ALL THINGS MUST END
Heavy rain poured down in torrents as Cassie Buckley left the office and rushed quickly to the dingy little car park where her small blue Fiat was parked. The cold February wind blew mercilessly into her face and the rain covered her glasses, making it difficult to see. As Cassie got into the car, she began spontaneously to cry, as she did most nights. It had been six months since her boyfriend Paul had died and Cassie still felt completely alone and lost. Her only consolation was that Paul had died doing something he loved, having sustained neck injuries while playing rugby for the small local team. Cassie hated going home after a tedious day working as a trainee accountant only to find her flat cold and empty. This was her first job after leaving university, where she had met Paul, and she despised every aspect of it, especially the petty office politics and pecking order. However she needed to keep working to pay the mortgage on the flat as he parents had moved to Spain and had financial problems of their own.
Cassie drove carefully home through the driving rain and parked in the communal parking area beside the flats, a converted former hotel and pub. As she was locking her car, a gust of wind blew a branch off an overhanging tree and it fell onto her car, denting the bonnet.
"Oh fuck thats it! Thats all I need" Cassie said openly, angry tears welling up. She ran into the flats and took the dirty, litter strewn lift up to the top floor. Arriving, she walked towards the door of flat 12 and opened the door with her key. What she saw inside caused her to drop her keys.... there waiting for her was Paul, holding a bottle of wine and grinning:
"Dinner is ready Madame" he cheekily said, just as he used to on many a Friday evening. Cassie stared in disbelief:
"Paul.... how.... you can't be...." Paul came over to her:
"Hey Cassie, whats wrong? Whats happened?" he said, puzzled.
"You... you're dead.." Cassie mumbled.
"What do you mean dead? You ok Cassie?"
"Six months ago.... you died after the rugby match..." Paul was confused.
"I don't get it Cassie. Is this a joke or something? You know full well that I was fine this morning when I saw you off to work...."
Ben Chatham sat nervously on the exclusive leather sofa in his Cambridge apartment, his laptop open on his lap. Kyle poursed himself and Ben a coffee:
"So you gonna reply to her or not Ben? Its really mean not to."
Ben had received an email from Emma and he was agonising over how to respond. He looked up at Kyle:
"I really don't know what to do for the best. She's threatening to come over here tonight."
"She is your wife like. Yous two really should get all this sorted. Neither of you seem to be getting anything from all this." Ben frowned:
"I do not need relationship advice from you Kyle!"
He stared at Emma's email which read:
I called you again three times last night and you still didn't answer. What the hell is wrong with you? You can't just pretend that I don't exist Ben. Why are you doing this, guilty conscience? I knew when I married you that it wouldn't be a regular set up afterwards, what with your work and stuff, but I never thought that I'd never see you, never live with you or anything. What kind of marriage is that? You said last time we spoke that you'd given me a nice home and that I was being looked after so what was I angry about. You really have no idea do you? Yes I knew that you had money and yes I was kind of pleased to be marrying a successful man who would look after me and our children financially but do you really think that that was all I wanted? I remember that first night we spent together when I woke up with my head rested on your chest and you kissed my forehead. Is it really too much for me to want that all the time Ben? I love you but I think all you really wanted was a trophy wife to show to your parents, well I won't be that anymore Ben. I'm coming over to Cambridge today and I'll be round to your apartment around 4 pm ish, there is no point going out Ben I'll wait all night if I have to . I know you don't want to talk, well I do.
Ben didn't object when Kyle lean't over and read the email:
"What you gonna do Ben? She sounds really upset. You've gotta talk to her." Ben put his hands in his head:
"Agghh its so difficult. Why can't she just give me some space to think things through? I really can't handle this Kyle. Maybe I could go round to Katie's and you could tell Emma that I'm away on a major investigation in London. Before Kyle could raise any objections the door buzzer went. Luigi, Ben's cook and cleaner, emerged from the kitchen, rubbing his hands on a dishcloth, and opened the door. A girl of about twenty-four stood there:
"Er hi. I'm told that this is where Ben Chatham lives.I'd er I'd like to talk to him if he's in." Ben went over to the door:
"I am Ben Chatham. Who are you?"
"Er hi. My name's Cassie Buckley. Can I come in? I'm a friend of a friend of Adam Wooten. He works for you? I really need your help."
"You'd better come in. What exactly has Adam been saying to your friend?" Ben asked.
"That you investigate.... that you investigate the paranormal and stuff..." Cassie began to cry. Kyle went over to her:
"Ere its ok. We'll try and 'elp you". Ben frowned:
"I am not impressed with Adam talking about this organisation and its work to his friends. But that isn't your fault. What has happened to you?"
Cassie explained to Ben about the night that she came home in the rain to find Paul back from the dead and behaving like nothing had happened:
".... and we had a lovely meal, just like we always did on a Friday evening. Then we snuggled up on the sofa watching telly and I fell asleep." Ben was confused:
"I don't get this. Didn't you question him further? Why didn't you get yourself out of there? You were behaving rather unconcernedly for a woman who has just come home to find her dead boyfriend offering her a glass of wine." Cassie wiped her eyes and stared angrily:
"Do you know what its like to lost someone you love? You can't stop thinking about them and suddenly they're back and its as if nothing had happened. I'll be honest with you, I just didn't care about what was happening or why; I was just glad to have my life back as it was before. I can see that you don't understand."
"Look, I imagine that grief can do funny things to the mind. Have you sought medical advice?" Ben asked softly. Cassie stood up angrily:
"Look I'm telling you that what happened was real. When I woke up later on the sofa, he was gone and I was alone in the flat again. But he was there, he was......"
..............to be continued.