“Being alone is scary, but not as scary as feeling alone in a relationship.”– Amelia Earhart
Windenburg Weeping Willows Cemetery
Looking up during the funeral of her twin brother’s fiancée Jane, Sophie spotted a familiar face peeking over the fence, the discovery giving her heart a jolt she couldn’t suppress, upsetting her. Why was she happy to see him?! He was not worth it. He gestured for her to meet him by the gate.
Sneaking away from the other guests who were too engrossed in their mourning and listening to the pastor’s funeral speech to notice, Sophie met Stryker at the cemetery entrance, mostly to make sure he wasn’t just going to try and join them if she were to ignore him.
“What are you doing here?” she asked with a subdued voice.
“I heard about Silas’ fiancée … ahem … Jane, right? I am so sorry. My condolences.”
“Thanks, but you shouldn’t be here.”
“Sophie … can we talk, please? I know I fuc… messed up bad. I need a chance. Just one last time.”
“No. I have NOTHING left to say to you. A thousand chances won’t fix this. Fool me once, … I learned that you won’t change. Not for me.”
“Soph …” his voice cracked as he reached out to touch her.
She pushed his hand off, shaking her head at him.
“Nuh uh. No. I want to, Stryker, I want to believe you, that you changed, but I can’t. I tried. You trampled my feelings again and again. It hurts so bad! I get that you are in a rock band and say for those it is normal to go to strip clubs and whatever, not something I like, but I could probably deal with. But you so clearly cheating on me again and again … I am not stupid, know that this wasn’t the first time. And I also know it won’t be the last. Enough already. I am better off alone.” Sophie told him.
“That wasn’t really me … I wasn’t thinking straight. It was the drugs, Sophie, I swear it, I can’t think right when I am using. I know I shouldn’t be, but the silence gets so loud in my head … deafening. I feel like I have to do something, or my head will explode. Hard to explain. I need to turn it off and I can only do that with a lot of booze or … stuff. I made mistakes. I am flawed. Look, we have a break in touring coming up. I can try rehab again. Maybe this time I can do it. For you.”
“Do it for yourself. For Spencer. If you keep going this way, you’re not gonna see 40. Or even 30. Don’t do it for me. It doesn’t make a difference now. I can’t trust you anymore. You don’t even know how much you hurt and humiliated me.”
“I do. I DO! Soph … and I hate myself for that so much! I need you and Spencer. I can’t do this without you both.”
“I am not taking your son from you. You can still see him. It’s just me that’s out. Shouldn’t be so hard to replace, hasn’t been so far!” Sophie snapped at him.
“Sophie please. Please don’t be like this, girl, don’t do this to me. I’ll try harder. I promise. Please. I need you.”
“Why do you need me? To feed you? Or for when all the hookers and strippers and groupies are too busy?” Sophie aired her pain about his betrayal.
“Soph, that’s not what this is about. It’s different. Like another drug. I love you. YOU. And ONLY you. Well, and Spencer of course.”
“Doesn’t change anything. You still cheat willy-nilly. What kind of love is that? Maybe – MAYBE – I could forgive once, but not machine-gun style.”
“I do love you, and only you, Sophie. I swear it! Love had nothing to do with it when I was with someone else. It’s like another drug. Serves a purpose. With you I make love, with them I just fuck. That’s it. No feelings involved. Get the release and get out. That’s it. With you I want to stay, forever.”
“You are a hot mess!”
“That’s something we can agree on …” Stryker smiled sadly.
They both stood there in silence, looking at each other, Sophie felt her heart softening, when suddenly her dad showed up, grabbing Stryker and her by the arms, pulling them with towards the front of the church, out of the line of sight of the other funeral guests.
“YOU HAVE SOME NERVE SHOWING UP HERE, KID!” Jay ranted at Stryker.
“I had to see Sophie.” Styker argued, sounding almost whiny.
