Monday, 11 September 2017

Chapter 60c - Gen 2 - Granite


Lying next to Mace, while I am waiting for my heart rate and breathing to slow down and return back to normal, I glance over at him, wandering why he is abnormally quiet.  

He is just lying there, staring up at the ceiling.  I can already tell his head is going, because of the pained expression on his face, and the tears that are starting to well up in his eyes.

I really need to get some sleep, before I return to work, so I roll towards him, and lie my head on his shoulder, pretending that I have not noticed that he is starting to get upset.  

While I want to say something and ask him what is wrong, I have learned not to question him about what is going on his head.  It is always best to wait until he wants to tell me what is troubling him.  Most of the time he is just having a momentary blip and gets over it quickly.  If I try to push him to talk about it when he does not want to, he gets ratty and miserable, then he just shuts himself off and starts to wallows in self pity. 

His wallowing can last for days, even weeks sometimes, so I try to avoid pushing him there.


Mentally and emotionally, Mace has really struggled since losing the use of his legs.  I am still not sure that he has even come close, or ever will, fully come to terms with being paralysed.  

Some of the changes that being paralysed has made to his life, he has adapted to quite easily, others he has really struggle with.  Our sex life, and his inability to have a normal one, being one of the things that he has struggled with the most.  

That is normally and probably what is troubling him right now. 

It always frustrates me, knowing that he no longer gains any pleasure out of our improvised sex life.  It makes me feel very guilty, because I know in reality what we are doing, is only done for my benefit, and a lot of the time mentally it gets to him.  He does not feel anything below the waist and he is struggling to accept the things that he has lost and can not do any more.  When his head does go, I never know what to say to make him feel better about his situation or himself.  For me it is just as hard at times, having to watch him suffering, especially being a doctor, knowing that there is nothing that I can ever do to make this situation any better for him!!

As well as the frustration and the guilt, it also makes me angry.  Very angry with Gravel for ruining his life and paralysing him, leaving him with all this mental torment, that he has to live with for the rest of his life!!

I decide to try and distract his mind away from whatever is troubling him, while I do a necessary bit of fishing.  While he thinks us getting married is years away, it is only weeks away, and there are things I need to find out from him, which I need to try and do without giving the surprise away.


             "I guess we are going to be doing a lot of fighting over who's surname we will be taking, when we get married."  I mumble quietly.
             "Did you and Forrest fight over it?"
             "Yeah, for months ... strangely it was one of the very few arguments that I did win."   I laugh quietly  "So, I wander how long we will be having the Rock or Brownie debate for."
             "No debate necessary!!  I will change my name to Rock, quite happily!!"  he mumbles
             "Really?!"
             "Yeah, I just want rid of the name Brownie, so I can forget about my past!  I wanted to change my name when I was a child, but Dad would never let me, he said it was safer for everyone if I didn't connect myself to him by name."  he laughs quietly  "Besides Clay and Slate are Rock, it makes sense we all have the same surname."
             "Jasmine isn't a Rock."  I frown at him
             "Yeah, that is something I have been meaning to talk to you about.  We need to get Jasmine's name change to Rock legally, before I am locked up, or at least get the ball rolling."  he mumbles  "You deal with all the legal stuff, so can you get it sorted out for me ... I'll sign whatever."
             "Are you sure?"  I frown at him  "What about if she doesn't want to change her name!"
             "She is fine with it!!  I have already spoken to Jasmine about it, it is actually what she wants."   he smiles at me   "I will feel a lot more comfortable Jasmine not carrying the name Brownie around with her, it just makes her an easier target, for anyone who wants revenge on me!"
             "Okay, I'll go to the solicitors tomorrow and sort it out."  I smile at him

As I am  hovering over him, he sees me watching a single tear roll down his face, so I can no longer pretend I have not noticed how upset he is getting.


             "Your head is going again isn't it!"  he nods miserable as I wipe the tear off his face.
             "Yeah ... I'm just ... ignore me, it is just the normal."  he mumbles quietly
              "It is our sex life again isn't it?"
              "Yeah ... I ... why would you even want to saddle yourself and marry me, when I am like this?"  he chokes  "I am totally useless!!"
             "I am here and marrying you, because I love ALL of you, even the broken half!!  I have told you a thousand times, you being paralysed and what we can no longer do because of it, is never going to change the way I feel about you or make me leave ... and you are not useless!!"  I smile at him 
             "You say that now, but I am scared you will get fed up and leave me for someone who can give you what you need!"
             "Seriously Mace, that is never happening!!  You are all I need!!"  I frown at him  "I think you really need to start listening to your councillor.  Sex, you lay way too much importance on it, and are dwelling on it far too much!!  We need to take a break from it!!"  he goes to speak, but I put my hand over his mouth and don't let him  "Okay I know I started it this time, but nine times out of ten it is always you!!  You are constantly pushing for it, for all the wrong reasons, and every time we have done anything lately, it has messed your head up!!"  I frown at him  "It needs to stop, for your sake, until you have properly dealt with what has started to screw you up again!"
             "How can we stop ... you need ..."
             "Stop right there!!  I DO NOT need, because unlike you, I can live without sex, it is not the most important thing in my world!!"  I laugh at him

