“Oh, Beth,” Isabella said, getting up and coming around to hug her. “It wasn’t your fault. It could never be your fault.”
Beth simply shrugged. She leant against Isabella slightly, the smell of leather – for some reason – comforting her wretched heart.
“I wouldn’t hug me if I were you,” Beth said, sniffing away threatening tears as the display of affection from the other woman saddened her further.
“And why is that?” Isabella asked dryly, amused by Beth’s words.
“I haven’t had a shower for two months.”
“Doesn’t matter to me; when I was younger the bawdy house I’d been brought up in reeked of sweat, blood, and general filth.” She squeezed slightly to emphasise that it didn’t bother her. “I need to go, but I’ll come and check on you in a couple of days,” she said, moving away.
“Okay. Thank you,” she murmured gratefully, genuinely meaning it.
Isabella reached out and squeezed Beth’s hand before turning and leaving, her heels rhythmically sounding against the linoleum.
Beth listened to the mumbling sound of Jack saying something to Isabella. The words were indecipherable but Isabella chuckled quietly at whatever it was. The front door opened and shut again.
She looked up at the clock. It wasn’t even midday yet. Every day had dragged past like this.
Beth felt a sudden urge to talk to Lucius, actually talk to him. Her mind was full things she just needed to say but he didn’t usually come until the sun went down.
She went upstairs and went into her bedroom. She sat on the bed and looked around the room that she had once walked out of with Robert, when she’d moved in with him.
Her eyes landed on the door to the en suite. She got up and went in. Locking the door behind her, she turned the shower on.
She looked at herself in the mirror, shocked by her appearance. Her hair was matted and greasy, largely resembling a bird nest. A messy one, at that. Her face was shiny and oily from the lack of washing. Her cheeks had lines on them where her tears had fallen and dried. She did not, in any way, resemble the girl that was so in love just two months ago.
Thirtieth of June, she thought. Inside, it felt like the dead of winter, where nothing grew and little survived the long months. She glanced out of the frosted glass window, seeing the sun shining brightly. She felt very at odds with the outside world.
The mirror started to become steamy as the shower grew hotter. She stepped away and peeled her clothes off. They were still the same clothes she’d been wearing when Rosalyn had kidnapped her. She slipped her ring off easily – too easily – and set it on the counter.
She dropped her clothes on the floor and stepped under the shower, not caring that the hot water scalded her skin. She tried to run her fingers through her hair but it was too knotted to do anything with it. She put shampoo in it and reached for her hairbrush, dragging it through the blonde tresses. She didn’t care about the pain; it brought her back to reality.