I Can Only See Your Face

Part One

 Holly awoke suddenly from her nightmare and tried to catch her breath. In her dream she had been running away from Tom, but no matter how fast she ran he was always there right behind her. He was never exhausted like she was, he never broke a sweat, and as hard as she tried she couldn't get away.

She sat up in her bed, moved so her back was braced up against the wall and hugged her knees to her chest. Although she knew it was impossible, she still felt like she was being watched, and the silence of her flat was imposing, stifling even. She smoothed her hair back off her face, the palms of her hands clammy against her forehead.

It had been weeks since she'd managed a full nights sleep, and she longed for the day when her life was back to normal, when she could forget the hell Tom had put her through. He had been arrested, of course, and there was no way he could get at her again but still the thought of him having been there, in her house, in her private things made her feel sick. The rational part of her told her she was safe now and that Tom no longer had any control over her life but she took little comfort in that. He had been a friend, she'd trusted him, she'd liked him and that made it so much harder to take in. She obviously couldn't trust her own judgement anymore, she thought she knew the people that she worked with, but it seemed she was wrong.

Her duvet lay at the foot of her bed where she'd kicked off during her sleep. She crawled across her mattress and dragged it back over her, cocooning herself in it as if it could protect her from the evils of the world.

There's nobody here; I'm perfectly safe.

There's nobody here; I'm perfectly safe. She repeated over and over until she nearly believed it. Eventually her tiredness took over and she fell into another fitful sleep.

"Every step you take, every move you make, I'll be watching you" blared out Holly's radio alarm, she struck out at it, still half asleep, and silenced Sting.

"I used to think that song was romantic" she muttered to herself as she rolled off her bed and into the bathroom. She hung her head over the basin and splashed cold water onto her face. It woke up every pore and sent a shiver down her back, she grabbed a towel off the handrail and patted the excess water away. As she moved the towel away from her face, she saw herself properly in the mirror for the first time that morning. Her eyes were slightly bloodshot, her face was pale, and she looked and felt completely exhausted.

"I hope you look better by the time I go back to work" she admonished her reflection, "or we'll be scaring away the patients!"

Her thoughts were interrupted by the phone ringing. Holly padded out of the bathroom and into the kitchen. The persistent noise of the bell still made her feel uneasy.


"Holly. It's Dan, hope I didn't wake you."

"No I was up already, what do you want?" she didn't mean it to sound harsh, but it was too early and she was too tired for polite small talk.

"Just wanted to know that you're alright, that you're starting to feel better… That’s all, sorry to have bothered you." She couldn't make out if she detected a note of hurt in his voice or not.

"Yeah, I'm OK Dan, I appreciate you calling." Holly didn't particularly want to go into the details of how she felt, not now, not over the telephone, and not with Dan.

"Oh, good. Well I'll see you back at work soon then, yeah?"

"Yeah, bye then" she put the phone down before he had a chance to respond and sunk into a chair. It was nice of Dan to call, it was more than Patrick had done and she'd always considered herself much closer to him. She did so desperately want to explain to someone how she felt, but maybe it was all too soon. The thought of dozens of people checking up on her all the time made her feel claustrophobic. She could imagine everyone gossiping about her back at work, when she just wanted to forget and put the whole terrible experience behind her. She hated feeling like a victim.

Holly contemplated getting dressed but she wasn't due back at work, in fact, she wasn't due to do anything, so instead she decided to have a bath. She slipped into the warm water and let her tensions start to melt away, closing her eyes and trying to remember a time when she as happy and carefree. However, the only image that surfaced was of how Tom had decorated her bathroom with dozens of red candles and rose petals. She remembered vividly the scent of the candles as they smouldered and the perfume of the roses. As she lay there, naked and vulnerable she began to convince her self that she still could smell the flowers. That Tom was watching her from outside the window, that Tom was watching her from inside the doorway.

She opened her eyes and sprung upright sending her bath water cascading onto the floor, her breathing was heavy and erratic and tears of panic rolled down her cheeks and mingled with the soapy water. It took all her strength and willpower to calm her self and dry her self off. Holly sat on the edge of the bathtub in her robe and surveyed the room. It didn't feel like home anymore. She didn't feel safe in her own flat, and it was all Tom's fault.

She thought back to that night at his apartment, it had all started so well. After the stress of the day, she had begun to feel comfortable and even happy again. She had felt relaxed in Tom's company; he seemed to be saying all the right things to make her feel at ease. Of course looking back, she could see the signs. Why hadn't she been able to see them at the time? Tom had seemed a perfectly ordinary person, the sort of man that she might even have been interested in. She shuddered involuntarily at the thought. He had had her trapped, he could have done anything, and if Dan hadn't showed up he probably would have.

Dan, she'd actually started to believe that he was her stalker, she'd been certain of it. All the time he'd been trying to help her, to save her and she'd been wishing he would leave her alone. Tom could have killed him, the police found enough anaesthetic in Tom's fridge to bring down an elephant, and that was without Tom getting violent. Holly knew she'd never be able to repay Dan and she'd never be able to forgive herself for him getting injured. It was all such a mess.

How could Tom say in one breath that he loved her and in the next try to attack her? How could he have flipped like that? What had she done to make him behave like such a maniac?

She thought back to every thing that he'd said that night, particularly when he'd taken her out on the balcony. She could almost feel sorry for him if he wasn't such a psycho. He'd cut himself off from the rest of the world in his immaculate flat high above Holby and before that night, even though she would have counted him as a friend, she realised that she knew next to nothing about him. He didn't have any real friends; he never let anyone get close enough. He had engineered his life so that he was alone and then found that he wanted a companion and fixated him self on Holly. It was sad, in all senses of the word.

Holly looked down at her hands, disgusted with her self. How could she even begin to sympathise with the man who'd gone to such extreme lengths to ruin her life?

Why me? Holly thought bitterly, what did I do to deserve this?

Her mind flashed back again to that miserable night, to what he'd said to her once she'd discovered his dark secret;

"It doesn't matter how much someone loves you does it? You still want everyone running around…Me, Patrick, Dan, you've had all three of us on a string haven't you?… You're just a tease!"

Those words had stung her; she'd never led any of them on. She'd only ever considered Tom and Dan as friends and Patrick, well, Patrick; he was just a friend too.

The night that Tom had talked about, when she'd invited him to that club; she'd invited him as a mate. It wasn't as if they went there together, there was a whole group, Chloe, Barney, Colette, half the department had gone; how could he get the wrong idea from that?

There were so many questions that she needed answers to, questions that she couldn't get out of her mind. Moreover, while she sat around thinking about him about what he'd done to her, he still had control over her. She was still his victim. She needed to understand why it had started; she needed to know that it was over.

She knew that Tom had been taken to St Thomas's and the more that she thought about it the more she felt she had to see him. She moved back into her bedroom and got dressed, unable to stop thinking about Tom. As she was about to leave the flat the phone began to ring again; Holly looked over at it. She wasn't in the mood for someone else prying into her life. Not now she had made up her mind about what to do next. She closed her front door behind her leaving it ringing.


Disappointed and a little concerned that Holly wasn't answering Patrick put the receiver back and stepped away from the phone. He contemplated going round to her place to see if everything was all right, but surely she was a big girl now and if she wanted him there she'd ask. The last thing he wanted was to be accused of interfering.


Go to Part Two


Back to Long Stories