A Trusted Betrayel

~ Love is whatever you can still betray … Betrayal can only happen if you love. ~

John LeCarre

 Prologue

He looked over to his right and saw Gabriel laying in a pool of his own blood, he looked at his hands and saw the same red substance. He had caused this massacre though he couldn’t remember a thing. His mind had gone blank and now he has found himself in a whole lot of trouble.

“What the fuck did you do?!” Yelled Sophie, though she got no reply he was too frozen in shock though that was the thought that was running through his head, what the fuck had he done? How did his best friend end up on the floor in a bloody mess? Shawn ran up the street to check on his fallen friend. The rain began to pour more heavily now and started to wash the blood away. The street almost looked like a red river with the amount of blood, Gabriel was not in a good position.

Chris and Dan stood in the shadows looking pleased with themselves, Cassie stood behind them crying. She knows she was the real cause of this, why she allows herself to be manipulated by Chris is a mystery even to her. She hates him but at the same time loves him, it’s because of this that she’s managed to cause so much carnage.

Jeff dropped to his knees, tears streaming down his face.

“Gabriel wake up! Come on man!” Yelled Shawn, Gabriel didn’t respond. Jeff shuffled over to Gabriel and put his hand on his chest, he could feed his heart still beating though faintly. He looks up from Gabriel and spots Chris standing in the darkness, laughing. He then sees Cassie stood next to him, he could then feel rage overcoming his entire body. His face began to tremble with anger as he rose to his feet and started bombing towards Chris and Dan.

Chris backs off as Dan steps forward, Chris then drags Cassie away.

“Jeff! Where are you going?!” Yells Sophie but by then Jeff was out of ear shot. As he gets closer to Chris, Dan tries to intercept him but finds himself getting tackled to the ground. Jeff mounts him and begins slamming his fists into his face, loving every connection his hands made. Dan tries to fight back but it’s pointless. Dan could feel himself slipping out of consciousness and it’s not long before he’s totally out of it. With his face a mess Jeff is satisfied with the damage and stands up and turns his attention to Chris.

“Now calm yourself the fuck down big guy before you get yourself hurt.” Says Chris as he holds Cassie in front of him, almost using her as a human shield. Jeff still says nothing, he just stands there breathing heavily, seething with hatred. His mind torn, he loved Cassie so much and would do anything for her but all she’s done is hurt him. Not on purpose but by leading him on then going with Chris. His heart had been broken so many times there wasn’t much of one left, too many a night had been spent crying himself to sleep, putting on a tough guy façade for his friends. This feud between Jeff and Chris started over Cassie, the jealousy over each others affection they received off of her. The hatred between the two groups grew for other reasons but the situation with Cassie certainly hasn’t helped.

Cassie just stood there frozen with fear, she always felt safe with Jeff until now, she doesn’t know what he might do. All she can see is pure hatred and pain in his eyes. Jeff marched towards them both, his fists clenched, Jeff didn’t know what he was going to do, but it wasn’t going to be pretty.

Chapter 1

One Month Earlier…

Sheffield, England – November 14th 2010

Have you ever woken up one morning only to find yourself questioning what you’d done the night before? At the time it seemed like a great idea but, looking back, it was completely and entirely the wrong choice. Imagine waking up in the morning and having that feeling – except not about the night before…

…but every single day of your life.

This was the feeling Jeff Carter experienced all the time, he woke up every morning with a sense of regret, even if what he had done the day before wasn’t all that bad he obsessed over it. In some peoples eyes he led a pretty ordinary life; just a regular guy with regular friends in a regular city with a regular job. In the centre of Sheffield there’s a pub, “Til You Drop Inn” or just “The Inn” for short that Jeff owns and runs with his best friend Gabriel Phillips. The two had been friends for years, since the two met in primary school, Gabriel was getting bullied by a kid that was a couple of years older than he was until Jeff stepped in and knocked him on his ass and thus a great friendship was born.

From then on Jeff always protected Gabriel, he protected all of his friends sometimes whether they wanted to be or not, it was just who he was. He hated fighting but it sometimes seemed like it was the only thing he was good at. His uncontrollable temper sometimes got the better of him, hence the regret. But no matter how angry he got Gabriel would always be the guy that would keep him grounded, no one came close. The two were more like brothers than any two blood related individuals.

The sounds of an alarm clock died as suddenly as it had started. Jeff was already awake as he bashed the off switch on the clock. Clearly there was too much on this man’s mind to even think about sleep, he sighs and sits up, takes a look at the time as he rubs his eyes and gets out of bed, taking a look out of his window, night had long since fallen but the lights of this thriving city still burned. People walked the streets without a care in the world, walking to the next pub in hopes to buy their next drink. Living in the city centre had its advantages but with every advantage is a disadvantage. Yeah he only lives about five minutes away from work by foot, but on the flip side when that pub closes and he goes to bed he has to hear all of the drunkards arguing and fighting in the streets.

