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Three Decades of the Lost: Chapter 4

Art+by+Rachel+St.+Louis.
Art by Rachel St. Louis.

Art by Rachel St. Louis.

Art by Rachel St. Louis.

Rachel St. Louis, Creative Writing Editor

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4

Charlie • 2014

“Charlie. You came,” Evie sighed, a stupid smile on her face. The highlights in her hair were dark and her eyes were dull. Charlie avoided eye contact with the casts and bandages wrapped around Evie’s side and arms. They were staring at him.

Eyes flickering, Evie drew the hospital blanket over herself to hide her injuries. She wore hospital clothes.

Charlie swallowed the lump in his throat and spoke. “I’m glad you’re okay.”

Evie’s right eyebrow skyrocketed into her forehead.

“I mean, it’s good that your mom could pay for the hospital bill so you can get the care you need,” Charlie said. Then came the nausea. He shouldn’t have said that.

“Charlie, I may be hospitalized, but you and I both know my mother couldn’t possibly pay such a high bill, and neither can I. Maybe, though, if we put our paychecks together from the last seven months…”

Too bad your mom is dead. Charlie shivered. Shut up! What an awful thing to say! How heartless can you be? Very. But Charlie Montgomery is known to be a kindhearted, humble man.

“Charlie?”

“Yes, my dear?” he inquired, a second wave of nausea sweeping over his chilled body. So, so queasy. He knelt by the bed and looked up at his beloved’s face.

Evie smiled at his chivalry. “Can you get me some water, please?”

“Of course.”

When he returned, Evie pushed herself into a sitting position and grinned that big grin of hers. The pillow supporting her back was flat. Like the tire she’d had, Charlie thought grimly.

“Hydration is the key!” a baritone voice remarked.

He was a male nurse, his uniform crisp and his curly, golden locks parted to each individual blond hair. His strut was more like a waltz across the linoleum flooring. He was most likely Charlie’s age, with no wrinkles and a balanced complexion. Not too pale, not too tan. Even his ears were a perfect size. Charlie wondered how long it had taken this man to polish the very shoes on his undersized feet.

“May I help the two of you?” the young man asked, a smirk sporting his face.

“No,” Charlie exclaimed. He was a little louder than he had intended, but it made no difference to him. From the perfect hair to the neat cuffs, the man was raising every flag Charlie’s patriotic mind had to offer. Except that there was no white… Or blue…

“Are you sure?” the nurse chuckled. He shoved hands into his starched pockets.

“Now, now. Don’t get all Polar Express on me, Goldilocks.”

“Good one, but I’m used to it. You wish to insult me, big guy?”

Charlie hated the way this man raised his eyebrow. No one could imitate The Rock anyway. “Are you threatening me, Mr. Perfection?” he jested.

“We’re all dead in sin.”

Charlie’s eyes flamed. “I am dead to sin.”

“What on God’s green earth are you talkin’ about?”

“Stop trying to charm me into a fight with your charity nonsense!”

“Why, ‘charity nonsense’? Is that what you take me for?”

Come on, Charlie, Jesus wouldn’t throw a biting retort… 

He acknowledged Charlie’s silence. “You want to fight. I can see it in those nasty eyes of yours,” the charlatan hissed. Evie gasped.

Charlie pushed his Savior’s wisdom away. “Call my eyes nasty one more time.”

“Is that a threat or a dare?”

Charlie pondered. Evie held her breath, but neither men noticed her. Charlie traced a finger down his tan, flawless jawline, attempting intimidation through his masculinity. “I think I’ll decide that the day before I go to court.”

Evie gasped again. She opened her mouth to interject, but was rudely interrupted.

“Go to court? For what?”

Evie knew Charlie was bluffing. Nothing of the sort was displayed in his demeanor, or in his visage, but Evie knew everything behind the mask. Jealousy. Fear. Extroversion. Dislike.

“Don’t you have a job to do?”

“Yes. I am making sure the patient has anything they need.”

“And what do you think the patient needs?” Charlie threw his hands in the air. “I think some aspirin would do all of us a great deal of good, if you ask m—”

“Drugs are bad. Don’t take them unless they’re prescribed. Even then, only take the amount you are told to. And, by the way, nobody asked you.”

“That’s because you didn’t let me fin—”

“Exactly.”

Evie’s mouth plummeted. Still, no one noticed her. She closed her mouth.

“What are you trying to do here, Toothpick?” Charlie went on. His teeth were clenched.

“The patient seems stressed, and you began to make threats…”

“I most certainly did not.”

Charlie held a composure that was better than Goldilocks-Mr. Perfection-Toothpick’s.

“As I said, the patient—”

“—will not be anxious or stressed,” Charlie finished, eager to cut the man off himself, “if you could just leave the two of us alone. You needn’t worry. She has water on her bedside table if and when she needs a drink. As you said, hydration is… Hmm, my evidently ostrich-sized cerebrum can’t formulate the end of that sentence… Is it because your hair is glossier than mine and the scent of its gel is overpowering the smell of a college student talking to you, or do you have a magical field around you to prevent stupidity from traveling up to those high-and-mighty ears of yours? Is that why you always cut people off?”

Charlie!” Evie shouted.

“Quiet down, would you?” A familiar voice jumped into the mix.

Older Evie. Great, just great. “You’re feeling okay, Miss Walder?” Older Evie asked, staying in the threshold of the hospital room. A time warp made waves touch the lady’s shoes. She stepped back and all was well again. The blasted Goldilocks nurse was staring too intently at Evie to see the strange situation.

Evie gave the woman a polite smile. Thank goodness she wasn’t suspicious or thought the lady resembled her in any way. Maybe it’s a time thing, Charlie thought. I guess not all change is fast. Evie stays pretty for the next thirty years, but some changes are gradual.

Evie broke into Charlie’s thoughts when she answered, “The burns hurt a little, but, personally, I’m okay. Thank you for asking.”

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