I think it wasn’t until I saw Philip attack Leo that I really realised how dangerous he is. And then the relief over my escape was overwhelming. I was in a light-hearted mood that evening at the ball until I saw Philip there.
Leo took him off and returned showing two of the security men the door to the room where he took Philip.
As when we were children, I just raised an eyebrow, and Leo knew I wanted an explanation. He said “I spoke to him in a language he seemed to understand. I think he will leave you alone now.” I wondered just how badly he had damaged Philip.
Then Philip emerged, looking more or less ok, he glanced at the two security men and gave no problems being escorted away by them.
The rest of the evening was pure fun; it was good to just celebrate something.
After that Philip stopped phoning me every day. I was relieved. It was all over, I could start living my life again. Without the complication of being in love.
In some ways I felt very empty, it was going to take time before I opened up to any man again. In another strange way I felt free and realised Philip had hemmed me in, cutting out family and friends when he could, so I made an effort to see my normal friends, do the things I used to do, and spend more time with various family members.
All of that ensured my spirits lifted, I was more energetic and happier.
I became very busy between my normal engineering/planning job, the glass enterprise and the work I had started with the orphanage. I felt quite drawn to Thomas, the artist who made up part of the rather unusual household. I visited there a few times, and always enjoyed myself. He asked me to pose for him, and I agreed. He started the sketches for a formal portrait of me in our traditional national dress. I was pleased to see I still fitted in mine, made by my mother and her sister when I was 20.
A few weeks later I was visiting the orphanage, to check on the children who had been taken away for a holiday by various families. I was sitting in the house mother’s private office having a quiet cup of coffee with her before driving home again, when the building started to shudder. Another earthquake like the one two years previously near the family estate.
I remembered something Philip told me, from his experience in international earthquake rescue teams during his military career. Don’t get into a doorway or under the stairs,, these are very heavy and crush people. Get next to some fairly solid piece of furniture and cover your head. You can recover from a broken arm; a broken skull could kill you or leave you a vegetable.
I dived next to the big solid wooden desk and covered my head with my arms. The building made some very scary loud noises and then everything went black.