Actor Chris Evans, OFC Elizabeth Peterson, Scott Evans
Chris heard his phone ring and eagerly reached for it, hitting the answer button without reading the ID on the screen. “Hello?” His voice dropped off in disappointment at the voice on the other end. “Oh, hey Scott.”
“Wow. You sound so excited to hear from me.” Scott’s voice was dripping with sarcasm. He hadn’t heard his brother sound this dejected in a very long time.
Chris let out a long ragged breath. “Sorry. I was hoping it would be Beth calling.”
“It’s okay bro, I understand. She hasn’t called yet?” Scott knew how much Chris was concerned about Beth.
“No. It’s been a week. I’ve talked to her friends, her co-workers. I even called her mother. Nobody knows where she is. At work they just said she took an extended leave of absence. No explanation.”
Chris stood and paced, running his fingers through his hair. “Even my attorneys can’t get any information. It’s like she just disappeared. I’m seriously losing it dude. I’m scared.” He didn’t like the fact that Beth had managed to disappear from his life. She was very career driven so the fact that she bailed on work had him apprehensive. It was like she dropped off the face of the earth.
Scott was genuinely worried about Chris’ state of mind. “Did you call the cops?”
Chris hesitated then in a low voice sighed. “She told me not to. I have to respect that right?” Chris looked at the note he had stuck on the refrigerator. It was wrinkled from wear and the ink was smudged from his tears.
Chris ~ I’m so sorry to do this to you this way. I have to leave. I’m going away for a while. I can’t explain it to you. You have to trust that this is the best thing for both of us. I’m doing this to protect you. Please believe that I love you so much and this is so hard for me. If there was any other way I would find it. But I can’t stay with you, it will only hurt you. I know you won’t understand this and I’m sorry. I do love you. Please don’t try to find me. Love, Beth
That was it. A four-year relationship boiled down to one short paragraph that didn’t explain anything. He had come home one day and found her closet empty and most of her things gone. Everything important to her was missing from the house. She left the note next to a picture of them together at his family’s house in Boston. They were surrounded by his entire family. It was the day he had proposed. In a box next to the picture was her diamond engagement ring. His heart had literally broken into pieces when he saw the ring sitting there.
Scott’s voice interrupted his thoughts. “I don’t know Chris; maybe you should file a missing person report. It can’t hurt.”
“You know how stubborn she is. When she makes up her mind about something you can’t change it. I just . . . Scott I don’t know what I did wrong.” The anguish in Chris’ voice was apparent. He was taking this hard.
His mind flashed back to his first meeting with Beth. As an entertainment lawyer she worked for the firm that represented him. She was fresh out of law school but he was impressed with her intelligence, candor and tenacity. Even surrounded by attorneys with far more experience she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind and her ideas had helped broker an outstanding deal with Marvel for the Captain America movies.
He tried for months to ask her out but she always turned him down, saying she wouldn’t date her clients. He never told her he went behind her back and arranged for her to be reassigned to another attorney so she wasn’t on the team handling him anymore. The firm had been happy to comply not only because he was becoming one of their rising stars but because her work was exemplary and she was also a rising star in the firm. Still, she would have killed him if she knew.
Thankfully, she chalked her promotion up to being a successful attorney and believed her hard work and dedication had gotten her a promotion. He never had to explain his role in her reassignment.
Chris walked in the door to his house and tossed his keys and wallet on the kitchen counter. Reaching into the fridge for a beer he noted the distinct lack of food. Beth usually did the shopping. And the cooking. He hadn’t had food that didn’t come in a wrapper in weeks. Three weeks and two days to be exact.
He dropped his shoulders and walked to his bedroom to pack. Maybe the upcoming shoot would take his mind off of everything. He was producing, directing and starring in the movie so he was hoping he would be so busy he wouldn’t have to think about her. Or wonder where she was. Or if she was safe. Or why she left. Or who she was with. He slammed the bottle down on the dresser and it foamed up and spilled over the top and dripped onto the wooden surface. He should be happy about this project. He and Beth had planned it together. It was a small indie film and he was supposed to be ecstatic to be directing, a job he wanted to pursue on a more permanent basis. A four week shoot. Still, something that would be his own. And she was supposed to be there for him, supporting him, cheering him on like she always did. He was half annoyed that she had abandoned him and half crushed she abandoned him.
Chris was exhausted. The shoot had gone fairly well but with a few setbacks in the schedule they had done well to get it done in just under five weeks, and over budget. He was relieved to be home and all he wanted was to relax for a while before he had to go into editing. Not to mention another movie shoot for Marvel. Shaking his head in defeat, he entered the gate code and drove down his driveway.
His headlights illuminated the porch where he was shocked to see Beth sitting on the front steps. It had been two months since she left him. Two of the most miserable months he had ever lived. He had to direct and star in a movie and that should have put him over the moon but he had barely been able to function without her.
But she was home. His heart raced and his mind went into overdrive thinking of everything he wanted to say to her. Where would he start? He would tell her how much he loved her. No, how much he missed her. How important she was to him. How he couldn’t live without her. Wait; maybe ask her why she had left. Had he done something wrong? He wanted to make everything right so she would stay.
He jumped out of his car as soon as he put it in park. “Beth you’re home.” He gathered her in his arms, pulling her tightly to his chest. “Baby is everything okay?” He had played this out in his head a million times but this wasn’t how it was supposed to go. He was supposed to play it cool. Give her space. Let her breathe. But his emotions flooded over him and took over.
“Whatever it is doesn’t matter. You’re back. That’s all I care about.” He continued to hold her tightly in his arms until he felt her push away from him. He frowned but released her and let her step back from him.
“Chris, you need to listen to me. You need to hear the reason why I left before you say anything.” Beth’s voice wavered and she couldn’t look him in the eyes. He was too excited to see her to pick up on her visual cues.
He began to plead his case, to convince her to stay before she had a chance to leave again. “I love you Beth. I never stopped loving you and nothing you say could make me stop loving you.”
“Chris, you don’t understand.” She dropped her head and looked at her feet, tears starting to fall. Chris noticed and lifted her head, cupping it in his hand and brushing away the tears with his thumb. Beth continued. “What I tell you is going to complicate everything. I don’t know how you’ll feel about it, about me.”
“Beth, you’re starting to scare me. Please talk to me. Just tell me what it is and we’ll figure it out. I promise you we can figure this out.” Chris had so much hope in his heart. He was just happy that Beth was back he convinced himself everything would be okay.
Beth looked away from him as she said the words that had almost destroyed her life once before, and had now shattered the life she had with Chris. “I have a twelve year-old daughter.”