As for Evan, there was no “memory” of a conception date, rather a cruel nightmare that lingered in the back of his mind of the time Ashley cheated on him, for the last time. But, the moment was buried and never once surfaced as he stared into Ian’s tiny tired eyes.
HIS beautiful baby boy, whether the child looked like him or not, had nothing to do that night.
It had barely been a month into their marriage, and yet…
He should have known that this would have happened.
But, Evan chose to believe the oblivious side of his brain when his phone began to ring. He set his wrench down and reached for his pocket as the phone slipped out and slid onto the floor.
Evan slid out from under the car and sat up. Picking up his phone, he looked at the name on the screen. It was Ashley. She had run out of the house a few hours earlier, yelling about some meeting she had to be at. The woman had given him specific instructions NOT to call.
“Hey, Ashley,” he answered it, with a smile. Evan did not really care why she was calling, it just made him happy to hear from her.
“I need you to come get me.” Ashley’s voice was flat and direct. “I’m at the Hillside Inn. The one on Fiftieth Street.”
“Um, sure. Is everything okay?” he was already getting up and grabbing the truck keys off of the work table.
Ashley had not been to work in the last few weeks. Since they had gotten married. Ashley’s reasoning was that she was starting a family now, and she could not work if she had to worry about taking care of Evan all the time. He should have known something was wrong. No. He should have stopped her from leaving, or at least gone with her.
“Just come get me, okay?” her voice turned to anger quickly, “I don’t want to wait forever.”
Crap. She was angry. And that was very, very bad. “I’m on my way.” He grabbed a coat for her and locked the house up, heading to his truck quickly. “Do you want to tell me what is wrong while I drive?” He got in the vehicle and started it, backing up. He was not going to waste any time.
“Nothing’s wrong, just come get me!” And with that, the line went dead.
Evan floored it. He traveled down the freeway, hoping he would not pass by any cops as the needle on the speedometer crawled over the numbers. It steadied out at around eighty. He drove until he pulled up in front of the hotel, only slowing down when he had to stop. He opened the door from the inside so she could just hop in and they could leave.
Gripping her bare arms, the girl stepped up into the truck, and slammed the door. She placed her seat belt over her lap and pulled her knees up to her chest, slipping her heels off. The hem of her sun dress was pulled down over her legs as Ashley shivered. Her skin was dry, but her hair was wet, and the water dripped down her bare back. “… Thanks…” Her voice was small, almost nonexistent.
And in the palm of her hand, she held her mother’s arachnid pendant up, so it reflected the few lights that were on outside. She had not had it for the past few days. Ashley always made up the excuse that it was put away, or she did not want it getting dirty, and Evan had just listened. Although, why he had done that was a mystery to him. Up until it disappeared, she clung to it for dear life. The young woman had even worn it on their wedding day.
The pendant always meant one thing. Ashley had gone to see Brian.
Evan did not say a word as he drove. He was angry. Not at her, but at the man who could never seem to keep his fingers off the woman Evan loved so dearly. His jaw was a little tight, his grip on the steering wheel too hard. He took the long way home, giving himself time to try and calm down. But, nothing helped.
Pulling up in front of the house, he parked in the driveway. Evan got out and opened the passenger door for Ashley, the silence almost deafening.
She had kept her gaze forward, and away from him throughout the car ride. But, he could see the tears now, from where he stood.
She wiped her eyes, and took a deep breath, still staring forward. “Y-you’re just… going to have to wait for me to get over him.”
He did not know what had happened between the two, but with Brian, one did not have to let their mind wander far before they knew. And Evan stopped his before it even started.
Maybe, just maybe, it was too much to ask of Brian to leave them alone. Perhaps, Evan was wrong to assume that Ashley would stop going to Brian after they got married. Was it really too much to ask for her to stop? Just to stop cheating on him?
The girl had always been different, and she understood cheating in a different way. He always forgave her. No matter how bad it was, he was a sucker, and he forgave her.
Evan was not stupid enough to dilute his mind with the idea that this was solely Brian’s fault. He held his hand out for her, his heart breaking. It did not matter how much he fought for her, he never seemed to win.
