Authors: Amos Cassidy
Published by Amos Cassidy
Text Copyright © 2014 Amos Cassidy
All Rights Reserved
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses,
organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the
author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual
persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way
of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, duplicated, hired out, or otherwise
circulated without the publisher’s prior written consent in any form of binding
or cover other than that in which it is published and without similar condition
including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
Copyright © 2014 Amos Cassidy
All rights reserved
ALSO BY AMOS CASSIDY
Dreams and Shards
Thanks to all our friends and
family for their moral support and patience while we wrote this novel. Thank
you for listening to us procrastinate when a scene wasn’t panning out how we
envisioned. And thanks to our partners, Adam and Alex, for putting up with the
hours of neglect while we concentrated on writing.
to all the loved ones we have lost along the way.
is for you.
will always be in our hearts.
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GOODBYE FOR NOW
Rose stood in the bedroom doorway,
shoulder propped against the doorframe, thumbs tucked into the pockets of her
low-rise Levis. She cocked her head, watching Greg’s backside moving back and
forth like an overactive piston.
Had it always been that hairy?
She cleared her throat. “I guess
you’re busy,” she said, “maybe I should pop back later.”
The piston halted and Greg
practically threw himself off his bed partner as if she were an unwanted hot
potato. “Fuck! Rose! Fuck!”
“Yeah, I can see that,” Rose said.
“What are you…I mean, when did
“Get here?” she glanced casually at
her wristwatch. “About five minutes ago.”
She noticed him surreptitiously
pull the bedspread up to cover his crotch. “What are you doing here?” he
“I thought I’d surprise you.” She
pushed herself off the doorframe sauntering into the room. “I guess I
A petite five foot four, with the
elfin doe-eyed features of a Manga sketch topped with long golden hair, Rose
didn’t look like a threat. In fact, she was pretty certain that she would have
been cast as the lead in any production of ‘Legally Blonde’ on looks alone, but
the tussled brunette, frozen on the bed, saw something in Rose’s sapphire gaze
that galvanised her into action. She shot off the bed making a grab for a pair
of lacy red underwear on the floor.
“Sit!” Rose said.
The brunette froze, her fingers
mere inches from the lacy garment that would cover her Brazilian-waxed bits.
Yeah, Rose wished she’d missed that bit.
Rose smiled, but it didn’t reach
her eyes. “Please don’t leave on my account. This won’t take more than a
minute.” She strode casually to the bedside cabinet on the brunette’s side of
the bed, and felt her shrink away. Ignoring her she began to rummage inside.
Greg pulled on his boxers. “What
are you doing?”
“Getting my stuff.” She pulled out
a couple of paperbacks, her overnight cosmetics bag and her hardback copy of
‘The Kama Sutra’. It felt tacky and sticky. Rose cracked it open and frowned.
“You got spunk stains on my book.” She threw the book onto the bed wiping her
hands on her jeans. She shoved the rest of her stuff into her backpack, which
lay on the floor by the bedside table. Swinging the pack onto her shoulder she
headed for the door. She felt Greg behind her, his breath hot on the nape of
“What, so that’s it? You’re just
gonna leave?” He made a grab for her shoulder and she shrugged him off.
“Threesomes are really not my thing,”
she said and carried on down the hallway. She needed to get out of here quick
“This is all your fault you know!”
She paused, hand on the banister.
Now this she had to hear. She turned to face him.
He had his arms crossed across his
broad chest, tanned and speckled with dark hair. She had loved lying on that
chest. Her eyes travelled up to settle on his face. He wore his favourite
expression– smug. “Enlighten me.”
He shrugged, “If you’d put out more
often this would never have happened. A man has needs you know, and you’re
And then he was on the floor
clutching his nose. Rose blinked staring at her fist, feeling the anger, which
had erupted so suddenly, dissipate. The roaring in her ears subsided and she
heard Greg whimper.
“Wha…Wha ya do tha fa?”
Some questions don’t deserve a
Rose turned on her heel and walked
“You did what?” Faye asked. “I
don’t believe it! Sorry, yes I bloody do!”
