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Sunday, 17 July 2011

Chapter 12: Trouble in Paradise, Part 1



I woke up in the cemetery, it was freezing cold and I was all alone. As I stood up I noticed I was wearing a long white dress. “Mick? Thomas? Rosie? Daisy? Where are you?” I yelled, but there was no response I looked around the place was deserted. I noticed two graves behind me, I looked more closely and noticed the names, Caroline Hamming and Alan Stanley, they were the names of the people I had killed. The graves started to shake and I suddenly became scared, I ran for my life and spotted a gazebo up the hill near the edge of a cliff so ran towards it for cover.


I climbed up the steps and took shelter. I felt a bone chilling breeze brush my back and span round. To my horror I saw the ghosts of Caroline and Alan.

“MURDERER!” they screamed before lunging at me.

“NOOOOO” I screamed covering my face trying to protect myself”


I woke up and jolted forward in my bed, I had another nightmare. I could feel the sweat covering my body and my stomach churned. For the last month I had been having the same recurring nightmare. I looked to my left and saw Mick wasn’t there again. He had been avoiding coming to bed with me since we had our big fight. I climbed out of bed and picked up my dressing gown and put it on wrapping it around my body, I didn’t feel comfortable wearing my night gown around the house now that Thomas was older.
“Time for some sugar bread” I thought, when I was little my mother always made me sugar bread when I had night terrors, it was the only way to calm me.


I entered the kitchen and buttered the slice of bread the dipped it in sugar to make sugar bread. I let the sugary bread relax my senses; I saw the bills on the side and picked them up. Holly must have brought them in for me, there was trouble at ‘the factory’ and she had been working nights for the last week. I stuffed the last of the bread in my mouth and picked up the bills and my note pad and sat down. I started sorting them out electric, insurance, gas, water. I picked up the last one, it wasn’t a bill but a letter from Riverview Rest Home and it was addressed to me. I opened the letter and read the contents.

Dear Charice,
                      I pray that you read this letter; it has been so long since we last spoke and on the terms we left it I know I’ll be lucky if you reply. I’m sorry. Every day I blame myself for making you run away from home. At the time I thought I was protecting you and now I know I was suffocating you. My beautiful girl, I have something hard that I need to tell you and it pains me I have to tell you in a letter and not to your face or on the phone, I have cancer which has been eating away at me for some years the doctors say I don’t have much time left. I pray that you answer this letter; my last wish is to see you one last time before I die.

                    Love, Mum   x

A tear dripped down my face and I quickly scanned the letter for a phone number, there was one at the top under the address.

 

I jumped up and ran to the phone in the hallway I ripped the phone of the hook and dialled the number.

“Hello and thank you for calling Riverview Rest Home. I’m Nurse Patty, how may I help you?” Came a voice at the end of the phone

“I’d like to speak to a Ms. Daisy-Rose Temple” I said.

“Aw, how sweet, Daisy rarely gets any calls so I’m sure she’ll be happy to see you, but don’t mention her daughter, poor Daisy has gone a little bit crazy she thinks her daughters a well known celebrity, can you imagine?” said Nurse Patty.

“I am a well known celebrity and if I hear you speaking ill of my mother again I’ll make sure you're never allowed to practice nursing again” I replied rather rudely.

Nurse Patty redirected my line and put me through to my mum.

“Hello, who is this?” I heard an old voice say.

“Mum, It’s me, It’s Charice” I said a tear rolling down my face, it had been so long since I heard her voice it sounded exactly how I remembered it, just more worn out.

“Charice, oh my baby girl, I didn’t think you’d call I have missed you so much, I tried to find you for so many years but I thought you was dead and when I found out you was still alive I couldn’t believe it” My mum said I could hear her starting to cry too.
“I’m sorry for the terrible things I said to you before I left, I didn’t mean any of it, I love you mum. I’m so sorry for making you think I was dead, how did you find me?” I asked.
“I’m sorry too. I was watching my favourite show, Doctors when this new actor arrived, handsome guy I thought and I read an article on the actor and it mentioned his wife was named Charice and when I read more magazines I found you and I found out you had three children. I was so proud, I have been collecting newspaper and magazine clipping of you but everyone else here thinks I’m crazy” My mum explained.
“I’m sorry you had to find out about being a grandmother that way. In your letter you mentioned you had cancer, how much time do you have left? I want to visit you today, is it ok?” I said
“Yes the doctors say I have a couple of weeks at the least so I’d love you to come up today if you want.” My mum said.

I gave my mum my mobile number and told her I loved her before putting the phone down.

 
 I rushed upstairs to get ready, I decided to dress up a bit I wanted to look smart and well presented when I saw my mum again. I put on a dress and put my hair into a bun and changed my make-up. I was so excited to see my mum; she had always been on my mind and been a rock to me even after I had ran away from home the thought of her gave me comfort.
 
