It wasn’t for another week until I was let out of the hospital. Bradley hadn’t come back to see me, and I took that as he never would.
We were over and that broke my heart.
I barely slept for days, so doctors gave me a prescription for sleeping pills and some anti-depressants to keep me calm.
I had started therapy with a local counsellor who happened to be Tracey’s cousin. She was just as kind and knew my mother too, so I found out so many stories about my mother that I never knew about, from when she was in high school.
I was still sad that Tracey had died because of my families’ mess, but there was nothing I could do about it.
Karlos had moved in full time into Greg’s old house, completely wiping it clean of any bugs and cameras.
He had taken over the Midnight Rose legend and begun to better it. Bringing a more old-fashioned form of gang, men in suits, business before pleasure, hard work and family. The drugs my grandfather had been working had been destroyed, this caused a few business deals to be destroyed and retaliation was inevitable.
I had decided I needed to stay in the house grandpa had bought me, but not before it was wiped clean thoroughly.
Taylor and Damien would also be moving in with me while Jason stayed with Karlos learning the right way to deal with business.
Everything had settled after a few months and finally I got to go back to work after everyone tip toed around me, helping me with literally everything that I felt useless.
“Ready to go Sam?!” Taylor shouted from downstairs as I put the familiar uniform on that I hadn’t worn in a long time.
I was still having trouble with my mental state, nightmares flooded my nights, several times Taylor and Damien would run into my room to calm me down, my sweaty head and shaking body encased in their arms as they watched with no idea what else to do.
Counselling was helping my daily state, but it didn’t stop the dreams, the feel of Vern on my skin, the pain I had bore over the year and the grief I felt at every child I had lost. No matter whose child they were, they would still have been my babies. Nothing prepares you for that loss.
Last week I had gotten into an argument with my uncle over going back to work when he refused my decision to go back to work.
But after a few hours of taking and both my brothers by my side we all decided that work might give me a piece of normality that I needed.
My father and I had been spending dinners together every week getting to know each other, and it was going great so far. He was often busy with Karlos as they had banded together to make their stance stronger.
“I’m coming!” I shouted back to Taylor as I rushed down the stairs.
He rolled his eyes at me as I slipped down the last step before chuckling.
“Have a nice trip?” He smirked. I shoved him playfully.
“Bite me” I growled with a smile fighting its way out as I went towards the kitchen.
“Hurry up Sam, we are going to be late!” Taylor groaned. I was guessing Damien had already left for work, he had become our tech expert and I loved how excited he got over everything. Cameras were his favourite.
I grabbed a quick breakfast bar and a bottle of water and walked out the kitchen briskly, munching on the way to the car as Taylor rolled his eyes.
“Girls, I will never understand” He muttered.
“Good thing you’re gay then” I laugh as he nodded, starting the car.
“Good morning Ma’am” A brand new face greeted me at the front desk. I stopped, confused.
“Morning. What happened to Ben?” I asked confused.
The man at the desk began to guffaw loudly.
“Nice to see you again too! You told me to change, didn’t think you wouldn’t even recognize me!” He laughed as I took in his face in amazement.
He had lost so much weight, the big belly was now a toned body, the desk clear and tidy.
“Wow, well done Ben, I’m so happy you took my advice. You look so much better. Do you feel better?” I asked as Taylor abandoned me to go through without me.
“I feel so much better. My cousin did a number on me, nearly died the first few months” He laughed.
“I’m glad, it’s good to see another familiar face” I smiled as I waved and went to the elevator to head up to the office.
“Sam!” Damien called out from his desk with a smile as I sat at my desk.
It felt surreal, I had missed this, work, keeping busy, normality.
Not that I thought my life would ever be normal…
“Someone going to catch me up?” I asked as Damien and Taylor stood in front of my desk.
“Yeah, of course, so, first, Rob, Wayne and James are on a small job for some political party, I bet they are having lots of fun. Shaun and Brian are downstairs working out. There’s a meeting at 3pm with a new client which I am taking later, if you want to join, it’s up to you.” Taylor stated, he thought he didn’t notice the side look he gave Damien, obviously missing a vital person in my team.
“For god sake guys, come out with it… Where is he?” I snapped as Damien began to fiddle with his engagement ring.
“He left; he asked your uncle to move him. He refuses to come back” Damien murmured.
My heart broke and finally split fully in two, but I held it back, I didn’t cry, I just nodded and focused on my breathing just like the counsellor had taught me.
“That’s fine. It’s his decision. If he wants to be a coward and run from his problems, then he can do that. He’s a grown man who can do what he likes” I answer as they watched me for any sign of weakness.
“As long as you’re alright I don’t care what the bastard does. Guy is a dick for leaving you when you needed him most. He was so crazy looking for you and then leaves you when he finds you. Absolutely crazy!” Damien raised his arms in exasperation.
“Seriously guys, don’t worry. It’s his problem. Now I need to keep busy and move on. What can I do?”
“We’ve got things pretty handled up here. Perhaps you could go and help Shaun kick Brian’s ass” Taylor smirked.
“I could do with a work-out, it’s been a while, I need to get back in shape” I said looking at my bony body which had filled back a little once more, but I was nowhere near the size I was.
I made my way down to the gym but stood like a stalker watching as Shaun and Brian were sparring.
Shaun feigned left and caught Brian in the gut as he went down, Shaun laughed.