  
             "The only thing I need is you to be happy and to accept our lot for what it is!!"  I frown at him  "I know in that head of yours, you think you have to be doing it to keep me and make me happy, but you don't!!  Every time we do anything, it is only reminding you of what we can not do any more ... and while I can happily accept what we have now, you obviously still can not accept it!!"
            "That is easy for you to say ... you are not the one who can not feel anything any more!!"  he snaps
            "I'm sorry!!  I know I could never even begin to understand how you must be feeling or what you are going through mentally ... but what you need to realise is you are screwing yourself up unnecessary worrying over both me and our sex life!  You are spending way too much time worrying about what I am thinking and feeling, rather than concentrating on dealing with your own thoughts and feelings!!"
            "I can't help it ...  I am scared I will lose you because of it eventually!"
            "I promise you won't!!  Seriously, you need to deal with your own demons, forget about worrying about me, I am happy with our life right now ... I love you and I am not going anywhere!!"
            "How can you be happy with it?"
            "It is much better than the alternatives!!  Gravel has had a pop at ruining our lives and fading us both and failed, we are still here and together, rather than apart, one or both of us being six foot under.  I can live without sex, but I can not live without you!!  You need to remember that and make the most of what we have, instead of dwelling on all the shit and letting it drag you down!!"  I smile at him  "You also need to focus on what we have gained and reclaimed, not what we have lost!!  We have a life and future ahead of us, and three kids who need us, we can still be happy without a normal sex life!!"  I laugh quietly  "Besides I think you know, me being with you, even being paralysed, is way better than it ever was being with Forrest, in the bedroom department!!"  I smirk at him which makes him laugh  "I have always had a dysfunctional sex life, I can live with what we have now, so please stop worrying!!"
 
I start to kiss him hoping that is an end to the conversation for now, and he will at least think about what I have said.  I laugh in my head when his hands start to wander ... he just can' t help himself!!!



Our kissing is abruptly interrupted when one of our phones starts ringing.  

I sit up, knowing whichever of our two phones is ringing, I am going to have to be the one who gets up to answer it.  It does not take me long to work out it is my phone, because the ringing is coming from the clothes that are on the floor by my side of the bed.

I jump off the bed and riffle through my clothes to find my phone.  I stare at the name flashing on my screen and see it is Tapestry.

         "Tapestry.  So what can I do for our favourite orange Rock Star?!"  I mumble as I answer the phone  more for Mace's benefit, so that he knows who I am talking to.
          "You don't have this call on loud speaker do you?"
          "No why?"
          "I do not want Mace hearing some of what I have to say."   he laughs down the phone   "Sooooo ... I hear congratulations are in order."
         "What?!"
         "You have popped the question and Mace is now wearing his expensive shiny new ring ... so when is the big day?  I hope I am getting an invite!!"  he starts laughing  "If you need a hand springing your surprise wedding on Mace, give me a shout, you know I am good at acting think and keeping secrets."
          "How the HELL did you find any of that out??!!"
          "How do you think!  Sunny has just told me ... he was there watching you both."  he starts howling  "You writing Marry Me on his drawing board was pretty cute, and he said he is glad you both like the honey that he left you!"
          "Seriously!!"  I am so shocked by him knowing any of that, I don't know whether to laugh or cry  "What else did he tell you?"
          "Quite a bit ... I hope I gave you enough time and didn't disturb your ... fun!"