“Stryker, son, I am fighting the urge to bust your teeth in. I don’t think my sons would be so restrained, and I know for a fact my wife will not be. If Abby sees you, she will punch you into next week, kid. She does not want you anywhere near our daughter and I think I agree. You can see your kid, supervised, but that’s as far as it goes. You need to leave. We have a funeral to attend, then a dinner with only immediate family. You have my full sympathy for all your issues, nobody understands that emotional twilight hell better than I do, but you are not trying hard enough to fix yourself for my taste. See that you get some proper help and soon, take if from someone who’s been there, it only gets harder with each day that passes.”
Stryker nodded and watched Jay put his arm protectively around Sophie’s shoulders as they left him standing there and rejoined the funeral.
Windenburg Old Downtown Area
One night after work he was waiting for her, leaning up to a fountain near the restaurant Sophie worked at, smoking a cigarette.When she first saw him she rolled her eyes, but then she had to giggle.
“Are you here to mug me? What’s with the hood? It’s not raining. Did you just get back from robbing a bank?”
With a shrug and very subdued he shook his head. Initially Sophie thought he was on drugs again, but then realized his eyes looked sad. He was depressed, not high.
“Naw, I get recognized now. Was cool initially, now it’s a big drag. Is it too late to see Spencer?” he asked.
“Yes. He’s at the Estate, probably fast asleep, spending he night with grandma and grandpa and his cousins. Sorry.”
“Can I visit with you if I promise to be a real good boy? I promise I will leave right away if you tell me to. Just a little while …”
Sophie closed her eyes and inhaled. She was so tempted.
She missed him so much. Despite of all. And he seemed so down … so very sad.
When she opened her eyes again and exhaled, she nodded and could clearly see the relief washing over what little was visible of Stryker’s face as he put out his cigarette and flicked it away.
Walking home next to each other, pushing her bicycle, his arm eventually wrapped around her waist. She allowed it. Somehow, she could tell he needed her. And she wanted that feeling too. Maybe she needed him here too. Why did she have to fall in love with him? Why?!
By the time she had parked her bike and was digging for her house keys, Stryker told her.
“I am gonna buy you a car as soon as the real money starts coming in. A real nice one, for you and Spencer. Should be soon now that the dough starts raining in, it has, but all went to pay the big bills for the tour and shit, we barely saw any of it. I’ll get a bigger place too, a nicer one, so you and Spencer and come over and it’s not so crammed. I think a G-Wagon would look good on you and have room for all the baby stuff.”
Sophie looked at him.
“You do not need to buy me a car, Stryker. I have a job and I can borrow a car if I need it or someone in my family can take me. Just don’t forget you have a son. That is all I want you to do. Be there like you promised you would.”
She unlocked the door, they both entered the living room, went through the excited greetings of the Havanese dogs Huey and Molly, then Sophie turned to Stryker.
“Are you hungry?”
“Oh … you just got off working in a kitchen.”
“I know what I do for a living. Do you want food or no?”
“I’d kill for your cooking. Food on the road is … well … not Sophie’s.”
“Sit. What do you feel like?”
“One of everything you got and are willing to make.”
She got busy with a mix of leftovers and fresh meals, watched him devour most everything, they cleaned up together then ended up on the couch to wind down. Sophie moved uncomfortably, without a word Stryker began to massage her neck, which felt so good, a tiny moan escaped her.
It all went fast from there. He kissed her, she knew she should stop it, but couldn’t, latched onto him and was almost more demanding than him. The first clothing items fell … which was when Sophie paused and pulled away.
“Don’t. I am filthy. I smell like … commercial kitchen. I need a shower.”
Stryker got up, took her hand and pulled her with to the bathroom, turned on her hot water, then began peeling her out of her clothing, kissing every inch of her, but remained dressed.
When the room was filled with hot steam, he let go of her.
“Don’t stop. Please … don’t stop now.” Sophie nearly begged him, as she pulled him in for more.
