Fallen (beautiful book 1)

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Fallen (Beautiful)

Published by Iris Deorre

Copyright November 2014 Iris Deorre

This book is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations and incidents are products of author’s imagination, or have been used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales or events is entirely coincidental.

Chapter One

The alarm went off at six that morning. Faith opened her eyes, and without hesitation, she slipped out of bed. It was a good morning, most mornings were. Her life was everything she imagined, and there was no slowing her down. Faith stretched and then quickly headed for the on-suite bathroom.

Sleepily she reached for the toothbrush on the left, but it wasn’t there. She could’ve sworn it had been there the night before. She looked to her right, and there it was.

‘Late nights are messing you up.’ She giggled. ‘But there is no defeating you, young lady.’ She spoke to herself in the mirror as she brushed her teeth.

A few minutes later she stepped into the shower, and soon after that she headed back to the bedroom.

‘What to wear?’ She stepped into the walk in closet and headed for the chest of draws.

Faith loved organisation, and wouldn’t let the cleaners into her bedroom. The bedroom and walk in closet was her private space, and she wanted to keep it that way. She opened the top draw, and her heart stopped a moment.

‘What the hell?’

The first and second draw usually had the bras, and the next two draws down, had her knickers. But Faith noticed that her panties were in the top draw. She shut and closed it again as if that would magically make them disappear, and her bras would appear, but that didn’t happen. ‘I will have to fire those cleaners!’ She pulled the panties from the draw and the bras from the bottom draws in a panic. She sat down a moment, to take a moment. None of it made sense. Why would the cleaners do this? When she felt calm, she stood up and left the bras and panties scattered, she’d have to deal with it when she got home.

‘Okay, black suit, or blue suit?’ She gazed at the rail of clothing. ‘White shirt…Black says, Power, and blue…’ She thought a moment, and decided to go with the black. ‘I’ll break it up with a pair of red Louboutins.’ She smiled as she pulled the suit from the rail.

Soon enough, she was dressed. Faith walked into the next room that had her shoes.

‘God dam it!’ She hissed once she noticed the shoes had been mixed up. Faith loved the reds on the top shelf, the blacks next, then blues next, and then every other colour after that. But blacks and reds had been mixed. ‘What the hell is going on?!’ she fumed. She would definitely fire the cleaners. She was certain of it.

She spotted the Louboutin’s. She pulled them off the shelf and headed back for the bedroom where she would do her make up. Faith was beautiful and she knew it. She’d spent the majority of her life being told so, and now she expected it. She was born to a white mother and black father. She’d taken her mothers green eyes and her father’s curly locks that she straightened everyday. She had the perfect body, the perfect life, but she’d also worked for it.

‘Right! Ready to kick another day in the butt!’ She picked up her briefcase and handbag, and headed downstairs. She popped into the kitchen and pulled out the fruit salad from the fridge. She’d eat it during the meeting. Just as she was about to leave, she heard the keys to the front door.

‘Ah, just the people I want to see,’ she said as the cleaners walked in. ‘I specifically asked that you not to go into my room.’

‘We haven’t, Miss Hutton,’ said one of the ladies.

‘Then why on earth have my things been moved around?’

‘I’m not sure, but none of us have gone into your room. We respect your privacy, and wouldn’t do anything to jeopardise that.’

‘I see.’ She felt a cold shiver down her spine. ‘I must be losing it then.’ She couldn’t find any other explanation. ‘Okay, erm…if that’s the case, then I apologise.’

Faith watched them a moment, not sure whether to believe them or not, but there wasn’t any time to dwell on it. She stepped out into the early morning and headed for the office.

‘Morning, Miss Hutton,’ said Charlie, the receptionist. ‘Everyone is waiting for you in the conference room.’

‘Excellent, just want I want to hear. Could you bring me a coffee, please?’

‘Yes, Miss Hutton.’

Faith walked past her office and headed straight for the meeting room. The moment she stepped inside, there was a loud cheer. She laughed and took a bow.

‘Thank you everyone, you really should give yourselves a round of applause too. You’ve done an excellent job!’ She sat at the head of the table. ‘It looks like everyone will get a bonus this Christmas!’

There were happy sounds all around the room.

‘I just want to say thank you to all of you. Without you, Hutton’s would not exist. So it’s lunch on me today!’

There were more cheers.

‘Anyway, let’s get down to business. This is the beginning guys.’ She looked around the room. ‘The work has just begun.’

They nodded.

‘We’ve landed ourselves the biggest contract yet in West Yorkshire. We’ll be building one of the biggest shopping centres in this county.’ Goosebumps patterned her arm as she said it. ‘Yes, this is huge. We’ve won this contract and we have to kick ass.’

They nodded.

‘Okay team, let’s get started. We know our deadlines, we know who’s doing what. It’s work, work work! Noah, give us the run down of the steps forward.’

Noah her right hand man stood up, the lights dimmed and he started the PowerPoint. Everyone concentrated in front of them. There were the plans, the builders, the management of contracts. There were teams of architects, designers, business managers, accountants, admin staff and many more. Faith looked around the room a moment and took it all in. Every single person worked for her company. She’d built it from scratch, hard work and guts! Nothing had been handed to her, and she was proud of it, even if some people claimed that her good looks had contributed to her success. Faith knew that wasn’t true!

Questions were asked, problems were solved. Teams came together and agreed and sometimes disagreed on the way forward. The cups of coffee multiplied. She’d missed breakfast because she’d been so engrossed in the discussion. She knew that once they’d won this contract, it would be non stop work from that point forward. It was something she enjoyed, there was a buzz to it all, and it made her feel on top of the world.

Five hours later the meeting was over. It had been a long, but productive meeting that would take them to greater heights.

‘Okay people, this is it, go and kick ass.’

They cheered and the group dispersed.

‘Daniella, could you stay behind a moment,’ she told the young assistant.

‘Yes, of course.’ She waited until everyone had shuffled out.

‘Shut the door please.’ Faith stayed where she was.

Daniella shut the door.

‘Please, have a seat,’ said Faith.

She took a seat.

‘When I hired you, I saw something in you that I saw in myself when I started this company.’

Daniella nodded.

‘You’ve disappointed me.’

Daniella was taken aback.

‘I hired you to work your way to the top, not fuck your way to the top.’

Her face flushed.

‘I know everything that goes on in my company. You can’t fuck my senior staff and expect me not to know about it.’

Her white face turned strawberry red.

‘This isn’t a game, Daniella. I hired you because you had the brains, not because you were a pretty face.’ She leaned forward and looked the girl in the eye. ‘You’re smart, you were goal orientated when I first hired you, but now…’ She leaned back. ‘You want to work your way to the top sleeping around.’

‘No, Miss Hutton.’

‘I like you,’ she said. ‘You’re smart. This is a mans world, you need to play by their rules, just harder. Do you understand that?’

‘Yes, yes I do.’

