Teasers

On this new page, you’ll find ‘teasers’ of my forthcoming work.

I start with the spoiler alert of the final scene with Aiden and Nicole, only I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t kill Aiden off as I’d killed Jason. Read on for more:

Nic,”

Nicole jumped at the sound of his voice behind her, having been in her own world for some time while she plotted the end of her new novel. Her heart hammered afresh as she turned around to see him and caught him as he staggered.

Easing him into the chair beside her, she put her arms around him, steadying him. Her mouth dry then, she struggled to voice her worry, her voice breaking after saying only his name. Resting her head against his, the sound of his laboured breathing echoing in her ears, she cursed the fact that they were alone.

Their savours were away on holiday, and although she had a continguency plan in the form of Harry, who had moved into their seafront apartment several months ago, if she needed help urgently, he was still too far away. He was showing signs of calming, slowly. She saw then his inhaler in his hand.

Did you take it, honey?” She kissed his head then, as he rested his head against her shoulder.

He nodded.

You sound like you need another dose.” Gently then she rubbed his whistling chest. “My poor Aiden.” She kissed him again. “It’s okay honey, I’ve got you.” She tightened her grip around him, looking into his pale face as she reassured him, coaxing him into taking another dosage of his medication. “I’ve got you, Aiden. You’re okay.” She kissed him. “Tell me when you feel better, honey. I can phone Jay if you want to speak to him.”

Aiden didn’t, or couldn’t, reply. Several minutes later, he put one arm around her, so she knew he was feeling better.

That’s better, honey.” She kissed him again, hearing his breathing return almost to normal. “How do you feel now?”

Aiden nodded again. “A bit better.”

Good.” Nicole smiled as he put his other arm around her. “You stay right here with me until you feel better still, okay?”

He nodded again, taking several deep breaths against her.

Do you want me to phone Jay?” She offered again.

No, it’s okay.” He spoke quietly, but at least he could speak.

It’s no problem. Let me know if you change your mind.” She kissed him again as he nodded. “Aiden?” She pulled away from him a little as she felt him relax. “Honey, are you… Aiden!”

He fell forward then, and Nicole was instantly thrown back to the last time he’d collapsed against her, pinning her against the bathroom wall where Justin had come to her rescue. This was different, thankfully, she wasn’t pinned by him; the thump as he’d hit the ground shook her. Had he slipped through her grip on purpose, or had she dropped him, desperate to avoid what had happened last time?

Repeating his name until he moaned, she couldn’t stop the tears in full flow down her face. Begging with him not to move until he felt able to, she could only watch hopelessly as he came round more; gradually pulling himself to sit up and then moving so that he was closer to her. Resting against her while he recovered his strength as she told him to, he heard her phone begin to ring. Nicole cursed, ignoring it; talking to him, running her fingers through his hair as he rested his head in her lap, reaching her other hand out to grip his shoulder.

It’s okay honey, it’s okay.” She repeated, hearing him begin to wheeze again.

Poor Aiden was trapped in a vicious circle – the anxiety made him wheeze, the wheezing made him anxious.

You’re alright honey, I’ve got you.” Nicole squeezed his shoulder, passing him the inhaler she had, as she had no idea where his was from when he’d dropped it. “Easy honey, nice and easy, you’re alright.” She stroked his head and his face. “Bigger breaths, honey. That’s it.” She cursed again as her phone began to ring. “Don’t worry about it, honey. I’m right here with you, I’m not going anywhere.”

Aiden groaned as it rang for a third time, the noise splitting his already pounding head. He felt her let go of him with one hand to turn it off, feeling her hesitate.

Honey, it’s Harry. He’ll be worried.” She rubbed his pale cheek with her thumb soothingly. “I have to call him back.”

Aiden nodded.

Maybe we should get him to come and help us.”

Aiden too hesitated.

You know he’ll want to come straight over to see you.”

Aiden nodded.

It might not be such a bad idea.”

Aiden nodded again, feeling his chest tightening.

