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Author’s Note: Okay, update on the new “beau.”
Before I go into this next encounter, I should say because I was raised by my father, I have developed an understanding about men to the point I can almost predict what they are going to say before they say it.
I’ve gotten in a lot of trouble because of this “power” when I ignore it and ended up in a bad relationship. My power started acting up lately.
1. He clearly stated he did not want to go into a physical relationship with me. He really wanted to be friends.
2. I noticed he ignored some questions i asked.
3. There were some other things that were highly suspicious and if I had any less confidence I would think other things.
So I determined there was something wrong. My guess (or gut) was telling me one of the following:
1. He was gay.
2. He was in a relationship /married / separation situation
3. He had some health condition that prevented him from carrying on a physical relationship.
So which one would you guess?
I’ll let you enjoy the story for now and answer the question in the next post.
“You were only four when I initially saw you. Your father clutched your hand so protectively as you walked down the street with him and you were about the most beautiful child I had ever seen,” Sloan Bradshaw said motioning for the cup of water. “I was homeless at that time and thought there was no hope left in this world. My wife had turned her back on me because she thought I was no use to her and ordered me out and away from my family.”
Eagerly, Elena stood to help him sip the water and placed the cup back on the table, her ears eating up every word he spoke.
He thanked her and continued. “I searched all over for years for another glimpse of the child I thought I dreamed and then I saw the man in the paper. Your father had committed suicide that day. I remembered that week clearly his death appeared in the paper. I went out to beg for a couple of quarters so I could get that paper. Someone gave me a five. I spent two quarters on the paper to find out where the funeral was being held. Three dollars went to catching the bus back and forth to the graveyard, where I wanted to see you.”
“I don’t remember seeing you,” she said.
“You were only twelve or so. You weren’t looking for a smelly old man and I wasn’t about to be around the public, but I needed to see you. I needed to know if the beauty I saw a long time ago was real – and you were.” He reached up and pushed a lock of hair off of her face and then caressed her cheek. His dark silver eyes twinkled and the brown spots seem to disappear.
He would have been a very handsome man if he were younger. “I found out where you lived. Found your mother’s name out and looked it up at a store near the cemetery. Feeling like I was the luckiest man in the world, instead of spending the last dollar on food, I spent the last dollar on a lottery ticket. I was the most surprise to know I’d won twenty-six million dollars.”
She gasped. “Are you serious?”
“Yes! That’s how I remembered you so well and that’s why I got the house.”
“And then you left suddenly,” Elena pointed out. “Why’d you work so hard to move by me and try to see me and then you disappeared.”
Guiltily, he looked away and took a deep breath. “I saw you a couple of times and many times I tried to get closer-“
“But my brother,” she cut him off.
Looking back at her, he nodded. “He was a veritable font of resources when it came to keeping people away – lethal tactics, I must say. Very discouraging for me, but I was determined until…” He looked away very saddened suddenly.
“My ex-wife found out about the money and then said she would give me a chance to be with her again under certain circumstances. I had to choose between a dream – that being getting to know you – or reality, which was my past. Unfortunately, I only had less than twenty-four hours to decide and I choose to leave and be with her. I hated that decision from the moment I made it, but I had to chose right away. I had turned my back on one family and I wasn’t going to turn my back on the possibility of another.”
She had a feeling his last statement had a double connotation, but they had other things to speak about before she even got to what he meant by them. “We don’t make mistakes, Mr. Bradshaw, we make choices and we learn to live with them whether they were good or bad.”
He smiled grateful at her words. “You are wise and gorgeous, which makes you ten times more beautiful, Ms. Holland.”
“Please call me Elena,” she insisted.
“Then call me Sloan. It’s actually not my real name. I had it changed, along with my last name shortly after I won the lottery to keep my past away from me. Some people still refer to me as Artie too. It’s actually my first name and my first ex-wife used to call me that, so I hate it.”
“How many ex’s do you have?”
“Only two that I know of,” he teased, giving her a wink.
She wanted to ask him if he had sons, but lost her gumption for the moment. “What did everyone think about Vick?”
“That Vick had more than a brotherly relationship with you. That you were being molested.”
Gasping, she said, “Why?”
“You were home schooled, he wasn’t. When people asked about his sister, he’d punch anyone in the face – male or female. You were forbidden to be spoken about. As if you were taboo. It became worse after your father’s suicide.”
She stayed in the house and didn’t know about what happened in the outside world after her father died. Her mother kept her close making Elena feel guilty if she let because her father had left.
“Speaking of your brother, I do have questions about him, Elena.”
His look was now filled with deep concern.
There were things about Vick she choose to ignore, but she knew she couldn’t avoid them for long and with Sloan Bradshaw, she had to face her truth. “What about him? He didn’t rape me when I was little.”
“But he scared you?”
“He was only doing what my mother wanted him to do. Keep me around. Make me fearful enough not to leave her. She never wanted to let me go – ever. I reminded her too much of my father.” Forlornly, she admitted, “She loved and hated that.”
“And now? Are you still afraid of him?”
Elena decided to be very truthful to him. “A little, but deep down inside, I have brotherly love for him, Sloan. I want to believe there is some goodness in him and for once he would not let the past or how our mother treated us determine how he will feel about me.”
Sloan leaned forward with pity on his face. “He won’t Elena. I tell you this in honest truth because I think you don’t deserve to keep your hopes where they won’t grow.”
Being around older people made her realize a long time ago they had wisdom beyond her years. Sloan’s connection to her for so long made every word from his mouth count. “How do you know this about him? Why do you feel that way about him now?”
“The past and the present has a way to collide and some people feel when old folks are sleeping we can’t hear shit.”
“Vick was in here?” She went over to the maintenance chart for Sloan’s room and saw Vick had signed off on the room at seven this morning. Going over to his bedside chart, she saw Lori had been in the room doing her rounds at around the same time. “Lori was in here too? What were they talking about?” she demanded to know coming back to the bed and sitting down next to him.
He took her hand again. “Just know, Elena, I think I have the answer to both of our problems.”
Now he wasn’t making sense at all or was he?
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