I woke up surrounded my white and blue. Confused, I lifted my head and the pain made me squint and wince.
“Janey, you’re awake.” Matt was sitting on a plastic chair holding my hand.
“Why are you sitting on a plastic chair?” I asked seriously.
He laughed and I saw worry drain from his handsome tanned face, the lovely laugh lines around his piercing blue eyes. Seeing him laugh made me smile, even though I was disoriented and had no idea what was going on.
“I’m on a plastic chair because you’re in hospital, Nina went a bit mental and hit you over the head with a doorstop.”
“Oh, fuck. What kind of doorstop?”
“Why does it matter.”
“Because I have a funny image of her going mental with one of those novelty ones that look like a dog or something.”
“It was a fox one.”
We both burst out laughing.
“I’m sorry I didn’t stop her, she er, stabbed me.”
I noticed his arm was in a bandage.
“Are you serious?”
“Only in the arm and shoulder, was superficial. She went at me with the knife when you left and ran after you with the doorstop. I never thought that she could be capable of that, I’m really shocked.”
“God. Why don’t I remember anything after walking out of the kitchen?”
“She gave you a concussion when she hit you over the head, the doctors are going to do some scans to make sure you’re okay. You’re going to be fine, it’s just a precaution.”
“Wow, jesus. What time is it?”
“Lunch time, it’s only been a few hours.”
“She’s crazier than I thought.”
“The police are gonna come and talk to you later, if that’s okay?”
“Yeah, was she on something?”
“She did seem like she was on something, more than usual. I have a feeling it might have been planned.”
“Why do you think that?”
“The random pan of boiling water, and the doorstop wasn’t in front of the door. I saw her grab it from the hallway table when I chased her. Why would a doorstop be on a table?”
“That is a bit weird.”
“This is all more than a bit weird. Janey, I am so sorry. I had no idea she would do something like this.”
“I didn’t either. She’s been arrested though.”
“I think she needs help, it’s getting beyond jealousy.”
“I’ll make sure that she gets help and never hurts you again. I love you.”
“I love you too.”
“I’m going to speak to work tomorrow and see where I can transfer if you like? We can look at renting a place together?”
“That sounds amazing.”
“I want to get you away from the crazy that I’ve put you in.”
I went for scans and spoke to doctors. Matt came round with a latte and cake for me. He bought me a big bunch of flowers and held my hand. I kept asking him how he was, and he kept telling me not to worry about him, that it was basically a scratch. I felt awful for him, and admittedly I was feeling a little sorry for myself as well.
I was told I could go home and wait for the results, I seemed fine. I just had a prescription for the headaches.
I went home and sat on the balcony with a coffee. I just wanted some silence and air for a while. It was all a bit too much. I told myself over and over that the police will deal with this, and we can move away and have a peaceful life together.
The next morning I went to the police station to give my statement. Nina was back home with charges of assault against her.
I got home and Keria called asking if she could visit. I asked if she could do a recording while she was there, I was behind. She told me no one would mind if I missed an episode, considering what’s been going on.
“So what the fuck happened?” She asked, bearing flowers for me and a bottle of wine.
“Crazy Nina came at me with a doorstop and knocked me out.” I said, ushering Keria in and getting her a coffee.
“God I have so many questions. I’m so happy you’re okay. Wow, looks mega classy in here. Matt?” She called.
Matt came out from the office.
“Hiya,” he greeted Keria. Keira gave me a look of approval.
“Well aren’t you two the cutest thing ever?”
Matt put his arm around me and kissed my head.
“She’s so resilient.” He said. “Listen, I don’t want to get in the way so I’m going to go into work for a few hours. I’ve got my phone on the cameras so I’ll keep an eye on the doors.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll keep your girl safe,” Keria gave him a big smile.
In the day and a half following what happened with Nina, he never wavered with his charm and reassurance, he never made it about him once.
“Matt before you go I have a bit of news for you both.”
“Well, Nina made an announcement over email to the entire office, saying that she’s going to a rehab centre for two months. I’m not sure if it’s just a cover up for what she did and the arrest, but I went to see if she was home on the way here and no one was in. Might be a coincidence, but it would be a comfort if she is gone for a while.”
“Oh God, that’s great news.” I said.
Matt gave a very genuine smile. “Thank you, Keira. You’re such a good friend to Jane.”
“I am, so I have my eyes on you, you know?”
“Consider me warned.” He said, laughing, as he left.
“So what’s the plan now with you two?” She asked.
“We’re going to move somewhere different for a while, to get away and be ourselves. I don’t know where yet, Matt’s going to see about a transfer today.”
“As soon as, I have nothing to lose. I’m going to be annoying and visit you all the time though so don’t worry about that.”
She gave me a massive hug.
