“I’m not proud of it…at least not anymore. If I could go back in time now and erase it, I would.”
Her face was flush, indicating that my revelation truly affected her. “You could have any girl you want, why take up with someone who’s married?”
“For the sheer reason that it was wrong. It made me feel powerful somehow to go against the institution of marriage. It was a form of rebellion. I was very angry at life for not only how I came to be, but the way my stepmother sheltered me from the world. I never felt loved by my family. So, the sex with this person…it also allowed me to feel a false sense of love in the moment of the act without the responsibility after. I knew she wouldn’t expect anything more from me. But it was the wrong way to go about it. I didn’t have the respect for certain things that I should have. I see that now.”
“Who was she?”
I swallowed. “She was our preacher’s wife.”
She covered her mouth. “Oh my God.”
“I know.” Running my hands through my hair, pulling on it in frustration, I paced a little. “Fuck. I don’t understand why telling you all of this seems important. I can’t explain it, but I want you to know who I am. Tell me what you’re thinking.”
She let a long breath out. “It’s upsetting, but what you just told me doesn’t define you. That’s not who you are. You’re not your mistakes.”
“Thank you for saying that. I’ve never looked at it that way.”
“Just the fact that you feel guilty about it proves that you’re a good person. People screw up. Anyway, even though you were a willing participant, that bitch took advantage of you. She was older, I take it?”
“She was in her early thirties.”
She nodded, looking down at the floor again to absorb everything. My body relaxed a little when she started to shake her head in slight laughter. “Wow. How did we get from talking about The Smiths to sex anyway?”
“Who the fuck knows? I feel like I could talk to you forever. One second we’re eating Pop Tarts, the next I’m telling you my deepest, darkest secret.”
“That was it? That was your deepest, darkest secret?”
“You want more than that? That was pretty fucking bad.” My mind raced. I thought long and hard and realized that it really was probably the worst of my sins. “Yeah. I’m pretty sure that was it.” My mouth spread into a smile. “So, it’s only fair you tell me yours.”
“My darkest secret?”
“Yeah.” I said softly as I stared into her eyes.
She closed her eyes and when she opened them said, “Honestly? This. Right now. Being here…is my deepest, darkest secret.”
I nodded in understanding and whispered, “Yeah.”
“I really shouldn’t stay much longer.”
Then came a knock. Both of our heads turned in unison toward the front door.
Our shared panic was palpable as she asked, “Who is that?”
My heartbeat accelerated. “Elle?” I ran to put my coat on.
“Just stay put. It’s okay. I’ll handle it.”
Sevin opened the door. In his best casual voice, he said, “Hey…”
Elle immediately took notice of me standing in the middle of the living room. She squinted her eyes. “Evangeline?”
I lifted my hand somewhat awkwardly. “Hi.”
“What are you doing here?”
Before I had a chance to respond, Sevin intervened. “Evangeline decided to bring your father’s car back tonight so he’d have it in the morning. She thought she hit something on the road and wanted a second opinion on whether there was any noticeable damage done to the car. I was just about to grab my jacket and a flashlight to go take a look.”
Upon hearing that surprisingly logical excuse, my nerves started to calm down. “That’s right. I saw Sevin’s light on and didn’t want to wake Daddy. He’s mad enough at me already.” I looked briefly over at Sevin then back to Elle and asked a question I really had no right to. “What are you doing here?”
Jealousy was building up as it registered that Elle had snuck out to come see him. Had this happened before?
Elle looked panicked as she glanced over at Sevin.
Again, he intercepted. “I asked Elle to come by after everyone was asleep. With everyone constantly watching us, I feel like she and I haven’t really had the opportunity to get to know each other the way we should. We were just gonna have a talk. That’s all.”
Elle nodded and looked at me. “I know you won’t say anything.”
“Of course not.”
Sevin got his jacket and a flashlight. He then walked out the door, pretending to go look at the car. As I looked over at Elle’s sympathetic expression, feelings of guilt were now battling with the jealousy.
What was I thinking?
Elle walked over to hug me. “I’m so sorry about Lorraine.”
Adrenaline was still pumping through me. I was so angry at my reaction. Let me get this straight; I was jealous over my sister sneaking out to see her boyfriend in the middle of the night. Really smart. That was just another indication that I needed to control this.
I really hadn’t intended to come see him. But the day had been so painful, and I knew he would understand everything without judging me. I must have stood out in the rain for ten minutes before I finally garnered the courage to knock on his door. Elle showing up was a smack in the face and confirmed that my decision was a big mistake.