Twisting Fate: Ch. 10

Tuesday, July 30, 2019



The woman calls early the next morning. So early, in fact, the sun hasn’t even risen yet. I almost miss the call, but when I fell asleep face-first on the keyboard at some point in the middle of the night, I left my phone right next to my ear. Talk about a wake-up call.

“Hello? Is this Jasmine Youvella?” the woman asks.

“Yes, hello. Sorry. That’s me.”

Ben lifts his head from his pillow, his hair a disheveled mess around his head. He squints at me, looks toward the window, and back at me again. Then, he shakes his head and plops back down on the pillow, covering his face with the blanket.

“I’m sorry I didn’t answer before,” she says. “My husband, well, he doesn’t like my talking to strangers on the phone. We, um, we wrote you a letter. I’m sure you haven’t gotten it yet. I just, um, well, I just thought calling you would be faster.”

I don’t really know what to say. I feel like I should apologize, but I don’t know what I would be apologizing for. 

“Hello? Are you still there?” she asks.

“Yes,” I clear my throat, “I’m still here.”

“Would you, um…would you maybe want to meet us for dinner tonight?”

“Yes!” I say, perhaps a bit too enthusiastically. “Yes, that would be great.”

“Oh, thank you! My husband and I, well, we’d really love to meet you. Would you be able to meet at the Bluebird Diner at, um, let’s say around six thirty tonight?”

“Yeah, of course. I’ll be there.”

“Oh, wonderful. And, um, if my husband asks about the letter, could you maybe let him think you got it already? He can’t, um, well, he can’t know that I talked to you on the phone. He was in the war, and, well, he gets pretty paranoid about certain things?”

“Yeah, sure. No problem.”

“Wonderful! Thank you! Again, for, um, well, for meeting us. I know the circumstances are, well, a little different.”

“Yeah, a little. I’m really grateful for your daughter, and I’d just like to know more about her, you know, so I can honor her memory and all that.”

“That would mean so much to us. Thank you. Oh, um, well, I have to go now. My husband will be back from his run soon.”

“Okay. See you later.”

She hangs up, and for a moment I don’t know what to feel. I decide I must be tired, and climb back into bed next to Ben, falling asleep almost instantly.

***

Her heart is pounding.

If he doesn’t arrive soon, she’s afraid she’ll change her mind. Her father will probably find her. He wouldn’t stop until he did. That’s just how he was. So what was the point? She’d only end up worse off than she was once he found her. She could still go back home. It wasn’t too—

“Hey, sorry I’m late,” he says.

She bites her lip, nervous. “I, um, I think I changed my mind. I don’t think…um…I don’t think I can do this anymore.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Jennifer. You need this. This is for the best.”

“What if he finds me?”

“He won’t.”

“You don’t know him like I do. You don’t understand. He has training in this kind of stuff, and he won’t give up. He’ll find me. I know he will.”

“Trust me. He won’t find you. You’re mine now,” he says, placing his hands on her waist and pulling her to him.

Inside his arms, she wants to believe him.

She’ll regret that.

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