The next morning you make sure to get dressed quickly so you can make breakfast while Lorraine packs her suitcase. This way you get to at least spend some more time with her before she’ll be on her way to the station. You offered to take her there but she already had arranged for a cab to pick her up around 11.00.
She walks into the kitchen, a smile appearing on her face when she sees how you went all out to make a nice breakfast.
“Oh hun, you didn’t have to do that!”
“I wanted to, it’s the least I could do before you go home.” you say, trying to hide the sadness in your voice by quickly adding a smile.
“Thank you.” she replies as she sits herself down.
You enjoy breakfast with her, even when you don’t feel like eating much because of the knot in your stomach. After you clear the table you help her get her suitcase downstairs and put it down in the hallway.
It’s almost 11.00 when you walk her to the front door, taking her coat she hangs it over her shoulders and turns around.
“I’m so glad I could help. You’re safe now hun.”
Swallowing hard you can feel tears well up in your eyes.
“Thank you. For everything. I..”
She walks over and pulls you in for a hug, your arms wrap themselves around her and hug her back. You try to not squeeze her too firmly but enough to hold her close. She smells amazing, you feel so safe and complete in her arms and you are fighting every emotion that wants to surface.
When she loosens her grip and pulls back she looks at you. Her face is so close to yours and you feel mesmerized by her. She brings up her hand and gently strokes your cheek.
“Goodbye hun, I’m so glad I could help.”
You try to speak but nothing comes out when there’s a loud honking outside.
“That’s my cab.” she says before turning around taking her suitcase.
Opening the door for her you watch her walk towards the cab. Right before she steps in she puts her hand up to wave, flashing you one last smile. Waving back you force yourself to smile while still holding back tears. You manage to just shout “Bye!” before you watch her drive off.
As soon as you close the front door you feel an emptiness in the house, it feels colder, darker and more lonely than it ever has before. Shaking your head you swallow away your tears and make your way up to the spare bedroom to wash the sheets. Upon entering you notice something laying on the bed. It’s a small wooden cross, no bigger than your hand and a little note saying:
“Please keep this in your room and always remember I’m only a phone call away. Love, Lorraine.”
Letting out a sigh you let yourself fall back onto the bed, holding the small cross in your hand. You close your eyes and breathe in, you can still detect hints of her lingering on the sheets, it smells like a warm summers day with a hint of vanilla. The sting in your chest is back, followed by utter sadness. No longer holding back tears start rolling down your cheeks and you press the cross tightly against your chest when you hear someone whispering your name.
You jump up quickly and look around the room, holding your breath but you don’t hear anything. Placing the cross down on the bedside table you wipe the tears from your face and start gathering up the sheets. As you make your way downstairs you feel the temperature drop, you shiver and think maybe, just maybe it’s because Lorraine isn’t there anymore because her presence made the house feel so much warmer. You look at the clock hanging on the kitchen wall, 11:30 AM, another sigh escapes your lips, knowing that by now Lorraine must’ve arrived at the train station.
Loading the washer you feel yourself start to daydream about her again. About the way her soft brown curly hair fell on her shoulder, how she would call you hun and the way she would make you smile even without doing anything. The thought of maybe never seeing her again and the feeling of her absence slowly becoming too much. Just as you press the start button on the washing machine there’s a loud thud from upstairs, like something fell. You feel slightly on edge, but not enough to be scared since Lorraine told you it was safe and the boy gone. Making your way back upstairs you open your bedroom seeing if anything is out of place, but everything looks the same. Checking the spare room you see that the cross you’ve placed on the bedside table is now on the floor next to the wardrobe. Before you get a chance to pick it up there’s a much louder thud coming from the living room and the lights begin to flicker. Racing downstairs your eyes widen as you see your entire sofa has been tipped over.
“H-he’s back.” you whisper to yourself.
