|Out of the Darkness
Author: Yva J PM
When the truth emerges about Anton's 'death', Patty begins to question whether or not she is really ready to face the events of the past all over again.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - Chapters: 12 - Words: 32,917 - Reviews: 72 - Favs: 16 - Follows: 21 - Updated: 05-21-13 - Published: 10-24-10 - id: 6422605
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Finally, I have a chance to post a chapter. I have had a very busy holiday, and now things are starting to get back to normal. I am able to post a new chapter here. I hope that you will enjoy it, and I ask that you please be patient with me while I write these chapters. I have so many other (not writing) projects going on and so when I can write, I do, but when I can't, you won't see much of me around here.
Thanks for all the reviews. I find them to be encouraging and helpful.
Phil returned to the car after his conversation with Anton had ended. He wordlessly climbed behind the wheel and closed the door before looking at Patty. She was seated with her shoulders slumped and her head bowed over her lap. She was picking at imaginary lint from off her dress.
Instead of immediately speaking of what had transpired, he started the motor. After several moments had passed, he stopped everything he was doing before reaching over and touching her shoulder. "Patty?"
In lieu of words, she raised her head and silently waited for him to continue.
"I spoke to your friend," he said simply.
"You did?" She asked.
"Yes, and he knows that this isn't going to be easy for either one of you," Phil said. "I don't think he fully believes what is happening, but I did promise that we would call him from Louisville tonight. Then you can talk to him at length."
"Did you tell him that I tried to call earlier?" She asked softly.
"No, but he figured it out."
"I don't know, somehow he just knew," Phil said.
"What should I say to him?" She asked.
"Just tell him what you're feeling about all of this," he said. "You know that's really all you can do." He paused for a moment before his next question emerged. "You do want to talk to him, don't you?"
Patty nodded. "Of course, but the question is; does he want to talk to me?"
"Why would he refuse?" Phil shot back. "He did ask about you, but that was just before I realized that I didn't have enough nickels to feed the phone." He smiled gently at her. "There is something that I should probably tell you, though."
"He's married, right?" She asked softly.
"He mentioned a girlfriend, but no wife," Phil said. "The truth is; I don't want to get your hopes up too high about all of this. It has been six years and things can and often do change in that duration of time. People included."
"I know," she said softly. "The truth is, I should be happy that he's alive and well, but if he is involved in a long-term relationship, then my presence there could complicate things."
"They could, but I don't think they will," he began. "For some reason, I have this feeling that maybe Anton is not particularly happy in his current situation. There was something in his voice that indicated to me that his life has not exactly been ideal."
In response to these words, Patty began to rub her hands together. "Are you trying to give me rationale for doing this?"
"Perhaps," he smiled as he offered her shoulder a gentle squeeze. "What I am trying to do is give you an experience that might help you make peace with your past. If we find him then you'll be able to talk to him and maybe all this effort would have been worth it."
Patty raised her head and when she saw sincerity in his eyes, she nodded as he continued speaking.
"I know that all this time you thought Reiker was dead, and you resolved yourself to believing in that notion. Now, you are discovering that he's alive and in choosing to come with me, you are experiencing the things that could only be interpreted as matters of the heart."
"The heart?" Patty whispered. "I don't understand."
"I think you do," he responded. "Do you love him?"
"Love?" Patty whispered.
"Yes, love, you know that emotion where your heart hangs on another person and you feel as though you'd give your very life for them?" He asked gently. When she glanced over and saw the smile that was now on his face, she reciprocated it, but remained silent. After some moments, he became somewhat exasperated by this and continued. "Oh come on, Patty, I know you've heard of it."
"I'm sorry but what you said just now took me aback. I mean; that comment seemed so out of character for you," she admitted. "Except for Anton, I've never been in love. I remember about a week ago I was walking along the train tracks that led behind my parents' house. I had stolen a cigarette from my father's pack and after lighting it, the smoke started to swirl above my head. I guess I sort of found myself lost in the haze because I started to think about what had happened and how it made me feel. I wondered if Anton would have loved the person that I had become. I kept thinking about that old quotation, 'it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.' But, now, I find out that he's alive and I wonder if he still remembers what happened…" Her voice trailed as she lowered her head.
"I'm certain that he does, otherwise he would never have behaved on the phone in the manner that he did."
"What manner is that?"
"Fearful and perhaps a bit mistrusting," Phil said sadly. "When I spoke to him, he made it very clear that I had, at one time, been his mortal enemy. I accept that, but it was never just about him or me; it's also about you."
In response to this, Patty lowered her head only to feel his hand squeezing her shoulder yet again. When she raised her head, his next words literally encased her. "The wounds that you believed to have closed have now been reopened, and you are forced to face your past."
