Broken silence, p.6

Broken Silence, page 6

 part  #2 of  Silence Series

 

Broken Silence


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  “Yeah, thanks. ”

  Chelsea skipped out of my room, waving her hand over her shoulder.

  I should invite Oakley tomorrow. I had never seen her on a proper night out before. Did she drink now? I couldn’t imagine it. Chuckling to myself, I dialled her number. Should I ring her so soon after dropping her off? Damn was I the stalker ex now?

  “You made it then?” Oakley said down the phone, sounding amused.

  “No hello?”

  “Hello, Cole,” she replied sarcastically.

  Thankfully, she couldn’t see me because I was smiling like an idiot again.

  “You and Jasper are coming out with us tomorrow night. ” I didn’t give her an option. She needed a night out, and I needed to see her.

  “If it’s a strip club, I’m walking straight out of there. ”

  I could practically see her grinning. It was still a little strange hearing her speak. I would usually just look at her expressions and reactions to know what she was thinking.

  “Prude!” I teased. “No strip club, I promise. We’re just going to a couple of clubs. ”

  “Okay, we’ll come. ”

  “I’ll pick you up at eight. Wear something short,” I said, hanging up and laughing to myself. I bet she was blushing.

  Less than a minute later, I received a text message from Oakley, a one-word text that made me smile from ear to ear. ‘Behave!’

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  The rest of the day, I spent with Leona, helping her draw princess castles. I didn’t even care that I was wearing a pink tiara while we drew, nothing could remove the smile from my face. Once I’d finished drawing the princess in front of the golden castle I gave it to Leona for her approval.

  “What do you think, Fifi?”

  “It’s Princess Oaley,” she chirped, smiling at me with one of those wide smiles where you could see all her teeth. Oakley? I looked down at the picture, and Leona was right, I’d drawn the princess with long blonde hair and blue eyes.

  “Err, yeah. ” Damn it. Now I’m drawing her!

  “Do you love Oaley?” Leona asked bluntly. I loved how kids had absolutely no tact at all, kind of like Jasper.

  “Yeah, I do. ”

  “Tan I be bridesmaid? Jessa was, and I want to be one too. ” God, the bridesmaid thing again. Leona was absolutely devastated that her friend Jessa was a ‘princess bridesmaid’ and she hadn’t ever been one. She even tried convincing Mia to get married so she could be a princess for the day.

  Leona looked up at me with big hopeful eyes, the ones that magically expected me to make all her wishes come true. How do I tell her that I don’t think I’ll ever be lucky enough to get Oakley back, let alone marry her?

  I pulled her on my lap and she immediately started rearranging the stupid tiara on my head.

  “When I get married you can be the princess bridesmaid. ” She squealed and threw her arms around my neck, squeezing tight.

  Leona distracted me for a while but as soon as she went to bed, my mind wondered back to Oakley. Again. So I wouldn’t call her for no reason other than to just hear her voice, I showered and played the PlayStation until I was tired enough to go to sleep.

  I gulped, raking my eyes over Oakley’s outfit. She wore a sexy little dark blue dress. It sat just above her knees and clung to her body, but unlike a lot of girls clubbing, she didn’t look like she was trying too hard. She actually looked so beautiful I could barely breathe.

  “Put your tongue away, Cole,” Ben joked. I glared but did stop staring, just as Oakley and Jasper got in the car.

  Jasper sat in front of me, next to Chelsea, and Oakley sat beside me.

  “I thought I said short,” I whispered as she put her seatbelt on. She glared. “I’m kidding. You look amazing. ”

  “Thanks, you look alright. ” She shrugged and smirked.

  Tonight, I learnt something new. It only took three drinks to get Oakley drunk. She clung to the bar and laughed at god knows what. We had lost Kerry and Ben a while ago. Chelsea was dancing with some random guy, and Jasper chatted up everything with a pulse.

  “You’re such a lightweight,” I nudged Oakley in the ribs, gently.

  She gasped. “Let’s do shots!”