Ashley took it and stepped down onto the concrete with her bare feet. She held her shoes in the other hand and followed him to the door.
He did not let go of her hand, and once they were inside, he did the first thing that came to him. Evan pulled her to him and held her. He would not let her go. He could not hold onto any hate, or fear, when it came to her. He closed his eyes, refusing to admit to what he felt inside.
Ashley dropped her shoes, and jumped onto his waist, knocking him down and pinning him against the carpet in the hallway. “Okay, I’m over him.”
Ashley had made everything right that night, and they never once looked back.
And when Evan looked at Ian, he saw only her, and not Brian Scarla.
“You’re going to be just as wild as your mother, aren’t you,” he smiled at Ian as the tiny thing tried sucking on his finger. “We should get back to your mother now, she’ll be waking up with your baby sister, soon-”
“Excuse me, sir. Are you Ashley Mitchells husband?” Evan was interrupted by a doctor rushing up to him.
“Um, Yeah, is everything alright?” Evan glanced behind him when an alarm went off above their room.
“Um, your wife is-”
“What? What’s wrong with Ashley?” Evan did not wait to hear what the man had to say. Holding Ian close, he pushed passed the door and rushed to their room, “Ashley!”
He was stopped by the backs of doctors, hearing their orders as they surrounded her bed. Someone said “Seizing,” and Evan pushed on one of them. “What’s going on. Is my wife okay?” He could not see her, or their baby girl.
“Sir, please, we need you to step back.”
“That’s my wife, whats going on!”
“Her stats are dropping. Please, we need to get her up to surgery.”
“Wait, no, what happened? When I left, she was fine!”
“Sir, please!” Then, little Ian started crying.
“Hey, dad,” I sat down across from him and set my spoon and pudding to the side. The man looked exhausted.
“Hey, kid,” he nodded at me, but sighed as well.
“So, come to visit, or take me home this time?” Now that the greetings where over with, I picked up my pudding and struggled to open it.
“Come on now… I get daily updates from the doctors, they said you got into another fight again.”
“Yeah, and? This place has crazy people, dad.” The stupid plastic cover wouldnt pull off the stupid pudding cup.
“Yeah, it does, kid,” he nodded with another sigh.
Why couldn’t they serve GoGurt in this place. My stomach was gnawing on my insides from the munchies. “And Philips asks me the same damn questions every day, this place is boring.”
“Hey, I heard one of your friends from school has been visiting you.”
“Yeah, Reggie is cool like that.” I nodded, focusing on getting the pudding. The sweet, chocolaty, cheap pudding, like everything else in this place.
“Oh, and who is this Reggie?” Dad raised an eyebrow, playing the overprotective father for five minutes.
“Just some guy at school. He was hoping I would be out before prom, but that’s obviously not going to happen.” Stupid pudding!
“Well, he should understand that you’re here to get better.”
“Yeah, whatever. If you’re not going to let me out, at least make yourself useful and allow conjugal visits, Reggie is getting bored on the outside.”
“Trini!” The man sat up straight, staring at me with surprise. “You are not-”
“Gah!” Standing, I turned the pudding cup upside down and smashed it into the table several times, until it popped and the chocolate squirted onto the table. I continued to smash the plastic container against the metal table, crumbling the trash in my fist.
“Trinity!” My dad stood and gripped my shirt in both hands, shaking me from my rage. “Look at yourself!”
I stopped at stared at him, rather surprised at his sudden outburst. “Look at what you are doing!” he threw a hand toward the pudding mess. “This isn’t normal!”
“Well, I wanted pudding-”
“You’re not like this. You’re not violent! Why can’t you see that?”
“It wouldn’t open!”
“You’ve lost over a hundred pounds a one month, you’re not even eating, Trinity. Looking at yourself, you look like a skeleton in a medical gown.”
“Yeah, thanks for the compliment, Dad, you look kinda terrible yourself-”
He slapped me. His hand shook afterwards, and he instantly let go of my shirt. “This isn’t a game to me,” he looked sad, and horrified. “Trinity, you think I want this for you? You think I want you in here? You think I like being at home by myself? I don’t understand what is going on, but you’re not well.”
