Broken silence, p.19

Broken Silence, page 19

 part  #2 of  Silence Series


Broken Silence

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  “It’s almost over,” Oakley whispered, seemingly to herself. I squeezed her hand. This was the only part that would ever be over. We could all try to forget, but it would never happen – especially not for Oakley. I couldn’t even imagine what it was like for her.

  I looked to my side, knowing where he was. As my eyes locked on his face, I felt my stomach turn. Oakley once referred to his eyes as ‘beady’ and I saw what she meant. Looking at him, I saw her as a child, scared and confused, and I saw how cold he looked as he stared back at her.

  It was only when my jaw ached that I realised I was clenching it. My muscles ached. Everything ached. I wanted to jump over everyone and beat the shit out of him. I hoped someone in prison would kill him. It shocked me how readily these thoughts came to me, and how much I meant them.

  Oakley kept her eyes ahead, watching the judge. Her body was stiff and tense. This was the first time she had seen him in four years, since the day she ran and called me. I wanted to say something to her to make her feel better, but what?

  I didn’t have a damn clue what to say. There weren’t any words that could make it okay. I could never take back the years of pain and betrayal she’d suffered. I hated it, but there was nothing I could do.

  Her breathing became heavier. I wrapped my arm around her waist and pulled her against my side. Was she going to pass out again? “Do you want to leave?” I whispered. She shook her head. Should I just pick her up and take her out? Was it worth her staying if she was going to suffer? “Oakley, you’re not okay—”

  “Fine,” she muttered, leaning heavily against me.

  I was aware that the judge had started to speak, but I couldn’t concentrate on anything other than Oakley. She looked like all the blood had drained out of her. I was terrified she was going to collapse again. Her breathing was heavy and laboured. Sarah had realised something was wrong and turned to Oakley, running her hand over her forehead to check her temperature.

  “Honey, are you alright? Baby?”

  I caught part of what the judge said. Oakley breathed a sigh of utter relief and fell against me.

  “Ten years imprisonment. ”

  “What?” Jasper roared, leaping out of his seat. “How the fuck is that justice? The dick needs to rot—”

  “Enough,” I growled and pulled him back. This was not good. There were no cameras allowed in the room so thankfully, no one could take pictures, but the press were going to love this.

  “Let go,” he shouted, snatching his arm out of my hand and turning to Frank. “Just wait until you get out you sick bastard. ”

  Jasper’s face was red in anger. His eyes looked so dark; rage had completely taken him over. “I’m gonna kill you, I swear. ”

  Page 73


  Oakley stood, shakily, but managed to push past me, shoving Jasper towards the door. I was mad at him. Yes, the sentence was shit; he would probably be out in eight, but Jasper’s reaction was not helpful for Oakley.

  “What is wrong with you?” Oakley hissed at him, throwing her arms up. Jasper spun around and faced her. His tortured face was the only thing stopping me from laying into him. “Do you really want to go to jail for that? That piece of…?” she tailed off.

  He frowned. “I don’t care about me. I want to kill him. I want to fucking kill him. ”

  “Stop it, Jasper. Just stop. You can’t change a thing. It’s over, it’s done. Do you really think that even if you did kill him it would make anything better? Do you think throwing your life away and going to prison will magically make this go away?” she shouted at him. “Stop. Please. I don’t want to lose you. ”

  His face softened, and I knew Oakley had gotten through to him. Linda appeared next to us and grimaced. “Jasper, there will be no action taken, but I suggest that you leave immediately. Go home and cool down. ”

  Sarah pushed Jasper towards the door. “I’m so sorry, Linda. Out. Come on, Oakley. ”

  “One minute, Mum. ” Sarah looked between Linda and Oakley, then walked through the door, her arm firmly on Jasper’s shoulder.

  Oakley turned to Linda. “Thank you, so much. For everything. ”

  Linda smiled. “You’re welcome. You take care of yourself. ”

  “Thank you,” I said. Thank you seemed too weak for what Linda had done for Oakley. She nodded. I took Oakley’s hand, and we walked to the exit. “How do you feel about the sentence?”

