Sitting on the beach in Sandy Shores really never helps me so I don't know why I keep doing it to myself. Over and over again!! Every time I sit here I drive myself straight back through the pain of the memories that haunt me of him here.
I meant only to stay in the resort and come nowhere near this place, but I just can't help myself. Before I even know what I'm doing I find myself here!! Checking out of the resort and moving myself in here, fighting with dust sheets and six months worth of dust and dirt.
I guess over the years, stupidly, I've hoped that I would bump into him here. I've often wandered if he still comes here like I do. This used to be our favourite place in the world to be and we've spent many happy hours here on this beach, in this very spot. It is hard being here without him, even after twenty years.
I seriously don't know why I can't just let it go!! Obviously he has!!
I thought that me and Granite would be forever, so the last twenty years have been hell for me. He promised me forever so where is he? With somebody else that's where he is!! I can't even bare to think about it!! So much for forever!! I don't think it helps that Granite had already been a part of my life forever up to the day he left. He even haunts my very first memory of being a child.
We are toddlers and he is sat there like I am on a dark brown blanket on the grass and we are fighting over a cookie. Granite didn't want his own cookie, he wanted mine and I wouldn't give it to him. Our parents are all sat around us, laughing their heads off as they watch us scrambling about playing tug of war fighting over the cookie that we eventually broke, which had the pair of us screaming the place down. That is my very first memory of him. He was always up to mischief even back then, usually getting us both into trouble and over the years that never changed!! He was always overly fascinated with my ears especially, the things he used to do to them when we were young. I laugh at the memories, which are just the first of many that continuously haunt me!!
There is only a month between us in age, I am exactly one month older than he is and our Mothers in particular were very close friends and always together. As we were both only children at the time me and Granite were forced to grow up closely together, we did everything together because our parents put us together all the time. We played together as toddlers, spent our days together at the same childminders while our parents were at work, stayed with the same baby sister when our parents all went out together socially at night. We attended the same playschool together and walked into our very first day of primary school nervously together, holding hands being watched by our two crying Mothers, we never did work out why they were crying because school wasn't actually that bad! Days out, holidays, sleep overs, there was rarely a day we were apart, we even caught chicken pox and measles together, we shared everything.
As we got older we just grew into our relationship, we chose to spend all our time together and were joined at the hip and rarely apart, we came as a package, even to our younger siblings that came later, Meadow for me and Gravel for Granite. I am not even sure if we are meant to be gay, neither of us are obviously gay to other people, they don't usually spot it straight away, I usually have to tell people. We just grew into a same sex relationship, together. Our progression from friends shifted to a romantic relationship then to lovers, it all just happened naturally. I am not sure if we ever actually discussed it either, it just happened and we never questioned what we were doing. From the age of thirteen everyone could see were were openly dating.
We were thrown together completely when we were fourteen and we ended up living under the same roof. Granite and Gravel had a few very horrible rocky years, Granite was just eleven when his Father was faded in a shooting at work, he worked in the police force. Then three years later his Mother too had also gone, she was taken by liver problems because of her alcohol abuse, and left Granite and Gravel orphans. My parents took them in without a second thought to stop them going into care, we were virtually like family anyway how close we all were. They fostered them at first, then adopted just Gravel later, with Granite it was complicated because of our relationship. Adopting him would have made our relationship illegal so he remained as their foster child.
My parents weren't too comfortable with our relationship and us living under the same roof to begin with because of our age and the way we were carrying on together. Granite sneaking out of the room he shared with Gravel and into my room during the night was especially a major problem to them. After many arguments with us they gave up trying to part us after a while, because I think they knew they weren't ever going to be able to and they just let us carry on with what we were doing. You can say our relationship had a very early start if you roll it right back to the beginning from our toddler years. But we were basically living together as a couple from the age of fourteen, married at eighteen, our relationship had already done a lot of miles when most people our age hadn't even or were just starting out. We had been married for eight years when he left, but he'd been a very big part of my life for twenty six years.
Granite had always been there and is, even after twenty years apart, still everywhere that I look. I can't escape him, he's like a ghost that continuously haunts me. There is always something at home and in Sugar Valley to remind me of him, and especially here in Sandy Shores. Work is the only place where he doesn't haunt me.
I can still see him now sat on the sand building sandcastles, out on the water wind surfing, and running along the beach, shouting and screaming playing in the sea splashing water like a hyperactive child, me wanting to shout at him because he's acting like an overgrown fool. That was us, he was always the loud hyperactive joker and I was always the quiet sensible patient one, I did all the thinking while he made all the noise.
Granite loved this place just as much as I did, and once we found Sandy Shores we never went anywhere else on vacation it was always here where we came. Being a mixed berry couple out in the coded world made it pretty hard for us, we had to act normally and like we were not together which was very hard for us. Until we found this particular place, 'Sea View'. 'Sea View' is a holiday home that we used to rent right on the sea front, it actually sits right on the beach and has it's own private stretch of secluded beach. The beach being in a horseshoe shape surrounding a pool of water that runs out into the sea. We had our own private patch of paradise here with no prying eyes. This place was perfect for us to hide out in, we could be ourselves freely out in the coded world with nobody watching.
