I Can Only See Your Face
Holly let herself back into her flat and flung her coat and bag on to the sofa as she gazed around the room. It felt different somehow, still not quite as cosy as she'd hoped it would be when she'd moved in but calmer, more peaceful. It was almost as though it had been exorcised of a restless spirit.
"Perhaps if I redecorate…" she mused wandering into her bedroom.
She automatically flicked on the light, rather than drawing the curtains. The unmade bed dominated the room and she could barely see the carpet for all the mess. She shook her head at the piles of clothes, books, and paperwork that were strewn across the floor and grimaced.
"Or perhaps if I just tidy up…"and reluctantly she began to sort out the room.
It took a while before the place looked something approaching tidy, but once it did, Holly stood back proudly. There was only one thing wrong with it: she turned off the artificial light and moved to the window, pulling aside the curtains. For the first time in several weeks, bright sunlight filled the room, washing over her and scaring away the shadows.
Patrick returned to reception from resus. to see Dan coming out of Charlie's office. At first he was going to ignore him as he usually did and continue with his own business, but Holly not answering his phone call earlier still played on his mind. He made his way toward Dan.
"Dan" he nodded politely. It certainly couldn't be mistaken for a friendly gesture.
"Patrick, what can I do for you?" Dan looked up at him expectantly.
"Arm alright?" he enquired in an effort make that conversation sound as casual as possible. Both men looked down at the sling that cradled Dan's broken arm.
"I'll survive. Is that all? Only I'm on my way to a meeting." He was still feeling rotten from his experience at the hands of Tom, and the last thing he needed was a laboured conversation with Patrick.
"Erm, you heard from Holly yet?" he asked trying not to sound as concerned as he actually was.
"Yeah, called her this morning."
"And she was OK, was she?" Patrick asked casually, trying to hide his irritation about Dan, again, knowing more about what was going on than he did.
"She sounded a bit stressed, but said she was OK." He wasn't going to admit to Patrick that she'd hung up on him.
"Oh. Good" Patrick delivered an awkward 'thanks for the information' smile, and turned to continue on his way. Dan called out after him.
"You could always try calling her yourself Patrick…"
"Yeah. I might. If I get five minutes, some of us are busy down here you know" Dan resisted the urge to enter into an argument about who was busier, and instead nodded diplomatically at Patrick, before leaving the department.
Patrick sighed inwardly; just talking to Dan got his back up. It was worse now that he had to concede that Dan had tried to rescue Holly. Even if in the end, he didn't make a very good job of it. Now Dan had managed to talk to Holly when he hadn't. Patrick felt that he should be happy that at least one of them had spoken to her, and that she was all right, but something still nagged away at him. Why hadn't she answered his call? She was meant to be at home, resting after her ordeal, she should have been there to answer the telephone. Something wasn't right. He moved across to the pay phones and slipped in his ten pence; after a few rings, it was connected.
"Hello?" came the familiar voice down the phone line.
"Hi, Holly. It's Patrick"
"I think I can recognise your voice by now!"
"I tried calling earlier but got no answer…" he wanted to add that he'd been worried about her, but for some reason the words wouldn't come out.
"I went out, for some fresh air, was there something you wanted?"
"Um, not really I just haven't heard from you since all this Tom business blew up. Thought you might like a shoulder to cry on" He half joked.
"And you'd like to be that shoulder, I suppose?" She responded dryly. Typical of Patrick to try to turn the situation to his own advantage.
"If you insist…" he could picture her rolling her eyes at him, "seriously though, are you OK?" His voice carried his concern to her, and she was touched to her it. Maybe he wasn't so bad after all.
"I'm getting there" she replied softly, "Thanks for asking".
"Look, I'm due a break now. How about I bring you round some lunch?"
"No, you don't have to do that, I'm all right. Honestly"
"Well I've got to eat, and so have you. Or is the thought of my company that off-putting?"
Holly thought about it, she didn't want him checking up on her particularly. Going over everything that had happened and depressing her again. Although, if there was one person who wouldn't indulge her in feeling sorry for herself it would be Patrick. And she didn't have anything planned for day off, so perhaps it wouldn't be such a bad idea.
"OK, if you want" Patrick was glad, if slightly shocked, that Holly had agreed.
