written by Desiree
Evan had no problem agreeing to help Richard Constantine. His mother had worked for Richard for many, many years and he hardly remembered a time without him in their lives. It was always satisfying to help Richard when he was needed, preparing meals for him when his cook was away or whatever other task needed to be done. It was just a small repayment for all the generosity he had bestowed upon Evan & his mother through the years.
It took no time whatsoever for him to consent to the task. Really there had been little difficulty accepting the generous offer; full payment for culinary school, an apartment, and a car. It was a dream come true for Evan, to make his life’s wish a reality.
What he had never counted on, could never have imagined would happen, was that he would fall so completely in love with the daughter he had been paid to watch over. The same girl who was fitfully sleeping in the hospital bed next to him. Oh, she had scared the crap out of him with her whole ‘I’m just gonna walk myself out of this hospital’ stunt. But the crash to the floor ended her escape plan and stripped about 10 years off his life.
What at mess. How was he going to tell her the truth about himself? When could he tell her the truth? At what point would she ever believe that his feelings for her were legitimate, that it wasn’t just about the money. Mal, I love you. I’ve loved you from minute one when I saw you sitting in that first culinary course. But I’ve been paid by your father, your real father to watch over you. Oh, yeah, that sure would go over well. He imagined the resulting banishment from her life.
Yes, he was pretty sure she’d never accept him when she found out the truth. And he didn’t blame her. It seemed a set-up from the start, his appearance in her life timed with her beginning courses at the academy and the relationship he was trying to build with her. She’d probably only see that he had been around to spy on her, tried to use her. Despite the fact that he truly wanted to be a chef and was attending the academy out of the genuine desire to one day open his own restaurant. She had to know that part was real. Their time together cooking was testament to his love for it, his skill. And their time together as friends, the camaraderie they shared, and the attraction they felt as evidence of his attachment to her, his desire for her.
Malorie began to stir, coming to consciousness again. “Evan? Are you still here?” she asked in a groggy voice.
He could hear the whispering of machines coming from the bedside of the patient next to Mal. God, how he hated the hospital. Any hospital. Every hospital. They reeked of sickness, death, and always reminded him of his father struggling to live while the cancer ate at him from the inside like colonies of termites eating away at the timbers of a home. And had it only been a few months since his own hospital visit? It suddenly felt like years to him.
“Yes, Mal, I’m still here. So it seems like our roles have reversed now.” He quietly replied smiling down at her, “what was it you wanted to tell me?”
Slowly Mal shifted in the bed to face Evan. Her long curly hair was a tangled mess around her beautiful face. He wished that he could brush her hair. His desire to gently stroke her lovely saddened face, little by little, to remove all signs of distress that lined her visage was almost overwhelming him. Finally, she settled in a semi-reclining position reaching out to take his hands into her own fragile cold grasp.
“Thank you for being here for me and for staying with me this whole time. I’m not sure I can find the words to tell you how much it means to me not to wake up alone in this hospital.” She shivered slightly as she made that declaration. “Thank you for calling my Mother, too.” She smiled weakly. “I – I wanted to explain why you saw me leaving that restaurant with Jack, he wanted to have time alone with me to clarify or really to at last tell me the truth of what happened with our relationship and his total disappearance; he told me so many things. I was stunned and shocked by his confessions. To say the least.”
She sighed deeply and began again more adamantly, “Evan, I want to be honest with you, none of that matters, not one piece of crap that happened with him in the past matters now, because it fully became clear to me that I don’t love him anymore.” He could see the relief and happiness shining in her eyes. “I ran from you and him outside that restaurant because I needed more time to come to terms with what he had revealed to me. I wasn’t prepared yet to tell you how I felt or to tell him that it was over, so utterly over, with no possibility of us ever being together again. Somewhere inside me I guess I thought that maybe if I ran away and quit the academy that I’d never have to face Jack again and that I’d avoid hurting you with my betrayal. It’s silly thinking about it, telling it to you now, I know. But it’s what I believed in that moment.”
“Oh Mal,” he began, squeezing her hands, feeling them finally warm-up, “thank you for being so open with me about why you were with him and for telling me what your true feelings are for me. I’ve wanted to tell you something for so long. Something that has been tearing me up and I just don’t know the right way to – to…”
Before he could finish his words, the nurse hurried in, “Ms. Shawe, I need a couple minutes to check on your vitals, can you please sit up so that I can take your blood pressure? Thanks Love.”
Evan looked around the nurse to say, “Mal, listen, there is something important that I have to tell you before any more time passes, you need to know that there’s an investigation that’s been started against Celine and Jack.”
“What? Wait, what did you say? What do you mean an investigation? For what?” She stammered. Abruptly the memory of Jack and Celine sitting together in the waiting room, with Jack’s hand covering Celine’s, barged into her consciousness.
“They think it wasn’t an accident that you were hit by Celine’s car, they’re investigating the connection between Celine and Jack, and – Professor Talbot may be involved.” He replied truthfully.