Cora and I sit in silence on our lunch break. Her green eyes are noticeably round today. She reminds me of a wounded puppy. I take a deep breath and try to make casual conversation, ignoring the elephant in the room, but Cora won’t have it.
“Luce, what I said earlier about Kingsley, can we pretend I never said it? He’s a good man and I love him. I don’t want anything to threaten our engagement,” she says as she holds eye contact.
“I can’t say it will be easy for me. What I want to do is call the police. He should never lay a finger on you, ever. No matter what it is you do to upset him, nothing should rise to that level. To be honest, I’m astounded by it all. He never struck me as the type.”
“Whatever you do, do not involve the police, please. I deserved it this time, I did. I learned my lesson, and he was very sorry. He even cried and promised to never hurt me again. Please, trust me. I’ll be okay.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t go to the police. I trust you, Cora.”
“Let’s talk about something else, anything else, please. Have you talked with Ellie at all since her major blow up?”
“As a matter of fact, yes, I have. She actually came into my apartment the other day to leave me an apology gift. It was a hilarious mishap, really. I can’t believe I forgot to tell you about this. I was taking a shower after my hike with Dominic and Ludo, and Ellie used her key to let herself in. I heard a crashing sound and naturally, became frightened. When I went out to the living room, there was Ellie holding a broom. Turned out, sh-” I stop mid-sentence when I notice the look on Cora’s face. “What is it? What’s wrong?”
“I find it absurd that you don’t see the seriousness in Ellie’s offense. The mere fact that she used that key to let herself in willy-nilly should alarm you. Aren’t you still feeling like someone is watching you all the time? You would think Ellie would take that into consideration and call you before doing anything of that nature. Seems careless, if you ask me.” Cora shakes her head disapprovingly.
I think on this for a moment. Cora has my best interest in her heart and I think it is coloring a certain shade over the kindness that Ellie displayed. I try to salvage the story before it morphs further into something that it wasn’t. “I understand where you’re coming from, and yes, I do sometimes still feel like someone is watching me. To be honest, that day, I had the same feeling after Dominic dropped me off. I sensed that someone was watching me as I walked to my apartment alone. That did make the whole Ellie being in my apartment unannounced a little scarier. Though, I don’t think she meant harm. I think it was an oversight on her behalf.”
“If you say so, Luce, I’ll have to trust your judgement on Ellie. I don’t see what you see in her. I think she is obsessed with you, but you already know how I feel about her. So tell me, what apology gift did she give you?”
“Well, um, she didn’t actually give me a gift. She said she accidentally broke it and didn’t feel right giving me something broken, so she took it home with her.”
“Wait, wasn’t the point of sneaking in to give you a gift? She didn’t even let you see this so-called gift? And you are taking her word on this?”
“Um, yeah, I trust her.”
“Oh, dear sweet, innocent, Lucy Goosey, when will you learn? You can’t trust anyone these days. I really don’t want to see you ending up hurt because you put faith in the wrong person.”
I take a brief moment to analyze Cora’s words and feel inclined to agree. “Now that I think about it, you’re right. That’s definitely odd that she didn’t at the very least show me the gift. We ended up drinking wine and gabbing about my day with Dominic. I hadn’t considered anything being out of the ordinary. Although, she may have just forgotten about it? We really did consume a large quantity of wine.”
Cora waves her hand dismissively, “All right, if that’s really what you believe. I find it odd that she snuck into your apartment and used this alleged gift as her alibi, but hey, that’s just me. We are two very different people. I suggest letting everything marinade in that mind of yours and seeing how you feel about it tomorrow.”
I nod in acknowledgement and we quietly finish our food. I start to think that Cora is making some good points about the fact that Ellie invited herself into my apartment. I’ll need to get Ellie to clear the air when I see her on Thursday night. I am a bit unsettled not knowing what the gift was supposed to be that day. I never would have given it a second thought on my own. Cora sits and stares at me for a moment, allowing me to digest my thoughts.