  What? I shook my head.

  “I’ve never been this drunk before. Can we do Sambuca? I haven’t had that one. ” She waved her hand to get the barman’s attention before I even had time to reply.

  I made eye contact with Jasper and gestured for him to come over. He was beside us in seconds.

  “Jas, we’re doing Sambuca,” Oakley announced to her brother

  His mouth dropped open. “You’re doing shots?”

  Oakley nodded enthusiastically. “We all are. Three Sambucas please,” she said to the barman.

  “Is this a good idea?” Jasper asked.

  She handed him a shot. “Yes. Drink. ”

  I tipped the disgusting liquid in my mouth and swallowed. She may not have had it before, but I had, and it tasted like piss! Oakley slapped her hand over her mouth; her face scrunched up in disgust. It was worth it!

  “I don’t like that,” she slurred, slamming the shot glass down on the bar.

  “What the hell are you looking at?” Jasper suddenly shouted at some guy who was standing beside us. What’s that guy done?

  “Jas, don’t. ” Oakley pushed him towards the exit, and I followed. What the hell had I missed?

  Outside they had a quick argument, and I barely picked up one word.

  “Watch her,” Jasper mumbled and walked back inside.

  Huh? I looked around in utter confusion.

  “Err, what was that about?” I asked.

  Oakley glared in the direction Jasper disappeared in. “Jasper gets ridiculously overprotective if someone even looks in my direction. ”

  That guy was looking at her? I wanted to go punch him.

  “Anyway, forget about him. Wanna do another shot?” She raised her eyebrows and smiled, but she wasn’t fooling me.

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  “You don’t want to do another shot, Oakley. ”

  “Yes I do. The next couple of months are gonna be really hard. I want to get drunk. ” So that’s what this was about. She was drinking away her problems. Not happening.

  I shook my head.

  “It’s going to be okay. ”

  Reaching out, I touched her arm, and she started crying. Shit! I stepped into her, wrapping my arms around her beautiful body and held her tight. It made me feel sick seeing her upset. I just wished there was something I could do to make it better. Some way of turning back time and protecting her from those sick bastards.

  She buried her head right into my neck and clung onto me. This was going to happen at some point though. She was trying to be strong and pretend everything was fine but it wasn’t. Even if they got the maximum sentence, it wouldn’t be fine. This was never going away.

  “I’m scared, Cole,” she admitted and sobbed on my shoulder. I held her tighter and kissed the side of her head. I’m scared too.

  Chapter Seven

  Oakley

  Cole held me tight, and I felt safe. It was a huge relief to get it all out rather than holding it in. I couldn’t do it in front of Mum and Jasper. Well I could. They would always listen, but I didn’t want to make any of it harder for them.

  I took a deep breath and pulled away from him. It was time to be strong again. If I was with anyone else I would have pulled it together much sooner, but Cole always could drag my true emotions out of me.

  “Sorry,” I mumbled and swept my tears from under my eyes. Thankfully, I had waterproof mascara on, but I had cried a lot – no doubt I looked like a panda.

  Cole kept one of his arms around me. I liked that too much.

  “Don’t be sorry. You’re not the one that has to be sorry. Not ever. ”

  I managed a smile.


  “You okay now?”

  “Yes. ” I smoothed down my hair, hoping that would be enough to make me look human again. “We should get back inside. ”

  Cole shook his head. “No, we shouldn’t. You want to talk. ” He was right to be confident. I did want to talk about it. A few years ago talking was the last thing I wanted but with time, I realised ignoring the problem didn’t make it disappear.

  “There’s a crappy little cafe down the road, we can go there. ”

  “Crappy cafe? That’s not very gentlemanly. If that’s what you say to the ladies then no wonder you haven’t had any since—”

  “Yeah, alright. Very funny,” he replied.

  I grinned. My happiness was almost overwhelming. I loved being near him again, talking, joking around, and knowing that there hadn’t been anyone since me.