 I collected the washing and did my chores around the house when I finished Thomas had just woken up for school. I was on such a natural high nothing could have gone wrong. I went over to the guest house with the twins, Holly answered.
“Hello Holly and Happy Birthday. Could I ask you for a favour? I’m heading out for the day, is there any chance you or Michael can do the school run in your car and watch the twins for me?” I asked.
“Hello Charice. Don’t worry I’ll wake Michael do the school run, his lazy arse is still in bed, and of course I’ll watch the twins for you. Where are you going, anywhere nice?” Holly said.
“Thank you so much. I’m off to see my mother I haven’t seen her in years” I replied handing Rosie over to Holly, I said goodbye and left.
 
I climbed into the freshly repainted car and drove off. I had just gotten to Bridgeport’s border when my phone went off; I place my phone in the holder and answered it putting it on loud speaker.
“Hello, who is it?” I asked
“It’s Nurse Patty, we spoke earlier” said the caller.
“Ah yes, I remember you, the rude one” I replied.
“Yes well, I’m sorry about that, but I have some bad news” Nurse Patty said. I immediately pulled over when she said bad news.
“What kind of bad news?” I asked as my heart skipped a beat.
“I’m afraid your mother was on her way to the cafeteria this morning for breakfast and had a fall. Her cancer had spread and affected her faster than what we had thought. We tried all we could but there was no use, I’m sorry but your mother has passed away” Nurse Patty said.
I stared blankly out of the car, my throat clogged up and my stomach felt like it was being ripped apart but at the same time I was quiet and frozen still.
“Hello? Are you ok? Hello?” Nurse Patty said. I moved my hand over to my mobile and cut her off.
“I think I need a drink” I said to myself. I put the car back into gear and swirled it around.
I put my foot down on the gas and drove faster, I went to the nearest place I knew would be open, Eugi’s, I pulled into the parking lot and headed inside. I sat down at the bar and ordered a Tombstone Topper; I guzzled it down and quickly ordered another. I noticed the guy next to me snickered and eyed me up.
“You may want to slow down, you look too old to keep up” he said. I slammed the glass in my hand down and stood up.
 
 “You think you can handle me? Come on I dare you try it, because I’ll beat your arse silly” I yelled. I clenched my first and made my way towards him. He stood up and cowered against the wall and put his hands up in protest.
“I’m sorry, please don’t hit me” He whimpered.
“HEY!” yelled the bartender distracting me. I put my hands down and unclenched my fists, I went to sit down but the bartender stopped me.
“I think you’ve had enough fun for today, you better leave” she said, giving me the evil eye.
“Fine, this place is a dump anyways, I wouldn’t let a stray dog live in here” I said before leaving.
I got into my car and drove back home. I didn’t go to the guest house to collect the kids; I went straight to the kitchen. I took a bottle of wine off the counter and poured myself a couple of glasses. I grabbed the first cup and downed it. I took in a sharp breath as the tangy flavour hit me than grabbed the second glass then downed it too. I took the third glass and sat down.
 
 Michael walked in and watched me for a second.
“Hey, I just came in for a carton of milk we have run out, I thought Holly said you’d be out all day, Erm isn’t early to drink?” He said.
“Well, its happy hour somewhere” I said abruptly.
He looked a bit unsure then sat down.
“I’m glad you’re here, its Holly all these late night jobs, and she is still vague on what she does for a living I’m worried. I tried following her yesterday and she drove to this really dangerous part of town and went into a factory but when I looked all the doors were locked, why would she lock herself in an abandoned factory, I know you two are close, has she told you anything?” Michael asked.
“Look Michael, I have my own problems my mother died today and I haven’t seen her for over 20 years, but I guess I can cut you some slack because you’re as stupid as a plank. Your wife owns the factory. She’s the head of Bridgeport’s underground criminal community; the factory is a cover for their criminal activities. Now I’m sorry you’re too stupid to have figured it out by now, but now you have truth, can you leave me alone so I can get drunk in peace.” I said. Michael just sat their dumbstruck and I impatiently watched him waiting for him to leave.
“Well go on. Leave. Bye-bye” I said, waving him off. He quietly rose from his seat and left his facial expression hadn’t changed. I downed the last of my drink, and stood up and took the last glass from the counter. I drank it swiftly and made my way upstairs.
 I went into my room and climbed onto my bed. I could feel the effects of my drinks finally hitting me, I felt woozy and fait headed, and stumbled to get onto the bed. I looked at the clock and it said 10.30 put my head on the pillow and cried myself to sleep.
 I woke up with dried drool covering my month I rubbed it off and stretched, I had a splitting headache. I sat up straight and rubbed my eyes and looked at the clock, it read 8.00pm. I gave a giant yawn, I had been asleep for most of the day, I had trouble remembering much since I was told my mother had died.
 I got up and went over to my dresser. I looked into my mirror I saw my make-up was smudged. I picked up a wipe and ran it over my face, and scrubbed my make-up off. I looked into the mirror and saw to dark bags under my eyes. I pulled my hair out of the bun and took of my dress, opening the top draw of my dresser and found a big jumper along with my maternity tracksuit bottoms, I slipped them on then looked for something to put on my feet. I found some flip-flops and slipped my feet onto them before going downstairs.
 
