Double or Nothing

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6 - Final Thoughts

It was the day of the hearing. I was as prepared as I could be. I had stacks of paperwork with various evidence of my fathers misdeeds. His violent outbursts, his drinking, and his recent obsession with me. I was beginning to realise that this was it. This could make sure I never saw him again.

Josh drove the three of us to the court, and I kept breathing deeply. I was beginning to feel nervous, and nervousness often led to anxiety.

Caleb and Josh stayed either side of me as we walked into the courts and I introduced myself at reception. They told me where to go. Caleb and Josh went with me as far as they could, until they were told to wait outside while I made some last minute preparations with my lawyer.

My lawyer, a Mr Lawrence Fiore, was a brilliant man. A genius in law. He had copies of everything I had, and had prepared them readily for the case ahead. He was incredibly prepared and even had a list of other cases he could cite to bring things to the courts attention. I thought they only did that in movies.

He was incredibly clever, and he was only 28. I was very impressed.

‘You ready?’ He asked me.

‘A little nervous, but otherwise fine.’ I nodded.

‘Just breathe. You don’t need to do any talking until they call you up on the stand, which I have advised against due to your anxiety. They may do it anyway, but the judge will probably ask them to keep it short, at the very least.’ He told me.

‘That would be helpful.’ I nodded. ‘I guess it’s just one of those thing I just have to do. Stiff upper lip and all that.’

‘Precisely.’ Lawrence agreed. ‘Now we’re gonna go in there, and prove to people that your dad is causing issues for you.’ He said, putting his hands on my shoulders and steering me toward the door to the court room. I felt like a boxer heading for a fight with my coach behind me.

I walked into the room and gulped. I felt like I was in some sort of cop drama. It was so strange. There were people filling the stands for the observers. Some friends, family members. Caleb and Josh were in the front row, sat directly behind where I would sit, to give me moral support, I guessed. Josh put his thumbs up and smiled at me as I walked in. Caleb looked like he was going to be sick.

When I sat down where Lawrence directed me to sit, Josh patted my shoulder affectionately. ‘You’ll be fine.’ He whispered as everyone stood up as the judge came in.

‘Please be seated.’ The judge said, and everyone sat back down. ‘We are here today to review the case of Green vs Green. The charges are trespassing, assaulting a police officer and disturbing the peace. The complainant has suggested a restraining order and will be providing evidence to suggest that this is needed.’ He announced.

The judge seemed fierce and menacing, but as his eyes wandered the court he seemed to scowl at my dad, and then when his eyes passed to me, he gave me a small smile, reassuring me that he would be nice. To me at least.

‘Would the side of the complainant please offer their opening statement?’ He said, nodding toward my lawyer, who stood up and opened his arms wide as he faced the jury.

‘Ladies and gentlemen. My client is here to provide information relating to the defendant in the hopes that you will see what his issues are, and judge accordingly. We will provide evidence and eye-witness testimonies over the course of this hearing to prove that the defendant has a history of aggressive, and sometimes violent behaviour. My client would like to ask for a restraining order, to be free from his fear of the defendant. We will be looking at evidence of previous convictions and complaints, as well as eye-witness accounts from friends, relatives and neighbours in order to allow you to come to a conclusion.’ He turned away and sat back in his chair.

‘That’s it?’ I whispered.

‘Simple, but effective.’ He nodded. ‘Trust me.’

‘And the defence?’ The judge asked.

My dad’s lawyer stood up, nodded towards Lawrence and then turned to face the jury.

‘My learned friend would have you believe that this case is a matter of complainant and defendant, but I must remind you otherwise. My client is simply a father, trying to repair his relationship with his son. That is all this case is. My client has done very little wrong. He admits any wrongdoings he has caused, but we would show you, if the court would allow it, that my client cares for the complainant and wishes him no harm.’ He inclined his head and then walked back to his chair.

‘That’s risky.’ Lawrence whispered, seemingly talking to himself. He looked at my confused face then explained. ‘Reminding the jury that the defendant is your father could sway them further toward our side as they would realise that the problems he caused are far worse as they are to a family member. However, if he works his argument well, he could well give us a run for our money.’ He shrugged.

‘Oh. That’s not good.’ I said, looking over at my dad’s lawyer.

‘Yeah, but they have no idea what we’ve got prepared, so they can’t really counter any of our evidence.’ He said, grinning like a Cheshire cat.

