Broken silence, p.14

Broken Silence, page 14

 part  #2 of  Silence Series

 

Broken Silence


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  “Oakley?” I called quietly.

  Without even looking up, she replied, “Mmm hmm. ”

  “Are you okay?” She nodded, still refusing to face us. Sitting back down on the bed, I brushed her hair behind her ear. “What’s going on? Has something happened?” I knew she needed time alone, but it seemed to have freaked her out.

  “I’ve just made everything ten times worse, haven’t I?”

  “What? No, darling, everything’s going to be fine,” Sarah replied, rubbing her arm.

  “I have. They’ll say I did it for attention, to manipulate the jury, and anything else they can think of. Me freaking out and ending up in hospital is just going to back that up. Everyone is going to think I’m this dramatic little girl that makes stuff up, and Dad—”

  “Enough, Oakley,” Jasper shouted, cutting her off. “They can say what they like, but the jury will believe you. ”

  “Yeah,” she responded with a fake smile. “Can you guys give me a minute with Cole, please?”

  Sarah stood up immediately, but Jasper only left when I nodded towards the door. I knew he was only thinking about her, but I didn’t think he realised just how important this was for her.

  She waited until she was happy they were gone and turned to me. “You’re the one that will tell me the truth. They’re too positive, I understand why and I love them for it but I need to hear it straight. Have I made this harder?” I shuffled closer to her and wrapped my arms around her body. “Am I going to lose, Cole?”

  I shook my head, gently pulling her closer, and she snuggled into me. “You’re not going to lose. The defence are going to make up all kinds of shit, but we know the truth. Oakley, they can’t make you slip up or pretend your silence was something else because you’re telling the truth. ” She nodded against my chest.

  “Just tell the truth. That’s all you can do. With everything they have against him there’s no way they won’t believe you. I’ve backed you up in my statement. That day you called me; there was never any doubt in my mind that you were being honest. No one can act that scared. ”

  “Thank you,” she whispered.

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  “You need to be strong, baby. We’ll do this. I promise. ”

  “Yes. It’s not impossible, right? Just harder. ”

  Nodding in confirmation, I replied, “Just a little harder. ”

  “I don’t know what I’d do without you. ”

  “You’ll never have to find that out. I’m not going anywhere. ” Lifting her chin, I gently kissed her lips. “I love you so much. ”

  I heard her sigh happily before she whispered, “I love you too. ”

  Chapter Fifteen

  Oakley

  I left hospital after spending just one night there. It took them all day to release me as they wanted to keep an eye on me for a little while longer. I returned home at five in the afternoon with a bunch of leaflets and breathing techniques in case it happened again. Breathing deeply wouldn’t help though. I couldn’t breathe at all when I saw him.

  The whole thing was humiliating. Collapsing in court in front of everyone. What was worse was that it backed up the defence’s argument. Surely now people would believe him when he said I was just a selfish little girl just looking for attention.

  Whatever anyone said to make me feel better, I knew it would now be harder to prove that I was telling the truth. Mum seemed to think the jury would feel sympathetic rather than suspicious. I couldn’t allow myself to think that though. What if she was wrong?

  Sighing, I laid back into the sofa. What the hell was I going to do now?

  Cole ran his fingers through my hair. “Are you okay?”

  “I think I’m going to get a tattoo saying I’m fine on my forehead. ”

  Turning his nose up, he replied, “I’d prefer Property of Cole. ”

  “I’m sure you would. If I was paying to be repeatedly stabbed I’d get my one true love’s name though. Cam Gigandet. ” Cole mumbled something under his breath that sounded like blonde bastard. “Being jealous of someone I’ll never even meet is weird. ”

  “Feed me,” he said, changing the subject completely. Okay.

  “Hey, I just got home from the hospital. You be my slave!”

  He smiled and stood up. “What do you want then? I’ll get you anything”

  “Anything?” I raised my eyebrow. “What if I want KFC?”

  “Then I’ll go get KFC,” he said.

