Actor Chris Evans, OFC Elizabeth Peterson, OFC Victoria Moore
Chris sat in his rental car in front of Beth’s house. The private investigator had located her two months ago but it had taken him this long to get the courage to come to Seattle to see her. He didn’t know what to expect. For all he knew she was already involved with someone else. He got a sick feeling in his stomach at the thought.
He continued to stare at the house. It was a normal looking house in a normal looking neighborhood. The yard was well-maintained and the landscaping was beautiful, with lots of colorful flowers. He wondered if she planted the flowers herself. Beth had never had spare time for gardening or much of anything really outside of work. He wondered what she did with her time now.
The blinds in the front windows were open and he could see into the kitchen where she was mixing something in a bowl. Her hair was swept back from her face with clips and she was wearing a lightweight sweater and jeans. Her hips swayed and her lips were moving and he imagined she was singing and dancing like she used to do when she cooked. A fond smile crossed his face.
She was just as beautiful as he remembered. Even the last time he had seen her, with tears streaming down her face, there was a radiance she had that overpowered everything else.
He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He had waited long enough. If he was going to do this it had to be now. His heart began to race as he exited the car and walked to the porch. He rang the bell and waited.
When she answered the door he swore there was a golden aura around her body. Her eyes flew open wide. “Chris, what are you doing here?” Her tone conveyed shock mixed with some, was that optimism?
Chris stared blankly. “Honestly I had a really good speech in my head but as soon as I saw you all my thoughts left my head.” He nervously shoved his hands in his pockets.
Beth stood for a few moments taking in the sight of him. His beard was full which meant he hadn’t been on a shoot in a while. His hair was cut short like she preferred, and tousled as if he had been running his hands through it. But he looked tired.
Finally she motioned to him with her head. “Do you want to come in?” Chris hesitated. “Tori’s at a movie with her friends. We’re alone.”
He nodded and entered the house. She led him to the living room and they sat on the couch in an awkward silence. It felt like they were teenagers on a first date.
“Your hair looks darker.” He couldn’t believe he said that. Of all the things he wanted to say that’s what came out of his mouth.
She pulled the clips out and let her hair hang down, shaking it out into its natural waves. “Seattle is so wet and dark. I guess in L.A. the sun gave me natural highlights.” She let out a nervous laugh.
“It looks good. You look good. How are you? How is it? Being a mom?” Chris could barely put a thought together.
Beth’s eyes lit up. “It has its ups and downs. It’s a learning curve but I think we’re doing okay. She loves to shop. I can manage that at least.” She played with the hem of her shirt. “We’re still getting to know each other. And she misses her parents. Sometimes it’s a little rough.”
Beth quietly and hesitantly asked, “How are you? Are you seeing anyone?”
“Nobody special.” Chris searched her eyes and saw a flicker of pain. He knew in that moment she wasn’t dating and he instantly regretted his choice of words. “Actually I wouldn’t call it seeing anyone. It’s really just a string of first dates. Nothing, really.”
She nodded her head and quickly stood and turned away so he wouldn’t see the tears forming in her eyes. “I should have offered you something. Do you want something to drink? I think I have some beer in the fridge.”
Chris walked up behind her, close enough to smell her lilac body soap but not close enough to touch her even though that’s all he wanted to do. “Beth I miss you.” He heard her deep intake of breath. “I try to date and I compare every woman I meet to you. None of them ever come close.”
She put one hand to her mouth and closed her eyes, trying to think but her body was flooded with so many emotions it was impossible. Just as she began to turn to face him they were interrupted by a commotion on the front porch. Beth jumped when the front door flew open and Victoria bounded in.
“Beth is it okay of Hayley and Marissa come in? We’re just going to hang out in my room.” The three girls entered the room and then stopped short when they saw Chris. Hayley and Marissa’s eyes flew open wide when they recognized him, Captain America, and they bent their heads together, whispering.
“What’s he doing here?”Tori’s voice dripped with contempt as she recognized Chris immediately.
Chris and Beth’s relationship had been very public. It was impossible to keep it a secret from Victoria so Beth told her about it but assured her that it was over and their breakup had been Beth’s decision and had nothing to do with either Chris or Tori.
But Tori still heard Beth crying in her room at night when she thought Tori was asleep. Beth put on a happy face but she didn’t date and there were a lot of times when she would blankly stare out the window at nothing. She seemed unhappy and Tori blamed Chris.
“Tori, where are your manners?” She gave a pointed look at her daughter who glared at Chris. “Why don’t you girls go upstairs and I’ll come check on you in a few minutes.”
Tori continued to glare at Chris as she trudged up the stairs.
Chris shoved his hands in his pockets. It was a nervous habit. “She doesn’t seem to like me very much.”
“You have to understand, she’s still trying to process the loss of her parents. Not to mention finding her birth mother. It’s a huge transition for her. And my mother and I are talking now so she has a new grandmother in the picture.”
Chris gave her a genuine smile “I always wondered what happened between you and your mother. This explains why you never talked about it. I’m happy that you’re reconnecting with her. I don’t know what I would do without my mother.”
The look on Beth’s face was one Chris had never seen before. She seemed to be at peace. “My mother stopped talking to me the day I gave Victoria up for adoption. It was the one thing I always wanted to reconcile with. Now I have a chance to make amends.”
Chris finally understood why Beth had kept her secrets. Why she ultimately left Los Angeles to move to Seattle for a second chance. But he still wanted to be a part of her life. He wanted to be a part of that second chance. He had to try.
“Beth.” He looked at the ground, searching for the right words. “We had something. Something real. Something special. Please don’t throw that away. I know it’s been a while but I still feel a connection to you.” He looked at her with those clear blue eyes that had always haunted her. “I still love you.” His eyes pleaded with her for another chance.
She tried to hold his stare but had to look away. “Chris, nothing’s really changed has it? You still split your time between Los Angeles and Boston.” Beth had already felt the sting of a broken heart; she was still reeling from the pain. She didn’t know how much more heartbreak she could take.
He was practically begging. “I can make a home in Seattle with you and Tori. I’ll do anything it takes to be with you.”
Always the lawyer, Beth tried to separate her emotions from the facts. “Boston will always be home for you. Your family is there, your heart is there. You would be miserable anywhere else. I don’t want to be the one to take that from you.”
“Beth . . .”
“Please don’t make this harder on me Chris. We both know it won’t work. Seattle is my home now. Boston is your home. Neither of us can change that. If we try, we would only be fooling ourselves. How long do you think you could live here before you were miserable and homesick? You would start to hate me.”
“And Boston isn’t a possibility?” Chris’ voice sounded so hopeful that Beth hated to crush his spirit.
“This is our home. Seattle is all Tori has ever known. Chris it would be like asking you to forget about Boston.” Beth just shook her head in frustration, knowing there would be no compromise. It broke her heart all over again that despite their obvious love for each other they would never be able to find common ground.
Tori sat at the top of the stairs listening to their conversation. She never knew Chris still felt this way about Beth. Or that Beth still loved Chris so much. She bit her lip wishing she could fix everything. But she was just a kid. She didn’t know what to do to fix things.