Friday, 29 August 2014

Rock 20

From the Inside ....

I stay sat on the floor in total shock.

Mango is up and off his chair having a panic attack over Forrest being missing and getting Coral out of the house and I don't think I blame him!!  He didn't like what he heard during that conversation any more than I did!!

I seriously do not know what to think, because I seriously can not believe what I've just been listening to.  I'm not sure what gets me the most, that it is actually Gravel who appears to be the hit man who seems to just hack people down for fun or what he's done and doing to Mace.  Mace is just another victim of Gravels evil games.  

It is Forrest that scares me the most - he is missing and Gravels next hit if he steps foot back into Sugar Valley or if he tries to get anywhere near me!!  I don't understand why he's not answering his phone to anyone, I know Mango and Bay have both been trying regularly and sending him text, but he's just not responding ... this scares me even more!! 

There is just too much for me to think about especially that my brother ... my own flesh and blood can talk about me and Forrest, both his brother, in the way that he did.   Not by name but by colour, and that he could so easily fade us both just to keep whatever his secret is!

"You NEED to find Forrest NOW!!"  I say to Cinnamon through my sniveling

"We've got extra people on the case already!!"  he tells me which doesn't make me feel any better, I'm never going to be comfortable until I know they have found him and he is somewhere safe, he is the one in danger here!  "It's a shame Mace didn't go with him, we would have heard what he's up to with this Turmeric fella.  I've sent El round to Mace, she's going to work on him, see if she can get anything out of him while he's upset, I doubt he'll spill anything, but you never know!!"

"You need to be out there and get Gravel off the streets right now!!  It's the only way to keep Forrest safe!!"  I snap at him thinking Forrest will be safe if they have got Gravel locked up where he can't get to him.

"It's not that easy ... we will find Forrest!!  We need to go through a few things, this has tipped everything that we thought we knew on its head, we need to build up a new case ...."

"Forget the case ... you heard it, surely you've got enough there, while Gravel is on the streets Forrest isn't safe!!  I'm not safe!!  Mace is not safe!!  Hell is anyone safe?"  I snap at him as I jump to my feet  "I TOLD YOU Mace is no hit man!!"

"I agree with Granite!!  I want Coral out of that house right now, she's sleeping in the same bed as a murderer for berrys sake and you are NOT stopping me I'm going in to get her myself!!"  Mango snaps at Cinnamon.  "The berry hole has even got another woman in Apple Hill!!"  he snaps nastily  "I'm struggling to believe this, I know Gravel can be a piece of work, but this is just ridiculous!!  It's no wander he hasn't found my boys yet - he's been too busy playing hatchet man, I bet he's not even looked for them!!"

"Mango, the abduction is very much an active case, I've poked my nose into it a few times because you know a lot of it is being carried out in Apple Hill as that is the only place we have had any physical evidence of them being since the obduction!!  And Coral is in no danger!!  You heard him!!  Granite is there to keep an eye on her and the house is bugged.  I'll get her drawn out more.  Didn't you tell me you are due to fly out to Rainbow Valley with Mulberry to clear out the old mans house?"  Mango nods and says first thing in the morning  "Well it might be an idea for you to get Coral to stay with Lilly while you are away - that will keep her out of the house completely for a few days and out of harms way!!"  Mango nods miserable but I don't think he's too happy about it.

"What about me!!  I can't live in that house with him for a few days knowing what he is.  What he's done and what he's threatening to do!!  How the hell am I going to face Mace knowing what Gravel has done and is doing to him!!  Berry Hole!!"  I snap at Cinnamon  "I'm sorry but I can't do it!!"

"You both need to calm down a little!!  We know exactly what we are doing!!  We can't just go in now and grab him we don't have enough on him to nail him down completely, we need to get him wrapped up tightly so he has no chance of getting bail and walking free until his trial, because once he knows we are onto him or if he gets to walk free in between, that's when he can go underground and do a lot of damage!!  When we take him it has to be for keeps for all of your safety!!"  he frowns at both me and Mango who just sit silently saying nothing.  "I'm sorry Granite, I know this has got to be tough on you but I seriously need you to stay put and keep it together for the time being."

"I seriously don't know how I'm going to live in that house with him without losing it!!"  I snap at him  "How am I going to sleep wandering where Forrest is?!"

"Granite I need to ask you a few question ... do you know who this Turmeric is?"

"Yes, Turmeric Knight.  If that really is his name!!  I THOUGHT he was my friend, but it sounds like he was just another one of Gravels plants.   Gravel has probably had someone sitting on me since I left prison!!  Turmeric was living in Cherry Hill and worked at the sports stadium, but after the incident with Mace, Turmeric was the one Mace nearly strangled, which was about two years ago now, we fell out and I actually haven't spoken to him since - or seen him come to think of it.  Hell!! I've known him for about ten years, we were good mates so I thought and all that time he's probably been feeding news back to Gravel about me!! "

"This Turmeric, is he all brown, long hair like Bay's, tattoo's all up his one arm?"  Mango ask while he frowns at me  "Scar on his face?"  I tell him yes and show him where the scar is, it runs from his forehead down to his cheek.  "Yeah that's exactly it ... I know who he is - he's a close friend of Forrest's and I think Slates and quite often I see him going into the dive bar by my house with Gravel.   He works at the Stadium with Bay Mosaic and Mulberry!!"  he tuts suddenly  "What the hell is happening to this town lately, first we have Lime and her lot, now Gravel and his mob running wild corrupting the place!!" 

"How good a friend is he of Forrests??"  I ask and Mango says they are really good friends, they are always together.  "It looks like Gravel has had Turmeric sitting on Forrest just like he was sitting on me.  So it's not just Gravel we've got to worry about with Forrest, it's Turmeric too!!  His friend and his brother, Forrest is not going to see it coming!!"  This just makes me crack up again because I am seriously scared about Forrest's safety!!

Mango's phone starts ringing.  He answers it quickly takes a short call then says he need to slip out for five minutes as he smiles at me.  I don't really take a lot of notice or think about where he might be going because my head is still spinning from Gravel and Mace's conversation.

"They have given us a lot to work on!!"  Cinnamon smiles at me  "We've already got a team looking for the bodies of Maces two cousins that you heard mentioned, Aniseed and Basil, they with Mace are listed as missing persons, we actually thought until Mace turned up alone with you that the three of them were all lay low together somewhere, but obviously we were wrong!!  I've got a nasty feeling I know what part of Gravels game is, it looks to me like he's got a few games going on here and one of them looks like a grudge with the Brownies - I don't suppose you know what it might be?"

"No!!  When I was running with them, I didn't even think Gravel knew them other than in a police capacity - what I was getting up to in Apple Hill was always a pretty guarded secret from Gravel until I told him everything thinking he was going to help me get the Brownies off my back ... I was trying to clean up my act for Forrest, and the Brownies had other ideas they wouldn't let me walk away because I knew too much!!  I think you know the rules in that world - once you are in it's a life of crime or the inside of a wooden box."  I frown at him   

"So you don't know then?  Cinnamon has a look of surprise on his face.  I frown at him not really sure what he is getting at.