Old habits die hard and even after he left, I still came here, stupidly in the hope I think that if there was anywhere in the world that I would bump into him it would be here, which of course has never happened! I was a little disappointed about five years back when I tried to rent this holiday home and it was no longer available for rent. I ended up staying at the resort instead which really didn't feel the same. I was on the verge of going home after only a few days when I found myself down here strolling along the beach. I was drawn here out of curiosity and found the place all boarded up with a For Sale sign on it. I didn't even think, I pulled my phone straight out of my pocket, phoned the number and set the wheels in motion to buy the place ... something else I really shouldn't have done because its just another place that reminds me of him, but that is probably why I did it, I have this habit of not being about to let things go!! Especially him!!
We always used to say fate put us together because that was the way it was meant to be. Sometimes I think we just grew into it, being constantly together from such an early age he became like a part of me that I can't function without. He was always there and now he's gone it feels like I'm not whole any more, a big piece of me has gone missing with him and I need that piece back to function properly. Something that I still am not managing to do. I struggle especially being without him.
I thought we were the same him and me and all this time I've imagined he would be out there somewhere feeling exactly the same way that I am. I know he would never have wanted to leave or stay away - he was forced to by Gravels scheming. I know the truth about why he left and why he stayed away, even if he doesn't know the whole truth himself. I know he would have stayed away for what he thought were the right reasons for the first ten years at least, but I always thought one day he would find a way to come back - I expected this to be killing him just as much as it is me!!
I really don't understand what has happened. What we had was special, he used to say it even more than I did. Nothing will ever come close to what we had and it definitely can't be replaced! He use to tell me over and over how much he loved me and how he could never love anyone else or live without me, that's why he wanted to clean up his act because he was terrified he was going to lose me if he carried on with his crime and addictions. So I don't understand how he could go from loving me so much to hating me? I don't understand how he could have said those things about me to Gravel, it just doesn't make sense to me!! How can he be in love with somebody else and be happily moving on?
I need to stop this!! I can not even think about him and his new bloke any more because it is just going to crack me up again.
It looks like Mango, Meadow and Gravel were right after all ... it looks like I have wasted the last twenty years of my life on a stupid hope that only I believed while they have been thinking I'm totally crazy!! Mango and Meadow have only ever seen the bad side of Granite, the drinking and drug taking, the crime, prison, his disappearing act and what it has done to me. They don't know him like I do, they don't know that there is something else going on here ... as usual it's Gravel, while he's here looking like the saint, Granite is the one looking like the sinner when in reality it's totally the other way round. But now I'm beginning to wander myself, he's gone and moved on, he's doing the opposite of what he always promised me and I was stupid enough to believe him, maybe I didn't know him as well as I thought I did!! I thought I knew him better than I knew myself!!
As I lie back on the beach I close my eyes, remembering how good everything used to be, even when he was dragging us through the shit with his drinking and drug taking! So I wander how it all went so terribly wrong!! You would think it would have been the drink and drugs ... but it wasn't ... it was Gravel!!
Hell, I hate that bloke for what he's put us through and what he's done to us!! It was Gravels fault that Granite went to prison, it was Gravels fault that he went away, and it has probably been Gravels fault for him never coming back ... I suspect there is plenty more to this that I don't know about, and if Gravel is involved in it, there is bound to be!!
I am now sitting here kicking myself so hard for not going out and finding Granite like I should have done. I should have done more then I could have prevented this final separation from happening. That is what it is now, final!! In my mind it's only ever been temporary, he would find a way back one day ... but now he's moved on to Mace, I know he's never coming back.
I did try to track him down as soon as I found out he had been released from prison, but it was hard. I only got close to him once, I found out where he had been just days after he had left. He was moving around the coded world a lot to start with and I did not have a hope in hell of finding him until he settled down. Gravel is in the ideal job to find someone and he promised me that he would track him down and put everything right. I should have known he wasn't even bothering to look!! Gravel even fed me with a load of rubbish telling me that he thought Granite didn't want to be found because of the situation he thought he was in. That Granite was either homeless in some gutter somewhere as high as a kite, back on the booze and drugs, faded or was using a false identity because his real identity is not being used in any way. He said nothing was coming up in his name, his bank account wasn't being accessed, his medical and dental records are dormant, there were no phone or work records and I was stupid enough to believe him!!
One thing that I never bought, that Granite had faded!! I knew he was still out there somewhere because I could still feel him, I think I will know the minute that happens, I don't know why but I just do. If he was hiding himself under a new identity and didn't want to be found, what chance did I ever have of finding him?! I listed Granite as a missing person, and sat back and let the police take care of it, I now suspect Gravel probably wiped away my missing persons report to prevent him from being found. I wouldn't be surprised if Gravel hasn't known where he has been all along!!
