A Clear Future
Jonathan was stumbling through the bar after finding no real entertainment or anyone interesting to talk to. He was about to head off to bed for the second time that night when he saw a familiar stalwart silhouette sitting alone at the bar. He squinted in the dim light as he walked closer confirming the figure to be Rick. He was sitting with his elbow propped on the bar and his forehead resting in his hand, concealing his face from view. His other hand was wrapped around a glass with a caramel colored liquid inside, tilting it slightly, just staring into it. Jonathan sat on a stool next to him and slapped a hand on his shoulder. "Rick, old man, I thought you had gone off to bed."
Rick shrugged sluggishly. "Couldn't sleep." He smelled heavily of liquor, but so did Jonathan.
"I know the feeling." Jonathan replied. When Rick sat up and took a drink, Jonathan noticed that he looked haggard, drunk and dejected. "You look dreadful. Are you alright?" He asked, genuinely concerned.
Rick chuckled and shook his head. "Tell me what's troubling you." Jonathan urged.
"I don't think that's such a good idea."
"I'll have you know that I happen to be a wonderful listener, advisor and conversationalist." Jonathan pointed out.
"So I've heard."
"Come on now. You can't just drown your sorrows."
"I can try."
Realizing he wasn't going to get any revelations out of Rick, he began to leave. "Well, I'll leave you to it, then."
"I jumped." Rick said.
Jonathan pulled his eyebrows tightly together. "You what?"
"I told myself I was never gonna jump again…" he threw his hands out to his sides in an exaggerated gesture. "And I did it anyway."
"I'm sorry, I'm not following…"
Rick grabbed Jonathan's shoulder like a crushing vise, shaking him as if to awaken his attention.
"I'm weak, Jonathan. How did I become such a sucker?" His words slurred slightly. Jonathan gathered the man must have drunk his weight in whiskey.
"I never thought I'd say this to you, but perhaps you've had a bit too much to drink." Jonathan suggested.
Rick laughed and slapped him playfully on the back, nearly knocking Jonathan off the stool. He downed the rest of his glass. "You're right." He said slamming the glass down onto the counter. "Another!" He yelled and motioned to the bar keep.
Jonathan held his own glass out for refill as well. "So, what's all this talk of jumping and weakness?"
"I'm in love with her."
Jonathan leaned his ear closer, thinking he may have heard him wrong. "What's this now?"
Rick spoke a little louder, pronouncing each word with exaggeration. "I. Love. Evelyn."
"Have you told her this?"
"No." He crossed his arms on the counter and stared at himself in the mirror behind the bar. "She doesn't feel the same. I didn't think it would matter."
"Are you certain?"
"Yeah, she said something about 'extreme circumstances' and that our feelings were sure to 'subside'…" he shrugged.
"She…she said that, did she?"
"Yeah. How could she think something like that? After all I've done for her?"
Jonathan grinned guiltily. "Well, you know Evie, always getting crazy ideas all spun up in that head of hers." They were silent for a few minutes, then Jonathan asked reluctantly, "Did anything else happen?"
"Nah." Jonathan was relieved. "She did try to seduce me though." Jonathan choked on his whiskey. "Can you believe that?"
"Yes, actually, I can." Jonathan said wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. "You said she tried…so, you didn't…"
"No, of course not, how big of a jerk do you think I am?"
Jonathan felt regretful for thinking so low of Rick. He had been wrong in judging his character so harshly, he realized that now.
"Look, why don't you go on to bed, sleep this off and think on it with a clear head tomorrow, hmm?" Suggested Jonathan, trying to guide him off the stool. Rick slid off and swayed on his feet for a second. "There you are. Come on, old chap." He lent Rick his shoulder to lean on which he quickly regretted, realizing that if Rick were to stumble and fall, he would go down with him.
They made it to Rick's door without issue. "Thanks for the talk, Jonathan."
"Anytime. It's what I'm known for." He smiled proudly.
"Yeah, so I've been…told." Rick remembered that Evelyn had said she and Jonathan had been talking before she arrived at his door. "By the way, did you talk to Evelyn before she came over?"
Jonathan's collar felt suddenly constricting around his neck. "What? No, what would give you that idea?"
"She said you two had been talking…that's why she hadn't gone to bed."
