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The Story Of Us
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Текст книги "The Story Of Us"


Автор книги: Lesley Jones






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Текущая страница: 9 (всего у книги 24 страниц)

“Have you ever had help Georgia?”

“What? What kind of help?”

“Psychological help? Help to try and get over whatever it is that happened to you.”

My hand instantly flew up to my neck. “Help to try and get deal with whatever he did to you.” He gestures with the tilt of his chin toward my necklace, where my hand still is, fucking hell; he thinks I’m mad, he thinks I’m insane, am I? I’m completely fucked up, I know that much but I don’t know about insane, I choose to ignore the comment and the question.

“Would you like to come in for a coffee?”

“You really want me to come in?”

I nod, I do, I really don’t want to be alone right now. I’m so sick of being alone and I’m so sick of being lonely.

When Sean did what he did in that room, not only did I lose him and the life that we had planned together, I also lost Jimmie, Lennon and Marley, I know I still got to see Len and Jim but we could’ve all been so much closer. I would have been involved with the band, touring with them, seeing my brothers and my best friend almost daily and suddenly, it was all ripped away from me. They all went off and road the fame wave with the band, whilst I quietly slipped off back to school, all on my own. While I’m lost in my own thoughts, Cam has gotten out of the car and come around and opened the door on my side, I stare up at him blankly for a few seconds, before I realise that he’s waiting for me to get out, he takes my hand, puts his other hand on the top of my head so I don’t bump it and guides me out of the car and up the stairs to my flat.

My Dad had insisted on two lots of security doors when his blokes worked on the refurbishment. You unlock the first door, walk along a short corridor and before reaching the front door that eventually lets you into my place; it’s not huge but it’s mine and I’ve decorated it exactly how I wanted to. My Mum wanted florals and dado rails, I wanted plainly painted walls and a leather sofa, a chesterfield in fact, it reminded me of the summerhouse, just the smell of the leather alone would make my belly flip every time I came home; my parents still had that old sofa, Sean and I had had sex on it, more than once. Sean, Sean.

“I think you need a drink not a coffee, what do you have in?” Cam’s concerned voice interrupts my inappropriate thoughts.

“Sorry, what?” I’m sitting on a stool at my breakfast bar and I’ve no idea how I got here.

He doesn’t wait for an answer, he just starts opening cupboards until he finds the bottle of Drambuie I always keep for when my dad comes over, he pulls two whisky tumblers from the shelf above the drink and pours two large measures into both, then adds ice from the freezer. Placing both the glasses down in front of me, he stands on one side of the bench top, and leans forward on his elbows, facing me as I sit on my stool on the other side. He tilts his glass toward me.

“Cheers?’ It’s a question not a toast. I pick up my glass and tap it against his and nod slightly.

“Cheers,” I state.

He looks at me for a long while but I just know he’s going to talk and I know he’s going to ask questions and rightly so, I’ve behaved like a complete head case tonight. He took me out to a nice restaurant; he’s behaved with impeccable manners and has shown the patience of a saint, so he’s more than entitled to ask questions if he feels inclined; whether I’ll answer them without having another complete meltdown is another thing.

“Why do you wear it if it causes you so much pain?”

What is he talking about?

“The necklace, why wear it?” I raise my hand, and then put it back down, he’s very perceptive. My belly flips upside down and then feels like it’s trying to turn itself inside out.

“I really like you Georgia but I need to know what I’m up against. I want to know who I’m up against?” He’s quiet for a few seconds. “I’m not some kind of a cunt, if it’s a bloke and he’s still about, if your still involved, I will walk away and leave you to it. I want you George, fuck do I want you but I want you to come to me willingly and I want you to come to me single, I don’t share.”

I sip at my drink, enjoying the warmth as it slides down my throat and lands in my acrobatic belly, I watch as he drains his glass and pours himself another. “Are you with someone?” Ha, am I? Sean, yes I’m with Sean but only in my head, in real life, I’m alone, so fucking alone. “Georgia?”

