Butterflies

Robyn's just been dumped. To be honest she saw it coming, he'd done it before, she just believed it was her lot in life to continually deal with it. But things are changing, Robyn's opening her eyes and starting to realise that her life isn't as mapped out as she once thought. Fate has something interesting in store for her. But is she ready for it? Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent- Eleanor Roosevelt

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6. Plan B

I watched my fingers going up and down with the wind stream outside the passenger window of Ethan's car, deep in thought. Yes, I'm in crazy-beautiful's car with Rosie fast asleep on the back seat when I should be as far away from him as possible. But I'm here for two reasons. One, no matter how little of his ridiculous story I don't believe, I do believe that he won't hurt me. I can't explain how I know this, I just do. Somewhere deep within me that I didn't know even existed until now. It's instinctual to trust him, and seeing as I believe that following your gut is generally the right decision, I've decided to do just that - with regards to my immediate safety at least.

Secondly, and probably more logically, my options were limited. I was in the middle of the countryside with no money or means of getting home. I'd need his help to get back to civilization at the very least. The decision was made a little easier by him giving up the whole Angel story for now. 

Once Ethan had dropped the dead planet bombshell I put up my hand and shook my head. Enough. Ethan took this to mean I couldn't handle anymore right then, and thankfully stopped. But really, the whole story was getting so fantastical that I'd had to make him stop. Obviously I didn't believe a word of it, but I didn't want to hurt him by cracking up again so had decided that stopping the conversation before I did any further damage was a very good idea.

Ethan and I had agreed on the destination and got into the car (me taking Rosie's place in the front seat, to avoid future child lock-related issues). Right then, the feeling of winning bit a slither of control had calmed me. From the moment Leo had come out with the infamous words 'We need to talk' last night (was it really last night? Mad.) I'd felt the control I'd so tightly kept, slipping away from me. It's only now that it's pretty much deserted me that I can really appreciate how much I needed it. Control. My life up until last night was so controlled, so rigorously scheduled and organised to make the maximum use of time. Everyday I'd work both jobs, walk the dog, do the housework and every little task possible to maximise effectiveness. How cold.

No wonder it wasn't enough.

No wonder he left me. I gasp at the thought, taking myself by surprise and having a very unladylike coughing fit.

'Are you OK?' Ethan asks concerned, reaching for a bottle of water in the glove compartment and passing it to me. I grab the water and after a few mouthfuls manage to compose myself and give him a thumbs up, too embarrassed to speak. He nods and returns his gaze back to the road, possibly sensing my need for me time, to think. 

I don't want to think. Not really. I remember a teacher at school once, talk about the notion of a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you try too hard not to do something, be something, that's what happens. I'd tried so hard to make my life perfect, I'd failed. I'm alone. 

I pull my, now freezing cold, arm back inside the car, close the window and look out at the frozen countryside as we speed past it. Matches my life. I think pathetically. Ethan had kept his promise and was driving me to where I wanted to go. His stipulation that it not be my house, had been happily accepted by myself. I didn't need to face the ruins of that life right now. I had two weeks off work so I may as well use them to figure out what the hell I was going to do next.

Ethan's taking me to Grandma Lucy's which is the other side of the country, in Yorkshire, and my haven. Whenever life gets too much, I always go to Grandma's. She never asks anything of me, loves the dog and is so warm and comforting. It always helps. I hadn't been there in over two years, (since my parents emigrated and I spent a month holed up there trying to forget it) and not spoken to her in about six months.

Instantly I'm ashamed of myself. How could I do that? We'd always spoken so often before. Before what? I ask myself. My parents emigrating was heartbreaking, but I remember talking to Gran after that regularly as usual. What changed that? I concentrate hard, trying to determine what's caused this, and as I do I think of all the other people I don't talk to anymore. I can't remember talking to any of my family, other than my parents, for months. My Great Uncle Albie. I used to go to visit him all the time, twice a month? Something like that. I'd go to hear his war stories and just give him some company as he was so lonely after his beloved wife, and my Great Auntie Anne, passed away.

I haven't thought of them for months too. How is that possible? I know I've been working pretty much every hour of the day, but how can I forget my family...family. Freya! She's not technically family but she might as well be, we've been best friends since we met at nursery school and even when we graduated last summer we'd see each other every week to go the retro cinema in town and see old black and white movies, (our favourite is Some like it Hot, we must have seen that film hundreds of times).

I put my head in my hands, concentrating. It feels like I'm treading through treacle in my head trying to remember all this. How could I forget these people? How are they not part of my life now? Where are they? Why haven't I heard from them either?

Suddenly I'm filled with crippling fright and go cold all over. What if something's happened to them all? How the hell am I only just thinking of this now? I look for my handbag, trying desperately to get my mobile phone. 

'What are you looking for?' Ethan asks confused.

'My bag' I mutter from under the backseat (I can move about fast when needed).

'Bag? You didn't have a bag. All you had was Rosie's lead and your keys' Ethan says. I stop. Crap he's right, I know exactly where my bag is. On the couch at home, with my mobile phone in it. I climb back into the front seat and look at him.

'I need to borrow your phone.' 

'I don't have one.'

'Don't be ridiculous, everyone has one.' I laugh bitterly, in no mood for stupidity right now. 'Listen you, I've played nice with all this crap but I've just realised...something and need to ring a few people, urgently.' I say quickly.

'I don't have one...' I go to interrupt him, threatening violence, when he continues '...it's not safe to have one. They can track it.'

'They...' I whisper. I'm not sure who they are but instinctively I know it's connected to my family. How I've heard nothing from them, how I've not known to investigate until right now. I feel the crippling fright come over me again but banish it away for now, and it moves to my back which starts to itch. I ignore it. I need to focus. 

I quickly go through my options. Limited, yet again. I know something's wrong. I need to find out. Reluctantly I conclude that Ethan's my only option.

'Ethan, we need to get to my Gran's.'

'I know Robyn. I told you I'd drive you anywhere but your house, we're only a couple of hours away now.' Ethan placates, unaware of my inner turmoil.

'Ethan, you don't understand. Something's wrong. It sounds crazy, but I've only just remembered that I haven't spoken to Gran in nearly 6 months. Somehow I'd forgotten her. We need to get there now.'

Ethan looks at me eyes wide, then squares his shoulders and settles into his seat. 

'Hold on.' He says as he pushes his foot down flat on the accelerator and we speed off down the motorway. 

*****

Please let her be OK. Ethan thinks to himself as he overtakes the silver Corsa crawling along in the middle lane. He should have put watches on all of her close family and friends, not just her parents. He sneaks a peek at Robyn who's staring out of the front window anxiety written all over her face. His heart constricts and his anger at himself builds steadily until he can barely breathe. He grips the steering wheel, thankful that he has a reason to drive so fast and dangerously, even with Robyn in the car. He looks over at her again and releases his grip on the wheel slightly. She hasn't noticed his inner anguish, illustrating further just how scared she is. She'd been so perceptive up until now, seeming to sense his mood and adapt her own accordingly to suit it (even though she didn't believe a word he said). He was baffled and amazed by her. It'd been a long time since anyone had understood him, even on such an instinctual level. 

He looked back at the road, speeding up a little to get closer to the red Jaguar in front. The car, moved into the middle lane and he sped past. If anything had happened to Robyn's Gran, or any of her family for that matter, he would never forgive himself. 

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