"Oh…yes, we did chat, now that I think about it." Hoping Rick hadn't caught on to his bald faced lie. He was beginning to sweat. He didn't want to be punched again.
"Did she say anything to you? You know, about me?"
Jonathan swallowed hard. "She may have mentioned something, but it was only in passing…I can't really recall…" He lied again.
"It's alright. I shouldn't ask you that anyway. It's not fair for me to me to put you against your sister like that. Forget it." He unlocked and opened the door. "Well, it's been fun, Jonathan. I was really looking forward to getting to know you better." He held his hand out for shaking.
"So, this is good bye? You're leaving?" Jonathan was disappointed. He was starting too really like Rick. It would be nice to have someone like him on his side when he needed it. Plus, he made a much better drinking partner then Evelyn.
"There's no point in me sticking around anymore."
"Well, at least you've got your share of the treasure." Jonathan said trying to lighten the subject.
"Yeah, at least there's that." Rick said without a smile. "See ya."
Jonathan opened his mouth, ready to confess his influence on Evelyn's actions but all that came out was, "So long, mate."
Evelyn was lying in bed, propped up by a few pillows, reading a book attempting to take her mind off of Rick and what had happened just a few hours earlier. She jumped and dropping her book when she heard a thundering knock on her door. She got up and put on her robe. She could hear Jonathan's muffled voice behind the door as he continued to pound on it. She yanked the door open. "What on earth is going on, Jon!? Is the hotel on fire?" She asked, irritated.
He stepped past her into the room. "I was wrong, Evie…Honestly, why even listen to me? I'm the worst person to accept advice from, everyone knows that! Have you learned nothing in all our time together?"
"What are you on about?"
"I was with Rick, just now. Evie, you must go and talk to him."
"I'm not going now, it's the middle of the night!"
"You have to. He might be gone by morning."
"I know." Evelyn sat down on the sofa, looking doleful.
Jonathan was stunned. "You're just going to let him go?"
"Yes, Jonathan, we talked about this. Rick and I…we aren't meant to be."
"Evie, don't be so rash!"
"What do you mean 'don't be rash'? You were in here trying to convince me not four hours ago and I agreed. You didn't say anything I wasn't thinking already." Her eyes danced over his face. "I broke his heart, Jon, he hates me." Her eyes welled full of tears.
"He far from hates you. He was practically climbing into a bottle of whiskey because of you."
"Well, I feel loads better now." She said sarcastically, wiping her tears away with her fingertips.
Jonathan shook his head. "No, that's not what I meant…Look, do you love him?"
"I don't know." She thought she loved him. Having never been in love before she wasn't sure what these feelings were she was experiencing. Sometimes when she looked at him her knees would go weak and when he kissed her, her heart would pound wildly against her chest. She found herself wanting to give herself to him, wanting him to take her in his arms and…
"You don't know?" Jonathan asked.
"I'm not sure what it is I'm feeling. I've never felt these emotions before. I…I can't stop thinking about him, it's like an illness. It's absurd, really. I'm like some lost little girl, not knowing which way to turn."
"That's so typical of you; to think of love as 'absurd'." He said.
"How do you know its love and not some infatuation like you said before?"
Jonathan took her hands and looked deep into her eyes. "How does it make you feel to think you may lose him forever?"
"Wretched. I don't think I could bare it." Tears began to fall down her cheeks again.
"I think you know exactly how you feel, Evie. You're just too bloody stubborn to admit it. It's not a sign of weakness you know. It's all part of living."
Evelyn nodded and Jonathan pulled her in for a warm and affectionate hug. "I'll go and talk to him in the morning. I'll try to set things right." She pulled away, her face glistening from fallen tears. "What if I've ruined everything? What if he doesn't listen? I always botch everything with my clumsiness and meddling or my, my curiousness. I'm such a fool, Jon."
"You haven't ruined anything, old mum. It was just a misunderstanding. Rick's a reasonable man." Evelyn gave him a dubious look. "Okay, he's sometimes a bit irrational, but I'm sure he'll hear you out."
Evelyn was up with the sun as well as most of the night, sick with worry about Rick possibly leaving. She dressed herself in her usual conservative clothing but let her hair remain free and flowing. She paced around her room, wringing her hands wondering if it was too early to start pounding on Rick's door. Her thoughts were halted when there was a knock at her own.
