Saturday, 11:45 PM – Willow Creek Hospital
After Evan left the waiting room, Reagan allowed Archer to guide her back to the couch. She was feeling an overwhelming need to go to Evan, but Archer pulled her close and that helped ease the pain a little. They sat that way for just a minute, before Archer’s phone buzzed.
“I need to go take this call,” he said, then asked, “Will you be okay alone for a few minutes?”
“Reagan, come sit with me and Ben,” said her grandmother, clearly overhearing the question.
Reagan smiled at the tenderness shown by her father’s parents towards her. She didn’t feel she deserved it and her hesitation to do as she asked must have been apparent.
“Come on Reagan,” insisted her grandfather, then turned to Archer, “Archer, go take your call.”
Archer stood up and placed a kiss on Reagan’s forehead. “I’ll be back in 15 minutes.”
Reagan got up and walked across the room and sat between her grandparents. “I was a terrible daughter. I’m so sorry.” Reagan needed to apologize to everyone. But an apology felt so hollow.
“You were hurt sweetheart,” said Sofia gently.
Ben hugged her. “It’s okay Reagan,” he said in his gruff voice, “It’s called growing up. Believe me baby, I know. I had to lose Cole’s mother before I came to realize how much my parents loved me – no matter what.”
Reagan was temporarily confused at his statement since her father’s mother was sitting right there. Then she remembered the park. Her father’s birth mother’s legacy. She never even thought about the fact that her grandfather had been through losing someone he loved. He seemed so happy.
He continued. “Your father doesn’t hate you. I know he doesn’t. He loves you very much. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be where he is right now. He would do anything for all four of you. You know that, right?”
“How can he forgive me. He could’ve …. and it’s all my fault,” said Reagan and those damn tears welled up again. “And Dannie, she won’t even look at me.”
“Shhh baby,” said Sofia softly, “Don’t go there. This isn’t your fault. It’s Avery’s. She used you and took advantage of your kind heart. You don’t get to pick your parents. And Dannie, she’s just hurting right now too. She’ll eventually come around.”
Reagan looked at her grandmother and wished it was that easy. But it wasn’t. She was filled with guilt and confused and wanted nothing more than to hide from the family she hurt so badly. She hoped Archer wouldn’t be much longer.
Saturday, 11:45 PM – Willow Creek Hospital – out in the hallway……
When Evan left the waiting room, an overwhelming sense of exhaustion caught up with him as the stress of the past 48 hours consumed him. The adrenaline that had kept him moving abruptly left his body. But he knew he hadn’t dreamed it when Reagan hugged him. He could still feel the warmth of her arms around him.Instead of shrinking away from his touch as she’d done earlier, she held him tight, each drawing strength from the other, before she finally pushed him away. Regardless, it felt good to have his arms around her again. Maybe they could indeed make it back, once she wasn’t in so much pain over her father – and he could get her away from fucking Archer Kendall for five minutes.
Lost in his thoughts, Evan mindlessly punched the elevator button. Tonight, he had seen what a real family should be. It was so unfair that they’d all have to suffer through another trial. Avery should have died instead of Crazy Gun Lady.
When Evan feared he might never see Reagan again, he had realized the depth of his love for her. She had a good heart and it nearly killed him when she said ‘I love you back’. She said it with such conviction, just like it was something she’d already decided, not because he’d said it to her first. He knew all she wanted in return was his love. And he’d betrayed her instead.
He’d give anything to be able start a family with Reagan. He never thought he wanted kids before, but for some reason, now he did. He knew without a doubt, Reagan would be a wonderful mother and probably even needed to be a mother. It would heal her and make her whole again.
When he heard the soft ding of the elevator, he vowed to never let anything bad happen to Reagan again. And, if she’d give him a second chance, he’d never lie to her again, no matter how hard the truth was. She deserved to know.
When the elevator doors finally slid open to take him away from Reagan, he had to step back while they wheeled a patient out.
As they wheeled the bed towards the patient rooms, he looked up and locked eyes with Avery fucking Murdock. Her eyes were hard and mean, making his blood run cold.
Suddenly, he couldn’t make his feet move; and the elevator doors softly closed without him inside. He could only watch as they wheeled her into a room.
