Desperate Remedies

Submitted into Contest #248 in response to: Write a story titled 'Desperate Remedies'.... view prompt


Drama Romance Crime

This story contains sensitive content

Trigger Warning: Violence and the mention of substance abuse.

Ryan stands across the street from the Manchester Inn, taking a moment to compose himself as the rain plays a symphony on the objects that line the street like an orchestra of percussion instruments. The Inn has a more welcoming look to it than a hotel, once being the Mayor’s Victorian style mansion. Fifty years ago, it was sold and remodeled into what it is today, an inn containing ten suites and five-star restaurant. Ryan crosses the street to the expansive covered porch where he peers through the window into the parlor. There inside he sees Sienna warming herself on the hearth next to the fire, reading one of the inn’s complementary books that she pulled from the shelves next to the fireplace. Like him, she walked and didn’t think about bringing an umbrella. Her usually thick mane of wavy chestnut hair was soaked and stringy, but to Ryan she looked beautiful. He enters the foyer to the clank of an old brass bell hanging above the door. A stout man with a halo of hair and beady eyes who introduces himself as Stanley welcomes him with a warm smile. Ryan gives him his name and pays him with cash for a night’s stay. Sienna enters the foyer upon hearing Ryan’s voice and takes him by the arm resting her head on his bicep as Stanley retrieves their key.

“Would you like to grab dinner while the dining room is still open,” Ryan asks her. She looks at him with adoring green-diamond eyes and nods yes with a shimmering smile.

The dining room consists of small tables suitable for two-person dining, each one lit by candlelight. The music is low and soft, much like the lighting. The conversation amongst the other patrons is a light hum, hardly distracting. Their sever, Kevin, greets them with glasses of water, a wine list, and a list of the day’s specials. Ryan orders filet mignon with baked potato and asparagus. Sienna requests the lobster ravioli. Both agree on a bottle of white zinfandel. Kevin takes his lists and tells them he’ll be back shortly with their wine.

“Did your mom agree to keep the girls,” Sienna asks, taking a sip of her water.

“Yeah, she knows what Rachel has been up to recently. She doesn’t know the extent of it, or how long it has been going on, but she knows I need a break,” Ryan replies, putting his napkin in his lap.

“You do, Ryan. I could tell you were at you’re breaking point at the girls’ birthday party,” Sienna says as Kevin returns with the wine and two glasses.

“May I,” Kevin asks, gesturing to the wine.

“Yes, please,” Ryan says.

Kevin pours each of them a glass and asks, “Is there anything else I can do for you? An appetizer or salad perhaps?”

“No thank you, Kevin. I think we are fine,” Ryan tells him, and the server walks away.

“I was happy for her that she got the promotion, but to show up late to her daughters’ birthday party drunk, acting the way she did. It was atrocious. Thank you for taking care of her and putting her to bed. I didn’t have the patience,” Ryan says.

“How do you feel about going through with this, with us?”

“I filed for divorce today. She will be served in a day or two. I understood that she wanted to advance in her career. It started off with some long hours, which was understandable. Long hours turned into happy hours. Happy hours turned into dinners. Dinners turned into entertaining clients late at night. That turned into her coming home in the wee hours of the morning, smelling of alcohol and men’s cologne. She’s not quiet about it. I have to be up early. She just does a rail of coke and is off like a rabbit after two hours of sleep. I’m working, taking care of the house, and raising the girls alone. I’m tired of it.”

“I know. I see it. She calls me all the time to watch the girls while she runs around. I see you struggling. I want to help. I try to help. It makes me angry that she treats you the way she does. You’re a good guy, unlike Roger, who I broke up with. He treated me like another piece of property to show off to his buddies. He would have me get all dolled up for his business functions, parade me around, and then make me go sit with the stuck-up wives and gold-digging girlfriends. I have nothing in common with people like that. I’m appalled by people like that.”

“Well, here is to new beginnings,” Ryan says raising his glass to a toast.

Sienna clinks his glass with hers and says, “To new beginnings.”

Kevin brings out the food, and the food brings out the smiles. The aroma is tantalizing, and they can’t wait to begin eating. Before they do, they split their orders. A tradition they have had since the first time they ate out together.

“Do you think you’ll get the girls? You should. If you need me to speak on your behalf I will.”

