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After Forever Ends
  • Текст добавлен: 9 октября 2016, 02:08

Текст книги "After Forever Ends "

Автор книги: Melodie Ramone

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Текущая страница: 22 (всего у книги 39 страниц)

“Bennington as we knew it is gone forever,” Alexander sighed and put his hand on Oliver’s arm.

I didn’t say anything, but I was thinking that he was right. It didn’t seem real at the time that she was gone. I knew that there was no way that school would ever recover from her absence, but I knew as well that it was only us and a couple of others who were privileged enough to have glimpsed the real Madame Pennyweather who would ever realise it. I had a feeling that when she died all the love in the place went with her. I felt very sad for the students who still attended.

But now Oliver and I were holding our baby daughter for the first time. I didn’t want to be sad and I knew Madame Pennyweather would not have wanted us to be either.

“Yes.” I told Oliver, “We’ll definitely call her after Madame Pennyweather.” I looked down into my daughter’s little face, “Hello, Carolena Mariana Dickinson,” I whispered as she gave us a huge yawn. “We’re your parents and we’ve waited a very long time to love you to bits.”

“Yes, we have,” Oliver told her. She turned her head toward his voice and raised her eyebrows as if she were listening, but she never opened her eyes, “We have big plans for you, Young Lady. We’re going to show you everything there is to see in our wood.”

“You’re very lucky. You’re going to grow up in a magical place.”

“We’re going to let you play with elves and show you how to talk to the trees…”

“…and how to listen to the winds…”

“And the whispers…”

“We’re going to take such good care of you, Muffin, and give you so much love!”

“And we’re all going to have so much fun, Carolena.” Oliver yawned and leaned his head against mine, “We’re going to be the first ones to show you how to laugh until it aches…”

“And how to hold your sides so you can laugh more still.”

“Yes,” Oliver kissed the top of my head and rested his cheek against it, “We really are going to have loads and loads of fun.”

I was falling asleep. I could tell Oliver was, too. Caro was already long gone.

“Thank you, Just Silvia,” Oliver whispered into my hair as he slumped against me. “She’s perfect. She’s absolutely, unbelievably flawless.”

“You’re welcome,” I think I answered him before I was asleep, but I’m not sure.


It took a couple of weeks, but how beautiful she became! Carolena didn’t look like an ape at all once she got done being all squished. She looked like a right little lady, all chubby and full of toothless smiles.

When Carolena was born she had a head full of dark brown hair and we were sure she looked like her father. Within a week or so, however, it all fell out and was replaced with a coat of orange peach fuzz. That peachy fuzz soon became tiny auburn locks which grew quickly into great spiral curls almost the exact colour of shiny copper. Her eyes, however, were a deep cocoa brown that shined in the light, just like her daddy’s. She was our perfect combination, our little chocolate dipped cherry muffin. She was more wonderful than we’d ever hoped she’d be.

Carolena was a happy baby. She spent her time doing what all happy babies do…eating, sleeping, messing nappies, spitting up and laughing at her parents. She had a lot to laugh at, no doubt, because we had no idea of what we were doing and were always teasing each other about it. In particular, though, she found her grand mum to be extremely entertaining. Ana could not walk into a room without Caro bursting into a fit of giggles. It was obvious she stole her Nana's heart from the word go.

“She’s the best present ever!” Ana told me on her birthday when we’d stopped by to wish her well. She was holding the baby’s bottle as Caro stared intently into her eyes, “Four months old already, she is! I have a granddaughter! After years of nothing but stinky, naughty boys, finally a sweet baby girl! What a relief!” Caro giggled and spat milk everywhere. Ana’s smile widened, “And look! Everything’s a blasted joke to her! Bless her! She gets that from her dad!”

Oliver started taking Caro outside as soon as he felt it was warm enough for her to go. Most of the time she would look about in fascination at the sun sparkling through the leaves or she would sleep on her daddy’s shoulder as he walked her around. Sometimes we would take her out and lay her on a blanket with Duncan, who boldly protected her from the flies by snapping them before they landed, while Oliver and I sat and talked about our life and our thoughts. We made sure that we didn’t lose touch with each other as he became more and more busy at work and I became more and more focused on the baby. We’d stay up late at night and made love under that woollen blanket and then lie close together and watch the stars in the sky through the window in our room. That was our time, when it was quiet everyone else was asleep. That was when we were able to make the whole world disappear and have it be just the two of us, like we knew it was always meant to be.

