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Noah and Me
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Noah and Me


  Noah and Me

  By

  Beckie Stevenson

  Copyright

  Copyright 2014 Beckie Stevenson

  The rights of Beckie Stevenson to be identified as the Author of the work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

  This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book my not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

  All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

  Picture © Shutterstock

  Jacket design by Perfect Pear Creative Covers.

  Also by Beckie Stevenson

  Sorrow Woods

  Existing

  Dedication

  For Freya and Seb

  I love you

  x

  “'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

  Alfred Lord Tennyson

  Prologue

  THEN

  I close my eyes and lean back in my chair, letting my head drop off the back of the wooden frame. I can feel the heat from the sun on my face as it warms my skin, but it’s not enough. I shake my head. No, it’s definitely not enough. Maybe a cold shower will help.

  “Oh, Ariel, it’s magnificent! You should be so proud of yourself!”

  I turn my head and squint through the rays of sun at grey-haired Beatrice, who leans in and examines the gold medal that’s hanging around Ariel’s neck.

  “You did so well,” Beatrice says. “You remind me of myself when I was your age. Of course, I wasn’t good enough for the Olympics like you, but I was so sporty that my mother used to tell me that I should have been born a boy.”

  Ariel laughs and smiles kindly. Her teeth look even whiter today against her tanned skin. I lick my lips, wondering what she tastes like.

  “My mum says that to me too,” Ariel says. “Do you still run?”

  I don’t bother listening to Beatrice’s reply. Instead, I stare at Ariel and watch her mane of platinum hair trickle down her bare back. I like the dress she has on. It’s a pale yellow halter-neck dress that nips in and shows me her tiny waist while pulling in tightly across her juicy, round breasts. Her toned, muscular legs stick out at the bottom and her dress skims over her tight arse, just enough to let me know she’s wearing a thong. It’s probably that little white lace one I’ve seen hanging on the washing line.

  She was wearing a crop top and knicker set when she was doing her triathlon earlier and I got to stare at the delicate muscles that rippled across her stomach and her lovely round bum that wobbled just that little bit as she ran. She’s only seventeen, but she has the body of a grown woman. Her breasts are large yet surprisingly pert, and her hips are slim, though still round enough to know that I’d have something to grab on to. She’s lean but curvy, despite the fact that she runs about one hundred miles a week, bikes to God-knows-where and swims the equivalent of the English Channel twice a week.

  Ariel stood out from the crowd today, and it wasn’t just because she smashed the race record to smithereens. It was because every single man in that crowd was watching her breasts bounce up and down inside her sports bra. They were looking at the muscles in her legs and imagining them wrapped around their waists as she screams their names out.

  Fucking perverts.

  Ariel thanks Beatrice for her kind words, bids her goodbye, and then spins on her heels, causing the skirt of her dress to fly up. I groan inwardly. I can’t take much more of this. I’ve been waiting for over a year now and I can’t wait much longer.

  I want her.

  I’m going to have her.

  Tonight.

  “Who are you staring at?” asks Bradley as he sits in the deck chair beside me.

  “Ariel,” I mumble truthfully.

  He frowns and grabs a beer from out of the nearby ice bucket. “Why?”

  I shrug. “She’s a fucking goody-two-shoes. She gets on my nerves.”

  Bradley laughs. “You’re just jealous that she can run faster than you.”

  I shake my head. “I can still swim faster than her.”

  “You’re a guy,” he says. “Guys can always swim faster than chicks.”

  “Yeah, whatever,” I mumble.

  We drift into a comfortable silence as our gazes move across the grass to watch Ariel playing with the smaller children that have come to the celebration party.

  “I was thinking about asking her out on a date,” Bradley says after ten minutes, his eyes darting from me to her.

  What? No fucking way. He’s not getting his dirty little hands on her.

  “Would you mind?” he asks.

  Yes. Yes, I would mind. I’d mind very much.

  Chapter 1

  THEN

  The Beginning Of The End

  I take a deep breath and follow my family out of the reception room. Lily is in my arms, sitting on my hip while playing with my necklace. Her short, fluffy blonde hair is tickling my jaw, but I don’t mind. I love the feel of her little body snuggled against the side of mine.

  When my parents told me they were expecting again, it was a bit weird to think that my mum and dad still had sex. They were both approaching fifty, and while I’m not saying people that age shouldn’t have sex, it was a little embarrassing that they were still producing children when I was fifteen. But then along came Lily. When she first looked at me, I knew I was going to love my little sister more than anything else. I already had three brothers, my twin Michael and two younger brothers, but I had always wanted a sister and Lily was more than perfect.

  She keeps sliding down my slippery satin bridesmaid dress so I have to keep stopping to drag her back up my body. For some strange reason, Lily finds this hilarious.

  “Don’t break my necklace, will you?” I ask her.

  She looks up at me with her big blue eyes and smiles, showing me her mouth full of tiny milk teeth. “No play?” she asks in her cute, squeaky voice.

  I kiss my fourteen-month-old sister on her cheek and smile at her. “You can play,” I tell her, “just don’t break it.”

