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Part 13 Five Years Later

Part 13* Five Years Later

Needless to say, John failed to heed his big brother’s advice. He was in love with Elizabeth, and from all indications she was in love with him. He operated on this assumption and eventually moved in with her at the mansion on the hill. The first night they made love was one of the most beautiful experiences in his life. They spent more and more time together and grew closer as time went on. Maloney never showed up again, and though presumed dead never floated up on any coastal beaches, got dug up by some hungry varmint, or walked into a local bar much to everyone’s surprise. He remained a missing person. The true story of his ultimate demise, if that is what it was, remained with Elizabeth and her former lover. She never spoke of it after that night in her parlor, and it was understood that John was not to ask. She made it clear that both men, Maloney and the man who made him disappear were in her past, and would remain that way. John was not to “dig it up”. It was too painful, too frightening, too traumatic for Elizabeth and he respected that.

Andrew’s homicide investigators called her in for additional questioning, but she was no more forthcoming with them than she was with John, so they eventually crossed her off the list as a “person of interest” and moved on to other more solveable cases. Maloney was gone and better forgotten. With no forensic evidence, they couldn’t even be certain he was really dead, and it would be two more years before he could be declared legally dead.

Andrew and John also reached an understanding that the topic was closed between them as well. If Andrew and his men could not solve the missing Maloney case, John was not going to allow them to use Elizabeth to solve it for them. John was very protective of his lady.

His relationship with Elizabeth, forged in loss and tragedy, not to mention the shared secret, grew to be a powerful bond. Though they never married, they may just as well have. Their commitment was solid. Life went on smoothly …until it didn’t.

John came home from work one day and found Elizabeth crying in their bedroom. She was inconsolable and she was adamant. It was over, he had to move out, she could not continue their “affair” as she now called it.

“Elizabeth, this is not you, this is not us, tell me what happened what the hell is going on?” he demanded to know. She was unwilling to talk about it other than to tell him, “I’m sorry, I just don’t feel the same about you. It’s not you, it’s me, I’m just all fucked up, but I know what I know, and I know I can’t be with you anymore, I just can’t. Tomorrow I’ll be leaving for a week or more. When I get back, you have to be gone, I’m sorry, you have to go. “

When he pleaded with her to tell him what was wrong, why the sudden change, it fell on deaf ears, “Elizabeth, listen to me now. From the moment I set eyes on you I loved you. When we bumped into each other at the bar, we connected, we did, and you know that. For the last five years we have been drawn closer than ever. You can’t expect me to believe that all of a sudden, completely out of the blue you’ve had a change of heart. You don’t ‘feel the same’ what the fuck are you talking about? Did I do something, say something, did something happen to you, did someone threaten you, tell me now what is going on!” He was almost shouting now.

She wiped the tears out of her eyes with her forearm, she looked at John, and with the coldest look and voice told him, “It’s over, it was nice, but it’s done. Don’t be here when I get back.” And she walked out of their bedroom, leaving John standing there. Alone, shaking. Where was he to go, what was he to do? He didn’t have to show up for work until Monday, so he decided to pack up some things and drive up to his family’s cottage on the cliffs.

He drove up the winding road to the cottage that night, not knowing what his next step would be. When he got there he couldn’t go in. He parked and looked at the cottage where he and his brother Andrew spent many a summer growing up. It was a second home, a safe place for them both. Since meeting Elizabeth it became a refuge, an escape for him and Elizabeth, a love nest, a quiet place for them to put both their pasts behind them. But now, it seemed as unreachable as his childhood, a long distance away in a forgotten past. He heard the waves pounding on the rocks below the cliffs, the call of the ocean, and he turned and walked towards them. That is where he found himself standing on the edge, weighing the choice of ending it all, or returning to face life without Elizabeth. That is when he saw the headlights and walked back to the cottage. That is when he saw someone enter the cottage, turn on the lights and call his name. He opened the door and stepped inside.

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