Part 1

Episode 8

 What glories there were, to see the statue of David in the stone at the Uffizi, the tower and the square, all truly fantastic. The memories of which are bright and bold in Ruth’s eye. 

As is the fact that she was still feeling these horrible sickly spells at different times through the day. She wanted to throw up, felt dizzy and nearly fainted twice. She tried to eat, was drinking ACME truckloads of water. She was only eight stone as it was; she couldn’t afford to lose more weight. 

 It occurred slowly to her that she might be pregnant, without discussion, she thought about it. Her periods had come twice in the last two months, they had used condoms, but even so her boobs were increasingly sore and it was just silly.

 

 She can’t remember where the next campsite was but it was luxurious. It had mown lawns to camp on, lamp lit tarmac pathways, it was probably massively expensive but it was frankly rather lovely. They had had a not too bad a day. Ruth was still deeply confused. On the one hand James had been deeply weird? What had that night been all about? Surely he would go? When was he going to go? On the other hand he was the man she had fallen head over heels in love with and was acting like they were a solid and proper couple. Whatever he did, whatever he fucking was! She thought it right that he knew. They lay on top of the doss bags in the tent, back to back on a starry night and Ruth spoke up. She said

 “James, I think I’m pregnant and I am going to have to have an abortion.”

 She lay a few moments waiting for him to say something. He didn’t.

 Dumph!! Arrgh! There was a thud! Against her lower back! Fuck!!!

Ouch!

Dumph!! In quick succession What!!! What the fuck!! Arrgh! Twice What the fuck!!

He’ s fucking kicked me!! She thought!! You’re fucking joking!!

…. She turned as quickly as she could and scrambled out of the tent!!

 She thought, He’s fucking kicked me twice!! Fuck!! Fuck!! Fuck!!

 As she got to her feet she heard him mutter under his breath, “Bitch”

 She lurched up out of he tent and the hill, there wasn’t a soul abroad, and it must’ve been about midnight? Strangely she noticed the manicured grass cool beneath her feet. 

Fuck!! 

She ran, stumbled limped, and went towards the toilet block!!  She went into a cubicle, locked herself in and lifted up her feet.

 Ruth noticed again, as she had in the daytime how plush the loos were. She cannot recall thinking James would beat down the cubicle door. She does not recall crying or planning a way out or a plan to call the police. She just sat breathing carefully and steadily with a strange coldness about her. There were no words, no particular feelings as such, just cold and rigid, just sitting and the sound of her heart beat thumping in her ears.

She sat there for maybe two hours, something likes that. No one entered the toilet block. She suddenly shivered and vaguely realised she hadn’t blinked for quite a spell her eyes were prickly. She could hear a night bird and was freezing bloody cold. When she moved she was stiff as a board. Ruth couldn’t work out what had just gone on. 

What the fuck had just gone on? She was really cold and couldn’t think straight…

 So she crept furtively out of the toilet block and back to the tent. She was that tired. She thought 'I’ll nip in see if he’s there then go back to the toilet block' not thinking further than her immediate need to sleep.

She never did get the time to think straight because as she crawled through the open flaps, James was still there, almost just as she’d left him. 

She didn’t know if he was awake, had he been waiting for her? 

She immediately became still, barely moving a muscle, she started listening, listening really hard for his breathing. She moved everso slowly and everso quietly, she couldn’t tell whether he was going to kick her again?  Thump her? 

She didn’t want to wake him; she really didn’t want to wake him. Please don't wake up! She was quite cold and completely shattered, she thought 'please don’t wake up.' She sat there still quietly braced for him to move, listening and in all likelihood fell asleep that way.

 Looking back, Ruth thinks that after she fled the tent that night, James almost certainly fell on right asleep without entertaining another thought about her. She has pondered whether he might have been drunk but can’ t be certain, he might not of been.

The next morning, James acted as if nothing the night before had happened. He was not overly jolly or complimentary towards her as he had been the week previous. He was cordial though and spoke with Fred and Mog about the plans for the day.

Ruth was in a bit of a daze, a bit fuzzy round the edges. She can’t recall exactly what she did or how she felt or where they went but she knows she visited some part of Italy, possibly Sienna. She remembers Sienna. It was glorious and beautiful and hot and wonderful, towers and cobbled squares and the ubiquitous cafe chairs.

Running away from that tent and the night on the campsite slipped quickly out of her mind as she concentrated on   trying not to faint or vomit. She drank more water.

 She knows James registered something of that night because some nights later while on the ferry to Greece, after they had visited Pompeii and driven to Brindisi; he mentioned she would need to visit a doctor on their return.  She noticed that did Ruth.

Ruth did begin to notice quite a lot of what James did, she observed him, curious.

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