That was invite enough for him. He nearly tore his clothing off himself and they ended up in the shower together. Sophie felt so relieved and good with him there. Her little moments of heavenly bliss.
He spent the night. Sophie woke up in the middle of it, instantly checking if it had been a dream. He was apparently awake too, as a smile curled up his lips.
“Did you think I snuck out? Or were you hoping I would have? Sorry to disappoint, your failure on two legs is still right here.” Stryker chuckled without even opening his eyes.
“No, silly. Don’t talk like that about yourself. And I was just making sure you were real and not just a figment of my imagination. Hm, you feel pretty real to me.” she giggled.
She began kissing him, he moaned pleased, enjoying the caress.
When she stopped the kissing to go back to sleep, he protested.
“Don’t stop now. Don’t leave me hanging like that, girl. That’s just cruel. Don’t be cruel.” he coaxed, smirking.
“It’s late …”
“Then we better hurry up!” he grabbed her and pulled her atop of himself, kissing her in a longing kind of way while moving himself so she could feel his excitement. That did it. She ripped her nightie off and they went into it again.
“Oh God yes ….” she moaned.
“I agree! Yes! More … you are more addictive than any substance, beautiful.” he mumbled in between kisses as he began to thrust.
Things progressed quickly from there, they became more and more passionate, reminding Sophie of that night at the hotel after the Starlight Accolades ceremony. She knew this was wrong, she knew she was sending the wrong signals, but she just didn’t care anymore. She needed this, wanted this. Needed and wanted HIM.
All their issues now seemed so nonsensical, so little, she just didn’t care anymore. All she cared about was how good it felt to have him like this, her lover, the father of her baby, so close to her lifelong dream of a happy family.
Eventually both fell into an exhausted slumber, her wrapped up in his arms.
After breakfast the next morning, which really was only a few hours later, Stryker left. His motorcycle was parked somewhere in the old downtown near where Sophie worked, so he had quite the walk ahead of him. Sophie decided to get dressed, soon her mom or dad would bring over Spencer anyway.
While looking in the mirror as she was brushing her teeth, she noticed something on the floor, partially under the shelf she kept towels and supplies on.
A phone. Stryker’s phone.
Had to have fallen out of his jeans when they got busy in here last night and slipped under the shelf.
She rinsed her mouth, then picked up the phone. Hesitantly at first, she tapped on it, but it was locked.
Oh well, probably for the better. She shouldn’t be snooping.
Back in her bedroom after making the bed, the phone suddenly rang. She grabbed it.
Should she? That was when she saw a girl’s name come up.
Sophie couldn’t help but tap the ‘Answer’ button.
“Stryker? Are you there?” a female voice inquired. To Sophie, she sounded beautiful and sexy. Probably some model. Someone a lot prettier than her. And thinner.
“Hmm hmm” Sophie made as deep as she could muster.
“Stryker, I gotta see you. It’s important. Hello? Are you still there? Stryker? Answer! Why aren’t you saying anything? Are you strung out again?! Get it together, we have to meet. I think I am pregnant.”
Sharply inhaling the air, Sophie dropped the phone, then picked it up quickly, ended the call and turned off the phone completely, just in case that girl called back.
Tears shot into her eyes instantly. She fought them back, as she heard a motorcycle pull up. By the time Stryker knocked, she had already opened the door, slammed the phone into his chest, then slammed the door shut in his face.
“Soph! SOPH! What the hell! What was that all about? What just happened?!” he called out surprised.
“Go away and NEVER come back here! You piece of shit! You lying monster!” Sophie yelled through the door.
“Sophie, I don’t get it. What happened?!” Stryker sounded genuine.
“Your other chick called. She’s pregnant you asshole! She’s probably one of many. I forgot the name on the Caller ID. Kelly or something. Or maybe it was Nicole. I don’t know and I don’t care!” Sophie sniffled.
