Lightning flashed suddenly to illuminate the sky and its surrounding area, instantly vanishing. Following mere seconds later, a rumbling of rolling thunder.
"Looks like a storm is brewing." Evelyn offered to break the swelling tension and silence.
She waited, hoping to get a reply that would relieve the knotted pressure in her chest. He kept his silence. Looking out the passenger side window, she sighed.
"I didn't know she had cancer, Warren." She glanced back at him waiting for some type of reply. "God, Warren! People get all worked up over the smallest matters. You act as if I meant to embarrass her."
"Just drop it, Evelyn. What's the big deal? The fact that I may be without a job tomorrow is of little consequence!"
"How was I suppose to know she was your bosses daughter? I'd only met his wife."
"I told you to just drop it! I could talk to you 'til I'm blue in the face, but you still wouldn't get it. Not because you can't! But you just won't! You do and say things for reaction. Regardless of whose feelings get hurt in the process."
"That's not true !"
"Oh come off it, Evelyn this isn't your first foot in mouth. You're rather consistent about it. Frankly, I'm getting tired of it. It's getting old fast."
"What'd you mean by that?"
"Like I said, drop it."
Evelyn, could feel the tremors in her stomach increase. She hated this. Hated this feeling of not being able to control his reactions to her misdeeds. 'God, why do I do it? Why? It's my big mouth! Why can't I just shut my mouth?! He's right. I do it on purpose. But I'm always sorry later.' She could feel tears of self pity welling in her eyes. But she wouldn't cry in front of him. It wouldn't do her any good anyway. He was mad at her now. And rightly so. What drove her to always embarrass him in front of others? They'd been together for two years now. She knew beyond a shadow of doubt that she loved Warren. He was perfect for her. But the problem was, she didn't think she was perfect for him.
She also knew, that she had a tendency to cling just a little too tightly to him. She wanted him and his attention all to herself. When it was just the two of them together, they did fine. But add other people, or better yet, other women - especially attractive, together women, who seem to outshine her. The claws suddenly become sharp. An insatiable need to expose their flaws in whatever fashion she could, would overwhelm her. Towards her mouth, her foot would take flight. Leaving, Warren embarrassed and her sorry. Like tonight. "You want to stop and get something to eat? We left before dinner was served."
"There's an excellent Rib house just opened up not to far from home, we could stop there since it's on the way." He remained silent.
"You have to be hungry, we didn't have dinner yet." He sighed deep and agitated. "I'm going home. But you're more than welcome to get whatever you please."
"Are you going to be like this all night?"
"I don't know how I'm gonna be. But until I figure it out, leave me alone." He returned a little brusque. The rain began to fall. First fat patters on the windshield, every few seconds, then a gradual torrent. Back at their apartment, they ran to get out of the rain. Shaking out her umbrella, Evelyn sighed as she hung her trench coat. Warren, went straight to their room, snatching his tie loose. Slowly she followed him in as he threw his jacket to the frayed gray chaise.
"Warren, please don't leave your jacket there, I just had it cleaned." She requested gently, nervously swallowing. She had to say something to draw him out, to get him to talk to her.
"It's gonna get all wrinkled."
Warren suddenly turned from the bed, charged the chaise, snatching his jacket from it. And began flinging it against the floor, chaise and anywhere else his tantrum led him. Evelyn sucked in, stunned with her hand to her chest, as her heart hammered. After a few heated moments of trying to thoroughly punish the jacket, he slammed it to the floor with all his might, then kicked it into the air for it to land on the bedroom curtain rod. Breathing hard and heavy, he turned and looked at Evelyn. Clear despair. Then dropped to the bed, with his head hanging in his hands. Evelyn was really scared. Fearing she had finally gone too far.
"Warren, please?" Her gut wrenched.
"Please what Evelyn?" He looked up with red eyes. "Next week I have to go and face what you've done tonight. I have to look at all those people I work with and see the pity and scorn in their eyes. Do you know what you've done to me? Can you even begin to know?" He shook his head amazed at the state of his present life.
"Do you know what it took for her to finally come out of the house and into the public? To be around people? chemo made her hair fall out Evelyn. That's why such a young woman would be wearing a wig. She was scared for the longest for anyone to see her the way she is. They had to coax her there tonight. So that you could slice her up with your razor tongue!" Evelyn stood stunned and silent. "I don't know what I'm going to do. One night, and my whole career could be washed down the drain." Distant fear and un-sureness in his voice. "I'm sorry. If I could do it over, I would. I don't know what made me do it. I saw her and automatically the wig drew my attention. I thought, how could she think that that looked good. And next thing I know, I just - well said the first thing that hit my mind. I didn't mean to hurt-..."
