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Disclaimer: I own Evelyn and other characters I created…
"You're doing what?" cried my mother; she was surprised at what I told them and this wasn't the reaction I quite expected. My father was far worse since he stood silent and that was never a good sign. Instead, he coldly pierced his gaze at Ray who was right beside me and I could feel him sweat out of fear due to my dad.
"Mom, please be reasonable! I want to move in with Ray," I averted my eyes to my dad. "Daddy please? I trust Ray. I really, really do and Van needs me!"
"Then you're doing all this for him, Evelyn?" he rapidly waved his hand at Ray. "That you're doing this for Van, Tommy's son? Is that what I'm hearing from you," fumed my dad in the living room. "You know very well that you may not live under anyone's house but mine. You're my daughter and unless I give the permission to let you go then fine, but right now, it's a no."
I gawked at my father and for the first time, I didn't want to believe a word he said. In fact, it didn't make utter sense!
"So, from what I'm hearing is that I'm your 'property'? I can't go with him," I furiously pointed at Ray, "because you say so? Are you hearing yourself, dad?" I yelled at him, but he didn't back down.
"Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying, Evelyn! You have a home. This," he arms widen around the room in a circle, "is your home and will be your home until you're married!"
"Then I'll marry her!" shouted Ray and everyone in the room stopped breathing, including me. I snapped my face to look at him. He gave me a confident hold on my shoulder before glancing at my father. "I want to marry your daughter." This time it was more firm and strong.
From that type of voice, that type of tone, he meant it.
He meant every word.
"And what makes you think I will let you, son? You can't just throw those words in the air like it's confetti for a parade," huffed my dad while my mom tried to calm him down. Ray kept his cool and I was impressed on how well he was handling the situation.
"Well I'm not throwing them. I mean every word, Mr. James," he paused, closing his eyes for a second before opening them. "I love your daughter. I truly love her that I would give anything, anything in the world to earn your blessing."
"Honey, take Evelyn. I need a moment with him alone," my dad ordered calmly and I was about to protest, but my mother stopped me.
"It's no use, sweetie. Let them talk it out," she suggested, taking my hand as we left the room. I turn my head to look at Ray a final time. He mouthed 'don't worry' and I frowned, but it wasn't meant for him. It was meant for how this problem escalated. My mother took me to my room and we walked in, well I stormed in while my mother walked in, closing the door behind her.
"I can't believe him, mom! Dad's taking this out of proportion!" I exploded in anger and my mother tried to control me.
"Evelyn, please! Calm down would you? Your father is just doing what's best for you," she assured, but I shook my head in disbelief.
"If he's doing the best for me then he would allow me to go with Ray and to help care for Van," I harshly explained. "But no! He had to become this person, this man, who tells me what to do! I'm twenty-four, mom; I'm an adult and if you two can't respect my decisions then you two aren't my real parents."
"What's happened to you, Evelyn?" she sadly mumbled and I stood confused. "Where's my little girl that I knew?"
"She's growing up, mom," I softly sighed. "I'm sick and tired of being told what to do. What to say, what to be in life. Why can't you two see that?" She let her tears fall, but didn't break down completely.
"Does he mean it? Does he really love you, Evelyn?" she sobbed and I nodded, walking my way towards her. I focus my attention on her, the beautiful hazel eyes now covered in red and wetness; I embrace her in a tight hug and cried myself.
"Yes he does," I hoarsely whispered into her ear. "He really does; if he's going through all this trouble for me, that has to show you something right? If he didn't love me, he would never stand up to daddy like that. He would never say those words like that in front of him."
I felt my mom's body rumbled in light laughter. "Your father is quite the stubborn man he is," she looked at me, cupping my face. "Just like you." My mother caressed my cheeks, sighing happily.
"Is that supposed to be a compliment?" I joked and my mother rolled her eyes at me, but smiled.
"When you have known the man for almost forty-six years, it could become a compliment," she giggled and I stroll to my bed, plopping down.
"Do you believe dad will actually give him his blessing, mom?" I asked with uncertainty and she sat down beside me, patting my hands softly.
