State of Emergency – Chapter 5
December 17, 2010
“No! He’s in there! I saw him!” Dolly writhed and twisted in Ian’s grasp; he had one arm securely around her waist, lifting her off the floor, while with the other, he gently but firmly pried the heavy steel butcher knife from her grasp, setting it down on the kitchen counter a full arm’s length away and flicking it well out of her reach with his fingertips.
A small, sad sigh escaped his lips as he set his wife down and with the same sure but kindly grasp, man-handled her around to face him then folded his arms around the frenzied blonde and hugged her to his chest.
Her thrashing subsided, giving way to deep, gulping sobs that shook her little body from head to toe. “But I saw him! I really did!”
Ian pressed a kiss into her hair, then rested his cheek there, smelling the subtle vanilla fragrance that seemed to weave into everything she touched. “I know you did, love… I know you did.” They stood like that for an untold time, as the light shifted across the kitchen windows until her violent, heart-wracked sobbing ebbed to normal tears. Then he scooped her up in his arms and carried her upstairs, setting her down on their bed and then lying down himself, facing her, one hand automatically going out to stroke her golden hair.
Sniffling and red-eyed, she looked down for a moment, then pleadingly over to him.
“There’s… there’s blood on my hands.”
He nodded slowly, watching her face, his hand moving to caress her cheek.
“Did… did I hurt you?”
He shook his head. “It’s yours, love.” He leaned across to kiss her tenderly, then lay nose-to-nose with her, looking into her eyes with all the pain in his heart on display. “You promised me you’d never do that again.”
She ducked her head, tears starting again. “I didn’t know I did. I don’t…” Her arms went out, suddenly gripping him fiercely, pulling herself against him. Her words came out in a tremulous whisper. “I don’t want to die. I want to be here… with you.”
“Is it because I’m out more, at practice?” He was surprised to hear the same tremor in his own voice and clutched her tighter, the softness of her somehow more solid, more real than the hardest granite.
“No!” Her voice cracked as she protested, shaking her head hard enough to make her hair fly. “I do the little things when you’re out… the stuff I don’t want to do when you’re here! And I know you’re coming back! It’s not… I’m not broken! You can leave me alone and it’s OK. It’s not that, it’s… it’s… Aah! I don’t know what it is!” Her cry of frustration echoed back from the rafters and she thumped her head against the pillow. “It just… it just came out of nowhere. You have to believe me, Ian… It’s not you. I love you!”
“I love you too, Blue.” He took her hands gently in his, looking at the cuts across the palms, tracing their line with the lightest touch of his thumb. “And I believe you. We’ll fix this. We’ll solve this together. We did it once before, remember?” He smiled reassuringly at her and it widened to see the tentative smile appear on her lips, the hope and trust brightening in her eyes. “It’ll all be OK.”
He’d barely finished the words when her lips met his and for a while, the world went away for both of them.
Gerrard was far more energetic than his owner as they walked beside the lake in Stanley Park, the puppy bounding hither and yon on his long leash to sniff at tree trunks and clumps of grass, bark at the ducks and examine the cans and bottles left by teenagers the night before. Ian smiled to himself as he wandered leisurely in the puppy’s wake; Dolly described the little Husky’s big-footed gait as “flolopping” and it seemed perfectly apt, but his mind wasn’t really on the dog. He waxed and waned between worrying over the strange resurgence of her mental illness – a sickness he’d been sure he’d put to rest – and remembering the way her eyes would close and her face would tighten as she let out a little gasp, as if in pain, as if fighting the need to let go, before the bliss of release poured through her and she’d tip her head back, open-mouthed as it lit her face from within, turning her into something pure and iconic, something heart-stoppingly beautiful, while she screamed her ecstasy like the filthiest whore in Netherfield Road.
As it was, Gerrard had led him almost to the path back to their home when he spotted a man in a long wool coat with a vivid Titian ponytail trailing back over one shoulder.
“I don’t fucking believe it!” He took three quick strides and barreled into the enforcer, then kept moving, bearing the older man well off the path and into the trees, where he shoved him to the ground. Fast as a striking snake, Ian whipped out the Beretta and levelled it at the back of Walsaw’s head, the tension in his shoulders, in his fingers, minutely visible in the eager quivering of the pistol in his hand.
Walsaw rolled quickly over, green eyes wide and wild as they took Carlyle in – the height of him, the breadth of his shoulders, the flush of fury that ran down the man’s neck – then darted from side to side, checking for cover, for some quick exit. There was nothing close enough and past experience told him if he so much as twitched, he’d end up like Derek… or worse. Cursing himself inwardly for not instantly reaching for his own gun, Chris dropped his bag and very slowly, began to raise his hands.
“Better. Now, why don’t we start with you telling me what the fuck you were doing under my kitchen sink!”
Chris stared at him, open-mouthed.