I went through different stages of emotions after he left prison and disappeared. At first I was desperate to find him. Then as time went on I convinced myself I had to just sit and wait for him to come back when he is ready and thought it was safe enough too, because I knew he would one day. My final stage of emotions for many years now has been fear because I don't understand why he hasn't come back yet. I've been scared to look for him, scared that I would find him with somebody else, happy and moved on. In my case ignorance was bliss, because that is exactly what he's done and now it hurts like hell!!
Cherry Hill. I laugh at where he's been all this time, in a colour mix town. There are only three on the planet that I know too. I should have known he would either be in Berry Shores or Cherry Hill!! He HATES the attitude of the people in the coded world, so I should have known he would have settle down to live in either of the other two colour mix towns!! They were the first two places that I did actually look for him, but he wasn't there at that time. I should have kept checking those two towns!! It took Mango and Bay only four days to find Granite, if I'd put my fear to one side I could have found him myself years ago!! I think I KNOW Gravel has not bothered to look for him at all - in light of the situation, I know he NEVER would have wanted Granite to return to Sugar Valley.
When Gravel first came clean to me, he totally broke down and I think he told me everything at the time. He really struggled to bond with Slate at first because of Amber fading when he was born. I thought that was the only reason for him struggling but it wasn't!! Amber fading almost destroyed him and for a long time I thought it had! I was the one who brought Slate up for basically the first two years of his life. I ended up moving in with Gravel for a while for a few reasons. Firstly, Gravel needed me, he was in a right mess and for a long time he couldn't even bring himself to look at Slate, at first he blamed the baby for Ambers death, even Slate's cries ringing through the house had Gravel crawling the walls. Secondly, Granite had been in prison for eight months when Slate arrived and I was barely holding it together being without him, especially as he had been transferred to the prison in Berry Shores which I really didn't understand at the time, or the fact that he cut all contact with both me and Gravel. The first time in our whole entire lives that we had been apart, not having any contact at all was just making it harder, so rattling around our house alone not having him there was excruciatingly hard, he is everywhere that I look and I was always waiting and expecting him to walk through the door any minute even though I knew he wouldn't be. The house was too quiet, too tidy, it just didn't feel right without him crashing through the place. So moving out of our house and into Gravels for a while was almost like a relief for me, and looking after Slate gave me something to take my mind off Granite.
I should have spotted it coming!! The eight months between Granite being locked up and Slates arrival should have been a hint to me, but I didn't see it. Amber finding out she was pregnant in May exactly one month after Gravels sick April Fools prank, I didn't see that either. Amber announcing her pregnancy on that day in May was the very last thing on my mind because it was exactly the same day that Gravel got Granite locked up for everything that he'd told Gravel about his criminal activities thinking he was going to help him get the Brownie brothers off his back. I was distraught and trying to cope with what I knew was coming, Granite being inside for a very long stretch, as well as being totally livid with Gravel for what he'd done to Granite. Amber was so disgusted with Gravel she didn't speak to him for a whole month and I only spoke to him because I was yelling at him!!
I was too mentally occupied to see what was staring me straight in the face, that the successful Artificial Insemination happened on the 1st of April ... I didn't see the possibility that Gravel has been up to his tricks with his April Fools prank and that the coming baby could actually be Granites and not Gravels. I didn't even think anything when the baby was born and he said he wanted to call the baby Slate, which is Granites middle name. I actually expected Gravel to call the baby Shale, if it was a boy, after his Father who he idolized with an obsession, not after his brother who he hates with a passion. Then I spotted his birth certificate lay on the side and was shocked that he'd had the baby registered as Slate Granite Rock ... the boy got both of Granites names but STILL I didn't get suspicious and didn't think anything!!
For the first eighteen months of Slates life I was totally oblivious. From the moment that Slate opened his eyes I could see the boy had Granites brown eyes and skin, but that didn't even make me think anything because to me he'd inherited them both from his Grandfather, Shale Rock, because we spotted straight away that he had also inherited the Rock piggy nose which Gravel has and hates so much.
Slate was a very forward child, he learned to walk and talk early for his age, I could see he was going to be a very bright child, but there was something about him that reminded me so much of Granite it started to distract me. The cute little face that kept smiling at me was all too familiar, like I had seen it before. My mind kept flying back to the days when we were toddlers. Slate was just like him, especially his face. He was hyper, constantly smiling and laughing, he hardly cried but used his vocal cords to the max and was always making loads of mess and noise, he was like a whirl wind going through the place, just like Granite has always been. I couldn't take my eyes off Slate for a minute because if I did he'd be off and getting up to all sorts of mischief, he was a right mischievous little monkey who couldn't sit still or be quiet for a second and knew exactly what he was doing. Slate had that same cheeky grin as Granite, that he would flash at me when he knew he was in trouble which made me not able to stay mad with him for long, no matter what he had done. I also remember Gravel when he was a toddler - he was horrible, lazy, grumpy, bad tempered always crying, he was mean even back then, biting, hitting, jealous, smashing and breaking other peoples things on purpose - totally the opposite to Granite and now Slate.