"I think I've stumbled across something that Gravel might have uncovered himself - he has got open access to the police files and I think I know what his grudge might be."  he has a strange look on his face.  "Your Father!  He was on the force and killed while on the job in a shootout."  I nod at him  "Well ... as you know the details are never really given to the family in great detail, especially not who actually pulled the trigger and fired the bullet that killed your Father."   

I look up at him then and suddenly I think I know what is coming. 

"It was a Brownie wasn't it!!"  he nods and says it was Sage Brownie.  Fudge Brownies Father and Mace's Grandfather.  "Gravel idolized our Father, it really wouldn't surprise me if he's stupid enough to be holding a grudge against the whole family for Dad fading because he can't get to the man who actually did it!!"  Cinnamon laughs at me.  "Mace's sister and daughter?  Gravel seems to know the whole of Mace's family very well.  Do you think they are in any danger?"

"I'm not sure, we are looking into it, but it sounds like Gravel is having a relationship with Mace's sister so it might make it a little difficult to interfere and ask questions without him becoming aware of it.  With Mace's daughter, that also has it's complications!"  I frown at him wandering what he is on about   "There is one thing that I do know that Gravel didn't tell Mace the truth about although he did hint at it ... Tamarin his wife, she has indeed already dropped off the planet as Gravel put it ... Mace's daughter is now in the temporary custody of Mace's sister."

"What!?  Has she been faded too?"  he shrugs

"Another missing person."  he pulls a face  "Tamarin Brownie went to work one day, never arrived at her work place and hasn't been seen since.  We kind of suspected that someone was picking off all of the Brownie family, maybe we were right and that's what Gravel has been up to."

"How old is she?  Mace's daughter."  I ask curiously

"She is about six or seven now, I can't remember."

"I seriously don't believe all of this ..."

"Me either to be honest - Mace Brownie the notorious hit man has been feared and on everyone's want list for years ... now it's all been tipped right on its head!!   He seems to be the guy you say he is after all and by the looks of it - just another victim of Gravels nasty games.  And Gravel, well there is an eye opener, there have been whispers about him being bent flying around for years, but this!!  It's just taken it to a whole new different level!! "  He rolls his eyes at me  

"I should have known!!  He has always been a vindictive Berry Hole!!   He faded my dog when we were kids, just because he didn't like it and it stole and ate his sweets!!"  Cinnamon laughs at me  "Well I hope he gets what's coming to him, I know he's my brother, but he seriously needs to be stopped!!"

"Oh don't worry he will be stopped!!  This has now turned into a full scale operation, we've had to get special branch involved because Gravel is one of us."   he smiles at me  "We need to go through all of what we thought were Mace's hits.  From what I heard, it looks like Mace was only responsible for the first one, his cousin who was strangled when he was fifteen around about the time that Fudge Brownie was done over inside.  I've read up on all the hits recently and I remember Gravel was actually involved in that case because it happened here in Sugar Valley.  Gravel was actually the first one to start pointing the finger at Mace.  However, I did hear Mace saying it was self defense - so he might not even get charged for it, it depends on the circumstances and if Gravel, who appeared to be present at the time backs up what he has said.  We can't tell until we pull them both in."  he frowns at me for a moment  

"Are you saying Mace might walk free after all this?"  I ask pretty shocked

"He could well only be looking at a few years if that's all we end up having on him and if the self defense does go in his favour ... there is the false identity he's been using to consider, but we've got a long way to go - we don't know what else might come up yet.  We might even be pulling Mace in sooner, and if he co-operates fully, he'll be treated leaneantly.  I think you know how that works, you've done it yourself, you received half the time the Brownie brothers received."  he smiles at me then laughs.  "Plus he's already got El fighting in his corner."

I just sit there staring at him for a moment.  My head is all over the place.

"From that conversation we actually do have quite a few things on Gravel at the moment, you heard him admitting one of the hits - Mace Wood and possibly Mace's two cousins, the verbal threat to you and Forrest, plus what he's doing to and with Mace.  Just because Mace didn't commit the murders it doesn't mean that Gravel did them all himself, he could be using various hit men to do his dirty work and that might explain why there is no pattern to how they have been done, and I suspect this Turmeric fella could well be one of them.  But it sounds pretty obvious that Gravel has pinned the eighteen hits all onto Mace so if he didn't actually commit the hits himself, he was the one who instructed them and has been tampering with witnesses and paperwork to pin them on Mace so he's an accessory."  he laughs sarcastically for a moment  "It will only take us days to build up a good enough case against Gravel to get him locked up and out of harms way permanently with no way of wriggling out of it!!"

Mango walks into the office with a piece of paper in his hand, he almost looks amused.  He hands the paper to me straight away.  It's the results of the paternity test.  

I start reading, my head starts spinning and everything goes black as I pass out.

"Granite!!"  I hear Mango laughing as he slaps my cheek gently quite a few times as I start to come back round.  "Wakey wakey Granite!!"  I can hear both Mango and Cinnamon laughing as I move my hand up to my head and moan as I open my eyes.  I am flat out on the floor and my head hurts.

Mango and Cinnamon help me to get up off the floor and onto my feet.  I feel Mango checking the back of my head as he tells me I banged my head pretty hard when I hit the floor. 

"I AM SERIOUSLY GOING TO FADE HIM!!!"  I shout as I stare down at the piece of paper that is still in my hand, I need to double check that I did not read it wrong.  "HELL!!"

"Mango passing out still doesn't beat your reaction to the triplets!!"  Cinnamon starts to laugh as I frown at the two faces staring back at me with amusement.  "Forrest is always very quick to tell everyone all about Mango finding a positive pregnancy test in Lilly's dressing gown and running out of the house through town and around the hospital barefoot and wearing nothing but his bed clothes when Lilly was here in a coma and pregnant with Tap, Coral and Mo!!"  

They both stand there laughing but I can't because I'm in shock!!  I've only ever passed out through drugs, alcohol and extreme pain before.  Never through shock, but on top of listening to what is going on with Gravel and Mace my head couldn't take the paternity test result!!  

Slate is my child, not Gravels - Mine!!

"Well I am really happy with that result for Slate's sake!!"  Mango says  "but I am worried about how he is going to take all this news!!  He already has more than enough to deal with already!!"

"This all suddenly makes sense!!"  Cinnamon laughs  "It looks like we might have just found the 'secret' that Gravel is trying to protect and what all this with you and Forrest is all about!! ... Slate!!  I think Forrest must know that Slate is your child and that is what Gravel is trying to stop him from telling you."  

