“Shoot,” Alison muttered as she stumbled over the bottom step. Sarah caught her by the arm, gently pulling her upright.
“You’re alright,” she said. Alison could hear the strain in her voice as she struggled not to laugh, and she was grateful for it.
With considerable effort, Sarah managed to drag Alison up the stairs to the second floor of Siobhan’s home and into the guest bedroom. As soon as she lay eyes on the bed, Alison’s body took over, pulling her toward it like a magnet. She fell face first onto the mattress, felt herself sink into the plush covers.
“Thank you, Sarah,” she said, and it took all she had not to start crying again. “You’ve been so kind, and I’ve treated you so horribly.”
“Nah,” Sarah chuckled. “Believe me, been treated so much worse.”
“Well, not anymore,” Alison slurred. “Not by me. We’re in this thing together, right?”
“After all,” Alison continued. “You… you might be all I have left.”
And there were the tears again. There was no way Alison could go home now. She’d let her own paranoia consume her, allowed it to upend her entire her life. She’d become a pariah. A cheater. A homewrecker.
“Hey,” Sarah said. Alison felt the bed sink underneath her as Sarah perched herself on the side. “You’re not gonna let this beat you. You’re stronger than that.”
“I’m not,” Alison whimpered. “I’m not like you.”
“Idiot,” Sarah shot back. “You and me, we’re made of the same shit.”
Alison rolled over, head swimming, and looked up at Sarah and the kind smile on her face.
“Listen,” Sarah said. “Get some rest. And then tomorrow, you’re gonna go out there and you’re gonna get your bloody life back, yeah?”
“Okay,” Alison said, nodding. Warm tears trickled down her face. “Okay, Sarah.”
“Good,” Sarah said, tapping Alison on the arm. She rose to her feet, then made her way to the door before glancing back. “We’re in this together, remember?”
“Thank you,” she whispered. “Good night, Sarah.”
Sarah disappeared into the hallway, sliding the door closed behind her.
Tomorrow, Alison would pick herself up and begin to reassemble the pieces of her life. But that was tomorrow.
Alison closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.