A Blind Leap
Richard O'Connell and Evelyn Carnahan sat next to each other at a booth in the hotel bar where they were staying in Cairo. Jonathan had been with them but had wondered off with a young woman hanging on his arm, filling her ear with promises of treasure. Unfortunately, he had also walked off with the bottle. The booth they sat in was curved and faced out, giving them a clear view of the bar. Evelyn was laughing uncontrollably as little tears had formed in the corners of her eyes. They were chatting about their recent adventure in Hamunaptra. "You should have seen your face when he popped out of that sarcophagus." She rocked back against the cushion of the seat, still roaring with laughter. Rick, however, looked unamused, "You screamed with such a shrill." She rocked forward again and slapped the table, unable to calm her laughter. "Oh, I'll never forget it."
"Hey! You screamed, too!" He said accusingly. "And so did Jonathan from what I remember." He laughed and took another sip from his glass. "In our defense he did look pretty horrifying."
"Yes, horrifying indeed." She sighed and wiped the tears from her eyes, finally calming down. "But you were so brave. We all were." She looked into her glass swirling the amber colored liquid around inside. "Thank you for saving my life, Rick." She smiled up at him.
He shrugged. "Well, I owed you one."
"Oh, is that it, then? You saved my life simply because you felt you owed me for saving yours?"
"In a manner of speaking…yeah."
"Are you sure it wasn't because of the way you feel about me?" She nudged him with her elbow.
"If you mean those feelings of obligation and guilt mixed with slight irritation? Then yes."
She slapped his shoulder. "Oh, you…"
"You're lucky you're cute, that's all I've got to say." He said then he threw his head back downing the last of his drink. Her heart suddenly sped up as she watched him. His chiseled jaw and broad shoulders, the way his hair fell nearly into his eyes…it was enough to make her knees go weak. He licked his lips after he drank and all she could think about was kissing him again.
"I wish I could have saved Beni. Sure he was a little bastard and a traitor, among other things, but he didn't deserve to die that way…buried alive…" He said with a flinch.
She had recognized what an admirable thing he had done that day the temple was collapsing around them. Jonathan had stopped in the room full of gold and treasure, Rick and Evelyn had to drag him away. Evelyn herself stopped when Jonathan dropped the book of Amun-Ra, she even started going on a rant to scold him while he hauled her out of harm's way. Rick ran straight through, never caring one bit for any of the gold they were leaving behind. He only went back to save Beni who was slowing himself down by selfishly dragging as much treasure along as he could.
"You did all you could…" she said soothingly, patting his hand. He took her hand in his and gave it a squeeze.
"Damn it, Jonathan." He said when he reached for the bottle to refill his glass and found it was gone. "He's paying for that one. I'll be right back." He got up to fetch another bottle. Evelyn took this moment to down the rest of hers as well. She threw her head back letting the whisky slide down her throat, mimicking Rick. She immediately began to cough and her eyes watered from the burning sensation it left in its wake.
He made his way back to the table with a fresh bottle. "Take it easy there. You okay?" He patted her back. He halted refilling her glass, pouring more in his own instead. "Maybe you need to skip this round."
"I'm fine. I can go another round, Mr. O'Connell." She said clearing her throat. He poured a little in her glass. She smiled at him with a mischievous grin. "What?" He asked.
"You think I'm cute." She stated.
"Yeah… but now that I think about it," he looked her face over meticulously, "I'd say gorgeous would be more the word." He said in his rich low-toned voice. "Don't let it go to your head though." When he first laid eyes on her, yes, cute came to mind. Then he had kissed her for the simple reason he had given her before: he was about to be hanged. He didn't think much else of her at the time. He didn't lie to her about that. On the boat to Hamunaptra, his attraction to her profoundly increased, but it wasn't until he saw her in that sheer black veil and matching dress that she took his very breath away.
Her cheeks began to blaze with a rosy glow. "Are you blushing?" He asked teasingly.