Once Gravel started grieving less for Amber, slowly he started warming to the boy, more so when Slate stopped being just a sleeping baby and started moving around, jabbering and gaining his character. Gravel started sitting and just watching Slate for long periods of time, little did I know what was going on in his mind at the time, he was also seeing what I was seeing - Granite. Gravel just watched mostly and didn't interact with him very much to start with, but as time went on he slowly started to get closer to the boy but only because Slate would go to him for attention, but the attention that he recieved from Gravel never lasted very long. Still I didn't question why he didn't want hardly anything to do with his and Amber's son especially after all the trouble they had gone through to create the baby!! I think Slate was already getting confused, I was the one constantly taking care of him, yet the man sat at a distance just watching was the one we called Daddy.
Slate like Granite was totally fascinated with my pointed ears, any chance he got he used to be pulling and playing with them. In fact my ears have fascinated quite a few toddlers over the years, especially Tapestry, he always used to go straight for my ears. The one day me and Gravel were sat watching Slate playing with one of his activity toys that had a small mirror on it. I had just put him down after another session of him painfully trying to pull my ear off and he sat there for ages staring at himself in the mirror and kept pulling on the tops of his ears like he was trying to make them stretch to look like mine. This reminded me of Granite. Granite used to do exactly the same thing when we were little, he even used to have me pulling on his ears trying to change the shape of them. Slate started to get very annoyed when every time he let his ears go and he inspected them in the mirror they hadn't changed shape. He toddled over towards us with his toy and told us to mend his ears. This cracked me up, I was having hysterics watching Slate standing there still pulling on his ears with confusion.
While I was laughing at Slate, I only said innocently to Gravel "Slate is nothing like you were at that age. That kid is so like Granite it's hysterical! If he had his hair and nose I'd swear it was him." I sat then confused, as I watched Gravel totally fall to pieces right in front of me. At first I didn't understand what was wrong with him. That's when he broke down and told me, three words was all it took ...
"He is Granite's."
It was like a smack in the face for me, I think somewhere deep down I almost already knew, somehow it didn't really surprise me, it made sense. Gravel didn't even have to tell me how Slate is Granites child, because I already knew how! The moment those three words left his mouth, I knew that April Fools prank was no prank after all. Gravel had actually gone through with it, he had switched Granites sperm for his own when Amber had gone in for the Artificial Insemination, he'd told us it was just a joke, but he meant to actually do it and planned it all along!! Gravel had lied to all three of us. Slate is Granites child not Gravels and Amber faded never knowing the truth about who's child she was carrying!!
I'm really not sure what would have happened if Amber had lived, because it was Amber fading that left him emotionally incapable of coping with what he had done because of what he had started thinking and what was eating him up the most ... it was Granite's child that had faded Amber. Suddenly in his mind it was Granites fault that Amber faded, not his, not Slates, not the birth ... Granite faded Amber. The way Gravel saw it in his mind ... not only did Granite take away his chance of having his own children, he has also now taken away his wife.
I lost it with him, not only for the stunt he'd pulled and lying about it, but in typical Gravel fashion he started to twist it and completely blame Granite, when Granite is the innocent party in all this, he is actually the victim and oblivious of what Gravel has done. In my mind he should have been blaming himself for switching the sperm in the first place, if he hadn't done that Amber wouldn't have conceived the child who's birth faded her. To me fate was telling them they shouldn't have children and he meddled with that and was now suffering the consequences. It was actually nobody's fault, Amber fading was just a medical tragedy that can happen to any women who goes through childbirth.
Finding out that Slate is Granite's child was only just the start of it. Gravel spent hours spilling his guts to me like he's never done before with anyone, and probably never will do ever again. He was so emotionally worn down he completely crumbled and I think he has regretted that day ever since, wishing he had never told me, because me knowing the truth has caused him all sorts of problems. Especially forcing me to keep my mouth shut and help him keep his dirty secret, because I have fought him all the way, because I know it's very wrong!! Gravel has so many wrong qualities, it is very unlike him to bare his soul and tell the truth about anything. Seeing a glimpse of how his mind works was pretty scary for me!!
Amber was so desperate for a baby that she had Gravel not thinking straight, he admitted that he didn't think any of it through properly. He thought he could just switch the sperm on the sly and lie about it and nobody would ever know or notice. He didn't think about the consequences of his actions and just how many things could catch him out in the future, especially not how Amber would react if she ever found out the truth ... which of course she never lived long enough to find out.
My innocent comment had hit him hard while he was weak, he thought if I'm already spotting it, he's never going to get away with it. Even he had to admit that we already had a toddler sat in front of us that already looks and takes after Granite so much it's scary, the only sign of Amber in him is his hair. We even got out some very old photographs just to compare how much alike they were at the same age, there is only the nose and hair colouring that stood out as being different.
Gravel had this twisted idea that Granite owed him. It was Granite's fault that he had the fertility problems in the first place, because of the accident with the cricket ball. Granite owed him and in typical Gravel fashion he was taking what he was owed spitefully. He was glad that the hospital knocked Granite back from being an official sperm donor because he didn't want Granite to know about the child he was stealing from him, he didn't want Granite to be there interfering and playing any part in the child's life. He didn't want Granite to be able to lay claim on the child or be able to take the child away from him, which he thinks Granite would have done just out of spite. He was planning to pass the child off as his own, even to Amber thinking that only he would ever know the truth.