“I love you, Just Silvia,” He’d whisper, “I’m so glad you’re mine.”

We were so young and so in love. Life was nearly perfect.

For us, at least it was. But not for Alexander. His life was unstable to say the least. He had gotten a position with a small architecture firm and was getting great experience, but wasn’t making much money. He, Melissa and Nigel were still living in their tiny flat and the stress of the small quarters combined with the constant financial strain and pressures of a baby seemed to be taking a toll on them.

Oliver thought that it might be good to have us all go out on a Saturday night. I wasn’t so sure that I wanted to be in close proximity with Melissa, but at the same time I missed my brother and wanted to spend time with him any way I could. We made arrangements to meet with the two of them at a nice restaurant at seven and were still sitting at the table alone when eight rolled round.

Oliver checked his watch, “I guess it’s our date then,” He smiled at me over the candle, “Although it’s not like Alexander to be late to a good time.”

I nodded and glanced toward the door, “I suppose they’re not coming? I’m starving, Ollie. Can we order now?”

It was just after our food arrived that Alexander made his appearance. It was obvious that there was something wrong as he slipped into the chair opposite his brother. “Sorry I’m late,” He didn’t try to hide his obvious annoyance. I noticed his cheeks were flushed and the collar of his shirt was flipped up as if to hide his neck. He flicked a glance in my direction and didn’t smile. “Hi, Sil. You look nice.”

I wasn't sure he'd even really seen me.

“No worries,” Oliver assured him, not bothering to smile, either, “Where’s your wife?”

Alex hesitated for just a second as he lifted his menu, “I don’t know,” He motioned to the server, “Can I get a whiskey, please? No ice.”

Uh-oh. Whiskey no ice. Trouble in paradise, that was. I glanced at Oliver and noticed that he had not even touched his plate. I watched the two of them stare at each other, lost in one of those silent conversations they were so famous for leaving me out of. Their dark eyes darted against each other and I knew that there were things that I didn't know.

I despised it when they would do that to me. It frightened me. I hated when there was something wrong and I couldn’t fix it…or worse, I wasn’t given the opportunity to try.

“You don’t know where your wife is?” I couldn’t help it, I laughed out loud, interrupting their dialogue, but it was not a laugh like anything was funny at all. It was quite the opposite. “Well, where’s your son then?”

Alexander broke away from his brother and looked directly at me. The waitress returned with his drink and he thanked her without moving his eyes from my face. “Yes, Silvia, I said I don’t know where she is. Our son is with my mother. Thank you for your concern.”

“What’s wrong with your neck?” Those two were not going to leave me out of whatever was happening. Plus, if Alexander was going to be snippy with me I was going to give it right back to him, “Got a gigantic love bite, do you?”

“Tell her,” Oliver said in a low voice, taking a bite of his asparagus, “Or I’m going to.”

“Well,” Alex leaned back in the chair with his whiskey held in the palm of his hand, “Since you make it a point to make everything your business, especially things that are not, I’ll tell you. Just to shut you up.” He paused, waiting for my reaction. I gave him none, so he continued, “Melissa and I had a fight. Melissa and I fight a lot, actually, and sometimes it’s worse than others. Tonight we had a fight about coming here with the two of you. She didn't want to come. I did. She told me to make a choice between the two of you and her. I chose the two of you. She chose to take my car and drive away with it, which is why I am so late. I walked from Mum‘s.”

“So what’s with your neck then?”

“Oh,” He looked toward the ceiling casually and took a sip of his drink before he turned back to me, “She scratched me.” He turned down his collar so I could see three long, red claw marks that ran from his clavicle almost to his jaw. The skin wasn't broken, but you could see clearly where the blood had risen beneath it to just below the surface.

I gasped. We were all silent for a moment, except for the clink of Alex setting his now empty whiskey glass on the table.

“She does this a lot then?” I couldn’t believe it, “She scratches you?”

Xander’s eyes narrowed, “Sometimes. But, listen,” He leaned forward, “I’m hungry and I’m looking to get drunk, so let’s not discuss the blackness that becomes my life. Tell me about your perfect world, you two.”

There was so much acid in his voice that I found myself looking down at my plate. I was suddenly not at all hungry.

What a horrible dinner. Alexander ate nothing and got drunk on whiskey. Oliver was unnaturally quiet and didn't drink at all and me, I just seethed.