‘You can only skate on your good looks for so long, but soon, you’ll lose the respect. Don’t be that girl! Be the woman I hired you to be. Use your mind to break down walls and to climb to the top, not your pussy.’

Daniella sat back as if she’d been slapped in the face.

‘Take this as a formal warning.’

‘Yes, Miss Hutton.’

‘That’s all.’

She scrambled from her seat and out the door. Just then Faith’s mobile rang. She stared at the screen and smiled.

‘Jacob,’ she sounded like she was singing.

‘I’m just ringing to remind you we have dinner tonight, seven thirty.’

‘Is that today?’ She pulled on her laptop and checked the calendar.

‘Seriously?’

‘I’m only kidding, of course I remember.’ She smiled.

‘How’s it going?’

‘Really well, thanks for asking. What about you? You okay?’

There was a knock on the door.

‘Could you hold on for just a second, honey?’

‘Sure.’

‘Come in.’

Charlie put her head round the door. ‘Isaac is here, he’s your one o’clock.’

‘It’s that time already? Shit! Okay. Could you order lunch for the team? I’ll have my usual, basil with lemon salad on a toasted Ciabatta. And give Isaac a menu, he might want something too.’

‘Yes Miss Hutton.’ She stepped out.

‘Sorry about that, I’ll have to speak to you tonight. Important meeting.’

‘Okay. I love you.’

‘I love you too.’

Isaac stepped into the meeting room; she hung up and stood up.

‘Isaac, nice to see you again.’ She proffered her hand.

‘It’s always a pleasure, Faith.’

‘You don’t mind us doing this over lunch, do you? I haven’t had a chance to eat a thing today.’

‘Of course not, I’m starving myself. I gave the nice lady my order.’

‘Perfect. Make yourself comfortable, I just need to nip out for two seconds.’

‘Yes, okay.’

She rushed for the door and sped to the restroom. The moment she shut the door behind her, she leaned into it and took a few deep breaths. Isaac was the big fish and he intimidated her. Even though she didn’t show it, she was frightened. He’d been on her side every step of the way when they had bided for the contract for the shopping centre. He’d wanted her on board, and now that she was, she had to prove to him that they’d made the right decision.

Her racing heart slowed down, she relieved her bursting bladder, and then stepped out.

‘You can do this.’ She told herself in the mirror. ‘You earned this. You worked for it. You’re the woman for the job.’ She washed her hands.

She pulled on the paper towel and wiped her hands dry. She stood tall, nodded at herself and then headed back for the meeting room.

‘Sorry about that, Isaac.’

‘Oh don’t worry. I’m more than comfortable.’

The meeting began. Faith eased into her role, and soon she was back to her old self, taking charge like she always did. Lunch arrived and they took time to work, eat and also talk about things outside work. It had been a productive afternoon, and when she stood up to shake his hand to bid him farewell, she knew he was extremely impressed with her.

Faith gathered her things from the conference room and headed for her office. It was four o’clock when she finally got the chance to sit at her desk. The phone hadn’t stopped ringing the moment she sat down. But Lilly, her PA had everything under control. Only important calls where put through, and that was the same for her emails. Every email was vetted before it went through to her, by Lilly. Lilly spent the majority of her time being a shield between Faith and the outside world. They spoke when it was for a briefing and updates, which was usually in the mornings. But her mornings had become so busy lately, she only saw Lilly when it was absolutely crucial.

A light knock on the door brought her back to the real world.

‘Shit.’ She realised the time the moment he stepped in. ‘I didn’t forget, I promise.’ She stood up and fiddled for her jacket on the back of the chair.

‘Relax, I booked a table for eight fifteen because I know how bad you are with time.’ He walked towards her and embraced her.

‘You are an amazing man, Jacob Sparks.’ She kissed the tall gorgeous looking man with the dark blond locks.

‘I know, and I have an amazing woman to prove it.’ He kissed her and then pulled back. ‘God, you’re gorgeous.’ He put his hands to her face and studied her. ‘You take my breath away every time.’

She smiled up at him and enjoyed the admiration. He was a fine looking man himself, six foot four, beautiful blue eyes and a body to die for. He was a successful business man, but not as successful as she was, but that didn’t matter to them. They were both independent and respectful of each other, and he just couldn’t get over how gorgeous she was.

They’d met over a year ago at a private members country club in London. Faith had been invited to an important meeting. It had been an awkward situation, being among men in their territory, but she’d shown each and every one of them who was boss. Later that day, she’d taken a breather to get a drink at the bar, when a tall handsome gentleman sat beside her. He’d offered to get her a drink, and although she was flattered, she informed him that she bought her own drinks.

That didn’t put him off, it only intrigued him further. She was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen, and his friends had to agree, but she wasn’t the easiest. She’d made him work for her, and finally his perseverance had paid off. They hit it off, and they soon became a couple.


Page 2

‘Shall we?’ he asked.

She nodded, and they left for the evening. They headed for the restaurant and were shown to their table. He admired her, the candlelight lit up her face.

‘Have I ever told you how beautiful you are?’

‘All the time.’ she giggled. ‘And thank you for telling me.’

‘I love you.’ His pupils dilated as he said that.

‘I love you too.’

He put his hand across the table and took her hand.

‘Are you okay? Is everything going okay at work?’

‘Everything is good. Not as great as you of course.’

‘Well, we can’t all be Faith’s.’ She teased.

He loved that about her. Her confidence, the way she didn’t apologise for who she was. He’d stand by her, she was too pretty to leave anyway, and his ego wouldn’t let him. In a way he loved showing her off to the world.

‘So this big business deal, how’s it going?’ he asked.

‘It’s amazing. This it is Jacob, this is my Everest.’

‘I’m happy for you, you deserve it.’

‘Thank you.’ She beamed and looked at the menu. ‘Should we order a bottle?’

‘I think so. We can toast to your success.’

She laughed. He was such a charmer, and she loved it. Every time she was with him, the more she loved him.

‘What do you fancy?’ he asked.

‘How about a Vose Romanee Les Hautees?’ she winked. ‘Vintage 2011? We are celebrating, aren’t we?’ She laughed.

‘Why not!’

He ordered the five hundred pound bottle of wine.

‘So, we still on for Friday evening?’ he asked.

She wrecked her brain. What was on Friday evening? Without her calendar, she was a speed train heading for a collision.’

‘Date – ’

‘Night.’ She gasped.

‘You’d forgotten hadn’t you?’

‘No… of course not.’

‘So I’m still coming over for that dish you promised?’

‘Yes, it was a promise, remember.’ She laughed lightly without a clue in the world what she had promised. ‘It’s at my house isn’t it?’ She had to make sure.

‘Yes.’ He watched her a moment.

‘Yes. Ha ha!’ She had totally forgotten, but she would check her calendar as soon as she got home.

The wine arrived. Jacob took a moment to savour it. It was perfect, and the waiter filled their glasses.

‘To your new venture.’ He lifted his glass.

‘Yes, to my new venture.’