  Pulling the fleece blanket over my lap, I smiled. “You’re sweet, but I think I’d prefer to keep you here. Maybe a cheese sandwich or something?”

  “Salad cream, no butter. Coming up. ” He saluted and walked into the kitchen, making me smile. He was the perfect boyfriend, and I was so lucky to have him.

  I laid back into the sofa and pulled the blanket up just under my chin. I used to do that when I was little, the cover was a protection from him. I used to think if it was covering me then he couldn’t get to me.

  Since I’d got back, I hadn’t stopped worrying about giving evidence again. I knew that if I hadn’t collapsed my part would be over by now; instead I had to start all over again and build up my courage once more. I had called my therapist and been through a few things, which helped a lot. Talking to her seemed to put everything in perspective again, but the anticipation was still killing me.

  I couldn’t change what had already happened. Things in the past were carved into stone, never to be changed. All I could do was go back in there and tell them the truth. After that, it was completely out of my hands. The jury would decide if they believed my dad was guilty or innocent.

  Dad had charm and charisma though. He was well liked and respected. I prayed that the jury would be able to see through that. If they found him innocent, I didn’t know what I would do. He’d told me over and over that I wouldn’t be believed if I ever did speak up. He couldn’t be right.

  My phone rang in the kitchen and just as I was about to get up, Cole brought it through.

  “Miles,” he said, handing it to me. He went back in the kitchen to finish making our sandwiches.

  Putting the phone to my ear, I smiled. Finally, he was calling. “Hi, Miles. ”

  “Oakley, how are you?”

  “I’m doing okay. How are you?”

  “I’m well, thank you. Is your mum alright?”

  That I have no idea. Like me, she always said she was, but I think she was lying too. “As alright as she can be. She doesn’t talk about how she feels. Mostly she just worries about me and Jasper. ”

  “That sounds like your mum. Is she there?” He sounded nervous all of a sudden. If Mum didn’t give Miles a chance I was going to have to slap some sense into her. He was kind, caring, and generous. What you saw was what you got. There was no ulterior motive or mystery about him. He was exactly what Mum needed and deserved.

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  “Not at the minute. She’s at the supermarket. ” Getting all my favourite foods to cheer me up. I would prefer a happy Mum. “I can ask her to call you…” I trailed off, realising that she probably wouldn’t.

  “Do you think she will?”

  I cringed. I didn’t want to say no and hurt his feelings. “Um…”

  Miles laughed. “Me neither. Look I called to get your opinion on something anyway, forget talking to your mum at the minute, okay?”

  “Okay. What did you want my opinion on?”

  Miles launched into the reason he’d called. My smile grew and grew as I listened. When he had finished telling me his plan, we spent about twenty minutes talking about everything, from the trial to life back in Australia, and his work. It was good to talk to him again.

  Cole sat beside me patiently, rubbing circles on the palm of my hand with his thumb. My sandwich was probably starting to harden, but I didn’t care. When we eventually wrapped up the phone call, and I turned my attention back to Cole.


  “Everything okay?” he asked.

  I nodded. “Yeah, actually. Everything’s great. ”

  He looked intrigued. “What do you mean?”

  “You’ll see,” I replied and kissed him.

  I spent the rest of the night doing nothing, but it was nothing with Cole so that was plenty. We lounged on the sofa, watching TV. It was perfect. The only time we were apart was when he quickly went home to get a change of clothes for work in the morning. It took a lot of convincing to get him to go back, but I didn’t want to get in the way of his job. Mum and Jasper would be with me constantly anyway.

  “Let’s go to bed,” I yawned, pressing my face into Cole’s shoulder. He kissed the top of my head and helped me up. “Night,” I mumbled to Mum and Ali.

  “Night,” they called back at the same time. Mum and Ali had had two bottles of red wine and were determined to finish them off. I didn’t blame them. If I’d liked red wine, I would have joined in after how the last few days had gone.

  I changed, brushed my teeth and got into bed. Lately, I had been exhausted all the time even though I hadn’t done much. Lizzie had spent most nights over her ‘friend’s’. I had a feeling she was using me as an excuse to stay with this ‘friend’.

