Begin reading the first three chapters of Killing You Again.
I’d been watching them for some time, knowing I’d get the sack if my
manager caught me. I took my phone from my back pocket regardless,
concealing it behind the booking table I was standing at. I wanted a
good shot. I needed evidence if any woman was to believe her
husband was cheating on her, and wouldn’t have a better opportunity.
The restaurant was slowing down for the night and they’d finished
eating. They could leave any minute and I wanted the slimy bastard
caught. I turned off my phone flash and took a couple of shots. The
photos weren’t brilliant, only the back of her head but his face clearly
visible, plus, it was clear they were holding hands across the table.
Besides, Lynette would have no reason not to believe me.
Five minutes later my boss asked me to collect the bill for table nine
… their table. Up until then I’d successfully avoided contact with
Declan, and I knew he hadn’t noticed me … his eyes were glued to
the cleavage opposite him. I approached the table professionally, (I
didn’t want to kick up a fuss and lose my job) waiting to see if he
recognised me. We made eye contact. He said nothing, his face
impassive. After waiting on another table I headed for the cleaning
cupboard next to the toilets. I was aware he’d been watching me
sorting out the bill. I tried not to look at him but felt his eyes
tracking me. I was opening the cupboard door when I heard the door
catch behind me. In a second a hand held my wrist tightly.
“Laura, is it?”
“Lorna.” I corrected him and turned to face him, letting go of the
cupboard handle. His face was centimetres from mine in the dark,
small corridor. I felt very uncomfortable.
“Lynette won’t be happy when she finds out,” I said, shrugging free
of his grip around my wrist.
“And how will she ever know?” He snarled. I took my phone out of
my pocket and showed him the picture I’d taken.
“Delete it!” he demanded.
“No. Lynette is a good person. She deserves the truth. Deserves better
than you.” He made a grab for the phone. I stepped back and fled into
the ‘ladies’, hoping he wouldn’t follow me. I was wrong. He barged
open the door behind me and grabbed my arm. I gripped onto my
phone as tight as possible but he was stronger. He snatched it from
me and hurled it against the wall. Its case flew off and bits of phone
fell onto the floor. He picked up the bits and dropped them into the
“What proof now?” He smiled. Rage boiled inside me. “And if I see
you anywhere near my wife it won’t only be the phone that gets it.”
He walked back out into the restaurant. My phone had sunk to the
bottom of the toilet bowl. I grabbed some paper towels, grimaced and
plucked my phone out of the toilet. I dried it as best I could knowing
it would be ruined regardless. Picking up the back part of the phone
from the floor my mouth curled into a smirk. Alongside it lay the
I looked at the image, enlarged on my computer. They were holding
hands, openly. Even I could tell it was Declan so Lynette definitely
would be able to. I printed it and put it in an envelope. Even though
Lynette and Declan lived at number 4 on this street, practically
opposite, I still used a stamp; he was bound to be suspicious of
Lynette had often ‘babysat’ me when I was younger, especially while
Mum and Dad were going through their rough patches. Since their
divorce three years ago (and Mum being with Gary) we hadn’t seen
much of her but I still regarded her as a family friend. She volunteered
at the charity shop in town, where I did work experience before
getting the restaurant job. I never saw much of Declan. From what I
could remember he was always ‘working’ or in his study. I didn’t
think much of him then, and now Lynette definitely deserved
Over the next couple of days I waited for something to happen,
wondering when my letter would be delivered. I felt constantly
anxious he’d do something hateful when he found out. He’d know
instantly who’d sent it. Walking home from college later that week I
turned off onto a side road whilst saying goodbye to a friend, when a
black Jaguar pulled up alongside me. The window slid silently down.
“Lorna. Get in the car. ”
“No.” I began walking away but he drove his car across my path and
opened his door. I paused. This gave him the time to hop out of the
car. I knew then I should have run back to the main road with people
around, but he strode towards me. I felt myself shrink under his glare.
“Get in the car.” He grabbed my shoulder, his thumb digging under
my collar bone. Stupidly, I got in the car. He drove out of the estate in
silence. I played with the zip on my coat, the thin metal often slipping
out of my sweaty hands. I was praying he wouldn’t take me far. He
entered a side road on the outskirts of town. My anxiety was
heightened by the silence. I was hoping the trip was just to scare me
and kept telling myself that just because someone’s having an affair
doesn’t make them a murderer. A short while later he turned left into
a woodland car park, squeezing into a spot between two parked cars,
so I couldn’t open the passenger door. He unclipped his seat belt.
