As she ran through the bleak hospital corridors, her shoes hitting the lino hard, her eyes seeing only the red stripe painted on the floor indicating the way to casualty, she was all at once shaking with anger. How could he? What did he mean, he’d fallen in love with a man? Was this Sean the lover? The fact that Will had never mentioned him now seemed sinister. Why had Sean come round to the house? Did they make love in their bed? Emma was repelled and angered at the idea. These thoughts darted round her head until she wanted to scream.
There was no one at reception in Emergency. She stood in a fever of impatience at desk. At last someone appeared. Will Beaumont? They didn’t know his name, but there was only one Will. She was directed to his cubicle in the intensive care ward. Will was in the bed farthest from the door. His eyes were closed. For a moment her heart stopped. Then she saw the steady electronic messages on the screens, and she was reassured. In a chair next to the bed, there was a man, fast asleep. He was loosely holding Will’s hand. For a moment, but for a moment only, she was touched by this evidence of affection. It could have been any sickbed scene between two close friends. Even heterosexual men might be inclined to get emotional if one of them has attempted suicide.
She inspected him. Her rival. What’s so special about him? she thought, unable to credit Will’s desires. His hair was dark brown, thick and curly. He was lean, without being fimbly and skinny. His shoulders were broad, and his chin pleasing. She hated him.
He opened his eyes. For a moment they were clouded with sleep. He inspected her face. With equal intensity, she scrutinized his. His eyes were a gorgeous amalgam of blue and grey. The expression in them was indecipherable.
“Hi,” he said, letting go of Will’s hand.
“Are you Sean?” she asked, wanting to hit him, to scream and pound her fists against his face, the wall, anywhere she could to relieve her feelings.
“Are you his... lover?” She knew he was. The body language made it plain.
He hesitated before he replied. “Yes,” he said at last.
“Just go. You’ve done enough harm.”