DONNA HAD BEEN AWAKE A LONG TIME, WHEN SHE HEARD BLAKE MOVING ABOUT IN THEIR BEDROOM. Maybe he’d woke early too, and before long, there was a knock at the bedroom door. He popped his head round the door, an uncomfortable, embarrassed look on his face. Obviously having trouble dealing with the situation.
‘What is it, Blake?’
On entering the room still wearing his dressing gown, he blushed. ‘I wanted to apologise over how I acted last night.’
‘Oh,’ she whispered, trying hard to stop her feelings from getting the better of her ‘It doesn’t matter.’
‘But it does. I was totally out of order. It was inexcusable.’ He said coming over to sit on the bed.
‘I’m sorry, but I can’t sleep with you right now.’
His eyes filled with tears and he looked to the ground. ‘Ok. I can live with that.... I was just making breakfast. Do you want some?’
Raising her eyebrows at him, she pushed herself slowly up to a sitting position. ‘No thanks. I’m not hungry. Now if you’re finished, I’d like to get dressed.’
He moved out of the way, holding up his hands, and disappeared, probably to the kitchen, thinking about his stomach as usual.
She didn’t do much that morning, except to keep the television switched on, but her mind was somewhere else.
Blake read a book until mid-afternoon, when he suddenly put it to one side, got up and walked to the hall, then came back wearing his denim jacket.
‘Thought I’d go shopping. Do you want to come?’
‘What - looking like this? You’ve got to be joking, haven’t you?’
‘Ok, suit yourself - see you later then.’ And with that off he went.
Donna felt insecure again, and couldn’t believe he’d leave her alone in the flat. She scampered to the window, saw him get into his car, and drive off without even glancing back. She bit her lip and burst into tears.
Her head ached so much she took two aspirins and lay down in the spare bedroom. In the vain hope of ridding herself of her headache, she closed her eyes and hoped to drop off to sleep; but also wished Blake would hurry back.
Just as she was dozing, the buzzer to the flat rang loudly startling her. Fear of opening the door crept through her veins. Who could it be? She was shaking when she switched on the intercom. Was that heavy breathing she heard in the background? Oh my God, what if the rapist had decided to track her down?
‘Miss Donna Askey?’
‘Flowers for you, madam.’
‘Oh, just a minute,’ she replied, petrified by this unexpected interruption. Her heart beat faster, as she visualised so many different things. Did the attacker’s voice sound like this?
Hurriedly, she rushed over to the window, and looked out. A florists van was indeed outside with the logo ‘Say it with Flowers.’ She saw a youth with long black hair and a cap covering most of his face. Then just before she moved away, she noticed his jacket sporting the very same logo.
Nervously she told him to leave the flowers outside. Then returned to the window and watched him walk away and drive off. When the van disappeared out of sight, she ventured to the entrance to the flats, opened the outside door, picked up the bouquet, and returned inside, hurriedly locking herself in again.
She couldn’t imagine who’d sent them. Maybe they were a macabre gift from the rapist, who had somehow found out where she lived. Then she saw the card, which said - ‘From all your friends and colleagues at Bluethorn.’
Relief ran through her body. What a nice gesture, she thought. It almost brought a tear to her eye, but then she gasped, realising it meant they must know about the attack. What if they’d found out that she’d been raped too? How horrifying, the very thought of facing them when she eventually went back to work filled her with dread.
Taking the flowers out of their cellophane wrapping, she cut and arranged them into several vases, and placed them around the room.
A ‘Get Well Soon’ card signed by everyone came with the bouquet; and there were even a few messages that under normal circumstances would have made her smile. Very nice of them, but she didn’t need all this fuss. If she did ever find the courage to go back, she prayed they’d leave her in peace and not bombard her with questions about her ordeal.
She sat down on the sofa anxiously waiting for Blake to return from his shopping trip, still worrying about the flower deliveryman. Maybe she was getting paranoid.
Two hours later the front she heard the door open. ‘It’s only me’. And she breathed a great sigh of relief. But what had he been doing all this time?
He came into the living room carrying several bags, containing mainly food - trust him to think about his stomach again.
‘What have you been doing – buying the whole bloody shop?’ she asked, her eyes blinking fast as if she was about to cry again.