Take my hand, honey. I’m going to call Harry back.” Nicole was reaching for his hand, but couldn’t reach. This way she was guaging how much better he was, if he had the strength to do that, he was on the right track.

He listened while Nicole and Harry conversed – not that the conversation lasted long as Harry immediately jumped into his car to come over – feeling her squeezing his hand all the time.

How are you feeling, honey?” She put down her phone beside him, stroking his face with her free hand. “Any better? Your chest sounds better.”

Aiden nodded, and Harry’s voice sounded in the room.

What did he say?” Harry frowned into his phone, glancing into the screen.

He nodded.” Nicole relayed.

I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

Aiden moaned then, feeling what little strength he had dissipate. Harry… He hated being a burden to his family, and now his son felt he had to come to the rescue. All they needed now was for Lynn to phone and find him in this state. Even the thought made him feel sick.

Ady, it’s okay. I’ve got you, honey.” Nicole squeezed his hand again.

Closing his eyes, he leant more against her, summoning his failing strength. With the overpowering want to lie down, he wanted to be in Nicole’s arms. He didn’t know which one he wanted more. “Nic,”

It’s okay honey, you’re alright.” He could hear the strain in her voice, knowing she too wanted to be close to him, knowing she couldn’t comfort him in the way she wanted to from here. She felt him shift then. “What are you doing? Aiden no, stay where you are.” Panic echoed in her voice.

Letting go of her hand, he forced himself to stand, partially, folding into the chair beside her, all in one movement.

Aiden, for God’s sake.” Nicole’s voice was angry.

Leaning towards her, his head throbbing mightily, he was relieved when she folded her arms around him. Everything around him buckled as his head reeled – the walls, the furniture, everything.

Easy honey,” she soothed. “It’s alright, I’ve got you.”

His groan made her heart pound.

You really shouldn’t have done that, Aiden. No wonder you feel worse now.” She shook her head. “My poor, poor Aiden.” She kissed him. “I know why you did it, honey.” She said quieter, still shaking her head.

I’m almost there.” Harry spoke into the silence.

Do you remember what to do?” Nicole asked him, looking up and into the screen. When Harry had taken up their offer of living in the seafront apartment, they’d automatically programmed his information into the security of the new house so that he could easily visit.

Yes. Don’t worry. I’ll be with you soon. How is he?”

Well, he hasn’t passed out again, which is good.” Nicole kissed Aiden’s head. “How are you feeling, honey?”

Aiden murmured incomprehensibly.

Big breaths for me, honey.” She kissed him again. “Is your chest sore?”

He nodded, glad that Nicole could read his mind and his reactions.

You’re not wheezy any more, is it tight?”

He nodded.

Oh honey, it’s okay, you’ll be alright.” She rubbed his back comfortingly. “I’ve got you, you’re alright.”

Harry shut off the connection once he was in sight of the inside door. “I’m here. What do you need me to do?” He said simply, his hand on Aiden’s shoulder steadyingly. “Whatever you need, I’ll bring it to you, you don’t have to move until you’re ready.” He looked from Aiden to Nicole, receiving no reply from either of them.

We’ll give it a minute, see if you need another dose from your inhaler.” Nicole told him, looking up then at Harry. “Thank you.” She said. “You got here quick.”

He flashed her a kind smile, squatting down beside both of them. “Do you feel any better?” He touched Aiden’s knee, relieved when he nodded.

You’re much better than you were, honey.” Nicole told him, kissing his head. “We’ll have a lie down when you feel up to moving.”

Aiden nodded again, taking a deeper breath against her. That was a good idea if ever he’d heard one.

No more than ten minutes later, Harry rang Lynn back, seeing he’d missed her call and having listened to her worried voicemail. How she knew something was wrong, he couldn’t fathom. Aiden listened first of all as Harry updated her, telling her he was much better now; Nicole joined in this common sense.

