Authors: D. H. Sidebottom
know that moment in your life when someone turns to you and says ‘If you could
go back to a point in your life and change one thing, what would it be?’
then everyone sits there, for like ten minutes, deliberating what moment they
would choose? Well, mine wouldn’t even take a tenth of a second to determine.
was nine years ago; nine years, eight months to be exact; September 16
2003 at exactly 11:20pm.
yes. I’ll never forget it because it was the moment that my soul died.
moment when Kyle told me to choose. The moment when Ethan walked away and left
my now husband to say to me, “You choose him and I’ll hunt him down, Jen. Hunt
him to the ends of the earth and make him pay, painfully, viciously and fucking
mercilessly for taking you from me.”
isn’t he? Kyle, that is.
was; when I first met him, when I was a fourteen year old schoolgirl with an
arrogance and smugness that the schools hottest boy wanted me.
was blinded and amazed by his determination to date me; me, a plain, brown
haired, grey eye ordinary girl, and him, a tall hard muscled sixteen year old,
biker/ footballer that all my friends and every other girl in the school drooled
had done everything to make me his, and to be honest at the time I had relished
in it, baked in his relentless pursuit to have me, and believe me, I had made
it as difficult as possible for him.
had purposely ignored him, refused to even spare him a glance and waved him off
whenever he would get close as he continued to fight for my attention.
the end, all it had taken for him to get me was for him to stick up for my best
friend Maisie, who was a stick thin, black frizzy haired girl, with cheap NHS
glasses and those metal braces that were glued to her teeth.
boys had been throwing her bag around the yard and as much as Maisie and I had
tried to retrieve it, they just threw it even more, until along came Kyle,
caught the bag and handed it back to Maisie before he kicked the shit out of
the three fifteen year old boy’s.
I was his. Any boy that stuck up for my best friend deserved my upmost
attention, and that’s what he got.
Lock, stock and barrel and within six months we were in love and inseparable.
yes, I’ll admit, we were the happiest couple around. Everyone was jealous of
our easy, happy relationship and it grew even stronger until on my sixteenth
birthday, I gave Kyle my virginity. And yes, it was wonderful and orgasmic.
that was where my first mistake occurred.
had all of me now; there was no going back on my part. Kyle knew this, knew
that as soon as I gave him that part of me then he was mine and I would always
was just me. I didn’t sleep around. I purposefully waited until my sixteenth
birthday to have sex for the first time.
to me was something important, at the time anyway, and should be shared between
two people in love who were going to be together forever and you wanted to give
them your all.
after that night, Kyle changed, right in front of my eyes.
cockiness and irritability with me came through to the forefront of his
personality. It was like now he had me, he didn’t need to try to keep me.
moods were dark and sometimes volatile but even then, there was still some of
the old Kyle left in there; the Kyle who would open doors for me, the Kyle who
would bring me a latte and an apple muffin when he picked me up for college
every morning and still the gentle Kyle in the bedroom.
this is also when the arguments started; loud, volatile and sometimes
frightening arguments that would often see Kyle storming off for hours,
sometimes whole nights before he would come back, tail between his legs with
flowers and chocolates.
is where Ethan came in. He was always the one to pick up my broken heart and
fix it back together with his strong arms and his sweet smiles and gentle words
as he slowly patched me up and brought back my smile.
was the most charming, cutest and adorable boy I’d ever known. His patience and
gentleness found me slowly falling in love with him and it soon emerged that he
was falling for me too.
sexual attraction between us was the most intense feeling I had ever felt. His
naughty little innuendo’s and suggestions had an arousal so fierce surging
through me that I knew it was inevitable that we would soon give in to the
though we both fought it hard and for so long, it was just too strong to deny
and the night I gave myself to him was the same night he told me he loved me,
just as he brought an orgasm so extreme I couldn’t breathe.
way he told me he loved me will forever stay with me, until I’m old, grey and
toothless and my grandchildren cook my tea whilst I watch Countdown.
were making love for the first time and he was inside me, so deep inside me as
he suddenly stopped moving, cupped my cheeks and said “By the way, Jen…”, he
then thrust once more and came inside me as he whispered “…I love you.”
soon as it had happened we were both riddled with guilt for what we had done to
Kyle and we tried desperately to stay away from each other but it was too
strong, our feelings, our love and very soon we were doing everything we could
to sneak away and meet up.
