The relentless onslaught of the icy waves grabbed at her screams, clutching at them before tossing them into the howling wind, as death advanced in a wall of dark, broiling water, roaring over her head …
“Wake up, Sue! ” He was bending over her. Shaking her.
She gasped, staring up at him. She was back in that storm filled harbour, the white foamed waves buffeting her mercilessly, the salt water filling her mouth.
This same nightmare had haunted her during the past weeks.
Nervously rubbing damp palms over her denim clad knees, Sue
pushed herself upright. The lounge was in darkness but for the silvery stream of moonlight sneaking through the drapes. “I must have dozed off … ”
He moved away, towards the door. “You okay?”
She wanted to laugh. He was concerned about her!
” Sue … you alright?”
She was looking out from the long French-styled window at the quiet,wet, dark street. Turning to face him, the bruise glared vibrantly on her cheek, her green eyes flashing defiantly. “I don’t enjoy being your punch bag”
He was a big man, tall, broad, with tawny hair and a golden fringe of beard about his lower jaw and as he came towards her, fear bubbled inside her stomach.
Since his return the day before he had behaved strangely, his moods switching from good humour to violent temper and now as he reached for her, she jerked away. “If you hit me again, Liam, I swear I’ll …”
His hand fell away. “What are you talking about!”
“Well what d’you call this?” Shoving him away, she turned her face, showing him the bruised cheek. “I’ll live with your moods and your free-loaders but if you’re doing drugs, I am out of here. You’re not going to turn me into some battered freak.” Her voice had risen while his expression remained passive, oddly compassionate
“You were like a mad man last night. I don’t know you when you’re in these moods. You scare the shit out of me”
He shook his head. “You’re crazy”.
She stiffened, “You hit me, Liam”.
He sighed.” I did not hit you. I yelled at you because of all the crap about that chick at the studios”
“which …” she reminded him “… you didn’t deny – and you most certainly did hit me.” Sue stared back at him, infuriated by his blatant lie. “How else did I get this?” The laughter died from his blue eyes. “You walked into something” Sue gave a shout of laughter. “Yeh, like your fist” He faced her. “I’ve been on the road for six weeks. I don’t need all this. I’m tired.”
“And just why are you so tired, I wonder?”
Her jeering insinuation fuelled his temper. “You have a problem with my being tired?”
“Well you’ve not been working out with me for several weeks. P’haps the ‘chick at the studios’ ? The cutie with the panda eyes? Maybe she’s working you too hard”
His face paled, his eyes narrowed. “You need to see a doctor.”
As he prowled around the room, he reminded her of a caged animal about to pounce. “It was a real heavy tour, you know. One night stands, across America, hundreds of miles apart. We were all burnt out and looking forward to coming home. I couldn’t wait to get back and relax. Maybe take a couple days out, do some sailing – just the two of us, but what do I find waiting for me? Some demented creature coming on like a suburban housewife whose ol’ man is cheating on her. I think maybe you’re the one doing drugs”
She watched him stride from the room, the door banging shut behind him.
Since his return they had fought and argued constantly and he had beaten her for the first time. Her fingers touched the dark bruise on her cheekbone.
Liam Meredith, fair curled and with rugged good looks, had bewitched Sue from their first meeting backstage at the Royal Festival Hall inLondon. She had been there with her journalist boyfriend who was to interview music’s latest sensation. But Liam’s blue eyes had kissed hers and she had been lost. They met the next day and every day and when his UK tour ended a month later, she had agreed to join him inToronto.
In her mind, she heard again his husky words murmured during their lovemaking on her first night in Toronto all those years ago, teasing her, half seriously
“If it ever grows stale between us, we’ll split before it turns ugly”.
They had been so happy in those early years. She had resumed her career illustrating children’s books while Liam Meredith had become a Star, his tours spreading far across America for months on end. At first she went along, because he liked having her there, but she disliked hanging around backstage, bored, preferring to remain at home, working. Wrapped in her own nest of contentment, Sue had been unaware of Allie, the “gorgeous brunette with the come-to-bed-eyes”. Unaware until her friends decided it was time she knew all the facts. One friend, Mel, had seen Allie, who worked at his recording studio, getting into Liam’s car, following his concert in Montreal. Perhaps she had been delivering tapes, nothing suspicious in that, Sue had suggested but Mel had looked at her, sadly. ‘Sue, I had to tell you. We’ve all known for months how that girl lusts after Liam.’
Furiously, she rubbed the tears away. Reality was a lot uglier than her memories. A chill was creeping through her body.
Liam no longer wanted her!