So the fiction is sort of finished – I stopped writing the story after the honey moon, however I wrote a few chapters that never connected to the story, it was always a work in progress, but I thought you might like a read of what was to come?!
I couldn’t ignore the silent number that had been incessantly calling me, I finally snapped
“What?” there was a long pause, I thought it was an international telemarketer
“Is this Conner Reynolds phone?” the quiet woman’s voice catches me off guard, my heart starts pounding, WTF?
“No, this is his wife’s phone” there is another long pause, who is this bitch? “Can I help you?” I snap, the woman stutters
“I’m his… this is his… I didn’t know he was married… I’m his…”
“Spit it out!” I snap, raising my voice, causing Conner to look over at me, intrigued who I am talking too
“I’m his sister, Jenny.” HolyFuckingBatShit! Stunned I stand there with my mouth open for so long that she starts saying ‘hello’ repeatedly until I finally awaken from my shock
“What do you want?” I ask icily, I even surprise myself, I know Conner is not going to be happy with this call but I have to know what she wants
“To speak to Conner”
“I don’t think he wants to talk to you” she scoffs as if she already knew I was going to say that
“I know…” She pauses again, Get on with it! “Our grandmother passed away… Bessie, she died last night” my mouth is shocked open again, I just stare at Conner who has now stood up & come to stand by me, with a puzzled look on his face, I can’t speak but Jenny goes on “I know she tried to contact him a few months back” I think back to the worst weekend I’d ever spent with Conner, I didn’t want to relive that
“Look this is all very interesting & I’m sorry for your loss but Conner wants nothing to do with you” his eye brows raise, I wave him off dismissively
“He’s executor of her will” I think my jaw must have hit the floor because Conner snatches the phone from me
“Who is this?” he snaps, after a short pause he raises his voice “Who the fuck is it?” the conversation is one sided “You heard my wife, I want nothing to do with you” he starts pacing “What the fuck! Are you serious?” he runs his fingers through his hair “This is so fucked up” he stops pacing & I hug his back, my hands tuck around his waist, his hand rubs my hands that are laced together at his bellybutton “I can’t fucking deal with this” he hands the phone back to me & storms off
“Jenny? It’s Kristie. What did you say?”
“Not only is he executor, he is also the sole heir to Bessie’s estate” OhHolyShit! I pause for a long time & Jenny has to ask if I am still there again.
“What does this mean?” I ask
“The lawyers want to talk to Conner to sign everything over to him” she pauses “The funeral is on Thursday at 1:00pm, do you think…” her voice trails off, she wants us to go but I can’t help but think she wants to make amends with Conner now that she knows she’s getting nothing from Bessie’s estate “I’ll text you the details. I know he probably won’t want to come but I would like him too”
“I doubt he will”
“I want to make amends with him” I scoff “We were just little kids, I regret everything”
“You regret it now you know Bessie left you nothing” I hear her laugh
“It was my idea, Bessie left me my mother’s & her wedding rings” she pauses as if looking at them “That’s all I want, Conner deserves the house & what little money she had, I don’t need it.” I think about the last inheritance Conner received & how he felt the money was only to be used to give him what they hadn’t, I wonder what he would do with this money, we didn’t really need it now that the eight units were about to be rented out.
“Text me the details & I’ll see what he wants to do” I hung up from Jenny, searching the house for Conner. I found him in our bedroom sitting on the edge of our bed looking at his wedding ring, twisting it around his finger, I drop to my knees beside him, I rest my forearm on his knee so he doesn’t see my touch as pity, I am trying for a more casual stance
“What are you thinking?” I try to look at him but he dips his head lower, I don’t push him to talk to me, I can tell that he’s probably got tears in his eyes he doesn’t want me to see, when he does look up he shouts angrily
“Fuck!” he stands up abruptly “When will they all just fucking go away?” I climb up to sit on the edge of the bed, Conner stands there with his hands linked behind his head staring at the ceiling “what else did she say?”