“You didn’t do as you were told, Laura.”
“Lorna.” I snapped.
“Okay, as stupid as the name is, Lorna, you need to learn to keep your
nose out of other people’s business.”
“And how is a trip to a country park going to teach me that?”
“Flippancy won’t do you any favours.” I stayed silent. After a moment
he began again.
“I obviously didn’t make myself clear enough at the restaurant. Don’t
mess with me. I’ve been offered a managing director’s job in
Singapore which comes with a penthouse apartment and a six-figure
salary. You don’t get that far in life by being nice. So, let me tell you
this, keep your mouth shut and your nose out of my business and I
might just keep my hands to myself.” His face drew closer to mine,
his eyes greedy. His left hand slipped onto my knee and his fingers
crawled, spider-like, up my legs. “Do I make myself clear?” I said
nothing and tried to push his hand off my leg. He tightened his grip
on my thigh. “All you have to do is pretend you know nothing about
me until Saturday. After that you’ll never have to see me again, okay?”
“Get off me!” His hand thumb slid to the inside my leg. I grabbed his
hand with both of mine to try and shift his but his grip remained firm.
I squirmed away until my back bumped the car door. He lent further
in, ran his right hand through my hair, brushing my fringe back. His
breath reeked of his sickly cologne. Up close, his face was lined with
wrinkles, made more prominent by the smirk around his mouth.
“Please, get off me,” I whimpered, my voice shaky, my heart
“This time I will. If I catch you anywhere near the house … next time
you may not be so lucky.” He started the car and reversed out of the
“If you’re moving to Singapore how come your house isn’t for sale?”
I asked. We were safely on the way home and my heart was beating
“You don’t seriously think I’m taking my wife do you?”
“How would I know?” He ignored me.
“She’s a fat, lazy cow, milking me for my money. I’m not having her
scrounging off my wealth anymore.” I‘d have opened my mouth with
some nasty retort but he’d pulled up in the pub car park down the
road from my house, and I made sure I was out of the car the moment
“If you breathe one word to anyone, I’ll have your life. A stupid
teenage girl is not ruining my life.” I looked into his cold, brown eyes
once more before slamming the door shut. I was shocked, livid and
more than a little scared. I didn’t let on to anyone at home what had
happened. I’d made up my mind … he wasn’t going to blackmail me
into silence. I could have told my mum or stepdad, or even the police,
but I had no proof and didn’t want to cause a fuss. I’d get back at him
in my own way.
After college the next day I caught a bus into town and went into the
charity shop where Lynette worked, had a quick chat
with Bernice, who I knew from the time I‘d volunteered there, then
went over to Lynette busy putting out some womens’ coats, thankful
she was working today as I dared not go near the house.
“Hey.” I called out to get her attention.
“Hi Lorna.” She smiled. Maybe she was a bit chubby and didn’t wear
make up, but she had a warm smile and a lovely personality.
“You’ve done me a favour coming in today. I was going to pop over
to your’s to see your mum tonight but you’ve saved me a job. Declan
is taking me on holiday to Singapore on Saturday and I was going to
ask your mum to watch over the house.” I didn’t know what to say.
“Yeah. He’s shown me photos of this posh apartment we’re staying
in. I’m so excited!” Her face beamed. I didn’t want to burst her
“Didn’t you get the letter with the photo in it?” It must have arrived,
why else had her husband all but kidnapped me the day before.
“What letter? He opens all the post.” Damn. So she really was clueless.
It now made sense why he still wanted me to keep my mouth shut.
“I’m so sorry Lynette.” How the hell was I to tell her in public?
“What’s happened?” She was searching my face for answers.
“Declan was with another woman. He took her out for a meal in the
restaurant I’m working at.”
“He said he was going out for a business meal. The client must have
been female, you’ve got it wrong.”
“They were holding hands, and definitely not discussing business. I
took a photo of them. Your husband threatened me but I posted the
photo to you.”
“He threatened you?” Her cheeks had lost their natural rosy colour.
