Part 5

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Three weeks had passed since Kate had fled to her mother, proverbial tail between her legs. Her mother had been both amazed and ecstatic to see her. After the greatest breakfast Kate had curled up in front of the fire and slept like a baby. When she’d woken her whole perspective had changed and she was depressed on so many levels. She’d left early afternoon and turned up at Tilly’s as planned, but her low mood continued through dinner.

Her housemates Mike and Steve were on fine comedic form as usual, a double act worthy of TV or stage, so she was able to hide behind them. It was only when Ashton, Tilly’s fiancé took the boys down into his newly converted ‘man cave’ cellar that Tilly had turned to her.

                “So what happened? Were the family oppressive and hinting that you’re doing everything wrong?...Again?” Tilly was the only person who knew the truth, knew the real Kate, she’d been beside her through everything, and even though Tilly disagreed with the choices she made, Kate knew she had her complete support.

She shrugged trying to avoid the tears that had threatened to fall since she’d woken at her mother’s. She’d done sadness and grief to the max, but most of all she felt extreme guilt. She’d promised herself six years ago that she’d stay true to Peter. Everyone thought she was mad, but it was what she HAD to do, and now she’d sullied that. How could she look herself in the mirror?

                “I met a man...” she finally offered, “and...”

Tilly rushed over to her and pulled her into her arms, “don’t beat yourself up, you hear me? You’ve devoted far too much time to the past; this is not a bad thing!”

Kate shook her head, “nothing has changed Tilly, I’m still Peter’s...but I’ve now got even more guilt to manage. I ruined what little self respect that I had!”

                “When are you going to stop blaming yourself for what happened to Peter? It wasn’t your fault! You don’t deserve this!” Instead of shouting Tilly’s voice was quiet, controlled. But this wasn’t a new conversation and she knew that a full on slanging match never got a desired outcome.

                “You weren’t there! I saw him drive away, I could’ve stopped him, done so many things, and then...”

Tilly held up a hand to silence her, “let’s not rehash old ground. Tell me about the man that’s managed to penetrate the now infamous Michaels resolve! I’ve not known you strike up a conversation with a man in years, let alone ‘meet’ one. So...SPILL!”

Kate shrugged, “he’s a friend of the bride’s brother, he was there alone, and he kind of pursued me all night...”

                “And you didn’t hit him?” Whilst she joked, Tilly realised the seriousness of this revelation. And as she moved to the large modern fridge to retrieve more wine she almost fainted...or dropped the bottle...or both.

                “I slept with him, and now I hate myself. What am I going to do?”

As Kate stifled a sob, Tilly turned gobsmacked, open mouthed, well and truly stunned. Seeing the obvious torment and distress on her friend’s face, she rushed over to once again wrap her arms around Kate.

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