30 Day Challenge: Day 20 – Perspectives (Novel Extract)

 

 

See Day 8 for Chapters 1 & 2, and Day 13 for Chapter 3.

Chapter 4: Amelia

She doesn’t answer. Of course she doesn’t answer. Melanie has to be one of the most closed off patients I’ve ever worked with. She’s pretty much incapable of answering a question straight; each response she gives can be interpreted in at least seventy-three different ways. It’s like having a conversation with Google search. What’s really baffling about her though is how she’s able to control her body language; she gives very little away. Her blood work has told me more about her than she has.

‘We all have fights in our marriages, Melanie. I mean, just this morning, my husband came downstairs and complained that breakfast wasn’t ready and that annoyed me…’

She stares through me; I’m not sure she heard anything I said – not because she’s crazy, but just because she couldn’t care less if she tried. Fact of the matter is, I don’t actually think she is crazy.

There’s something more to her story, something neither she nor her husband have told me. What Richard said about her doesn’t all add up as it should. I believed every word he said when I interviewed him, but the more I think about it, the more plot holes I find. He said she was delusional, but she’s shown absolutely no sign of any confusion here. He said she likes a drink, but she’d have been suffering from withdrawal symptoms if she was as dependent on alcohol as he implied. He said she was a compulsive liar, but in the time she’s been here she’s barely opened her mouth enough to tell a lie. Politicians on the other hand, well, all they do is lie.

I think Melanie’s afraid I won’t believe her. I don’t blame her. She knows as well as I do that psychiatric patients aren’t usually the most reliable of sources. Something tells me that she isn’t like other patients we have here in the hospital. Either that or she’s one hell of a good actress.

I’ll try a different tactic.

‘My husband is cheating on me.’

Now that got her attention. Her head bolted up so fast to look me in the eye that I’m surprised her neck didn’t snap. I can see the judgement wash over her face as she tries to figure out why I just told her that.

The cool, collected facade slips a little, revealing just a glimpse of vulnerability. I’d put money on it; Richard really is having an affair. Very smart – covering up the truth with the truth. Well played, Senator.

‘With some blonde woman from his office. All boobs and ass, no brain.’

She smirks; she knows I’ve figured it out. She’s as sane as I am.

‘Sounds like a real whore.’

I’ll say. Debra Louise – no last name, just Debra Louise. Weird, right? She’s tall, she’s thin, and she’s a lot younger than I am. That’s according to her Facebook page, anyway. Typical; my husband had to have an affair with a cliche, didn’t he?

‘And why exactly are you telling me this?’ Melanie has a unique ability to completely control a room, even now; I’m the only one who can get her out of this place, and yet she talks to me as if I’m one of her housekeepers.

‘Just so you know I understand the desire for revenge.’

James has been sleeping with his little slut for nine months now. All the stereotypical signs that you see in movies were there – makeup on his collar, receipts in his pocket for flowers I never received, overnight stays in expensive hotels for non-existent conferences. It’s amazing that I didn’t realise for so long. I guess it’s true; we only see what we want to see.

‘And what’s that got to do with me?’

I can’t help but smile. She knows damn well what it’s got to do with her.

‘Is your husband having an affair?’

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