Immediately a wave of fear hits you, the blood freezes in your veins, your heart starts racing and your whole body begins to shake. Suddenly the basement door flies open and all the pictures you have hanging on your wall start to fall down, filling the room with the sound of shattering glass. You scream and race back upstairs to your bedroom.
Sitting on the platform bench Lorraine starts to feel her eyesight become a bit hazy. She knows this feeling might mean she’s going to have a vision. Quickly grabbing her belongings she makes her way to the nearest station restrooms and makes sure no one is around. Holding her rosary tightly around her wrist she waits for a vision to come through. Closing her eyes she finds herself in a dark room, not sure where but she can feel your presence. She looks around in the darkness trying to find you, calling out your name. Suddenly she hears your scream piercing her eardrums and with a loud gasp she snaps out of the vision. Lorraine feels her heart shatter, frantically grabs her things and runs to the nearest cab.
Slamming the door shut you jump on the bed and hide underneath the covers trying to be as quiet as possible. Your whole body trembles and is covered in cold sweat, trying to hold your breath you listen for any noises. Everything seems quiet and you have no idea how long you’ve been hiding, when you suddenly hear footsteps in the hallway. Wrapping the blanket even tighter around yourself you hear the footsteps coming closer when they abruptly stop. A second later your bedroom door swings open with a loud bang and you scream as the blanket gets pulled from your body. You look around the room, with terror in your eyes but there’s nothing. Unable to move you see a shadow creeping across the wall. Holding your breath you are frozen in place, only able to follow the shadow with your eyes. Watching it move across your bedroom wall until it comes to a halt only inches away. You’re too terrified to even blink when abruptly the air gets knocked out of your lungs as your body gets launched off the bed and smacked into the wall. You cry out as you land on the floor, you scream again and put your hands up to your face.
Meanwhile Lorraine is urging the cabdriver to drive as fast as he can.
“It’s an emergency, I have to get there as fast as possible!”
The cabdriver can see by the look on her face that this lady is not joking and drives as fast as he can. Halfway through the drive back it started to rain and by the time the cab pulls up in front of your house it’s pouring. Lorraine jumps out of the cab as soon as it stops. The driver quickly gets out and gets her suitcase while she sprints to the front doo rings the bell and begins banging on the door.
“HUN LET ME IN! OPEN THE DOOR PLEASE!”
As the seconds tick away she feels a panic creep up on her and she franticly begins searching for a way in, realizing that you would’ve opened the door by now. She checks under the plant next to your window, finds the spare key and lets out a relieved sigh. The moment she turns the key she hears you scream and her heart stops for a second. She hurries inside, her hair sticking to her face and her jacket soaked from the rain. Spotting all the glass shattered across the living room floor she begins calling out your name. Her voice filled with despair she continues to call for you as she makes her way up the stairs, her rosary clenched tightly in her fist. Running straight into your bedroom she feels her heart stop for the second time as she sees you on the floor, curled up into a ball. She rushes over to you but gets stopped in her tracks by the spirit of the young boy.
You think you hear Lorraine, you want it to be her but you know she can't be here. Even if deep down you want to believe it might've been her calling out your name and her footsteps coming into your room you are too afraid to look. Maybe this is all just tricks of the mind or a trick of whatever this spirit is doing to you. All you can do is make yourself as small as possible and pray for this nightmare to end. You hear her again, calling out your name in despair, yet still you can’t bring yourself to move. It can’t be her you tell yourself, it’s not her.
The rain outside is getting worse and the wind starts to pick up, banging against the window, making the house shake. There it is, her voice again, but this time much clearer, no longer calling out your name but shouting bible verses.
Slowly you lower your arms, you see her.
Trying to crawl back up you feel another push, your back hits the wall and you fall to the floor again.
“DON’T MOVE!” she shouts.
But you have to see if it’s her, if she’s really here. Carefully you move your body so you can lift you head enough to look. You see her, she’s just outside your bedroom door, her hand stretched out in front of her holding the cross that’s on her rosary. She’s looking at something while she shouts more verses before she gets knocked down.