“She gave me details for the funeral…” I paused gauging his reaction before I went on “It was her idea for Bessie to leave her estate to you, she doesn’t want the money” he scoffs, letting his hands fall to his side, loudly slapping his legs
“Neither do I” he laughs, but it’s not a funny laugh “All I wanted they took from me” he turns to look at me “I have all I want” his arms embrace my head pulling me in for a hug, he kisses the top of my head as my phone beeps with a text message
J: Blackwell Funerals, Port Rd 1:00pm Thursday. I have passed your number onto the lawyers. I hope you come Thursday, would have been nicer to meet you under different circumstances but I do hope you come. Jenny Reynolds.
I show Conner immediately as I don’t want there to be any secrets, especially when it comes to his family.
“Fuck” he snaps & walks off out of our bedroom. Jesus why did this have to happen now? I stalk off after him, he’s so good at walking away
“What do you want to do Conner?” he taps his fingers on the kitchen bench, his other hand on his hip, he’s looking at me but he’s not seeing me, he’s looking right through me, deep in thought “Do you want to go to the funeral?” he shakes his head but then starts nodding it, I smile sadly understanding how he feels, I walk & squeeze him tight, my cheek pressing into his chest, his arms fold around me back “I’ll be with you the whole time Dimples” I look up at him, his hands push the hair from my face “I won’t let go of your hand” he kisses my nose, then my lips softly, his way of saying thank you when he can’t speak because of the lump in his throat.
I drive Conner to the funeral in my car because I don’t know if he would actually be fit to drive in the state of silence he’s been in. As soon as we’re standing side by side, his hand seeks mine squeezing it tight. I know this is going to be tough for Conner, I anticipate that I will have to do the talking & make small talk with his family, I’m prepared with things to say to keep the topics light & away from the family drama that left Conner ostracised. I have to tug on Conner’s arm to get him to start walking towards the building, someone says ‘oh my god’ as we walk in & a few heads turn, I see a woman who looks exactly like Conner, blonde curly hair, green eyes & tall, she walks towards us, staring at him as if in disbelief
“Conner?” she whispers as a question, they lock eyes but Conner doesn’t speak, as I expected I take over talking for him
“Yes this is Conner, I’m Kristie Reynolds, his wife” I hold out my hand to shake hers
“Jenny Reynolds” she introduces herself to me but doesn’t offer her hand to Conner, she knows her brother well, he wouldn’t have shaken it, he is just staring at her icily “I’m so glad you came, I know Bessie would be pleased” Conner tries to turn & pull away, possibly leaving the building but I hold him firm, tugging him back to face Jenny “I know this is weird…” her voice trails off “Let’s find our seats, we can talk afterwards”
The service is lovely, there are many people who loved Bessie in the room, her friend who did her eulogy mentioned her biggest regret was Conner, he squeezed my hand so tightly it felt like he snapped a few bones. Afterwards there was tea & coffee in the room of to the side of the chapel, Bessie was being cremated so there was no cemetery ceremony.
“Conner Reynolds?” A man stood in front of us holding out his hand to Conner, before it got awkward I reached out & shook it introducing us both, the man introduced himself as Wyatt Harrison, when is stared at him blankly, not knowing the family tree & where the Harrison’s fitted in, he explained “I’m your uncle… your mothers brother… Bessie was my mother” I felt Conner’s grip on my hand tighten, I could only respond with ‘oh’ as I wanted to punch this man, why didn’t he take Conner in?
“Some fucking uncle!” Conner snaps under his breath as if reading my thoughts, Wyatt flinches, it’s pretty much the first thing Conner has said all day. I squeeze Conner’s hand forcing him to look at me
“I think it’s time to go” he nods starting to walk away “Goodbye Wyatt, I’m sorry for your loss” he nods as we walk away, just outside the funeral home I hear a woman call out our names
“Kristie? Conner? Wait, please!” the desperation in her voice made me stop & turn to face Jenny as she jogs towards us “I know this is awkward but please don’t leave”
“Awkward? Awkward doesn’t even begin to explain what today is” Conner pauses but neither Jenny or I speak “I just found out I have an uncle, an uncle who also didn’t bother to take me in either” Shit! he didn’t know he had an uncle? “Coming here was a big fucking mistake” he tugged his hand free & stormed back to the car, I slowly turned to follow him, unlocking it so he could get in, he slammed the door, I shrug at Jenny turning to follow Conner.