They decided on the food and then he looked up at her and smiled.

‘What?’

‘You’re just so perfect.’

‘Oh stop it, no one’s perfect.’

‘But you are.’

She laughed.

‘Talking about perfection, I think I’m losing it a little,’ she said.

‘Why would you say that?’

‘You know how I like my room a certain way.’

‘Yes, I do. That’s why you don’t let the cleaners in your room.’

‘Exactly!  That’s the one room I want to sort out myself. But lately I think they’ve been going into my room.’

‘They wouldn’t do that, would they?’

‘It’s either that, or I’m loosing my mind.’

‘Why, what’s happened?’

‘This morning my toothbrush cup had been moved. I could’ve sworn it was on my left before I went to bed.’

‘But your cleaners wouldn’t have come in, in the middle of the night.’

‘I know, that’s why I think I’m losing it.’ She took a sip of the wine.

‘You could’ve unconsciously put the cup to the right. It happens. You’re so swamped with work, you could just be tired.’

‘True, but my chest of draws had been rearranged.’

‘Rearranged how?’

‘I like my bras in the top and second draw, and my panties at the bottom. This morning, everything had changed. My panties were in the first two draws, and my bras in the bottom draws.’

‘Yeah, that’s a little strange. Are you sure you’re not sleep walking again?’

‘I haven’t done that in years. It’s possible. But why would I do that?’

‘I have no idea how the mind works. You’re under a lot of stress.’

‘True, but its good stress.’

‘But nervous too. You have to deliver on your promise.’

‘And I will.’

‘That can be extremely stressful.’

‘You’re right, but my shoes had also been rearranged.’

‘Your mind could be trying to tell you to let go once in a while.’ He laughed.

‘Honey, this is serious, it’s freaking me out. I accused the cleaners this morning.’

‘Listen. Why don’t you just see your doctor just to be safe? I’m sure it’s just stress.’

‘I think you’re right. I’ll make the appointment. I hope I’m not sleep walking again. I’ll have to go on that medication again.’

‘Don’t stress about it. You’ve got enough to worry about.’

She nodded, he was right. They enjoyed the rest of the evening meal and finished with dessert. Faith called for a driver later that evening. They were both in no state to drive home.

He walked her to the door of her beautiful home.

‘Can I come inside?’ he asked while she unlocked the door.

‘Not tonight honey, I’m exhausted.’

‘Not even for a coffee?’

‘We both know what that means.’ She laughed. ‘I promise I’ll make it up to you on Friday.’

‘You promise.’

She stepped forward and wrapped her arms around him. ‘I promise. I’ll cook; we’ll have a good time. And I will deliver your wildest fantasy.’

‘Okay. I’m holding you to it.’

‘Please do.’ She kissed him. ‘I love you.’

‘I love you too.’

He waited until she was safely inside before he left her. Faith put down her things and headed upstairs for the bathroom to take a shower. She wanted to be in bed as soon as possible. She switched on the bedroom light, and stopped. Six pairs of her red panties were scatted across the floor.

‘What the?’ She looked behind her. ‘What??’ She gathered them up quickly and walked into the closet. The bras and panties that had been scattered that morning weren’t there. She felt dizzy. She was either crazy, or the cleaners had completely disobeyed her. She took slow steps towards the chest of draws and opened the top drawer.

‘Oh god!’ She dropped the panties and panicked. ‘What’s going on?’ The bras had been put back into the top draw. She opened the next draw, and there were more bras, and then she opened the last draw, the panties had been arranged nicely in the draw. Was she seeing things or was this really happening?

‘Shit.’ She tried to calm down. She took the time to pick up her knickers and put them back in the draw.

She walked back into the room and picked up her mobile.

‘This better be darn important,’ said Mel. ‘I was just about to nod off.’ She laughed.

‘Mel.’

‘What’s the matter, luv?’ asked her long time best friend.

‘I don’t know what’s happening, but something very strange is going on in my house.’

‘Tell me, what’s wrong.’

She told her about that morning, and what had happened that night.

‘Jacob thinks I might be sleep walking again, but this last incident didn’t happen in my sleep.’

There was silence between them.

‘It must be the cleaners; they might have something against you.’ Mel concluded.

‘You think?’

‘It’s possible. You’re not the easiest gal to please.’

Faith laughed. Mel was right there. ‘That may be true, but I’m not nasty either. I’m just to the point.’

‘Sweetie, sometimes people don’t like points. Some people need to be eased into it.  Sometimes you need tact.’

Faith giggled. ‘You’re right. I have to learn tact.’

‘That’s right my friend.’ She ran her hand through her red locks. ‘You know I love you no matter what. And because I can tell you where to go.’

She laughed. ‘That’s true.’

‘But some people fear you, so it might be spite. I’m not saying change who you are. Perhaps sit down and speak with them. If nothing changes or they still deny it, it might be time to hire new cleaners.’

‘Thank you ging.’ She’d called her ginger since high school days because of her shocking red hair.

‘I love you. Don’t stress.’

‘Now that I’ve spoken to you, I feel so much better.’

They spoke for a while longer, and then she hung up, had her shower and went to bed.

The next morning, nothing had changed. She checked her draws, and all was okay. Her toothbrush hadn’t moved, and all was well. She’d also spoken to the cleaners again, and they were adamant that they hadn’t done anything. She accepted it, but if it happened again, she would have no choice, but to find new cleaners.

Chapter Two

‘Come in.’ Faith kept her eyes on the screen.

‘Coffee?’ Noah came in holding a Starbucks coffee.

‘Where’s Charlie? That’s her job, not yours.’ She looked up at him and smiled.

‘I told her I’d get it.’

‘I’d rather you concentrate on the important stuff, than get me coffee.’

‘Well, there’s nothing more important than my boss.’

‘What have I told you about sucking up, Noah?’ She turned back to the screen.

He pulled out a seat and sat down. ‘You hate suck ups.’

‘You’ve come to ask me something and thought that if you buttered me up with a coffee, I’d mellow.’

‘No, I just wanted to do something nice for you.’

She sat back and studied the handsome man with the salt and pepper hair. He wasn’t someone she’d date even though he’d asked a number of times. It wasn’t because he wasn’t great, because he was; it was just that he wasn’t man enough for her. Faith was certain she’d eat him, like a black widow spider.

‘Thank you Noah. Is there anything else?’

‘I thought we could discuss the projects process ahead of the meeting on Monday.’

‘You need me to baby you?’ She didn’t blink.

‘No.’ He raised his hand to his chin, she noticed the silver medical alert bracelet around his wrist. In all the years she’d worked with him, she’d never noticed it.

‘Did you always wear that bracelet?’ she asked.

‘Yes.’

‘Strange I never noticed it.’

‘You don’t notice a lot of things, I don’t blame you. You’re a very busy woman.’

‘Thank God for Lilly.’ She laughed. ‘Okay, you have twenty minutes. Let’s see what you’ve got.’