Gravel admitted to me that he never expected himself not to be able to hack the child because it is Granites. It wasn't just Amber fading, it was just knowing, every time he looks at Slate all he can think about is Granite and he hates it. Granite and Gravel have never had the best of relationships for siblings, they have always played spiteful games with each other and been jealous of each other, they hate each other with a passion because they are two totally different people and their personalities majorly clash. Gravel just looking at the evidence of Granite being able to create a child when he couldn't had him riled up with jealousy and was sending him off his rocker. Slate looking like him and already showing signs that personality wise he's going to be like Granite and Gravel just could not hack it.
Gravel said he didn't want the boy without Amber and for a very short time he wanted to do the decent thing and make everything right, he wanted to tell Granite the truth so that when he came out of prison Granite could and should have his son.
That is when Gravel had to tell me about all the other scheming that he had done to make sure that Granite went away and stayed away permanently to keep him away from the baby he was stealing.
I was livid with what he told me, but in a way it made me feel a little better about things but only as far as Granite was concerned. Part of my problem of not being about to cope with our separation was that Granite had been transferred out to Berry Shores and he cut all contact with us without even telling us why. He wouldn't take our calls, he wouldn't see us and all of our letters were returned unopened. I didn't understand and it really hurt. I hoped he was just sulking and it was just a phase he was going through, but it wasn't he was doing it for a reason. A reason which Gravel already knew because he was the one who created the situation that was making Granite do it. Also I was getting some warning of what was to come, something that I would never have had if Gravel had not broke down and told me. It would have just happened and probably would have destroyed me because I wouldn't have had the remotest idea of why Granite is doing what he's done.
We tried to get to Granite to tell him the truth about Slate and everything else that Gravel had schemed up. Me and Gravel both went out to Berry Shores and I created holy hell in the prison demanding we see Granite, but they wouldn't have it, even Gravel flashing his police badge had no effect. Granite was told we were there demanding to see him and he flatly refused, they wouldn't even pass a message onto him because he was refusing to hear anything we had to say.
If the prisoner refuses to see you or take your letters and notes, there is nothing they will do about it. For one mad moment I even thought about getting myself locked up just so I could get to him, and stop him from doing what I knew was coming, as soon as he's released from prison he's going to leg it, disappear out into the world and stay away because of what he believed. I probably would have got myself locked up too if it hadn't been for Slate. I couldn't trust Gravel to look after him at that time, he was barely having anything to do with Slate and I couldn't risk leaving Slate alone with him.
If I think about it properly I don't think Gravel was even trying whole heartedly even back then, I think he was already trying to pull the wool over my eyes. He could have done SOMETHING to get the message across to Granite, he is the law he had the power, he just didn't use it. At that time he said he didn't want Slate, but I think he knew I would have gladly taken him to live with me, I would have taken care of him, he is my step son after all!! So it was no skin off Gravels nose if we didn't get the message across to Granite.
We had to go home without getting to Granite. If ONLY he had seen us that day the last twenty years would never have happened. We could so easily have put a stop to it all that day - Granite would have known the truth then and he wouldn't have taken off after leaving prison thinking he was doing the right thing!! That is what now hurts the most knowing there really was no need for Granite to be away for one single day after leaving prison. Gravel set it up with the Brownie brothers to make Granite think there was every need for him to go away and stay away.
All I could do was keep writing letters that I hoped he would open and keep phoning the prison in the hope he would talk to me. Just one letter or one call would have done it, but in typical Granite style he stayed stubborn and adamant there was no contact going on between us, but it didn't hurt me so much then because I knew exactly why he was doing it. He thought he was doing the right thing and it was keeping me, Amber and Gravel safe.
My mind flies back to the day that Amber phoned me up having absolute hysterics, she was pregnant and getting herself into a right state. Gravel had been rushed into hospital because he'd been badly beat up she said. I was already inside the hospital at work, so I ran down to A&E. He was in a right mess. His face was hardly recognizable, he had broken ribs, a broken arm and all the fingers on his one hand were broken. He had taken a really bad beating. Gravel said he'd been jumped and he didn't know the gang that had attacked him, and nobody was ever actually identified or caught and done for the crime. Being in the force it was put down to a work related grudge attack, which left me and Amber continuously worrying about his safety thinking they might come back and do it again. While Gravel unbeknown to us was probably sitting there laughing at us worrying about him because there really was no need.
Little did me and Amber know at the time ... it was a set up. Amber again faded never knowing the truth and I only found out the truth about it when he spilled his guts the day he admitted to me that Slate wasn't his child. Gravel had set up the beating, he didn't tell me who exactly had done it, but he told me he had paid them to do it. He had let them break his arm, fingers and ribs, he'd let them beat him until he was unconscious, because he needed it done.