I put the keys in the ignition turning the car on, the soft music played in the background
“I’m so sorry Conner…” he put his hand up to stop me speaking
“I need to cry Kristie” tears were already running down my cheeks as he whispers “but I don’t want to do it in front of you” I turn to face him, pulling his head to my chest to nuzzle in between my breasts
“I won’t look, but I’m not letting you go” a manly sob escaped his throat, he kisses my breast, not in a sexual way but in a thank you kind of way, it’s the only place he can reach without me seeing his face. My heart breaks for him & I couldn’t stop the tears from running down my cheek or the sobs coming from my throat. I think it helped Conner to not be as self-conscious with his sobs, he arms wrapped around me so tightly, my hip was pressed up against the console into centre if the car, it was digging into me but I was not going to move or say anything to Conner since we were having a breakthrough moment. I’m also glad we’re not home because Conner would be stripping my clothes off trying to have sex with me as a way to forget, as much as I didn’t mind that, I felt like Conner really needed to deal with this once & for all with a manly cry not sex. I don’t know how long we sit there but as the tears subside for both of us, Conner sits up & kisses me passionately
“Thank you baby” he looks down “please don’t think I’m pathetic…” I cut him off, grabbing his face in both my hands so I can look him in the eye, they are red & swollen, I’ve never seen a man cry before
“Never, ever think that! I love you even more, if that’s even possible” I wipe the remaining tear from his cheek “You are so strong, this must be so devastating. I’m glad I am here with you” he leans forward to kiss me
“Let’s go home so I can bury myself deep inside you & forget this day ever happened”
Conner wouldn’t get his wish to forget that day ever happened, the lawyers called my phone on the Monday after the funeral, I couldn’t get Conner to talk to them but I set up a meeting at their offices for the next day.
“I don’t want anything more to do with it” he snapped
“I know you don’t, so let’s get it over with” I caress his arm, he looks up at me & smiles
“I’m so glad I have you” he kisses my hand.
FLEAZ – Next Segment
The next day standing outside of the lawyers office, Conner’s breathing increases looking at the tall building, it is overwhelming. Inside, on the 16th floor, we’re led into a conference room where three lawyers sit with paperwork in front of them
“Mr Reynolds, Mrs Reynolds” We all shake hands “Let’s get down to business, in plain English, Beatrice Harrison left her estate to Conner Reynolds”
“What if I don’t want it?” he asks, the lawyer looks down at the papers, reading out loud
“In that case, the will states that it all goes to your finance, Miss Kristie Callan” he looks up realising his mistake “Of course your wife, Mrs Kristie Reynolds” my mouth drops open Whatthefuck! Conner scoffs & looks down at his hands, surely she doesn’t have that much to give him anyway, maybe he should take it & put it towards his business he wants to start, then we can really put this behind us. The lawyer continues “Her estate includes the solely owned property valued at $549000” WHAT? Half a million dollars? “All her possessions have already been allocated, do you want to see the list?” Conner shakes his head, the lawyer looks back down at the paper as the others note down on their paperwork “Now that all of Mrs Harrison’s affairs are in order her bank balance of $328749.57 is allocated to Conner Reynolds after probate” Jesus! The lawyers look at us, my mouth is wide open, Conner is looking at his hands “Do you accept Mr Reynolds?” there is a long silence, so long in fact that the lawyers all look at each other, one even clears his throat.
“Can I have a moment alone with my wife?” They all jump up scurrying out the room nodding & agreeing. Once they close the door Conner turns to me
“This is fucking insane” he shakes his head, exhaling loudly “Do we take the money?” I shrug
“I don’t know Dimples” I pause for him to sound it out with me but when he doesn’t speak I continue “You really could start that business…” he looks at me raising his eye brows, his eyes brighten
“I could get the life I always wanted” I squeeze his hands, leaning in to kiss him gently “I never wanted anything from them”
“I know, but the offer is there, I think you should seriously consider it”
“You could finally quit & become my sexy assistant” he chuckles, running his thumb over my knuckles “I want to accept this money for you”
“I don’t need it Conner, I only need you” he raises his hand to kiss mine that is linked with his
“I know, but I want that future we always talked about” he stands abruptly going to the door of the conference room to call the lawyers back in “We accept, where do we sign?”
