Chapter 1: Tuesday 6th
This is the weirdest thing I’ve done in a while; I feel like a teenage girl! This book should have flowers all over the front and a little gold padlock and tiny gold key to lock away my secret confessions.
Robbie says that it helped him to write things down after he lost his wife, the only useful thing the counsellor suggested in his half a session with him apparently. Robbie wasn’t daft enough to suggest I go to counselling but this was the compromise I guess so here I am sat on one end of the sofa trying to write what’s in my head. The only consolation is that Robbie is sat at the other end trying to do the same and looks just as uncomfortable about it as I feel, he’s taken all I’ve said on board over the last few days and I don’t think he’s spoken to anyone about it so I told him I’d only do this if he would, not that I’ll ever know if he just sat there drawing a picture.
Here goes then.
Work was better than I expected today, no one treated me any differently although I didn’t see Hooper or Innocent as I spent most of the day at my desk. Robbie left the blinds shut and kept the door closed all day which I think was because he wanted me to feel comfortable and it worked well but must look a bit weird to other people, they probably assume we’re hard at work on a case and don’t want disturbing but that won’t last long.
Robbie spent the day writing the report I should have done on Friday, he asked a few questions but other than that he just got on with it. I’ve never seen him look quite like he did today, so tense and worried and with that strange sadness in his eyes that I haven’t seen often and wish I didn’t ever have to see, this case is all so mixed up in real life for him now I don’t know how he’s ever going to get it straight in his head without talking to someone. That’s part of the reason I want him to do this diary thing too, think I might need to tell him to talk to someone, not that I know who but he won’t do it without my permission.
He asked me if I wanted to check his punctuation in the report he was trying to look relaxed, he’s working so hard at that at the minute, but I know he didn’t know if it was the right thing to do but it was and I wish I could somehow convince him of that. Seeing the murder case there in black and white ready to be handed over was good and the hand that fell on my shoulder as I handed it back was such a lovely thing, no one would have seen it as anything other than normal ‘job well done’ but to me it was so comforting not that it came anywhere close to the hug I got when we got home.
I need to feel professional at work; I don’t want anyone to say that I can’t do this job because of all this; I’ve worked hard for it. Mortmaigne’s not taking this away now, I can’t let him.
It was a surprise how quick Robbie got changed when we got in, he’s normally quite happy to sit around in his suit but then so am I normally, but then what’s normal right now! Maybe best not to think too much about that.
Can’t think of anything more to write at the minute so I’ll go and make dinner and see what we can do to not think too much about trying to sleep tonight, guess I’ll probably fill you in on how that goes tomorrow.
Hope you don’t mind me writing to you again after all this time and about all this I just find it easier to write to someone rather than an empty book. I can’t really believe I’m even doing this and I’m not sure what I’m going to write but I promised James I’d do it so here I am. James is looking just a little bit ill sat next to me trying to do this himself so at least we both feel funny about it but It did work for me when I lost you, maybe that was because I was actually writing to you or maybe it was because this was the only way I could actually say all the things I wanted to say. I think that might be how I need to look at this, I can’t just wander around talking to people about all this can I so if you don’t mind, and I hope you don’t, I’ll write to you about it.
Friday was a horrible day Val, the second worst day of my life I think. I’ve grown really attached to James since I came back to Oxford, he’s filled lots of gaps in my life that I never thought would be filled and he’s always worried about things that were important to me, It was James who found the driver you know, I shouted at him for it! what a git I was about that. I’ve shouted at him a few times when he didn’t really deserve it and obviously once or twice when he did but it makes me really sad to think about how that must have hurt him when he was carrying all this.
He’s been amazing you know, at work today you wouldn’t have known there was anything going on at all he was just so professional, yes we are on paperwork this week and I shut the office off, you know blinds shut and door closed, so if he had a wobble there’d be no one around to see it, which might have helped him feel calmer but either way I couldn’t help feeling very proud of him. I really want to tell him that but I’m not sure how he’d take it he seems paranoid that I’m somehow going to stop treating him like James and start treating him like a kid which must be scary when you were treated like he was as a kid. Nothing could be further from how I’m feeling though, I know I can’t make it better I can’t stop it having happened but I can try and fix what’s happening right now that’s what you do for your friend isn’t it?
I can’t have screwed up too much today at work, even asking him if he wanted to read the Black report must have been ok because he did and he didn’t have to. However he felt about what I did at work he seemed eager to have me put my arms round him once we were home. It’s not really a hard job remembering to get changed ASAP when we get home and seeing James visibly more relaxed the second we’re not ‘work’ in any way is reason enough for my old brain to remember never mind suddenly being allowed to touch him and hug him and feel him relax and, I have to say, to feel myself relax knowing he’s ok.
Not sure what else to say really right now, I’m a bit worried about bedtime and wondering what to do for the best and if James will sleep properly but I’m hoping a nice tea, maybe a couple of Doctor Who’s, and then sleep but I guess we’ll see.
Thanks for listening Val
Hi Val me again.
James has just gone to bed, I should say I just put James to bed really and now I’m worrying he might get more of the kid complex which isn’t what I want at all.
We had dinner and chatted about a few things as we ate and cleaned up before brews and Doctor Who, we finished the Colin Baker years so I asked James if he wanted to go forward or back and apparently someone recommended Sylvester McCoy so we’re heading forward for now. Anyway we watched one episode and it was obvious that he was falling asleep but didn’t want to go to bed and there was more eyes shut than open so I told him to be off and get sorted. He came back to say good night and looked so worried about going to bed, you know how Mark looked when he was having nightmares that summer and never wanted to go to bed? I couldn’t help following him and he didn’t seem to mind, he curled up on his side and I tucked him in and sat down stroking his hair just like I’ve done the other nights in the living room and I found myself singing the lullaby we used on the kids. He didn’t say anything and he was very quickly asleep so he must have felt comfortable but it is a bit like treating him like a kid isn’t it?
If he sleeps the night it will have been worth it though and if he seems uncomfortable in the morning I won’t do it again.
Anyway I needed to get my thoughts out somewhere so I guess this diary wasn’t such a bad idea.
Thanks again for listening Val
Love you Robbie xxx
Chapter 2: Wednesday 7th
Well I said I’d fill you in on my sleep so here goes. I didn’t want to go to bed, it’s weird how the closer you get the less you want to do something, we had a nice evening, staring at the TV but nice not to be the only one in the house. Eventually Robbie sent me off to get sorted for bed and I did as I was told but when I was sorted I really wanted him to see me to bed like he did on Saturday, not that I knew how to ask him, so I went back to say good night and just kind of stood there until he got up and came with me. I can’t remember the last time someone cared enough about me to try and work out what I wanted and I don’t care right now if for twenty minutes he treats me like one of his kids, they were lucky to have him, I’m sure they don’t always see it that way though nobody does.
So I curled up on my side as he sat down on the bed and he put his arm around me and played with the hair on the back of my head, who would have thought that could be so restful, and sang the song he did before. I think it must be something he used when his kids were small but can’t say I’ve ever heard a lullaby sung for me before. I slept till three which is pretty good at the minute and I’m not sure what woke me up but I laid there for a minute and then I heard that song in my head and it was Robbie’s voice, which was a bit odd. I went over and over it and the next thing I knew it was nearly six and at that point I have to admit I got up and went to the living room, I didn’t want to wake up to the day on my own, I’m not sure why but I’m doing my best not to think too much about why I’m doing things just at the minute I’m trying just to let it happen.
