CHAPTER 84 - GOODBYE, LADIES
“I’m sorry.” I repeated.
“Yes, I know, you’ve said that before.” Joe cracked a small, sad, smile.
“No, I really am sorry, babe, I ...” I sighed, rubbing the bridge of my nose, “I don’t know how else to express it, I’m just ... really, really, really, really, really sorry.” I bit my lips as I stood before him, fidgeting. “I ... it was awful of me. I shouldn’t have involved you in the first place.”
Joe shook his head, and placed his hands over my shoulders. “It’s okay, Silvia, really.” He shrugged. “In the end, I knew it wouldn’t last long.”
“I mean, no offense, babe, but ... you came with one hell of a heavy baggage. We all have a past, right?” He chuckled, flustered. “The difference is, my past involves a string of failed relationships and a messy apartment, whilst your baggage has a name and a face, and is currently held in prison ...”
I bit my lips. “You’ve always known, huh?”
“Babe, ever since you told me that was your ex, I started quaking. I knew he’d get you back, I guess I just ... enjoyed the ride, as little as it lasted.”
“But ... how could you know? I mean, not even I know what ...” I bit my lips, cutting myself off, unsure whether I should talk to him about these things. I mean, I may not remember my life, but even I know that’s it’s kind of tacky to talk about your alleged feelings for your ex with your current boyfriend that is about to become ex as well.
Joe cracked a small, sweet smile of his, stroking my cheek with his thumb. “You know, hospitals in this aren’t much different from hair salons.”
I frowned, confused. “What do you mean?”
“I mean that people talk. A lot.”
“They warned you about me?” I wiggled my eyebrows, even more confused than before. If his co-workers are as gossipy as he says, now I realize that maybe I shouldn’t have come to his workplace to ... well, break up with him. But, truth be told, I was here for a routine checkup and I discovered something, and ... I couldn’t keep it. Heck, I didn’t even want to try to keep it a secret, it would have been utterly unfair.
“No, babe,” Joe chuckled, stroking my cheek again. He’s taking this breakup much more easily than I expected. I wonder whether I should be offended or what. “Or rather, I was forewarned, but not about you.”
“Dr. Sanchez thought it was wise to give me a heads up about your-uh ... baggage, when we first started dating.”
I rolled my eyes. That woman seriously hates me, and I still have no idea why. She was the doctor that first visited me when I woke up from the coma, but she was so hateful that when I was able to choose, I decided to opt for someone else. “Did she now?” I scoffed, sarcastic. “And what did the good doctor have to say?”
Joe chuckled. “She doesn’t like you, you know that.”
“Yeah, but I don’t understand why. I barely even know her.”
“Babe, her ex dumped her because of you.”
I frowned. “What?” I didn’t know Jake had been with her. Or was it Ryan? As far as I know, I only have two exes here in Boston, a third one in Italy. Well, now with Joe it makes four exes.
“A while ago, I think much, much before your-uh ...” he trailed off, cautious.
“Coma?” I filled in, arching an eyebrow. “It’s not a cuss word, you know.”
Joe smiled sheepishly. “A while ago, Dr. Sanchez dated a resident that later on decided to go private. Their relationship was on the rocks already, but Dr. Stuart going private kind of made it worse. However, as far as I know, Dr. Stuart ended things with her girlfriend because she ... kinda fell for one of her patients, who, only now I found out, was you.”
I furrowed my brows, not getting anything of what he was saying. “Wait, her girlfriend?”
“Yeah, Dr. Stuart is a woman.”
“What ... kind of doctor is she?” I asked, wondering. I’ve never been able to piece together the truth about my ... alleged abortion. I mean, I was going to investigate, but then the whole Jake in prison drama broke loose, so ... I kinda forgot about everything else. I guess that should have told me something since the beginning. I mean, who neglects her sole quest in life, aka recovering her own memories, in name of a guy that’s done nothing but push her away?
“She’s an ob-gyn.” Joe said, and my eyes widened.
So I was right. I did get pregnant at some point in my life. The question is, did I abort or did I miscarry? And why am I so sure the father was Jake?
Unconsciously, and ignoring Joe’s quizzical gaze, I rubbed my belly, thinking. Of course the father would be Jake, he was my boyfriend until the accident. I doubt I would cheat. At any rate, I wouldn’t cheat on him. No woman in her right mind would cheat on such a sex god.
