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Chapter 22: The Truth Always Hurts

The three of them sat inside the funeral car in awkward silence as it moved though the morning traffic, following the hearse. At its arrival outside, Cayne barely looked at it, as though it would all become too real if she did. Seeing just a wooden box was always far too real for anyone to cope with. An impossible idea that someone once loved and cherished was inside something that seemed compact. Michael had been relieved when he arrived to find Daniel with Cayne. He’d noted that the atmosphere between the two was changing once more. The sexual tension was still an undercurrent, but there was also anger coming from Cayne and fear from Daniel. They were clashing and that unsettled Michael. They needed to work together and he couldn’t afford a scared Daniel on his hands. Now, in the car, Daniel wore a blank sullen glare as he looked out of the window and Michael fought the urge to slap some sense into him. When had he become so self-centred? This was about Cayne.

Finally they turned a corner as an old church spire came into view. It looked like it had been built in the late 1800’s in the old gothic style. As the cars drove up the driveway to the church’s doorway, a few mourners could be seen lingering outside. They bowed their heads as the cars pulled up. Michael opened the door and held out his hand for Cayne to take as she stumbled on the slippery grass verge. At that moment, the coffin was being taken from the hearse and Michael grabbed her as he saw her legs buckle.

‘Daniel, any help would be gratefully received,’ he hissed.

This seemed to wake Daniel from his stupor and he helped take some of her weight steering her into the church. As they walked through the door the priest nodded in acknowledgement.

‘I am sorry for your loss.’

‘Are you?’ Cayne snapped.

Michael muttered apologies and dragged her in to the church. The insides were filled with wooden pews and a small pipe organ was housed in the corner. Sitting on the benches, a few people looked their way as Michael led Cayne to the front. He suspected that many were just acquaintances rather than family, due to Mary’s life choices, and he didn’t rule out the one or two who just came to see a funeral. He never understood these people. It would seem that life had not given them enough to do without them coming and seeing people grieve. One man in particular, who looked like he had been on the wrong end of a fist, glared their way. His eyes fixed on Cayne with a mixture of hatred and fear and it was only when Michael caught his eye did he look away.

Daniel also noticed Vince looking at Cayne and attempted to pull her closer towards him, but was rebuked as she moved closer to Michael. The organist started to play and everyone stood as the procession began. He could feel Cayne’s body shaking beside him and there was nothing he could do to stop it. The undertakers lowered the coffin onto the plinth and left as the priest began the service. He wanted to reach out and take her hand, but could see that Michael already had it. This was always the way with Michael. He was forever taking over and making him feel inadequate. Yet, the rational voice inside told him that without Michael he may never have got this far and he had asked for his help.

As the priest started to talk, Daniel noticed another pair of eyes looking their way and those belonged to a much younger man. He thought that there was something familiar about him, and then he remembered. A photograph of him standing with his arms around a much happier Cayne. The man was staring at her intently as though he was trying to get her attention, but wasn’t working, she was too engrossed. Daniel turned away and tried to concentrate on the sermon and the words of comfort. He had heard the words so many times and he had even said them, but today they just seemed empty. Then, came the passages about the resurrection and he felt Cayne’s body stiffen.

‘Lies,’ she hissed

He caught Michael’s eye and both moved closer towards her. He reached behind and placed his arm around her back while placing a hand on her arm. Her body was shaking violently and he realised it was more than just grief. She had not spoken loud enough to break the priest’s flow, who continued his speech. The power and strength was building. He could feel it emanating from her and he struggled to keep his hold. He heard Michael whisper, telling her to fight it and to keep control. However the more the priest spoke the worse she appeared to be.

‘This is all bullshit,’ she snapped.

This time the priest heard and looked up as her voice became more frantic and people were now looking.

‘We need to get her out of here,’ Michael hissed.

'Don't touch me priest. You are men of lies,' Cayne continued to whisper.

'Now, Daniel,' Michael urged.