"Hell you didn't! You meant to shame her and shock everyone around you! You've got this viciousness about you when you're faced with a more beautiful woman. Some one less fortunate than you. Someone to belittle. It's happened over and over again. Before it was hurting others. Now, you're out to destroy me. Why? Why me? When all I've tried to do was love you. But that's not enough for you."
"I'll call her right now and apologize."
"You think that's gonna erase the shame!? You kicked someone when they were down! An innocent twenty year old who has done nothing to you! God Evelyn! You need help!"
"Tell me what it is you want me to do?!"
"Nothing. There's nothing you can do. I think it's time we give each other a rest." Her eyes grew huge. "What do you mean?" Panic was setting in. "I mean, it's time for me to move out. I can't fix the wrongs you have. What you need I can't give. Some thing is wrong inside of you and you need to give it atten-…"
"NO! This is crazy. Don't do this to me! It can't be that bad. I can fix this Warren! Please, you said you loved me. That we would always be together. You said-…"
"I SAID, I SAID, I SAID!! Well what about all the things you've said Evie!?! What about all the promises you made?! You hurt people Evie! You hurt people!! And tonight! I got it!! You managed to kill two birds with one stone. One already had a broken wing! No. I can't do it anymore. I can't." He went to the closet, pulling hanging suits, to lay them on the bed. Next the chester drawer. His shirts, T-shirts. Drawer after drawer. Sox, underwear, sweats.
"Warren Please!! I'm begging you not to do this!! What about meeee!! What about the way you're hurting me right now! I love you Warren, I would never do anything to intentionally hurt you! PLEEEASE!!!" She grabbed his arm to turn him to her. "Evie, you haven't the vaguest clue of what love is, or what it's about! I need some time. Just give me some time!"
"NO! Please Please Please, I'm begging you not to do this!! I can't take you leaving me!"
"Well, I guess this is one of those times when you're going to have to suffer with it?” The tears were streaming now as she saw that he was seriously going to leave her. He'd threatened to leave at times before, but he had always struggled with actually going through with it. Tonight, now...he was different. He was resolved. She could see it in his eyes. He was really going to leave her. Distraught, she dashed from the room, knowing from times before, if she ran in hopeless despair, he would come for her. He couldn't stand to see her crying wildly and running into the night. Fearing the things that could happen to her, or what she might do to herself.
Immediately he shot off after her. "Evelyn, don't do this tonight!!" He yelled, charging into the living room as she hysterically ran for the door. Snatching it open she ran out into the hallway and down the stairs of their apartment building. In the hall at the top of the stairs he yelled down. "EVELYN DON'T BE A FOOL...COME BACK HERE!!" She continued on as if he hadn't spoken. He raced down the stairs after her, stopping at the front entrance as she rushed off into the storming night! "DAMN YOU EVELYN!! IT WON'T WORK THIS TIME!! I'M NOT COMING AFTER YOU!!! DO YOU HEAR?! I'M NOT COMING AFTER YO-O-OU!!!" She ran on, disregarding his warning. Not a moment later he watched her disappear around the corner down the block.
"Hell and damnation, why me? Why the hell am I going through this?" He muttered angrily turning back into the doorway of the building and sprinting up the three flights of stairs to their apartment where the door stood ajar. Slamming it closed behind him. "No way...she can just go'ta hell. Pulls this crap every time, and I run out after her every time. Not tonight. Not after what she did. Hell with her. To hell with you Evelyn Pierce." He muttered in a litany, to hold fast his conviction. But it was storming out. She ran out with no coat. Hysterical. In the pouring rain. 7:30 in the evening. On the Northeast side streets of Chicago. Alone. He tossed the shirt he was about to pack angrily into the suitcase. If he didn't go after her now, he'd never find her. Because she would not turn back. "Sonuva'b-…" He dropped to the bed, shaking his head. "No, I'm not going after you. Not this time." But even as he said it, his resolve was weakening. He sat trying to force himself not to make a move.
Maybe if he gave himself a few minutes, he could get up, resume his packing, and walk out that door. But she didn't take her keys. Where was she going to end up this time? She wouldn't go to her mother's. She never went to her mother. Something between them kept Evelyn from going to her at times like these. 'If I give in now. If I go after her. I'll cave. She'll win. She'll never learn.' He thought. He stood, began packing. 'She's getting further and further away.'