Work was busier today; I was called to Innocents office so she could ask me to help Hooper with some literary research. When I got the call I have to say I felt sick and I didn’t know what she wanted at the time so it took me a minute to get out of the office. As I walked up the corridor towards her office and saw Hooper outside I seriously considered turning around and running away but I didn’t, I stuck my hands in my pockets to stop me chewing my thumb and headed towards them. I’ve always had trouble with Hooper, he’s never been my biggest fan but he did do a great job for me on Monday so I was hoping we’d manage to pretend nothing ever happened and just get on with things.
‘Here comes the brains of the outfit ready to save the day’ Hooper didn’t quite manage the normal face he does so well but he did as I asked on Monday to the best of his ability. The look he got from Innocent, well if looks could kill we’d be a constable down, but I couldn’t help smiling and saying ‘glad to be of service’. Everyone seemed to relax, when I didn’t run away screaming, and we worked hard all day so hopefully that’s broken the back of the awkwardness for now. It was strange to not be working with Robbie but he was completing some yearly report or something in our office and we were only down the corridor but it was still strange.
It’s nice to be home and nice to feel comfortable and I’m determined that if Robbie will put me to bed again tonight I will wake up in my own bed in the morning. This is a promise to myself and I’m writing it down here so it makes it real. That’s another role for this diary I presume, making plans for myself and promises to myself and having them there in black and white so they mean more.
I think I might just be beginning to understand why this diary thing works.
Well love I think I got away with the bedtime thing, he was here this morning but I heard him up at about three, he was shouting for a few minutes, and expected to see him here but he didn’t come then, it was much closer to morning before he came in. If he was bothered by me putting him to bed he wouldn’t have come to me in the night would he? That makes sense doesn’t it? Or did he not come earlier because he was uncomfortable? Questions questions! What do you think love? How about I’ll only go with him tonight if he comes back after getting sorted? He won’t come back if he doesn’t want me to do what I did last night will he? Anyway can’t change what has been done and it is good that he got some proper sleep.
I think my worry about James is really taking me over and I’m not altogether sure what to do about it. He went off to see Innocent and was working on something with Hooper and it was awful not having him where I could see him. That’s weird isn’t it? He’s a grown man and at some point quite soon he’s going to want his house back, he’s not going to want me on his sofa forever. I need to get hold of myself. I can’t shift the fact that I think I needed a hug more than James did tonight and that isn’t good. I’m supposed to be here for him not to make myself feel better. I’m struggling love but I don’t know what to do about it, getting it down on paper is helping a bit but I’m beginning to wonder if I should really be talking to someone about it all.
I’m going to try and stop worrying now and go and make the tea, it’s my turn to cook so it won’t be anywhere near as good as what we had last night, James is an amazing cook but I don’t think he bothers much and neither do I so we’re both probably eating better at the minute than we have for months.
Thanks for listening
Love Robbie. Xxx
Chapter 3: Thursday 8th
I might have to come up with a name for you rather than diary, that still feels a bit weird, a bit childish.
I kept my promise, not sure if writing it down made the difference or not but I woke up in my own bed this morning. It’s weird at my age to be proud of myself for that but strangely I am, I know it’s daft but I haven’t slept a night, a whole night, in my bed in longer than I can remember, not just in the last two weeks like I think Robbie thinks, but in years. I was awake twice but I didn’t get up I lay there and thought of the song. Robbie put me to bed with it again last night and when I woke up I could hear his voice in my head and I think I even found myself singing it out loud, hope Robbie didn’t hear me he’ll think I’ve completely lost it, but it worked and I couldn’t help smiling as I went for breakfast. Robbie gave me a sort of strange smile like he gives me some times when I do a good job at work, I wouldn’t want to say he looked proud but he certainly looked happy with me. It’s a very strange Idea to have someone look like that at me, never seen it before except on Robbie.
Work was ok for me today, back on paperwork but that’s only till the end of the week as far as I know, so quite a quiet day and I opened all the blinds this morning so almost back to normal. Robbie took a few sharp breaths as I did it but he didn’t stop me and he forced himself to look calm but I’m beginning to wonder if the closed off office was as much for his benefit as mine.
Robbie’s been really cross most of the day and I hope it’s not down to me, he seemed fine before he was called to Innocents office but since then he’s been so cross and it’s a bit uncomfortable and I’m a bit worried it’s something I’ve done but not sure what. I think I might ask him because he says it’s better for us to talk and this diary is supposed to be in addition to Robbie being here not instead so I’ll ask him over dinner.
I’ll give your name some thought tonight before hopefully getting a good night’s sleep.
Well he came back last night so I put him to bed again, I think I can stop worrying about him not wanting me to do it which makes me feel a little bit more relaxed but I’ve been so angry today and I know it’s not good for either of us but Innocent made me so cross. Anyway he wasn’t here this morning till breakfast time so that’s a step in the right direction, I know he was awake because I heard him singing which made me laugh a little but it’s good isn’t it? I wonder how he’ll do with sleep when I’m not here. I’ll never know unless I ask him will I?!
Back to Innocent then if you don’t mind love. She called me into her office because she wanted to know how James was. I told her last week that I wasn’t doing the reporting to her thing over this and I was so cross when she asked, I told her he was fit to work and that was all she needed to know. She wanted to know why we were arriving together and leaving one car at work and what was going on. I told her I was staying with him for a bit so he wasn’t on his own and she gave me that look she does, the one that says ‘oh Robbie your pushing your luck again’ and she said “He’s not your son Robbie he’s not your responsibility.” I was so cross Val and I told her so, the words have been going round my head all day.
“Too right he’s not my son he’s my best friend, the person who has held me together and helped me build a new life since I lost everything. All the time he’s been helping me he’s been carrying this so you can bugger off if you think you can question what I am doing right now, you’ve seen the stuff and know what’s gone on, he has no one worthy of him but he’ll have me as long as he needs or wants me and that’s nowt to do with work or procedure that’s entirely our business.”
She looked horrified at me shouting at her and I have to say from the moment I’d finished I’ve been feeling guilty about it but I’ve still been cross all day. She did say she was there for him and for me too so maybe I misjudged what she was asking and maybe that’s why I’m cross maybe it’s more with me than her. It did make me realise just how difficult this all must have been for James though, he’s never given any indication of a problem before now, even with all the things he’s faced at work, so for it all to suddenly crash must have been awful.
I need desperately to calm down and stop being cross because it really isn’t fair on James to have to put up with me in a mood, I think I might see if he’s ok for me to have a beer tonight. I haven’t had a drink since the half pint in the pub and it might help me relax a little not that you’ll approve Val I know.
I do feel a bit calmer for just having written that all down, this diary thing is a good idea not that I thought I needed to do it when I suggested it to James but then he knows enough about me to know better than me what I need. It keeps amazing me how caring and thoughtful he has been towards me. Maybe though, he has just been very good at working out how to keep people happy in order to keep himself safe. Maybe he saw me as someone he could do things for and from the way I saw Knox speak to him he probably didn’t think he was doing a good job of keeping him happy. I’m not sure I want to think about that any further, it would throw a whole new light on everything and I don’t like the idea he might ever have been scared of me even though I know he isn’t now or he’d never have let me in on all this.