I couldn't remember ever hating anybody as much as I hated Melissa. Alex was many things. He could be rude, snide, cold, and plain old scrupleless, but beneath it all he had a heart as big as the sea and a kindness that was unforgettable if he ever chose it to show you. But even more than that, when Xander loved somebody, he loved them deeply, endlessly, and there wasn't a thing he wouldn't do for the object of that affection. Alexander loved his family. He loved his parents and he loved me as his sister, but he especially loved Oliver. The connection those two had was something that can't really be quantified. It was psychic, like they shared not only the same interests, but in many ways, the same mind. They were a permanent part of each other. Making him choose between her and Oliver went beyond cruel and unfair. It was sinful.

But she did. She made him choose and it went on like that. The times when he'd choose her, she didn't have an outburst. The times when he'd choose Oliver, she would. Seeing me was completely out of the question, even with Oliver, but it did happen from time to time. It hurt, knowing he was choosing her over me, knowing that I could be let go like that. I knew Xander didn't mean anything by it. I knew in his mind it was a temporary solution. I knew as well that he knew I knew it. He expected me to know it and be patient with him, so I was. But it didn't make it hurt any less. That old sense of shame, of abandonment, of not being good enough or worthy of love, bubbled up from deep within and took its familiar spot as a sickening brick sitting in my stomach.

I'd see Xander on occasion when he came by to collect his brother or on visits at their parent's house. He was usually alone. He seemed fine, but there was a tension about him that was different from the man we knew. Sometimes it was unavoidable not to have us all in the same place, Melissa included. She was both distant and pouting or appeared perfectly normal and engaged us all in conversation, but her mood could turn on a pin’s head and her anger was always aimed directly at Alexander. She made no secret when he displeased her. In fact, she seemed to find great pleasure in taking it out on him in public.

They had horrible fights. She'd hit him without hesitation. He never struck her back. Alex was constantly frustrated and on edge. It wasn't long before it took a physical toll. He had dark circles under his eyes and had lost weight. His mother was worried about him, his father was getting fed up with the fact that she was worried about him, and I was growing more and more upset with the situation. Oliver was the only one who kept his cool, exercising his unbelievable ability to trust that his brother would work everything out in the end.

But that didn't settle with me. He wasn’t the Xander I’d always known. He was quieter than usual, withdrawn, and I had the constant impression that he was keeping secrets. He’d show up with scratches on his arms and neck, sometimes his face, and once or twice a bruise. I knew Alex was a big, strong man and all of that, but, honestly, I worried about his physical safety. Melissa would fly into rages where she would not only hit, but she would throw things. I came to the flat once with Oliver to find a steak knife she had flung stuck into the wall above the stove in their kitchen. CD cases would be shattered, picture frames smashed. The rubbish bin was always full of broken items.

“This is mad!” I couldn't stand it. I could feel my face flushing red as I pointed to a broken mirror in the trash. “Are you waiting for her to kill you?”

“We haven’t got a gun,” He mumbled, “She’s not going to kill me.”

“Leave her.” I demanded

“Say that again,” His head snapped up. His deep brown eyes burned into mine, “And you’re the one who can leave, Silvia.”

“Fine!” I told him, snatching up my purse “You go ahead and keep her then! Let her ruin your life, but I’ll tell you one thing for nothing, Alexander Dickinson! If she hurts that baby I’ll kill her myself! Count on it!”

“Get out, Silvia,” He was looking straight at me, but his voice was a whisper, “I have more glass to clear.”

I stomped out and slammed the door while I was at it.

Oh, I hated that Melissa! I hated her for more reasons that I could count, but I hated her most for the affect she was having on the family.

“We need to do something!” Ana told us all one night while we were having supper at her house with her and Ed, “Some sort of intervention! Alex is in trouble!”

“He’s a grown man,” Eddie mumbled, but it was obvious he was upset as well. He rubbed his face with his palms and sighed.

“Oliver, tell us what’s really happening,” Ana looked at her son searchingly, “We all know you know! You always know! He’s keeping secrets! Keeping secrets from his mother!”

Oliver smiled an easy, natural smile, but I knew it was false, “Ah, Mum, Xander’s all right!” He coaxed, “Really! When hasn’t he had secrets?”