I sat through a lot of talking. My dad was the first to be put on the witness stand. He was asked a lot of questions by both lawyers, including about his history of violence, whether he had ever hit me, whether he was worse after he had a drink and if he had ever tried to receive help for his drinking problem. He was also asked about my mother, his relationship with her, why they had split up, what had happened over the last few years and so on. The questions went on for what seemed like hours, and then, when it was over, they called me up.

My lawyer stood up first. ‘I’ll try and make this quick.’ He told me.

‘Mr Green is it true that the defendant is your father?’

‘Yes.’ I answered.

‘And would it be fair to say he knows you quite well, including your medical history, for example?’

‘Yes.’

‘And therefore, would it be fair to say, Mr Green, that the defendant would know of your anxiety disorder?’

‘Yes.’

‘And therefore, would I be correct in saying that the defendant, your father, knowingly caused your anxiety to become worse in the weeks when he was coming to your home uninvited?’

‘You would.’

‘Mr Green, does the defendant, your father, scare you at all?’

‘He does.’

‘And why is that?’

‘We have a history. When I was growing up he was very aggressive, sometimes even hitting me, or my mum. He preferred to take control using fear tactics. He believed if someone was scared of you, you had power over them.’ I told him. There were some audible gasps from the jury and the spectators. Josh was staring at me. His eyes locked with mine and I looked back at him. I pretended I was explaining this to him.

‘When I was growing up, if I had done something that he deemed wrong, he would do one of three things. If it was something minor, he would slap me, on my lower back. If it was something a little more serious, he would hit me with his belt, and the worst punishment, reserved for the worst things in his eyes, would land me being locked in a dark cupboard for an hour, after being lashed with the belt. He terrorised me, and if my mum tried to intervene, he would hit her, too.’ I explained.

My dad’s lawyer got to his feet. ‘Your honour, I must object to this statement.’ He announced.

‘On what grounds?’ The judge asked, staring the man down.

‘This isn’t a judge of my client’s character. It is to judge him based off of the charges at hand.’ The lawyer explained.

‘Overruled. The query here is to whether the defendant is to receive a restraining order. Understanding the fear of the complainant is key to the ruling.’ The judge explained. ‘Please, go ahead.’

‘No further questions, your honour.’ My lawyer explained.

‘The defence may now question the witness.’ The judge said. ‘However, due for special consideration, we request that the defence does so quickly, as the witness has a medical issue which requires they not remain on the stand for too long.’

‘Noted, your honour.’ My dad’s lawyer said, standing up. ‘Mr Green. You have already stated for the court that the defendant is, in fact, your father. You have also recounted some of your worst memories from your childhood. May I ask, do you have any good memories of your father?’

‘One or two.’ I nodded.

‘Would you care to share one with the court?’ The lawyer asked.

‘Your honour, I do not see what this has to do with the trial.’ My lawyer said, standing up.

‘Sustained. The witness has given enough information for us to know his prevailing emotions toward the defendant. Change your line of questioning please.’ The judge stated.

My dads lawyer inclined his head.

‘You say your father was a violent man when you were growing up. When was the last time he hit you?’ The lawyer asked.

‘Around 3 and a half years ago.’ I told him.

‘That long ago? And yet you’re still scared of him?’

‘That was the last time I spent more than 5 minutes in his presence.’ I stated. ‘For the remaining year in which I lived with him I spent most of my time out of the house, away from him, and then, 2 years ago, I moved out and he left to go travelling.’ I explained.

‘No further questions your honour.’ The lawyer said, returning back to his seat. He seemed annoyed, like he had hoped I would spill something that would allow the jurors to empathise with my father. I’m glad he gave up quickly. If he had been determined, I’d have been on that stand for hours. He seemed to realise that it was going to get a lot worse before it could get any better, and so had given up.

I stepped down from the stand and headed back to my seat.

And that’s how it went. Witnesses were called up, asked a series of questions by both sides, each trying to prove their own point, before the witnesses were allowed to go back to their seats.

‘I call Caleb Knight to the stand.’ My lawyer announced after a while. I watched him approach the stand, confirm who he was and such. And then it began.

‘Can you confirm, for the court, your relationship with the complainant?’ My lawyer asked.

‘He’s my boyfriend.’ Caleb announced. The pride in his voice as he said that had me grinning like a fool.

‘I see. And is Mr Green senior aware of your relationship?’ Lawrence continued.

‘He is.’ Caleb nodded.

