Tessa left to go home and, after an abortive attempt at eating a meal Sally gave up and crawled upstairs to her bedroom. She stood for a while staring into the denuded interior of Daniel’s wardrobe. He had touched these things today. She reached out to run her fingers across the fabric of the remaining suits and shirts.
She brushed her teeth, dragged on a T shirt that Dan sometimes used to slob around the house at the weekend and then she climbed into bed. Emotion had exhausted her and sleep came quickly.
The sixth sense that woke her danced along the skin of her arms. She felt the frisson down her back, nerve endings prickling and humming . The curtains were open and the polluted darkness of urban living was brightened even more by a waning moon. There had been no dream, no explanation for this feeling of unease and apprehension. She sat up and rubbed at the gooseflesh. Tension in the air froze her in the rumpled bed. The bedroom door stood open but no lights were on in the house. She felt fear. Hardly daring to breathe, she drew in tiny sips of air and listened, waited.
She knew that she was not alone, knew it instinctively and certainly.
Her eyes flicked back and forth, made out the familiar shapes of furniture as her pupils dilated and adjusted. She turned her head and he was there. The figure moved on the landing and came into the doorway, a dark shadow in the gloom. He raised a hand to his mouth the finger extended. “Shhh. Shhh.” She gasped with shock and he stepped the short distance between them and hissed at her. “Sally, Sal it’s me. Don’t be afraid, don’t scream or anything. Sal. Shhh.”
“Christ, Daniel is it you?” She recalled the dream of days ago when he had come to her in the garden and she reached out to touch him. There was the feel of warm skin, the scrape of stubble against her finger ends as she laid her hands on his cheeks. “Daniel.” As she moved to leave the bed and stand with him he pushed her back against the pillows.
“Hush, keep your voice down. Oh Sal, I am so sorry. I’ve been in torment. I’ve been worried sick about you.”
“You’ve been worried, shit Daniel, how do you think I felt? She hissed at him. Though she didn’t understand his reasons, she kept her voice low.”
“I know, I know but I couldn’t tell you. I still can’t tell you any of it Sal. You need to go away. I want you to go and stay at your mum’s.”
“My mum’s” Now she lost control, now her voice belled out into the night. “My mum’s, are you mad? Go to Cyprus, now – just like that. Don’t be stupid. He bent closer and laid a hand gently over her mouth. She pushed it aside.
“Don’t – don’t you dare do that.”
“Sal, please keep calm. I can’t explain. I shouldn’t be here but I couldn’t bear it, thinking about you and what you were going through. When I came here, earlier to get my stuff, I thought I would just slip away again but I couldn’t. Seeing your things, smelling your scent, I couldn’t leave it all again without speaking to you. It’s not over, I can’t come back, not yet. You have to trust me love, please, please go to your Mums. I got you a reservation.” He held a paper towards her. “Tomorrow evening, you should have time to get sorted. Don’t worry about the house. I can take care of stuff like that, I can arrange all that – please Sal just go.”
Using both arms she thrust him aside now and pushed herself up from the bed. “What is going on Daniel? Have you left me?”
“No, shit no. I promise you there is no-one else, no-one for me but you. I thought you knew that, I thought we were sound.”
“We were, we are.” She turned, let herself be gathered into his arms, “But you went, you didn’t even tell me, you just went. What did you think it would look like? Where were you anyway?”
“I can’t tell you. I can’t stay. I just want to get you away from here. You have to do what I ask and go and stay with your mum.”
“Are you in some sort of trouble?”
“Huh – you could say that.”
“Have you done something – something wrong? If you have, no matter what it is we can sort it out. Is it money, we’ll sort it out together Dan, you should have been able to trust me, to come to me.”
“Oh love, if only it was that simple. You have no idea, no idea at all and we can’t sort it out. Not on our own, this is bigger than anything we can sort.”
“Well, I’m sorry Daniel but I’m not going anywhere. No matter what it is, I’m not going anywhere. Have you any idea how much I missed you? How scared and worried I’ve been?” The moisture in his eyes gleamed in the moonlight as he leaned down and pressed his cheek to her hair.
“Sal, please.” She shook her head and then raised her eyes to his. “Wherever you are, so am I.” And she raised herself on her toes and took his face in both hands and covered his mouth with hers.