Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Rock 22

No Good in Goodbye ....

It has been a very long five days.

It has been total bedlam around here, not only is Slate now awake but Mango's two sons, Tapestry and River, have turned up safe and sound.   There is also the police operation going on under every ones nose that they are oblivious too. 

While Cinnamon is working away putting the last few pieces of the case against Gravel together, we have just had to carry on life as normal which has been very hard, especially for both me and Mango.  It is not so bad for Bay because he knows hardly any of the facts and his mind is too wrapped up with Slate.

Tomorrow is the day when it all goes down.

Cinnamon only said it would take them a few days, but it has taken longer than he thought, working their way through all of Mace's suspected hits, re-interviewing all the witnesses and re-examining the evidence of those cases thoroughly.  New evidence has also come up that they have been having to deal with.  Bodies have been recovered, from exactly where Gravel said they would be on the taped conversation between himself and Mace.  

The two bodies, just as Gravel suggested, have now been officially identified as Mace's two missing cousins Aniseed and Basil Brownie.  A third body has also been recovered from the same place.  Tamarin Brownie - Mace's wife.  Her body was bound gagged and weighted down in exactly the same way as the other two bodies leaving the police in no doubt they are all Gravel's handy work. 

I can't even imagine what is going through Gravel's mind to even do this?  If this is revenge for the fading of our Father, while he was on duty just doing his job as a police officer over thirty years ago, then Gravel has taken his revenge way too far!!  Sage Brownie who shot and faded our Father, I now know was also faded during the same shoot out.  Gravel can't take it out on the man himself so it appears that he is taking it out on the rest of his whole family.  My brother is a callous murderer ... that is just too much for me to get my head around!

Mace's sister and daughter have now been moved to a safe house.  The recovery of the three bodies really left the police with no choice but to step in and just take them out from under Gravel's nose.  Tarragon and Jasmine were removed from Apple Hill before the story leaked out about the three bodies of the Brownie family members being found.  Nobody can predict how Gravel will react when he hears this news, firstly, his three murder victims bodies have been found and secondly, Mace's sister, who Gravel has supposedly been having a relationship with for the past four years, has now totally disappeared on him without a word.

While one weight has been lifted from my mind, that Mace's daughter is safe, an even heavier one is keeping me awake.  Forrest is out there somewhere still missing and not found.  It's ridiculous,  he went out to Sandy Shores and just vanished.  He isn't answering his phone to anyone or responding to any of his text messages or voice mail.  Why?!  It seriously doesn't make any sense.  How can he just check out of the resort and vanish?!  I'm starting to worry that he might have done something stupid, there is a hell of a lot of water surrounding Sandy Shores.  He believes Gravels lies, he still loves me and has been sat here all this time waiting for me to come back home to him and what do I do, turn up with Mace!!  

Forrest thinks I hate him, that is what cracked me up the most thinking that he now hated me.  I should never have doubted him - me and him are the same, so I know he is out there somewhere hurting like hell, just like I have been all these years!!  If he's feeling how I did and thinks it is now finally all over, he will be thinking he has got nothing left to live for, like I did, and what is the point.  What we had can seriously never be replaced!!  How stupid have I been!!  I could have come back ten years ago when the last Brownie brother fell in prison!!  My fears kept me away and now look what it has done to us!!

Of course there is another possible explanation for Forrest's disappearance and something that I seriously don't even want to think about - Gravel.  Gravel could already have got to him and shut him up permanently for all we know.  That is something that I would never be able to cope or deal with.  I have to push this thought right to the back of my mind before it cracks me up, not a clever idea while I'm sat here with Mace.   

I stare at the door to Slates room while we wait for the nurses to finish with their daily morning routine before we can go into see him.  I feel Mace staring at me but I totally ignore him.  I'm totally torn about tomorrow, I know our time together is coming to an end and it hurts. I'm really struggling not to let it show.  Mace has been a big part of my life for the past five years and this past six weeks we have become closer than I ever thought we would.  I know I am really going to miss him and even though I don't love him, it is still very hard to watch him go. 

El will be arriving shortly they have arranged to spend the day together again.  Really I should be spending today with him because it's going to be our last, but I just can't face it.  I won't be able to keep it together being around him. When I'm away from him I can keep myself occupied and push his leaving to the back of my mind where I don't have to deal it.

Slate has been the hardest part of all this for me to deal with.  Just getting my head around him being my child is hard enough without the things that are really hurting me.  I've always wanted children or a child and suddenly I have one, but I have to deal with the fact that I've been robbed of twenty years of his life and that is very hard to take.  I never saw him as a baby, I didn't watch him growing up, I have missed everything and now I've got an adult in front of me.  Walking into his room as his Uncle knowing that I'm not, pretending he is not my son, especially around Gravel is damn near killing me!!  

Slate himself doesn't know the truth yet, he won't be finding out until Gravel is safely behind bars.  Slate has been told only the bare minimum, because we don't think he is up to handling anything extra at all at the moment.  We are already watching his mental state very closely, firstly because of the overdose, but also because he is worrying and confusing both me and Mango and especially poor Bay who doesn't know what planet he's on right now.  Slate basically went into his induced coma in love with Coral and came out of it in love with Bay, which really is not normal.  The switch in him is so drastic according to both Mango and Bay it's scary!!  Of course I didn't know Slate before the coma so I don't see what they are seeing, all I can go on is what they tell me.  At the moment all Slate knows is that Coral is pregnancy and that he needs a kidney transplant.

"Where is your head?"  Mace says suddenly breaking my train of thought  "You are quiet, what are you thinking about?"  I tell him Slate and his sudden thing for Bay.  He smiles at me then pulls that face.  "Gran ..."  he says in a sickly way which usually means he is creeping for something.

"Just spit it out!  I know you are after something!"  I laugh at him

"I need some money because I think my card is broken, it's stopped working"  he gives me that look and I really start laughing at him.

I explain to Mace that I received a call from the bank yesterday and that his card isn't broken.  His card has stopped working because he has drained the account dry again so there is no money in it.  Even though I don't tell him, I am a little, no very annoyed with him because we are not even half way through the month yet, but I know what is doing it, all the shopping trips that he is taking with Elderberry.  

"I'm Sorry!!"  he mumbles   "I'll cut it down!"

"Yeah, I've heard that one before!!"  I laugh at him  "We need to send you to rehab for your spending addiction!!"  he laughs at me.

"Why did the bank call you?"  he frowns at me

"Ive got an alert on the account they tell me when it's getting close to the limit."  he frowns at me  "I got sick of you going overdrawn, it's bad enough the money you waste without having to pay bank charges for your over drawing as well!!  As soon as I put money in the account your card will start working again."

"So did you?"  he asks sheepishly  "Put money in the account?"

I shake my head as I take my wallet out and hand him some money.  I usually would have just transferred some money but I was a little taken aback by him emptying his account before we are even half way through the month.  I didn't really see the point of transferring money when after tomorrow he won't be using that account probably for a long time, but I can't really tell him that!  The look on his face now almost makes me feel guilty for thinking that way.

