written by B
A young nurse stood in the second elevator and absentmindedly held her arm out to hold the door for Evan and Mal as they rushed to catch the open elevator. Facing slightly off to one side she was busy looking down and punching keys on her cell phone and paused to hold it up to her ear beneath the hair that half covered her face. The nurse, clothed in a turquoise set of scrubs, reached forward and hit P3, then with a frustrated grunt hit. Evan punched P4 and willed the door to slide shut before anyone realized there was a missing patient. If they were noticed it would be because the staff was getting ready for their nightly rounds. The elevator crawled slowly to its first stop and let off its passenger who never let her attention wander from her phone. The doors closed and the elevator continued its descent.
The bright red door separating the elevators and stairwell from the parked vehicles swung open as Evan and Malorie slipped into the P4 level of the hospital-parking garage. Evan led, holding Malorie’s hand as the slaps of their hurried footsteps on the pavement bounced back at them off the walls and left an eerie feeling echoing deep inside them both. A quick glance was thrown around to survey things, as they got into a navy blue rented compact. The silence that followed the closing of the car doors hid the knowledge that a set of brilliant green eyes watched their every move. Brilliant green eyes highlighted by turquoise scrubs.
Mal allowed her eyes to close and leaned her head back against the seat of the rented car releasing a deep sigh. Her mind instantly flashed back just a few minutes earlier; Evan had definitely unloaded back there in her hospital room. Unloaded wasn’t even the word for it. Her head was spinning as she tried to file through what he had said and digest it before it had the chance to eat her alive. How was it she could actually fall for a guy who was hired to baby-sit her? Not that baby-sit was the word he used, and it certainly didn’t feel that way, it felt more like she was living with someone who was spying on her. What a loser she was to always go deep for the wrong guys? First Jack, and now Evan.
Her eyes flashed open with realization as that thought came to mind. Jack. Their relationship, as messed up as it was, wasn’t exactly over. And yet it was more than over in her heart, and she knew that even with the news Evan dropped in her lap she still had nothing but desire to be with him. She stared at him and watched as his eyes nervously darted from illuminated path of the road to the rearview mirror; watching for someone, something, any hint that they had been spotted and followed. And in that instant she realized she had her own baggage to share.
“Ev…” she started.
He looked over at her with an expression of shock, as if he had forgotten there was a passenger with him. Hands gripping the steering wheel enough to turn his smooth knuckles white he jumped in, “Mal, there is nothing to worry about, I don’t think anyone followed us. I picked the car up when you were sleeping earlier on and I didn’t rent it in my own name. Hopefully it will give us some time to get somewhere and figure out what to do.”
“But I just…” she tried again.
“You just need to relax and let me think for a second Mal. I told you upstairs that I’ll always take care of you. I love you.”
Telling him is going to be harder than I thought. Malorie sat back to mull it all over. Streetlights blurred past as she stared out the window into the night. There was little traffic at this time of night and this section of the city was generally quieter than others. They stopped at a red light and a Mustang pulled up beside them with a group of cheering teenagers with thumping music trying to escape the closed windows and pulled Malorie out of her daze. Smoke from the cigarette getting passed around hit the glass and slid upwards and around the laughing faces. Green. The Mustang peeled out and screeched a farewell as Evan’s foot cautiously found the gas pedal and they moved forward. Malorie wondered if she was ever that young, that young and carefree. The weight of everything loomed before her, leaned over, and placed itself on her chest so that she couldn’t breath properly.
“It’s late.” Evan announced.
Malorie glanced at the numbers on the dashboard and for the first time realized how late it was and how fatigued she felt. Exhaustion kept her from saying anything in response, that and the anxiety of not knowing what would come out of her mouth if she spread her lips to let words tumble from them. One simple slip and she might just blurt out words, which could muddle the waters she was narrowly treading. What was worse telling, or not telling? If only I could think clearly, she thought, I’d know what to say.
“We should stop for a few hours.”
Fear gripped at Malorie’s heart. Stop? “What? Where?” Her voice could hardly be characterized as a whisper.
“A hotel. Don’t worry, I’ve got cash so our credit cards can’t be traced.” Evan slowed the car and turned into the parking lot of a cheap Motel 8. As he did so he took his first good look at Malorie since they had left the hospital. She was terrified and it made her look all the more vulnerable. Her vulnerability made him love her more and made him more determined to protect her, while at the same time made him more furious with himself since he had already failed once. “Just a couple hours Mal. We need some sleep so we can think straight and you’re not exactly in the best of shape.”
The car sat waiting directly in front of their hotel door. They had managed to get a ground floor room and the kid at the desk didn’t seem to mind the lack of credit card to protect against damages. He only worked the one shift a week to get some partying money in his pocket and he saw those couples come in every now and then. The bold guy with cash, the timid girl waiting in the car. They were never more than a few hours, drop the keys in the return slot so not to face anyone in the aftermath, leaving the bed rumpled for him to smooth before for the next guest. It was a few quick bucks in his pocket the boss didn’t know about, and didn’t need to know about. What did he care if they had a credit card?
The clerk was mistaken though. There was no rumpling of the sheets this time. Malorie lay on her side, curled up facing the door eyes wide despite the weariness that threatened to take control and force her heavy lids to rest. Evan lay close behind her and let his breath graze her neck. “It’s going to be alright Mal.” He whispered. “When this is all over we can be together.”
Malorie went rigid. “No, we can’t.” she said.
“Shhhh.” Evan stroked her hair.
“You don’t get it.” She bit her lip in frustration. “I’m married.”