When Eve returned home from work, she was thrilled to find the movers had just arrived with her stuff. Earlier that day, she had looked into a storage facility and to her delight had found one called ‘Harmony Storage.’ Eve instructed the driver where to take her things and then followed them to make sure that everything was done to her satisfaction.
When they arrived, Eve jogged up to the main entrance to inquire about rates. She was surprised to see the same young man she had met at the coffee shop. “Hi.” Eve smiled.
“Well, hello to you too.” T.C. grinned with pleasure. “I wasn’t expecting to see you again so soon.”
“Well, it is a rather small town,” Eve said.
“That it is,” he chuckled. “What can I do for you?”
“Well, I am looking for a clean, dry place to store my things for awhile. And you seem to be the only storage place in town,” Eve pointed out.
“That I am. I specialize in storage sheds. You need a shed; T.C. is the man to see about it. Why, you can keep almost anything in my sheds - bikes, boxes, furniture…” His mind seemed to wander. “Trophies, pictures of your worst enemy, plans for revenge, a punching bag with his picture on it…” He punched the desk in a fit of rage, his nostrils flaring like an angry stallion. “I hate him!”
Eve’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. The man clearly had some major issues to deal with. She cleared her throat loudly. “Excuse me, Mr. Russell, but I only want to rent one shed, just to put my things into - if it’s not too much bother, that is,” she said as her thoughts drifted to Alistair Crane. ‘A punching bag, how about a baseball bat to go with it?’
‘Eve!!’ she scolded herself. ‘What is wrong with you? All this talk of punching and revenge has got you thinking crazy thoughts. Mental note: stay away from T.C. Russell…seems to have some screws loose!’ She smiled at him. “So how about it, have you got a shed for me?”
He straightened up, clearly embarrassed by his outburst. “I am so sorry. Sometimes I just can’t help myself. I get so worked up. But that, I’m sure, is of no interest to you.” He apologized again, seeming genuinely sorry. “It’s just that he gets under my skin, and…”
“Well, does ‘he’ have a name?” Eve interrupted and immediately felt like kicking herself for asking and encouraging him further.
“Yeah, his name is Jul…” He was interrupted when the truck driver opened the door and impatiently informed them that he didn’t have all night.
“Right, I do have a perfect shed for you.” T.C. dropped the subject and grabbed some keys from the wall, motioning for Eve to follow him.
Eve shrugged and followed. The man was clearly troubled. Maybe she should recommend that he see a doctor, or a pastor, or, well, anyone!
After they had unloaded the truck, Eve returned to the office with T.C. to take care of the bill. “How much?” she asked.
“Well, I think that 25 dollars a month should cover it.” He smiled.
Grateful for the low rate, Eve handed him a check to cover six months’ worth. “Thank you, Mr. Russell. I really appreciate it.”
“Anytime.” He smiled and waved at her. “See you around, Miss Johnson.”
“Uh, sure.” Eve waved and gave him a phony sweet smile as she thought, ‘Not if I can help it!’
When she returned home, Pilar had dinner on the stove, and J.T. was playing in the living room with some toys.
“Mommy!” he cried as he jumped up and ran to the door, throwing himself into her arms.
“Hello, sweetheart, did you have a good day with Pilar?” she asked as she kissed him on the cheek.
“Yeah!” he chirped. “We read books and play games!” He smiled shyly at Pilar.
“He was a wonderful boy, so well behaved. You’ve done a great job raising him, Miss Johnson.” Pilar smiled back at him.
“Sorry I am late, Pilar. I put my things in storage. I hope you didn’t mind.”
“Not at all, Miss Johnson. It was something that needed to be done. Think nothing of it.” Pilar returned to the stove.
“Thank you, Pilar, and please, call me Eve,” she said as she unbuttoned her coat and hung it on a hook. “I am grateful to have you here looking after J.T., but you didn’t have to make us dinner. I do appreciate it, but I don’t expect it of you.”
“That’s all right, Eve. I wanted to. I figured that you might be tired, and I was hired to make life easier for you.” Pilar waved a hand at her protests. “Relax, spend time with J.T., and I will finish here. Then I will go home.”
“You’re an angel. Remind me to thank Joel for sending you to me. Of all that he has done, you have been the most wonderful and appreciated.” Eve walked up to Pilar and hugged her. “Thank you so much,” she said as tears started to brim her eyes
“It’s a pleasure for me as well, Eve.” Pilar patted Eve’s back as she smiled at the mention of Joel’s name. ‘You have no idea what you are in for, my dear,’ she thought with a smile.
While Pilar finished with supper, Eve set the table, enjoying having someone around to talk to. As always in a new place, it was getting a little lonely.
“Well, dinner is ready, and I must go.” Pilar put her jacket and shoes on.
“Yes, thank you very much, Pilar. My shift starts later tomorrow; I will call you in the morning. Is that OK?”
“Yes, that will be fine. Bye-bye, J.T.” Pilar waved to J.T., who was hiding behind Eve’s leg.
He smiled shyly and waved back.
Eve stood in the doorway and watched Pilar leave, wondering who was taking care of her family. She might have asked, but she didn’t want to pry.
Pilar was brushing the snow from her car when a black Mercedes pulled into the parking lot. She paused a moment, and then approached it when she saw who it was. The window slowly lowered and Julian grinned at Pilar.
“Mr. Crane. What are you doing here?”
“I just wanted to make sure that Eve has everything she needs,” Julian explained.
“What if she sees you?” Pilar opened her car and started the engine.
“From five stories up?” he asked in doubt.
“You can never be too careful,” Pilar wisely pointed out.
“How is she, Pilar?” His voice was low and full of emotion.
“She is doing really well, I would say.” Pilar felt sorry for him. “Why are you going to such lengths, Mr. Crane? Why don’t you just go up and see her?”
Julian chuckled. “The last time I did that, she ran out on me. No..." he said with a smile. "The next time we meet…well, let’s just say she won’t soon forget it!”
“Well, I have to go. Good luck, Mr. Crane. I hope it works out for you.” She got into her car and drove off.
Julian sat thoughtfully in his car for awhile, looking up at Eve’s apartment window. His heart skipped a beat when he saw her opening the blinds. He ducked back, just in case she did have eagle vision. He laughed at the absurd idea as he shifted the car into drive. Then slowly and reluctantly, he turned his attention back to the road.
Eve looked down onto the street and stared at the black car in the parking lot. It took her back to the days when she and Julian used to ride in his expensive cars. Her heart ached as she watched the car pull onto the street, wondering what life with Julian would have been like if Alistair had not torn them apart.
As the car pulled farther away, to her complete surprise, she felt a sudden sadness when it disappeared into the night. ‘Girl, you seriously need a life when an expensive car makes you feel like someone just ran over you,’ she sighed, unable to conceive what had just come over her. Exhaling loudly, she joined J.T. for dinner.
The phone on Alistair’s desk rang shrilly. He picked it up with an impatient snap of his wrist. “It’s about time; I left you a message and hour ago!” he yelled angrily.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Crane. It won’t happen again.” The voice was strained and on the verge of panic. Quickly changing the subject, he said, “Eve Johnson has a two-year-old son.” The man on the line grimaced at the sound of the phone crashing against a wall. Then the line went dead.