Last night was a long shift, he slept through the entire day, it was only 9pm and already people were getting loaded into police cars for drunken disorderly, some people just can’t handle their drink. Jeff thought to himself. He brushed the hair away from his face and walked to the bathroom. He could barely get the toothbrush in his mouth before there was a thudding noise at his door.

“Open the fucking door you lazy dick.” Shouted someone on the other side.

Jeff opens the door and groans, “What do you want Shawn?”

“What do you mean what do I want? You’re going to be late for work you lazy prick.” Shawn snapped back.

“…I run the place, that means I’m never late, I’m always exactly on time. Now fuck off.” Jeff growls.

“Someone’s in a mood today, what’s up wi thee?” Asks Shawn.

“I’ve this minute got out of bed, you know what I’m like when I’ve just woken up.” Jeff replies still brushing his teeth.

“Come on mate, you’ve been awake for hours, we all know you don’t sleep. You just can’t be bothered to get out of bed, anyone would think you’re depressed. Anyway hurry up Gabriel says you’re short staffed and the place is getting busy. I don’t know how though, it’s a fucking shit hole.” Shawn says before laughing to himself.

Jeff taps him on the head with his toothbrush and swings at him with his other hand, Shawn dodges it and runs out of the door laughing. Jeff shakes his head and continues getting ready. Though it didn’t seem like it Shawn Harris is one of Jeff’s closest friends and has been since he, Gabriel and Jeff all attended University together. He knows exactly how to wind Jeff up and is always there to deliver an uplifting insult when he’s at his lowest.

An example of this is when Jeff broke his arm when tripping over his own feet while drunk and shoved his arm out at a funny angle, fracturing his right humorous and dislocating his shoulder as he hit the cold hard concrete. As he was being loaded into the ambulance the sounds of, “You thick twat!” could be heard coming from Shawn’s mouth. Jeff knew he really meant ‘Get well soon pal.’ but would rather have heard that than the former. If there was anyone that was more like Jeff it was Shawn and that sometimes bothered him but it was always the reason why the two were such good friends though he often thought to himself how the hell he was any good doing his job handling customer complaints…

Jeff quickly got ready, got himself together and headed off to work. As he gets to the streets he realised he should have worn a coat, it was November after all and the wind was beginning to get stronger. Luckily he lived so close to where he worked. At ‘The Inn’ the place is packed full of alcoholic charged people waiting impatiently for their next drink, only Gabriel and a barmaid were the only ones behind the bar working frantically. The bouncers were doing their best to ensure that the place was free of idiots out for a fight. Jeff walks through the front doors, pushes past everyone to get to the bar and hops over it, he grabs himself a bottle of beer from the fridge, opens it and calmly begins sipping.

“Err, what the fuck are you doing?!” Yells Gabriel.

“Having a drink.” Jeff replies calmly.

“That’s all well and good but you’re over an hour late as it is and as you can see we’re pretty fucking busy, so put that down and get to work.” orders Gabriel.

Despite the fact Jeff owned the place, Gabriel was more the boss than he was, he’s the only person Jeff would take any sort of order from. Jeff puts the bottle down and begins serving people. The hours went by, people came and went, as did the time. It quickly approached 3am, Gabriel had the bouncers begin to get people to drink up and leave. As the barmaid, a girl named Katie walked over to a table surrounded by a group of intoxicated lads to collect glasses, one of them thought he would try his chances and started harassing the young Katie.

A bouncer instantly sees this, walks over and grabs the young man by the collar of his shirt, he pulls him out of his seat and begins dragging him towards the door, the lad takes exception to this however and smacks his hand away then cracks the bouncer in the face with his fist, the other bouncer gets involved by his guys friends are quick to back him up. Before any more punches are thrown however, Jeff had already grabbed an empty bottle, walks up to the first guy that started the fight and smashes it over the back of his head instantly knocking him out.

As he hit the floor hard, the rest of his friends are quick to back off and leave the premises before any harm comes to them. Jeff stands over the fallen drunkard breathing hard, the adrenaline running through his body, he picks up the unconscious guy and throws him out of the front door. With the pub empty apart from the staff he slams the doors shut and locks them. He turns to Katie who is obviously shaken up over the incident.

Gabriel walks over to her and puts his arm over shoulders and begins walking her to the bar, “Go and take ten minutes yeah? It’s alright now that Jeff’s used his people skills to calm the situation down.”

Jeff laughs to himself and turns to Gabriel, “You know, I love this job.”

“Yeah so do I but you can’t go smashing bottles over peoples heads every time a fight kicks off, that’s what the bouncers are here for, if they can’t go the job then why the fuck are we paying them in the first place?” Gabriel bluntly states.

