Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Chapter 50 part 5 - Gen 2 - Tapestry

I glance at my watch with irritation.  Dad and Slate are looking after Jasmine and Clay for us today, while we are supposed to be having a day out and some time to ourselves, without my usual chaperone.  While Dad trusts us not to do anything stupid, and is perfectly happy to give us some freedom we still had to sneak off out after Forrest went to work, because he wouldn't have been happy if he had known that we planned a day out alone, just the two of us, trying to make the most of the short time we have left before my trial begins, and that Dad was allowing it to happen. 

The last few hours of our 'day of freedom' has not only been wasted, but has also passed by very slowly, because for the most part I have been sat here alone, going crazy with my own thoughts, while my back has been turned towards everything that is going on behind me around Sunny's deceased body.  Granite turning my wheelchair around so I don't have to watch what is happening, something that I have actually been grateful for, because it has stopped anyone seeing me getting upset and crying.  I couldn't help but think about how upset Tamarin would have been over Sunny fading, like he has been with her passing.

Granite amused me by confiscating my phone so that I couldn't phone anyone or answer incoming calls, to stop me from telling anyone about Sunny fading.  He said that forensics had to do their job first, then the police would inform the family and I was not to start gossiping about it.  Granite being here and a high ranked medical professional, he got roped into the proceedings and Mango also turned up and got involved once he had composed himself after initially cracking up.

Telling anyone Sunny has faded is the furthest thing from my mind!!  It is the can of lies and deception that his fading is going to open up, his double life that is going to be exposed which will destroy his family, that is what is worrying me the most.  So much so, it has even taken my mind off my impending trial and prison sentence which I am dreading.

After the authorities have done what they had to do, and taken Sunny's deceased body away, Granite is finally free to come back to me.  He smiles at me, then stands in front of my chair while he stares behind me towards the steps with a far away look in his eye.  I sit watching him silently for a few minutes.

      "El kills me, she is supposed to be on maternity leave.  She is supposed to be at home with her feet up, so I was very surprised when she did actually turn up to deal with this."
      "It's my fault, I didn't think about the baby bump when I phoned her.  However, it was a good thing really, Crimson is in charge today so it spared him from having to see this.  El managed to rally everyone round without him knowing, her first job is going back to the station to tell Crimson about Sunny fading - which she is not looking forward to."
     "They always suspect first those who found the body, and they know Sunny was always fighting with us gay guys, so they don't think we had anything to do with Sumny fading do they?"
     "No, don't be sillly!!  I think El knows us well enough by now, besides he faded at least two hours before we found him.  We were at home with Dad and everyone else and El said herself she thinks she was actually gassing with you on the phone around about the time we think it happened, so we are in the clear.  There was actually a lot of talk about that Manderine woman who vanished and they never caught after Tapestry and Honey's abduction, so if it does start to look suspisious I think it will be pinned on her."
     "Oh yeah, I forgot about her ... oh berry, you don't think she is coming back at them do you?"
     "I bloody hope not!!  At the moment they think it was an accident, there is no evidence of anything suspicious, all the medical and forensic evidence points towards him falling down those stairs, which broke his neck.  The break is visibly severe, so me and Mango both think he would have faded instantly, we just have to wait for the autopsy to confirm it.  Mango has gone with his body so I think he is going to help River to do the autopsy."  he mumbles
      "Is that wise, Mango doing the autopsy?  He got himself into a right state when he first got here."
      "You know what Mango is like when he gets a bee in his bonnet, he more than most wants to rule out foul play and he'll never be satisfied unless he does it himself!!"  he mumbles still not taking his eyes off the steps.

    "Baby where is your head at?"
     "I really don't understand why the homophobic berry hole would have been using the old road steps.  Even Mango said it, there is only generally two reasons any adult goes up there ... looking for their kids or when they are having a secret fling and banging someone in the woods!!  You don't think he was having an affair with someone do you, after all everyone else seems to be in this town, so I doubt he was any different!?"

This makes me laugh for a moment.  Oh if only he knew Sunny's secret!!  I seriously need to tell him, I can't keep it to myself any longer, especially when I know what is coming.  Maybe he can help me to work out a way to defuse it, somehow.

     "Mace ... have you been crying?"  he frowns at me  "Tell me you have been crying because that homophobic berry hole has faded!!"
     "You know me, it doesn't take much to set me off!!  Watching Mango virtually collapse cracked me up, and its just too soon after Tami."  I smile at him and try to change the subject away from me getting upset, until I have told him about Sunny's other life and my involvement in it he is never going to understand it.  "So what is actually up there anyway?"
     "Just the woods and a stretch of unused road that has long since seen a car, because it was closed off at both ends before I was born, hence why it is called the old road.  We used to play up there when we were kids, its where we hid when we bunked off school, where we used to drink and smoke.  I actually used to meet your Uncles up there when they were dealing drugs in this town ... and of course the older teenagers and adults use the woods as a knocking shop, day and night."  he raises his eyebrows  "Hell when I think about how many times I've been high, hammered or both and staggered up and down those steps ... it's frightening!!"

