Upon arriving at work Evelyn found everything and everyone in a state of chaos. Approaching the receptionist she noticed the bloodshot eyes thinking to herself that either the receptionist had one hell of a hangover from the night before or she had been crying. “Ms Murray what’s going on here?”
Dabbing at her eyes Ms Murray replied “Mr Van Winkle passed away this morning.”
“Oh no,”Evelyn muttered in shock. His poor family must be devastated she thought as she went to the office she shared with Henry. Blinking back tears as she walked, now she understood the disarray around her. Henry was well liked at the lab and things weren’t going to be the same now he was gone.
Her eyes widened in shock as she took in the mess. Someone had been looking for something and all of Henry’s files were strewn across the room. Retracing her steps she approached Ms Murray “Do you know if anyone has been in Henry’s office? Or was asking for Henry this morning?”
“No ma’am,” Ms Murray responded through a fresh burst of tears as Evelyn described the mess in the office. “Maybe Mr Van Winkle came in late last night searching for something.”
“No,” Evelyn said with conviction. “Henry would never have made such a mess and left it. No I’m afraid we’ve had a breach in security. You better call the police.”
While they waited for the police to arrive Evelyn went into the lab to check on their work. Opening the door to the lab she found the same mess as in Henry’s office. Someone was most definitely looking for something. Walking through the mess she hoped to find if anything was missing unfortunately it was too difficult to tell. She wouldn’t be at all surprised though.
She grimaced at the thought of how she used to tease Henry about his obsession with security and his installation of several out-of-the-way security cameras and lock boxes to store backed up versions of his research. She could only hope the most recent copies of Henry’s research was in one of those otherwise his break through may be lost forever. Once the police were done with their investigation she would recover the research and send it to Peter as Henry asked her to do if anything happened to him. For the rest of the day Evelyn spent answering questions and escorting Police through the facility.
A few days later she and Shon went to Henry’s funeral. The kids accompanied them as they had come to like Henry the few times he had come over to the house while Shon was in the hospital all those months ago. Henry had been so encouraging and supportive of her during that time. Evelyn would always be thankful for him for helping her to cope through those difficult days. She was a little nervous to meet Henry’s family but her curiosity soon overrode her apprehension. She had been told so much about Peter and Adam from her dad and brother that in some ways she felt she already knew them.
“Bev,” she cried moving to give her sister a hug. “It’s so good to see you.”
“When Adam received the news about his grandfather I took the opportunity to come home.” Beverly explained putting the little girl on the floor.
Evelyn watched how the girl stayed close by not wandering too far away. “Cute kid,” she observed.
“She is isn’t she?” Beverly glanced over at Adam who smiled in her direction.
Evelyn noticed the look that passed between them and heightening color that rose on her sisters cheeks. “So who is he?”
“Oh him, that’s Adam,” she looked away to hide her smile.
“Have you met Peter yet?” Evelyn asked “if you haven’t you should.” Beverly shook her head “Go over there now while Adam’s there to introduce you.” Eyeing her sister she added “it’ll be quick, easy and painless.”
“Come with,” Beverly begged.
“I’ve already met him,” Evelyn pushed her sister in their direction “You’re a big girl go.”
“But ….” Beverly protested.
Evelyn watched as Adam put an arm around Beverly’s shoulders. She smiled liking the way he treated her and the way he looked at her reminded her of the way Shon looked at her. “Penny for your thoughts,” Shon said in her ear. Glancing in the direction she was looking at Shon chuckled “playing matchmaker?”
Smiling Shon teased “is that for my benefit? To make it easier and less awkward to have the ‘talk’ about what his intentions are with our little sister.”
“Yes,” she laughed “although if I’m reading things right they’re both already madly in love with each other and don’t even realize it.”
“So you think they need a little push in the right direction,” Shon said kissing her cheek.
“It won’t take much,” she insisted looking up at him as Shon gazed across the room.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” She turned confronting him.
Putting his hands up in defeat “nothing, nothing at all.”
“I didn’t think so,” she said snuggling into his arms.
The following morning Beverly came down for breakfast yawning “where’s everybody?”