Aides, are you sure you feel okay?” Lynn’s voice sounded clearly in the room. She saw him nod. “I wish we were there to keep an eye on you.”

Guilt washed over him.

He’s fine Lynn, he’s much better now.” Nicole interjected, seeing his expression and knowing what he was thinking. “Aren’t you, honey?” She kissed him and he nodded again.

You will call me, won’t you?” Lynn frowned.

Of course I will.” Nicole promised.

I’ll be here.” Harry said to her, looking at Nicole as she looked up. “There’s no point in living local if I’m not involved.” He gave her another kind smile. “I’ll help any way I can.”

Thank you.” Nicole squeezed Aiden then, but gently. “We appreciate the offer, don’t we honey?”

My overnight bag is in the car.” Harry confessed once the call had ended.

That’s a bit presumptuous.” Nicole laughed, but he could see from her face that she was relieved.

I won’t leave until I know you’re both okay.” He pressed.

Aiden nodded, because he felt it was expected of him. He hated the idea of burdening Harry. The whole point of him moving from London to Eastbourne was to rediscover his freedom and his own life.

Don’t stress, honey.” Nicole’s voice cut through his thoughts. She gave him another squeeze, seemingly reading his mind. “We love you Aiden, and we want to know you’re okay for our own selfish peace of mind.” Shuffling closer to him, she pressed her lips to his forehead. “Take it easy, honey.” She followed his breathing pattern, finding it out of kilter. “Does your chest still hurt?”

Harry gave her a frightened look, especially when Aiden nodded.

But it’s not the angina, is it?” Nicole questioned.

Aiden shook his head.

How can you tell?” Harry frowned.

It’s in a different place.” Nicole explained. “And it’s a different pain, isn’t that right Ady?”

Aiden nodded again, taking deeper breaths against her.

My poor Aiden. You’ll be okay, honey. Harry and I are here to make sure of it.” She kissed him again. “It’ll pass, you know it will.”

How long does it take?” Harry asked her.

Only a few minutes. It comes and goes.” Nicole shrugged. “It’s the stress.” She kissed Aiden again. “My poor Aiden. Tell us when you feel better, honey. We’re right here with you.”

When it was bad, she knew it made him dizzy, which was why she hadn’t been surprised when he’d passed out earlier. Not that she was in anyway becoming blasé about her husband’s health issues…

Justin jumped as his phone rang, showing it was Harry. This was no social call, he knew. Lynn graviatated to his side as he hit ‘answer’, nodding when he did; agreeing that she’d phone the airline and let him know when they had a flight home. Justin crumbled the second the call ended, sobbing against her as Lynn wrapped her arms around him. Harry’s words echoed in his head – they’d elevated Aiden’s bronchitis from acute to chronic and on towards pneumonia. The infection was reeking havoc with his weakened system. That wasn’t an illness a well person got over quickly, never mind someone with Aiden’s problems. It was impossible not to think the worst…

Harry marvelled at how calm he’d managed to remain throughout the call, summoning his courage to phone Sadie next. He’d leave her to make the arrangements with Ella to get here, wanting to return to that room where Nicole was waiting for him. Taking one look at his expression, Sadie knew instantly something was wrong. She kept quiet throughout the call, only nodding as he spoke, agreeing that she’d drop everything and pick Ella up on her way through.

He put his arm around Nicole’s shoulders when he returned to the room, seeing she hadn’t moved, still huddled over Aiden, her grip on his hand tight, her head near his, still talking to him. Looking up at the LCD screen displaying all the numbers, he had no idea how to identify which was referring to what.

What do they mean?” He asked her softly, squeezing her shoulders.

They aren’t what they should be.” Nicole replied equally as softly.

The treatment will restore them?”

Nicole shrugged, feeling her tears well up again.

We must think positively.” He squeezed her again. “You got him help quickly, that’s a good thing.”

Nicole nodded.

They’ve given him all they can, haven’t they?”