“Ayup pal, we had the situation under control!” Said one of the bouncers.

“Yeah it looked like it, go on hop it, go and find some teenagers to terrorize.” Jeff replies, looking pleased with himself. He unlocks the doors, lets the bouncers out then locks the door behind them. Jeff surveys the pub, now uncomfortably quiet. Bits of glass and spilt beer covered the floor, the tables were a mess. It was more of a nightclub than a pub, Jeff shook his head and began collecting glasses. Katie walks back out from the back room a bit calmer than she was before and joins Jeff in cleaning up as Gabriel started doing the takings from the bar.

“You alright love?” Asks Jeff, looking concerned for Katie.

“Yeah I am.” She says unconvincingly, “I suppose it’s something you have to get used to.”

“I suppose.” Jeff replies, he was more concerned whether she’d quit rather than if she was legitimately okay. Sounds a bit selfish but the last three barmaids quit over instances such as the one that took place tonight and the place was now seriously understaffed. He barely managed to keep it open in the day, having Shawn’s brother Jim working in the day whose only 19 years old. Gabriel spent most of his day here trying to help out when he could. Fact is no one wants to work for someone like Jeff, too afraid to step out of line in case they get the same fate as the drunken kid earlier in the night. Jeff wasn’t that sort of person but the image he portrayed gave people that impression.

~*~

Jeff walks out of the back door of ‘The Inn’ with Gabriel and Katie, he locks up and the three head off. As they walk along the quiet streets of an early Sunday morning, three men stop them in their tracks. Jeff instantly recognizes them as three of the guys that run out of the pub when their friend was hit over the head with a bottle. They didn’t look happy and looked as though they were ready for a fight.

“Fucking hell, don’t tell me you three have grown a back bone?” Jeff taunted at them, Gabriel shot Jeff a disappointing look, the last thing he should be doing is insulting them.

“Let’s see how tough you are now without any bottles in your hands.” One of the men retorts.

“Let’s see how tough I am? You need two mates to confront me, how untough are you! Hah!” Jeff began chuckling to himself.

The three lads began walking towards Jeff, Gabriel pulls Katie back. Before any of the three can throw a punch Jeff is already on the case and delivers a right hand to the lead guys face then quickly head butts a second guy, blood erupts from his nose as he drops to the floor, Jeff turns to the third and before he can do anything the third guy drops to the floor, revealing a bat wielding Shawn Harris stood behind him.

“BOOM!” Shawn yells, “I knew you’d be getting into some sort of trouble tonight.”

Before Jeff can reply he feels a thudding sensation in the side of his mouth as the first guy swings for him, Jeff quickly turns and grabs him by the throat, pins him up against the wall and begins repeatedly hitting him, Gabriel pulls Jeff off of him and the lad crumbles to the floor. Jeff backs off and spits out some blood at him.

“Enough Jeff.” Demands Gabriel. “Forget these three, come on.”

“Look at you bleeding like a puff.” Shawn taunts Jeff. Jeff responds with a back hand to the face.

“Shut the fuck up or you’ll be joining them.” Jeff snaps. He hated fighting, but it scared him how good at it he was, it was very rare he felt physical pain so matter how many times he was hit, the shock of pain would never affect his performance.

“Okay calm down dick head.” Shawn mutters, “Hey Katie, I’ll give you a lift to my house if you want, Sophie said you were coming after you finished work anyway.”

“Yeah that’d be cool, thanks.” Katie replies and smiles. The Sophie that Shawn mentioned is his girlfriend, Katie is Sophie’s best friend. Sophie was the one that convinced Jeff to give Katie a job at ‘The Inn’ in the first place, Jeff was hesitant at first considering she’s too nice a person to be working in a bar, as tonight proved she couldn’t handle a bunch of rowdy lads, but what choice did he have? He couldn’t get anyone else to work for him.

As the four of them reach the car park Katie turns to Jeff and gives him a hug, a puzzled Jeff hugs her back. “What was that for?” asks Jeff.

“I don’t know, just thought you needed a hug.” Katie says.

“Tut, all rate, get in the fucking car.” Shawn says rolling his eyes.

“Oh shut up dick.” She retaliates, “Bye you two.”

“Bye.” Gabriel and Jeff reply simultaneously.

“See ya later dudes.” says Shawn, they both then get in the car, Gabriel and Jeff watch as they drive off. The two then walk off back towards the centre, Jeff pulls out a pack of cigarettes and lights one up then offers one to Gabriel who waves his hand declining.

“No thanks, after last night I’m going to lay off the cigarettes for a bit. I thought you were quitting anyway.” Gabriel says.

“I did, I quit for a good few month, thanks to a certain bitch though the only thing that calmed my nerves was smoking. I used to think to myself, ‘God I need to quit’ and I did but now when I smoke all I can think is ‘God, why did I ever quit?’”