“Yesterday he picked me up from college in his car and told me to
stay away. He said he was moving to Singapore on Saturday … and
you weren’t going with him.” I spoke quietly, feeling nervous and
guilty at breaking the news to her here. She didn’t need to know all
the gruesome details just yet.
“You’ve got it wrong. I’ve seen our plane tickets.”
“I’ve got the photo on my computer.”
“It was probably nothing.”
“Lynette, please, believe me. He’s got a new job in Singapore.”
“Maybe he’s just surprising me, taking me on holiday to see if I like
the country.” I didn’t want to say so but her naivety was frustrating.
“Talk to him tonight, see what he has to say. If I’m wrong I’m sorry
but I don’t think I am.” I knew I wasn’t wrong.
Gary came back into the house with a parcel in his hands. He began
speaking as Mum admired her early birthday present, a pair of black
high heels which she’d bought herself.
“Lynette wouldn’t open the door to me,” Gary said.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“I knocked on their door and waited a while but nobody answered. I
knew someone was in there. I could hear them moving about in the
hall. They must have heard me. I was about to leave when Lynette
opened the front window. She looked terrified, but she knows who I
am, I’ve spoken to her often enough. I asked her if I could collect a
parcel delivered earlier. She left the room … but the smell! Lemon
disinfectant coming through the window. I had to step away –
sickening. After a minute or so she returned and passed the parcel
through the window. Why not just open the door? So strange …”
“Weird.” I said.
“She might have lost the keys,” Mum said, busying herself with the
straps on her heels.
“But why the smell?”
“No one uses that much, not even you,” Gary said to Mum. “There
was something suspicious about her.” “You may have called at a bad
time. There could be a hundred explanations, stop fussing!”
“I just thought it was a bit weird, that’s all.”
It was weird. I knew Declan was home. He’d been there all week, his
car parked on the driveway. I wondered if Lynette had told him what
I’d said that afternoon. If she had I was fearful for her. Why wouldn’t
she open the door? Was he behind her strange actions?
I was walking towards the stairs, someone was yelling at me. I wished they’d
shut up. What right did they have to yell at me? After everything I’d done
for them. I told them where to go. Then I was at the stairs, she was right
behind me. What exactly did she think she could do? I was finished with her.
Her hands grabbed me. Caught me unawares, shook me violently. I fell. Down
and down. I felt my neck jolt against the stairs and my eyes shot open.
It was pitch black. I couldn’t see a thing, hadn’t a clue where I was,
but could hear Mum’s soft but urgent voice in my ear.
“Lorna … you alright? Lorna?”
“Come on Lorna, let’s get you back to bed.”
“Where am I?”
“You were sleepwalking.”
“Yes. I just saw you walk down the landing and rock at the top of the
“Seriously?” I asked in disbelief.
“I’m not making it up. At first, I thought you were going down to get
a drink. Then you all but chucked yourself down the stairs.”
“Wow.” I’d never sleepwalked before.
“You could have killed yourself. Just go back to bed.”
“Okay, goodnight. Sorry about that.”
“You frightened the life out of me. Goodnight.”
I went back to bed. I still couldn’t believe I’d been sleepwalking. But
if what Mum had said was true, that I’d nearly thrown myself down
the stairs … I shuddered, vaguely remembering my dream, of
someone pushing me down the stairs. Odd.
I got home from college and went into the kitchen. Mum sat on the
“Maybe I should go and see her?” I heard her say.
“See who?” I asked.
“None of your business,” Gary joked.
“You carry on being cheeky and I won’t tell you the latest gossip.”
“Declan at number 4 has been having an affair.”
“Oh?” I feigned surprise. “Who told you?”
“And he is such a reliable source.” Paul was the biggest gossip on the
“He is actually telling the truth, for once,” added Mum.
“Is Lynette okay?” I asked.
“I don’t know … not sure whether to go and see her or not. She was
there for me after everything with your dad. This may be why she was
being funny with you last night, Gary.
The ‘everything with Dad’ happened three years ago. Mum was
pregnant with my brother, Bobby, and Dad had been having an affair
– not the first time he’d cheated on Mum. She kicked him out. Since
then I’ve had almost nothing to do with him, and he’s had even less
to do with Bobby. Dad hadn’t wanted another child. We reckon he’d
wanted Mum to discover his affair so she’d have reason to leave him.