Less than a minute later, everyone left and his feet finally began to move of their own accord, towards that same room. His heart was loud in his chest, as if the adrenaline kicked in again.
He walked in and closed the door. Reagan’s mother, no not mother, she didn’t deserve that moniker, the witch was handcuffed to the bed rail. The other arm in a cast. “What do you want?” she spat out.
Evan couldn’t speak. He could only watch himself as he calmly picked up a pillow and walked over to her bedside. He glanced at the door. Closed.
“What’re you doing? You’re crazy,” she said panicking, “Don’t Evan – no one was supposed to get …”
He needed to shut that lying voice up. “Goodbye Mommy Dearest,” he heard himself say as put the pillow firmly over her face, silencing her ramblings. She would never again hurt Reagan or anyone else.
He barely registered the door opening. Then, someone grabbed him from behind pulling him away. No! he thought, as he struggled to keep the pillow firmly in place. But they were too strong and he was too tired. They easily pulled him away from the bed, and the pillow fell to the floor.
Pissed, Evan turned around. Archer Kendall, his new worst nightmare, was standing there alone. “Why did you stop me?” he asked through gritted teeth.
Avery was gasping for air and coughing, trying to talk. Archer looked at her, his eyes hard and cold. “Shut the fuck up,” he said in a loud whisper, then directed his attention back to Evan. “You don’t want this on your conscience Evan. It would destroy you. You need to leave – now.”
“No,” said Evan, emotionless and eerily calm, “She needs to pay. Get out of my way.”
Archer suddenly turned angry. “Get the fuck out of here, right now. She will, if you’ll just leave.”
Evan looked at Archer as his words tickled his consciousness, and the reality of what he’d almost done began to sink in. “I … I don’t know what just happened … I …”
“Go. Home. I’ll be in touch,” commanded Archer.
Evan, numbed by what he had done, did as Archer said this time, and walked out of the room. He shivered as he thought about what might’ve happened had Archer not stopped him. Evan got on the elevator and not one person paid any attention to him.
As he stepped off the elevator on the ground floor to go home, he heard a code blue go out over the intercom for the room he had vacated less than two minutes earlier. A shiver rolled down his spine. He suddenly felt incredibly sad, and a sick feeling settled in his gut.
Sunday, 1:00 AM – Evan’s Apartment
By the time Evan made it home, the gravity of what he’d tried to do hit him hard. On the short drive home, he’d tried to make sense out of it and couldn’t. It’d been like he’d had no control. He was there, but he wasn’t. He wasn’t a killer. He’d never hurt anyone. But, evidently Archer was. He killed Reagan’s mother in cold blood. It was pouring down rain and he got drenched going into his apartment, which only worsened his mood.
Evan didn’t trust Archer before, now he knew he couldn’t be trusted. He pulled off his wet clothes and tossed them on the floor and fell onto the bed exhausted. He couldn’t help but wonder if Archer would try to blame Avery’s death on him. He really didn’t know if he would or not, despite what he said. He had never met him before today, or was it yesterday now? He had no idea.
Then he thought of Reagan. God she needed to know what sort of man Archer Kendall really was. He needed to figure this out … with that last thought, Evan felt sleep taking over his body and gave in to it.
An hour later, he woke up in a cold sweat, gasping for air. When he sat up, he realized this wasn’t some horrible nightmare, it was true. He’d been drugged and probably raped, the woman he loved had been kidnapped by his rapist, her father nearly died in a shootout and he almost killed the crazy bitch that did it all. And the man that Reagan had turned to for comfort was dangerous beyond belief.
He dragged himself to the bathroom and looked at himself in the mirror. Evan didn’t recognize the face staring back at him. It was only a matter of time before they came to get him. Archer hadn’t told Reagan what her mother had done to him, so why wouldn’t he let everyone believe he killed her. Sadly, he would’ve killed her, if Archer hadn’t shown up. Shit.
He heard pounding on his door. It was fucking 2:00 am. Evan figured it must be the police. As the pounding got louder, he turned on the faucet so he could splash water on his face and prepared to face the music.
He pulled a t-shirt over his head and walked to the door to meet his fate. But it wasn’t the cops. It was Archer fucking Kendall. Is this guy everywhere? he thought, What the fuck? And who was with Reagan?
