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April 13, 2010 (42)
By the time I arrived at Ash’s apartment complex, I realized just how overdramatic I had been about everything. I’d caused a fake fire at Mimi’s just so that I could sneak into the back room and get his address. And that was all just so that I could come try to find him and talk to him about our relationship now that he knew what I’d done with Cole. It was a pretty over-the-top move on my part, but then again, Will had always told me what a drama queen I was.
I swallowed back the lump that formed in my throat when I thought about Will. How I’d left him believing that I was still in love with him. How hurt he’d be once he found out the truth.
But I quickly shoved all those negative thoughts out of my mind as I reached the door to Ash’s apartment. I’d gone through so much trouble to get here; there was no turning back now. So I held my breath as I knocked on the door.
A few seconds went by. I knocked on the door again, but still, no one answered. I waited a few more seconds before knocking again, not that there was any use. It was pretty obvious that Ash wasn’t home. Either that or he just wasn’t answering the door.
I bit down on my lip, beginning to feel hopeless. I couldn’t just give up though. After everything I’d done to find out where Ash lived, I wasn’t going to leave until I spoke with him. I’d camp outside his apartment door if that was what it took. If he was home, he had to come out some time, and if he wasn’t, he would be soon. And I’d be right there waiting for him when either of those two things happened.
Determined now, I sat down on the floor right outside his door. I brought my knees up to my chest, wrapping my arms around them and leaning up against the wall as I waited. I wasn’t a patient person though. So after fifteen minutes of waiting went by, I rose to my feet and began to pace.
I knew he was home. Where else could he have been? If he wasn’t at Cole’s, then where the hell was he? The only other thing I could think of was that Michael had like, captured him or something. The thought sent worried shivers down my spine. I needed to know if Ash was home or not. So frantically, I began to pound on the door.
“Ash!” I called through the wood. “It’s me! Open up, please!”
“Keep it down out there!” someone called through the wall of the apartment across from Ash’s. I rolled my eyes, ignoring them completely.
“Come on! We need to talk! Open up the door!” I cried.
“Hey!” said a voice from behind me. I turned around to see a man who looked about thirty standing in the doorway of the apartment across from Ash’s. “Stop yelling out here! He’s not even home!”
“He’s not?” I asked, the panic audible in my voice.
“No, I saw him pulling out of the parking lot right when I was pulling in. He left about an hour ago.” he informed me.
“Well do you know where he was going?” I inquired curiously.
“How the hell should I know?” he remarked bitterly. “Now stop shouting! I’m trying to do some work in here,” With that, he stormed back into his apartment, slamming the door behind him with a loud bang.
I sighed deeply, wondering where Ash could have possibly gone. Was it possible that he’d just been driving to go get something to eat and Michael came across him and decided to take him back to his apartment and kill him? I knew it was a bit farfetched to think such a thing, but it was a possibility. Michael was a neurotic psychopath. If he was in a bad mood and happened to see Ash out in public, there was a very good chance that he’d decide to just kill him.
I took a deep breath as I walked out of the apartment complex and climbed back into my car. Once I was seated, I pulled out my cell phone and tried calling Ash really quick just in case he decided to answer. He didn’t. So next, I called Michael.
The phone rang twice before Michael picked up. “Evalynne?” his deep, familiar voice said into the phone. “How the hell did you get this number?”
“I’m a smart girl. If I need information, I can get it.” I retorted smugly, mocking what he’d said to me before. “I have something I need to ask you,” I said before he got a chance to respond. “Do you know where Ash is?”
“No,” he remarked. “Why, don’t you?”
“No,” I admitted. “And now I can’t get a hold of him, all because you told him about me sleeping with Cole. I really don’t understand why you feel the need to completely and utterly destroy my life.”
“I’m not trying to destroy your life,” he told me, actually sounding sincere about it.
“Really? Because you’re doing a pretty good job at it,” I snapped back.
He was silent for a moment on the other line. I was beginning to think he’d hung up on me, but then he continued speaking. “I only told him what happened between you and Cole because I knew that would tear you two apart. I wasn’t trying to hurt you, I was just trying to make you available once again so that you can be with me, where you belong.”
I felt my stomach turn with uneasiness when he said this. His tone was so serious, like he truly thought that I belonged with him. That was definitely not the case though. “I don’t know what’s going on in that psychotic little brain of yours, but you and I definitely aren’t meant to be together.”