          "Seriously ... you need to tell Sunny to keep the hell out of our damn bedroom!!"  I snap, while Tapestry starts howling down the phone.  "This seriously is not at all funny ... how do we ever get any privacy with him lurking about!!  I am going to be too scared to do anything from now on just in case he is here and watching!!"
          "Don't stress!! They do not hang around and watch if that is what is worrying you!  While Sunny might enjoy watching your cute butt in action, the last thing he wants to see is his best mate Mace performing!!"  he starts howling again before he breaks into singing  "Granite and Sunny sitting in a tree ...  just think, he could touch you up and you would never know!!"
          "Sod off Tap, you twat!!!"  I laugh at him  "Sunny fancying me is one thing I will never believe, and you best had tell him to keep his transparent hands off me!!"
          "So you do believe my spirit friends are here then?"
          "Yeah ... I think I have to now!!"  I watch Mace who is staring at me suspiciously  "We have not even left this room yet to tell anyone ... so how else would you know already?  I have no choice but to believe you!!"
          "Good, because Sunny has a few things he needs to talk to you about, so I will need to be your go between so that you two can communicate with each other."
          "What things?"
          "I can't really say right now, it might shock you if I told you.  Sunny says he has been following you today, he was at the hospital with you before Forrest woke up, and has been with you ever since.  Besides what he originally wanted to discuss with you, he says he has seen and heard a few things today, that he needs to talk to you about."  

My blood suddenly runs cold ... if he has been following me all day, he must have seen me in the bathroom earlier ... he knows about the guns!!


          "Did Sunny tell you what he has seen or heard today?"
          "No, not yet, I guess I will find out when I am acting as your go between."
          "Why me?  Why does he keep following me?"
          "It is not just you he follows, he does the rounds, he spends a lot of time at yours because of Saffy, but like I have told you before, you have yourself a guardian angel because he is looking out for Mace."  he chuckles 
          "This is just madness, I feel like I am going off my rocker!!"
          "Think about how I feel, I can see and hear them!!  I have had them bugging me since I was a child, while everyone has been telling me I am insane!  Most still do!"  he chuckles to himself   "Anyway, we need to get together on the quiet, or Sunny is just going to keep doing my head in."
          "I can not do it today, I have work later, it will have to keep until tonight or tomorrow." 
          "I will be seeing you in a few hours anyway, after Forrest's test results have come back, so I'll talk to you about it then."  he mumbles  "Have you told Mace about the ghost thing?"
          "We have discussed it, but he doesn't believe me."
          "Well we need you to try and convince him, because Sunny wants to communicate with the both of you ... he says it is important."

I snap my phone shut, knowing, by the expression on his face,  that Mace is going to start.



          "What the HELL was that conversation about?"  he frowns at me
          "Tapestry .. he knows already that we are now engaged and exactly how I proposed."  I laugh as a point towards his drawing table.
           "Don't be so stupid!!"  he laughs at me  "How could he know!"
           "Straight up ... Sunny's spirit was here watching us, he told Tap.."
           "Seriously, don't even start with the ghost shit again!!"  he laughs at me  "You know I am REALLY starting to worry about yours and Tapestry's sanity lately, especially yours!!"
           "Trust me ... there is nothing wrong with my sanity!!"
           "You believe ghosts are real, you have just had a wacky conversation on the phone with Tap about Sunny ... and you say there is nothing wrong with your sanity!"  he really starts laughing
           "I did not believe it at first either, but Tapestry has convinced me.  He has proved to me that spirits are real.  They are here and watching us all the time!!!  Sunny is here and watching both of us a lot." 
           "No, I am sorry!!  You are off your head and you are never going to convince me that ghosts are real.  Especially that Sunny is here!!"  Mace is really laughing at me.  "I think I need to have a word with Mango or Forrest ... I need to get you sectioned ... you are barking!!"
           "Fine!!"  I hold my hands up  "I dare you to try!!  They will only laugh at you for trying, because Mango and Leafy also believe!!"  I smirk at him  
           "It must be this town ... it drives everyone insane eventually!"  he starts to laugh
           "Okay, don't believe me, I will just have to get Tapestry to prove it to you too!"  I smile at him  "Sunny wants to speak to us about something important apparently, so I guess you will get to believe it then."

He starts to have a fit of hysterics and while I sit watching him, I can not help but think, Tapestry phoning was a good thing ... at least it has distracted his mind away from what was troubling him a short time ago.


