The Way Things Are (25)

Annette Gardner could not go home. She had spent a good portion of the afternoon roaming around, bumping into people she’d rather not have seen, or people who were not very helpful. As the evening wore on, she decided to take a taxi to the other side of town and see the one man she could always trust– her father.

Edward Bains, surprised at his daughter’s visit to his lonely prison cell said, “Honey, I didn’t know you were coming today! I’m really glad to see you!” His voice rang with a hint of awkwardly pleasant surprise.

Annette did not know how to approach her father. She had only visited him once, but could say nothing. She had felt betrayed. However, she felt she had nowhere to turn, and she had to tell someone. “Hi dad,” she said as she sat down, not looking at him.

Edward knew his daughter, and felt something was not right with her. “Annette,” he said, looking at her the way fathers do, “What’s wrong? You came here out of the blue to talk to your old man after, well…quite some time. Tell me.”

She looked at him with tears in her eyes and sadness in her face. “Dad,” she paused. With great difficulty, she worked up the courage and said, “Dad, Red–Red cheated on me.” She began to cry.

Edward was floored. He reached across the table to comfort his daughter, only for the guard to shout, “No touching!” He hated to see his daughter cry. He felt helpless, but by just being there, he had helped Annette more than he would ever know.

***

Redmond Gardner was determined to make things “right” that very afternoon. He called Samantha Flint back in haste, and told her to meet him at a small bar just outside of town. On a mission, he called Elaine to help him. Things could not wait any longer.

In the car, on the way to The Sparrow, Elaine said, “Red, I don’t know how this is going to work. You need a plan. If this woman’s as off-the-handle as you say she is, you might have to get the police involved.” Her brother was silent, and stared angrily at the road.

“Red, I need you to know that I’ll tell Teddy if I have to,” said Elaine, thinking she knew what was best.

Redmond pulled over. Turning to her, he said, “Elaine, you want to get Teddy involved? ‘A’, he’ll think I’m the world’s biggest asshole and probably kill me. ‘B’, he might get hurt too. The woman is obsessed. I don’t want you in any deeper than you have to be. You have no idea how much it means to me right now that you’re here.”

Elaine considered for a moment. “Fine. If this get’s bad though, we’ll just say that she’s been stalking you…nothing more. If anything, it’ll be protection for the both of you.”

The last words rang in Redmond’s ears. Would there ever be a “both” of them again? Annette didn’t deserve him, and he knew it. He had cheated on the one person in the world who was truly good.

Looking squarely at Elaine, he sighed, and said, “You can’t even imagine the look she had in her eyes. She was blank, like she couldn’t believe what she was hearing. I can’t believe that this is what I’ve reduced us to.”

“You can’t change the past, Red,” said Elaine, patting her brother’s arm. What’s done was done.

END

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4 thoughts on “The Way Things Are (25)

  1. I often roam around here once a week and pic various topics to explore. So, today, I went to fiction and stumbled across this. The first two lines drew me in and the rest kept my attention. Good job; nice read.

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