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Authors: Grace Henderson

Sweet Deception (Truth)

BOOK: Sweet Deception (Truth)
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Sweet

Deception

 

By

Grace Henderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published by Grace Henderson

Copyright © 2013 Grace Henderson

No reproduction without permission.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

 

Prologue

 

 

 

Three Years Ago

 

 

"How do you know it was them? What if it’s someone else’s car? You said it was completely wrecked!" My voice is taking on a whole new level of hysterical. I shout louder and cry harder. "How do you know it was them?" Why is no-one answering me? My whole body is shaking and I collapse to the floor in a broken mess. I am vaguely aware of people busying around me. There’s a pin prick in my arm and the room starts spinning. Strong hands are lifting me onto a hospital bed and my Grandmother is crying, asking if I am going to be okay. Okay? Of course I’m not okay. I’ve just been told my parents have been killed in a car crash, the asshole that did it just left them to die and they have no leads yet. I am as far from okay as I have ever been.

 

Three Months Ago

 

 

My head is banging, I can barely keep my eyes open. I glance at my watch and realise once again it is way too late to be getting home. Dan will already have eaten so it will be dinner for one and then the usual routine of falling asleep on the sofa. I open the door and chuck my keys on the hallway table and the clanging noise makes my head spin. I walk further in to our flat and frown as I pass the black Louboutins thrown haphazardly on the carpet. One has made its way unconvincingly under the chair and the other is poking out from the side of the table leg, mocking me. I am not the type of girl to spend £800 on a pair of shoes. Sarah, Dan’s secretary and my friend, is however. They must be working late. Wait, upstairs? The question hangs in the air as I follow the muffled sounds and drift over each step. I’m getting there too quickly, I don’t want to know. I slow down. I hear giggles, I hear moans, I see red. I’m flying through the closed door, yanking the bitch’s hair and dragging her out of
my
bedroom. I’m opening
my
front door and pushing her out onto
my
front step. I’m ignoring the pleas from my cheating scumbag boyfriend. I’m packing up as much of my stuff as I can carry. I’m gone.

 

Two Days Ago

 

 

“Miss Wilson, I’m calling from Stamford Hospital. Your grandmother was brought in today. She’s had a heart attack. She is stable now, we will be keeping her in for observation. You are listed as the only emergency contact. Please call us back as soon as you get this.”

My eyes widen and my head falls to my knees. I’m relieved to be sitting down already or else my face would be flattened on the coffee table now. My grandmother is the only family I have left. My chest tightens and the familiar ache rises from my stomach to my head. Of course I have to go back. But I don’t want to. I haven’t been back in almost three years. I’m scared of how I’ll feel when I get there.

 

Chapter 1

 

Present Day

 

Cassie

 

Driving through town I felt the memories surge through me. They were significant events, defining moments that contributed to the dull ache I couldn’t expel. Life had been a backstabbing bitch just like my
friend
Sarah. My heart was now seeking sanctuary in a locked box, inside a safe, in a room with a deadbolt and four solid steel walls. No-one was getting through that.

 

Taking a deep breath in and exhaling slowly I brought the car to a stop outside the hospital. I leant my forehead against the steering wheel, trying to prepare myself mentally for entering the place it all began. I gave myself ten seconds to clear my head then clambered out.

 

I knocked lightly. “Come in,” a croaky voice replied through the door. Hospitals were still the scariest thing I had ever come across and the medicinal smell and white walls tested my knotted stomach. I closed the door behind me gently. My eyes drifted across the room and stopped at the sight of my Grandmother’s pale exhausted face. Her usual tight grey curls were loose and messy and her eyes looked hollow and dark. My brow tightened but I quickly recovered when her eyes met mine. I didn’t want her to see that it affected me. I tried to keep my voice upbeat as I walked over to the side of her bed.

“Hey Gran, the things you do for a bit of attention, huh?” She laughed, and then winced as the pain shot through her. “Cassandra! Cheeky girl. Anyway I wouldn’t have to if you actually came back to see me!”

I rolled my eyes, “Gran, you know how I feel. Let’s just leave that for another day shall we? When you’re better and I don’t have to watch what I say around you.” She smiled and took my hand in hers. “I’ve missed you, darling. Are you going to stay a while?” I could hear both hope and anxiety in her question.

“Of course, I’ll stay for as long as you need me here.” I replied.

“What about your job? Is someone covering for you?” I cleared my throat. We would have to go through this sooner or later. And I chose sooner. “I quit Gran. It was too much and I wasn’t enjoying it. My boss was horrible, and I had to work really long hours so I had no time to see my friends. Don’t worry though, I’ve got money saved. It’s enough to keep me going until I work out what to do next.” I smiled so she wouldn’t know how I was really feeling; scared and lonely.

My grandmother was always a proud woman but looking at her now I noticed the relief washing over her face. She relaxed back on to the pillow, “Okay dear, I’m just going to rest my eyes. Why don’t you go home and you can come back and visit me tomorrow.” She patted my hand and her breathing became slow and faint as she drifted off to sleep.