Right I’m going to go now and see what he thinks about the beer idea and see how well I can calm myself down.
Thanks again for listening Val
Love you always Robbie xxx
Chapter 4: friday 9th
Dear (Sorry I didn’t come up with a name, there’s no one other than Robbie I would ever want to share this all with and writing to him while he sits on the sofa with me seems completely mad)
Robbie told me he’d had a falling out with Innocent and that’s why he was cross yesterday, I don’t like him falling out with people over me but it was nice to know that it wasn’t something I’d done. We had beer last night, just the one each but it shows that Robbie’s feeling more comfortable about how I am and that’s so reassuring it’s unbelievable.
Sleep – well Robbie put me to bed as he’s been doing and I slept in bed all night, I only remember being awake once and I have felt so much more awake today that I am sure I really did sleep last night.
Work – Paperwork day again but we’ve been promised that any bodies that are found next week are ours so back to work properly on Monday.
Those two things are feeling a bit like a check in with myself now, good to note how I’m doing and be able to look back and see where I’ve come from. I’ve got lots of other things to write about today though.
We have agreed that Robbie will go home on Monday after work and sleep at home all week but that we’ll get together on Friday night and spend the weekend doing something. I fancy squash but not being sure about how either of us will sleep I’m not going to suggest it yet. I’m a bit nervous about how I’ll be here on my own but we tend to do quite long days at work and if there was a body they’ll be even longer so it might not be too bad and after all he can’t stay forever can he.
Tomorrow is going to be a busy day, we need food and we’ll have to get two lots because anything still in Robbie’s fridge will not be fit for eating I’m sure, might leave that till Sunday actually so everything is a fresh as possible. Anyway we’re off to see Briony and Titus at their flat for lunch, I’m a bit nervous about seeing them but I’m not sure why. Briony was so nice on Monday and she wants to see me even if I could have stopped what happened to her and I didn’t, Robbie says it’s not my fault and I know I didn’t do it to her but if I’d somehow done something about it when I left or even when I first became a police officer she would have been saved from it all. Titus and Robbie probably need to do some talking though so that will be a good thing even if it’s weird at first.
Tonight I’m hoping that as there is nothing on the TV we can watch some more Doctor Who, I’m not sure that I’ll ever be convinced that there’s someone better than David Tennant but Sylvester McCoy is pretty good and it’s quite fun to watch.
Nothing more to say right now so I’ll write to you again tomorrow.
We’ve made a decision, I’m going home on Monday night after work and I’m going to sleep there all week but on Friday we’re going to both be in one place and probably spend the weekend like that, I’m not sure what we’ll do or who’s flat we’ll be in but we’re going to do something to fill the time. It will be very strange not being here with him but he needs to be able to do that and I need to be able to be away from him without driving myself mad because things won’t be like this forever. I need to make sure I get as much sleep as possible before Monday though, I might not sleep as well next week because I’ll be worrying about him.
I want to go shopping tomorrow to buy James a present, I really am abandoning all hope of him losing his ‘Robbie’s treating me like a kid at bedtime’ complex but I don’t care I want to get him something for when I’m not here. Need food too don’t want to go back to microwave dinners it’s been nice cooking and eating meals and I want to make sure James has food in because he says he hardly ate for months when he was going through all this and I don’t want him wasting away because he forgets to look after himself once I’m not here to remind him.
We’re going to Briony and Titus’ for lunch tomorrow which seemed like such a good idea when James was glad she’d rung on Monday and not just thrown his card away but I have to admit I’m a bit nervous about it. I think I might be being a little bit selfish but I’m not sure I can take them all on. I’d do anything to make things ok for James because he’s James but I’m not sure I need to know what’s happened to someone else and I certainly don’t think I can support Titus to support Briony, age doesn’t make you able to do these things he’s probably doing a far better job than I am. Knowing his dad’s responsible for all this must be awful and his sister helping find the kids and his mam probably knowing what was happening even if she didn’t really want to think about it is too much for a young lad but I don’t want to look after them I just want to look after James. Does that make me horrible Val? It does, I know it does and I hope that’s not what they’re after I really do because being friends with them would probably be good for everyone. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow won’t we.
Having decided I’m going home on Monday we need to work out how we get from me taking James to bed to him going on his own because he can’t do it for the first time on Monday, I’m sure he’ll nap on the sofa in front of the TV if we don’t get him to bed on his own before that. I think I might suggest it tomorrow, if I’ve managed to get to the shop by then, and see what he says he still won’t be on his own even if I’m not right there with him.
For tonight, a beer, a nice tea (I say nice because James is cooking it so it will be better than anything I would make), Doctor who and then hopefully a good night’s sleep.
Thanks for listening Val.
Love Robbie xxx
Chapter 5: Saturday 10th
Dear (still no name sorry)
Start with my check list.
Work – nothing today it’s weekend and no body means we’re actually off.
Sleep – Robbie put me to bed again and I slept in bed all night woke only once so you never know I might eventually manage a full night without any nightmares, here’s hoping anyway.
I had a lovely time with Briony and Titus, I was really nervous about it as I said last night but they couldn’t have been more welcoming and happier to see us. We had lunch with them and they had done a lot of work on it, it was a real dinner party. The flat isn’t huge but then there are only the two of them so it doesn’t need to be. Titus doesn’t want to take any more money from his family than he has to so it’s cheap and he’s looking for a job so he’ll be able to pay for it himself. Briony was supposed to be doing music at college but she hasn’t even listened to music since she left that place so I think that’s on hold for now.
It struck me while I was talking to Briony that I haven’t touched a piano since I left there and I was thinking how sad it was Briony had stopped playing when she loved it so much and was so good at it but surely it’s as sad that I haven’t played isn’t it? Maybe I should do something about that or not should but maybe I want to do something about it, not right now but at some point.
I helped Briony with the washing up and we chatted while Robbie and Titus hid themselves away in the living room talking about something, we waited until they stopped talking before we went back in there. Briony is as glad of Titus’ support as I am of Robbie’s but we both know it can’t be easy for them.
I came home alone after lunch, it was very weird. Robbie said he had some shopping to do that he wanted to do on his own. It’s amazing how loud silence can be but I put some music on, sorted out some post, tidied up a bit and then sat on the sofa doing nothing but listening to the music. I’m glad to have come home to an empty house, knowing Robbie was coming home in a bit because on Monday I’m going to be coming home and there will be no one here at all. I’m doing my best not to think about it which I’m not sure is the right thing to do but I can feel myself panicking a bit when I think about it and I don’t think that I need anything more to worry about at the minute.
I was relieved when Robbie got back and I think I realised then what he has actually done for me this week. I’m sure I could have somehow shut myself down again and carried on after the case was finished and I would have refused to answer any questions anyone wanted to ask and they couldn’t have made me tell them anything, I’d probably have resigned and kept running away from it. Robbie has given me the space and the support to get it out there and start to deal with it and as much as it’s been hard and there is so much still to be done before I could even think of using the word ‘fixed’ if it hadn’t been for what Robbie did on Friday then I’d be more broken than I ever was and completely on my own again.
I think that’s all for today, I’m going to go and clear up from the takeaway Robbie brought back with him.