“Probably to stop yourself from getting cancer.” Gabriel argued.

“Ah fuck that, I’m far too tough to get anything like that!” Jeff says as he laughs.

“Just because one person fucked you about shouldn’t have driven you to start smoking again though.”

“You don’t know what she did to my head mate, I’d never been so low.” Jeff says bluntly.

Fact is Gabriel knew exactly what the person in question did to his head. This bitch Jeff mentioned, a girl named Cassie Adams. Jeff used to work with her before he opened his own pub, she was gorgeous, she was the one Jeff wanted to marry, despite his tough guy image he imposes in front of his friends he’d never done well with the ladies, always too shy to approach them, he was the sort of person that’d wait to be approached. With Cassie he took that risk and told her how he felt, the two were such good friends at the time, she initially turned him down citing she didn’t want to ruin the friendship. A bullshit answer to be sure, but she then said she felt the same way about him but was too scared to lose him as a friend. She then started seeing a guy named Chris, someone who she went out with before but broke up with because he’s a known nasty alcoholic.

She started telling Jeff how in love with Chris she was, disregarding any thought for Jeff’s feelings, she knew exactly how he felt about her so why would he want to hear some bullshit about her loving some other guy? Chris of all people, Jeff and Chris have had their run ins before and each time was never a good experience. The last time they laid eyes on each other was about a year ago, it was that moment when Jeff stopped feeling physical pain. It changed him as a person, made him more bitter as a person, more aggressive. He never told Cassie what went off, he didn’t want to upset her. Even though she hurts him with what she says and does sometimes he can’t help but love her.

Gabriel pats Jeff on the back as the two continue walking until they reach the building Jeff lives, Gabriel lives in the same building, just the floor below, they make it inside just as thunder soars through the early morning sky, followed by a flash of lightning and the essential downpour of rain to cap it off.

“Fuck as if it’s half 4 already.” Jeff says shocked.

“I know, it sucks for you that does.” Gabriel responds.

“Why’s that?”

“Because I had to do the day shift yesterday with little Jimmy, tomorrows your turn so you have to be back that in 7 hours to open up.”

Fuck sake, Jeff thought to himself. “At least it’s Sunday, everyone will still be in bed.”

“I suppose, just try to get some sleep tonight alright? I know you don’t do it often but it might chill you out a bit more.” Gabriel says before embracing him in a hug.

“I’ll try.” Jeff responds, the two then part ways and Jeff makes his way to his flat, Like fuck I will.

Chapter 2

Chesterfield, England – September 21st 2009

“I love you Jeff, I really do. I just love Chris more. I don’t even know why, I just can’t help it.” Cassie said with conviction.

“How can you love that prick, he’s nothing but a horrible alcoholic, what has he ever done to you but fuck you about?” Jeff snapped back.

Cassie just shrugs, Jeff turns his back on her, he could feel the tears beginning to form at his eyes. Cassie tries to hug him but Jeff walks away from her. He walks out of her flat, heads to the car park and gets into his car. He looks up at her window, wipes his eyes and drives off.

His hands were shaking with anger, what did he do to deserve this? He drives to the town centre and parks his car in one of the many roundabouts and makes a beeline straight towards the nearest pub. As he orders a drink has a look around, the place seemed pretty dead for a Thursday night. He takes a seat outside in the beer garden and begins drinking alone.

Fucking bitch, I deserve better than this. Why do I feel this way, I’d give up everything for her, would that other cunt, no course he fucking wouldn’t. Fuck I want a cigarette. Laughing is heard, Jeff looks up and spots Dan and Alex, two of Chris’ friends. The two and Jeff knew of each other but tended to keep out of each others way, a sort of mutual dislike because of who they were. Dan notices Jeff sitting alone in the corner staring at them and decides to walk over.

“What the fuck are you gorping at?” Dan snarls.

“A fucking dead man if he doesn’t fuck off yeah?” Jeff snaps back with fury.

“You fucking what?!” Dan yells back, Alex joins him at his side, Jeff jumps up to his feet and throws the table in front of him to one side then squares up to the both of them.

“You heard me ya fat cunt, you can’t begin to fucking realise how much I want to cave your face in right now.” Threatens Jeff.

Dan shoves Jeff into the wall, Jeff dives forward, Dan steps to one side but Jeff manages to tackle Alex to the ground, he begins wailing on his face with lefts and rights, Dan pulls him off of him and throws a punch, Jeff ducks it however and head butts Dan, kicks him in the stomach then kicks him in the side of the left side of his head, at this point the bouncers get involved and throw all three people off the premises. The fight continues however behind the pub as Dan and Alex jump Jeff and begin to gang up on him, Jeff tries to fight back but then hears a thud, it only takes him a second to realise that the thudding noise came from his own skull before he drops to his knees, he turns around and the last thing he sees is a muscular figure standing over him holding a steel pipe.

