The Honest Truth of It

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I didn’t realise until it was too late how forcefully I had gripped his hand. He didn’t try to prise himself away. Instead, he squeezed back, his large, weathered hand tight around my small, soft one. Samantha Drennan has lost her grip on herself, but to understand it, she has to take herself - and her neighbours, Holly and Alexander - back through her deteriorating mind. However, the trigger for her deterioration isn't the only thing she discovers. After flying through more than two months of her life, her attention caught inward, she finds more than she bargained for when she looks outward. The question is this: is understanding and knowledge enough to save a tormented Samantha?

Drama / Romance
Sarah-Anne Dexter
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

Where did she come from?

West Lothian.

That’s not what I meant.

I knew that. But they just asked her and she said West Lothian.

I meant, where did she enter my train wreck of a life?

Ticket hut.

Shut it.

That voice always was so insolent, and I didn’t need it at that moment in time.

“And where will be your home address? This is all just so we know who made the decision to contact us.”

She reeled off an address with a Kirkwall postcode, and she walked them out. I made a mental note to throttle her for calling them in the first place.

“Are you okay?”

I looked up. There he sat in an armchair, at two in the morning, asking if I was okay. That was the only reason I couldn’t lie to him, otherwise he would have received the standard excuse of tiredness and a wish to go to bed.


He got down on his knees before me, took my hands into his…why was he being so kind when I was nothing short of disruptive?

You’re an idiot. This is why you ought not to be here, you know.

I think he would disagree.

He pushed my hair behind my ear, rested his hand upon my cheek, and searched my face with such intensity that, this time, he might actually find what he was looking for: the answer. It was an answer his whole family had been in search of for months now, and I could never fathom why they bothered.

I had once, a little bit drunk, rhetorically asked his son, “Oh, who gives a damn what happens to me, anyway?”

His son’s reply? “Everyone in my house.”

I searched his face as deeply as he searched mine, like there was any hope of finding the solution in him.

He can see it. Why hasn’t he walked out?

He cares.

Why on Earth-

He just does. So does she. You’re just going to have to accept that.

Oh, haud yer wheesht!

I didn’t realise until it was too late how forcefully I had gripped his hand. He didn’t try to prise himself away. Instead, he squeezed back, his large, weathered hand tight around my small, soft one.

The door opened and closed, and she was back. She sat in the dining chair next to me, her husband still kneeling between us.

This is stupid. What are they doing?

You’re as good as a-

Don’t even go there.

Look at her.


“What the hell were you thinking?” I demanded of her. “Bringing the police in here?”

“I was frightened you were going to die.”

Look at her.


Her eyes.

What about them?

I looked, only to find the brightest, most incisive blue staring back at me. “I thought you were going to die,” she whispered.

He looked up at his wife, silently trying to comfort her with only his gaze, as only he knew how to do. He held his hand still to my face, a thumb near my eye and his fingers in my hair.

Say it.

What? No!



“I hoped I was going to die.”

He took my face in both his hands. She took my wrist and hand in both of hers.

“We know.”

Of course. They always did; in fairness, though, this was not my first attempt. She had seen my collapse after a previous attempt. She had sent her son after me to the hospital with strict orders – he was not to take me home until I was cleared by a doctor to go home. She had forced her son to drive for hours to keep me safe.

She, Holly Fawcett, was so determined to keep me alive, and I could not understand why she cared at all. Her husband wasn’t far behind her, either.

Why aren’t you cowering from him?



He’s not exactly the Hulk…

You’ve not noticed you don’t care about your personal space with him? Or the boys?

No, you did flinch from Alexander once.

Once. But he’s touching your face right now and you’re not pulling back. Why is it you trust him?

My hand drifted up to his; though his hands were rough and battered by years of hard work and age, they were gentle. He was a gentle man. He certainly looked a little wild, but only to those who’d never had a conversation with him. There was no intellectual reason to be afraid of him.

“Do you forgive Holly?”

I turned my stare at her. She was by far the kindest woman I’d ever known. She did not do this out of malice; no matter how angry I ever became with her, I could never believe she would do anything to deliberately harm me.

Forgive Holly? Does Holly forgive me?

You know she does.

I wouldn’t count on it.

Be real. It’s Holly.

She’s still angry with Douglas.

Not angry enough that she’s not checking on him.

“Think back, Samantha. When did you start going downhill so fast?”

The question caught me by surprise.

Why’s she asking that?

She wants to understand it. Just go back through the past few months. You’ll find it.

Find what?

The moment that triggered all this.

You already know.

You need to find it for yourself.

“Shut up!” I shouted aloud.

“Nobody’s saying anything, Samantha,” Alexander Fawcett reminded me.


“Speak to us,” Holly implored me, clutching tight at my hand. “Just tell us.”

You know what day you turned. Holly had to take you back to the house. You could barely walk.

You mean that day after I fainted?


What? Surely you don’t mean it was-



“What about her?” asked Alexander.

“I think she triggered it.”

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