The good news Val is that I woke up alone again this morning, James was in bed all night and arrived looking very well rested for breakfast. He’s still coming back here once he’s sorted for bed and I’m still going with him to tuck him in. I’m not going to be able to do that on Monday so I don’t know if I should be stopping while I’m still here I’ve been thinking about it rather a lot. I went and bought a present for James this afternoon, it might just be a step too far but he can get rid of it if he wants. I felt a bit of an idiot in the shop but I pretended I had a grandchild I didn’t see much and the women was very helpful, made me feel very old though. I went to one of those bear making shops where you can put voices in the bears. You know the ones where you can pick a voice or you can record your own message. It’s only a little bear and I don’t know how I’m going to give him it but I wanted to try and leave him something when I wasn’t here. Bedtime seems to be one time he is very comfortable with being looked after so I don’t think he’ll mind really.
Seeing Briony and Titus was nicer than I expected and to be honest I learnt some very important stuff from Titus, he’s been doing a lot of reading and a lot of listening and he made me realise something quite important and that is that in order for either of them to be able to ‘give evidence’ when it is needed they need to know that they can talk about it all at any time. Me and James haven’t talked about it at all since Monday and we hadn’t spoken about it all weekend since he first let it out on Friday and I think Titus is right when he says that I shouldn’t be scared of bringing the subject up. Briony has apparently been relieved to be able to talk about it in a fairly normal way rather than it just go around her head, I’m not sure I’m brave enough to ask questions but I think I might tell James what Titus said and see how he reacts.
It was daft of me to worry about taking them on as well as James, if anything Briony and Titus are going to be supporting us through the next few months but hopefully what will actually happen is that we’ll all stick together and get out the other side and maybe James can gain himself some family or at least some good friends.
I am getting more and more worried about going home on Monday but I’m sure he’ll ring me if he needs anything and if we go to the pub for tea before heading home it won’t be very long and I’ll know he’s eaten something. I’m not going to get too tied up in keeping an eye on that but knowing he’s had a proper feed will be enough I think.
James has just about finished tidying up from the takeaway and seen as I don’t really have anything more to say I’ll sign off here.
Chapter 6: Sunday 11th
Sleep – well we talked before I went to be, the first time we’ve really discussed it but we agreed that last night was the last time Robbie was going to put me to bed, it is best to go to bed on my own at least once before he leaves. I slept through the night last night, my first full night in longer than I can remember so I think I must be more relaxed about things now, which is so nice. I hope I sleep tonight while Robbie’s still here and then I hope it continues.
Work – its weekend and still no bodies.
We went food shopping this morning, two trollies this week. I was instructed to buy proper food and plan meals, I know that I might not bother as much just for me but I get the feeling I’ll have to lie to Robbie if I don’t and I’m not comfortable doing that so I’ll be eating something. We dropped Robbie’s stuff at his and sorted the place out ready for tomorrow; the amount of post behind the door was the only indication really of how long it is since he was there. But for coming home yesterday and being here for an hour before Robbie got back I haven’t been on my own since last Friday. Why would someone be willing to do that for me? I’m not worth the time he’s given me but I am grateful for it, I hope he knows how much.
We’ve talked a lot this afternoon, some good stuff some not so good but it‘s been nice really, Robbie wanted to talk about what he’d discussed with Titus and it made sense, if I’m going to get all this sorted out then I need to talk about it rather than put it away in my head again and some of growing up was good so I should talk about that without fear, and if it falls into talking about the bad stuff then it can move back to the good stuff can’t it?
Robbie went first, trying to encourage me I think, I learnt all about Newcastle, I’ve never been and Robbie hasn’t been in years so really it was Newcastle many years ago but it was a lovely insight into Robbie’s childhood. It was my turn then, I talked about playing with Paul, climbing trees and swimming in the lake, he really was a lovely lad, such a shame how it’s turned out for him. I also told him about some of the stuff I got up to at university. I didn’t touch what happened at the seminary that was too close to the bad stuff for right now but I did tell him how I ended up in my band so even if he’s not a fan of the music he knows it was a good thing I found them.
Titus is a very clever lad, not at all what I was expecting but then that was probably coloured by my view of his relatives, I never thought it would be two kids showing us the way through all this but I guess age isn’t really all that important in life is it.
Work tomorrow, I’m looking forward to getting back to work properly, I know I’m not really hoping for someone to meet their grizzly end but some real work this week would be good.
I’m off now to enjoy the last few episode of the seventh Doctor before Robbie takes the DVD’s home tomorrow and hopefully to have a good night’s sleep before work.
I brought up the bedtime thing with James, we haven’t talked about it before and he looked a bit sheepish about it but we agreed that last night was the last time I’d go with him so he had tonight with me still here but not right there with him. I’ve just gone and put the bear on his bed I’m hoping he’ll find it when he goes to bed that’s why I’ve left it till as late in the day as possible. It has a sticker on that says push here so hopefully he’ll work it out; he’s a clever lad after all.
I really am going home tomorrow, we called round after shopping and restocked my fridge and cupboards, filled them with ingredients rather than packet meals so I’m all set up for the week until takeaway with James on Friday night.
I spoke to James about what Titus had said and we had quite a good chat about growing up. I told him about things I did as a kid and about places I liked to go and things I liked to do and eventually he joined in with a story about playing in the lake with Paul. I think James is feeling a little conflicted about Paul, he knows that he should never have murdered those people that is not in question but the kid he used to play with couldn’t have possibly done these things if he hadn’t been so messed up by Mortmaigne. This really is a situation where justice can’t really be done I fear.
I’m hoping for work tomorrow, I’m not desperate for a body; an old case will do but something proper not forms and reports.
Thanks for listening Val it really does seem to be helping
Love always Robbie xxx
Chapter 7: Monday 12th
Dear Robbie (you see you can have a name now he’s gone home and I’m not talking to myself or writing to him while he’s sat here both of which are very weird.)
Sleep – Well what can I say about sleep. I went to bed on my own, managed to sneak a hug before I went, it was my last chance so I couldn’t go to bed without. The best thing though was a teddy bear sat on my pillow. I’m guessing that’s what Robbie was shopping for yesterday because it’s been made at one of those personalised bear building places and totally for me. It must have been a bit weird going for it because he’s recorded his voice singing, it’s the lullaby he’s been singing and I can’t really put into words how it feels that he did this for me it’s just so amazing I don’t know what I did to deserve having him around but I’m more grateful than he’ll ever know that he’s kept me company this week and looked after me when I needed it.
Work – No body today which is good really I know, but we’ve been sent a cold case over to have a look at so that’s proper work at least. Getting my mind back active on a case is good but a ‘live’ case would be nice sometime soon even if it was nothing too interesting and even if it’s not involving a body.
We went out for dinner tonight, just to the Trout but still, Robbie was ensuring I ate properly before I came home I think. I really wanted to break my rules of professionalism, I did a little because I called him Robbie from the moment he took his tie off and undid his collar and I wouldn’t have done that three weeks ago, but I really wanted him to put his arm around me just for a second and that’s against my rules and I just couldn’t let myself drop my guard. Robbie obviously didn’t care much for my rules though which is just so like him normally but he’s been more careful recently not to push me. I’m glad about today though because although he didn’t wrap me up like he does sometimes I did get a manly hug and pat on the back before I got in the car, He knows me better than I know myself right now I think. I’m going to miss Robbie putting his arm round me when I need it; it’s strange how quickly you can become used to something you’ve never had.
