A ROSE HAS ITS THORN

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13

It was what I needed. The feelings I’d forgotten. Lust and desire. Intimacy. Most importantly, intimacy with Julian. And it was perfect just like the other times and I couldn’t stop smiling afterwards until we arrived at the police station.

The smile was gone, the nerves were back and I had no idea how I was going to get through it. And alone when I go in for my statement. I’m just not ready to be alone at any point at the moment. The last time I was alone, I got hurt. And it affected everyone around me.

I’m just scared and I hate it but it’s the truth.

I’m only human. And more then that, I’m a teenager with a whole life ahead of me. I’m innocent as well, I’ve done nothing and that’s what I struggle with so much. Maybe I don’t remember if I did something. Maybe I actually did do something. But I don’t know and I’m left bare of the answers.

Who came after me?

And why?

I got off the bike before Julian as I glanced to my parents and Angus as they got out of Mum’s car. I turned my back to them and pulled off my helmet as Julian got off the bike too.

“Rosie,” Angus said, taking my shoulders to turn me before he hugged me. “It’s been real quiet without you around.”

“Really?” I smirked, hugging him back before I sucked in a breath when he squeezed me, making me laugh a little. “You wouldn’t have been home much anyway,” I said, pulling away from him.

“No, I was actually expecting to have time with you,” he said, looking at me softly before his eyes moved to Julian and anger flashed through them for a second before he looked back at me.

“But you never came home. It was quite upsetting since it has been more than three months,” he whispered, tears suddenly clouding his eyes so I knew he was thinking too much of the bad. “Actually, a lot more since we’ve had time together. I hope we can fix that up soon though,” he smiled softly as I felt my eyes water too. He made a pop noise with his tongue before he pulled me back in for another hug, which I returned as I tried to keep my tears in.

“Soon, I promise,” I murmured against his chest and then felt Mum’s warm hand brush against my arm.

“How are you today?” She asked when my brother and I pulled away from our embrace.

“I’m okay,” I smiled softly and kissed her cheek. “I’m sorry about last night. It was just a big day.”

“Did something happen?” She asked, sounding a little concerned as I sighed a little.

“Nothing bad. Just some trouble with Ruben. But I did remember another thing,” I smiled, feeling my cheeks heat up a little as I remembered back to only an hour ago when Julian and I were caught up in each other. “A memory before what happened and it was good.”

“That’s good, sweetie.”

“What was it?” Angus asked, narrowing his eyes a little.

“Ah. Just when Julian gave me a key to our loft in the city, near the beach. It’s amazing. We went there this morning and it was really good,” I smirked, holding my hands together in front of me. I looked from the two of them and towards Dad as he and Julian were deep in conversation, their backs to us.

I wondered what they were talking about. And especially when I realised Julian had his hands balled in fists, his shoulders tense too.

I clenched my jaw a little before I looked away and to Angus as Mum walked to the other two.

“How are you going anyway?” I asked my brother.

He sighed a little, his breath breaking a little. “I could be better. But it is what it is.”

“I’m okay, you know that right?”

“You could still be a target,” he snapped back, making me look at him in surprise as he moved his fingers over his eyes. “I’m worried and scared. So scared.”

“Don’t be.”

“Do not tell me what to do,” he said, shaking off my hand from his arm as I glanced away and to the ground. “It’s been hard. Very hard, Rosie. I’ve needed you, I’ve needed my little sister these past few days. Just to be alone with you, like old times. How close were we, hey? We used to be so close. What happened? I hardly see-I hardly hear from you now. And it’s killing me,” his eyes were wide, angry and scared.

He was a mixture of emotions and thoughts at the moment, I could tell. And he’s affected by this too. A lot. And I didn’t realise, it makes me feel stupid that I didn’t realise he was hurting too. He’s my brother, how couldn’t I think of him? Or notice as I noticed it in Julian and my mother?

“I’m so sorry,” I breathed, brushing my hands up to wipe away the falling tears. “And I know it’s hard. But we have to work through it and move on. I don’t want it hurting everyone anymore,” I said, touching my hand back to his arm just as Mum stepped in next to us and brushed back some of my hair.

“We have to go inside now,” she said softly and I nodded a little, glancing back to Julian as he came over to us. I looked from him to my father, who was looking back. I waited for a smile, a mouthed hello. Anything. But he just looked away and gave me nothing.

I swallowed hard, looking away fast too. What was wrong with him? He can’t say hi or even see how I am?

It’s disappointing.

“Let’s just get this over and done with,” I muttered, taking Julian’s hand as we made our way towards the front doors.

***

Twenty minutes later, officer Danes called me in and there was definitely hesitation as I sat next to Julian in the sitting room. He glanced to me as I took a breath, turning to him slightly.