‘And how did he react when he found out you were dating his son?’

‘He hated me from the off.’

‘And is there a reason for that?’

‘Because I’m male.’ Caleb shrugged.

‘I object to this line of questioning your honour.’ My dad’s lawyer announced. ‘Again I must remind my learned friend that we are not questioning my clients personality, we are focusing directly on the matters at hand.’

‘Sustained. We will strike that from the record. Jurors, you will not use that information in your ruling.’

‘My apologies. Let’s move on to the issues at hand then, shall we? Has Mr Green senior ever hit you?’ He asked.

‘He has.’ Caleb nodded.

‘Could you describe the situation that led to that for the court?’

‘Well, it was a while back, Ryan was still living with him, but he had been staying at my house for a while, in the spare room, because I was worried about him. He wasn’t in the best health. We went back to his house to get some clothes and things so he could continue staying at mine, but we didn’t realise Mr Green would still be home. He had been drinking, and came at Ryan aggressively, meaning to hit him. I moved Ryan out of the way and blocked him from Mr Green, and when I refused to move out of the way, he punched me. I told Ryan to get some clothes and stuff from his bedroom, and to lock the door. He ran up the stairs and I faced off with Mr Green. I stared him down until he made a grunt like noise and walked back into the kitchen, I then went up the stairs to Ryan’s bedroom and helped him pack his stuff and we went back to mine.’ Caleb explained. As he retold the story, I watched it in my minds eye, as if it were happening again. I remembered it so incredibly clearly.

After that had happened I had tended to Caleb’s black eye and repeatedly apologised, despite his protests that it wasn’t my fault. That was when I had decided to name him my “Knight in black and blue armour” which he used as some sort of prestigious title. He was obviously very proud that I had such a high opinion of him.

‘No further questions your honour.’ My lawyer said, going to sit back down.

My dad’s lawyer approached the stand and cleaned his glasses as he spoke.

‘So, we have learned today that my client is a violent man, and has struck both you, and the complainant. We have learned that the complainant in fact fears my client. And yet, no one has asked the most important question. Why didn’t you call the police when it happened? Why wait and bring it all in today’s hearing?’ He asked.

‘Well, I never called police because I knew that, despite everything, Ryan couldn’t help but care for his dad. He spent most of the time we ever spoke about him making excuses for him, trying to rationalise completely irrational behaviour. I couldn’t go behind his back and call the police.’ Caleb explained.

‘Are you saying that the complainant still cares for Mr Green?’ The lawyer asked.

‘I’m saying that they are father and son. That yes, of course Josh cares about his dad, because that’s the kind of guy he is. He’s kind, and caring, and loving. But he’s been walked all over by that man, and it’s only now gotten too much for him to handle. There’s only so much one man can take before he finally takes action.’ Caleb explained.

‘Ah.’ The lawyer nodded. ‘No further questions.’ He waved away Caleb and walked back to his seat. My dad had his head in his hands. He had obviously paid a lot of money for that lawyer, and he was failing miserably. No amount of money can pay someone to make people like you.

Eventually the stream of witnesses came to and end and it was time for the jury to make their decision. We were let out of the courtroom for a few hours while they had chance to confer and come to a unanimous decision. Eventually, however, we were called back in, as the jury had made their decision.

I sat on the edge of my seat, I was visibly shaking, my hands were gripped on the edge of the seat to try and keep myself grounded. The more I could hear, feel, smell, the less likely it was that I would go into an anxiety attack.

The jury were all sat there, blank faces giving nothing away, everyone was looking at them.

‘Can the foreman please stand.’ The judge said, and a guy, on the far right of the bench where the jurors were sat, stood up. ‘Would you please state your verdict for the court?’

‘The jurors have come to the conclusion that the defendant is guilty as charged.’ The foreman stated.

‘Thank you, you may sit down now.’ The judge said, turning back to face the whole courtroom. ‘Now, it is my duty to sentence you, Mr Green. I sentence you to 6 months imprisonment for the charges of trespassing, assaulting a police officer and disturbing the peace. I declare the decision of a restraining order in favour of the complainant and therefore, once you serve your prison sentence, you will be given the restraining order. Also, because of the emotional damage you have caused to the young boy before me, you will be made to pay £3,000 in compensation.’ He stood. ‘Case closed.’ He announced, and then left the room.

