Café Chocolaté

Table of Contents
Previous: Chapter XXVI

Chapter XXVII

Chapter XXVII – Timothy Teller

Timothy watched Ginger as she walked toward the cousins. She looked back at him, before she sat down. She seemed like such a deflated version of the waitress that he usually tried to avoid. When facing the rest of the group, a flash of defiance showed on her face, but as soon as her gaze rested on Eddie or himself, the defiance faded. Instead, worry settled there quite plainly and the fear in her eyes couldn’t be missed.

Timothy felt sorry for her as she lowered her head and sat before the cousins. She didn’t look like she even started speaking, but what could he tell from more than halfway across the room?

“I don’t know what else she has to tell them.” Eddie made the effort to speak.

“You really need to follow her advice and try not to worry about it.” Timothy laid a hand on Eddie’s shoulder. “You need rest.”

Eddie raised his eyebrows just barely. “Could you if you were me?”

Timothy sighed. “I’ll have to give you that.”

Anna, pushing her hair impatiently out of her eyes, knelt near Eddie. She still had signs of distress on her face as she looked toward Timothy and Renee. “How is he?”

Timothy glanced at Eddie’s still pale face. “Stable. He’s stable.”

“That’s good.” She looked back toward Mary for just a second, then turned back. “Whatever they say, whatever Mary says, you can not let them tie him up.”

“I have no intention of doing so.” Timothy checked Eddie’s pulse again. “Eddie is in absolutely no condition to be tied up.”

Anna’s frown did not lighten.

“Why are you so insistent?” Renee asked. “I don’t mean that you shouldn’t care – I think that we all should – but you seem to have experience or something.”

Anna pursed her lips a moment and her eyes narrowed. Before either could say anything, she dropped her shoulders. “I… I’ve seen it before.” She stared at Eddie for a very long moment. She sighed heavily. “Not this exact thing, but… my best friend. I’ve seen close enough before.”

Renee shuddered. “You don’t have to tell us. I shouldn’t have pushed you to.”

“No. No.” Anna shook her head. “You didn’t push and I really brought it up. I never talk about it and… people tell me that I should. Even if not, maybe it would help you not to judge Kimberly so harshly.”

Timothy didn’t say anything. It would be difficult to judge her differently than seeing her as heartless.

He watched Eddie a moment and wondered if he listened. Probably. He’s not catatonic; just trying to get through the pain.

Anna sighed. “Kimberly’s daughter has been my best friend since the family moved onto our street when we were kids. She was the kindest person I’ve ever met, but also one of the most reserved. Even with me sometimes. Anyway…” She pushed another strand of hair out of her eyes. “Last year…” She held onto her injured arm and started again. “We were roommates in a house not far from here, actually. I woke up in the middle of the night to breaking glass. I tried to investigate carefully – I even took my phone. The hall light was on, and when I could see the living room, I could see Eden fighting a dark figure as best as she could. I think she gave him more than he bargained for, because he started hitting her with his flashlight.” Her voice choked a bit and her eyes glistened, but the tears didn’t fall over. “I started to go help her, call 911, something, – I hardly knew what – but I felt a hit on my shoulder and something cracked. I dropped my phone just before I heard the person behind me shout at the other to stop hitting the girl, and then they struck me on the head and I blacked out.”

Timothy looked at Renee, who only stared back with wide eyes.

Anna played with her fingernails. “I woke up a few minutes later, tied up near Eden. She couldn’t breathe correctly. A man stood over us, demanding that she tell him where ‘it’ was, but she didn’t answer. She just coughed and moaned.” Anna closed her eyes.

Eddie lay watching her. He looked like he wanted to say something, but he couldn’t decide what he ought to say.

Timothy couldn’t think of anything himself and Renee had gone very still.

Anna took a deep breath. “I won’t tell you how bad she got. They ended up leaving us so she could think about it for awhile. Whatever ‘it’ was. I tried to get loose. I tried, but I couldn’t. My arm hurt so badly, it made me ill to move, but I tried…” A tear finally slipped down Anna’s cheek. “Eden couldn’t even speak. She tried, but was in too much pain, dizzy, sick… She got weaker and weaker. I yelled for help until, finally, the second man came in. Eden had fallen down by then. He ran over to check her…”

Timothy checked Eddie’s pulse again when she paused, if only to have something to do while she pulled herself together.

Anna cleared her throat. “The men panicked. She was dying and I don’t think they planned on murder. The one man said they could ‘talk to the other one’ and they booked it out. The one guy – the one who had checked her and yelled at the other to stop hitting her – cut Eden’s ties and then mine, before he ran. I called the paramedics, I tried to help her… It was too late. She died before we reached the hospital. Internal injuries and bleeding.”

Timothy felt nauseous, but still could think of nothing to say. Renee hadn’t moved and Eddie had closed his eyes.

Anna brushed away a second tear. “That is why Kimberly seems to have no heart. She had one – it’s just been ground to powder with grief and sorrow. Her husband died a little over a year before that.”

“Eden was her daughter?” Eddie asked without opening his eyes.

“Yes.” Anna sighed again, then looked up at Timothy. “It’s also why you cannot let Mary Dill convince anyone to tie up Eddie. You never know if it will make things worse. I’m sure it did for Eden.”

Renee shuddered, then tried to stand. She nearly stumbled, but using Timothy’s offered arm, pushed to her feet and moved away, her face terribly ashen. She almost tottered as she walked.

Anna watched her with lowering brows.

Timothy turned back. “I have no intention of alloying anyone to tie up Eddie. Neither does Ginger, I’m sure. Nor Adrian and Xavier for that matter. I think, he’s safe.”

She nodded barely.

“I’m really sorry about your friend though. That is beyond tragic.”

Eddie had opened his eyes again, but a wave of pain made him tense.

Anna picked at her nails some more. “Thanks. Like I said, I don’t talk about it much. Most people don’t want to hear it and I tend to prefer to keep it to myself anyway.”

“Ginger does that,” Eddie spoke very quietly. “She keeps the worst things to herself and won’t talk about it – even when she should. It doesn’t do anyone any good.”

“Perhaps not.” Anna rubbed her injured arm and looked toward the pregnant woman again. “I didn’t mean to upset Renee so much though. She still looks really pale.”

Timothy turned to see the woman, who sat alone now, in a seat a little distant. She really wasn’t far from anyone, but her detached expression as she stared at the table in front of her, really made her seem more alone than she truly was.

“Maybe she’s just processing. There’s been a lot going on.”

Anna shrugged, then winced. “Maybe. She didn’t even look that pale when she helped you with Eddie though, as far as I saw. But maybe. People are different.”

Timothy glanced around the café with a sigh of his own. They are. They are different indeed.

If you’d like an alert right to your inbox whenever a new chapter is up, sign up for my newsletter here! You’ll also get a free short story!

Table of Contents
Previous: Chapter XXVI

Leave a Reply