I could feel the cold creeping into my heart and not from the lack of heat due to electricity outages from the recent storm but because of my own stupidity. There were moments when I wished I could go back and erase everything, especially the day I walked into that gosh forsaken club but then I never would have known the truth behind those doors. The truth of how liberated I felt when I knelt on that floor in dreams of one day performing for the infamous Zeus but those dreams have withered away and now I’m stuck here with no way out.
During those days, my time consisted of staring out the window, anxiously awaiting the storms end so I could once and for all run to him and plea my case but with each passing hour, the flakes continued to fall, building on top the already existing piles of white, shimmery snow making it impossible to leave. It left me with little hope that he would actually believe me after all this time but I wasn’t going to give up. I was going to talk until he was forced to listen or at least until I couldn’t anymore.
After a few days of sulking around and still no return calls or text from Ethan, I decided to go to work. I knew the chances of him being hurt were slim but I still needed to know he was alright and if being at the restaurant kept my mind from thinking the worst, then that’s just what I would have to do until he decided to talk to me. Plus, James would probably be able to get in touch with him since I couldn’t.
I crept out into the frigid air and started plowing the three feet of snow from my car. My place still didn’t have power but there were restorations all over the city, including where I had to go to work. Luckily, the streets had been cleared and the snow had stopped falling early yesterday afternoon but it always takes a while to thaw the roads. I wasn’t able to get any news because my radio batteries died yesterday but I knew the world was still functioning as I could hear workers all night outside my living room window.
Once my car was dug out, I used my warmer to thaw the engine, which always took a while, and headed inside to clean up a bit. Even though my pipes were frozen and I had no heat, it didn’t mean I had to look like the hot mess I had been since Friday. My heart was hurting but I needed a distraction and cooking always cleared my head.
I was finally able to start my car around noon then hoped in and headed to work. James’ car was outside and so was a delivery truck which meant he was ready to get things back to normal.
“Well, I see you made it through the storm!” He exclaimed as he began unloading boxes from the back of the truck.
I grabbed a few smaller ones and followed him inside as I said, “Yeah, if that’s what you call it.”
He placed the boxes on the counter and went back outside to grab some more. “Did your power come back on?”
“No but it shouldn’t be long.” I said solemnly as we continued bringing in boxes and bags of food.
“Well the damage here doesn’t look so bad. I had to throw out all my meat and produce but the other non-perishables were salvageable. I want to open tonight with a limited menu, if you are available to work.”
Shaking my head, I continued unpacking boxes and placing things into the coolers. After everything was in its place, I returned to the prep station and began cutting veggies and fruit. I was so wrapped up in not trying to think about Ethan that I never heard James calling my name.
“Earth to Britt!” He said waving his hands in my face.
“What?” I said as he pulled me from my trance.
“Are you okay? You seem distracted.” He said as he walked towards his office. “By the way, have you heard from Ethan? I’ve been calling him but it just goes straight to voicemail.”
My heart lurched in my chest as I dropped the knife I was using. My pulse accelerated and I began to panic. What if something happened? How has James not heard from his brother and why would Ethan not call him?
“What do you mean? When was the last time you spoke with him?” I said as I ran into his office and started interrogating him.
“Calm down Britt. There isn’t a lot of cell service right now, he’s probably just at home and unable to get out.”
My brain wanted to believe James but my heart was telling me something wasn’t right. He had more than enough vehicles to get himself out of a bind and one little snow storm would not stop him from answering his phone.
I ran from his office and out the door. I needed to go there and see for myself. I could understand if he didn’t want to hear from me or see me right now but there was no reason for him to ignore his brother. After my car started, I sped out the parking lot and down the road towards his place. I pulled up in his driveway, noticing that his car wasn’t there and hurried to the door. I began knocking like a mad woman, screaming out his name but there were no sounds from inside.
Once again, my heart fell to my toes and I couldn’t imagine something happening to him because of my stupidity. I got back into my car and drove the same route he usually takes to my house, hoping I wouldn’t find his car abandoned on the side of the road or worse, in a ditch. Driving painfully slow, I examined every turn and cross road carefully, in hopes of just a glimpse of something but after an hour of searching, I found nothing. I drove back to the restaurant, defeated once again and the memory of his look came back into my mind.
His disappointed glare made me cringe as I thought about what I had done. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. He wasn’t supposed to find out but how could I have been so stupid as to think he wouldn’t recognize me? We had sex for crying out loud!
Get it together Britt! I said to myself as I walked back into the restaurant.
“What the hell, Britt?” James said as he watched me with narrowed eyes.
“I, uh...” Not wanting to get into the whole thing with him, I passed by him and said, “I’ll get back to work.”
For the rest of the night, I couldn’t help but think about where he was or if something had happened to him. I know what I did hurt him tremendously but it’s been three days.
“Britt can I talk to you for a minute?” James asked as he walked tensely into his office.
The whole kitchen looked in my direction and I suddenly felt like I was back in grade school being ushered into the principal’s office. I shuffled in with my head down and sat in the chair across from his desk.
“I don’t know what’s going on between you and my brother and I don’t want to know but he is safe and he is in Sweden. I am only telling you this because I have noticed you’ve been off since this afternoon and I fear your work will start to suffer if you don’t know where he is.”
I gave him an apologetic smile and said, “Thank you.”
I looked down at the floor and released a breath I had been holding in since the last time I saw him then I got up and walked back to my station. Now that I knew he was fine, I could get back to my job. It still stung that he hadn’t responded to me and that he was thousands of miles away but at least I knew he was alive.
I finished cleaning the last pot and placed it on the drying rack while the rest of the staff clocked out and went home. Throwing the towel into the sink, I leaned over and let out a sigh. I need to talk to him and if constantly calling his phone doesn’t get him to answer, then leaving more messages might. I grabbed my things and walked out the door. Before I reached my car I took out my phone and dialed his number but just like every time before, I reached his voicemail. I waited for his message to end and the beep before I said, “I-I’m sssorry Ethan, I don’t…know how much more I can say. Please, please just answer me.”
It was a desperate plea from a brokenhearted woman to a heartbroken man. The one of which I had broken and may never get the chance to fix.
Damn, that storm must have been something if she had three feet of snow around her car! I can’t believe she didn’t freeze to death from being inside without heat and power for three days. I almost feel sorry for her for being stuck inside by herself with no electricity in the middle of a snow storm but add in her being completely heartbroken because of your own bad choices and I changed my mind.
Well at least she knows he is safe but do you think Ethan will ever call her back? And should he? Do you think James will get involved? What will happen now that she knows where he is but he still hasn’t called her?
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