“C-Chris!?” Jeff faintly cries out before falling unconscious.

Sheffield, England – November 15th 2010

Jeff’s eyes open quickly and he sits up in a cold sweat. He had fallen asleep, dreaming about what had happened a year ago. Every time he closes his eyes all he dreams about is that night, the night when everything inside of him changed forever. He looks at the time and realises he has about ten minutes to get to work, otherwise Jim’s just going to be stood outside looking like an idiot.

~*~

He was right, Jim was standing outside in the cold looking like an idiot, thinking to himself why he’s even working for Jeff. Sure it pays bills while being at University but is it really worth working for someone so unreliable?

Ten minutes late turned to twenty minutes late, his phone calls and text messages had gone unanswered. Ten minutes… ten more minutes and I’m fucking off. Jim told himself. I was here on time, he won’t sack me if I leave because I was here on time, any other place it’d be acceptable surely. I could be studying instead of fucking stood here looking like a tit. It’s Sunday anyway who the hell comes to drink on a Sunday? What’s the point in evening opening up. I only come here because it’s easy money. He better pay me for being stood here for twenty… two minutes. It’s not my fault he can’t turn up on time, good job I’m not his boss, I’d tear him a new one… fuck it’s cold.

“Hey handsome, you okay?”

Jim startled by another voice entering his head, he turns around and sees the beautiful brunette Sophie walking towards him, his brother Shawn’s girlfriend.

“No I’m not okay! I’ve been stood here twenty five minutes waiting for Jeff, where the fuck is he?!” Jim complains.

Sophie walks up to Jim and gives him an almost sisterly hug and a kiss his frozen cheek. “I don’t know, from what Shawn and Katie have told me there was some trouble that went off last night, rowdy customer tried touching up Kate, Jeff stepped in, then rowdy customers friends tried getting revenge afterwards, Shawn and Kate left Gabriel and Jeff since then I’ve heard nothing. Have you tried phoning him?” She asks.

“Have I tried phoning him? I’ve tried phoning him about 30 times, hoping that even if he has his phone on vibrate it’ll buzz him out of fucking bed. Seriously I’m giving it five minutes and I’m going.”

“You have to be patient with Jeff, you know he’s going through some stuff, he hasn’t been the same since last year.” Sophie says.

“That’s all I hear, he hasn’t been the same. Yeah I remember him being a fun guy then that bint Cassie fucked his head up, I thought he was better than to allow that to happen. Apparently whenever anyone asks him what’s up he just gets arse on and fucks off on a mardy.” Jimmy snaps back.

“It’s not just Cassie that’s hurt him, something happened to him. I remember being told he was in hospital for a while, only Gabriel knows why and he isn’t letting on. Since he got out of hospital he’s… different. All I know is it can’t be good so we have to give him his space.” Explains Sophie.

“Well I’m about to give him his space, because I’m going home.” Jim announces.

Just as Jim is about to walk off, a hand grabs his shoulder and stops him, Jim turns around and see an unimpressed Gabriel stood there. His eyes bloodshot like he had only just woken up. “Where do you think you’re going.”

Jim quietens his tone, “Uh… no…nowhere, where’s Jeff?”

“I don’t know, I went up and knocked on his door when I read your text and he didn’t answer, I didn’t think he wouldn’t show up, I’m sorry mate.” says Gabriel with a sense of regret in his voice. He pulls out a set of keys from his pocket and unlocks the door to the pub.

“Morning Soph. How are you today?” Asks Gabriel.

“I’m not too bad, I hope you’re alright after last night.” Sophie replies.

“Yeah I’m fine, I’m used to it by now. Hows Katie?”

“She’s okay, she was a bit shaken up when she got to mine last night, she doesn’t like violence, neither do I.”

Gabriel smirks and nods his head, “Yeah well, that makes three of us.”

Jim opens the pub door and the three of them walk inside, Sophie turns the lights on. The place is totally different than how it looked last night, now spotless, everything where it should be and everything clean. “You okay to start everything Jim?” asks Gabriel, “I’m going to go back and see if Jeff’s okay and if he’s not fit for work then I’ll be with you again today.”

“Yeah that’s cool mate.” Jim replies, almost hoping Jeff isn’t alright for work. He likes working with Gabriel more, he can have a laugh with him, with Jeff… Well he dare not say anything to him, like constantly walking on egg shells.

“Awesome, see you in a bit pal.” Gabriel says, he turns to Sophie and nods to her. “In a bit Soph.”