"I'm sorry I was busy with Mango up in Neurology when they phoned and it has just slipped my mind since.  That cash will have to do until I get to the cash point."  

Mace looks down at the money in his hand and I can see by the look on his face it is not enough.  He kills me and it's probably my own fault I've spoiled him, if I wasn't stupid enough to keep giving it to him he wouldn't have it to spend or gotten so accustomed to being so stupid with money. 

"I suppose you are going shopping with El again today aren't you!?"  he nods his head without looking up at me.  "For berry's sake Mace!   

I hand him the last of the notes in my wallet and he smiles at me. 

"You really are going soft on me aren't you!!"  I frown at him  "You would normally have been kicking off at me big time by now!"  he smiles a little sheepishly.  "I'm sorry!  I know I've got a problem and I promise when we get home I'll sort it out!"

Mace starts to kiss me probably so I can't say anything.  If only he knew, it's not a case of me going soft on him, it's a case of me now feeling sorry for him!!  He doesn't realise that he won't be going home and literally has only hours left of his freedom, and I feel guilty for what Gravel, my brother,  has done and is doing to him and what I know he has got ahead of him.  I want Mace to enjoy the time he has left on the outside, and now is not the time to be arguing with him.  Tomorrow he really is not going to know what's hit him! 

At the moment it looks like Mace seems to have only committed the one murder in self defense probably aggravated by Gravel.  He might get away with it and he might not, only the courts can decide that.  Cinnamon says he thinks that Mace is definitely going to get time.  Knowingly using the deceased's identity is probably going to be what gets him even if he does get away with strangling his cousin in self defense.  Fraud brings heavy sentences and just how much time he is going to end up getting we can't even possibly guess.

I am worrying about him being in prison at all.  I know as soon as the hard criminals clock how soft he is they will make mincemeat of him.   I'm also worrying about what this is all going to do to him mentally, especially me, when he finds out that the engagement and me pretending to love him is all fake.   

I am now selfishly pinning my hopes on getting Forrest back when this is all over, which I know is not going to go down too well with Mace if it does happen!!  When he is inside he might have a hope that I'll wait for him to come out, but unfortunately, the minute he gets locked up, us being together is over.  I really am not looking forward to visiting him inside to tell him it's over and he has to let me go!!  I am not going to be completely heartless and totally turn my back on him.  I will always be there for Mace if he needs me, but in future only strictly as a friend.  When he is released he will have to go out and lead his own life without me, and find someone who can give him the love that I couldn't.    

"Put him down, you don't know where he's been or what you might catch!"  we hear Elderberry laughing which parts us and stops our kissing.

I laugh at Elderberry as she stands there grinning at us.   Mace stands up and she puts her arm round him.  They have become quite close and Mace is going to get the shock of his life when he finds out exactly who she is.  Interestingly Mace has not let a thing slip that she can use, he is very good at the game he plays. 

"I am warning you, he is on rations today El, he has maxed out his card again and I haven't had time to transfer any money, so you might get a sulky Mace today!"  I smirk at him and he's now embarrassed, I know he would much rather I had told her his card is broken.

"No matter, I don't much fancy like shopping myself today anyway, my legs are still killing me from yesterday's trek round Sugar Falls mall."  she smiles at Mace  "I thought we could go to the spa instead, I think we deserve to pamper ourselves today. You should come with us Granite."  

Elderberry gives me a strange look, I try to ignore it because I think I might know what it means, she is trying to remind me that it is getting close.  I know that Elderberry has become very fond of Mace in just a short space of time and is not really looking forward to the task ahead of her - arresting Mace.

"Like you two don't pamper yourselves everyday!!"  I laugh at her  "I don't much fancy feeling like a wrinkled prune today so I'll pass, besides you two giggle too much, you will just give me a headache!!"

I laugh at them as I suddenly become surplus to requirements and they start nattering and giggling away like a pair of washer women.  Amber and another nurse walk out of Slates room, just at the right time, and tell me it's safe to go in.   I'm not sure I could sit and listen to them for much longer their giggling goes straight through me!! 

I kiss Mace quickly then walk into Slates room and leave them to it.


As soon as I walk into Slates room, I'm surprised to see him out of bed and sitting in a chair reading a book.  I grab his notes and read through them to see how he has been over night.  Slate just quietly glances up at me, smiles, then goes back to his book.  I spot something in his notes which makes me frown at him.

"Should you be reading, you've complained of bad headaches for two days on the trot now and we don't know the cause of it yet."  he looks up at me and closes the book as I sit down on the chair closest to him.  "Your blood pressure is still up too, what have they done about it, anything?"  he laughs quietly as I sit checking his pulse.

"I'm having a CT Scan later Mango wants to check my head out and he's taken bloods."  he rolls his eyes at me  "Somebody else fussing!  I'm fine.  I've told them I'm not sleeping that's all and I've always suffered with migraines."  I ask him if his lack of sleep is because of the headaches  "No, restless and nightmares."  he mumbles as I get him to look at me while I check his eyes.

"Your eyes look like they are the same colour as mine!"  he frowns at me as I step back away from him  "He has always told me I've got my Mothers eyes."

"Well he's an idiot because you've got my brown eyes, which came from your Granddad Rock.  I don't know why he's told you that because your Mother had piercing bright orange eyes that you definitely couldn't mistake for mine!!  Her eyes were quite striking they always jumped out at you, they almost used to shine especially when she was happy."

"You knew my Mother?"  he asks curiously

"Yes of course I knew Amber.  She started dating Gravel when they were fourteen, they had been married for about four year when I was locked up."  I laugh for a moment  "Amber needed her head testing, I always said she was far too good for that useless brother of mine!!"

"What did she look like?  Ive never seen a photo of her, he destroyed them all."

"Yeah Bay told me.  He has always been a selfish berry hole but I don't understand why he would even destroy all of her photograph, he idolized Amber!!  Unfortunately I don't see much of Amber in you other than your hair, you are definitely a Rock."  he pulls a face  "Don't worry, I'll get you plenty of pictures of your Mother as soon as Forrest gets back, we had loads, snap happy leaf took pictures of anything and everything!"  he really frowns at me

"You know Forrest too."  I laugh for a moment, I'm surprised that Bay hasn't told him. 

"I should hope so!"  I laugh at him  "I married him when I was eighteen."  

I hold my hand out to him and he stares at my ring for a moment, then he bursts out laughing.  He doesn't believe me, he thinks I'm joking because Bay has warned him I can be a bit of a joker and of course there is Mace.  I take the photo out of my wallet and hand it to him as I explain that I don't actually love Mace, I'm just making do.  He stares at the photograph then me wide eyed.  I tell him that I'm surprised he hasn't seen a very similar photograph of us on the wall in Forrest's office up in Neurology, but he says that he has never really had call to go into Forrest's office when he has been up to Neurology.   