  “I love you,” Cole whispered.

  I rolled onto my side and slung my leg over his. “I love you too. ”

  When I woke in the morning, I was filled with dread. Cole was going to work, and I was left with Mum and Jasper fussing over me. I loved them both to death, but their worrying drove me crazy. I wasn’t the only one that was having a tough time right now.

  “I don’t want to go to work,” Cole complained as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes.

  “I don’t want you to go to work either but you have to. You don’t want to get fired. ”

  “No, you don’t want me to get fired. I could quite happily chill with you all day. ”

  “We’d end up killing each other. ”

  He pushed himself up and rested on his elbows, hovering over me. “I don’t think I would. I quite like you. ”

  I laughed and pushed him off me. He flopped back on the bed. “Shut up and go to work, Cole. ”

  He sighed heavily. “Fine. ”

  I watched him hop off the bed and pull on his grey trousers and light blue shirt. I felt so calm whenever I was with him, so long as he was in sight. He had this effect on me that just made everything seem a little better. When I was back in court, I was going to ignore my dad and focus on Cole.

  He slumped back on the bed when he was dressed.

  “Now, you have a good day and try not to get fired,” I teased.

  He beamed and kissed me. My heart soared as his tongue swept over my bottom lip. I tangled my fingers in his newly styled hair and pulled him closer.

  Cole abruptly ended the kiss and said, “Bye. ”

  “Oh, you’re mean. ”

  “Call me if you need anything. ” His voice told me it was an order and not an option.

  “Yes, sir!”

  He fought a smile but failed. “I’ll see you tonight. ”

  Once Cole left, I decided to get up and face my family. I walked downstairs, and the house was deserted. There was a piece of paper on the counter. Jasper’s scribble read, ‘Gone for breakfast with Abby. Be back later. ’

  Mum must still be asleep. I had prepared for an argument, and now I was alone. I filled the kettle and flicked it on, knowing Mum would need a coffee as soon as she got up. When there was no sign of her after I’d made the coffee I decided to do her breakfast in bed and made her some toast.

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  I carried the tray upstairs and pushed the door open with my foot. “Mum?” I called. She groaned and looked up at me. Oh, hangover, of course!

  “Breakfast. ”

  A smiled slipped on her face, and she sat up. “Thanks, sweetheart, that’s just what I need. ”

  “Polished off that wine then?”

  She groaned. “Please, don’t mention the W word. ”

  I grinned and handed her the tray.

  That afternoon, sitting in the lounge watching daytime TV, I watched the clock nervously. He was due here any minute, and I still wasn’t sure if I had done the right thing. Mum put a mug of hot chocolate down in front of me, clearly having fought off the hangover.

  “Are you expecting Cole?”

  “No. Why?”

  “You keep looking at the clock. ”

  “Oh. I don’t know. ”

  She frowned at me. I had been texting Cole throughout the day, and he was working an extra hour to catch up on a few things. “Cole’s working. I’m just waiting for a new top to be delivered. ”

  “A new top?” she repeated.

  “Yeah, ordered it yesterday. ” Oh God, I’m the worst liar in the world! I sighed. “Okay, that was a lie. ”

  Mum grinned. “No. Really?”

  Biting my lip, I debated whether I should just sprint out of the house and leave her to it.

  “Miles is coming,” I blurted out. Her face dropped, and I leant forwards slightly, ready to take off if necessary.

  “Miles is what?”

  I cringed. “Coming here. Now. ”

  She stayed perfectly calm, but she was probably planning how she could kill me and dispose of my body.

  “Mum?”

  “Thank you,” she whispered.

  Thank you? What? “Huh?”

  She smiled and replied, “I need him here. ”

  Admitting that was hard for her, I could tell. She didn’t trust men any more, so it wasn’t easy for her to let one into our lives.

  “So you admit it? You like Miles?”

  “Don’t get too carried away, young lady. ” She grinned sheepishly, which told me everything.

  The doorbell rang, and Mum jumped.

  “Wow, he has good timing,” I muttered.