"DAMNIT!! DAMNIT!! DAMN YOU!!"
He tossed the article of clothing down and ran into the living room, snatching the car keys from the coffee table where he threw them. Quickly yanking a jacket from the hall closet he rushed from the apartment, to go after her.
No one could see the tears for the rain. Or understand the trauma, fear and pain. More so at herself that at anyone. He was not coming for her. She'd given up looking back for him over an hour ago. An hour of racking sobs and self pity. This was it. She would be alone. With no one to love and no one to love her. So distraught, she gave no thought to turning back. Onward she splashed through the pummeling rain. Disregarding the chill to herself. Disregarding the distance of her walk. Disregarding the location in which she would find herself. Warren was leaving her. She couldn't bare the thought. Before Warren, she'd lived a cool and lonely life. Always with a front before others that deemed her stuck up, conceited, self-righteous...a bitch.
It took her mother years to create the person that she was. Years in which she was hers to mold and destroy, exclusively. After all, her father had left years ago. Five years of her mother was all any man could take. Edward Pierce looked at her mother one rainy night, like the one she was trapped in, said in no uncertain words. "You Marian, are the worst mistake of my life. I've laid in that bed - long enough. Good day." He turned with out another word to her, or his daughter and left. Never returning. No matter how she cried, begged and pleaded for her mom to go after him. No matter how loud her screams for her daddy. He never once paused. A chill finally shook her to realize she was chilled and at that moment, she wondered had her father ever loved her? She'd once got a hold of him at the age of thirteen. Briefly speaking with him on the phone, asking him why he never tried to come and visit with her, or send for her, his answer had been. "To put it bluntly, she's going to turn you into her. And I've had about as much of her as I could stand." That was it. Silence grew between them as the phone line crackled in her ear. After a moment of stunned muteness. He said, "I have to go now." And hung up. Staring off into space. The weight of the phone and gravity finally pulled her arm away from her ear to land softly on the receiver.
Why didn't God install every human with a rewind button? Just to go back and make a wrong right. Was that too much to ask? HE could have made it usable in correcting things for the right - only! Nothing else. Why couldn't he!? 'Why not God?' She thought in anguish. "Please God help me make it right." She whimpered to herself. Never slowing her pace. Not once looking around her. 'A Phone...look for a phone!!' She thought suddenly. Another shiver. It was pitch out except for the tavern, liquor store and small shop lights. The rain was slowing finally. She'd walked in it the whole time it was pouring. The chills were starting to become consistent.
'What time is it?' She wondered. Looking around for the first time. She began to take notice of her surroundings. Not recognizing the area she found herself. As the rain slowed to a light drizzle. People began to appear. From a window above she could hear Spanish music playing, Oye como va, Santana. That same window, an argument in Spanish. Maybe she, who ever she was, would run out and she wouldn't have to be alone. They could walk together and feel sorry for themselves together. 'NO! This has to be fixed.' First, she had to find Mr. Omested's number. She would apologize to him and his daughter. She would make them understand that this nights’ fiasco was solely her fault, and her fault only. Where was a phone? Another shiver, this one made her teeth suddenly chatter. A man suddenly passed her on the street, brushing her shoulder, muttering to himself. His appearance stated homeless. Evelyn swallowed deep. How far had she walked, she wondered as her surroundings began to clarify. Rain scattered debris, paper, cans, broken bottles, glass and other unrecognizable refuse lay collecting along the curb. More people. As she walked seeing no phone booth, she witnessed a hooker stepping out from the protection of a doorway. Obviously stationing herself there to wait out the storm. The storm waning, it was back to business, as she approached a slowing vehicle. Evelyn felt herself shiver with something other than the chill that held her.
"Hey sweet thang, you look a little wet, come on let me dry you off." A black man offered grabbing hold of her arm. "NO!" She cried out snatching her arm away, taking off at the same time running as far as she could deeper into the area. Turning several corners to lose him. 'Oh God, where am I?' She thought afraid, then out loud. "Warren, why didn't you come for me? I told you I was sorry." She whimpered despondent. Again looking around for a phone. Finally up ahead she spotted a phone booth. Quickly she ran to it. Closing the broken fold door with her inside. Standing within, she looked around herself. Down the block the L train raced over head, it's brakes screeching as it made a curve on the tracks. Her teeth began to chatter from the cold chills to her body as well from fear. 'Call Warren, Evelyn!' Her mind screamed. Grabbing the phone, she reached for a purse she was not carrying. She had no pockets, so there would be no change. For a moment she couldn't think of what to do next. 'Call the operator. Call collect!' immediately she pressed the "0". There was nothing happening on the line. It was dead. Trying not to panic, she suppressed the line breaker several times praying for a dial tone. Finally, it came. Again she dialed the "0".
