“It’s the only place I have.” Ellie muttered.
“It’s not.” Came a voice.
Ellie spun round. Looking back was John, resting his chin on his car roof.
“No, I’m still here. I heard what Hannah asked you, but I realised you hadn’t got a car or anything. If you did, I wouldn’t have had to drive you here this morning. So, I decided to wait.”
“There was no need. I was going to walk.”
“Is that why you were eyeing up the canteen window? If there was one thing I would’ve thought you wouldn’t do, it’s breaking-and-entering.”
“It wouldn’t have been breaking-and-entering. Anyway, I’ve done worse things than that.”
“I bet you have. Now, do you want a lift to your hotel? Or, do you even have anywhere to stay?”
“Yeah, I do.”
“Umm, the canteen.”
“You’re not staying here.”
“Well, where am I going to sleep?”
“I know somewhere.”
Ellie hesitated, and John picked up on it.
“I’ll go straight home after I’ve dropped you off. I promise.” He said as he walked round the passenger side of the car. He opened the door, and after a couple of second deliberation, Ellie got in. John went back round the driver’s side, also got in and started the engine.
“You’re becoming somewhat my chauffeur, aren’t you?”
John laughed “Yeah, I am. Don’t get too comfortable though. I’ll start charging you for petrol money soon. I need it – I have got a baby on the way.”
“Is it your first?”
“Are you nervous?”
“A lot. More excited though. I’m looking forward to it. Me and Helen have always wanted a family and we’d sort-of given up hope, but then she found out she was pregnant and we were so happy.”
“What about you? Marriage, kids?”
“Do you want them?”
“What? Marriage or kids?”
“I don’t know really. Loads of people say this, but it’s true – you really have to meet the right person.”
“You’ve never found them?”
“Maybe I have and never realised. Or, maybe I haven’t yet. Or, maybe I have and there’s no chance of it happening.”
“There might be. You might just have to ask them.”
“What happens if it’s not worth it?”
“Perhaps you have to take that risk. Put yourself in the line of getting hurt and see if it pays off.”
“What if I couldn’t stand getting hurt again? No matter who it was for.”
“Well then, I’m sure someone will be very disappointed.”
“I suppose they would be.”
“Actually, one suggestion – maybe if you told them how you got hurt before, they’d make sure they wouldn’t do the same?”
“You know.” Ellie said, quickly.
“You know! Claire’s told you, hasn’t she?”
“Ellie, calm down. I don’t know anything.”
“You do. I knew she’d tell someone one day! It had to be you though, didn’t it?” Ellie shouted, more and more agitatedly with every sentence.
John was stunned “Listen, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Please, just calm down.”
“I want to go!”
John pulled over. Ellie franticly tried to open the door, but couldn’t.
“Unlock the door!”
“No.” John placed his hands on Ellie’s shaking shoulders. She violently jumped and flung her arms out, narrowly missing John.
“Don’t touch me!” she screamed. Ellie threw her arms around again, this time hitting John several times. But, still he wouldn’t let go. Instead, he got hold of Ellie’s hands.
“I’m not letting you go. I won’t, not like this. You need someone.” John calmly said.
Ellie looked at him. His lip was split and had the beginnings of a black eye, but the concern on his face was clear. This bought Ellie back to reality. Breathing heavily and still shaking, she let go of John’s hands and leant back.
John didn’t know how to reply.
“I’ve really hurt you.”
“No, you haven’t. It’s the other way around.”
“It wasn’t your fault.”
“Who’s was it then? Because someone’s done something bad to you. Tell me who it is, and I’ll make sure something happens to them that’s ten times worse.”
“You can’t find them.”
“I’m not saying you can’t - I’m telling you. You won’t be able to find them.”
“Can you just drive, please?”
The rest of the journey was filled with complete silence.