  She shrugged. “I wanted it to be longer, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m not going to dwell on it. He’ll be on the sex offenders’ register, for life and, hopefully, closely monitored when he gets out. ” Hopefully he’ll be murdered in prison. I didn’t say it out loud. “And it’s officially over. No more court. ”

  “You did it, babe. ”

  “Yeah, I guess. ” She shook her head. “Whatever, it’s done. I’m tired of being ‘that poor little girl’. I just want to move on now. ”

  I was so happy to hear her say that. No more making herself sick worrying about whether people would believe her or not. It was time for all of us to put it behind us and think about the future. “What do you want to do now?”

  “Lunch at your parents’, remember?”

  “We don’t have to. ”

  “I want to. Normal stuff now, okay?”

  I smiled and kissed the side of her head. Normal felt good.

  “Sounds great to me. ”

  “Oakley! Oakley. ” A chorus of her name was screamed the second we were out of the building. Our plan of getting out with as little attention on her as possible was, well, impossible now.

  I pulled her close against my side she pressed her face into my shoulder to shield herself. They had a job to do but I wished they would leave her alone. She didn’t need this to be any harder that it already was.

  “Oakley, do you feel justice was served?”

  “What are you going to do now?”

  “How do you feel about the sentence?”

  “Ignore them,” I whispered in her ear. Jasper held the back door of the car open for her, and I pushed us both through the crowd to get her in.

  Jasper ran around to the driver’s side as soon as Oakley was in. I jumped in after her and slammed the door shut.

  “Okay?” Sarah asked as we sped off.

  “Yeah. I’m looking forward this dying down,” Oakley mumbled. I hoped that it would be over soon, but I wasn’t going to hold my breath.

  Sarah reached to the back of the car and took Oakley’s hand. “It’ll be fine, sweetheart. There will be another big story soon enough, and they’ll leave us all alone. ”

  “I’m sure when they realise you don’t want to tell your story or give a statement they’ll get bored,” Jasper added, turning to look at us briefly.

  “Yeah. ” Oakley agreed. I wasn’t sure if she believed that or not though, she didn’t sound sure.

  “Where to, Oakley?” Jasper asked.

  “Cole’s,” she replied.

  I frowned; he knew where to. Oh, he’s giving her the option of skipping, I realised. Sometimes he wasn’t as stupid as he looked and acted ninety-nine percent of the time.

  “If you want to go back to Ali’s that’s fine,” I said. She raised her eyebrow, and I knew I was about to be in trouble. She didn’t want to be ‘babied’. I held my hand up. “Okay, just checking. ”

  Page 74


  For the first time in a while, there were no reporters outside my house, although they were probably on their way either here or to Ali’s from court. “Anyone else see anything wrong with this picture?” Jasper said.

  Sarah snorted in disgust. “They’ll probably be here soon so we should get inside. ”

  “Untle Ole!” Leona screamed, running out of the front door at me. Shit. I managed to cover my area just in time. You only needed to have the collision once to automatically protect yourself forever more. I missed being greeted like that though
. With everything going on, Leona had temporarily spent more time with Chris, and it was good to have her around again.

  I ruffled her hair. “Hey, what ya doing?”

  She flashed me her cheesy toothy grin. “Watchin’ Fifi. ” What else! “Can Oaley watch it with me?”

  “You’ll have to ask her. ”

  Leona leant across as if she wasn’t suspended in the air, only being held by my arms. Kids had so much trust. “Of course, I’ll watch it with you,” Oakley said, taking her from me. “You’ll have to tell me everyone’s names though. ”

  Leona’s face lit up. “Well there’s Fifi and–” I stopped listening to her. One, because I already knew them all. And two, because the programme drove me nuts.

  I ushered Sarah into the kitchen where my mum had already started getting the fresh pizzas out of the fridge. Mia was getting the full report from Oakley’s grandparents and my dad. They didn’t waste any time. Sarah’s looked at me questioningly.