"Forrest Leaf Rock, have you never questioned his surname being the same as yours?"

"I have quite a few times but he told me its just a coincidence there are a lot of Rock families in the world.  Forrest used to say exactly the same thing."   he frowns at me  "I don't get it, why didn't they tell me?  Especially about you!"

"That's a question Slate that I would love to know the answer to myself, especially as the joker gave you my name twisted round, I'm Granite Slate Rock and you are Slate Granite Rock."   his eyes widen for a moment then we both sit there laughing at each other.  Of course I know why he gave the boy my name I just can't tell him why at the moment. 

We sat for ages talking about both Amber and Forrest.  Slate started to get quite upset over both of them.  Not knowing what his Mother looks like or anything about her really gets to him.  Gravel has told him hardly anything about her, always refusing to talk about her.  This annoys me.  Slate getting upset over Forrest I was really surprised about.  He tells me that he remembers Forrest a lot from when he was really small.  Forrest was always there, he thinks he lived with Gravel and he seems to think that Forrest looked after him more than Gravel did.  He remembers the terrible fights that Forrest and Gravel used to have, then Forrest vanished from his life and distanced himself away from him.  That really upset and confused Slate.  It also puzzles me, but I guess we won't get to the bottom of that one until we speak to Forrest.

Slate raises his eyebrows and smiles at Bay as soon as he walks into the room, I'm a little puzzled when Bay smiles and nods at Slate, almost like they have their own silent communiction.  Bay sits down and pulls out a flask and a foil wrapped block which I presume are sandwiches, from the bag he is carrying, and hands them to Slate.  I sit and watch with amusement as he pulls out a cheese toasties and starts biting into it, mumbling about how bad hospital food is.

"Don't think you are eating all those to yourself, cheese toasties are my favourite!!"  I say as I pinch one and grin at him.  Slate glares at me almost like he's a child and I'm stealing his bag of sweets which makes me laugh. I quietly watch Slate as he finishes one toastie then starts on a second.   He is struggling to lift his arms up properly because of his muscle weakness but he isn't letting that stop him.  I also notice that Bay has gone way over the top with the amount of cheese on the toasties.

"Have you been feeding him cheese toasties and coffee on the sly for the past few days?"  I ask Bay and he nods his head and looks a little sheepish  "Well no more!!"  They both frown at me, but Slates expression is more like a sulky scowl.  I laugh out loud for a moment, the boy even has my facial expressions which I can read so easily.

"You should know better State!!  Doctors do always make the worse patients!!  Do you usually feed your post coma patients cheese and coffee, especially those with kidney problems?"  he looks sheepish and shakes his head while I roll my eyes at him  "Do you eat a lot of cheese toasties, especially with this much cheese on them?"

"He would live on them if he could."  Bay laughs. I have noticed that Bay is always answering questions that Slate has been asked, Bay talks for him a lot.  "He is a cheese freak, my Mother used to have to hide our cheese because when Slate was round he'd just take it out of the fridge and sit and eat the whole block, nobody's cheese is safe when Slate is around."  They both sit laughing at each other.

"Your migraines and nightmares probably - it's the cheese.  Your lack of sleep - it's the coffee"  I pull a disproving face at him as he gives me a cheeky grin.  I think he knows exactly what he's doing to himself, at least as far as the coffee is concerned.  "Your body has been without them for two months AND now we've more than likely found the reason for your raised blood pressure that has got Mango in a tizzy out there!!  Coffee by the size of that flask!!"

He begs me not to tell Mango, but he knows, I've got no choice but to tell him.

Suddenly the door bursts open and Coral and Gravel come barging into Slates room where neither of them are allowed.  Me and Bay both jump up off our chairs.  

This is the first time that Slate has seen either Coral or Gravel and I am worrying about how much it is going to upset him.  I don't really want that man in this room anywhere near Slate.  I hoped Slate would never have to see Gravel again.  Slate just stares at them both blankly.

"What the hell do you think you are playing at Coral?"  Bayleaf snaps at her before I even get chance to speak  "Go have your drama queen brat attack tantrums somewhere else!!"  this makes me laugh a little  "YOU and HIM are not even allowed in this room!!"  I just stand watching Bay who seems to be handling the situation.  "You should leave we are not interested in your games, go play them somewhere else!!"

"Bay who are you suddenly?  His guard dog?!  It's the game HE is playing that should be questioned!!"  Coral yells at him as she points at Slate.

Coral snatches the papers out of Gravel's hand and charges over towards Slate's bed.  She slaps the papers on the bed right by him quite forcefully.  The custody papers that she has obviously received from the solicitor.  

I suppose I should really have expected that this would be coming from them at some point today.   They were never going to take what Slate has in mind quietly, especially not Coral!!


"And if you THINK for one minute that I'm signing those papers you have got another think coming!!"  she yells at Slate.  "Go to Hell Slate - you haven't got a cat in hells chance with this rubbish!!"  I'm thinking she needs to calm down in her condition!!  "Who do you think you are going for full custody and trying to take my babies away from me!!"

"Oh and here she comes the Drama Queen!!  I wandered how long it would take you to start performing!!"  Slate snaps at her  "Go wave you arms around somewhere else SLUT!!!  Come back when you want to talk about it sensibly!!" 

"I'm sorry son, I tried to stop her!!"  Gravel mumbles as he tries to pull Coral away from the bed but she just brushes him off.

"I'm NOT your son!!  You quit being my Dad the day you started shagging the slut"  he snaps at him.

I watch Slate trying to get the papers that she has thrown at him, but he can't reach them and he starts trying to get up out of his chair.  I can see he's getting upset just at the sight of Gravel so I put my hand on his shoulder and tell him to stay where he is, not that he can really get anywhere, his muscles are too weak for him to even stand.  I take the papers off the bed passing them to Bay while I'm trying to keep Slate in his seat, scared he's going to fall.  Bay gives the papers to Gravel who takes them without any argument.

"OUT Gravel NOW before I throw you out!!  Can't you see that this is upsetting him!!"  I snap at him  "You both need to leave!!"

"You've got no right to tell me to get out!!  What gives you the right to be in here when I'm not allowed?!"  Gravel snaps nastily at me.  "He is MY son NOT yours!!!"  

I just glare at him as I bite my tongue.  What I would really love to yell at him -  but he isn't your son is he Gravel!  Instead I have to stand there saying nothing.  He is giving himself away does he not realize.

"I have EVERY right as a doctor!!  Slate doesn't want you in here, so I suggest you get out of here and take your bitch with you before I call security!!"  I snap at him  "If you gave a shit about your son, you would not be in here upsetting him!!"

"No wait, I have something to say first!!"  Slate shouts suddenly as he looks up at Coral  "If they are MY girls - then you two DON'T get to play happy families with them!!  They will be coming to live with me - I'm going for full custody and I'm not unreasonable, you can see them at weekends!!" 

