Writer’s Block Ch. 04

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Bj

There’s no sex in this chapter so don’t judge it purely on that.

********

The hospital was a hive of activity. Nurses and doctors flitting around from one patient to another, checking vitals, tending to problems and on the odd occasion getting a call to arms when an alarm sounded to tell them someone was drifting away from life. She really hoped Rance didn’t become one of those. She’d spent four days waiting at his bedside with no change. “It’s going to be at least another two weeks until we wake him up. He’d be in too much pain if we woke him sooner.” A nurse told her when she came in. “He’s stable. Very low risk of slipping away. You might as well go home and get some quality rest, eat some food, recharge and come back tomorrow.”

Ria knew the nurse was talking sense but she hated the thought of leaving him alone in a hospital bed. There was nothing she could do even if she was there, so she took the nurse’s advice. She kissed his head told him she loved him and left for the night.

When she got back to the hotel Kelly was working. “Hey honey. How’s he doing?”

“Still the same.” Ria told her. “Nurse said it’ll be two weeks before they wake him so I should get on with things rather than staying there wasting time. I’m going back tomorrow though.”

“Hey I get off in forty minutes. Want to go out and chill together?”

“That would be nice.” Ria said accepting the offer of company. “I’m going to get changed and I’ll be down in a while.

“Ok honey.”

Ria went up to her room. Two weeks was going to cost another $7,000. She checked her account. $9,547 left. She was cutting it close. If he needed any other hospital care after the two weeks she had no way to cover it. She was considering her options when her phone rang, an unknown number. “Hello?”

The voice on the other end of the phone was Sergeant Peters. He was asking how Rance was.

“He’s doing ok for now. He’s still in an induced coma to help him breathe but he should be awake in two weeks.”

“That’s Good news. I have some more good news for you too. Forensics have finished at the house so you can go home. If you want anyone to go with you the first time we can arrange someone.”

“Thanks. That would be nice. Any time in particular that’s best? I don’t want to take up police time if it’s needed somewhere else.”

“Any time is fine, Ma’am. We don’t usually have this kind of case to deal with so we can spare an officer to escort you.”

“Thank you, sir.” She paused before continuing. “Mind if I ask, was Rebecca known to police for anything? I just can’t understand why she would pull something like this.”

“She was known to us for minor things but I really can’t go into any detail. I can say that she had never given us any cause for real concern. The investigation is still on-going but you’ll be happy to know nothing is pointing in your direction. We do still need you to stay local and to let us know if you plan on going anywhere but otherwise you’re clear.”

“I’m not going anywhere until Rance is awake. Thank you Sergeant.”

She hung up and sat in the bed breathing a huge sigh of relief. At least that was one pressure off her shoulders. Now all she had pressing on her was Rance’s hospital bill, the fact that she was arrested to the town, going to the house without him and… oh yes… the fact that she had stabbed a woman to death five nights ago.

She ran the shower, undressed and got in. The water was hot and although it felt good it didn’t wash any of her ill feeling away. She was depressed, without Rance she felt lost. The short six weeks they spent together after finding each other had made a huge impact on her. She knew he was important, really important but on the night of the attack she found out exactly how important he was to her.

She washed herself, standing numb beneath the water. Thoughts going through her mind. What ifs, whys, what fors, if onlys and hows. She shook her head and huffed at the ridiculousness of it all. She rinsed the suds away and stepped out onto the bath mat, taking a towel from the rail and drying her face. She looked into the mirror to see a sad woman staring back. She didn’t realise how sad she looked. She tried smiling but it looked fake and forced.

She walked out to the bedroom and patted her skin dry, picking out clothes and putting them on. Once dressed she picked up her room key and left to meet Kelly.

“You look like you need cheering up. I have just the thing.” Kelly said as she picked up her coat and purse.

“I’m not likely to be great company.” Ria said.

“I’m sure we can handle that.” Kelly said as she linked arms with Ria. “Let’s go.”

They walked out of the hotel and turned right into the centre of town in the bottom of the valley. “I don’t want to freak you out so I’ll let you know now I’ve got some of Rance’s friends together. They want to meet you tonight and then they’re going to visit him tomorrow.”

“Oh I don’t know if I’m up to that.” She said with a lot of stress in her voice.

“Trust me honey. Şerifali Escort They’ll be gentle. They know you’re going through some heavy stuff right now and they want to help you through it.”