Not caring about your own safety anymore you crawl back up, only to get knocked down again. You hear Lorraine shout out one last thing before there’s a loud pang. The light bulb in your bedroom shatters and you quickly put your hands over your head. Suddenly everything stops,
the wind, the rain and there’s only silence.
A second later you hear Lorraine move, trying to get up while calling out your name. As her footsteps become louder you carefully remove your arms from your head.
“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.” she says, while tears stream down her face and she drops to the floor and pulls you into her arms. She begins rocking you back and forth, placing soft kisses on the top of your head while she continues to sob and whispers how sorry she is to have left you. When she pulls back to look at you you see how much she’s been crying and how she’s still breathing heavily. Soaked from the rain she still looks absolutely beautiful. Cupping your face with her hands she asks “are you hurt?”.
You place your hand on her arms.
“I-I’m fine, it’s okay. I’m fine.”
She can’t stop her bottom lip from trembling and and a tear rolls down her cheek.
But you don’t let her finish, instead you pull her in and hug her tightly before you whisper.
“I’m just so happy to see you again.”
Slowly you pull away.
“How did you know to come back for me?” you ask as you allow yourself to wipe away her tears.
“I had a vision.” she replies softly.
You smile as your look into her eyes.
“What?” she asks, slightly confused by your smile.
“Nothing..” you sigh “I’m just happy that you had a vision about me.”
She smiles back and brings you in for another hug. As she holds you tight you realize she’s shivering and you pull away slowly.
“You need to warm up, you’ll get sick.” you say cutting her off.
She smiles again and the both of you get up from the floor.
“Let me help you clean up all the glass-”
Cutting her her off again you put you hand on her arm feeling her coat stick to her skin, she feels so cold.
“You need to get warm and into dry clothes first, cleaning can wait.”
She nods her head, knowing you’re right “Okay.”.
You send her off into the bathroom to take a warm shower while you go downstairs to get her suitcase. When you get to the hallway you pause briefly, looking at all the glass and broken frames on the living room floor you let out a sigh. On your way back up you hear the water from the shower running and the bathroom door is left open on a crack. You swallow hard before you carefully knock on the door.
“Lorraine, I uhm, sorry, I brought your suitcase, do you need-”
“You can come in hun.”
Open the door you feel nervous not knowing what you’ll walk in on, but Lorraine is already in the shower and the curtain is closed.
“Could you get me my white button dress and some underwear and just leave them here?”
“Oh, yeah, sure.”
Opening her suitcase you see everything is neatly folded and you spot the white dress immediately. Carefully you place it on the left side next to the sink and move back to the suitcase when suddenly you realize what it is you have to pick next. Feeling very nervous all of a sudden a blush creeps up on your cheeks as you pick a pair of white cotton panties and a matching bra and place them on top of the dress. Turning back to the suitcase you spot her wet clothes and soaked panties and bra laying on the floor. At the sight of them your cheeks turn an even brighter shade of red and your heart begins pounding faster.
Before you get the chance to say that you’re done she pops her head around the curtain.
“Did you find everything?”
Jumping at the sound of her voice you turn around.
“Oh Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.” she says immediately feeling guilty she made you jump.
“I- I did, I was just about head out.”
You still feel your cheeks burn and hope she didn't notice, quickly flashing her a smile she returns it and pops her head back into the shower. Making your way out of the bathroom fast you close the door and let out a loud sigh.
Still leaning against the bathroom door you hear the water turn off and the shower curtain open. Once again your mind start to drift off. You think about how beautiful she is, how you have fallen for her in such a short space of time, how when you look into her eyes you feel nothing but warmth.
Your thoughts get interrupted when you hear the doorknob move and you sprint off quickly but not quick enough to make it into your bedroom. Lorraine jumps back a bit, not expecting to see you in the hallway.
“Sorry, I Uhm, I was just coming to see if you would like a cup of tea?”