He beamed. ‘I’ll just nip for my laptop if that’s all right.’

‘Sure.’ She went back to work.

He was back a few minutes later and she gave him her time. She remembered Mel’s words. She would try to pay more attention to the people around her. They were the bricks and mortar of her company.

It turned out to be a good session and she learnt a few things from him and he did from her.

‘This has been good. For once sucking up helped.’ She laughed. ‘But next time, just come straight to me without the bells and whistles.’

‘Absolutely.’

‘You’ll do great on Monday.’ She smiled and watched him leave the office.

She was on the phone ten minutes later on a conference call. An hour later she was heading for the conference room for a meeting. Two hours later she was back in her office, on the phone for the next hour.

Finally she took time to read emails, catch up on some things she’d been putting on hold. And as usual she lost track of time. Jacob walked into the office at a quarter to eight.

‘Shit!’ She fell back into the chair. ‘It’s Friday isn’t it?’

‘It is.’

‘I’m so so sorry. We can leave right now! I’m keeping my promise.’

‘Don’t worry about it. You’re a busy woman.’

‘No, I’m making you dinner, even if you get it at midnight.’ She gathered her belongings. ‘I’ve had all the groceries ordered and a great bottle of wine. All that’s needed is the cooking.’

He watched her and melted. Just looking at her pulled at his heart strings. He was a visual man, like many, but with her it was just too much. He thought that after a year, he’d be over it, but each time he saw her, it was like seeing her for the first time again.

He pulled her into him. ‘You know I’ll let you get off lightly.’ He kissed her.

‘Why’s that?’

‘Because you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.’

‘If it weren’t for my looks, would you even be with me?’ she asked.

‘Why would you think that?’

‘Sometimes it feels that way. I’m more than looks you know.’

‘Boy do I know that. You’re hot, successful. You’re the whole package.’ He kept her in his arms. ‘Please don’t punish me for stating the obvious. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of admiring you.’


Page 3

‘I’ll remind you of that statement when I hit my fifties and you’re chasing a younger beautiful woman.’

‘I doubt anyone will come close. So you have nothing to worry about.’

She lifted to her toes and kissed him. ‘If you say so. Shall we go?’

‘Ready when you are.’

They left the office. There was barely anyone in. She was usually the first in and the last to leave, with a few exceptions. It was her home away from home, her company, her baby. She found it difficult to just walk away from it at the end of the day.

They took her E-Class Cabriolet Mercedes. She insisted she drove, which he allowed, just that once. Faith found it hard to let go of the reigns, but she was softening to him bit by bit. They arrived at her home forty minutes later.

‘I’ll head straight for the kitchen and get started. Make yourself comfortable. Put on some music, I’ll get the wine.’ She stepped out of her black Prada’s and headed for the kitchen.

He headed for the luxurious living-room. A place he knew so well and loved. He found the remote and played some music. She opened the fridge and took out everything she needed for the meal. She was already in the cooking mode. With everything laid out neatly she would sort out the stakes first. She swirled around for the knives only to discover none in the knife block.

‘No, no, no!’ She was frantic. She pulled at the draws, screaming and shouting.

‘Honey, what’s the matter?’

‘The knives! My knives are gone!’ She scrunched her hair in her hands. ‘They’re gone!’

‘Slow down. There should be a simple explanation for that.’

‘What possible explanation would that be!’ she yelled.

He pulled open a few draws, then walked to the centre island and pulled the draws one at a time until he got to the last one.

‘Are these the knives you’re looking for?’

She walked over to him and spotted all her knives in the draw.

‘What is going on?’ she cried.

‘Calm down honey, the cleaners must have put them there for some reason.’

‘Why would they do that?’

‘Sweetie, you’re exhausted. You’re over analysing things.

‘I’m not! This isn’t normal!’

‘I tell you what.’ He took her into his arms.

‘Why don’t we open that bottle of wine, go into the living-room and relax.’

‘What about dinner?’

‘We’ll order in.’

‘But I promised you dinner.’

‘There will always be another time for that. I just want you to relax. Go on into the living-room. I’ll sort this out and bring the wine.’

She was hesitant, but he encouraged her to go. Finally she let go and went to the lounge. A few minutes later he joined her with the bottle of wine and two glasses.

‘Do your really think the cleaners are behind this?’ she asked him after she’d downed a good amount of the wine.

‘I don’t know. Are you sure you didn’t put them there yourself?’

‘Now why would I do that?’

‘I’m just saying.’

She leaned back into the couch. ‘Do you think I’m loosing my mind?’

‘No, I just think you’re overworked and it’s making you feel like you’re loosing your mind.’

‘What if my cleaners are messing with my head to get at me?’

‘Why would they do that?’

‘Mel said that I’m not very tactful when I speak to people, and they could be getting me back.’

‘I don’t think they’d resort to that. But if they did, I suggest you fire them and get new cleaners.’

‘I think I will.’ She lifted her head.

‘With no proof?’

‘I’ll just say I’m terminating their contract. I’ll give them a months notice.’

‘I see.’

‘What?’

‘Just make sure it’s what you want.’

‘It is, that way I can see whether or not I’m loosing my mind or my cleaners were just playing a very dirty trick on me.’

They let it go. They ordered Chinese and soon the evening felt a lot more relaxed.

‘Thanks,’ she said finally.

‘For what?’

‘For loving me for me.’

He smiled. ‘Well if it wasn’t for that nice bum of yours, I wouldn’t be so sure.’ He teased.

‘You!’ she laughed.

He leaned forward and tried to kiss her.

‘Naha. You’ve got to catch me if you want me.’ She pulled away from him and ran upstairs.

He was not far behind. He grasped her foot just as she was about to jump onto the bed.

‘Come here.’

She fell onto the bed laughing. He was wrapped up in her beauty. He could do this all night if she’d let him. He stopped a moment and gazed at her.

‘What?’

‘You’re stunning.’

She smiled. He lowered and kissed her. She pulled him closer and soon they were rolling around the bed like it was a stack of hay. He found her wet place quickly. She teased him, by pulling away at times, but he also got what he wanted and more. She was just as energetic as she was at work. She took control at times, but he always won in the end.

‘I love you,’ he blurted as he was about to come.

She grasped his beautiful bum and pushed him further into her. She screamed and yelled, as did he. They were like a pair of horny teenagers high on something, until it died down.

‘Fuck!’ He fell into the bed.

‘Yes! Fuck!’ She laughed. ‘That was good. That was so good!’

‘You want to go again?’

‘If you can handle it.’ She laughed.

‘Give me a few minutes to catch my breath. Just looking at you makes me hard!’

****

The group of men waited for the man of the hour. He walked into the fancy bar an hour later. They cheered as he walked in, his hands raised up and nodding his head like he was the man. He looked around the place and winked. His dark locks fell to the side of his face, and he took a moment to push them back with his hand. Logan Davenport! The man who had an ego the size of a mountain.

