Bruno woke me without notice at noon. I was slow to fasten the chain as he explained he was on special assignment to get me to Ric’s apartment. He barged in and started making me put on protective gear as if I were going to visit Stefan next door. Then he marched me to the stairs.
I quibbled, but it was embarrassing to argue with a guy who was trying to help me get over something so stupid till we got to the bottom set of stairs and I started to flip out. My brain was climbing the walls as if I could just slip away and leave my useless shell with Bruno.
When he pulled me onto the stairs, I started crying, gasping, hyperventilating. I’m pretty strong, but Bruno locked me in place and muttered friendly and supportive comments while I struggled and begged him to let me go back upstairs, home.
Then he told me she was waiting outside. I knew he meant my mystery emailer. Evelyn.
For the first time, I looked down. The door was bursting with light, broken by a shadow in the shape of a face and torso.
I still couldn’t move. But I wanted to, even though this would be a rotten way to meet her—pathetic, tearful, needy.
When my adrenaline ran out and I tried to sit down, Bruno half-lifted, half-dragged me down the stairs and out the door. He didn’t care that I was retching, drooling. No one else did, either. No one was there but a rat. Coincidence?
Bruno’s incredulous look told me that he had expected her to be there. He didn’t look happy, but wouldn’t explain anything. When we reached Ric’s building, he asked if there was any chance I’d get stuck in there. He wanted to go back to the restaurant.
I swore I’d make it home, thanked him lavishly. I was relieved to be outside, albeit furious. What had happened to she who confuses everyone? This was some kind of game. Am I the only player who doesn’t know Evelyn’s identity? Do they joke about me? I hope Bruno gave her hell.