Luke Burton sits outside a hospital room swarmed with doctors, rocking his knee up and down and tapping his foot anxiously off the floor. His wife paces about the waiting area, every couple of seconds looking to the window to the room in spite of the blind blocking it from sight. “Honey,” Luke says. “Take a seat. Looking at that blind won’t make them pull it up.”
Faye shoots him a pointed look. “Luke, what are we going to do? What if he doesn’t make it?”
He swallows and brings himself to his feet. “He’s my baby,” she continues, her voice tremoring. “And if he doesn’t make it through this, I don’t know what I’m— we’re going to do and I— I”
Luke places his hands firmly on her shoulders. “Listen to me, Faye. Thomas will get through this, okay? He’s going to get through this.” He pulls her to his chest and hugs her tightly. “I promise.”
As the couple embrace each other, Luke glimpses to the trio making their way down the corridor. Lucy dashes towards them. “Hi. How is he?” she asks, as Lenny and Andrew follow swiftly.
Faye forces a weak smile across her colorless face. “He had been stabilized, but took another turn. There’s no news yet. The doctors brought him in there and they haven’t come out for half an hour,” she trembles.
“What happened?” Andrew asks.
Faye’s tears materialize, streaming down her cheeks like water from a flowing tap. “I don’t know,” she weeps. “He was fine one minute and then the next, he looked really sick and then he just collapsed and I—”
She cuts her speech dead as a doctor emerges from the hospital room. “Mr and Mrs Burton?”
Faye grabs hold of her husband’s hand and wipes the tears from her red, puffy eyes. “Yes? How is he? Is he okay?”
The doctor looks down for a brief moment. “I’m very sorry to tell you this, but there was nothing we could do. Thomas has just passed away. You can go in and see him now. Take as long as you need.”
Lucy shuts her eyes tightly and a single teardrop slips from her closed eyelid. Faye’s posture weakens and she clutches her husband’s jumper as though it’s offering her emotional support. “My baby’s gone,” she chokes.
Luke bites his lip to suppress the tears lodging in his throat and blinks away the ones threatening to escape his eyes. He rests his head over Faye’s shoulder while she buries her reddening face against his jumper.
As Lucy watches their interactions, tears continue to scald her eyes and escape down the sides of her face. Her and her two friends form a tight group hug and cry over each other’s shoulders as Luke and Faye head into the hospital room. Lucy sinks into a chair as the door swings closed. She buries her face in her hands and Andrew slumps beside her. He takes her hands in hers and catches eye contact. “Lucy,” he trembles. “I’m so so sorry.”
She nods painfully. “Me too,” she sobs. “You were one of his best mates.” He smiles weakly at her. “And you were his girlfriend. Lucy, he loved you so much.”
Her lip wobbles as she raises her head. “Not as much I loved him,” she weeps. “I can’t believe he’s gone.” Andrew nods and holds her gently. “Me neither.”
Faye and Luke depart the room and set their gaze on Lucy. She locks eyes with Faye and stands up. “Luke, Faye, I am so so sorry.”
Faye nods in silent response. She swallows and throws herself into one of the seats. Luke turns to Lucy. “If you three would like to say goodbye, go ahead in,” he mumbles with all the composure he can muster. Andrew and Lenny shuffle towards the door. “You coming, Lucy?” Lenny asks.
She looks down. “I’ll wait until you two are done, if you don’t mind,” she swallows. “I’d like a minute alone with him.”
Lucy forces herself closer and closer towards Thomas’ bedside. “Hey Tommy,” she snivels. She takes hold of his hand and intertwines her fingers with his icy cold ones. “I have to say, that when I said I’d see you tomorrow, this is not what I had in mind at all.”
She cups her free hand over her mouth to suppress the sound of her sobs from being heard. She slowly sinks to her knees and rests her head on Thomas’ chest. “I love you, Tommy, so so much. I don’t know what we’re going to do without you. I— I”
As her sobs become more prevalent in the room, she strokes his cheek gently. “I guess that, this is goodbye. I’m so sorry I didn’t save you this time,” she cries. “It’s just not fair. We’re only eighteen, this shouldn’t have happened.”
Lucy focuses on zipping up the side of Annabelle’s black dress, who watches her through the reflection in the mirror before them. As she begins to brush through her hair, Annabelle opens her mouth. “Lucy,” she says. “Mummy and Daddy said that Tommy’s never coming back to us. Why? Did we do something wrong?”
Lucy’s bites her lip and shakes her head. She places her hand to her shoulders and forces a smile at her. “No,” she tells her. “You didn’t do anything wrong, Belle. Thomas, he just had to go away, on a journey, to heaven, but don’t worry, he’s in a much better place now. And he’s watching over you right now. He always will be. He loves you.”