‘Who’s the man?’ He shouted.

‘Aaaaaaah!’ They banged against the tables.

He loved it, he loved the attention and he loved the money.

‘You are looking at a billionaire in the making. Here’s to fucking stocks!’ He picked up one of his mates beers and gulped it down. The men cheered as he downed the booze.

‘Ahhhh!’ He slammed beer mug on the table. ‘All I need now is a nice piece of ass!’ He sat down with the guys.

‘How about that one?’ His best mate Daryl pointed at a brunette.

‘Nah, she’s a seven. I want a ten.’ His eyes floated around the room and he spotted a blond at the bar. ‘Now that’s a ten.’ He smiled. ‘Wish me luck boys, and get your cameras ready.’ He stood up and made his way towards the woman sitting at the bar alone. ‘Hi,’ he said. ‘Could I get you a refill?’

She looked the hunk up and down, and then turned back to the bar.

‘How about, you and I go back to my hotel room?’

She didn’t turn or answer him.

‘It will be good for you.’

Again she didn’t answer him.

‘I’ll make you a deal.’ He leaned against the bar so he could see her beautiful face. ‘I’ll pay you a thousand pounds to go back to my hotel room and let one of my mate’s film us.’

She turned around, stood up and slapped him across the face. ‘Asshole!’ She walked away from him.’

‘Ooooooh!’ There was a roar from his friends.

‘Two thousand!’ He shouted.

There was laughter from the table. He really wasn’t good at his game that night. He ordered around for them all and walked back to the table.

‘Losing your touch there, Logan.’ Teased Roy.

‘Nah, she’s just a stuck up bitch. Give it time, I’ll find the right one.’

Faith walked into the fancy bar and looked around. Mel hadn’t arrived yet. She checked her watch and swore under her breath. It wasn’t like Mel to be late. She headed for the bar and ordered a glass of red.

‘Now look at that!’ Logan bit back his lip. ‘That is more than a ten.’ He could feel himself go hard.

‘So go and get her.’ A friend dared him.

He ran a hand through his hair and then walked up to the gorgeous woman at the bar.

‘Hi,’ he leaned against the bar.

‘Not interested, buzz off!’ She didn’t even turn to look at him.

‘You didn’t even give me a chance.’

‘Again. Not interested!’

The barman brought her drink.

‘I’ll get that,’ said Logan.

‘Oh no you won’t!’ She placed a ten pound note on the bar before he could pay.

‘Wow, you’re one sassy bitch!’

‘You’ve got that right, now buzz off!’

She still hadn’t looked at him, and it annoyed him that she wouldn’t give him the time of day.

‘I’ll pay you five thousand pounds to sleep with me tonight.’

She stood up and kicked him between the legs. He buckled and bowed forward.

‘Knob head!’ She walked away towards the door just as Mel stepped in. ‘We’re leaving this place. It’s full of pricks!’ She dragged her out of the door.

The barman smiled slightly. The man deserved it. His friends were in a fit of laughter as he tried to gain composure. This had never happened to him twice in a row. Most women would oblige.

‘I’ll do it,’ a voice said above him.

He gazed at the black heels, and then his eyes crawled up the long slim legs. Soon he was face to face with a beautiful brunette.

‘I’ll do it for two and half thousand.’

He smiled. She was definitely a ten. ‘You’re not a hooker, are you?’

‘No, I’m a medical student. I need the money.’

‘Right on. Give me a minute.’

She nodded and he rushed over to his friends.

‘I’ve found a player,’ he beamed. ‘Get our stuff and bring your cameras to my hotel room. This is going to be a wild ride!’

The men cheered, and then he walked back towards the woman.

‘Shall we.’

She took his arm and they left the bar. Moments later they arrived at the hotel, up to the penthouse suite.

‘This looks good.’ She looked around the place.

‘You like it?’

‘Yes, it’s nice.’

‘I book it now and then.’

‘I see.’

‘Drink?’ He walked to the table that had bottles of whisky.

‘No, I can’t. I’m on duty later tonight. Working A&E.’

‘I see.’ He studied her.

She smiled.

‘You seem comfortable with all this. Is this a regular thing for you?’

‘Is it for you?’

He laughed. She was sassy. ‘Yes.’

‘Why?’

‘It’s fun.’

‘Can’t you find a real girlfriend?’

‘Can’t you find a real boyfriend?’

‘Ha, touché. There really isn’t time for a boyfriend right now. Not one that would understand my hours anyway.’

‘I’d say the same.’ he poured himself a drink and took a swig. ‘Loosen your hair.’

She smiled, put her hand to her hair and loosened it. She took time to move her head from side to side.

‘Beautiful.’ He felt himself harden.

He walked up to her, placed his hand behind her neck and brought her to his lips. She tasted good, and he wanted her fast and hard, but he wanted to wait for the boys. He pulled back.

‘Why the video?’ she asked. ‘Do you get off on it?’

‘You could say that. Do you have a problem with it?’

‘No. But I won’t show my face. I’m a medical student, it wouldn’t be wise.’

‘Ah, you didn’t think about that when you took the offer.’

‘I did. I’ll do it, but if I have to show my face, the deal is off.’

He stepped back and smiled. She was a hard one.

‘You do know this is my territory and I can do as I please with you.’

‘Is that right?’ She didn’t flinch.

‘Yes. You don’t seem concerned.’

‘Mister?’

‘Davenport.’

‘Mister Davenport, I’m paying my way through university. I don’t want to land up in debt, so I’ve readied myself for people like you.’

‘People like me?’ He frowned.

‘Yes. I’m a black belt, and I can take you and your lousy friends if I want to.’

He laughed, he was liking her by the minute.

‘I know men like you. You think you own the world, and you think you own women. But you don’t. You don’t own me, and I can prove it by walking. I volunteered for the money.’

He laughed. ‘I see.’

She didn’t blink. Soon there was a knock at the door and two of his friends staggered into the room.

‘You got the stuff?’ asked Logan.

The men threw the white powder on the table.


Page 4

‘Excellent. Do you mind?’

‘Knock yourself out.’ She turned away for a moment.

‘Hey, what do you do for a living?’ asked Daryl.

‘She’s a student doctor,’ said Logan.

‘Doctor?’

‘Patterson,’ she said without turning. She wished they’d get on with it.

‘Doctor Patterson, mind if I hit that beautiful ass of yours?’ asked Daryl.

‘You got two thousand pounds?’ She swirled around. ‘Because the only man touching this ass, is the one who’s paying.’

‘Whooo, sassy!’ He snorted up some coke.

Logan and his other mate Owen did the same. Soon they were as high as kites.

‘So are we going to get this show on the road or what?’ asked Owen, as he pulled out his mobile phone.

‘Change of plan,’ said Logan.

‘What do you mean, change of plan?’ asked Daryl.

‘You’re not filming this. This beautiful woman and I will go into the room, shut the door and get on with it.’

‘What the fuck is the matter with you?’ Daryl hissed.