“Thanks, Sienna, I’ll think about that. I filed for full custody. She will probably do the same. It’s going to get ugly. She thinks I’m stupid. She thinks I don’t know about all the men, the booze, and the drugs. I can probably request a drug test, but I have no proof she’s been sleeping around. I never called her out on it because she would just deny it. I never tried busting her in the act because I didn’t want to see it. Most of the guys I know who go through divorce end up losing everything, and they didn’t have a wife as shrewd, conniving, manipulative, well connected, and cold-hearted as Rachel. I have to tell you; the whole thing scares me.”

“I’ll be surprised if she even wants the girls. She doesn’t spend any time with them as it is. When she does, she’s irritable and treats them like a burden.”

“Yeah, but you know how vindictive she gets. She’ll do anything to hurt me. She’ll take the girls and make it difficult for me to see them. She’ll go after whatever property she can, even if it means liquidating it. I own twenty-five percent of my father’s construction company. He’s going to flip if Rachel becomes part owner after this. She’ll go for every red cent she can. Mark my words.”

“I’m well aware of Rachel’s vindictiveness, and her greed. I wish she would go away, disappear, and leave us alone.”

“Yeah,” Ryan says with a chuckle. “I wish we could make her disappear.”

“Maybe you can. Sell everything. Give her the money in exchange for the girls and we start over. My place is small, but it is a two bedroom. It’ll work. Surely your dad will let you drive a company truck for a while. I would pay any amount of money to get you and the girls away from her. You’re not the only one she has been hurting. I see the disappointment on those girls faces every time she breaks a promise. I see the fear and hurt in their eyes when she yells at them for no particular reason. If I didn’t love you and the girls so much, I would have told her where to go a long time ago. I’m tired of being used. I don’t make a lot of money, but it should supplement whatever she takes. Please, I just want her to be gone so you and I and the girls can be a family.”

“I’ll talk to my lawyer. See if he won’t make the offer.”

“Thank you. I really do think that is what is best for all of us. So, what do you say we order another bottle of wine and head on up to the room where I can relieve some of the tension this conversation has put on you,” Sienna says to him, caressing his arm, looking at him provocatively.

Ryan orders the wine. Kevin brings it to him along with the check. They pay and leave the dining room. The wine works its way to their heads, making them feel tipsy and playful. Ryan tickles Sienna’s ribs. She laughs and wrestles away from him, running up the stairs. He gives chase, catching her at their room door, trapping her against it. They kiss passionately, breathing heavily, grabbing each other firmly.

“What do you say,” Ryan asks, holding up the key. “Are you ready?”

“Ready? I’ve been waiting,” Sienna says with a sultry voice.

Ryan opens the door, and they walk in. Sienna turns to put her arms around Ryan and kiss him but screams at the sight of Rachel standing behind the door with a gun aimed right at them, her blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail, her piercing blue eyes like daggers. Ryan spins around.

“Jesus, Rachel, what do you think you are doing,” Ryan demands.

“Getting answers. Sit on the bed, both of you. My firm has your lawyer on retainer dumbass. He called me once you left his office. Then a little bird of mine let me know when you checked in. So, what do you think you’re doing, huh? How long has this been going on, Ryan? How long have you been banging my sister?”

“We have yet…,” Sienna began with a furious tone.

“Shut up! You don’t get to talk bitch! Don’t think I haven’t noticed your little wheels turning, thinking about how you could win him over since day one.”

“That’s a load of crap, Rachel. She’s been nothing but helpful. You were the one running around at all hours of the night, getting drunk, getting high, getting laid. Whatever it took to move up.”

“You don’t know anything. Where is your proof? All I’ve been doing is working hard to give my family a better life. This middle-class, working for daddy lifestyle is not enough for me, Ryan. I didn’t ask you to provide me with more, I went out there and did what I had to do to make it happen.”

“Yeah, and I know what those things are,” Ryan tells her. “Look, you never have time for the girls and when you are around them, they irritate you. How about we sell everything, you take the money, I take the girls, and we go our separate ways.”

“Awe, do you two want to live happily ever after as one big happy family? Now what does that say about me? If I can’t manage my family, how can I be expected to manage the division? No. There will be no deal. There will be no divorce. You and the girls are mine. You may be boring, Ryan, but you’re pretty. I’m going to enjoy parading you around like a trophy wife. Or should I call you my little boy toy.”

“He is not your toy,” Sienna exclaims, “How dare you treat him the way you do. You don’t care about him. You don’t care about the twins. You don’t care about me. The only person Rachel has ever cared about is Rachel.

Shaking her head, Rachel brushes off Sienna like she’s a stupid child, and turns her attention to Ryan.

“You can’t make me stay, Rachel. I want out. I will find another lawyer. I will file for divorce. You cannot keep the girls from me. I am leaving with or without them.”