  “Let’s go. I could really do with a coffee. ”

  “How crappy is this café then? I’m not going to get food poisoning am I?” I asked as we walked along the street.

  “That depends. ”

  I raised my eyebrows. “On?”

  “Whether you’re eating anything or not. ”

  “Okay that will be a not. ”

  “Good choice. ”

  Cole held the dull red door open, and I walked inside. He wasn’t joking; it was crappy. The patchy magnolia paint had started peeling off the walls, and the white blinds were turning a light yellow. Four rows of dated metal tables and chairs stretched from one side of the room to the other. I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to sit down.

  “Want a hot chocolate?” Cole asked, leading me to a table in the corner. Most tables were empty. Only a few people were dotted around, sipping tea and coffee from chipped mugs.

  “Is that a good idea?” I asked him. I had no problem with going somewhere cheap and cheerful, but I at least wanted to drink from a clean cup.

  “I’ve been here before, and it’s not done me any harm. ”

  I arched my eyebrow sceptically. Cole shook his head and pointed to the chair.

  “Sit and behave. ”

  I did as he said and watched him walk to the counter to order. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was that we were friends again. Being back was hard but Cole made it so much easier.

  He returned to the table and sat opposite me. His face turned serious, and I knew the messing around and teasing had stopped for now.

  “So… how are you really feeling about it all?”

  I shrugged. “I’m honestly not sure. Everything’s a little hazy. One minute I really want to do it in person and the next I just want to run away. I’ve gone back and forth so much I feel dizzy. ”

  “You don’t have to, you know? I’m sure they’ll let you do it by video or whatever here. ”

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  “They probably would. ” I nodded. “But then I wouldn’t have faced them. ”

  “You want to?” he asked. His eyebrows raised in shock.

  “Yes. I don’t expect anyone to understand, but I want to look them in the eye and show them they haven’t won. I want to watch as they’re taken away to prison, hopefully for the rest of their lives. I think then I’ll be able to move on properly. ”

  Cole didn’t say anything. He stared at me, making me feel uncomfortable.

  “What?”

  “You’re amazing, Oakley. ”

  “See that’s what you should say to the ladies,” I joked, hoping it would lighten the mood.

  Cole grinned. “Yeah but I would have gotten a slap for calling them the wrong name. ”

  I laughed for a second; until his serious expression returned.

  “I’m serious though. I don’t know how you do it. ”

  “I don’t have any other choice,” I answered honestly. “I want my life back. They took so much away from me, my childhood, my innocence, even my voice. There’s no way I’m letting them have my future too. ”

  Our drinks slammed down on the table. I jumped in surprise, having not even seen the waitress approach. She nodded and walked off.

  “Thanks,” Cole mumbled under his breath sarcastically, before adding, “Do you think you’ll be okay seeing them again?”

  “Not really. The thought of seeing them, seeing Frank’s empty, beady eyes especially, makes me sick. ”

  Cole balled his hands into fists, his knuckles turned white and his jaw tensed. Maybe saying this to him wasn’t a good idea?

  “Do you want to talk about something else?” I asked, staring down at my steaming mug of hot chocolate. Making him feel ill was the last think I wanted.

  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw his arm reach across the table and then it covered mine. I looked up and smiled.

  “We can talk about this whenever you want,” he replied.

  I knew he was telling the truth. He would let me talk, and he would listen, but I could tell he didn’t really want to. I couldn’t blame him. If it was the other way around I wouldn’t want to hear it either.

  “I’ll always be here for you. ”

  Always couldn’t happen though. We didn’t have an always – once the trial was over with, I’d be back in Australia and we’d have a world between us again. Smiling at him, I squeezed his hand.

  “Thank you. They’re going to be there too. Mum and Jasper are going to watch me give evidence. ”

  “And you don’t want that?”

  “No. They don’t know everything, not all the details. I don’t want them to know all of that. ”

  The statements I had given the police revealed absolutely every last disgusting detail. It was torture reliving those eight years of hell, and I was not looking forward to doing it all over again, especially in front of my family.

