Timing: Chapter 2

Eva and Louis didn’t speak on the way to meet Daniel. He snuck a glance at her, noticing her hands tight on the wheel, knuckles a stark white against the interior’s darkness. Louis looked at his own hands, so much bigger than hers. Feeling the car turn, he looked up to see they were entering the warehouse parking lot, but from the delivery entrance. “What are you doing?” he asked.

“Daniel said to come in this way. He’s just around the back…See? There he is.” She pointed towards the loading dock.

Eva parked the car close to Daniel. He had propped himself up against the loading dock, arms hanging at his sides. She and Louis got slowly out of the car, looking around cautiously. Both hoped whoever had attacked Daniel had already left. Eva watched him closely to make sure he was still breathing. From behind them, the sound of crunching gravel could be heard. Louis turned quickly, and was relieved to see it was Michael’s cruiser. The lights were not on. Michael got out and walked over to them.

“So, Danny, you care to explain what happened.” Michael asked, kicking Daniel’s boot-clad foot.

Daniel winced. “I came to make the delivery,” he took shallow breaths, “and got jumped…two guys with bats…didn’t see faces…” Daniel tipped his face to meet Michael’s eyes. “Officially, I tripped over a muffler…and landed on a bike frame…” He looked away, slowly pushing himself more upright. “I just need to hit the ER and I’ll be fine.”

Louis exploded in anger. “What the hell do you mean” he asked, using air quotes, “’officially’? When are you gonna learn your actions have consequences?” Eva put her hand on his arm. He shrugged it off and walked towards the car.

Eva watched him, and sighed “I’ll talk to him later. What do you want done with your bike?”

Daniel chuckled, and failed. “Damn, ow. Well, it can’t stay here. Ow. Any chance Louis would be willing to take it to the shop? He can stick it in one of the empty bays.” He looked back and forth between Eva and Michael, trying to decide who should ask. Eva stared at the ground, and made a circle with her sneaker.

Michael rolled his eyes. “Fine. I’ll go ask him,” he said as he turned towards Eva’s Subaru.

Daniel glanced up at Eva. “Thanks. You know, for coming to get me. For everything, really.” He watched Michael talk to Louis through the car window. Louis’ arms flew around the interior. That’s not a good sign, he thought. Michael shook his head and headed back towards Eva and Daniel.

Hands on his hips, Michael looked at Eva and said, “You’ll follow Louis in your car. He very grudgingly agreed to take the bike.” To Daniel he said, “You are very lucky. I’ll take you to Maine Coast and get you settled. After that, I gotta finish my shift and go home. Susan’s gonna be pissed when I tell her about this.”

Michael held out his hand to Daniel to help him up. Daniel took his hand, wincing, and Eva helped pull him to his feet. Louis was standing by Daniel’s motorcycle, waiting for the keys. The trio walked over and Daniel pulled the keys out of his pocket with difficulty. He gave them to Louis and thanked him. Louis rolled his eyes and sat on the bike. Eva mouthed “Thank you” to him while Michael helped Daniel into the cruiser. Louis shook his head and reminded her they needed to pick up food somewhere. Eva offered to call for Chinese on the way to the shop. Louis shrugged and they watched Michael pull out of the lot. Eva got in the car, and she and Louis dropped off Daniel’s bike before heading home with their late-night snack.

When Eva and Louis got home, Sadie was sitting on the couch waiting for them. Her eyes were red and swollen from crying. Eva and Louis exchanged glances, and she sat with Sadie. Louis leaned against the doorway leading to the kitchen, his arms crossed and a look of disinterest on his face.

Wrapping her arms around Sadie, Eva asked “What’s wrong, babe? You and Jared have a fight?” Her hand smoothed the puffed mess Sadie’s hair had become. Sadie sighed and put her head on her mom’s shoulder. “Yeah, you could say that.” She rubbed her nose on the blanket she was curled up in and said, “I’m late.”

Eva went stiff and looked at Louis, who moved to the red upholstered chair. He shifted forward and asked “Late for what?”