“No, no I’m not with anybody; I haven’t been with anybody for years. I’m very single.”

“What about all the blokes you came into the wine bar with? You were with them.”

I shrug my shoulders. “No I wasn’t, they were with me, but I was never with them.”

He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. “I wish you’d tell me, if you told me, who, what, I mean give me a fucking clue here, even about us George. What do you want? Why did you come out with me tonight?”

“You looked after me the other night, you’re getting my car sorted, I like you, I wanted to go out with you but I just can’t talk to you about him.”

“So it is a bloke then?” I nod slightly; he drags one hand through his dark hair.

“Well that’s a start at least. George look, I may be way out of line with this but I’ve gotta ask… This ain’t nothing to do with your brothers is it?”

My stomach is now doing a pirouette as well as back flips, how does he know that?

“They’ve never done anything, I mean, your brothers have never done anything, they’ve never touched you or anything have they?”

What?

“What, no, no, fuck no, my brothers are my, I love my brothers. What the fuck are you saying?”

“Every time I mention them, I mean, the younger two, you freak out, I thought it had something to do with them, I thought they’d done something to ya. I’m sorry if I’m wrong but I had to ask.”

“Fucking hell Cam, what sort of a family do you think I come from? What sort of person dya think I am? It’s nothing like that, nothing.”

“Then what for fucks sake? I’m fucking lost George, everything I say is wrong, everything I say sends you off somewhere, I lose you for a few seconds or you look like you’re about to hyperventilate and I have no idea what it is that I’ve said that has caused that.”

I feel terrible, I like him, I really do like him but I have no idea how far I’m willing to take this, if I’m willing to take this any further than a few dates and a few fucks, I’m just a mess and he deserves better.

“It’s a bloke and I’m not over it, I’m not over him, I don’t know if I ever will be, no one else has ever come close. The others, Lee and the other nine I’ve strung along for the last six months were just…” I shrug and look around the room while I try to think of a word. “They were revenge, they were payback. They were me, trying to make myself feel better. They were me being a bad person.”

“And is that what this is? Is that what I am, revenge? You trying to make yourself feel better?”

“No!” I almost shout, because it’s not and I don’t want him to think that.

“No Cam, that’s the problem, I like you, you’re the first.” Fuck, I think I might actually cry, for the first time in four years, I think I might actually cry. I swallow it down. “You’re the first since him that has made me feel anything, the others were nothing, I felt nothing. But you, you’re different and I’m struggling, I’ve never let anyone one in, I’ve not allowed myself to feel, I’ve never even cried… since him, not once.”

He looks at me confused. “When was this, how long ago?”

“Almost four years.”

“You haven’t cried in four years?”

“No,” I say quietly and shake my head.

He comes around the breakfast bar and stands in front of where I’m sitting on the stool, he opens his legs, placing them either side of mine so that he can get closer and wraps his arms around me, pulling my head to his chest. “What the fuck did he do to you baby girl, what did he do? I want you to know, I want to make it better.”

I tilt my head back so I can look at him. “Cam, I really do like you but you need to know, you need to understand.” I pause and shrug, trying to think of how to explain this. “There’s only him, it will always be him, there’s no room for anyone else, wherever we go with this, you need to understand that, my heart is sealed and there’s only him that’s locked inside.”

He closes his eyes for a split second too long, like what I’ve just said has called him physical pain. “But you don’t know me Georgia; you haven’t had a chance to get to know me. If you let me, I will blow your mind baby.”

He smiles at me, a full on sexy smile and I’ve no doubt that he is more than capable of blowing my mind, whether he can blow that wall down that’s around my heart is another thing.

CHAPTER 12

As horny as Cam makes me feel, he doesn’t stay over Saturday night; we talk for a bit longer and arrange to speak during the week. I’ve given him the number to the shop as well as my home, he has no idea what a big deal that is for me, I don’t give any blokes my number, none at all.