She opened it and her hopeful expression fell when she saw it was Jonathan. "Oh, hello Jonathan."
"It's lovely to see you, too, sweet sister." Jonathan responded feeling slightly put out.
"I'm sorry, I was hoping you were Rick."
"Well, you can always count on me to disappoint." She gave a weak smile. "Oh, come on now." He patted her back. "Things will turn out alright, you'll see."
"I hope you're right."
"Only one way to know."
They apprehensively stood outside Rick's door. "Go on, give a knock." Jonathan encouraged. When she didn't knock, he did instead. There was no answer. He knocked louder. "Rick, old man!" He yelled out. "I've come to see how you're getting along this morning!"
Evelyn looked panicked. "What if he's already gone?"
"I'll go down and ask the front counter if he's checked out. You stay here in case he answers."
"Alright. Hurry back!" She called out to his departing figure.
She stood in the hall, wringing her hands as she always did when she was worried or in deep thought. An attractive, wealthy looking British couple made their way down the hall towards her. She stepped aside, "Good morning." She said.
The gentleman nodded and the woman replied, "Good morning." They passed by, eyeballing her awkwardly. After they had gone, she tried to turn the knob on Rick's door. It's rattling echoed in the hall. It was secure.
Jonathan finally returned. "He hasn't checked out. He's still here. Have you knocked again?"
"Well, go on."
She knocked again. "Maybe he's gone out." She wondered aloud.
"He was quite snockered last night. He's probably sleeping it off."
Now Evelyn looked concerned. "Do you think he's alright?"
"Of course, he's fine, Evie."
"What if he's fallen and hit his head?"
"The man can handle his liquor, I'm bloody well sure of that."
"Pick the lock, Jon." She demanded.
"Pick the…are you mad?"
"No, I'm not mad. Do it, I know you can."
"I'm no expert on the sport and I haven't got the proper tools for it. Anyway, I'm not thick enough to pick O'Connell's lock, he'd hit me for sure! Just wait. He's bound to come out eventually."
Evelyn waited for what felt like hours. Jonathan put several calls through to Rick's room but there was never an answer. She debated leaving a note under the door but was worried he may not see it. The more she waited, the more hopeless she felt.
Jonathan came around again carrying what looked like a very small suitcase. "Still no word?"
"Alright, step aside." He ordered. He laid the little case down at their feet and opened it.
"I thought you didn't have the proper tools for that?" Evelyn asked exasperated.
"I lied." He simply stated. He worked on the lock for ten minutes or so when Evelyn finally said, "Jonathan, do hurry."
Just then she saw a group of men coming down the hall. She tapped Jonathan on the shoulder. "I'm working as best I can, Evie, don't rush me…"
"Someone's coming." She whispered.
His little tools made a high pitch clattering sound as he tried to shut them in the case out of sight. He spun around and crossed his arms, they both tried to look as casual as possible, smiling against Rick's door. "Hello." Jonathan said with a nod.
"Hello." Evelyn said with a fluttering wave of her fingers.
"Hello." Two of the four men said as they walked by.
After they passed, Jonathan opened the case and continued with his work. "Jonathan, quickly!"
"I'm not very good at this, Evelyn, I've…" but before he could finish his defense, the door opened. "Ah! I did it!"
They went inside and saw Rick's weapons bag and shotgun resting against the wall. "Well, definitely still here." Jonathan said.
"Rick!" Evelyn yelled as she walked toward the bedroom. The door was partly closed. She pushed it open carefully, peering inside. "Rick?" She walked in seeing his unmade bed and various belongings strewn about the room. Jonathan joined her at her side. "I wonder where he's gone." She said.
Jonathan found a pencil and a scrape piece of paper on the bedside table. "Maybe you should leave him a note and pin it to his weapons bag so he'll be sure to see it." He suggested.
He handed her the items and she leaned over onto the night stand and began writing. The only sound was the scratching of pencil on paper until they heard a loud click echo around the room. Jonathan screamed shrilly and sprang through the air landing out of sight behind the bed. Evelyn spun sharply around to find Rick poised in the doorway, guns drawn ominously.
"Evelyn." He said with realization and holstered his revolvers. He saw Jonathan's face peek over the mattress into view. "Jonathan. What the hell are you two doing in my room? Do you have any idea how dangerous that is? I could have shot you!" He was obviously furious.
