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March 5, 2010
Westchester Police Department
“Alright Mrs. Mongolia, thank you for your time. You may go,” Officer Lowery said to me. I smiled and stood up, limping out of the small, boxy interrogation room. I’d sprained my ankle from the fall I took when Cole tumbled into my chair, but refused any medical help. The thought of being a patient at St. Edward’s hospital, the hospital where Nina worked, made me sick to my stomach.
When I reached the main lobby of the police station, Mom rose from the chair she’d been sitting in and rushed over to me. She wrapped her arms around me in a tight, comforting hug. “Oh sweetie, did he hurt you?” she inquired. I knew she’d been crying by the telltale streaks of mascara that ran down her cheeks, and I felt guilty for adding even more drama to her life.
“Don’t worry, Mom. I’m fine.” I assured her.
She let out a sigh of relief. “The police told me you sprained your ankle. Are you alright? Does it hurt? Do you need to go to the hospital?” Her concerned questions shot out of her mouth at a rapid speed, and my head began throb from the sound of her voice.
“I’m. Fine.” I repeated, pronouncing each word separately for emphasis. I looked at her, my eyes sincere to let her know that I was telling the truth.
“Ok,” she finally said, enveloping me up in her arms again.
From beside me I heard a man clear his throat, in order to get our attention. I looked up to find Dad and Nina standing over us. I glanced back at the hallway where the interrogation rooms were. Cole was still being interrogated, but he would be done any second now. And when he came back out her into the lobby, he was going to see Nina. I could only imagine what his reaction would be.
“Evalynne,” Dad said to me. I broke away from Mom’s embrace and looked into his eyes, waiting for him to continue. “I’m so glad that you’re ok.”
“And so am I.” Nina added, smiling sweetly at me. It made me want to claw her eyes out.
“But when I first heard what had happened,” he went on, “I wasn’t sure whether or not you were ok. You have no idea how worried I was. A part of me thought that I had lost you.” He paused, trying to compose himself. Nina looked at him with concern in her chestnut eyes and placed a hand on his back comfortingly. “I thought that you had died hating me, Evalynne. Do you know how awful those few moments were before I found out you just sprained your ankle? That was a wakeup call for me. That’s when I decided that we can’t go on like this. We need to try to fix this. I can’t live with you hating me.”
“And how exactly do you expect us to fix things?” I demanded, narrowing my eyes at Nina icily before looking back at Dad.
“Nina and I would like it if you came to live with us for a little while.” Dad replied, looking hopeful.
If he actually thought I was going to say yes, he was out of his mind. “Yeah right,” I scoffed back, smirking at them both.
Dad’s jaw tensed and he glanced over at Mom, who nodded subtly. My brow knit together in confusion. What was that little gesture all about? Why had Mom nodded? “I’m sorry, Evalynne, but the decision is not up to you. I’ve already discussed this with your mother and we’ve both came to the agreement that you will be spending the next month living with Nina and I. After that month, if you wish to leave, you may.”
I looked at Mom, completely stunned. How could she have betrayed me like this? And what in the world made my parents think that they could control my life? I was eighteen for crying out loud! I was a legal adult! Therefore I was legally eligible to make my own decisions.
“You can’t force me to do that.” I snapped. “I’m eighteen. You no longer have control over me or my life.”
Dad looked back at Mom, who bit her lip nervously, while Nina failed to conceal a haughty smirk. Then Mom spoke. “We didn’t think that you’d agree to this.” she said. “So I’m kicking you out of the house. You can either live with Nina and your father for a month or find somewhere else to live. The choice is yours.”
“What?” I practically shouted in her face. “You can’t do that! That’s not fair!” I felt tears forming in the corners of my eyes, causing Mom to look away from me.
“You need to be all packed up and out of the house by nine o’clock tomorrow morning.” she told me.
“We’ll be over at nine to find out what your decision is.” Nina informed me, her eyes icy and smug, as if to say “I won over your father, and now I’m winning you over too”. But I wouldn’t let that happen. I would simply go stay with Will. He would let me do that, right?
“Nina?” Cole’s voice rang out over the entire lobby, causing all heads to turn and look at him. His face was red with rage and the veins in his forehead bulged.
Nina’s face remained relaxed and contented though. Not even a flicker of extra emotion. It was as if she’d been expecting him. She probably had though. The police most likely told both of my parents that Cole had been the one to come to my rescue. She’d probably seen this moment coming.
“Cole Wilson.” she stated, sounding almost amused. “It sure has been a while,”
“You two know eachother?” Mom queried, looking completely baffled.
“Oh yeah,” Cole remarked. “We go way back.” His voice was thick with spite as he spoke, deadpanning Nina the entire time.
And at that moment, Cole’s mother burst in through the doors and rushed over to Cole, not even glancing at Nina. “Oh, thank God you’re ok!” she exclaimed, hugging him so tightly, she was practically suffocating him.
“Mom? You flew all the way out here?” he asked her when she finally pulled away from him.
“Of course! The police called me and told me what happened. I’m so proud of you. You saved your friend’s life, you know.” she told him, beaming.
“It’s true,” Mom added, flashing him a small, yet grateful smile. “If it wasn’t for you, Evalynne wouldn’t have made it.”
