Laura Ch. 05byshandal©
A romantic thriller, with a twist, this story is about Chris and Laura and the ups and downs of their love.
It has a small amount of violent domestic cruelty, but I hope done in a tasteful and thoughtful way.
Can Laura escape her marriage and start a life with Chris? Read on and find out.
The weekend came and went; Laura divided her time between the hospice where Mrs J had been moved to on Friday, and Robert who seemed to be in a good mood, treating her in a way she'd almost forgotten he knew how to do.
Going for a walk together, he talked about going away on holiday, and holding her un-bandaged hand in his, they strolled along, looking like any other young married couple.
As they sat down by the side of the river that ran close to the park, watching some children feeding swans and ducks he seemed to be deep in thought. After a while still looking at the children he moved her hand into both of his in his lap and said, "I know I've always said I didn't want children, but you know I have been thinking, and maybe the time is right." and turning his head he looked at her, "You could leave your job, the money doesn't really make much difference to us, and having a child would give you something to devote your time to."
"I like my job."
"You'll like having a baby. Besides you always said you wanted children when we first married."
"Yes." but in her heart she knew having a child with him would isolate her even more. No point arguing about it, he would just get angry. She was going to leave. Let him think she was agreeable.
So they sat there as he talked about his plans for the future, and she listened. Just as she always did.
Trisha sat on the big overstuffed chair in her flat, mobile phone in her hand, tapping in the text message she was going to send to Chris. She had changed the wording a couple of times now. Wanting to make him worry, without getting him too angry at her. Better to be ambiguous. Taking another bite of the apple in her hand, and putting it down on the side of the chair, she went back to the text message.
'Does her husband know how friendly you are? Funny how it turned out to be that boring shit that brought us together.'
Laughing to herself, she pressed send. That should make him think.
He felt his mobile buzzing in the back pocket of his jeans telling him a text had been sent to him. Removing the phone he looked at the screen, seeing it was from Trish and a deep frown formed between his eyes as he re-read the text a couple of times, trying to make out the real meaning behind the text. He had deliberately avoided Trish lately as he felt it wrong to string her along. She had seemed to want more from him than he was willing to give, and he felt bad about sleeping with her, especially that last time. Although they were both consenting adults, he just felt uneasy for some reason about carrying on with the relationship. He should never have made love to her that second time. She had seemed to think that it was a sign that they were together.
What did she mean 'does her husband know that they were friends?' Unless Laura had told him, he didn't think so. Why would Trish care if he knew anyway?
He put the phone back in his pocket and picking up the remote control turned on the TV to settle back and relax to watch the football game, putting the text to the back of his mind.
Monday morning as she alighted from the bus near the Hospice she saw him. A frown appeared on her face, what should she do? If she ignored him she knew he would follow her and demand to know why she was not stopping to talk to him.
But he shouldn't have come to meet her here. He was complicating things for her.
As she approached where he stood next to his bike at the side of the road she thought of what she would say to him Not seeing him each day just for the small time they spent together, talking and laughing would be a real loss, a small time of being carefree in a life filled with fear and hurt, but if Robert ever found out, the problems and pain it would bring would be too much. Better to stop this now, soon she would be gone anyway and he would be a sweet memory. Someone who had been a pool of sunlight during a bad time in her life.
Chris could see by her solemn face something was wrong. Folding his arms in a defensive stance he waited for her to reach him. As she came closer he could see the worry in her lovely green eyes, her mouth pinched and tight.
"Hi, want to tell me what's wrong now?" he could see she was uncomfortable, she was looking down at her feet, the road, people around them, anywhere but at his face.
"Chris please can you stop meeting me at work."
"Why? I thought we were friends."
Pulling her jacket more tightly around her and looking towards the road she said softly, "But you want to be more than friends, and I'm married. My husband would be livid if he found out. So please can you just stop this."
"Your husband?" and grabbing her arms he looked down at her "What about us?"
"There is no us."