“Oliver, don’t try to make this less than it is!” She seemed near tears, “He's my son! He's my baby! Alexander might be a grown man, but he's still my baby!”

“Mum,” Ollie said gently, putting his hand over hers, “I’m not making it less than it is! I know he's your baby! He's my brother, too, yeah?” He patted her, “He's all right, really. It’s just that things aren’t good over there and he’s trying his best to make them better. He’s trying to focus on his family, on his own son. He’s not trying to leave you out. It’s nothing personal. Give him enough space to do what he has to do to sort it out.”

“It’ll never sort out,” I said quietly, “No matter what he does, it will never sort out.”

“He’s throwing himself away,” Ana was doing her best to keep her composure, “All for that girl!”

“He’s throwing his time away,” Ollie agreed, “But I don’t think he’ll throw away his life. He feels responsible for her. For her and Nigel. They’re his family whether we like her or not.”

“What can we do?” Ed asked seriously, “Oliver, you know him best. Tell us how to help our son.”

“Be here for him. Stand back and watch him and be ready to catch him when he falls. He‘s going to fall hard, too. It‘ll take all of us.”

So we did. We stood back and we watched him fall.

Melissa came and went in our daily lives. Eddie tried his best to stay friendly, but Ana was losing her patience. She had the instinct that all good mothers have, that urge to protect her babies no matter if they were children or grown men. I know Alexander kept much of what went on in his marriage to himself, and especially from her, but she was his mother and she could see the stress on his face and feel the pain in his heart whether he told her about it or not. And Oliver, bless his heart, couldn’t look his mother in the eye and tell her lies.

“He’s all right, Mum,” He reminded her one afternoon in the kitchen after Alex had left in a hurry, “He’s doing his best. He’s spread too thin, but he’s all right. Believe me, if he wasn’t I’d make sure to correct the situation.”

“I know you would, Oliver,” She clicked her tongue, “He’s just not himself. Where’s his fire? Where’s his spark? This isn’t like him. He’s not my Xander anymore,” She looked as if she were about to cry, but she didn’t, “I miss my son, Oliver. I miss your brother. I miss Alexander.”

“He hasn’t gone anywhere,” Ollie wrapped her in his arms, “He’s just trying too hard.”

Oliver was compensating, making excuses, and I knew it, but I said nothing. Oliver was hurting as well. He missed his brother, too. We all did.

Melissa had discovered she was pregnant again five months after Caro was born. Oliver came home one night after visiting their flat and told me he was certain she was going to fling herself out in front of a train.

“Oh, she’s not pleased,” He shook his head, “You’d think she found out she’s dying.”

“How’s Alexander?”

“He’s fine about it. He’s a bit surprised, but he’s taking it in stride. I don’t know about the two of them, Love. There’s real trouble over there.”

“Like that’s any kind of a shock,” I mumbled.

I saw Melissa a few days later and gave her my congratulations. She screwed her pretty face up into a smile and thanked me, but she said, “I really wasn’t ready for this,” As she pushed her blonde hair behind her ear, “I don’t know if I can handle it.”

“Not much of a choice now,” I returned her smile, “If you need anything, let me know, right?” I was trying to be cordial for Xander’s sake. He had pulled so far away from his support system that I didn’t want to give him any more of a reason to leave us than he had. I wasn’t going to create a problem and take the chance of him ultimately choosing her over us.

Melissa nodded and hurried off to work.

I couldn’t understand why she was so stressed out about her pregnancy. If I’d been pregnant again I’d have been doing cartwheels and dancing with joy, but I was becoming more and more aware that everything stressed her out. Melissa and I had an odd relationship. It was obvious that she despised me. She made comments to Ana and Edmond about me that were quite out of line, but there were other times when she was friendly and kind. She could really be very sweet at times, but the fact that she could be so nasty made me think that all of her good traits were nothing more than a manipulation to get what she wanted. I ignored her more than anything. I knew I had the upper hand because she was well aware that I was firmly entrenched in that family and any wrong move could land her square on her bum.

Having another baby seemed to be enough to change her attitude and she started coming around more, being friendlier with me, and allowing Alex more freedom with his brother. It was enough for me to back off just a bit. She toed the line just to where I didn’t see any need to carry out my threat of death upon her. Alex wasn’t happy, but he wasn’t exactly miserable either. For some inexplicable reason, he actually loved that girl. I’d never seen him so attentive, so affectionate and selfless with any woman. And, believe me, I’d seen Alexander with more than a few women. He adored her, even if everyone else would have helped her pack and taken her out to her car at any given second if it meant she was leaving. And sometimes when she was with him you could see that she adored him as well, that she trusted him much in the same way that I trusted Oliver. When they weren't fighting you could tell that they were friends. The problem was that they fought too frequently to see that very often.

