Friday, 6:30 PM – Reagan’s House
Reagan was sitting at the table with her mother, picking at her food. All she could think about was Evan. And why he hadn’t called. He left work for lunch to run some errands, then texted Ami that he was taking the rest of the day because he was sick. Why didn’t he text her too? She’d been calling and texting him off and on all afternoon, and he still hadn’t responded.
“What’s wrong baby?” asked her mother.
“It’s Evan. He left work sick, but he won’t answer my texts or phone calls. I’m worried.”
“Maybe he’s not really sick,” suggested her mother, sounding disgusted.
Reagan was confused by her comment. “Mom, why would he lie about that? I’m really worried about him. What if he’s bad sick?”
“I don’t know, it’s just, he’s such a flirt,” she said scowling.
“Mom. What does that have to do with being sick? What’s going on? Do you know something?” she asked.
“No, it’s just that he’s always coming on to me. You don’t see it because you have stars in yours eyes. You need to open them up. He probably has someone one the side, and is with them,” suggested Avery.
“That’s ridiculous – plus, you flirt back,” said Reagan, starting to get upset.
“I didn’t want to make things awkward by calling him out on it,” she said defensively.
“He’s only playing around,” said Reagan in his defense, “but I’ll tell him to cool it. I think I’ll go to his apartment to check on him. I don’t care if it is a mess. If he’s sick, I’ll just clean it for him.”
“That’s what’s ridiculous. You shouldn’t cater to him. He’s a grown man, he can take care of himself. And if he isn’t answering the phone he’s not going to answer his door.”
Reagan sighed. “Maybe so.”
“You know, I really don’t feel well either,” said her mother. “I’m going to bed early. I had a really stressful day, being here all alone. Anything could happen and no one would know.” She stopped her rant long enough to let out an exasperated sigh. “And I assume you are going to hightail it outta here first thing in the morning, leaving me by myself again.”
Reagan felt awful. Her mother was always stuck at the house. She probably was stir crazy. “Mom, um, I have some money that I can use to get you a car,” she offered before her mother could get up.
Her mother gave her a scathing look that made her shrink back. “Why didn’t you tell me that before now?” she asked.
Reagan swallowed hard. No secrets, she thought. “Dad gave it to me … to help out … because he got rid of your things.”
“He what?” she asked.
“Gave me money, to help. I didn’t tell you before because he didn’t want you to know. But you said no secrets. And I don’t know what to do. I can’t keep doing this. Between you and Dad and Ami, and now Evan, I’m confused.” Reagan was near tears. It had killed her to betray her father.
Her mother smiled brightly. “Oh sweetheart. It’s going to be okay. Things have a way of working out. It will all settle down soon. You’ll see. And you know I’m here for you, uh, and I love you.”
“I hope it does. We should go car shopping tomorrow, if you’re feeling better,” she offered.
“Just how much did he give you, if you don’t mind me asking.”
“Just $20,000. But it’s enough for a good used car. It won’t leave anything for clothes and stuff, but I can handle that. Please, don’t tell him you know. Things are finally better between us. God, I probably shouldn’t have said anything.” Reagan felt like she just died a little inside.
“Baby, it’s okay,” said her mother. “It’s our secret. I won’t interfere with you and your father’s relationship. But honey, if you need more, if having me here is that much of a strain on your budget, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask him. My wardrobe alone was worth more than that. I’m really sorry my business isn’t providing an income yet. Although, I do have a client I’m working with. He was very willing. A soon to be divorced bachelor that needs – help.”
“That’s good. I love you Mom. Get some rest,” said Reagan and got up to clear the table. Her appetite long gone.
“Thanks baby,” said Avery, grabbed her glass of wine and headed to her own bedroom.
Once done, Reagan reluctantly walked downstairs into her bedroom dungeon. It felt like one without Evan. She wanted so badly to tell him she loved him. To see him and take care of him. Make sure he was okay.