"Well you can add something else to Gravel's charge sheet - I want him done for fraud, he's stolen my child fraudulently for the past twenty years!!"  I snap  "I've washed my hands with him - he's not my brother anymore!!  The back stabbing berry hole, he has robbed me of twenty years of that boys life ... this is now war and you better get him locked up quickly Cinnamon before I fade him myself!!

"What the hell has Coral got herself mixed up in and I thought Tapestry was the idiot in our family!!"  Mango mumbles 

Cinnamon stands rubbing his head for a moment then frowns down at me after Mango makes me sit down on one of the chairs, I think he can see I'm rocking on my feet, I feel like I might be about to pass out again.  My head just can't process Slate being my child properly, or how this suddenly changes everything for me.

"Granite, Slate being your son is not to leave this room!!  You and Mango are to tell absolutely NOBODY about this, especially not Bay!!!  Anybody you do tell you are putting in danger ... if Gravel finds out that anyone else knows his secret, he's likely to hack them down.  So until I've got Gravel safely tucked away behind bars - Slate is your Nephew and nothing else!!"  he looks at me awkwardly  "I'm afraid you are going to have to bite your tongue and hold your nerve with Gravel, you can't let him see anything has changed!!"

"Great!!  Just Great!!"  I snap at him  "Well I'm telling you now, when Slate wakes up I want security back on his door, that man is never stepping foot anywhere near that boy again!!"  

Something hits me then - Fudge!!  It is not just Slate I've gained but probably also those two babies that are almost certainly going to turn out to be Slates.  Slate being my child is even more proof that Gravel is not capable and still has not managed to actually father a child of his own yet, which makes those babies being his even less likely!!

"Hell ... I'm not old enough to become a Granddad!!  How the hell did this happen!?"   

Mango and Cinnamon both start laughing at me. Mango reminds me that he is younger than me and has already got two Grandchildren and another three on the way so I'm plenty old enough!!

It took me quite a while to pull myself together enough to go back to Gravel's house.  Mango prescribed me something to calm my nerves which kind of amused me.  He also gave me a job to do at the hospital, to keep my busy, preoccupied and out of the house more over the next few days while he is away in Rainbow Valley sorting out his Father-in-Laws house.  Now I understand why he was testing me earlier, and I must have impressed him somehow because he gave me his whole patient list to look after while he's away.

I couldn't even face going to see Slate because it would have totally cracked me up which I couldn't afford to do in front of Bayleaf.  Now knowing that Slate is my child has totally changed everything and having to keep it to myself makes it harder to deal with.  I have just tonight to get my head around it before I face seeing him tomorrow wearing a brave face.

When I get back to Gravel's house, I found Mace in the living room on the couch in pieces.  It looks like he has been crying for most of the day.  I was half expecting to find Elderberry with him but he was alone, lying on the couch tears streaming down his face.

I felt really awkward as well as bad for him.  I can imagine why he's upset and wander how he's managed to carry it all on his shoulders for all these years without totally cracking up, especially his daughter.  I wandered if he is on the verge of cracking, I am almost scared to push him in case he does because I am hardly holding it together myself.  Cinnamon has also warned me that it's not just Slate that I have to keep to myself, I've also got to act totally normal with Gravel and Mace.  I am not to let either of them know or see that I know anything.  We still don't know if we can completely trust Mace, so he is to be kept in the dark until he is pulled in.

"Please tell me you have been watching soppy movies again!"  I laugh at him as I sit down on the couch by him even though I can see that the TV is not on.  He sits up and tries to wipe the tears off his face.

"Busted!!  You know me the stupidest things make me cry!!"  I laugh at him as I wipe the tears off his face and start kissing him.  "I had to turn the TV off it was cracking me up!!"  Yeah I doubt the TV has even been on at all and I think I know exactly why he has been crying!!

We lay back on the couch and he puts his head on me.

"So how did it go with Gravel?"  I ask curiously to see what he'd say.

"Crap!!  I really don't like your brother!!  Thankfully he got called out on police business so I didn't have to spend too much time with him!!"  he looks up at me for a moment  "Gran please don't leave me alone with him again!!  I seriously can't wait to go home and away from him!!"

"I'm sorry I won't do it again!!  I really don't know what I was thinking this morning!"  I must have still been half asleep!!   I say to him quietly.  "Have you been home alone all day?  You should have phoned me!!"

"El came round!  We went to the bowling alley and had dinner at the bistro.  She only went about an hour ago."  he smiles at me.  "How did it go with Coral?"

"Crap!!  She irritates the hell out of me!"  I laugh  "I spent most of the time with Lilly and Mango's parents, we had a lot to catch up on.  Coral went off somewhere with her little sister."  he asks me if I've been at Mango's all this time.  "No, I got a call from Mango, he wanted me to go into the hospital.   You'll never guess what happened to me today, I ended up in theatre doing surgery with Mango."  He glances up and laughs at me, he knows how much I love my job and miss not being at work at the moment.   "We also went through Slates treatment program.  Tomorrow the wake up process begins."

"Good!!  I just want to get this transplant done and go home!!"  he mumbles quietly, it sounds like he is nodding off to sleep.

We just lie there in silence.  I decide to leave it until later to tell him my other bit of news, I doubt he'll be too impressed when he hears it because I'll hardly have any time for him!!  I close my eyes like he does and just lie their thinking about everything that has happened today.  Hell ... Slate is my Son not my Nephew!!  How am I ever going to get my head around that?!

"Look at you two!  Love's young dream!!  I think I need a sick bucket!!"  Gravel's slimy voice snaps me out of my thoughts.  I just want to jump up off the couch and go for him but I have to bite my tongue and hold my nerve because I can't even make him suspicious!!

"Shut up Berry Hole!!"  I snap at him, I'm glad I've got my eyes closed so I don't even have to look at him!!

"So is Macey boy not cooking tonight?"  he asks and it irritates me that he is calling him Macey boy because that is what I had heard him calling Mace during the taped conversation.  "I'm starving!  I'm sure he said he was cooking tonight!  What's up with him anyway?!  He looks like he's been crying."  He frowns at Mace. 

"No he isn't cooking!!  He's homesick like I am and I'm not disturbing him because he's asleep."  I snap at him  "I'm taking Mace out later to eat so you'll have to cook your own food!!"  I snap at him and I hear him grunt  "Where is Coral? doesn't she usually cook your meals?"

"She's staying at her Mom's for a few days.  Mango phoned me earlier, he's going to Rainbow Valley for a few days to help Lilly's brother clear out their Dad's house and Mango wanted Coral to stay with Lilly while he is away because you know she has blackouts, it makes him feel better if one of the kids is there with her."  I laugh in my head because I knew he was going to tell me about Coral staying at her parents, I was with Mango when he actually made the phone call to Gravel.  He goes quiet for a moment  "So were you not with Coral all day?"

"No she went off somewhere with Cotton and I popped into the hospital to check on Slate's progress."  I mumble wishing that he would go away.

