Incandescence (Part I)

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I woke up to Dr Clark running some tests on me. Opening my eyes I looked at the clock and it was only then that I realized I’d been sleeping for four hours. Bradley must have used the time to work as I could see his computer and files spread out across a make-shift desk that he was using.

‘How is her recovery going?’ Bradley asked.

‘She’s progressing very well’ came the Dr Clark’s reply. ‘We’d like to keep Ms Taylor here for observation for the next 48-hours; but from Saturday she will be free to leave.’

Dr Clark then shifted his attention to me ‘Ms Taylor, full recovery will take at least six weeks. In order for your injuries to heal and so that you have full control of your left arm in the future, you will need a lot of rest and assistance during your recovery period’. I nodded as his words sank in; thanking him before he left my room.

At first I was happy knowing I would soon be leaving the hospital room; but the happiness was short lived. It dawned on me that I would be returning home and that my crazed stalker knew where I lived. I had no one to help or support me as I didn’t want to compromise anyone. I couldn’t even stay with my parents, as I didn’t want anyone following me and knowing where my parents lived.

Bradley sat on the edge of my bed, watching me as my eyes were fixated on the door. My mind was racing at a hundred miles per hour trying to think of the safest way to return to my normal life whilst this psychopath was on the loose.

‘There’s something I’ve been thinking about and you need to listen’ Bradley started. I could tell by his tone that I wasn’t going to like what he was about to say.

‘Whenever someone starts a sentence like that, it can only be bad news. So just hit me with it’ I replied feeling deflated.

‘My proposal isn’t that bad. But as you know, someone out there wants you harmed. He knows where you work, he knows where you live. He’s shown that he is capable of hurting you.’

I nodded, as Bradley was only clarifying the thoughts running through my mind. He then continued ‘The only way I can keep you safe is by telling everyone that you’re staying with friends on their property outside of town. Other than your parents, no one needs to know your exact whereabouts’.

Bradley’s thought process was rational ‘Where will I go?’ I asked, wondering what he was planning.

‘You’ll be staying with me. In my home. The security around my place is tight. No one can access my floor. Even if someone managed to find a way to reach my floor, I have two security guards based outside my apartment, I will have around the clock protection.’

‘I can’t stay locked up in your apartment indefinitely. What about work, what about going out and living my life. I’m not Rapunzel’. I knew Bradley’s proposal was logical, but did he realize he was asking me to move in with him.

‘I have no intention of locking you up Tori’ he smiled. ‘You need to recover, therefore work and socializing will have to wait. You heard Dr Clark, you need a minimum six weeks to recover. I’m proposing you stay in my apartment for the six weeks. That way you can recover whilst I look after you and provide you the protection that’s needed. Whilst I take care of you, my Private Investigators will be working on this case closely with the Police.’

I spent a few minutes trying to digest what Bradley was proposing. It was obviously something he had been considering, but for me, this was new information. Bradley’s proposal made sense, but that didn’t change the fact that I’d be living with him for six weeks. I also didn’t want Bradley becoming a target.

I finally spoke up ‘Bradley, if you stay home and take care of me, then everyone at work will know something isn’t right. You’re always at work, so by not being there your plan simply won’t work. As it is, you’ve already missed the last few days from work and no doubt everyone knows what happened and where you are.’

‘Go on’ Bradley said nodding, intrigued by what I had to say

‘Should I accept your proposal, you will need to go to work and carry on with business as usual. The only way no one will know of my whereabouts is if you treat my departure as a temporary leave of absence and you continue going work. You need to email all staff letting them know that there was a security breach that resulted in armed robbery. Your employees need to know that the Directors are increasing security around the building and that the health and wellbeing of all staff is the Company’s number one priority. I believe someone at work knows something; but until my suspicions are confirmed, I want everyone believing that what happened to me was attempted robbery gone wrong.’

Bradley considered what I was saying. I watched his eyes narrow as he considered my thoughts. It took several moments before Bradley spoke and I was happy that he was actually taking his time to think this through.

‘Do you really think someone at work is involved?’ Bradley finally asked and I nodded.

‘OK’ Bradley continued ‘I’ll go to work and you stay at my place, do we have ourselves a deal’ he smiled as he extended his hand. Shaking his hand I nodded and said ‘Deal’.

We both sat silently gathering our thoughts ‘Bradley’ I suddenly spoke up ‘If I am being watched, how do you plan on getting me out of here without anyone noticing? I don't want you becoming a target.’

‘You’re forgetting my family owns this hospital’ Bradley looked at me smugly while shaking his head. 'You’re actually staying in the Salvatore’s private floor; we have our own private lift with private parking directly below. My car has been in my driveway at home this whole time; downstairs is a hire car that we will use as our getaway car. Any other questions?’

‘I thought I was sneaky, but you make me look like an amateur’ I laughed before continuing. ‘Now seeing you appear to have all the answers; how exactly do you propose I tell my parents that we’re moving in together when they already have their crazy suspicions about us?’ I asked, hoping Bradley had thought of this dilemma.

‘Let’s give them what they want. They already think there’s something going on, so let them believe it. They know that I want to protect you, so having me look after you in my home isn’t that farfetched. We’ll tell them the truth; just without mention of the crazed stalker part’. Bradley certainly had a way with words and I found myself agreeing with his plan.

‘While you’re on a role, what do I tell Amelia and Jacob?’ I asked.

‘We’ll tell them that for the next few weeks you’re going into hiding and staying out of town. They’ll understand.’ Bradley’s answers were well thought out.

‘Impressive! You’ve obviously given this considerable thought.’ I nodded while smiling as Bradley stay back in his chair seemingly impressed with himself.

I turned on the TV and pretended to watch it; all the while trying to figure out what I had just agreed to.

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