  “No breaky,” she mumbles.

  I pull her closer to me as we exit the warm corridor and feel the goosebumps burst onto her skin when the cold air hits us. She starts to moan into my neck.

  “Mum, do you have Lily’s coat?” I ask as we all gather on the side of the pavement.

  Mum looks over at us and shakes her head. “I forgot it. Well, your father forgot it, but let’s not get into that again.”

  I smile. My dad would forget his head if it wasn’t attached to his own neck. “Is Michael getting the car?” I ask.

  Mum rubs her hands quickly over her upper arms and nods. “Yes, but I’m starting to think he’s walked into Leeds to get it.”

  I don’t laugh. Knowing my brother, he’s probably having a crafty cigarette in the car park. He wouldn’t be worrying about the rest of his family, who are standing outside, freezing. He’s selfish like that. “Here,” I say, “you take Lily and I’ll go and find him.”

  I hand Lily over to my mum and gather the skirt of my dress up into my hands.

  “Ariel,” my mum says.

  I stop and turn to face her. I don’t like the way she said my name.

  “Are you alright?” she asks gently.

  I feel my heart beating in my chest. My eyes dart towards my two young brothers and my dad, who are who having a game of tag around a parked minibus. I look back at my mum and see the concern etched across her face. “Yes, Mum,” I say.

  She puts her cold hand on the top of mi
ne and leans forward, looking into my eyes. “You don’t seem yourself. Mums can tell these sorts of things.”

  I nod. I think I can understand that. “I’m fine, honestly.”

  “You know you can tell me absolutely anything, don’t you? If you want to talk to me as a friend and not as a mum, then you can do that too.”

  My mum is the best mum in the world. I have friends that moan about their mums, calling them all sorts of names and saying that they hate them, but my mum isn’t like that. She’s my best friend and my mum, all rolled into one. I can tell her anything and I know she won’t judge. She’s never had to worry about me not telling her stuff—until now.

  “I know,” I tell her.

  “But just not this time?” she asks, raising an eyebrow at me.

  I can’t tell her. I want to. I really want to, but it would kill her. It would shatter this family to pieces and I don’t want to do that. I can’t do that.

  “I’ll tell you tomorrow,” I whisper. I don’t mean it and I think she knows it.

  “Okay,” she says, straightening up while tucking Lily under her chin. “You looked beautiful today, by the way.”

  I smile at her. “Thank you.”

  I start to walk away from her when our car swerves around the corner. Michael pulls the car up to the pavement and jumps out, grinning like the cat that got the cream.

  “What the hell are you doing?” my dad asks, walking across the road to us.

  Oh dear. I feel myself smiling. Michael is going to be in so much trouble. My dad marches across the frosty tarmac with a face like thunder and stands in front of Michael.

  My dad is a hulk of a man. He’s the kindest, most laidback man you’ll ever meet, but if you didn’t know him and happened to stumble upon him down a dark alleyway, you’d absolutely shit yourself. His hands are like small shovels, his legs are bigger than I am and his back is about as wide as two people put together. He has the strength of a lion too.

  “Have you been drinking?” my dad demands, sniffing around Michael’s face.

  Michael shrugs and shoves his hands into his pockets. “I’ve only had the one pint.”

  “You stink,” dad says, disgusted.

  “I’ve had a really bad day,” Michael says, glaring at me. “I just wanted a beer to make it less bad.”

  “You’re not eighteen for another twelve days,” he spits. “Who the hell got you beer anyway?”

  “Bradley,” Michael says.

  I look away, trying not to listen to them arguing. Lily catches my eye and squishes her hand together in a wave. I wave back and blow her a kiss through the air.

  “Love you,” I tell her through my chattering teeth.

  “Wove yew,” she says, yawning.

  “Ariel,” calls my dad.

  I fold my arms across my chest and walk towards him. My bare shoulders feel like they’ve got frost stuck to them. “Yeah?”

  “I’m assuming you haven’t been drinking?” he says, putting his hands on his hips.

  “No, Dad,” I say, shaking my head.

  “Thank God one of you has a sensible head on your shoulders,” he mutters, snatching the keys out of Michael’s hand. “Here,” he says, offering me the keys. “You’ll have to drive.”

  I open my mouth to protest. I only passed my test last month whereas Michael passed his six months ago after taking a quick-pass course in the summer. I’ve only driven the big family car the once and never at night or down the long and winding country roads to our farmhouse.

  “I don’t think I can,” I whisper.

  “You’ll be fine, Ariel,” he says. “Just take it slow, sweetheart, and you’ll be alright.”

  “Why can’t Mum drive? She’s not drunk.”

  He shakes his head. “She’s had more than one glass of wine. She might not be stumbling around like your brother, but she’d be over the limit.”

  I take the keys from his hand and turn back to my mum to get her approval. She gives me a shaky smile and begins to fasten Lily into her car seat in the back.

  Michael huffs and barges past us. He bundles my two brothers into the car and slams the sliding door shut.

  “Dad,” I say through my chattering teeth, “I’m really not sure about this.”

