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Watching Edie

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“Gripping psychological suspense, Watching Edie is wonderfully claustrophobic, trapping us as observers of the complex and ... Weiterlesen
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Beschreibung

Zusatztext “Gripping psychological suspense, Watching Edie is wonderfully claustrophobic, trapping us as observers of the complex and suffocating relationship between Edie and Heather, compelled to watch until their secret is finally revealed.”—Fiona Barton, New York Times bestselling author of The Widow “[A] book that will garner comparisons to  Gone Girl  and  The Girl on the Train , except this time, women are facing off against each other instead of an evil man…one thriller to keep you hooked.”—GoodHousekeeping.com   “Way expertly explores the dark side of friendship in her psychological suspense debut…The shocking revelation about what happened to change these two women’s lives casts a surprising light on each character’s motives.”— Publishers Weekly (starred review) “Eerie and atmospheric,  Watching Edie  had me hypnotized from the outset. Camilla Way's authentic and original characters deftly drew me in and together yanked me through breathtaking twists and turns to a heart-stopping conclusion. Once you read the first page be prepared for an up all night, edge of your seat, read-a-thon.”—Heather Gudenkauf,  New York Times  bestselling author of  The Weight of Silence  and  Missing Pieces   “Camilla Way’s name is going to be on everyone’s lips. Watching Edie is creepy and intense. I couldn’t put it down.”—J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of No One Knows “Watching Edie is the truly terrific exploration of female friendship and the choices we make as teenagers that roar back to haunt us as adults. As Camilla Way masterfully weaves past and present storylines, she builds to an astonishing and deeply satisfying conclusion that resonates long after the last page is turned.”—Carla Buckley, author of The Good Goodbye   “With a voice that is both accomplished and fresh, Camilla Way explores the most complicated spaces of teenage friendship between two troubled young women desperate for love.  Watching Edie  is a haunting tale of the worst kind of betrayal, skillfully brought to the perfect ending. A thrilling suspense of intense heartache.”—Diane Les Becquets, national bestselling author of  Breaking Wild “Exemplary writing and accomplished character development make this novel a standout. An intriguing setup is carried through a suspenseful buildup to an extraordinary ending.”—Sophie Littlefield, national bestselling author of Garden of Stones “Sucks you in and doesn't let go for a moment. Way brings a powerful new voice to the psychological thriller genre.”—Alex Marwood, Edgar Award-winning author of The Wicked Girls   “ Watching Edie has a clever plot, a fateful friendship, a callous betrayal, and an ending that is as twisty as it is inevitable—it’s all there!”—Alexandra Burt, international bestselling author of Remember Mia   “ Watching Edie is beautifully written. Camilla Way dials the suspense up so masterfully you’ll race through the final chapters, heart thumping. This tale of a poisoned friendship, of old wounds unpicked and the worst of wrongs righted, will grab you by the throat.”—Holly Seddon, author of Try Not to Breathe   “ Watching Edie is an excruciatingly suspenseful and intensely creepy novel about two women bound together by a horrific crime from their past. Camilla Way draws the tension out across the pages and the years, and the surprises come fast and furious as the novel reaches its stunning conclusion...

ldquo;Gripping psychological suspense, Watching Edie is wonderfully claustrophobic, trapping us as observers of the complex and suffocating relationship between Edie and Heather, compelled to watch until their secret is finally revealed.”—Fiona Barton, New York Times bestselling author of The Widow

“[A] book that will garner comparisons to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, except this time, women are facing off against each other instead of an evil man…one thriller to keep you hooked.”—GoodHousekeeping.com
 
“Way expertly explores the dark side of friendship in her psychological suspense debut…The shocking revelation about what happened to change these two women’s lives casts a surprising light on each character’s motives.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Eerie and atmospheric, Watching Edie had me hypnotized from the outset. Camilla Way's authentic and original characters deftly drew me in and together yanked me through breathtaking twists and turns to a heart-stopping conclusion. Once you read the first page be prepared for an up all night, edge of your seat, read-a-thon.”—Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and Missing Pieces 

