ARC TWO: NEW RIVALS
Chapter Fourteen: Flashback
The aisle of the church was littered
Lilies, roses and daisies of
all colours flanked the pews and reached up to the big altar, framing
oaken casket in a sea of petals.
<> There was noone else there,
and Robin stumbled forward as if on auto-pilot, taking step after step
through the unreal world in which he had been since the accident.
She seemed to be sleeping.
Faint bruises coated by the mortician's expert touch littered her brow
and cheek, and her thick brown hair was swept back from her face, held
by a scarlet ribbon so that it cascaded over her shoulder. She wore a
of red velvet and despite himself, Robin choked, faltering in his
He remembered that dress. She had worn it the night they had become
flanked by family and friends at an impromptu celebration. That night,
it had seemed that they could never be alone or lost again. Yet here he
was, in Carrowville's big town church, with noone but the flowers for
Her engagement and
rings sparkled on her thin white fingers, a constant reminder of what
had lost. Sian lay there
but he knew only too well that his wife - the woman he had loved for so
long - was gone forever.
"Gone with God." he whispered,
a tremor in his voice as he reached down to touch the ice cold hands.
to ashes, and all of that."
A voice startled him and
turned, meeting the tearful gaze of Helena, Sian's eldest sister.
"I thought I might find
here." She observed quietly, coming to join him. "When the hospital
me you'd discharged yourself, I knew where you'd come. You should take
it easy, Robin. Noone expects you to be here...not considering."
"Where else do I
asked brokenly. "My world is in that coffin, Lena. Nothing else
least of all. This is where I should be. Did you really think I
come to her funeral?"
"No, I knew you would come.
We all did." Helena said gently. "I just don't know as you're up to it,
that's all. You took one hell of a whack when that car went..."
"Don't." Robin shut his eyes,
clamping his hands over his ears. "Don't make me remember it again.
Lena. It's bad enough...just don't."
"I'm sorry." Helena bit her lip.
"Why are you here, anyhow?"
"We've all lost
you know." Helena shrugged her shoulders. "Not just you. We all want to
say goodbye. That's why Ma agreed to have her coffin here like this,
the funeral. She had so many friends, Rob...so many people to remember
"I don't want to
Robin whispered. "I want to take her home and...and have her wake up
this is all some crazy dream. Like it's not real...and she's not really
"It don't matter how much you
talk to her. This time she ain't never coming back to us." Helena's
trembled slightly as she finished her sentence, and a dark look touched
"I know." He said quietly.
"Sometimes God is one hell of an evil bastard."
"Robin!" Helena's eyes became
big. "Not here, not now. We all need our faith right at the minute -
in His hands now. We have to believe that. He has some other purpose
her - something we can't understand. We just have to...to trust in that
and learn to do without her. That's all."
"And what about the
Robin asked hoarsely, tears in his eyes. "What about my damn baby,
Does He have a special damn purpose for that as well?"
He clenched his fists,
the edge of the coffin helplessly.
"He could at least have taken me
"You're not up to this."
linked her arm in his, leading him away from the altar. "Robin, you
sit down. You're acting unlike yourself - you're starting to scare me."
"You tell me how you'd act
if it was Dennis in that coffin." Robin snapped. "Or one of your kids!
Both my wife and my child are there." He gestured angrily at the
casket. "That was everything I had in the world. My son...my daughter -
whichever it is, I'm never going to meet them or play Dad or do any of
those things. And Sian...we planned so many things, and we talked so
about growing old together. Now it can't happen. I'll grow old.
With that his anger broke down
and the tears began to fall. Gently Helena ushered him onto the end of
a pew, sitting down beside him.
"I know how you feel, I really do."
She murmured. "Sian and I were always close, Rob - you know that.
and youngest - it often happens that way. I thought the world of her
I'm lost without her. She brought sunshine wherever she went, and
a fact. I want her back here, too. But it can't be. She loved you more
than anyone...she would be the first one distraught to see you like
She didn't want to leave you - but you have to let her go."
"She needs you to." Helena
glanced across at the casket, then swallowed hard. "The last thing you
can do for your wife and the baby is to let them go to Heaven at peace.
And you're not alone with it. None of us blame you - you know that.
always have family with us, if you need us. We're all in this
Robin did not respond at
Then, at length, he raised his head.
"I know who's to blame." He
said darkly. "And I'll never forgive them...so long as I live, I swear
it. Here, in front of her and in front of God, too, if He's listening.
If that bastard comes to her funeral, I swear I'll kill him. I
"No more swearing, and
threats in God's house." Helena shook her head. "It was an accident,
"He was blind drunk!"
"It was an accident." Helena
repeated. "And people are starting to arrive."
She paused, then squeezed her
"Sian always said you were
strong." She murmured. "For her sake...prove it."
Chapter One: Memory
Chapter Two: Spies and Secrets
Chapter Three: Jack
Chapter Four: Flashback: The
Hartlin Bar, Carrowville
Chapter Five: Margot's Plan
Chapter Six: Confidences
Chapter Seven:Flashback: The
Chapter Eight: Fallout
Chapter Nine: Advice
Chapter Ten: A Friend In Need
Chapter Eleven: Logan
Chapter Twelve: Flashback: Sian's News
Chapter Thirteen: Ambush
Chapter Fourteen: Reconciliation
Chapter Fifteen: Flashback: Farewell
Chapter Sixteen: The Curse
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