They walked for about 15 minutes before arriving at a bar. A man saw Kelly and approached. “Kell, how are you?”

“I’m fine.” Kelly replied. “This is Ria, Rance’s fiancée. Ria this is Len.”

“Nice to meet you Ria. Sorry it’s in such terrible circumstances.” Len was British with a standard British accent which Ria found quite interesting.

“Len, Pleased to meet you. I wish the circumstances were better but unfortunately not.” She shook his hand.

Kelly asked him. “Would you mind grabbing a couple of beers for us honey? I’ll find a place for us to sit.”

“Sure no problem.” Len said as he went to the bar.

“Lens a lovely guy. He and Rance used to do a lot of adventure stuff together when they were younger. After Rance’s mom died they were really tight.”

“And He’s British? How did he find his way out to this place?” Ria asked.

“He’s a travel writer. He settled here but he still moves about a lot.”

Len returned with the beers. “So you’re the woman in Rance’s life? He’s done well for a recluse.”

Ria smiled. “Smooth!”

“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to make it sound that way. He’s a great guy and he’s fallen on his feet with you. I just hope he comes through so you can be together. I hear you’re engaged.”

“Kind of. It’s a little complicated.”

Len drew his head back, frowning, puzzled. “How is engagement complicated?”

Ria shook her head wishing the situation hadn’t been brought up. “Just before he was shot, he kind of asked me if we should get engaged but I told him we should wait. Since the morning after, when I found out he was still alive I decided I do want to marry him. Life is too short. He doesn’t even know yet. Complicated.”

Len nodded. “So you and Rance are that serious?”

“I am. I think Rance is, all the clues point in that direction.” Ria said taking a gulp of beer. “He means everything to me.”

“You sure it’s not his money you’re after?” Len asked with a hint of scepticism.

Kelly hit his arm and gave him a harsh stare. “Why the fuck would you ask that? She nearly lost the man she loves and you ask that shit? You’re an asshole!”

Ria ignored the comment placed the beer down and walked away. Kelly left and caught up with her. “Take no notice. He’s hurting too and he’s just thinking of Rance.”

“It’s ok.” Ria said as she walked. “I understand where he’s coming from. We’ve been together almost seven weeks and it might seem that way to anyone from the outside, but when I fell for Rance I had no idea he had money. As far as I knew he was broke.”

“You don’t have to explain yourself to me Rance chooses his women well. It’s why he never got involved with Rebecca.”

The mere mention of her name hurt Ria. “I’m going to drop my stuff in the hotel and go back to the hospital. I hope he doesn’t need to be there much longer because I can’t afford to keep him there.”

“What do you mean you can’t afford it? Doesn’t he have any insurance?”

Ria shook her head. “I don’t know if he does or not. It’s not something we discussed. Knowing what his plan was up at the cabin I imagine he’d stopped any insurance. No point paying for something you don’t need.”

“Shit, Ria. How much is it costing?”

I paid $12,400 the other day and I’m going to get another bill for $7k soon.”

“You should have told Len that. He’d have shut up if he knew you were out of pocket because of this.”

“I appreciate the help Kelly. Are you coming to the hospital to say hi?”

“You know, I think I will.”

Kelly took Ria’s arm as they walked to the hotel. The night was calm and cool. Bats were flitting around the street lamps catching insects that were drawn to the light. As they reached the hotel Kelly told Ria she’d wait for her in the reception area. Ria walked to her room, opening the door and placing her purse down on the bed. She thought about Len’s words. ‘Is that how his friends see me? A gold digger?’

She used the bathroom, checked her face and left the room. As she walked down the stairs she saw Kelly talking to a man. He wasn’t anyone she recognised but the conversation seemed to be a serious one. “Hey Kelly, everything ok?”

“Ria, this is Mr Jenson, the manager of the hotel. I’ve told him about your predicament and he’s agreed to compliment your stay here, so there will be no bill to pay.”

“Oh thank you so much but you didn’t have to do that. I’m happy to pay my way.”

“Nonsense.” Said Mr Jenson. “Kelly has told me about the incident. Terrible thing to happen. We pride ourselves in this town on having a low crime rate and to hear of such a thing is despicable. I hope you and your man are reunited in health shortly. I’ll take care of your bill.” He touched her elbow and with that turned and left.

