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March 3, 2010
Dad and I were seated, facing across from eachother at a table in the back corner of Olive Garden, the restaurant he had taken me to for lunch. But if he thought that taking me to my favorite restaurant was going to make me forgive him, he was wrong. It would take a whole lot more than breadsticks and a bowl of fettuccini alfredo for me to even consider forgiving him.
I waited until after our food was placed in front of us to tell him what I knew. “Ok Dad,” I began, once the waiter had brought our food over to our table. “I called Cole last night, and I know everything. So now let’s cut to the chase. Are you going to stay with Nina or not?”
He looked taken aback by what I said, and I could tell that he wasn’t expecting me to have already uncovered the truth about Nina. “Evalynne, Nina is a really great person. I wish you could just give her a chance to prove that to you. She—”
“Are you staying with her or not?” I demanded, stopping him in the middle of his sentence. He was silent for a moment, until finally he responded.
“Yes,” he stated. There it was. He’d made his decision.
For a moment, I felt absolutely nothing at all. It was like all the emotion had been emptied out of my body. The smell of garlic wafted through my nose. All of the restaurant’s chatter was suddenly deafening in my ears. My entire body went hot, like I had a high fever. It was complete sensory overload. And then the rage hit me.
It was like a vicious tidal wave of anger coursing through me. My hands began to tremble in my lap, until I could no longer control myself. “You disgusting, coldhearted, compassionless coward.” I spat, narrowing my eyes at the monster sitting across from me. “Are you too scared to dump Nina because you know Mom won’t take you back? Huh? Or are is it because you know you’ll never find anyone as young and hot as Nina that’s into you? Because it’s obviously not because you have feelings for that witch!” I shouted, earning a few stares from the people near our table.
Dad bit his lip, a mixture of dejection and embarrassment crossing over his face. Dejection because of what I’d said to him. Embarrassment because of the dozen people that had witnessed it.
“Evalynne, please,” Dad pleaded. “Don’t do this to me. You have absolutely no idea how hard this situation is for me. Believe it or not, I do love Nina. And I don’t want to have to choose between her and my own daughter. I really don’t. But you’re forcing me to do that.”
I had a flash of déjà vu when he said this, recalling when Ash was forced to choose between Lori and I. I knew how hard that was for him to do. To choose between the girl he loved and his own family. So I knew how hard it would be for Dad to choose between the girl he loved and his own family. But since there was no way in hell that he truly loved Nina, this decision should’ve been a piece of cake for him.
“Well if you’re being forced to choose, then go ahead and choose.” I told him. I knew that it was pretty likely that I would be crushed by his answer, but I had to know. I had to hear him say it. I had to hear him tell me that he chose Nina over me. It was the only way for me to actually believe it, because until I heard those words come out of his mouth, I wouldn’t be able to.
“Evalynne,” he continued to beg. Well his pathetic groveling couldn’t faze me. I was determined to get a straight answer out of him.
“I’m going to make this nice and clear for you.” I hissed through clenched teeth. “Either you dump Nina and we can try to repair our relationship, or you stay with Nina and I never speak to you again. And don’t think I’m not serious, because I am. If you don’t believe me, then go ahead and choose to be with that skank. Then you’ll see just how serious I am.”
To be perfectly honest, I really wasn’t so sure that I would want to try and repair my relationship with my Dad even if he did dump Nina. After all that he’d done to Mom and I, he probably didn’t deserve a second chance.
His face hardened and he cocked his head to the side slightly. “If you think you can speak to me in that tone of voice, then you’re wrong. Yes, what I did to you and your mother was wrong. And yes, I shouldn’t have kept my feelings for Nina from you two for as long as I did. But I’m still your father, and you can’t talk to me like that. This isn’t all about you, Evalynne. This is hard for me too. And for Nina. Did you even think about how Nina must feel? Do you even care? Or are you just concerned about yourself?” he demanded.
I couldn’t believe it. He cared more about Nina’s feelings than he did about mine. I tried desperately to blink back the tears that were welling up in my eyes. But they escaped nonetheless, trickling down my face.
“This wasn’t supposed to happen.” I said, my voice shaky. “You weren’t supposed to turn against me like this. You’re supposed to love me, Dad. Not Nina! You were supposed to choose me over her.”
I stood up, wiping my tears away with the back of my hand. I had to get out of there. I couldn’t bare to spend another moment with my so-called father. So I turned on my heel and dashed past tables and waiters, bursting out through the doors of the restaurant. Part of me was hoping that Dad would come after me. But he didn’t.
So I turned around and began walking home. I bowed my head to block out the wind, and tears continued to pour down my face. I was freezing cold, heartbroken, and miserable. Sniffling, I sighed and wondered how my life had become so horrible. In less than a year my entire world had come crashing down on me right before my eyes.
I continued walking, wishing that my life could return to the way it had been long before the summer I’d met Ash. But soon I heard the low grumble of a car’s engine getting closer and closer to me, followed by Will’s familiar voice.
“Hey, you need a ride?” he called to me through his car window.
I turned to look at him, nodded, and got into his black Volvo. Once I was seated, he took one look at my tear-streaked face. and pulled into the parking lot of a nearby Jewel. Then he wrapped me up tightly in his arms, not even bothering to ask what was wrong.