“You’ve got to do what you need to do.” She said, reassuringly.
“I’m going to be busy myself. Since I quit.”
“What do you think?”
“That is amazing!”
“I sent an email to Nina telling her to suck it. I’m finally going to start my business.”
“No way? You got a shop?”
“Yep! It’s damp, too small, not close enough to the high street, but it’s all I can afford and I think it’s going to be a success, I really do.”
“I can’t wait to get a bitching tailored suit from you.”
“And I can’t wait to make you one. I really think I have this. It’s going to be the only place in town that does decent womens suits and office wear.”
“It’s all happening. You are happy, I’m happy. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.
“Lets get fucking recording then!”
We sat down and chatted, Nina talked about the opening of her shop/studio, with passion and a real insight into the gap in the market. Then we got onto me.
“I’ve been finding it really difficult to talk about the really difficult things in my life. I’ve been hiding who I really am, because I only want people to see the normal bits, I have this obsession with being liked and accepted. But, now, I’m deciding to be honest. Hopefully some people will still like me after, and I know that they are true friends or like minded people that are accepting and open minded of people like me. I’m not really conventional, I haven’t spoken about this much because I don’t want to seem self obsessed.”
“You are so far from self obsessed, some things are allowed to be about you. You’re allowed to be proud of yourself as well.” Keria said, reassuringly into her microphone.
“I moved two hundred miles when I was sixteen, on my own. This was because some things happened in my family. My Dad had been having an affair with a nineteen year old girl, and he had been since this girl was sixteen. Me and my mother knew nothing of this. Until this girl ended it with my Dad. She had gone off to Uni and had seen what she was missing, spending all her time with someone that was older than her, this was the first time she spent a lot of time with people her own age. She decided she didn’t want to carry on with my Dad, according to her friends. At this point me and my Mum had no idea of this affair, we thought he was just in the pub after work.”
I stopped and took a deep breath, I looked to Keira.
“It’s okay, take your time.”
“They were in the car, he said in his police interviews later on that she told him she didn’t want to be with him or see him again while he was driving. He drove her to the bridge over the river Ouse. He, erm. He beat her to death and threw her in the river, according to the autopsy.”
I had a few tears rolling down my face, Keira put her arm around me.
“He came home that evening, as if nothing happened. He had his dinner, spaghetti bolognaise, watched the soaps, and went to bed. He got up for work the next day, that was the day they found the body. Her phone was found and handed into police from the bridge, which had messages on it from my Dad. They arrested him that night. The police just came to the house and took him away. A detective sat with my Mum and told her that he was seeing this young girl, and that he was now a suspect for her murder. I heard everything. They went to trial and he was found guilty, my Mum, she was so upset. She spiralled, understandably, she didn’t really want me under her feet and so I moved. I had a tiny bit of money from my weekend waitressing, but I had some saved because I originally wanted to go away with my friends from school for a week, so I used the money to move instead. I went to the train station with a suitcase of clothes, my passport and phone, and a bit of cash in my bra, and I got the next train that came to the station. I haven’t been home since. I decided I couldn’t speak to or see my Dad again, because I hated what he had done. I told myself I would speak to my mother again when she wants to speak to me, she calls me occasionally, but she’s never asked or suggested that I come back home. She’s not exactly too friendly on the calls, she kicked me out essentially, but claims I abandoned her. When I offer to come back, she tells me not to bother. I have a new life now though, and I thought I was fully happy. I have some amazing friends, I have taken to doing this and writing which I love. It’s really great, and I’m in the place where I don’t need my family or a man to make me happy. But, I met someone that makes me really really happy. I don’t need him, but I really want him. I want to be around him, he appreciates me, supports me, loves me, gives me comfort and companionship. But he is married, he’s separated now, but I did sleep with him for a few weeks while he was still married. Some photos came out of the two of us and I got a lot of hate and judgement and I lost my job. I know a few of you on the facebook group have seen the article about me. I haven’t been reading the comments because..”
I was crying now. I took a few breaths.
“I was worried that people would judge me, I mean. Obviously people are judging me. I can picture the ‘why would you have an affair with a married man when your Dad had an affair and killed the girl he was sleeping with’. I just wasn’t ready for that, I wasn’t ready for people to know about my background, but, it is what it is. I am who I am.”
“And you are amazing, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for finding love with someone that has a broken marriage. The world isn’t like the films, and the storybooks, people don’t have perfect timing when they fall in love. When people fall in love other people get hurt. You have been hurt, so have I, and I’ve caused that hurt. But the only way to avoid doing that is by not being with who you want to be with and making yourself unhappy. Janey, the timing you had wasn’t ideal, but you’re so happy now and not a stressed little tensed up ball trying to please everyone. I’m so proud of you for letting yourself be happy.”
I was sobbing.