“Well I guess that’s settled. You won’t need to worry about the hotel bill at least.”

“Thank Göztepe Escort you Kelly. You’ve been so great. I’m not sure what I’d have done without you the last few days. Come on let’s go see him.”

The evening was dark now. Although the town was still considered safe by most, Ria didn’t feel it. Every little noise made her jump. It wasn’t long before they reached the hospital and Ria was thankful for being inside where she felt secure. They walked up to the ICU, notified the nurses that they were going in to see him and walked to his room, the familiar beep of his heart monitor welcoming her back.

“I know is stupid. He doesn’t know I’m here but I don’t want to be away from him in case something happens.” Ria told Kelly.

“It’s not stupid. You’ve been through a hell of a traumatic ordeal. He’s the one who would normally make you feel better. You do need a good night’s sleep though.”

The women sat with Rance for an hour, talking to him, telling him about recent news before deciding to go and get some sleep. They walked from the hospital towards the hotel. About half way between, a voice called to them. “Hey wait up.” Len Said.

“Len it’s not the time.” Said Kelly putting her arm around Ria as if to protect her.

“No I wanted to apologise. What I said earlier was out of order. I’m sorry. I was just thinking of Rance. He’s always had his head screwed on but none of us knew who you were.”

“Actually Len, Ria is paying for his hospital bills. It turns out he may not have insurance.”

Len looked surprised at the fact. “That’s not right. He must have insurance. Do you have access to his house?”

“Not until tomorrow morning when the police let me in.”

“I’m sure he’ll have documents somewhere for his insurance. We need to look for them. We can’t let you drain your funds if he has cover.” Len said. “If we don’t find anything I’ll pay for anything from here on. You should be concentrating on yourself right now.”

“Thank you Len. That takes pressure off.”

They returned to the bar, late evening. Ria sat, quietly pondering the next fork in her road. This fork was an important one, it would change the course of her life again for better or worse, neither direction was an option of her choosing. If Rance pulled through plans needed to be made for their life together. If he didn’t, plans still needed to be made for her life alone, if she decided to even carry on living.

Rance’s friends were nice enough. Although Ria sat with them she wasn’t really there. Her mind was back at the cabin with her man, trying to recapture every memory just in case he took the right fork. She wanted every single little second of their time together to be saved under “love of my life.mov” in the hard drive of her mind.

She didn’t contribute much to the conversation, Len, Kelly and the others could see Ria was hurting. They wanted to help her but what could they do? Take her to a zoo? Buy her ice cream? It was hard to distract a woman whose love had come so close to death and was in hospital under anaesthetic, unable to respond to her.

By the end of the night Ria had become quietly drunk. It wasn’t a good drunk, she was stewing about the incident, trying to figure out why Rebecca thought it was a good idea to try murdering him over nothing. It wasn’t healthy and it was killing her inside.

Kelly and Len walked her to her hotel room. Len left Kelly to help Ria into bed. “Things are going to be fine. You have to trust fate. It has a plan for all of us. Get some sleep and I’ll come and see you tomorrow before you go to the house.”

Ria nodded but didn’t speak. Even if she’d wanted to she was too choked up and drunk to manage anything. Kelly left Ria to find her drunken slumber, it didn’t long for it to arrive either.

A knock on the door woke Ria to the after effects of her antiparty the previous night. Nausea and pain now her closest friends. It had been a long time since she’d really drank alcohol and it had done its job too well. The knock came again followed by Kelly’s voice. “Ria, you ok honey?”

“I’m fine.” She paused a while. “No. I’m not fine. If I move I think I’m going to puke.”

Kelly went to the desk and got the spare room key, returning to open the door. “You feel that bad?”

“I feel like I was shot.” Ria said comparing her feeling to Rance. “I need to get my shit together.”

Kelly helped her to get dressed and brought her plenty of water. “Let’s get some food and call the cops to see when you can get up to the house.”

They went to Class! for breakfast, Ria’s head pounding as if a little man was in there using a full sized sledgehammer to try and break free. Kelly ordered a selection of breakfasts so Ria could pick and choose the least vomit inducing food to help her recover her humanity.