"Your father may be many things, Evelyn and I am sure he will. The only reason why he exploded like that was that he doesn't want to let his little girl go. He just wants to see you happy in life and he wants to see if Ray could prove that."
"But no one will be perfect in daddy's eyes! I could just hear him now, 'You may not marry my daughter since you aren't the right for her!' well something around that," I exaggerated and my mother howled in laughter.
"I think you were on point."
We stayed silent the next few minutes and I turn to my mother. "Do you think they're done talking?"
"Why don't we check," she hummed and we both headed downstairs. The minute I landed on the final step, Ray rushed around the corner, but stopped when he saw me.
That's when he kissed me with so much excitement that I was about to fall from the sudden action. He left me breathless and my eyes went wide.
"He said yes! He said yes," Ray joyfully screamed, grabbing my shoulders and I squealed, hugging him tightly. I ran to the living room where my dad stood in the middle of the room, his hands in his pockets and smiling. I could see the dried tears on his face and I wonder what made him cried.
"Daddy, is it true?" I asked and he advanced towards me, nodding his head.
"Ray made me realize a few things, princess," he explained and I could see the tears forming again, but he drowned them. "One of them is to let you live in the world. If he makes you happy," he nodded at his direction, "and you're happy with him, then I grant you the wish."
"Thank you, daddy," I cried into his arms and he cradled me like the little girl I was feeling right now. I couldn't wrap my head on this anymore.
Ray and I are going to be married.
We're going to start a family of our own.
"Anytime, princess. Just set a date and we'll send out the invitations."
August 25, 1962
The wedding wasn't that large since I didn't want to make Ray feel horrible of not having many relatives besides Van. We both agreed on a small wedding in a church, nothing too fancy or extravagance. Annie was the flower girl and Van was the ring bearer; it was funny to see Eleanor's vision of her dream wedding actually being mine.
The scent of white roses everywhere.
Me wearing a beautiful white gown made by the finest silk and it was fine indeed.
My father walking me down the endless flowery aisle left by Annie and I held tight around his arm.
People from both sides watched with smiles and I couldn't believe. I thought all of this was a dream and I would soon wake up from it, but everything was real.
All of this was real.
I could hear Eleanor's voice again saying "and Michael standing tall and proud, waiting for me…", but instead of Michael it was Ray. He was the one standing tall and proud at the end with a tuxedo sculpturing him perfectly. His blue eyes were intoxicated with so much love, so much joyfulness, and so much electricity of cheerfulness that I thought he would pass out right there. The wedding ceremony went and I came in as Evelyn James, but I now left as Evelyn Archer.
I didn't mind that it wasn't Ray's actual surname; it was his choice to change it legally and I just want to be a part of him.
In February we decided to buy a new home with more space for Van and for the incoming baby that was due in the summer. It was difficult on finding the right home of course; we had to deal with the cost of the house and making sure it fit in our budget. The money I saved from working at the diner was such a blessing, but it wasn't enough. Pushing through the rocky patch, we finally found one and it was in a lovely neighborhood that wasn't too far from where my parents lived.
We settled in our new home and Van loved it; he didn't waste time making friends with his new neighbors. Ray still kept his job as a police officer for the San Francisco Police Department. Ray was actually excited but a bit anxious of becoming a father. Sometimes he would worry if he would be good enough for it, but I assured him he would be fine.
He did take care of Van after all.
I was on the same boat as him too though. I would become a mother in the summer and it was just a wonderful experience. I couldn't believe that inside of me held our child and that it was alive and breathing. My mother came by to keep me company and also to see how my health was going. She was ecstatic of having her first grandchild and that she would become super-mom whenever she was around. I couldn't walk up the steps alone without her trailing behind to make sure I didn't fall or injure myself and the baby.
Mothers…but I had a feeling that would be me in the future.
Life was just great.
The business Appelt and I started was booming and it was just incredible how it took off. From birthdays to weddings, people came to us to capture the memories so they could cherish forever.
