, are you sure?” He was still worried about her and hadn't let go of her yet.

“Yeah, I will call you later.” She looked at him and a small smile was on her face.

“Okay.” He kissed her and watched her until she got in the house.

Once Aria was in her room she broke down. She called Randall, once he answered his phone she said, “Where do you want to meet?”

“I knew you would come around. The abandoned Cafe, we can talk.” Excitement coloring his every word.

“Fine, when?” she said unenthusiastically.

“An hour.”

“Okay.” She hung up and started trying to find her keys. She found them and then went out to her car. She pulled out of the driveway at the same time Wyatt was pulling in.



Wyatt sent her text it read:



LittleBro: where u goin sis?

She replied:



BigSis: meetin up wit friends, be home 2night



LittleBro: does jake know



BigSis: no, don't tell, or ur dead



LittleBro: yes, sis, see u 2night. Love u sis.



BigSis: Love u 2 bro.

Aria drove to the Cafe and waited for Randall to show up. When he showed, she walked over to him and said “Okay, now what do you want to talk about?” Her tone was mellow and calm.

“Us and how much you miss me.” he was happy, and excited that they were together.

“I don't miss you Randall, and there is no “Us”” She was already getting irritated, he could tell, but he climbed out of his car anyways.

“I don't believe you, why don't you prove it to me.” his tone was questioning, he moved closer to her, trapping her between him and the cafe.

“You know, I've told no one I talked to you,” she said, trying to be brave.

“I know, but we always were a secret from the other person's family.” He was still being playful, that was the Randall she fell in love with and he was using it to his advantage.

“That's because you were horrible and you beat me every time I did something you didn't approve of.” She saw his game in his eyes and just wanted to get back to Jake, she was regretting this but it had to be done. Her tone made him mad.


“That's not true!” He yelled at her. She flinched away from him, backed towards the cafe and he said “You will date me again, because I've gotten better.”

“I doubt that. You do remember that six months ago you tired to kill me, right?” She asked in a tone that was sure to p*** him off, because she knew in her heart that he would never get better.

“That was a mistake, I'm sorry.” He reached out for her and she flinched away from his reach. He sighed and looked at her with his brown eyes that were somewhat showing that he wasn't going to hurt her.

“Whatever, I wish I could believe you.” She looked at him and as she finished her sentence; she saw the change in his demeanor. She wanted to run but fear held her in place. He glared at her and then haled back and punched her right across the right side of her face. She staggered back and looked at him and said “What happen to you changed?” She was crying and her tone was bleeding with pain and hatred.

“I'm sorry.” He tried to sound sincere but it failed.

“No you’re not!” She screamed at him.

She tired to walk to her car but Randall grabbed her arm and said, “No, stay here. I won't let you leave again.” He was trying to control her again and she wanted to just scream but no one was around to hear her.

“Randall let go,” she said, wanting to just get away from him.

“No.” His grip tightened but when her phone went off, he let go and said, “I will find you later, we are not done talking.” He was threatening her and she was afraid that he would kill her.

She quickly got in her car and drove back to her house. Before she got out of her car, she checked her face and arm in the mirror, the bruises were already starting to form. She looked up and Jake, arms crossed and an irritated look on his face, was waiting for her. She climbed out of the car and Jake said, “Aria, what happened to you?”

“You are going to be mad at me.”

“What?” He said furiously.

“I went and talked to Randall.” She was waiting for him to yell at her and hit her too.

“Why?” He relaxed a little when he saw her fear, and then his tone was more caring.

“I wanted to know why he wouldn't leave me alone.”

“Did he hit you?” His tone returning to furry and protective.

“Yeah, but I don't want you to do anything.”

“That's it...” He tried to walk by her but she grabbed his arm.

“Jake don't, please stay here. I love you.” She grabbed his hand and kissed him. Wyatt walked out and listened to the end of their conversation.

“...no Aria, I'm done. I'm going to kill him tonight.” He pulled his hand out of her's and then said, “Wyatt, get in my truck. Randall is going to die.” Wyatt nodded and they drove away from Aria and she stayed in the driveway waiting to see what happened.

Wyatt said “Jake, where is Randall?”

“The spot where he tried to kill Aria the first time.” Jake was very monotone and he just wanted to snap but he kept it bottled up for Randall.

“Where's that?” Wyatt didn't know anything except that they were going to kill Randall.

“The old baseball field on eleventh street.” His knuckles were white and the steering wheel was digging into his hands.

“Oh.” Wyatt shut up and they drove to the baseball field. They saw Randall's car and when Jake pulled over he grabbed his stiletto knife out of the glove box and stuck in his pocket. Wyatt said “You are going to stab him, won't the cops know that it was murder?”

“No, I have a plan.”

“Okay.” They got out of the truck and went to find Randall. Jake found him and went up to him.

“I told you if you ever touched her I would kill you, did you think I was kidding?” He said standing over him with knife in hand.

“Of course, because you don't have the guts to kill me.” Randall's tone was not helping him. He got up and looked at Jake. “She really must be feeling sorry for you to date you.” That was all that was needed.

Jake shoved the knife into Randall's stomach, twisted it a couple of times, and said, “I'm sure she was more sorry for you, now you won't ever touch her again because there will be no more of you.” Randall was a fast bleeder and it didn't take long for Jake and Wyatt to see the life drain out of his eyes like rain down a gutter.

Jake pulled his knife out of the dead body and said, “Wyatt, punch me and then call the cops.”

“What?” Wyatt thought Jake had gone crazy; his tone wasn't far from conveying that message.

“Punch me, I can claim self defensive.”

“Fine.” Wyatt punched Jake in the face and then in the stomach several times. He quickly called the cops and when they showed up they instantly checked Randall.

“Okay, who stabbed him?”

Jake looked at the officer and said “I did sir, he punched me and came at me while I was on the ground, I was just defending me and my friend.”

The officer looked at Wyatt and said “Wyatt, is that true?”

“Yes, Officer Wagner.”

“Okay, well I know you won't lie to me so I will write this up as self defense, go home guys, but make sure I can reach you if I have questions.”

“Thank you officer and of course.” They quickly climbed into Jake's truck and headed back to Aria's house.

Aria was still outside sitting in the driveway with Sparkles, her dog. Jake pulled in and she ran down to his truck. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, he got a few good blows in but he won't ever come back.”

“You killed him?”

“Yeah.”

“He didn't hit you, trust me, he won't hit guys. Thank you for making it look like self defense, Wyatt.”

“You're welcome sis.” They all laughed and then went inside and had a great night. Of course Aria was happy Randall was gone but she wishes that he didn't have to die to get the point that she hated him.

Aria smiled to herself as one last thought of Randall floated through her head like snow flurries fall from the sky, My one secret killed him, I did miss him being with me but now he is gone forever and there is no way I can tell him that now. I will miss you Randall, but you should have just left me alone, maybe it would have worked out for us in the end, just to be friends, but now I have Jake and a whole lot of softball to play.





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