Chapter Thirty-Five

‘You have to help me. I need to speak to Adam.’

It’s the next morning, and having dropped Kate off at the hospital to collect Jeff, I’ve rushed over to see Robyn at Tao Healing Arts, where she works.

‘What? Who’s Adam?’ she hisses, all flustered.

And well she might be. I’ve just burst into her therapy room, where she was in the middle of sticking needles into a half-naked man. I don’t know who was the most surprised, me, Robyn or the naked man, who suddenly got a needle somewhere he didn’t expect.

‘The guy from the gallery, the one who came to get me from the police station.’

Robyn stops indignantly waving around her braceleted arms, and two spots of colour appear on her cheeks. She’s still feeling guilty about nearly getting me arrested.

‘We went on a date and it went horribly wrong . . .Well, not the date. The date was perfect. Anyway, now there’s been an awful misunderstanding because of Nate—’

Nate?’ Her ears prick up.

‘Oh, I didn’t tell you, did I? He was in the Vineyard. We slept together—’

Slept together?’ She looks aghast.

‘Well, yes, strictly speaking, but not really, and Adam got the wrong idea, and we had this big row, and he won’t answer any of my calls or emails, and, well, I saw my sister at the hospital—’ 


Robyn is uncharacteristically lost for words and has been reduced to an echo.

‘And she told me that I must never wait to tell someone how I really feel, because I might never get the chance, and I want to tell Adam how I really feel.’ I stop abruptly, gasping.

‘Wow,’ comes a voice from behind us. ‘That’s intense.’

We both glance over to see the man covered in needles. Lying flat out on the bed in his boxers, he’s staring at us agog.

‘Sorry, won’t be a moment.’ Apologising hastily, Robyn quickly pulls the door closed behind her, then turns to me. ‘Lucy, why didn’t you tell me any of this?’ Folding her arms, she gives me her sternest look. 

‘Well, you’ve had a lot going on. We both have.’ I sigh and look at my feet.

Robyn’s face turns from impatience to guilt to sympathy and finally to determination. ‘Listen, I’ll do anything to help, you know I will, but what can I do? I mean, the last time I tried to help it didn’t turn out so well,’ she says in reference to the spell.

I look at her, my chest heaving, my mind whirring. ‘That’s just it – I don’t know. I don’t know what to do. He won’t speak to me. He won’t return my emails.’

We both look at each other for a moment completely at a loss.

‘If only I could see how to make this right . . .’ I murmur, trailing off. 

‘I know,’ nods Robyn sympathetically. ‘It’s at times like these I always wish I had a crystal ball.’

‘That’s it!’ I exclaim, suddenly hit with an idea. ‘What about your psychic?’

Robyn looks doubtful. ‘You don’t believe in psychics.’

‘But you said she can communicate with spirit guides and that she has an amazing gift,’ I say pointedly. ‘In which case she can tell me what to do.’

OK, so I’m clutching at straws, but I’m desperate. 

‘I’m just not sure it’s a good idea,’ says Robyn with a worried expression. ‘I know – what about some cupping?’

Cupping?’ I exclaim.

‘Or some tinctures?’ she continues brightly. ‘The effects can be amazing.’

‘You’re not going to fob me off with some old herbs,’ I say determinedly. ‘Remember I found Harold for you.’

‘But that’s blackmail,’ she gasps.

‘I know,’ I reply unapologetically.

Tucking a loose curl behind her ear, she studies me, as if thinking hard about a lot of stuff, then asks softly, ‘You really like this guy, huh?’

‘Yeah,’ I reply quietly. ‘I really like this guy.’

Satisfied, she gives a little nod of her head. ‘Let me get a pen.’

I spend the rest of the day in a pent-up state of nervous anticipation about what Wakanda is going to tell me. Normally I’d need an appointment, but apparently in emergencies she’ll squeeze people in, so the plan is to go there after work and beg her to give me an audience, or whatever it is psychics do. Robyn doesn’t have her phone number, just her address, which she gives me, along with a lecture about how I have to keep my mind open and not be alarmed when she starts channelling and speaking in ‘voices’.

‘Voices?’ I’d asked curiously. ‘What kind of voices?’

‘Just voices,’ Robyn had replied casually. ‘You know, different spirit guides.’

Actually, no, I don’t know, but I’m prepared to leave my disbelief and cynicism at the door and find out. At this point I’ll try anything, and if it means crossing some woman’s palm with silver, then sod it, I’ll do it.

‘So which way is it?’

Having left the subway, I’m standing on the street corner. Despite detailed directions, including a printout from MapQuest, I’m utterly lost and on the phone to Robyn.

‘Just walk east,’ she’s trying to explain.

‘East? Which way’s east?’ I say in frustration. ‘And don’t say opposite to west.’

I twiddle my pop-up map around, and around again, then give up and start walking, my phone still wedged in the crook of my neck.

‘Did you figure it out?’ she asks after a moment.

‘Sort of,’ I fib, crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.

‘There’s a Laundromat at the end of the street, and then next door is this shoe shop with a funny sort of purple awning.’

‘Oh, I see it!’ Spotting the purple awning, I speed up.

‘Number forty-three,’ Robyn is saying in the background. ‘It’s got a silver sign.’