Life was just great…until that day came.
That day, when two police officers came to my house saying my father was dead. They said he died from some chemical spill and I didn't know what to do. Instead I broke down into tears, but the officers held me since I was pregnant. They contacted my mother and she had the exact reaction as me; she notified Ray and he sprinted away from his work.
Four months pregnant and now my own father wouldn't be able to see his own grandchild. My mother became a widow and I was left with a single parent. I had to calm down since the stress and panic wasn't healthy for the baby and I tried.
I really tried.
A private funeral was held in honor of him and that's when I saw Tiller again. He stared at me, those eyes emotionless. I wiped a tissue under my nose and observed everyone. Blackness danced from every corner. The sky was cloudy, dull and gray; thunder boomed signifying it will begin to rain soon, but that didn't matter.
None of that matter as of today because the one man I loved was gone. The same man who cared and was part of my life for twenty-four years.
I was his little girl and he was my daddy.
But that was now gone.
Two months past and I stayed home that day; Ray left for work and I took Van to school before returning. Washing the dishes, I stared out the window to see the trees moving back and forth softly. It was a beautiful day since the sun was radiating it's warmth for everyone. There was a knock at the door and I stopped what I was doing. Turning off the faucet, I skip to the door and opening it to find no one standing outside. I scan the area and before I was about to close the door, a white envelope caught my eye. Grabbing it off the floor, I head back inside, but never look away from it. I go to the living room and carefully sat on the couch.
I read the front and it just said my name. Flipping it, I tried to pry it open without making a mess since I just cleaned. There was a small paper and I unfolded it to read what was inside.
When the times comes, you will know what to do.
Was all it said.
"What?" I thought out loud in confusion. Then my fingers felt something else in the envelope and I quickly reached in. It was something tiny and metal. Pulling out my hand, my eyes widen and I gasped in shock.
"No…no, no, no! It can't be," I muttered, but what I was seeing was true. It was one of the keys that my dad use to have. One of the keys that would always haunt me and send an uncomfortable air around me. Snatching the paper again, reread that one sentence, but it didn't make sense.
When will the time come?
What would happen?
How will I know?
There was no signature anywhere on the paper or the envelope and I was beginning to think this was a practical joke on me, but I knew it wasn't. What idiot would joke around with this?
At night when Van went to sleep, I sat on the bed waiting for Ray to come out of the bathroom. I held the envelope I hid until I wanted to show him. The door open and I could feel his arm snake around my waist and my swollen belly.
He kissed my cheek and finally noticed the envelope in my hands. "What's that?" I just handed it to him and he hesitantly grabbed it. "Evelyn?"
"Just read it, Ray." For the next few minutes, he did. I then heard his hand search inside and then stop. I turn to face him and he glared at the key in his hands. His face turning cold.
"What's this? How-w?" he stuttered in anger and I just shrugged, sighing my head into my soft palms.
"I got it this afternoon. Someone knocked the door, but only that," I pointed to the white envelope, "was there. I'm scared, Ray; I have no clue who left it and what it means. Why me though? Why?" I cried and he pulled me into a hug. Ray tried to calm me down, whispering soothing words in my ear saying 'Everything would be all right.' It helped and I stopped crying, but began to hiccup and wipe away the tears.
"Don't be, Evelyn. Nothing is going to happen to you, I won't let it okay," he confidently stated and I smiled softly. I kissed him before starring at the key on the bed.
"What are we going to with that?"
"Ignore it, but just don't lose it. If anything does happen, we'll make it through okay? We'll fix this together. Right now, we focus on us," his hand landed on my beach ball stomach, "and the baby."
I put the envelope in a box and Ray stored it away in the attic never to be seen ever again. I didn't need to worry about that. I had Ray, a family and a future waiting for me and that damn key isn't going to stop me.
It isn't going to stop me.
Chapter twenty-one and it's the ending! Yes it ended, but don't worry, I decided on doing a sequel, so yeah. I've been working at it for the past couple of days and might be up this Thursday or Friday. Thank you for everything! Until next time…