"You don't realize how much it hurts to do that," she whispered. "I mean; it's not just about going and finding him, but realizing that maybe I'm imposing myself on his life."
Phil turned to face her. "What about your life?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean if you turned around and went back to Jenkinsville, what would you do? Fade away in your parents' store only to live in regret? You have a choice to make and you know perfectly well that your conscience is telling you to throw Arkansas to the wind and go find out what exactly happened to Frederick Anton Reiker."
"Even if I were to decide not to go to Buffalo, I know that I can't go back to Jenkinsville," she mused.
"So, for better or worse, you want to keep going?" He asked.
Patty took a deep breath but looked at him with unhidden resolve. "Yes, and even if he does have a girlfriend, then I can wish him well and move on with the rest of my life. At least New York isn't Jenkinsville."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that staying in Jenkinsville and living with my parents is not what I want to do. Why else do you suppose I made such a rash decision to come along after you offered to drive me to Buffalo?"
"It did surprise me," he said nodding.
"It surprised me too," she reiterated. "Besides, Buffalo is big enough that I could start over and not have to worry about people gossiping about me. I can even fade into the background."
"Are you certain that that is what you want to do?" He asked.
She nodded. "I'm more than certain, Phil, I'm determined."
"So does that mean we should drive back to the station and I can get some more nickels?"
"No, when we get to Louisville tonight, I'll call him."
Agreeing with this plan, Phil pulled the car back onto the street.
The sun was sinking behind the distant trees when they reached Louisville, Kentucky. Patty eyes were drooping slightly as Phil pulled the car into a parking place in front of the building that marked a two-storey hotel. As she was getting out of the car, she looked around and noticed immediately that they were now on the outskirts of a larger city. Distant lights were visible from every direction.
Despite herself, she smiled as she internally compared the present moment to what she had experienced in the small Tennessee town earlier that day. Unlike there, the people here seemed not to care who they were and what their intentions happened to be.
Wordlessly, she followed Phil to the door leading into the lobby of the hotel. The musty smell of cigars greeted them as they entered the cozy lobby. At the far end of the room, a long mahogany colored desk was placed and a middle-aged man was seated in a chair behind it.
As they reached it, the man raised his head and offered a cordial smile. "Howdy, what can I do for you?" He asked.
"Do you have vacancies for a couple of rooms?" Phil asked.
"Sure do," the man said casually. "All we need are your mailing address in case you forgot something or there's room damage."
"We understand," Patty asked. "How much do you charge for one night?"
"Each room is two dollar fifty and paid in advance," he responded.
Wordlessly, the young woman handed the man a five dollar bill before they began to fill out the paperwork. While they were doing that the man got up and grabbed two keys from off some hooks on the wall. He waited until they had finished filling out the papers before handing them the keys.
"You're in rooms 21 and 22. They are upstairs and you can get to them by going back outside and up the stairs along the side of the building."
Once they had accepted them, and Phil had pocketed his, he looked across the counter at the man and spoke. "Do you have telephones in the rooms?"
"No, but there's a pay phone here in the lobby," he said pointing.
Phil nodded as he handed the man a dollar bill. "I need a dollar's worth of nickels, please."
"Sure thing," the man said as he leaned over towards a small cash box, opened it, and counted out twenty nickels before handing them to Phil.
The agent turned and handed the small pile of silver coins to Patty and motioned towards the phone. "Go ahead and call him and if you give me your key, I'll take your stuff to your room."
"Thank you," Patty said as she pulled out her key, looked at the engraved number on it, and then handed it to Phil.
She then watched as he exited out the front door. Turning in the direction that the man had indicated, she spotted the phone and made her way through the lobby towards it. Reaching it and after a quick glance, she noticed that much to her relief, she was alone.
Taking a deep breath and releasing it in the form of a sigh, Patty reached into her pocket, pulled out the small slip of paper, dropped several nickels into the slot, and with trembling hands, she dialed the number.
At that very same moment, Anton had returned to his apartment with Margaret in tow. The woman was frowning when they entered the apartment, her fists tightly clenched and her eyes depicting resentment.
She had not anticipated Anton becoming hostile with her, but that is precisely what had happened. The two of them had spent much of the afternoon in the company of her uncle, and many things were said regarding their common future. Anton had refrained from speaking in the presence of others, but his frustrations were now quite evident and he intended on making his intentions heard that very night.
Of course, Margaret was just as determined to express her own anger before he could do so with her.
"Anton, we need to talk," she said as the door was closed behind them.
"Indeed we do," he said firmly, and taking a deep breath, he tried to gather his thoughts. "I know that you care about me, Margaret."
"I do, Anton, I thought it was clear when I went to my uncle and spoke on your behalf."
