‘He . . .’ Her mum crashed on to the bed. ‘Have you somewhere you can go?’ She said quietly, defeated.
It was impossible to ignore the pain reverberating around her stomach. Laura chucked Tufty into her rucksack. She wanted to get as far away from this house as possible. Then, and only then, could she figure out what to do next.
‘Where will you live?’
‘A refuge at first then I’ll figure out what to do. Come with me, and you can be free of him too,’ Laura said.
She wanted her mum to hold her and say everything would be okay. More than anything, Laura wanted her mum to go with her. It wasn’t going to happen though. She stopped trying to convince Laura to stay, but she wasn’t going with her. Not this time, perhaps not ever.
‘I’ll send you the address when I get there,’ Laura said.
She opened the box for the first time with Martin. It was empty apart from a white feather and her mother’s note. In God’s gentle grace, heaven will protect your little boy. Take this box and keep your precious things safe like I have mine.
Laura remembered her little boy; at only three pounds he stood no chance.
When they realised there was no hope and he wouldn’t survive the day, the nurses had suggested Laura hold him. Without all the drips and wires, which kept him alive, they could say goodbye properly.
She was too scared at first. This tiny creature, who would soon die, was her child. He was pure perfection. Martin scooped him up first and handed their tiny son over.
When there was nothing more to give, Martin took Michael back. He walked over to the window, where the first few flakes of snow fell to the frost covered ground. It was there, in his real dad’s arms, her first born had died.
JANUARY 12th, 2014
The perfect wife. The perfect mum.
She was neither in her eyes.
Her life split into two halves of a puzzle, which could never be a whole, no matter how hard she tried to make them fit. She hadn’t regretted confronting Elizabeth. She had expected Thomas to lay into her again, but instead he had done something far worse. Something he hadn’t done since his mother had died.
He hadn’t raped her – didn’t need to, but his control in the bedroom was far worse than any beating she could receive. Was the price for him to stay far worse than the consequences of his departure?
Nothing was certain now, but she had to show her loyalty in order for him to stay.
However, that arrangement went both ways. If he wanted to take control, then she had to take some back. Laura and Tabitha had to be in her life. If Thomas didn’t like it, then that was too bad.
Martha applied her make-up on at home first thing in the morning. She checked if it still covered her face when she ate lunch, before she sent a text to Laura to meet up at the library Would love to meet up Laura. I’m changing my books this afternoon; do you want to meet at the library for a cuppa and a chat? No more than an hour later, she received a text back. Will one o’clock be okay, that’s when I finish work. Her final text simply read See you then, Mum xxx
Before she entered the library, Martha checked her make-up again. Nothing but beige returned her gaze. A tentative step inside, She walked over to the reception. Laura waved, and pointed to the leather sofa in the corner.
It wasn’t very busy, but Martha preferred it that way. Her mobile was checked again. It was one fifteen. If Laura didn’t finish soon, there wouldn’t be any time spent with her at all.
‘Mum, sorry for the wait – I got us a cup of tea and cake each.’
She went to get up but felt her legs warp in the middle. They were still sore. It would be a while before Martha could be back to semi-normal. ‘This weather always makes my bones creak.’