“Sometimes good people make bad choices.
That doesn’t mean they are bad people, it means they are human.”
San Myshuno Dockside Dining Restaurant
About two weeks after the fallout with Elliott at her parents’ home, Abigail was rudely recalled from absent-minded daydreaming to reality with a shrimp tossed at her by her older brother Liam, whom she had met for lunch when some work related errands had brought her to downtown San Myshuno.
“Eww, that’s gross!” she protested as she slapped the shellfish next to her salad bowl, after fishing it out of a wrinkle of her clothing.
“I got tired of talking to myself. I called your name a dozen times, but you were far away. Any place fun? Can I come? I could use a vacation from reality.” Liam told her.
“Sorry. It’s just the way it ended with Elliott … and everything since.”
“So, you two are definitely over?”
“I don’t know Liam, I would love to know myself. Initially I thought so, but then I realized we never officially broke up, you know, said the words. Which makes everything else ten thousand times worse.”
“What’s worse than a break up?”
“Trust me, that is not a story to be told in public … or to my older brother. I may take all that to my grave.”
“Okay first of all, you, Leonie and I have never really kept secrets, so why start now? And also, by profession, I am an expert on making people talk, so don’t make me go all lawyer-y on you, Abs. You got me worried and interested alike. Just lay it on me. Your secrets are save with me.”
“Okay fine, remember last week when you and Viv took me along to Del Sol Valley for the weekend and after dinner we ran into Ronan?”
“Ronan? Oh – the guy Benny and Loreleigh had with them? Her brother, right?”
“Yeah, him. Look, he and I have a history, like years ago we had a fling when you and I stayed at the Mansion for a week and he was in town from Sulani for – oh I don’t even remember. We were totally into each other, but since he lives in Sulani and I in Windenburg, it just fizzled out. Seeing him again though this last time brought back the old spark … and as you may remember, he was there at the club, too, when we all went dancing with Celeste and her husband and … well … he and I may have left for a while to … ya know. Stuff. Adult-like stuff.”
“Are you shitting me now, Abs? YOU?! A quickie?! How did I miss that?! Mom and dad would kill me! Yeah, I know, you’re 21 and all, but I am still your older brother! They would have my hide knowing I didn’t even notice my baby sister was hoe’ing it up behind the dumpsters or wherever – and please don’t elaborate, I REALLY don’t want to know! It sounds to me like you need to call Elliott and sort your shit out with him. This is not like you AT ALL. Call him or better yet, go see him a.s.a.p. If not knowing makes you do shit like this, you can’t sit it out and wait for a memo. You need to get certainty it’s over, or the assurance that it is not, and then you can both figure out how to work on it. And if I were you, I’d probably leave sleeping dogs lay and not even breathe about that Ronan around him.”
“I know Liam, but at the time I was in a funk and didn’t care how what I was doing looked. Hello, I just turned 21, I was at a fancy club at the celebrity mile in downtown Del Sol Valley – I had a few alcoholic drinks with fun-sounding names and everything was fluffy and colorful to me. As for talking to Elliott, I wish I could, only problem is, if he’s been deployed on a special mission he won’t be allowed his cell phone. And I don’t know where he even is. I’m not a relative, so the military won’t tell me anything. “
“Didn’t he give you a key to his house? So use it, go to his place and dig for hints.” Liam shrugged nonchalantly.
“Isn’t that kinda illegal?”
“You have a key he gave you. Not illegal, the key is considered consent and far as we know, you are still a couple. Just don’t steal his electronics and shit. That was free legal advice. If anyone gives you grief about going to his house using a key, you come to me and I will slap the law in their faces.” Liam said as they were getting up after he paid.
He had to get back to work, and technically, so did Abby, although she might well have gone home, since her focus was non-existent.
After work Abigail went straight to Elliott’s place.
Windenburg Isle Elliott Evans home
With a deep sigh, she stood in the middle of the room, looking around. Man, she missed him. Why did she not try harder? And why did he have to pick a romantic night out to lay the news on her that he’d be gone on some assignment for however long those took. Oh well, so Liam said to dig for hints. Where would she find those?
She walked around, picking up things here and there, then putting them back down, before she had an idea. The guest room, which he used as an office, but unfortunately was the computer password protected, nothing interesting laying around the desk. With a sigh she sat down on the guest bed, lost in memories of him, she nearly jumped out of her skin with a loud scream when a completely naked male figure appeared before her in the doorframe.
“What the …?!” he protested, while attempting to cover himself up best he could with his hands, while staring at Abigail like a mirage.
“You’re not Elliott!” exclaimed Abigail.
“No shit! Neither are you! So, who the fuck are you, how did you get in and why were you on my bed?! If I’m tripping out here, this is by far the most fucked up trip ever! And if you are one of Gozo’s men, I am quitting and become a Tibetan monk!”
“What are YOU doing here and WHO are you? Why are you in my boyfriend’s shower?! What do you mean ‘your’ bed?! Who the hell is Gozo?!”
“Boyfriend?! Elliott has a woman?! Well, little girl is more like it … how old are you, 16? What kinda cradle robber is that fucker?!”
“Can you cover up PLEASE?! And I am NOT 16. I am 21, thank you very much!”
“Well, you look like a girl scout. And you could just not look, girl scout. But yeah, hang on.” he returned moments later with a towel wrapped around his slender hips, his tone, facial expression and demeanor no longer startled, but arrogant, matching his extremely muscular stature. It was clear that he worked out a lot, took care of his body and knew what he had, not ashamed to flaunt it.
