Trust Me - Sheryl Browne Page 0,1

eyes a myriad of ocean colours, she knew him. Didn’t she? Mesmerised, she continued to watch as he smiled languidly at his companion and then crossed the room towards the kitchen. Her man: he would never hurt her in the worst possible way a husband could hurt his wife. But he had once been tempted, the wind whispered.

It was an embrace. A kiss, that was all, Emily replied. He hadn’t slept with her. She’d had no cause to doubt him since. Had she? Icy fingers trailed the length of her spine as the woman in her house got to her feet, coming across to the window. She waited a beat, and then, in one graceful movement, she raised a hand, placing the palm flat against the glass. Fascinated, petrified, Emily scanned her familiar features, looked deep into the eyes that were holding hers; violet eyes, peering out through a wild tangle of flaxen hair. Her own eyes. Her own hair. A mirror image of herself, looking hauntingly back.

The fox cried jarringly.

Her heart jolting, Emily stumbled backwards, away from the woman who had once been the other half of her. She wasn’t here. She couldn’t be. A hard knot of fear expanding in her chest, she tried to draw breath. Kara. She attempted to enunciate the word, but her lips were like putty, her tongue glued to the roof of her mouth. ‘Kara.’ It came out elongated and slurred.

‘You stole him,’ Kara whispered. An accusation.

Emily heard it, impossible though it was, through the window between them. It was a lie. I didn’t steal him. Why couldn’t she make Kara hear her? Believe that she hadn’t taken away the man she’d imagined her life had had no meaning without? If anything, it had been the other way around. He hadn’t loved Kara. He’d used her. Used them both.

She hadn’t meant to be so vile to her sister. She hadn’t. ‘Kara!’ she screamed. Why was she here? What was she trying to tell her? She watched her sister’s mouth move, but the words were soundless now. Emily was glad. She didn’t want to hear the dark warning she was sure Kara was trying to convey. Clamping her hands over her ears, she stepped back, but her heels sank hopelessly into the soft ground beneath her. Soon it was sucking her down, her feet, her calves, her stomach, her chest. Thick, cloying and slimy; suffocating. It was as if the earth was trying to swallow her whole and bury her along with her sister.

‘Emily!’ Kara banged her hand against the glass. ‘Emily …’

‘Emily …’

She heard her name called softly again. Not Kara. A male voice, concerned, comforting. Jake. She snapped her eyes open to find her husband’s gaze urgently searching hers.

‘Jesus, you scared me.’ He smiled warily. ‘You were dreaming again, screaming out. Are you all right?’

Pulling herself from the pillow, Emily took a second to answer. ‘Yes,’ she murmured, the frenetic beating of her heart abating a little as she realised she was inside her home, safe in her bed.

‘Sure?’ he asked her, easing her to him and gently stroking her hair; soothing her as he would once have done their daughter. Millie would often wake crying in the night as a child. Jake had been the only one who could console her. ‘You’ve been dreaming a lot over the last few days. You’re hot, too.’ He felt her forehead. ‘Extremely.’

‘I’m fine, honestly.’ Settling into his embrace, she nodded into his shoulder. She was hot. Burning up. She hadn’t felt well all week. She hoped she wasn’t coming down with something. She was sleeping fitfully, struggling to get to sleep or waking early. And then there were the nightmares. The one she’d just had was so vivid. She wouldn’t easily forget it. She thought of the text she’d received last week. Thinking of you both on your special day, it had said. She had dismissed it as a wrong number. Sent so close to her and Kara’s birthday, though, her thoughts had been on her sister as she drifted off.

It was no wonder Kara haunted her dreams. Emily pictured her twin, identical, yet not. On the inside, they were two completely separate entities. Kara had always been their parents’ favourite, the quieter, prettier, cleverer one, studious and obedient. She’d been destined for Oxford, studying Classics and English. She’d worked hard to please their parents. Emily had decided on an art degree, unleashing her creativity as an antidote to her frustration that she couldn’t