“Oh, stop being dramatic!” I yelled back at him. “You probably love being able to sleep with your new wife wherever you want to in the house! And that witch overreacted, it was just stupid perfume!”
“Eve is in coma, Trinity!” He yelled louder, but the man was on the brink of tears. The room went silent, as we had every inmates attention now.
Oh. … Whatever, I didn’t hit her that hard. I… “Why’d you have to get married? Why’d you have to betray mom like that!”
“You’re mother left us! She abandoned us years ago! You have never been attached to her. Eve was nothing but kind to you. She’s the one who insisted you needed more freedom, more time to stay out late, she bought you your phone and the car. You love Eve! Why don’t you remember, Trinity? I only married her because you told me you wanted her to stay with us.”
I… I loved the witch? No, that was not right… She… she was mean to me, so mean… She… She did something, right?
I shook my head. No, I would not listen to these lies.
“… Trinity… Please tell me you remember. Please.”
I shook my head again, then looked at my father. “… I… I hope she stays in that coma.”
I inhaled, sighed, then sucked on the burnt paper, exhaling through my nose as smoke swirled into the air. “I get locked up for doing drugs, and what do they do when I get here? Give me drugs to help me recover.”
It was nice to be outside, enjoying the sunshine after all of the rain we had the last week. I could still smell the damp wetness from the rooftops.
“Yeah, but they’ll never legalize the good stuff,” Reggie nodded from his resting place on the other side of the picnic table.
“Good stuff? Like what you gave me?” Whatever it had been, this medical weed didn’t compare.
He snorted, “Sure, you could call it that.”
I sighed when I did not get the answer I wanted and took another drag.
“Your dad come to visit?”
“Don’t think he can stand the sight of me right now. Besides, he’s on a business meeting overseas. I still can’t believe that witch locked me in here. It was just stupid perfume.”
“Didn’t you bash her face in the mirror of that vanity, first?”
“That’s beside the point.” I replied with a small smile. “Even so, that would mean its your fault I got locked in here.”
He chuckled, “Meh, worth it.” He sat up and rested his elbows on the table. “Think you’ll be out in time for prom?”
“In your dreams, Reg.”
He snorted at that, “As long as I’m allowed to dream.”
I shook the ash from the blunt, then looked back at him, “What about Sonya?”
“Oh, she switched sides.”
“Ouch, that sucks, man.” I faced forward again to hide my smile.
Another inhale of medical induced bliss, and I crushed what was left in the hospital provided ash tray. My treatment for the day now over, they would take me back inside to the white rooms, where I would wait out the high before I was brought food, then taken to Dr. Philips, the jerk with a PhD.
“So, when do they allow conjugal visits?”
I cut my eyes in his direction but smiled anyway. “When I’m eighteen.”
“Well, that’s boring.” Reggie stood up and tasted the smoke on my lips. Then, he stepped on the other side of the park bench to leave. “See you around, crazy girl.”
“Enjoy your lonely evening, drug dealer.” He gave a bow at my comment and exited the roof as two nurses came through to retrieve me.
Just one puff. I just needed something to cool me off, make me relax. Reggie after class said it would help me forget what a horrible week I had.
I shifted my eyes between the many white rooms on either side of the hallway. She had overreacted, that trashy stepmother of mine. I just trashed her vanity and broke all of her expensive perfume that she used to lure my father into marrying her.
I was just tweaking, that’s all. It was just one stupid puff, that witch. Is that any reason to ship me off to the state mental institute?
There are dark clouds.
And where there are dark clouds,
There is rain.
And where there is rain,
There is a storm.
And where there is a storm,
There is thunder.
And where there is thunder,
There is hope.
And where there is too much hope,
there are tornadoes,
And where there are tornadoes,
there is no hope at all.
And where there is sun,
There is not that much hope there, either.
She watched as it slid and fell into the puddle below, glistening with a red hue. It was cold and dark. A small chill crawled down her spine.
Silently, the liquid pooled below her. Eyes watching it form, slide, and fall to the puddle below, feeling lightheaded, and tired.
“Molly. It’s time to go to school,” her dad called from the hallway.
“Coming,” she called back. Grabbing her bag, she glanced out the window at the rain and the red blinking street light one more time before exiting her room and heading to the front door.