She led me inside the house, gesturing for me to have a seat at her kitchen table. Something garlicky was cooking on the stove.
Addy stirred the pot then wiped her hands on an apron and sat across from me. “I’m not gonna beat around the bush here. It’s not my style.”
“You kids have gotten yourself into some deep shit.”
Finally, someone who spoke my language.
“How much do you know?”
“Don’t worry. You can trust me, okay?”
Looking straight into Addy’s eyes, my tone was almost frantic. “I love her. Tell me what to do, Addy. Just tell me what to do.” Being able to talk to another person about what was happening to me felt like a huge weight lifted off of my chest. It wasn’t normal to have carried all of this around alone for so long.
“I know you love her.”
It felt so fucking good to talk about this with someone.
Raking my hands through my hair, I let out a deep breath. “She’s really planning to leave town tomorrow?”
“Yes. Working on that damn car was what she wanted to do on her last day here, can you believe it? But that’s partly because she needs to keep herself busy, otherwise she’ll crack, and she knows it. By the way, I love that girl to death, too.”
“She won’t ever be with me because she’ll never hurt Elle. I just don’t see a solution.”
“I need to confess, I recently encouraged her to make a decision one way or the other. Seems she took my advice. Here’s the thing…I’m not so sure that was the right idea anymore. I feel like I should have tried to skew her decision, but I wanted it to be her own choice. If I tell her to do one thing, and she ends up getting hurt from it, I’m not sure I could forgive myself.”
“Are you saying you think we should find a way to be together? That’s what I want. Even if we have to keep it a secret. I don’t care.”
“Listen, I spent my life being persecuted for loving someone who everyone told me was forbidden. That love of my life just died. She’s gone. Forever. In a weird way, losing her made me appreciate all of our struggles even more. I couldn’t imagine her leaving this Earth without our having had the chance to fully express that love to each other. I just couldn’t fathom that. Not having that regret is the only reason I sleep at night now. My nightmare is that Vangie is going to regret running away. Regret is a horrible curse. I don’t want that for either one of you.”
“I can see why Evangeline loves coming here.”
“I know we just met, Sevin, but I care about you, because she cares about you. I want you to know if either one of you ever needs a safe haven, you’re always welcome here. I’ll give you work and a roof over your head. Vangie’s like the daughter I never had.”
“I can’t tell you how much that means to me. I don’t have parents. I don’t have anyone.”
“You do now.”
“I know it seems impossible, but don’t give up on her.”
“I need to see her.”
“Go on. She’s in the garage.”
She hadn’t noticed me standing there for the longest time. Looking almost exactly like the day we first met, Evangeline had grease on her face, and her wild black hair was all over the place. A beautiful mess.
She’d been worried about going to hell for our kiss. Hell to me was life on Earth without her. Time was running out fast, but I had a lot of fight left in me. The one area where I’d been holding back was also her biggest area of weakness. I knew she couldn’t resist me sexually. She would literally run from me to avoid giving into the strong physical pull between us. Needing to try everything to get her to stay, I knew that holding back wasn’t an option anymore. I wasn’t going to let her run straight into the arms of another man just because she was afraid of the consequences of loving me. Over my dead body. She was mine.
I needed to claim what was mine.
I called out, “Evangeline.”
She jumped and placed her hand over her chest. “What are you doing here, Sevin?”
“It’s raining. I came to pick you up.”
Hiding out at Adelaide’s, I’d been crying inside most of the day. When I saw him standing there, as much as I’d prayed he’d stay away, my heart leapt for joy. I should have known better than to think Sevin was going to take that letter as closure. I didn’t even try to ask him to leave because the look in his eyes told me he wasn’t going anywhere. It also told me I was screwed.
I cleared my throat. “I’m almost done.”
Sevin crossed his arms and leaned against the wall. “I’ll wait.” The heat of his stare was overpowering as he watched every moment of my hands as I tightened the distributor.
When I finished, I said, “I’m just gonna go wash up.”
He was standing in the same spot when I returned from the wash room. He looked amazing in a black hoodie that hugged his chest snugly. His hair was still damp from the rain. But it was the self-assured look on his face that really made my knees weak.
“Let me just get my coat.”
“Do you need to say goodbye to Addy?”
I shook my head. “I’m stopping by tomorrow before…I leave.”
His jaw clenched at the mention of my impending departure, his eyes telling me that I wasn’t going anywhere.