Mrs. Wilson turned to grin at Mom in response, but when she did, her gaze landed on Nina. Her smile dissolved into a shocked and enraged frown. “What the h*** are you doing here?” she demanded.
“I came here to make sure that my soon-to-be-stepdaughter was alright. And thanks to Cole, she is.” Nina replied with a wide grin.
Mrs. Wilson’s jaw dropped and she looked over at my dad with pure disgust. “I can’t believe this.” she uttered.
“I don’t understand.” Mom said. “How do you and Cole know Nina?” she asked Cole’s mother.
“Because Nina Porter had an affair with my husband. She’s the reason we divorced. And then, a month after marrying him, she left him.” Her eyes landed on Dad when she said the last part. “She’s a homewrecker.”
Nina’s jaw clenched and her eyes narrowed. “No one forced your husband to leave you.” she retorted. “Don’t blame me for your marital issues. You simply weren’t fulfilling his needs.”
Mom’s mouth literally dropped open in shock. “Richard,” she said softly. “Please tell me you didn’t already know about this.”
He bit his lip, looking ashamed of himself. I simply smirked at him. “Oh he knew alright.” I answered for him. “In fact, he told me about it. I’m surprised he didn’t have the guts to tell you.”
Dad’s head snapped up to look at me and he gasped. “Evalynne, I understand that you’re upset, but I’m your father and you need to treat me with respect.”
“Oh yeah? Like how you respected Mom and I?” I remarked bitterly. Dad looked away from me, clearly hurt by my response. But I didn’t care. He deserved to feel just as much pain as Mom and I did. H***, he deserved twice as much pain.
But his pain brought Nina anger, and she glared at me, shaking her head. But no one saw this except for me. “Evalynne, I think it would be best if you and I had a little talk in private for a moment.” she said to me. Curious about what she possibly had to say to me, I agreed and followed her into the small hallway leading to the bathrooms.
She looked down at me, smiling with faux sweetness. “Listen, you little brat,” she hissed. “Daddy dearest is with me now, and there’s nothing you can do to change that. So I suggest you keep your rude comments to yourself. Because if you don’t, I’ll make sure you pay for each and every word. Got it?”
I was stunned into speechlessness, too shocked by her malice to respond. But my lack of words must have seemed like fear to her, because she smirked smugly at me. “I’ll take that as a yes,” she remarked, scoffing as she walked out of the hallway.
I stood there for another moment, still in a bit of a daze, until finally Cole walked over to me. He placed a hand on my shoulder, getting my attention. “Hey,” he said. I looked up at him. “Are you alright?” he asked me.
“Yeah,” I managed to choke out. I gave him a stiff smile before making my way past him and back into the lobby of the police station. Fortunately, Dad and Nina had left.
“Honey,” Mom said to me. “If you’re alright with it, I’m going to head back to work now so that this won’t count as a vacation day. But if you want me to stay, I will.”
“No, it’s ok.” I assured her. “Go ahead,” She smiled at me and planted a kiss on the top of my head before heading out of the police station.
“And I was actually planning on heading over to your aunt’s house to let her know that I’ll be spending the night.” Mrs. Wilson said to Cole, referring to Kristy’s mom.
Cole nodded in response, “Ok,” They bid their goodbyes and then she left.
“So, any idea how Katrina’s doing?” I asked him.
He swallowed hard, his Adam’s apple bobbing up and down at the mention of his girlfriend’s name. “I don’t know exactly. I was planning on visiting her at the hospital as soon as the interrogation ended.” he explained to me.
“Oh,” I replied. I took a deep breath before finally asking him. We’d both knew it was coming sooner or later. “How did you know to come to Will’s house? How did you know that I was in trouble?” I knew it was because Ash had told him, but I needed to here him say it for me to fully believe it.
He sighed and glanced up at me. “This is going to sound really crazy,” he began, “but Ash told me. He wrote me a note and stuck it in my jacket pocket. At least it said it was from Ash.”
I nodded, “That’s because it was.” I told him. “Ash’s ghost at least.” His brow furrowed and he opened his mouth to say something, but no words came out. “I’m not crazy if that’s what you’re thinking. I’ve seen him. He’s spoken to me, written messages to me. He really is a ghost.”
Cole was silent for a moment as he took this in. “You know, they say when people die, but they have unfinished business to attend to, they become ghosts. Ash’s unfinished business must’ve been to make sure that you would be safe.”
I looked up at him, wondering if he was right. Knowing deep inside that he was. But it was hard to believe that I was that important to Ash. I knew he loved me. He’d told me plenty of times before. But it was still sort of overwhelming to know that he couldn’t rest in peace until he knew for a fact that I would stay safe. How would he ever know that for sure though? Was he never going to be able to rest peacefully? At least not until I died.
“I guess so,” I replied. “He was always a bit overprotective,” I added, smiling to myself. Overprotective was an understatement for Ash.
Cole nodded. “Yes he was.” There was a moment of silence between us until Cole finally spoke again. “Ok, well I’m going to go now. I want to see how Katrina’s doing. You can come with me if you want to.”
“No thanks,” I told him. “I was kind of planning on sticking around here until Will gets done with his interrogation.”
“Oh,” he said. “Well I guess I’ll see you later then.” He flashed me one last weak smile before turning and walking out of the police station.