Agreeing, Daniel got to his feet and with all the strength the both of them could muster dragged her from the church. They could feel the congregation’s eyes on them and heard their whispers. They stepped out into the sunshine and Cayne’s body started to relax. They let her go as she leant on a gravestone trying to get her breath back.

‘Cayne, are you alright?’ Michael asked.

She lifted her head and a smile lit up her face. Something Daniel had never seen. For a moment he saw how beautiful she was when happy.

‘I did what you asked. I could hear you and I fought.’

‘You did well,’ Daniel said.

Cayne’s warm eyes left Michael’s returning to their usual cold as she looked upon him. He felt his heart sink.

‘How would you know?’ she snapped. ‘I trusted you, Daniel, and all you’ve done is let me down. I’m the one living with this and yet it’s you that does the running.’

‘You’re not being fair,’ Michael said. ‘It is just as difficult for Daniel to understand.’

Cayne turned so she fully faced Michael, and Daniel saw something pass between them that caused him to feel sick to the stomach.

‘But you promised to fight for me,’ she whispered. ‘What has he ever done but doubt me?’

Michael suddenly felt awkward as his promise came back to haunt him. He could feel the pressure of Daniel’s jealous glare and he tried to put some distance between himself and Cayne.

‘You did what?’ Daniel said, through gritted teeth.

‘Look, this really isn’t the time,’ Michael answered, trying to laugh to break the atmosphere.

‘Cayne! Cayne!’

They all turned to where a young man was calling and Michael thanked God for the interruption. Daniel felt his hands tighten as the man bounded towards them with youthful confidence.

‘Karl,’ Cayne said shocked. Surprise filled her face. ‘What’re you doing here?’

‘I came to pay my respects,’ he answered. ‘I saw you being led out and wanted to check you were alright.’

Unspoken gestures filled the air between the couple and Daniel found himself physically stepping back. This had been the one Cayne had talked about. The boyfriend who had left her when the bleedings started. The problem was that the chemistry between them was still strong and Daniel felt defeated by it. There was something about how confidently Karl held himself that made him envious. Even the suit he wore fitted in the right places and gave him the air of power and boyish charm. Suddenly, an awkward silence fell as Karl looked at them both and Cayne, realising that she had not introduced them, told him that Michael was a cousin who was staying with her.

‘I didn’t know you had family,’ came the reply.

‘Neither did I,’ she said.

Again that silence and Daniel wished they were back inside the church. At least there no one could talk or think.

‘Do you wanna go for a coffee?’ Karl asked, finally.

Cayne glanced at the church behind her and then at Michael who gave her a slow nod.

‘That would be great, but I want to go now. I can’t take any more of the service.’

Karl nodded in agreement and to Daniel’s distress he placed his arm around Cayne’s shoulders and steered her away. All he wanted was to open his mouth and tell her to stay here with him, but he couldn’t. It wasn’t his right. Now he was alone with the one person who was supposed to be his friend and betrayed him.

‘Daniel, we need to talk,’ Michael started.

‘I don’t think there is anything left to say. Cayne made herself pretty clear. You are her new champion,’ he spat.

‘Well someone had to,’ Michael threw, his temper rising. ‘Especially when her Charge is in danger of going over the edge.’

‘How dare you!’

‘The truth hurts doesn’t it, Daniel. Why don’t you just admit you are in love with her? It’s not like you were any good at being a priest.’

Michael held his blood-stained face with both hands as he lay stunned on the grass bank. Behind him he could hear the organ music playing, signalling the procession was about to emerge from the church. He struggled to get to his feet, as he found a tissue in his pocket to catch the blood.

Never in his life had he seen Daniel act in such a manner. The man didn’t have violent bone in his body, yet he’d been punched in the face. Michael had been too stunned to react. Ben’s description of Daniel’s role in the prophecy was starting to come true and he felt it was down to him to stop it if he could. Ben would have to tell him absolutely everything and he would not leave him until he knew if there was a chance to save either of them.

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