Still, it was there, in their intimate moments when they thought no one was watching. When he'd take her hand and kiss her fingers, when he'd touch her belly and smile and when she'd stand on the tips of her toes to whisper in his ear and they'd laugh softly over a private joke. I saw it. I knew it was real. Whatever it was between them, whether anybody else understood it or not, it was real.

Melissa got on with Oliver all right, but she harboured a deep and obvious resentment for me, even if she did her best sometimes to hide it. I, of course, did nothing at all to better the situation. Truth be told, I egged her on much of the time. I might have backed off if she ever showed even the slightest interest in her husband or child, but she didn’t. She pawned both of them off as often as she could and then got catty and jealous about them. I felt like I was on the opposite end of a tug of war with Alex in the middle. He didn’t quite understand why we fought over him, but I did.

As far as I was concerned, I had more of a claim to Melissa’s husband than she did. Alexander and I had known each other for far too many years. We were close, the best of friends long before she washed in with the tide. It wasn’t that I had a problem sharing him. It wasn’t that I was jealous because he went home to be with her and their son at night now instead of coming to visit Oliver and me. It was none of the things that she might have thought it was. It was not an ownership issue at all. It was because Alexander was my family and she had no business coming along and trying to drive a wedge between us. The scars of my early childhood and the fear of losing somebody I loved still ran deep within me.

At the time I really didn't understand what her problem was. Her rapid mood swings, her uncanny ability to be the warmest, engaging person in the world one moment and the next to be a screaming lunatic who took swings at her husband for no valid reason at all. I didn't understand why she seems so unwilling to make a change for herself in an effort to improve her marriage or, especially, why she didn't apply more interest in being a mother to her son.

Alexander was the one who took the biggest role with the parenting. In fact, it was Alexander who took the biggest role with everything. After she was let go from her job, Melissa didn’t work again. Alex would call me sometimes during the day and ask me if I’d pop in and check on her. I never asked him why because I knew he wouldn’t give me a straight answer, but I knew as well it was because he was worried. Not about her, but about Nigel. Every time I’d walk through the door, pretending to be friendly, she’d greet me with absolutely no emotion and let me enter. She’d head straight back to the sofa and return to watching whatever programme was on the tele without almost no further word to me. The house was always a disaster. Toys and food and empty dishes littered the tables and floor. Dirty clothes were everywhere, as were scattered baby bottles and tins. Bags of rubbish sat beside overflowing bins. Alexander was many things, but a lazy slob was not one of them. He'd never been afforded the luxury, not by his mother and certainly not by his school. Didn’t she do a thing? Even a simple, single thing?

There would be Nigel wading through it all, always smiling at me when he’d see me, running to me with his little arms in the air. Half the time he’d be dirty and his nappy would be soiled. I’d take him to the bath and play with him in the tub with his little floating frogs and duckies, get him dressed properly and have him help me tidy the house a bit before his father came home. Melissa would sit on the sofa without a word and let me do it, too. Oh, how I wanted to take him home with me! And sometimes I would.

“Melissa,” I’d say on the days when I couldn’t stand it, after I’d pulled a clean nappy on to his bum, “Do you want me to take Nigel off your hands? I can give Xan a ring and have him pick him up on his way home. I‘m sure Ana would love to see him…”

“Sure,” She’d say with no interest, never looking away from the television screen, “Whatever.”

I wanted to bash her head. Here she had this lovely husband who’d do anything plus put up with her nonsense and a beautiful son, a roof over her head, and people who genuinely would have welcomed her into their family. With all of that, all she could do was sit and sulk and think of only herself.

So I’d take her son with me and bring him either to my house or to his grandmother’s where he’d be safe and paid proper attention to, at least for a couple of hours.

Whether it was due to boredom, narcissism, or to ease financial issues, Melissa eventually made a connection with the gentleman who owned an upscale pub on the edge of town. Even being pregnant, he hired her on the spot to work full time during the days. This seemed to bring her mood up a bit and she lunged at the opportunity. Her immediate inclination was to put Nigel into a nursery. I wasn’t happy about the idea, but I didn’t say anything. Alex, however, would have nothing to do with it.

