Ella and Daniel just got back from a weeklong vacation to find Huey in Ella’s house. Daniel, upset, throws a slur against Huey, and Ella issues an ultimatum which infuriates him. In return, he threatens her, and then leaves, leaving her frightened and distressed. Start Ella and Daniel’s story here – Lonely Eyes Part 1- Hello, Chaos!
Ella sat on the edge of the corner of her beat-up couch, knuckles affixed over her mouth, trying to get a handle on her breathing. Her thoughts alternated between what had just happened and what she should do next. She didn’t want to think about what had just happened she knew that. She should think about what to do next. Yes, that’s what she should focus on. Except she seemed incapable of focusing on anything.
It was official. She couldn’t do any serious thinking in this house. She needed to go elsewhere. Anywhere else. Yes, she should do that. But where could she go? She couldn’t go to her brother or sister. They’d both want to talk, which was the last thing she wanted to do.
She needed someone who wouldn’t want to talk, and she had the perfect person in mind. Her campus friend, Olive. Olive had an open-door policy; come as needed and she worked night shifts. It was perfect. She’d be gone when Ella was awake, which meant no talking. If she was honest, Olive was the only person she could go to aside from her siblings. A social butterfly, Ella was not. She could count all her close friends on one hand, and the ones she could move in with indefinitely on one finger. Olive.
She hunted for her phone, then called Olive.
“Hey, Ella.” Olive answered.
“Hey,” Ella said, voice artificially chipper.
They exchanged pleasantries, and then Ella asked if she could come to hang out. “I just need a small break from my place.”
“You know you’re welcome here anytime. It’s a bit of a mess, though.”
“I guarantee you it’s not as messy as my place is.”
“I leave for work at 6, so if you can be here before that, that’d be great.”
Ella hang up and immediately got to the business of packing. She was out of the house in less than 10 minutes. Sudden sadness engulfed her at the realization that she had nothing to care for, not even a pet or plant to think about as she made her escape. The more troubling realization that she was indeed escaping overpowered that thought. She locked her door with trembling hands and tried to tell herself that she wasn’t running, and she wasn’t afraid, but Huey’s voice kept ringing in her ears, warning her of the perils of self-deception.
Ella kept having to remind herself to stop doing that anxious knuckle-over-her-mouth thing while in the matatu. That and twitching. They were drawing unnecessary attention to her during her commute.
She got to Olive’s place in good time, an upbeat mood masking her internal turmoil. She celebrated her superior acting skills as the minutes rolled past, sans twitching and the knuckle thing. It was about 5 p.m. when her friend got up and insisted they had to stop all this talking or she’d be late for work. Olive went to get ready, and Ella unleashed all her pent-up twitching and knuckling. The trick she was realizing was intermittently releasing the pressure building up in her.
An urgent knock at the door drew her attention away from tips and tricks for calming her internal chaos. She cracked the door open, then slammed it shut.
Olive’s concerned face appeared in the corner. When her eyes clocked Ella, she came out of the room and approached Ella.
“What’s going on?” Olive asked.
Just then, Daniel knocked again. “Sweetheart, come on, open the door.”
“Is that…?” Olive asked.
“Daniel? Yes.” Ella replied, finding her voice.
Olive knew about the existence of a boyfriend named Daniel but had not met him. Shame flooded Ella’s insides as she remembered how she’d gushed as she recounted meeting him at a mutual friend’s graduation party. How obvious her crush had been. She shook her head as if to clear the memory.
Daniel had dropped Ella off at Olive’s exactly one time and he clearly remembered the place. How could she have forgotten that he’d been here before?
“What’s going on?” Olive asked again.
Ella shook her head, unwilling or unable to find the words to explain.
Olive nodded decisively before moving to the door. Ella, correctly reading her intentions, tried to stop her, but Olive pushed past and opened the door. The burglar stood between them, closed but not locked.
“You need to leave. She doesn’t want to talk to you.” Olive said, voice brooking no disagreement.
“Tell her I just want to apologize,” Daniel said, moving the huge bouquet of flowers and the package at his feet closer to the burglar.
“You don’t look dumb, so I’ll say it just one more time in two languages that I know you understand. Ella hataki kuongea na wewe. She does not want to talk to you. Got it?”
Ella stood hidden behind the door, trembling, and running through every worst-case scenario. Olive was only going to piss Daniel off, which may not end well. The burglar was just a series of metal rods welded together with enough room for Daniel to slip his hand in almost up to the elbow and open it if he wanted. They needed to lock it ASAP.
“Padlock,” she whispered to Olive, who, sensing the urgency in her voice, responded by reaching for the padlock on the nearby windowsill.
Daniel saw the padlock and clocked what was happening. He tried to slip his hand through the gaps. Olive was faster and clearly had no qualms about engaging in violent self-defence. She slammed the heavy padlock on his knuckles, then while he wailed, she slid it closed.
“You fucking bitch!” he yelled, cradling his fingers.
“Try me again and you’ll see just how much of a bitch I can be,” Olive added before slamming the door closed.
Olive turned to her, swallowed, and nodded, appearing to reconsider her remarks. She peeped through the window and saw him seated on her tiny veranda. “I don’t think he intends to leave, and I have to go to work.”
Olive checked the time and started pacing. “I’m calling Jack.”
Jack was a mutual friend who was a police officer. Ella shook her head in protest. She wasn’t a fan of policing as a whole and thought people should only bring them in when all else failed, sometimes not even then. “No. I’ll call Chris, Amy’s husband. He’s pretty intimidating. He’ll likely get him to leave.”
Ella grabbed her phone and made the call. While she was explaining with as little embarrassing information as possible, Daniel started knocking on the door again, this time slamming the burglar with his open palm.
Chris freaked out. “Just hang on, I’m on my way.”
Daniel kept on with the door slamming, stopping intermittently to tell her how sorry he was and remind her how good they were together.
Ella did her best to tune it out, eyes on Olive, who was wearing a hole through her carpet. She was pacing so much.
The neighbours’ curious eyes were glued to Olive’s house. Ella had apologized so much that Olive had eventually snapped, “I know. Sit down and just shut the fuck up.”
Ella did as ordered. She sat down, clenched knuckle over her closed mouth, leg bouncing and entire body vibrating whenever Daniel began another round of knocking and apologizing.
How will this hostage situation play out? Find out what happens next here – Lonely Eyes Part 9: She Never Thought She Would Be One Of Those Women
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