Granite seems to switch off again, as he stares off into space.  I laugh at him for a moment

      "That isn't completely where your head is at though is it.  You are worrying about your green thing kicking off when he finds out we have broken our promise and been out flaunting our relationship in public ... because someone forgot themselves didn't they Granite ..."  I laugh at him and he starts to laugh with me.
      "Yeah, I did forget myself didn't I!!  I was overwhelmed with emotion, seeing Sunny lay there like that, I had horrible flashbacks of you lying on Gravels living room floor not breathing.  It reminded me of how I felt, thinking you had faded on me, and I lost my head for a moment."  he smiles at me  "Yes, Forrest is going to be furious, but it's not like we can avoid him finding out - when we had to tell that policeman, about us being sat making out on the bench when we heard Sunny's phone start ringing." he smirks at me  "Did you see that policeman's face, he even tutted."  he starts laughing again  "El will be round later, in an official capacity, to take a statement off both of us, so no doubt Forrest is going to hear it then, or off somebody else."  he pulls a face 
       "I wandered what you was doing!!  I nearly pissed myself when you sat on my lap and started kissing me for everyone to see ..."  we both laugh   "What was Mango's problem anyway, he knows the truth about us being together and you and your green thing being over, but he looked far from impressed and called you away like a naughty child!!"
      "He is just a stuffed shirt, he doesn't agree with public displays of affection, but I think it was more for the fact that we were being a little disrespectful Mace, us sat kissing while the homophobic berry hole's body lay only feet away, a little like I am being now, calling him a homophobic berry hole, which I really need to stop!!" he mumbles   "Besides, Mango was trying to stop us from giving ourselves away in public, even though he thinks Forrest is being as pathetic as we do."  he frowns at me  "Baby please STOP calling him my green thing, you know damn well, it winds me up!!"
      "Why are we still continue to help Forrest play his stupid game anyway, just so that he can keep face, stopping him from looking stupid for being dumped and divorced ... which is pathetic by the way, when I'm the one looking stupid instead."  I pull a face at him  "While he continues to look hard done by, we get the dirty looks and he gets the sympathy!!  I'm getting annoyed with it!!"
      "You kill me, you who had me playing a fantasy bullshit fairytale romance for his friends benefit, hiding our real relationship while you made us out to be loves young dream ... what we are doing for him is no different!!"

      "That was different!"
      "How was it?!  We are playing exactly the same game here!!  Look, everyone will find out the truth eventually, he can't hide it for ever, and we don't have to play it for much longer!!"  he raises his eyebrows at me  "At the end of the day when the truth about him does get out, a hell of a lot of people in this town are going to get hurt, especially Slate and Bay, who I'm trying to protect here more than most, so the longer we can help prevent it getting out the better!!"  he frowns at me  "I thought we were on the same page with this?!"
      "We are, but it is just winding me up, especially knowing he is going to give us hell when we get back and he has no damn right to!!   I hate that it is only you, me, Dad and Mango that know the truth about who and what he really is ... I want everyone to know he is a straight, lying, backstabbing, twisted, slimy, berry hole!!  Sparks will be flying later when he starts, the mood I'm in.   I'm not going to be able to hold my tongue, especially as I know he is STILL messing about with those two on the quiet, its ridiculous, he is basically holding us to ransom with his own damn secrets!!!  You still wearing that damn ring gets my back up every time I see it!!"
      "Please Mace, we need to be making the most of the time we have left before they bang you up, not you causing arguments and drama setting him off again.  There is enough going on around us don't you think, and don't think I am enjoying this because I'm not, especially having to wear his ring!!  It is bad enough that we have to go home and face him kicking off at us for "showing him up" in public, without you saying something and making it worse!  The way you two go at it the whole house is going to hear and the very last thing that the extended family need to learn right now on top of Sunny fading is what Leafy has been up to and particularly who with!!!"  he laughs  "Anyway, don't forget you are the one who started keeping his secrets first, and you are not the only one who is being made to look stupid here.  I walked back into this town with you, looking like a heartless adulterer, I've just made myself look like an even bigger cheating rat!!  So what if everyone thinks you have been dumped and I'm a cheat, as long as we know the truth, does it really matter?!  Besides, he is going to look pretty damn stupid when I take off back home and especially when we get married.  It will get out eventually that we have never broken up and me and Forrest really were over, while he is pretending otherwise  ... all he has done is prolonged the inevitable which will make him look even more foolish in the process.

     "Aww but, you know I don't completely trust that what you say is happening, will actually happen, and he definitely doesn't think that it will either!!  You know what his game is don't you - he's waiting for me to get locked up then he's going to pounce big time - take control of you again, keep you here and then it's game over!!  I seriously don't get what his problem is or why the straight guy even wants you!!  If you ask me, he needs putting in a loony bin, he is certifiably obsessed!!"
     "He still does not get the emotional attachment thing, he still thinks he loves me." he frowns at me for a while.  "You know it really hurts me that you don't trust me or my word!!  You know the only reason we are not married already is because he is being so damn awkward with the divorce ... I really don't know what else I can do to prove it to you!!"  he frowns at me
      "I'm sorry!!  It's not you I don't trust it's him and his games, he knows your weaknesses and he knows how to play you!!"
      "Just don't you stress over it, he can play all the games he likes, but it won't ever get him anywhere, do you seriously think Dad would let me go back there!!"  he laughs at me  "It was different when it was just me, I now have us and a family to fight for and I know I have to do the right thing for Slate, Amber, Jasmine, Clay, especially staying sober, so the minute you get sent down, we are out of here, I promise!!"  he smiles at me   "I love you not him, I'd rather fade than go back to that dirty cheat and crappy life!!  He has totally broken me, my mind and trust.! I just want to go home and forget he even existed, he has never been the person I thought he was.  I'm an idiot!!"  he laughs at himself  "We need to just keep playing his game for him and humouring him till we are out of this dump.  He is a control freak remember so it is best we just keep playing it his way, let him think he is getting his own way, that way we get a quiet life ... don't forget we will be the ones getting the last laugh in the end!!"