          "Talking about the faded ... today would have been my Mom's birthday."  Mace mumbles when he finally stops laughing
          "Baby, I am sorry, you should have said!!"  I frown at him.
          "It is not like I could do anything about it."  he mumbles quietly  "All the rigmarole just to get me into Apple to clear out my house, then they would not give me clearance to go into Apple again to bury Tami there.  So they are hardly likely to give me clearance just to go into Apple to put flowers on my Mother's grave are they!  Not that I have actually done that many times in my life!!"  he laughs quietly
          "If you had said, I could have done it for you."  I mumble  "I know it is not the same, but it is the thought that counts."
          "Like she ever gave me much thought!"
          "Do you miss her?" 
          "Yes and no ... she was my Mom.  Not that she was much of one most of the time!!  As parents go, I was definitely dealt two very shit ones!!"
          "Yeah, you were very dragged up, neglected and abused!"  I smile at him sympathetically  "Your Mother was one woman who used to constantly scare the hell out of me ..."
          "Me too, her beatings were worse than Fudge's." 
          "I remember all the straight guys used to fall over themselves where she was concerned!!  She turned heads and even I had to admit that she was beautiful to look at, but she was as hard as nails at the same time.  She is the only woman I have ever known that could drink all of us blokes under the table any day of the week."  I laugh quietly
          "That is because, she was like you, an alcoholic  ... Oh Man, I have seen you in some states in the past!"  he starts to really laugh  "I saw exactly how hammered you used to get yourself!!  I remember Forrest too, he has always been a total ass, and I have really struggled over the past five years to understand how he could have been your Mr Perfect!!"  

I frown at him in a weird way, wandering how he could possibly remember Forrest.


           "Do you seriously remember me, from when you was a kid?"
           "Yeah, of course I do, how can I not remember you!"  he laughs at me  "I'm actually pretty amazed that you never recognised me or worked out who I was!  Just look at me, I see my old man's face quite clearly every time I look in the mirror!"  he laughs  "Then again, I guess we have the booze and drugs to thank for you not knowing me, you was constantly off your head.  I bet you don't even remember me from in amongst your drunken haze do you?!"
             "Actually I do remember that snotty nosed little kid who used to call me Granti.  you used to come on jobs with us, crawl through holes we couldn't get through, and steal our booze!"  I smirk at him  "I really don't understand myself why I never realised who you are.  I do see your old man's face when I look at you now, and I don't know why I couldn't see it until it was pointed out to me!!  However, I will admit that I did forget you existed over the years, I tried to wipe my criminal past away and I did totally forget all about Fudge's two kids!"
             "Granti?" he frowns at me
             "Yeah, that is what you used to call me, you could never say Granite, until you got older"  I laugh at him  "So how do you remember me, and why would you even remember Forrest?  He never came into Apple with me."  I frown at him in confusion.
              "Believe it or not, there has hardly been a year in my life when you haven't been a part of it somehow.  You was there from virtually my first memories, until you got locked up and I have seen your face virtually every day since I was eleven years old, it was very hard to forget you."  he grins at me  "Dad has photographs of you everywhere.  I have lost count of the times I used to watch him sat crying over those photographs of you, just like he does now over Tami's."  he pulls a face at me  "Tami had a few of you too, on the wall in our house in Apple, which you might know used to really nark Gravel, as there were none of him!!"  this makes me laugh  "Before that I remember you very clearly, because you was the only one who was ever nice to me.  You used to talk to me, play with me and bring me things, toys, colouring books and sweets.  It is probably your fault I started drawing, because they never bought us stuff like paper and pencils, you did."  he starts laughing  "I actually still have something, in the attic at Dads, that you gave me, the only teddy bear that I had when I was a child ..."  I snigger at him in amusement  "... you actually gave me my best and worst days when I was a kid."


              "Really?!  How did I?"
              "The worst day ... it is your fault I am terrified of clowns!!"  I stare at him blankly for a moment then I remember, which makes me laugh
              "Oh fudge ... I remember, your old man thought it would be a good idea at one of your birthday parties to have everyone dress up as clowns ..."  I continue laughing  "He had me jumping out of that large box when you tried to open it."  I start howling  "You screamed the place down, pissed yourself and ran off like a big girls blouse crying to Mommy."
              "It terrified me, a great big clown jumping out at me.  I thought they had actually brought me a decent present for a change, instead I'm scared half to death as a joke!!  Mom dragged me inside and paled me for wetting myself and sent me to bed!!  Happy Birthday Mace!!"

We lie there laughing at each for a while.