Gabriel exits the pub, leaving just Sophie and Jim. Sophie begins helping him set everything up, she didn’t work there, she’s a team leader of a clothes shop but the amount of times she’s helped out at ‘The Inn’ she may start asking to be paid eventually. She always thought she would be good in as a barmaid, she’s the sort of girl that doesn’t take shit off of anyone, it’s what makes her a great team leader where she works. When she talks to Jim, the youngest of three brothers, she sees a lot of Shawn in him. Although unlike Shawn, Jim’s confidence seems to disappear whenever he’s around someone bigger than him. Shawn’s the type of guy that would rather be David than Goliath, Jim’s the opposite in that respect.

Sophie loves Jim like the little brother she never had, in her eyes he is definitely the smart one, the one with a better future than anyone else that she knows. She sees Shawn as the smart mouthed one, sometimes more Braun than brains. As for their older brother… Well she doesn’t think much of him at all.

~*~

Cassie opened her eyes slowly, allowing her eyes to adjust to the bright light that was beaming through her curtain, she looks down and notices the big arm that’s covering her chest, it belonged to Chris who lay face down snoring heavily. She sighed and shook her head. Once again she had allowed him into her bed. Why she keeps doing this to herself is beyond her, but at the same time she is happy he is there. Her head is as much torn as anybodies. Even though she is glad Chris is there all she can think about is Jeff and what he’s up to. It’s been a week since she’s seen him and two days since she’s even received a text message from him.

She moves Chris’ arm who just grunts mid-snore in response before reaching to her bedside table and grabbing her phone, she begins tapping away; ‘Hey what u up 2? Hope ur ok xxx’. She sends it to Jeff feeling a little happier knowing that she may soon be getting a reply. She puts the phone back and lays back down, as soon as her head hits the pillow it’s met with a drunken kiss from a recently awoken Chris.

“Morning love.” Chris says groggily. “What you doing?”

“Oh nothing, just texting a mate. Are you okay?” Cassie hesitantly replies.

“Yeah not bad, last night were good weren’t it?” Chris answers with a cheeky grin on his face. Cassie’s face drops a little.

“Yeah it was, thanks for coming over.” She says with a hint of regret in her tone.

“It’s all good babe. Any time you want a night like that you let me know yeah? Anyway I have to get off, supposed to be meeting Will and Dan in town for a few pints while we watch the match.”

Cassie shakes her head in disbelief, after the state he was in last night, how could he possibly think about drinking today? She seemed to sometimes forget that he has a bit of a problem with the old alcohol, whenever she brought it up before he just got angry at her so she tends not to mention it any more.

“Okay, will I see you later?” Cassie asks.

Chris scratches his head as he gets out of bed then begins to quickly get dressed, “Err, probably not today, I might be going to Will’s pad for a bit afterwards.”

“Oh… Well what about tomorrow?”

“Yeah… yeah maybe, I’ll let you know.” Chris hesitantly replies, after he gets dressed he kisses Cassie on the forehead, “Would kiss you on the mouth but… you know. See ya later love, I’ll let me self out.”

Chris walks out of the bedroom, why would Cassie expect anything different, every time it’s like he just uses her for sex, she tries to make it more but it never seems to work out that way. She’s just too afraid to tell him her true feelings. As she hears her front door slam she retreats into her covers as tears begin to form in the corners of her eyes. Surely she deserves better, she has a good heart but her head just isn’t in the place she wants it to be and it’s because of that why it seems to hurt not just her but other people.

Her phone begins to vibrate and she pokes her head out from the covers and grabs her phone, it’s a text message, from Jeff; ‘Hey, not too bad thanks. Hope you’ve had a good weekend, I’ve had an eventful one lol. Love you xx’. Upon reading it Cassie instantly feels a lot happier, she begins to crack a smile and wipes the tears from her eyes as she texts back; ‘Awh yeah it’s not been 2 bad, hope 2 c u soon! Love you too xxx’

Her feelings for Jeff are so strong especially since he spent a night at hers a couple of months ago, but because of her feelings for Chris she hadn’t done anything about them. She didn’t want to hurt Jeff, because the moment Chris clicked his fingers she knows she’d be there at his beck and call. She just wishes she could get over Chris but at this moment in time, it didn’t seem too likely.

~*~

“Jeff! Open the fucking door!” Gabriel shouted and he banged constantly on Jeff’s door. “I mean it, you better open it or I’m going to break it down!”

The door opened slowly, Jeff stood on the other side of it, his eyes red, tears rolling down his cheek, phone in his hand and wearing nothing but a pair of boxer shorts.

“You look like shit, what’s the matter with you?” Gabriel asks.

Jeff just shakes his head and walks off, Gabriel invites himself inside, “You get any sleep bro?” he asks, Jeff nodded his head as he throws his phone down on the table. “You have that dream again?” Jeff nods his head again, Gabriel sighs and looks genuinely upset, he walks over to Jeff and hugs him.

