~ 13 ~
I wake some hours later and I can tell it’s morning. It takes seconds for the events of last night to rush over me. I have a terrible headache and wish I’d taken some Panadol before I went to sleep. Strangely I feel okay. I look down at the grazes on my arms and note they are already healing. I am not scared; in fact, I am determined to not let what happened beat me. I lay there for a few minutes until the urge to pee presses me to get up. Finishing in the toilet, I wash my hands and look at myself in the mirror. My eyes are still puffy and slightly red but considering everything that happened to me, I don’t look too bad.
I decide I need to call mum because Miles is right; I need to talk to someone about it. Swiping my phone from my bedside table, I see a glass of water and 2 Panadol next to a note. I pick up the note and it reads:
Take these, take it easy. Call me if you need to. M
Wow, what a beautiful gesture. It makes me like him even more. Downing the Panadol and water in one go, I smile as I make my way to the kitchen to call Mum.
“Beth honey, hi!”
“You busy? I need you to come over.”
“Are you okay?”
“I just need to talk to you. Something happened last night and I….”
“I’m on my way.”
While I wait for mum to turn up, I send Miles a text.
Thanks for everything. B x
Mum arrives just as I pour boiling water into the tea pot. She walks up to me and wraps her arms around me, I turn in her embrace just as the tears begin again. This time I’m not full on crying, just sniffling. I don’t think I can possibly cry anymore.
Mum listens to me as I tell her about the drunk man. I don’t tell her about Miles or about my real job. She listens to the whole thing and only when I am done does she speak.
“Oh my baby girl. All I ever want in life is to keep you safe and for you to be happy. This horrible excuse for a man has taken away both of those things. If I could take away your pain, I would in a heart beat. Are you sure he is in jail?”
“Yes, he is. I have to sign some paperwork today. The officers said because they got it all on security footage, there’s no way he would be let out.”
“Good. I can have the family lawyer take a look at it and make sure he gets every possible book thrown at him.” She says with determination.
“I appreciate that mum, but I just want to move past this. Please don’t tell Dad, I know that he will want to involve the lawyers and as I said, I don’t want it to drag on.”
“If that’s what you want Beth. You are such a strong young lady and I am so proud to be your mum.”
“You’re going to make me cry again and lord knows I did enough of that last night.” I attempt to lighten the mood.
“Shall I call Trey over and we have a movie day?”
“Yeah, I think I’d like that.”
About halfway through the third movie, my phone rings from the coffee table in front of us. I make a move to pick it up but Trey beats me to it and raises an eyebrow at the caller.
“I’ll be back in a minute, guys. No need to pause the movie.” I say as I make my way to my bedroom and close the door before hitting the answer button.
“Hey yourself. Just checking in?” he says, and I can’t help the smile that takes over my face.
“I’m doing much better. Thanks for the Panadol.”
“You’re welcome. You up for some company?”
“It’s ok, forget I asked.”
“It’s just, Mum and Trey are here.”
“Oh good. That’s good. I’m glad you aren’t alone.” And he sounds like he means it.
We stay silent for a while and then we both speak at the same time.
Laughing I let him continue. “Look, I think we need to talk. I know we spoke briefly last night about Ashley’s but…”
“There is still so much to say.” I finish his sentence.
“Exactly. Let me know when you feel up to it.”
“I will. Talk to you soon Miles.”
“See ya Beth.”
After we hang up, I stay on my bed for a few minutes. I feel giddy and excited but also really nervous. I don’t really know what he’s thinking. I mean he calls me kiddo, I don’t really think that’s appropriate anymore.
I’m not sure where my head is at either with it all. I look at him differently now, not just as my dad’s best friend. I ask myself the question I’ve been trying to avoid since our first encounter at Ashely’s…. If he wasn’t my dads’ best friend, what then? If I take that out of the equation the issue becomes so simple. I would want to get to know him further and see where things took us. But he is my dads’ best friend, so it’s not so easy.
There’s a knock on my door seconds before it opens and the head of my neighbour pokes through.
“You going to stay in here pretending you’re not hiding something from me for much longer?” he smiles a cocky grin.
“Shut up.” I laugh.
“Your mum wants to know if you want to order any food?”
I glance down at my phone still clutched in my hand to see the time.
“Oh wow, I didn’t realise it’s dinner time.” I stand up and walk out to the lounge room where mum is looking at something on her phone. She looks up at me as I approach.
“What do you feel like for dinner? Chinese, Thai that new burger place?” she asks me.
“I love you mum. And you Trey. Thank you both for being here with me today. I feel good now and I owe that to you guys.”
“Shucks, sweetie you know I am always here for you. Literally right through that wall. Anytime. I love you like the sister I never got.”
“Don’t make me cry again!” I laugh while fanning my face to ward away the tears threating to spill.
“Trey is right, Beth. We wouldn’t be anywhere else. I am so proud of you, my darling daughter.”
“I vote burgers, bitches!” Trey announces.
With a laugh Mum and I agree and she pulls up the burger menu on her phone.
Forty minutes later we are delving into the most delicious burgers I have ever had while settling in to watch Bridget Jones’s Diary. I feel amazing surrounded by my family but thoughts of Miles’ aren’t far away.