His reputation would have taken a knock if people found out he’d left
his pregnant wife. I see him, sometimes . Bobby and I are supposed
to visit him during school holidays, it rarely happens. His excuse to
avoid seeing us is usually ‘working’ abroad; who’s he kidding? I
couldn’t care less. Mum has Gary, she’s happy and he’s all the ‘dad’
I saw that Declan’s car was gone from the drive and wondered where
he was and whether he’d just made empty threats. If he was going to
do anything, he’d surely have tried something today while I was
walking to college or back. I fell asleep worrying.
“You can’t kick me out of my own house!” He said, furiously.
“You’re leaving anyway,” Lynette spat out.
“It’s my house. I pay the mortgage. I pay the bills. I paid for the food in the
“I work!” She shouted.
“In a bloody charity shop! You don’t even get paid.”
“I enjoy it. It makes me feel useful.”
“As long as you’re happy, Lynette,” he mocked, “whereas I’m working all
hours to support you.”
“Us! You work for us! I’m your wife. What’s yours is mine.”
“Why do you think I’m leaving? You’re a fat, lazy cow and you’re not
sponging off my money any longer.” She slapped him. Hard.
“You’ll regret that.” He grabbed her shoulders and pushed her against the
wall. She tried shaking him off but he was too strong.
“I should kill you now,” he sneered. She shouted and screamed and squirmed
but his grip tightened. “That little bitch spoilt all my plans. I’ll kill her too.”
“Is this how you threatened her?”
“She told you?”
“She told me you’d threatened her. She told me you weren’t taking me to
“Of course I’m not taking you!”
“Why pretend you were?”
“To put you off my trail. It was fun. You’re so gullible. How you sucked in
my story of the holiday. How excited you were, your face when you saw the
photos of the apartment. My apartment! And you’ll never set one foot in it.
You’ll never set one foot in Singapore. The tickets aren’t for me and you.
They’re for me and Nicola.”
“If you weren’t happy why didn’t you leave me months ago, years ago?”
“And let you have the house? Have you force me to sell my car and give you
half my savings? You’re not getting another penny from me.”
“I’ve never asked for anything from you.”
“You expect it,” he spat.
“Get out!” She screamed in his face. He backed away.
“I’m going. I can’t stand the sight of your face and your body any longer.
You disgust me. You don’t even try and look nice anymore. You may not
mind looking like an ugly whore, but I do. You embarrass me.”
“I hate you!” She followed behind him. At the top of the stairs she grabbed
him and shook him violently. Then she pushed him. He fell. Down and down.
“Lorna! Lorna!” Someone was shaking me. I felt cold hands.
“Mummy, Mummy, Lorna’s gone mad,” Bobby whimpered.
“That happened a long time ago,” I said in a daze.
“Mummy, Lorna’s scaring me. What’s wrong with Lorna, Mummy?”
Bobby was trembling and crying, clutching tightly onto Mum.
“What happened?” I asked.
“You were yelling.”
“I don’t remember a thing.” I still hadn’t woken up properly and the
dream was already fading.
“You could’ve woken the dead.”
“Are you okay, Lorna?” Mum looked concerned.
“Yeah.” She looked long and hard at me. Neither of us spoke.
“Back to bed Bobby, Lorna’s okay now.”
“Can I have another bedtime story?”
“It’s two o’clock in the morning, son.” Bobby looked at her, his
expression blank, wondering what the time had to do with a story.
“No. It’s the middle of the night.”
“But Mummy, Lorna woke me up.”
“I said no.” She picked him up off my bed and carried him back to his
room. He started crying when she left him. I laid in the dark listening.
His crying became hiccups but he eventually fell asleep. I took much
Friday. Last day of term before a week-long break. I picked Bobby up
at nursery straight from college. My thought was that Declan surely
wouldn’t bother me if I was with my kid brother. Despite trying to
convince myself otherwise, maybe I was a bit afraid of him. I kept
watch for a black Jaguar the whole walk home; any black car stopped
my heart for a millisecond.
“How many sleeps until we see Dad?” asked Bobby.
“Yay! Do you think he’ll play monsters with me, like Gary does?”
“Maybe.” I doubted Dad would play anything with Bobby. He always
made excuses. It‘d be a wonder if Bobby recognised his dad anyway.
