Thursday, 31 December 2015

Happy New Year!

More of the Riverside Series Coming In 2016...

I got in my battered old VW Golf. I loved this old car and I missed it when I was away on an operation. I sat in the seat, my mind going at a million miles an hour. I could hear my dad’s voice in my head, “Now then, Tate – you might be seventeen and think that you’re king of the road – but you’ve got to consider other drivers too you know – you’re not the best driver the world has ever seen, no matter how much you think you are.”
I couldn’t help myself smiling at the memory but my eyes had filled with tears at the same time. Dad had always been really careful and considerate – so how the hell had they managed to end up killed in a road traffic accident? I sighed miserably. No doubt True would fill me in on all the details when I got home...

Okay – so my family isn’t perfect – but then, whose is? And besides, it’s a loving and wonderful family and I love every one of my brothers – I have three of them; my sister and my brothers in law – and yes. I did say brothers in law – Tomas and Will are married now too.
I’m aware that we might appear dysfunctional. I’m aware that my relationship with my twin brother seems weird to some – but it’s what we are and they’ll just have to deal with it.
Oh, and to top off all of the madness – I’m in love with an actress – and of course she’s never going to want me – but there it is – ever since I saw the movie ‘Captivated’ – I have been…

I was totally used to calling the shots. Women kind of fell at my feet – not the other way around. I didn’t like to brag, but all of us were really good-looking and none of us had any issues with attracting the opposite sex (Even Tom who didn’t actually want them since he was married to a guy…) and I could, if I chose, have a different girl on my arm – every night of the week. And I did date girls – quite a lot. I didn’t fall in love with any of them though. If I’m honest, the thought of actually being in a relationship with any of them was quite horrifying. I wasn’t into that sort of nonsense. Relationships were for other people – grown ups – not me… I wasn’t like everyone else. I didn’t think I was really capable of it. Toby was the lovable one – I wasn’t. I’d felt this way since… well, since forever really – but definitely since Mum died. Mum had loved me unconditionally. She saw past all the flaws in all of her children – even me.

 I couldn’t wait to marry Will. Seriously, I could not wait. He was the love of my whole life and I couldn’t imagine being with anyone else – ever.
We had a really great relationship but there was one thing I regretted not telling him when we first got together – and that was the small fact that I was named on my best friend’s daughter’s birth certificate… I know, right…  

 I stared at True. “A letter from my mother?” My insides felt all wobbly and I was starting to lose feeling in my legs. I pulled out a chair and flopped down. Nausea threatened to have me running for the sink but I tried my best to stay calm.
She nodded, biting her lip. “I didn’t know whether to tell you or not…”
I swallowed. “It’s fine,” I lied, “I can handle it – give it here.”
She passed me the envelope and I took it with slightly shaky fingers. This was surreal. She’d never been able to write in all the time I’d known her – she lived only for the skunk and the sex… I shivered. She’d sold me to anyone for her next fix – and had enjoyed the whole sordid show too – I guess she could argue that she wasn’t fully aware but I’m not sure I would agree. In my opinion she just wasn’t quite right in the head…
“What does it say?” True asked quietly.
I shook my head, “Nothing much – just that she reckons she’s clean now and wants me to meet her and that she has a wonderful new boyfriend – how has she got a new boyfriend when she’s spent the last two years inside?”
True sighed and shook her head, “I have no idea – he must be one of those weird people that writes to the inmates.”
“Freak,” I muttered.
“Freak’s right.” She agreed, “Are you okay?”
I looked up into her beautiful face, all concerned for me and not in any way other than that of a sister who cared about me. This was my family – the Fletchers. They were the ones who had given me their surname to give me a new start in life and to make me less easy to find. Mum’s letter had come to me via the prison service. She didn’t know where to find me. I could just ignore this letter and never see her again…

Nothing mattered to me more than attaining my Michelin star and putting the Riverside pub on the map. I wasn't looking for a relationship. I wasn't going to be distracted by anything as reckless as a woman... A relationship? Kids? Give me a break - I was going place!
But then Josie was hired. I'd never seen anything so utterly beautiful in all my life - and damn it she was feisty and sassy and I instantly fell for her.
She wasn't interested in my chat up lines. She wasn't looking for a guy - said she'd given up on men altogether - thought we were collectively a bunch of wasters.
She'd been hurt - that much was obvious. I wanted to help her. I wanted to know her. I wanted to be with her. Suddenly a relationship and kids didn't seem such a bad idea...