”Damnit!” Bruno yelled throwing his phone across the room watching it land in a pile of clothes. ”Damnit Geneva for being so fucking messed up but so perfect that I have to fight for you. Fuck you….” he bent down picking up the phone trying not to cry. His fingers started shaking while he scrolled to find Carly’s phone number again. He waited for Carly to pick up.
”Bruno? Did you talk to Evie today? She’s not answering her phone….” Carly said turning down the music in her car as she drove to her sister’s house.
”She hung up on me, Cici. She hung up on me. I’m worried about her.” he told Carly.
”I will call you when I get to her, okay? I’ll be there in a few minutes.” Carly said in a shaky voice starting to worry about her the same way Bruno was.
”Please call me. I’ll be waiting for you.” Bruno answered.
”Okay, Brunz. I’ll call you.” she said throwing her phone over to the passenger seat of her car. She pulled up to the empty parking spot squinting in the bright sunset running to her sister’s apartment seeing the door cracked. ”What the hell?” she yelled walking into the apartment seeing her brother and sister sitting on the couch. She saw a giant wet spot on the floor and a towel next to it.
”Cici…I’m sorry….” she looked up flushed with red runny eyes taking a second to cough. Harry rubbed her back reassuring her.
”Will you please call Bruno? He’s like about to teleport home…” Carly said picking up the phone. Evie took the phone from her sister walking to her second floor porch sitting in one of Lucy’s play chairs. The phone hardly rang as she heard him pick up.
”Fuck you, Geneva.” he said to her.
”What?” she started to cry at his reaction. ”Bruno!”
”Eve…you scare me to death. You drive me crazy, I need you to be okay. I need you, baby. I can’t see you like this. I can’t hear you like this…you can’t fucking do this, Geneva.” he said to her in a shaky voice.
”No…you’re right. I can’t do this to you. I can’t do a lot of things. I can’t do any of this. It’s just….every single fucking thing blows up in my fucking face. I cannot deal with it anymore. I just want to just go away…have it all just go away…it makes it go away….” she said softly. ”It all goes away.”
”Baby…do you remember when you showed me all the stuff in the box when we started dating?” he didn’t wait for her to answer. ”And you showed me your hospital thing? You said you’d never do that again. You said that you’re stronger than that and you beat everything.”
”Things change, Bruno. Things changeeeee…” she started to cry into the phone.
”I can’t make it better for you. I can’t do it right now, baby. Just please….” Bruno spoke to her almost begging her to stop.
”Nothing can make it better, Bruno.” she told him matter of factly.
”Eve! Stop! Your family, your friends…Lucy…Lucy…baby….you can’t do this to her. You have no idea how much you mean to her.” Bruno exclaimed. Lucy…Lucy….Lucy….she thought to herself through his voice.
”It would be easier without me.” Evie said to him.
”Do not say that!” he yelled at her starting to cry. ”Geneva….you’re the only girl in the world…that could turn my world upside down and not have me fall over with it….you’re the only girl that can make me smile when I’m having a bad day. You’re the only person that I need in my life. Everyone else is just a part of my life. You are my life and I can’t stand to know that you’re hurting like this. I don’t know what to do, sweetheart. I don’t know how to make it better. But I will be there soon to make it better. Evie….please….” he said through his tears. He waited for her to respond hearing her breathing but not answering.
”Bruno….I…that’s…that’s the most amazing thing anyone has ever said to me. …Bruno, I’m going to try.” she told him catching her breath.
”I love you, Geneva.” he said sweetly to her. He listened to her crying through the phone. ”Eve…I’ll be there for you soon.”
”Okay….I think I’m going to go to my parents house tonight. I can’t be by myself.” she told him.
”I think that’s a good idea, Evie.” he answered.
”I’m trying Bruno. I’m trying so hard…but my best isn’t the best…” she responded to him still crying.
”You are. You’re amazing, Eve.” he tried to snap her out of her funk. ”I’m sorry I yelled at you earlier.”