‘Yes, nearly there.’ Anticipation is buzzing. If you’d have told me a few months ago that I’d be going to see a psychic, I would never have believed it. But then there are a lot of things I would never have believed a few months ago, I tell myself, ignoring my ankle, which is still dodgy from my accident at the gym and is twinging in protest.

Slightly breathless from rushing, I finally reach a small shop with a glass window, across which are painted lots of stars and a sign: ‘Psychic Readings.’

I feel a beat of triumph. ‘Yup, found it!’ I’m actually quite excited.

‘Great!’ she enthuses.

‘Only it doesn’t look open,’ I say, trying the door and, finding it’s locked, feel a wave of disappointment.

‘Wakanda’s probably just giving a reading,’ she quickly reassures. ‘Ring the buzzer.’

‘OK.’ I go to ring the buzzer, then pause as I notice a piece of paper pinned in the window. ‘Wait a minute, there’s a sign.’

‘A sign?’ Robyn sounds surprised. ‘What does it say?’

I peer closer.

‘Well?’ persists Robyn.

‘“Closed due to unforeseen circumstances.”’

There’s silence at the other end of the line.

‘Well, some bloody psychic she was!’ I tut loudly.

‘Are you sure you’re at the right place?’ Robyn sounds bewildered.

‘Positive. Number forty-three. Next to the shoe shop with the purple awning,’ I repeat her directions back to her.

‘I just can’t understand it,’ Robyn is murmuring to herself. ‘There must be some mistake.’

‘The only mistake is me coming here,’ I reply, feeling suddenly foolish. Turning on my heel, I start heading back down the street towards the subway. ‘You were right – it was a bad idea. I don’t know what I was thinking.’

‘You were thinking about Adam,’ replies Robyn helpfully.

At the mention of his name I feel a tug inside. ‘Well, I should probably give up thinking about him,’ I say resignedly. ‘He probably hates me anyway.’

‘Bullshit!’ protests Robyn.

I hold my phone away from my ear and look at it in astonishment. ‘Did you just say “bullshit”?’ I ask, putting it back to my ear. In this whole time I’ve never known Robyn to swear.

‘Well, yes, I did,’ she says, sounding embarrassed. ‘And it is. Because he doesn’t. And you mustn’t give up.’

I smile gratefully. ‘Thanks. I know you’re trying to be sweet and everything, but I think I’ve lost him,’ I say sadly.

‘OK, well, in that case what would you do if you lost something else?’ she replies, refusing to let my negativity dampen her unwavering positivity. ‘Say your keys, like I did the other day.’

‘Um . . .’ Thrown off on this tangent, I have to think for a moment. ‘Retrace my steps, I suppose.’

‘Right, so let’s retrace yours and Adam’s,’ she says briskly. ‘When did you last see him?’

‘It was after our date, when we had our row.’

‘And why did you row?’

‘Because Nate burst in and Adam got the wrong idea.’

‘Nate. Exactly,’ says Robyn. ‘He’s the cause of all this. So, first things first, you need to break the bond you have with Nate once and for all.’

‘Tell me something I don’t know,’ I sigh. Only that day I’d received another missed call from him, and I’ve had to completely give up watching TV. Every time I turn it on it’s Big Bucks.

‘Seriously, Lucy, otherwise this will never get resolved and you might as well give up now.’ She gives a little snort. ‘It’s like with Chinese medicine. You don’t try to treat the symptom – you need to fix the cause: you and Nate.’

Walking along the street listening, I have to admit that for someone who believes in angels, she does talk a lot of sense sometimes.

‘You need closure,’ she says determinedly.

‘And how do you propose I do that?’ I sigh dejectedly. ‘The Strategy didn’t work. Nothing worked.’

‘True,’ she agrees reluctantly. There’s a pause and I can hear the TV blaring away.

‘What are you watching?’ I ask absently.

CSI. I’m getting ready to go to my new drumming circle, but I thought I’d watch five minutes. I’m just at the part where they’ve gone back to the scene of the crime to try to get some answers—’ Suddenly she breaks off. ‘Oh wow, that’s it!’

‘What’s it?’ I ask, puzzled.

‘You need to go back to the scene of the crime! The answer’s right there. You have to be like Catherine Willows. That’s where you’ll find your answer.’

‘What do you mean?’ My ankle has now started throbbing from all this rushing around and I flag down a cab.

‘It means you have to go back to Venice.’

I almost drop the phone. ‘Don’t be so ridiculous!’ I exclaim.

‘It’s the only way. Otherwise, forget it, wave goodbye to Adam.’

The cab swerves to the kerbside and I reach for the door. ‘Are you mad? I can’t go rushing off to Italy on a whim.’ As I tug the door open, the opposite door is suddenly flung wide open and someone else jumps in the other side.

‘Hey, this is my cab!’ I cry indignantly.

‘Lucy, you have to go,’ urges Robyn on the other end of the line.

‘Robyn,’ I gasp into my phone, as I climb into the back seat, ‘I’m not going to Venice!’

Just then I come face to face with the stranger who’s trying to steal my cab.

Only it’s not a stranger. It’s Nate.

You're the One That I Don't Want