Eva closed her eyes took a deep breath. After a moment she asked “How long?” and put her head on Sadie’s. “How long?” she repeated and made eye contact with Louis. His expression one of annoyance mixed with confusion.

“Two weeks,” she answered, and snuggled closer to Eva. “I told him and he doesn’t believe me. Well, no that’s not right. He believes me, but doesn’t.” Sadie shivered and asked “Does that even make sense?”

Eva hugged her, still watching Louis for a sign, any sign, he knew what Sadie was talking about. Quietly she said, “Yeah, it does.” She kissed Sadie on the forehead and said to Louis, “Louis, Sadie might be pregnant.”

Louis exploded out of his chair and yelled, “What do you mean pregnant?! After all you’ve worked for how could you let this happen? How could you do this to your mother?” He began pacing and shouted in Spanish, his hands in his hair.

Eva, still sitting with Sadie, yelled to Louis “Calm down! Do you really think that helps?” He stopped and looked between Eva and Sadie repeatedly. She said firmly, “You need to sit down. Yelling, swearing and pacing is so not going to make this go any easier.”

Reluctantly, Louis sat in the chair. Hands his lap. “I don’t understand is all.” His arms opened out to his sides as he wondered aloud, “Do I need to kill him, now?” His hand fell back into his lap, feeling resignation seep in. Yeah, this is just what we need around here. “Or are you gonna go running to Daniel.”

Eva rolled her eyes and shifted slightly away from Sadie and sighed. “Christ Almighty, Louis. Really? You think killing a teenage boy is the answer to the situation?” She snapped her fingers and said, “I know! I’ll call an ex-SEAL friend of mine and have him-” she made air quotes with her hands “-taken out.” Rolling her eyes again, she leaned back towards Sadie. “Don’t be ridiculous.” She rubbed Sadie’s arm and said to her “Go on up to bed, babe. I’ll call the doctor’s office in the morning.”

Sadie nodded, and untangled herself from the blanket and Eva’s arms. Halfway to the stairs she turned and asked, “Did you guys bring food back from wherever you went in such a hurry? I’m kinda hungry.” Eva got up with the bags of take-out and handed her the one smelling of pork fried rice and crab rangoons. “Thanks, mom.”

Eva kissed her cheek and said, “We’ll figure this out. Let’s not worry ‘til we know what’s going on, okay?” Sadie nodded and headed up to her room. Eva reeled on Louis and asked through clenched teeth, “What the hell is your problem? Seriously?! You think that was the reaction she needed?” He didn’t respond and she asked, “Well, is it?”

Louis stood up and rubbed his hands on his jeans, buying his time. After a moment, he looked at Sadie and replied, “No, it isn’t. You’re right. But I suppose you’re going to run up and call Daniel about this.”

Eva, shocked by his reaction, took a deep breath and said, “In case you forgot, he had a bad night. I’m not going to tell him about this until tomorrow, or he’s released from the hospital. What is it with you and him? You’re like a dog with a bone lately where he’s concerned.” She busied herself with folding the blanket Sadie had been curled up in, waiting for Louis to answer her.

He moved to her side and turned her towards him. Looking into her eyes, Louis said “Eva, I’m scared every little thing that happens with that girl,” he pointed upstairs, “will bring y’all closer together. And, in the end, drive us apart.”

Eva turned away from him and put the blanket on the back of the couch, anger filling her with each word he uttered. Finally, she looked at him full on and said “No, Louis. I think we are doing that just fine without his help. I’m going to bed.” She walked around the edge of the couch and went upstairs.

Louis stared after her, his mouth hanging open. He ran his hands through his hair and muttered out loud, “Looks like it’s the couch tonight.” He pulled out his cell phone as he made his way to the hall closet for a pillow and got Michael’s number from the speed dial list. It only took a couple rings before Michael answered.

“Dude, its 11:30. I’m off my shift having a late dinner with Susan. What couldn’t possibly wait until morning?” Michael asked, irritation dripping through the phone.

