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Authors: Lisa Hall

Between You and Me

BOOK: Between You and Me
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They say every marriage has its secrets.

They say in sickness and in health …

But no one sees what happens behind closed doors.

And sometimes those doors should never be opened …

Sal and Charlie are married. They love each other. But they aren’t happy. Sal cannot leave, no matter what Charlie does – no matter how much it hurts.

A psychological thriller with a shocking twist you’ll never see coming.

Between You and Me

Lisa Hall

www.CarinaUK.com

LISA HALL

loves words, reading and everything there is to love about books. She has dreamed of being a writer since she was a little girl – either that or a librarian - and after years of talking about it, was finally brave enough to put pen to paper (and let people actually read it). Lisa lives in a small village in Kent, surrounded by her towering TBR pile, a rather large brood of children, dogs, chickens and ponies and her long-suffering husband. She is also rather partial to eating cheese and drinking wine.

Readers can follow Lisa on Twitter
@LisaHallAuthor

Contents

Cover

Blurb

Title Page

Author Bio

Acknowledgement

Dedication

Prologue

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

Chapter Thirty-Two

Chapter Thirty-Three

Chapter Thirty-Four

Chapter Thirty-Five

Chapter Thirty-Six

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Chapter Thirty-Eight

Chapter Thirty-Nine

Chapter Forty

Endpages

Copyright

Acknowledgements

Firstly, a huge thank you must go to my fantastic editor, Victoria Oundjian, whose creative brilliance helped pull this manuscript into shape, all whilst simultaneously holding my hand every step of the way.

More enormous thanks to my early readers – your input was invaluable and you have no idea how grateful I am.

Special thanks must go to Amy and Dave Jacobs, Victoria Goldman, Rebecca Raisin and Sarah Cole – without you guys it’s highly unlikely that this novel would ever have landed on the desk at Carina - your encouragement and support kept me going when it seemed like the writing would beat me.

And finally, thank you to my crazy, amazing family – Nick, George, Isabel and Oscar – thank you for supporting me, thank you for the wine and the bacon sandwiches, and thank you for putting up with my needy writer ways – I love you all more than you’ll ever know.

To Team Hall – for making me who I am.

Prologue

It happened so quickly, and now there is so much blood. More than I ever thought possible. One minute, he was shoving me backwards, into the kitchen counter, the air thick with anger and words spoken in temper that could never be taken back. The next, he was on the floor, the handle of the knife protruding from his ribs. I don’t even remember picking it up, only that I had to stop him. I back away, pushing myself up against the cold, granite surface, across the room from where he lies. I feel light-headed and sick, sweat prickling along my spine. He reaches up to me with a shaky hand, slick with his own blood, and I draw back even further. He is slumped on the floor, back resting against the kitchen counter, a lock of hair falling over his brow. He is pale, a sheen of sweat shining on his forehead. A coppery, iron tang fills the air and I want to retch. Turning, I lean over the kitchen sink, where I heave and heave but nothing comes up. I wipe my mouth on a tea towel and push my shaking hands through my hair. I need to try and think calmly, rationally. I need to phone for an ambulance, and I need to get my story straight. I’ll tell them that he slipped and fell on the knife, a brutal, heavy knife usually used for carving the Christmas turkey, not carving into other people. That we weren’t arguing, just talking. It was an accident; one minute he was fine, the next he was on the floor. I’ll tell them that I didn’t see what happened – I have to protect myself. I can’t tell them that I snapped. That a red mist descended and for just a few seconds I felt like I couldn’t take it any more, the shouting, the aggression and the lies. That in just a split second all rationality left me and I grabbed the knife and thrust it firmly into my husband’s stomach.

Chapter One

SAL

The first time you hit me it was a shock, but not a surprise. Surely this is the natural progression of things? Starting with the little things, like wanting to know where I’ve been, who I’ve spoken to, escalating to a little push here and a shove there, until now, when a slap almost feels like a reward – and I’m thankful that it wasn’t something worse, that there are no bones broken this time.

I remember the first time I saw you. Nothing on earth had prepared me for it and the sight of you hit me like a punch in the guts. Is that ironic? You stood there, in the Student Union bar, talking to a guy on your course I had seen around campus previously, a pint of Fosters in one hand. The sun was streaming in through a window behind you and you looked majestic, standing tall in a faded pair of Levi’s and battered Converse, your fair hair standing out around you like an aura. I was with a group of people from my own course, planning on spending the evening with them hashing over that day’s lectures over a few drinks and then maybe heading out for a bite to eat. Once I saw you, I knew my plans had changed and that I had to pluck up the courage to approach you. How would things have turned out if I hadn’t asked you if you wanted another pint? If you hadn’t accepted, and we hadn’t spent the entire evening holed up in one corner of the SU bar? If I hadn’t answered your call the next day and accepted your invitation to lunch? If we hadn’t spent the whole of that following weekend together, in your flat, ignoring your roommate, the phone, the world outside?