“Camilla Way’s name is going to be on everyone’s lips. Watching Edie is creepy and intense. I couldn’t put it down.”—J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of No One Knows

“Watching Edie
is the truly terrific exploration of female friendship and the choices we make as teenagers that roar back to haunt us as adults. As Camilla Way masterfully weaves past and present storylines, she builds to an astonishing and deeply satisfying conclusion that resonates long after the last page is turned.”—Carla Buckley, author of The Good Goodbye
 
“With a voice that is both accomplished and fresh, Camilla Way explores the most complicated spaces of teenage friendship between two troubled young women desperate for love. Watching Edie is a haunting tale of the worst kind of betrayal, skillfully brought to the perfect ending. A thrilling suspense of intense heartache.”—Diane Les Becquets, national bestselling author of Breaking Wild

“Exemplary writing and accomplished character development make this novel a standout. An intriguing setup is carried through a suspenseful buildup to an extraordinary ending.”—Sophie Littlefield, national bestselling author of Garden of Stones

“Sucks you in and doesn't let go for a moment. Way brings a powerful new voice to the psychological thriller genre.”—Alex Marwood, Edgar Award-winning author of The Wicked Girls
 
Watching Edie has a clever plot, a fateful friendship, a callous betrayal, and an ending that is as twisty as it is inevitable—it’s all there!”—Alexandra Burt, international bestselling author of Remember Mia
 
Watching Edie is beautifully written. Camilla Way dials the suspense up so masterfully you’ll race through the final chapters, heart thumping. This tale of a poisoned friendship, of old wounds unpicked and the worst of wrongs righted, will grab you by the throat.”—Holly Seddon, author of Try Not to Breathe
 
Watching Edie is an excruciatingly suspenseful and intensely creepy novel about two women bound together by a horrific crime from their past. Camilla Way draws the tension out across the pages and the years, and the surprises come fast and furious as the novel reaches its stunning conclusion. Readers will devour this story with goose pimples on their arms and cold chills on their necks...and they may never look at their friends the same way again. Don't miss it.”—David Bell, bestselling author of Since She Went Away
 
“Who’s good? Who’s evil? Those questions are at the heart of Watching Edie, a taut, tricky suspense novel that drops secrets in all the right places. As she explores the heart of a dark female friendship, Camilla Way twists her way to an original ending that rings with truth.”—Julia Heaberlin, author of Black-Eyed Susans

Watching Edie is terrific psychological suspense. A taut, compelling, thoroughly addictive read with a final twist that's a real stunner.”—Alison Gaylin, USA Today Bestselling author of What Remains of Me

Autorentext
Camilla Way has been an editor and writer for magazines in the UK. She is the author of The Dead of Summer, and was born and lives in southeast London.

Klappentext

For fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train: A dazzling work of psychological suspense that weaves together the past and present of two women's twisted friendship.

Beautiful, creative, a little wild… Edie was the kind of girl who immediately caused a stir when she walked into your life. And she had dreams back then-but it didn't take long for her to learn that things don't always turn out the way you want them to.

Now, at thirty-three, Edie is working as a waitress, pregnant and alone. And when she becomes overwhelmed by the needs of her new baby and sinks into a bleak despair, she thinks that there's no one to turn to…

But someone's been watching Edie, waiting for the chance to prove once again what a perfect friend she can be. It's no coincidence that Heather shows up on Edie's doorstep, just when Edie needs her the most. So much has passed between them-so much envy, longing, and betrayal. And Edie's about to learn a new lesson: those who have hurt us deeply-or who we have hurt-never let us go, not entirely…



Zusammenfassung
For fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train: A dazzling work of psychological suspense that weaves together the past and present of two women’s twisted friendship.
 
Beautiful, creative, a little wild… Edie was the kind of girl who immediately caused a stir when she walked into your life. And she had dreams back then—but it didn’t take long for her to learn that things don’t always turn out the way you want them to.
 