”I needed it…” she told him turning to look in the house seeing her brother and sister hugging and Bianca walking in the apartment with all the kids.
”I have to go, Bruno.” she told him. ”Thank you. I love you.”
”I love you too, baby doll. Tell Lucy I love her too.” Bruno answered.
”I will. Go to sleep, Bru. It’s late.” she could feel him drifting into sleep through the conversation.
”Good night Eve. I love you.” Bruno replied.
:I love you too.” she hung up the phone wiping her tears standing up to go in the house holding her arms out for Lucy who ran up to her mother hugging her. ”I love you, Lucy.”
”Mommy…stop being sad.” Lucy told her through their embrace. Evie pulled away from their hug looking at her daughter. He’s right. I can’t do this. Lucy started laughing at her mom running back to the kitchen table.
”Mommy..look what I made for Bruno….” Lucy said holding up a drawing of the three of them.
The next Monday Evie got up for her internship and classes dreading her interaction with David. She took Lucy to daycare kissing her on the cheek waving good bye hoping for a good day for her daughter – something she wasn’t going to have. She pulled up to the parking lot taking a deep breath looking at her purse holding a bottle of xanax. Nope. I can’t do that. She thought to herself walking up the stairs to the small office. Before she could make it in the office she saw David walking toward the bathroom.Shit. ”David…can we talk please?” she asked him taking his hand pulling him to a couch in the hallway.
”I don’t even know what to say, Evie. I’m sorry I was such an ass. I didn’t even know how to react to it all.” he told her.
”Well…I really don’t even know what to say either…” she looked him over trying to see her features in him. ”I….oh god…you have a dimple on the right side of your face like Harry.”
”Harry’s a pretty cool dude, Evie.” David told him.
”So you found out about us a while back?” Evie said.
”He told us about his past and everything but aside from saying he had other kids he didn’t say much more. ” David answered her. ”Evie…I’m so sorry he wasn’t there for you the way he was for us. I really am.”
She shook her head still upset about the whole thing. ”I just….I don’t know. This is going to be really hard. I know this summer is almost over but I don’t know if I can finish it with you here.”
”We’ll figure it out, Evie…..” David reassured her touching her gently- something he had never done for her.
”Thanks.” she answered getting up walking toward the office. They stayed away from each other for the rest of the day ignoring the news that she had found out over the weekend.
”Eve…” Dana looked over Evie’s face as they went through court files.
”Yeah?” she asked.
”What’s going on? You look like hell today.” she told her friend.
”Oh thanks, D.” Evie laughed.
”Yeah…you really do.” Dana answered. ”What’s going on? David didn’t like freak you out again? You need to tell Craig about that. He’s horrible.”
”No, no…he’s really not. We talked earlier today. We have an understanding.” Evie told Dana.
”What? You wanted to kick his ass on Friday. How does that change so quickly?” Dana wondered.
”It’s really too complicated to explain…” Evie said walking out of the room seeing David standing next to a girl in shorts and a t-shirt she had never seen. She looked the girl over noticing that their hair was cut the same way and it was the same texture – only she was younger. She quickly walked past them leaving the office with David running after her with the girl with him.
”Geneva!” he yelled running down the stairs with his sister grabbing her hand. ”I didn’t know you were here….” she turned to the girl who couldn’t be more than 16 years old who looked at Evie starting to cry making Evie start to cry at the same time.
The girl stared at Evie trying not to cry even more. ”I’m…I’m so sorry…” the girl said as they both hugged each other.
Evie leaned into her ear to tell her she was sorry as well. They pulled away looking at David. ”This is Megan.” he told Evie. ”Meggy..this is Evie…” he smiled.
”Oh god…we look like…oh my god.” Megan gasped. ”She’s just a little lighter…”
”I know…you should see Sammie and Carly. Carly is like…you…” Evie answered. ”This is just going to take some time…I don’t know if I can handle everything….” Evie responded. ”I’m going to go back upstairs…y’all were leaving…”
”Evie…why don’t y’all come to dinner on Saturday? Harry comes every once in a while….” Megan asked.
