That evening Eve ate supper with her parents and then called her little sister at Boston’s School of Liberal Arts. Then she phoned her older brother in New York. They had spoken on Saturday morning, so he was surprised to be hearing from her on a Monday night.
“Is anything bothering you, Eve?”
“No. I… just wanted to talk to you,” she finished with false brightness.
Doubt reflected in thirty-four year old Jermaine’s voice, “Okay. But you know you can really talk to JB right?”
“Yeah, I know,” she smiled.
“Good. How’s Kendo?”
She hung up. Then she stared at the phone in horror, realizing what she had just done. It had been an involuntary action, but she couldn’t call him back. Not after the last question he had asked her. She wasn’t ready to face the finality of her position with Kendo.
Twenty minutes later, Avril Baker walked into her daughter’s room. “Did you hang up on your brother?”
“I didn’t mean to, Mom! I swear.” She shrugged and drew in a shaky breath. “He asked me how Kendo was!” A solitary tear fell down her cheek.
Avril sighed and gave her daughter a sympathetic smile before walking away without another word. A love like that couldn’t be reasoned away with the typical words of consolation and understanding so she just let it be. She only hoped her child would recover one day soon.
In the following days Eve attacked her work with gusto. And she spoke very little. That worried Michael, but he let her be on her own for the first part of the week.
Yvonne knew he was giving her a little breathing room and a chance to cope with the situation by herself. She was very grateful to her best friend for that. Surely her mother had gotten in touch with him and had given him an idea of how badly she was doing. She cried herself to sleep every night and hardly felt like eating.
So for the first few days of the week, Michael acted as if all was well and merely made work conversation. On Thursday he finally spoke up.
After her initial greeting in the morning, Michael didn’t hear a word from her. Every now and then he would catch her staring blankly at her computer or wiping tears from her eyes. Tears concerned him, because she had been relatively composed all week. Something had happened and she wasn’t coping as well as she had been doing all along.
It tore him apart to see his best friend in such a sorry state. He didn’t know what to do to help her, so he asked her, “Want to talk about it, Eve?”
She sighed and stopped typing. “I got all my stuff back last night.”
“Imagine seeing Kendo’s butler at my door with a box,” she laughed humourlessly. “I was so surprised I almost smiled until I realized that that was it. Severing the very last connection.”
“I’m sorry, Yvonne.”
“So was the butler.” Pause. “I couldn’t even ask him how Kendo was.” She bit her lip. “I- I- asked my housekeeper to send all the clothes to the dry cleaner’s. I could still smell him on everything.
“Which almost made me break down and cry. Just the smell of him can make me fall apart. What more seeing him on TV and in the papers? Not being able to share with him how my life is going…” her voice trailed off painfully.
Michael saw the look in her eyes and looked away, clearing his throat before saying, “You two were really, truly in love… but you have to be a soldier.”
“And I have to get rid of it,” he heard her say firmly. He assumed she was talking about her love for Kendo.
“Let me know if I can be of any assistance,” he flashed her a wicked grin. “Think of it as a return to our younger days.” He looked off into the distance wistfully. “Two very single hell raisers.”
For the first time in five days, he heard her laugh. She raised her glass of water. “To the Two.”
“The most terrible to be true,” he responded softly.
In that moment, he was proud of her. He had just caught a glimpse of her fighter spirit and he knew that in the long run, Eve was going to be just fine... he just had to give her time.
The following week Terrence walked into the joint office and caught Yvonne staring out the window, looking very lonely. Before he could ask her any questions, Michael cleared his throat and got his attention.
Terrence looked at his friend quizzically. All Mike did was point to the open newspaper on Yvonne’s desk.
There was a picture of Kendo and an insert of an obviously pregnant Asian woman. He recognized her as a model from magazines. There was a small article about how they had frequently been spotted in each other’s company lately and that the baby could possibly be his. It all indicated that they had been together at one point the previous year but had gone quiet for a long time. Now, the newspaper speculated about a pending marriage ceremony.
Just as he turned away from her desk, Yvonne turned back towards the two men.
“Was there something you wanted from me, Terrence?”
He hadn’t seen her in recent days but her face had a pallor to it that shocked Terrence. He knew now how hard this whole situation was on Yvonne. Obviously one wasn’t ok after a break up but clearly, this one had hit her very hard. Terrence couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for her.
Matthews could tell that she was making an effort to appear unaffected, so he tried not to let it show in his expression. He faced her for only a brief moment- the pain in her eyes was like a lamp on a dark hill. All he could see.
So he looked away.
“Um, uh- yeah. There’s a report you did on the negotiations for better investment offers that I would like to read, but I can’t find it.”
“Let me get it for you,” she said calmly. She went to her desk and opened a drawer. Pulling out the document, she asked him to return it when he was done so that she could complete the portfolio.
“Sure thing. Thanks.” And he left their office.
Later on that day, she fainted. One minute she was standing in front of Mike’s desk, the next he heard a thud and looked up to see Yvonne crumpled on the floor.
When she came to, the faces of Beverly Court, Mike and Terrence Matthews swam into her line of vision. Their expressions of concern gave way to relief and her confusion gave way to annoyance.
“Please tell me I didn’t just faint!”
Michael and Terrence exchanged grins. Beverly chuckled.
“OK, we won’t.”
Both Beverly and Terrence insisted that she go home and rest immediately. She knew better than to argue with Bev when she crossed her arms over her chest and raised her eyebrows.
She went home, changed into a night dress and told her housekeeper Verna to screen all her calls.