My grandfather used to say that if a woman looks like she’s about to explode, you need to run for the hills because chances are it is your fault or it is about to be. He never mentioned anything about the possibility of her being my shelter or that in that state, she would look so frail and in need of comfort that my feet would freeze in place, unable to run anywhere.
When I entered her bedroom to surprise her, with a rose I picked up from grams’ garden the bright smile I had climbed the stairs with, immediately disappeared. Concern loomed over me as even though I couldn’t see her I could hear her sobs coming from the closet. Instant worry made me move towards the closet, where I found her on the floor stuffing clothes in a suitcase in a hurry. I’d asked what was wrong, what I had done for her to leave but her answers made me believe this had nothing to do with me. She looked like she was in such pain, like leaving this house where she finally felt safe was one of the hardest blows she’d been dealt.
Trying to help her pack her things, as much as it pained me was the right thing to do. I couldn’t keep her here by force but I could try and convince her to tell me what was wrong whilst putting clothes in her bag. That made her cry even harder though. I didn’t have the intention of actually allowing her to drive anywhere like this, but she needed to meet me halfway and tell me what was wrong. What I hadn’t anticipated with my approach was that it would make her crumble and sob even more uncontrollably than before. So, I stopped. I scooped her up in my arms and took her to bed, no more helping her go. I intended to keep her here until she told me exactly what was wrong.
I rubbed circles on her back, caressed her cheek once in awhile and placed soft kisses on the top of her head whilst repeating soothing words to calm her down. Whatever had gotten her in this state, was starting to scare me. ‘Can I have a tissue?’ she muttered in between sobs and I immediately reached out on her nightstand and took some tissues out. Her cries seemed to be subsiding and I really hoped that meant I was actually helping her and she wouldn’t push me away in a few seconds to continue packing her bags. She got a grip on herself and started to breathe more evenly, breaking our embrace to wipe her tears and finally, looking at me like she had something to say.
‘Did grams ever tell you why she insisted on me staying here so much?’ she asked, staring at me like she was trying to memorise every inch of my face. ‘No.’ I answered, ‘I assumed she had good reasons for it.’ like she always did. ‘Yes, but I was a stranger who she’d only met a couple of times. Didn’t you think it was odd she invited me to live in her guest house?’ Of course it was odd, is that what she wanted to hear? That I nearly choked on a muffin when she’d given me the news? ‘I’ve learnt not to question her decisions over the years. She always makes the right choice and if she thought inviting you to stay here was the best way to help you then I agree with her.’ She looked down, almost ready to cry again and I moved closer and lifted her chin to my eye level, ‘Why the curiosity? It’s not like you’re some kind of fellon we need to be worried about…right?’ I asked as a joke at first, but as her eyes grew bigger and tears started streaming down her cheeks I started to think it didn’t seem like one. ‘Mia?’ I pressed, in hopes she would say this wasn’t what I thought it was.
Runaway girl in a small town hiding from the authorities.
‘It’s all a lie. I promise.’ She vowed innocently, but my body didn’t get the memo and moved a few inches away from her. ‘What’s a lie?’ I asked, afraid of the answer she’d give. Many of my previous clients had used these words when seeking my council and many had lied. Words like, I didn’t do it, it’s not what it seems like, meant absolutely nothing to a lawyer and as she opened her laptop and showed me a newspaper article accusing her of murder, I knew that her promise was empty. ‘Nora knows why I came to live in this town and why I couldn’t stay in my cottage anymore. It’s not because I murdered my husband, but-‘. ‘Your husband?’ I interjected, shocked that that was the one piece of information I hadn’t gathered from the beginning of this conversation, ‘You have a husband?’ I asked, almost angry at the guy even though ‘He’s dead, Hunter’. Exactly.
‘And you didn’t think that was worth mentioning?’ I shouted this time not knowing where all that anger had come from. I got off the bed and started pacing the room, thinking about every moment I’d known this woman and every time she’d lied to me about why she was here. ‘Does grams know about these articles? What they say about you? Or did you forget to mention that to her when she kindly invited you in her home?’ I said in disdain and immediately regretted it when I saw her pain looked, ‘She doesn’t.’ she confirmed. ‘Not because I lied to her but because I only saw them this morning myself. That’s why I was packing my stuff, I knew once I showed it to you and your grandparents that you wouldn’t believe me. I couldn’t risk being found.’
‘If you didn’t do anything and it’s all a lie why would you be scared of the police finding you?’ although I answered that question myself since witnesses placed her at the murder scene. ‘I’m not afraid of the police, Hunter. I know I didn’t kill him’. ‘Then who?’ I asked, ‘The people that actually killed him. The people that want me dead to ensure I don’t tell anything to the police.’ Exasperated and frustrated by all of this, I shook my head in disbelief, ‘You want to tell me that someone wants to kill you and you thought accepting grams’ offer was okay?’.
She was putting my family in danger and as much as I liked her and wanted to be with her I couldn’t move past this. She tried to justify her choice since grams knew she was being chased by professional killers but I couldn’t wrap my head around it. Grams was smart but she was also an easy target, she and my grandfather couldn’t protect her if someone came to get her. They could both be killed for protecting her and I wouldn’t allow those people to take them away from me. ‘You can’t stay here.’ I said and Mia’s disappointment became visible but she nodded in agreement. ‘You have to understand I can’t risk their lives. So, grab all of your stuff and put them in my car, I’m taking you to my house.’
Note: Thank you for reading this post! This is the 12th part of the MB series which you can find on my blog. If you enjoyed it please hit the like button and subscribe to my blog for more!