Evelyn smiled putting a plate of pancakes in front of her. “Shon took the kids to the park to play and Adam had to meet up with his dad at the solicitor’s office.”
Beverly nodded taking a bite of the pancakes “mmm these are good. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” Evelyn smiled “since everyone is gone for a while that’ll give us some time to catch up.” Watching Beverly while she ate Evelyn asked “so tell me about Adam.”
Choking on the bite in her mouth Beverly asked “what do you want to know?”
“Don’t act shy. You’ve lived with him for the past year. Do you like him?”
Beverly stared at her sister debating how to answer that question. It shouldn’t be so difficult but it was. Looking away as she swallowed, Pushing the rest of the pancakes away she mumbled “what makes you ask that?”
Laughing at her sister Evelyn shook her head “I’ll take that as a yes. So what’s the problem?”
“I don’t think the feeling’s mutual,” Beverly muttered looking down at her lap where her hands were clasped. “I thought he liked me. We even went out and played pool together. I thought it was a date, it was the first time he had asked to go out without bringing the kids along.” Shrugging “I must have misread the signals.”
“Why do you say that? What happened?” Evelyn asked concerned for her sister.
“I screwed up and Irissa almost died because of it.” She dabbed at her eyes for a moment trying to regain her composure. “I let the kids play outside without supervision. There was a pool and she fell in and almost drowned. I didn’t think anything of it. We always played outside by the pool when we were kids and I don’t recall our parents being out there.”
Patting her hand Evelyn said “does Adam blame you for what happened?” If he did Evelyn was going to be upset and once she saw Adam she was going to give him a piece of her mind. “Where was he? Why wasn’t he out there with them?”
Blinking at her sister Beverly took a deep breath ” Adam wasn’t up yet. He told me he didn’t like the kids playing by the pool by themselves. I knew he wouldn’t like it but I didn’t want to go out there with them. When Heath asked if they could I took it upon myself to let them. So why shouldn’t he blame me?”
“Oh honey accidents happen,” Evelyn tried to soothe her.
“That’s what Adam said.”
“Then why don’t you believe him,” Evelyn asked “does he say things that make you feel that he blames you?”
“No not exactly,” she shook her head “but he keeps telling me I should stay here when he goes back to Oasis Landing.” She bit her lip “if he doesn’t blame me then why doesn’t he want me to go back with them? Why is he pushing me away?”
“Have you asked him?” Evelyn asked her. Shaking her head Beverly looked away sighing. “Don’t you think you should?
“No,” she said vehemently. Looking at Evelyn she continued “wouldn’t that make me look desperate or something?”
“or something,” Evelyn said “look Bev I love you but I think your being an idiot. Until you talk to Adam you won’t know what’s going on, it may not be what you think. Don’t just assume things, you could be wrong. If you are wrong you could be doing Adam a great injustice by thinking he blames you for what happened. Talk to him.” Evelyn smiled at her “Adam doesn’t seem to be the type to hold grudges.”
“Oh he’s not,” Beverly was quick to assert. “I guess it was my own guilt over what happened that was making me think he hated me. But that still doesn’t explain why he doesn’t want me to go back with him.”
“I asked Shon to talk to Adam,” Evelyn confided in her.
“Tell me your joking,” Beverly pleaded “Please tell me you didn’t”
Nodding her head Evelyn watched as Beverly groaned putting her head down on the table.
“Heath come push me on the swing,” Dana pleaded before Don had a chance to take him away to some boring boy stuff.
Heath looked between Don and Dana unsure what to do. He didn’t want to be mean but he didn’t want to push Dana on the swing. How boring would that be? “Dana leave him alone,” Don told her “he’s coming with me to play pirates.”
“Please” she begged Heath ” just for a little while. I’ll even play pirates with you. I can be the damsel in distress.”
Don was shaking his head staring sternly at his sister. Heath felt in the middle of some sort of ongoing conflict “um ah maybe later,” Heath stammered. “I promised Don I’d play with him.”
Coming over to Heath, Dana batted her eyes at him the way her mom did when she wanted something their dad had said no to. “Please just a for a little while.”
