“Can you come in?”
I slowly turned the doorknob. Only her head was visible as she lay beneath the suds. She didn’t look relaxed at all. The expression on her face seemed even more tormented than before.
“What do you need, baby?”
Evangeline lifted her hand, reaching it out to me as a tear fell down her cheek. “You.”
“You want me to come in with you?”
My nerves from earlier were tenfold as I lifted off my shirt. Her eyes followed the movement of my hands as I slid my pants off. Leaving my boxer briefs on, I got in the tub behind her and wrapped my legs around her body. Evangeline’s head of wet hair leaned against my pounding heart. Her chest was rising and falling. I kissed the back of her head softly to try to calm her down.
This was the opposite of a fun jaunt in the tub. It felt more like we were washing away our sins in a quiet moment of repentance. That nagging feeling that something significant was about to happen wouldn’t cease.
Whispering against her head, I said, “It’s okay, Evangeline. Everything is going to be okay. I’m here. I’m never going to let anything bad happen to you again.” I held her closer to me. “I love you. I don’t even know who I am without you. Don’t you know that? Even experiencing pain with you is better than nothing at all. Please tell me you’ll stay. We’ll work it out…as long as it takes. Whatever it takes, baby, we’ll do it.”
Evangeline reached her foot out to lower the stopper. The water slowly emptied out into the drain as she continued to rest her back on top of my chest. With each second that passed, her breathing became heavier.
With the water gone, there was nothing left except Evangeline’s slick naked body against me. I lowered my mouth to her neck and began to kiss it. She flipped around to stop me.
“I’m not gonna try to have sex with you tonight,” I said, defensively. “I just wanted to kiss your neck. That’s all.”
“That’s not why I turned around.”
“Why did you turn around then?”
Her lips were trembling. “I need to show you something.”
She straddled me, her warm pussy sitting atop my thighs. I was still wearing my boxer briefs which were wet and stuck to my full erection. Her hands were shaking as she took mine in hers and placed them below her stomach. She let go and watched as I traced my finger along her taut skin.
That was when I saw the thick reddish line.
My finger froze.
It looked like someone had sliced into her.
“What is this? Did someone stab you?” My blood was boiling. “Was it him?”
She slowly shook her head no, and a few seconds later, everything started to register.
Instinctively, I straightened up, and my body went rigid.
Then, a flash of panic.
I covered my mouth as I looked down at her scar.
“I need to hear you say it, Evangeline.”
She cried harder.
I rubbed my thumb along her bikini line. “What is this? Say it.”
She wouldn’t answer.
I yelled, “Say it!”
“I had a baby!” she screamed.
I lowered my voice and repeated, “You had a baby.”
“Yes,” she whispered.
My heart felt like it was going to explode out of my chest.
Was it mine?
It would be impossible to stomach either scenario.
No two words had ever had a greater impact on my life, yet I was so confused.
“You gave birth…to our baby?”
“Where is it?”
“I don’t know.”
“What do you mean…you don’t know? You don’t know. You DON’T KNOW? How the fuck can you NOT know?”
“I gave her away.”
Gave her away.
Gave her away?
“Her? You gave our daughter away?” Dripping wet, I pushed past her out of the tub and stormed into the bedroom, pacing with my palm on my forehead. “Oh my God.”
Trying to piece it all together, my thoughts were jumbled. It now made sense why Evangeline ran away when she did. We’d been careful most of the times that we had sex with the exception of one or two. I couldn’t believe that I never once considered that she could have been pregnant when she left. I understood why she had to hide it from Elle, but how could she keep something like that from me?
She was wrapped in a towel when she came out of the bathroom. “I know it’s incomprehensible. I have to explain what was going on in my head at the time.”
Throwing on my pants and a pullover, I snapped, “There’s no explanation that will justify your giving my child away without my knowing.” I grabbed my keys. “I can’t talk to you…can’t be around you right now. I’ll do or say something I’ll regret. I need to process this.”
When she followed me and put her hand on my shoulder, I whipped it away from her. “Don’t fucking touch me,” I spewed before slamming the door shut and running off into the night.
I shouldn’t have expected anything different. I knew he would never begin to understand. How could he understand if I couldn’t even fully understand my own actions? I left Sevin a note, letting him know that I was driving back to Wichita. I doubted he wanted to see the sight of me anyway.