Are you ready for the next chapter? I definitely recommend reading Chapter One of Collected first if you haven’t already. I am so excited to be sharing these first four chapters with all of you. However I ask that you please keep in mind these chapters are pre-editor and some things may change before final publication. I would also like to note again that I am currently accepting donations in an effort to cover costs of hiring a professional editor. If you are interested in donating there is more information after the chapter. Regardless I thank you for stopping by, reading, and I truly hope you enjoy!
Stepping into the mall through the main entrance on the first floor Rian looked around herself with slightly widened eyes. Her head was pounding, but she was impressed with the size of the place, as well as the amount of people that seemed to be bustling around one another like happy little worker bees. Only instead of collecting honey and building a hive, they were collecting merchandise from the various stores and kiosks the mall had to offer them.
Rian couldn’t help noticing the good spirits in people that seemed to surround her. Oddly enough it made her feel more alone.
Everyone I know is back in Florida. She sulked to herself as her feet slowly carried her forward. I can’t call a single one of them. They’ll all say the same thing. It’s just me now.
Hearing her phone begin to vibrate again in her purse, Rian sighed as she reached into the bag and saw it was her best friend Laura. “I can’t…” she whispered as she put her phone on silence and dropped it back in her bag.
Making her way slowly towards the center she noticed the large elevator doors open, followed by a happy young couple walking out hand in hand. They were smiling and gazing at one another lovingly. They were so completely enraptured with one another that Rian was sure the rest of the world didn’t exist beyond them in that moment.
“Idiots.” she mumbled as she passed by them and stepped into the elevator.
The girl seemed to take notice of Rian as the two made eye contact briefly while the doors closed. Rian sighed and turned around noticing the walls of the elevator were glass and she could see all around her in the mall.
As the elevator rose to the top floor she spotted a carousel across the way in the food court. It was huge with what appeared to be a complete menagerie.
When the doors popped open, Rian turned towards the opening and exited off the elevator. She made her way through the crowd as the scents coming from the food court wafted over to her. She felt a rumble in her stomach as she realized she hadn’t eaten since noon the day before. It was after all as she was getting ready to go out for dinner that Dillion opted to make his announcement of leaving her.
As Rian began to make her way towards the food court she heard a waltz tune overshadow the noise of people. Startled by this she looked over to the carousel. It was going round and she could tell people were happy on it. Children appeared to be laughing, but for a moment all she heard was the music. It seemed almost deafening to her, but as she looked around it appeared most people just went about unfazed by the loudness of the music playing.
Standing there in a daze Rian couldn’t understand why she was the only one bothered by the loudness of the music. Maybe I’m still drunk. She thought to herself as she looked back to the carousel with a single raised brow.
Her mind couldn’t break away from it. The sounds from the traditional waltz tune seemed to take over her as it was all she could hear. Though around her it appeared people were still laughing, talking, and going about their business, Rian felt frozen in place. Watching up until the amusement ride was slowing down and coming to a stop.
Once the music ended she could suddenly hear the crowd around her once again. She heard people all over the food court. Blinking her eyes a few times she looked around. Everything felt normal and sounded normal again.
“This must be one hell of a hangover.” Rian mumbled to herself with a shake of her head as she headed towards a sub shop.
While in line she heard the waltz music had started back up. She turned to glance back at the carousel; it wasn’t as loud this time. Or well it didn’t appear to be. Rian looked though as she saw what appeared to be a father and daughter getting on. She watched as the little girl pointed to an animal and her father picked her up placing her on it. It made her think of the first time she had ever ridden a carousel.
It was Rian’s fourth birthday when her parents brought her to see a small carnival that had popped up in town. She was so excited to ride on the carousel and when her father had walked with her on it she felt giddiness all over her little body. Rian was quick to find a white horse that was brilliantly decorated. It seemed to be the most decorated horse on the whole thing.
“This one daddy!” she remembered excitedly expressing to her father who seemed amused by her eagerness.
“Okay princess.” He had smiled as he lifted her up from the ground and placed her atop the horse. “You hang on here.” he had instructed towards the pole the horse was attached to.
A young Rian used her grip tightly as she giggled and practically bounced with excitement. Her mother off on the sidelines watching as the music began to play and the carousel began to turn. She squealed with delight as it took off and she felt the faux galloping of the horse she rode. Each turn around she waved enthusiastically to her mother with one hand, while holding tight to the pole with another.
“Look mommy!” she called out with each wave. Rian remembered seeing her mother’s beautiful smile as she watched from the sidelines.
She remembered giggling as she looked to her father.
“Excuse me ma’am?” the voice foreign to her snapped her out of her memory.
“Is she okay?” another voice questioned.
“Maybe she’s mentally ill.” a different voice seemed to suggest.
Rian turned back around to find she was next in line. There was a couple off to the side who was looking at her curiously. The young kid behind the counter seemed to be feeling slightly impatient.
“Can I help you ma’am?” he questioned, for what she could guess had been more than once by the tone of his voice.
“Uh yes, oh yes…” Rian stammered slightly as she cleared her throat and stepped up to the counter.
“What can I get you?” the kid sounded irritated, but instead of walking away from him she opted to avoid looking at the couple down the way getting their food.
“Meatball sub please.” Rian ordered after a quick glance to the menu above.
The young kid seemed to wait for more from her, but when she didn’t say anything else he just grabbed some bread and started preparing it.
Rian could feel eyes on her, so she snuck a glance to the couple who seemed to be snickering about something with a small glance to her as they were walking away from the counter and over to the tables.
Smooth Rian. Real smooth. She shook her head slightly at herself, making her way to the register to pay for her food.
Upon paying and receiving her order, Rian turned quickly away from the sub shop and went to find a place to eat. She was lost in her own little world it seemed that day, but could anyone blame her? She was all alone in a place where she really didn’t know anyone. The only person she did know broke her heart right before her birthday, and on her birthday was going through the apartment they once shared to gather his belongings.
“Asshole!” she blurted out of anger when thinking of it. Her eyes shot wide though as a light crimson quickly colored her cheeks when she realized that thought came out loud and people were staring at her. Putting her head down she quickly walked further away from those who heard her. Rian found a small open table near the carousel.
As she settled in her seat, Rian grabbed up her sandwich. She could hear the waltz music begin again. Bringing up the sub as if she was about to take a bite, she paused. She was easily fixated on the mixture of creatures going around and around. Then she saw it. A white horse, beautifully decorated like the one she rode when she was four. Setting her food down, she grabbed her purse and headed over to the line for the next carousel ride.
Chapter Three goes live on Monday (October 15th) at 9:00am EST! If you enjoyed this chapter and want to help support me as a writer in getting this professionally edited, then please feel free to send donations through PayPal by clicking the button below.
I do ask all donators (no matter how much you give) please include their name in a note during the transaction. I will be including a special ‘thank you’ page dedicated to all donators in this effort. So whatever name you would like to be known as is what you should include in that note if you choose to donate.
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