‘What’s wrong?’ Laura blinked, not wanting the answer, but knowing it before he spoke. He carefully took each step towards her, as if thinking of what to say. His arms protected her almost at once, ‘It’s your mum … she’s round Theresa’s now.’
‘I’ll kill him!’ Laura wanted to scream, but it wasn’t fair to Tabitha.
‘She’s in a pretty bad way but point-blank refuses to go to hospital. Theresa thinks you might be able to persuade her to go.’
‘I’ll try,’ Laura edged out of bed and quickly got dressed, throwing on anything just to get out of the room.
‘I could go, you look all done in.’
‘She’s my mum, it has to be me. If Tabitha wakes up, she’ll want you anyway,’ Laura said.
Her mum’s appearance shocked even Laura. She was asleep in bed, her face a mass of purple bruises and lumps. An insignificant frame held together with only the bedcovers to shield her.
She stumbled over to the bed, raised her hands to her mouth. Hovered in between her mum, and Theresa, Laura rushed out of the room. Soon followed, they faced each other in the darkness.
‘I’ll kill him!’ Laura said, slapping the wall, causing the door to tremble on its hinges.
‘You need to calm down love.’
‘Why? Because Mum will wake up. Well I want her too. How many times do we have to put up with this nonsense? Do you know how often I was woken up to stifled screams and furniture crashing?’ Laura asked, and paced the floor. Up and down the threadbare carpet multiple times before she resumed her wide stance. ‘How many times will this happen before we do something about it?’
‘Laura I’m angry too, but it solves nothing.’
‘Why are you so calm all the time? Mum’s in there and her face . . .’
‘At least she had the common sense to escape this time.’
Her mum’s unsteady breathing brought her back in the room. Laura wanted to call for an ambulance, but excuses would be made.