Enjoy the latest installment of “Specialton.”
Fortunately, John wasn’t on the floor with his scotch. He was still in his chair, but making his way down. Evelyn focused on one thing – the drink on the rocks on the desk. She grabbed it with a speed that even surprised herself, and tossed it into his potted plant. John was furious, and he let her have it.
“Evelyn – That was my drink! You just wasted a glass of really good scotch!”
She was surprised how clearly he spoke.
“John – You have a problem. I’ve seen where the money’s been going. All on drinks. I realize it’s been stressful on you – On all of us. But drinking away the stress isn’t going to solve all of these problems. It’s only going to make it worse – and it’s getting worse by the hour. I don’t like it.”
John paused to take a shaky breath. He knew he couldn’t stand up from his chair, he’d fall on his knees in front of Evelyn within seconds.
“I know you’re upset – I can see that. But I don’t think I have a problem. I enjoy a drink in order to relax, and I’ve needed to relax lately. I didn’t realize … how many issues could come up … so quickly.”
The only thing that John heard next was the pounding in his head as Evelyn slammed his door shut, so hard that everything on his desk rattled.
He thought he’d lost her at that moment. In despair, he looked around his office. It was no longer the neat and organized workspace that he had taken so much pride in when he first formed the company. There were files all over the office, scattered like discarded toys. He very much felt like a child at that moment too. He felt everything slipping away – His work, his vision, his team, and most of all, his girl.
John needed to let it out – Let it all go. Every emotion was bubbling up and it was begging to come out, in some way. He looked at his body up and down. He saw his disheveled clothes, his scuffed dress shoes, his fists that clenched almost instantly. He needed something else to express how he felt right then. He started turning in a circle, looking for something physical to hold, or destroy.
On impulse, he saw the bottles. He was stunned that there were so many. So many different kinds of drink – Scotch, whiskey, bourbon, even a bottle of sherry. He grew more and more disgusted as he scanned the tabletop. He saw all those bottles, the glasses, the bucket of ice with the fancy silver tongs.
Whether they still had drink in them or not, John picked up every piece, once by once, and proceeded to smash them against the wall with all the force he had.
When he was finished, he slumped in his chair, looking at the shattered glass and the different colors of the drinks dripping down the wall. He felt like the mess he had just created – Shattered, broken, and fragmented.
John finally fell asleep in his drunken stupor, hoping to grasp the pieces of his life in the morning.
He awoke to sunlight streaming through the blinds on his office window. He groggily stared at his watch and gasped at the time – 10:45 a.m. John sat up in his chair, and immediately regretted it. The hangover slammed into him with full force. He groaned so loudly at the pain that both Mary Anne and Evelyn came running and almost collided in the doorway.
Mary Anne spoke first.
“John, what can I get you? Coffee, aspirin?”
John smiled at her pleasantness despite the pounding in his head. He rubbed his temples as he processed the first words that had been spoken to him in over 12 hours.
“Yes, please. And a glass of water on the … um, with ice, please. Thank you.”
Mary Anne bustled to the kitchenette without another word. Evelyn remained in the doorway, the arms of her crisp pink blouse tightly folded together. She said nothing – They was nothing for her to say to him.
John looked up, squinted at her, and opened his mouth to say something. His mouth shut as he met her fierce glare and could only watch as her curls bounced away.
Mary Anne wasn’t his enemy, at least not yet. She was sugary sweet as she brought him coffee, aspirin, a doughnut and water without another word. As the phone continued to ring, he overheard her say that he would not be taking any calls for the rest of the day and that she would take any messages.
Evelyn stewed all day, although she was secretly thrilled to have witnessed him be afflicted with what she hoped was a cure-all hangover. She wasn’t just angry about the drinking – Their relationship had faltered over the last several weeks, and she was very concerned that his vision was lost forever.
She was bound and determined not to cry over any of this, but over the course of that day, as she watched John attempt to pick up the pieces in his office alone, she let a few tears escape at her desk.
That night, everyone went home early except for Mary Anne, Evelyn, and John. Before heading home, Mary Anne found a broom and dustpan in the closet, and went to John’s office, having seen the broken glass earlier in the day. As she raised her fist to knock, Evelyn touched her shoulder.
“Mary Anne, go home. You’ve done more than enough today. Thank you. See you tomorrow.”
Mary Anne smiled and nodded her thanks. Evelyn took the broom and dustpan and knocked.
John looked up from the same papers he’d been staring at since the morning. He smiled and waved her in. Evelyn walked in and just held up the broom and dustpan. John nodded and she set to work. He went back to his papers, but couldn’t help but notice how careful Evelyn was in cleaning up the shards of glass. He didn’t mind the way she looked, either. That pink blouse with that pencil skirt. And those heels. He found himself lusting again, and his penis followed. He wanted to stop her and take her in his arms, but he knew that he would have to do a lot to win back not only her love and affection, but her trust.
At this point, all he could do was watch and wait for her to come back to him.
Fortunately for John, he didn’t have to wait as long as he’d feared. Evelyn avoided him for a good portion of a week, and then she started speaking to him again. But she gave him several ultimatums before anything could go back to normal. Those demands rang in his head over and over.