He came to the cabin one evening alone with Nigel. He seemed upset, but was obviously doing his best to hide it. Finally, after we'd had dinner together and he'd loosened up a bit, he looked at me from across the table, “Sil,” He seemed almost hesitant; “I have to ask you something. I don't want to put you out. I know you have your own thing you do here and you have Caro and everything, but I don't want Nigel in a nursery. They're germy places and I don't think the children get enough one on one attention.”

“What about your mum?” I knew where he was going, “Don't you think she'd want to keep him?”

Alex blinked, “My mum's getting on, yeah? She might do all right with him a day or two a week, I reckon, but I don't think she could keep up with him full time.”

I broke into a huge smile, “I'll do it then! I'll be Nigel's Nanny!”

Alexander's shoulder slumped as if an enormous weight had just come off his back. He let out a long breath and grinned like I hadn't seen him grin in ages, “Will you really?”

“Don't be stupid,” I told him. “I'll do it for free.”

“No, I'll pay you.” He insisted.

“Whatever!” I was chuffed to buggery that he'd asked me, “I don't care!”

It was silly of him to think that I might have said no. I was as in love with Nigel as I was Carolena. The little man was so adorable, dark hair, dark eyes, dimpled smile. He’d take three steps, fall on his bum and laugh about it. He was a shrunken version of a drunk and happy Alex. I took him on immediately. It was a trick keeping him in line sometimes, but I learned quickly that the best thing to do with him was to make him a part of every little thing I did from changing Caro’s nappies to pulling weeds to making lunch. We got on with no problems.

Melissa didn’t work on Wednesdays, so on that day it was just me and Carolena. I'd take her shopping sometimes, but mostly we spent those days quietly, just her and I playing in the garden and waiting for her daddy to come home from work. That particular day we'd gone to the book shop in Newtown and I'd bought a book by Michio Kaku I was just dying to read. I was sitting with her in the glider, resting my chin against her cheek while she slept, turning pages with one hand when the phone rang. Thankfully, Caro was a heavy sleeper and didn’t stir as I lay her on the couch to answer.


“Silvia!” It was Edmond. His voice was thick and hard, as if he'd swallowed a chunk of bread and was ignoring the pain it caused, “Do you have a key to Alexander’s flat?”


“Get in your car and get over here right now!” It was command. There was no room for question or argument inside of it.

“Why? What’s wrong?” A horrible feeling spread through me. “Where are you?”

I could hear Ana in the background, her voice shrill with terror, “Does she have one? Oh! Thank God! Tell her to get here!”

“I'm standing in front of Alexander's flat. We just saw Melissa!” His voice was like ice, “She was in town without Nigel.”

“Where’s Nigel?” I remember staring at the screen saver on the computer. The words “Cymru Am Byth” danced about it, huge silver letters that had no meaning to me at that moment. The second I asked the question I knew the answer.

Somehow Eddie knew I knew it because he never answered me. Instead, he said, “I’d kick the door in, but I’m afraid I’ll hurt him! We can hear him! Ana’s talking to him through the window, but he’s going back and forth trying to let us in! He can’t unlatch the door! I’d call for a locksmith, but they might call the authorities and Alexander…”

“I’ll be right there! Keep him at the window!”

My heart pounded so hard I heard it in my ears. All the shit lying around that flat he might have gotten into flashed through my mind. Things he may have shoved into sockets, things he may have cut himself with or swallowed. He was alone in there! All alone!

“Oh, Nigel!” I sucked back my panic and my tears of stress and terror, “Nigel, be safe! I’m coming, Baby…be all right!”

I scooped up Carolena and tossed her into her car seat, more or less ignoring her as she protested. We were off in a blink. I didn't even bother putting on my shoes, but tossed them on to the front seat. I didn't even shoo Duncan from the car as he leapt in and made himself at home of top of them. I just got in and drove. I had never been so afraid in my entire life. I had never driven those paths so quickly. I literally caught air coming off some of the hills and refused to yield on the one way paths, instead laying on my horn and waving frantically for the other drivers to get out of my way. I'd never sped the way I did on the way into town. I watched the speedometer click over 140kph and still kept pressing down on the accelerator until I screamed to a stop at the garden gate.

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