Nicole nodded again, unable to stop the thought that it might not be enough. Her world was ending, and despite her insistences that she was going with him, she didn’t want him to leave her. Not now. Not without Justin and Lynn here, that wasn’t fair, Justin would never get over it. “Don’t leave us, Aiden. Please honey, not now. You can’t give in, you just can’t.” She whispered, fresh tears streaming down her face.

Time past agonisingly slowly.

Fifteen minutes later, Harry had a text from Lynn that stated they were on the plane now and would be there in five hours.

Two hours later, Sadie and Ella arrived in the room. They both leant over him from the opposite side to Nicole and Harry, both crying over him, both pleading with him to be strong and to recover. It was heart-wrenching. Harry was torn between wanting to support his sisters and not wanting to let go of Nicole, not knowing what to do until Nicole let go of his hand and nodded, sending him to them silently.

As they sat up, holding each other and crying against the other’s shoulder, Harry crossed the room and put his arms around both of them, telling them what they knew and what was going on. They both nodded, taking in his words solemnly. Nicole didn’t get involved, resting her forehead gently against Aiden’s, still talking quietly to him.

An hour later, his statistics were worsening.

Forty minutes later, the attending doctor was asking who his next of kin was, to go with him for a necessary procedure?

Nicole.” Harry was the first one to find his voice. “She’s his wife, she’s always with him.” He smiled kindly at her. “She always gets him through.” His voice wobbled.

Sadie and Ella both nodded, and Nicole was taken by surprise that they’d so readily agreed. Legally, next of kin was a blood relative, and that was Sadie, as the oldest.

Decision made, preparations kicked in. Sadie got up then, crossing the room to Nicole and putting her arms around her.

You made him so happy.” She managed through her tears. “We don’t know how to thank you.”

Nicole wanted to burst into tears at her words, not knowing how she’d managed to keep a hold of her control. “I love your dad so much.” She squeezed Sadie, surprised then when Ella joined her, and Harry tried to put his arms around all of them. “He means everything to me, he touches everyone he meets.” She thought then of Charlotte and Stefan, knowing they would be the first call she made. “I’d never let harm come to him.” She sniffed, giving them all a squeeze.

If it was up to you, he’d live forever.” Harry said into the silence.

Nicole nodded, not wanting to get into specifics and knowing that his heart was in the right place by making such a declaration. Directed into the regulation clothing, she left with him, leaving Harry to comfort his sisters, unable to bear the thought that this might be the last time they were all with him.

Mrs Lewis?” Then she looked up at the doctor, her attention automatically drawn back to Aiden’s ghostly white face. “Are you aware that your husband signed the ‘no resuscitation’ form?”

Colour drained from Nicole’s face. She hadn’t been, but she wasn’t entirely surprised. Her expression said it all, and all attention focused on Aiden.

What did they say they were going to do?” Lynn was looking at Harry, but her arms were wrapped around Justin, who’s body was shaking beside her.

Harry’s face twisted with the effort of trying to recall the medical terminology. “They will drain the fluid build up, a pleural…”

Lynn nodded. “A pleural fluid aspiration.”

That’s it.” Harry nodded, shrugging. “But when they told us to think the worst, it’s hard not to.”

His words set Ella and Sadie off again.

That’s a relatively easy procedure, and very effective very quickly.” Lynn said, squeezing Justin. “He’ll be okay, Jay.”

Justin shook his head. “You don’t know that.” His words had a haunted quality.

Looking up as his doctor arrived in the room wearing a grim expression, Justin’s heart rate doubled. “Let me see him, please.” He barely recognised his own voice, it was so weak and frightened.

He’s in Recovery at the moment.”

Lynn caught the hesitation in his voice. “You mean…”

I mean what I say.” The man sounded agitated now. “Mrs Lewis refuses to leave his side.”

Nicole… Lynn closed her eyes in horror. That was typical of Nicole; she was always with him. She’d promised him she would always be with him. It was a small comfort, but a comfort nonetheless. “Nic won’t let anything happen to him, Jay.” She squeezed Justin again. “I’m sure they’ll let us see him when he’s feeling better.” As she looked up, she saw the man had gone.

