Annie sat numb with fear that was crawling through her body like a virus, the more it took hold the more Annie’s mind latched onto the fear, her mind in chaotic scenarios. Grabbing the phone she rang Sue, it was the only thing she could think to do. Sue arrived at the cottage and immediately took the distraught Annie into her arms as she would a child. Annie sobbed and Sue let the tears run their course. The two women sat in the kitchen nursing their hot drinks, both glancing on and off at the phone willing it to ring. When the phone rang they looked at each other, until Sue picked it up and handed it over to Annie, the conversation was a number of yes and no replies from Annie who was visibly shaking. Eventually she put down the phone; Sue waited patiently for Annie to tell her and got up to make another drink for them. As she was spooning in the sugar Annie told her what Wayne had told her. Wayne had gone round to the house, he waited till he saw his dad leave then making sure he had gone, he slipped into the house shouting for Laura, he had then noticed quite a few letters on the stand in the hall way with Laura’s name on the envelopes. Her room looked as if she had just left it, the bed was messed up, dirty clothes on the floor, a mug on the side of the table showing signs of mould floating in it. He had checked her wardrobe, drawers and as far as he could tell there was nothing missing, her suitcase was still on top of the wardrobe. Laura’s laptop was plugged in and the one thing Wayne knew was if she went away that laptop went with her. Firing up the laptop he carried on going through the drawers. As he was looking through the drawer of the bedside table he kicked something with his foot, a cold dread went through him, Laura’s handbag was under the bed. Checking through it he could see her purse, and then her mobile phone. Running his fingers through his hair, he could feel his heartbeat racing alongside his fear. Turning to the laptop he cursed as he could see the password prompt. After a few tries that failed he decided to take the laptop with him, first he rang his mother. Annie had told him to leave the laptop as it would show Simon that someone had been in the house. Wayne wanted to phone the police, he decided to go and speak to his Dad first, to see what he knew, Annie agreed that this was the best course of action and agreed to stay where she was until he got back to her.
Annie and Sue felt at a loss to what was the best course of action, Sue had already got the shop covered, until eventually she asked Annie ‘what had you planned to do today?’ Annie showed her the ‘to do ‘list and explained that she had been compiling it when Simon had rung and started of this stream of events. Standing up and taking the mugs into the kitchen, Sue stood up and said firmly ‘there’s nothing we can do here at this moment so get your coat and car keys, let’s go and get the laptop and see Ben, send Wayne a text telling him that you are on your mobile’ the car drive to Ilfracombe was uneventful and as they parked up Annie’s mobile pinged, the text was from Wayne, Simon wasn’t at work and had taken a fortnights leave. The more they found out the more everything was pointing to Simon. His text back was to say he was on his way down to Combe Martin and would see her soon. The two women headed to the estate agent to speak to Ben, Annie was fast realising that she would have to leave Ben and Sue to deal with the cottage, and she would have to go back to Pershore. She shuddered with the thought, and then steeled herself to sort everything out. Ben was very helpful and agreed to sort everything out for her, and Annie asked if she could have another look at the cottage so she could show Sue what she wanted done. Ben had one appointment and would contact the seller, and then he was available to take them at noon. Leaving Ben to sort things out, they headed off to find a laptop, neither woman had any idea of what make, model or size to get. As they headed into the shop, they realised that it wasn’t going to be as easy as they thought, rows of different types of computers stood in front of them. As they browsed a voice made them jump ‘this is the last place I thought I would find you Sue’ Sue laughed with relief as she hit out at Don ‘you silly sod you nearly gave me heart attack’ Don stood and laughed but to Annie he took her breath away, she had to put her head down as she was sure she was blushing. ‘So what are you looking for?’ Annie gathering herself quickly told him that she wanted a laptop, something she could use that would be simple enough for someone who hadn’t used one before. Don took them over to a set of laptops; both Sue and Annie were even more confused when he went on about memory and countless other things. In the end he asked if he could choose one for her, after asking her a few questions he then showed her two laptops, telling her that either one would give her what she wanted. An hour later they left the shop clutching a laptop in a bag and a dongle to access the internet on the move. Don had left them to it, with a wave and a laugh, Annie watched him go down the street until Sue did a small cough with a smile to attract her attention. Blushing furiously she smiled back at her and giggling like a couple of school girls they headed to the coffee shop to get a quick drink before they met Ben.