I head over to my parents for lunch on Sunday and groan when I see my Mum sweeping the porch as I pull up in the taxi I’ve had to book. Jim picked me up for the dress fittings yesterday so I’ve been able to hide the fact that my car is off the road, until now. My Mum stops what she’s doing and leans on her broom while she watches me pay and get out of the cab.

“Where’s your car George?”

“Hello Mum, these are for you.” I hand her a bunch of carnations, her favourites.

“Oh thanks babe, mmm, they smell beautiful. Where’s your car?”

“Oh I left it at a friend’s last night, because I had too much to drink. He’s going to drop it back later. Is Bailey here?” I ask, noticing my brother’s Range Rover in the drive. I start to head into the house before she can say any more about the car.

“Yeah, he’s in there somewhere, talking business with your Dad.”

The house my parents now live in is a barn conversion, it’s absolutely beautiful, high ceilings and exposed beams; they had to adhere to all kinds of building regulations to get the job done and bring in a few specialists but the end result was spectacular. My favourite thing about it was the galleried landing that ran all around the upstairs, part of the flooring down stairs were the original flagstones and part was timber, it was sleek and modern but warm and cosy at the same time. I headed to my Dad’s office as this is where I could hear his and Bailey’s voices coming from, I put my head around the door, they both had their bums perched on the edge of my Dad’s huge desk. Thoughts of Cam and what we had almost done in his office Thursday night popped into my head and my cheeks instantly flushed, my Dad was sipping from a whisky tumbler, Bails was inspecting a shot gun, probably the latest edition to my Dad’s collection. He always kept guns and enjoyed shooting, game and clays but he had got into it even more since they moved. This house was on five acres, he had deer, pheasant and plenty of rabbits out the back, a huge pond and stables where my Mum kept here two horses, well one was mine, but I’d been very negligent lately and hadn’t ridden in weeks.

“Ello Princess,” my Dad said as soon as he spotted me, he held his arms open and I walked right into them, breathing in the smell of him deeply. Drambuie and Tabac aftershave, no matter how many different designer aftershaves people bought him, my Dad always resorted back to his old favourite and I’m so glad that he did. To me that smell was home, safety, love and security, that smell was, when I was a little girl, how I assumed all Dad’s smelt and I loved it. He held me tight and breathed me in. “Fuckin’ ell Georgia, you’re skin and bone. What have you been doin’ to yourself? Your mother really needs to fatten you up.”

“Thanks Dad, I love you too.” I pull away and give Bailey a cuddle and my head spins as I take in the smell of his Givenchy aftershave. “Big brother Bailey, how are you? I’ve missed ya, you smell lovely.”

He squeezes me so hard I can hardly breathe. “Baby sister Georgia, how the fuck are you? It’s been way too long. Fuck, you’re skinny.”

“Bailey, language please, it’s Sunday.” We all turn and laugh at my Mum; her and my Dad both grew up in Plaistow, my Dad still had a real cockney accent but my Mum spoke much nicer and had always corrected us on our grammar. I never dropped my H’s or said ain’t, grub or gissit… instead of give me it… around my Mum. When we travelled on business most people assumed we came from London but they had no idea which part and would never have guessed at my mother’s working class roots. I most definitely wasn’t posh but around my Mum, I wasn’t common either, away from my Mum and work was an entirely different story.

“Mum, what difference does it make what day of the week it is, swearing is swearing, if your mate the Big G Man up there, don’t like it, then he don’t like it any day, not especially on a Sunday.”

“His name is God, Bailey Michael Layton, or our holy father and you should be more respectful. Francis, talk to your son.” My Mum was still a practising Catholic, my Dad not so much, we had all been christened in the Catholic Church and educated through the Catholic school system but none of us went to church, unless it was to make my Mum happy.

