It was mid-afternoon and I was taking Edmund for a walk and we popped in to see Thomas at the art gallery. There was a man there showing pictures of Anthea and asking if she had been seen here. I went over and told him she had been here in the morning two days ago. I fetched Thomas from the storeroom and he added his part. She had been to the glass factory, then she came here and she and Thomas came to the house for lunch, then she left, saying she was going to visit the orphanage she was involved with. Unfortunately Thomas and I couldn’t remember where it was.
Then he questioned us about our friendship, and we answered his questions. When he seemed satisfied that we were genuine, he produced a photograph of Philip and asked if he had been in the area that day as well.
We thought about it, and asked the others in the gallery, but no-one remembered seeing him for a long time. Not since the time Anthea broke off their engagement.
I said something about “As long as he stays away from us all”. The policeman (I was sure that was what he was) realised there was more here, and asked. So I said I had had a not very happy relationship with him in the past, and left it at that.
The policeman asked where the orphanage was. Neither of us remembered the town, so he said he would contact his sources for that.
After he left I realised I was shaking. Thomas came and gave me a hug. He reminded me that Theresa he and I would all make sure Philip never again affected any of us, and would never realise Edmund was his.
When I got home I settled Edmund and then tried phoning Anthea. The phone rang and rang, then I was asked to leave a message. But when I tried, the service said the voice mailbox was full.
I realised something serious must be happening. Had Philip killed her, kidnapped her, were they both missing? When Thomas came home I used his phone to try to call the embassy. When I asked for Philip, they said he had just left for the day. So he definitely wasn’t missing.
A short while later Theresa came home and we three discussed what had happened. Theresa came and gave me a hug. All she said was “Thank heaven you and I are safe together”. I realised just how lucky we had been to find each other.
We made a special dinner all three together, to celebrate the fact that we had escaped. When we sat down to eat, Thomas raised his glass and said “To Anthea, the third woman to escape his clutches, may she be safe somewhere”.
We all drank to that, and then the conversation turned to the minutiae of our lives, the news and how well Edmund was growing and developing. Thomas’s studies in pencil and oil of Edmund sold very well. He is a delightful child, he looks a lot like my father.