Tides of Sorrow

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3.2 - CAROUSEL

Becky had been the first to stir. She’d grunted as she’d prised her way out of the armchair in which she had embedded herself the night before. After a good stretch, however - bone and muscle clicking into place - she moved silently through to the en-suite bathroom.

Her ‘besties’ were still asleep, snoring softly amid a disorganised heap of duvet, fleecy throw and pillows. Their ordeal had obviously taken its toll on them. She would allow them to slumber on. Softly, she closed and locked the bathroom door.

With her hands flat against the tiles, she let the water cascade down her back; gradually, she felt rejuvenated, almost spritely. She shampooed and lathered quickly, before enjoying one more blasting from the shower.

Out and dried, it dawned on her she had not taken any clothes in with her. She huffed and wriggled her way back into her pyjamas before opening the door and stepping back out into the bedroom.

Steam roiled out in her wake and she was greeted by a still very sleepy looking Nick who was sitting up in bed. Craig stretched then sat up as well.

“Good morning,” Becky smiled. “Did you two manage to get some rest?” Her eyes raked over the state of the bedding.

“Not the best, to be honest,” Craig yawned. “Think a bit too much excitement for us last night.”

“I bet,” Becky said sympathetically.

“No to mention we had a skinful to drink,” Nick groaned. He glanced at Becky then smiled a little weakly. “How are you? It was so sweet of you to let us have the bed, thank you.”

She moved around the room to the chest of drawers. “Well, it made sense. A double bed - seemed bad manners to let you sleep on the floor, especially with your room having been broken into.” She selected some underwear, then hauled out a T-shirt and some jeans from the wardrobe.

They mumbled gratitude.

“However, I need to get dressed guys, as do you. Are you able to get back into your room, or will it be on lock-down for more evidence?”

“No, we can go in. They had a good scout round last night and as nothing was stolen or broken, other than the lock, they said we could go back in today.” Craig replied.

“Good. They are coming back though yes?”

“Yes, probably just to make sure we didn’t overlook anything. I think they had actually spoken with most of the guests, bar two on the first floor.”

“Ok. Well then, I’ll meet you both downstairs for breakfast?”

“Sure.”

Gathering their costumes, Nick borrowed Becky’s cape to venture out up the stairs, while Craig just legged it in his boxers.

Once dressed, Becky straightened up the room a bit. Then she checked her bag for her phone. She really didn’t know whether she was relieved or not to have missed eight calls from Michael last night. Tapping her screen she saw he’d sent about double the amount of texts. He’d certainly been keen to get hold of her. She supposed he was at least ... No!

No, no, no, no. NO! She snapped the case closed and dropped the phone back in her bag. She was not going to be stupid. He did not deserve any more of her time let alone anything else. And that was it - once more, the flood-gates opened.

She kneaded her eyes with the heels of her hands. How much longer was she going to feel like this, she wondered. Just when she thought she had convinced herself she was better off without him, her veneer cracked and she was rendered useless again.

“Dammit!” she growled, marching through to the bathroom. She splashed some cold water over her face. Dabbing it dry, she stared at herself in the mirror, carrying out her daily self-analysis:

“Unhappy in my job with few people to really call friends; most are just work colleagues (nice enough to my face but they never go out their way to include me in things). I’ve been cheated on by my boyfriend - again! Yes, I lied about the antibiotics and his dose of chlamydia but it wasn’t the first time he’d cheated. I wanted to humiliate him as he has hurt me. A serial Casanova - I should have wised up before this.”

And now, here she stood... Alone. Staring into a steamed-up mirror in a Whitby guest house, with a case full of gothic costumes and a phone which never stopped torturing her.

Why had she truly bothered to come? It wasn’t just because she’d paid for it all, the money was spent, gone, it wouldn’t have mattered had she stayed at home and moped. And what good would that have done? she asked herself.

Clinging to the edge of the wash-hand basin, she took one last long look at her reflection. Her eyes narrowed. “I just wanted to escape the pain,” she admitted. A moment passed and her mood shifted again. ”Fool!” she berated herself.

A sudden, peculiar calm then flowed over her.

The stranger.

In the blink of an eye and within her carousel of high and lows, he came, unbidden, into her mind. Was it her vulnerability perhaps which made her feel differently when he invaded her thoughts or passed before her eyes? A desperation she tried to keep suppressed, hidden? Or something...more.

She shook her head to clear it, then attacking her hair with vigour she yanked it back into a ponytail and left her room to go down for breakfast.

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