"Right then, I'll be there soon. Oh, pizza all right?"
"Can you make it something else. I don't mind what. See you soon"
Holly put the phone down, surprised to find herself looking forward to seeing Patrick.
Tom saw Holly wandering past her window as he neared her flat. She was smiling contentedly and, he thought as he watched her, she looked beautiful. After a moment or two she vanished from his sight and he dared to take a step closer.
He'd stood outside her house many times before, admiring her from a distance. Each time he'd wanted to go over and knock on her door, to have her invite him in and for them to enjoy a day together, but he never had. She wasn't the sort of girl you would just impose yourself on for a quick fling; she was too good for that.
Holly deserved respect.
It was obvious to him that she liked him. She was always so friendly, so willing to chat to him. Most people only wanted him around in his professional capacity. They weren't at all interested in the real him, in his thoughts and feelings.
Holly was different.
They had so much in common; they would make the perfect couple. And he recognised that someone as special as Holly had to be wooed first, so he'd sent her flowers, and gifts, and written her poetry.
Nothing was too much of an effort to make Holly happy.
He knew that eventually she too would realise how good they would be together, just as he did. Now that day had finally arrived. He'd started to doubt they'd be together when she hit him, but obviously now she'd come to her senses.
He continued his way to her front door, the anticipation of their joyful reunion building up inside him with each step. He started to wish that he'd gone home and got changed. The only clothes he'd had at the hospital were the ones he'd been wearing when he was admitted. Now they were crumpled and he had a few spots of blood on his shirt, but he had gone this far and wasn't going to turn back. Certainly not now that things were falling into place. He raised his hand and knocked politely on her front door, then stood back and waited for her to open it.
Holly strolled to her front door, and opened it wide expecting to see Patrick waiting outside. The last person she expected was to see Tom, unkempt and blood stained, staring back at her from the doorstep.
The old feeling of panic swept through her once more and she froze to the spot. She wanted to slam the door in his face but her arms wouldn't obey her. Instead, they hung limply at her sides like lead weights. Speech evaded her as she stood staring wide eyed at him.
This can't be happening, He can't be here.
Tom tried to smile at the woman he loved, but his disfigured jaw made his expression all the more demonic.
"Hello Holly!" He took a step forward and wrapped his arms around her. Holly felt like the prey of a boa constrictor, helpless, waiting to be devoured. She tried to wriggle away from him, and he loosened his grip slightly, kissing her roughly, on her cheek as he pulled away.
"What's wrong?" he asked. She looked into his eyes and found them empty. Not a hint of remorse for what he'd done. Not a sign of any understanding that it was wrong. She summoned up every ounce of strength inside her to force his arms away from her.
"GET OFF!" she screamed, her voice trembling with anger as much as fear. She pushed at his chest and caught him off guard. He stumbled backwards through the open door.
"LEAVE ME ALONE! GET OUT!" the tears were flowing as she shouted at him, she stepped forward and pushed at him again, loosing all her self control as she vented her feelings on him. He reeled back and smacked into the railing that ran along the out side of her building as she continued to thrash wildly at him, sobbing loudly the whole time.
What was she doing? Why was she reacting like this? He was trying to be nice to her and this was how she repaid him: by beating him, by humiliating him in the street. He wasn't going to let her get away with treating him like that.
Out of the corner of his eye, Tom saw Patrick pull up in his convertible. He grabbed on to rails behind him and tried to straighten himself up. Now standing he pushed his whole body weight against her and it was her turn to stumble backwards. He pushed at her throat, forcing her to retreat into the house. She pushed back frantically at his arms, but it was no use, he was too strong for her. In the street, Patrick could see what was going on and he leapt from his car trying to reach Holly to help her, but he wasn't fast enough. Tom slammed the door shut behind them, imprisoning her.
Back inside the house, Holly's sobs reduced to little more than whimpers between shallow breaths. Tom stood tall and menacing in front of her, still holding at her neck; firm enough to keep her still but just loose enough to let her breathe. His own breathing was deep as he tried to recover his composure from the struggle. The only other sounds were of Patrick beating at the door, causing the whole frame to shake violently, and shouting at the top of his voice for Tom to open the door; to let go of Holly.
Go to Part Four