Honey, I’ll leave you for a minute so that I can swap with Jay. He and Lynn will be here now and he’ll be desperate to see you.” She kissed Aiden’s forehead. “I won’t be far away. I’ll still be watching over you. I know you’ll want to see him when you wake up properly.” She kissed him again, nodding with the nurse who was in with them.

Justin looked up at the instruction, horrified.

Lynn squeezed him, smiling encouragingly at him. “It must be looking promising if Nic’s prepared to relinquish her spot.” She squeezed him, as they followed the nurse down the twisting corridors. Stopping by the door as they were told, and the nurse disappeared for the garb he’d have to put on, she kissed at the fresh tears falling down his face. “Don’t let him see you like this.”

She saw his bottom lip tremble, but he nodded. Hugging her, he did as he was told silently, waiting for what seemed like an eternity for Nicole to appear.

They both hugged her when she appeared, all three of them in tears that instant.

Don’t leave him.” Nicole choked the words out. “I told him I wouldn’t leave him.”

Justin nodded purposefully, letting go of her and trying to control his shaky legs enough to walk into the room from which she’d appeared. His promise was soon forgotten, the second his eye fell on his brother’s unmoving, fragile body, his resolve broke. “Oh God Aiden.” He draped himself over him. “Aiden…” His voice tailed off as the sobs crammed in his throat. “We’ll look after Nic, Aiden.” He forced the words out. “Don’t worry about her. She’ll be back soon. I’m sorry I took her away from you, but I had to see you. I’ve been so worried, Aiden. When Harry called…” His voice tailed off again.

The bleep from the machinery made him look up. He saw that the vital statistics displayed on the monitor were decreasing.

Aiden! Aiden, no.” He knew what it meant. He was giving up the fight. Guilt filled Justin, was this because Nicole had relinquished her position by his side? “Aiden, don’t. Don’t. I’ll get Nicky, hang on Aiden.” He let go of him, running from the room.

Nicole and Lynn looked up as he appeared suddenly.

You… Nic…” He couldn’t get the words out. “Now Nic, now.”

Nicole was staring at him fearfully, her brain not quite comprehending what he was trying to say, but knowing one thing – if Justin wasn’t in there, then she was going back in. She left Lynn to comfort him, hurrying as best she could to his side.

Aiden’s hand was cold when she picked it up, rubbing it between both of hers as she talked to him, trying to keep out of the way of the nurses and the doctors filing into the room and out again.

Lifting his hand, she kissed the back of it, her gaze not leaving his face, blocking out everything else around them as everything slowed: his heart rate, his blood pressure, everything was dropping; until, minutes or seconds later she wasn’t sure which, his chest stilled.

She knew what was going to happen next, but she was convinced that she actually saw the pacemaker kick into life. She’d been convinced that she had felt it work a few times before as she held him clasped close. This time, his body didn’t react. Horrified, she let go of his hand abruptly, his arm flopping lifelessly by his side.

It never failed. She forgot to take a breath, the air leaving her lungs in a horrified gasp moments before. That tiny machine kicked in again; and what seemed like a lifetime later, he moaned.

The sequence of events following this she couldn’t follow. The next thing she knew, she was outside in the corridor with Justin and Lynn, both of them hugging her as the doctor explained they would be putting him into ICU and onto a ventilator to monitor his progress.

Shaking uncontrollably in her shock, Nicole couldn’t even string two words together, never mind tell them that she had held his hand as he’d died and watched as he came back to life in front of her. It was an image she knew she’d never forget.

 

NEXT…. An extract from the forthcoming follow-on from my WTSMP series:

 

Georgie

Please Andy, just once. Just for a check.”

It was indeed haunting the older her, their, son got, the more he looked like his father. Georgie had shared Jason’s fears from the start that their son would also inherit the deadly heriditory heart condition. Now, at 29, Georgie was all too aware that he was approaching the age that his grandfather had been when the disease had cruelly taken his life.