"Over my faded body is this happening!!"  Coral snaps at him  "You are NOT taking my babies away from me!!"  he laughs at her which only makes her angrier

"Well you should have thought about that before you started playing russian roulette with the sperm donors!!"  he snap at her  "If they are mine I want them away from you two!!"

"Well HOPEFULLY they are Gravel's then you can go and screw yourself!!"  she yells at him  "You wait till my Dad sees this and finds out what you are up to!!"  she waves the papers around in front of Slates face after snatching them off Gravel, he just laughs at her again.  I am expecting those papers to now come back at us, but they don't she holds onto them.

"Mango already knows what I am doing and he is okay with it!!  Who do you think helped Granite to get the papers drawn up you silly cow, have you not noticed it's your Dad's solicitor!!"  she looks at me a little dumb struck.

"And who is paying for all this because I know you can't afford it?"  Gravel is frowning at Slate.  I think he knows full well that Slate can't afford the solicitors fees and just how much it could end up costing if they do fight him.

"Don't think we will take this lying down either, we will fight you all the way!  So you may as well quit now while you still have some money left!!"  Coral snaps at Slate.

"I AM!!"  I snap at Gravel because Coral has just made me angry.  "I am paying for it!  Money is no object to me, so fight away brother, because we all know it's your money she's spending!!" I snap at him  "If you was any sort of Father you'd be paying to get your son his babies, but no, it's typical of you Gravel, instead you are paying to take them away from him and funding the family bike who helped cause this mess in the first place!!"

Gravel goes for me then but Bay jumps in between us and holds me back.

"I might have known this would have something to do with you Granite!!  You can't buy him off me with your money"  he yells at me  "I bet you are really loving this, I bet this was all your idea, any opportunity to stick the knife in my back!!!"

"You are the only one around here with the knife, me and Slate both have the scars to prove it!!"  I snap at him  "I am not trying to buy him either!!  It's what Slate wants, so I'm helping him because he's not capable of doing it for himself right now and I do have twenty years worth of birthdays and Christmas's to make up for which you have robbed from us!!"  The look on Gravels face is a picture  "I think he is well within his right to go for custody of his children!!  I for one wouldn't want any children of mine being brought up under your roof and especially not by you!!  Just look at how you treat them!"  

I see his face twist like my heart and stomach are because that is exactly what has happened to me and look at what he's done to my boy!!  He's already taken my Son and ruined his life, I'll be damned if I'm going to let him take my Grandchildren too!! 

"You can have plenty more babies with HIM!!"   Slate yells at Coral suddenly interrupting me and Gravel   "Why should I let you take my babies?!  I have just as much right to them as you do!"   

Bay takes hold of Slate's hand when he sees he's starting to get upset, as he sits down on the chair next to him.   Bay leans forward and starts saying something quietly in his ear as he puts his arm round him.  Slate kisses him and they sit smiling at each other for a moment.  I'm amused when I see Coral is watching them suspiciously, then her expression changes and her face becomes a picture, while Gravel doesn't bat an eyelid at them. 

"What you and him?!"  she points at Bayleaf in shock.  "Fudge!  You are disgusting!!" 

"Yes me and him, and you have got the nerve to call me disgusting?!  You want to take a good look at yourself sweetheart!!"  Slate starts laughing quite loudly  "You who wakes me up in the morning for a shag then less than two hours later you are sat on the kitchen counter with your legs wrapped around my so called Dad!!"  he spits at her.  "And I bet that wasn't the only time was it Coral - that's your favourite game isn't it most mornings - a quick shag before breakfast - so I guess he was stirring my porridge most mornings after I left for work!! It's not like our sex life decreased any during those six weeks when you was shagging the both of us!! So I'm guessing he was getting a shag before he went off to work too!"  

Slate glares at Gravel then and I am quite amused with what is coming out of his mouth, I never expected it.  I wander why Bay speaks for him so much when he has enough mouth of his own.

"Did you never even notice you was getting sloppy seconds every morning after I'd left for work?!"  he laughs  "If you ask me I'm well shot of the dirty slut - you're welcome to her!!  I'd watch her if I was you, I guess you must have worked out by now shes a raving dirty nymph who does anything and everything, and if I have to be honest that's the only thing I liked about her!  It obviously took the two of us to keep her satisfied and you are on your own now so it won't be long before you are getting somebody elses sloppy seconds, but don't come crying to me when that happens because I'm finished with you!!  I'm also well shot of you, you back stabbing Berry Hole!!"

Gravels face is suddenly a picture - I can't help but openly laugh at him.  

"Now GET OUT AND GET LOST  ... you both make me sick!!"  Slate yells

Gravel stares at me in shock for a moment before he storms out suddenly like he is the one who has had the wrong done to him.

"NOW LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE!!"  Coral yells at Slate and goes chasing after Gravel.

"Fudge Slate!!  Should you really have gone that far?!  I feel sick!!"  Bay doubles over laughing as he looks at me and I crack up and join him. 

"How do you think I feel - if he was getting sloppy seconds then so was I!!  I hope she does him over like she's done me!!  I'm beginning to think I know why Coral was adamant I didn't tell Parsley about him and Straw.  They both obviously don't mind sharing and knowing the dirty bitch she is, the bike Straw is and the berry hole he is ... I wouldn't put it past them to have been having threesomes and they didn't want me or anyone else to find out!!" 

While Bay is stood in the corner having fits of laughter, I have to try and calm Slate down because he is starting to get himself really worked up into a state.  While I just want to laugh at what he has just said about the threesomes, I have to stop myself.  Slate leans back in his chair and his face changes and he starts to look really upset instead of angry. 

"IF they are my babies, I want them away from HIM and HER!!  Somehow I need to get her to sign those papers!!"  he starts to crack up.  

Bay stops laughing then and goes to comfort him.  Just looking at how upset he's getting is killing me.  I knew them coming in here would do this to him.  The baby thing is also unhinging him and he could really do without this added fight, but it's what he wants.

Mango was not very amused when Slate started with this virtually straight away.  He had hardly any time to take in that Coral's pregnancy could be down to him when he started saying he wanted custody of them if they are his.  Mango feels trapped between the two of them, but it's their fight and Mango can't stop Slate from doing this.  He's having to sit back and take a gamble that if it's what he thinks he's got to do, Slate can express his intent and get the papers drawn up, it doesn't mean that Coral is ever going to sign them.  He is hoping that when Gravel is out of the way they will sort out their differences and get back together, and these papers will have all been for nothing.

I see it from a totally different angle to Mango.  Slate has been polite about Coral around Mango, but not around me and Bay.   To Slate, Coral is just as much of a problem as Gravel is, she has stabbed him in the back just as much as Gravel has.  Gravel being removed from the picture, I doubt, is going to make the slightest bit of difference to Slate, there is never any going back to Coral as far as he's concerned.  He wants the babies away from her as much as Gravel.  He just wants custody of them full stop and I feel like I have to get him what he wants no matter who it might be spiting. I think I know a way to get Gravel to get her to sign the papers!!  I tell Bay to look after him then rush out of the room after Gravel.  