”Oh…no…I don’t think I’m ready…” Evie said. I need Bruno to come with me. She thought to herself. She pulled out her phone looking at her calendar. ”How about after Thanksgiving?”
”I think we could do that. It would give us some time to figure it all out.” Megan said.
”Yeah…yeah…” Evie said walking away from the two of them.
Evie sat on the couch flipping through her papers procrastinating through her homework. She looked down at her phone picking it up to call Bruno knowing he probably wouldn’t answer it. She let it ring shocked to hear his sleepy voice on the other end waking up.
”Babbby? Are you okay?” he asked her.
”I’m fine. I’m fine. I just needed to talk to you.” she answered him. ”I met one of my sisters today, Bruno. It was the weirdest thing ever. She was like a mini-me but had darker skin because they’re both black….it was like…oh my god…I don’t even know…and then they asked us to go to dinner with them. I don’t know if I can do that on my own…I just needed to tell you that.”
”Eve…I will be there for you. I’ll hold your hand through the whole thing, baby.” he reassured her.
”God…I need you now, Bru.” she said sadly.
”I know. I wish I could be there.” he answered her.Please don’t cry. Please don’t.” he tried to calm her down.
”I know…I know…I’m trying…” she sniffed.
”I love you Eve. You can do it.”
”I’ll make it. I might be a mess when you get back…but I’ll make it.” she answered grabbing her box of pictures digging into the bottom finding a picture of her mother, father, Sammie and Harry the day that Carly was born. She looked at every single one of them as Bruno went on about his day starting to wake up as he talked to her.
”Eve?” he asked not hearing her response.
”Oh…sorry.” she yawned.
”Go to bed, Eve. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” he responded.
”Okay, okay…” she said. ”I love you. Thank you for always being here for me.” she replied.
”I’ll always be there. Good night, Evie.” he told her waiting for her to hang up the phone. She hung up the phone digging through her pictures looking at them for the rest of the night. She laid down in a big pile of pictures holding one of her and her father when she was 2 years old. It’s my favorite. She thought to herself as she closed her eyes falling asleep.
”Mooommmmm…why do I have to go to Mimi’s house? I want to go with you and Brunnnooooo…” Lucy whined in the back seat about three weeks later.
”Luc…it’s just a few hours. We’ll be back and you can come home with us after. It’s just gonna be grown-ups and it’s going to be boring.” Evie told her turning around in the passenger seat.
”But mommmmaaaa…” she whined almost starting to cry. Bruno looked at her from the rear view mirror giving her a silly look through his sunglasses.
”Really Lucy? It’s like 2 hours. You keep telling me you’re a big girl. Big girls can make it.” he told her.
”Okaaayyy.” she said with a sad face as they pulled into Evie’s parents’ driveway. Bruno got Lucy out of the car walking behind her and Evie watching their interaction. She’s so beautiful. He thought to himself as he opened the door for them. Lucy ran into the game room to play with the Wii ignoring her mother who sat down on the couch next to Sammie.
”Evie…why are you so freaked out? You talked to him the other day.” Sammie asked.
”It’s still weird.” she shrugged her shoulders. ”Are you ready to go?”
”Yeah…Carly and Jason and Harry are meeting us there.” she told them.
”I’m not getting out of the car until they’re there.” Evie said feeling Bruno put his hand on her knee rubbing it.
”Okay fine.” Sammie said standing up walking toward the door.
”Oh..Bruno’s driving…” Evie said walking with her sister.
”Oh ballleerrr.” Sammie said in a funny tone. ”Are you driving a limo?” she asked him.
”No. It’s an Audi. She gets it when I’m done with it.” Bruno told Sammie.
”Wait…so she gets your second hand shit?” Sammie asked.