As it turned out Elliott had a brother. Well, half-brother at least, one he wasn’t really close with, but when he needed someone to look after his house and Abby wasn’t a choice, he had asked Jay, his brother. After all, Jay owned this house to 50%, just never had any interest in moving to sleepy, boring, conservative Windenburg.
Something about Jay caused Abby to just burst open with her problems. Talking to him was easy, unlike buttoned up, always so serious Elliott, Jay was fun and outgoing, and just seemed to get her right away.
So, she talked and talked, eventually she cried out her guilt and frustration, he consoled her – and one thing lead to the next …. and before Abby knew what was happening they were in the middle of something that really should never have happened.
After the deed Abby realized what she had done, got dressed without even taking a shower and without a single word for Jay she nearly ran out of the home back to her parents’ house on the other side of the island.
What had she done? And why had she done that?! Liam was right. This was not like her, far from it. All throughout high school the furthest she had ever gone with any boys was holding hands and maybe a quick, stolen peck. No more.
Her first official boyfriend wasn’t until her final semester in high school, a boy named Brennan, but the relationship barely lasted much past graduation.
When she went to Interior Design school after high school, she was single. In her first semester there, she went to Del Sol Valley with Liam for a week where she met Ronan. His bright turquoise eyes against that deep tanned skin, a handsome face framed by bronzy golden brown curls just mesmerized Abby and she just melted into his advances. A summer fling, over too soon, which would find a repeat years later, as it turned out.
No, this was not the Abby anyone knew, least of all herself.
Windenburg Isle Cameron Estate
So now the shame and guilt of that realization was weighing on Abby, making her physically sick to the point where she couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, could barely function. She started feeling exhausted even when getting up in the morning. And then recurring bouts of nausea set in. Naturally, those could be a result of her current unhealthy lifestyle and stress, but she refused to acknowledge what that also could mean. Too many variables she didn’t want to deal with.
If worst were to come to worst, aside for the fact that she probably cheated on Elliott, Abby knew that her parents would simply kill her. Her parents were excellent, as were her older brother and older sister and they were a very tight knit-family, including with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
But none of them would endorse her recent behavior, and on top of all was her father the mayor of Windenburg. His position required a spotless demeanor by him and his, the entire family had to be careful about not creating any drama, but set a good example. Windenburg was a rather old and conservative town, having a mayor with a loose daughter who couldn’t even say who – if worst really were to come to worst – out of three guys her baby daddy was would not go over well, so much was certain. Man, how did she get to this point to even have to consider such an outlandish worry?!
Well, hopefully she was just crying wolf and the nausea was just from her stress. It could have a number of reasons. All very well possible. What were the odds, right? It had only been one time with Jay. And Ronan. And that time with Elliott before the big fight. Oh boy …
Her cell phone ringing made Abby wince hard, and gasp when she saw the caller ID.
She answered, the conversation was awkward, but at the end she agreed to go see him this coming Saturday in a town she had never heard of before a few hours southwest of Windenburg, where he was evidently currently stationed in between mission assignments.
Strangerville City Center
Since she wouldn’t be allowed on base, he met with her in the city center.
“I heard you met Jay.” he said.
“Oh! He told you?! What else did he tell you?!”
“Nothing much, why? What else is there to tell?”
“Oh … ahem … nothing. I meant just … well …. he surprised me. I mean, IT surprised me. I didn’t even know you had a brother and there he was … in your house.”
“He and I are only half-brothers, I like to point that out to distance myself from him. Let’s just say we’re not close. He owns 50% of the house, I had no other option but to ask him to housesit while I am gone. All my friends are on base too, my parents are dead, have no other relatives, you and I were at odds, so … I asked him. It was sheer coincidence he was even available. Most of the time I have no clue where in the world he is. Usually the answer is prison anyway. One of the many reasons he and I don’t get along. He is bad news all the way around.”
“Yeah. Be careful with him. I don’t want you hanging out with him, he’s not that kind of a brother to me, but we just don’t get to pick family. He’s a con-artist if I ever seen one. 50% of what he tells you is a lie, the rest is just not true, that type. But still better than leaving the house sit empty for a year.”
“A YEAR? You’ll be gone a YEAR?!”
“I don’t know, Abby. That’s their current estimate, keeps changing. Could be shorter .. or longer. That’s what I wanted to tell you that night. I don’t like this either, but it’s an opportunity I couldn’t pass up, if I perform well, I could seriously rank up, meaning I get to pick my assignments, and really get to pick, not the ‘either you do it or you’re out’ kinda pseudo-choices like I have now. I know the timing sucks but they don’t always give you much advance notice, they told me about this the day of our date and I didn’t want to leave without a proper goodbye. I had no choice but to ruin the night, still I had hoped for a romantic goodbye, not a fight. You KNEW I was in the military when we met … I told you this could happen. I know I explained to you that I am on a specialty team, there aren’t many of us who do what we do, so it’s a lot of last minute assignments.”
Abigail felt horrible, as waves of nausea crept back up inside of her, but she wasn’t sure if she wasn’t just so disgusted with herself that it caused physical reactions.
“So, we … you and I … we’re not broken up?”
“Good question. I was wondering the same.”
“Do you want to be with me still?”
“Why wouldn’t I be? Question is, will you be able to handle being with me, knowing I’ll be away?”
Abigail wanted to react, but a gust of nausea hit her and she jumped up to vomit into a nearby shrub.
“I gotta get home, Elliott. I can’t do this right now. I have to think, wrap my head around this and some other stuff. When can we meet again?”
“I wish I could tell you. Probably not for a few months, but I can contact you as soon as we are back.”