“Sophie stop! That means nothing! Chicks say that all the time, ever since Stryke 3 started getting famous! The only time it was ever true was when you told me that. These chicks are lying, they think clinging onto me will make them famous or rich or some shit. Blaine warned us this would happen, it’s even happened to him and Chase and Colton. If you don’t believe me, ask them. Please do. Happens to everyone once they start getting famous. I swear I don’t have another chick. You are the only one I care about. I love you Sophie. I mean it!” Stryker sounded sincere, watching Sophie sliding down the door into a seated position through the glass insets.
“Great way to love someone. Blaine and Chase and Colton and all those other celebs probably never actually slept with the girls – but you DID! We both know you did! So, this girl MAY well be telling the truth. That’s disgusting. Poor Spencer. He shouldn’t have siblings he won’t know, like you do. How could you do that?” Sophie argued back.
“Okay, true you got me there, I admit I took a few of them to pound town while I was fucking high as a kite, but I used condoms all the time. I swear it! I am not that stupid! They are nothing but lies. The girl wants to use me to get famous. All those women you think I’ve been with were nothing but itches that were scratched, that’s what they do, screw celebs to get somewhere in life. To me it was meaningless, because I thought I was single, and I was miserable because of it. I don’t even know any names, didn’t matter. Nameless holes for me to … well … you know.”
“Meaningless?! That is chauvinistic and even if it were true what you say that you don’t know what you are doing when you are high, how would you remember to protect yourself?! It’s all lies. We didn’t even use a condom last night, neither time! You didn’t even offer. Oh God, I probably have every STD known to mankind now because of you! Lucky for both of us, I am on birth control now. And besides, if she meant nothing, why would a one-night-stand have your phone number, huh?! So, you’re either really dumb and don’t know how things work or you are a liar! Which is it, Stryker? And I am dumb too! So dumb! I fell for your act again! Get the heck away from me and stay gone! I am really done now. I knew better than to give you a chance. I am such an idiot.”
“Sophie – I have to leave again tomorrow! Please don’t do this! Don’t make me leave like this. Please, let’s talk about this. I swear I’ll be better. I swear I thought we were broken up and it didn’t matter what I did with whom. Had I known there was even the slightest chance something like last night could happen I would not have touched any other woman again! We were getting so close again last night. Don’t be like this now! Please don’t believe her! I don’t know how she has my number; I didn’t give it to anyone, I swear! I admit I slept with some girls, but I was careful, and I didn’t trade contacts with them! I won’t look at another woman ever again if you give me a chance. Please Soph. I’ll cut my fucking dick off if that’s what you want. I swear it! No more women. “
“I HATE YOU! HATE YOU! We are so over forever! Go away! Find another girl whose life you can turn upside down again and again and then ruin her for life! You are a monster!”
Stryker tried and tried, but eventually Jay showed up to bring Spencer home and made sure Stryker left.
Sophie ignored all of Stryker’s calls and texts and refused the flowers a courier tried to hand her some days later.
3 thoughts on “Chapter 402) Ruined”
Poor Sophie. I’m surprised she gave in, but then the heart wants what it wants and she was hurting and needed the closeness he was offering. I’m not sure if I believe him or not. He’s gotta be hurting bad now. I hope he doesn’t do something extreme to dull his pain which I can totally see happening. Ugh. Closing my eyes for the next chapter or two.
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She is crushing on him so hard – no, she downright loves him, so she forgives, even when she shouldn’t (and said she wouldn’t).
It is hard to figure out Stryker. Either he is a playa and a liar or he’s a hot mess, probably some of both.
Sophie is the most gullible and naive of all 5 siblings, so she is probably never gonna learn. Neither is he with his substance abuse, still resisting to get help.
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I don’t really think he’s a player until he’s stoned. I believe he wants to try but is too insecure when he’s around the temptation and is stresses. And yes, she loves him and is lonesome too.
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