A Little Piece of Paradise
Tori rested her head against the steering wheel, the keys dangling from the fingers of her right hand. It was cold in the Shogun, the afternoon sky darkening and depressing.
She heard the passenger door open and didn`t need to look up to see who was easing herself into the seat beside her.
"I don`t think they like people with head injuries being alone for a while." Said Cathy, pulling the door closed.
"I`m fine. Eden`s the one who needs company." Tori leaned back against the seat back.
"Then what are you doing out here?"
"I`m leaving." She inserted the key into the ignition and started the engine.
"You need to tell her why." Said Cathy.
"I don`t have to do anything!" Said Tori, turning towards the stunned woman.
"So you`re running away again?"
"If that`s how you want to look at it, yes."
"Tori, don`t do this to her, not now. Not with her lying in a hospital bed." Cathy turned slightly towards her, trying to get some idea from the tall woman what she was thinking. But the impassive features gave her no clue.
"She`ll be fine." Said Tori. "She`ll meet someone else. People like her always do."
"But she wants you. Can`t you see that?"
"She wants someone who can look after her. She saw the money, the flash car, the nice house. She`ll find someone like that again." Tori managed to keep her features emotionless. "She was a nice little distraction for a couple of weeks."
"I can`t believe you think that." Said Cathy incredulously. "You think Eden was after your money?"
Tori nodded. "Don`t worry, I`m used to it. Now then, I have to go." She nodded towards the hospital. "You`d better get back in there. Tell her I`ll have her stuff packed up.. She does still have a room at you place doesn`t she?"
Cathy nodded, her mouth suddenly dry.
"Good. You can pick it up from the cottage. I`ll be this evening, then I`m heading back to London."
Tori waited while Cathy stepped down from the car, then drove out of the hospital grounds, the pain in her chest matching the pain in her head.
Cathy stood and watched the car disappear. Then she turned and made her way back into the hospital. On the way she met the two police officers.
"Did you want Mr. and Mrs. Gallaghers address?" She asked.
"Yes, please." Said the Inspector, ushering her into the small office.
"Miss Conrad has gone?" He asked, taking a small notepad out of his pocket.
"Yes." Cathy slumped down on a chair, feeling suddenly drained.
"We`ll have to catch up with her a the cottage then."
"You`ll have to be quick, she`s going back to London."
"Really?" The Policeman looked genuinely surprised. "I thought they.............." He waved his hand about, hoping the girl would understand.
"Me too." Said Cathy, shaking her head.
"Shock sometimes does that. I`ve seen it before after something like this. She shouldn`t be alone."
"You try telling her that. I`ve only known her a couple of weeks, but I think she`s the most stubborn person I`ve ever met."
The policeman nodded. Then turned to his partner. "You go on up there and get a statement, and if she`s leaving, get an address, we`re going to have to get a hold of her later."
The younger officer nodded, and was gone.
"Right then, that address." Said Inspector Clarke.
Tori pulled up at the cottage. There was a light on in the lounge, and a young policewoman came into the hall as she entered the front door.
Tori nodded. "I've just come to collect some things. Then I`m leaving."
"Um, I'm not sure if you should do that just yet, I..............."
Tori had turned and faced the girl. "I'm leaving." She said, and then just as quickly turned her back on her and disappeared up the stairs.
The young policewoman stared after her until she heard a knock at the door.
"Oh boy, am I glad to see you." She said admitting the sergeant.
"Where is she?"
"I`m here." Said Tori, descending the stairs with a couple of suitcases. "Good, more help."
"I need an address. We`re going to have to get in touch with you."
"Well." Said Tori putting the suitcase down. "That`s going to be a little difficult. My home in London is on the market, probably sold by now. Give me your number and I`ll get in touch when I find somewhere."
The sergeant shuffled from foot to foot. "That`s not really.............."
Tori faced him, her eyes darkening. "It`s the best I can do for now." She said, slowly. "Here." She handed him one of her old business cards. "The mobile number on that is right. But not the land line." She started back up the stairs. "Make yourself useful." She called over her shoulder. "Start dismantling the computer."
Sergeant Collins looked at the policewoman and shrugged, then followed the girl into the lounge where the computer was situated.
Cathy was sitting in the chair beside a sleeping Eden.
Darren silently pulled up a chair and joined his girlfriend. "What are you going to tell her?" He asked.
"I don`t know." She sighed. "Whatever I say is going to hurt." She leaned into him when he put an arm around her shoulder. "I`m not sure what Tori`s thinking."
"Do you think she used her?"
Cathy shook her head. "No, I really don`t. Tori was as in love as Eden was. I don`t................."
Cathy shut up as the blonde started to awaken. "Hey there." She said, taking Eden`s hand in her own.
"No Eddie, it`s Cathy." She said, squeezing the limp hand.
Eden looked around the bed, only meeting the worried gaze of Darren. "Where is she?" Then she remembered Tori rushing out of the ward. "She`s gone?"
Cathy nodded. "I`m sorry."
Eden pulled her hand from Cathy`s grasp. "It`s ok." She said, her face showing nothing.
"No it`s not! It`s bloody ludicrous!" Said Cathy, raising her voice slightly, then lowering it when she felt a gentle hand on her back. She smiled back at Darren and patted his thigh. "She`s buggered off, just when you need her most."
"I`ll be fine." Said Eden, her eyes fixed on the ceiling. "Hey listen, why don`t you go home? I`m really tired."
"Eddie, I don`t want to leave you now."
"No really, I`d rather be alone now." Her hands we clasped together now, and Cathy could see they were trembling.
"Eddie." Cathy pleaded.
"Please." Said Eden, and turned pained green eyes on her friend.
Darren pulled gently on his girlfriend's arm. "We`ll be back in the morning." Said Cathy, her voice breaking.
Eden nodded, then turned her face away from the couple until she heard their footsteps disappear down the corridor.
In a pub in London a tall woman sat at a tall stool against the bar. Her weight rested on her elbows, her hands held an empty glass. As the bartender approached she held the glass out.
"You ok Tori?" Asked the barkeep.
"Getting better by the minute." She said as the woman took her glass.
Tori nodded. "Make it a double."
Tori felt someone settle onto the stool beside her. "You look like shit." The new arrival said.
"Hi to you too." Said Tori, taking a sip of her drink.
"So what does the other guy look like?"
Tori closed her eyes. "I didn`t know you came in here." She said, ignoring the question.
"A little bird told me you were in here."
"Figures." Tori turned towards the blonde. "So, what`s up?"
"Nothing. Just wanted to see for myself. Where`s the little cutie? Or is she history?"
"History." Said Tori and drained the glass.
Debby ran her hand along Tori`s thigh.
"Well, I`m leaving now." She gave the woman`s thigh a squeeze and sauntered slowly out of the pub.
Tori hesitated for a moment, then followed her out into the night.
Mail me! Please;)