He looked sideways to the door, then back to Brian, before realising he had seen me, doing a double take as a broad grin spread across his face.
“Sam” He smiled as Brian turned to see me too.
“Cupcake!” Brian ran up to me picking me up before twirling me around.
“Cupcake? That’s new.” I laughed as he set me down, he shrugged with a smile.
“Sam, you good?” Shaun hugged me looking at me, trying to gauge my reactions.
“I’m fine Shaun, I promise” I smiled softly and I’m not sure if he believed me or not, but he took it.
“He’ll figure it out you know, what he’s done, he’ll come running back” Brian said searching my face for a reaction when mentioning Bradley.
“Not my problem anymore. If he decides to come back, I don’t care” I snapped, Shaun tensed next to me.
“Sam, it was a tough time for him. For all of us” He added.
“A tough time for him! He didn’t have someone taking his virtue, he didn’t have someone do this!” I raised my voice and then raised my top to show every scare on my torso. I hadn’t showed a soul except my brother Jason.
“Shit, you told us what happened, but your scars, they make it so much scarier. I’m sorry Sam” Shaun said a finger running down the line of the longest scar.
I shoved my top back down in angry and pushed past the guys.
“You two going to just stand there or fight me? I need to get back in shape and I’m not going to do that while you two fuckers stand there!” I say standing waiting in the sparring box.
“Fine, lets see what you’ve got cupcake, it’s been a while” Brian sighed as he came towards me as Shaun stood to the side watching to see any faults in movement.
We circled each other.
“Don’t go lightly, I need to see what I can do still” I urge as Brian looks to Shaun unsure.
“Go ahead, put the kid on her ass, she asked for it. About time we got payback” He gestured.
Brian flew towards me with a smirk as I dodged his first few hits, landing one to his jaw.
“That was pathetic Sam. Again” Shaun ordered as he noticed my sloppy form, my hit barely tapping Brian.
Again I began to keep hitting at Brian, but he caught every single one.
“Again!” Shaun shouted from the side.
We kept going and going until I was flat on my back, pinned by Brian.
“That’s enough, no need to kill her on her first day back” Shaun uttered tapping Brian on the shoulder as he released me.
“Fuck!” I screamed hitting the punch bag near me, sweat glistening on my skin.
“Don’t beat yourself up. You will get back to how you were again. It will take time. Now go shower, you stink” Brian said hugging me quickly before turning his nose up at me.
I left the room, heading to the showers feeling completely dejected.
Turning the hot water on I stood under the powerful flow of the shower as the water flowed over my scarred body.
“Fuck!” I screamed angrily as I slid down the cold shower wall.
I sat there for a long time, arms wrapped around my legs as my head rested on my knees, sobbing.
“Samantha?! You in here?!” A voice yelled.
Unsure footsteps echoed through the showers.
“Samantha… shit!” two hands grabbed me, pulling me off the floor, wrapping me in a towel and turning the shower off, I was shivering as the shower had run cold.
“What were you thinking?” the voice continued as they held me close as my soaked body shivered against their warmth.
“I’m weak, it’s pathetic. No wonder he left me. I’m broken” I said through my chattering teeth.
“Don’t you dare. You should never have had to go through something as painful as that. You don’t deserve any of this. You are strong Sam, so strong. Your physical strength will come back in time, we will work on it, I promise. Bradley left because he was a fucking coward. Your heart will heal I promise, in time you will heal, and we are all here to help you.” Shaun held me close to him as I began to calm down, listening to his steady beating heart.
“Thank you” I whispered.
“Let’s get you dressed and warmed up” He said pulling my chin up to face him with a worried smile.
He carefully placed me on the bench and helped me get dry, taking great care in every movement he made, making sure he kept his eyes on mine, not even looking at my lady parts that were in front of him. He helped me get dressed before chucking the sodden towel into a basket and embraced me in his arms again.
“Stupid man doesn’t know what he’s missing” he sighed quietly.
“Shaun?! You in here dude?” James’ voice called from the entrance of the locker rooms.
“Yeah, I got our girl right here” Shaun called out as a rush of footsteps ran in.
“Where the fuck have you been?!” Taylor shouted at me.
Shaun placed a hand on Taylors chest stopping him from coming closer shaking his head as he put me behind him.
“Dude get off me, I’m not going to hurt her, fucking idiot” He pushed past, but Shaun stopped him again as I whimpered behind him.
I was like a child hiding behind their father.
Taylor looked hurt as he watched me whimper away from him.
“Shit. Sammy?” He said softly.
“Not now. Get out guys. She’s having a tough day. She’s overwhelmed” Shaun stated as James, Taylor and Damien all looked at me concerned before nodding and leaving the room.
“I want to sit with mum” I sniveled.
“Your mums dead Sam” He looked at me suddenly.
“I’m not crazy, I know that, I want to go to her grave moron” I said as he realized his stupidity. Leading me by the hand through the back door of the building and into his car as we headed to the graveyard.
He stood a few feet away giving me time to myself as I sat against her tombstone.
“I can’t do this anymore mum. I’m weak. My body is broken, my heart is broken, and I don’t know who I am anymore. I bring everyone down with me. Maybe I would be better off with you. They should never have found me, I should have died that day, I should be with you” I cried as I spoke quietly, fragile.
I spoke so quietly that Shaun wouldn’t hear me, the more he heard the more he would have me watched. I wanted to be alone. I couldn’t take it anymore. The more I loved, the more I got hurt.