A teardrop trickles down Lucy’s face as Annabelle faces her. “I love Tommy too. I miss my brother,” she says, bowing her head as tears flood her face. “I don’t want to say goodbye.”
Lucy bends down to her level and smiles faintly. “Neither do I, Belle. But, sometimes, we have to do things, even when we don’t want to. And this is one of those times. Come on, be the big brave girl you are and I’ll be brave too, okay?”
She nods and Lucy wipes the moisture beneath Annabelle’s eyelids. “Come on, we need to go to the church now.”
One Month Later
Lucy stands before a mirror in the bathroom of her school. She weeps at the sight of her own reflection. She folds her arms on the surface of the sink and rests her head on her elbows as she sobs from the cavity of her chest. She raises her head and wipes her eyes dry. She grabs her coat from her locker and bounds down the steps of the school, exiting the grounds as fast as her feet will take her.
Faye opens the door to a teary eyed Lucy and invites her inside. Alarmed by her woebegone demeanor, she widens her eyes. “Lucy, what’s going on?”
“Are you alone in the house?” she asks. “I need to talk to you about this alone, because I can’t think of anyone else who’ll understand.”
Faye nods. “It’s just me, here, come take a seat in the kitchen, while I stick the kettle on.”
As Lucy sinks into the seat, Faye snaps the kid of the kettle open. “I am listening, if you want to start,” she says.
Lucy nods shamefully. “Faye, I’m pregnant,” she chokes. Faye almost drops the kettle on the counter top and whips her head around to face her. “With Thomas’ baby.”
Lucy looks down. “I thought that you’d be the right person to talk to about this, because you had Thomas when you were only about a year older than I am now.”
Faye shuffles towards the table and sinks into a seat opposite her. “Have you talked to anybody else about this? Your parents or any of your friends?”
“No,” Lucy cries. “My dad is going to kill me when and if he finds out. I mean, he’ll only not find out if I get rid of the baby, but I don’t want to. It’s my baby, and it’s Thomas’ baby, I couldn’t abort it. That’d be killing the only part of Thomas that there is left. So, I have to tell my parents. But, please, how do I do it?”
Faye blinks back tears. “Lucy,” she whispers. She leans over and hugs her tightly. “I completely understand. My parents really weren’t happy with me when I was pregnant with Thomas. But, they got over it. This is a baby, Lucy, that we’re talking about, it’s going to be a life changing decision, whichever you choose to go ahead with. Especially at your tender age. But, it is your decision. And you need to make it. I do want you to know, that despite how your parents react, I will support whichever choice you make. But it has to come down to you.”
Lucy wipes the tears from her face. “I want to keep my baby.”
Faye nods. “Then I support you. But, this means, you need to sit down with your parents, now, and tell them the truth.”
She nods. “Okay,” she says. “But, can you come with me, please? I need someone there, because my dad will lose it, and I’m not so sure I’ll be able to deal with him right now.”
Faye takes hold of her hand. “Of course I will,” she smiles.
Two Months Later
He leads his six year old son into his father’s house. “Thanks Dad for taking him,” he says. “I’ll collect him straight after work.”
“Take your time, Nick,” he smiles. “I love spending time with my grandson.”
“See you later, Bill,” Nick says, before exiting his fathers home. Bill kneels beside his grandfather’s armchair and rests beside the fire. “How are you, little Bill?”
Bill nods. “I’m okay, Granddad.”
He smiles at his grandson. “Now, that it’s just the two of us, it’s time for your lessons to continue.”
He nods obediently. “Yes Granddad.”
He smiles. “I need you to tell me the first rule before we continue.”
Bill swallows. “I’m not allowed to tell Daddy,” he says.
“Very good, Bill,” he says. “And what must you do?”
“I must get revenge on Thomas Burton.”
“Bingo, and why is that?”
“He killed Uncle George,” he states.
His grandfather nods. “Ordinarily, we’d go after him. But he has passed before we could give him what he deserves. However, I couldn’t help to notice the huge bump that Lucy, the love of his life, was bearing. So, we, you are going to exact vengeance on the next generation of that filthy clan.”
Bill swallows again. “Yes Granddad. When must I do it?”
“Oh, Bill, Bill, Bill. Don’t be so eager. We must catch them when they are at their most vulnerable. And once you have completed your training. All in good time, my child. All in good time.”
“Yes, Granddad,” he answers, as he secures contact with his grandfather’s glistening brown eyes.
#End of Book 1 - If you enjoyed, be sure to check out book 2, Vengeful Liaisons, which is still in progress.
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