The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Read Online (FREE)
He has a crush on her, I thought. I wondered how Max felt about that.
“What did Tanya say?” he asked.
“She suggested I ask you about something—that happened the night after the car accident. She didn’t go into detail.”
“Yes, I know what she means—I told her during the trial. I asked her not tell to anyone.”
“She didn’t tell me. It’s up to you to tell me. If you wish to. Of course, if you don’t want to…”
Paul drained his pint and shrugged. “It’s probably nothing, but—it might help you understand Alicia. She…” He hesitated and fell silent.
“Alicia … the first thing Alicia did, when she got home from the hospital—they kept her in for a night after the crash—was she climbed up onto the roof of the house. I did too. We sat up there all night, pretty much. We used to go there all the time, Alicia and me. It was our secret place.”
“On the roof?”
Paul hesitated. He looked at me for a second, deliberating. He made a decision.
“Come on.” He stood up. “I’ll show you.”
THE HOUSE WAS IN DARKNESS as we approached.
“Here it is,” Paul said. “Follow me.”
An iron ladder was attached to the side of the house. We made our way over to it. The mud was frozen beneath our feet, sculpted into hard ripples and ridges. Without waiting for me, Paul started climbing up.
It was getting colder by the minute. I was wondering if this was such a good idea. I followed him and gripped the first rung—icy and slippery. It was overgrown with some kind of climbing plant; ivy, perhaps.
I made my way up, rung by rung. By the time I reached the top, my fingers were numb and the wind was slashing my face. I climbed over, onto the roof. Paul was waiting for me, grinning in an excited, adolescent way. The razor-thin moon hung above us; the rest was darkness.
Suddenly Paul rushed at me, a strange expression on his face. I felt a flicker of panic as his arm reached out toward me—I swerved to avoid it, but he grabbed hold of me. For a terrifying second I thought he was going to throw me off the roof.
Instead he pulled me toward him. “You’re too close to the edge. Stay in the middle here. It’s safer.”
I nodded, catching my breath. This was a bad idea. I didn’t feel remotely safe around Paul. I was about to suggest climbing down again—then he pulled out his cigarettes and offered me one. I hesitated, then I accepted. My fingers were shaking as I took out my lighter and lit the cigarettes.
We stood there and smoked in silence for a moment.
“This is where we would sit. Alicia and me. Every day, pretty much.”
“How old were you?”
“I was about seven, maybe eight. Alicia couldn’t have been more than ten.”
“You were a bit young to be climbing ladders.”