Jimmie and Lennon’s wedding was being held at the Catholic Cathedral in Brentwood and I knew from family weddings I had attended in the past that it was at least a two hour ceremony, well at least they always felt that long. This next wedding would be excruciatingly long; Sean and I, both of us, standing in a church, watching two of the people we love most in the world get married. Well it would be agony for me, he probably wouldn’t give a shit but then again, Jimmie did say a while back that he did still ask after me and Len said he’d got drunk and cried. What hurt me more than anything was the way he’d given up. He called a lot in the beginning but only for a few weeks and he never wrote or came round when I knew the boys were in England. Perhaps if he’d tried harder to convince me he was sorry, maybe things would be different, maybe I would’ve come to terms with things a little better. I don’t know, it was all too much to think about, I had gone to sleep last night wondering if my young, immature, sixteen year old self had just over reacted at the time. Were my expectations of fidelity and faithfulness way too high? I just don’t know and for the rest of today at least, I wasn’t going to think about any of it, or at least try not to.

Sunday lunch was as always when my Mum cooked it, absolutely perfect, later in the afternoon, Jimmie and Lennon came over, Bailey was living at my parent’s at the moment as he had recently split with his long term girlfriend Donna and was looking for somewhere new to live.

Despite my brothers all living elsewhere now, my Dad had still had one of the stables converted into a soundproofed studio, it’s where we all sat now. Me lying with my head on Baileys lap as we both sat on the old Chesterfield sofa. Len sat on a bean bag, strumming on an old acoustic guitar that had belonged to one of my brothers and Jim lay on the floor flicking through yet another bridal magazine. Bail’s passed the joint he was smoking down to me and I took a long draw on it, getting stoned and chilling the fuck out with my brothers was exactly what I needed to do today. Len stood up and came and took the joint from me.

“How about you share the love baby sister?”

“Happy to share big bro, just can’t be arsed to get up and pass it to ya.”

“Lazy cow.”

“Yep, that’s me.”

He plonked himself back down in the bean bag and smoked and strummed, the strumming started to turn into an actual tune. Jimmie rolled over onto her back then jumped up and took the joint from Len, I watched as she took a draw and shook her head at him slightly, the song was probably something by Carnage I assumed by her reaction but I was well on my way to being shitfaced so I actually didn’t care too much. Jimmie must’ve known what I needed and passed the joint back to me, I took one more draw and passed it back to Bails.

“Oh my God, I forgot to ask, how did your date go?” Jim squealed from her spot on the floor.

Bailey turned my head with his hands so that I was looking up into his face. “You finally back in the game and dating George?” I shrug and blush.

“Who was your date with G, anyone we know?”

“I told ya, she had a date with the bloke from the wine bar,” Jimmie replies to Len.

“What wine bar did you meet him in?” Bailey looks down and asks me.

“The one he owns,” Jimmie piped up again, I sat up straight.

“Fuck me George, you said that without moving your lips,” Bailey joked.

“Get you, going out with a bloke that owns a wine bar.”

“It’s a wine bar Len, not a rock band.”

Len raised his eyebrows at my remark. “I wasn’t being sarcastic George.”

I shrugged, I don’t know why I’d said that out loud but it was true, it was just a wine bar, nothing to do with a rock band.

“Which one?” Bailey asked. “Which wine bar does he own?”

“Kings,” I reply.

“You’re dating Cameron King, seriously, fuck George, does the old man know?” Lennon asks. How does he know Cam I wonder?

“You are kidding Georgia; you aren’t seriously dating Cameron King are you?’

“Yes, well no, I went on a date with him last night, he took me to dinner. How do you two know Cam?” Bailey is standing up now and standing over me and I don’t like the way this conversation is going.

“Georgia, everybody knows Cam, you do know who he is right?” I shake my head and shrug my shoulders. “Cameron King owns half of London and most of Essex, he’s partners with us in Kings but only because his wife’s sister sold us her share and he couldn’t do anything about it. Does Dad know? He’s dangerous George, I mean it, he’s fucking dangerous.”