He smirks as he sits across my lap.

     "Anyway, why are we even wasting our day of freedom and time talking about him.  The coast is now clear and we are alone again, so we could be doing better things with our mouths!!"
     "Don't you even think about kissing me."  I try to hold him off  "While we are alone, I really need to talk to you about something important, while there is nobody around who might over hear!!"
     "Whatever it is, it can wait till later!!"  he smirks at me  "We have over an hour to kill before that movie starts at the cinema that you want to see, and I don't want to kill that time talking ... play your cards right and I might even consider taking you up into the woods."
     "Hell No!!  Are you mad!?  After what has just happened to Sunny, there is NO WAY that you are carrying me up and down those steps!!"

I tried to protest but he shuts the conversation off and starts to kiss me.  We hadn't been sat there kissing for very long when one of our phones start ringing.  Granite has both of our phones in his pocket, so he takes out the offending phone and jumps off my lap to answer it.

      "No this isn't Mace.  Hold on I'll just pass him the phone."  he mumbles as he stares at the screen for a moment then passes me my phone with a frown on his face.
      "Hey Mace, who was that, the boyfriend?"  I recognise Mustards voice straight away, and my stomach rolls.  He is the very last person that I need or want to be talking to right now!! 
       "Hi Mustard, yeah, that was Granite"  I laugh
       "You are still in the colour mix dump aren't you?"
       "Yes I am still confined to Sugar Valley unfortunately."  I mumble a I watch Granite watching me suspiciously
       "I don't suppose you've seen Sunny today, I seem to have lost him."  he laughs as I cringe because of what he's just said. "I spoke to him first thing, and he said he was running late.  When he didn't turn up I called him but he wasn't answering his phone and now it is switched off.  We have somewhere we really need to be and the last thing I want to be doing is coming into the hornets nest to try and find him."
       "No, I'm sorry Mustard, I haven't seen Sunny today."  this has Granite really frowning.
       "Oh well it was worth a try.  I guess he will turn up like a bad penny soon enough with some stupid excuse, as per usual." he laughs
        "Mustard, I am out in town and in the middle of something, do you mind if I phone you back later when I get home?"
         "Yeah of course, I'm sorry I didn't think to ask if you are busy."
         "It's fine.  I'll keep my eye open for Sunny, on the way home.  If I see him I'll kick his but back in your direction."
          "Okay mate, thanks.  I'll speak to you later."

We end the call and I snap my phone closed in relief.  Granite amuses me, snatching my phone off me and starts to go through it before he throws it back at me.

         "That sounded dodgy!!  So come on who the hell is this Mustard Maize and why is he asking you about Sunny?"  Granite frowns at me  "How long has his number been in your phone, I haven't heard you mention him before!!  Is he gay?"
         "You really need to stop this - you are beginning to act and sound like a paranoid bitch."
         "Says you who has given me hell for years and constantly checks through my phone when you think I'm not looking ... besides is it any wander I am now very paranoid after everything that has been hidden from me, and especially finding out what he was doing behind my back virtually since the day we got married!!"
        "Yeah well I'm not him and you know damn well I'm not - and if you had let me talk to you about that important something I mentioned instead of kissing me, you would know who Mustard is by now."
        "So come on ... WHO is he?" he snaps
        "Chill out - Mustard is just a friend of mine and Tami's from Apple Hill."  I laugh at him  "Can we go and sit over on the bench, my back is hurting and I need to get out of this chair for a bit."
      "Oh no! ... don't try to change the subject, and what has Dad told you about strictly not having anything to do with anyone you know from Apple Hill!!"
       "Mustard is sound, he is not a bad person, he is nothing to do with Gravel or my bad Brownie family and their mob, and Dad knows I am having contact with him.  He is squeaky clean and was one of Tami's best mates for berry's sake, as well as one of Jasmine's Berry Fathers!!"  I laugh at him as he raises his eyebrows  "My back really is hurting, I fell off the shower chair remember, and the back of my chair is aggrevating  the bruises.  When we get over to the bench, I'll tell you all about Mustard and why he was asking after Sunny.  I think if you aren't sat down, when you hear what I have to say, you might just fall down."  I laugh but he doesn't look amused.

After we have made our way over to the bench, he makes a performance of lifting up my clothes to inspect the bruises on my back before he lifts me out of my chair then sits down on the bench next to me.  I really didn't want to remind him about my fall or tell him the bruises are troubling me, because he has already nagged me about going and getting an x ray to be on the safe side.  I'm sick of hospitals and all the medical attention I need, I just want a break from it which isn't easy with Granite.

      "So come on spit it out - Mustard Maize."