“You better have had that dream again because I don’t just go hugging any men in just a pair of boxers you know. It’s not how the G Man swings.” Gabriel says jokingly.

He manages to crack a smile from Jeff who then begins to regain his composure. It was easy to lie to people via text message, telling Cassie he was alright is much easier by phone than it is trying to convince Gabriel he’s alright in person. Gabriel knows when something is bothering Jeff.

“Every time I close my eyes, the same dream over and over, if it was just a nightmare it’d be fine, but it’s not, it was reality. I’m only thankful I woke up before the really nasty part began. I hate sleeping.” Jeff announces.

“You need help brother. You can’t just go on like this, it’s been over a year now ya know? It’s time you get yourself sorted because you can not operate without sleep! You left Jim stood there for half an hour in this weather, he wasn’t happy.” Gabriel replies.

“Ah fuck Jim, insignificant speck of dust he is.”

“Don’t be like that, he’s a good lad that one. Anyway, get dressed and get to work. You need to get out of the house once in awhile, it’s alright being couped up in here all day but it’s doing you no good.” Orders Gabriel

Jeff says nothing, nods and goes off to his bedroom. The nightmares had gone on for over a year now, it’s all Jeff thought about when he fell asleep, what happened to him that fateful night. It started to strain a lot of his relationships with people, so much to the point that even Gabriel was getting tired of it, he thought himself as a bad person sometimes because he just couldn’t be bothered with it any more, he’s done more for Jeff than anyone else had but he was starting to struggling dealing with his own problems let alone Jeff’s and not to mention running an understaffed bar. Sometimes he felt like just quitting but he couldn’t do that, not to Jeff. He quit, the bar would be shut within a week, Jeff knows this also and even though he doesn’t show it sometimes, he is grateful for Gabriel’s friendship everyday.

As Jeff was getting ready, not just physically but mentally, preparing himself to put on the tough guy image he so bravely wears, he couldn’t help but think what happened last night, it sounds wrong but smashing a bottle over someone’s head is pretty cool. It’s not like in the movies where someone gets hit over the head with a bottle made of sugar glass, this was a real bottle. It’s thoughts like this that helps Jeff put on his tough guy image for everyone and these acts of violence help him become the sort of person that isn’t argued with.

Chapter 3

Sheffield, England – April 12th 2005

“Hey baby how are you doing today?” Chris asked his girlfriend Stephanie who was just getting dressed.

“Yeah I’m good, a bit queezy though.” Stephanie replies holding her stomach.

“I suppose that’s what pregnancy does to you. I’m sure the morning sickness will go eventually though.” Chris says light heartedly.

Stephanie smiled and kissed him on the forehead then walks off to the bathroom, in Chris’ mind he was the luckiest man in the world, he had the beautiful girlfriend who was giving him his first child, he had just got the job he wanted and in a few weeks time he was going to marry the love of his life.

His life was changing alright, it just wasn’t going to change the way he wanted it to. Up until this day he had been a normal guy, normal friends and wasn’t the sort of person to get into any trouble. He kept himself to himself and didn’t care about anyone except for his friends and his fiancé. The sort of person he would turn out to be in five years time was something no one expected, you look at Chris and you don’t think, this is the type of guy that would torture someone. That’s because he wasn’t.

Stephanie and Chris were inseparable, Stephanie, a trainee nurse at one of the hospitals in Sheffield couldn’t wait to give Chris his first child. All she ever wanted since she was little was a baby, you look at these two and you see the perfect couple.

She walked out, now dressed and ready for work, she gave Chris passionate kiss, “I’ll see you later hubby. Don’t be late for work alright?”

“Damn right you will babe, I’ll see you later.” Chris replied, Stephanie then left, Chris then started getting dressed, feeling the nerves for his first day and his new job, he was going to be working in a call centre, not a glamorous job but he liked talking to people so customer service was where he wanted to be. As he is just putting his second shoe on he can hear a car beeping outside, Chris ran over to the window and looked outside, it was Jeff Carter parked outside his place.

“Shit!” Chris shouted to himself, he then ran downstairs to meet Jeff.

“Hey man I told you to be ready ten minutes ago what the hell where you doing?” Jeff yelled.

“Sorry man, I know, I was just getting nervous and shit, you know, first day.” Chris replied hastily.

“Don’t worry about it, this jobs a piece of piss. Get in.” Jeff ordered.

Jeff had got Chris the job as a favour to Stephanie, who was friends with Sophie. Jeff didn’t know much about Chris except he thought he was a pretty cool guy. Chris quickly got in the car and Jeff sped off towards work.

“So how you feeling man? Nothing to be nervous about really, it’s all scripted, if there’s anything you can’t handle I’ll jump in and knock em the fuck out yeah?” Jeff said with conviction.

“Ah thanks mate, yeah I’m alright. I’m a people person me.” Chris replied.

