During the couple of hours it took for Tess and Freddy to bring her clothes to the police station Sally continued to beg the police to act. She had written her statement, talked to detectives, trying again to urge them to do something, anything. They in turn placated her with reference to procedure and privacy laws. They promised to visit the house, they promised to issue a missing persons notice for Daniel, they promised to keep her informed and then they left her kicking her heels in a dreary visitors lounge. She drank their weak and tasteless coffee, refused their offer of medical help and all the time railed against the delays and the slow grind of procedure…
“Bloody hell Sally, look at the state of you. Have you seen a doctor?” Tess had burst into the little lounge and pulled her friend into a hug.
“No, they wanted me to but I’m not really hurt much. It looks worse than it is. It’s cuts and bruises that’s all. I need a shower though and I need to go home. I am so glad to see you, and you Freddy, thanks for coming both of you.”
“I feel awful love; we went to your house on Friday night. When we saw the car wasn’t there we just assumed you’d gone away. I actually thought that maybe Dan had come back and you’d gone off together. What happened to you, how did you get so battered.”
“Oh,” Sally blew out her cheeks. “It’s a long story. I was stupid for a start but then things got really weird and… …
Look do you mind if we just get out of here. When we get back home I’ll tell you all about it.”
“Of course. They know about Daniel now though, yeah?”
“Yes Freddy, they know but they are just going through the motions. I don’t know whether they just don’t really believe me, or whether their hands are tied by protocol but I can’t convince them of the danger and I’ve tried so bloody hard. It’s not only Dan either, there was another woman who helped me and someone who was locked up like I was.”
“You were locked up, where? Locked up!”
“Yup. Look come on let’s just get home, I’ve had enough of this place.”
Sally stood in the shower with the hot water pounding on her battered body. At first the cuts had stung and a couple of them had begun to bleed again but she let it happen.
Eventually she dragged herself out and pulled on some pyjamas and her dressing gown. She trudged downstairs to where Tess had made soup and her friends sat in awkward silence with no idea what to do or say to help.
“Thanks guys. Okay, so to cut a long and horrible story short, it all started when Braithwaite came here.” And so, she told them all of it, the hardest part was the attempted rape and as she relayed the event Freddy pushed up from the settee and paced angrily back and forth.
“Bloody hell Sal, and the police won’t do anything?”
“Well, they said they’d go and visit the house. The trouble is I don’t know how much they believed me. It does all sound a bit far-fetched doesn’t it. Plus there is no evidence of that attack, or at least what there was is lost among the rest of it. I accept all that but I didn’t make it up and Dan’s still there and I’m so scared for him.” She leapt to her feet. “Sod it, let’s go and get him.”
“What!” Tessa flicked her head back and forth between her partner and her friend. “No, well what I mean is. We can’t, we can’t can we? Freddy, tell her. We just can’t.”
“Well, because it’s dangerous, and the police told you to leave it to them and…”
“But Tess I can’t just leave him. I thought he’d gone off with someone else, I thought he’d cheated on me and all that time he was – well – you know with those blokes.” As she spoke, it crept into her mind, a traitorous and numbing thought. She didn’t actually know what Daniel’s connection was with the thugs. She had assumed that he was captive somewhere, locked up as she had been, but that wasn’t the only possibility and as the idea took root it chilled her to the bone.