CHAPTER 26

Siobhan left work early, feeling unwell. Tom forced himself out for a short run and didn’t find out until he found a message on his phone when he got back. Siobhan’s flat was closer to the office than Tom’s house, so Mona had dropped her home. Tom showered and changed, then grabbed a few things and drove straight over. He found Siobhan in bed, already asleep. She woke up a while later, the smell of cooking and the noise of Tom in the kitchen disturbing her. She sat up in bed, bleary-eyed.

‘How long have you been here?’

‘Not long. I got your message. Let myself in and made you some dinner. Is that okay?’

‘Not that hungry.’

‘You feeling sick again?’

‘Not sick, just tired. Been overdoing it, that’s all.’

‘I’m cooking steak,’ he said, returning to the kitchen. ‘It’s your favourite. Will you at least try and eat something?’

She nodded and waited for him to bring her food over. She poked and prodded at it and managed to swallow a few mouthfuls. He sat in a chair and ate, his appetite slightly reduced by gnawing nervousness and concern for Siobhan.

‘I’m really worried about you,’ he said.

‘Don’t be. I’m fine.’

‘You don’t seem fine. This isn’t like you.’

‘Seriously, I just need some sleep. Stop fussing.’

‘I’m not fussing. I care about you. I get worried when—’

‘I’m fine,’ she said again, her voice louder, bordering on angry. ‘Stop it.’

‘Okay. If that’s what you want.’

Tom’s phone rang. He glanced at it and then put it back in his pocket.

‘Not going to answer it?’

‘No.’

‘Who was it.’

‘No one.’

‘So no one phoned. That’s weird. Tell me, who was it?’

‘Does it matter?’

‘Yes.’

‘Okay, it was Clare.’

‘I might have known. What did she want?’

‘How am I supposed to know? I didn’t bloody answer it, did I? Don’t start accusing me of—’

‘I’m not accusing you of anything.’

‘Not directly. Look, Siobhan, for the last time, there’s nothing going on between me and Clare. I don’t know why she called.’

‘You should go and phone her.’

‘To give you another reason to have a go at me?’

‘Maybe you should just go.’

What the hell is going on?

‘Siobhan, I can’t keep up here. I don’t know what I’m supposed to have done or why you’re acting like this. It makes no sense. I haven’t done anything to—’

‘I’m tired, Tom. I want to go to sleep. I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?’

She shoved her tray further down the bed then lay down and turned her back on him. Tom remained sitting in his chair, stunned. What had he done now? She’d made it clear she wanted him to leave. He didn’t seem to have any choice. Staying was only going to antagonise her further. He took his plate to the kitchen and scraped the remains of his half-eaten meal into the bin, then picked up his coat, close to tears.

‘I’ll come back in the morning, okay?’

‘Okay.’

‘I love you, Siobhan.’

Nothing.

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