I hear them before I see them, arguing further down the corridor.  I stand and watch them from a distance, a little worried that they are arguing at all, knowing what Gravel is now capable of when somebody upsets him I worry for her safety.  You can never say he would never harm her especially after the threats I've heard him making to me and Forrest.  After a short time Coral storms off and Gravel throws himself into the nearby chair.

"Soooo, does she do anything and everything?"  I laugh at him

"DON'T say another word!!"  he snaps at me as I sit down next to him.   He frowns at me  "I can't believe he's trying to take the babies off Coral!!  Or have you told Slate about my problems, is this why he's doing this?"

"No, he doesn't know the truth yet.  Mango thought it best we held off telling Slate just yet.  He is not mentally stable enough to deal with anything other than his kidney problems and the fact that Coral is pregnant right now.  I am not telling Coral without telling Slate first."  I frown at him  "The boy feels unloved enough without having to find out he came via a test tube, seeing as you've never bothered to tell him - his head is mashed enough!!"

"You've told Mango, well that's just great THANKS!!  Now I know why he's so off with me lately!!"  he snaps at me.  I have to laugh to myself, Oh if only he knew why Mango is off with him.   "What's wrong with Slate's head?"

"What do you think - it's you!!"   It is what YOU his own Father has done to him - betrayed him!!  He thinks that you don't love him and feels like you've taken everything away from him.  He has only ever had you, you was his world, his Dad, his best friend and you have taken that all away from him.  The only person he thought he could trust and look what you've done - You've destroyed him!!"  

For once in his life Gravel is sitting there like he is actually listening to me and without getting defensive.  He looks almost defeated like he's not got his normal fight in him, or is something else bothering him.  I wander if he has noticed that Tarragon has disappeared yet. 

"He feels alone and unloved and this baby thing, it's like he's trying to snatch something back for himself because, if they are his babies, he doesn't want you to take them away from him too like you've taken everything else. It would destroy him, you've already stuck the knife in, he doesn't need you twisting it as well!!  He can't cope with what you've done so its going to be a hundred times worse if he has to watch you and Coral playing happy families with HIS kids!!"

"Is that really how he see's it?"

"Yes, and he is really worrying me and Mango.  Slate is not the slightest bit interested in Coral, he hardly mentions her.  Its like he's totally shut her out and he's gained this obsessive fixation with Bay.   Slate knows how Bay feels about him and it's almost like he's trying to attach himself to Bay emotionally and cling to him because he can see there is love there for him when he is feels so unloved, betrayed and alone.  We are worried he's going to try the gay thing when he's not thinking straight and when he does come to his senses it's going to seriously mess his head up!"

"Seriously I think you are worrying about nothing where those two are concerned.  I saw those two coming years ago, and this isn't me heat shifting bullshit like you call it!! On my life I'm being deadly serious, and you can ask Forrest because he saw it too ..."  

Gravel stops speaking suddenly almost like he's realized he has just said something that he shouldn't.  The very last thing that he wants to do is encourage me to talk to Forrest especially about Slate. 

"Slate and Bay, they reminded me so much of you and Forrest, they were a double act, we could never keep them apart, but it was the little things that they did together.  They have got that connection, they are like two halves of a whole, they don't function well without each other,  just like you and Forrest ..."  He smiles at me  "Trust me those two are meant to be together,  you just watch them.   Slate has not been right since Bay run off when Slate tried to play straight unsuccessfully, and I'm not talking about Coral either!!  He cried for six months almost like he was heart broken when Bay shut him out and blanked him completely."  he frowns  "I just could never understand why he couldn't see what we could ... unless Slate is meant to be straight but Bay is the one for him and he's confused by it all."  he laughs  "I guess Bay is loving this new turn around then!"

"No not really he is hurting and confused because he's adamant Slate is straight and has lost his mind!!  It's a shame you didn't take a leaf out of Bays book, he loves Slate but won't cross that line.  He is trying to do the decent thing and what he thinks is right for Slate even though it's killing him!  Unlike you who did cross the line and couldn't wait to get his leg over!!"  he frowns at me.  "Bay was all set to cut himself off from Slate again to stop Slate from making a mistake he's going to regret later.  We have had to stop him because it would probably have done Slate more damage than good.  Someone else who loves him ditching him, would have just about finished him off!!  He needs Bay right now."  

I frown at him wandering why he's letting me so freely criticizing him without biting back like he normally would.  I guess somewhere deep down in that evil twisted person that he is, he really does care about Slate, he wouldn't be going to the lengths he's going to with me and Forrest if he didn't care about the boy.  I need to play on it!!

"All that boy can see is everyone leaving or turning their backs on him and he doesn't understand what he's done wrong -  his Mother, Forrest, Storm, Coral, You, Bay in the past, his babies in the future, me when I return home."

"You have really been talking to him haven't you!!"  he frowns at me

"We've had too, in a doctors capacity, because his mental state isn't right.  He has got a lot to cope with because of his kidneys without any extra baggage and he did take an overdose remember because of what you did!!" 

I explain to him that just a kidney transplant is not going to fix Slate!!  The kidney failure on it's own is enough to deal with without all the other mental shit he has got going on and there is plenty more to come yet!!  My kidney is not going to last him into old age, it's going to give him 15 years at most but it can fail at any time.  When my kidney is spent he's going to need another donor kidney with spells of dialysis in between each kidney that he'll need to keep him going throughout his life.  He will have to have constant check ups, be on various medication for the rest of his life which will in the long term cause him other health issues.  He is NEVER going to be free of this and it will drastically alter his quality of life!!  He is basically living on borrowed time and broken beyond repair, mentally he has got to cope and live with that.

This starts to choke me up because this is what he's done to MY boy, he stole my boy and never gave me the chance to be his Dad.  I would NEVER have done this to him!!  But I have to sit here and play the game, bite my tongue and pretend I don't know anything, when all I want to do is go for him and tell him exactly how I feel and think about what he has done to my son. 

"... and he is always going to blame you for that!!  Some Dad you have turned out to be first you take away the woman he was suppose to be marrying and now you are taking her side against him and trying to deprive him of his children!!"


"Do you think Slate will ever forgive me?"

"I don't know!!  Definitely not if you help her fight for those babies!!  You have got the chance to help yourself and start to take a step towards fixing things, show him you're putting him first for a change, get Coral to sign those papers."  he really pulls a face and shakes his head, this makes me angry.  "For berry's sake can't you see what you are already doing?  Do you know all Slate is going to see as far as you are concerned - you taking her side against him - you giving her the money to help her fight to take his babies away from him!!"

"It's hard for me ... nobody is thinking about Coral in all this."

"I'm sorry it shouldn't be hard for you at all - your son should come first full stop!!  She is a drama queen and I can just imagine the hell Slate is going to have to go through just to get to see his kids with her having control of them, she will milk this situation to the max just like she milks everything else!!"  I frown at him  "Do you seriously want to spend the rest of your life fighting with your son over his babies which you've taken from him and destroy him completely - just to keep Coral happy?  Who's more important to you Coral or Slate?"

