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The message states that Rachel has been associating – hanging out – with a small group of less than exemplary teenagers at a notoriously troublesome shopping strip, and it speculates that she may have been inadvertently involved in a recent convenience store hold up. She is now a ‘person of interest’ to the police, not merely to herself.

Fiona puts the machine into sleep mode, swings heavily around and finally remarks, “Aah…is there anything else you should tell me, Rachel? Anything that might affect your future, or the way we’re trying to help you?”

The questions, this time, are not predictable, they are staggering. Is it possible that Fiona has been jolted out of her professional pose, into something like real concern? For a second or two Rachel actually sees and believes that true words might be spoken here, to someone genuinely intent on her happiness. But the possibilities thus briefly roused are soon broken. The receptionist, just doing her job, says brightly on her way to the lunch room, ‘Rachel’s down for four weeks today, Fee’, and the chance fades, though it might one day return. Rachel resumes her held, obdurate expression, Fiona sees nothing will now ensue, and both leave the office.

As Rachel reaches the bus stop, she checks the two messages received on her constantly-used mobile. One is from her brother who asks, can he come over that evening, as he is upset from some things that happened that day? The other is from her current carer, the wife in the couple, who says the police have rung to ask her and Rachel some questions, and can Rachel ring her immediately? 

Page 5

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