In the weeks that followed, Conner researched starting his own business, we planned for him to use the money Bessie left him to fund it. I resigned from my 9-5 horrible job that I hated, Conner had written my resignation letter & was over the moon the day I said I was going to hand it in to my workplace, I never felt so good about anything in all my life.
We had taken John to the block of eight units to show him how far they had come since we bought them, now that they were basically finished & ready to be rented out, we needed to know how much we would get for each one
“Wow! The facade looks amazing” he snaps a photo, in the end Conner had ripped out all the plants & driveway redoing the entire building & surrounding yard, basically all that was original was the bricks & mortar. Conner had saved so much money by putting in the hours & doing as much as he could on his own, he believed it would help get us more rent, we step inside the first unit which is now all painted, installed with the simple but elegant kitchens & bathrooms. I had picked all the features myself, apparently according to Conner it was my forte. I had everything painted exactly the same, the floors were all stripped back to the floor boards & sealed the only difference was in the kitchen, in the white tiles there was a thin strip of feature tiles which I choose a different colour for each unit “These are so fantastic, I am impressed. Kristie you do have an eye for this stuff.” John took more photos. We led him though all eight & he is impressed that they are all look the same but have a different feature “I would put them all on the rental market for $350 per week each” my jaw drops, it’s been doing that a lot lately! That is more than I expected, John notices my astonishment “You did a great job with the finishes, the colour choices so neutral but not stark white, this type of place so close to public transport, the university & close to the city will be snapped up by the end of the week.” He is right, all eight had rental contracts signed by the end of the week, people were going to be moving in over the next few weeks, Conner couldn’t be more ecstatic.
“My next plan of attack is to see if we can knock down Bessie’s house, subdivide the land & build two or three townhouses” we hadn’t even received the deed or keys yet but Conner had been to the her house twice with John to see what opportunities could be there. John said that was our best option, especially since we wanted to expand our portfolio & Conner wanted the maximum return he could on each property, it was exactly what Conner had hoped he’d say, subdivide the land. Conner spent the week with an architect & council men to reach a happy medium on what we could do with the block, it turns out that there is enough room for four town houses & Conner does the math & thinks it’s best to put a little extra in for the business fund to get the extra property.
Fleaz – next segment
“Hello?” I answer my mobile to a private number
“You’re knocking down Bessie’s house?” Shit, it’s Jenny.
“Yes, demolition starts tomorrow” I say as calm & as monotone as I can
“I can’t fucking believe it”
“Do not swear at me, the estate was left to Conner, there was no stipulation that he had to keep it as it was”
“I thought he would have one sentimental bone in his body” I scoff at her
“What is there to be sentimental about?” I snap, Conner walks into the room & his interest in my conversation is enticed
“It was the house I grew up in” She sniffs as if she’s crying
“Well do you know where Conner grew up?” I don’t wait for her to answer, my tone is steely “In shitty foster homes before he ended up living on the streets, that house means nothing to him” Conner raises his eyebrows, trying to take the phone off me
“I didn’t know…” I vamp up ready for the worst thing I will probably say to someone I don’t even know
“No you wouldn’t fucking know would you? Because while you were warm in your bed in that precious fucking house on freezing cold winter nights, Conner was lying in the street with only the clothes on his back” I lower my voice to get my point across “You knew perfectly well that Conner didn’t want anything from any of you, so don’t act all high & mighty about sentimentality when you have no fucking clue what he went through, when you all left him like a dog at the pound”
“I just…” I interrupt her
“I suggest you delete my number Jenny, I, for one can say that I do not want to hear from you again” I don’t wait for her to reply before I end the call.