"I most certainly am not blushing." She retorted with assertion.
He studied her face further then grinned. "Yes you are."
She put her palms to her cheeks feeling the heat radiating there. "No, I'm just flushed. There's a difference."
"It's true. It's the whiskey." She said holding the glass up for proof. "I don't embarrass easily."
Leaning in close to her ear, he brushed her hair back and said in a rumbling voice that seems to vibrate across her skin, "I can think of several things I could do to you right here, right now that would make even Jonathan blush."
Her mouth dropped open and she pushed him away with her face in flames. "Rick! How dare you proposition me?!" She said slapping him on the arm.
He cupped the corner of his mouth with his hand and whispered, "You're blushing."
"Yes, yes, I suppose I am, but only because you're a vile, horrible man."
"Vile? Maybe, but not horrible." He winked at her and smiled his charming smile.
"Rick! Rick O'Connell?" Said a tall, blond, slender woman with an American accent making her way over to their booth leaving the man she was with at the bar.
"Do I know you?" He asked with slightly drunken confusion.
Evelyn thought daggers just might fly from the woman's eyes killing the both of them. The woman leaned over and slapped Rick full force in the face. He turned back toward her. "Oh, yeah, Bernadette, it's all coming back to me now." She moved to slap him again but Rick caught her wrist before she made contact with his face. "Hold on, now. No more of that." She struggled to pull free.
The man she was with made his way over. "I say, is there a problem?" He was a wealthy looking British man with dark short hair and a mustache. "Unhand her!"
Rick released her. "Look, I don't want any trouble."
"You owe me…" The woman started but Evelyn cut her off.
"Who do you think you are? You can't just march over to someone and start slapping them about!"
Rick put his hand up, "Evie, I'll handle this."
"Don't expect me to just sit here quietly, Rick, I want an explanation!"
"So do I!" the American woman said, glaring hard at Rick.
"Look, everyone just calm down. Evie, you'll get an explanation. Bernadette, I have your money." He gave Bernadette an inquiring look. "I thought you said you were going back to Paris."
"I thought you said you were going back to America." She retorted.
"Well, I thought getting arrested sounded more interesting." How right that actually turned out to be.
Bernadette held out her waiting hand. "My money?"
"I don't have it on me." He said with aggravation.
"No, of course you don't." Bernadette replied just as annoyed.
"You wait over by the bar and I'll be back in 15 minutes with what I owe you, plus a little extra for your trouble."
"How do I know you're not going to just run off again?" She asked, panicked. She looked at her beau. "Do something!" she ordered him.
"Yes, I'll go with him to be sure he returns." The British man confidently offered.
Rick gave him a half grin, slid out from the booth and stood up to his full towering height. The British man suddenly didn't look so confident. Rick found this amusing. He could often avoid a fight just by his size alone, not that he ever ran away from one. "Fine by me." He turned to Evelyn who was sliding her way out of the booth. "Wait here. I'll be back." He leaned down and kissed her gently but seductively on the mouth. Evelyn didn't protest. He began to march off towards the stairs with the young British gentleman following quickly behind. The American woman squinted at Evelyn and walked back towards the bar. Evelyn had half a mind to leave as well but the whisky and her natural curiosity left her glued to her seat, wanting to question Rick about the situation when he returned. Who was this woman? What history did she and Rick have together? And why, in heavens name, did he owe her money? It took less time than expected for the men to return. Rick handed the woman something wrapped in a cloth and she squealed with delight hugging her British gentleman. Evelyn assumed he must have given her a small trinket left behind by Beni. Rick made his way back over to Evelyn.
"Well, that should cover my debt." He noticed the vexed expression on her face. "Go ahead. Let me have it." He said sliding back into the booth next to her.
"Yes! What on earth was that all about?"
"You know how I got arrested for…'having a good time'?"
"Well…she was part of it."