He felt as if she had slapped him. "Are you telling me you don't want me to see you at all anymore?"
"Yes, it would be better." She moved a step back and shrugged off his hands, "for both of us."
And walking past him went through the gate of the Hospice grounds and ran up the path to disappear behind the trees and bushes, out of his sight.
Stunned he stood there not sure what to do. The last few months he had felt like he was on a rollercoaster running out of control. His feelings had become intense but now he realised that the bond he felt was all one sided. He had become almost a stalker to the woman he loved. Wanting to see her may have made her life more difficult. She had never encouraged him, but his need had led him to push for more than she could give.
So what should he do now?
Heart beating Laura removed her jacket and hung it up in the office, and turning to Rhiannon, the Hospice Manager smiled and asking how the weekend had been.
Focusing on her work and her patients would be the best way to forget the mess her life had become, and walking into the lovely bright room where Mrs Jackson had been placed she looked across towards the bed and a feeling of dread descended on her.
Looking down at the figure in the bed, breathing laboured, sunken eyes closed, body so still, she sank down on the chair beside the woman now laying there in a coma, and knew the waiting time had begun.
Beads of sweat dribbled down the smooth indent in his back, making his tee shirt cling to his body, and then carry on down to below the waistband of his jeans. Locks of wet hair clung to his forehead and neck, curling and glossy black in its dampness. Muscles strained as he pushed himself, as if hard work could wipe away this morning's memory.
The voices of his workmates as they wired up the electrics behind him droned on, but he wasn't listening. He was lost in the misery in his head. He had pushed too hard, and he had promised himself he wouldn't. But the temptation was too much and now like a love sick fool he was left back in a void. But now it would be so much worse. Now he knew her, now he had so much more that he had lost.
With each loud explosion of the hammer as it hit home, so his head pounded, and when he closed his eyes he could see her as she ran away from him disappearing behind the trees and bushes, out of his life.
Where the hell was she now? He had arrived home to an empty house, no sign of the bitch.
What little patience he had ran out after an hour of waiting, pacing around the downstairs of the house, anger rising like a wave in his stomach. The deal he was working on had fallen through and his fragile ego was badly damaged, the tide of inadequacy washing over him, and the need to lash out, to get relief rising with every deep breath he took.
Grabbing his jacket and car keys he slammed through the front door, and into his car. "The little cow was spending too much time lately with that dying old hag." And putting the car in gear he reversed out the driveway and headed for the Hospice.
The young nurse first heard the noise as she stood by the medicine cart; a man's loud voice rang out through the usually peaceful and tranquil downstairs area. Quickly she locked down the cart and went to where the sound was coming from. A man stood, leaning in towards Rhiannon, crowding her into the corridor wall, his voice raised and angry, his body language threatening, loudly demanding to see his wife. Shaking her head and trying to placate the man, Rhiannon spoke quietly and calmly, but the man's demeanour seemed to tighten with every passing minute.
Turning on her heel, the nurse ran to the office at the end of the hall and picking up the phone dialled the police. Leaning across to the right so she could see through the door and down towards the unfolding scene she spoke on the phone, explaining to the operator what was occurring and giving the address.
Robert snarled at the woman in front of him, her dark brown eyes staring clear and calm into his hot angry eyes,"Is she fucking here or not? I'm asking you one last time. Where the fuck is she, where is the little cow." and with a quick twist of his body he stalked down the corridor towards the office where the nurse stood talking on the phone, and then turned left into the spacious day room with its large plants, comfy chairs and large bright airy windows.
Startled patients and visitors turned towards the door as it banged open and the angry man stood looking around, eyes moving from small group to small group searching for his prey. With a snarl he turned abruptly and half striding half running followed the corridor to the next door and opening it looked into an empty office filled with a desk and filing cabinets.