Baileys pacing the floor in front of me, I don’t understand what his problem is; Cam’s a nice bloke, from what I know of him. Why didn’t he tell me he was in partnership with my Dad? Why the fuck didn’t he tell me he had a wife?

“He’s married?” I swear Jimmie could read my mind.

Bailey shook his head. “He was she’s dead.”

What the fuck?

“What, how did she die?”

Bailey scratched at the stubble on his jaw. “I don’t remember all the details, she was pregnant and it all went tits up, her and the baby both died, he was a mess, he was completely fucked up by it all, he’s only sorted himself out this last couple of years. Did you not know none of this?”

No I didn’t, he’d mentioned that he knew my Dad; surely he must have guessed that I would find out. Did he want me to find out like this? I felt a little hurt but then at the end of the day, I hadn’t been exactly forthcoming with the details of my past.

“It was our first date; it’s not exactly first date conversation is it?”

Bailey stops pacing and looks at me. “No sorry it’s not. Look George, I know this is bollocks but you really do need to stay away from him, he’s bad news, Dad will go mental and he’s way too old for you anyway.”

“How old is he?”

“You went out with him and you didn’t even know how old he was?”

I shrug and shake my head again. “Just tell me Bailey, how fuckin’ old is he?”

“I’m not sure, he’s older than me, I think he’s about thirty-five, thirty-six, too old for you and Dad will not be happy when he finds out, I’m not happy George.”

“What’s Dad’s problem with him?”

“Our paths have crossed his a few times, he owns a few bars and clubs, and he’s got quite a lot of fingers in quite a lot of pies. He owned Kings with his wife, and when she died it went to her sister, I forget her name but she’s a right bitch, hates him with a passion, and blames him for her sister’s death. Anyway, she got her sisters share of the club, King wanted to buy her out but she wouldn’t let him, she wanted to sell to anyone but him.” He shrugs. “She just wanted to fuck him over, we heard she was looking for a buyer, put in an offer and she took it but as part of the deal, we can’t sell on to him for at least ten years, he offered Dad all sorts but the club does well so why wouldn’t we want in, he made a few threats at first but he was such a mess at the time that we didn’t take them seriously. Anyway, he has nothing to do with the place, it’s his in name only, pretty much the same as us, we own it but the club runs itself. We have people we trust in there and no doubt so does he but I’m telling you now George, Dad won’t be happy if he finds out you’re seeing him.”

I don’t believe this, my brain is running in slow mode, I’m too stoned to think it all over right now, I slump back down into the sofa and let out a huff, Jimmie throws herself down next to me. “Well that’s fuckin’ bollocks, do you like him G? You seemed excited yesterday, about your date I mean.”

“Excited is pushing it a bit Jim, I fucked it all up anyway, he asked about what Lennon and Marley did for work and I went into meltdown.”

Jim takes my hand in hers. “Oh George, I am sorry, all this time. I really wish you’d talk to him George, you’re both so unhappy, if you’d just talk, even if you don’t get back together, you might at least sort out some of your issues so you can both move on.”

I look down at where our fingers are laced together; my other hand is at my necklace. “How is he Jim?” I’d never, not in almost four years, no matter how desperately I wanted to know, asked her this.

“He’s sad George, he gets on with his days, he writes songs that are so obviously about you, he drinks too much, he snorts too much Charlie, he smokes too much weed, he fucks too many women but all just to try and forget you.”

Lennon is listening to what we are saying, he passes the joint to me that he’s just fired up. “I really wish you two would talk before the wedding Porge, I don’t want the pair of you not enjoying the day because you’re worrying about the other one being there.”

“I’ll be fine.” I shrug. I won’t, I’ll be far from fine but I didn’t want Jim and Lennon worrying about how I’d be handling their big day.

