The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Read Online (FREE)
“Just have one more drink,” Jean-Felix said. “One more. For old times’ sake?”
“No, I should go.”
I tried to leave—and he grabbed my hand.
“Alicia,” he said. “Listen to me. I need to tell you something.”
“No, please don’t, there’s nothing to say, really—”
“Just listen. It’s not what you think.”
And he was right, it wasn’t. I was expecting Jean-Felix to plead for our friendship, or try to make me feel guilty for leaving the gallery. But what he said took me totally by surprise.
“You need to be careful,” he said. “You’re way too trusting. The people around you … you trust them. Don’t. Don’t trust them.”
I stared at him blankly. It took me a second to speak.
“What are you talking about? Who do you mean?”
Jean-Felix just shook his head and didn’t say anything. He let go of my hand and walked off. I called after him but he didn’t stop.
He didn’t look back. I watched him disappear around the corner. I stood there, rooted to the spot. I didn’t know what to think. What was he doing making a mysterious warning and then walking off like that? I guess he wanted to get the upper hand and leave me feeling unsure and wrong-footed. And he succeeded.
He also left me feeling angry. Now, in a way, he’s made it easy for me. Now I’m determined to cut him out of my life. What did he mean about “people around me”—presumably that means Gabriel? But why?
No. I’m not doing this. This is exactly what Jean-Felix wanted—to fuck with my head. Get me obsessing about him. Come between me and Gabriel.
I won’t fall for it. I won’t give it another thought.
I went back home, and Gabriel was in bed, asleep. He had a five a.m. call for a shoot. But I woke him up, and we had sex. I couldn’t get close enough to him or feel him deeply enough in me. I wanted to be fused with him. I wanted to climb inside him and disappear.
I saw that man again. He was a bit farther away this time—he was sitting on a bench farther into the park. But it was him, I could tell—most people are wearing shorts and T-shirts and light colors in this weather, and he was wearing a dark shirt and trousers, black sunglasses, and cap. His head was angled toward the house, looking at it.
I had a funny thought—maybe he’s not a burglar, perhaps he’s a painter. Perhaps he’s a painter like me and he’s thinking about painting the street—or the house. But as soon as I thought this, I knew it wasn’t true. If he were really going to paint the house, he wouldn’t just be sitting there—he’d be making sketches.
I got myself into a state about it and I phoned Gabriel. That was a mistake. I could tell he was busy—the last he needed was me calling, freaking out because I think someone is watching the house.