Now, at thirty-three, Edie is working as a waitress, pregnant and alone. And when she becomes overwhelmed by the needs of her new baby and sinks into a bleak despair, she thinks that there’s no one to turn to…
 
But someone’s been watching Edie, waiting for the chance to prove once again what a perfect friend she can be. It’s no coincidence that Heather shows up on Edie’s doorstep, just when Edie needs her the most. So much has passed between them—so much envy, longing, and betrayal. And Edie’s about to learn a new lesson: those who have hurt us deeply—or who we have hurt—never let us go, not entirely…

Leseprobe
***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof***
Copyright © 2016 Camilla Way

AFTER

Outside my kitchen window the long afternoon empties of light. I look at London stretched out far below, my dripping hands held poised above the sink. The doorbell rings, one long high peal; the broken intercom vibrates. The view from up here, it’s incredible, as if you’re flying. Deptford and Greenwich, New Cross and Erith, then the river, and beyond that there’s the Gherkin, over there the Shard. From my top-floor flat here on Telegraph Hill, you can see forever and as usual it calms me, soothes me: how big it is, how small I am, how far from where I used to be.

The doorbell rings more urgently—whoever it is putting their finger on the buzzer and holding it there. The night hovers.

At first I used to see Heather everywhere. Connor too, of course. From the corner of my eye I’d catch a glimpse of one or the other of them, and there’d be that sharp, cold lurch that would leave me sick and shaken long after I’d realized that it had been an illusion; just a stranger with similar hair or the same way of walking. Whenever it happened I’d go somewhere busy and lose myself among the crowds, roaming the southeast London streets until I’d reassured myself that all that was very far away and long ago. A small West Midlands town a million miles from here. And the doorbell rings and rings as I’d always known it would one day.

I live on the top floor of a large, ugly Victorian building, and there are lots of us squashed in here side by side, in our small, drafty little flats. Housing Association, most of us. And when I wedge my door open with a shoe and go down to answer the bell, past four floors of white doors marked with brass letters, the early-evening sounds seep from beneath each one: a baby crying, a telly’s laughter, a couple arguing: the lives of strangers.

I’m entirely unprepared for what’s waiting for me beyond the heavy, wide front door and when I open it the world seems to tilt and I have to grip the doorframe to stop myself from falling. Because there she is, standing on my doorstep, staring back at me. There, after all this time, is Heather.

And I have imagined this, dreamed of this, dreaded this, so many hundreds of times for so many years that the reality is both entirely surreal and anticlimactic. I see and hear life continuing on this ordinary London street on this ordinary afternoon—cars and people passing, children playing down the street, a dog barking—as if from far away, and as I stare into her face the sour taste of fear creeps around the back of my tongue. I open my mouth, but no words come and we stand in silence for a while, two thirty-three-year-old versions of the girls we’d once been.

It’s she who speaks first. “Hello, Edie,” she says.

And then she does the unthinkable. She steps across the threshold (my heart jumping as she looms so suddenly close), wraps me in her arms, and hugs me. I stand there rigid, enclosed, as memories slam into me: the wiry feel of her hair as it brushes against my cheek, that weird fried-onions smell her clothes always had, her tall, heavy presence. My mind is empty. I am only my heart knocking in my throat, and now she’s following me into the hallway—no, no, no, this is just one of your dreams—and up the stairs, past all the other doors with their brass letters and their chipped paint, and we’re at the top and I’m watching my hand as it pushes open my door and we’re here inside my kitchen—no, no, no, no, no—and we’re sitting down at my table, and I’m staring into the face I’d once hoped never to see again for the rest of my life.

Neither of us speaks at first and I’m suddenly filled with longing for my quiet, solitary life within these three cramped rooms of just moments before. The tap drips, the seconds pass, the browning tendrils of my spider plant shiver on the windowsill. I get up so I don’t have to look at her, and I turn away and grip the work surface. With my back to her like this, I finally manage to speak. “How’d you find me, then?” I ask, and when she doesn’t answer I look back and see that she’s gazing around the room, peering across the hallway to the narrow lounge with its fold-down bed.

