Chapter 24: Her
Oh, dang it! I’ve gone and done it again! Not with some publishers or even in front of all America, no, I’ve gone and done it with a guy I let get too close, too fast. And now I’m crying my eyes out in the room I’m allowed to have for now at the church. Why can’t I just go home?! That’s where I want to be! My room, my bed, the warmth and comfort of my blankets! Why can’t I go home! HOME DANG IT!! And now I’ve shot my mouth off once more to the only guy that’s even been nice to me since I’ve gotten here. He’s a stalker for sure, but that didn’t give me a reason to be rude. And I was rude. All he did was offer to take me out to dinner. He’s had many opportunities up to now to kidnap me, and I carelessly ignored all the signs. I ignored my memory, my feelings, my training and all other things that told me he was dangerous. Shame on me. Dang it all.
“Dang it, Eliza! Did you have to lose your cool over a meal of all things?!” I talk to myself out loud after I’ve calmed down some.
“Of course I didn’t, but that doesn’t change the fact that I did.”
“You shouldn’t have done that. It wasn’t the smartest thing to do. I mean, he is a native to New York, isn’t he? Did you have to bite his head off? Attack his state like that?”
“Of course I didn’t. But I attacked him anyway.”
“You always assume you know best, don’t you, Eliza? You always think Eliza’s the best person ever and no one will ever hurt Eliza. You let him get close, you moron. You remember reading that book and that’s the worst thing to do. You let him get far too close for who he is and now you’re paying the price. Shame on you, Eliza dear.”
“Yes, yes, shame on me and all that crap. But this isn’t helping anything. I want to feel better. I want to stop being so angry and bitter about this. I need to fix it somehow.”
“And how are you going to do that? What? You have his phone number stashed somewhere in your luggage? No. Because you’re the great Eliza who hands out her number and doesn’t ever ask for anyone else’s.”
“I know Cassandra has it, so I can just ask her for it.”
“And then what? Just ask him to forgive you and move on? You know it’s not that simple.”
“Of course I know that, but still…”
“You like him, don’t you? You think he likes you. That’s why you were asking. Is he just a dangerous stalker, or is he a really great guy that thinks you’re the one?”
“Well he won’t like me after tonight. Not after what I said. He started out grumpy and then I just stabbed him in the foot without a goodbye. Yay me.”
“You are throwing quite the pity party. What would your mother say?”
“Oh my gosh! Mom!” I grab my cell, since I know we get service here and dial my parents.
They pick up and we spend the next four hours talking about everything. I know how irresponsible it was for me to just disappear off the map and not call them, but they did say I was a grownup and could make my own decisions as far as that goes.
I told them all about Jack McPherson and all the trouble all this nonsense has given me. Dad threatened to kill him, hallelujah and that I shouldn’t be going anywhere alone with him ever, ever, ever again. Duh. I knew that, and I was just too stupid to do it. It’s New York! There’s people everywhere, all the time! I should just have Jeff’s wife Caroline go everywhere with me, then. Even though she and I don’t exactly get along. Woo hoo. But it’s better than being dead or kidnapped, I guess. Anyway. I’ll survive. I may survive pretty humiliating, but I will survive.
They’re rather surprised I could be so careless. It’s not like me to make so many mistakes in such a short period of time. Especially not over a stranger and one of the male gender at that. I’m so sorry. I don’t have anything against men, most of the time anyway, but I do have a big problem with my own stature. Most guys could take me down in seconds. Even if they don’t realize it. I’m a lot more fragile than I look. Which is bad. I don’t break easy, but I am very fragile emotionally. But this guy… he hasn’t hurt me at all. Which is nice. And creepy. And suggesting of potential danger.
Okay. So maybe I was stupid to be this trusting this soon. I know better. But that’s okay. I am going to do better. And who knows, maybe he’ll avoid me from now on. Right? Maybe I’ll get lucky and the weather will clear up and I will be able to leave and go home. He’ll go on with the rest of his life and leave me to mine.
Who am I kidding? He’s still going to stalk me. I have to face this. I don’t like it very much, but I have to face him again. I hope this is a good lesson to all you stalkers. Not everybody you stalk is how you expect them to be and not all of them appreciate it. Stop being creepy! For pity sake!
Anyway, after Mom and Dad are all filled in, I promise to call them in the morning with my decision and keep them updated on everything as best as I possibly can. Woof, what a day. And to top it all off, there’s Cassandra now, buzzing my phone.
“Hello?” I say, picking it up.
“Hello? Is that how you greet the best agent in the world?” she sounds almost gleeful, like she expects me to announce my engagement to Jack McPherson.
“Yes, it is. Hello. Thank you for letting me go horseback riding today.”
“You don’t sound pleased. What happened?” she asks, more curious than anything now.
I fill her in a few minutes. “Okay? So, if you wouldn’t mind giving me his number, so I can fix this.”
“Well, missy. You certainly know how to dig yourself a very deep hole. Why do you keep doing this? This isn’t like you! Where’s the cool, calm, and calculating girl I know and love?” she asks, trying to be nice.
“I left her in Colorado, asleep in my room, warm, comfortable, and happy. I’m sorry. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”
“I know, sweetie. It’s okay. You just get some sleep. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help.” She tells me his number and lets me crash. I have so much fun and then people get hurt. What the heck is wrong with me?!