            "At least you got birthday parties!"
            "Yeah, it was just another excuse for them to have a piss up, especially Mom, and the guests brought birthday presents, which saved them the job!"  I start laughing at him. 
            "I'm surprised you don't hate me if I'm responsible for your clown phobia."
            "Naaah, it's not like you was being intentionally nasty.  It did traumatise me at the time, and since then I have been terrified of clowns, but I can now see the funny side of the joke myself."
            "And the best days?" I mumble
            "It was actually more than a day, I think ... it felt like being in heaven!!  I remember I didn't want to go home back to them."  I frown at him  "I'm not even sure how old I was, I think you might have been looking after me."  he smiles at me  "You bought me to Sugar Valley, I remember because it was the first time I saw a mixed berry.  This is how I remember Forrest, and the first time I saw him.  He was mean and nasty, he kept calling me a brat.  You took me to a green and brown house, and he was there ... thinking about it now, it was this house probably!"  he laughs quietly  "He went ballistic at you for taking me there.  You sat me in front of the television with a big tub of chocolate ice cream while you went into another room with him and had a yelling match ... I even remember hearing things smashing.  He didn't want me there and after a huge argument, he kicked us out and told you not to come back until you had got rid of me."  he starts to chuckle.  "You took me to another house, and there was a really nice lady there, she was orange, I always think about her when I see that colour."  he smiles at me  "I remember sleeping there, in a big fluffy bed."  he starts to laugh


            "Really, you remember that!!  I am very surprised you would because I think you must have been only five years old at the most.  The orange lady was Amber, Gravel's wife."  I smile at him  "Forrest would not entertain me baby sitting you for even a few hours, not only because you was Fudge Brownies child, but because you was a child full stop!!"  he smiles at me  "You are right, he did kick me out, so I took you round to Gravel's and we stayed there until you could go home."
              "Why was you even looking after me?"
              "Your Mom was taken very ill, she collapsed and she was rushed into hospital.  I was there when it happened, so Fudge asked me to look after you while he went to the hospital with her.  It was actually a week that I ended up looking after you for, while the situation sorted itself out.  Tarragon stayed with one of your Uncles."
              "What happened to Mom?"
              "Pregnancy gone wrong, she had an ectopic pregnancy.  Obviously she lost the baby and nearly faded herself in the process.  It was actually touch and go with her for a few days, they weren't sure if she was going to survive at one point."  he raises his eyebrows at me  "The reason why there is only the two of you, she could not have any more children after that, and it was the only time I ever saw Fudge Brownie fall to pieces or show the slightest bit of emotion, like he had a heart!!"  I frown at him then  "Why did you say it felt like heaven?"
             "I think you know I was dragged up and not taken very good care of by my parents.  Those few days when I was with you and Amber, it left a very big impression on me, it is still in my head very vividly, even now.  It was like being in a different world, a much better world than I normally lived in ... although I don't remember Gravel being in it, only you and Amber."  I frown at him for a second while I try to remember  "I was washed and kept clean, I was dressed in clean clothes that smelled nice, I was fed decent food and fussed over.  I was put to bed properly in that big fluffy bed, you or Amger read to me until I went to sleep, and nobody hit me or shouted at me for wetting the bed."  he rolls his eyes  "I remember Amber, she kept singing, hugging and kissing me ... I was not used to any of that."


           "Gravel was around, I guess he was at work a lot and didn't have much to do with you.  Amber, she was baby mad, she thought you was so cute and wouldn't leave you alone.  She would have kept you if she could have done, she did fuss over you proper!"  I laugh  "We both enjoyed having you there, we were both very much like minded in the children department - something we both wanted and were without for different reasons."
          "I wanted to stay there, I loved being there, especially that I wasn't ignored, shouted at and beat up all the time.  I felt loved and wanted all the time, especially by Amber, which I never felt at home.  I remember you taking me to the zoo, swimming and to this fun place ... we played in lots of balls and ate lots of ice cream."  he starts laughing
          "You are remembering the ball pit at the indoor adventure playground over in Sugar Falls ... I used to love that place when I was a kid, and you was my excuse to go there again.  I actually took you there most days during that week."  he smiles at me as I really start to laugh  "Oh fudge ... this is just all too funny!!  Whoever would have thought that I would end up marrying that snotty little kid one day!!"
         "Yeah, it is a little funny!"  he laughs quietly  "Although, Lettuce kind of predicted it, even if he only meant it as a joke, and he faded because of it ... he faded because of us." 
         "How did he?"  I frown at him  "I heard Fudge faded him but, I don't remember when, how or why.  Mob members went permanently missing all the time, it was always better for me just not to ask how or why."
         "No you probably wouldn't remember, as usual you was totally hammered!!"  he laughs at me  "It was a few years before you all got locked up, I was probably about nine at the time and I remember it so vividly because him fading Lettuce is the reason I have such a problem with blood, and why I have always desperately tried to hide the fact I am gay.  Fudge made me stand there and watch him slit his throat, he forced me to watch him bleed out, then after Lettuce had faded, the berry hole made me clean up the blood!!  He threatened me too, he warned me that if I did turn out gay, that is how I would meet my end."


