Authors: Tracy Tegan
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Women's Fiction, #Contemporary Women, #Romance, #Contemporary
Zoey didn’t get a chance to respond because there was a knock at the front door.
She wondered as she went to find out who was ringing the doorbell incessantly.
Flinging the door open without looking through the peep hole first as she normally did, she was surprised to see it was Cora standing before her.
“Is he here?” Cora demanded to know as she pushed her way inside and began looking around frantically. “I know he is, I seen his car outside. Don’t try to lie to me.”
Zoey didn’t know what to say in response but she started to suspect that Evan was right, this Cora girl was crazy.
Evan heard what he thought was Cora’s voice in the other room and went to see if he was right.
“What are you doing here Cora, have you lost your fucking mind?”
“I knew you wouldn’t be able to stay away from her,” Cora said as she pulled out a large knife and pointed it towards Zoey.
Without hesitation, Evan jumped in front of Zoey, protecting her body with his own.
“Oh the big protector, isn’t that special?” Cora cackled.
“You don’t need to do this Cora. Why don’t you give me the knife and we can go somewhere to talk,” Evan said, while trying to diffuse the situation.
“I have been in love with you for two years, Evan, and you never gave me the time of day. I get engaged and you all of a sudden decide you want me. I give myself to you, leave my fiancé and you throw me away like trash.”
“Cora, it wasn’t like that. I didn’t know you had feelings for me or I would have never let things go as far as they did that night.”
“It’s too late Evan, I’ve made up my mind.”
Evan inched closer to Cora while pushing Zoey further away.
“If I can’t have you, then you can’t have her,” Cora said while pointing the knife towards Zoey.
“If that is your only concern then you have nothing to worry about Cora. Zoey and I aren’t together anymore.”
“Then what are you doing here now?” Cora demanded to know. “I’m not blind, you don’t just go hang out with someone you are no longer dating.”
“I only came by to do what you wanted me to do, to tell Zoey what happened that night with us.”
Cora pointed towards Zoey with her knife. “Is that true?”
“It is,” Zoey confirmed.
“I suppose now the two of you are going to get back together?” Cora asked. “I’m sure he told you how it was all my fault and how I seduced him and made him have sex with me.”
“No,” Zoey said. “That isn’t what he said at all. He told me every dirty detail of your night together. He told me that he was the one who suggested you two go somewhere more private. He knew what he was doing and it sounded pretty consensual to me. I think both of you knew what you were doing that night.”
“And now that you know the truth, you still want to be with that pig?” Cora asked.
“No, I don’t. I’m glad he told me the truth. But it took him a long time to do that. Had he just been honest with me up front, I think this was something we could have dealt with and moved on from. But because he couldn’t be honest with
me, that shows me that he isn’t ready for a real relationship.”
Evan lifted his eyes to Zoey’s and saw that her entire face held a look of seriousness.
He knew at that moment that Zoey was telling the truth and it killed him. He felt like his heart was being ripped out of his chest.
“If you want him Cora, he’s all yours. I want a man in my life, not a boy.”
Zoey turned on her heel to walk away but when she did, Cora surged forward, too quickly for Evan to catch her, and rammed the knife into Zoey’s side.
“DIE BITCH DIE!” Cora screeched.
Zoey fell to the floor with a loud thud while Evan pulled Cora away, getting the knife from her hand and pinning her to the floor while she screamed and demanded he let her go. Pulling his phone out of his pocket, he called 911 and within minutes, Zoey’s house was swarming with police officers and paramedics.
While the cops dealt with Cora, Evan went to check on Zoey, who was being looked after by the paramedics while loading her into the ambulance.
On the way to the hospital, Evan called his sister to fill her in on what had taken place. She and Trevor rushed to be by Evan’s side while they waited to hear news about Zoey’s condition.
It took about an hour but finally they were able to get an update on Zoey.
“The stab wounds in Zoey’s side pierced the skin but did not penetrate any vital organs. The muscle tissue was damaged and that will be the source of most of her pain and discomfort during her recovery, but she’s lucky, it could have been worse. Overall, the wound was not too serious and only needed a few stitches to close it up. The loss of blood wasn’t substantial enough to need a transfusion. She should stay off of her feet for at least the next seventy two hours and after that, she’ll need to take it easy for the next few weeks, limiting her physical exertion while the damage to her tissue heals. The nurse will give you a packet to help you better care for her as well as guidelines on what she can and can’t do while her body recovers.”
Evan blew out a breath. “Thank God.”
“She’s going to be okay, she’ll just need lots of rest to give her body time to recover. As long as she has someone there to take care of her, we can release her today.”
The doctor looked between Evan and his sister.
“Of course,” Kara said. “She’ll come home with me. I’ll make sure she has the best of care.”
“No,” Evan interjected. “I’m taking her home with me.”
“But Evan, you have to work.”
“I have months of vacation time and sick leave I can use. I want her home with me.”
“Are you sure?” Kara asked.
“Absolutely, I have to do this Kara. I need to take care of her. I need to make sure she is going to be alright.”
