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Exiled by Ryan and Niki Traynor Chapter 6

Chapter 6 

Noel decided not to bring up the awful fight they’d had and didn’t grill Cheyenne about where she’d been. He didn’t care and only wanted things to get back to normal. Things did start to improve after the night they’d had dinner with Freddy. Noel decided to go back to work and Cheyenne began to be the mother he always wanted her to be. She took care of the baby, cleaned the house, did laundry, and made dinner with startling efficiency. The change in behavior was so welcoming that Noel ran right out and bought his wife a beautiful black leather coat she’d been dropping hints about for the last year. 
A few days later, he came home with the coat gift wrapped and Cheyenne’s face lit up like the morning sun. She ripped it open right away and Noel helped her put it on. First, she ran over to the full length mirror to admire the unexpected present and then kissed her delighted husband for a couple minutes. They slid into bed and Noel felt like he was on fire. The next day he called up Freddy and arranged plans for them to go to Freddy’s favorite nightclub, The Hotwire, that weekend. Freddy strongly objected, but after some annoying persistence he gave in to a night out as the third wheel. 
He was genuinely happy that Noel and Cheyenne had patched things up, but he really wasn’t in the mood to go out. The upcoming Friday rolled around with surprising speed and he was all set up to ditch his friends when it dawned on him. He had a date with Caroline that night and he wanted to get a second opinion on whether or not he should break up with her. The two couples met up in the parking lot of the club and Noel introduced himself and his significant other. Caroline responded cheerfully, “It’s great to meet you. I’ve heard so much about you two and it’s nice to meet people that mean so much to Freddy.” 
Freddy winked at his friends and added, “Well, should we go inside and order some drinks?” They agreed and the night proceeded relatively smoothly. Caroline and Cheyenne got along fine and chatted for most of the night without interruption. Freddy asked Noel to observe her and try to get in a few words edge wise in order to get a feel for her. Caroline did magnificently and received rave reviews, so Freddy took her home and broke up with her once and for good. It was achieved the only way he knew how, by telling the truth. She stormed off in a blazing fury and said she never wanted to speak with him ever again as long as she lived. 

A couple smooth months passed by uninterrupted, allowing Noel the chance to dig into his work and make some money for the family. He was able buy Cheyenne a small used Honda Civic. His home remodeling business had transformed over the past two years into a slightly bigger prospect; ownership. He figured he could make more money in the long run if he owned the houses that were fixed up and rented them out. The strategy was sound but relied on many factors to fall into place seamlessly. It was painstaking work, but he had faith it would all work out. The down side of his plan was that he would have to put in even more hours than usual, which left Cheyenne with more responsibilities than ever before. He discussed the arrangements with her and they decided to go ahead with it. 
Now, he found himself back in the mix of things making the small time wheels of industry turn with determination mixed with elbow grease. Furthermore, he’d scheduled in time to hang out with his best friend and family. There was an upcoming football game that he bought tickets for the upcoming Sunday. He asked his parents to watch Lilith and they agreed wholeheartedly. Noel squirmed with anticipation the entire week waiting to go see the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field play the dreaded Green Bay Packers. He called Freddy and didn’t receive quite the amount of enthusiasm he expected to, but figured the guy was tired from working long
hours at his new job. The game would be featured on Sunday Night Football and was scheduled to begin at seven fifteen p.m. 
At the last minute, Cheyenne claimed she didn’t feel good and would rather stay home. Noel felt slightly distraught, but agreed it might be for the best if that what she really wanted. She ended up going anyway to make him happy. Right after kickoff, Noel went to the bathroom and offered to bring back beers. Both Freddy and Cheyenne declined, so Noel shrugged and left saying, “Be back in a minute.” 
As he walked into the crowded stadium Cheyenne leaned over to Freddy and asked, “So how are things going with you and Caroline?” 
“Noel didn’t tell you?” he responded. She shook her head no and he continued, “We broke up the night you met her.” 
“Again?” she said laughing. “Let me guess, you guys will have a date later this week?” Freddy didn’t laugh. They watched the game for a few minutes. It was a cold night and their breath could be seen emanating from their mouths in the form of steamy clouds. He gave her a grave look, “Chey, I’ve been going through a lot lately and I don’t wanna burden you with my problems, but let me assure you, this time it’s really over for good.” 
“Fair enough,” she said putting on a pair of brown gloves she found in her side coat pocket. “Can I tell you something?” Cheyenne didn’t wait for an answer. “I’m trying really hard to make this work, but I’ve been having bad dreams, nightmares even. I feel kinda unstable and I’m really not sure if Noel and I are gonna make it.” 
“Shit!” Freddy exclaimed. “Don’t say that, especially to me. Let me guess, I’m not supposed to tell Noel.” 

She looked down and whispered, “No.” Her eyes glossed over, so she took off her gloves and rubbed them with the bottom of her palms. As her hands came down from her face she noticed Noel at the end of the row making his way back to his seat next to her. She lifted her hands back to her face, cupped them and blew warm air inside. Noel sat down and handed them sodas from a cardboard container. The game ended in disappointment and the three friends shuffled out of the stadium among thousands of other disheartened fans. Cheyenne hadn’t said much during the rest of the game, but Noel was too wrapped up in the game to notice. The drive home was equally silent. Every time Noel tried to spark up a conversation he was given a one or two word response. They pulled into the driveway and parked. Cheyenne walked inside and went directly to bed. 
Noel grabbed the phone and dialed Freddy’s number to ask if she’d said anything, but there was no response and the machine picked up. He left a message to call him back and fell asleep in front of the television. That night he dreamt that he was in front of an elevator. There was electronic equipment laid out before him and an empty panel next to the door. He assembled the system with ease and certainty. The elevator sprang to life and he climbed in. It went up and reminded him of the time he had traveled to the top of the Sears Tower. The elevator doors opened into a room filled with people. He stepped out and saw a dark figure wearing a maroon jacket, holding his baby girl. Noel began to step toward the dark figure only to feel the entire building sway like a boat back and forth. He lost his footing and considered holding on to one of the window sills until he looked out the widow. One minute he could see the street below and the next he saw the moon in one long swinging motion. His stomach did a back flip. Noel stumbled forward and fell to his knees. He looked up and saw the dark figure open a door and walk into a long hallway. Noel’s courage returned at the sight of his helpless baby and lunged towards the door and down the hallway. Despite his efforts, he could not catch up to the man who made it to the end of the hallway and shut the door behind him. All of a sudden Noel felt like he was trying to run though water, so he pumped his legs faster and harder. The more energy he exerted, the harder it was to run. It now felt like he was running through something much thicker, reminiscent of honey. Finally, he reached the door and walked through, only to find he was on the ledge of the swaying building. 
He woke up drenched in sweat and looked at the clock. He was a bit shaken and could barely see the clock that read three thirty-three. On that note, Noel walked upstairs, took off his clothes, and crawled into bed with his wife. He blocked the images out of his mind and fell asleep twenty minutes later.

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