A blind rage had settled over him, and quite unusually he was showing it in public. Normally Robert showed the outside world a charming and controlled image, playing a role that he knew would manipulate and manage the people around him. All his life he had felt this need for the satisfaction of control. Unable to deal with anxiety and any feelings of insecurity or inadequacy, the outlet of the inner rage he felt had always been targeted towards the women in his life. But slowly the mask was slipping, the rage building, and the feelings of injustice becoming stronger.
Spotting the stairs leading up to the next floor he ran up, taking two steps at a time, and turning left ran up to the open door leading to a small two bed room where Laura sat beside Mrs Jackson's supine body, holding her hand and whispering words of comfort as the old woman moved closer to her final breath.
Spotting his wife with her back to him, Robert stalked up to her, past the curious looks of the other visitor sitting beside the patient in the other bed, grabbing her arm pulled her up, and started to drag a startled Laura after him, causing her to fall to the ground as her feet failed to turn around fast enough to follow him.
"Get up you cow." And with a hard yank on her arm, he pulled her back up and continued to haul the frightened and embarrassed female after him.
"Robert please stop, wait, my bag." She stammered, looking back towards the bed where she had been sitting on the now overturned chair, her bag on the floor, the body in the bed laying quietly. Tears started to flow, and the dark cloud of humiliation and sadness swept through her body as she saw the horrified eyes of the people watching the scene unfold in front of them.
"Get your fucking bag and get your arse in gear." Letting go of her arm he turned and stood hands on hips, watching her as she scampered back towards the bed, bending over to pick up the chair and her bag, and then over the woman in the bed to give her a kiss on her cheek and whisper to her "I'll be back tomorrow, I promise, hold on."
"Don't make a fucking meal of it. One of these days I'll fucking kill you, you stupid cow." And grabbing her wrist started to leave the room, pushing past the nurse and the Hospice Manager standing there watching with growing horror what was happening to their colleague.
Glancing at each other Rhiannon and the nurse followed Laura and her husband down the stairs as he pulled her behind him, never letting go of her wrist. Not sure what to do next, the two concerned co-workers followed, praying the police would arrive before the couple left. Both had seen the bruises over the years and guessed that Laura's home life was difficult, but talking with her about it had been rebuffed, and they had respected her privacy, whilst still being concerned and supportive. But now it was in front of them in all its ugliness and immediacy. As they reached the bottom of the stairs and started to walk towards the main door there was a buzzing of the front bell, and all four of the group, the two members of staff standing behind Laura and Robert, came to an abrupt halt.
"Excuse me." as the Hospice Manager calmly brushed past the now still couple, the woman looking flushed and distressed, the man with a scowl on his face. Walking to the door and opening it to find two young policeman standing there waiting, she drew a deep breath of relief.
"Good evening, I believe you called to report an incident?" the slim and taller of the two men enquired, looking behind Rhiannon towards the couple standing there, and noticing the man holding the woman's wrist, and the look of distress on her face he addressed Robert.
"Good evening Sir, do you mind if we come in and have a small chat." and both the Policemen stepped into the hallway and turning to Rhiannon one of them asked if there were a couple of rooms they could use for privacy. Pointing to the two offices, one that the original phone call was made in, and the office that Robert had first entered looking for Laura, "Yes please use these. You will have complete privacy in them." Rhiannon said, a serious look of concern on her face as she turned back towards Laura who now stood head bowed, shoulders hunched, her demeanour cowered.
The Policeman enquired quietly if Laura was alright, and on getting a nod of her head, gently ushered her into one of the offices. Meanwhile Robert was led politely to the other by the bearded copper who had yet to speak.
Gesturing for Laura to sit down at the chair in front of the desk, and then perching on the edge of the desk the constable introduced himself as PC Michael Noble, "Mick to my friends," and smiling softly asked Laura her name.
"Well Laura could you tell me who the man you were with is, and if you are OK?"
In a quiet voice, looking down at her lap, her cheeks red with embarrassment, "Robert is my husband."
"Are you hurt anywhere?"
"OK, what was the argument about?"
"I'm late home. I didn't call to let him know?"
"Does he get angry with you a lot if you don't let him know where you are?"