“What the fuck was that all about?” I wave my phone at him
“That was your fucking sister all bent out of shape because we’re knocking down Bessie’s house tomorrow”
“Why didn’t you let me talk to her? I don’t want you to have to deal with this shit from my family”
“I think I dealt with her quite well, I don’t think she’ll be calling us again” I laugh, even though I am far from happy
“I was pretty fucking scared” he chuckles pulling me close “you were like an ice queen” he kisses my nose “I don’t think that is the last of my family drama though”
“Well Dimples, it’s our family drama” he laughs
“I love you so much, I don’t know what I would do without you”
“Well lucky I’m not going to let you find out”
Conner & I stop off at Bessie’s house on the way back from picking out the carpet for these four new town houses, I think, for Conner, watching the house get torn down, was symbolic of his childhood being torn away from him, so he could start fresh. As the workmen unloaded the bulldozer, Conner & I get out of the car to watch, there are people across the street, watching also, Conner had talked to all the adjoining neighbours so they knew what to expect, just as he had at the block of units, but underneath dark shades I could still make out that one of the onlookers is Wyatt.
As the bulldozer gets in place & as the arm comes down & slices though the house like a hot knife in butter, everything goes into slow motion, I see Wyatt raise his arm, I could tell he was holding something that he was pointing at us Holy Shit is that a gun? With the noise of the demolition no one hears me scream ‘he’s got a gun’ even Conner who is mere centimetres away from me, doesn’t even bat an eyelid, Wyatt is pointing the gun but he hasn’t shot it, is he too scared or is it just a scare tactic? Before I can move Conner out of the way, I heard the gun fire, one single shot, one single life changing moment, the bulldozer operator heard it too, he’s looking around trying to work out what the noise was, he turns off the bulldozer, all noise stops, the world stands still, there is just a deafening silence as I see Conner go down, clutching his arm, rolling on the ground in agony, I’m paralysed, this can’t be real, this can’t be happening?
Some work men sprint over to our aid, one is already on the phone with police & ambulance, no one wants to chase down Wyatt in case he turns on them too, another man applies pressure to Conner’s wound, he is now covered in blood, a man asks me if I am ok, wrapping his arm around me I hug him tightly, a workman I don’t even know! I can’t look at Conner yet I can’t look away.
Sirens blare as police arrive to secure the scene, workmen cooperate giving as much information as they can as to what direction Wyatt went in, a squad car speeds off in the direction the men point, an officer tends to Conner as the sirens scream as the ambulance is still on its way. An officer takes out his notebook approaching me
“Ma’am do you know who the shooter was?” I nod unable to speak “do you have a name?” I stutter my response
“Wy…Wya…Wyatt Harr… Harrison” then my words come in a rush “it’s his uncle, this is his mum’s house. It was left to Conner in the will, we’re obviously tearing it down…”
“Ok calm down ma’am, we’ll get a statement from you later, the ambulance is ready to leave with your husband” the officer helps me in the back of the ambulance. I finally see that Conner is seemingly in good spirits, they have him sitting up with his arm raised across his chest
“Looks like it’s just a flesh wound, I need stitches or something but looks like I’ll be ok” a sigh of relief washes over me & the water works start “hey, hey baby, don’t cry!”
“Jesus, Conner, your family is fucking nuts!” he scoffs
“You can say that again”
“Jesus, Conner, your family is fucking nuts!” he laughs & leans over to kiss me.
At the hospital, as Conner is getting his arm fixed up, the police officers come to take our statements, I tell them the most of back story, including details from Jenny’s phone call the day before. The police advised us that Wyatt was already in custody, they found a gun in his backpack when he was arrested.
“I don’t want to press charges, I want to forget these crazy people ever existed”
“Are you sure sir?”
“Yes, I was this all behind us.”
“I’d advise against that Mr Reynolds…”
“Just fucking leave it…” Conner snaps but I cut him off
“Thanks officers” I usher them out of the treatment room
“Let us know if you think of anything else” the officers hand me a card with their details on it.
“We should be able to discharge you in a few hours Mr Reynolds, you are a very lucky man” without hesitation, Conner looks at me, winks & says
“That I am Doctor, that I am” I don’t miss the double meaning but the Doctor just smiles & leaves the room.