God knows why he was so excited about seeing him. It was all he’d
been going on about for days, driving Mum and Gary mad. They both
disliked my dad, but a three year old doesn’t know when to keep his
“Lorna, Bobby, is that you?” Mum yelled from the kitchen as I closed
the front door.
“Mummyyyyyyyyyy.” Bobby yelled as he ran into the kitchen.
“Bobby, be careful. Go upstairs and put your book bag away.” I
turned to go upstairs but Mum called me back.
“Lorna, can I have a word?”
“Yep.” She was being conspiratorial so I was instantly curious.
“Up you go Bobby. Come, sit here Lorna.” I sat down at the table,
“Lorna, has anything happened at college?”
“Anything to do with a boy?”
“No!” Why do mums have to be so nosy?
“Work isn’t too stressful is it?”
“No Mum, I’m fine.”
“I was reading up about sleepwalking and sleep problems. Stress can
be a trigger. Are you sure nothing is up?”
“I’m sure.” Should I tell her about Declan? (Maybe, but she’d only
worry.) His car had gone, so had he, and he was leaving for Singapore
the next day. There was nothing anyone could do now. Once he was
out of the country I’d be fine. Admittedly, I’d been thinking about him
a lot, but I doubted that was the reason for my sleepwalking and
yelling. I didn’t feel that stressed.
“You’re not lying to me? You can talk to me about anything, you
know.” She couldn’t possibly know about him.
“I know Mum, but I’m fine.”
“Good. I’ve got something to tell you.”
“O … kay?” Now I was worrying.
“Gary and I have been together almost two years now. And we’re
“I found out something last week.”
“Mum, that’s brilliant!” I jumped up and gave her big a hug.
“Are you sure it’s okay?” She sounded relieved.
“Yes, of course it’s okay. It’s fantastic. Congratulations. How many
weeks along are you?”
“Ten.” I went and congratulated Gary and called Bobby back
“I’m not having another sister,” he told Mum, “they’re boring and
stupid.” Cheers Bobby! We went out for tea to celebrate. Gary couldn’t
stop grinning. His first child. I was happy for them. We passed
number 4 on the walk home.
“He said he was going to leave you.” A tall woman with blonde hair,
perfectly styled in loose curls, shouted at Lynette on her doorstep. She
wore a short black dress and fur coat. Even in the dark I could see the
six inch heels, the fake tan and the make-up.
“He has.” Lynette replied sharply.
“Then where is he?” The woman shrieked.
“In hell for all I care.”
“Don’t lie!” The woman’s voice now hysterical. “I haven’t seen or
heard from him since Wednesday. You know where he is.”
“Not only do I not know where he is, I don’t care where he is. In
Singapore I hope. Now, get off my property.”
“He wouldn’t have gone to Singapore without me.”
“I wouldn’t blame him if he had.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“That you’re a high maintenance tart who’ll drain his bank account in
“I’m a sophisticated woman. I take pride in my appearance, unlike
some who dress in charity’s finest. And I’ll have you know I work for
all my money.”
“As a prostitute.” Lynette slammed her door shut. The woman stood,
appalled and in shock.
“What are you looking at?” The woman bellowed when she noticed
us looking on. We walked silently on to our door.
“If that’s his mistress, he hasn’t done too badly.” Gary joked once we
were inside. Mum gave him ‘the look’.
“She’s a tarted up monster,” she said.
“I feel sorry for the bloke when she finds him.”
I got a text that night from Dad, saying he was working so couldn’t
look after us. Mum was furious, she’d booked a few days away with
“I mean, who does he think he is? Giving us two days’ notice. Not
even a phone call. What if your phone was turned off Lorna? What
would we have done then? The swine. Do you think I like asking him
to have you? If it was up to me neither of you would have any contact
with him. But he’s your dad so I can’t stop you. All I asked was for
one week. I haven’t been away anywhere in three years.” Mum raged.
“I mean, what are we going to do now? Everything’s paid for. We
might get a bit of the money back but we’ve lost most of it in deposits.
For crying out loud! Your father Lorna, just wait until I see him.”
“Liz, calm down, come on. You shouldn’t be stressing,” Gary said.
“How can I not? He’s just lost us hundreds of pounds. We can’t afford
to throw away that sort of money, not with a baby on the way.