“Hmm?” she says vaguely. “Oh.” She looks at me. “Your mum. Still lives in your old place, doesn’t she?”

And I nod, although I hadn’t known, because Mum and I haven’t spoken in years and in that instant I’m back there, in the old Fremton house. We’re in the kitchen, the strip light flickering, the blackness outside making mirrors of the windows. I’m crying and telling Mum everything, every single thing about what happened that night, as if telling her might stop the screaming in my head, clear the pictures from my mind. I tell her about Heather and Connor and what they did, but it’s as if I’m telling her about some horror film or a nightmare I’ve had. I listen to myself say the words and I can’t believe that what I’m saying is true. I don’t stop talking until I’ve told her every last detail, and when I’ve finished, I reach for her, but Mum’s body is rigid and her face gray with shock. She backs away from me, and never, never again in my life do I want someone to look at me the way she does then.

When she finally speaks she spits out her words like stones. “Go to bed, Edith,” she says. “And don’t ever talk to me about this again. Do you hear me? I never want to hear about this again.” She turns her back, staring at the window and I see her pinched, awful face reflected in the glass. The next morning I get up before dawn, take some money from her purse, and catch the train to my uncle Geoff’s in Erith, and I never go back there again.

I’m stunned by what Heather has told me: that my mother had my address to give her amazes me. My uncle never knew what caused the rift between us and always hoped that we would one day reconcile, so the fact that he passed it on to her is no surprise. But that Mum had actually written it down and kept it safe somewhere is a revelation.

I feel exhaustion roll over me in waves, but still I force myself to ask, “What do you want, Heather? Why have you come here now?” Because I always knew, really, that this moment would come. Hadn’t I dreamed about it night after night, woken in the small hours sick with the fear of it, looked over my shoulder certain it was approaching, out there somewhere, getting steadily closer?

She doesn’t answer at first. On the table in front of her, she’s put her bag: a black woolen knitted thing with a chipped plastic button. Clinging to the wool are bits of fluff, crumbs, and lots of little ginger hairs; cats’ hairs, maybe. Her small hazel eyes peer at me beneath sparse pale lashes; she wears no makeup except for an incongruous smear of bright pink lipstick that looks as if it should be on someone else’s face. In the silence a woman’s voice drifts up to us from the street, “Terry . . . Terry . . . Terrrrrrr-eeeeeee . . . ,” and we listen to it dwindle and die, and at that moment the darkness over London pounces, that sad, final instant where daylight vanishes, the electric lights of the city suddenly strong, and I hear a faint tremor of hurt and reproach in Heather’s voice as she says, “Nothing. I don’t want anything. I just wanted to see you again.”

I try to make sense of this, my mind confusedly grasping at various possible explanations, but then she starts to speak again, and she says—with loneliness like an open wound, so raw and familiar that I have to turn my eyes from it—“You were my best friend.”

“Yes,” I whisper. And because I have no idea what else to do, I get up and put the kettle on and I make some tea while Heather talks, for all the world as though this were an ordinary visit—two old friends catching up: how she lives in Birmingham now (“we moved not long after you left”), the newsagent’s where she works part-time.

As she talks I take in little glances. Such an ordinary-looking woman. A little on the large size, her chubby hands folded in front of her on the table, her soft Welsh accent, her shoulder-length hair, her eager smile. “Do you still live with your mum and dad?” I ask, for something to say, falling in with the game she’s playing, if that’s what this is. And she nods. Yes, I think—it would be hard, even now, to imagine her coping without them. She was never stupid, Heather, not backward or anything like that—in fact, she’d always done well at school. But despite her cleverness, there’d always been an inexplicable something missing somehow, an innocence that made her vulnerable, too easily led astray. I sit down in the chair next to her. “Heather,” I say quickly, before I lose my nerve, “Heather, what do you want?”

But instead of answering she reaches over and taking me by surprise, gently pulls a strand of my hair between her fingers. “Still so pretty, Edie,” she says dreamily. “You haven’t changed a bit.” And I can’t help it: I flinch so obviously that I have to get to my feet, cluttering the tea things together in the sink, her eyes boring into my back.