"He worries about me"
"Hmmnn....... and does he lose his temper with you a lot?"
"Only when things build up at work. He's under a lot of pressure." and Laura looked up, pleading eyes fixed at the young policeman's face "Please I don't want to make a fuss."
"Laura, is this something that is happening a lot? Do you have a court order out against him at present?"
A small shake of her bowed head, and Mick lowered his voice to a gentle pitch.
"If it is and you need help I can point you in the right direction. There are people who can help. Do want to press charges?"
"Please I just want to go home."
"Are you sure you are alright, and that you want to go home?"
Another nod of the head.
"OK, but I'll have a quick word with your husband first, and I want you to take this number and call it if you need help." Picking up a pen and paper he wrote down the number for the helpline.
Mick had seen a lot of domestic incidents in his three years in the force. He knew that the victims often didn't make the break until over thirty five separate attacks, some of them involving broken bones, and hospital treatment. The women were just too scared to make the break, and although he felt something deeper was occurring here than just a general domestic, his hands were tied unless the distressed woman in front of him admitted to him and made a statement that her husband was causing real physical harm. But on the face of it this call would just be a check that all is alright and a small warning to the husband, and then a logging of the call.
Asking Laura to wait in the office, Mick walked down the hall, stopping off to talk to the two women who stood there, asking what they had witnessed. After a quick chat, and noting that the more senior of the two woman mentioned seeing bruises and marks on Laura in the past, and the threat in front of them all that he would kill her, he carried on to the other office where his partner John was waiting with the husband.
Robert was standing chatting with the other policeman, all charm and bonhomie, working the man who stood before him, man to man.
"Hello Sir. Can you tell me what just occurred?"
Smiling at the policeman that had entered and realising that the best action would be to admit that he had lost his temper a bit, but was sorry and was calm now he started to explain.
"Look I'm sorry, I lost my rag, and I know it was wrong. I just had a bad day at work and came home and when my wife was not there I started to worry. She's normally very punctual, and then as time went on I really started to worry. You know how it is out there, dangerous, and I guess I just got a little too worked up worrying and over reacted when I found her. It won't happen again."
"Well sir I hope it won't, and I must warn you that this incident will be logged, and I don't want to be called out to you both later on tonight. Now you have found your wife I hope you will go home and are a little more restrained."
"Yes of course, now I know she is safe. You know how it is, a man worries about his woman and that she is safe, and as I said, I just over reacted. Won't happen again."
"Good. By the way how did you get here tonight Sir, was it by car?"
"Yes, I'm parked out in front."
"Have you been drinking at all tonight Sir?"
"Just the one at home."
Mick looked Robert in the eyes for a long pause, assessing if the man in front of him was now calm and contained. He seemed contrite, and sincere, but Mick knew appearances could be deceptive.
"Stay here and I'll go and get your wife." and he went back to where Laura now sat, Rhiannon and the nurse fussing around her.
"Laura, are you sure you're alright? How do you feel? "
"Yes, I'm fine, I just want to go home." and getting up she followed the policeman down the hall and to where Robert stood.
The silence in the car was heavy with threat, and as she sat there unable to stop the quivering muscles and feeling of dread that ran through her body, they drove home, Robert for once sticking to under the speed limit, his teeth clenched, his eyes glancing in the rear mirror as he watched the police car trailing them until suddenly it peeled off down a side road leaving them five minutes from home.
"Bitch, you fucking bitch. Embarrassing me like that!" keeping his eyes on the road in front he continued, "You spend enough time with that old crone, I expect you to be there when I get home." Looking sideways at the cowering woman beside him, "I expect you to act like a wife. Food on the table, sex in the bed. But you can't get either right you stupid cow."
As they pulled up and stopped in the driveway he turned to her. "You are going to give up the job, have the kid, and take care of me. When you go in tomorrow give your damn notice. I want you here where I know where you are. Not off somewhere looking after other people. I'm your husband and I expect you here. Do you understand?"