The whole point of the set up beating was to scare Granite into doing what Gravel wanted him to do - move away and disappear for good, away from Sugar Valley and the coming baby. At the time Granite had only been banged up for a few months and was still in the Sugar Valley prison, I was visiting him regularly and speaking to him every day. I was totally oblivious of what was going on or coming, again I only found the truth out the day Gravel cracked up and told me about Slate.
Gravel was working with the Brownies. Gravel had got the Brownie brothers inside threatening Granite because he was the one who had grassed them all up. They were telling Granite if he wanted to live, he had to ship out and disappear permanently, never to be seen or heard of again by anyone, especially his family. If he didn't he would be watching me, Gravel and Amber all fade one by one, starting with me and finishing with himself.
Gravel went into visit Granite only days after being released from the hospital so that Granite could see the state that Gravel was in. He had gone in alone to see Granite and that was when he stuck the knife in completely. Gravel told Granite that his beating was a message from the Brownie brothers for him. He told Granite that they had him done over as a warning to Granite to prove that they mean business and I would be their next target, then Amber, if he didn't do what they were telling him to do. This just backed up what the Brownie brothers were saying to Granite inside. I felt sick when Gravel even admitted to me that if Granite hadn't believed Gravel beating then he was planning to get me jumped for real - luckily Granite believed Gravels beating straight away and I was never touched. I think that is when I became aware that Gravel will go to any lengths to achieve what he has set out to do.
Of course Granite fell for it hook line and sinker like I think Gravel knew he would especially using me as the bait. That is when Granite moved out to Berry Shores and cut all contact with us. Just to take the piss, Gravel even helped him to get the transfer in a police capacity of course, something else I hadn't known at the time!! For months I'd been going out of my head not understanding what Granite was doing and Gravel stood there pretending to be as upset and confused as I was when he knew damn well all along what was going on because he set the whole thing up!!
So Granite left Sugar Valley and me planning never to come back because he thought if he didn't the Brownie brothers were going to have me, Amber and Gravel faded. All set up by Gravel just to keep him away from the baby he was stealing from him.
The day he told me the truth about this I questioned how he could have been controlling the Brownie brothers? He told me money talks and as long as he kept sending the family money they will do anything that he wants. I am not sure I quite believed that, somehow I think there was a lot more to this that Gravel wasn't telling me!! Either way it doesn't really matter, the point of this, and what hurts me the most is that Granite has been away all this time when he didn't need to be - he thinks he is doing it for the right reasons, not realizing that it is just another one of Gravels evil, twisted games!!
After the day we returned home from Berry Shores and turned away from the prison, all I could do was to keep on trying to get in touch with Granite. I carried on sending the letters and making the phone calls, all I could do was try and sit and wait for the day he was due to be released. I planned to fly out to Berry Shores and be sat there ready to catch him walking out of the prison, so I could tell him the truth about everything and bring him home. That day couldn't come quick enough for me.
In the meantime, life just went on. Slowly Gravel started to get closer and closer to Slate to the point where he was treating him normally like any father would treat a son and I couldn't see anything wrong. To the outside world Slate was Gravels son and he played the part well, nobody ever saw anything that might make them think otherwise and I had to sit there playing along with it, even Meadow and my parents didn't know the truth!! I could see Gravel was starting to get very attached to the boy, it was hard for anyone not too. Slate was such a little character and that cheeky grin of his had everyone fussing over him - even Gravel!
It's been like a comedy of errors ... anything that could go wrong did!! I phoned the prison in Berry Shores every day, it was such a regular occurrence that the woman who answered the phone knew my voice and what I wanted. Everyday she would go off and check then come back and everyday she said exactly the same thing to me "I'm sorry the prisoner doesn't want to speak to you." One day however, she said something totally different. "I'm sorry that prisoner was released this morning." I literally passed out!! Granite had been released early because of good behavior way before we expected him to be. I stood there in shock, the blood and colour drained from me then I hit the floor.
I had missed him!! He had walked out of the prison and gone without hearing the truth!! If I had even had the slightest idea this might happen I would have camped outside the prison in a tent to stop him from legging it, but I didn't have a clue. His solicitor hadn't told me a thing and I guess that was Granites doing as well as the change of solicitor, he ditched his old one and started using a different one so I couldn't get to him that way.
So Granite went out into the world believing a pack of lies which prevented him from coming home!! Twenty years he has removed himself from our lives and for nothing!!
Gravel humored me for quite a while after Granites disappearance. I think he sat back until he was confident with the situation, then he totally switched with me, knowing that Granite had done what he wanted, he had walked out of the prison and disappeared with no intention of returning. He had gone without knowing the truth which is exactly what he wanted. It really pained me that Granite didn't know about Slate even existing or about Amber fading and especially that he was gone from my life because he had believed Gravels lies.
Gravel then slowly started to show me his dark side, the arguments started as well as his threats ... but I was the one stupid enough to tell him my big secret, and he has definitely made me pay for it!! Slate was his and nobody was taking the boy away from him, not me and especially not Granite. I was left with no uncertain terms about not telling anybody especially not Granite the truth about Slate.
