Annie watched the concern on Sues face and before she knew it she was telling Sue the whole sorry saga of her life, tears falling, tissues being issued, coffee and biscuits being produced as the story unfolded. Sue hadn’t commented through it, other than a pat of Annie’s hand followed by a tutting and a shake of her head. Finally exhausted Annie finished and Sue quietly said ‘Hun, you are doing the right thing, you have a friend here and we will sort it out between us’
As she walked back to the cottage for the first time she felt lighter and more positive than she had done in many years. Though she had never been a materialistic person, the money she had won would give her the means to have a new life, and eventually away completely from Simon. She decided that she would need to get herself a laptop to research her position and also to give herself a new identity. Her first week had gone by so fast, yet so much had happened she was still spinning from it all. The walk had made her hungry and as soon as she got in she made the ham sandwich, and sat with the radio humming in the background. She decided to make a to do list, and smiled, a to do list for her it felt good, she didn’t want to think of returning to Pershore and back to her mundane life, now though she had something behind her, her secret life.
Deeply engrossed in her ‘to do’ list she jumped when the telephone rang, flustered she grabbed the phone then proceeded to drop it, scrabbling to get it back she quickly answered ‘hello! Sorry dropped the phone’ her blood ran cold as Simons sneering voice dripped venomously ‘you always were a clumsy bitch’ feeling herself starting to shake she said as calmly as she could ‘what do you want Simon? ‘Sitting down to stop her legs shaking her body felt clammy, she felt intimidated even though he was only on the other side of the phone. ‘just checking up on you, you have one more week then its home for you’ the way he spat out the words made Annie feel nauseous and she could hardly bring herself to speak, ‘is that all Simon?’ she could hear his breathing over the phone it made her shake even more and she could feel her confidence dripping out of her. ‘Things will be changing when you get back bitch! You are my wife and you will do as I say…’ she didn’t hear any more of what he had to say as she had starting shaking so violently, tears running down her face. As she put down the phone Annie started rocking to and fro, her hands clasping and unclasping with stress. Tears fell down in a silent vigil of their own as Annie was unaware of anything at that moment, her whole world had returned into a black chasm of fear and her new found confidence left as a shivering mass. A couple of hours had passed before an exhausted Annie moved from the chair by the phone. Her shoulders slumped her poor face swollen and red, as she brushed a stray tear away her eyes felt itchy and slightly bruised. Mechanically she filled the kettle and grabbed a mug from the cupboard; everything seemed to be in a slow motion. Drinking the hot coffee a few minutes later, calmness had taken over and she sat and stared at the wall, her mind going over and over the telephone call. It was still only early in the afternoon, on impulse she grabbed her cardigan and decided to go for a walk just to get away from the phone.
The beach was fairly quiet which suited Annie as she didn’t want to meet up with anyone in the state she was in. The sea air felt good on her swollen face, taking deep breathes, she walked slowly along the beach, every now and then picking up a shell or pebble. The therapeutic feel of the walk had soon calmed her down, and her mind slowly unscrambled itself. She knew she could never return to Pershore and to Simon, he would make her life a living hell. She sat on a large boulder that was part of a group of boulders that looked over the sea. All she needed now was a plan of sorts, an escape; the cottage wouldn’t be ready for a while yet.