‘This is my fucking penthouse, my money, and I paid for her!’

‘Christ, you’re such a prick sometimes!’ He shouted.

‘Yeah, you got us all worked up for shit,’ said Owen.

‘Things change, my rules.’

‘Fuck you!’ Daryl stood up.

‘Okay, that’s it, get out.’

‘Really?’

‘Yes get the fuck out of my room!’

There were a few more foul words between them. Crystal waited patiently until they were finally shoved out of the room.

‘Why did you do that?’ she asked.

‘You’re different, and I just decided not to share you.’

‘I see. Shall we get this done? I have a shift in an hour and a half.’

He nodded. He held out his arm and led her to the bedroom. Half an hour later, Crystal pulled on her clothes and he handed her a pile of cash.

‘It was fun,’ he said.

She wished she could say the same, but all she wanted was the money. He sat up and watched her.

‘Could you bring me that coke I left on the table?’

‘Seriously? My work here is done.’ She left the room.

‘Shit.’ He laughed, stood up and followed behind her. ‘Can we do it again sometime? I’ll double it?’

‘I’ll think about it?’

‘Could I get your number?’

‘No, I’ll find you at the bar, if I want to.’ She headed for the door and walked out.

‘Bitch!’ He said under his breath, sat down beside the table with the cocaine and snorted a few lines.

He leaned back, in a world of his own. He felt satisfied, on top of the world. Nothing and no one could defeat him. He took a peek at the time. He’d stay another hour, and then head home. He didn’t want to spend the night in the hotel anyway. It had only been booked for sex!

****

‘So are you doing okay?’ Mel asked after they’d found a suitable place to have drinks.

‘I’m doing great, busy as usual.’

‘Yes you always are. Congrats on the big project.’

‘Thank you, we’ve still got to finalise a few things, and then we’re in. It’s surreal.’

‘Well you deserve it. You’ve worked really hard.’

‘Yes, well, I think that’s messing with my brain a bit.’

‘Still having trouble at home?’

‘Gosh Mel, I don’t know. I had to get rid of the last cleaning staff. I thought they were the problem.’

‘Weren’t they?’

‘Well, it stopped for a while, but then I noticed subtle changes again.’

‘Like what?’

‘My toothbrush was on the right again instead of the left. One of my coffee tables had been placed in a totally different place. It felt like some of my cutlery had been rearranged too. I think I’m losing it.’

‘You’re not losing it. You could be tired and not noticing these things, or your new cleaners haven’t realised that when you ask for things not to be moved, you’re serious.’

She laughed at the latter. ‘Yes, well I am a perfectionist.’

‘I think that’s your problem. You’re putting too much pressure on yourself to be perfect. Does it really matter if your toothbrush is on the right hand side?’

‘Yes. It irritates me if it’s not. The thing is, I know where I put it the night before.’

‘Are you certain?’

‘Yes.’

‘Okay. There has to be an explanation to all this weirdness.’

‘I hope so because it’s stressing me out.’

‘Perhaps I can spend a weekend and observe. You might sleep walk. I could just be a second pair of eyes.’

‘That would be great. Very helpful in fact.’

‘Great, how about next weekend? Any good?’

‘Should be okay.’

‘Check your calendar.’

‘Yes okay.’ She laughed and searched for her mobile in her bag. She checked the calendar. ‘It looks free.’

‘Then put me down now! I’m surprised there’s room on your calendar.’

‘Yeah, me too, I was sure I was booked up for the month.’

‘Hmmm.’

‘You see. Losing it.’

‘Get some rest.’

She nodded. ‘Anyway, enough about me, how are you doing?’

‘I’m great. You know me, I have a pretty predictable life.’

‘But you love it. I see how happy you are. Especially teaching those children.’

‘Yes I do love it. I guess I’ll never get to fly in private jets or have fancy holidays. And I’ll probably work until I’m seventy or eighty before I get my pension.’

‘Oh, but you will be happy.’

‘Yes, that’s true. I’d just love to meet someone to share that happiness with.’

‘You will, in time.’

‘It’s easy for you to say. Look at you; you have men eating out of the palm of your hand.’

‘Oh please, it’s not as great as you think. You’re beautiful too, and you’ll find the person who is perfect for you, not a swarm of horny men trying to get lucky.’

‘That’s not Jacob though.’

‘Sometimes I feel as though he’s only with me for my looks.’

‘You don’t believe that.’

‘Sometimes I do.’

‘I don’t think he is.’

‘I still have my doubts, but let’s not talk about me again. Are you looking forward to Christmas?’

‘Yes, it’s the usual, home with my parents and Jamie. Are you spending it with your mum?’

‘Yes, I was thinking of taking her away this year. Just me and her.’

‘That sounds nice.’

‘Somewhere hot, get her away from this lousy weather.’

Mel laughed. They ordered another round of drinks, talked a lot more until Faith looked at the time.

‘Time for you to go?’ asked Mel.

‘I don’t want this to end, but I have meetings all morning tomorrow.’

‘I understand.’ She stood up.

Faith did the same, and they embraced.

‘Good to see you,’ said Faith.

‘Yes, and I’ll see you next weekend.’

‘Yes. We can make it a girly night.’

‘I look forward to it.’

They walked out of the bar and parted ways.

****

He staggered out of the hotel room and to the car park. Logan had no business getting behind the wheel, but he’d done it many times before, and he’d been fine. He slid into the black Audi sports car, and started the engine. He sped off into the night and joined the motor way to his destination. He’d been okay for a moment, his speed high, the car in front of him was moving a little too slow.

‘Get out of the way!’ He muttered and hooted as he passed the car in the middle lane. 

Logan zigzagged between traffic, annoyed that not everyone wanted to do his racing pace. He moved from the first lane and slid slimly between two cars and then zoomed into the fast lane. But he didn’t monitor his pace. The powerful machine overtook him and he underestimated the control he had. The Audi crashed into the barrier that separated the motorway traffic. The car flipped over, rolling a few times, missing a car and finally coming to a halt in the middle of the traffic. There were bright lights, on coming traffic crashed into each other and there were sounds of horns bleating, and smoke scurried into the dark sky. Logan shut out the sounds and lights. And soon all was peaceful.

****

There had been a horrible crash on the motorway in the opposite direction to where Faith was going. She shuddered as she saw the red, blue and yellow lights of the emergency services.

‘That doesn’t look good,’ said her driver.

‘No it doesn’t. I hope everyone survived.’

‘I bet it’s a drunk driver.’

‘Possible, just hope they survived. It looked like a nasty accident.’ She sat back and looked into the night.

Ten minutes later the car parked outside her luxurious home. She thanked the driver and stepped out. For some reason she couldn’t get the crash out of her mind. She could only imagine the families of those involved. She pulled the keys from her handbag and unlocked the door. The moment she was in, she keyed in the alarm code, but it had already been disabled. She panicked. Had she forgotten to put on the alarm before she’d left? She held her stomach a moment, she couldn’t remember.