She thought about how happy Taylor was. Engaged to the man she loved. She was so jealous. Why was it things just seemed to workout for Taylor, while everything was always messed up for her. Then she remembered. Taylor had a functional family. Two parents that didn’t hate each other.
While she showered, she thought about her and Evan. If they were married and he was sick, she would be able to care for him like she desperately wanted to right now. Married….she was hopeless. She wanted to marry him and they hadn’t even said I love you yet.
But she did love Evan, very much. He was perfect. Why he wasn’t taken, she couldn’t understand. He was incredibly handsome, considerate, well spoken, smart and had great business sense. Maybe he had a bad breakup and that’s why he left San Myshuno. Well, she wasn’t going anywhere. Maybe he just needed more time and she should wait to say those three words until he said it first.
As had become the norm lately, she once again lay in her bed alone, without the one she loved lying next to her. One day, she hoped she would be planning her and Evan’s wedding, and that gave her hope. With that final thought she drifted off to sleep.
Saturday 6:00 AM – Evan’s Apartment
Evan woke up in his apartment. He was confused and quickly jumped up thinking he was late for work. He immediately sat back down as a wave of nausea washed over him. He had a helluva a hangover. But he didn’t remember going out. He grabbed his phone and looked at the time. It was Saturday morning early. At least he wasn’t late for work.
He sat there, his head in hands, trying to recall. Did he go out Friday night? And just not remember it? The last thing he remembered was getting a phone call from Avery at work. Then bits and pieces started to come back.
His phone rang and he didn’t recognize the number, but answered it anyway.
“Who’s this?” he asked suspiciously.
“Don’t forget our deal. Tell her you’re done, or your going to jail. You’ll find out how much fun a pretty boy like you would have in prison. Even criminals don’t like rapists. I have that on good authority. Oh – and check the pictures on your phone in case you don’t remember what you did to me – handsome.”
“You bitch!” he said to dead air.
He thumbed through the pictures on his phone. One was of Avery wrapped in a towel, crying. Another was a blurry picture of him pumping himself and leaning over someone laying on the bed half naked. He was pretty sure it was Avery. Her hands tied with a scarf – no – his red neck tie that he wore yesterday. It was taken from a weird angle as if he were taking them with one hand to be sure to get him and his ‘victim’ in the same shot.
He threw the phone on the mattress and barely made it to the bathroom before he lost the contents of his stomach.
He sat there with his head on the toilet and cried. He didn’t cry when he got screwed by Maribel. Yes, it hurt like hell, but he had bought in to her hype and the need for more, more, more. Until a multi-million dollar deal fell through, because he had fucking morals. He refused to lie to make the deal happen. The company lost it’s largest client and millions of dollars. He was asked to resign in return for a glowing letter of recommendation. Mari filed for divorce a week later.
Evan moved to Willow Creek for the job with C&M, and tried to get his life in order, all the while attempting to come to an agreement with Mari on the terms of the divorce. She wanted everything, including their penthouse, which he owned outright. All he kept was his car, his clothes and a quickly dwindling bank account.
But that shit was nothing compared to this. He didn’t know what to do. He couldn’t let Reagan stay with that insane woman. He’d thought Mari was crazy. She’s a saint compared to Avery. He thought people like Avery only existed in the movies, but she’s evil personified.
He pushed himself off the floor and washed his face. He needed to be able to think.
He left the tiny bathroom and collapsed back down on his crappy mattress. His hands were tied. He was going to have to destroy the woman he loved, and push her closer to that insane bitch that calls herself her mother, until he could figure out what to do. He didn’t expect forgiveness from Reagan, not ever.
He needed to tell someone, but he didn’t know who. He couldn’t tell Reagan the truth, at least until Avery was no longer a threat. Reagan simply can’t lie. And she already told him not to make her choose. He would be putting her at risk by telling her what her mother had done. And she might not believe him. Shit fuck fuck.