"That's funny!  I've just come from there and Bay says he hasn't seen you at all today.  He says he's spoken to you but not seen you and I know Bay has been at the hospital all day!!" 


"No he hasn't seen me because I've been busy.  I popped up to Mango's office to check on Slate's progress, because staring at your son's comatosed body is not going to tell me anything is it!!"  I snap at him.  It almost choked me to say your son, but I have to play the game.  "Mango needed to run through his treatment program with me and we had a lot to discuss."

"Busy doing what?  What treatment program?"  he snaps  "I'm his Dad, why hasn't he told me about this treatment program - what is it anyway?"  he sounds irritated.

"I went into theatre with Mango to do an emergency procedure on one of his patients."  I laugh at the look on his face  "And yes we do know you are Slate's Dad ... and Mango didn't tell you because it's nothing you have to worry about - every patient has a treatment program and I am a doctor remember, it's what we work off and while Mango is away I'm the doctor in charge of Slates care."

"WHAT?!"  he snaps  "You are joking right?!  You can't look after my sons care!!"

"I am perfectly capable!! I am a fully qualified doctor and surgeon remember just like Mango and Forrest.  Normally Forrest would have stepped into Mango shoes while he's away but seeing as Forrest is at Meadows Mango has asked me to do it."  I laugh  "If Mango thinks I'm capable then I don't know why you are stressing.  Don't think that man hasn't already scrutinized my medical and work history because he's probably gone through it with a fine tooth comb and I know he's phoned Cherry Hill for references because he's told me!!"

"Why you?  I'm not having it!!"  he snaps  "I'm going to phone Mango, I want to know why he hasn't asked me about this!!"

"Are you for real?!  Does Mango phone you up every time a different doctor or nurse goes near Slate ... No!  I don't think so!!  What is your problem anyway?  Who would you rather have looking after your son - a random doctor who doesn't know him from Adam and who Slate is just another patient to  ... or me?   He is my nephew remember and I'm going to look after him a lot better than a random doctor would!!!"  I snap at him  "I thought you'd be pleased I am the one looking after him, he is my family too remember, the only blood I have besides you!!"  I laugh sarcastically  "Oh but I forgot, silly me!!  I am still and always will be just that drunken crack head to you!!"

He just stands there staring at me saying nothing.

"So don't expect to see much of me over the next few days, because I'll be camped out at the hospital working and taking care of your son and all of Mango's other patients in Neurology!!"  I laugh at him  "Hysterical really, Dr Mango Muffin who is one of the best Neurosurgeons on the planet trusts me to look after his patient list but my own brother doesn't trust me to look after my own nephew!!"

"Well while Mango is away, you can sneak me in to see Slate!!"  he says suddenly without reacting to anything I have just said to him.

"Sorry, no can do!! It's more than my jobs worth!!"  I laugh at him  "It's in the patients best interest, you put him there so you being their might upset him and hamper his recovery.  You won't be seeing Slate again until he wants to see you!!"  He'll never be seeing him again if I have my way!!

"Oh come on stop playing the doctor!!  He's my son for berry sake and you are my brother, I'm sure you can see how ridiculous this is, they are stopping me from seeing my own son!!  He needs me!!"  but he isn't your son is he berry hole!!

"It's funny isn't it suddenly you remember Slate is your son and I'm your brother ... when it suits you Gravel!!"  I laugh sarcastically  "It's just a shame you didn't remember that when you was getting me locked up and grassing me up to the Brownie brothers,  or when you was getting your leg over Slates girlfriend!!  You are nothing but a selfish backstabbing Berry Hole!!  Slate needs you like he needs a hole in the head!!  You are not seeing him end of!!"

"Go to Hell Granite!!"  he shouts at me as he storms off into the kitchen.  "I'll remind you of this the next time you ask me for a favour ... BROTHER!!"

Brother!!  He doesn't know the meaning of the word!!  He has seriously done it with me now, I would treat an enemy better than he's treated me!!  He has completely broken what little connection and history we have ever had and I'm not going to waste one minute of my time worrying about what is about to happen to him, he's brought it all upon himself.  He's killed us with his lies and deceit and he's robbed me of the last twenty years of my life in more ways than one!!


I laugh to myself as I hear him banging angrily around in the kitchen. 

"He is the only one going to Hell!!"  Mace mumbles quietly as he opens his eyes and glances up at me.  "And the Berry Hole is seriously going to burn!!"

I hadn't even realized Mace is awake, I thought he was asleep.  We just stare at each other before we both burst up laughing!

If only Mace knew just how true those words of his are and how soon it is coming!!

I'm just scared of what might be coming for Mace!!

Song ~ Linkin Park ~ From the Inside


Rock 19

Traitor  ...

I had been at Mango's house talking to Lilly and both of Mango's parents for about three hour.  It is my first time of meeting Lilly, Mango's wife, but I know both of his parent's really well.  They knew me of old and are both very pleased and a little surprised at how I've turned out, especially my career in medicine.  Although they are a little cross with me for what I've put Forrest through all these years.

Coral didn't hang around for very long thankfully, she took off somewhere with her little sister Cotton.  I was surprised and amused that Mango has a toddler, I thought all of his children would have been a lot older.  

I received a call from Mango's phone because Cinnamon wanted me to go to the hospital urgently.  At first I thought it might be the paternity test results but it wasn't.  He had a conversation between Mace and Gravel that he wanted me to listen to.  He had also called Mango in to listen.

"You need to sit down Granite, you too Mango."  Cinnamon says with a strange look on his face when we both stand by the desk wandering why he has called us here so urgently.  "It seems I owe you an apology Granite!"  he says to me sheepishly "It appears that you seem to be right about Mace after all!"

"Right about what?"  I ask because I'm really confused.

"El has kind of been saying the same sort of things that you have about him.  She has been saying that there is something not quite right with Mace.  She has been very taken aback by the person we have on paper to the person she is seeing."  he looks at me awkwardly  "Something you said yesterday about his fingerprints had me looking through all his hits.   Other than hearsay and witness statements we do actually only have one hit that we can 100% pin on him because of prints and DNA.   The first one, his strangled cousin and ..."   he rolls his eyes  "The conversation between Gravel and Mace this morning has confirmed that."

"I don't understand, what are you trying to say?"

"I think it's best you just listen and we'll discuss it later."  he says quietly  "This is the conversation that went on between Gravel and Mace just after you and Coral left the house this morning."

Cinnamon is interrupted suddenly when there is a knock on the door.  It becomes pretty comical as the police officers in the corner of the room whip the curtain across to hide their presence in the room.  Cinnamon and Mango quickly swap seats after Cinnamon has stuffed all of the police files into a draw.  Mango shouts come in when the coast is clear.

I catch my breath as I watch the red guy walk into the room that I'd seen with Forrest out on the hospital car park.  I'm really glad that I know the truth about the situation now because if I still thought he was in a romantic relationship with Forrest I would probably have launched myself at him.  Not that I have much room to talk or react having Mace in my life, especially when he has no one and has never had anyone else!!