Anyway, the money doesn’t matter, it’s the principle. The number of
times he’s let you and Bobby down … it’s not right. I mean to say, he’s
only seen his son, what … five times in his life … probably less.” She
paced up and down, her voice rising with every word.
“Mum, I don’t mind, really. I wasn’t expecting anything anyway. And
Bobby’s better off without him.” I tried to placate her.
“You see what I mean? Bobby’s better off without him. What kind of
father is that? He doesn’t deserve you Lorna, or Bobby. Fair enough
if you were two naughty brats, but you’re not. You’re good kids and
deserve better. You hear me Lorna, you deserve better.” Mum was
really fired up. Gary sat wordless on the sofa.
“Mum, stop getting yourself worked up. He’s not worth it.” But,
oblivious to my voice she carried on.
“Work? Yeah right. He’ll be off with his next fancy tart in some
nightclub. I mean, how old is he? Forty-odd. You’d think he’d have
stopped clubbing and getting plastered twenty years ago. But no, not
your father. He’s still the immature, lazy teen he was all those years
ago. The number of times he left us to go away to work, when, really,
he was hitting on any grubby slapper he could lay his hands on. Three
years ago he left. And bloody good riddance … happiest day of my
life, I’m telling you. Yet, some way or another he still manages to
control me. This time he’s crossed the line. He’s never letting you kids
down again. Never.” Tears streamed down her face. I hated seeing
her like this. And I hated Dad for doing this to her. All the bloody
time. Gary walked Mum upstairs. Two minutes later I heard him
running her bath. Bless him.
Sometimes I feel sorry for Gary, especially when Dad pulls a stunt
like this. He’ll say it doesn’t matter but I can tell he’s frustrated. It’s
not fair on him. I mean, he’s worked hard for this holiday with Mum
and money’s tight right now, especially with a new baby coming. At
times like this Gary keeps his distance. He doesn’t like interfering in
‘family matters’ but they always involve him because now he’s part
of the family, and a better dad to Bobby. Bobby – he was another
problem. What was I going to say to him? I don’t ‘hate’ my dad but I
hate him for doing this all the time. Personally, it didn’t bother me but
everyone else is always left disappointed and upset, and that hurt.
About ten minutes later Gary came down and sat opposite me. Even
after all the shouting his friendly face never altered. He smiled at me,
dimples in his chubby cheeks. Gary’s not fat, just a bit on the chubby
side. His six-foot-something height balances out his weight so he looks
average. His thinning brown hair a tad too long hung limply from his
face. He wore an old dark green jumper and jeans that had seen better
days. The slight scruffiness suited him perfectly. His kindly nature
made up for anything his appearance lacked. Mum loved him for who
he was, not what he looked like, which she says was her downfall
when falling for my father. She’s so much happier now with Gary.
“She’s calmed down now,” he said. “I went to check on Bobby, he was
crying. I told him that his mum was just upset about something,
nothing to worry about. I didn’t want to tell him his dad had let him
“I’ll go up now and tell him.” I stood up. Gary smiled and I left the
room. I walked upstairs, telling myself I had to phone my dad but
worrying I wouldn’t be strong enough to stand up to him. I could
picture him laughing, mocking me, insulting Mum and Gary. I stood
outside Bobby’s door in dread. It always came down to this, me
feeling guilty because of my dad. I was the one who had to explain to
a three year old why his dad didn’t want to see him. I began hating
my father that little bit more.
Standing outside Bobby’s door I knew what the night would bring.
In the end it was worse than I’d imagined. I took a deep breath and
went in. He stared up at me, eyes puffy, red and accusing, like it was
all my fault that Mum was angry and upset.
“Hey, come on! A big brave boy like you doesn’t cry.” He didn’t reply
so I climbed into his bed and snuggled up to him. He pushed me
away. I lay my head on the pillow and looked at him. He turned to
the wall so all I saw was a great mop of brown hair. I didn’t know
how to break it to him. He’d been so looking forward to seeing his
dad. I think he’d imagined this great ‘dad’ in his head but I doubted
he’d remember what he looked like.
“Bobby.” I ran my fingers through his hair. “Next week, Dad’s going
away, so he won’t be able to look after us. We have to stay here.” I
whispered, not wanting the words to come out.