After a while it seemed to work. Her stomach settled and the ache in her head reduced to a manageable throb. They spoke of the plan for the day. Kelly offered to take Ria shopping to keep her mind away from the Ümraniye Escort shitty situation at the hospital, and maybe improve her mood. Ria agreed that a bit of retail therapy might be good but first she called the station to find out what time an officer would be able to attend the house to allow her in. She was told an officer could attend after half an hour, so they finished their breakfasts and walked up the hill to wait.

As they neared the house Ria had a strong feeling of dread. Her stomach knotted and her heart beat hard in her chest. The sun was low in the early spring sky leaving everything with a faintly yellow tinge, almost movie like. She saw the front door to the house and suddenly felt very dizzy, her legs weakened so she sat down in the road before she fainted, Kelly sat with her. “It’s ok. You were bound to feel terrible about coming back to where it happened. Just remember it’s only a house. There’s no one here now, and I’m with you.”

Ria nodded, took some deep breaths and got back up. She looked at the door remembering the night, recalling her emotions as she saw the first flash and the feeling of the knife as it pushed into Rebecca’s chest. She wasn’t coming back for revenge but Ria knew she must have family and friends. What if they wanted revenge? They continued the last few metres to the door

The door was covered in the silvery grey fingerprint powder used by forensics, yellow tape still across it and deck which only hammered home the memory of a few night’s previous. Ria began to sob as Kelly pulled her close to give her comfort. “It’s all going to be fine.” She told Ria.

Ten minutes after they arrived a police cruiser turned up with two officers. “Maria Lindgren?”

Ria nodded. “That’s me.”

“We just need to make you aware that although crime scene clean-up have cleared up any mess there are still stains that might upset you. The door had to be locked using a hasp and padlock as we didn’t have the keys for it. I take it you don’t have the keys?”

Maria shook her head as she absorbed the information about the stains being left.

“We’ll leave you with the key for the padlock so you can at least secure the door.” Said the officer as he unlocked it.

Ria walked over the deck where Rance had landed, noticing reddish brown stains which she knew was his blood. The officer walked in holding the door for the women. Ria entered the house noticing another dark stain on the light coloured hardwood floor which obviously belonged to Rebecca. “Will that stain ever come out?” She asked.

The cop shrugged. “You’d have to ask someone who deals with wood. I would have thought it could be sanded out but I’m no expert. Here are the keys for the lock. If you need us for anything please call.”

The officers left Ria and Kelly staring at Rebecca’s blood stain on the floor. “I hate that she will always be a part of his house now. Even if the stain does come out it will still be the place she died and that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.”

“Honey, she can never harm you or Rance again. Come on, let’s go and spend a few bucks.” Kelly said as she pulled at Ria’s arm.”

Kelly drove her out to Grand Rapids where they enjoyed a day away from the stress of what was happening back at Marchant Falls, Ria felt better for it but thought about Rance the whole day, wondering if he was ok. Kelly bought her a nice new dress for her to wear for Rance when he got out of hospital, to a party they were planning for him. A nice knee length sleeveless red dress. Ria loved it and thought about how Rance would like it when he woke, never having seen her in anything but cargo pants. She bought herself some matching shoes thinking it probably wouldn’t look so good with hiking boots.

They ate dinner at a nice restaurant overlooking Blandin Park Lake. The trees were only just budding so the view to the lake was pretty clear. Gulls were sitting on the water enjoying the sun as it smiled on them. Ria felt at ease for the first time since the night they arrived at Marchant Falls. Kelly could see Ria was beginning to relax as she stared out over the lake. “It’s really pretty here, I wonder if he’d move over this way.” Ria wondered aloud.

“Maybe, but the house in Marchant Falls is really nice and the views are stunning. It really is a nice town and the Rebecca incident was the only thing that’s happened there in almost forty years. The last thing of note to happen there was an armed robbery back at the end of the seventies.” Kelly informed her.

“As safe as it might be, my first impression doesn’t give me much confidence in the place.”

“Fair point, but give the place a chance.”

They finished their dinner together and left to go back to the Falls to check on Rance. No change, still stable and sleeping.

The next two weeks dragged for Ria. She had good company in Kelly, Len and Rance’s other friends but she still felt lonely without Him. She missed hearing his husky voice and feeling his coarse, rough hands on her face, missed the soft touch of his lips and the look of his nebulaic eyes. She felt a robust need to have some contact with him, not just holding his hand but having a conversation with him. While he was in his induced coma he was present and tangible but entirely unavailable. It hurt that he was there but also not.

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