Chapter 207

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The police officer, Constable Horton, sat opposite Arianrhod in the small hospital cafe, surrounded by many sullen and sad people, most of whom were ill or dying. He looked at her with his head tilted, thinking how best to broach the subject.

“Miss...?”

“York,” supplied Arianrhod.

“Miss York, my name is Constable Horton. I was charged with ensuring Mr Franklin’s safety.” He looked at her, hoping that she could read between the lines and hear what he wasn’t saying.

“And..?” asked Arianrhod. “Was I upsetting that?”

“Well, Miss York, you see, I know that you had diverted Constable Jefferson’s attention whilst you had a friend try to remove Mr Franklin.”

Arianrhod jumped up, aghast and indignant. Her father would be so ashamed of her right now. The police officer looked at her as she enacted each emotion and smiled kindly.

“I know why you are doing this,” he said gently.

She sat down and played with her coffee cup, raising and eyebrow as she retorted, “Oh?”

He laughed as he replied to her taunt, “You love him very much, don’t you?” Constable Horton waited for her to acknowledge her feelings. Silently she nodded her head. He knew it! He was right after all!

“You don’t like seeing him in hospital, do you?”

Arianrhod shook her head.

“You are afraid for him, now that he has been shot. Afraid that someone wants to hurt the one you love. Am I right, mamma bear?”

She nodded her head and looked at him pleadingly, her eyes watery with unshed tears.

“I promise to look after him. Now you go home and worry no more.”

Arianrhod knew that it was not as easy as that. Her father would have found out by now that she had taken care of the one that was to kill James. He would be furious. He will kill James tonight, if she doesn’t get him out of hospital first.

“Can’t I take him home?”

This time he shook his head. He replied quietly, taking her hand across the table, as a father would, “I am sorry pumpkin. He has a great deal of internal bleeding. James won’t last very long without a doctor by his side.”

Arianrhod sat back in her chair, pulling her hand out of his grasp slowly. So, all she needed was a doctor?

“Thank you Constable. For caring.”

“You two remind me of my late wife Karen and me, when we were young and in love. We did some silly things. We argued but we loved each other dearly. I miss her every day.”

Arianrhod reached out and held his hand. It brought a lump to her throat to see that this old man missed his wife even though she had been gone many years. Would James ever think of her fondly like this?

“Thank you,” she said and he closed his hand over hers and nodded, a tear silently leaving a trail down his old, wrinkled cheek.

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