In the darkness she leaned into the door. There was something about the whole evening that felt heavy. First the man who had rudely asked for sex, then the horrible accident and now she felt the heaviness in the house. She flicked the light.

‘What the fuck?’

It was a dim red colour. She’d never had red bulbs in her life.

‘Fuck.’ Panicked she fiddled for her mobile phone. This wasn’t her imagination. Something was definitely wrong.

Just as she was about to make the call a dark figure with a hoodie approached her.

‘Oh god! Please, somebody help me!’ She tried to go for the door handle, but the figure pulled her away by the hair and she fell to the ground. ‘What do you want, money? I can give you money. Please, don’t hurt me.’

He stepped to his left and picked up a petrol can.

‘Please, no, no…no!’

He started to throw fuel over her. There was a constant rattling as the intruder did so.

‘PLEASEEESSSS!’ She pushed back, Pleeeeasse.’

He threw the empty can to the side, pulled out a match box and lit the stick.

‘Oh god please.’

She saw her life flash before her as her body caught flames. She rolled, screamed as the pain consumed her. The man watched a moment, and then quickly turned around and picked up an extinguisher. She begged for her life, and finally, he extinguished the flames. She whimpered, the pain unbearable.

She couldn’t make out the voice, but she heard a whisper in the background.

‘I need an ambulance,’ said the intruder.

The address was given, and then phone went dead. The intruder picked up a red rose that had been placed on the coffee table and threw it beside her. The figure was out the door as if nothing happened, leaving her in unbearable pain.

Sirens where heard in the distance, but by then she’d passed out with shock.

‘Oh my god!’ The paramedic covered his mouth as he smelt the human flesh.

‘Is she still breathing?’ asked the other.

The woman leaned forward and heard the shallow breaths. ‘Okay let’s get her to the emergency now!’

They worked fast, it was critical to get her to the hospital as soon as possible. There was no time for thought of how or why. Her life, and skin depended on it…

****

‘Okay people let’s do this!’ The senior doctor shouted.

The major crash on the motorway had become a priority.

‘Patterson, I need you over here now!’ shouted the doctor.

She rushed over to the team of medics working on a man. He had a neck support, there was major swelling and bruising on his face, and had begun to seizure due to the cocaine in his blood.

‘Oh shit!’ She turned away and took a breather as soon as she realise the patient.

‘Doctor Patterson?’

She didn’t turn.

‘Doctor Patterson!’

She turned.

‘Is there a problem? Do you know this man?’

‘No, no problem and I don’t know this man.’

‘I need you focused! Let’s manage these seizures.’

She put on her doctor hat and worked quickly. The doctor asked the questions, and she delivered. She had to focus on the task at hand and forget about what had happened earlier that night.

When the seizures had calmed down, for a split second he opened his eyes and saw her.

‘You’re in the hospital, you had an accident.’ She told him.

He wanted to speak, but couldn’t. Everything was happening too fast, he didn’t know whether he was dead or alive, whether the woman speaking to him was real or a dream. He was certain he’d seen her face.


Page 5

‘Doctor Patterson, we need you over here!’ A doctor called as they wheeled in another patient.

Crystal looked at the head doctor.

‘Go!’ he said, and she rushed over to the next emergency.

‘Thirty four year old female with third degree burns to face, and upper body…’

The hospital was a commotion, people moved fast and tried to save the lives of those that had come to the emergency department. Each life had changed, but three lives had changed forever. Their lives had just been burnt to the ground just like that, and neither of them knew just how important they would be to each other from that point forth. Life had become real, it had become important, and two people had to survive the night to realise just how important that was!

Chapter Three

‘Oh honey, you’re awake,’ Ivy cried.

‘Mum?’

‘Yes honey.’

‘Where am I?’ Her throat felt dry.

‘You’re in the hospital baby.’ She sniffed.

‘Hospital?’ She couldn’t move. She tried to touch her face, but all she felt were rough bandages.

‘Do you remember what happened?’ She gazed at her daughter all bandaged. Only her eyes, nose and mouth were revealed.

Her mouth and nose were swollen, she could barely see out of her eyes. Her mother looked like a blurry screen.

‘No.’

‘Oh sweetie.’ It hurt her to know that someone could do this to her child.

‘What happened to me?’

‘You were burned honey. Someone set you alight.’

Bits and pieces of that night flashed before her. She panicked and her blood pressure fell. She remembered the smell, the pain, the whisper and then it was gone. Hospital staff rushed over to her and asked Ivy to move aside. It was awhile before they could stabilise her again.

‘She’s still in shock. It would be a good idea to keep her calm for the next few days. No questions or police. Just until she’s out of the woods,’ said Doctor Patterson.

‘Yes, yes absolutely.’ Ivy couldn’t lose her only child. It wasn’t normal for a child to go before her mother.

She sat with Faith for the next couple of hours. She prayed. She made sure she was comfortable. She sent the police away, just until she was okay. It had been a horrible couple of days, but soon, bit by bit, Faith began to get stronger.

****

The medical students did rounds with a doctor.

‘Patterson.’ The doctor nodded at her.

She looked at the man and smiled. ‘This is Logan Davenport. He suffered injury to the neck, arm and left leg during an accident. He was also high on cocaine when he arrived. So far his vitals are good, he has no injury to the spine, but will need to keep the neck brace on. He’ll also need therapy on his leg and arm,’ said Crystal.

‘We’ll move him to the recovery ward, he’s out of the woods now,’ said the doctor. ‘Do you have any questions, Mister Davenport?’

‘Could I have a word with Doctor Patterson, in private?’

The doctor looked at Crystal, she gave nothing. He nodded and led the group to the next patient.

‘You’ve been avoiding me,’ he said.

‘I’m at work. I’m not sure what you want from me.’

‘I need to ask you something.’

‘What’s that?’

‘Do the police have a right to see my medical records?’

‘You were under the influence of alcohol and drugs. It’s a criminal case.’

‘I could lose everything, everything I worked for.’

She was quiet.

‘You have to help me.’

‘I can’t do anything about it.’

‘You can change my records.’

‘Are you crazy? I’ll lose everything I’ve worked for if they find out.’

‘Now you know how I feel.’

‘No, that’s not the same.’ She tried to keep her voice down.

‘What will your boss think about your side business?’

‘You want to pull that one on me?’

‘I need your help.’

She took in a deep breath. It had never occurred to her that this would happen. What had been the chances?

‘I’ve got to go,’ she said.

‘Please.’

‘I have to go.’ She left him.

He lay in a panic, but it was short lived when Daryl and Owen stepped in.

‘Man!’ said Daryl.

‘Hey!’

‘What happened man? We’ve been here the past couple of days, but you were out of it.’

‘I know. Things went sour. I’m fucked up.’

‘Don’t sweat it. Your dad will sort it out.’

‘I don’t want him to. He’ll never let it go.’

