‘Are there any witnesses to this?’
‘The restaurant, busy, there must have been.’
‘Will you be able to come into the station to make a statement, Miss Lacy?’
Elizabeth looked to the now empty glass but couldn’t get to her feet. ‘I can’t not right now.’
‘When will be a convenient time?’
Pushed away, the glass fell to the floor. As it shattered across the carpet, Elizabeth watched her dreams go with it. She couldn’t force her body out of the chair, let alone walk down to the station. They wouldn’t listen to her anyway. Thomas was right – there was nothing worse than a woman inebriated with drink.
‘I’m not sure.’
‘Or we could come to you if you prefer?’
‘No! I’ll come in tomorrow – I’ve a hospital appointment this afternoon.’
It was all she could think of at such short notice. The call ended, she ignored the phone’s trill, as the police rang her back. This wasn’t the time to talk to them. It was easy to let her eyes close and slip into oblivion.
She couldn’t picture Thomas in her dreams, just blackness.
Hours later the room was in darkness. Her head throbbed, and body ached, but Elizabeth dragged herself out of the chair and into the kitchen. Headache tablets were strewn across the worktop. Eight or more of these pills would do her some serious harm. Yet how could she think of killing herself when she was the only one to stand up for Thomas?
‘Pull yourself together,’ Elizabeth said, repeating it until she understood the gravity of the situation. ‘Now isn’t the time to feel sorry for yourself, girl.’ She was aware of how much she sounded like her mother but didn’t care.
The coffee hauled out of the cupboard, Elizabeth made a large pot, sat at the table, and drank it down until she could feel normality grip again. This time she read the article in full, thinking about what she could tell the police.
Not that there was much to tell without being there when it happened. Martha was the only person, who could replay that moment, to know if Thomas suffered. In the article it said he was killed instantly – at least there was a crumb of comfort in that. Every detail was written down on a notepad. Nothing could be forgotten.
Elizabeth wrote down everything that happened at the restaurant. Some memories were full of fog, but she thought of Thomas and engraved between the lines. Each missing link was filled until she was satisfied there was nothing more to be done.
The rest of the whisky poured away, and tablets hid in her medicine cabinet, she turned to her own appearance. A bath and a change of clothes was needed before she was ready to visit the station. She would make Thomas proud.
It was the only way her statement would be believed.
As she recalled the events leading up to Thomas’s demise, Elizabeth felt like weights were being hung around her body. ‘She threatened me and Thomas, said that she would kill us. If it weren’t for his quick thinking, I’m sure she would have done it. I was afraid for my life and didn’t want Thomas going home with her.’
‘How did Mrs Whitman seem to you on that day?’
‘She was angry, so very angry.’
Once she made and signed her statement, Elizabeth was back home. She wandered from room to room and picked up items that Thomas had left behind from Christmas. His blue toothbrush lay in a glass cup, along with his favourite toothpaste.
Elizabeth sat on the edge of her bed and held a pillow to her face. Bedsheets were still crushed from their last encounter. For the last few weeks, she slept in the chair at home. The pillow slip tugged off she did the same to the rest of the bed. Thomas’s memory couldn’t be sullied with dirty sheets.