Elliott stood outside the door that he had been directed to. The entire way to the hospital all he had been concerned about was making sure Lorelei was alright – as much as could be expected. But now he was here he felt nervous. He was used to seeing her looking upset, or scared, but he wasn’t sure how he would handle seeing her lying in a hospital bed just a few hours after nearly dying.
He gripped the doorknob in his hand and took a deep breath before turning it and gently pushing the door open. As he peeked round the door he was almost slapped in the face by the brightness of the room. Almost every single item in there was white, except the walls. They were painted a shade of pale yellow. He wondered if there was any psychology behind it: put a suicidal person in a room painted a cheery colour and hope it improves their mood. Somehow he didn’t think that would work if it was their intention. His eyes glanced around and almost immediately his eyes locked with hers. A weak smile broke out on her face, but the look of appreciation was overwhelming. He suddenly realised just how alone she had been the last few years.
“Hi.” He said gently.
“How did you know I was here?” She asked without greeting him. He walked over to the bed and sat in the overstuffed armchair by the bed.
“Daniel called me. His... mum told him.”
Lorelei pursed her lips and nodded once.
“I think I broke every single speed limit driving here.” She said nothing and the pair sat in silence for a few moments. Elliott frantically tried to think of something appropriate to say but having never been in this position before he wasn’t sure what counted as ‘appropriate’. As his eyes scanned her face he could practically feel the pain radiating from her, but at the same time there was a faint feeling of resolve. He couldn’t help himself, he had to ask.
“What happened, Lor?”
“Years and years of emotional damage.” She said with a sigh. He waited.
“When I left yours there was nowhere else for me to go but home, as much as I didn’t want to go there. As soon as I stepped through the door I knew it was a bad move. He went for me.” She paused and he could see that she was choking back tears. Again, he waited. “Afterwards I was a wreck. It was like everything that had happened over the last few years was pressing onto me and the only way of freeing myself was to just end it all. Sam brought me here; I guess he has emotions other than rage after all.
“There was this nurse. As soon as she saw me once I’d come round she knew there was friction between Sam and me, and she managed to get him out of the room so she could talk to me. It all came out. She was amazing; I could talk to her without being judged.” Elliott opened his mouth to speak but Lorelei held up a hand to silence him. “Elliott, please understand that I am so grateful for all you’ve done but I’ve felt like I’ve had to hold back with you. Yes, I know that staying with someone who behaves like he does is stupid, but you don’t know it feels. It is so easy to say ‘just leave him’, but it’s far more difficult in practice. He had completely isolated me from everyone who had ever cared about me. I had no friends left, except you, and all my family were far away so it was easy to lie to them and tell them everything was alright. He made me feel like the most worthless person on the planet, like everything that he would do to me was all my fault. I honestly believed that I couldn’t
“The nurse – Lauren – asked me what I wanted to do. She told me that if I wanted to then I could press charges against him. At that moment I just wanted him away from me so I said I did, and she called the police and they arrested him.”
“Well, that’s great... right?” His initial thought was that this was good news but when he saw the doubt on her face he wasn’t sure.
“I guess. It doesn’t really solve anything though, does it? To be perfectly honest I think I’ll drop the charges.”
“Why?!” He asked in surprise.
“Because for one thing it probably won’t even go anywhere; it’s my word against his, there’s no evidence to prove the things he’s done. And secondly because I just want to be rid of him as soon as possible, but if I pursue this then he’ll still be in my life until it’s over and who knows how long that will take?”
“But, you’re having his baby. That’s the biggest tie you could ever have to him.” As soon as the words left his lips her face changed, and at that moment he knew why. “Shit. I’m so sorry Lor. I should have made the connection, I... sorry I brought it up.”
“It’s ok... This might sound awful but... in a way I’m glad. I’m in no shape to bring a child up and most certainly not with him
. It makes things easier.”
“If you’re going to drop the charges what are you going to do about living here, in this town? You’re bound to bump into him sometimes.”
“I know that. Which is why I’m moving.”
Elliott felt his heart sink into the pit of his stomach.
“I’m going back to live with my parents, they’re on their way down here to collect me now.”
She obviously saw the surprise and sadness that Elliott was feeling, and took his hand.
“I’ll really miss you, Elliott. You’re the only person I could count on through this whole horrible ordeal. I also wanted to say, I’m really sorry for... making a pass you. That was a stupid thing to do and wasn’t fair. I’d really just like to forget it.”
He waved a hand in which he hoped was a nonchalant manner and said,
“It’s forgotten. Do you need any help with packing your stuff? I am more than happy to go to the house and pick it up. Maybe break something valuable of his whilst I’m there?”
For the first time since he’d arrived Lorelei gave him a smile which reached her eyes.
“Nah, I’ve got it sorted. And I think my mum has snagged breaking duty. You’ll come and visit me up there, won’t you? It’s only two hours away.”
“Of course I will. I just can’t believe you’re moving.” He stopped talking and looked at his hands. “I think it’s for the best though. Hopefully it will give you the chance at a fresh start.”
“That’s what I’m hoping.”