     "Forrest's secret is not the only one that I have been keeping since we landed in this town - someone you know here, has been walking around with much bigger secrets that I seriously couldn't tell you about, without giving myself away."  he frowns at me  "Remember when we went to Mango and Lilies, the first time we came here and she gave me those paintings.  I disappeared off to the toilet and took forever, I told you I had an upset stomach and I made you take me back to Gravels because I didn't feel very well."
     "Yeah ..."  he frowns at me
     "Well I lied, there was nothing wrong with me other than being upset, what I was actually doing in the bathroom, was having a run in with Sunny, and not because I'm gay either."  he frowns at me.  "I have known Sunny for years, we are actually really good friends.  When I lived in Apple, we used to socialise with him quite often.  Sunny was another one of Tami's best friends and another one of Jasmines Berry Fathers along with Mustard and Coal."
     "Well that doesn't make any sense!!  You and Sunny were not friends!!!"
     "We seriously were, good friends."  I look at him miserably for a moment  "I first met him, through work, not long after me and Tami moved to Apple, I did some free lance art work for him.  After that me and Tami spent a lot of time with him and Mustard, they quite often baby sat Jasmine for us, and the five of us even went away on vacation together once."
     "This is madness!!  So Mustard is also a friend of Sunny's?"  he frowns at me
     "Yeah you could say that!"  this has me laughing for a moment because I know he is never going to get the obvious until I tell him.  "Sunny knew all along about me being Mace Brownie, even before it came out because of the police operation.  He was laying into me that day at Mango's, because of the vanishing act that I did on Tami.  He was upset and angry with me for himself and on her behalf.  I just vanished and we were supposed to be mates, and I'd really upset Tami.  She was a mess according to him, they though I had faded vanishing without a word and he couldn't understand why I had even done it to her or left Jasmine, and definitely not why I had turned up here as a gay guy with you.  He actually shit himself and flipped his lid at me when I told him you are Tami's brother, he only knew you as Gravels brother and hadn't realised till then that Gravel was even related to Tami, because we tried to pretend he didn't exist, for obvious reasons.  He really upset me that day, showing me a picture of Jasmine that he had on his phone - I hadn't seen her since she was two and it shocked me how much she had grown, she was still a toddler in my head."

     "You are still not really making sense."  he frowns at me through squinted eyes  "If Sunny knew you was Mace Brownie, then why didn't he say anything."
     "At first Sunny threatened to tell Tami I was in Sugar Valley, in a way now, even though it would have exposed me, I wish he had told her, because it probably would have kept her alive."  he pulls a face  "But he could not risk blowing the whole thing open for me or himself.   Sunny had to keep my secret and didn't tell anyone who I was in exchange for me keeping his secret.  We just pretended publically that we didn't know each other, and if you think about it, he has pretty much left me alone, while he's yelled at you, Atlas, Forrest, Bay and Slate, he's basically blanked me."
     "So what is his secret?"  he frowns at me
     "Sunny was living a double life.  He has two identities and two totally different lives going on, two long term relationships and houses - one here and one in Apple Hill."
     "Seriously!?"  he chuckles for a moment  "Berry tell me he has a load more kids in Apples!!"  he starts to really laugh  "Was he living a double life like Dad, two women and two sets of kids in two different towns who know about each other?"  this makes me laugh
     "Not quite like Dad, but close - the person who he is with in Apple, knows all about his life in Sugar, however Ruby and the kids don't have a clue about what he is up to in Apple."  I start laughing  "This is the bit that you are not going to believe .... Sunny was a Bigamist."  Granites eyes widen  "He was married to his Apple Hill bitch and his Sugar Valley whore."  I laugh  "Sunny Maize is the name everyone knows him by in Apple ... he hasn't got kids in Apple because he is not married to a woman, he is married to a man ... my mate Mustard Maize ... I'm sure that you got the drift of the phone call that Mustard is trying to track down Sunny and he phoned me on the off chance that I had seen him today."
     "GET LOST!!"  Granite starts to almost howl  "Seriously Mace - Sunny gay and married to a man - there is no way on this planet - he is homophobic - you are having a laugh right??!!"

     "Seriously I'm not.  On my life ... Sunny was living a gay life in Apple and a straight life here.  He was not bisexual before you ask either, he is gay and hated playing straight.  Sunny was not homophobic, it was all an act to throw people off the scent of making the connection between Sunny Maize and Sunny Shine.  He is as gay as you and me - trust me I have seen him in action with Mustard ..." I laugh at him as he shakes his head.  "Actually, remember when we packed my house up in Apple and I threw that massive wobble and yelled at you over the photo albums when you started looking for pictures of Tami."
      "Yeah ..."
      "The wobble was because I panicked, I was scared that you would see pictures of Sunny.  I removed all the pictures of Sunny when you stormed off, before I let you look at the photo's.  There is an envelope hidden in a book in one of the book boxes with all Mustard and Sunny's photo's in which I will have to show you, they will leave you in no doubt about Sunny being gay."  I laugh
      "I'm sorry I am not falling for this one - Sunny being gay - there is NO WAY!!  Oh Berry!!"

Granite starts howling again to the point where he is crying with laughter.  I sit laughing as I watch him laughing, the tears are rolling down his face as he clutches his stomach, every time he looks at me it sets him off again.   It takes him ages to calm down.

      "Seriously ... if I hadn't already known him I would have been suspicious of him.  That homophobic act of his was way too loud and over the top ... you know what they say, those who shout the loudest are usually hiding something.  Sunny was trying to hide the fact that he himself was gay." 
      "You have to be joking ... I'm sorry I don't believe you ... No one in their tidy mind is ever going to believe this one Mace."    I laugh at him still having hysterics
     "Well I seriously need you to start believing it, and quickly ... I was sat driving myself crazy and stewing over it when you, Mango and El were doing your doctor and police shit over Sunny's body, and yes I was crying because I am upset over him fading.  He was my friend."

