As Rain and Troy settled into their new home, Rain began to loosen up and relax. The more time went on without anything bad happening, the more confident she felt that the madwoman would not track them down and turn their lives upside down yet again.
She began to spend more and more time across the street at the doctor’s house. She opened up to her a little more each time and found that she really liked being in her company. The doctor seemed to be a very open-minded individual who never judged her in any way. It didn’t seem to matter to her that she had gone through a lot in the past or that she didn’t make nearly as much money as she made. She was accepted just as she was.
The doctor taught her to cook some of her favorite recipes, and Rain often helped her in her garden, even if she didn’t find the work very enjoyable. They also began to go on bike rides and long walks together around the neighborhood.
Rain always did her best to be home to greet her husband when he returned from the job he’d started at a company that paid very well and had great benefits. Sometimes, however, she would get so caught up in the time she spent with the doctor that the hours seemed to fly by really fast. She would never have expected that they would become such good friends.
It was a Friday night and Rain made a chicken recipe that the doctor had taught her to make and Troy loved it. Life was better than it had been in quite a while and Rain was sucking up every second of it.
She sighed with contentment as they settled on the couch to watch a movie that evening. Halfway through the movie Rain’s smartphone began to play the latest song she had set as the ringtone.
It was Julia.
“How did he like his dinner tonight?” She asked.
“He absolutely loved it,” Rain replied. “Thank you so much for showing me how to make it. It’s simple enough even for someone like me who was never really good at cooking.”
“I’m glad it turned out well.”
They spoke for a few minutes longer and then Rain ended the call and returned to the movie, which Troy had been kind enough to pause when the phone rang. “Thanks,” Rain said. “It was the doc. She just wanted to know if you liked your dinner.”
An expression took over Troy’s features that were a cross between confusion and concern. “You sure have been spending a lot of time with that woman lately, haven’t you?”
Rain shrugged. “Well, I think she’s just very lonely after losing her husband. Either way, she really is a nice lady and I enjoy her company while you’re working.”
“She just seems to be taking up an awful lot of your time lately.”
“I’ve seen a lot of her, but that doesn’t mean I’m not getting the things done that I need to get done.”
Troy picked up the remote and the movie resumed playing. Then Rain quickly snatched up the remote after Troy put it back down and paused it once again.
“Hey, do I detect a note of unfounded jealousy or something?”
Her husband said nothing.
“Really Troy, what’s going on here?”
“It has nothing to do with jealousy, of course. I just worry about you after what we went through back east.”
Rain laughed. “You don’t think I worry? Of course I worry. Each month that passes without hearing from the sicko, I’m not as stressed out as I was before, but this is the doc, Troy. No way she could possibly have anything to do with her, so don’t worry. She’s just a lonely woman and I happen to be close by. She has family members and other friends that she also sees, so I’m not the only one.”
Her husband didn’t seem any more at ease.
“Is there something else going on you’re not telling me?” Rain asked him.
“Well,” he said hesitantly.
“It’s okay, Troy. If anything’s wrong I need to know.”
He began slowly as if choosing his words very carefully. “It’s just that you’re the only one that ever saw the woman, Rain. No one else ever saw her.”
Rain felt her face go hot. She really thought the guy was going to come out and say that the psycho had found them. “What the hell is that supposed to mean? If no one had witnessed the guy who tried to attack me, would you question him as well?”
“Of course not. It’s just…”
“It’s just what? Do you really even think for a minute that I would make that shit up?”
“Certainly not intentionally. But others have wondered if maybe you might have imagined it due to the stress that the attack in the woods brought on. “
Rain felt her anger begin to boil. “That’s not the kind of shit you imagine, Troy.”
Rain stormed off to the sound of Troy apologizing behind her. It was too late, though. He’d said enough and she was already hurt and she didn’t want to hear it. There was no doubt in her mind that the madwoman in their basement three thousand miles away had been anything but imagined. She wished to hell she had been imagined, but the nutjob was as real as the sunset.
However, when people questioned her like that – the people she thought knew her best - it made her slightly hesitant. It angered her to find herself questioning her own sanity like she was doing now, thanks to those who doubted her.
What baffled her more was Troy’s apprehension about her spending time with the doctor. He had never proven to be the jealous type before. If he were, she never would have gotten serious with him. Jealousy was something she never had a tolerance for. There was a saying… Jealous people were an annoyance to others while they were a torment to themselves. She believed that saying wholeheartedly, too.
So what was his problem then? Was he worried that she was imposing on the doc? Was it that he feared Julia would take up too much of her time and cause her to neglect her work and her care of the house? Or was there something else?
She couldn’t deny that the attention was a bit surprising. Not that all doctors were conceited, but she just would have thought the doctor might have seen someone like her as a bit beneath her. Then there was the fact that they didn’t seem to have all that much in common as far as their interests went other than exercising. They thought a lot alike and they were both liberal and open-minded, but that was pretty much where the common ground stopped.
Rain heard a ping come from her smartphone which she’d placed by the bed. That particular ping signaled that somebody had somehow interacted with her on Facebook, probably by sending her a message or “liking” something she’d said or posted.
She returned to the living room and sat at her desk. Troy looked at her as she walked by, but didn’t say anything. She woke up her laptop and went to Facebook. The friend request icon was red, so she knew that someone was requesting to be added. She checked the name. Sure enough, it was the good doc herself.
Yeah, this was definitely getting a bit weird. Rain was flattered, but she definitely was amazed to be getting this much attention from her, doctor or not, lonely or not.