“No!” He screamed so loud it almost deafened me. He threw the bed
covers off and sprang up, his face bright red. “No! You promised
Lorna! You promised! You promised! You promised!” Stamping his
feet on the mattress and shaking his tiny fists. I sat up to avoid being
“I know I did Bobby. And I’m really, really sorry. But Dad has to go
to work. He won’t be able to see us Bobby.” I hadn’t promised anything.
I wouldn’t have been that stupid.
“Liar! Daddy will see me. He said so. He will see me. You’re a liar
Lorna. A nasty stupid liar!” He yelled so loud his voice cracked and
he started coughing violently. I was surprisingly hurt by his words
but it I couldn’t really blame him, and he was breaking my heart.
“I’m sorry Bobby. So sorry. Really, really, really sorry.” I tried hugging
“No! No! No! No! No!” He screamed, lashing out, hitting and kicking,
his little face all screwed up in rage. Beating me with his small but
powerful fists I stayed until I could take it no more. I tried fending
him off but he was having none of it. I pushed him away when his
hands began clawing at my face. He fell back down on his bed
squealing, as though I’d hurt him. I knew I hadn’t.
“I hate you!” He screamed as I walked away. About to leave the room
I felt something hit my back. It was jimmy jammy, his little ragdoll. I
closed his door, went to my room and collapsed onto my bed. Mum’s
muffled sobs from the bathroom next door were just audible above
Bobby’s screeching and yelling. The house reverberated with banging
sounds coming from Bobby’s room. His toys were bouncing off the
walls, bookcases and drawers were being overturned, Bobby jumping
up and down on the floor. I wanted to yell at him to stop but I felt
more sorry for him than angry. The front door opened and closed. A
car door slammed. An engine revved. Headlights shone through the
curtains. Slowly all grew silent. When Gary came in he asked Mum
and I to come downstairs.
“I’ve been to my Mum’s and she’s happy to have Lorna and Bobby
next week, so we can still go away, Liz.” Then he looked at me.
“Lorna, what’s happened to your face?”
“Bobby scratched me.”
“Bobby did that?” Mum looked horrified. To be honest, I hadn’t even
looked at my face but it was stinging, and he had hurt me.
“I’ll be having words with him in the morning.”
“He was upset.” I said.
“No difference. He’s not a baby anymore. He can’t go on hurting
people. I should send him packing to his Dad’s whether Andrew likes
it or not … see if he can sort out his son. His tantrums are worsening.
And your mum is definitely not looking after him if he’s playing up
“My Mum isn’t a frail old woman. She’s perfectly capable of looking
after a child. Lorna will be there anyway.”
“Fine. But I’m not happy.”
“He’s not ruining our break.”
“He can do whatever the hell he likes. He always does.”
“Liz, please, forget about him for now.” I knew I’d have to speak to him.
“Hello. Andrew speaking.” Dad in his ‘phone voice’.
“Hi Dad, it’s Lorna.”
“Oh … you alright?”
“Yeah, thanks. You?”
“Yes, how’s school?” I was at college.
“Alright, same as usual. How’s work?” Same old small talk.
“You know, busy.”
“Yeah, where are you off to next week?”
“I’m at home until Thursday but I’ll be working late every night.
Flying to Germany early Friday morning.”
“Why can’t Bobby and I stay until Thursday?” I asked.
“I’m working and I can’t look after Bobby.”
“I can look after him.”
“No. Bobby will get bored and play up.”
“You said you’d see us for the week.”
“Mum’s already booked her holiday … you knew that.”
“Work is more important than a holiday. She should have booked to
take you two with her.”
“You’re always going on holiday without us. She’s never been on
holiday without me or Bobby.”
“I can hear your mum’s words there. I knew she’d poison your mind.
Remember, it’s your mum who wanted a divorce. She was the one
who split up the family.”
“And I don’t blame her! She split up with you not us. She’s never
stopped you from seeing us.”
“Lorna. Be quiet. You don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m not
having your mum telling you I’m a terrible father. I work and I
provide for you, and Lorna … if you want to see me next week then
you can. Never let your mum tell you I don’t want to see you because
I do. You’re always welcome at my house. I’ll pick you up Sunday if
“What about Bobby?” I didn’t even know where he lived now. His
last excuse for not seeing us was that he was moving house so he was
“What have I just told you? I don’t have time to look after Bobby and
that’s final. I’ll see you Sunday. Bye.”
“Bye.” He hung up. I was seething.