  “She’s doing as well as can be expected, I guess,” I said, knowing what was going through Sarah’s mind. “She just wants to move on. She’s been under their control for most of her life, then had four years waiting around and preparing for the trials… I think she wants to be the one in control of her life now. ”

  “I have no idea how she does it. I feel like a mess most of the time. She’s so positive and always looking forwards. ” Sarah said the words but it didn’t look like she believed them. Oakley was mostly always positive on the outside because she worried about the affect falling apart would have on everyone else. We all knew the truth though.

  “She deserves the future she wants. And so do you. ”

  “Thank you, Cole. I’m so glad you two found each other again. You’re perfect together. ” I grinned like an idiot, like an eleven-year-old girl that had just seen One Direction. It meant that much to hear her say it. “Well,” she said, exhaling deeply, “let’s do what Oakley wants and move on. I think we all deserve a bit of happiness now. ”

  If Oakley had heard her mum say that she would probably burst, she wanted her mum to be happy so much.

  “Okay, so we’ve got about a hundred pizzas, garlic dough balls and crispy chicken strips. Anyone want salad too?” Mia offered, looking in the fridge for something.

  “Who the hell wants rabbit food when we have pizza and meat!” Jasper said, rejecting with a look of horror the lettuce in Mia’s hand.

  I nodded. “He’s got a point. ”

  Mia chucked the lettuce back in the fridge and closed the door. “Good, because I can’t be bothered to make it. But I can be bothered with this,” she said, holding out two bottles of champagne to Dad.

  “Celebrating again?” Oakley asked from the doorway. She chewed on her lip.

  “We’re celebrating new beginnings,” Sarah said.

  I waited for Oakley’s reaction. She had been less than enthusiastic to celebrate before, and I understood why. Her lips pulled up into the faintest smile. “I’ll drink to that. ”

  “Can I have some too?” Leona asked, pointing to the glasses on the counter.

  Mia smiled. “Of course you can. ” She handed Leona a champagne glass that was clearly filled with lemonade, but from the goofy grin on Leona’s face, she thought she was drinking champagne too.

  “To new beginnings,” Miles said, raising his glass.

  The celebration was going well. At last we were all together and having a laugh rather than the serious talks and tension. People were laughing, at Jasper mostly, but still laughing.

  “Come on, Oakley! You must remember those hot twins! They were at the Christmas beach party!”

  Oakley sighed. “No, Jasper. You made them up. ”

  “I did not make them up. They were hot and all over me. ”

  “Yeah, that definitely sounds like a lie,” I said.

  “Dude, why would I make that up?”

  Page 75

  “To prove how big your balls are?”

  He huffed. “I don’t need to prove anything. You all know. ”

  Oakley put down her drink. “Okay, we need to change the subject before I’m sick. ”

  “I’m so glad Leona dragged Dad and Miles outside,” Mia added.

  “You don’t need to make up stuff like that, Jasper. We all like you, ya know,” Lizzie said.

  Jasper stared at her blankly. “Well thanks for that, peroxide, but it happened. Believe me, that’s not something you forget. But anyway, I don’t care what you lot think. ”

  The doorbell rang, thankfully! I think Lizzie was seconds away from reacting to the peroxide comment.

  It fell on me to open the door since Mia laid back and kicked her feet up on the coffee table. “Don’t move, yeah. I’ll get it,” I said sarcastically. I pulled the front door open, and my face fell as I saw two police officers.

  One of them frowned. “Cole Benson?”

  “Yeah. ”

  “Can we come in?” I stepped aside, and they walked in. The room fell silent.

  My dad, who had come back inside asked, “What’s going on?”

  “I’m sorry to do this,” the taller officer said, turning to me. “Mr Benson, I’m arresting you–”

  That was all I heard because Oakley shouted, “No!” She stared at me in horror. Her face was as white as a ghost. Shit, was she going to be okay? I turned around as one of them held out handcuffs.

  “Is that really necessary?” Dad shouted.

  Oakley wasn’t moving. The only thing that made her still look alive was the tears rolling down her face. I looked at Jasper for help.