“Dana give it a rest. Heath doesn’t want to waste his time pushing you.” Don grabbed Heath by the arm forcing him to come with him.
“That wasn’t very nice,” Heath protested looking behind them.
“Forget it,” Don said pulling him along, “if you go back now you’ll never hear the end of it. Believe me she’s a pain.”
“Most girls are but that doesn’t give you the right to be mean,” Heath rebuked him.
Shrugging “well I know her. Once you give in to her demands she’ll never let you go. We’ll play for a while first then if she’s still around we’ll apologize for being insensitive jerks.” Don told Heath remembering how his father used to deal with his mother when she’d whine and nag him to do something he didn’t want to do. Sometimes he’d give in right away and other times he wouldn’t and apologize later. If it worked for his dad why not for him?
“That’ll work?” Heath asked confused and astonished at the same time. Something didn’t feel right to him but what choice did he have but go along with it?
“I don’t see why not,” Don said running toward the jungle gym. “Come on let’s play.”
Following Heath looked behind once more. Was someone following them? He thought he saw someone duck behind a tree. “Heath come on,” Don called out to him, shrugging Heath ran to join him.
Dana peeked around the tree she had taken cover behind. She hadn’t wanted the boys to know she was following them. Heath would have pushed her on the swings if it weren’t for her stupid brother. Don will pay for messing up her plans. Smiling in anticipation she inched forward making sure to remain hidden from the two boys. Ducking behind some bushes she watched and listened to the boys play and talk. Why did Heath like Don more than her? Was Don more fun because he ran around screaming and shouting? They looked like two idiots to her pretending to sword fight with sticks. Could that really be fun?
She doubted it. She could tell Heath would much rather be with her. Why else would he have looked behind him? He was looking for her. She was sure of it. He’d be hers and no one was going to stand in her way. Not even her stupid brother.
The boys sat down to rest after a vigorous battle with pirates out to steal their treasure. They sat near the bushes where Dana lurked watching and listening. “Can I ask you something?” Heath hesitated not sure whether he wanted to know the answer or not.
“Do you like your new parents?” It was a big question and one Heath was curious about since he had a feeling his dad liked Beverly.
Pulling tufts of grass up by the handfuls Don fell silent deep in thought “Evelyn is really nice. A lot nicer than my real mom. Shon….” He sighed not sure how to put into words how he felt or for that matter whether he should. “I don’t know I want to like him. He’s really cool and fun when he’s playing around with the little kids. He hardly ever argues with Evelyn. It’s not like how I remember my parents. They fought all the time. I can tell Shon really loves Evelyn.”
“But you don’t like him,” it was more of a statement than a question.
Wrapping his arms around his knees Don stared across the park “it’s not that I don’t like him …. it’s complicated.” He sighed he was so confused and caught up in something he didn’t know how to get out of. Sometimes he wished he could be more like Dana, good at pretending to be something he wasn’t and able to lie at the drop of a hat.
“Why all the questions?” Don shifted uneasily on the grass.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you mad,” Heath was quick to apologize. “You told me what your mom did to your dad,” shrugging “I just wondered if you felt like I did. That maybe it’s genetic or something born in us to be bad.”
“Why are you worried about that?” Don asked sitting up “your dad’s great.”
“But you don’t know my mom …. she’s in prison.” Heath wiped a tear away. “I’m always afraid that when she gets out she’ll try to hurt my dad again.”
“We make quite the pair,” Don said standing up “we both have psychos for moms. We need to stick together.” He held out his hand “best friends forever.”
Taking his hand grinning “forever,” Heath said.
“To answer your question, no I don’t think it’s genetic. I think we can choose whatever we want to be good or bad.”
“So you don’t think that just because our mom’s are bad that we’ll be bad too,” Heath felt a weight lift from his shoulders. It was one thing to be told the same thing by adults but this was from someone his own age who had a bad mom too.
“I think it might put us at a disadvantage but if we want it bad enough we’ll do whatever it takes to be good.” Grinning Don looked towards the picnic area “I’m hungry let’s get something to eat.”