“You’ll be fine.”

“I know,” I breathed and he leaned forward and kissed my head softly before I stood up and paused before I let go of his hand. I looked back at him once more before I turned my back and told myself to be confident as I followed Danes through the station and through a door.

It was a small and cold room. Simple with a table, two chairs, one on either side.

“Miss Teredo, I’m glad to finally meet you.” He was a tall and thin guy who looked close to his forties. Grey hairs started showing from his dark hair, neatly cut short as he wore the uniform neatly too. “As a requirement, please state your full name, middle included, and date of birth.” He said as we both sat down and I glanced to the notepad and pen he had with him.

“My name is Rosaline Grace Teredo,” I started and he nodded, checked something on the paper. “My birthdate is the thirty-first of the fifth, two thousand and two.”

“Good. And you’re an Australian citizen?” He asked and I nodded.

“Yes.”

“And what can you tell me of what you know already to what happened on the ninth of august? From the start of the day to when you can go to,” he said slowly and I shifted as I started to feel more cornered. Uncomfortable and uncertain but I knew I had to do it.

“I-I don’t remember anything that would help.”

“Can you please tell me what you do remember?” He asked and I blinked a few times, glancing away when the screams replayed in my head. My mum’s screams. Julian’s cries.

My dreams.

“I remember falling back on my bed. The pain and the feeling of knowing I was going to die.” I whispered but it was still loud enough that he could hear. “I-I,” I swallowed, moving my hands together as I looked down into my lap.

“Take your time, okay? I don’t want to push you to anything and you have a right to say no more. You don’t have to do this.”

“I just want to get it over and done with. I don’t want to be afraid to talk about it,” I replied, looking back at him and he nodded softly. “I just remember my mother screaming. And my boyfriend telling me to hold on, that I needed to stay awake,” I scratched my cheek a little when my hair tickled it. I pushed my locks back behind my shoulders. “And that’s it.”

“Thank you for sharing that with me,” he smiled softly but sadly before he glanced down to the pad. “Do you know of anyone who would have wanted to do you harm? Or anyone close to you?”

“No. And that’s why I don’t get why it happened.”

“We’ll figure that out. I promise,” he replied. “Did you have any enemies in school? Even the little things I’ll take. Was anyone jealous of your singing career? Any negative comments from fans?”

“Not that I can think off,” I frowned a little. “About the fans. There was a girl in school though, she was jealous of me with Julian, my boyfriend. But she wouldn’t have done anything.”

“Janice Walker,” he nodded. “I’ve heard her name come up a few times by your friends and Julian. How well do you know Janice?”

“Um. Not too well. But she-she couldn’t do something like this.”

“Maybe. But you never know someone for who they really are until they let you see them,” he replied and glanced back at his papers. “That is all I have for you, miss Teredo. Thank you for coming in,” he said as I stood with him.

“That went quicker than I thought,” I murmured with a small smile.

“You have a good day. Tell your parents I will be in contact with them when anything new comes up,” he said and I nodded as he held the door open.

“Thanks,” I whispered, walking out and making my way back to the others are they waited silently in the sitting room.

“Hey,” Julian got up first. “How’d it go?”

“Fine,” I replied, glancing to Mum and Angus as they got up, making me realise Dad was gone. “Where’d Dad go?”

“He just got a call so he’s outside,” Mum answered and smiled as she touched under my chin. “Everything okay in there?”

“Everything was fine. It got a little hard telling him what I remembered but it was okay,” I said, brushing my hand around Julian’s before he took it, lifted it up to his lips and kissed it softly. I smiled at him in return before I pulled him forward so we could leave. Mum and Angus followed behind us closely.

We walked outside to find Dad pacing up and down next to the car, still on the phone and looking quite angered.

“He hasn’t even said a word to me, you know that right?” I told Mum and she sighed a little.

“He’s just working out a few things, sweetie.”

“And he can’t say hi to his daughter? Can’t see if I’m okay like you both did?” I scoffed. “I hate him, Mum. You should know that.”

“You don’t hate him. Don’t say that.”

“After what he did? I don’t even know how he even wormed his way back into your life,” I replied harshly, swallowed hard. “He doesn’t even care. Not for you, not for me. He’s just going to leave again-.”

“Enough, Rosaline,” she barked, making me turn my back to her and hold Julian’s hand again as he watched me concerningly. “Julian, she comes home.”

“Don’t listen to her,” I mumbled, pulling him away and towards his bike.

“I better or she’ll be angry at me. Been there, done that, not too keen for going there again,” he said, making me laugh a little as I got my helmet and put it on just as he did.

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