She would never forgive herself if she didn’t nag him, if she didn’t insist; God forbid if Andy was taken ill at the wheel and the crash resulted in Victoria’s, and the childrens’, deaths as well as his own. Georgie shuddered.

You had me checked for years.” Andrew insisted, tired of his mother’s pleas for something that seemed so unneccesary. “They never found anything.”

All the more reason to double check.” Georgie argued back. “Your sisters’ still attend their checks.”

Andrew sighed. “Okay. I give in. Set it up and I’ll come down.”

Thank you Andy.” Georgie breathed a sigh of relief. “You can bring Victoria, and the….”

He cut her off with a shake of his head. “No. It’ll be me, and just for a few hours, I can’t just up and leave without notice. There’s a lot to do here.”

Georgie held her tongue, not repeating what her brain told her to say. “Okay, I’ll be in touch.” She felt him hesitate. Her questioning look met him before she could speak.

But don’t tell Vic, I don’t want her to know. Not…..” He trailed off.

Not if there’s no need to worry, I understand.” Georgie fought to not roll her eyes. “I was there myself.”

Solemnly he nodded, and they exchanged goodbyes.

Again, Georgie knew she wouldn’t be allowed in with him for the testing. Again, she wondered if Christopher would be…

Christopher

Breathing a sigh of relief, Christopher sat back in his chair. He felt he knew what was going to happen; part of him wanted to be in that room with his nephew; part of him didn’t, thinking through the horrors that he’d gone through with his brother. Andrew was physically strong, but this was a disease that prayed on your genetic make-up not your strength.

Because of his profession, as a saxophonist, Jason had the strongest lung capacity and healthiest heart, but it simply hadn’t been enough. Christopher shook his head sadly. He vowed he would take Andy to his appointment, to at least sit in the corridor and wait. This was something he knew that Jason would have wanted him to do, as he couldn’t do it himself. Christopher blew out a deep breath. He knew also that Jason blamed himself for passing on his ‘faulty’ genes to his children. With the wonders of modern medicine, they’d kept Jason alive seventeen more years than his own father.

Same now, the advancements meant that anyone with the condition would have the best medical care; specialist knowledge Christopher had been honing since they’d lost his brother. Indeed, Christopher believed that his research meant that anyone diagnosed now had a good chance of living into their 70’s or even 80’s. True, the average nowadays was that people were living into their 90’s and beyond, but that was one heck of an advancement.

Anna had been on at him to retire. He had done enough. His work had helped so many thousands of patients, but Christopher felt that he couldn’t stop yet. Now he knew why. Georgie’s text flashed through with the message that Andy’s appointment was next Thursday, at 10 am. A certain dread filled him, knowing precisely what was going to happen.

Not that he could tell anyone – who would believe him? They’d proclaim he was obsessed – well, he was – and they’d lecture him again on the fact that it hadn’t been his fault. A small part of him understood that there had been nothing he could do to save his brother, but it was a thought that was often crowded out by guilt and self-loathing. He was the medical professional, he was the one with the knowledge, the contacts, the very background they needed…… It hadn’t been enough, and to Christopher, it had felt like an eternal punishment.

Andrew

He’d been to this hospital many times throughout his childhood, both for his own appointments and those family ones. Many times he’d sat by his father’s bedside and wondered if this was it… He shuddered. As procedure, he booked in at reception, barely listening to the woman’s directions as he knew exactly where he was going.

He’d left early this morning, parking outside his mother’s place and walking into the City, all those paths that he knew so well. They’d agreed that he would go alone, that he would call in and see her before he got back into the car. He turned the corner and immediately his gaze fell on his Uncle Christopher. His first reaction was anger, he didn’t want anyone with him; but moving closer, he saw his Uncle’s torturous expression – and he understood. He sat in silence beside him, on the chair that he knew Christopher had kept vacant for him. After a moment or two of silence, Christopher cleared his throat. Andrew braced himself for the lecture.