A police officer came and took my dad away, who was cursing his lawyer for not doing a good enough job, and a smile broke out on my face. Not only would I never have to face my father again, but I would also be getting £3,000 in compensation.

‘Wooo!’ Josh hugged me from the other side of the divider between the benches and my seat.

We left the courtroom and me, Josh and Caleb had a group hug. Tears spilled down my face and I was grinning like an idiot.

‘Why are you crying?’ Caleb asked.

‘It’s just a really emotional time.’ I explained. ‘But don’t worry, I’m happy about the result.’ I pinned myself to Josh and Caleb and we stayed like that for a while before heading back to the car to go home. It had been an incredibly long day and I just wanted to relax.

‘When we get home, I propose ice cream and Disney movies.’ I suggested, looking between both of my boyfriends.

‘That sounds amazing.’ Josh said, sounding like it was the best idea he had ever heard.

‘That is actually one of the best ideas you’ve ever had.’ Caleb said, smirking at me. I stuck my tongue out at him and he laughed.

We arrived home and headed inside. We put the light on in the living room and Caleb wandered into the kitchen to find the ice cream and do some drinks while me and Josh collected all the Disney movies that we owned in order to have a decent selection.

Once we were all set up, with a movie ready to start, a bowl of ice cream each and a drink each, we all sat on the sofa, relaxing against the back. I was in the middle, Caleb was on my left and Josh on my right. I pressed play on the remote control and the movie began. I rested my head on Josh’s shoulder, and Caleb took my hand in his. Josh put his arm around my shoulders and I snuggled into him, pulling Caleb toward me as well. I didn’t want to leave him out.

Over the past couple of weeks, the dynamic had massively changed. The three of us had become more equal, and we were comfortable with it. We had moved the spare bed into the main bedroom and put the two beds together so that we could all sleep in the same bed, essentially. The rules I had instilled in the very beginning were being upheld. Things were going well so far.

After watching the first movie, we decided not to bother with any more and just headed to bed. I was in the middle, as I was with everything else. I wrapped an arm around Caleb, and Josh snuggled into me from behind. We knew we couldn’t sleep like that, we would overheat pretty quickly, but we stayed like that for a while, until my eyes were beginning to droop and I was nearing sleep. I moved away from Caleb and Josh moved away from me, and we all laid the easiest way we fell asleep. I was on my side, Caleb was on his back, and Josh was laid on his belly, with his head turned so he was facing me. We all stayed touching slightly, which I preferred. I had always slept in a similar way with Josh. Not too close, but still touching, because he kept me calm and relaxed. I had never really slept well until I slept with Caleb. Now, with the pair of them, I slept soundly every night.

I woke in the morning, opening my eyes to see Josh watching me. His eyes were full of love and care. I blinked and rubbed my eyes and he smiled. Caleb stirred at that point and rolled over, putting his arm around me. It was Sunday, so we didn’t need to go anywhere, so I decided to just stay there, laid with Caleb’s arm around me. Josh moved so he was on his side, facing me, and I put my arm around him, pulling him closer until we were centimetres apart.

Caleb smiled into my back. ‘Mmmm… I love waking up to you two.’ He mumbled, kissing the back of my head.

‘So do I.’ Josh agreed, kissing my forehead.

‘That makes three of us.’ I smiled at Josh and kissed his nose, then turned and kissed Caleb’s forehead.

‘Who’s up for breakfast?’ Caleb asked, moving away to get out of bed.

‘I don’t think either of us would say no.’ Josh smiled and we both sat up, getting out of the bed and following Caleb into the living room. I dropped onto the sofa and switched the TV on while Caleb went to make breakfast. Josh sat next to me and mused over the TV guide. I flicked through the channels until I found a comedy show that we all like and left it on that.

After a little while, Caleb came back with breakfast for us all and we ate in silence as we watched the TV. It was interesting how the silence between the three of us was never awkward, it was always a comfortable quiet. I never felt the need to fill silence with chatter with Josh or Caleb. I was always very comfortable with them.

We sat watching TV for a couple of hours before we decided we should go out. I checked with a couple of mine and Caleb’s friends to see if they were available and we decided to go into the city centre and just hang out. Caleb, Josh and I all got dressed and headed out. Josh drove us into the city centre and we all met up with some friends. We introduced Josh, without saying what he was to us, and they all greeted him and there were many hugs.

As we walked around, chatting, looking in shops, buying things, one of my friends, Olivia, pulled me aside.

