Anderson climbed into his car and stared at the deli where Evelyn just walked in with Preston Reese of all people. What were they doing together? How did it happen? Why did he want to tear Preston’s throat out for touching her? He and Evelyn were over. She made it very clear when he went off to Texas it was time to move on. He needed to find someone else to distract him from his depressing need for Evelyn. She looked good with a little sweat. He could tell they’d been walking through the national park trails. He smelled the scent on her. He could also smell Preston on her, more than just a touch of the hand.
When Evelyn had told him to go, his heart felt like it would burst. These past two weeks he’d tried to keep their emails professional, but his tiger kept pushing for him to do more. Now he was back in White Valley and Evelyn was with the one man who could get under his skin. He didn’t care that he and Preston had been out of high school for years. Preston always bothered him. He never cared much for the girls he was with, he only wanted them since Anderson had dated them. Everything between them had been a competition, and Evelyn was in the middle of it again. This time he wouldn’t stoop to Preston’s level. If Evvy wanted to date the waste of space man, then she could. He would not intervene.
Looking down at his phone he noticed a missed phone call from Xander. Pulling into his apartment complex parking lot he called him back.
“Hi Xander,” he said once Xander answered the phone. He could hear a crying baby in the background.
“Did I call back at a bad time?” he asked, he didn’t want to make life harder.
“No, Sophia is getting her diaper changed. I called to see if you could go to Arizona and check in with Greta Bridges. She was an artist we showcased a few years ago and sent me an email expressing her interest in showing again. Can you fly out tomorrow?” Anderson stepped into his stark apartment and looked around.
“Yes. Not like I have anything to keep me here,” he replied and realized he sounded like a sullen child.
“Evvy still won’t answer your texts?” Xander asked with a knowing tone in his voice.
“No. I ran into her today coming out of Mike’s Deli,” he replied and set his lunch down on the counter.
“How is she? I haven’t seen her outside of work since she came over for dinner a few days ago,” he replied.
“She seemed fine. She was with Preston Reese,” he answered and pulled out a plate, slamming the cabinet door a little harder than necessary.
“And your tiger didn’t take it too well?” Xander asked and Anderson silently cursed.
“I wanted to rip his throat out,” he replied.
“I am going to tell you something that you won’t like hearing, but as your boss and friend I want you to know this. Either shut up or show up for her. Evelyn has been patient and she even let you have a relationship purely physical. She wants a family and there are ways to have children without getting her pregnant. Ever heard of adoption?” Xander asked and Anderson paused. He hadn’t ever thought about adoption as an option.
“From your silence I take it you haven’t. Don’t let Evvy go just because you have a fear, maybe talk to someone who went through the same thing,” Xander offered.
“Your wife told me that same thing two weeks ago. Evvy is with Preston, I am not going to shove myself back in her life and ruin what she has with the man. If they don’t work out, maybe I will try again,” he replied.
“If that is what you think is best. I’ll have Jessica book you a flight out for Monday morning to check in with Greta. Let me know if you think what she has is worth showing. We will be getting Evan Matthews’ showcase set up to show next week. Evelyn will pick him up from the airport tomorrow morning and get him settled at the Clover Leaf Inn. They offered an art room where he could paint undisturbed.”
“Let Evvy know he is very picky about what food he puts in his body. He is a vegitarian and the entire time I spoke with him he never let me forget it. He also doesn’t drink a drop of alcohol, says it impedes his process,” he explained. He wanted Evelyn to be prepared for anything the man had to send her way.
“She seemed to have everything in a file on her desk by the end of the day on Friday. One of the best things I did was hire Evelyn. She is so organized. I can find everything I need without having to dig for an hour.”
“Her home is organized that way too. Everything in her pantry is labeled,” he said without thinking and Xander laughed.
“I am not surprised. Email me and let me know about Greta. Don’t forget to stop by and see the kids next time you are in town,” Xander said.
“Sounds good. I expect the Greta trip will only take a few days and I will be back in town by Wednesday, Thursday the latest. I can come by Friday night for dinner,” he offered. He waited and heard Xander speak with Roxie in the background.
“Yes Friday will work,” Xander replied.
“See you Friday for dinner. I’ll bring something over so Roxie doesn’t have to cook. Give the kids a kiss for me.”
“Will do.” Anderson hung up his phone and settled to stare at his meatball sub. Suddenly he thought about Evelyn and how she was enjoying a sandwich with Preston, his sub no longer looked appetizing. Shaking his head, he decided he needed to go for a run and work the extra energy off his tiger. Take a bite of his sandwich he ate quickly and then stripped down to go for a run in the woods. The problem with going for a run in the woods, it smelled like Evvy, he kept remembering her scent from walking past him on the street.
The following morning, with his ticket in hand Anderson walked into the airport. He needed to be on his flight by ten thirty and it was nine. That gave him an hour and a half to make it through check in and get to his gate. He yawned and bumped into someone, his tiger hadn’t given him a moment of rest last night. When he was in town, his tiger knew Evvy was close and wouldn’t leave him be until he made love to her.
“Sorry,” he mumbled, and then he smelled her that sweet scent of the desert after a rainstorm.
“Its fine,” her sweet voice said and he turned to catch a glimpse of Evelyn making her way to another gate.
“Evvy!” he called, but she didn’t pause to speak with him. Her body didn’t even hint that she had heard him call out to her.
Well, shit! I really screwed this up. He rubbed a hand down his face and watched her stand off to the side a sign in her hand.
So she was here to pick up their new artist. If Greta Bridges had new art to show he would be adding to her workload. A twinge of guilt settled in his gut, maybe he should stay and take Xander up on being the artist liaison? He’d take the trip and think about it. The sight of Evelyn with Preston, and her not even stopping to talk to him rubbed him the wrong way. He needed to clear his head, speak to his dad about how he handled Martha’s pregnancies after his mother’s death. Even if he and Evelyn weren’t meant to be, he didn’t like the feeling of complete helplessness when he saw a pregnant woman. It didn’t matter if she was someone he knew or not, an uncomfortable feeling would settle and he’d feel the need to run off. Stepping through the metal detector he took a deep breath and let the freedom of being on a plane settle in his heart.
Finally, an Anderson chapter. Thoughts?