Donna was still warm from lying in the sun and he clung to her, not caring that she would feel him tremble. They stood there for a long time, bathed in the extonic rays, but it was her warmth he was absorbing, as if one embrace could wipe away the memory of hostile arms around his body. He pressed his cheek against her hair and closed his eyes. Everything felt out of focus, harsh and too bright, but the warm solidity of her body anchored him, the softness of her terry-cloth robe and the scent of shampoo in her hair letting him know he was well and truly back in this world. He let out a breath he didn’t know he had been holding.
Donna’s arms tightened around him and then she stepped back and took his hand. “Come on,” she said, guiding him toward a table where a tea service had appeared. He sank into a chair, still weak with relief. Donna sat down across from him and reached across the table, closing her hands gently over his wrists. “Tell me what happened.”
He clasped both hands around his steaming mug and stared down into it. When he glanced up at Donna she was watching him, patient. He gulped down his tea and finally, when it was gone, the words began to pour forth, slow at first, then faster and faster until he was exhausted and fell silent once more.
But this time, his silence was his own.