Maybe I would be married to someone who doesn’t think it’s OK to hit me. To throw things at me if I have a different opinion to the one I ‘should’ have. Someone who doesn’t think that being happily married means the other half of the partnership towing the line at all times, no questions asked. Maybe you would be settled with someone else, someone who knows the right thing to say and the best way to handle you. Maybe you would be with someone you don’t think defies you at every opportunity, although I don’t, I really don’t. You just think I do, regardless of what I do or what I say. Maybe both of us would be happier.

Chapter Two

CHARLIE

A file the size of a house brick lands on my desk and Geoff appears, throwing himself down in the chair opposite mine.

‘Another bunch of stuff for you to work through – looks like you’re not going home early tonight!’ he wheezes, his face bright red as he struggles to catch his breath. Geoff is the size of a house himself, his enormous belly straining at the buttons of his grubby white shirt. Geoff is a colleague, my equal, but as he’s fifteen years older than me he treats me like a five-year-old. The man has a serious lack of ambition, and a serious case of body odour.

‘Honestly, Geoff? It’s 8pm – surely you don’t think I’m even considering going home yet?’ I give a little laugh as I pull the file towards me and start leafing through it; despite the fact I still have a ton of paperwork next to me that needs going through before I can even consider leaving the office. I feel the beginnings of a migraine tapping at my temples, no doubt brought on by tiredness from a 5am start and the stress of the never-ending paperwork that comes with the case I’m working on. The pressures of being a corporate lawyer are well known, the long hours, the stressful cases that take over our lives and eat into our personal time with our families, but it is all worth it in the end. The salary and benefits make sure of that.

‘Well, don’t stay up too late. You don’t want to leave that pretty little family of yours too much; someone else might snap them up!’ Geoff heaves his massive bulk from the leather chair across the desk from me, leaning over to ruffle my hair as he leaves.

‘No chance of that, Geoff.’ I grin at him through gritted teeth, the thud of my headache growing louder and making me wish I could slap his meaty fingers from the top of my head. He breezes out of the room, as much as a twenty-stone, fifty-year-old corporate lawyer can, and I reach for the phone. I dial our home number, leafing through the new documents while I wait for Sal to pick up. Engaged. I hang up and redial, using the mobile number. It rings and rings, and I picture it sitting on the kitchen side where Sal always leaves it, the hideous Johnny Cash ringtone that Sal insists on blaring out. It rings out and goes to voicemail.

‘Sal, it’s me. Who the fuck are you talking to? Call me back.’ I slam the receiver down, and lean back in my chair, grinding the heels of my hands into my eyes to relieve the pressure that beats away there. I don’t need this shit – I have enough on my plate to deal with in the office, without wondering who the hell Sal is talking to at eight o’clock at night.

An hour later, when my call still hasn’t been returned, and I’ve tried the house phone numerous times, but to no avail, I bundle up the files and stuff them into my briefcase. I can’t concentrate on work all the time I am wondering why Sal isn’t answering the telephone. All sorts of scenarios cross my mind, ranging from Sal knocking the phone off the hook so as not to be disturbed with some illicit lover, through to Sal on the phone to some other person (Sal’s sister? Sal’s mum? Someone I don’t even know?), planning to leave me. I don’t know what the hell Sal is playing at, but I’m not happy. I thought I had made the rules perfectly clear – if I call, Sal should answer. I spend every waking hour working my butt off to make sure I can provide for my family – I think the least Sal can do is answer the phone when I call. I smooth down my fair hair, sticking up at all angles where I’ve been pushing my hands through it in an attempt to calm myself while I concentrate on those bloody files Geoff dumped on me, grab my black jacket and head out the door. When I get home, Sal had better be there – and if Sal is there, I’ll want to know why the bloody hell my calls this evening have gone unanswered. I’m not being ignored by anyone, least of all the person I chose to spend the rest of my life with.

Chapter Three

SAL

I hang up the phone and breathe a sigh of relief. My sister can talk the hind legs off a donkey, and although I love to speak to her I dread her calls, knowing as I do how you don’t really like for me to speak to my family. You think that we don’t need anyone else, in particular anyone else from my family. The difficulty with that is that I come from a large, chaotic, noisy family, who have a lot to say and only seem to want to say it to each other. I try my hardest to put them off when I can, just so I can avoid the inevitable row that follows when we do see them, but it’s difficult, and I’m not always sure that I want to put them off. My parents came to England from Italy in the 1980s, but haven’t lost any of their Italian ways – they love to have the whole family together in one room as often as possible, and the highlight of their day is if I take Maggie over to visit. As their only grandchild so far she is doted on, but you disapprove, saying that they interfere in our lives and that they shouldn’t have a say in how we bring Maggie up. I don’t always agree, but you have made it abundantly clear in various ways that in our house we do things your way, and, to be honest, the repercussions just aren’t worth it. So I don’t see as much of them as I would like any more, but my sister, Julia, has relocated back to Italy to be with her husband’s family, and she doesn’t see how it is here now. I don’t want to tell her how things are either, that the long, rambling phone calls put me on edge every time, with me completely unable to tell her that I need to get off the phone.

BOOK: Between You and Me
8.59Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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