And I was grateful for that. Because at the moment, I really didn’t want to talk about what had just happened. I was just happy to be with Will. Being enveloped in his arms somehow made me feel better. I felt safe and protected in his warm embrace. And before I even realized what I was doing, my lips were pressed up against Will’s.
And he didn’t pull away. In fact, he kissed me back. I snaked my arms around his neck and slowly slid them down to his back. It felt different kissing Will than it did kissing Cole. It felt safer, and I wasn’t as afraid to go farther with him. So without thinking, I slid his leather jacket off, letting it land behind him on his seat.
But as soon as I removed his jacket, something inside of him seemed to snap and he jerked away from me.
“I’m sorry,” I cried, feeling stupid. What the hell was I thinking? Will still had a girlfriend! He didn’t like me. He probably thought I was some desperate, pathetic creeper. He’d probably never want to speak to me again.
As all of these thoughts raced through my mind, something caught my eye. There was a shiny, light red burn mark stretching across Will’s right arm. From his elbow all the way up underneath the sleeve of his black t-shirt.
As he hurriedly scrambled to put his jacket back on, he noticed me staring at it and bit his lip. This had to be the reason that he always wore his leather jacket. Not because he was trying to look like a ‘bad boy’, but because he wanted to cover up his burn mark.
I reached out a hand, gently touching it. It was smooth and burnished as I ran my hand across it. Will hesitantly let his jacket drop back down onto his seat and met my curious gaze.
“What happened to you?” I queried.
His mouth creased at the corners, forming a grimace and his eyes filled with a sad remembrance. Judging by the look on his face, it seemed as if he was going to start sobbing, but he didn’t. Instead, he took a deep breath, obviously trying to contain himself.
“He hates me so much,” he said, his voice faint and fragile sounding. And as soon as he said those words, I knew exactly what had happened.
“Michael did this to you, didn’t he?” I cried. He shut his eyes to keep the tears from escaping and took in a trembling breath of air. “Oh my gosh,” I murmured, knowing that I was right. “Why would he do this?”
“Because he hates me!” Will exploded, opening his eyes to look at me. His face was red, his eyes were wild, and the veins in forehead were bulging. I’d never seen him like this before. It was like he was a completely different person. “Don’t you get it, Evalynne?” he continued to rant. “Michael hates me! He’s the reason my parents hate me!”
“What do you mean?” I inquired, confused.
“My parents didn’t want to have twins. They only wanted one kid. So when they ended up having two, they favored one over the other. And Michael made sure that it was him that they favored. They never wanted me, and neither did Michael. He never liked to share my parents with me. He wanted to be an only child, so he thought that since I’d ruined that for him, I deserved to be punished. Michael’s made my entire life a living hell, Evalynne.”
Hearing Will’s story made me sick to my stomach. How could someone be so selfish? How could someone be so cruel to their own brother? Sympathetic didn’t even begin to describe how I felt towards Will. I couldn’t imagine a life of misery caused by my very own sibling. I no longer felt bad for myself. What I was going through was nothing compared to Will had been put through his entire life.
I didn’t even know what to say to him. I opened up my mouth to speak, but no words came out. Saying sorry wasn’t going to do him any good, so I didn’t bother to. But I felt stupid not saying anything, so I searched my mind for something.
“You don’t deserve to be treated that way.” I finally stated. “You’re a much better person than your brother. Michael’s a freakin’ murderer for crying out loud!”
When I said this, Will’s eyes went wide. “You know about that?” he asked me.
I was just as shocked as him now. “Yeah,” I replied. “But I didn’t know that you know that too. How did you find out?”
“Well between how much Michael hates me and all the hints he drops, it was pretty easy to figure out. That’s why he killed his ex, because of me. He drops hints about it to make me feel guilty. He tries to convince me that it’s my fault she’s dead. And even though I know it’s not true, he ends up convincing me of it anyways.” Will explained. “How did you find out?”
“I figured it out from the hints he drops too.” I lied, not wanting to tell Will about Ash’s ghost. I didn’t want him thinking I was crazy.
Will nodded. “I want to go to the police about it, but I know that he’ll convince them he’s innocent. Michael has a way with words…he’s very persuasive. He has this ability to talk people into believing things even when they aren’t true.” he told me.
“Yeah, I noticed that.” I murmured, recalling how powerless I felt when talking to him. “And he’s plotting to kill Valerie now too…I mean, that’s what I’m guessing at least.”
“Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m thinking.” Will replied, getting this distant look in his eyes when I mentioned Valerie’s name. “I want to save her so badly. I don’t know how I’ll ever live with myself if Michael ends up killing her and I’m not there to stop it. Especially since I’d have saw it coming. The only problem is I have no idea how to stop Michael. And even if I did have a plan, I’m not sure I’d be able to stop him.”
“Well maybe if we both work together, we can figure out a way to catch him and have him arrested.” I suggested.
A small smile spread across Will’s lips and he glanced over at me. “You’d be willing to help me stop him?” he asked. I nodded in response. “Then let’s go back to your house and start planning. We obviously can’t go back to mine…”
“Ok, let’s go then.” I agreed. So Will pulled out of the parking lot and we began heading in the direction of my house.