Walking into St. Marks Hospital, Steven Bains had an air of determination about him. His firm footstep, along with his large stature, dared anyone to cross him. All he could think about were the societal wretches that watched over his sister–the Falcones.
“Nurse, is there a Louise Bains checked in?” Steven said, refusing to use his sister’s new surname.
“Yes sir, if you are referring to Louise Bains-Falcone. Are you a family member?”
Steven paused. Yes, he was a family member– a ‘dead’ one. “I’m her cousin,” he said awkwardly.
“I’m sorry sir, but only immediate family are allowed at present.”
Steven, never the charmer in his younger years, found an odd bravery in death. He turned on his new-found charm, and melted the nurse’s heart. Of course, he knew in the back of his mind it wasn’t very difficult to charm a sixty-five year-old woman, but he patted himself on the back anyway.
The nurse took him to Louise’s room, and left him to stare at his sister. “Louise. What’s happened to you?” he said with a pained voice. “It was her. That old crone.” He paused. “Why did you do it? Why can’t you ever let anything go? Damn you! When will you learn? You can’t get even with everyone all the time! It doesn’t work like that! Annette, for God’s sake! The girl never did anything to you. And look where you are now, laying here. You can’t even speak to me.” Steven felt the tears well up inside his eyes.
Rising, he walked to the doorway. Turning back to his sister, he said, “This time, I’ll get even for you. It’s justified now.”
“Reddy! Darling! How good to see you! It’s been too long, too, too long!” screeched Samantha Flint, embracing the shamed man before her.
He looked stunned. Annette, pained at the sight of her husband, interjected, “Um, Red this is your cousin Hope. Hope Lovejoy…” The name sounded so wrong coming out of her mouth. “She’s been wanting to surprise you. We’ve been catching up this afternoon.”
Red shot Samantha a violent glance, to which she only replied with a smirk. His hands tied, he said, “Hope! My God, it is you! I barely recognized you with blonde hair!” He gritted his teeth after telling yet another lie.
Samantha momentarily scowled. “Yes Red, I’m back! You have a lovely wife,” she said, patting Annette’s arm. “You know, we’ve been getting along so well today. I hope to see more of her!”
Annette was puzzled. She found the woman revolting. Desperately wanting to leave she said, “Oh yes, sometime. I have to go to my mother’s now, but…” she paused, “I hope to see you again soon.” With that, she turned and left, not giving her husband a second glance.
“Damnit Samantha! I told you to stay away from her! Now you pull this stunt? I told you I’d pay you!” said Red. His voiced seethed with anger.
Samantha finally lit a cigarette, almost as if to celebrate. “No, Red dear. I believe the agreement was I wouldn’t tell her who I was.” She smirked. “As far as I know, I haven’t told her who I am. For all she knows, I’m your beloved cousin Hope Lovejoy. Has a beautiful ring, doesn’t it?” She blew smoke in his face.
Red slammed his fist on the bar. He cupped his face in his hands with shame as Samantha dragged on her cigarette. “No smoking!” shouted someone. She smiled, and left the diner, leaving Red in his misery.