         "That's a bit ruff!!"  I mumble  "I don't understand ... why did he fade him and what did it have to do with me and you?"
          "In the middle of one of your crazy group drinking sessions, Dad told me to get more booze ... I handed you a can, like I did to everyone else, and as usual you was the only one who said thank you, and you smiled at me.  Lettuce was watching you and said, "Fudge, you want to watch those two with them both being gay, Granite will be shagging your boy in a few years!!"  My Dad did not take it too well."
         "No, he wouldn't have!!  Fudge was very homophobic, and we could all see you was a little gay boy in the making, Fudge could see it too, he just didn't want to admit it to himself or anyone else.  Lettuce was an idiot for saying it out loud and making a joke of it."  I frown at him  "I actually vaguely remember him saying that now you remind me.   How do you know that is the reason why he faded him, what did he do, leave it a while then get him."
          "No!  You was actually there when he did it, but you was out of it, unconscious on the sofa."  he laughs at me as I frown at him  "When Dad started laying into him, as usual, you jumped in trying to stop the fight, the rest jumped on you and dragged you away.  I don't know if they knocked you out or if you passed out because of how drunk you were.   They dumped you on the sofa, and all I could see, you was out of it.  Fudge faded Lettuce right there and then."  he chokes  "At first he told him he was going to cut his tongue out for even suggesting I might be gay, but Lettuce must have been feeling brave, because he gave him a mouthful, saying that he had only said what everyone was thinking ... they could all see it.  Lettuce accused Fudge of being a coward for not admitting that he could also see it ... so Fudge just slit his throat ... end of conversation!!!"  he rolls his eyes  "By the time you woke up, the body had been moved, the blood had been cleaned up and they were all sat there drinking again ... too scared to mention the subject again."
          "He was a berry hole your old man!!  I never quite understood why he put up with me being gay.  His brother's didn't give a shit, and I was more mates with them, but Fudge - he was on a level with Sunny's homophobic act."


          "It was Gravel obviously!!  Why do you think you was the only one who could ever give Fudge a mouthful and get away with it.  How many times did you go for him, nobody else would have lived to tell the tale once, you was constantly going for him, I've seen you two battering each other many times.  If anyone else had done that other than Gravel, they would have been six foot under a few hours later because of a knife in their back.  Your morals too use to drive him insane, your "I'm not fading anyone for you or your shit reasons, go find some other mug to do your dirty work!" line, used to totally crack me up!!  Especially as he had to walk away without touching you for saying no to him, nobody else would have got away with that!!"  Mace laughs and I have to laugh at him for even remembering I used to say that  "The hidden one made it very clear, you was not to be touched by anyone for any reason, especially Fudge - and if any of them did, they would all pay, and not just them, their families too."
          "Yeah I realise now, that was the reason, but back then I didn't know that Gravel was the hidden one."
         "I used to ear wig on Gravel and Fudge's conversations all the time.  That is how I found out you and Gravel were related, It took me a while to work out you were brothers.  You know Gravel used to decide which jobs you went on - if Gravel was going on the job, they would spike your drink, to knock you out, so they could leave you behind.  You used to wake up thinking you had just got yourself totally hammered, but you hadn't, you'd been spiked."

I just lie there staring at him for a moment.

         "Did Gravel do a lot of jobs with them?"
         "Not too many, but he did most of the big risky jobs, his police connection, saved the mobs skin many a time, especially from getting caught by the law, because Gravel was one step a head of them, listening in on his radio thing."
         "Mace .... your memory seems pretty good, and if you can remember all that stuff with Amber from when you was four or five ... I wander if you can remember something that happened when you was about six?"  I frown at him  "Your Dad took you on a job ... I was hammered so I didn't go."  I laugh sarcastically thinking now,, that was probably one of those times I was spiked.  "The job went wrong, they were nearly caught by the law and they hacked down a dozen police officers, and we lost three of the mob."  he frowns at me  "When they got back, your Dad started really paling you, worse than I have ever seen him do it before, he blamed you for it all going wrong.  I tried to stop him hitting you, so he paled me for interfering, and I ended up taking you home with me.  Forrest kicked off that time too, but we ended up taking you to the hospital so he could stitch you up and put your arm in plaster.  I'm hoping you might remember because Fudge broke your left arm."  he lies there thoughtfully frowning for a moment.  "He full force punched you in the face, you lost a few teeth, which you adamantly held onto for the tooth fairy!"  I start to laugh remembering