I’m going to go to bed now with my new cuddly bear and hope that he can keep me as safe as Robbie has up to now but I might just ring Robbie and say goodnight before I do, I’m fairly sure he won’t mind.
Well Love I woke up alone this morning so he managed to go to bed on his own and sleep all night and I don’t know if he was awake at all but I wasn’t woken all night and I’ve felt strangely well rested all day. James brought his bear for breakfast this morning; he said he was going to sit it in my seat at the breakfast table tomorrow. He’s a cheeky sod at times but he obviously liked it and didn’t think I’d gone mad which is what matters.
We’re working on a case some other DI is struggling to crack she thought new eyes on the evidence would be good and its proper work not form filling or report writing so it’s good to get James back in the swing. It didn’t give us a late night at work but you can’t have everything. We went out for food so I know he’s eaten which is one of my biggest concerns, we were out quite late so not too long before heading out again in the morning. I gave him a ‘manly’ hug before he got in his car which I hope was ok, it did break his rules on professionalism though and he’s been working so hard at proving that nothing has changed at work but he did call me Robbie in the pub so I took that as a sign it would be ok. Anyway I wanted to do it and he didn’t pull away from me, quite the opposite actually and he still had that not quite there James smile on his face when I let go of him so I don’t think he suddenly hates me.
I can’t believe how quiet this flat is, it feels so empty here on my own, I’m glad we came here yesterday to put the heating on or it would be freezing. There is nothing to do here so I’m going off to bed then morning will come quicker, it will be a bit strange to sleep in bed, on an actual mattress, hope I sleep ok and hope James does to.
Love you always
Chapter 8: Tuesday 13th
I rang Robbie last night before I went to bed, it was nice to say good night and he didn’t seem to mind. I’m missing him; this place is so quiet without him, quieter than I’ve noticed before. Sorry, off topic I should start with my check list.
Sleep – I’m going to feel stupid writing this down but who’s going to see it but me and maybe at some point Robbie. So I took my teddy to bed with me and cuddled up with it and played the song. Closing my eyes and listening to my teddy was almost like Robbie was still here which I’m guessing was his intention when he bought it. It took me a few minutes to manage to relax properly but I concentrated on the song, both from the bear and in my head, and eventually I got to sleep and I don’t think it was that late. I was awake a couple of times in the night but I cuddled up with my ‘Robbie bear.’ I went back to sleep quite quickly each time and I must have slept ok because I felt really awake this morning.
Work – We’ve made a break through on the case we’ve been looking at, there were some letters, some poetry and some books and a few connections had been missed and somehow it all made sense to me when I looked at it. I guess that’s the value of a new set of eyes when a case seems to be going cold. Robbie said something about being glad my brain was on his side because I could be dangerous, he looked more than a little worried when he realised what he’d said but I just smiled and told him solving crimes was a good use for all I’d learnt. I don’t want to be feeling bad about knowing things I want to be able to solve as many crimes as possible and save as many people from pain as possible then at least some good will have come out of the messed up situation.
It feels so good getting back to work properly; it’s sort of like proving to myself that nothing has changed and telling someone about it all hasn’t suddenly made me incapable. I was so sure that if anyone knew I wouldn’t be able to carry on being around them, I just wouldn’t be able to face them every day and see that look on their faces and cope with the different way in which they’d treat me but Robbie has helped me realise that that just isn’t true, if you have people you can trust and who care about you they will treat you just as you want them to. It’s strange trusting someone when you’ve never had anyone but I think that over the years we’ve known each other trust has built up without me really realising until now.
I’ve been thinking about dinner tonight and I know I have to eat something or if Robbie asks tomorrow, which he’s quite likely to, I’ll have to lie to him or face his disappointment in me and I can’t do either of those. I’m thinking a vegetable and cheese omelette and some salad would be nice and I think Robbie would approve so I’m going to go and make that.
James rang last night before he went to bed, he sounded really nervous as if he thought because I’d come home he shouldn’t be bothering me. He’s a funny lad but hopefully he’ll realise soon that wherever I happen to be sleeping he can give me a shout if he wants anything. I felt a lot more relaxed after we’d talked so it did me good to, it is really strange not talking to him although writing things down is doing some good.
The house was so quiet when I woke up this morning; I haven’t noticed it so much for years but it is amazing how quiet it felt and it made me feel a little sad being back here on my own.
We haven’t had a body yet but James made a breakthrough with the case we’d been looking over so that’s a good start to getting back in business. I couldn’t help a little poke about the size of his brain, it is what I would normally do and he says he wants things to be normal but I did worry about it the second I said it. I hadn’t realised I’d stopped breathing until he smiled and told me that helping people and catching criminals was a good use of his education. He’s right it’s a great use for his brain, and we’re lucky to have him, he’s used it so well throughout his career.
I really can’t be bothered to cook tonight; I just don’t see the point really just for me so I think I’ll have some toast and leave it at that. I don’t really feel all that hungry so I’m not going to worry about it too much James will eat something I’m sure and that is the most important thing, I’m not having him waste away again over this he’s only as far through as a tram ticket anyway.
Toast and TV for me now Val before bed.
Love always Robbie xxx
Hi again Val
I can’t sleep and just need to write everything down and try and clear my head if you don’t mind. There is so much stuff going round and round, thoughts and memories and images of those photos and of James when I had to ask that question and it’s all a bit much for me.
How could someone hurt a child Val? How do they do that? Not just one child but lots of them. How do they go about everyday life and walk down streets and around supermarkets with the rest of us when they are doing such awful things to little kids? I keep finding myself wondering what we would have done if one of ours had told us someone was hurting them. Did we put them in any danger Val, is there any chance that we missed something do you think?
I know I was always at work but that would be no excuse for me to have not noticed if there was a problem would it. I always worked on the basis that they would tell us and James did tell didn’t he so maybe I was right. We wouldn’t have ignored them would we we’d have sorted it out I know we would. I know there are no answers and I know that in my line of work this is something I see far more than I should and I can usually walk away from work and forget it but then this case isn’t work its James, my Sergeant, the only person I have wanted to spend any length of time with since I lost you so I can’t expect to be able to forget about it can I.
The answer is to stop feeling bad for thinking about it isn’t it, it isn’t a case it’s life, I can’t fix it but I can try and make it better now can’t I. I really need sleep so I hope writing this down will help me with that.
Thanks Val Love you xxx
Chapter 9: Wednesday 14th
Sleep – I had a great night, I don’t remember being up at all and when I woke this morning I felt awake before my morning coffee which is something I can’t remember happening for a while. It’s a good job too because real work started today.
Work – we have a body, looked like an accident, like he’d fallen down the stairs but Dr Hobson believes that there was likely a fight that caused the fall. I met Robbie there and it was weird given that someone had died but neither of us could quite hide our smiles at some real work to do. It was just like it always is when we’re working. I didn’t tell him daft stuff so I could laugh at him a bit, this time it was ‘Lady’ Raeburn I just couldn’t resist it and as much as he feigned annoyance I know he thought it was nice to have me behaving normally.