”The one I drive now isn’t shit…” Evie raised her eyebrow getting into the car as they started to laugh about her 2005 Altima.
”Serious, Evie. I’m buying you a new car. It’s a hot mess.” Bruno told her.
”But you like it!” Evie said punching in the address into the gps holding it up for him.”Oh yeah..we’re going to Santa Clarita.” she told him.
”Oh my god. That’s like driving to Vegas.” he whined.
”If it’s too far we don’t have to go…right Sam?” Evie wondered out loud.
”Keep driving Bruno.” Sammie told him from the backseat as he started to laugh at the two of them. Sammie started asking Bruno about the things he was doing trying to get to know him better as they drove. It was the longest Sammie had been with him and was still kind of star struck.
”You know, Samantha..he’s really not that famous.” Evie laughed hearing her sister get nervous.
”I’m really not. I can still go to the grocery store. Someone told me that the second you can’t go to the grocery store without being noticed is the moment that you’ve become someone.” he joked as he turned down the street of an upper middle class master planned community stopping near some other cars that he recognized to her his sister and David’s.
”I mean..at least we’ve already met David, Megan and Mallory.” Evie said. ”That counts for something…” she got out of the car holding her purse tightly with one hand and Bruno’s hand with another. He rubbed her hand feeling her sweaty palm.
”Calm down, Evie.” he whispered in her ear. ”I’m right here.” Sammie rang the door bell hearing a dog bark.
”Oh yeah..they have a…” David opened the door with a smile holding a drink in his hand. ”a Rottweiler.”
”Holy cow…that dog is big.” Evie said feeling the dog start to smell her.
”That’s Daisy. She won’t hurt you. She’ll be licking your face by the end of the night.” Megan came up to them pulling the dog away looking up to see Bruno. ”Holy shit. You weren’t kidding.” she started to blush seeing his eyes look at her with a smile. ”I mean..oh god…” she ran away.
”Oh my…that reaction was priceless.” Evie said walking with David to a big dining area.
”She really does look like y’all.” he told them as they continued walking seeing her father in the distance. He walked up to them not saying anything. Evie and Sammie gave him the same Oh shit look as Bruno stepped away to talk to Jason, Carly’s boyfriend.
”Girls…I…you’re both so beautiful…” he told them hugging both of them pulling away looking at them as Carly walked up to them.
”Wow…y’all could have gotten here faster.” she took a bite of a bread stick looking at their reunion.
”Girls…this is Amanda….my wife…” he told them introducing them to a short blonde woman with piercing green eyes and beautiful skin. Sammie and Evie nodded their heads reaching out to shake her hand caught off guard by her desire to hug them
”I’m so glad you all could make it!” she smiled at them. ”Come…we’ve got everything ready….but first…where’s Lucy? We’ve heard so much about her!” Amanda asked.
”She’s with my mom.” Evie answered. ”I figured this would be boring for her.” Evie answered.
”And awkward…” Carly leaned over whispering into her sister’s eat sitting in between Bruno and Jason.
”Oh yeah…and that’s Bruno…” Evie introduced her father and Amanda to Bruno.
”You weren’t lying, Mal…he is cute.” Amanda told her 15 year old daughter.
”He is cute, isn’t he?” Evie asked pinching his cheek making him cringe laughing. She heard her father start to laugh stopping hearing a similar tone. ”Oh…umm…”
”See…I told y’all!” David exclaimed. Evie and her father looked down avoiding the similarities as everyone else started talking. They ended up paying more attention to Bruno than anything avoiding the elephant in the room- the fact that her father, Officer Joshua Jenkins had abandoned his four other children. Close to the end of the meal Amanda suggested that she, her children and the boyfriends go find something to do while the rest of them talk. Bruno kissed Evie on the top of her head rubbing her shoulders as he got up walking with the rest of the family.