The operator finally came on line. "Please help me. I need to make a collect call to a Warren Devries. Area code 773-555-0088." Impatiently she waited as the operator attempted to put the call through. The phone began to ring. It rang and rang. And rang and rang. No answer. No one was there to take her call. Slowly she hung up the phone. She felt lost. Utterly alone. With her head down leaning on the phone receiver, again she shivered, her teeth clicking. How could an evening that began so joyful, turn so horrid. She knew. Her mouth. Her insecurities. Her need to crash the joy of others. Just a few short hours ago, she and Warren had been playful, laughing. Dashing for the shower after their afternoon tete-a-tete. Afraid they'd be late for the dinner party. Arriving she felt them the best looking couple at the party. Warren in his Armani suit, 5'11, with a lean, solid, whipcord build. Warren was a beautiful black man. Every woman that laid her eyes on him knew it. He had a carriage, a manner about him that transcended any man she’d ever known in her life. His smile was bright white, and sparkling. His laughter contagious. His eyes, those eyes… amber brandy brown and mesmerizing. His skin, a rich flawless brown that she stroked in wonder and yes, sometimes awe and worship.
She was wearing an expensive little number she'd purchased that same evening after work, just for that night. Her thick, long, dark brunette hair was flipped up in the latest hair fashion, pulled behind her ears, that sported pearl earrings, surrounded by diamonds; one of many gifts from Warren. Her green eyes sparkling pride and happiness. On her arm, a man that many women looked at and longed for. Their curiosity about them, him and where she found him. ‘Lucky bitch.’ She knew that was the thought that went through their minds. Black or white. Well, white anyway. The black women, some hated her, some didn’t care. Janet hated her. She’d been at the party, and in the bathroom, she'd let her opinion be known. “That’s why we can’t get a good black man. White bitches like you keep snatchin’em up!”
“Excuse me! The reason -you- can’t find a good black man is - your problem! Not mine! As for the one out there, he belongs to me. Your problem is not getting a good man, but getting the selection of good man you want in the right shade. You keep waiting for that...you’ll be waiting a long time. Here’s a little free advice, focus on getting a good man...don’t get so caught up in the shade he’s in. I’m not. But I will admit, I do have one of the best. I wish you well.” With her nose slanted North, Evelyn made her exit.
“Oh Warren, please come for me. Please...I’m sorry...I’m sorry...so sorry.” A shiver passed over her body again, making chill bumps raise, she shook. “He’s coming for me. I know he is. I just have to wait here. He’s looking for me now.” She sniffed, and looked around her. Stopping at the presence of a young Spanish girl waiting outside the phone booth. “Chu done o’what?” She asked, cocking her hip, placing her hand there, thrusting her head forward with a sarcastic smirk. Evelyn just stared stunned a moment, not sure what to do. “chu’don understan’ cringa? I need to use the goddamn phone! Exit bitch!”
“I’m waiting on a phone call.” Evelyn finally said. Afraid to leave the phone booth. “Well, tha’s too goddamn bad, ain’it!” The young girl announced. Just then two more girls walked onto the scene. In Spanish they asked her what was going on. She turned to them explaining, looking back at Evelyn, then back at them again, pointing an accusing finger her way as the other two drew closer.
Evelyn’s heart began pounding. All three closed in around the exit. “Well, chu comin’out… or we comin’ in?”
Evelyn thought she was going to start crying. If she walked out there, chances were... they were going to beat her to death. One girl pulled out a knife, and flicked it open. A rush of adrenaline shot through her body as she amended that thought. Stab her to death. She felt heat and dizziness wash over her the same time her body visibly trembled with shivers and chills.
“Please, I don’t want any trouble.”
“Chu shoulda’ thought about that, when I as’ you t’come out!”
Evelyn starting crying. She knew she shouldn’t have, but she did. She was facing possible death. There was no way out of this. They were intent on doing her harm. She wasn’t ready to die yet, but knew if they didn’t kill her, what they were planning on doing to her would no doubt place her close to death, or make her wish she were dead.