Louis hesitated and took the pillow from the shelf. Turning back toward the living room, he kicked off his sneakers and left them in the middle of the floor. “Well, Eva and I had a fight, Sadie might be pregnant and, honestly, I’m feeling rather like a shithead. How are you?” He sat on the edge of the couch and pulled the freshly folded blanket off the back.

“Listen, man, Daniel isn’t a threat to you and Eva’s marriage. Your insecurities and constant worry about it are. You’ll end up pushing her away and get an ulcer. Chill.” Michael mumbled unintelligible in the background before saying, “And let them deal with the Sadie situation. Provide Eva with the loving support she needs, and stop this bullshit about Daniel. Enough is enough.” Michael took a breath.

When Louis finally spoke, there was an air of defeat in his voice. “You’re right, man. I can always count on you to set me straight. Thanks, Mike.” With that, Louis snapped his phone closed and looked at the ceiling, imagining Eva taking a hot bath and talking with Susan. Why can’t she just keep our shit private? Oh, wait, dumbass. What did you just do? He picked up the remote and turned on the television to find a rerun of America’s Next Top Model on. He rolled his eyes and changed the channel to get the UMaine game highlights. His cell chirped and it was a text from Susan wondering if he wanted to have lunch the next day. He scowled at the text and sent a quick “sure.” They traded texts for a few more minutes and finished just as the highlights started flowing across the screen.

***

Sadie sat at her desk, surfing for information on pregnancy on the internet. She hit all the usual websites, found some helpful downloads and put them on her Kindle. “All Summer Long” started coming from her cell and she picked it up. It was a text from Dani. She wasn’t in the mood to talk, and waited a few minutes before texting back that she was almost asleep. Sadie heard her mom moving around in the bathroom, her voice carrying lightly through the walls. She shook her head. Great. They had another fight.

***

Eva dried off from her bath and told Susan about the fight she and Louis had. Well, fights, actually. Plural. “He’s being unrealistic, Susan. There’s nothing between Daniel and I. There hasn’t been for a long time,” she said as she reached for the lotion.

“Eva, listen to me. Do you not remember our conversation this morning? He’s jealous simply because of the relationship you and Daniel will always share. Like, forever.” Susan paused to take a sip of wine. “What did he say when you mentioned therapy?”

Eva chuckled and sighed, “Yeah that went really well. In fact, that’s what we were talking about when Daniel called. He is completely against it.” She paused to put lotion on her legs. “I even told him about how it helped you and Michael. He got pissed that I had confided in you!” Eva heard Susan mumble in the background to Michael and waited. When the mumbling stopped, she continued. Chewing her lip, she asked, “So what do I do?”

Susan hesitated before answering. “You need to take care of you and Sadie above all else. If he can’t handle it,” she paused, “he can go get bent. I’m sorry, but that’s how I feel.” Susan covered the phone and spoke to Michael. When she finished, she added, “And, it’s really not fair to Sadie to keep things tense between you and Louis. She deserves better.”

Eva thought about this and sighed. She raised her hand up and dropped it in her lap, saying “You’re right. You are totally right.” She got up and went into the bedroom, putting the towel in the basket in the closet. “How do I make this happen? That’s the other question.” She pulled a t-shirt and panties out of the drawer and said “Hang on.” She quickly got dressed and said “Okay, I’m back.” She let out a forceful sigh and said “You know what? I’m just gonna go to bed, and see where we are in the morning,” and crawled into bed, pulling the blankets up with her. She heard Susan take another sip of her wine.

“Seems like you need to be brutally honest with him. Seriously. Let’s grab lunch in a couple days,” Susan replied. “Besides, things will look better in the morning.” When Eva didn’t answer right away she added, “You need to get laid. I love you.”

Eva heard the call disconnect and closed her phone, shaking her head. She grabbed the remote and turned on the television, flipping through channels searching for something to which she could fall asleep. Finally, she settled on an old movie. She snuggled into the covers and watched with half-interest until she drifted off to sleep.

 

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