"I didn't want you to speak on my behalf. I wanted to you allow me to be a man and make my own decisions. It bothers me greatly that you have taken it upon yourself to go behind my back and speak with your uncle."
"But, I want you to be able to stay in America. You wouldn't be happy back in Germany. You saw the pictures; the place is in a disastrous state."
"Perhaps, but you are forgetting something very important. My family is still there, and I want to see them again," Anton said. "To deny me that right is not only selfish; it's unfair."
"You do realize they could be dead for all you know," she said without thinking.
As silence filled the room, she looked at Anton and what she saw was pain and sorrow etched in his gaze. He had opted to not even responding to those words and instead, she decided that her next words would have to be laced in feigned sensitivity. "Look, it may not seem like it, but I do understand how important this is to you."
"Yes, that's why I talked to my uncle," she argued. "I only did what I did so that we could be happy."
"So we could be happy, or so you could be happy?" He asked softly. Before she could respond, he continued. "How can I be happy when you are deciding everything for me? I'm not a child and yet, you have already mapped out my life. You never even asked me, not even once, what I wanted or if I was even in agreement with it."
"I thought it was what you wanted," she argued.
Anton shook his head slowly. "It wasn't. You assumed all this time that you knew better."
At that moment, the phone rang and he started to walk towards it. What he did not anticipate was for her to reach over and snatch it up. "Hello?"
She waited several seconds for the caller to identify themselves, but when they did not even speak, she took the incentive. "Who is this?"
When still no answer emerged, her impatience became all the more apparent. "Look, I'll have you know that these sorts of pranks went out of style in grade school."
"I'd like to speak with Anton, please," the soft feminine voice eventually emerged.
"Oh you would?" Margaret snapped, the jealousy suddenly taking over. "Care to tell me what this is in regards to?"
"No, because what I have to say doesn't concern you."
"Well, you're wrong, it does concern me," she spat out. "I am his fiancé and I have the right to know."
"Y-you're his fiancé?" The voice asked, but laced in the enquiry was unmistakable skepticism.
Hearing this, Margaret's temper flared. "Whatever you have to say to him you can just as easily say to me."
"Alright, please tell him that I'm an old friend of his and I just want to talk to him for a few minutes."
At that moment, Anton had reached where she was standing and extended his hand out towards the telephone receiver. "Please give me the phone, Margaret," he said softly.
Ignoring him, Margaret shook her head. "I'll just bet you're an old friend," she hissed. "You probably want nothing more than to catch up on old times and stake your claim on him."
"No," the voice emerged immediately on the defensive. "That wasn't it at all; I just want to talk to him. Please…"
Hearing the desperation in the very last word, Anton started to grab for the phone. "P.B.," he whispered under his breath, his determination evident when he reached under one of her arms and tried to grab the phone out of her hand.
Seeing his actions, Margaret's distrust and enmity grew. "Forget it!" She shouted into the phone before her next words emerged. "Don't ever call this number again!"
With that, she slammed down the phone so loudly that for a split second one could hear the ringer inside it.
Lowering his arms, Anton looked at her, his blue gray eyes wide and his expression unreadable. He watched as she backed away from the phone and reaching for the receiver, he picked it up carefully. He hoped that the connection was still there, but when he heard the dial tone, he slowly lowered it to the cradle.
"Why did you do that?" He eventually spoke, his voice taking on an assertiveness that she had never even heard before.
The affronted woman took a deep breath as she looked at him, all the while trying to stand her ground. "You know why."
"No, I don't," he said softly, "but I can surmise that you're jealous of someone you've never even met," a pause. "The person you hung up on saved my life. If it weren't for her you wouldn't have had someone to push around for the past year."
"What are you talking about?"
"You know what I'm talking about, but just in case you're wondering, I'm going to make something perfectly clear. This is my home, such that it is, and you do not live here. You have absolutely no right to answer my phone or disallow someone from speaking to me if they happen to call here. The fact that you have done this shows me far more about your lack of character than I could have surmised."
He walked over to the front door and opened it, his free hand motioning for her to leave. "I think you should go now."
"Anton, you can't mean that," she objected.
"I do mean it," he said evenly. "If you cannot trust me, then I see very little point to the continuation of this relationship. Please, go."
"What does this mean for us?" She asked.
"It means that I'm going to do what I should have done a long time ago," he said firmly. "I'm going to leave Buffalo; alone. Good-bye Margaret."
Defeated, Margaret exited through the front door. Once she had stepped outside, he pushed it closed behind her.
Once she was gone, Anton took a deep breath as he lowered his head and stared down at the floor. "Forgive me, P.B.," he whispered under his breath. "Please, forgive me."