Patrick woke gasping for air. He’d seen Rebecca again, reaching out to him, trying to pull him to her, at first still beautiful, but then tainted.
There was darkness around her. He wanted to go to her, but a voice warned him that she held secrets he didn’t want to know. He was struggling to go to her, with legs of stone, they would not move, and some other force held him back. He was fighting in both directions.
Sitting up in bed he wiped the sweat from his face with the top sheet. Still confused, he found his way into the bathroom and looked at himself the mirror. A frightened face reflected at him. A sudden wave of her scent washed over him. He was shocked by the intensity of it, and turned around expecting to see her.
She’s haunting me.
He thought of her jealousy, but had never allowed himself to consider what it meant, and how it might have motivated her; he didn’t want to know the truth. He knew enough about it in others, but with Rebecca he was blinded by the confusing emotions of a love turned to misery.
Such a huge part of his success as a trial lawyer was that he was very quick to see what people were hiding; “lightning reflexes” an L.A. Times reporter had written. He saw others very clearly and knew things before they happened.
Yet, with Rebecca, he had failed to see the truth—a failure he believed may have sent her to her death. He didn’t know why he’d embraced that conviction. Dr. Mary Southard suggested it was survivor’s guilt. He stopped seeing her after that proclamation. It didn’t settle with him. His conscious belief was that he failed Rebecca, but his gut told him something else was happening. He was unable to discuss this conflict with Dr. Southard. She didn’t seem engaging but withdrawn, aloof and clinical. He needed therapy, but his first and only encounter left him feeling even more alone, depressed and dejected.
It was past two in the morning, but he didn’t try to sleep again. He mixed a protein drink, booted up his computer, and began looking through his email. He would hit the gym once the protein mix kicked in.
He’d had too many nights like this one. They were coming with unwelcome frequency.