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The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Read Online (FREE)

“Thanks. I appreciate this.”

Yuri grinned at me. “I’ll have her there in ten minutes.”

*   *   *

Yuri was as good as his word. Ten minutes later, Alicia and I were in the art room, sitting opposite each other, across the paint-splattered work surface.

I perched on a rickety stool, feeling precarious. Alicia looked perfectly poised as she sat down—as if she were posing for a portrait, or about to paint one.

“Thank you for this.” I took out her diary and placed it in front of me. “For allowing me to read it. It means a great deal to me that you entrusted me with something so personal.”

I smiled, only to be met by a blank expression. Alicia’s features were hard and unyielding. I wondered if she regretted giving me the diary. Perhaps she felt a sense of shame at having exposed herself so completely?

I left a pause, then went on, “The diary ends abruptly, on a cliff-hanger.” I flicked through the journal’s remaining empty pages. “It’s a little like our therapy together—incomplete, unfinished.”

Alicia didn’t speak. She just stared. I don’t know what I’d expected, but not this. I’d assumed giving me the diary signaled a change of some kind, representing an invitation, an opening, an entry point, yet here I was, back at square one, faced with an impenetrable wall.

“You know, I hoped that having spoken to me indirectly—through these pages—that you might go one step further and speak to me in person.”

No response.

“I think you gave this to me because you wanted to communicate with me. And you did communicate. Reading this told me a great deal about you—how lonely you were, how isolated, how afraid—that your situation was a lot more complicated than I had previously appreciated. Your relationship with Dr. West, for instance.”

I glanced at her as I said Christian’s name. I hoped for some kind of reaction, a narrowing of the eyes, a clenched jaw—something, anything—but there was nothing, not even a blink.

“I had no idea you knew Christian West before you were admitted to the Grove. You saw him privately for several years. You obviously recognized him when he first came to work here—a few months after your arrival. It must have been confusing when he didn’t acknowledge you. And probably quite upsetting, I imagine?”

I asked it as a question, but there was no reply. Christian seemed of little interest to her. Alicia looked away, bored, disappointed—as if I had missed some opportunity, gone down the wrong track. She had been expecting something from me, something I had failed to deliver.

Well, I wasn’t done yet.

“There’s something else. The diary raises certain questions—questions that need answering. Certain things don’t make sense, don’t fit with information I have from other sources. Now that you’ve allowed me to read it, I feel obliged to investigate further. I hope you understand that.”

I gave Alicia back the diary. She took it and rested her fingers on it. We stared at each other for a moment.