“Yeah, well you know me.” Rose
spoke into her hands-free, her eyes on the road ahead as she steered her VW Bug
through the winding lane leading up to the small village where she lived on the
outskirts of Derbyshire. “Never could miss the opportunity to kick some arse,
and a cheating, lying, now ex-boyfriend is as good a target as any.” She
hadn’t intended to lash out like she had, in fact she abhorred violence as a
form of conflict resolution, but the anger she had felt had been too sudden and
Faye’s tone was suddenly serious.
“I’m glad you clocked him one but…it’s not like you to lose control, Rose. I
mean I know you can handle yourself, I’ve seen you in action, but you’re always
so in control.”
“I guess even my control has its
“Shit. I’m sorry.”
“It’s cool.” Rose smiled genuinely
for the first time since walking in on Greg with his bit on the side, because
as she said the words she realised how true they actually were. Greg was an
arsehole, a cheating dick, and she was better off finding out sooner rather
than later. Her life was better without him and she knew that now with
certainty. If she were honest, walking into his flat to which she had a key,
to find him doing the horizontal hokey cokey with someone else besides her was
like being handed a get out of jail free card.
They had met at the youth centre
where Rose taught self-defence classes and had been dating for six months. She
had been thinking about ending it for a while now but it had just seemed easier
to plod along. She had been wary of hurting him–– he’d seemed like such a nice
guy. And now that she had had that assessment corrected she wanted to kick
herself for not ending it sooner.
“This is exactly why we try before
we buy,” Faye said. She had an uncanny ability to suss out just what Rose was
“What are you, psychic?”
“A little maybe, on my mother’s
side, but since she pissed off when I was a baby I can’t say for sure,” Faye
said. Her tone was light but Rose knew that being abandoned by her mother was
something that really bothered Faye. Despite her luxury lifestyle and daddy’s
money, being daddy’s little girl didn’t make up for being abandoned by the one
person who was supposed to stick by you through thick and thin. Faye didn’t
talk about it much and Rose respected that and didn’t ask.
“I’m just like that bird off that
TV series, you know the one. She owns the antiques shop. Oh! You can play my
cool best friend.”
Rose sighed. Faye was getting
carried away again. “Firstly, that woman can see ghosts and you most certainly
can’t do that. And secondly, doesn’t her best friend get killed?”
“Thirdly, no one is going to be
playing anyone. We’re stuck in real life, chick, the only paranormal action
you’ll be getting is by renting Amityville Horror or raiding the library’s
Urban Fantasy section. Life is about work and cheating boyfriends.”
“Someone’s still in a foul mood,”
said Faye. “I would have thought rearranging said boyfriend’s nose would have
marginally cheered you up.”
Rose’s hands-free beeped,
signalling that she had a call waiting. “Hang on, Faye, I got another call.”
“Who is it?”
“Why don’t you tell me, Miss
“Don’t be mean.”
Rose rolled her eyes. “It’s
probably the dickhead previously known as Greg, okay?”
“Eloquently put. I’m going to take
this call now, Faye. Hold on.” She switched calls.
“Rose, baby, we need to talk. I’m
fine, my nose is fine. Just come over so we can talk this through. I don’t
know why I did it.” Greg’s smooth and sweet like chocolate tones filtered down
the line to her less than receptive ears. One of the things that had seduced
her had been the sound of his voice, a hot velvet caress.
“Rose? Rose? Baby?”
She could demand to know why or who
or whatever women did at times like this. Maybe get a little indignant and make
him beg. But to be honest, she couldn’t be arsed. “Fuck off, Greg.” She hung
up. The call reverted back to Faye.
“Oh my god! What did he say?”
“Blah, blah, I’m a cheating tosser,
Faye giggled. “And you said?”
“Oi, there’s no need to take it out
Rose chuckled. “Not you, him.”
“Oh, that’s all right then.”
She was approaching her turnoff at
the tiny junction ahead. “Faye, I gotta go, almost home.”
“Wait! Pick you up in a couple of
Rose was all packed and ready to
go, and the funny thing was that her room looked pretty much the same as it had
looked before she’d packed–– a testament to her minimalist style of living. The
empty wardrobe was the only clue that she would no longer be occupying this
space. She stood in the bedroom which had been hers for the last twenty one
years and had gone through several transformations– from nursery, to preschool
play den, to prepubescent cubby, to adolescent hideout and finally to an
adult’s sanctuary. This has been her home inside her home, her place of
reflection and refuge, somewhere she knew she would not be disturbed or
harassed and now it was time to say goodbye, time to start anew and meet new people.