"Slate obviously!!"

"Then act like it!!   You have to do the right thing for Slate.  Not you!  Not Coral!  You have caused this mess, you need to fix it for his sake!!  You need to get her to sign those papers!!  You are good at playing games to get what you want, so go and play one with Coral for your sons Sake!!"  he just stares at me for a moment. 

"Right now those babies being his and him getting them is unhinging him.  We've got five months of this till those babies are born and he's only going to get worse, he'll be mentally insane by the time they arrive.  He needs his mind putting to rest NOW so we can get him right to do this kidney transplant.  I don't want to be hanging around any longer than necessary I just want to get it done and go home!!  I don't want to get too close to the boy, me leaving is just going to make it harder especially for him!!  So the quicker I'm gone the better!!" 
I start to play a game of my own now, because I'm telling him exactly what he wants to hear.  He wants me gone and away from Slate and if he thinks getting those papers signed is a way to get it done quicker, then I'm going to use it.  Of course I am going nowhere now, I'm stopping in Sugar Valley for good and taking back what's mine - my husband and my son, but he won't find that out until he's behind bars paying for what he's done!

"He's already crawling the walls in there thinking you are going to take his babies like you've taken everything else, and he only thinks there is a 50% chance they will be his.   That's why we can't tell him they are definitely going to be his, if he knew the truth he would be suicidal over it and he's already tried it once remember, we can't chance pushing him over the edge."


"So what does Mango think about these papers?"

"Mango was far from happy about Slate wanting to go for full custody of the babies, obviously because of Coral.  He says it's their mess to sort out he doesn't want to take sides, but even he can see in theory it is the right thing for Slate right now mentally.  Slate just knowing that if they are his babies that nobody can take them away from him will do him the world of good mentally right now, it will give him something to focus on other than what he's lost, which is what is dragging him down."  I smile at him  "Mango has actually told Slate to do what he thinks he has to do and he'll support him as much as he can and be there to pick up the pieces.  Truthfully he wants the babies to be Slates because he hopes it will help get them back together, they were happily getting married before you steamed in and ruined it, according to Mango."   he raises his eyebrows  "Slate, Coral and those babies should have been a family and you have selfishly broken them up and caused a right mess in the process!!"  I start laughing quite loudly  "Just think if by some MINOR MIRACLE they do turn out to be yours, those papers won't mean jack shit even if she has signed them!!"  I carry on laughing and he just shakes his head and stares at the floor for a while.

"Okay, I'll get her to sign the papers."  he says suddenly and just gets up and walks off without saying another word.  

I sit watching him walk down the corridor in shock.  I'm a little bewildered by what has just happened.  We have just sat and had a proper sensible meaningful adult conversation without any digs or bickering probably for the first time ever in our lives.  Did that seriously just happen?  My brother has seriously just fried my brain!!

And here was me coming out here to blackmail him, I was going to threaten to tell Coral about his problems if he didn't talk her into signing those papers.  I know he is worried about what it will do to his and Corals relationship if she ever finds out that it is more than likely he can never give her any children.  

I go back into Slates room a little dazed.

Slate and Bay are busy chatting quietly, it's almost like they are oblivious to me being in the room.  I just sit down and watch them together while I'm thinking about what just happened out in the corridor, especially about what Gravel has said about Bay and Slate being meant to be together.

"Where did you rush off to?"  Slate asks me quietly.

"Just to have a word with my useless brother.  I don't want to get your hopes up but he says he is going to talk Coral into signing those papers.  But you know what he's like!"

"It won't happen, she won't sign them, she loves to milk everything!  She'll make a right drama and show out of this you mark my words!!"  he mumbles miserably.

I notice he's been crying.  I ask him what's wrong as I frown down at him realizing that he is now back lying down on the bed instead of sitting in the chair.

"He's getting another one of his headaches."  Bay answers for him again.

I check his notes then go off to get him something for his headache.  While I'm away I have a look through his medical records and notice quite a few times in his past that he's seen his doctor about his migraines and has been subscribed various tablets for it, but hasn't had any for quite a while.  I subscribe him something and send one of the nurses down to pharmacy to fetch it.

It amuses me that in intensive care and Neurology I've got pretty much a run of the place, all of the doctors and nurses refer to me as Dr Rock and don't question what I'm doing, they have become accustomed to me just being here almost like I work here, which is something that I really need to sort out.  I need to speak to Mango about getting a transfer to Sugar Valley, it is actually starting to drive me crazy not working.

Me and Bay sit talking while Slate sleeps for a while.

I can't help but notice that he's tossing and turning and thrashing about in his sleep, like he's having bad dreams.  A few times I had to check on his tubes, scared the way he's throwing himself about that he's going to pull something out.  Bay laughs and says he's never seen him like that before, he's usually a heavy sleeper and once he's gone he can't be woken up.

Slate is only asleep for a few hours and says he wants to get up.  Bay just lifts him up off the bed like he's no weight at all and sits him in the chair.  I watch with amusement as they already seem to have the juggling of the dialysis tubes down to a T.  They did a better job together than most of the nurses do.  

Slate had hardly been sat in the chair for five minutes when the door opens and Gravel just casually walks in.

"I seriously don't need this!!"  Slate snaps when he sees Gravel

"Nobody start yelling I am not here to cause any trouble!!"  he looks at me when he says it  "I've got work to do and don't have time to sit out in the corridor waiting for one of you to come out so I just came in to give you these papers."  he holds the solicitors papers out to Slate.  "Coral has signed them, so your babies are all yours!" 

The three of us all just sit and stare at Gravel for a moment in shock not quite believing it!!  I never imagined we were going to get what Slate wanted so easily.  He sits and grins down at the paper in his hand.  Papers that mean as soon as those babies are born, they will be paternity tested and if they are Slates then they will go straight into his custody.  He gets full custody and parental responsibly of the babies, Coral has just signed all her rights to them away.  


"Who's witness signatures did you get?"  I ask thinking this can't be so easy and he's trying to pull one, I know what he's like!!  Without the witness signatures of two respected professionals, like doctors, solicitors, politicians etc, who are not family, Corals signature means nothing.  Gravel starts laughing, I'm about to have a go at him thinking I'm right.

"It's kind of amusing really, I found Coral round at her Mom's with Tapestry a little weak at the knees."  he is laughing  "Your brother and parents were round there too."  he smiles at Bayleaf  "Cinnamon is a D.S. so he is the one witness, and there was only one other person there suitable who isn't family.  I'm not sure you are going to quite believe the other witness!"  Gravel starts laughing

"You are taking the piss Dad!!"  Slate snaps as he stares down at the papers.  It killed me hearing Slate calling Gravel Dad.  "Rocky Giggs my ass - is this some sort of sick joke?  I don't find this funny, I'm being deadly serious - I want my babies!!"  he snaps at Gravel then laughs sarcastically  "AS IF Rocky, who is like The Rock God, would even be in Sugar Valley and especially not round at Mango's house!!  In a minute you'll be trying to tell me he's sat drinking tea with Lilly!!"  Slates face switches then and he starts yelling at Gravel  "I hope you know you are going to pay to have these papers re drawn up seeing as you've messed them up, this is not a game!!"