‘What’s going on Josh?’ She asked me, so no one else could hear.

‘What do you mean?’ I asked.

‘You’re with Caleb, right?’ She looked at me with a raised eyebrow.

‘Yeah.’ I nodded, slowly, trying to work out what she was getting at.

‘Then why are you acting all lovey around this Josh guy? And don’t pretend you haven’t been. I notice everything. You and he are seriously acting like you’re in a relationship, and Caleb doesn’t even seem aware of it.’ She scolded me.

I couldn’t help but laugh. ‘Oh right, yeah, you don’t know.’ I grinned.

‘Don’t know what?’ She asked.

‘That me, Caleb and Josh are all together. We’re in a three-way relationship. It’s not just me acting lovey with him. Just watch.’ I said, turning her to face the group we had left behind in order to talk.

As we watched, Caleb nudged Josh with his shoulder, and Josh nudged him back, then Caleb put his arm around Josh and pulled him closer.

‘Ahhh.’ Olivia realised. ‘Well that’s… different. It’s gonna take some time to get used to this.’ She told me.

‘No worries. It took me a while to make up my mind about it. It was a really weird idea at first, but we all make each other happy and it’s actually really great.’ I said, smiling.

‘Well as long as you’re happy.’ She said, not sounding totally convinced. ‘I’ve read about things like this, Ryan, and they don’t tend to end well.’

‘Well, Mormons seem to manage it just fine.’ I shrugged. ‘Plus Caleb and I have been together for years. We’ve agreed that if things go wrong, we’ll just go back to our previous arrangement.’ I explained.

‘Just… Watch yourself okay? I don’t want you getting hurt.’ She said, hugging me.

‘I appreciate your concern.’ I nodded. ‘But if you’ll excuse me, I have a couple of boyfriends to return to.’ I winked at her and then jogged to catch up with Josh and Caleb. I ran up to Caleb and put my hands on his shoulders, jumping and wrapping my legs around him from behind. He put his hands under me legs and gripped them tightly so I wouldn’t fall. I laughed as he hunched slightly and charged around.

I ruffled his hair and he shook his head, violently. I laughed more and then got down, grinning. We stood for a little while, he held me close to him and I looked into his eyes. Then, after a little while, I rested my head against his chest and I watched as Josh contemplated joining us or walking away. I caught his gaze and silently told him to come over to us. He walked over, slowly, and when he got close enough I put my hand out, grabbed his shirt by the front, and pulled him in, and then I kissed him, completely forgetting we were stood with a group of friends who had no idea of our little arrangement.

That was, until I heard a series of gasps. I broke away from Josh and looked around at the stunned faces of my friends and just shrugged, and then kissed Caleb. My friends looked like they were all about to have massive heart attacks. It would almost be funny if they weren’t making me nervous by staring so much.

Caleb pressed my head against his chest, shielding me from their stares. ‘Problem?’ He asked of our friends.

‘What the-? What? How? When?’ One of my friends stuttered.

‘Let me explain.’ Caleb said. ‘Josh, Ryan and I are in a relationship. Yes there are three of us. No we don’t care. If you really believe that it’s a problem then you aren’t a true friend. And for the record, no, we will not be inviting anyone else to join.’ He stared everyone down and they all seemed to cower. ‘Any of you have a problem with that?’

There was a chorus of ’no’s and ’nope’s and everything seemed to relax slightly. I, hesitantly, moved myself away from Caleb to look at our friends, who still seemed a little shell-shocked by the news. At least none of them were being awful. I had thought that we may have lost at least one friend because of this, but they all seemed pretty relaxed about it. Or as relaxed as they could be while in shock.

Eventually, once everyone had managed to shake off their weird trance state of shock, we went back to our day of window-shopping and chatting. It was then that I got the call.

‘Hello, Mr Green?’ The voice on the other side asked.

‘Speaking.’ I stated.

‘My name is DC Harroway, I need to ask you to come down to Canterbury Police Station. I have some news about your father.’ The female voice told me.

‘Okay, I’ll be right there.’ I said, and hung up the phone. I quickly told Josh and Caleb what the phone call had entailed and Josh told me he would drive me. I told Caleb to wait with everyone else, and that I would come back after I had been to the police station.

I walked in to Canterbury Police Station and approached the desk. ‘Hello, I’m Ryan Green, I got a call a little while ago, about my dad.’ I said to the man behind the desk.

