Disclaimer: The Equalizer and all its characters are property of Universal and are used here without permission. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter Five

Upon their arrival at the apartment, Robert saw with relief that the entryway door had already been repaired. Once inside, Angeline gathered her clothing and went to the bedroom to get dressed. Robert watched her sadly before walking slowly into the den to pour drinks for the two of them. Before he had filled both glasses, however, Angeline was dressed and carrying her belongings toward the door. She paused to look intently at Robert, standing in the den with the decanter of Scotch in one hand and an empty glass in the other. It appeared that whatever she was feeling at the moment was hidden behind the mask of stoicism on her face.

"I need time, Robert. I just need time," and she was gone. Aghast, Robert slowly lowered his hands to his sides as he felt a great weight settle in his chest. God, what do I do now, he asked himself. He replaced the decanter into the liquor cabinet and slumped into a chair, sipping slowly from the glass he had filled. What do I do now, he thought desperately, what do I do now? Robert rose to wander about the apartment for a few minutes, searching for something to do, something to give him patience. He saw a tape Scott had brought over for him to listen to. Scott's tastes were changing and he was experimenting with different kinds of music. Robert inserted the tape into the player and sat down to listen. He was astounded, however, at the words of the first song.

"Angeline, you walked away, and I face another day alone. Angeline, there's no answer when I call, but somehow through it all, I'm hanging on…I'm lost without you. Angeline, how can I survive without you in my life anymore…Angeline, there’s so much I want to say and I’ve got to find a way to let you know…Trying to gather all the pieces of these broken dreams. That goodbye echoes through this room like a silent scream. Angeline, how can I give you up when I still feel your touch on my skin…"

Robert stood tiredly and shut off the tape player. His emotions threatened to overwhelm him. Mentally, he clamped down hard, thrusting them aside, and threw himself back into the chair again.

"Well Angeline, I might as well just sit here and get drunk," he mumbled to himself. "It seems to be a fitting end to this disastrous day."

 

 

It was a week before she finally called. Robert had telephoned her aunt's house after the first day, but was primly informed that Angeline had moved out. Now he had no idea where to find her. He had tried calling Janet Bishop, who was not available at the time, but the person on the phone informed him Angeline Quinn had quit the police department and had left no forwarding address. Robert wandered listlessly through the next four days, hoping that she would get in touch, but growing more depressed as each day passed. By Sunday, he had given up all hope. It's over, he thought. A burning anger against Control grew in his heart and he promised himself there would be a reckoning someday.

Monday morning, his phone rang early, seven o'clock. Robert had just emerged from the bathroom and was preparing to dress. He was telling himself that he could get over Angeline. He had done it before with other women. That's all she was, he told himself, just another woman. He took a deep sigh before answering the phone.

"Robert, it's Angeline." Robert felt his heart leap with joy and for a short moment, found he could not find his voice. "Robert, are you there?" Oh, that soft voice sounded so good! He heard concern…and maybe…care?

"Angeline…it's been so long. Are you alright?" Robert felt as if his voice was tearing at his throat. He waited anxiously for her answer.

"I'm fine, Robert." He heard her voice waver, and then she continued. "Listen, can I come see you? Robert… I…I miss you. When I was done with the anger, I…I found that I missed you terribly." Her voice broke then and he thought he heard a quiet sob. Robert closed his eyes and sent up a thankful prayer.

"Angeline, darling, of course you can see me. May I come get you, please?"

"Oh, just let me come to you…sweetheart. I-I need some time to get myself together. I'll be there soon. Goodbye for now." The phone went suddenly dead, but Robert felt as if a great weight had been lifted from him. He dressed and prepared a quick breakfast. As he waited, Robert found himself thinking how Angeline seemed to have been cutting all her ties. She moved out of her aunt's house, quit her job, had no forwarding address…what did she intend to do?

Although it seemed like hours later for Robert, Angeline arrived about ten o'clock in the morning. Robert heard her tentative knock on his door and before opening it, he took a few calming breaths. Then, as ready as he thought he could be, Robert opened the door. Angeline stood there, looking warily at him, waiting for his invitation inside.

"Angeline, come in." She entered and Robert led her to the couch in the living room. They sat together, not touching yet, searching each other's eyes for a moment. Then, to his surprise, Angeline spoke first.

"Robert, I had a lot of anger to get over. That's why I was gone so long. I hope you'll forgive me." Robert heard the strain in her voice and it made his throat tighten.

"I called your aunt and was told you had moved out. I tried to get in touch with Janet Bishop, and was told by a receptionist that you had quit the police department. What are you planning to do, dear?" He reached forward, took her hand, and held it on his knee. Angeline looked at him sadly.

"I don't know. I thought about running, leaving the country, but if Control is as capable as he boasted, I wouldn't get very far. Honestly, I don't know what to do. I guess I'll find an apartment and just see what happens." Angeline dropped her head and studied the fabric of the couch. A bit mystified, Robert regarded her for a moment and then reached forward to caress her cheek.

"And what about me, Angeline, isn’t there still some place in your heart for me? Or, do you now consider our relationship over? Is that what you came to do today, end our relationship? Will you let me help you? Is there still hope for us?" Robert felt as if he had just laid his heart out on a platter. He watched her as she sat silent for a moment.

"I had to come talk to you," Angeline said finally and fixed her gaze on him. "For the first time in my life, I don't know what to do and I am asking for guidance…from you. I would be extremely grateful for your help, and yes, if you'll still have me, I want there to be hope for us." Her hand tightened in his. Robert smiled and gently pulled her forward to rest her head on his shoulder.