“Can I see your flat?” she asks, and when I nod she goes and stands at the door to my tiny living room. I follow her, and together we look in at the cramped, dusty mess, the fold-down bed, the rail of clothes, the crappy, secondhand telly. “It’s lovely,” she says in a hushed voice. “You’re so lucky.” And I have to stifle a sudden desire to laugh. If you had asked me at sixteen what sort of person I would become, what sort of life my future self might lead, I would never have pictured this.

It occurs to me that she must have found her way to London by herself, and then made her way through the city to get here, and I’m both impressed and horrified by this. The thought hits me that she might expect to stay the night, and the idea is so awful that I blurt, “Heather, I’m really sorry but I have to go out. I have to go out soon and it’s been so nice to see you again, but I really do have to—”

Her face falls. “Oh.” She looks around the room wistfully, disappointment etched into her face. “Maybe I could stay here until you get back.”

She eyes my sofa hopefully and I try very hard to keep the panic from my voice as I lie, “I’m going away for a few days actually, with friends,” and I begin to steer her back toward the kitchen. “I’m sorry.” Reluctantly she nods and follows me to where she’s left her coat and bag. I watch her, my heart sinking, knowing I should relent. She’s only been here fifteen minutes after all. But I stand there as she puts her coat on, and I say nothing.

“Can I have your number?” she asks. “I could phone you and then next time we could spend the day or even the weekend together.”

There’s such longing in her eyes that I feel myself nodding hopelessly and she rummages eagerly in her bag. I watch her, my arms folded tightly, as she slowly punches my name into her mobile.

She looks up expectantly, but something in my posture or the angle in which I’m standing reveals something to her and as realization dawns, her mouth gapes. “You’re pregnant!” she says.

For the briefest moment I see something in her eyes that makes me shudder, though I don’t know why—just for a second something else peeps out at me from behind her hazel stare. My hands fly defensively to my belly and an image, gone almost before it’s there, of Heri’s face flickers across my mind. I don’t reply.

“Well,” she says after a silence, “congratulations. How lovely.” As she continues to gaze at me, her pupils twitch intently, and sensing that she’s about to ask more questions, I rattle off my number and watch as she punches it in, agonizingly slowly, until finally I open the door and say good-bye as warmly as I know how, and at last she turns to leave. But just before she does she pauses and says very softly, “Do you remember the quarry, Edie? How we used to go up there together, all of us?”

I feel momentarily light-headed, a wave of nausea washes over me, and when I speak my voice is barely a whisper. “Yes.”

She nods. “Me too. I think about it all the time.” And then, finally, she leaves, her sensible lace-ups clattering upon the staircase as she retreats lower and lower. I lean against the wall, weak with relief, until from far below I hear the front door’s heavy slam as she closes it behind her, like a jailer.


BEFORE

Year 11 leavers’ day, and everywhere you look girls are writing on one another’s shirts in felt-tip pen, drinking from Coke cans I think they’ve filled with something else, throwing flour bombs out of top-floor windows. I sit on the bench below the library window and watch. They’re all going up to the rec later to get drunk—I’d heard them talking about it in the loos. They hadn’t asked me, but I don’t really mind because Mum always worries if I’m back late. I see Nicola Gates over by the water fountain, but she turns away when I wave.

And that’s when I first see Edie, walking across the forecourt in the direction of the main doors. As I watch, her face appearing, then disappearing behind others in the crowd, she stops, her eyes squinting up at the building before darting around herself again and then finally landing upon me. I hold my breath. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone so pretty before, not in real life.

Then there she is, standing right in front of me, and at first I’m too distracted by all the different parts of her to take in what she’s saying: the smell of the leather jacket she’s carrying over her arm, mixed with something else, something soft and appley, her eyes, big and golden brown with lots of black eyeliner, pale mauve varnish on her nails. In the hollow of her clavicle is a little gold locket with a tiny green stone in the middle. If you were to put your finger beneath it, you’d feel the jump-jump-jump of her pulse.

