Section 7b is on its way, within the next couple of days, I think. Here’s the first chunk. Enjoy!
Â“Okay,Â” Elizabeth muttered to herself as she sat at SeanÂ’s computer, Â“letÂ’s look at this thing logically: I ran into him twice in one day, which, unless he is following meÂ—which is also possibleÂ—means he lives somewhere in the city, or at least he knows someone who doesÂ…Â” Elizabeth dug through her purse to find the list of names, Â“Â…so if I start at Swaab and work my way through to Swash, I have to come across him somewhere, she smiled to herself.
Â“Hello, Elizabeth,Â” Sean was standing behind her.
Elizabeth quickly closed the search window and turned around. Â“What can I do for you, Sean?Â” She tried to sound calm, but he could hear the panic in her voice.
Â“Nothing, thanks. IÂ’m fineÂ…Elizabeth, I called the karate club and your Sensei says you havenÂ’t been to class in weeks.Â”
Â“YouÂ’ve been checking up on me, Sean? You have no right to call my club and talk to my SenseiÂ”
Â“Self-defence classes are mandatory, Elizabeth; I have every right,Â”
Â“You could have asked me. ItÂ’s not like IÂ’m some delinquent child,Â”
Â“Would you have told me the truth?Â”
Â“How dare you even ask me that?Â”
Sean looked hurt, Â“Elizabeth, I know youÂ’ve been through an awful lot, but you need to understand that I am your friend and IÂ’m concerned about your well being.Â”
Â“But obviously not about my privacy,Â” Elizabeth retorted.
Â“I wouldnÂ’t need to check up on you,Â” Sean sighed, Â“if you told me the truth to begin with,Â”
Â“What truth do you want to hear? The truth that IÂ’ve missed a couple of classes? You didnÂ’t ask.Â” ElizabethÂ’s voice got steadily louder, Â“Or do you mean the truth that I havenÂ’t slept for nearly three weeks? Or the truth that I am so incapable of eating that weigh almost as little now as I did when I left the hospital? Which truth do you mean, Sean? Or should I just keep my diary on hand for you so we can keep our interactions short in lieu of your busy schedule?Â” Elizabeth stopped long enough to breathe, Â“Or maybe, I should just fax the entries to you as soon as I write them. Would that be more convenient for you?Â”
Â“Elizabeth,Â” Sean choked back tears, Â“please. I only want to help you, to ensure that youÂ’re safe. I care a great deal about you. Listen, youÂ’re upset right now, I can see that. If you want to take a few days off, go ahead,Â” he tried to smile at her, Â“If you want someone with you, IÂ’ll come along. Elizabeth, if you asked me to, IÂ’d quit right now. Just tell me what you want,Â”
Â“I want,Â” she paused slightly, Â“to go back to the way it was before they took me; I want to go back to me having some sort of school-girl crush on you and you having no idea I even exist. I want to enjoy being organized, to be able to talk to my parents, to not understand that self-defence classes are necessary. I want–
Â“Elizabeth, thatÂ’s not how things were,Â” Sean interrupted, Â“maybe it was only a crush for you, but I knew you existed. I knew it every day. I knew you loved cats, I knew you always set the toaster in the lunchroom to the fifth level and that you only ever buttered one of your pieces of toast. It didnÂ’t take you being kidnapped for me to realize that you existÂ—It took you being kidnapped for me to realize that I might lose you for good one day, without ever having told you how I feel. So in that way, IÂ’m almost glad they took you, because if they hadnÂ’t, and I had continued to be such a fool, I might never have known that someone so wonderful could ever have guessed that I exist,Â” tears streamed down SeanÂ’s face and landed on the floor in front of him.
Â“Oh, Sean!Â” Elizabeth wrapped her arms tightly around his neck.