Friday, 16 January 2009

Chapter Twelve

"Me?" she asked, surprised. In her job all she ever did was listen and talk about other peoples emergencies and problems. She was a bit taken a back that he wanted to know about her.

"Yeah, like how did you become a 911 operator? I mean, hell you're good at what ya do an all but your accent kinda gives you away as a non native." he laughed.

"I'm on a two year secondment. I was a 999 operator back in the UK. Same job different geography." she smiled.

"Ok, but why did you come over here? What made you take the job?"

Dee took a deep breath, his questions were making her think of things she had successfully not thought about for over a year. She could feel tears beginning and she wondered why she felt compelled to tell him. What was it about this relative stranger that made her feel so comfortable and safe? Safe enough to delve into memories she wished she didn't have.

Richie looked at the woman who had helped him beyond the call of duty. He could see she was getting upset and was on the verge of telling her she didn't have to say anything when she started to speak. Richie sat forward and took hold of one of her hands, marvelling at how small and delicate it was.

"I became a 999 operator about five years ago. My boyfriend was a policeman and he helped to get me the job. For the first few years everything was good you know but then, it changed, i don't know why or what caused it but because both of us were doing shift work it was ages before i noticed anything untoward you know. And i just put it down to tiredness and being overworked."

She looked at him, seeing the concern on his face.

"I'm sorry i don't mean to lay this on you." she began

"Hey, I did it to you. Just talk to me darlin, sounds like you need to."

She smiled and began again, her voice a little shaky as she fought back a sudden wash of tears.

"Anyway, I came home one night and found him in bedroom. At the time i thought he looked a little weird but i was just so bursting to tell him my news that i just blurted it out. I was pregnant. His reaction was to boot me in the stomach with his foot. All i can really remember is the sensation of flying backwards and then just lying there outside the bedroom, I thought he was going to kill me, " she sniffed, a tear making its way down her face. She knew she ought to stop unravelling but couldn't; he was just comfortable to talk to and the constant ache inside seemed to be getting a little better as she talked, "I don't remember much after that as he beat the shit out of me, i remember him calling me a slut and a slag, then nothing."

Richie squeezed her hand as she cried silently.

"I woke up in hospital about two days later with a broken leg, fractured ribs and a broken collarbone. I was in there for three weeks. A neighbour, bless him, had heard the noise and shouting and had come round and seen me in a heap at the bottom of the stairs. Nick had picked me up and thrown me down them; thankfully i was already unconscious as i don't remember. Anyway the neighbour called the police and an ambulance and Nick was arrested by his own colleagues. I found out later from a friend of his that he'd been taking crack cocaine and speed for about eighteen months and had been coming down when i'd told him about the pregnancy. The last i heard about him he was locked up in a psychiatric ward indefinitely." she sat on the sofa, still holding his hand but looking at the floor, her hair hanging down hiding her face.

"Sweetheart." Richie said, appalled at what she had told him. Dee continued to look at the floor, tears blurring her vision.

"Sweetheart look at me" he said softly, touching her chin and turning her head to look at him.
"You poor thing, no one should have to go through that. Ever. But the fact that you get on the phone everyday to help people out who could be in that situation is amazing. I couldn't do it. I don't have the strength that entails. Come here." he said as he pulled her into his arms, feeling the softness and warmth of her as he held her.

Dee lay, cocooned in a shell of safety and warmth and felt at peace. She had only ever told one person what had really happened to her, Simon, and even then she'd skipped a lot of it.

"So that's why you came over here? To get away from it all? You poor darlin." he whispered, kissing the top of her head.

Dee closed her eyes and thanked what ever deities were up there for having this wonderful man come into her life. Even if this was it and she never saw him again, she now knew she would be fine. He had helped heal the hole that had been inside her for so long that she hadn't known it was there.

"Thank you." she said, echoing his earlier sentiments.

"You're welcome." he replied, repeating hers.

She sat up with a small smile on her tear stained face.

"Well this is a turn about. You came over here to get away from your problems and i gave you mine instead."

"That's what friends are for isn't it?" he said, smiling broadly at her. Somehow in the last couple of hours she'd managed to dislodge the final piece of ice that had taken up residence in his heart and he could feel it thawing out; slowly but surely.

"Are we friends then?" Dee asked in a small voice, still shaky with emotion.

"I'd like to be. If you want that is."

"Yeah" she said, smiling up at him.


  1. What a horrifying thing to go through, but I'm glad Richie was there to listen.

    ~ Hath

  2. I couldn't think of a better person to talk to than Richie, his eyes just scream compassion (and passion!)