I heaved all my bags up the concrete steps and balanced them carefully as I dug out the key from my purse and battled with the lock. Walking into the foyer of the large house I had grown up in took me back in time. It had once been my parents’ house, our family home. When my parents died they left it to me. Since I hadn't wanted to stick around here my Gran moved in to look after it. I let my bags fall to the floor with a loud thud that echoed through the empty hallway. The old oak floors creaked under my feet and the air charged with dust particles and a lifeless breeze flowing from a half-open window somewhere in the house. There wasn’t much in the hall apart from a console table with a plant and a couple of old photos of my grandfather. The once grand staircase stood in the middle of the room opening up on both sides to a mezzanine level. The decor hadn’t changed inside, except now it was older and run-down. There was wallpaper peeling away, chipped paint and cracks covering the walls and doors. I searched my memories to find one that contained the house but it no longer resembled anything I could recall from my past.

 

I followed the left hand side of the wood panelling up the stairs and saw my life flash in photos. I had an amazing childhood and felt so much love when my parents were alive. There were so many happy memories plastered across the wall that it was hard to believe they weren't still here. I half expected to see my mum coming out of the kitchen excited I was back and telling me she had cooked my favourite meal. Now all I felt was emptiness inside. Like a piece of me had been ripped out three years ago and the hole had just got bigger and bigger until it completely consumed me. I cried myself to sleep the night I found out, even after being sedated .Then I did the same for the following three weeks. It finally dawned on me that no matter how much I cried they weren't going to come back, so I stopped. Just like that. And I hadn't cried since. It wasn’t because I didn't want to. Because believe me, there were days that I still wanted that bittersweet release of tears streaming and chest heaving until I felt like I'd gone ten rounds with Klitschko. But it just never came.

I wasn’t so naive as to think that I was the only one suffering loss in the world. But the worst thing was they never found out who did it. They were still out there, probably laughing at how they had got away with it. It was the reason I left here first chance I could and never looked back. I transferred university and graduated a hundred miles away in London. I sighed heavily. As much as I didn't want to dig up the past, I had a feeling everyone in this town was going to grab a spade and do it for me.

"How are you feeling Gran?" I asked, hoping she couldn't hear the worry in my voice.
"Oh, I'm fine dear. Glad to be back home. I'll put the kettle on. I bet you're hungry too, I'll make you something now, it won’t take long.” I took the kettle abruptly from her hands, filling it up and turning it on myself. I turned to her and frowned.

“You are supposed to be resting. The doctor gave me strict orders. I will take care of it all.”

She sighed, “Please don’t fuss over me. I am fine. I’m just going to take a nap first though. I can hardly keep my eyes open.”

I nodded my assent and followed her upstairs with a glass of water, but paused at a photo in her room that grabbed my attention. It had been taken the night of my eighteenth birthday in a club. Laurel and I were best friends in school. We went shopping that day and there was a group of us that went out for our first legal drinking session. We ended the night with our heads down the toilet and a few hours sleep on the cold bathroom floor. My parents laughed it off the next morning and gave us a lecture about responsible drinking. They were pretty cool. I smiled and placed the frame carefully back down on the bedside table.
"I still see her sometimes you know, she pops in to the florist every now and again, and I keep in touch with her grandmother. She's a good girl." She nodded at the picture of Laurel and I.

"Yeh I know, I think about her a lot. I’ve been such a bad friend I don't think she will ever forgive me." My smile faded thinking about how close we used to be, but I destroyed all that by leaving, not even saying goodbye. "I just thought it would be easier. If I told her, she would have tried to make me stay. And I know I would have just given in because I loved her like she was my sister. I couldn't stay. I wasn't in a good place." My world had been turned upside down in a night and I really struggled. I pushed everyone away.
"It may take her a while but she will forgive you. She still asks about you all the time. Just make sure she knows how sorry you are."

“I will Gran, I promise." She acknowledged me with a smile and a nod. "Your mother would be proud. And I'm really happy to have you back. It's been too quiet without you in and out of here." I chuckled and gave her a quick hug and kiss on the cheek. "Come on, let's get you to bed."

 

Chapter 2

 

I woke up on Monday with a renewed energy. Usually I would be up at five to hightail it to the office before my boss got in. But here, the pace was much slower and I was relieved there was no pressure on me. I could actually try to enjoy my life again.

 

Laurel and I used to help out at my Gran’s florist when we were off school so I was excited to get back in there and see how much I remembered. We would pick out the flowers we wanted at our own weddings (which changed every week) and hold bouquets in front of us, singing 'dum dum duh-dum.' Then we’d fall about laughing hysterically while my Gran frowned and told us to be quiet. As I entered the store, I realised that it hadn’t changed much either. There were pots of flowers everywhere, some of the same variety, and some had been made up into big displays. There was a worktable at the back with all the essential supplies and a wedding section for potential clients to see the possibilities available to them. I flung my bag down on the desk and got to work straight away, I knew it would take a while to get back in to the swing of it.

BOOK: Sweet Deception (Truth)
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