  Mum slowly rose out of the seat and walked to the front door. I didn’t answer the door now. The press were constantly outside, and I really didn’t want to be dealing with them taking pictures and firing questions at me.

  The door opened and closed so quickly that I almost missed Mum grabbing Miles’ arm and pulling him inside. I sat still in shock and stared them staring at each other. I wasn’t sure if I should sneak off upstairs and leave them alone or at least say hello to Miles. I felt awkward watching them.

  “Oakley,” Miles said, finally breaking eye contact with my mum. “How are you?”

  I stood up and gave him a quick hug. Mum didn’t tense up like she did when other men were too close to me. She trusted Miles, whether she realised it or not. I trusted him too, or I wouldn’t go anywhere near him.

  “I’m okay. Thank you for coming. ”

  “Of course. ” His eyes flicked back to Mum, and she smiled, blushing lightly.

  “Well, I’m going to go do that thing I have to do. ” I turned on my heel and practically sprinted to the stairs. They needed some time to talk and hopefully finally admit how they felt about each other, and I certainly didn’t need to witness it.

  Once in Lizzie’s room, I debated leaving the door open a crack and listening but I resisted and dialled Cole’s number instead. He answered after the second ring.

  “She’s not killed you then?”

  I laughed and laid back on the futon. “Actually she took it really well. She was pleased. ”

  “Wow. ”

  “Yeah. So how’s work going?”

  “It’s going. I’ve got about another five hours, and then I’m all yours. ” That sounds good. “I’ve been offered more money for my story again. ”

  I sighed. “I’m sorry, Cole. ” Since the start the trial everyone close to me had been asked constantly for their side of the story. No one had, and I knew they wouldn’t, I just hated the hassle they were receiving.

  “Not your fault,” he said, dismissing the is
sue completely. “What are you doing then?”

  “Staying in Lizzie’s room until I know it’s safe to go downstairs. I would read, but all her books are Katie Price’s autobiographies. ”

  “I’d read them. ”

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  I rolled my eyes. “Why am I not surprised?”

  He laughed and then sighed. That meant he was wrapping up the conversation. “I have to go now, babe, but I’ll see you after work. ”

  I grinned. “Okay. I love you. ”

  “Love you too,” he replied before hanging up.

  Sighing happily, I pulled a Cosmopolitan magazine down off the end of Lizzie’s bed. I hadn’t even finished reading the ‘Eat Yourself Thin’ article when Mum pushed the door open.

  “How’s it going?” I asked.

  “We’ve just been talking,” she said, a little too defensively for it to be entirely true. “Lunch is ready. We’ve made chicken Caesar salad. ”

  “We’ve?”

  “Yes, Oakley. Miles helped. ”

  “Any kissing yet?” Her face turned a deep shade of pink, and I gasped. “You have!”

  “I’m an adult!”

  I laughed and stood up. “I know that. It’s a good thing, Mum. No one deserves to be happy more than you. ”

  She smiled; her face softened and she replied, “I can think of one person. Now, lunch. You need to eat. ”

  Miles was only here for a week before he had to return to work. Thankfully, though, he was coming back again as soon as he could arrange the time off. I sat at the table next to Mum while Miles was opposite her.

  “How’s work without me?” Mum asked. I had a feeling this was a topic she’d saved for when I was with them. That was good. I didn’t need to hear all the mushy stuff.

  “Dull and busy. We’re all looking forward to your return. ”

  I frowned as they talked about going back to Australia, realising that as much as I hated being here, I didn’t want to leave Cole. I had to eventually though, especially if they got off.

  “Probably another eight weeks. I think we’ll have roughly three to four weeks wait for the sentencing of both. I’ll be working from my laptop once Oakley’s finished in court though,” Mum explained.

  Miles’ dark eyebrows knotted. “That long?”

  “Unfortunately. When they’re found guilty it should be dealt with then rather than making us all wait weeks for it to be over. ” Mum shook her head in anger. I agreed with her completely; it would be better if it wasn’t drawn out even longer, but there was nothing we could do about it.

 
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