“Sorry,” I say. “What?”

She smiles. “The office. Where is it?” Her voice is clear and sure with a northern accent—Manchester maybe.

Of all the people she could have stopped to ask, she’d picked me. I get to my feet. “I’m going that way myself,” I tell her, though I wasn’t. “I’ll walk with you if you like.”

She nods, shrugs. “Yeah, okay. Ta.”

As we walk, I see Sheridan Alsop and Amy Carter standing by the water fountain. They stop talking and watch us as we pass. I have a mad impulse to link my arm through hers, this stranger who walks beside me, and I imagine us strolling along like that, arm in arm like best friends. How amazed Amy and Sheridan would be to see that! I don’t, though, of course. People don’t like it when you do that sort of thing, I’ve realized.

“My name’s Heather,” I tell her instead.

“I’m Edie. Well, Edith really. But how lame’s that?” She looks around herself and shakes her head. “Bloody hell, this place.”

“Yeah,” I say. “I know! Totally lame, isn’t it? Are you going to come to school here then?”

She nods. “Starting my A-levels in September.”

“I’m doing my A-levels here too! What’re you studying? I’m taking biology and maths and chemistry. I was going to do a language as well, but Mum and Dad said it was pointless because it’s not what I need to read medicine at uni. Best to concentrate on just the three. What with all my volunteering work and everything too. I’m going to be a doctor one day and—” I stop myself, my mouth snapping shut. I always talk too much, Mum says. I bite my lip, waiting for Edie to look at me the way the other girls do.

But she doesn’t, she just smiles again. Her long brown hair swings in front of her face and she pushes it away, tucking it behind her ear. “I’m doing art,” she tells me. “And photography. I’m going to go to art college in London. Saint Martins probably,” she adds with breezy certainty. And she explains that she’s just moved down here to Fremton from Manchester with her mum. She has this way of talking, as though she’s a bit bored by everything, looking around herself as if she finds it all a bit of joke, but all the while glancing back at me, including me as if I’m in on the joke too. It’s nice. I could stare at her for hours.

We’ve already reached the office, even though I’d taken her the long way round. “It’s in here,” I say, and I’m about to tell her that I’ll wait for her, that I’ll show her around after if she wants, but she’s already moving away. “Okay. Thanks, yeah?” she says. “See you later.”

The door swings shut behind her. Edie. Eedee. I turn the word over and over in my mind on the walk home, trying it out for size, tucking it away for safekeeping as if it were a precious locket on a fine gold chain.

“Heather . . . Heather . . . HEATHER!” My head snaps upward and I look around my bedroom in a daze. How long had it been this time? “Heather!” My mother’s voice, its note of irritation rising as she calls me from the kitchen, propels me to my feet. I look around myself for clues. I’m dressed in my school uniform, my bag of books by my desk. It’s light outside, but definitely an evening sort of light, I think. Slowly it comes back to me. It had been the last day of term before exams started. I had returned home from school and come up here to begin my revision and . . . it must have just happened, the way it sometimes does, and I never know why. Almost as though I fall asleep while I’m still wide-awake. It usually happens when I’m upset or angry, like the time with Daniel Jones, the boy who’d bullied me all through primary. I hadn’t even known I’d hit him till I saw the blood. A jumble of my classmates’ voices, past and present, crowd in on me, mingling to make one long mocking hiss. What’s wrong with you? Why do you stare like that? Weirdo. Fucking freak. I shake my head to clear it.

My dad collects clocks, and there are hundreds of them in our house all ticking at once, as if the air is shivering, chattering its teeth. I listen, and sure enough, after a few moments, there it is: the clanging jangle of dings and dongs as they all strike the hour at once. I count to seven. Tea time, then. My mother’s never late. The thought of her downstairs sitting at the kitchen table waiting to begin Grace jolts me into action. “Coming!” I shout. “I’m coming!”