“Well come on bitch!” One of the others ordered.
“Please, just go leave me alone.” Evelyn pleaded. The first girl reached to open the door. Evelyn pressed her hands against it and pushed trying to keep them out.
“Open the door puta!”
“PLEASE JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!!” Evelyn cried out, as they began pounding on the glass around it. Yelling at her to come out; threatening her.
“First we was just gone beat yo’ass up! Now we gone carve yo’ass up!”
Evelyn started screaming for help at the top of her lungs. One grabbed a rock and started pounding the glass to her right to break it. Another dropped to her knees and reached in the broken glass opening of the door with her knife, swiping it within to cut her legs. Evelyn pushed against the door screaming, while trying to move her legs back, but received three slashes to them anyway. The glass to her right shattered and the girl reached in grabbing her by the hair tugging her towards the opening. Evelyn screamed on as they cursed her, beating on her and cutting whatever they could reach of her.
“HEY!! What the hell yah’ll doin’? Cut that shit out! Leave that lady alone!”
Evelyn didn’t know what was going on around her. Everything was moving in a haze now. Her own screaming was nothing more than a ringing in her ears. There was a lot of yelling and cursing going on. In her shock and trauma, it all blended in together. But she could hear male voices mixed in with those of her attackers. Suddenly, someone was talking to her. Coaxing her out of the phone booth. Dazed and overwhelmed, her fear still high, Evelyn pulled against the strong hands that tried to lead her from the booth. Shaking her head, she dug in her heals, glass crunching beneath her feet.
“No… please… no.”
Against her will she was being pulled free of the booth. A hand stroked over the back of her head affectionately.
“Come on, is this how you show yo’preciation for what we do fo’you? Trust me, better us, than them.” The tugging continued. They were leading her towards a vehicle. She began screaming and fighting again. Things seemed to be happening in slow motion around her.
She felt nausea rolling in her stomach. Her heart in her chest slammed back and forth. Her ears continued to ring as a buzzing fizz seemed to be released in her brain. Because she wore the short black evening dress from earlier, silk black stockings, now with runs and holes, with streams of blood running down her legs, sticking them to her, and black pumps. Her neck adorned with an expensive gold chain and 1 carat diamond solitaire, her wrist sporting an expensive gold watch and diamond tennis bracelet, each hand, a finger with glittering diamond cocktail rings, it was obvious, she was a woman from the better side of town, somehow lost amid another world entirely. Suddenly she could feel another fight over her as a quick burning to her neck sliced her from the necklace being yanked off. She screamed out as her fingers were abused to remove her rings, next came the bracelet and watch. The girls had picked her clean before the three men could take her away. They were yelling and cursing as she cried. She began to fight again when a hand went between her thighs up into her dress. They had her at the car, the door was open and they were trying to force her inside.
Evelyn fought fainting. Surely her heart would give out and she would die here on the spot. How much more terror could shock her body before it shut down on her? She placed one foot against the open door runner pushing back with all the strength she had. That strength was steadily draining. Exhaustion was going to take her, and then they would. She wondered suddenly, where would they find her body? How long would it take before they found it? Or even yet, would they find it? She wondered how long would it take her to die? How would they go about killing her? And when she could not be found, would Warren care? Was he even looking for her? Did he know she was about to die? She whimpered in her misery, because she couldn’t fight any more. Her clothes were ripped, her body burned and throbbed and nobody seemed to care that she was a human being. That what they were doing to her was wrong, that it was hurting her. Upon that thought. Her life flashed before her eyes.
She remembered all the times she wanted to live up to what her mother and father expected of her and had obviously failed often. Because her mother had always seemed to find some type of fault in what she did. She remembered her mother always dressing her up in the best of clothing, only to tell her. “Well, that’s the best I can do for you. Looking like your father, there’s not much I can do about your looks.” She remembered trying so hard to find something that would bring pleasure to her mother when she looked at her, so she got high grades. But her mother said, “All the girls that look like you get good grades.” She had to remember to sit up straight, because, “A slouched back does little good in complimenting those expensive clothes you’re wearing. The least that you could do is appreciate what I do for you. How hard I work to make something halfway decent out of you.” It never ever stopped. Soon as she grew older, she realized that for some reason, her mother was jealous of her. Jealous because she was young, and pretty. She was attractive, even though she looked like her father. More so than she. Then she realized that her mother criticized everyone. Found something wrong with everyone but herself. Put people down. Pulled them down. Belittled them, if they appeared to be something more, or better, or prettier, or richer. She hurt them. As she, herself had learn to do. As she’d done. And now, it was being done to her, for similar reasons.