I sit getting upset, choking back the tears unsuccessfully, he watches a tear roll down my face which makes him stop laughing, he watches me suspiciously for a while.

    "This isn't a joke is it?"  he mumbles as he wipes the tears off my face
     "No!!  I knew I had to come clean with you today about Sunny, because of all the shit that is coming."
     "Like what?"   

      "All hell is going to break lose when Mustard finds out Sunny has faded.  Sunny's wife and kids think they only have to deal with him fading - well they have a lot more coming at them!!  Officially Sunny is married to Mustard not Ruby - he married Mustard first and the Shine marriage is a sham."  he chokes and his eyes widen  "As far as his funeral, his body and all the legal stuff goes, Ruby has no rights, she doesn't have a leg to stand on ... Mustard is going to be devastated by Sunny fading, they have been together since they were teenagers and at school in Amber Meadow.  Mustard moved to Apple to be close to Sunny and Sunny was only here with Ruby because he got her pregnant at the boarding school, playing straight trying to hide the fact he was gay so he didn't get bullied.  He loves Mustard not Ruby, he has never loved Ruby and only stayed originally because of Crimson and Cherry."
      "This is madness!!"
      "Trust me, Mustard won't sit back and not say anything, they seriously loved each other.  I imagine he is going to rock up here demanding the body, which is his right, so he can take it home and bury him the way he wants to, which is going to totally blow the Shine families world apart!!  Just imagine, it is going to be bad enough that his kids have to find out that he has been living a double and gay life all this time, and that their parents weren't legally married, but what if those kids can't even attend their own Dad's funeral, because it is out in the coded world!!"
       "You are being serious aren't you ...."
       "Yes deadly!!  I am telling the truth about Sunny Gran - this is far from a joke!!"  he closes his eyes for a moment  "You've actually seen Mustard and don't realise it.  He was at Tami's funeral, Sunny was totally gutted that he couldn't be there, but with your Dad, Slate, Bay, all your brothers there, he couldn't risk it.  You actually made a comment, about how long Jasmine had sat on Mustards lap, so you might even remember him if you think about it.  Dad is okay with me having contact with him because he spoke to him at the funeral."  
      "I seriously don't believe this!!"  he looks bewildered  "Who else knows about Sunnys other life?"
      "As far as I know, only me and Mustard."  I smile at him  "Everyone in Apple doesn't have a clue about his Sugar life, and visa versa.  Me and Tami definitely didn't when we were a part of it and we were close to them."
       "How the hell has he gotten away with it.  How the hell has Ruby never caught him out?"
       "Berry knows, a hell of a lot of luck and sneaking I should imagine!"  I laugh  "Besides every minute Sunny's back was turned, she was off shagging someone she shouldn't, so I guess she was too busy hiding her own shit to worry about what Sunny was doing when they weren't together!!"

We both sit laughing for a while.  Granite is finding it hard to take in, like I imagined he would.  I am not sure anyone in this town is going to believe at first.   Granite starts to bombard me with a load of questions, so I end up telling him the whole story of Sunny's life as I have been told it by both Sunny and Mustard, as well as what I know of his Apple Hill life from a personal experience.

       "I've been talking to them both a lot on the phone, here and when we went back  home, especially while you was out of it and in the induced coma, both times.  Sunny actually sneaked in to see me just after I came around from my brain operation, Mustard too, he came a few times to see me, but he didn't sneak in."  he raises his eyes at me  "I think they have both been a little relieved that they now have someone else that they can talk to about the situation freely without the fear of it getting out.  Mustard especially because this whole situation has really cut him up terribly for years."  I grin at him  "You are not very good yet at checking my phone are you, Mr Paranoid!!"  I laugh at him   "Since we landed in this town, I've had both of their numbers in my phone."  I pass it to him  "Mustard Maize and Sunny Maize are both in my contact list for you to see, and if you still don't believe I'm telling the truth about Sunny - check Sunny Maize's number in my phone against Sunny Shine's number in yours - you'll see its the same number."  I smirk at him  "Don't think I haven't noticed that you have Sunny's number in your phone!!"
       "You are still sneaking it aren't you!!!"  he laughs and I grin at him  "Mango used my phone ages ago to phone Sunny when his battery died.  That's the only reason I have his phone number."  he mumbles as he does check both of our phones and Sunny's number.  He looks up and frowns at me.  "Why have you kept this secret even after yours came out?"
       "Well wouldn't you!!  I don't want to be the one responsible for destroying his kids lives, especially Saffrons, and I was friends with Sunny believe it or not.  I felt like I owed both of them to keep my mouth shut." he frowns at me  "Well you do realise if I'd opened my mouth Sunny would have been sent to prison for Bigamy, which would have destroyed Mustard, those two seriously do love each other, and they looked after Tami and Jasmine for me after I vanished ..."
       "Jasmine ..."  he mumbles