A look of astonishment came on his face at this, but all he said was, ‘Actually, I was looking for a present for you. Only I wasn’t sure what to get. Here, I thought this might cheer you up.’
He gave her a bag. She looked inside; saw a pretty pink silk blouse with a bow.
‘It... it’s very nice.’ Tears flooded into her eyes. Having taken it out of the bag, she held it against her. It was gorgeous.
‘Why don’t you try it on?’
‘I will later.’ She gave him an uneasy smile.
He returned her smile, then went into the kitchen to put away all the food he’d bought, coming back a few minutes later with two cups of tea. As he sat down beside her, she noticed him looking around the room at the flowers.
‘Hey - those are nice. They from anybody I know?’
‘Bluethorn sent them.’
‘That’s decent of them. And a card too. You must be pleased they’re thinking about you. Those guys have a high opinion of you, Donna. When you go back they’ll welcome you with open arms – no question about it.’
Donna blushed red with embarrassment. Her eyes widened and she shook her head slightly. ‘There’s no way I’m going back there, Blake. Someone’s told them why I’m away by now, and probably that I was raped. I’ll never be able to look them in the eye again. They’ll always doubt me – think I asked for it, seeing as I’m supposed to be so bloody attractive, or that I gave that guy some encouragement.’
‘Come on, why would they think that? And besides they’ll never find out the whole truth anyway. The only people who know are the police, the doctors and me. None of them would ever come into contact with Bluethorn. Donna, you’re starting to get paranoid now.’
She ignored his last remark.
‘How about going out for a meal afterwards, love? Save us cooking?’
She shook her head. ‘I’ll give it a miss. It’s not as though I’m very good company right now.’
‘Shall I get the dinner on?’
‘I’m not hungry. Do yourself something if you want – I’ll have something later.’
‘It’s not worth it - just for one.’
Rubbing his face and eyes with his hands, he sat there looking irritated.
The tension rose within her again. He was hungry. Just like he always was.
‘Get yourself a takeaway if you’re that hungry. You look like you could do with feeding up.’
His eyes lit up momentarily. ‘Ok, I will - I’ll bring you a bag chips back, if you want,’ he offered.
‘I’ve already said I’ll have something later. How many times do I have to tell you? Just get whatever you want and leave it at that – all right!’ She disliked herself for having raised her voice, but how was she supposed to behave around him? She wanted some peace.
He shot her a dirty glance, took a long breath, before storming out in a temper, slamming the front door shut. Obviously hurt by her cutting remarks. Well, she couldn’t help it. He’d never understand what she was going through. Maybe she was difficult to live with right now, but he needed to be more tolerant and considerate. It looked like he didn’t have it in him to handle this.
It felt as if she’d lost everything dear to her. Tears ran down her face again, and wouldn’t stop. Her head ached and she was so depressed; she kept walking up and down the room, hugging herself with her arms. A terrible fear came into her stomach, that Blake no longer loved her any more. Because of that maniac, he would regard her as soiled goods. She still wanted him badly; her heart yearned for him. But as soon as he moved close to her, there was nothing she could do to show him any affection. She panicked. What if she couldn’t overcome this? He’d leave her for someone else and then what would she do.
Later, sitting on the settee, her legs tucked under her, she stared at the television; unable to take in anything on the screen. Surely, he wouldn’t be out long. He was only getting himself a takeaway after all.
She began to get tetchy, constantly flicking channels in the vain hope of finding something of interest. Unfortunately, there was nothing. In the end, she switched it off and threw the remote on the floor in frustration.
She walked across to their hi-fi, put on a CD by her favourite artist Nelly Furtado; and sat back, hoping the music would relax her. Yet within minutes, this too got on her nerves. She turned it off, unable to get that cutting look on Blake’s face off her mind.
The time passed slowly, and still he didn’t come back - perhaps he’d gone to the pub for a drink, to calm himself down. After an hour and a half she became frantic. Then she heard a noise, like a pebble hitting the window. She got up from the sofa and raced over to see what it was. Pulling back the curtain she looked outside, her breathing erratic. There were a clump trees nearby, and she thought she saw a figure running away. Oh my God, she whispered. Was this him again? She rushed to the door, to make sure it was locked, and pushed the deadlocks across. The only way he’d get in would be by breaking it down. She sat down, sighed with relief, but realised every little thing was spooking her something terrible.