Evelyn stopped fighting, as her tears flowed. Now she prayed for a quick death. "Please God, let it be over quick." Over hearing her prayer, as they shoved her into the car, one of the guys snickered, "This gone take all night." Squeezing one of her breast painfully to punctuate his statement. Her head struck the overhead door of the vehicle. She was going to pass out. But right before she did...she heard someone’s tortured voice shout her name and then musty smells assaulted her senses. Smoke, marijuana, stale beer, urine and the funk from unwashed bodies. She felt the tussling of her body being crammed within, someone wedged up against her. The quick slamming of doors. Burning, screeching tires. Again the echo of her name.
Warren was sweating profusely, as he sped behind the car that held the woman he loved. Panic overwhelmed him. Fright was a loud, shouting, yelling thing that shook him to the core. His stomach tied up in knots as his hand shook uncontrollably trying to drive and dial 911 on his car phone. “Evie, Evie Evie Evie Evie!! LORD GOD PLEASE…PLEASE!!!” He cried out as tears obscured his vision. He wanted to sob and choked back those that threatened to break free. “I should have come for you! God why didn’t I go after her?” If she was killed, he would never forgive himself. He thought he’d go mad when he drove slowly down the street, to look to his left to see a struggle taking place, and then hear her screaming. This had been the last direction he’d gone in to look for her, after having gone in every other direction to find her but he’d been certain she wouldn’t be in this neighborhood - he had to make sure, and so he’d driven in and out of every block just about, and turned onto this street only to see something that would stay with him for the rest of his life. He’d slammed on the brakes and jumped out shouting her name when her assailants looked up to see him and shoved her in the car and pealed out.
He couldn’t believe it! He’d gotten through on 911, and immediately, they’d put him on hold! Just as he cursed that, flashing lights illuminated bouncing back off of his rear view mirror. “Yes, yes!” But he was afraid to pull over and explain what was happening. He would lose them, he couldn’t afford to stop his car. He couldn’t deal with loosing Evie. So he sped on with the cop car hot on his tail, recklessly the vehicle before him made sharp turns, ditching down alleys and making dangerous crossings through streets. But he drove a faster, better vehicle. Theirs started smoking. He gunned his gas. If he had to tear his car up to catch them, so be it. If he killed himself and Evie too, so be it. He would rather she died by his hand, than those of them that held her captive. Suddenly another police car joined the other he noticed.
Next thing he knew, the car before him made a sudden right turn down an alley, striking the brick wall of the building, trenching out a row of bricks as his front end peeled back, crunching the front drivers side of the vehicle. The car came to a screeching halt. There was a police car meeting him head on. Warren closed off the rear of him, as did three cruisers behind him. Everything happened so fast, Warren threw his car door open as three doors of the car before him flew open with all three guys trying to flee the scene. Before Warren could make it pass his front end, he was grabbed from behind and slammed to the ground.
“EVIE! EVIE! EVIE!”
His tortured voice shouted her name over and over as three officers forced him down and his hands behind his back. He hadn’t heard any of their commands for him to lay down on the ground. Sirens squealed into the night, lights rotating madly. It all seemed to be happening in slow motion to him.
“Sir you’re going to have to quit shouting and pay attention to the questions we’re asking you!?” An officer barked at Warren.
“My fiancé is in that car!! EVIE! EVIE!!” He grunted out as one officer sat on his back. Two of the guys were captured, one was being chased.
“Calm down sir! Calm down and tell us what’s going on!”
“EVIE!!! CHECK ON MY FIANCE!!” He cried unable to control himself long enough to explain. He was scared to death it was too late. As he was yelling this, other officers were in the car of the three attackers. He couldn’t tell what was going on with them holding him down. “Please let me up! I’m not a criminal! That’s my fiancé in that car!” He yelled hoarsely. “Jackson, let him up!” An officer called from the car. An ambulance was being dispatched. A crowd was gathering, as more officers arrived on the scene, a paddy wagon among them. More flashing rotating lights, and more sirens could be heard speeding to the scene. He felt himself being pulled up suddenly. He didn’t have the emotion for anger at the officers, he just wanted to get to Evelyn. Immediately upon being turned loose, he ran to the car.