I look back at all the mistakes I've made over the years and how many things I could have done differently, my head is full of things that I could and should have done but now it's too late to ever put it right!! It is my own fault in a way that I've lost him, while my heart feels as heavy as a stone because I know he's gone, his heart is happy and moved on and I've just got to get over it!! Somehow?!
I get into bed and swear at myself because I can't even do that without thinking about him!! Granite used to hate this bed because of the canopy, he used to call it a princess bed which always used to make me laugh. Many times he's threatened to rip the canopy down and saw off the bed posts, I don't have a clue why he has always had such a problem with it!!
I start to drift off to sleep slowly, thinking its about time that I tried to make things look different here. Its time I ripped out all the old furniture and replaced it as well as redecorate. I need to wipe all traces of him away like I did at home, all except for one room, our bedroom which I don't use anymore, I don't even go into it. It's time I gutted that room too. This place first then our room when I get home. Then once I've figured out how to get rid of his ghost and all this pain, maybe then I can start to try and forget about him. He has chosen to remove himself from my life so I need to wipe all reminders of him out of mine - starting tomorrow, it will give me something to do instead of moping about on the beach.
The sound of snoring starts to fill my ears and irritate me. I just lie there listening to it for a while, it is stopping me from falling completely off to sleep.
"Baby roll over, you are rattling my brains with your snoring again!!" I mumble quietly without even thinking.
"It's you who is snoring Leafy, I'm awake because of your snoring!!" he laughs
My eyes snap open, hearing his voice jolts me out of my shallow sleep.
I stare over at his side of the bed and of course it's empty. It was my own snoring that I could hear!! I laugh at myself knowing that me thinking he is here is all in my head again as usual as well as his voice. I am just reliving a conversation we have had many times in my head.
I am stupid for even thinking that he might be here - he would never sleep on that side of the bed for a start!!
It is just his ghost again!!
I swear I'm driving myself crazy!!
After waking up like I did, like I so often do, I couldn't go back to sleep again so I get dressed and sit outside watching the sea and the sun come up on another new day. Thinking and running everything through my head which is all I ever seem to do!
I seriously can't keep on like I am - I need to get rid of Granite and his ghost and my conscience. My conscious especially has been too heavy to bare sometimes, everything that I'm carrying around with me every day - it's killing me!! Facing Slate for these past twenty years knowing the truth and that he's living a lie, has killed me!!
I'm sat here now wandering why I let Gravel and Mango talk me into leaving Sugar Valley until after the transplant is completed and Granite has gone. I was too upset over Granite and the new love of his life to even think about anything else especially Slate. Of course, I know what Gravel's reasons are for sending me away, so I don't bump into Granite and tell him the truth about Slate. I noticed that Gravel was very careful not to tell me where Granite has been all this time, he probably thinks I don't know he's been in Cherry Hill. I imagine Gravel is thinking once Granite has returned home, his secret will be safe again because I won't know where he is again. He forgets Bay and Mango both know where he has been and they have both told me.
Mango however, I know only sent me away because he thought he was doing what he thought is best for me, because he is a good mate and he doesn't know the truth or have a clue about what is really going on here. So many times over the years, especially when he's been really down on Granite, I've wanted to tell him the truth about Slate and why Granite has really gone away and stayed away, but I've known telling him would have only been putting him in the same danger that I've felt that I've been in all these years. It was safer for Mango me not telling him the truth and keeping Gravel's dirty secret to myself.
I have always been scared of what Gravel might do if I exposed him, he's threatened me enough times over the years to keep my mouth shut and not in a nice way either. When someone literally holds a gun to your head, you don't argue with them, especially not Gravel who I think is capable of anything, even murder!! He has said to me on more than one occasion when our arguments have got really bad "If you tell a soul that Slate is Granites kid, you will be looking at the inside of your wooden box and so will they!! And don't forget, I cans spill your secret, I will ruin your boys life if you try to ruin mine!! " those were his exact words to me as he held his gun to my head. I've known him for long enough, I think I know he would do it too, it wasn't just an idol threat to scare me - he meant it!!
Gravel is playing a spiteful game and while it's going his way, he really doesn't give a shit about anyone or anything else just as long as he protects his secret!! He doesn't care that me and Granite are supposed to be his brothers and how he's wrecked our lives with his scheming or the damage that it is going to do to Slate when it eventually does comes out!! Because it will come out eventually one day even without me spilling the secret!! Slate is a doctor, he could so easily work it out for himself, this kidney transplant blood testing has given everyone the evidence, I'm just waiting for someone to pick up on it, Mango or Slate will work it out one of these days. Slate I think more so, if he ever goes poking around in his Mothers medical records, which Mango has no reason to do. He will see the blood group incompatibility between himself and his mother that makes it impossible for Gravel to be his biological father. I already know and I shouldn't hang onto the truth any longer, it needs to be told right now!!