"What can I do for you Dr Blush?"  Mango asks as he takes the patient case folder that is being held out to him.  "I did say I didn't want to be disturbed this morning didn't I!!"

"I'm really sorry to disturb you Dr Muffin but we have a problem with Mr Flowers that Dr North says can't wait.  He doesn't think that his meds are working for him and we wandered what you would suggest, only with Forrest being away ...."  I notice the red doctor looking at me then he glances at the photograph on the wall then back to me again.

Mango takes the patients case notes off him and opens it quickly and starts to scan through them, while the red guy starts to irritate me a little by just standing there continuously smiling at me. I guess he has recognized me from the photograph and must know who I am.

"What would you suggest Dr Rock?"  Mango says to me as he hands me the notes.  I laugh to myself knowing that Mango is testing me.  I take the notes off him and start to read through them and spot where the problem is straight away.

"I would DRASTICALLY cut all the doses down and QUICKLY!!  He should only be on 10mg not 100 mg, whoever subscribed this is an idiot."  I glance at Mango and he smiles at me.  I glance up at the red guy.  "How can any of you out there NOT see that 100mg is a ridiculous dose for anyone and especially a patient who has just been through that procedure!!??"  

"Who authorized these meds?"  Mango asks and Dr Blush mumbles Dr Marsh  "Well I'll be having words with Dr Marsh"  he says angrily  "This is where I miss Forrest, he would have noticed that fuck up straight away!!"  he snaps.  

My head has now switched into doctor mode automatically and I forget where I am, I'm used to working with a load of idiots and this guy looks like another one as he stands there scratching his head not knowing what to do next unless he's told.

"What is the patient doing exactly?!  What is Dr North's concern?  I'm surprised the patient isn't hallucinating and crawling the walls!!"   I look at Mango awkwardly realizing what I'm doing when I hear him chuckling to himself, he waves me to carry on.

"Your call Dr Rock."  he smirks at me 

"He was hallucinating!"  the red guy is laughing like it is funny.  This riles me and I snap.

"I wouldn't be laughing if I was you Dr Blush!! You are lucky between you that you haven't faded the patient!!  What do you mean WAS?!"

"He's been very restless through the night and has complained this morning he's got a severe headache but he seems very lethargic now."  me and Mango both jump up out of our chairs at the same time.  Alarm bells start ringing in my head.

"Take me to the patient NOW!!"  I snap.

Suddenly everything becomes bedlam as me and Mango rush to the patients bed, I think we both already know what is happening to the patient.  I look at Mango and he tells me to carry on and deal with it which surprises me.  I assess the patient quickly while Mango stands back at a short distance with his arms folded and just watches me, almost with a look of amusement on his face.  

I kind of lose it a little, like I would in my own department, with the group of gormless looking doctors who are standing around watching me scratching their heads.  I'm wandering why they haven't spotted or worked out what is happening to the patient or spotted the stupid dose error, but now they seem more interested in who I am than what's happening to the patient.

I know straight away that the patient needs to go straight back into theatre.  The wrong high dosage of medication has aggravated the surgical procedure the patient has just been through and has caused a life threatening hemorrhage.  

I am very surprised when Mango tells me to scrub in and go into theatre with him.   I expected him to take the patient off and just leave me hanging around with Cinnamon until he returned.  Me going into theatre with him was the very last thing that I expected to be doing. 

I became pretty excited about going into theatre, not only have I been missing work this past month but I am also thinking that I am getting the chance to be observing the great man in our world at work.  The one time he came to Cherry Hill to carry out a very complicated and complex procedure that nobody else would even attempt, including me.   I had the chance to observe his session in theatre that day but I had to swerve it, scared he would spot and recognize me.   

I became very nervous when Mango threw me straight in at the deep end to my shock.   I find that I am the one carrying out the surgery while he is the one observing me.  Talk about being tested!!  It isn't the surgery that is making me nervous, I've carried out this procedure many times successfully.   It is Mango watching me at work that made me nervous.  

Thankfully for me and the patient everything was plain sailing and it wasn't long before the patient is recovering nicely back in his bed.  Mango amuses me as we make our way back to Forrest's office when he starts chuckling to himself quite loudly as we walk down the corridor.  He turns to me and says that he couldn't have handled the situation better himself and I've just cured his major headache.  When I frown at him he says he'll explain to me later.  

As we walk through the Neurology department he suddenly shouts all the doctors on the department together and I watch him switch into something else as he reads them all the riot act over the mess up with the patient.  He amuses me then, using me to whip them a little more saying how they have shown themselves up and especially embarrassed him in front of me.   He introduces me to them all then, but not as the guy married to Forrest, but as Dr Rock, Cherry Hills Head Neurosurgeon, which I am, but that's when I realize he's been poking through my work records and takes me seriously at least in a professional capacity. 

Minutes later we are both sat back down in Forrest's office with Cinnamon about to listen to the conversation that took place between Gravel and Mace this morning.

"I'm warning you both, it is not pretty and far from what we expected to hear."  Cinnamon pulls a face at us. "Neither of you are going to like what you are going to hear one little bit!!"

Me and Mango just sit and stare at each other for a moment in confusion.  I really don't like the sound of this!! Cinnamon turns on the tape when me and Mango are ready.

We all just sit and listen.


I watch Granite and Coral through the kitchen window walk off down the path and get into Corals car.  Granite makes me laugh as he opens the door for Coral and holds it patiently open while she struggles to get her baby bump behind the steering wheel, then he closes the door and gets into the passenger seat.

I watch them laughing together as the car pulls off the driveway and really wished that I was going with them.  I would much rather spend the day with them than Gravel!!

I know Granite really does not like Coral at all.  So I don't quite understand why he would even suggested that we do this?  I've also told him enough times I really don't like Gravel, which isn't a lie!!  I've never been able to stand the bloke especially because of what he has done to me!

"Come away from the window!!  You be careful Macey boy, anyone would think you are missing him already!  Here catch ..."  Gravel laughs as he throws something at me  "... drink that, you may as well make the most of it while lover boy is away, it might stop you pining after him!"

"Shut up Berry Hole!!"  I snap at Gravel as I catch the can he's just launched at me.  I stand for a moment staring down at the can of alcohol in my hand.  "I can't drink this, he'll smell it on me and you shouldn't even have alcohol in the house while he's here!!"  I snap at him angrily, he seriously has no consideration for anyone other than himself!!

"WUSS!!  I swear he's turned you even softer then you already were!!  Where has bad man Brownie gone?"  he laughs sarcastically then throws a packet of mints at me  "It's the only one you are having mind!  Make sure you neck all those mints before he gets back, we don't want you snogging him stinking of booze and setting him off  - remember we are saving that for AFTER the transplant!!  I want him back in that gutter where he belongs!!"