“Think what you want, but you’ll realize the truth soon enough. It seems that Ash has left you, so he’s out of the way. It’s only a matter of time before Cole gets tired of waiting to sleep with you again and moves onto someone else.”
“That’s not true,” I uttered back to him. But somewhere deep down inside of me, I believed him. Ash had always told me not to fall for Cole because he was just a perverted player, and I’d always defended Cole when he said that. But had he been right all along? Was Cole really only with me so that he could get inside my pants?
“Don’t lie to yourself, Evalynne. It will only make things worse in the end,” Michael replied. I closed my eyes and sucked in a deep breath, trying not to let him get to me. If Cole really was just in it for the sex, he wouldn’t have stayed with me this long. He wouldn’t constantly be talking about me with Shaun. He wouldn’t have tried so hard to win me over. Michael was just trying to get me to break things off with Cole. It wasn’t going to work though.
“Ash might have left me, but he’s going to have to talk to me about it sooner or later. And who knows? Maybe he’ll realize that he’s overreacting and get back together with me. But if he doesn’t, then I know I’ll still have Cole, because I know he loves me. If he didn’t, he would be long gone by now.” I told him confidently. Michael wasn’t going to win this time. He was wrong and we both knew it.
“Whatever helps you sleep at night,” he retorted. Why was it so hard for him to just own up to being wrong?
“Whatever, I don’t care what you think. I’m gonna go now.” I was about to hang up the phone, but he stopped me before I go the chance to.
“Wait,” he said. “What if I told you that I could find out where Ash is within the next five minutes?”
“And how are you planning on doing that?” I remarked. Yeah, Michael was smart, but if Ash wasn’t replying to me, why the hell would he reply to Michael?
“Don’t question me. Do you not remember what I told you before? 4.0 GPA, Evalynne,” he reminded me.
“Yeah, I remember,” I replied flatly. “But I still don’t see how in the world you’re going to find out where Ash is within the next five minutes.”
“So you don’t believe I can do it?” he asked me.
“No, actually, I don’t,” I answered matter-of-factly.
“Fine, then let’s make a bet. If I can figure out where he is in five minutes, then I get to take you out on a date.” he told me. I could practically see that wicked smile of his spreading across his lips.
“And if you can’t?” I countered.
“Then I leave you alone. Forever.”
My heart leapt when he said those words. The thought of ridding Michael from my life forever was about the best thing I could wish for. However, the thought of going on a date with him completely repulsed me. He was smart, but how could he possibly be smart enough to figure out Ash’s whereabouts so quickly? It would’ve taken more than a high GPA to do that. I knew Ash very well, well enough to know how stubborn he could be. If he didn’t want anyone to know where he was, then he wouldn’t let anyone know where he was. It was that simple. There wasn’t anything Michael could possibly say to persuade him into telling him where he was.
“You’re not bluffing, are you?” I demanded.
“I’m not, I swear on my life,” he told me sincerely.
I heaved in a deep sigh, still sort of unsure of what I was about to get myself into. But there was a very strong chance that agreeing to this bet would get Michael to leave me alone for the rest of my life. And I wanted that more than anything.
“Ok, I’m in,” I said.
“Wonderful,” he replied, an impish tone to his voice. “So I’ll call you back in exactly five minutes to let you know where he is. Talk to you soon,” Before I had a chance to respond, the line went dead.
I sighed and flipped my phone shut, feeling extremely anxious. It was six o’clock exactly right now. So at six-oh-five I’d be receiving a call from Michael. My heart raced as I watched the glowing numbers on the screen of my phone, waiting for the last zero to switch to a one.
What if Michael actually won this bet? I could’ve just refused to go on a date with him, but I knew that doing such a thing would most likely result in him murdering Ash. The thought of that happening made me feel sick to my stomach. So did the thought of being alone on a date with Michael though. I was actually pretty shocked that he even wanted to take me out on a date in the first place.
He didn’t really seem like the dating type. He actually didn’t even seem like the boyfriend type at all. The only thing I could see Michael as now was a killer. That was all he was to me and all he’d ever be. Nothing he did or said could’ve ever changed that. He could never take back what he had done in the past.
I was startled back to reality when my phone began to buzz in my hand. I glanced down at it to see that I had an incoming call from Michael. The digital clock on it now said six-oh-five. He was right on time.