"Angeline, the thing I want to do most in the world is to help you and protect you. I want you…as a friend, as a lover, and if you'll have me, I would like you as my wife." He looked into her eyes as she lifted her head in surprise. "Will you have me for a husband?"

"Oh, Robert…you show more patience and devotion for me than I have ever experienced with anyone, ever before. Are you sure you could spend your life with me; a known bomber and murderer of hundreds?" Angeline bit her bottom lip and Robert watched tears forming in her eyes.

"Is that why you're always so hard on yourself, because the past? Angeline, I told you before I would never be your judge. I will not hold your past against you. But I believe you fought in a cause you embraced wholeheartedly, just as if it were a war. Death happens in war. It's not murder unless it's wanton. I do not see you as a wanton murderer. I see you as someone pulled into a conflict at a very young age; handling it and yourself in the best and only possible way you could. I just wish you could learn to forgive yourself. Angeline, I meant it when I told you before that I love you. I loved you last week, and although you weren't here, I loved you yesterday. I love you now and I will love you tomorrow." Robert pulled her into his arms and held her tightly as Angeline collapsed into tears. He hugged her tightly, feeling her trembled against him, holding her until her crying had abated. Then he grasped her shoulders and held her away from him so he could see her face. "So, is that a yes?" he asked, searching her eyes. "Or is it a no?"

"It's a yes! Of course it's a yes!" Angeline placed her hands on either side of Robert's head and pulled him forward to kiss him. Robert met her lips with his and tried to pour all of his emotion into the kiss. He felt Angeline respond with equal passion and when she broke the kiss, he lifted her to her feet and held her tightly in his arms.

"Angeline, darling, you make me a very happy man! Before I met you, I was thinking how lonely I had been for such a long time. Then suddenly you were there, and I find I can't get over you. I want you to be a part of me and part of my life."

"Robert, dear, I am overjoyed. I love you so much it's frightening. I've lost so many that I've loved. But I want to risk it with you. I love you." Robert listened to Angeline with his heart pounding. Joyously, he swung Angeline in a circle, making her laugh. They collapsed together on the couch and he was delighted when Angeline snuggled closely against him. Then a thought occurred to him.

"Where are your belongings? Can you stay with me right away?" He straightened to watch her face as she answered.

"I have little enough, darling, just some clothing. I've always lived without much. My entire world consists of two large suitcases. They're at Janet's apartment. I went to her after I left here and told her as much as I thought she would understand. She knows already about Control and the Company, it seems, so she was fairly accepting of my situation. I felt she was very disappointed in me after learning some of the truth, but she was willing to help at the moment. I need to get back to her and relieve her conscience of the burden of looking out for me. Do you think we could do that right away?" Angeline frowned in concern.

"Of course, let's go now." Angeline pressed her face against Robert's shoulder and hugged him closely. He caressed her hair momentarily and then pulled her to her feet. Angeline pulled him into a lingering kiss. When they parted, Robert was sure he could see contentment finally creeping back into her face.

 

 

After retrieving Angeline's belongings from Janet Bishop's apartment, Robert and Angeline returned to his apartment about noon. They had a late lunch together and found themselves lying together on the bed. Robert held Angeline closely against him, enjoying the feeling of her warm slender body against his. She was tired, he could tell. But it was when she started sobbing quietly against him that he realized the full extent of her exhaustion. Robert decided it was best not to question her, but to allow her to cry as much as she needed to, and to relax when she was ready. Her hold on him tightened as she calmed, realizing he was not going to question her, and then relaxed as her breathing slowed and became regular. Robert could see she had fallen asleep. That must mean she's decided she doesn't have to be on her guard with me, he thought; her anger must be completely over. That was a warm thought and Robert clung to it hopefully. Not quite able to sleep himself, Robert disentangled himself from Angeline and pulled a blanket over her. Before rising to his feet, he stroked her hair and thought how beautiful she was, and how tragic life had been for her. Well, life is not fair, he thought. I've seen proof of that too many times in my own life.

Two hours later, Angeline emerged from Robert's bedroom with a sheepish look on her face.

"I guess I lost track of time," she said, embarrassment in her voice.

"Not at all, dear," Robert responded, holding his arms out to her and guiding her to sit with him on the couch in the living room. "You've been through a lot." He wrapped his arms around her shoulders and pulled her closely to him, hugging her tightly. "Sit with me for a bit, and let's just enjoy being together. Okay?" He released her as she nodded and smiled. They cuddled together, one of her hands tucked just between his thighs, his arm across the back of the couch so he could caress and toy with her hair.

"Ahh..it feels so good just to relax," Angeline whispered as she lay her forehead against his cheek. "It's great not to have to worry about being somewhere, looking for someone, or running in to someone I don't want to see…just to finally and completely relax, even for just a short while." Robert lifted her chin with his hand and looked deeply into her eyes.

"I'm pleased to hear you say that. I want you to relax, and to heal in your body and your soul. I'm here for you, Angeline, I really am." Robert's heart swelled as he saw tears gathering in her eyes and the trembling smile that formed on her face.

"Robert, my love, you are wonderful. I love you more every day." Angeline leaned forward and Robert quickly captured her into a long kiss. She felt so good in his arms. Angeline returned passion equal to his in her kiss. Yes, everything was going to be fine now. He would marry her and protect her, especially from Control and the Company. Yes, everything was going to be fine.

Chapter 6 

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