Jonathan threw a hand in the air, as if asking to be called on in grade school. "I knew it was dangerous."
"We'd been knocking on your door and calling you for hours, we were worried." Evelyn justified.
"I wasn't worried." Jonathan added.
"Where were you?" Evelyn asked, ignoring her brother.
"Out." Rick barked.
"None of your damn business, where!"
"There is no need to swear at…"
"I'll swear whenever the fu…"
Jonathan jumped up, cutting off Rick's regretful retort. "Alright, alright! Everyone stop yelling. Let's talk like civilized people, shall we?"
"You mean like civilized people who break into hotel rooms and snoop through people's belongings?" Rick asked spitefully.
"We…I…she…" Jonathan stammered.
"I wanted a chance to talk to you before you went running off." Evelyn disputed.
"I heard you loud and clear last night." Rick said as he turned to walk out of the bedroom doorway. Evelyn and Jonathan followed.
"Rick, please, I made a mistake. Give me a chance to explain myself . Don't I deserve that?
He folded his arms tightly across his chest. "Okay," he said cautiously, "talk."
"Last night, before I came over, Jonathan had suggested that we were only infatuated with one another because of our venture and I thought…"
Rick swiftly cut her off. "Jonathan suggested?"
"Yes, but don't be cross with him, he was only trying to protect me."
Rick looked insulted. "Protect you from what, the big, bad man?"
Jonathan jumped in to defend her words. "No, to protect her from making a mistake."
Rick laughed. "So, coming over here to seduce me wasn't?" He asked Evelyn. "Did he suggest that too?"
The look on both their faces confirmed the answer. "You Carnahans are unbelievable."
"I just wanted…I had to know if what I was feeling was real." Evelyn pleaded.
"And what about how I was feeling?" Rick's voice increased in volume.
"You never said how you were feeling!" She shouted.
"Neither did you!" He shouted back.
"I didn't say anything because…I was hoping you would say something first. You have more experience with these things…I didn't know where to start." Evelyn contested.
"Okay, let's start right now. Evelyn, I'm in love with you. I remember exactly when it happened. It was during our chat on the boat, before it went up in flames. I tried to convince myself otherwise, but I didn't have a chance in hell once I saw you in that dress you bought from the Bedouin traders." Evelyn blushed slightly, but said nothing. Rick continued. "I went to Hamunaptra, twice, for you. I fought living, ancient mummies for you. I risked my life more than once for you." He took a few steps closer to her. "I could have walked away the day you said you wanted to go back and rid the world of 'ol Imhotep, but I didn't. I stayed…for you. After all that, you questioned how I felt?" Silence.
"I may not be able to see where my future is going, but the one thing I do see is you." He stated sincerely.
Evelyn didn't know what to say, she just stood gaping at Rick, overwhelmed with emotion. Jonathan tapped her on the shoulder and cleared his throat. "Evie, I think it's your turn." He said quietly.
If Evelyn wasn't sure that she was in love with this man before, she was now. Her words were caught in her throat, which seemed to be closing up. What was wrong with her. She was a highly educated woman, with goals and opinions and always knew how to speak her mind and she couldn't say three little words! Three words that even a small child can utter when it first learns to talk.
"Evelyn, say something." Rick said. Her silence was agonizing.
"Rick, I don't know what to say."
Jonathan slapped a hand to his forehead and sank into the nearest chair. Rick remained stoic. "You could say you love me." He offered. "Or you can tell me to hit the road, but you've gotta tell me something."
"I love you." She said, barely audible.
Rick stepped closer to still. "What?"
"I love you." She said, louder this time. Her eyes were filling with tears. "I don't want you to leave. I'll beg if I have to."
Rick took her hand. "Now that I'd like to see." She laughed, feeling the relief of tension leave the room and he kissed her with an awaiting tenderness that was enough to sicken Jonathan.
"Well, thank goodness we got all that sorted out." Jonathan said. "I'll just leave you two to…do whatever…" Neither responded, wrapped in each other's arms as if no one else existed. "Right, I'll see you later then?" Still no acknowledgment. "Oh, young love." He said with aloofness as he marched towards the door.
"In the future, we might want to work on our communication skills." Rick said jovially, knowing this was the last time he would ever leap from that bridge. For the first time in his life he had landed safely with both feet firmly on the ground and the future was finally clear.