Feeling a bit apprehensive, I answered the phone. “So do you know where is?” I said, skipping past hello and getting right to the point.
“Of course I did.” he remarked. “Did you honestly think that I wouldn’t?”
My stomach turned uneasily at the sound of this. “No,” I said, but it came out as more of a whisper. “You couldn’t have. There’s no way he would’ve told you that!”
“Oh, but there is,” he said, sounding all high and mighty about it. “All I had to do was tell one little white lie to get him to tell me anything I needed to know.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked him.
“I told him that if he didn’t tell me where he was, I would kill you. He didn’t believe me at first, but after a little persuading, he caved. I guess he does still care about you. Too bad you’re going to be dating me now,”
I felt extremely hot all of the sudden, like a heat wave had just hit me. I quickly rolled down the windows to let some air into my car, which now felt way too crowded. It felt claustrophobic inside, as if the walls were closing in on me. I was going to go on an actual date with Michael. This couldn’t possibly be happening.
My heart rate was skyrocketing now as I pictured it in my head. Sitting across from him at across a table of some fancy restaurant. Having an expensive candlelit dinner with him. Looking up from my menu, right into those dark ominous eyes of his. The thought of it sent shivers down my spine.
“I still don’t believe you,” I told him. It was actually a lie. I knew that if he had actually done what he said he’d done, then Ash would’ve told him anything. “If you know where he is, then tell me.”
“Oh, you’re going to love this one,” he said, laughing to himself. “He’s paying a little visit to my brother down at the loony bin. Apparently, he’s pretty angry with him. He was telling me how if Will thinks it’s ok to hit you, then he should have no problem with Ash hitting him.”
“Oh no,” I uttered to myself. This was just perfect. Not only did I have to go out on a date with Michael, but now Ash was going to go beat up Will. Unbelievable.
“Oh yes,” he remarked, sounding entertained by this whole mess. “So, onto a better topic: our date. How about I give you an hour to get ready and then I’ll come pick you up at your apartment? Sound good to you?”
“No, it actually kind of makes me want to vomit,” I retorted.
“Well put your nausea aside for tonight, because it’s going to be very special. I’m going to make this a night to remember for the both of us. I’ll take you back to my place, show you some of my cooking skills, set up a nice romantic dinner…”
“Excuse me while I gag,” I said flatly. The more he described this date, the more nauseous I felt.
“Stop pretending that you aren’t excited for this. It’s not like Ash or Cole ever took you out on such a nice date. And Will certainly didn’t either. It’s time for you to come to terms with reality, Evalynne. It’s time for you to face the fact that I’m a better boyfriend than any of those three ever were. Sure, I’ve made some mistakes in the past, but we’re past those now. Now, we can start fresh. Tonight is only the beginning.” This little speech of his would have been sweet if it was coming from anyone else. But since the words were coming out of Michael’s mouth, it made it repulsing for me to listen to.
“They might not have ever taken me out on a romantic date, but they never tried to kill me with an ice mallet either.” I told him.
“Oh right, you prefer to be scratched, punched, then nearly strangled to death,” he said spitefully.
“I left Will, ok? I left him because of what he did to me, because what he did really hurt me. And I really don’t need to be reminded of it again.” I said softly.
“So is that why you went to visit him the other day?” he replied.
“How did you know about that?” I demanded.
“Must I remind you of my intelligence yet again? Because it seems you’ve already forgotten,”
I rolled my eye at his response. “You’re so full of yourself,” I scoffed.
“I bet you wish you were full of me too, don’t you?” he remarked, his voice low and seductive.
“Ok, ewww!” I cried. How could he call Cole perverted and then say a line like that? “There’s a mental image I really didn’t need,”
“You’re welcome,” he said in return, sounding all vain and conceited.
“Wow, so humble,” I remarked sarcastically.
“Just one of my many great qualities,” he replied back. I rolled my eyes again, not even bothering to respond to him. “Well it’s just getting later and later, so I should let you go now. You’ve got a date to get ready for. Do yourself up real pretty for me, ok?” I could tell by the sound of his voice that he was just saying this to taunt me.
“Yeah, ok,” I retorted.
“Alright, see you in an hour.” He hung up without a goodbye and I angrily shoved my phone back into the pocket of my jeans.
This was officially about to turn into the worst night of my life.