Today is the end of Episode 8. Thanks for reading this far with me! Episode 9, the last episode will be released in online stores on Thursday. I’ll start blogging it on Monday. I can’t believe we’ve come to the end!
Conor sat on the loveseat with his arm around Charisse, staring back at Becca. She sat in an armchair, still wearing her party dress. She smoothed out her skirt, glanced around the room and finally settled her gaze on Charisse.
Becca said, “I’m sorry for bringing Josh here. I didn’t know. He’d said it was a really bad breakup, and I didn’t like to see Conor with someone else, so I tried to get Raul to keep you away from the party. But if I had known what he did…I may be a bitch, but I’m not a monster.”
Conor waited for Charisse to answer, but she stared silently back at Becca.
Becca squirmed in obvious discomfort. “He doesn’t hit me. He’s been really sweet. And he was the one who wanted to have a baby…”
“Please stop,” said Charisse. “Do you want something from me? Because I don’t want to listen to how great everything is between the two of you.”
“I just don’t know what to do. I confronted him, and he says he used to have a temper, but he’s in a support group. I guess I want to know if you think he could change, or if what happened to you could happen to me.”
“I think you should go,” said Conor. “Charisse doesn’t need to help you at all.” Pain shot through the back of his eye. Her audacity was unbelievable.
Charisse put her hand on his knee and said, “It’s okay.”
“Let me talk to her.”
Becca looked pale, but Charisse actually had color in her cheeks for the first time that night. He tightened his arm around her shoulder.
Charisse said, “I’ll answer you because you have a baby on the way. But the answer is I don’t know. I’d like to think he could change, but when we were on the stairs he was the exact same Josh, manipulating everything so he could abuse me without getting caught.”
Conor took a deep breath. Charisse had changed so much, like she was coming into the person she was always meant to be: strong and confident.
Becca stared back at Charisse with watery eyes. He couldn’t remember her crying at Elise’s funeral. She’d been too full of anger. But he was sure a tear would slide down her cheek any second.
Becca said, “Do, do you think he’d hit the baby?”
“I don’t know. I miscarried before it was an issue.”
Charisse’s hand slid to her belly. He rested his hand over hers, fearing she’d go back into shock recalling the miscarriage. She turned to him with a surprised expression like he’d interrupted her thoughts.
He said to Becca, “I think that’s enough. You’re going to have to work this out yourself.”
This time Charisse remained silent.
Becca stood but didn’t leave. “I also need to apologize to you, Conor. I don’t think you killed Elise. I always worried about her, and I hated that you encouraged her on all her adventures. I wasn’t any better. I just didn’t want to be the stick in the mud.”
“No one did,” said Conor. The pain behind his eye faded, leaving sadness for Elise behind. He said, “I hope everything works out for you in New York. Send me a birth announcement.” He didn’t stand to see her out.
Becca nodded and left.
Conor still had his hand on Charisse’s. She slipped hers out from under, laid it on top of his and pressed his hand gently into her belly. He kissed a tear rolling down her cheek. “That must’ve been hard for you.”
She shook her head. “It’s not that. I…” she paused and gazed back at him as if she was considering what to say. “I love you.”
Conor kissed her lips tenderly. “I love you too. I bet the car’s ready for us. Let’s go back to the cottage and have Raul fix you a real dinner while we watch a movie.”
“That sounds great, but tomorrow can it just be us?”
He stared back into her brown eyes so filled with hope at such a simple request. “Of course, but you’ll have to suffer through instant potatoes and bacon which is sadly all I know how to make.”
She smiled. “Maybe if I’m feeling better, I’ll show you a couple of other dishes.”
He stood up and held his hand out to her. She took it, steadying herself on him. “I just want you to take it easy tomorrow,” he said. But he knew he needed to ask her tomorrow what the doctor had really said.