Staci loved his job as a builder. His boss was great though he wished he wasn’t the father of his ex. It made working there a tad more difficult.
“Yo, Staci. Boss wants you in the office,” snickered one of his workmates.
He climbed down the ladder, walking across the building yard to the office. Knocking on the door he smiled at the receptionist who ignored him. Groaning silently, he spoke.
“Boss wanted to see me, Jules.”
She snickered indicating the boss was waiting for him.
“Idiot,” he muttered as he strolled down the hall, knocking on the boss’s door and entering to find Carl pacing up and down behind his desk.
“You wanted to see me, boss?”
“Yes. What the hell happened the other day. Katie is like a dragon with a sore head.”
“If I knew, I’d tell you. I got home on Tuesday to find a note from Katie saying she was leaving me. No explanation other than she has a new man.”
“She says you chucked her stuff outside?”
“Yes. And enjoyed every moment of doing so. She or her new man trashed my home,” he scowled, sitting down in a chair. “Call it revenge. I was about to propose to her. I-I love her. I wish I knew what the hell happened.”
“Not much more I can tell you. I miss her though I won’t take her back,” he replied. “If this is going to affect my job then I’ll find another. Jules is already ignoring me and some of the men laughing. God knows what Katie has told them...”
“Get back to work. You’re one of my best men. I’m not losing you over this.”
“Thanks, boss,” he smiled and left. “Jules,” he said as he passed reception. She looked up, glaring at him. “Whatever Katie said...tell her it’s her loss, not mine and to get a life.” He laughed when her mouth dropped open and he walked out the door.
Back to work, he ignored the jibes from the men and continued his work, making sure his team were getting their work done correctly.
He was relieved when the day ended, making his way to the gate to walk home only to be accosted by a large man and three of his mates. Closing his eyes, he tried to walk around them to no avail. Finally, he stood still folding his arms
“You hurt my woman,” the man growled.
Staci stared then started laughing only to get a fist in his mouth. He stumbled back against the fence, wiping his face of blood.
“You stole my woman. You can keep her and fuck off. Tell her from me, if she ever comes near me again, I’ll put a restraining order on her.” He stepped forward. “Now get the fuck outta my way.”
They attacked. Staci found himself on the ground being kicked and punched by steel-capped boots. He heard his ribs cracking and a yell in the distance. Curling up unable to defend himself he took the beating. Police arrived, his boss knelt by his side, the men had run.
“Shit. Who the fuck has she gotten mixed up with?” Carl growled, checking Staci over.
“No fucking idea.” he moaned.
An ambulance was called and Staci was taken to hospital. In the emergency room, his injuries were dealt with—he had three broken ribs, two black eyes and a cracked cheekbone. His legs and back were badly bruised. Groaning he knew he’d be off sick for a while.
The curtain opened a detective and Gil stepped inside. Staci’s closed black eyes opened a small amount letting him recognise who was there.
“This is Detective Grayson; he’ll interview you about...”
“Who the hell are you, Gilbert?”
Grayson tried hard not to smirk and schooled his features when Gil glared at him.
“My names Gil or Chief Superintendent Jarvis,” he shoved his hands in his trouser pockets.
“Why the hell didn’t you tell me?”
“Wasn’t important. Anyway, I’ll leave you with Grayson for your interview. I presume you’ll be pressing charges?”
“I’ll see you later, Mr Kalen.” Gil walked out with Staci staring after him in confusion.
Grayson got his note pad out. “Can you tell me what happened?”
“What do you think,” he scowled.
“Look, I’m trying to help...”
“I’ve had a shitty week and this is hopefully the last of it.”
“I was leaving work, a man with three of his mates were hanging by the gate. Not unusual these days so I continued walking. They wouldn’t let me past so I stood in front of them. The guy said I’d hurt his woman...”
“Why don’t you listen to the rest and find out?”
“His woman happens to be my ex-girlfriend who dumped me three days prior. I chucked her stuff out of my home after my home had been trashed, possibly by her and her new man.”
“We have the report...”
“Yes, you do. Anyway, they beat the crap out of me, three broken ribs, two black eyes and a badly bruised body. Oh yeah, don’t forget a sore and fractured cheekbone. Now go away, I’m fucking sore and my face hurts.”
“Who called the ambulance?”
“My boss, who happens to be my ex-girlfriend’s dad.”
“Completely. Now sod off.”
He sat back on his bed as the detective left, drawing the curtain after him.
Gil re-entered the room
“It seems I can’t leave you anywhere without you getting into trouble, Staci.”
“Not my fault.”
“You look bloody awful.”
“As charming as ever. I need to get home.”
“They’re keeping you in overnight. I’ll come and pick you up in the morning.”
“Hell no. I’m not...”
“You have no choice. Doctor’s orders.”
They heard the swish of the curtain, a doctor entered and picked up his file from the end of the bed.
“We’re keeping you overnight Mr Kalen.”
“Concussion for one thing and to make sure your eyes are ok. We need to make sure there’s no long-term damage.”
“I can come...”
“Overnight, Mr Kalen.”
“It’s only a few hours Staci.”
“I’ll see you in the morning and sign you out then. A porter will take you up to the general ward soon. Just finding you a bed.”