The guy died in the observatory, he’d been star gazing. Astrophysics isn’t something I know much about and I told Robbie that. I just said it out loud without really realising it, I did have to tell him what I did know, sort of a automatic reaction, but it didn’t bother me too much to say I didn’t know which is good isn’t it?
I’m not going to sit here and write about the case that’s not the point of this but it is so nice to be back working properly. Every time I do something right, make sense of some evidence or whatever I get this strange sensation; it’s like lots of little indications that I’m still a perfectly capable detective. I know it sounds mad but I’ve always believed that if I let anyone get close to me or if I told anyone what had happened to me I would suddenly become incapable of doing my job and running my life and I would need them to take control of me. I guess I never thought that I’d know someone like Robbie who would let me deal with this my way and who would somehow know just what to do and when without pushing me anywhere.
Thinking about Robbie I better make a decision about some dinner, he didn’t ask me this morning what I’d had so he might not ask tomorrow but better not take the risk and to be honest cutting things up with sharp knives can be kind of therapeutic after a long day.
I hope we tie this case up tomorrow or at least by Friday so we can have a nice weekend and not be working all of it. If we’re working the weekend it might be better to stick to me at mine and Robbie at his and I don’t really want to do that but I guess if we have to we will.
I’m going to go and make Stir fry for dinner and then I think some astrophysics research might be an idea, or do I think it’s a good idea because I don’t know enough about it? You really need to think about that James, come on think that’s what you’re good at.
I’ve changed my mind I am not going to do any research I am going to watch comedies on TV and not do work, if I need to know something I’ll find it out tomorrow. (Not sure I’m going to find it easy to stick to that but I’ve written it down now so no going back)
What a day Val, I am so tired I’m sure I didn’t sleep a wink last night and then I get to work and we have a dead man. I know proper work is what we’ve been hoping for all week but after the awful night I had last night I really wasn’t in the mood for it today. I’ve been a bit of a git because I feel so awful and I’m not happy about that either.
James couldn’t help the almost smile when we arrived at the scene and seeing him so happy had me smiling a little too but we both know how to behave really so we just got on with it. I caught myself, just for a second, watching James as he set about exploring the observatory and looking for clues. I don’t know if I thought being confronted by a dead body would shake him or if I was simply watching in amazement at how he set about things just like normal. I think it’s the most normal he’s looked since all this hit but me being a sleep deprived bloody idiot that I am I’ve been bad tempered all day and of course it’s James who takes it just like always.
He did his fair share of winding me up but nothing more than normal and I had my own little joke at him, leaving him with foam on his nose from his coffee. However bad tempered I am I suddenly felt happy sat at that table. James told me, with very little concern, that he knew very little about astrophysics. I wanted to hug him but I didn’t because that would have made far too big a deal of it and he did then tell me the little bits he did know but I think that was some kind of nervous thing. Instead of a hug I had a laugh at him with the foam on his nose; maybe a bit mean but still so happy that he could admit to not knowing something without even a flinch.
This case is all mixed up in a bloody concert and there’s a gun store in the basement and the two things together with James around is really putting me on edge. There was a priest involved as well today, he knows something about the dead man but can’t tell us because of the sanctity of the confessional, I was horrible to him and to James. ‘One of your lot’ what was I thinking saying that to James there was no need to be horrible to him and the fact that he avoided talking about the seminary probably means that there is some issue there that he doesn’t want to think about right now. I told you I’d been a git today Val but this really was number one awful behaviour.
I’m not sure we’re making too much progress with the case but we have two days left this week so hopefully it’ll be done by then. I don’t want to think about what will happen if this runs into the weekend, I need James with me, where I can see him and know he’s ok, for the weekend. I’m holding on tightly to thoughts of weekend so I guess we need to work hard at sorting it out.
Tiredness is taking me over Val I hope I will sleep tonight and not have the awful nightmares I did last night. I think I might go to bed now, it’s late enough and I had a big lunch with James so there’s no need to worry about not feeling hungry I don’t think, tiredness can do that to you can’t it, so sleep it is.
Thanks for letting me get things of my chest again Val
Love you, Robbie xxx
Chapter 10: Thursday 15th
Sleep – I don’t think I really need to write about sleep for much longer. I seem to be getting good amounts of it or at least if I’m not it’s not because of Mortmaigne. I did find it very difficult to get to sleep last night, and in a roundabout way it was to do with Mortmaigne but only because I was having to resist the urge to learn more about what I didn’t know. I really had to fight myself but I did and eventually I relaxed and managed to sleep and I don’t think I was awake with nightmares or anything, I think once I was asleep I slept till this morning. I know that it did me good to not desperately search for information to fill my brain, I think it’s good that I finally forced myself to actively accept that I don’t need to know everything although I couldn’t have been more happy to be handed a book to read tonight for the case. I’m fairly sure Robbie knew last night had been a struggle for me and part of asking me to read it was giving me permission to learn more if I wanted to.
Work – This case is a pain, it combines the two things I could probably do without right now and it’s not good for me and probably worse for Robbie watching me and not knowing what to do to help. We haven’t had a conversation that wasn’t about work since Monday in the pub. This diary is letting me say things and get things out of my head but it’s not the same as talking to Robbie. I did more talking last week than I have in my life and I feel sad now and a little lost with no one here to talk to, I never thought I was lonely but maybe I was or maybe letting someone in is the start of feeling lonely when they’re not there. I don’t regret it at all though I just wish he was still here.
Anyway back to work, I had to interview the Raeburn’s and when I arrived all I could hear was a piano being played, I nearly stopped I nearly couldn’t go in but I made it to the door way and leant on the door. They thought I was waiting for them to finish, in reality I just couldn’t walk in there while he was playing. I took some deep breaths and listened and I calmed down quickly but it was a horrible feeling. I still keep thinking about playing the piano again one day though even if it’s only once.
We’ve had another murder today; no question about this being murder the poor doctor was shot twice in the chest. You can imagine that, on top of the piano playing, the last thing I needed was shot guns but I did say I wanted proper work and this is what proper police work is so I’ll just get on with it.
Conspiring together to get Dr Hobson to help us was strangely fun and I wish we’d told her we only needed two tickets for the concert because I’d have loved to see her face but she knows all about what’s going on and I’m sure she wouldn’t even have flinched, she didn’t at the pub when we sat about as close together as you can get. With not having seen each other at all outside work since Monday I’ve not had physical contact with anyone since then and it’s weird but having not had it in years and having avoided contact with other people as much as possible all of a sudden here I am feeling lost without someone to put their arm round me now and then.
I think Dr Hobson might be a good person for Robbie to speak to about all my rubbish, She cares for him and he’s always had a soft spot for her and she seems to like me to some extent so maybe she would be the right person. I think I might talk to Robbie about it on Friday if we get this case sorted and can have the night we planned. If we don’t work it out before then I don’t know what I’m going to do. I need to talk to Robbie I need to have him around me and know that we’re both ok and I really need a hug. My god I sound like I’m losing it and maybe I will lose it if I don’t get all that at weekend.
With that very scary thought I think I need to make my dinner, I’m having vegetable curry, and then read this book I’ve been sent home with. I think I’ll feel more relaxed at bedtime having done some research so I’m grateful to Robbie for noticing that.
