He was released from the hospital a week later, looking considerably the worse for wear. Angry, yet coping with it. The police had wanted to know who had beaten him so badly. But Matt had refused to tell them, explaining simply. "There's no video record, so it'll be my word against theirs. And frankly I won't allow them to see how close to death I came." Frustrated at his reticence, they had left their card in case he changed his mind.
After signing the discharge papers he arranged a lift home with a class mate and after he reached the sanctity of his home secluded down the backside of the range, he had shut and locked the front door. As he looked in the full length mirror in his room the mask shattered, the sadness that had been masked by the rage spilling out physically.
Anna blinked as one of her friends looked at her expectantly. "I'm sorry, I didn't quite catch that," she said to the face, which scowled and said, "I said, when are you and Scott going to get over your tiff?" Anna nearly recoiled from the question and said, "After what he did to Matt, how could you ask that?" Jenna scowled, "It wasn't him, he said so. He was with his mates in Grand Central, nowhere near Matt when he got jumped. And besides, how could you believe that pathetic loser over your boyfriend."
Anna didn't have an answer for her, it wasn't something that could be put into words, but she knew it had been Scott. She'd thought about nothing else since she'd found Matt, lying in his own congealed blood out by his car. He'd been out there, baking in the sun on the carpark that was covered with blue-chip rocks for the better part of the afternoon.
Until she'd found him after finishing classes at 7. She remembered how he'd looked at her when she found him, the joy and happiness in his eyes, contrasted with the stoney almost hostile glare he'd had when he looked at her when she'd gone to see him in the hospital.
After she'd seen that glare, she had gone to see Scott, who had looked only too pleased with himself over something and she knew it had been him. His flimsy denials had meant nothing, and she'd screamed at him, and stormed off. They hadn't spoken since and she was still unsure what her full reaction would be. The thought that kept coming back to her was if he would do that to a guy who had just looked at her.
How long would it take before that level of jealousy, distrust and rage was directed at her. Anna's father was also abusive and she feared that sort of domestic violence more then anything. Anna might have looked small and petite but she also posessed a natural athleticism, after the bastard had died, she'd spent every moment she could learning self-defense, and had become proficient in two different martial arts and was working on a third.
Anna couldn't continue to deal with Jenna's blind devotion to Scott, she probably fancied him and was doing anything to prove she deserved him. Well, whether or not the little hussy could have him, Anna hadn't decided yet. So she stood up and said, "I'm going to my prac, I'll see you guys later." Jenna smiled a knowing smile, as if she'd beaten her, as she said. "But it's not for another half hour."
"I have to see the proffessor before class," she said to the smiling little guttersnipe, as she hurriedly left the coffee table. Anna was able to stave off the doubts about her friends and boyfriend for the next three hours as her studies kept her mind occupied. She left class, and took a different route out to her car, one that went by the library block, where she knew Jenna wouldn't be waiting to ambush her with more crap about Scott.
She got out to her car, alone in the parking lot and a dark patch caught her eye, and the images that she'd been trying so hard not to see again came rushing back. Matt laying there, the look in his eyes, the look later and Scott's smug look of satisfaction as he lied to her about nearly killing Matt. These four moments in time resonated like a drum beat that called to her, as she decided she no longer cared what her friends thought. Her and Scott were over, and she was going to see Matt. Now.
The drive home took Anna about forty five minutes, mostly because traffic was nightmarish at this time. This city might not be that large but it saddled a major transport route between the coast and the grain belt. The time between leaving Uni and reaching home had given her too much time to think, too much time to replay the last week in her mind. Finally she turned off the twisting road that led to her house.
A secluded piece of bush hidden on a hidden road that used to be the serivce road for the range crossing. She pulled into her garage, and turned the car off. She got out of the car, and shut the door and after a quite moment in which she dreaded what she had to do next, started walking over to the hidden path through the bushes that they'd made as children, that led to Matt's house.
Anna walked the path as carefully as possible, it hadn't been used in years and was overgrown. It took some doing, but after a few false starts where she had left the path accidently, she emerged into Matt's backyard. Even after all these years, and all their history, the place still looked the same. She hadn't been here since she was fifteen, but it could have been yesterday. She walked around to the front door and knocked on the door. She waited a few minutes, and then the door opened and her eyes widened in shock.