“Fuck, being a people person has nothing to do with customer service hah!” Jeff scoffed.

Chris just looked at him with a half cocked grin, it was strange how he only felt more nervous since he’d gotten in Jeff’s car, he didn’t know if it was because he was getting ever so closer to work or the fact that he was doing 85 mph in a 30. He would actually like to see the birth of his child before he died in a horrible car accident.

~*~

9 hours had passed since he first started his new job, Chris had successfully completed his first day and found it to be alright. Jeff patted him on the back as if to say Well done. Cassie walked past and smiled at him. Chris pulled his phone out of his pocket, he wasn’t able to check it due to the battery dying, luckily a work mate had brought in a charger and it had been charging the entire day. He picked up his phone and turned it on, as soon as the phone started up text messages all started pouring through. Message after message, he had never been that popular, as he scrolled through them most of them are just “Where are you?” and “You need to get here as soon as possible.”

Realising he had also 19 new voice mails he knew something was up, he listened to each voice mail.

“Chris where are you?! You need to get here as soon as you can!” Screamed Stephanie’s mother down the phone.

The next one then played, it was Stephanie’s sister, “Chris why aren’t you answering your phone? Call as soon as you get this!”

He went through them all, he didn’t know what was going on until the last message played, which coincidently was the first voice mail left. It was Steph’s mother again, “Chris, Stephanie’s been involved in an accident, she was hit by a car, you need to get to the hospital now.”

Chris stood frozen, he dropped his phone, Jeff noticed this and turned around. “You alright pal? What’s up?”

Chris looked at Jeff, tears beginning to form at his eyes, “It’s… it’s Stephanie… She’s been in an accident, it happened hours ago but I haven’t had my phone so…. so…”

“Mate, it’s okay, I’m sure she’ll be fine. Come on we’ll fucking blitz it to the hospital now.” Jeff said with certainty.

The two quickly marched towards the car park and got into Jeff’s battered Escort. Jeff started the engine up, reversed without checking to see if anything was coming, almost hitting the boss’ Jag, and bombed it out of the car park as quick as he could.

Chris said nothing all the way there, far too much running through his head. I hope she’s alright, I hope my babies alright. Why did this have to happen, she doesn’t deserve to get hurt. I hope she’ll be okay, I don’t know what I would do without her.

Jeff was no mind reader but it didn’t take Derren Brown to know what he was thinking. “She’ll be fine man I’m sure of it. Only bad things happen to bad people yeah, she isn’t a bad person.” Jeff said reassuringly. He got no response though.

The two soon made it to the hospital, Stephanie’s sister and mother Jackie stood outside, being consoled by friends and family. Jeff came to an abrupt halt outside the main doors, Chris burst out of the car, marched straight past Jackie and her mother and headed straight for the reception desk.

“I need to know where Stephanie Walton is now!” Chris yelled. The receptionist slightly taken a back to his demands truly doesn’t know what to tell him. “Tell me now God damn it!”

Jackie ran up to Chris and grabbed him by the arm, “Chris… she’s.”

Chris almost knew what she was about to say before she said it, but he didn’t want to believe it. “Please tell me she’s okay, please! Tell me our babies okay!” He pleaded.

The head surgeon, a guy clearly in the latter end of his career walked over to the couple and pulled Chris to one side. “Are you Chris?”

Chris nodded his head.

The doctor looked disheartened, it was the only part of his job he hated. “I’m sorry, we did everything we could, she was run down in a hit and run this morning as she was walking to work, her injuries were too extensive… She died before she even got to the operating table… I’m so sorry for your loss.”

Chris dropped his head, “I want to see her!” The doctor nods and leads him and Jackie to the room Stephanie’s in, he pulled back the cover from over her head, Chris breaks down in tears. “NO! Why did this have to happen, you didn’t deserve this! I love you so much, I’m nothing without you! Nothing!” He leant over and kissed her on her battered and bruised forehead.

Jackie grabbed Chris and hugged him as she also broke down. The greatest day of his life quickly turned into one of the worst days of his life. He lost his fiancé, he lost his unborn child. He’d lost everything. Chris buried his head into her shoulder, Jeff watched from outside of the room, he didn’t know what to say, what could he say in this situation?

The day later Chris quit his job, he couldn’t continue, he spent the next few years doing nothing but drinking, he couldn’t get past losing the love of his life. He couldn’t get over the fact that he had lost his family and honestly, what man would? He’d soon lost contact with everyone he cared about, he became a recluse. The moment Chris saw Stephanie’s dead lifeless body, all the good that was inside of him was stripped away, his faith in everything disappeared as if it had never existed. He became more and more violent, sick and twisted as time went on. He never healed, he got worse and in his head, everyone else in the world should be feeling the pain he did right now. The moment he saw her body, evil filled his soul.

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