Hopefully I’ll tell you about solving the case tomorrow although you might have to go back to having no name because I’ll be at Robbie’s (I hope)
Well as if there being Guns on site wasn’t bad enough today we have to have someone shot. The doctor, who was the dead man’s GP was murdered on her way to see his wife. As if the poor woman hasn’t suffered enough losing her husband she then has to lose her GP who was also her friend, some days this job is the worst thing in the world.
I don’t think I slept any better last night than Tuesday night and I was up so late this morning that I didn’t even manage a coffee before I left the house. I am so tired and I ache like an old man and I feel sick and I really don’t want to be having to think about awful people right now but somewhere out there is someone who could shoot someone in the chest and who could push someone down the stairs and I need to find them before any more people get killed.
I sent James off to interview the Raeburn’s on his own while I did my own thing in the hope of saving time and getting this done but I couldn’t really concentrate without him with me so it probably did more harm than good but I’m trying to be normal and he is too good a detective to always be on my arm he could solve most cases without me I’m sure.
We called Laura in to help us today; she’s playing in the orchestra at the concert tomorrow so she’s rehearsing with all the people who know things about the dead man so me and James asked her to spy for us. She’s a very good women is Laura and I wish I was able to talk to her about James, I think it would be good for me and him to have someone other than each other to talk to, I won’t speak to anyone unless James says I can though it’s not my stuff to tell is it.
After the doctor was shot we had to visit the gun store, I really didn’t want James to come with me but I wasn’t sure how to say that to him or if he would be cross with me for treating him differently so I held my tongue and he just got on with things like he always does. Do you think he’s coping as well as he looks like he is Val or is he just putting on a good front. If he really is ok then he’s not going to need me much longer and I’m not going to get away with hanging around him am I? Maybe I should offer to change the plans for weekend, if he’s ok he won’t want to come here will he, he’d probably rather be out doing something fun than being stuck here with me. It’s not down to him to fix the fact I’m so worried is it? It’s my job to help him not the other way around.
We went to the pub after Laura had recovered from dealing with the shooting and it was nice to be a bit more relaxed even though it was still work. I was glad that Laura was sat across the table because it allowed me and James to sit together, it’s the closest I’ve been to him since Monday and it was hard to resist touching his arm or something but I know he would have hated me if I’d done something so I kept myself in check. I’ve never been averse to being touched but it doesn’t happen often, that is until last week when I seemed to spend the whole week wanting to have contact with James and him wanting contact with me.
I had another go about the Priest today, when will I learn to keep my mouth shut when I feel like death. I did it in the office with Innocent there and she wasn’t impressed by either of us but probably more unimpressed by me. We haven’t had a proper conversation since we fell out last week and I never apologised for my outburst so she probably thinks I’m going completely nuts which maybe I have, not sleeping is no good for anyone and worry even less so.
This is all a jumbled mess of thoughts today Val I’m sorry I’m not sure it makes any sense at all but it’s about as well as my brain can do. It’s late and I’m tired and I’ve just got home so it’s understandable that my brain is fried I guess. I’m going to have a bottle of beer and then try and get some sleep I’m hoping the beer will help me sleep, get me past the worries that appear in the silence, and that tomorrow I can finally solve this case and then hopefully be somewhere with James tomorrow evening although this place could do with some tidying if he’s coming here.
Thanks for listening Val and sorry it all makes no sense
Love you Robbie xxx
Chapter 11: Friday 16th
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
“Diaries can go to hell tonight Robbie we need to talk about this”
Arriving at Robbie’s flat straight from the concert and the almost suicide of the murderer neither James or Robbie were in the kind of mood that made for a good evening but as James dropped his bag on the sofa and looked around Robbie’s living room the events of the day were forgotten and the only emotion he had was anger.
“What the hell is going on here Robbie, this place is a tip it’s not normally like this” James wandered a little looking around and as he headed towards the kitchen he saw Robbie visibly tense and try and distract him.
“We’ve been busy haven’t we I just didn’t have time to tidy up this morning” Robbie was trying to convince James that the state of the flat was nothing out of the ordinary but his stance and the tenseness of his voice were giving him away and there was nothing he could do about it. Giving no response at all James turned and walked into the kitchen and opened the fridge, he threw a glare back at Robbie as he moved and looked in the cupboards before crashing the door shut with more force than was probably sensible but he wasn’t feeling very sensible right now.
“You’ve been home all week and the cupboards and fridge are still full of all the food we bought, the place is a tip and you look ten years older than you did on Monday.” James was hissing the words at Robbie as he tried to suppress the anger that was currently pulsing through his system “What the hell is going on?”
“I erm…. I’ve had…. erm…..” Robbie stopped speaking as his whole body crumpled and he collapsed onto the sofa with his head in his hands. Very quickly James became aware that Robbie was crying and it broke his heart to see it, he pulled a hanky from his pocket and sat down next to Robbie, wrapping his arms around him and pulling him close. James rubbed circles on Robbie’s back, whispered shush shush noises in his ear and held him tight for as long as it took him to recover his composure. Finally Robbie raised his head and looked at James, “I’m so sorry lad, I know I’ve let you down.”
James was angry that Robbie could even think that never mind say it, “Don’t ever say that Robbie, never ever, do you hear me? You’re all that’s got me through the last two weeks so don’t ever say that again.” James went from anger to tears in one sentence and this time Robbie held on to James as he cried.
A couple of moments later they both found themselves laughing, first teary coughs then chuckles then full blown laughter. As they slouched back into the sofa Robbie managed to stop laughing long enough to say “Look at us James, what a bloody pair we make.” It was very obvious to both of them that the laughter had been initiated by nerves, fear and sadness but right now it was a great way to release the tension.
James composed himself and looked at Robbie “Explain it to me Robbie, why is this place such a mess and why have you not eaten anything? Be honest with me please you know where lies and secrets have got me so far I only want the truth with you whatever’s happening.”
Smiling and putting his hand on James’ shoulder Robbie tried to explain “It was so hard coming home James, harder than I thought it would be and it isn’t really anything I should be discussing with you, you have enough to worry about right now.”
“I though you told me we were friend and friends helped each other or was that just to stop me rebelling against you treating me like a bloody child?” The horror that struck James just at that moment was awful. Has he lied to me, I’ve trusted him enough to let him treat me like a child and comfort me and see the real me because he promised it didn’t change anything, that he still trusted me and was still my friend. I’m not a child I don’t want to feel like one so I shouldn’t have let him in should I, I shouldn’t have taken the comfort.
James was shaken from his thoughts by Robbie’s reply “You’re my best friend James, I didn’t want to treat you like a kid I wanted to comfort you and help any way I could. Yes adults don’t generally have someone to put them to bed, at least single people don’t, but if you had a boyfriend or girlfriend” James raised an eyebrow in shock at that but didn’t say a word, “or someone special they would have put you to bed and have comforted you far better than I did but you wouldn’t feel like they were treating you like a child would you? You’d just accept the comfort because you needed it”
“I didn’t think you were treating me like a child Robbie not until the moment right there where you told me you shouldn’t be discussing things with me because it was too much for me to deal with. If I’m your friend and you see me as an adult who are you to decided I don’t want to know the answer to the question I asked?” James had a look in his eyes that made Robbie very aware that he was about to be responsible for screwing James up further if he continued to refuse to talk to him and he was never going to be responsible for messing with James’ head that was for sure.