“John, you know that I love you. I was frustrated and angry and hurt. In order for things to go back to the way they were – I have several requests that have to happen.”
“First, no more drinking. Not at the office, and not in front of me. If you go out without me, that’s fine, just don’t drink in excess. I don’t want you to become an alcoholic, not when we have the dreams that we do – at least, I think we do.”
John nodded in agreement. He thought they had very similar dreams – Build the neighborhood, move in to their own home, get married, and start their own family.
“Second, I want you to take some time away from the office. The team can handle the workload right now. I want you to take at least a few days, maybe a whole week – As long as it takes, really – for you to relax and to re-focus. I think you’ve lost your dream, your vision – And I’m desperate to help you get it back. We’re only going to be young for a few more years. If your vision doesn’t happen now or soon, it won’t happen at all.”
John smiled. He knew she was absolutely right. Most women would not speak up, they’d go along with anything and everything their boyfriend, fiancé, or husband said without another thought. But John knew that Evelyn was different, and he’d known it from the moment he’d met her. After all, she’d already bucked tradition and studied design and architecture in college rather than become a teacher, nurse or a secretary. He was inspired by her, and her words cemented his desire to get back on track – The sooner, the better.
“My only other request is that you come back from your rest and rejuvenation, again however long it takes you, ready to truly work and finally realize your dream. I know that if you’re ready to get this done and that your head and your heart are in the right place, it will happen. And I’ll be right here, waiting for you to get back. Who knows, by then I’ll be ready for you to rip my clothes off and passionately make love again.”
She finally took a breath; that had been a lot of talking for her in one sitting. She winked at her amazing boyfriend and work partner. Evelyn then puckered her crimson red lipstick, signaling their first kiss after all the turmoil, and John happily accepted. He didn’t want to leave, but he knew that he needed the break. Besides, he couldn’t wait to leave because he wanted to come back to her as soon as humanly possible.
John left on a Monday as the crisp October air began to settle in, swearing to Evelyn that he was taking a minimum of a week and a half to drive to see the sights he hadn’t yet seen – All the Frank Lloyd Wright houses he’d wanted to tour since studying them in school. A few days in Chicago – Both the city and the expanding suburbs for research. Maybe even driving all the way to New York City. She laughed and repeated that he could take as much time as he needed – Everything was under control and there was plenty of work to do.
As she watched him drive off, she so wished she was in the passenger seat, going off on these fabulous adventures. But then she shook her head and smiled, thrilled that there was a bit of a break for herself and the entire team. They wanted to work as much as possible – to gather as many feasible ideas – preparing for John to come back to finally put everything into motion.
John promised to call once he arrived at each hotel, which he did, like clockwork. He was happy for the break. He did drink, but Evelyn’s pep talk had compelled him to never drink in excess again.
He thought back, albeit very briefly, to that night where he absolutely lost it. John bowed his head in shame at the thought, forgetting that he was at the hotel bar. It prompted the tuxedo-clad waiter to inquire from the shadows if he was okay. John nodded, and then asked for a glass of water.
He swirled the remainder of his whiskey in the glass, and then downed the water like a shot.
The bartender was surprised, but didn’t say another word. John swallowed, feeling the ice-cold water wash in his throat and stomach. He stared at the whiskey and the melting rocks, then got up and just left it there with his tab and generous tip, without another word.
After nearly two weeks on the road, John rang Evelyn from his last hotel room on a stormy Friday night.
“I’m coming home, baby. Tomorrow. I’m so excited I can’t wait. I may even drive back tonight – I could be at the house, to you, by dawn.”
Evelyn laughed and then suddenly turned serious. “No, John. I’ve waited this long, I can wait one more night. Besides, it’s pouring rain from your hotel to the house here, I definitely don’t want you driving now or tonight. Period. It’s supposed to be bad until tomorrow afternoon. I don’t want you leaving until the weather starts to clear. I definitely don’t want anything to happen to you.”
“But, I can tell that this is exactly what you needed. I have missed you, and the team has been working non-stop since you left. We can’t wait to see you. But I’m really excited because I get to see you first, and for the whole weekend at that.”
He could hear her smile through the receiver.
“So, you’ll be waiting for me, whenever I get home?”
“Of course, handsome. I may be asleep, depending on the time you get to the house, but I’ll be here for you – I wouldn’t miss it for anything. I love you, John.”
“I love you too, Evelyn. See you tomorrow.”
Evelyn placed the receiver in the cradle and sighed, her head flopping on the pillow. She’d turned in her apartment keys over a week and a half ago and left all the furnishings with the full intent of helping out whoever the next renter may have been – They could have been down on their luck, the rent was only $50 per month. She’d only asked the men in the company to help her move her wardrobe and her remaining personal items into John’s place the next day. It didn’t matter – She’d practically been living there for months, except for the week that she hadn’t spoken to him. Besides, she had a feeling that they wouldn’t be boyfriend and girlfriend much longer.
Evelyn was on pins and needles the whole time on Saturday morning, especially since the weather hadn’t appeared to let up at all. The few glances that she stole through the picture window blinds revealed lashing rain and very blustery weather that made the fallen leaves of red, orange and yellow dance across the sidewalks and streets.
Come back next week for more!
Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