Chapter Forty One

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Dear Diary,

I walked backwards from the double doors that Farley had just disappeared into, my feet shifting underneath me, not quite sure where I was going as Leo stood there and watched. After a few more steps my legs buckled as they hit the edge of a chair. My bum fell into the chair and I laid the tips of my elbows onto my knees, holding my head in my hands, my hair falling either side of my face.

I watched the ground as Leo stayed where he was. I listened to the sounds of the hospital corridor, feet shuffling this way and that, murmuring and the metallic sound of wheels on the cold, hard floor.

I closed my eyes and could do nothing else but pray. I don’t even know what I said, I just know I had never spoken to God before. Even when Mum died I don’t think I ever thought about praying. But there I was in a hospital somewhere in New York praying quietly to God asking for his help.

Who else could I ask? I could hardly bear to look at Leo. Farley was somewhere I didn’t want to imagine. I had the vague notion that it was cheeky, suddenly wanting to talk with God right then like I’d waited until everything was as wrong as it could be. I think I apologized for that.

I prayed that Farley would be alright, muttering that he didn’t deserve to be hurt, that it was my fault. That I didn’t think. That I was sorry. So sorry. I promised I would never be the same again. That I would find a way to make up for what I had done; if only Farley would be alright.

I don’t know how long I prayed for – it could’ve been ages. Eventually I looked up and saw Leo a few seats along also with his head in his hands. Also looking at the ground, also muttering. Was he praying as well?

He turned his head towards me, sorrowful. I pulled my hair back and sat back in the chair then looked down at my hands, caked in Farley’s blood, all along my arms, nestled in the gold leaves of my dress.

Leo rose from his chair, came over to me and lifted me up from where I sat. I didn’t have the heart to argue. He put my arm around his neck and he led me along to the hospital bathroom.

The door was marked with a female sign but Leo came in anyway leading me in silence to the sink. He positioned my body in front of it and knelt down beside me turning the coldwater tap on full force.

He took my hands and leant them over the sink, washing the blood away with the water. It was ice cold. He rose from his knees and dabbed at my face with a wet papertowel, blood running into the sink as he squeezed it. I looked at myself in the mirror seeing a creepy version of the girl I had been just a few hours ago. Still dressed in gold, hair still flowing, mascara still thick. Except no longer the same.

Leo left me propped up next to the sink for a while whilst he cleaned his own arms. There was nothing he could do about the huge streaks of red all the way down his white shirt. He splashed water over his face and paused to look in the mirror just as I had done. He slowly shook his head like he were looking at his greatest enemy.

He turned to me and it was as though he had a touch of resolve in his eye.

‘Come on, Amber,’ he said. ‘We have to talk.’

‘No,’ I said, as he took my arm and led me out of the bathroom.

‘Yes,’ he said, with much more force than I could hope to muster.

With that he led me again by the elbow, out of the grey corridor, out into the main waiting room. I had vague thoughts of escaping but no energy to back it up. He led me along through the waiting room, off to another corridor. He searched the signs with his eyes.

‘Ah,’ he said. ‘Let’s go up here.’

He led me through a corridor to a door at the end of it. There were stairs when we got through.

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