“I can’t let you leave, Ryan. You’re mine,” Rachel said, void of emotion.

“You have to, Rachel. I’m not property. Accept the fact that it’s Sienna I love, not you, and I plan on spending the rest of my life with her.”

“That cannot happen,” Rachel says reaching into her purse and pulling out a metal tube.

“Is that a silencer?”

“I’m not telling people I couldn’t keep my family together.”

“How did you get a silencer?”

“I’m not going to watch you two with my girls on the holidays playing house.”

“Okay, Rachel, this has gone too far,” Sienna says, standing up from the bed and motioning with her hands to calm down.

“It’s just better this way,” and with one fluid motion she raises the gun and pulls the trigger, hitting Ryan in the chest.

Sienna startles and immediately goes into shock. Rachel walks right up to her sister and puts a bullet in her head. She turns to Ryan, hovering over him. He’s spitting up frothy blood, struggling to breathe. She watches him for a minute, fascinated by how desperately he is clinging to life. Then she puts a bullet in his head.

With a handkerchief, Rachel grabs Sienna’s purse. She stuffs it with Ryan’s wallet and watch along with Sienna’s diamond studded earrings. Removing the silencer, she shoves the gun in there as well. She goes downstairs where she is greeted by Stanley. “Is all said and done?”

“Yes. I trust that when you call the cops you will give them the description I gave you.”

“Yes, ma’am. So, what are you going to do with the evidence?”

“I’m going to throw my sister’s purse, containing the gun and their valuables through the broken window in that crack house on Hannover. I’m sure they’ll get to rummaging through it, getting their fingerprints all over everything. The description I gave you is of a guy I have seen go in and out of there repeatedly.”

“I hope this means that your patronage will continue. Your loyalty and the little bit of business we do at the restaurant is all that keeps us open anymore.”

“Don’t worry, Stanley. This is just the beginning of the business I will be bringing your way,” Rachel says as she exits the foyer.

Stanley watches as Rachel crosses the porch, descends the steps, and disappears into the fog, grateful that he made a deal with the devil to keep his establishment running just a little bit longer.

April 29, 2024 07:09

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Trudy Jas
15:12 Apr 30, 2024

Oof! Great story. It had to end this way. The only one who'ds desperate enough is Rachel. twice you switched tenses. 1. half the food went to the other and 2. the wine went to the their head. Otherwise, flawless. :-)


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22:43 Apr 29, 2024

Interesting story! I wonder if it would be more impactful if you dropped the entire first para and start the story with "Ryan stands across..." I'm not sure we need all that description in the first para. If there is something the reader particularly needs to know you can weave it in elsewhere. Just a thought. I also found myself wanting to know more about Karen. Why is she so evil? What is her backstory? Anyway, good story, thanks for sharing!


Ty Warmbrodt
00:53 Apr 30, 2024

I'm going to take your advice on the 1st para. The back story on Karen, is that she is the older of daughters of a narcissistic mother and had to compete for attention with the favorite. This is a condensed piece.


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Graham Kinross
23:13 May 14, 2024

Great story Ty. I like the deal with the Devil stuff.


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TE Wetzel
00:37 May 08, 2024

Interesting story but White Zinfandel is objectively horrendous. Order the Chardonnay for the love of all that's holy! I kind of wanted them both to die after that. - Certified Wine Snob from Northern CA


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Rat A Tatat
16:26 May 06, 2024

Wow just wow this was a truly terrifying piece and how graphic it seemed! So tragic so planned out so evil I LOVED it


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Helen A Smith
16:06 May 05, 2024

It was always going to end badly when two sisters were involved. Ryan seriously underestimate his wife! Clearly not a good person to cross. Would like to have known a bit more about Sienna to counterbalance her poison. A good story.


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Darvico Ulmeli
17:27 May 02, 2024

I like how the dialogue flows naturally and reveals the complex relationships between the characters. The story is gripping and provoking, exploring betrayal, manipulation, and desperation themes. Love that the story has unexpected twists and turns.


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Kristi Gott
00:05 May 01, 2024

I could visualize this like a film because the descriptions of settings. action, and characters and the dialogue painted a picture. A suspenseful page turner!


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Alexis Araneta
15:02 Apr 30, 2024

Oooh, very gripping. I certainly did not expect Rachel to "win" in this situation; that sure was a sucker-punch. As usual, splendid use of description. Splendid work ! (And in case you're confused, yep, it's Stella. This is my real name. 😂😂)


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Mary Bendickson
16:58 Apr 29, 2024

Cold hearted KAREN.


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