"Excuse me ... bad man Brownie is just that myth that you have created to pin your shit on and you know it, so STOP rubbing it in my face Berry Hole!!   AND you can back off!!  I am NOT doing any of that shit you want me to do to him!!  I'm sick of telling you, the only thing I will do for you is keep Gran away from here!!"  I snap at him nastily  "If you remember, you agreed, it's up to me what I do with Granite, and you butting out of our life and leaving us alone would be a very good start!  You owe me that much at least!!"  I snap at him and slam the can on the kitchen table  "And I'm not drinking this alcohol either!!  See Gravel this is where you keep fucking up - you want him to stay sober for the transplant yet you bring alcohol into the house - you take too many unnecessary risks!!"  I laugh at him  "We wouldn't even be here if it wasn't for you getting your leg over your sons Mrs like a dirty dog and getting caught!!  You are an even worse crook than you are a copper, brother or Dad!!"

"SHUT IT ... boy, you are pushing it!!  I owe you nothing!!  You would have been behind bars years ago if it hadn't been for me and don't you forget it!!"  he snaps at me angrily.  "You owe me big time for your new life and don't you forget that either - the new identity, my brother and the cushy life hes giving you with the safe roof over your head where you can lay low forever if you behave!"  he points at me  "It only takes one phone call and your life is over ..."

"BERRY HOLE!!  The only reason they are after me at all is because of all the stuff you have done and pinned on my back, so don't act like you are doing me any favours now when you created the shit in the first place!!   My life was over the day you decided to start playing with it!!"  I scowl at him  "you make that phone call and you know I'm taking you with me!!"

"They won't believe a word you say anyway, I've tampered with plenty of paperwork and paid too many people to point the finger in your direction, and you know what I do to people who try to talk or upset me, don't you Mace!!"  he laughs at me  "I have got you wrapped up so tight they are going to throw the book at you and how are you going to feel when you are spending the rest of your life rotting in prison for twenty plus hits that you didn't even do!!"  he starts laughing hysterically  "So I wouldn't try to piss me off if I was you, keep pushing me Mace and I'll be making that call, hell I don't even have to make a call, remember I can take you in myself!!"  he waves a pair of handcuffs at me as he sits there continuously laughing.  "You know every copper in the force is biting their arm off to be the one to haul you in, but you are mine and one day you'll be more brownie points for me to cash in - get it BROWNIE points!!"  he starts laughing hysterically again.


"No that is where you will be going Mace!!   Just think of all the years you are looking at - the whole of your entire life inside and away from lover boy!  Not that I expect you'll last too long in there, they'll eat you alive once they clock onto how much of a wuss you really are!!"  he continues to laugh  "I guess it will give you plenty of time to reflect on the one murder you did commit!  It's been about fifteen years now hasn't it - you still haven't got over what you did to your cousin have you!!"

"How can I when you've spent fifteen years holding a gun to my head and stitching me up good and proper because of it!!  You are going to make me spend the rest of my life paying for it!!  I could have done the time and be walking free now, but no, you just had to manipulate the situation to your own advantage!!  It's not like it was even intentional, you know it was self defense, you was there for berry's sake!!  It wouldn't surprise me if you didn't wind him up and tell him all that stuff to make him go for me in the first place!!"   he just sits there laughing at me and he's really starting to wind me up!!  "Just go to hell Gravel, one day you'll get what's coming to you big time!!"  I snap at him.  "One of these days you are going to play your games with someone who will be able to undo you and I just hope I'm there to see it happen!!"  I laugh at him sarcastically  "You preyed on me because I was a vulnerably kid fighting to live up to the family reputation.   You could see, like I knew, I was in way over my head and never going to be in their league.  I didn't even want their life!!  I had no choice but to tow the line, I'm a Brownie it was expected of me, especially by my family - petty crime and playing people is all I'm good for and you knew it and that is how you've screwed me over!"

"I love the way your balls drop when we are face to face!!  You are something else when you are on the other end of a phone ... look at you sat there like a pathetic scared wuss!!  Where is your attitude now boy?!"   he starts laughing at me again  "I bet your old man is turning in his grave right now, his only son and look how he turned out!!  A pretty boy!!  He would be well ashamed of the soft faggot he has created!!"

"Grow up Gravel, I can't help who I am and I'm sure your old man would be just as proud of you right now ... NOT!!"  I snap at him  "I'm not ashamed of being a faggot or preferring the life I've had for the last five years even if it's not exactly been cosha thanks to you ... instead of the life that was expected of me just because I am Fudge Brownies son.  They expected me to be just like him, well I'm nothing like him!!  I hated  who he was and having to live the lie even more than I hate that you are now pulling my strings and you've got me hanging ten foot off the ground, but what choice have I ever had!!"  I snap at him  "The only good thing that's come out of my whole sorry life is my daughter and you have even taken that away from me!!  Now there's Granite and no doubt it won't be long before you take that away from me too!!"

"What's up with you, you grumpy ass!? ... you are seriously no fun anymore Mace, it's like you've lost your spark and have got no fight left in you!!"

"I don't have any fight left in me, what's the point ... I can kick and scream as much as I like, but its never going to change things, you'll never come clean and tell the truth and you aren't ever going to let me off the hook are you?!  You've taken it way to far to ever change it!!   I don't want to be here, so close to my daughter knowing I can't see her, it's killing me.  I just want to take Granite home and away from you and Forrest, so we can carry on with our life, which was okay until you fucked up again!!"  

Gravel sits at the table opposite me and just scowls at me.  We sit in silence for ages as he makes a start on the can that I refused to drink.

"Wuss, you've got it bad haven't you!!"  he laughs  "I thought you'd be jumping through hoops now he's proposed, it's what you wanted isn't it!!"

"Of course I'm happy, but I have to wake up every morning wandering if today is the day you are going to pull the plug or something is going to happen to draw attention to me and I'm going to lose it all!!  You might enjoying living that way but I don't especially when my life wasn't of my making!!"

"Man you'll have me crying and feeling sorry for you in a minute!!"  he starts laughing.

"Yeah right!!  Do you actually know how to cry?  I bet you can't can you!!  You need a conscience and emotions neither of which you have!!"  I laugh at him  "This identity that you've given me, it is completely safe now isn't it?  and I don't suppose you noticed if Mace Wood was wearing a wedding ring before you stuck the knife in or whatever you did to him?  You never said."  he starts laughing

"Yeah virtually, I told you I'd have to sit for a while before I could make everything disappear, he's a cold case now, I've disappeared the files, there are just a few odds and ends I need to tidy - then you are set forever - but you are safe to get married as him, he's no longer faded on paper."  he laughs  "I slit his throat if you really want to know and no he wasn't married anyway but don't forget you are so that could still catch up with you, not that another six years is going to make any difference to you!!"  he starts really laughing again.  "You never know she might have given up on you by now and divorced you!!"  he laughs  "I can check for you unless you want me to just arrange for Tami to drop off the planet!!"