‘Green, Green.’ He muttered, looking through his computer. ‘Ah, yes. DC Harroway wanted to speak to you. I’ll just give her a call. If you could take a seat.’ He gestured to the chairs behind us and I nodded. Josh and I sat and waited. I began tapping my leg. I didn’t know what this news would be, and I was incredibly nervous.

Eventually, a woman with shocking red hair and piercing blue eyes, dressed in a police uniform, walked through a door to our left. She walked up to us quickly, with purpose. ‘Ryan Green?’ She asked me.

‘That’s me.’ I nodded.

‘I’m DC Harroway. If you would come with me please. I need to speak to you about your father. Your friend should stay here. This is sensitive information.’ She told me. I nodded and turned to Josh, he understood and sat back down.

We walked down a corridor and she took me into a quiet room, away from the hustle and bustle of the hallways. She told me to sit down and she sat opposite me.

‘Unfortunately, Mr Green, it is my duty to inform you that your father passed away. He committed suicide while in his cell.’ She told me. As she was speaking my eyes glazed over and her voice faded away. I slowly slipped into a state of emotional shock. She seemed to notice because she tried to get my attention after a little while, but didn’t succeed. I had retreated into my mind. I was thinking about everything. About my dad, about everything that had happened, about his worst moments, and about his best. I was thinking about whether or not this was my fault, or whether it was just one of those things, and I couldn’t really decide. My father was dead, my mother was missing. I was essentially an orphan.

It took long enough.

I had wanted my dad to leave me alone, yes, but did I really want him to die? Part of me did, maybe, a little bit, but I would never have thought of it actually happening. I didn’t want him to kill himself, alone, in a jail cell. I wouldn’t wish that on him, even if he was the most evil man I had ever known.

‘I understand that this is a shock, Mr Green, but you mustn’t let it consume you.’ DC Harroway told me.

‘Can I see Josh please?’ I asked, my voice had a faraway tone to it and I was surprised that it actually came from me.

‘Of course.’ She stood up and left the room, going to get Josh, hopefully. I sat there for a little while, contemplating everything. I couldn’t believe it. It was more permanent than a prison sentence but it was such an awful thing to happen. I couldn’t decide if I was happy or sad. I was angry at myself for even thinking that I could be happy about someone’s death. Relieved, maybe, would be a better description, but even then, what did that say about me? I was relieved that my father had died, that I never had to see him again. Was I a bad person? What right did I have to think like that?

I shook my head, trying to come out of my internal thoughts, I tried to focus on my surroundings. I couldn’t retreat back into my mind again, it was becoming a very dark place to be.

When Josh walked in I was counting the cracks in the ceiling.

‘What is he doing?’ DC Harroway asked Josh.

‘Grounding. He’s trying to focus on his surroundings to stop himself slipping into an anxiety attack, or worse. What did you tell him?’ He asked, his tone was accusing and I shook my head.

‘Don’t blame her, Josh. She just told me what had happened.’ I said, looking at him. ‘My dad killed himself in prison.’ I said, sounding somewhat vacant. I was returning to reality, but I was still working on it I was a stuck between the mental and the physical.

Josh walked over to me and kneeled in front of me, hugging me tightly. He stayed silent, which meant he didn’t know what to say to make it better. What could anyone say in this situation to make it better? He wouldn’t want to tell me not to blame myself, in case I wasn’t blaming myself, I was just upset. But he knew my opinions of my father were torn. He didn’t know whether to console me, or celebrate.

I sighed. ‘If that’s everything, detective, I would like to leave now.’ I said, looking at DC Harroway.

‘Of course, you may go. I’ll escort you out.’ She said, opening the door and gesturing that we go through. I walked ahead and Josh followed me, still silently contemplating what he could say to make things better. He had no idea what to tell me, I knew he was struggling, so I dropped behind and whispered in his ear. ‘You don’t need to say anything.’ I told him. ‘I’ll be able to manage this on my own.’

‘As long as you’re okay.’ He replied, seeming unsure whether he believed me or not.

‘I’ll be fine.’ I told him, then I moved slightly away from him and we walked out of the police station. He drove us back to the city centre in silence and I text Caleb, asking him where they were.

I got a text back almost instantly and we found them having something to eat. I walked straight up to Caleb and hugged him, before whispering what happened in his ear so no one else could hear us.