  He smiles at me, making the skin at the side of his eyes crease, and clasps my slim shoulders in his big, warm hands. “I watched you smash the junior record in that triathlon in the summer, Ariel.”

  I nod, wondering what that has to do with anything.

  “You’re going to the Olympics in three years,” he continues, “and I’m so bloody proud of you that I could cry.”

  I nod again because that’s all I can do.

  “If you can do all of that on your own, then you can drive us all home with me sitting beside you.”

  I don’t quite follow his logic and I think it’s because he’s drunk, so I just nod. I climb into the driver’s seat and put the key in the ignition, turning it until the car rumbles to life.

  “I could still drive,” Michael mumbles from the very back.

  My dad twists around in his seat. “I’m totally blaming you for this, Michael Miller. We were supposed to be able to trust you.”

  “Yeah, well,” says Michael, “anyone would be a constant disappointment while walking in Ariel’s shadow.”

  I feel my mouth drop open. How dare he!

  “Leave your sister out of this,” my dad hisses. “You chose to drink that beer and God knows how many more. I didn’t see Ariel forcing it down your throat.” He turns back around and puts his window down. “And be quiet. Your sister doesn’t need any distractions.”

  I put the car into gear and glance in my rear view mirror. My mum’s worried eyes stare back at me. “Are we all buckled up?” I ask.

  “Yes,” my mum calls.

  I take the handbrake off and pull away. I manoeuvre through the car park and then we’re on the long, boring lane towards the Yorkshire Moors. Why did my mum and dad think it was a good idea to live out on a farm in the middle of nowhere? Why couldn’t they live on a nice cul-de-sac with smooth, wide roads and streetlamps?

  Ten minutes later, I’m on Yorkshire’s narrowest and windiest road and it’s pitch black, except for my pathetic excuse for headlights. The cold mist is hovering just above the road, so I can’t actually see much of anything. I’m sure I’ve run over a rabbit or something, but I was too scared to brake in case I skidded on some ice.

  Everyone is asleep. I glance in the rear view mirror and see my mum’s open mouth and can hear the gentle snores coming from the small children. My dad is slumped against the window, snoring the loudest of them all.

  I grip the steering wheel as hard as I can and squint through the mist. I hear a seatbelt click, but I daren’t take my eyes off the road.

  “Who has just taken their belt off?” I whisper.

  I hear movement in the back and I instantly know that it’s Michael.

  “Sit back down,” I tell him.

  “No,” he says. “It’s going to take us five hours to get home at this speed.”

  “So?” I counter. “At least we’ll get home alive.”

  He’s right behind me. I can feel his breath moving strands of my hair. “Pull over and let me drive,” he whispers. “I won’t tell.”

  “I don’t think so,” I hiss. “Go back to your seat.”

  “Pull over,” he says again.

  “No.”

  He leans over and his arms come around the side of me, making his chest press against the back of my seat as he unclicks my seatbelt.

  “What are you doing?” I gasp.

  He grips the steering wheel and grunts. “Let go and move off the seat. I’ll come in behind you.”

  I start to panic. A horrible, sweaty feeling starts to creep up my spine and bursts onto the back of my neck. “Michael, please stop,” I beg.

  He laughs into my ear just as the headlights from an oncoming car light up our faces. “Michael!” I scream. “Let go!”

/>   Our car swerves and I immediately feel vomit in the back of my throat. The jolt wakes up my dad, who swears and tries to steady the steering wheel. “Get off, Michael,” he orders. “You’ll get us all killed.”

  The other car decides to peep, its horn screeching out through the quiet of the night like a warning signal. My eyes are wide in my head and I’m staring at the circles of light like they’re homing beacons, guiding me towards them in slow motion.

  “Shit,” my dad hisses as he unfastens his seatbelt and scoots closer to me. “Ariel, take your foot off the accelerator.”

  I do as he tells me, but the back end of the car still starts to slide.

  “Dad!” I shriek. “Dad, we’re skidding!”

  My dad leans over and grips the wheel in his right hand, but it’s useless.

  “What’s happening?” my mum asks, her voice thick with the panic I feel.

  I don’t answer her. None of us answer her.

  We’re sliding over the road towards the trees. There’s a bang and a bump as we smash over the kerb. A crunch as the other car collides with us. Then we’re upside down, twirling around like clothes inside of a washing machine. The other car is still honking its horn. Glass shatters. The boys scream. Lily screams. I scream…and then there’s nothing but blackness.

  My cheek is burning hot and my head is throbbing. I open the eye that isn’t mashed against the cold tarmac and see our car lying on its side against a tree trunk. “Mum! Dad!” I call. I lift my head up but I don’t see anyone else. How did I end up out of the car?

  Blood is pouring down my face and out of my nose. I pull myself up onto my knees, but my wrist gives way and I fall back down, my elbows scraping across the rough road. Why can’t I hear anyone else shouting or crying?

  I crawl with one hand until I get to the broken windshield and then the panic slithers around my shoulders like a snake and squeezes my heart. “Lily!” I scream.

 
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