  Cole sucked air in through his teeth, the hand that wasn’t wound around mine clenched back into a fist. He looked like he was going to explode.

  “Right. I didn’t think about that. Do you… Do you want to talk about that with me?”

  He looked absolutely terrified that I would say yes.

  I shook my head. “No. ” There was no way I was going to talk about it with him. Even him knowing it happened was too much. “I just wish it was over already. ”

  “So do I. ”

  I also didn’t want it to be over. Leaving Cole and returning to Australia left me with a heavy heart. Hurting him all over again was the last thing in the world I wanted.

  “Well, the hot chocolate isn’t too bad. ”

  He smirked. “Just don’t use the sugar. ” I looked down at the ashtray looking pot of sugar on the table and turned my nose up.

  “No danger of that. ”

  “Are you nervous about court? What are you going to say about him?”

  “The truth. ” The truth was all I had. No one could trip me up because I wasn’t going to hide anything.

  “What if they ask you what kind of a person Max was, you know, in public?”

  “Then I’ll tell them he was generous, charming, honest, loyal, and trustworthy. Everything everyone believed. Cole, he played the perfect husband, father, and friend. That was why he was able to get away with it for so long. He was my hero until the age of five, and that’s exactly what I’ll say. ”

  “How can you say nice things about him?”

  “Because it’s the truth, and that’s what makes what he did so much worse. ”

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  He nodded and picked up his drink.

  I finished my drink shortly after he did.

  “You don’t wanna go back to the club, so I’ll take you home?” Cole said, reading me like a book.

  “Thank you. Sorry I ruined your night. ”

  He chuckled, shaking his head. “Seeing you drunk was definitely worth it!”

  I didn’t feel drunk at all any more. The world was moving slightly slower than normal but apart from that I felt fine. Our conversation topic could so
ber me in a second.

  “Well thanks. I can get a taxi back alone if you want to stay though. ”

  “No, it’s fine,” he replied.

  As Cole drove, I snatched a few moments when he turned to really look at him. To me he was flawless. There was nothing I didn’t love about him.

  “How did you get that?” I asked, noticing a small, faint scar on his jaw. That definitely wasn’t there four years ago. If I hadn’t been looking so closely, I would have never noticed it.

  “Ben. We were paintballing last year, and he shot me in the face. It bled like a bitch. ”

  “Don’t you have to wear protective gear for that?”

  “You’re supposed to but apparently that’s ‘pussy paintballing’. Ben changed his mind after I shot him forehead for revenge. ”

  “Mature. ”

  He shrugged. “It’s Ben, and it hurt!”

  Cole pulled into Ali’s drive, and I suddenly wished we had gone back to the club.

  “I’ll see you tomorrow?”

  I nodded. “Definitely. You still want me to view the house?”

  He smiled. “I’ll pick you up at eleven. ”

  “Great. ” I bit my lip, staring into his eyes. Cole shuffled on the seat. The air thickened. “Bye,” I whispered, fighting every urge to stay in the car and kiss him.

  “Bye, Oakley. ”

  My heart beat like crazy, and my stomach was in knots. I think we both wanted the same thing, but I knew it wouldn’t be a good idea. I hoped he did too.

  As soon as I got inside, I texted Jasper to tell him Cole brought me home, and then I went to bed. All I could think about was seeing Cole again. I had turned into an obsessive teenage girl and although things were about to get hard, I couldn’t have been happier.

  Cole and I arrived at the house after picking the key up from the estate agent. The agent was Cole’s uncle’s new wife so we were trusted with the key. Plus the house was empty and in some serious need of some TLC. The window frames needed replacing because the wood was rotting and falling apart, and it needed a new door. I hoped Cole wouldn’t be put off because even from the outside I could tell it was perfect.

  The entrance hall was large with an old-style black-and-white-tiled floor. It had a high ceiling and dark, chunky oak staircase to the side. Past the square entrance hall and staircase was a long corridor with three doors off it.

 
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