‘My dad killed himself in his cell.’ I whispered. ‘I don’t know how to react.’ I admitted. ‘Josh is trying to find the right words to make me feel better and I don’t think there are any.’ I released him and he stared at me. I silently pleaded with him not to say anything. Not here. Not in front of everyone. There had been enough shocking news for one day.

He nodded at me and offered to buy me something to eat, so I told him what I wanted, a chicken burger with a side of fries, and I sat down with the other while he went to order it. He took Josh with him, with the excuse of Josh wanting to check the menu to see what to eat. The real reason was so Caleb could explain to Josh that, sometimes, there is no right thing to say, and you just have to be there for someone if they want to talk. He wasn’t going to be able to say anything that would make me feel better right now, but if I chose to explain everything later on, he might be able to understand a little better and find something he could say to improve my mood. Caleb was a lot better with words, and understanding me, than Josh was, but he had a lot more experience.

I sat with the others and joined in the mindless chatter, pretending nothing was wrong. Waved away the questions about where I went with a rather weak excuse of buying someone from work a birthday present. Of course, they asked where the gift was, so I told them it wasn’t in stock and I was picking it up another day. They seemed to relent at that point, realising that, even if it was a lie, I wasn’t going to give the truth up very easily.

Eventually, after spending a few hours more with our friends, Josh, Caleb and I headed home. I was going to explain everything to them, just not in public, and not in front of our friends, so when we got home, we all sat around the kitchen table while I explained my issues.

‘So you both know what happened. But here’s why it’s such a problem.’ I began. ‘First off, I don’t know whether I’m upset by it or relieved. I think it’s a bit of both. But I feel like it’s wrong of me to be relieved at someone’s death. And then, of course, there’s the issue that it’s my dad, and that makes it closer to me. And he killed himself while in prison, alone and separated from everyone. And that’s really upsetting. But on the other hand I hated him. And I put him there, so it’s kinda, partially at least, my fault, assuming that he did so because he was in prison. And it’s horrible to think that I basically killed my dad. And then, beyond that, I can’t seem to get past the fact that part of me is glad he’s dead, because I don’t have to ever worry about him turning up on my doorstep anymore, which is an awful thing to think, and it makes me wonder if I’m a bad person, because I’m glad someone died.’ I explained. I was tying myself in knots trying to fully explain the problems that had occurred in my head because of his death, and Caleb exhaled. He obviously realised it was a convoluted issue.

‘It’s not unreasonable for you to be relieved.’ Caleb began. ‘The guy was instilling fear and anxiety in you. You were terrified of him. He beat you, locked you in a cupboard, he caused so many problems for you, I’d be more worried if you weren’t even slightly relieved.’ He explained. ‘And it doesn’t make you a bad person either. I think anyone in your position would be going through the same process. And it shows how good you are that you’re worried about that. You are so worried about what people will think of you, that you can’t let yourself be relieved that something bad has finally ended. I know it seems like an awful thing to be relieved because someone has died, but I don’t think you need to worry about people thinking you’re bad because of it, because people who know what you went through will completely understand. I think there are a number of people in this world who will be saying a “good riddance” to that man. No one really liked him, as far as I am aware, and though it may seem like a sad fact, he caused this himself. He made people hate him, he did the stuff that put him in prison, and he chose to kill himself. It wouldn’t surprise me if part of the reason was to upset you, and we can’t let him win. We need to make sure that we move on from this, and don’t let him get to you.’ He told me.

‘That was amazing.’ Josh said, looking at Caleb in awe. ‘How do you do that, completely offhand?’ He asked.

‘Lots of practice.’ He said, simply.

‘Well he’s spent 2 years with me, and before that he spent a lot of time studying English literature. He has a history of big, inspirational speeches.’ I explained, smiling at him. ‘And he always says the right thing at the right time.’

‘I know that I need to.’ Caleb nodded. ‘It always comes in useful, and when I can make you feel better, I do everything I can.’

I smiled. ‘You’re too sweet.’ I said, and he smiled back at me. Josh looked between us, grinning.

‘You guys are so cute together.’ He stated. ‘I’m glad I got to be involved in this.’

‘As are we. You make us both very happy, and we’re glad we brought you in.’ I told him.

We sat for a while, chatting about various different things then. It was a pleasant distraction from the days events. I was getting tired of big news and revelations. I’d had enough to last a lifetime. Of course, there wasn’t much else that could happen now. I hoped that I had came through the worst of the big news now, and that there wouldn’t be anything else for a long time…

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