We walk along a corridor bathed in an unearthly blue light through to the living room where Gillian is waiting, sitting on a leather sofa with a German short-haired Pointer by her side. On the wall opposite is a giant plasma screen sectioned into six, each segment the feed from a different security camera – views of the front of the house, the back, the garage, even the roof. There’s a server in one corner of the living room, a couple of laptops, only one open and on. Behind the sofa is an exercise bike, still in its wrapping. Apart from a large cage for the dog, the room is bare.
The Pointer looks up as we come in; Gillian does not.
I make the introductions; she quietly acknowledges.
‘I understand you’ve been feeling depressed tonight and cut yourself with a razor. Is that right, Gillian?’
She rolls up her sleeve and shows me the wound, a superficial scrape.
‘Have you done anything else to hurt yourself? Taken any pills?’
‘No. Just this.’
‘Your boyfriend called us…’
‘He said you sent him a text with a picture of you cutting yourself.’
‘And words to the effect you were thinking of doing more.’
‘Yeah? Well – I didn’t.’
Rae dresses the wound. The dog jumps off the sofa to help. We have a laugh about that.
Gillian says she got angry when her boyfriend said he didn’t believe in her business. He should be more supportive. He doesn’t understand what she’s had to go through to get this far. He doesn’t know what she’s up against.
‘What are you up against?’
‘Oh. You know. Competitors.’
The dog has lost interest in the contents of Rae’s dressings bag. He walks over to his cage, turns round a couple of times, collapses in a compact heap.
‘I’m not going to hospital,’ Gillian says. ‘I didn’t even call you.’
We tell her it’s important she speaks to someone about what happened here tonight. Perhaps she could see her GP in the morning?
‘I don’t think so,’ she says. ‘He just wants to get me medicated, but I’m like – no way. I don’t even smoke cannabis anymore.’
‘It doesn’t necessarily mean medication, Gillian. He could refer you on for some therapy. It might help to talk things through with someone.’
‘Yeah? Well – I tried all that and look how far it got me. I just want to be left alone to focus on the business. It’s a difficult time. Everything else, it’s just…’
She looks around, at the screens, the dog, the computers. Us.
‘…I don’t know… noise.’