Feeling Paul's arms creep tentatively around her, Victoria relented and wrapped her arms around him. She felt exhausted.
"Are you okay?" Paul asked.
Victoria just shook her head, not in denial but in dismissal.
"Victoria? Come on, what's the problem?" he persisted.
She sat quietly for a little while, examining her own feelings, trying to understand what it was she felt.
"I don't know" she said eventually.
"If you don't want to talk about it..." he said.
"It's not that... it's just... Sometimes it feels too much" she said, her face becoming sad. Paul waited, letting her get it off her chest in her own time.
"Everyone looks to me for leadership" she said "And I don't mind. But, sometimes I wonder if we push things too far. I wonder if we really know what we're doing."
"If you mean Alan" he said "He deserved everything he got."
"No" she said shaking her head "I don't mean the victims, bugger them. I mean us, that's all that matters."
Paul studied her carefully, not wanting to interrupt her with a kiss or a squeeze, or a comment.
"When Ben... did you see his face?" she asked beginning to well up again. Paul nodded.
"I thought... we'd... No - I'd, pushed him too far, too quickly. Forced him into to something he wasn't ready for, couldn't cope with, and I'd hurt him. I mean seriously hurt him, done permanent damage." A tear rolled down her cheek again. "And all for some stupid selfish sentimental notion that sex was the universal panacea, and as soon as he had his first shag he'd be eternally grateful and be transformed into some contented confident plaything" she said.
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Mr Double's Palisade
A MrDouble Production:
Changes last made on: Monday, January 22, 2018