"I know it's not a game.  That signature is perfectly correct honestly.  Straight up, ask Cinnamon, like I would even be able to forge a signature in front of a detective sergeant!!"  he starts laughing at Slate  "Rocky is round at Lilly's seriously as I live and breath!!  He is Tapestry's new best friend apparently!"  he laughs  "Tapestry has already been out busking in the park, you know what he's like, nothing seem to phases that kid.  Berry knows what Rocky is even doing in Sugar Valley but he spotted Tap singing and playing his guitar in the park.  It seems the kid has only gone and landed himself a record deal, cause you know Rocky's old man is Gilbert Grape who owns Grape Studio's!"

Slate passes me the papers then holds out his hand to Bay as he glares at Gravel and Bay passes him his phone without them even exchanging any words.  I think that's one of the little things that Gravel was on about that go on between them.  Like me and Forrest used to be most of the time we didn't need words.

"I don't believe you, I know what you are like remember - a twisted snake!"  Slate snaps at Gravel and I can't help but laugh at him.

Slate goes straight into Bay's contact list and phones Tapestry.

Mango walks into the room just as Tapestry answers the phone.  He is far from happy to be seeing  Gravel sat in the room.  He frowns at me almost like he's asking what I'm playing at letting him in here. 

"Hiya Bay."

"Hey Tap it's Slate not Bay!"

"Oh hiya Slate, I was actually just talking about you!"  Tapestry laughs  "I'm glad you are okay now, I was really shocked when they told me what had happened to you - I'm sorry!!"

"What are you sorry for?"

"My bitch of a sister, I can't believe what she's done to you, and especially not that she's actually signed her babies away after I've just had to bury one. I can't even talk to her right now!!  But Daddies little princess always has to go one better!  You are well shot of her mate. I guess the babies will be better off with you anyway if they are yours, she's a selfish bitch!!  Just don't forget I'm still their Uncle!!"

I've passed Mango the papers which he looks at straight away, he looks up wide eyed and very unimpressed.  I'm not sure if it's at what Tapestry has just said, the signed papers or both.  He stands there for a moment rubbing his chin then just rolls his eyes.  I know this is probably hurting him, that his daughter has so easily signed away her babies.  Watching the look on Mango's face almost makes me feel guilty for being happy about it. 

"Don't worry Uncle Tap, I won't forget!!"  he laughs  "Tap about those papers and the witness signatures, I need to check something with you ... Rocky?!"  Slate glares at Gravel and Tapestry starts to laugh.

"Don't worry!  Yes it is The Rocky, I promise!!"  he laughs  "The scumbag said you wouldn't believe it, I'm actually struggling to believe it myself!!"  he laughs again and so does Slate watching the look on Gravels face.

"The scumbag is sat right here listening, you are on loud speaker."  Slate laughs  "And so is you Dad!"

"Oops!! River Dad is with Slate, he knows already!!"  we hear Tapestry say away from the phone.  "Dad, can you phone Mom, your little princess has upset her by signing those papers, both Gran's are struggling to calm her down and close your ears for a minute I'm about to swear!"  Tapestry laughs  "Slate I don't give a shit if the scumbag is in the room listening,  Ive already told him, not half an hour ago, to his face he's a dirty selfish berry hole and he isn't ever going to be any brother in law of mine - my sister seriously needs her head testing, and they say I'm the idiot!!"  They both laugh for a moment.

"How's your baby?"

"She's great, you'll see her in about an hour, me and River are coming into see you when he gets his act together with Ocean, he's all over the place and I'm supposed to be the stupid one!"  we hear another voice in the background as well as a baby crying.   "Tap tell him about Rocky or you might just give Slate another coronary when he walks in."  Tapestry starts laughing  "Daddy clone strikes again - he can hear you River he's not deaf!! Now you've just gone and spoiled the surprise!"  Slates eyes widen  "Slate I'm bringing Rocky with me too, I was going to surprise you but you know now because mini Mango has got a big mouth!!  Sorry Dad but he's definitely your son!!"  There is a short pause then Tapestry says "River what's a coronary?"  River laughs "It's heart failure which is what I'm going to give you if you don't stop calling me Daddy clone!"

This makes us all laugh.  Even Mango laughs for a moment but not for long as he stares at me wide eyed, I think he's struggling with what Coral has done.

Slate sits chatting with Tapestry for a while longer.  I haven't really seen or spoken to either Tapestry or River yet.  I'm quite curious about Mango's other two sons, especially Tapestry he sounds like he's a right character. 

I pull Mango to one side and ask him if he is okay, he says not really but he will be when he's recovered from the shock.  He really didn't think Coral would sign those papers and he can see his life is not going to get any easier when he's got to pick up the pieces when she realises exactly what she has just done.   He says he tried to talk to her about it but she wouldn't listen she's got a right attitude lately and thinks she's all grown up and doesn't need her parents advice.  I'm too scared to tell him that I sat out in the corridor and might have helped talk Gravel into getting her to sign the papers.

"I didn't think you wanted him in here?"  he frowns at me

"I don't, as soon as Slate finishes his call I'm kicking him out!!"  I explain to him that Gravel and Coral were in here earlier kicking off and he just walked back in with the papers and we needed to check that this Rocky fella was real.

"Oh he's real alright, he's round my house causing chaos with the women!!  That little broken boy of mine is going to be the undoing of me."  he laughs  "I guess you've heard, Tapestry has got a record deal with Grape."  he rolls his eyes  "It looks like he might just make me eat my words yet!!  With all his disabilities I thought I'd be baby sitting him for the rest of his life, but he's looking after that baby of his as a single parent like a natural.  He is coping better than River who is the intelligent one, and who isn't a single parent."  he laughs for a moment  "I thought Tapestry would never make anything of himself, I didn't even expect him to hold down a job - now it seems he's probably going to be the one that achieves the most out of life!!"

Slate looks a little gob smacked when they end the call.  I'm not sure if it is because of Rocky paying him a visit or the papers being signed and witnessed properly or both.  I only know who Rocky is because Mace has one of his albums and he plays it full blast and Rock music gives me a headache.  Slate starts to watch Mango and I think he can see he's upset.  He apologizes to Mango and especially for upsetting Lilly which I thought was nice of him.  I know he's really fond of Lilly, he's told me that she's the closest thing to a Mother that he has ever had.  I'm really glad that everyone seems to be very civil and understanding about the situation, this could have turned into a right nightmare and started world war three, but I guess there is plenty of time for that still to come!! 