Downstairs, Dad sits at the kitchen table reading aloud from a newspaper article about geological engineering. Mum moves around the kitchen not listening to him, transferring plates of food from the work top to the table in front of us. I watch her, trying to gauge her mood. Finally she puts the last plate down and without looking at me sits and begins to pray.

Sometimes Mum reminds me of the lake where we used to go camping back home in Wales. I’d wade through its water on hot summer days, suddenly chancing upon inexplicable pockets of ice-cold, before blundering farther into a shallower, warmer patch. I’d stay there for as long as possible, wallowing in the sunny warmth, until the touch of slimy seaweed or the thought of eels or dead fish slipping past my ankles would make me panic and press on. Being with Mum is like that sometimes: you never know where the cold pockets are, or what’s there waiting for you in the warmer spells.

“Heather!” My mother stops midprayer, and I realize too late that I’d been absentmindedly picking at the tomato salad.

“Sorry,” I say, and feel myself redden.

Sometimes I do this thing to help me sleep, pretend that everything’s as it was before, that I am six again and Lydia three, and we’re all still okay. I imagine Lydia’s hand in mine as we run together in the garden of our old house and hear her laughter as I fall asleep.

As if to rescue me from my thoughts, the face of the girl I’d met that afternoon pops into my head, and I feel a sort of light lifting in my heart. Edie.

Fremton’s a horrible town. I shouldn’t say that, but it’s true. We moved here from Wales when I was ten—a fresh start, Mum said. After what happened, people in our village I’d known all my life suddenly looked differently at me when I passed them in the street, or else swooped down on my parents like big black greedy crows, cawing sympathy, pecking for answers.

Eventually Mum and Dad stopped doing the things they used to do. Slowly, bit by bit, Mum pulled out of choir practice, her book group, organizing school fetes. Eventually, except for church on Sundays, she barely left the house. Dad carried on teaching at the boys’ school across the valley, but at home he found refuge in his study, mending his clocks and reading his books. I guess from the outside it might have looked as if we were shutting out the world to find comfort in each other, but it wasn’t like that at all. My mum and dad cleaved like a stricken tree, me like a lost squirrel hopping between the two halves. Dad had never looked at me in the same way after it happened and Mum didn’t either, but it was different with her. With Mum I knew in my heart that she wished it was Lydia who had come home safe and sound that day, not me.

So when they told me one evening after supper that Dad had been offered a new job in an English town a hundred sixty miles away, that it meant a promotion and a bigger house, I knew the real reason for the move: we would be going somewhere nobody knew about us, about what had happened, and what it meant. And a month later here we were. But nothing really changed, not really. My mum found a new church to go to, but apart from that she still hardly ever left the house. These days her focus is on me. My schoolwork, my weight, my piano practice, my future. She’s trying to make me better, I think.

Now that the exams are over, I have seven empty weeks to fill, so when I’m not helping Mum around the house or doing my volunteering work, there’s nothing much else to do but walk. Fremton’s right next to the motorway, so wherever you are you can hear it, the never-ending rush of traffic on its way to somewhere else. The whole town feels as if it’s been forgotten somehow, as if everyone upped sticks and left years ago. There’s a canal that runs through the middle, but no one goes down there very much and the shops in the square are mostly empty since the superstore opened on the Wrexham Road. There’s a big statue of a miner in the center of the square, carrying a sack of coals on his back, but someone’s spray-painted a big orange willy on his head. Then there’s just streets and streets of council houses till you get to the Pembroke Estate, three high towers pushed right up against the motorway, as if they’re standing guard, warning outsiders away.

Wherever I go I look out for Edie, scanning the faces I pass, hoping that one day one of them will be hers. I think about her smile and her brown eyes and how nice she’d been to me and I wonder what’s she doing and where she lives, whether she’s bored or by herself like me. And then, out of the blue, I see her again. I’m walking home through the square when I spy her sitting on a bench by the statue, smoking a cigarette. I stop in a shop doorway to watch her. She’s wearing a short denim skirt and her legs are long and tanned, stretched out in front of her, a silver chain around one ankle. Her hair hangs loose around her shoulders and she smokes her cigarette as though she’s deep in thought. She looks beautiful. It’s as if she shines against the grayness of this town, I think, as if she’s full of light. I hesitate and then half raise my hand to wave and I’m about to call her name when someone cuts across in front of me and reaches her first. My hand falls to my side, her name catching in my throat.