          "Oohh I remember ... I got more chocolate ice cream while you and Forrest had another argument  ... I slept in another fluffy bed and before I went to sleep we watched cartoons and you drew a big smiley face on my plaster.  The tooth fairy came too!!"  he grins at me which makes me laugh.  "That was when you gave me the teddy bear, Forrest kicked off over that too!!"
          "Why do you keep saying fluffy bed?"  I laugh at him
          "Thick comfortable mattress, pillows and quilts, on a proper bed."  he laughs  "It felt like I was on a big fluffy cloud or giant marshmallow compared to what I was used to ... a thin, hard, lumpy, damp mattress on the floor, no pillow and just a quilt cover without a quilt.  They told me I couldn't have a proper bed until I stopped wetting myself at night."  I just chuckle at him as he rolls his eyes.
          "Yeah, that is the time and I did play tooth fairy, and draw a smiley face on your plaster, I forgot about that." we laugh at each other  "You kept crying on the way to the hospital, probably because of the pain.  You actually threw up all over me in the back of the car.  Forrest drove by the supermarket first, so we could get you some new clothes.  I had to get you out of your dirty clothes, that were soaked from you wetting yourself and they were covered in puke and blood.  That is when I bought you the teddy, I thought it might help calm you down."  I smile at him  "Do you remember the job that he took you on?  What did you do ... why did he blame you for it all going wrong?"
          "Oh fudge!"  he starts to laugh suddenly  "We was in a really dark, cold, empty horrible place ... "
          "The old deserted warehouse, over in no mans land."  I mumble
          "I don't know, it could have been.  I saw a rat, and a spider ... a BIG spider ran up my leg ..."
           "Let me guess, you peed yourself and screamed the place down!!"  I start to laugh at him
           "Yeah we was hiding and Fudge was furious with me, because I advertised the fact that we was there."  he stares at me thoughtfully for a moment 
           "Was Gravel there?"
           "I don't know, I can't remember.  "Why?"
           "I ... that night, after your Dad finished paling me, the reason I took you home with me, he was that angry with you, he threw you at me and told me to dump you in Apple Lake along with the evidence .... a bagful of guns used during the job."  I pull a face  "I think I might be in trouble, something from my criminal past could very well still catch up with me ... I still have the evidence from that job."
           "WHAT?!"  he frowns  "You still have the guns?"



           "Yeah, I have checked, Forrest has never found them over the past twenty years."  his eyes widen  "I have three hiding places in this house ... under floor boards, where I used to hide things, especially drugs, booze and weapons.  Forrest has no idea they are there."
           "Do you have hiding places at home?"   he frowns at me
           "No!!"  I laugh at him  "I don't need them do I!!  I have nothing to hide, not like when I lived here and in a criminal life."
           "So where are they .... the guns?"
           "In the bathroom upstairs ... underneath the floorboards under the bath."
           "It is madness that they are still there after all this time?"  he frowns at me
           "Yeah I know.  The bathroom one was the most secure and hardest to find, he wouldn't have found it without ripping out the bath, which he obviously hasn't.  I think if Leafy had found the ten guns he would have gone ballistic and said something to me by now."
           "TEN .. guns!!"  he almost chokes
           "Yeah ten!"  I mumble  "The police raided this house when I was arrested and they obviously didn't find any of my hiding places, or I would have been charged with a lot more.  I have been in two of my hiding places, the one in Atlas and Saff's room, I know Forrest never found it, because there was a big bag of coke and a bottle of vodka still in there, that I left in there over twenty years ago ..."
          "WHAT?!"  he snaps  "You have coke and booze upstairs??!!"
          "Don't panic!!  They have gone!!  They have been disposed of and I did not touch either of them before you even ask!!"
          "You had better be telling me the truth!!"  he snaps
          "I am I promise ... they have gone and I never touched them!!"
          "You said you have three hiding places ... so where is the other one."  I sit laughing for a moment before I point across the room.
          "Under that wardrobe."  I laugh
          "Tell me there is nothing nasty under there."
          "Maybe, maybe not ... I honestly can't remember if I have anything hidden in there ... that was my least favourite hiding place.  If I did leave anything in there it will probably be a bottle of vodka at the most."  I stare at him  "I gave up using the one in this room for anything important after Gravel switched my stash of coke for bicarb ... shit that hurt when it went up my nose."