Slate sits staring at Gravel for a moment.  It amuses me that I don't have to say anything to Gravel about leaving the room because Slate does it for me.   Slate tells Gravel not to think he's making himself comfortable sat there because he can go now.  Gravel asks if they can talk and Slate flatly refuses, telling him there is nothing to talk about and not to come back again.

Surprisingly Gravel just got up and left without an argument.

After Gravel has left, the room is silent for a moment as we all just stare at the door, all I think for our own different reasons. 

"Right Dr Rock."  he smiles at me as Mango switches back into work mode.  "You are just the man I came down here looking for!"  he smiles at me  "Are you busy only I could do with a hand up in Neurology.  What with Forrest away and now Cardinal is off because his wife has taken a turn for the worst, the boys coming home and Slate, I've got tonnes of paperwork that I'm behind with and only one pair of hands.   I could do with a decent head out on the shop floor, I swear I've got a shift full of half wits today who can't think for themselves!!"  he smirks at me and I think I know what this is about, Cinnamon wants me for something.

"Yeah, I don't mind keeping my hand in."  I smirk back  "It will give the love birds some space!  They don't need the old man cramping their style!!"  me and Mango both laugh at Bay who starts swearing at me then looks all embarrassed about it.

When we get outside I stop Mango and laugh at him saying that was an elaborate speech just to get me up to Cinnamon.  He laugh back at me and tells me that Cinnamon does want to see me but he also does actually need me to help out for a few hours so he can get some paperwork done.

"So what's happening with you now?"  he asks me and I frown at him as we start walking down the corridor  "You know after this is all over, are you staying here or going home?"

"Staying here obviously, this is my home, Cherry Hill is just somewhere I've been living."  he smiles at me  "So I'll be looking to transfer."

"Well it's fine by me."  he smirks at me  "However, if you are working in my department, you are going to have to take a step down, we are both sitting in the same chair and there isn't room for the both of us!  but, you won't get bored, I have plenty of outside work thrown at me that will keep you plenty busy."  I laugh at him because he kills me, no idiot in our world would miss out on the opportunity of working with him or under him, and I think he knows it.  "Plus there is your shit with Forrest, that will also need sorting out satisfactorily before I can even entertain you stepping foot in my department.  Of cause if you don't want a step down and you can't sort things out with Forrest then you might be looking at Apple Hill."

"No, Sugar Valley is fine!!  I'll sort things out with Forrest gladly, but will he sort things out with me?"  he laughs at me

"I can't see there being a problem, but I know Mace has really narked him, so there is only Forrest who can tell you that!"  he starts laughing suddenly  "Who would have thought it when us four used to knock about as kids together that all four of us would end up being handy with a knife ... only Gravel didn't bother to pass his exams and went into butchery!"  

We both walked into Neurology laughing our heads off even though when you think about it it's not funny, it's a little sick but it's also the kind of thing that I would have said myself.

I walk into Forrest's office and sit down. 

"Granite we need to talk to you about what's happening tomorrow."  Cinnamon gives me an awkward look because he knows how tormented I am especially about what Mace might have coming to him.  "But first, we've got some news on Forrest." 

"Have you found him?"  he shakes his head and my heart which lifted for a second sinks again.

"We've uncovered a few things!"  he cringes  "His phone records are telling us that he makes one call a day to this hospital, so it looks like he's intentionally ignoring all his texts, calls and messages.   I've checked with intensive care and Nurse Glow, you know Amber, she has been speaking to him everyday about Slate."

"Oh for Fudge Sake!!  I've been sat down in intensive care constantly and talking to Amber!!"  I roll my eyes.  I'm just relieved that he is still alive and hasn't done anything stupid!!

"Tell me about it!!  That is the problem when you have to keep hush hush about everything!!"  he laughs for a moment and I ask him what the other things are  "Forrest owns property in Sandy Shores and that is where we think he has been."  he laughs for a moment   "When he left the resort he vanished without trace, we have been watching the airport, trains, car rental ect and there has been nothing, probably because he's been sat in his Sandy Shore property!!  We checked on that 'Sea View' place you mentioned, we sent an officer to it but there was no signs of life.  You told us it was a holiday home so we tried to trace the owner to see if he has or is staying there and that's when we found that it is actually Forrest who owns 'Sea View' and has for the last five years."   

This makes me smile for a moment, I can't believe he's bought the place!!

"But you still haven't found him?"

"Not exactly but we know where he is now ... roughly!"  he laughs again and rolls his eyes  "He caught a flight this morning from Sandy Shores to Cherry Hill."

"WHAT!?"  I'm shocked

"I think he might have gone out there looking for you, in light of what we know.  Mango and Bay have both mentioned that they've told him that you went home after only a few days of being here at the beginning of the month, so I presume he still thinks you are in Cherry Hill."  he smiles  "So I guess he's going to find an empty house when he knocks on your front door and our best chance of us catching up with him is when he tries to get on a return flight, we are already checking out the hotels and motels in the area."

"No he won't find an empty house, we have a cleaner and Mace's best mate is house sitting for us, hes a chef and works nights so he'll more than likely be in if Forrest turns up during the day time."  I grab for my phone to call Atlas.  Cinnamon stops me and asks what I'm doing  "Phoning Atlas if he turns up at mine he can keep him there Ill tell him to phone me straight away if he turns up!"

"How do you know you can even trust this guy?  He could well be in with Mace."  Cinnamon frowns at me.

"No not Atlas - he's a bigger wuss than Mace, he was born in Cherry Hill, he lives four doors down from me with his parents still, he's a mommy's boy.  Atlas was already living there with his family before I moved into my house, I knew him before Mace even moved in.  He went to public school and Atlas is as squeaky clean as they come - he's another one who just isn't the type!!" 

"Okay well I'm just going to have to trust your judgement because we don't have time to check him out properly, but just watch what you are saying Granite just in case, he is still Mace's best mate remember!!"

I snap open my phone and call Atlas. 

Song = No Good in Goodbye ~ The Script



  1. Yeah, the only negative-ish thing about the chapter is the length, but even that isn't bad. Sometimes chapters just have to be long. I have one like that in my novel. Nothing of what you wrote seems unnecessary, so I wouldn't worry about it.

    Coral never fails to annoy me, and, despite how absolutely awful Gravel is, it was nice to see something of some sort of humanity and kindness from him.

    I figure the arrests are going to happen in the next chapter then? It has been such a build up for them. I want to see stuff go down! lol :D

    1. Thanks you've made me feel better about it - lol I knew it was tooo long but I couldn't really cut it down.

      I have to say Coral is one of my pet hates :/ She and Gravel were made for each other - lol Yeah the humanity from Gravel - don't let that fool you! His one weakness is Slate and that's part of why he is now like it - but it won't last :D

      :D LOL - I think you know me better than that - its a few chapters away yet.

  2. Do I remember reading that Atlas is a bad guy, or is that in my head? If I'm right, out, Forrest!!

    1. Atlas has only been mentioned briefly as Mace's best mate and of course he has been hitting on Mace behind Granites back.