“You okay?” Joe rubbed my arm, concerned.
“Yeah, I ...” I cracked a small smile, “do you have her number?”
“Why?” I rolled my eyes, and he chuckled. “Okay, too many questions, I know.” He raised his hands in mock surrender. “I just worry about you, babe.”
“Shouldn’t you hate me or something?” I blurted out. “I mean, I did just confess I cheated on you with my ex, and-”
“Well, I may be a tad bit mad at you, I won’t deny it.” Joe shrugged. “But hate? Nah. To be honest, we weren’t together long enough for all of this to really ... upset me.”
“Oh, wow, that’s really nice to hear ...” I scoffed, frowning, “our relationship meant nothing to you.”
“I didn’t say that.” He immediately defended. “I’m just saying, our thing has never really been serious to begin with. We both know that.”
“That’s not true. I liked you. I still do.” I admitted, pursing my lip. “It’s just that ...”
“It’s just that you’ve got history with him.”
“Joe ... I’m not leaving you for Jake.” God knows he won’t even accept me, tsk. And I’m not even sure I feel anything. I mean, I probably do, but I don’t really know what. I don’t love him. That’s for sure. But ... I do like him, I do care about Jake, as weird as that is. I don’t know whether it’s because of our past or ... well, I just do, and that’s it.
Joe sighed. “Then you’re lying to yourself more than just to me.”
“Oh, come on ...”
“There’s something between you two, babe. And I doubt it’ll ever go away.”
“You don’t know what. I mean, he doesn’t even want to talk to me.” Heck, he went to freaking jail in order to avoid me. If that’s not rejection, I don’t know what is.
“Babe ...” Joe grabbed my hands, squeezing them, “I really like you, I do, but let’s be honest here, the way your eyes sparkle when you mention him, the way you talked about him these weeks ... I’m not a fool, I know what that means.”
“You may not remember him or what you two had, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fall for him all over again. Actually, I’m pretty sure you already have.”
“Oh, come on ...” I complained. “I don’t know my feelings, how can you know?”
“Because it’s easier from the outside. A foreign eye sees better than one on the inside. You’re too confused and stressed out to see it, but I can.” Joe shrugged, smiling sadly. “And it’s alright. In the end, we weren’t serious, like I said. And don’t get offended, it was nice.” He chuckled. “Not all relationships are meant to become movie material.”
“So you’ve never felt anything for me.” Not sure how that makes me feels.
“I like you, I feel attracted to you. But we’ve been together how long, a few weeks? And you’ve spent a lot of those fussing over your ex.” Joe chuckled. “I guess that was already a sign.”
“Well, I mean, he’s in prison, and-”
“Yeah, yeah, he needs you, I know ...”
“I didn’t say that.” I pouted, crossing my arms. Although, it’s true. Jake does need me. Be it only because I’m the only one person he may accept help from. I’m pretty sure we’ve been here before, me helping him, him helping me ... it’s like ... our thing. We’re each other’s wall, or have been. And ... even I know it’s hard to come back from that kind of bond.
I guess that’s why I keep being sucked into his world, even though everybody warns me against it and Jake himself does everything to keep me away. The bond we had, it was so strong, so powerful, that it resists even through amnesia, if that makes any sense. That’s why I can’t avoid being around him, thinking of him, and everything.
In the end, Joe is probably right. I’ve been falling, slowly, inadvertently, but inevitably. It’s like ... his soul calls out to mine. It’s like ... I hear his heart call mine even from afar, even above the raging ruckus of everything that keeps us apart. And now this ...
I sighed, hand over my belly. The routine checkup this morning came with a surprise, as you may have guessed. 4 weeks. Impossible not to know whose is it. We have 8 months, hopefully, his/her father will be out of prison by then.
“Am I getting executed?” I asked, confused, the moment I entered the warden’s office.
He laughed dryly. “As much as you’d deserve it, no.” He said, gesturing for me to sit, but I shook my head. The warden then hinted at the two guards that held me to step back and, much to my surprise, they left.