"Bro ... Are you seriously THAT twisted?  I hope she has given up on me, you all know I never loved her like she wanted me too.  You all knew I was gay, but it doesn't mean I don't care about her!!   DON'T you touch her!!  Isn't it bad enough you've left Jasmine without me, now you want to take her Mother away from her too!!"

"Okay! Okay!  I'll leave Daddies Princess alone!!"  he laughs at me  "So come on I'm curious, you still haven't explained to me, how is my brother a piece of chocolate cake compared to me?"  he asks and I laugh at him

"He sucks dick a lot better than you do for a start!!  Maybe I should tell him his little brother swings both ways when the mood takes you!"  I laugh at him for a moment as he chokes on his drink.  "It's you who needs educating mate!!"  he kicks me really hard under the table!!  "Berry hole that hurt!!  The shame of it ...Gravel Rock got played even after I warned you that I could!!"  I start laughing at him.

"Berry Hole!! That was donkey's years ago and you should have forgotten about that by now TWAT!!  You might have played me once Mace with that cute little face of yours but you'll never do it again!!  Mention that again or try it again and you'll be going home in a wheelchair!!  Mmmm that's an interesting thought, I wander how lover boy would react to a permanent cripple!!"  

"Shut up Berry Hole!!"  I snap at him "Don't worry I wouldn't want to play you again anyway, you seriously make my skin crawl.  I only did it to wipe that smug smirk off your face!!"  he scowls at me  "You think you're untouchable, but you're not Gravel, I showed you that and one of these days someone WILL turn you over properly!!"

"Whatever wuss!!"  he snaps at me  "Come on I want to know about this chocolate cake!!"

"Granite isn't a liar like you, I'm not sure he knows how to lie whereas you, you couldn't lie straight if your life depended on it.  He keeps things to himself a lot but when he tells it, he tells it straight ... the only things he hasn't told me yet is about the wedding ring on his finger, the photo in his wallet and Forrest's name but if I pushed him hard enough - he'd tell me!"  I laugh for a moment  "He makes the job you've given me really easy and at home, when it's just us, I can be me.  Besides he is nothing like the person you described to me ... I think you was describing yourself not him, he's ten times the bloke you'll ever be!!  He isn't selfish, twisted or vindictive like you.  He doesn't use people either like you, I've always known he loves Forrest and he needs me to keep him away from his demons because he can't hack being alone, he's told me straight many times and to go if I don't like it, he thinks he's using me when really he isn't!!  You take lives while he saves them ... look at Slate he came back here without a second thought to give him a kidney when he doesn't even know the boy just because he's family.   If the tables were turned, you would have told him to jog on plus you don't give a shit about your family do you, you are too busy stabbing them in the back!!"

"Oh Pleeeease!!  Enough already!!   You are starting to sound like the green one now!!  He thinks the sun shines out of his backside too!!  That bloke is as blinkered as you are where the brown one is concerned!!"  he starts laughing  "How can you love him, why aren't you pissed that he was the one who grassed your Dad and Uncles up and got them locked up?"

"It's not like they didn't deserve it and actually in the long run it did me a favour, it got them off my back forever, and if you hadn't pounced on me to fill their shoes, I could have lived the life I wanted - being me instead of having to live up to being a Brownie!!"  I laugh a little  "Plus there are two sides to this story aren't there Gravel and I think we all know who the real snake is here don't we YOU!!  Granite was never meant for that life it was the alcohol and drugs that drove him there, and my family that forced him to stay there.  So when he asked you, his brother,  for help you used him to take them down and was even selfish enough to take him with them for reasons only Forrest seems to know!"  I laugh at him for a moment  "I might be a wuss but I'm not stupid, you must have thought you was being really clever pulling Turmeric out and sending me to sit on your brother, you hoped I'd be holding a grudge against him, you hoped there would be a repeat of what I did to my cousin, that I'd snap and finish Gran off to save you the job - didn't you!!"  he just laughs  "Well that back fired on you didn't it!!" 

"Yeah, I should have known you'd be a useless wuss - you just had to go and fall in love with him instead - I should have known better than to put you two faggots together!!  I also should have got Turmeric to finish it years ago."  he starts to really laugh  "See I told you, you are just like the green one, he also defends and makes excuses for the brown one even though neither of you should!!"

"So what's happening with Forrest ... I'm warning you Gravel, you make sure you keep him out of town and away from Granite because that is one murder I will be happy to commit if I really have to!!  I'm not losing Gran and if he ever finds out how Forrest still feels about him, he'll be straight back there without a second thought for me!!  I don't want Forrest to get anywhere near him!!"

"Don't stress Macey boy!!  We are both on the same page with that one even though you are all mouth, we both know it will probably be me or Turmeric who has to do it!!"  he pulls a face  "I think it's only a matter of time now, its going to be the green one first, which should make you happy then you get to keep the brown one all to yourself!"  he laughs at me  "The minute he's back, he's gone before he talks!!  If I knew he would keep his mouth shut then he'd be okay but I know he won't, he's getting too tetchy, you saw how stupid he went outside the hospital when he spotted Gran and it won't be long before he gets to him and opens his mouth.  He's bought the crap so far, but he'll be back, I doubt he'll stay away for long!!"  

I watch his face twists up a little bit. I already know he struggles where both of his brothers are concerned, if they were anyone else they would have both been six foot under years ago, because if Gravel wants you gone, you are gone, he never messes about!!  But I know in the end he will finish them if he has to.  I'm only still here because I'm useful to him, he is using me to pin all of his crap on, and I know one day I'm going to have to carry the can for everything he's done.  I have no choice because I seriously can not ever see a way out of this for me now.

"I want the brown one out of this town PERMANENTLY after the transplant!!  and this is where I'm warning you Mace - if you don't keep him away from here and Slate, he will be following the green one into his box and you won't stop me!!

"How can you get so bitter and twisted, they are both your brothers!!  Isn't it about time you let me into your secret!!  What is Forrest trying to tell Gran that is so devastating for you?  Is your secret really so precious that it's worth doing away with both of your brothers to keep!?"

"Hell yes it is!!  I have my reason which you will never be privy too!  So don't even try fishing again Mace, haven't I already warned you not to ask questions!!  I've already made the mistake of talking once and it won't be happening again!!"  he laughs at me  "If I told you, you'll be wearing the green ones shoes.  I'd have to fade you and I don't want to because I need you to keep the brown one away permanently.  Plus I'll have to find some other mug to pin my shit on, and if you do have to go down, then I want to be the one to take you down and cash in!!"

"You are a sick berry hole!!"  I snap at him  "I feel sorry for Coral and those babies!!  I guess they have got your shit coming just like the rest of us!!  I don't know anyone you haven't messed up!  You screw everyone over - even your own son has had a dose of it!!  I wander what they would think if they knew the truth and exactly what you really are!?"

