The Ringer

Vote by December 22, 2013!


In Episode 4, readers voted for Scarlett to visit Clark’s house.

Episode 5

Scarlett drove for a while before finding herself headed to Clark’s house. She knew where he lived as she and Clay attended several work functions there and she hoped, given his involvement in apprehending Will, that he could see her side of this. She still loved Clay very much, but right now, she badly needs someone to agree with her and be kind the way Clark always was. She was temporarily relieved from her emotional upheaval as Scarlett remembered Clark had always been quite endearing.

Scarlett pulled up to Clark’s house, which was very homey feeling despite its size. She knocked on the door and heard him shuffling around before opening it to greet her.

“Scarlett?” He said, confused. She had clearly interrupted him in the middle of something and she sunk into herself, beginning to regret her decision to come.

“I’m sorry to show up unannounced, I’m so sorry. I’m gonna go. . .”

“No! I mean, no, it’s alright. You just caught me off guard. What’s going on? Is everything OK?” She could tell he was trying to make up for his initial reaction and though she still felt awkward standing at this man’s doorstep, she didn’t want to leave. She tried to explain why she was there, but as soon as she said clay’s name, the sadness overwhelmed her.

Clark was evidently shocked by her sudden crying but took her in his arms anyways, and as soon as Scarlett regained an ounce of control, he invited her in.

They sat on his couch and she explained to Clark what happened. To her much needed surprise, he agreed with her about the idea of having children after what happened with Will, and said he would have responded the same way she had. Scarlett was extremely relieved. Part of her sadness came from being unsure whether she was justified feeling the way she did about it all. Clark continued to reassure her.

“I can’t imagine having a child knowing that lunatic is around. Scarlett I’m so sorry about everything that happened with Clay and that he talked to you like that. You don’t deserve that. To be honest, I’m surprised you stuck around as long as you did.”

“What do you mean?” Scarlett replied slowly, a little confused.

“Well, he speaks pretty poorly of you at work as it is, so I can’t imagine the things you had to deal with at home. I never understood it, especially not after I met you in person. To be honest if it weren’t for this project, I’d be avoiding him as much as possible.”

Scarlett took a moment to catch her breath and was shocked that instead of tears welling up again, she began to feel angry.

“Ho- how does he talk about me at work?” She asks slowly, trying to maintain her composure.

Clark sensed again that he was sharing information she wasn’t aware of before and stopped to decide if he really wanted to continue this conversation or if he should try to change topics. He decided it was probably too late to go back and anyway, she deserved to hear it. He told her about how he would complain about her being at home and “doing nothing all day” and his frustration that she wasn’t continuing her education while he slaved away all day at work to take care of her. That wasn’t even the half of what he could’ve told her, but Scarlett started to cry again so Clark moved over and wrapped his arms around her once more.

As he embraced her, he found that even though his heart was racing, his muscles relaxed and despite the circumstances, he felt . . . right. For all the times he admired her from afar knowing Clay never deserved her, he didn’t realize his feeling were this strong.

Scarlett pulls herself together and asks for a glass of water that Clark quickly gets. They talked for hours about what seemed like everything, including the latest fiasco with her father, which she never even told Clay. She admitted to Clark that as much as she didn’t want to believe someone could murder her sister, she couldn’t help feeling like there was more to it than saying it was a clear-cut suicide. Once again, Clark did not make her feel judged, but rather encouraged her to trust her gut and reassured her that she knew her sister better than anyone else. So, if anyone would know if something was off about it all, it was Scarlett.

She appreciated his company and, by the end of the night, even managed to laugh a little. Clark did the old “holy crap, look at the time” bit and offered for her to stay the night, just for one night, since it was already so late. Scarlett decided the house was big enough that it shouldn’t be awkward and agreed to stay, just for the night, or what was left of it.

Clark escorted her to the room she was welcome to stay in and showed her where his was, just in case she woke up before him or needed anything. They went their separate ways to get ready for bed. Scarlett had considerably less to do, given her lack of preparation before leaving home, but Clark provided her a pair of comfortable, despite being too large, pants to sleep in, face wash and a toothbrush to use at least. Scarlett lay in bed, the events of the day swirling through her head, especially her conversation with Clark. She tried to convince herself to fall asleep, that she needed to sleep, but it eluded her.

Scarlett finally accepted that she wouldn’t be asleep anytime soon. She just decided she better prepare herself for a long, restless night of staring at the wall.


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