       "Yeah, she has been a problem, of course she recognised Sunny, but I had to tell her it was not him, he was just someone who looks a lot like him."  I smile at him sheepishly  "She understands all the gay and straight stuff because she has had Mustard and Sunny in her life since she was a baby.  She knows Sunny in Apple is gay, and Sunny here has a wife and children.  She has seen Sunny here doing his homophobic routine, having a go at Slate and Bay, so I had to explain to her what homophobic was.  Sunny does dress differently, clothes and hair, he ties it up in a pigtail when he's in Apple, which has helped.  So I think she has been able to seperate the two in her head and believes they are not the same person.  Sunny Maize being a nice guy and Sunny Shine being a nasty one."  I roll my eyes  "I hated lying to her, but what else could I do, she was liable to give his game away and I doubt she would have understood the truth, and its not really something that I want her to know about, she's learning too many bad things as it is."
       "Something still doesn't make sense - wouldn't Dad and T, in fact, all of my brothers have seen Sunny at Jasmines Christening?"
         "That's where Sunny always has lucky on his side, he's always been a jammy git!!"  I laugh for a moment  "Yes, that christening and our family landing in town, could have been disastrous and could very well have blown it for Sunny completely, but he seriously had luck on his side that day!!   Tami was pretty impulsive, she sprung things on people, especially me.  The Christening was thought about one day and carried out a few days later, and she wandered why most of the family couldn't make it, which upset her.   She was always doing stupid stuff like that!!"  I smile at him  "Dad was taken ill and admitted into hospital the day before, so he wasn't there, he had a problem with his diabetes.  T, well you know what he's like, as far as children and responsibility go,  he couldn't be bothered to come.  Silt's wife was having a baby so he stayed home, Shale couldn't get the time off work at such short notice, and we didn't even bother to invite Gravel, luckily for Sunny, because if we had he would have busted Sunny then!!  Only Coal and Thyme could make it.   You know what Thyme is like, shy around strangers, so he spent most of the time staring at the floor, the only thing he'd recognise is his shoes.  He has actually spoken to Sunny here and not recognized him."  we laugh for a moment   "Only Coal could have caused a problem and very easily blown Sunny's cover.  I'm sorry, but besides the other problems we already have with him, T and his Mother, I did help to keep Coal away from here because of Sunny."  I smile at him nervously  "When Coal did come to see you, I had to warn Sunny, he pretended he was working away for the week and stayed in Apple, so he didn't run into him."

         "Didn't we say no more secrets between us ... you should and could have told me."
         "I wanted to and at times I could have done with your help.  You already had enough to think about and deal with after the shooting, it was pointless me adding to it with Sunny's secrets!!  To be honest, the way you two hated each other and used to go at it when you argued, I couldn't trust you to hold your tongue if you knew the truth.  You know what you are like half the time, you let your tongue run away before you think.  You could have easily let his secret out publically throwing it at him without meaning to give it away."
         "So I'm guessing Sunny was particularly more nasty with me, because of being good friends with Tamarin, I bet he hated me for taking you away from her, especially being her brother."
         "That was partly it."  I laugh  "But there are other reasons.  Firstly I think on the sly he fancied you ... remember the day you answered the door to him dripping wet wearing just a towel and you told him to come in and you'd educate him in our sin ... he was very very tempted to call your bluff!!"  I laugh  "He phoned me up after howling, he said you put him off when you brought me into it and told him we could have a threesome!!"
         "SOD OFF!!"  I start to howl with laughter at the expression on his face
         "Seriously, I think he was very down on you in particular, because of two of your brothers.  He tared you with the same brush without even getting to know you."  he frowns at me  "He has never been Gravel's biggest fan, especially since all of this with Coral and Strawberry, and they have had quite a few serious arguments in the past over the kids when they were younger.  Saffron, Bay and Slate used to get into trouble together quite regularly, like boys do.  Sunny and Gravel used to clash, both thought their kid could do no wrong and they fell out blaming each others kids."  he laughs  "And his hatred for Gravel got worse when he found out that he had faded Tami ...  and the other reason ..."  I laugh  "Sunny knows that T has been sleeping with his wife on the quiet for the past two years."
         "What?!"  he nearly chokes  "T and Ruby?!"
         "Yep!  T doesn't know I know, I gave up talking to him about his ridiculous sex life years ago."
         "That makes two of us!!" he rolls his eyes at me
         "You know what T's like - he'll jump any woman who will let him and she's the town bike, she doesn't care where she gets it from especially when she isn't getting it at home .  I doubt T is the only one Ruby is sleeping with and visa versa."  I laugh  "But I can bet you anything that T and Ruby's get togethers will soon stop, T doesn't do commitment and now Ruby is a free agent, T will run a mile especially if she tries to nail him down!!"

      "Its not like T to stick to one woman for that long - you did say two years didn't you?"
      "Yeah, I've thought that myself, he usually recycles women like we recycle garbage."  I smile at him as he starts laughing  "You know I half suspect that she might even have been with T earlier when I phoned him, after I spoke to El.   He did his normal "you pick your moment, I've got company, sod off I'll phone you later." snap and I heard a woman giggling in the background.  You know what that means don't you."
         "Oh don't!!  I used to get that all the time in Cherry, phoning him while he was at it."  his laughs as his eyes widen  "Tell me that you think while Sunny was fading, she was shagging T!"
         "I wouldn't be surprised - he definitely had a woman in his bed this morning, and according to Sunny they have been at it very regularly for years.  He actually thinks T has been the only one for quite a while!!"
          "I feel sick!!  How the hell do you always get to find these things out when I don't?"  he frowns at me  "You sniffed Forrest out when everyone has been blind to him, Sunny, now this."
          "It's all part of being a drama queen - I study people and look for it.  You are far too trusting and walk round with your eyes closed, that's why."   he starts to laugh at me
         "So how did you find out about T and Ruby?"
          "I watch T a lot because I know what he's like, he has always been off the rails because of Mel and he makes me angry sometimes because nobody is out of bounds to him.  He's a bit like Gravel in that respect, not even Coals girlfriends are safe and definitely not their Mothers!!"  I laugh at him as he shakes his head  "I thought something suss was going on with him and Ruby, I spotted them a few times in the hospital whispering and laughing ...  she takes off then a few minutes later he does too.  Even Dad noticed.  He's been sat next to me a few times at home and his phone has rang and Ruby's name has flashed up, he's cut the call straight off then sneaks off a few minutes later.   Then Sunny confirmed it, he told me, he knew they were at it."
          "Did he catch them?"
          "No, I don't think either of them know Sunny knew.  He's seen their dirty texts on her phone and watched her sneaking into T's quite a few times.  He just left them too it, all he was worried about was anyone finding out, which would make him look foolish because his wife was cheating on him behind his back.   He cracked me up, he said to me, while T is mauling her, it saved him the job."