Evelyn looked appalled. "You mean to say she's a…a…"
Rick laughed out loud. "Is that what you think? No, she was just involved in a bet with me and a few others that I happened to lose and was in no way able to cover."
"Were you involved with her in other ways?" She couldn't believe she had just asked that. It just flew out of her mouth. The whisky must be giving her extra courage.
"I was hoping I could get away with not telling you that, but yes, for a short time before that."
She was impressed with his honesty and since the whisky was giving her feelings of extreme boldness, she went on. "How many women have been in your life, Rick?"
"Well, there was my mother, but she died when I was about ten…then there were the women at the orphanage…"
"Not in general, Rick, I mean romantically."
"Oh…umm, a couple."
"Yeah." He shrugged, taking a sip from his glass.
She didn't believe him. "You expect me to believe that a man of your nature and reputation has only been with two women?"
"At the same time?" He joked.
She pushed him hard and he swayed, his hair falling into his eye, making her swoon again. "Noooo, Rick, really, how many?"
He gazed into her dark, innocent looking eyes, hoping she wouldn't find him repulsive after this unfortunate conversation.
"A few could mean 3 or 30."
"Well, it's definitely NOT 30."
"Does it really matter?"
"Yes…No…I don't know?"
"I'm not going to lie to you, Evie, but I'm also not going into detail about it right now. You have your suspicions and you're probably right about most of them. I've made many mistakes in my life, I'll admit, but I never make the same one twice." She looked down into her lap finding her hands suddenly interesting and in need of lotion. He dipped his head down to try to look at her face. "Hey, you mad?"
"So what's eating you?"
"I'm not sure…"
"You did ask."
"You're right and I appreciate your honesty."
"Well then, your turn."
"Your turn, spill it."
"Please, Rick, really…"
He picked up her glass which looked like it needed attention and handed it to her. "Come on, how many?"
Her cheeks went all pink again. "You know the answer to that."
"Actually, I don't."
"Well, let me see," she tapped her chin with her finger looking up at the ceiling in thought. "There have been exactly…zero."
"Zero? You minx."
"Yes, zero. I'm nothing like those women you've known." She gave him a sharp judgmental look.
"And what kind of women have I known, exactly?" He asked defensively.
"Women…women with loose morals; jezebels." She stated, fumbling for the proper words.
Rick chuckled. "Even if you had been with a man or two, it wouldn't make you a jezebel, Evie."
"Then what would you call it?"
He shrugged again. "Living."
She pondered that for a moment and then asked, "So, you've broken a few hearts, haven't you?"
"Yeah, sure," Her expression was aghast, unable to believe he could admit to such a thing without remorse. Then he said, "But that's not to say I don't know what it's like."
"You've had your heart broken?" She sounded shocked. He was slightly offended by the way she was reacting to their discussion. Did she think he was heartless?
"Well, yeah! Hasn't everyone?" Most wouldn't expect that Richard O'Connell was the type of man to fall in love hard and fast, but he was. And once he did, he was in over his head. Twice it happened. The first time he had been only seventeen years of age. They carried on for several months and when he asked her to be his wife she refused him, claiming to be in love with someone else. This experience devastated him but he picked himself up, dusted off as he would in any failed attempt he made in his life and tried his hand at love again at twenty. She took him for all he had and left one day without a word. He had been naïve and gullible and he was going to make damn sure he would never make that mistake again. In fact, falling in love was the only mistake he ever made more than once. To him, falling in love was a lot like leaping blind from a bridge; the fall's not gonna kill ya, it's where you wind up that could be the end of you. It was a big risk. Normally, Rick was all about risk. That's why he joined the Foreign Legion, at that point in his life he had nothing and no one so it really made no matter to him or anyone else for that matter, if he lived or died. He never got lucky enough for the latter. So, here he was, teetering on the ledge of that damn bridge again.
Evelyn didn't answer. "You've never had your heartbroken?" Rick asked with speculation.