I can’t see him properly, whoever he is, this person who’s come between the two of us so suddenly. I only know that his effect on her is instant, her face and neck flushing pink, her eyes wide and bright. She listens to what he says, then laughs and glances away, but only for a moment, as though her eyes can’t quite help being drawn back to him. And then he sits down next to her, so close that their arms touch. He says something and she shakes her head, a smile still hovering on her lips, and I don’t know what it is, this strange heat that’s there in the crackling, held breath space between them; I only know that it has no place for me.

As quickly as it began, it’s over. He leans in close and murmurs one last thing in her ear that makes two red spots appear high on her cheeks; gets up and walks away and I have a clearer look at him now. He’s dressed in track suit bottoms, a zipped-up jacket with a hood. He’s twenty or so and very handsome, I suppose, though I don’t like his face at all, its roughness and its smile that shows he knows she’s watching him still. I wait for a few moments more, in the shadow of the shop’s doorway, before I take a breath and go to her.

When I’m there, standing in front of her, saying her name, she looks at me so strangely at first, as though she hardly knows where she is, tearing her eyes from his retreating back and blinking up at me. “Edie?” I say again, and the moment lengthens until at last her expression clears and she smiles and she says, “Oh, hiya! Heather, right?” and my heart somersaults with relief.


AFTER

A new family’s moving into one of the ground-floor flats today. I stand by the window and watch them; a couple of teenage lads lugging furniture from a van, while a small ginger, tattooed woman shouts directions from the curb. As I watch, she raises her arm to point at something and her top rides up to reveal a long red scar running the entire width of her back, and I find myself wondering how she got it, what could possibly have happened to leave such an awful wound behind. Best part of an hour it takes them, the two, grim-faced boys towering over their mother as they traipse back and forth beneath boxes, a sofa, a fridge, watched all the while from the van’s front seat by a shining black lump of muscle and teeth that barks and barks and barks.

My hands fall to the warm curve of my belly. The decision to keep it, the baby, was never consciously made; I just never went through with getting rid of it. I got as far as making the appointment, to booking myself in at a clinic, but when the time came for me to put on my coat and take myself to the bus stop, I simply didn’t. My coat stayed where it was, I stayed where I was, and the seconds and minutes ticked by until the time had passed, my appointment had been and gone, and the phone with which I could call and reschedule remained untouched. I had never actively wanted a child—motherhood was something that happened to other women, not to me—yet some stubborn, unexamined part of me clung to the life growing in my belly, and it clung stubbornly to me.

The boys carry the last of the boxes from the van and are followed into the building by the woman and the dog. Within minutes I hear the sound of banging coming from the ground floor, the repeated thwack of a hammer echoing up the stairwell, and I stay where I am for a while longer, staring out at the street, watching the afternoon traffic pass until the hammering stops and the sound of a drill takes its place.

Heri, my baby’s father, was a chef at the restaurant where I waitress. Like me, he worked more and longer shifts than everyone else and we were often left to lock up together, sometimes sharing a beer after a long night. He would tell me about his home in Tunisia, about lagoons and deserts and the sirocco winds. I liked him; I liked that he didn’t push his nose into my life, never asked questions I didn’t want to answer, liked that he was always somehow self-contained and by himself, like me.

The night we spent together was not unexpected, but never repeated. An attraction that had always been there flickering into life one evening and,...

Produktinformationen

Titel: Watching Edie
Autor:
EAN: 9781101991633
ISBN: 978-1-101-99163-3
Format: Fester Einband
Herausgeber: Random House N.Y.
Genre: Krimis, Thriller & Horror
Anzahl Seiten: 304
Gewicht: 540g
Größe: H229mm x B152mm x T21mm
Jahr: 2016

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