"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift" – Mary Oliver
Later that evening, I am suddenly drawn back to my missing phone and Christopher's alleged involvement.
I am alone in my apartment.
But constantly I think of her.
And of our night, the only night we were together. It was her birthday and here I was the one that got the ultimate present.
Rushing over to my desk, and resting down my undrunk glass of Highland Park. I log into my computer and then to my offsite backup server and checked through all my mail from that fated day. And there it is, an email from Anna-Leah Greene asking me to contact her. It was from the day of my shooting. I remember the name; we met briefly on Isabetha's birthday, at my club. Quickly I stroll through and found my / "his" response asking her to contact him through a bogus email address.
They were going to meet in New York. This was dated two weeks ago. Damn me for not looking into this sooner, but I was so adamant in my pursuit of getting myself permanently in the doors of Black International. And of course, the burying my father.
There is nothing I can do; perhaps it is a bit too late. She might already have met him, realizing that he's not who he says he is and she could be dead somewhere in a dark alley; already food for the vermin.
But I will have to still try.
The only way she must have gotten my personal email address is from Pam. I call her cell phone hurriedly and after just one ring, she answers.
"Good evening sir, is there a problem?"
"Yes, Pam...I need your assistance, it's of a very urgent matter!" I am breathless. "Do you have a contact for Ms. Anna-Leah Greene?"
"Anna-Leah Greene? Anna-Leah Greene? Why yes of course! She is the most fabulous model in the world. I completely adore her; she gives so much time and money to the world's children. I believe she has many foundations that she contributes to..." Pam is rambling and I have clearly no time for this!
"Pam! Please! Her phone number, now!"
"Sorry sir, I will get it right away." I can hear her rifling through the contents of her bag looking for something. "Got it, sir, I wrote it down in my address book." (Pam's so old school it physically hurts me every so often.) She recites the digits rapidly to me which I write down on a bit of paper on my desk and I disconnect my call to Pam and punch the numbers onto my screen, hit the call button and wait.
It rings, once
Please pick up
It rings, twice
Please God let her pick up
It rings, thrice
"This is going to sound a bit outlandish but please do not hang up, you are in grave peril."
"Really? That's the worst pick up line I have ever heard"
"Anna-Leah, please. It's me...Canaan Demetrius Black. You know, Isabetha's friend." She laughs hard and short.
"Okay Isabetha's friend, what's this danger I am in?"
"You're on your way to meet me...right?"
"Well I hate to the bearer of very bad news but that person who contacted you to meet today is emphatically not me! Because I only just today discharged myself from the hospital."
"But you have been in contact with me through your email"
"No, Anna, not me. I was in a coma, I nearly died. I did not contact you, you need to accept as this as true"
"Okay...well how would I know is you are who you say you are? You could be an imposter! Playing me for a fool!"
"Okay, I will prove myself to you...we met the night in a club. It was the night of Isabetha's birthday....she introduced me as..."
"Canon!" We both exclaimed at the same time. She laughs quietly in her throat.
"Thank God you are okay. She is so worried about you"
"She is well? I tried finding her after, after...but I was unsuccessful"
"You mean after you had sex! Well, I have some shocking news...she's pregnant." And the phone goes silent.
"Hello! Hello!" I yell into it like a madman.
Pregnant? Did I hear her right? Did she say pregnant? I redial her number quickly but my disappointment, it goes straight to her voicemail.
I place a hand over my pounding chest, trying to calm myself and leave a short message requesting her to contact me as soon as possible.
Meanwhile back in New York City
Looking down at her phone, Anna-Leah realizes that it has died.
"Shit! I should have charged it before I left home early today. I miss Beth, she always reminded me about the little things" she says aloud, startlingly her driver Angus.
"You okay Miss?"
"Sure thing Angus, how long before we arrive at the restaurant?"
"Five minutes miss, we're a bit ahead of schedule, would you want me to circle the block?"
No Angus, that would not be necessary, being early is super fantastic, utterly fantastic indeed" she throws her phone into her purse and leans back into the warm leather exterior of the car, closes her eyes and waits.
Anna-Leah alights from the vehicle "wait right here for me Aggie, I will be quick" and makes tracks into her favorite restaurant, 'The Clutch'.
"Peter, my darling," she coos at the maître d'
"Miss Anna, it's been too long"
She leans in and kisses him on both cheeks. His blood flares and colors his face bright red, his heart's racing. She is such a vision as always.
"Did my guest arrive as yet?"
"No Miss Anna, you're the first to arrive"
"Great Peter, that's wonderful...here's what I want you to do...when my guest gets here...DO NOT under any circumstances tell him I was coming...okay, let him sit for a while and then inform him that I am no longer coming...say...a work emergency...yes...that will work." The words are flustered and rushed.
"Sure Miss Anna, anything for you."
"Thank you, Peter, you are the best!" And discreetly places a few C-notes in the palm of his hand and turns on her heels and exits the restaurant in a hurry.
"No Anna-Leah," he thinks to himself, "YOU are the best."
Anna-Leah scrambles into the backseat of the parked car. Angus looks over his shoulder at her panicked entry.
"You okay, miss?" He asks again, a worrying look etched on his face.
"Sure, just peachy, take me to the airport at once. I need to catch a flight to Texas immediately!"
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