  “You can’t do this. ” Mum sobbed. They can do this. I’d had sex with Oakley when she was fifteen. They were supposed to do this.

  “It’s okay, it’s going to be fine,” I said as I was pulled towards the door.

  She shook her head fiercely. “No! No, please. You can’t do this. Please. Please?”

  Jasper caught her as she fell towards me. I wanted nothing more than to grab her and wrap my arms around her, but I couldn’t do a fucking thing. “Oakley, it’ll be fine,” I repeated.

  She shook her head. “No. Please don’t do this,” she pleaded with the police officers.

  It broke my heart. I hated seeing her like that. What the hell could I do to make it better though? First, I needed a damn good lawyer. In my head, I was mentally planning the worst case scenario and what I should or shouldn’t say.

  As we approached the car, I noticed the neighbours’ curtains being pulled back, and some even came outside. “Leave him the hell alone,” Mr Gregory from across the road shouted. I flashed him a grateful smile. “They’ve been through enough. How dare you!” he roared.

  Shit. The whole street were getting involved. By the time the officer had opened the door at least ten more people had come out of their houses to protest. As the car door was slammed shut, I looked back at Oakley. Sarah grabbed her as her legs gave way. My heart felt like it had just been ripped out of my chest. ‘I love you,’ I mouthed as the car pulled away.

  Chapter Twenty-Two


  I laid in bed staring at the ceiling in a zombie-like state. Arrested. Arrested because of me. That night was the best night of my life: it was the night when I had felt so loved, and safe, and normal. How could that possibly be wrong?

  Wiping my face again, I noticed there was nothing there any more. Had all my tears dried up? I felt as if I had nothing left inside me to come out. It had been almost thirty-five minutes since Cole was arrested, and I just wanted to be with him.

  ‘It wouldn’t look good if you went to the station’ were the officer’s words. Wouldn’t look good? Surely it would show that I love him? The only reason I was still in the house was because I was too scared of making it worse for him.

  There had to be something I could do? Deny it and say I had lied in court? But then why would I lie about sleeping with him in the first place? I
could say we didn’t go that far. That Cole stopped it just before we’d actually had sex. I pressed my face into the pillow and whimpered. What could I do?

  “Oakley,” Jasper said softly, sitting on the edge of the futon. I hadn’t even heard him come in. “Oakley?”

  Squeezing my eyes shut, I pretended he wasn’t there. I felt bad for ignoring him. He was only trying to help, but I just couldn’t talk to anyone. The only person I wanted to talk to was Cole.

  Jasper sighed and got up, making me roll a little as the mattress sprung up. “I’ll be downstairs. David and Jenna have gone to the station. We’ll get him a good lawyer and figure this out. ”

  Page 76


  As the bedroom door closed, I sat up and gasped. Linda. Of course! She’d helped me, she could help Cole too, surely? I called her straight away.

  “Oakley?” she said, picking up on the second ring.

  “Linda, I need your help. They’ve arrested Cole. ”

  “They’ve what?” She sighed as it obviously sank in why. “Oh. Okay,” she said, changing to her business-like tone. “I assume they’ve taken him to the station already?”

  “Yes, half an hour ago,” I whispered. A strangled sob escaped my throat and I clamped my mouth shut. What the hell would I do if he was actually charged? His whole life would be ruined because of me.

  “Alright, they might offer him one of their lawyers, but I’ll call now and tell them I’m on my way. Don’t worry. I’ll do everything I can. ”

  Hearing her say that gave me hope. She was the only person I would trust with this. No other lawyer would be good enough. “Is there anything I can do to help?” There must have been something. I couldn’t just sit around and wait. “What if I said that I made it up?”

  “Oakley, no. You’ll undermine everything you said in court. ”

  “Please, Linda. I need to do something. Please?” My heart dropped. I felt so useless.

  “Well…” she trailed off, sounding unsure if she should tell me. Or whether what she was going to suggest would be right.

  “Please, I just want to do something. I’ll do anything,” I promised. And I would. There wasn’t anything in the world I wouldn’t do to get him out of that station.

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