This cracks Granite up.

       "The people in this town are seriously nuts!!  The shit is seriously going to hit the fan when all these secrets get out, I just hope we are not here when it happens, I could do without the headache or Slate and Bay finding out half this shit!!"
       "I know, but Sunny's secret could very well be out there by tomorrow, as soon as Mustard finds out Sunny has faded it's going to kick off!! What is worrying me most about this, is Saffron.  I know that he doesn't like me very much because of the way Atlas feels about me ... but that kid is messed up enough, without what is coming to him .... how the hell is he going to take finding out that his Dad had a secret gay life, after everything Sunny has put him through .... I wouldn't wish what is coming to him on my worst enemy ... I'm worried he might try taking the same route as Slate did, he's already self harming and this could well tip him over the edge and cause him to try topping himself!!"
       "SHIT!!  FUDGE!!"  his eyes widen  "I've been too busy trying to take it all in and believe it, to even think about the consequences, especially Saffron and what this is going to do to him!!"  he starts to look worried  "Oh hell, this is not good!!  What the hell was Sunny thinking?!"  he snaps
       "His homophobic act to throw everyone off the scent backfired on him obviously when Saffron turned out gay!!  Why do you think I was physically sick when you told me what Sunny was doing to him and that Saffron was self harming because of it.  I knew Sunny's secret and it has been killing me, I can't even look Saffron in the face.  I haven't kept a distance between us because of Atlas or not liking him, it's because of knowing the truth about Sunny.  I actually do like him and am happy that Atlas has finally found someone he can be happy with, but I can't look at Saffron without feeling sick and hating myself!!"
       "You know it's probably a very good job I didn't know his secret while he was alive, because they probably would have been locking me up, because what he has done to his own son is ridiculous!!  In my book he is on a level with Gravel and I really don't know how you have sat there knowing it!!"
       "It's been very hard, I hated myself for knowing the truth, but it would have caused more damage if I'd said anything!!  I had a right go at Sunny over it!!  Did you not wander why Sunny just suddenly backed off Saffron and all of us?"  I smile at him  "I threatened to tell Ruby about Mustard if he didn't stop his homophobic crap especially with Saffron.  He didn't even realise he was self harming until I told him.  Of course I wasn't going to expose him, but he took my threat seriously."
       "Yeah he backed off everyone, except me!!  Now I know why - Gravel and T sleeping with his daughter and wife, which is a bit of a cheek as it wasn't me doing it and look at what he was doing himself!!"
       "Gran ... We have to stop Sunny's secret getting out!!"

       "WHAT?!"  he stares at me in shocked disbelief.
        "We have to Stop Sunny's secret getting out!!"  his mouth drops open as his eyebrows twist up.  "I don't much care for Ruby, but I like all the Shine kids, even Strawberry at a pinch because I know why she is so messed up.  Sunny helped to watch over and take care of Jasmine when I was away, and even though he's been a total berry hole with Saffron and doesn't really deserve it, I feel like I have to now do the same for him and his kids, but mostly Saffron!!  We are already keeping quite a few secrets to keep ours and the extended family from getting hurt, but this is going to hurt Sunny's kids even more if this gets out, especially on top of them already grieving because he has faded!!  It is going to destroy Saffron.  We have to stop it getting out!!"
       "While I agree with what you are saying, yes it would be good if it never got out, especially for Saffrons sake, but baby ... Seriously?!  HOW THE HELL do you think we are ever going to stop this!!"  he laughs at me  "Mustard is married to him, like you said, he is not going to sit back and forget that is he!!"  he laughs  "Having Mustard removed completely is the only way we are going to stop this getting out and I think you know, that is definitely out of the question!!  I am not Gravel and seriously opposed to fading for any reason ... even lobsters!!"  we laugh at each other, he just can't help himself, him and those damn lobsters!!
       "Like I was even suggesting that, you idiot!!  Mustard is my mate remember!!  We have to try and do something ... anything ... even if it is just to soften the blow, but we really need to stop Saffron ever getting wind of this!!"
       "What can we possibly do Mace?  We can't work miracles and I'm afraid the only thing we can do is keep out of it, sit back and watch this one play out ... and help Altas pick up the pieces when Saffron in particular falls apart!!  There is seriously no way we can stop this one, it is just way too big and complicated!!!  I'm sorry I think this is one secret we can't help to keep."  he starts laughing at me as I start to get upset.  "Oh Mace .... you know lobster hit men are not supposed to have a heart!!"  he continues laughing at me
       "Seriously don't you even start with that lobster or hit man shit again!!"