There’s a sadness in her eyes and she gives you a weak smile when she replies.
“Yes, that would be lovely. Thank you.”
Her sadness doesn't go unnoticed, thinking she might need some time by herself you aks
“Would you like me to bring it up?”
“No, I’ll meet you downstairs hun”
“Okay, well if you need anything just give me a shout.” you say, flashing her a soft smile before you make your way downstairs.
About twenty minutes later Lorraine enters the kitchen, she looks much more refreshed and has her hair pinned up.
“I’m really sorry about the mess” she says looking into the living room.
Putting the teapot down on the kitchen table you reply
“Oh don’t worry about it..” you turn to look at the mess as well “it’s-” you stop and feel your heart sink.
“No, Oh no!” rushing over to the living room you crouch down next to a broken frame.
With shattered glass everywhere you carefully pick up the picture trying not to cut yourself. Lorraine makes her way over to you and crouches down.
“What is it hun?”
“The picture of me and my mom, it’s, it’s ripped..” you try your best not to cry but can’t stop a single tear escaping your eye.
Lorraine feels a sting in her chest. She’s hasn’t been able to shake the feeling of guilt from the moment she had the vision about you and watching you holding the broken picture is just too much.
“I- I’m so sorry.” she says, not able to hide the shakiness in her voice.
You sniffle and look at her. The sadness in her soft eyes is more evident and she turns her head slightly to avoid your eyes.
“I left you, I didn’t protect you, I’m so sorry, I-“ she cut’s you off but can’t finish her sentence, feeling her own voice break she starts to cry.
“Hey..” you start in a soft voice before wrapping your arms around her.
“But you came back for me, you came back.” you say while holding her close, slowly feeling her body start to relax in your arms.
Hearing her sniffle, she shifts a little and turns her head, finally looking at you. The moment your eyes meet you realize how close her face is. You swallow carefully, trying not to breath too hard, never letting your eyes leave hers. Her lips are so close and the thought crosses you mind that it would be so easy to kiss her right now. Just as you feel her lean in slightly the phone rings, making both of you jump.
Letting go of her you walk over to your phone and pick it up. Lorraine wipes away her tears and quietly makes her way back into the kitchen and pours two cups of tea while she waits for you.
When you enter the kitchen just a moment later she sees the slightly disappointed look on you face.
“Everything okay hun?”
“Oh what? Yeah, sorry, wrong number.” you shrug and sit down taking a sip of your tea.
Your mind goes back to the moment right before the phone rang. When your faces where so close and you felt her breath on your skin. Her lips inches from yours. Did she lean in? Or was that just-
“What are you thinking about?” she asks, pulling you from your thoughts and you feel your cheeks flush.
“What? I, oh, just, nothing.” you smile sheepishly.
She smiles back and takes a sip of her tea.
Trying to pull yourself together you can barely hide the tremble in your voice when you speak again.
“So, uhm, do you.. do you have to go now?”
Lorraine can see the worry in your eyes and she reaches for you, putting her hand over yours before she answers.
“I could stay for a few more days, would that be okay?”
A small tear rolls down your cheek and you smile grateful
“Thank you, yes I would like that.”
Her other hand reaches up and she brushes away the tear, feeling your skin tingle where her fingers touch it.
“Now let me help you clean up the mess, okay.”
At the end of the afternoon the house is completely clean. The broken lightbulb has been replaced, all the glass shards are gone and you’ve changed all the sheets. Everything in the house feels better and with Lorraine around, helping you and sending you sweet smiles every time you look at each other you feel better than you have in a long time. After dinner you both sit down on the sofa with a cup of tea before bed.
“So how are you feeling?” she asks.
“Much better! I don’t know but it really feels different now, It feels good, with you here and..” you let your voice trail off, realizing you’ve just said “It feels good with you here” and even though it’s true, you didn’t mean for it to come out.
“I’m glad I came back.” she says and she takes another sip of her tea.