“So ... is this a showdown of some sort? I didn’t know I’d pissed off the almighty god of this prison himself. I won’t beg for my life, if that’s what you want.” I scoffed. “Actually, you’re very welcome to take it. At least one of us will make use of it, God knows I haven’t.”
“You’ve been a pain in the ass, Watson.” The warden sighed, dropping onto his chair. “And at the same time a manna.” He smirked. “Do you know how many scumbags you’ve turned?”
“Hey, it’s not my fault, it’s an all-men prison, these guys haven’t seen a woman in ages.” I teased.
Predictably, the warden sent me a glare. “For the sake of my stomach, I won’t comment on that.”
“Oh, come on, Warden, homophobia is sooo ’80s.” Chill out, you, I’ve done nothing of what you’d think. I told you, I’m a fine guy, I require a first date before giving it up. But the warden looked disgusted, so it was worth it.
He sighed. “Either way, I brought you here for a reason.”
“You could have given me a warning, I’d have pulled myself together.” I winked teasingly. “Hope you don’t mind the smell, I haven’t showered in a week.”
“Enough!” The man shouted, slamming his fist onto the table, loud enough for the guards out of the door to peek inside, worried. He sent them away a moment later. Judging by the glare he sent me, I pissed him off. Hopefully, his hatred will pan out.
“So, what is it?” I asked, going to finally sit, as uncomfortably as the shackles allowed me to. Turns out I’m a terribly dangerous inmate, so, wherever I go, I need to be shackled. Or I guess Mr. Big Guy here had me shackled because deep down I scare even him. How familiar.
“You asked for transfer.” The warden said, reaching for some papers. “And it has been granted.”
I frowned. “Really? Last week you said not even in a billion years.
He shrugged. “I changed my mind.”
“Right. So, where am I going?” I’m not stupid, I know something happened, something that convinced me he shouldn’t have me in his prison, but it’s not like I’m gonna argue with the one thing I want.
I frowned. “What?”
He shrugged. “You’ve some pretty powerful friends, Watson. You’ve been transferred back to Massachusetts. You’ll stay there while waiting for the re-trial.”
“Are you kidding me? I thought I had 10 extra years to serve.”
“Not anymore.” He shrugged, making a show of shredding the papers regarding said extra years.
I don’t get it, what happened? Wait. I rolled my eyes. “Did you talk to a Lucas Grant, by chance? The guy is nuts.”
The warden blinked his eyes, and I’d dare say color drained out of his face, but he tried to keep it cool. “Lucas Grant? The billionaire? No, why?” Scared at the mere mention of that name, I see. Ah, what money does ...
“Because he’d be stupid enough to do something like this.” I sighed. “Then who did you talk to? My uncle? God Almighty? What could possibly grant me such clemency?”
He shrugged. “Christmas is near.”
“Seriously?” I scoffed.
“Alright.” He sighed, leaning back in his seat. “Here’s the thing, your lady friend there, she’s a stubborn one. I’d rather she didn’t dig too deep.”
“My lady friend?”
“Silvia ... how was it ... B-something ...”
“Ugh, of course.” I rolled my eyes. “That woman is a curse.”
The warden laughed. “I can easily believe that. You have no idea what a fuss she made when she couldn’t speak to you. Said it was a matter of life or death ... anyways, I’d rather not have her, or worse, your almighty friend the billionaire, there, hang around here.” He bit his lips, I’d dare say worried. “So, off you go home.”
“A bit of music would help pass time, you know.” I mentioned, but the guard didn’t even listen. He and his friend sat as stiff as boards, eyes fixated on me. “Come on, guys, I punish bad guys, you’re the good ones, right? No need to worry.” I laughed, raising my shackled hands to scratch my nose. “Besides, it’s not like I can move much here.” It’s like they fear they have to do with Hannibal Lecter or something.
I received no answer, predictably. A couple of minutes later, the truck came to a brutal stop. I distinctively heard tires screeching. Not good, nope.
The truck crashed into something, and I’d have been thrown against the wall, hadn’t I been, like I said, shackled. The guards were hurled against the wall, though. The sound their heads made as they slammed against it? Uh. Not nice.
The door opened, and a familiar face entered my line of sight. I rolled my eyes, mildly annoyed. “And here I thought you were rotting in some shithole ...”
Well, then, goodbye, ladies. It was nice knowing you, but I guess this is it for me.