           "Gravel knew about that hidey hole?"  he frowns at me
           "Yeah, he caught me going into it once, I didn't even realise he had until I suffered from him switched my stash.  He had sneaked into the house like the slimy berry hole that he is, and I hadn't seen him do it."
           "Does Gravel know about your other two hiding places?"
           "No, I don't think ... only this one."  I laugh  "I have honestly let those three hiding places slip my mind over the years, especially what I still have hidden in the bathroom.  Leafy is planning to sell this house after the trial, before they move to Berry Shores ... I need to get rid of everything, before it is found by anyone."
         "Yes you do ... you are an IDIOT!!!"  he snaps  "The last thing we need is you getting banged up too ... who's going to look after Clay and Jasmine, and what is it going to do to Slate!!"  he really frowns at me  "Why in hells name would you even keep the guns from that job anyway!!"
         "I was being stupid at the time.  Nine came back off the job ... ten guns went into the bag.  The extra gun that Fudge dropped into the bag, I probably wouldn't have taken any notice of, but it looked exactly like a gun Dad used to have ... it had a marble patterned grip.  I kept the bag because of that gun, it spooked me."
         "It couldn't have been your Dad's old gun."  he laughs at me
         "Yeah I thought that, but still ...."  I roll my eyes  "However, I am beginning to think now it actually could be Dad's gun.  I asked him about it - it was a one off, made for him specially by his Dad, and he gave that gun to Gravel when he first turned up on his door step.  You said they spiked me when Gravel did jobs with them ... I was probably spiked for that job, because I was hammered and didn't go with them ... I think Gravel used that gun and gave it to Fudge to dispose of it with all the rest.."
         "Oh Berry!!"  he frowns at me  "Did you say a dozen police officers were slaughtered?"
         "Yeah ..."  I mumble  "I never wiped the prints off the guns either."
         "The finger prints probably wouldn't be there still after all this long, I don't think ... but ballistics will still be able to match bullets to guns."  he frowns at me  "Gran, at the least you could get done for being an accessory and witholding the evidence - IF they believe your story!!  Police Officers were faded - you are done for if you are caught with them, they will probably throw the book at you!!  You might even end up taking the rap for it, everyone who took part in the job is either faded or locked up now, so how are you going to prove you didn't even do the job?"


          "Yeah I know."  my eyebrows raise a little  "You went on that job remember ..."
          "I was six year old ... do you really think they will believe a twenty five year old memory from the man who is in love with you?"
          "No I guess not!!"  I laugh at him

We both lie there for a while quietly thinking, I can see the worry now written all across Mace's face.  The more I think about this situation, the sicker I am beginning to feel.

          "Gravel knows about that hiding place."  Mace points towards the wardrobe  "You do realise don't you, that is exactly where the police found most of the evidence they have to back up some of the cases ... under the floorboards in Gravels house!"  he laughs  "Obviously he copied your sneaky trick!!"
          "How do you know that they found stuff hidden under Gravel's floorboards?"  I frown at him
          "Dad told me ... he asked me if I knew that is what he was doing."  I frown at him  "He asked me because he thought I might know if there is anywhere else that he could have been hiding stuff."
          "Why do they think there is more?"
          "Yeah, there is still a lot of evidence missing, it is more than likely that Gravel destroyed the evidence, but there is always a change that they could find something.  Plus Dad is very miffed over something, and I don't think he will rest until he finds it, not that I think he ever will!!  Tami's jewellery, it wasn't on her body when they found her ... wedding, engagement and two other rings, a gold bracelet, two necklaces and a locket.  Even her nose stud, tongue and belly bars and earrings were missing."  he closes his eyes for a moment  "The locket that she wore in particular, it is an antique, it was your Dad's Grandmothers.  It has been past down quite a few generations apparently, he wanted it to go to Jasmine eventually.  Monetary value it is worth quite a bit, but sentimentally it is worth a hell of a lot more to your Dad.  He hoped her jewellery would turn up in amongst Gravel's possessions but it didn't!"  he laughs  "Ironically the pictures inside the locket were of you and Slate."
          "Why me and Slate?"  I frown at him
          "The two people missing out of her life ... so she carried you around with her close to her heart.  She was a romantic and very sappy sometimes!!"  he starts to really laughs  " She was always very fascinated with the idea of both of you, especially you.  Slate for obvious reasons she couldn't have anything to do with, to keep Dad's identity a secret ... it hurt her that she couldn't have either of you in her life."

I just lie quietly looking at Mace who smiles at me 

   
         "I think you best had check that hidey hole of yours ... what about if the berry hole has been using that since you left.  He could have left you with a whole lot more shit to sort out!!"
          "Oh Hell!!  I never even thought about that!"

I jump off the bed and stand staring at the wardrobe.

He wouldn't, would he?!

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Boolprop Sim Nano
Update # 2
Word count = 5,119 + 8,107 = 13,226
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