“EVIE!! EVIE!!” When he looked into the back seat, his knees buckled beneath him.
It was dark. Weird, small, quiet sounds were slowly penetrating her unconsciousness. Her head felt weird, her ears were popping as if flying up into high altitude. It felt as if air was rushing into one ear and out the other, and finally, a constant beeping noise. Beep-beep, beep-beep, beep-beep… over and over. She wanted to open her eyes, but her lids felt so very heavy. Thick and sealed shut. Her mouth was dry, her throat hurt, it felt raw and scratchy as she tried to swallow. All of a sudden she felt a strong gentle hand cupping her cheek.
“Evie? Come on baby, wake up. You want some water? Here, take a drink.”
She felt cool moisture touch her lips, and attacked it’s source, so intense her parchment but the sudden movement triggered a surge of pain, that shocked her, leaving her stunned, incoherent and dazed. She needed the water, so she endured the pain to get to it. As she drank, lone tears seeped from the outer corners of her eyes to roll unaware to her.
Stabbing however, the man who sat next to her on her hospital bed, trying to help her drink the much needed fluid. A nurse entered the room. “She’s waking up.” Warren informed her immediately.
“That’s good. Take it slow with the water so she doesn’t choke.” She responded walking up to the bed to look down at her charge. “Evelyn? Evelyn…I’m Denise, your nurse. Slow down honey, we don’t want you to choke. Slow down.” She coaxed gently. “How long has she been awake?” This question was for Warren.
“Just now. I figured she was thirsty.” He replied softly. The talking about Evelyn continued, sounding at first muffled and far away, because of the ringing in her ears. Then gradually, clearer…closer. She then recognized Warren’s voice.
“W- War-Warren.” Her voice was a dry croak.
“I’m here baby, I’m here.”
“I hurt so bad…why – why do I hurt – so bad...War – Warren?”
“You’re going to be all right now, Evie. I’m right here with you.” He told her, grinding his teeth, fighting back tears. She’d been asleep for two days. The doctors decided to heavily sedate her to give her time to rest from her ordeal and injuries. He’d been there by her side the whole time. Her mother had finally come the next day after they’d arrived at the hospital that tragic night. She’d looked down at her daughter, from a distance, standing at the end of the bed, and only shook her head staring.
“Well I guess she’s lucky to be alive. Where – exactly – had she been attacked?” She asked him, not for a moment believing he had nothing to do with it. She had been reluctant to show up at the hospital. After all, it’s not like she had died or anything, and she’d been warned by her about this relationship. After all she’d gone through to make her into something in which she could one day be proud of, she’d gone out and coupled herself with this black man. Living in sin, letting him defile her. Dirty her and her reputation where no decent white man would ever want her once he was done with her, and now look at her. She wasn’t stupid. He’d probably beaten her within an inch of her life, and then concocted a tale that she’d been attacked. Unless she was willing to leave this man, and start over again, there was nothing Marian felt she could do for her. Following her suggestive question, Warren stared at her before he responded.
“I did not do this - to your daughter. I would never hit, Evie. I would never hurt her.” He’d received no response, only a sardonically lifted brow, following a condescending cut from her eyes.
“Yes, well...that’s what you claim, and until she wakes up and tells me what it is she now wants, I’ll take my leave. I suppose she is safe – here – for now.” Saying nothing more, she turned and left, and hadn’t been back, nor had she called. Obviously she was waiting for him, or the nurses to call her when Evelyn woke up.
Slowly all of Evelyn’s senses were returning. Her bodies sensitivities to all of it’s injuries were setting off alarms and registering this information to her brain as the sedatives wore off. “Oh my God, Warren… what’s going on? Why am I here?” Her memory of the past nights event had yet to be recalled.
“What’s happened to me?”
“You don’t remember?” He asked gently.
“Remember what? My throat hurts. Can I have some more water?” She tried clearing her throat, as he once again, propped her head up to drink. “Here, wait. Let me adjust your bed so you can sit up.” He sat her water down, and reached for the bed controls, as the head of the bed slowly rose, she asked, “Why am I in the hospital Warren? Oh God I hurt all over. Stop stop stop stop, that’s enough.”
“Don’t you remember what happened? Two nights ago. The dinner party. We argued, you took off-…”
Her gasp cut him off as it all came back with startling clarity. With her mouth partly open in obvious hurt and understanding, she finally realized why she was, where she was. Although she hurt like hell, she wasn’t dead. Tears gathered in her eyes and ran off the sides, and Warren was here with her. Even though now, as she stared up at his beautiful face. His eyes tortured and worried, moist from his own shed tears. She felt she didn’t deserve him being there by her side. She turned away from him, too ashamed for him to see her this way. Ashamed that she had brought them to this point in their relationship.