“I’ve missed you James, I’ve missed knowing how you are, I’ve missed talking to you and listening to you and sharing things with you and I’ve missed being able to put my arm round you when I could convince myself you needed it but it was probably me who really needed it. I’ve had far too much time to think and I’ve been thinking about my kids and if I missed anything when they were small and I’ve struggled with all the time to think in the silence of this place and not having you here proving that you’re still James just by being here. Like I said not something you need to be worrying about right now.” Robbie was desperate for James to allow him to leave it there “Did you bring your diary James? I think we could both do with writing stuff down and clearing our heads after today”
“Diaries can go to hell tonight Robbie we need to talk about this” James was not going to spend his time writing down what he was feeling in a diary when it was so obvious that they had missed talking to each other and that right now they really needed to talk things through.
“You want me to sit here and write about sleeping well because of the bear you bought me and eating well so I didn’t have to tell you I hadn’t, to write about work and you solving the case. You want me to write about what it was like to walk into that gun store and see her with a shotgun to her chin or how it felt when she turned the gun on you or what was going through my mind when I moved to knock the gun away and save her sorry little life. You want me to write it down so we don’t have to talk about it?” James stopped only long enough to take a deep breath; he was going to get his point across right now if it killed him.
“You’re asking me to sit here and do that so you can sit next to me and write about how you not eating is no big deal really as long as I am, how you not sleeping matters little if you’ve managed to make me feel safer than I have in years or how guilty you felt that you couldn’t stop me following you into that gun store and seeing that or how you couldn’t stop me trying to save her. All this so you don’t have to talk to me about it.” James took another deep breath and looked Robbie right in the eye, “Am I getting this right Sir” The ‘Sir’ was evil and James knew it, even with them only talking about work all week, but somehow he had to get Robbie talking to him he just couldn’t cope with losing the support he needed and more importantly wanted and he desperately wanted their friendship to get back to some sort of normality. Normal being that he was able to give support not just receive it and he needed that more than anything, he needed to feel useful to Robbie just like he always had.
It had never struck Robbie, in all his worrying, that the thing that would be the biggest issue to James would be not being allowed to help him when he wanted to. The idea that alongside coming to terms with all the rubbish of his childhood James could even think about someone else amazed Robbie but then James had lived with this all the time he’d known him and still been his rock whenever he floundered. “I’m sorry James, so sorry you wouldn’t believe. Please don’t hate me please let me explain or at least let me try to.”
James put his hand on his shoulder, “I don’t hate you I never could.” James tightened his hand on Robbie’s shoulder and he looked up at him. “I’m worried about you because it can’t have been easy to have this lot thrown at you and to have to suddenly do all that caring for someone and then, I suppose, to have to walk away and not really know what’s going on. You know you could have stayed right? You didn’t have to come home just yet. I thought having the weekend together would be a good compromise for both of us, make sure we got a couple of good night’s sleep at least.”
“I couldn’t have slept on your sofa forever could I, my back wouldn’t take it that’s for sure” Robbie smiled as he mentioned his back. “I’ve been tied up in the idea that this time I got to support you and I should deal with myself so as not to make life any harder for you. I’ve made the mistake again of underestimating what you are actually capable of because I’m an idiot. Sorry” “Can we start again James, I’ll make a brew and then we can talk.”
“As long as we ring for a takeaway first because you are eating something tonight and that’s an instruction not a suggestion.” James smiled and offered his arms towards Robbie for a hug, “Not sure which of us needs a hug most right now but does that really matter?” Robbie smiled as he moved towards James “I’m beginning to understand that it really doesn’t”
Robbie made brews while James rang the Thai takeaway and ordered more food than was sensible. After a busy day, in which they hadn’t had time for lunch, and after Robbie so obviously hadn’t eaten much all week James thought it best to fill the house with tasty food. James hoped the hour they were going to have to wait for the takeaway to arrive would give them the perfect opportunity to talk things through before they relaxed into their weekend.
It was a very intense hour, Robbie explained about not being able to sleep for bad dreams and worrying thoughts and how he was struggling to bother making food for himself because he didn’t feel hungry he just felt sick all the time. James told Robbie how he had cooked and eaten meals because he wanted to be able to tell him truthfully that he was looking after himself this time. James also pointed out that he was not happy to sit around and watch his best friend waste away because of Mortmaigne so from now on he would be accepting no excuses for not eating although they would have to give some time to the sleeping problem.
They both discussed work, not really solving the case but those last few awful minutes in the gun store. James couldn’t explain his need to try and stop her from succeeding in suicide but something in him had made him take the risk and try. Talking about Jez, James was sure that hearing the whole story from his Aunt would make it easier for him to accept what had happened rather than being left with all the questions he had in his own head about his dad. Robbie talked of guilt, much to the annoyance of James. Robbie felt guilty for allowing James in the gun store at all, guilty for not being able to stop her and guilty for not being able to protect James from having to deal with such horrible things right now.
Once they’d dealt with the issues in the case James wanted to know about the thoughts and worries that had been keeping Robbie awake and he didn’t care what they were he just wanted to know. It was hard for Robbie to talk about the things James had told him that had got inside his head and it was even harder to look at him while he admitted that he would much rather never have known any of it. James understood that Robbie meant that he wished he’d never needed to tell him rather than that he didn’t want to be there for him and he pulled Robbie against his chest held him tight and whispered in his ear “I’m right with you there”
The brews were drunk, tears were shed and many hugs were shared before the knock on the door when the takeaway arrived and they agreed that the time for talking about the heavy stuff was over for tonight, although James did insist that tomorrow they would tidy up the mess, go shopping and prepare for a better week. Dinner followed by relaxation was what was called for now, now that they understood each other just that little bit better.
Having cleared away the remnants of the take away, there may have been more food than was sensible but having had time to release a lot of the tension they were both feeling it was amazing how much food the two of them had managed to consume, they settled down to watch Friday night comedy on the BBC which seemed to consist entirely of Graham Norton. The programme was funny in parts and, combined with a long week of not much sleep for Robbie; it provided enough entertainment to see them through till late.
“Bed time I think James don’t you? I’ll go grab the duvet for you”
“Can we clear something up before we do Robbie it’s just been bugging me?”
Robbie was confused and trying not to be worried “What is it James is there a problem”
“It’s just ‘boyfriend, girlfriend or someone special’ was a bit of a shock, I though you knew I didn’t do relationships and I thought given Scarlett you’d have dropped the boyfriend thing but you haven’t have you.” James looked at Robbie trying to work out his answer.
“One women does not a straight guy make James I thought that was your theory, I didn’t mean anything by it but I do know, or I think I know, that but for Scarlett you don’t really do things like that I was just making a point.”
“Ok thanks, I think” James smiled a real smile and grabbed Robbie arm pulling him in for a hug. “Do you want to borrow my bear? Or do you want me to put you to bed?”
Returning the hug Robbie replied “Thanks for the offer pet but let’s see how we both do on our own way shall we.”
“Off to bed with you then” James leant to retrieve his bear from his bag “we’ve got squash tomorrow” He added with a wink.
Rolling his eyes, letting out a sigh and stamping his feet down the hall in mock temper Robbie set off to bed hoping he’d sleep well enough not to get annihilated by James in the morning.
Thanks to everyone who read along with this, I hope you enjoyed it.