 He starts to kiss me, at first not properly because he is still laughing a little.  I can't concentrate, I'm upset and really worried about what both Mustard and Saffron have coming to them - they are both going to be destroyed by Sunny fading for two totally different reasons.  Mustard we can't do anything about, fading is a part of living that we all have to endure, his broken heart will mend eventually, but Saffron I think we can prevent from getting hurt, and we need to.

      "What kind of guy is Mustard?"  he stops kissing me suddenly  "Why did he put up with what Sunny was doing?"
      "He loves him, unconditionally, and can't live without him, just like I couldn't live without you!!  Even though Mustard hated what Sunny was doing to them and their relationship, he was always scared that if he pushed Sunny too much, he would chose his kids over him.  Plus there was the fact that he was scared of Sunny, getting locked up if anyone found out about the Bigamy he was committing, and even himself for knowingly letting it continue.  You know I'm really worried about Mustard, Sunny fading is going to break him!!"
      "Do you think protecting and not hurting Sunnys kids played any part in it?"  I frown at him  "Do you think Mustard loves Sunny enough to protect his kids from getting hurt even after he has faded?"
      "He loved Sunny enough to put up with his shit and keep himself hidden from the kids all these years, so I don't see why not."  I smile at him  "Its only like, me taking all the green things shit to protect Slate right now ... it's not that hard when you love someone."
      "Exactly what I was thinking.  So, do you think he would meet Ruby half way, because if they work together, they could actually keep it quiet.  It's not like she wasn't doing exactly the same as Sunny in a way sleeping around.  Only she needs to know about Sunnys other life, the kids could be spared from ever finding out."  he smiles at me  "If Ruby is any sort of Mother, she would not want the kids getting hurt by knowing would she, I know I wouldn't if I was in her shoes.  I doubt she would actually want anyone to find out, this will make her look pretty damn stupid for not knowing what Sunny was up to behind her back all these years ... just like I don't want anyone to find out what Forrest was doing behind mine all the time we were married!!"
       "Yeah it is pretty similar in a way isn't it ... I guess you can probably relate to how she might be feeling!!"   I pull a face  "But she might not think like you and take it the other way, scream it from the roof tops because she's angry and upset and feels hard done by ..."
       "Only if she is a drama queen like you - but even you would keep quiet for Jasmines sake so she didn't get hurt, if it happened to you!!"  he laughs at me

       "So .... do you think Mustard would work with Ruby and keep it quiet for the kids sake?"
       "Possibly ... I would ask him but I don't want to be the one to tell him Sunny has faded and set him off."
      "I think you might have to Mace, because otherwise, who will tell him?  Nobody knows they were married, but you, and if he has to find out by coming here looking for Sunny - it will all blow up.  He needs to be stopped before that happens and talked into doing the right thing by the kids!!  You are the closest to him, so I think it is going to have to be you who does it ... " he smiles at me  "We will have to drag T into this, if they have been at it for two years, they have to be pretty close.  T can work on Ruby, calm her down and talk sense into her if she gets difficult ... like you said ... we have to keep Sunny's secret from getting out."
      "You kill me, why the sudden turn around, you was laughing at me a minute ago for even suggesting it, now you sound like you are going to try doing it ... and you hated Sunny."  I frown at him
      "Don't think I'm doing this for that berry hole!!  You are right, I didn't like him, and I dislike him even more now you have told me this, because of what he has put Saffron through, just to hide his dirty secret!!"  he smiles at me  "We have to do this for Saffron, if nobody else, he needs to be protected from this shit, it is going to destroy him and he shouldn't have to suffer any more because of that berry hole!! 
      "So how are we going to do this?"  I frown at him
      "I don't know ...  I need some time to think."  he scrunches his face up  "You need to phone Mustard back like you promised.  You need to stall him, we could do without him finding out about Sunny fading until tomorrow, to give us a chance to think about how we are going to to do this."  he rolls his eyes  "Like how we are going to get Mustard and Ruby together on the quiet, without Dad getting suspicious of us being up to something!!"
      "'I'm sure he'll give us another day of freedom if we ask him nicely, you know I'm good with the waterworks, which he always falls for."  I smirk at him  "And Stall Mustard how exactly?"
      "I don't know, feed him some bullshit ..."  he scratches his head  "Get your sneaky head into gear Mace  ... you have had way more experience of being dodgy than I have, you've successfully played a blinder with me over the last five years!!"
        "Only because, like I've already said, you are too trusting and walk around with your eyes closed!!"

        "You be careful you don't get too complacent, I caught you out in the end, or have you forgotten!!"  he smirks at me   "I'm Mr Paranoid now remember, so I will be watching you very closely from now on  ... and before today is out, I want to know every single secret that you are carrying around in that head of yours, because I can guarantee there are a lot more!!"

I just laugh at him, while I think about another one of Ruby and Sunny's secrets.  A secret that is probably just about to backfire on Ruby and is due to be born any time now.

I flip open my phone nervously and dial Mustards number, not looking forward to lying to him.


1 comment:

  1. Sunny made a huge mess. I hope they are able to hide his marriage to Mustard for the kids sake. Mostly for Saffrons sake because finding out his dad was gay would really do a number on him. Will Ruby be reasonable though? I have my doubts about her motherly instincts.