“You’ve been sayin’ that for nearly four years G and look at ya, you’re skinny as fuck and still can’t bear to hear his name mentioned, this whole thing between the two of you is seriously fucked.”

Bailey is lying on the floor with his long legs stretched out in front of him and his head resting on the bean bag. “I’m sorry George, I didn’t realise you were still such a mess over Sean.”

“Shush!” Jimmie glared at Bails. “We don’t say his name when Georgia’s here.”

“You’re fuckin’ kiddin’ me right?” His eyes looked between all of us, I shook my head.

“We don’t say his name, we don’t talk about the band, and we don’t play music.”

Bailey was sitting up now with his elbows resting on his knees. “Why Porge, why?”

My eldest brother hadn’t been around to witness how close Sean and I had become over the years; he had no idea how deep our love had become. “Because I love him so much Bails, because it still hurts so fuckin’ much, because I am still, just barely hanging on.”

“Oh Georgia, I’m so sorry, I had no fuckin’ idea, I’m your big brother, I should’ve been here instead of letting Donna keep me away, I’m so fuckin’ sorry baby girl.” He pulls me down onto the floor, into his lap, everyone in the room is crying, everyone except me.

“What the fuck is that?” I ask as I hear a rumbling sound coming from outside, Bailey frowns.

“I don’t know.”

“Oh fuck.”

Lennon stands up and looks from me to Jimmie, she shakes her head slightly at him and they both sit down on the sofa. “Ha, it’s a bike, it must be Marley, fuck I can’t remember the last time we were all together.”

“Marley has a bike?” I ask, I know nothing about the life of the brother I was once so close to, I didn’t even know that he was in the country. I really need to start building bridges with him, there were less than three months until the wedding and I didn’t want any kind of an atmosphere between us on the day. I’d been thinking about this for a while now and if he was here now, well today was as good a day as any to make a start. The sound of the engine had gone quiet.

“He’ll go in and see the rents first, skin up Bails.” Lennon stated, yeah I thought, skin up Bails, talking to my brother again after almost four years would be so much easier to do stoned, I actually giggled to myself as I thought this.

Jimmie looked at me and smiled. “You mashed Georgia?”

I giggle again. “Fuck Jamie, I think I am.”

We lean into each other like we used to back in the day, the door to the studio swings open and in walks Marley, Sean, and two girls. My world stops turning and without any hesitation, consideration or thought of any kind I just look at him and say on a sob. “No, oh God no.”

“Fuck Gia.” He starts to move toward me.

“Get out!” Bailey roars at him.

“Georgia!” he calls out.

“Get the fuck out Maca!”

“No Bails, let me talk to her, G, please, can we talk G, and I just wanna talk.” I don’t know what to do; my eyes just roam over his face, his eyes, his nose, his chin, his beautiful face that I have missed so much, so very much.

“What do you wanna do George, shall I fuck him off out of it or dya wanna talk to him?” I take a few deep breaths, trying to steady my voice before I ask him to stay.

“Who the fuck’s she Maca?” The girl standing just inside the door asks, she’s short and blonde, with massive tits. Haley, she looks just like Haley, I can’t do this.

“Get out!” he shouts at the girl. “Get out, get out, get out!” She looks stunned but turns around and leaves, his eyes swing back to mine, pleadingly. “G, please baby, just talk to me, I miss you so much, so fuckin’ much.”

“Go,” I whisper.

“No G, no, please, just five minutes, there’s so much I need to tell ya, I love you so much Gia.”

“Go Sean, go!” I scream. Bailey knocks me off his lap as he throws himself toward him.

“Get the fuck out, you’ve hurt her enough, no more Maca, no fuckin’ more, else I swear I will kill you with my bare hands you cunt.”