“Fuss and bother.” he scowled and promptly went to sleep.
“You got your hands full this time Gil,” laughed the doctor.
“So it seems. I’d best be going before Sadie gets grumpy.”
“Give her my regards,” the doc replied as they left Staci to his rest.
“Where the hell have you been? Your dinner’s getting cold,” said Sadie as Gil entered the kitchen.
“Staci got beaten up just outside his workplace.”
“You promised me you’d not get...”
“I’m a cop, Sadie. I go where I’m needed.”
“You’re the bloody boss, not a lackey.”
“Does that mean if you get hurt, I leave you alone and not check on you or your case?” he grumbled.
“You like him, don’t you?”
“Where the hell did you get me liking him from me doing my job?”
“I’m your sister,” she smirked. “I know these things.”
“Shit, shit and triple shit.” he sank onto a dining chair, Sadie placed his roast dinner in front of him. Inhaling the scent, he smiled. “You are the most divine cook,” and dived into his food. “God, this is amazing.”
“Food, drink...” he took another bite of his food, “then Staci once I can relax...if I can relax.”
Sadie rolled her eyes, leaving him to eat his dinner, “dessert’s in the oven.” And took her coffee into the lounge curling up in her chair to watch the news.
Half an hour later a happy and full Gilbert entered the lounge slouching on the sofa to give his stomach a rest.
“That was amazing.”
“Good. Now update me with what’s going on. There was nothing on the local news about...”
“He’s not important enough, and it’s a small town.”
“Yeah, true, but the CS doesn’t turn up in most cases,” she smirked. “So give?”
Gil pondered for a moment then looked over at Sadie. “I like him.
“I know th...”
“Let me finish for once, Sadie.”
“I like him. My body likes him. I have no idea why. He’s just broken up with a girlfriend meaning he’s not gay and I doubt he’s bi or if he is, he hasn’t realised it yet. I’m at a bit of a loss of what to do or where to go with...well I just don’t...”
Sadie began to chuckle, her coffee spilt on her jeans as she put her mug on the side table. “I don’t believe this. Never thought I’d see my brother so confused.”
“You’re in love with the man,” she patted his knee and continued to laugh. “My brother is in love,” she chortled. “About bloody time.”
Gil looked at her in shock. “Don’t be bloody daft. I barely know the man.”
“Love doesn’t work like that. It just hits you. Bit like it did mum and dad.”
“Christ. Hell. No.” he jumped up and started pacing the floor. “He’s not available, Sadie.”
“How do you know...”
“NO,” he yelled.
“Hey steady on, Gil. Be his friend for now. If it’s meant to work it will.”
“Damn,” he kicked the sofa making Sadie giggle. “Shut it. Wait until you get stung, I’ll rub your nose in it then, to be sure.”
Sadie began laughing hysterically, tear’s running down her face, “Not...going,” she took another breath, “to...happen...Oh God, stop looking...” another breath, “looking at me like that,” she gasped in a rush. “Humph,” he scowled. “I’m going to bed. Have a good time at work,” and strode out of the lounge to his room.
Staci woke with a jerk, trying to open his eyes and groaned in pain.
“Glad you’re awake Mr Kalen, we need to move you upstairs.”
“What the hell happened?”
“You got beaten up by looks of things.” Staci peered through his blurred vision seeing a porter approach the bed. “Here let me help you into the wheelchair.”
“Shit,” he moaned sitting up and swinging his bruised legs over the edge. “Thanks.”
The porter caught his arm as he swayed on his feet, helping him turn and sit in the wheelchair.
“Welcome. Get your feet on the...” Staci bent his knees hissing with pain as his feet landed on the footrests.
“Damn the bastards.”
“We’ll have you back in bed soon.” Staci felt the air move around him, the wheels squeaking on the ground as the Porter walked down the corridor and into a lift. “Nearly there,” he stated. The doors pinged and his journey continued. Peering through his half-closed eyes he saw doors swing open and a nurse approached.
“Mr Kalen,” she patted his shoulder looking at the Porter. “You take him to room 308 please Marcus. I’ll join you there shortly.”
“Sure, Tracie.” and off they set again.
“Here now. You sit tight and I’ll get you by the bed and help you in.”
Staci groaned as he sat on the bed. The porter helped him lift his legs on to the bed and covered him with a sheet.
“That was one hell of a beating you took, mate.”
“Worse than I thought. Hope the nurse brings...”
“Hello Mr Kalen, I’ve got your pain meds for you.” she put the small container in his hand and a glass of water in his other. Staci took them and lay his head back sleep soon taking over.
“Yeah. Seems his ex-girlfriend went a bit too far.”
“What do you mean, Tracie?”
“You know Katie Renoldi? They were living together, have been for a few years. Seems she dumped him for someone else.”
“Bloody hell. Thinking about it, I’ve seen them walking about town holding hands, happy as. Wonder what the hell happened.”
“New boyfriend beat him up, from what I heard. Not sure though. Gil Jarvis is on the case...Kalen’s a friend.”
“Thought I’d seen Gil earlier, he’s a good man, always helping. Anyway, I’d best go before my supervisor yells.”
“See you later,” she smiled.
They left Staci to sleep off his meds