CJ And Eliza: Part Three
Buzz… Buzzzz.. Buzzzz
I slowly woke from my slumber as the vibration of Eliza’s cellphone lingered. The end credits of Avengers: End Game were on the T.V. screen. My shoulder and arm tingled from the weight of Eliza’s upper body. She was cuddled up next to me. I swore our breathing synced. The fact she looked so relaxed even with her face smashed against my arm made me smile.
“Seriously, who’s calling her at 3 a.m.? Probably that asshole from the bar,” I thought as I checked my iWatch.
When the screen lit up again, I recognized the picture of the caller. The middle-aged woman with long dirty blonde hair holding a colorful wine glass was her mother. I slid the phone off the coffee table into my palm and pressed the green answer button. Mrs. Christine spoke before I could answer.
“Oh Baby… I’m sorry for waking you up like this,” she sniffled. “Something horrible happened… we found aunt Delaney dead.”
My chest tightened as I already imagined the sorrow and pain Eliza would endure.
“Besides you, Aunt Delaney is the only person who truly understands me,” she once told me. “I don’t know what I’d do without her.”
“I… It’s CJ… We were having movie night and fell asleep,” I answered as I started nudging Eliza. “I’ll wake her. Does she need to meet y’all?”
Eliza groaned as she tried to scooch away, half asleep.
“Oh sweetie, I am so glad you are with her. She’ll need your support,” Mrs. Christine said. “No. She doesn’t but I’d rather tell her myself…”
“I understand. Hold on. Lemme wake her.”
I set the phone down and pushed her up straight.
“Wh..what are you doing?” she fussed.
“Your mom wants to talk to you,” I said. “Something happened… to Aunt Delaney…”
Eliza’s heavy eyelids popped open. Her face flushed with confusion and agony.
“What do you mean? Was she in an accident?”
I shook my head with no eye contact. I handed her the phone before she could ask again.
“Mom.. What is going on? Is she…”
Her chest stunk in as she received her answer. I clasped her hand as she started hyperventilating.
“No…no… she can’t… she…” Eliza bursted into tears.
She threw her phone down and dug her face into my chest, sobbing. I picked up the phone as I held her.
“Mrs. Christine…. Yeah… I will… Okay, bye.”
I hung up and wrapped my arms around Eliza.
“I know it hurts like hell right now,” I said, “but nobody is as strong as you. You’ll get through this, and I promise I’ll be by your side.”
Later that morning…
“Are you sure you don’t want something to eat? I can go pick up anything you want.”
Eliza shook her head as she buried herself more under the covers.
“I am still too sick to my stomach,” she mumbled loudly. “Don’t you have work today?”
“I already called out,” I answered as I took a seat in her wheelchair. “I would not leave even if you forced me to.”
She peeked her head out of the covers and flashed me a half-grin. She was about to say something when the phone rang again.
“It’s your mom,” I said as I grabbed her phone off the bedside table.
Eliza groaned as she pushed the covers down.
“Put it on speaker phone,” she said.
I hit the answer button and the speaker button as I placed the phone next to her so Christine could hear her clearly.
“Hi mom,” Eliza breathed.
“Hey Sweetie. How are you holding up?”
“Same as you, Mother,” Eliza answered as she rolled her eyes. “Did you get to talk to the coroner yet?”
“It was a heart attack,” Christine answered.
Eliza’s freckled forehead furrowed.
“She was a perfect picture of health. Makes no sense,” she replied. “She seemed totally fine when I spoke to her a couple of days ago.”
“I know, Baby. I am having difficulty believing it too,” Christine sniffled.”Death doesn’t send you a notice.”
I could see Eliza’s body tensed up more and more.
“When exactly did it happen?”
“The coroner said it might have happened Thursday afternoon,” Christine breathed.
“So basically after I talked to her, she died alone. This is fucking unfair,” Eliza responded with tears in her eyes. “She didn’t deserve to die that way!”
“You’re right. She didn’t,” Christine said as her voice became brittle. “At least you got to talk to her for the last time.”
I kneeled down next to her and squeezed her hand, but she pulled it away. Tears streamed down her face.
“I… I have to go,” she answered her mom. “I’ll call you later.”
“Okay. Love you.”
“Love you too.” Eliza exhaled
I gave her the tissue box once she hung up.
“Remember when you got upset as a kid, you talked about escaping and transporting?” I asked.
“Yeah, so?” Eliza wiped her eyes.
“Let’s get away for a bit.”
“Uh? Seriously,” she raised her light brown trimmed eyebrow. “Where would we go?”
“Our spot… Let’s go to the dock.”
Forty minutes later…
There was a cool breeze coming through the leafless baldcypress and oak trees as the sun slowly set westward. Pink and orange hues covered the sky. A few teardrops rolled off Eliza’s face as she glanced toward Delaney’s camp.
“If this is too much for you, we can head back… I wasn’t thinking…”
“I’m fine. She’d be happy that I came, especially with you,” Eliza replied as we continued heading towards the dock. “She liked you. She actually believed we’d end up together…”
She snickered and slapped her forehead. We arrived at the dock. The water was still as murky as the day we met.
“Ole crazy Delaney,” I laughed. “I mean, have you ever thought that?”
“Us together?” she laughed. “I guess..”
“Shit,” I thought. “Her aunt just died. What am I doing?”
“I mean, I’d be lying if it hasn’t crossed my mind…” she continued. “But..”
“But, it’d be crazy,” I disturbed her mid-sentence. “Because we’re best friends.”
I took a deep breath as I hesitated a bit.
“What are you getting at, CJ?” she gave me a puzzled look.
“I have never been good at timing… I should’ve told you this a long time ago,” I answered. “Nobody tugs on my heart like you do. You’re my girl and you will always be. I love you, Eliza Anne Guillory.”
Her eyes widened as she sat there in shock.
“I know it’s the worst ti–“
She pulled me down by my shirt and kissed me.
“I love you too.”
Feature image by Mohamed_Hassan, courtesy of Pixabay