”So…I guess I owe all of you an explanation…” her father spoke up as the room cleared. The sisters stared back at him while Harry leaned forward interested in what he was going to say. ”I thought about you all every day. I hoped for the best for all four of you…your mother and I were young…I know you all know that…” the girls nodded their heads in unison. ”Carly…she was only 24 when she had you.”
”Why did y’all keep fucking having kids if you were both so young?” Sammie asked.
”There was a different reason every single time. She forgot to take the pill…we were drunk…we thought we had everything together….there was an excuse for everything.” he admitted.
”What was the excuse for leaving us?” Evie asked.
He took a deep breath looking at each of them. ”I needed to get things together. I had the opportunity to go back to school and your mother insisted on staying where she was. I told her I would take you all with me..things would be better that way….but it would have been a huge argument and you all already knew that we fought…I stopped talking to your mother on November 19, 1987. I never spoke to her again. I didn’t want to end my life not knowing where you all were. I had contacted your old caseworker….and she said that since the rights were terminated after that day in court…I had no right to your information. I called a few people but I hit dead ends every single time. And then your brother…it was just like magic…”
”Why didn’t you ever tell us, Harry?” Carly asked knowing that they had already discussed it.
”It just….we just thought that it would be too dramatic. And would cause trouble.” Harry replied.
”More trouble than it’s causing now? Your sister almost overdosed on oxycontin because of this and you say it was too dramatic? God. Both of you are assholes.” Carly answered looking at Evie’s shocked face. Evie got up walking away upset that Carly had blurted out their most guarded secret of the past five years. She walked past Bruno grabbing his hand pulling hm out of the room.
”We’re leaving. Sam can go home with Carly.” she said through her teeth opening the door almost running to the car. ”Open the fucking door, Bruno!” she yelled at him. He unlocked the door from the distance watching her get in the car shaking. He sat down in the driver’s seat taking her hands rubbing them looking into her eyes.
”Geneva….I’m here….” she looked down still crying.
”I….Carly told them about the medicine…” she said gasping for breath digging in her purse taking out a pill bottle. He grabbed it from her hands as fast as she could grab it.
”No…Evie…stop….I know you’re upset that she said that…”
”It was the one thing that I told her never to tell anyone. You and her…you’re the only person to know….” she tried to take the medicine from his grasp failing miserably. ”I need one Bruno…I can’t do this….”
He moved his free hand to her chin looking at her. ”Evie…you can do anything…and anything without this….” he shook the pills throwing them in the backseat. She looked back at him trying to figure out how to respond. ”Eve…when did you start taking those? It wasn’t after Sean hit you…it had to have been earlier…”
She looked at him with a sad face trying to decide what to say. ”Umm…maybe….like at the start of law school. I mean..it was never this bad. It was like when tests freaked me out and everything. But then….the whole Sean thing…and they were just handing me pills. It was easy….” she told him. ”This just made it even worse. I’m not doing it on purpose. I just can’t stop….please…I just need to get through next semester….” she pleaded with him. ”Just let me get through the semester and everything will stop.” she started crying even more. He wasn’t sure how to respond to it. ”I’m sorry..I don’t know why….just take me home and I’ll get Lucy and then have Laura take me home. You don’t have to deal with this….you don’t…” she finished.
”What the hell makes you think that I would leave you, Genva? What the hell? Are you serious?” he asked her.
”You have the world at your finger tips…and Caleb warned you the second you met me.”
Bruno started to laugh. ”If I had a dollar for every time someone called you a mess, I’d be a billionaire.” he told her. ”But….Eve…there are no words to describe how in love with you I am. I’m going to help you get through this….because I can’t be without you. Baby..I’m nothing without you.”
She wiped her tears off opening the car door to go back inside to apologize. They said goodbye saying that she wasn’t feeling well. Evie gave Carly a fake sister hug still extremely mad at her for revealing the secret. She knew it too. Carly looked at Bruno as they walked out trying to hold back her tears. Bruno smiled at her mouthing It’s okay to her as they walked out of the house.