She hoped these new people would be
able to see her for who she was and not judge her by her physical appearance,
which she knew could be quite deceptive. People automatically labelled her cute
or flighty, but she knew that under the curvy body lay hard toned muscle. That
behind the beautiful face lay…she raised her hand, pushing her hair away from
her temple and fingering the one inch scar, a pale line on the side of her
forehead, and a constant reminder of who she was.
It had been a mugging six years ago–
fists and feet and hard shoes which brought pain, the tinkle of breaking glass
and the oblivion of unconsciousness. They’d never caught the kids that did it,
and the fifteen-year-old Rose had lived the next few months in perpetual fear.
Fear that they would come back for her, fear that this time she wouldn’t
survive. College had started and she had refused to attend, locking herself in
her room for hours upon end. It had been her father who had saved her by
enrolling her in self-defence classes at the newly opened youth centre. She
realised she didn’t need to hide. She could learn to fight back, to protect
herself. Her new found determination changed everything. It was as if a door
had opened inside her, a door where the old Rose walked in and the new,
stronger, confident Rose walked out. When one thing fell into place, another
gift fell into her lap.
Starting college late had not only
put Rose at a disadvantage with her studies but also with her friends. The
group she had hung out with before no longer knew how to relate to her. It was
as if her attack had tainted her in some way. Although they smiled and offered
words of sympathy and encouragement, the smiles never quite reached their eyes.
And then Faye had walked into her form room one morning, a girl starting even
later than her, a girl who didn’t know the old Rose but was happy to get to
know the new one.
She knew it shouldn’t matter what
others thought of her but deep down she couldn’t shake the belief that if she
had looked different, less girly, less fragile, she wouldn’t have been a
victim. Looking into her eyes now you could see the hidden steel that would
give anyone with half a brain pause for thought. Rose was no longer someone to
A tentative tap on her door brought
Rose out of her reverie. “Come in, dad.” She turned and hefted her suitcase off
her bed and onto the floor.
The door opened a crack and Aaron
Carmichael popped his head around it. “You all set?”
She nodded, avoiding his eyes. Her
dad frowned. They had argued the day before. Her dad didn’t understand why
she needed to go so far to work, didn’t understand why this, what she had known
all her life, wasn’t enough. She’d tried to explain, tried to make him
understand that she needed more, that she felt that there was more and that if
she remained she would suffocate. She loved her dad to bits and she was
ashamed that in her anger she had said some pretty nasty things.
“You all right, hun?” He pushed
the door wide open and stood on the threshold.
“How can you be so nice to me when
I was such a bitch?” She was genuinely perplexed.
“Ah.” He raised his dark brows,
walked into the room and perched himself on the end of the bed. “Because, my
sweetheart, I am a parent and I love you. And…and you were right. I was being
selfish. I can’t expect you to stay in the nest forever. You have to find
yourself and you can’t do that trapped here. I know that, I was just, well,
I’m going to miss you and I’m scared, scared of what might happen.” The
vulnerability in his voice made her breath catch in her throat.
“Nothing’s going to happen to me,
dad, because I won’t let it. I can take care of myself. I’m all grown up now.”
He sighed, “I know.”
“And this job at the gym in London is a dream come true. I’m actually going to get paid to do what I love. Training
others in defence techniques and also the physical training I’ll be giving others.
The money’s good and Flo will take good care of me, you know she will.”
Flo was her godmother and had been
her mother’s best friend growing up. Flo was allowing Rose to live with her
rent free in London. The woman was a diamond. Although Rose hadn’t seen her
for a few years, they still chatted via e-mail and phone. And even though she
would admit to a little attack of nerves about starting a new job in a big
city, the thought of being able to go home to Flo every day gave her a warm,
fuzzy and comfortable feeling.
“You’re right about that, hun.
You’ll need all the training you can get if you’re eating her cooking. If I
remember correctly that woman knows how to cook.” He chuckled to himself. “You
won’t have to endure my slightly crispy macaroni cheese anymore, or the
slightly singed sausage casserole, or-”