“What the hell are you doing here?”
“It’s not what you think.” Evan kept a tight grip on the handle of the front door while staring at Amanda.
“You just walked out of my cousin’s bedroom with your shirt off.”
“Yes, I know, but I can explain.” A door shutting in the hallway interrupted Evan. “I have to go.” Without thinking twice, he ran out the front door to his car and practically peeled out of the driveway.
Fifteen minutes later, Evan pulled into his driveway. With his ignition still running, he picked up his phone. He hadn’t looked at it since he arrived at Samantha’s the night prior.
Emma had texted him at 11:05 PM. I love you, was all it said.
Feelings of guilt made his stomach ache, and his head was still pounding. A text alert made him look at his phone again. It was from Samantha.
You left your wallet here.
Evan pressed his head tightly against the back of his seat with closed eyes and grumbled. As much as he wanted to avoid ever seeing Samantha again, he needed to get his wallet back. He swallowed the lump in his throat and replied to the text message.
Do you work today? I can pick it up from you.
She immediately responded that she was off work for two days. He had no choice but to meet her privately again, yet this time, he wasn’t going back to her house because he didn’t want to see Amanda. He certainly wasn’t inviting her to his house, and he was worried about someone he knew seeing them together in public. Without hesitation, he responded again.
There’s a restaurant about an hour from here called The Waterview. Can you meet me there at 6 PM?I’ll send you the address, if so.
Evan looked at his gaslight before hitting send. His tank was full, so unless Samantha stood him up or didn’t bring his wallet, he would be in good shape to get there.
She replied almost instantly with a yes.
Evan pulled his car into the garage and turned off the engine. He didn’t want Emma driving by to see it in the driveway. He was still out of town for all she knew and wouldn’t return until the next morning. He looked at his phone again to check the time. It was only 10:30 AM. He had enough time to take a nap and sleep off his pounding headache before he needed to go back out again and begrudgingly meet the girl who he was sure had drugged him.
Samantha pressed the Vicodin bottle’s cap down tightly and placed the container back in the medicine cabinet. Gritting her teeth, she closed the cabinet and stared into the mirror. She hadn’t meant to drug Evan, but she was almost positive she gave him the wrong drink the night prior, the one meant for her. She realized it after he fell asleep on her before they could make love. Fortunately, they had made up for it that morning.
She was upset to find that Evan had left without saying goodbye but pleasantly surprised to find his wallet on her bedroom floor. Part of her suspected that he left it on purpose so that he could see her again soon.
Samantha couldn’t blame Evan for leaving so quickly. She figured he had finally realized how they knew each other after running into Amanda in the living room.
Amanda was so mad to see Evan leaving their house that she threatened to move out.
Good riddance, Samantha thought. She was always jealous of me, anyway.
Samantha removed Evan’s tee-shirt, with no intentions of giving it back to him, and tested the water temperature before slipping into the shower. She sensed that Evan liked a chase, so she was determined to play it much cooler moving forward than she had last night. She was mad at herself for being too forward. It might take a little longer than she thought for Evan to dump his girlfriend and commit to her, but based on their morning in bed together; he would be worth the wait.
At 3 PM, Evan woke up headache-free, but his gut still ached with guilt for having slept with Samantha that morning, and for all he knew, the night prior. He jumped online to check his messages. The girl with the butterfly tattoo still hadn’t responded to him. He imagined it was for the best. He figured that circumstances with Samantha were complicated enough. He didn’t need to get himself into any more situations that Emma might find out about. After texting Emma that he loved her and that he would see her the next day, he got into the shower and prepared for the hour-long drive to get his wallet.
An hour later, Evan backed out of his garage and down the drive. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted the same homeless man he’d seen the day prior. Evan stared at the man as he walked out of the woods next to his house. The man returned his stare and grinned, showing off several missing teeth. He gave Evan a slight wave and then turned and walked along the sidewalk around the corner, out of sight.
Shaking his head at the sight of the man’s ratty clothes, Evan continued backing out of the drive and then shifted to Drive. It was becoming common to see homeless people in his neighborhood, and he did not like it one bit.
An hour later, Evan rounded a bend in the road and caught sight of The Waterview restaurant. He slowed down to turn into the parking lot and listened to the sound of gravel beneath his tires. He hadn’t been to The Waterview since he was seventeen, which happened to be the day he decided to make Florida his home. Every two years, he and his parents would stay in a cabin near the Ocala National Forest, just minutes from the restaurant. He had always planned to return to the area after moving to Florida but had not envisioned it would be under current circumstances. He had been meaning to take Emma to the same cabin but hadn’t made the time to do so.
Feelings of guilt overwhelmed Evan as he opened up his door to get out of the car. He would finally make time for Emma, just as soon as he got his wallet back, and ended what he had unintentionally started with Samantha.