"Yes, of course, when my parents died. But never because of a man." She answered softly.
"Lucky you." He said, clinking his glass against hers and taking a drink. Now she felt like the heartless one. Truth be told, she had always been so busy with her studies and trying to prove her worth as a woman in her career she never had time for a heartfelt relationship. She meet a few interesting men, but none that had made her heart pound or her knees weak. The few men she had kissed didn't so much as send a spark through her, until Rick came along who has now clearly corrupted her. She found herself having loads of improper thoughts involving him and she couldn't vanquish them even if she had wanted too, which she didn't. She didn't know what power he had over her but she'd hoped he was feeling it too.
"Was it horrible, having your heart broken?" She placed her hand on his and gave it a tender squeeze.
"Let's put it this way; if had to choose between a broken heart or having living dead guys chase me through the desert, I'd choice the latter." He slid his hand out from under hers and stroked her long, untamed hair. "Let's move on to a less depressing subject, shall we."
"Alright, do you have one in mind?"
"I do." He flashed his dangerously tantalizing smile. "So, you say you've never done it?"
"Done what?" Evelyn asked obliviously.
"You know…"he said with a nod of his head and a gesture of his hands, as if that would push her thinking in the right direction. When she still looked completely clueless he said, "Made love…"
She blushed just a little. "Oh, yes…I mean, no, I haven't." She stated proudly.
"Would you like too?"
Her face was the brightest shade of pink yet that evening. She slid back a few inches from him, her mouth gaping open. Was he asking if she would one day want to or was he offering himself for the task? The answer was yes, to both scenarios but she wasn't about to divulge that information. So, returning to her formalities she said, "Mr. O'Connell!"
Rick started rolling with laughter. "I told you it's easy to make you blush."
Evelyn looked aghast. "That was a ploy to have a laugh at my expense?"
"You rather I was serious?"
"Of course not." She lied.
"You sure about that?" His steel blue eyes bore into hers with such intensity it almost frightened her. She sat frozen in silence for a few moments, her mind reeling, lost for words.
"I think I should go on to bed. It's getting quite late."
"Can I walk you up?"
"No, thank you, I'll manage."
"I just want to make sure you make it up the stairs without tripping over one." He said, but she seemed skeptical. But little did he know it wasn't his intentions she was skeptical of, but rather her own. "I was only joking around. I'm not going to try to take advantage of you, Evelyn. Honest."
"So, can I walk you up?"
"Yes, I suppose that would be alright."
With the half empty bottle in one hand, he offered her his arm and they lumbered one heavy foot after another up the steps. As they were walking arm and arm down the hall, Jonathan came up behind them.
"Off for a jaunt, are you?" He asked cheerfully as ever.
Evelyn jump and gave a sharp shout. "Oh! Jonathan, you gave me such a fright!" She said with a hand on her chest trying to calm your racing heart.
"Sorry, old mum." He eyeballed Rick suspiciously. "It's still quite early, where're you off to?"
"To bed." They both replied in perfect unison.
Jonathan's eyebrows flew up his forehead. "Relax," Rick said, "we're not going together."
Jonathan then offered his assistance, "Right, well I can take it from here, then. I was headed that way myself."
"Where's your date?" Evelyn asked.
"Eh, things weren't going so well. No loss on my part. Shall we go?"
"Oh, alright." She looked up at Rick, giving him a knee weakening smile. "Good night."
Rick was reluctant to say goodnight. He stared at her lovely face, taking in every feature. Her big, greenish brown eyes he could drown in, her long and luscious hair to tangle his fingers in, her delicate feminine frame he longed to explore further, her pouty pink lips just begging to be kissed and her smile…that smile. It pretty much melted him to a pile of worthless goo. She could lead him right back to the gallows with that smile. She was a risk he was willing to take and so, he leaped. He was falling again and falling fast. He kissed her sweetly on the lips, "Good night."