Not surprisingly Arlene was a little upset to learn he'd been keeping this information from her. She thought his being undercover was so exciting, actually, and she could have been part of it; maybe even helped him, dressing up like a tart and being his moll. Wasn't that what they called criminal girlfriends? She didn't seem to recognize how dangerous it had been for Pres.
"I'm sorry I had to lie to you, but I had no choice, it wasn't my secret to tell, angel," Pres explained, "The only other alternative would have been for me to forget about you at the beginning and not see you at all. I tried to do that and failed. I was stuck on you almost immediately and you were pretty hard to discourage anyway."
Arlene was definitely glad that he'd not forgotten about her, of course.
"I'll be back at work as an investigator soon. I'm going in to get all the paperwork done today in fact, and they've already asked me to take a couple weeks off immediately and then I'm good to go. I don't even have to deal with moving out of the house; just pack up the stuff I really want, mostly my clothes, and the department will take care of the rest. So I'll be looking for a rental apartment or even a small house in Bluewater or Pleasantview."
Arlene looked troubled for a moment, but then she smiled a little and asked,
"Can you tell me now about your family?"
Pres was eager to finally speak of his devoted parents, his siblings and his extended family. Arlene was happily surprised to learn that his best friend, Perry, was, in actuality, his oldest brother.
"The next time you see me I'll not only be the real Pres Everhart--for good--but I'll look the part," Pres half-joked.
Arlene looked a little dazed,
"You'll look different?"
"Oh, I'll still be me, don't worry," he grinned.
When Pres kissed her goodbye and left, he had not asked her to marry him, nor had he told her about what had gone on in his secret life in Crystal Creek; he had not told her anything about Sofia.
He didn't know why, but he was not ready to propose to Arlene yet, even though that was what he had planned for a long time. As his brother, Perry, had said...what about Sofia?
Lately Sofia had found she needed a nap nearly every afternoon, she'd had to schedule her new salon customers around it, but she woke in time on her day off to prepare a crisp garden salad to go with the chops she would be grilling. Ray had said he wanted to come over and talk with her. She was dreading it, thinking he was going to tell her about his other woman.
When Pres got to her place he was quite nervous, worried about Sofia's reaction. But she served supper almost immediately and he calmed enough to begin telling her his real name and the rest of the story. He grinned when he told her that he could, at last, cut his hair and be clean-shaven. The long haired scruffy look just wouldn't cut it as a plainclothes cop.
It was hard to believe at first. The Ray Nolan Sofia knew and loved was actually a man called Prescott Everhart. He told her to just call him Pres. Reality was hitting though.
This time she knew for sure it would be the last time she saw him and it was breaking her heart. He would be going back to his former life and she knew she could never fit into that world. After all, it sounded like his parents were rich socialites, even though he claimed they were very down to earth, and his brother was the D.A., for goodness sake.
Sofia's secret would remain her secret. At least from Pres. She was not going to tell him anything that would tie him to a way of life he no longer wanted. She waited for him to say the actual words letting her know it was over, but they never came. In fact, he was just as affectionate as ever. But neither did he speak of any future with her.
She asked for more details of his other life and began to suspect more strongly than ever that he was holding back the truth about another woman. It was no longer any of her business, Sofia told herself. Even though Sofia had not been with any other man since she'd walked away from her life as a "lady of the evening", Pres had never promised to remain exclusive. He was probably ashamed of her past and she didn't blame him because she was ashamed of it, too.
Yet when she thought he would leave he asked to stay with her and she couldn't resist being with him one last time.
The next morning he shaved and Sofia cut and styled his hair for him. He was quite pleased with the results.
"You're more handsome than ever, lover," she smiled, putting one hand to his cheek, "In a suit you'll be a real hottie. Does it feel strange?"
"A little, my head feels lighter than the last couple years," he laughed, "But before this I always kept my hair short--most of my life, in fact. It was a little longer in high school and college, but not much. Thanks, you did a great job, I always knew you'd be a fantastic hairdresser, honey."
Pres did not know it, but this would be the last time he would see Sofia--for a long time. She had made up her mind to move and not to tell him where she was going. He needed to pursue the life he was meant to lead and Sofia, well, she would have plenty to keep her busy. She blinked away tears and then patted her still flat belly as she watched him drive away. She'd told Dana the truth and he had said he would go with her to look for a new place to live. He would help in any way he could.
Next update will be The Brothers Everhart - Prince Ch. 8 Dancing on the Knife's Edge