 When I got downstairs I couldn’t find anyone anywhere then I heard voices coming from outside. I exited the front and went round the back. I saw every enjoying a fancy meal and where all wearing some of their best clothes. When they all saw me they stopped speaking.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“It’s my birthday dinner we saved you a plate, It’s on the side by the barbeque” Holly replied. I felt a little bit guilty about forgetting her birthday so collected my plate and sat down.
“How are you holding up? Michael told us what happened about your mum, we thought you’d have wanted more space” Mick said.
“I’m fine I guess” I said. After a long awkward pause everyone began eating their food in silent. I could only eat a few mouthfuls and then played around with my plate.
 After everyone had finished they got up and went inside to get ready for Holly to blow out the candles on her cake. Holly lingered back for a moment to speak with me. When everyone else had gone she gave me a big hug.
“You can stop pretending now” She said and I burst once again into tears.
“It’s just not fair, I’ll never get a chance to see her again” I said.
“Now I’m know on my birthday I’m supposed to get presents not give them but this is too important” Holly said handing me a gift. I looked at her then unwrapped the gift; it was a picture frame with a picture of my mum in it.
“But how...” I started.
“I sneaked into your room and stole it, what can I say I’m a cat burglar, it’s what I do” Holly replied.
I gave her another hug and we went inside.
 Everyone one was excited to see Holly blow the candle out on her cake, and it was slowly starting to lift my spirits. We crowded her and cheered as she leant over the cake the twins looked excited but it was probably about all the noise. Holly blow out the candles and everyone congratulated her. Michael cut the cake for her and gave Thomas and Jake their slices first.
“How would you too like to take your slices and eat in Thomas’s room?” Michael asked as he gave Jake and Thomas their cake slices. The two boys agreed they hand bond rather quickly and became really close friends.
“Thomas let your sisters play with you, don’t leave them out” Mick lectured, and Thomas reluctantly took them with him.
I noticed Michael hadn’t cut anymore cake and looked as if he was waiting for the children to leave.
 Michael put the knife down and turned to Holly.
“I need to ask you something and promise you want treat me like an idiot and tell me the truth” Michael said.
“Of course what is it? You’re worrying me” Holly replied
“Are you a criminal?” Michael said. Holly tried to laugh it off but when she saw how serious Michael looked I could tell she became worried.
“How did you find out?” Holly asked.
“Charice told me” Michael said. Then I remembered what I had said, I went red with embarrassment I hadn't meant to be so rude when I had told him but I was really upset at the time, and I felt worse when Holly shot me a glare.
 
 “I’m going to make you an offer. It’s either me or your job” Michael said.
“Please don’t make me choose I have been working this business long before me” Holly said.
“Sounds like you’ve made your decision. We’re through, don’t try and contact me” Michael yelled, he took his wedding ring off his finger and placed it onto of Holly’s birthday cake before walking out the door. Holly just broke into tears.
“Can Jake stay here tonight I want to be alone” Holly said and ran out the door.
 
 Mick went to tell Jake he was going to stay in Thomas’s room and have a sleep over and I went upstairs. I placed the picture frame with the picture of my mum that Holly gave me on my side table and sat down on the edge of my bed and looked at the picture.
“Goodbye mum I love you” I whispered, and sat their thinking about the times we spent together. I mostly thought of the most painful memory of us two together, it was the last time we spent together. My mother was complaining about the group of people I was hanging out with, she forbid me to see them as they were a bad influence, I told her I hated her and wished she wasn’t my mum. Then I ran away from home and never saw her again. I must have been daydreaming for a while because I suddenly noticed an orange glow coming from the window.
 
“It can’t be sun rise already” I thought and stuck my head out of the window, then the guest house caught my eye, it was on fire.
“OH NO! Not another person to leave me” I cried. I ran downstairs and told Mick. He told me to call the fire brigade and stay in the house, but I followed him out and watched him run towards the fire to save Holly. I was worried he’d die too so I ran as fast as I could to the house phone and dialled the emergency number.
 
 I took the phone call into the kitchen and told the operator I want the fire brigade. I watched from the kitchen window.
“Hello Ma’am, could you please tell me the state of the fire?” The officer on the phone
“It’s very big, it’s covering the whole of my guest house” I said
“Now I need you to think is there anybody trapped in your guest home” the officer said
“Yes my lodger and my husband, he ran in to try and save her, please hurry” I said
“Ok I am going to you to give me your address” The officer said
“Yes it’s...” I started but I was broken off mid sentence from what I saw. Mick and come back out of the guest house and had saved Holly, but that wasn’t all I saw Holly was giving Mick a big massive thank-you kiss but Mick wasn’t pulling away in fact he put his arms around Holly and pulled her closer.
“Hello? I still need your address ... Hello?” The officer said, but I cut off the phone and stood watching in shock.

~To be Continued~

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