The Ringer

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Vote by March 10, 2014!

In the previous episode, readers voted for Clark to walk up to James, who backs into a wall, and threaten to remove his fingers and toes one by one if he doesn’t stay away from Scarlett from now on. 

Episode 15

Scarlett yo-yoed in and out of a slightly conscious state. Barely aware of what was going on around her she could only hear bits and pieces of the dialogue between Clark and James.

“Get out of my house before I call the cops!” ……

…. “So they can find the drugged up stranger in your bed? Call them!” …..

…… “Hey! Get away from me you lunatic! Get your hands off me!” ….

… “You’re going to get out, NOW, and I swear to God if I see you near her ever again, I will slowly remove your fingers and toes one by one until you beg for death.” …

…. “You’re insane! This is my-“ ….

“One . . . Two . . .” ….

The door slammed shut and the last thing Scarlett remembered was Clark standing over her, telling her she was going to be okay.

***

Scarlett woke up in bed and had no chance to think before being overwhelmed with nausea. Just as she thought she was about to lose it on the bed she realized a trash can was sitting in front of the night stand and promptly redirected her . . . feelings into it instead. She then felt slightly relieved as a million other emotions flooded over her; surprise at the fact that it was sun-up outside already, fear at the inability to recall exactly what happened the night before, exhaustion and hunger, to name a few.

She pulled her knees up, covered her face with her hands and wondered desperately how she’s gotten herself into so much trouble in such a short time. Her life now is a story no one would believe regardless of how convincingly she told it.

Scarlett’s wallowing in self-pity was interrupted by Clark opening the door and sauntering in with a wash cloth in one hand and a bottle of water in the other. His entrance surprised her and she screamed, causing him to jump back as well and hold his occupied hands up in surrender to show he meant no harm.

“What the hell are you doing here?!” She yelled at him.

“You don’t know? That’s right, shit . . . I guess you wouldn’t . . . Okay Scarlett relax, I’m not here to hurt you.”

“Don’t tell me to relax!”

“Okay . . .” He started, slowly sitting in the chair at the foot of the bed, hands still in front of him, “I’m assuming since that piece of shit drugged your wine you don’t remember much from last night. What’s the last thing you can recall?”

Scarlett thought for a minute and told him she remembers falling asleep while she watched TV. As she thought more about it, though, Clark sitting quietly and letting her put the pieces together, she remembered James’ sick smile, how terrified she was when he climbed on top of her, and Clark.  Clark, who came to save her by scaring him off.

“You . . . But he . . . How did you know I was even here? Why would you help me? You were trying to kill me before!” She finally got out, although borderline hysterical now.

“I’ve been keeping an eye on you since you left the hospital. Scared the hell out of me by the way. The doctor said you shouldn’t have left!”

“So you’ve been stalking me?!”

“If you want to use a literal definition. I just wanted to make sure you were okay because the doctor said you might pass out if you got really stressed or angry and without the tests results he couldn’t say what else might happen.”

“How noble of you . . .” She responded, a little more bitter than she had meant given his intentions.

Ignoring her tone, he continued by saying, “And I wasn’t trying to kill you before. Well . . . Okay when I first met you that was the plan I guess . . .” he paused to acknowledge the look of disbelief and anger on Scarlett’s face at that, “But look! Me letting you go, following you through the woods, ‘stalking’ you here, and certainly running that creep out of here, all had nothing to do with trying to hurt you. I was serious about how I said I feel about you that night.”

She thought carefully a moment about her next line. “Why did you hurt my sister then. . .”

“I didn’t. I didn’t even know you were sisters. And in the interest of being honest so you’ll believe me from now on, my past has been winning over married women then killing them. It has always felt right to me. But I met her and it was different. I actually wanted to see if we could have a future but before I had the chance, the accident took her. I just went back to what I knew until you came along and having even stronger feelings for you, mixed with finding out she was your sister really screwed with my head Scarlett. I thought the first thing you’d do is go to the cops and I was willing to accept that until you ran into the death trap that is those woods behind my house.”

Scarlett’s head was swimming and she had no idea what to think. She stayed with her head in her hands for a long moment trying to decide what to make of all this. After a while, she muttered to herself, “What the hell am I supposed to do now . . .”

Even though the question wasn’t directed at him, Clark responded by saying, “I know what you can do now. . . Stay with me. We don’t have to be together, ever, if you don’t want to. But I can’t live not knowing if you’re safe or not and we both know you can’t stay here so you have nowhere else to go. I can take care of you; even if you want us to stay in separate rooms forever, just let me take care of you . . .”  Vote now on what will happen next…

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