“Are you here to arrest me?” asked Evan flatly. He figured he probably could.
Archer pushed his way inside and closed the door. “No, You stupid little shit. I came to tell you I finished what you started. I called the nurse and told them she was seizing. I suggested that she’d hit her head hard when she fell. They rushed in and tried to save her, but couldn’t. There won’t be an autopsy. You’re off the hook.”
“So why’d you stop me if you were going to do it anyway?” asked Evan suspiciously. It was no coincidence that Archer was in her room. Did he come to her room to kill her?And how did he even know what room she was in, or that she was even in a room?
Archer looked at Evan with disgust. “Two reasons,” he said, “First, that shit changes a person. No need for you to have that demon to deal with, when it was my fault she wasn’t already dead.
“And second, Reagan can’t handle anymore heartbreak. She’s barely hanging on as it is. If you were arrested for murder, it would destroy her. I know she has feelings for you, probably even loves you in spite of the crap you two are dealing with. She’s important to me, for a lot of reasons. And I didn’t want you doing something stupid and getting both our asses in a sling.”
Evan scraped his hand across his face and into his hair. Archer made sense, sort of. “I don’t know what came over me … I’m not violent … I’m a fucking sales guy … it was like … I don’t know…”
Surprisingly, Archer’s voice was soft when he cut Evan off. “Like you were watching yourself. A sort of fugue state – a disassociation with your body – caused by lack of sleep, drugs, trauma, stress. I expect you’ve had an overdose of all of that in the past two days. That’s all it was, along with being in the right place at the wrong time.”
“I can’t sleep – I keep waking up unable to breathe.”
“I don’t know how to tell you to deal with it, except that she was supposed to die at the scene. But Reagan was too close to get off a clean shot. I was going in to cleanup my mess, but you would’ve screwed things up.”
The pieces started clicking into place for Evan. “You still love Reagan, so you killed Avery. And conveniently, you didn’t bother telling her what her mother did to me. You son of a bitch! That’s why you didn’t bring the cops in either. You wanted to fucking kill them both. And almost got Cole killed in the process! Well, fuck you Kendall. Just so you know, I’m not giving up on me and Reagan. She’s the best thing to ever enter my life, and she still cares for me. I know she does.”
“Reagan can decide that,” said Archer confidently, “But in the mean time, I’m pretty damn sure she’s not going to want to go back to her house.” Archer paused and looked around Evan’s apartment with disgust. “I’m going to tell her to take some time off and come back to San Myshuno with me. She’s obviously not coming to this pig sty. Nor will she want to, from what I can tell. She may have feelings for you, but it was me she went to.
“Don’t screw this up Connor,” he continued, “Take this time to get your own shit together. I know you’ve been to hell and back these last few days. But so has Reagan. Now, I need to get back before she wakes up and has a panic attack.”
Evan sighed deeply. “This is so fucked up,” he said, knowing Archer was right and hating every bit of it. He had to figure out a way to get Reagan away from him – but how?
“Welcome to my world,” Archer tossed over his shoulder as he walked out the door.
Evan sat on the edge of his ratty air mattress. His life totally sucked. The only good thing was that Maribel was finally out if it. He was so afraid it might be too late for him and Reagan. Especially if she leaves town with Kendall. Some screwed up Knight in Shining Armor shit.
He hated Maribel more than ever. If she’d given him the divorce months ago, he would’ve gone after Reagan like he wanted to, and maybe all of this mess with her mother might’ve been avoided. Most certainly Kendall wouldn’t be making a move on Reagan. She was honest, caring and had a heart of gold. Both her downfall and what he loved most about her. When she loved, he knew, she would love hard. He’d hurt her badly, and had a long way to go to fix things. But he would try his damnedest.
Evan thought about his competition. He hated him, but respected him. He had cold eyes, except when he looked at Reagan, then there was compassion in them, and when he talked about her, it was apparent she was special to him.
He was so fucked. How could he possibly compete? Then he realized how. It was simple really. Tell her the truth. He damn well knew Archer wouldn’t, and the truth is everything to Reagan, as it should be to every couple. Maybe they’d both lose her, but at least he’d go out with a clear conscience.
To be Continued ….