The doctor escorted Evan to the nurse’s station so that he could get all the information he would need to care for Zoey over the coming weeks, including details on changing her bandages and specifics about her medication.
“She’ll be pretty out of it for a while. Just make sure she doesn’t try to do anything on her own,” the nurse explained. “She probably won’t know where she is, so she might get scared. Just remember to keep her calm and comfortable.”
The nurse went on for a good twenty minutes, explaining everything in detail and making sure Evan fully understood before giving him a large packet of papers with written instructions of everything she had just went over with him.
Kara stayed with her brother to help get Zoey settled in. When they got her into the car, Kara realized just how out of it Zoey was. She slept the entire car ride and didn’t even wake up when Evan carried her into the house.
When she did come to, it was in the middle of the night. She was alone and not sure of her surroundings so she began to panic. She had faint memories of Cora bursting into her home wielding a knife, and she felt her hands and wrists to make sure she wasn’t handcuffed and being held hostage. The room was dark so she moved her hands around on the nearby nightstand, trying to find a lamp. A vase of flowers crashed to the floor and made a loud enough noise that it caught Evan’s attention, who then came rushing to Zoey’s side.
When he flipped the light switch, Zoey blinked several times as her eyes tried to adjust to the brightness. Eventually the sight of Evan standing there came into focus.
“Evan, is that you?”
“Yes, it’s me baby. Are you okay?”
“Where am I? Why am I so thirsty?”
“I put a bottle of water next to your bed in case you woke up.” Evan handed Zoey the bottle. She sat up straight and began to take in her surroundings.
Opening the pill box on the dresser, Evan pulled out her medication and handed it to her while he helped her to remember everything that had happened.
Zoey sat there quietly, just watching as Evan gently replaced her bandages. Afterwards, he helped her lay back down and within moments she was fast asleep.
She spent the next two weeks in his care and never during that time did he pressure her to talk about their fight from before. All Evan wanted was for her to get better. He was attentive and gentle, and he made her feel safe and loved.
Evan came into the room to check on her, just as he had every few hours, day in and day out for the last few weeks.
“Oh, you’re awake. How you feeling today?”
“Better. I was thinking that I should start making plans to go back to my own place soon.”
Evan sat down on the side of the bed and Zoey slowly sat up to face him. His eyes never left her face, he was searching for answers and for hope.
“Why would you do that? How can I take care of you if you aren’t here?”
“I’ve already taken you away from your life for the last two weeks. I can’t stay here forever. You are going to have to return to work eventually.”
“True, but not until you are better.”
“I really do feel better, maybe not 100%, but strong enough to start taking care of myself.”
“I don’t want you to go,” he said honestly.
She gazed at him wide-eyed, her mouth open, but no words came out. His complete honesty caught her off guard.
She cleared her throat.
“My father left before I was even born. I always just assumed it was because he didn’t love or want me. Had my mother told me the truth, the whole truth, then I wouldn’t have grown up my whole life thinking he left because of me. All she ever said was that he left because he wasn’t ready for a family, and while that may be true, there was so much more to the story. It wasn’t until my mother died that I found out why he really left and why he stayed away. I went through years of pain and anguish over something I wouldn’t have if my mother had just told me the whole story. He didn’t know I even existed. She never told him that she was pregnant. She was angry over their breakup and kept her pregnancy from him. So he didn’t leave me, because he never knew I was alive. Finding that out didn’t make not having a father my whole life any easier, but it did help take away some of the pain from thinking him leaving was because of me.”
“I never knew that story about your father, Zoey. I’m sorry.”
“When I found out the whole story about my father, I learned how important the truth was and vowed that if I was ever serious with someone, I would always be completely honest with them, no matter what. A relationship is built on trust and without that, you have nothing.”
Pain and remorse flashed in
Evan’s eyes as he looked down at Zoey.
“You were right Zoey, not telling you was wrong,” he said gently.
There was something so tender and genuine about the look in his eyes when he said that, it made her stomach fill with butterflies.
“I told myself that I didn’t want to hurt you and that’s why I kept the truth from you, but I think I just didn’t want you to judge me for my indiscretions. I didn’t want you to think less of me or see me for how I’ve seen myself. You make me want to be a better person, and
I so want to be that better person for you. But you are right, not telling you the truth was a stupid mistake and one I won’t make again.”
Even with the dim lighting in the room she could see the emotion spark from his beautiful eyes. “I love you Zoey. I want you today, tomorrow and for the rest of my life. There is no one else for me. It’s you and only you.”
Zoey looked into his familiar eyes and recalled all the wonderful memories she had had with Evan over the years, and tears began to trickle down her face.
“I’ve loved you my whole life, Evan, and if you think I would just give up on you after one fight, you are crazy. I’m not happy about what happened but I’m not willing to just walk away either. I love you, I’ve always loved you and I know we can make this work.”
Evan leaned into Zoey and touched her lips lightly with his. She slipped her hands around his body, pulling him in closer. Suddenly, all the hurt and anger she had been feeling was replaced by passion and love.
All she could do was think about the desire she was feeling for him and the joy she felt
being back in the arms of the man she loved and who loved her.