Gravel's threats obviously have scared me over the years, but I've also stayed quiet for Slates sake. Telling him the truth without Granite being around would in my mind have done the boy more damage than good as he was already calling Gravel Daddy way before I found out the truth. I can just imagine Gravel would and will deny it to the hilt, we would ending up having a huge fight and confusing the boy even more, he wouldn't know who to believe me or Gravel. Slate has always struggled with not having a Mother which he blames himself for, he knows she faded when he was born so he thinks it was his fault. Finding out that Gravel wasn't his Dad like he thought would have destroyed him especially when his real Dad isn't here just like his Mother isn't.
How could I tell him about Granite, a man who he doesn't even know exists. Slate doesn't even know that Gravel has a brother or that I am actually his Uncle as well as his Step Dad. Gravel has made damn sure over the years that he has kept a distance between me and the boy which has hurt me. I've been forced to play by Gravels rules and lie to that boy so much to help keep Gravels dirty secret it's ridiculous and I hate myself for doing it!!
I've always been sat back quietly watching Slate from a distance to make sure he's safe from Gravel's meddling while I've waited for Granite to return so we can sort this out together. However, now that I can see Gravel is messing with Slate's life, like he's messed with ours, I can't sit back and watch any longer I've got to do something and now before it get's any worse!! It's those babies ... I'm scared that Gravel is going for a repeat performance, he has stolen Slate sucessfully so far and thinks he is getting away with it. How is Coral going to react and what will it do to Gravel and Corals relationship when those babies turn out to be Slates. Gravel probably thinks he can fix that problem straight away!! Now I'm scared he's going to try and steal Slates babies from him and pass them off as his own, he's done it once, he can do it again. He knows like I know with his fertility problems those babies are going to be Slates!!
As soon as I found out Slate needed a kidney, I knew Granite was the most likely one to be able to give it to him. Gravel in his evil selfishness also knew it, but seriously didn't want Granite found, even knowing he was possibly taking away the chance of us being able to give him the best matched kidney we could get for him from his real Dad.
Mango suggested we try and track Granite down just as a long shot when he called me and Gravel into his office to tell both of us we were no match for Slate to have a kidney. Sometimes I think that man cares more about Slate than Gravel does!! Of course I agreed straight away but Gravel started to kick up a fuss which totally confused Mango. Me and Gravel had the worse fight ever over it, Gravel going ballistic because he said he wasn't having Granite anywhere near his son. This made me laugh - his son - what a joke!! So we decided to do it behind Gravel's back, we had Slates best interests in mind, obviously Gravel didn't he was just being selfish as usual not caring that he could be helping the boy fade because all he was trying to do was protect his secret.
I was all set to help them look for him but Mango told me to keep out of the search because he knows how much even the mention of his name upsets me, he didn't want my mind distracting away from my job, which it would have done!! I still laugh at the look on Bay's face when he found out that Gravel actually has a brother. I didn't hold up much hope of Mango and Bay finding him or what state they might find him in, he could have been back on the booze and drugs for all we knew, which would have made finding him a waste of time as far as the transplant was concerned. For once I thought something was working in my favour when Mango managed to track Granite down clean and sober and bring him home because of the kidney transplant. I thought finally he's coming home and we can get this mess sorted out.
However, his return has totally crushed me!! It really hurt that he came back for the transplant but didn't come back for me and what made it even worse he didn't come alone, he brought Mace with him.
Over the past month I have thought on more than one occasion - to hell with it all - Granite obviously doesn't care so why should I!! I've wasted the past twenty years messing my life in other ways, waiting for him to come back and I'm not wasting a minute longer. However, it is not like I can just walk away from Sugar Valley and never go back, something even bigger than Granite is holding me there, something that I could NEVER walk away from!!
If I don't do the right thing I will forever have it on my consciousness, I've already sat back and let both of my problems go on for twenty years too many!
Now Granite is back in circulation and I can get to him, even if it is too late for us, I need to ignore my feelings and Gravel's threats and do the right thing and tell him about Slate, the rest really doesn't matter now!! I have to do it for Slate's sake - he at least deserves to know the truth, he doesn't deserve to have his life messed up by Gravel any longer. Once Granite knows the truth my conscience will be clear and it's up to him what he does with the information.
Then maybe I can get a grip, make a fresh start and get on with the rest of my life.
The rest of my life! It hits me again then like a ten tonne truck has just smacked into me. The pain starts to wash over me and my mind starts to go again.
What sort of life am I every going to have without him - no life at all!! I can't even get rid of his ghost after twenty years for Berry's sake, what chance do I have of ever doing it when I just can't let it go? I don't want to let it go!!
I laugh to myself for a moment, I don't even actually really care what Gravel does to me any more, he can carry out his threats for all I care! He would actually be doing me a favour!! What difference does it make to me now! I've now lost the one thing that has kept me sane and going all these years, the hope and belief that Granite is coming back home to me one day.
As I sit and watch his ghost playing in the sand I think ...
I am an idiot!!
I need to forget about Granite and concentrate on sorting out the other god damn messs that I have secretly made of my life.
Song ~ Ghost ~ Ella Henderson