The Visitor – Chapter 16 (second attempt)

Sunlight teased her awake and the smell of fresh coffee made it worth while.

“Hello love.  Sorry to wake you but it’s getting late.”

“What time is it?”  Reaching to take the mug from Sharon’s hand Fiona peered at the clock on the bed table.  “Nine, wow.  That’s the longest sleep I’ve had for weeks.”  She turned to her friend who sat on the bed, swung her legs round and then wriggled up to rest against the spare pillow.

“I can’t thank you enough Sharon.  You have no idea how much better I feel this morning.  Just being able to sleep has made a difference but more than that having someone to talk to, well there’re no words really for how that helps me.  I’m sorry though I feel so guilty putting all this on you.”

Sharon smiled at her, “Look, I’ve been thinking. I didn’t sleep all that well last night,” she reached out to lay a hand on her friend’s arm, “not your fault not really, it was just that it was all going round and round in my head you know.”  Fiona nodded sipping at her drink.  “Anyway as I said I have been having a good old think.  The first thing is that what you did, it must have been so awful really, really horrible but you did it in self-defence.  Now, I’ve known you for ages and I know you would never hurt anyone deliberately, I just know that about you and so I think that one thing you have to do is accept and move on.  Fact, you will never be able to forget what happened, who would, but you are a victim you know.  You were raped, if it had happened here you would get all sorts of help and sympathy and even if you were taken to court  I think it would be self-defence or at the worst manslaughter and you wouldn’t be blamed.”

“Do you really think so?”

“Course I do, I’m sure of it.  Now you were overseas and the usual rules don’t apply but I guess the only thing you can do is forgive yourself and move on.  You can’t undo any of it, you can’t change it and you can’t let it ruin your life.”  She put down her cup and turned and gave her friend a quick hug.  “That’s only part of it though isn’t it?” Fiona simply nodded.

“This other stuff, this is going to sound crazy but hear me out.  Because of what has happened and because of the state of your nerves and everything you have naturally connected the two things.  Now I admit on the face of it a rose on the table would immediately make you think of the rose in your room at the hospital but are you sure it can’t be something else?” For a few moments there was silence broken only by the morning sounds of birds and car doors in the road outside.

“My God, I never even considered that.  Since I came back the rape and so on has been on my mind so much that everything that happens I sort of connect it.  But …”  She sat in silence now drinking her coffee a thoughtful expression on her face a frown playing across her brow.  “Sharon, you have made me feel so much better you have but, what on earth could it be if it’s not to do with what happened at the hospital?”

“Yeah, I admit that’s where I come up against a brick wall as well.  Look, we neither of us believe in ghosts do we,” a violent shake of Fiona’s head nearly caused the coffee to slop across the covers.  “Oops, careful.  Anyway, we are going to discount the supernatural, yes?”  she turned and looked across at the other woman who nodded.  “Okay, so there was the man at the door and in your house that night, there was the plants and the barbecue and then there was the rose.  I think that we should try to think of another explanation and to help us to do that I think we should go back to your house.  Simon is away this weekend so here’s what we’ll do.  You stay here for the next couple of days and then on Friday we’ll go to your house and we’ll stay there and see what happens. Yes?”

“Yes, oh thank you Sharon, really thank you so much.  I knew you were a good friend but this is just above and beyond.”

“Well, come on get yourself up or we’ll both be late for work and that won’t go down very well will it.”  With that she slid from the bed and made her way back down to the kitchen with the empty cups.  Fiona swiveled her legs from under the duvet a thoughtful frown playing about her face as she made her way to the shower room.


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