“You can leave now Warren, I’ll survive.”
“What’ayah mean I can leave now? Hey...look at me. I said look at me.” He demanded.
Her head rolled back slowly on the pillow as she obeyed him to stare up at a man, she felt she’d lost. A man that she would love for the rest of her life. He was everything to her. But now, she felt she wasn’t good enough for him. She felt he was better off without her.
“Now what is this nonsense… "You can leave now.”
“You should Warren. You should leave me. I’m messed up Warren. I’m all messed up. I’m no better than the people who did this to me. I’m just like them. A person like you deserves better. I need help and, I’m no good for anybody until I get it. Until I figure out how to make what’s wrong with me right.” Her words came sincere and soft, as her tears ran. “Nobody - I do mean no one - has ever - loved me the way you loved me Warren, and look what I’ve done to you. What I do to people.” She looked down away from him to the end of the bed. He was silent, and so was she. Her sniffles, the beeping machine, and the outside hallway sounds of the hospital floor was all that could be heard. Warren took a long deep breath, and blew it out. Then ran his hand over his face.
“You should probably go now. You look tired. I’ll be all right now.” She said, then finally looked back up at him. He was staring down at her. His hair hadn’t been combed. He hadn’t shaved. He looked weary. But he never looked more handsome to her. To her, he was the most handsome man she'd ever seen. Oh, she had met many good looking men. Attractive men and most of them white from her inner circle. She hadn’t been exposed to many black men. Yet, the first time she’d laid eyes on Warren, his smile had stopped her cold. His voice, smooth and deep. The words he spoke, coming from a man highly educated, intelligent and very confident, made her catch her breath. The person he was on the inside, matched the man on the outside. At first she’d tried to avoid him. Aware of the attraction she had for him. Not wanting it to grow and develop, but he’d pursued her, and gave her daily, a reason to smile. He’d brought laughter and excitement into her otherwise dull existence, and the first time he’d made love to her, she knew right then and there, this man was for her. Warren Devries, was a man of every woman’s dream, and he wanted her... only for her to turn around and ruin his life.
“Warren, I’m sorry I did what I did. Said the things I’ve said. Over the last two years and especially...the other night. I’ll find a way to make it right. I promise you that. But, you were right when you said we should give this a rest. Once you leave, you don’t have to come back.” She finished.
“Are you done now? Got all of that out of your system? Maybe you forgot something? Do I need to give you a few more minutes to collect your thoughts?” She stared up at him and finally nodded her head.
“Good, I’m glad you’re done. Because yes, I agree...you need help and I know why but, we’ll worry about that later. Right now, we’re just going to focus on some simple things. Like, first, getting married. Ah ah ah ah, I’m talking now. You said you were done. Now, as I was saying, us getting married. I was not raised to live with a woman, use her, then split. That’s not who I am. I was mad the other night. I was embarrassed. Angry at you for being so jealous. It’s not necessary for you to minimize other women, and emphasize their flaws. I see only - you. I love - you, and that my dear Evelyn, you can always be sure of. So this is the plan. I’m going to leave, take a shower. Make arrangements with my boss to speak with him. If I’ve lost this job, believe in me, believe that I have what it takes to get another. Who knows, maybe one even better but before I move on, I must apologize, and yes, so should you. Then we’re going to move on. Together – we’ll get you help. I plan on being there with you...every – step – of – the way. Now that’s the plan. The next time we fight, don’t you – dare! Don’t you dare...take off on me like that again.”
Evelyn bit into her lips to keep from sobbing. Warren’s eyes watered as the fright he felt that night came to the surface. “I almost didn’t find you – If I had been a moment later...I may have never seen you again. Baby don’t you know, no matter how mad I might get, I’m not going anywhere. You're stuck with me Evie. You stuck – now quit taking off on me.” He leaned down close to her as Evelyn, so overcome with emotion could not speak, so nodded her agreement.
“Promise me.” He demanded.
“I promise. I promise.” Evelyn wrapped her arms around him, her eyes squeezed shut as she hugged him close despite the discomfort to. Thanking God, that just as she knew he would, he’d come for her. Her life was his now, and she’d be by his side, till the day she died.