He never wanted to kill someone before now, not even Maribel when she fucked with him. But he knew deep in his soul, without a doubt, he could actually strangle fucking Avery with his bare hands, and rejoice as he watched the life fade from her eyes. He shuddered at the thought.
How had he sunk so low. He had nothing left. Evan knew he would never have a life with Reagan, but at least, maybe, he could save her. And Ryan too. Shit. He decided to tell Ryan about Maribel before he went to Reagan. He couldn’t tell him about his mother, but at least he could warn Ryan that she’s bad news. Their friendship was over now anyway. And that hurt too. He really liked Ryan.
Then he’d have to tell Reagan. God he wanted to die when he thought of what this would do to her. But he couldn’t take the coward’s way out, knowing that he could at least try and stop the tsunami that was Avery, he had to at least pretend to go along with her until he figured out how to stop her.
His phone buzzed again. Reagan. He couldn’t even read it. It hurt too bad. I’m so sorry baby, he thought, for not telling you up front, but you aren’t like Mari. You’re different. You really care. And now it’s all a huge mess. And it’s all my fault. He knew, Reagan would’ve understood and they might’ve had a chance. But he didn’t trust her in the beginning. Mari had jaded him into thinking all women were gold diggers. Fuck her too.
Saturday 7:30 AM – Willow Creek Gym
Ryan was getting ready for his 8:00 am appointment with Bel. He was going to tell her they were through. Refund her payment for the unused sessions. He looked up and Evan was walking towards him. Ryan was pretty sure he was hungover.
“Ryan. Can we go somewhere and talk,” he asked, “I have some things I need to tell you, privately.”
“There is no private …. but dude, you look like shit,” said Ryan, “Rough night?”
“You could say that. Look, let’s at least go upstairs.”
Ryan tried to figure out why Evan was so distraught as they made their way upstairs. Maybe he got his sister pregnant. He totally needed to own that shit if that was what it was. Thankfully the upstairs was fairly empty due to the early hour and they’d have relative privacy.
Evan didn’t even wait to sit down before he turned and started. “Fuck. There’s just no easy way to say this,” he said running his hands through his already messy hair, “so I’m just going to say it. Maribel, Bel as you call her, she’s my wife. We’re married.”
Ryan looked at him for a minute like he was crazy. “You mean your ex-wife…”
“She finally agreed to sign the divorce papers, the day after your ‘date’. I gave her everything she wanted to finally do it. So, soon to be ex-wife.”
“You fucking son of a bitch,” ground out Ryan. His blood pressure skyrocketed and he took a swing at Evan, clipping his jaw and knocking him into the wall.
“Ryan!” screamed a voice from behind him, effectively stopping him from landing another punch to the asshole laying on the ground in front of him.
Rosa walked over, looking back and forth between them. “What’s going on? I thought you two were friends.”
“Not anymore,” he said looking at Rosa. Then he turned to Evan who was still on the ground. “Get up and get the fuck out of here while you can still walk! And stay the hell away from my sister. Goddammit!”
Evan had the good sense to slink away, rubbing his jaw, without a word. After he was out of sight, Rosa asked, “Are you okay? What was that all about?”
Ryan looked at Rosa. “You aren’t married are you?” he asked Rosa.
She looked at him like he was crazy. “Why on earth would you ask me that. Of course not.”
“Thank fuck, because, that asshole, he is,” he said, still in shock.
“He and Reagan eloped?” she asked.
“No. I wouldn’t have punched him for that, I would’ve welcomed the asshole to the family.” Ryan’s hand had begun to throb and he rubbed it unconsciously. “He’s a fucking adulterer, just like my mother. Reagan’s going to be devastated. And to make matters worse, his wife is one of my clients. She’s due here at 8:00. She knew exactly what she was doing.”
Rosa put her hand on his arm. “Ryan, I’m so sorry. Do you need some ice for your hand?”
