Erica scooped Karen up in her arms and carried her into the house, kicking the door shut behind her. She walked over to the couch and gently placed her down, sitting beside her, still allowing her to cry on her shoulder.
What on earth is going on with the women in my life, Erica thought to herself.
“Kare, what’s wrong baby?” Erica finally asked. “Why on earth were you running out the house like Xena, the warrior princess?”
Erica chuckled, but didn’t get the response from Karen she thought she would. Instead, Karen dried her eyes and told her about all the roses.
It was too much of a coincidence for Erica not to mention the roses she received as well. So she did.
“It’s funny that you mention roses Karen, I got the letter you sent to my house. I didn’t get the dozen roses, but I heard about them.” Erica paused and slid away a bit. “What’s that all about?”
“What letter E? I don’t even know where you live remember?” Karen sat up with a confused look, but it was genuine and suddenly Erica was just as scared as Karen.
“When I got back from my business trip, my friend said she found a letter and roses on my doorstep. The letter was from you. It mentioned our lunch in the park and everything.”
Karen held her forehead. She couldn’t believe her ears. Starting to cry again she replied, “I’m sorry…I’m sorry…I’m so so sorry.”
“Why are you sorry Karen?” Erica asked. “If you left it, I won’t be upset. We just need to have a conversation about the reality of our situation.” Erica grabbed Karen’s hands forcing her to look in her eyes. “Karen, please don’t cry.”
“I didn’t send them!” Karen screamed. “Don’t you get it E? Someone is stalking me and now, for some reason, they’re stalking you too.”
Erica sat back and began to think about all the roses Karen got and then the roses at her house as well. What if Karen was right? All of a sudden, Erica felt like she was useless to all the women in her life. She couldn’t protect Karen or Kim. Someone was stalking them and she had no idea.
“Karen.” Erica pleaded. “Why didn’t you call me when you received those roses? Why won’t you ever allow me to be there?”
“The last time we met, I told you one of the secrets I’ve been carrying around for years.” Karen stood before continuing. “You ran off to help your friend and never called me. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I figured if you wanted to see or speak to me again, you would have.”
Karen was right and Erica knew it. She had finally figured out why Karen left her and then she left Karen and never bothered to follow up.
“I’m sorry Kare. I should have called. There’s more to this stalker business though. I left because a friend of mine was in my house while it was getting robbed.”
“Oh my God!” Karen screamed, covering her mouth. “That’s awful…is she okay?”
“She’s fine but the worst part is…the burglar left a rose behind.” Erica paused to wonder how Karen knew the friend was a girl, but figured she probably guessed. “I found another one on my walkway this morning when I returned home.”
Karen started to pace and began taking deep breaths so she wouldn’t hyperventilate. “This is crazy Erica. Someone is stalking us….but who?”
“We have to go to the police….tell them everything.” Erica suggested.
“I already did that. They said they couldn’t help until something real happened, or I knew who it was.”
“Well, I can’t leave you here. It’s not safe.” Erica protested.
“I’ll be fine here…I promise. I even have a…..” Karen began but was interrupted by a familiar ringtone.
“This Woman’s Work” by Maxwell began to blare form Karen’s phone. Erica went back to the day she heard it sitting in the very same spot. Karen looked at the phone and then answered.
“Hi baby, how are you?” Karen asked in a sweet tone. Anyone on the other end would have never thought she was just crying.
Erica was shocked. She knew they hadn’t really discussed this part, but she could have gone into the other room to have her conversation. Then, Erica asked herself why she even cared. She kept referring to Kim as a friend when she knew she loved her. Maybe she needed to just leave and go speak to Kim. She needed to tell her the letter wasn’t from Karen anyway.
Erica signaled to Karen that she was leaving. Holding out a hand to stop her, Karen ended her conversation.
“Sweetheart, I’m kind of in the middle of something and I can’t really talk right now. I’ll give you a call back later this evening okay. Kisses…I love you.”
As Karen hung up her phone, Erica rolled her eyes, “You didn’t have to do that. I could just talk to you later.” Erica said with attitude.
“It’s okay, I can call her back.” Karen paused and prepared to break the news to Erica. “E, there’s something I need to tell you.”
“Don’t bother Karen. It’s okay.” Erica started to back away, getting that feeling of wanting to run again. “It’s been four years….I couldn’t expect you to still be single.”
Karen laughed before she replied. “Single? You don’t think I’m still single?” Karen walked over to Erica and held her hand. “That’s what I’ve wanted to tell you. Erica……that was my daughter on the phone.”
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