I stand up but the room spins so I sit, Jimmie is next to me on the sofa, she’s sobbing, Len and Bailey are trying to drag Sean out of the door but he’s fighting them and calling my name and there to the left is Marley, standing all alone and just sobbing and shaking his head and my heart try’s its very hardest to break into even more pieces but it’s packed so tightly together behind that wall, that try as it might, it’s held in place, still and hard by all those bricks. I want to cry, I want to go to Marley and tell him that I don’t blame him, I want to go to Sean and tell him its okay, I forgive him and I want to be with him. Instead I wrap my arms around myself and scream and scream at every one to go and then finally, after so very long, I cry, Jimmie holds me while I cry, then my Mum is there and I cry, there is so much commotion going on outside. I can hear my brothers shouting, I can hear my Dad shouting but above all, I can hear Sean shouting and calling out my name.

My Doctor said it needed to happen, that I had held things in for far too long and what happened over the next few days, needed to happen. Basically what I had was a bit of a breakdown; I spent a couple of days in my old room at my parents, doing nothing but cry, then another couple of days staring into space, finally on Thursday I got up and showered, I pulled on a pair of trackies and a sweatshirt that I had at my Mums and went downstairs. I looked a mess, I had barely eaten, my eyes were puffy and my face blotchy from all the crying but I actually felt okay. My Mum had given me a couple of Valium Sunday night and a couple more on Monday so those days had gone by in a blur. Jim had been and sat with me Tuesday; Ash came over for a while on Tuesday night. I’d asked my Mum if she would call Marley and ask him to come and see me on Monday but I hadn’t heard anything from him. I’d fallen asleep around ten o’clock after Ash had come over again on Wednesday and when I woke at about two in the morning, he was there, sitting in the chair next to my bed, watching me sleep.

For some reason I was freezing, so I smiled at him and said, “Marley George Layton, would you please get in here and give me a cuddle, I’m freezing my fuckin’ tits off.”

He smiled back and said, “Fuck, it must be cold, coz you’ve got some fuckin’ tits to freeze off there girl.”

He kicked off his shoes and got into bed next to me, repeating an act that we had carried out throughout our lives, up until these past five or six years. We both lay on our sides and I spooned into his back.

“Don’t you dare fart on me,” I told him.

“Oh please George, don’t make out, we all know you’re the farter of the family.”

“Yeah right Marls, anyway, at least when I fart it smells of roses, yours smells like something crawled up your backside and died.”

“Hark at you, fuckin’ Avon arse.”

We both fell silent after trading insults, then I quietly said. “Marls?”

“Porge?”

“I’m so glad you’re here.”

“I’m so glad you wanted me here.”

“Let’s never not talk again.”

“No problem.”

“Porge?”

“Marls?”

“I am so sorry for everything.”

“I know you are Marls, let’s go to sleep.”

I slept soundly the entire night with my brother there to look after me; when I woke in the morning he was gone but I now felt like I was done with the crying and ready to face the world again.

My Mum was sitting on a stool at the bench top, flicking through a magazine when I walked into the kitchen, the radio was playing and my Mum instinctively lent across to turn it off as I came into the room. “Morning, its fine Mum, leave it on, please.”

She beamed. “Are you sure George?’

“I’m positive Mum, what time did Marley go?”

“He left about five, he had a flight to catch, they’re on a chat show or something in Ireland tonight.” I proceeded to make myself a coffee, aware of my Mums eyes on me.

“Thanks for looking after me Mum, sorry for all the trouble.”

“Georgia, you’re my daughter, looking after you will never be any trouble, I’m your mother, it’s my job to look after you.” I give her a cuddle and a kiss on the cheek. “You’ve had a lot of calls here and at the shop and someone called Cam dropped your keys off, Ash bought them over with her; they’re on the hall table.”

Shit, Cam, I would have to get in touch with him and explain where I’d been all week. I nodded as my Mum reeled off the messages, they were mainly from the girls at work, then she said, “Sean has called a couple of times a day, every day, he begged to come and see you but your Dad and Bailey were having none of it, but what do you want George? Do you want to see him? If it’s going to set you off again, then I don’t think it’s a good idea.”


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