“No. I’m good. But I’m glad you showed up. I might’ve hurt him really bad. But what are you doing here?”
She smiled shyly at his question. “I wanted to see if you would like to sneak out for breakfast, but it looks like it’s almost time for your 8:00 appointment. With his wife.”
“There won’t be an appointment. I’m telling her she’s not welcome, to find another guy to screw.”
“Wait … You and she … ?”
“No … yes. Sorta. Crap Rosa. Look, she came onto me for a month before I gave in. It was casual, friends with benefits, only, we weren’t even friends, not really. She lives in San Myshuno. She was obviously playing a sick game with Evan. At least he’s rid of her, and I will be too, in an hour.
“But, Rosa, please stay. I was going to call it off anyway. After you and I reconnected, I knew I wanted to be with you and only you. To try to see what this is between us. She means nothing to me.”
Rosa looked like she might cry. “That’s a lot to digest Ryan,” she said. “I thought you were single. Reagan said you were.”
“That’s because she meant nothing,” he tried to explain, “Nobody knew about us because there wasn’t anything to know.” Ryan was sick. He just lost his best friend, and now the one person he thought he might be able to have a relationship with, was going to run scared.
“I’m going to leave,” said Rosa softly.
“Please, stay. I really need you right now,” begged Ryan.
“I’m not interested in being your rebound lover,” said Rosa.
“I swear, you’re not a rebound,” said Ryan, “I was honest with you. I didn’t need to tell you about her, but I can’t start off a potential relationship on lies.”
Rosa studied him for a second and the corners of her mouth curved up ever so slightly. Ryan could see the minute she decided to give him a chance. “That’s true. If you wanted to just use me, you would’ve just lied. This is a new look for you, vulnerable and honest. I kinda like it. I’m going to leave before Cruella gets here. I just might punch her for taking advantage of my guy. You aren’t an arrogant boy anymore. I think, maybe, you just grew into a man.”
She reached out took his injured hand and kissed it gently. “You should really ice this.” Then she turned and left.
Ryan was so relieved. He watched her walk off, but not out of his life. She was amazing. He wondered how he ever let her go before. But he knew how, it started to get real. And he wasn’t ready for real. Now, he was, and thank heaven, she was available. The stars must have aligned.
“Ryan, who was that?” asked a voice that made his blood run cold.
He turned and looked at Maribel. “None of your goddamn business. When were you going to tell me my former best friend was your fucking husband?”
“Ohhh … how?” she looked shocked.
“So it is true. Evan at least had the decency to tell me,” ground out Ryan. He clenched his fists to keep from hitting something and winced in pain.
“I signed the divorce papers,” said Bel defensively, “After you asked me out, I knew, I didn’t want to be tied to him. He gave me the penthouse.”
“What? You’re twisted. Get out of my gym and don’t come back. I never want to see your scheming face again.”
“Ryan, baby, no. It was amazing the last time we were together.”
“It was sex. Nothing more and I’m done.”
“So you think that little nurse is going to be able to take care of your needs. I know exactly what you like and how to please you. Give us a chance. We can have more dates.”
“You’re crazy. Get your shit and get out. There is no us. Never was and never will be.”
“That’s not true. You liked me. We had fun and the sex was awesome.”
“You’re a liar and a cheat, Maribel. Get out!” Ryan was losing his patience. He was going to forcefully remove her if she didn’t leave.
Evidently she got the message he wasn’t kidding and picked up her bag. Then turned to him one last time. “This isn’t over. You’ll see. Little Florence Nightingale is going to get boring as fuck! And then you’ll be back, for a real woman.”
After Bel walked off, Ryan collapsed into the cushions of the couch. He couldn’t even think about Reagan yet. He didn’t know if Evan was going to tell her, or if he was going to have to tell her. Fuck fuck fuck. He needed to settle down and think. And ice his hand. It was starting to hurt. Everything had gone bat shit crazy this morning. At least, he still had Rosa.