‘So what? You’ll let them arrest you? You’ll lose your licence. You’ll never be a broker again.’

‘Don’t you think I don’t know that?’

‘Just saying.’

‘I have a plan.’

‘What’s that man?’

‘The doctor, she’ll help me out.’

‘What doctor?’

‘The one I picked up the night of the accident. I could tell her boss what she does.’

‘She could deny it.’

‘Well, it doesn’t look like she would.’

They studied him. It was going to be a long road to recovery.

‘Have the police contacted you yet?’

‘I believe they’ve been in, but I wasn’t awake to answer any of their questions.’

‘You better get ready, it’s not looking good,’ said Daryl.

‘You’re not helping.’

‘Well you need someone to tell you how it is.’

He turned away. He didn’t want to know that. He had his whole career ahead of him, but now it looked bleak. They trio chatted for a while longer. They tried to joke around, but things weren’t that funny anymore. They finally left him, alone, and with his thoughts. Life had taken a huge nose dive, and he wasn’t sure he’d be able to get out of it.

He was moved to the ward three days later. He would’ve loved to leave, but that wasn’t about to happen. There was still a lot of recovery. Friends and family came and left, but his life didn’t improve. His father had dealt with the police, keeping them away just until he was well enough to deal with it. He was grateful, but he knew that it wasn’t just going to disappear. He was lucky no one had lost their lives, but he knew there would be a price to pay for the damaged caused.

A week later, a woman was wheeled into the ward and placed on the bed not far from his. She was covered in bandages. She was quiet most of the times, and she had a visitor here and there, but nothing really happened more than that.

One Sunday afternoon a red head walked in with a large bouquet.

‘Hey, how are you doing?’ asked Mel.

‘Not to great,’ said Faith.

Logan, bored out of his mind listened in. He’d been doing that a lot lately.

‘I’m really sorry about all this.’

Faith was silent. She’d never been this helpless in her life.

‘He hasn’t come to see me yet.’ She was almost in tears. ‘Jacob, he hasn’t seen me yet.’

Mel took her bandaged hand.

‘What kind of boyfriend does that?’

‘Don’t stress about it. I’m sure he’ll come.’

‘You’d think he’d be the first one to be here.’ She sniffed. ‘But there’s no sign of him. I can’t call him, and he hasn’t called me.’

‘Would you like me to try him?’

‘If you don’t mind. It would be nice to see him.’

‘I’ll call him later today. Perhaps he’s just scared. I’m sure there’s some explanation.’

‘I’m not so sure. I don’t know what I’m going to do. Noah is trying his best to head the company, but without me there, things might just fall apart.’

‘Oh honey. Have more trust in your staff. It will be fine.’

She nodded, she wanted to believe that, but she felt down in the dumps, and she wasn’t sure she’d be able to push through.

‘Is there anything you need?’ Mel asked.

‘No.’

‘Are you sure?’

‘Yes.’

Mel was worried. She’d never seen her friend this low. The person who had done that horrible thing to her, deserved to die.

‘The police are coming to see me later.’

‘Are you ready for that?’

‘I’m not sure.’ She took a deep breath. ‘But I guess the person who did this, needs to pay for it.’

‘Yes they should. Do you want me to stay, support you while you talk to the police?’

‘I think I’ll be okay. You don’t have to do that.’

‘I’m not in a hurry anywhere.’

‘I’ll be fine.’ She tried to say bravely.

They chatted for a while longer; Logan continued to eaves drop, he had nothing better to do. Finally Mel said her goodbyes, and promised to visit the following day, and to contact Logan as soon as she got home.

The cops arrived an hour later. She felt worn out, but she was willing to give as much as she could. It would make her feel safer.

‘I’m sorry we have to do this here, but there wasn’t any other place.’

‘It’s fine.’

Again Logan’s ears perked up.

‘Do you remember the night of the incident?’

‘Vaguely.’

‘Tell us what you remember.’

‘I remember hearing rattling. That’s one thing that stands out. When he threw the…’ She took deep breaths. ‘Fuel on me, I heard rattling.’ She was quiet for a while. Bits and pieces flashed back into her mind. Her heart raced, she felt itchy all over. She wanted to free herself of the bandages, but she knew that wasn’t possible. ‘I remember arriving home from drinks with a friend. I unlocked the door to my house, stepped in about to disabled the alarm, but it had already been disabled. I flicked on the light and…’ She panted.

‘And what, Miss Hutton?’

She breathed heavier.

‘It’s okay, take your time.’ The woman cop placed a hand on her shoulder.

‘The light was red.’

‘Red?’

‘Yes, the house was a dark deep red. The person had changed my bulb, I’m sure of it.’ She took deep breaths.

‘Had you noticed anything odd before this?’

The question alerted her. All the odd little things that had happened made sense.

‘Yes, now I think about it.’

She told the police about how her toothbrush had been moved around, the rearrangement of clothes and shoes. She told them everything she could remember. The police took down the details. Faiths house had been searched through by forensics, but they had found no fingerprints out of the ordinary. All the prints belonged to the cleaner and people she knew. They’d ruled out the cleaning staff.

‘What happened after you turned on the light?’

‘He was standing there and staring at me.’

‘Did you see his face?’

‘No, I couldn’t, I was terrified.’

‘Was there anything out of the ordinary you noticed?’

She was quiet a moment. Her mind went back to the awful night, but she couldn’t recall all the details. She shook her head.

‘Okay, take your time. You might remember something later.’

She nodded.

‘Don’t worry we’ll catch the person who did this.’

‘I hope so,’ she said softly. Not that that would bring her life back. The person had destroyed her. He had got what he wanted.

The police finally left. Logan lay back and took a few breaths. It was a terrible thing that had happened to the woman beside him. The curtain that separated them opened. He took a moment to gaze at her, but she didn’t move. Instead she was dead silent. He wanted to say something, but he couldn’t, it wasn’t any of his business. The stay in hospital was driving him crazy.

Later that day Doctor Patterson did rounds and checked on her patients. She checked Faith first. She seemed fine, and she was making progress externally, but she was worried about her mental well being. Faith barely said a word.

‘How are you feeling today?’ she tried to make small talk.

‘The same as yesterday.’

‘And how did you feel yesterday?’

‘Miserable.’

‘You’re doing well, don’t give up hope.’

‘I did that the day my body was burned. How can I not give up hope?’ She felt bitter.

‘I understand.’

‘Do you? I don’t think you do. You don’t understand, so please don’t say you do.’

‘Okay, I don’t. Perhaps I could send one of our counsellors to help you through this.’

‘I can’t.’

‘It will help.’

‘Not right now!’ she snapped.

‘Okay, perhaps with time.’

Faith was silent.

‘A senior consultant will come and see you later today, see how everything’s going.’

Faith nodded. There wasn’t more she could do. Her life had become an event of drugs, prodding by doctors and tears. It was hopeless and horrible and she didn’t want to exist anymore.

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