"Coral and Slate are NONE of your business!!  You just keep away from both of them Mace I'm warning you!!"  he shouts at me quite nastily.  "If I catch you telling them one single thing about me and I've warned you already Mace, if I even suspect you are trying to play Coral you'll be looking at the inside of your prison cell or box!!"  he smirks  "I've not buried anyone alive yet, but I've always fancied it!  I think I might save that one for you and lover boy, because you must have realized by now, when lover boy has gone, you are going to be surplus to requirements Mace, I'm not dealing with an hysterical heartbroken wuss, you can go with him or I'll get you banged up, it's your choice!!"

"Ewww I've just hit a raw nerve haven't I!!  Coral and Slate, maybe you do have some emotions in there some where!!"  I laugh at him  "Maybe we should trade - you leave people alone I care about and I'll leave yours alone!!" 

"Shut it smart ass!!"  he snaps at me  "So what is this bonding session all about?"  he laughs  "Is he up to something or is he being genuine and going soft like you!!"

"I don't know, ask him!!  It's probably just what it is, he doesn't play games like you do!  Berry knows why he'd want me to get to know you better!!"  I laugh for a moment  "If only he knew I actually probably know you better than anyone, especially himself, he doesn't have a clue what you are!!"

"Yeah and it's going to stay that way isn't it Mace!!"  he scowls at me for a moment then smiles  "So what are you going to tell him when he gets back?"  he smirks at me  "How much you love his little brother!"

"Like hell!!  I'll be telling him the truth - that I can't stand you and I don't want him to leave me on my own with you EVER again!!"  he starts laughing  "How is Tarragon?  I take it you are still running Apple Hill on the sly!"

"Of course!!  Although it's been a lot harder since Coral."  he grins at me  "Your sister is good!"  I suddenly don't like the smirk on his face  "she's always got your kid with her.  Jasmine is a shy little thing ..."

"Gravel DON'T!!"  he just laughs at me.  I really don't want to hear anything about my daughter because it hurts too much.

"How do you fancy going out to see an old friend?"  I frown at him  "Turmeric, I said I'd meet him in the dive bar, we have things to discuss."

"Hell no!!  ARE YOU STUPID if Granite sees Turmeric in town he'll suss something isn't right especially if he sees him with you!!"  he just laughs at me  "You seriously are a TWAT!!  Taking another risk you don't need to be taking!!  In fact isn't Mango's house right by the dive bar!!"

"You stress too much!!  You know me, I always live by the seat of my pants!!"  he laughs as he crushes the can in his hand.  "You should try it sometime!"

"No thanks!!"  he laughs at me

"I really don't know what happened to this generation of your family - you all turned out stupid!!  Nothing like your old man and his old man before him."  he laughs at me  "It's probably just a good job you Brownies are a dying breed!!  There is only you, Tarragon and little Jasmine left now you know."  he starts laughing and I frown at him  

"What's happened to Aniseed and Basil?"

"Wearing heavy bricks at the bottom of Apple Lake!"  he starts really laughing  "They weren't a patch on your old man and Uncles, they were getting too big for their boots - but not anymore they're not - they are fish food!!  That's what happens when people upset me!!"

"BERRY HOLE!!  Who?  You?"  he nods and grins at me  "Are you on some kind of mission to wipe out my whole family?"  I snap at himI can't believe he's finished off my cousins and there is only me and my sister left which makes me wander what his problem is and if my sister and daughter are safe.  "You better leave Tarragon and Jasmine alone Gravel or I will seriously lose it!!" 

"Oh don't worry Macey boy your sister has her uses."  he sniggers for a moment  "She's never complained about me making her skin crawl, quite the opposite in fact!!"  he smirks at me  "I find it quite amusing, you get to play with my brother while I'm playing with your sister!!"

"YOU BERRY HOLE!!"  he laughs at me  "You make me sick and my sister needs her head testing if she's sleeping with you!!  How long has that been going on?  I take it Coral doesn't know!!  More to the point does Tarragon know about Coral?!"

"Do you seriously think I'd be sat here smiling if they knew about each other, they'd both batter me, you know how hysterical women get, especially Coral.  Tarragon not so much she punches like a bloke, she's actually got more ball than you!!"  he laughs sarcastically  

"HOW LONG have you been messing about with my sister?"  I snap at him  "Why didn't you tell me?!"

"Nearly five years with your sister, she needed a shoulder to cry on when her little brother went missing, besides I had to keep tabs to make sure you weren't keeping in touch with your family!!"   he smirks at me  "What was the point of me telling you, it's not like you can do anything about it, is it Macey boy!!"

He starts laughing but stops quickly because his phone starts ringing.  He looks at the phone number flashing on his screen and smirks.  I'm now worried about my sister, because I know the minute that Gravel gets bored with her or finishes using her, it is curtains for her too!!  Why the hell did he need to mess up Slate and Coral if he already has Tarragon?!

"Yow how's it hanging?!"  he laughs into the phone  "Chill Turmeric!!  Get me a pint in, I'm on my way.  The brown ones left me baby sitting his bitch!"  he starts laughing  "You'll never guess, they've only gone and got engaged, it looks like the brown one has finally gone all soft on Brownie boy!! "  he starts really laughing  "Have you heard from the green one?"  there is a slight pause  "No he's not answering his phone to me either, which is probably a good sign he's still crying!!"  he starts laughing again.  "Give me ten minutes!"

Gravel stands staring at me after he's snapped his phone shut.

"So are you coming with me to see our big bro?"  I shake my head at him  "You should come, he says he can't wait to see you again - he misses you, and he's got a bone to pick with you apparently!!"  he laughs

"Yeah the one in his throat I bet - berry hole!!"  I snap at him  He just stands there laughing at me!!  "You go I'm not interested in what you're up to with T, and I definitely can't afford to have you pulling me into any of your dodgy shit or my clothes stinking of booze!!  I'll stay here and wait for Gran to come back."

"Suit yourself wuss!!  If anyone asks I got called away on police business!"  he smirks as he picks up the empty cans off the kitchen table and just throws them into the open bin where Granite could quiet easily see them.  "See you around kid!!"  he winks at me as he walks out of the kitchen.

As soon as I hear the front door shut, I take the cans out of the kitchen bin and take them outside and throw them in the rubbish bin after I've wrapped them up with a news paper that is on the top of the bin, the berry hole wasn't even going to hide them!!

I go back inside and run upstairs and throw myself on the bed and cry myself to sleep.


Cinnamon turns off the tape and the room is silent all but for me.  

I hear him go over to the police officer sat in the corner of the room, they talk quietly to each other for a moment before the officer walks out of the room.

"Granite?"  he says as he crouches down and puts his hand on my shoulder

I've completely gone!!  I'm literally on the floor in pieces, listening to Mace crying totally cracked me up on top of what I'd just sat listening to.  

I'm not even sure how I got off my chair and onto the floor.

Song ~ Traitor ~ Daughtry