I’ll go in with you if you want me to, if not, I’ll be right here.”

Andrew was thrown by this, and his expression gave away his thoughts. That was not what he’d expected his Uncle to say. He nodded, and that was enough for Christopher.

Truth be told, Christopher had been watching the people walking by, looking for his nephew’s arrival – and he’d been shocked to see how much like his father he was now. He was the spitting image of Jason. It was almost too much for Christopher to look at him, but he couldn’t let Andrew’s gaze drop.

Andrew’s name was called and he got up slowly, hesitating before walking into the room. Christopher closed his eyes, knowing it was now just a matter of time… He’d arrived early in order to talk with the specialist, the man who had taken over from Dr Verdi, the man who had – for a time – successfully treated his brother. He’d shared his fears with the other medical professional, knowing that he was the only person who wouldn’t – at least openly – doubt him.

Christopher was slightly caught off guard when his name was called, some forty minutes later and he was beckoned into the room. Andrew hadn’t appeared and the dread sank like a stone in his stomach. His theory was about to be proved right. He wanted to be wrong, just this once, please….

Georgie

Georgie’s nerves were jangling the longer time dragged on. She’d seen in Christopher’s expression last night that there was something he wasn’t saying. He hadn’t been impressed that Andrew had wanted to do things his own way, but that was Jason’s stubborn streak coming out in him, they both knew. She knew that Christopher would be there, regardless of his nephew’s intentions.

What had he said to Victoria as he left this morning? Was she completely in the dark? Georgie doubted it – Victoria was a bright, intuitive girl. No doubt she could read Andrew like a book. Georgie had a good handle on her twin daughters, but her son had distanced himself from the family since he had moved away. She didn’t doubt that there was a lot to do on Victoria’s family’s farm, and even now, she hadn’t understood why her son had wanted a life so vastly different to the one that they had here. He had a great engineering mind, and perhaps he was trying his theories in the countryside? Whatever it was, he was happy, and he was healthy.

Was. She chewed her lip thinking about it. Andrew had skipped his vital appointments for the last six years. Six years. And she’d let him get away with it. Why now had he given in to her pleas? Did he know something that she didn’t? She shook her head with her thoughts. It would do her no good to think like this. The ringing of the phone interrupted her thoughts.

She could see from the profile, it was Victoria.

What’s going on?” Victoria’s voice matched her expression – tense, angry and hurt.

Good morning Victoria.” Georgie forced herself to be polite. “I hope you and the children are well.”

Victoria checked herself. “I’m sorry, Georgie. Yes, we’re fine thank you, and how are you?”

Georgie smiled faintly. “I’m okay. Did Andy not tell you why he’s here?”

He said he had an appointment at ten. He said he’d phone me by eleven.”

Georgie glanced at the clock – 11:09. That was not a good sign, but she wasn’t about to admit it. “You know what it’s like, you’re not always called at the exact time of your appointment.”

I know.” Victoria’s voice became softer. “But……I’m so worried, I ….I’ve just got this feeling…”

Horror crawled over Georgie. Her daughter in law had the same horrid gnawing feeling she had, and the same feeling she was sure Christopher had.

Christopher went with him.” She spoke into the silence.

Uncle Christopher?” Victoria frowned, and Georgie almost smiled at Victoria’s use of the family term. “But Andy was adamant he was going alone.”

I know that, you know that, but Christopher wouldn’t have it.” Georgie smiled at the thought.

Victoria breathed out rapidly. “I’m glad.” She saw Georgie frown. “Whatever is wrong, Uncle Christopher is the best one to be with him.”

Georgie had to agree with her, although she knew that Christopher didn’t always hold the answer. She too was haunted by that night; haunted by the fact that she was helpless, and even Christopher was. “I’ll get him to phone you straightaway when I hear from him.”

Victoria nodded. “And I, you.”

Georgie nodded, and the call ended.