special place was the field behind Mr Tarney’s garage.
single time I bounded through the tall grass, looking for the long stick with
the small white piece of material attached to it showing me Ethan’s location in
our own secluded world, my heart would thump so rapidly I could feel the beat
in my toes, my soul danced excitedly like a pink aura that would swirl around
me and my smile would cheer up the devil himself.
the beat of my heart, he
the aura my soul danced
with and he
the sun that lit my smile.
it all slammed to a halt that night, September 16
2003, when at
exactly 11:20pm a drunken Ethan told Kyle “I’ve been fucking your girlfriend
for two years, Kyle and I love her and she loves me.”
Just like that my whole world collapsed.
announced it to Kyle, Kyle went ballistic and ordered me to choose, Ethan
walked out and then Kyle uttered those infamous words.
days later, at the age of eighteen, I was sat beside a dark and simmering Kyle,
in the front of his clapped out Corsa to start a new life in London and I never
saw Ethan again.
I shook my head adamantly at her and she practically growled at me, her eyes
narrow and mean..
look…” she persisted.
shook my head again, slowly and sternly and concentrated on the spread sheet
currently demanding the taxing part of my brain. “Zoe, how can you pay this
much for ink? Surely you can find it cheaper somewhere else?” I glanced at her
over the top of the laptop screen as I rapidly changed the subject.
smiled brashly at me with a twinkle in her eye. “I can. I do. But the taxman
doesn’t need to know that.”
rolled my eyes and tried to set my attention back to Zoe’s tax return, a pile
of receipts and paperwork demanding my concentration but my mind wouldn’t shift
from last night.
shuddered and endeavoured to close off his face, his snarl, the crack of his
fist but it was there, right on the frontal hemisphere of my brain - and my
reminded me to pick his dry cleaning up tonight.
bloody forget again Jen.
sighed heavily and I lifted my gaze to her, finding her watching me forlornly
with her brow furrowed deep, “Okay, Jen?”
plastered a smile on my face and nodded firmly, “Yep, just struggling with your
gave herself the once over and winked at me. “Nowt wrong with this figure,
babe” she grinned as she slipped her hands provocatively over her breasts.
smirked and shook my head, “You’re not wrong there, treacle” I agreed with an
exaggerated wink, using the nickname Shane had always used for her.
rubbed my eyes with the palms of my hands, tiredness and fatigue blurring them
and stood to stretch my legs, taking a glance at the clock. “Christ its one,
you want a sandwich?” I asked Zoe who nodded absentmindedly from her design
book as she sketched something beside an already complete illustration.
you know where everything is” she told me without moving.
make lunch then…”
ignored me, her attention elsewhere and I knew when she had her head in her
tattoos that I wouldn’t hear or see a peep from her.
turned to Brett in the corner of the room, his tongue protruding slightly from
his mouth as he currently concentrated on the artwork of an eagle on some huge
guys back, and I mean huge - sumo size huge.
looked over at me and blinked rapidly to adjust the focus in his eyes.
“Sandwich?” I repeated and he nodded.
wren, cheese and tomato, pepper and mayo.”
snorted at him. “Uhh, I was sure when I last looked this was a tattoo parlour
grinned and winked, “Now Wren, you know you love me and those delicate little
fingers of yours want to work for me.”
pursed my lips at him, and then smirked wickedly, “And you know I need your
delicate fingers to do my next piercing, don’t you?”
lifted a brow at me, “Another? Where do you want this one?”
lifted the corner of my mouth and waggled my eyebrows at him. His own eyes
widened before a grin erupted on his face and Sumo stared at me. “Oh Wren, just
for the privilege I get to pierce your delicious lady parts again, I’ll take
just cheese” he conceded.
you might” I chuckled as I made my way into the back of Zoe’s shop.
had been my brother’s wife for four years, but when Shane died of leukaemia
three years ago we had become inseparable, leaning on each other in our grief
and we became the type of friends that would die for each other.
had bought this tattoo shop in memory of Shane. He had made her promise to
fulfil her dreams when he had gone and she had worked her fingers to the bone
to get ‘Slink’s’ going; the ‘S’ in the name was for Shane, the ‘L’ was for our
surname, Linkin, and then of course ‘ink’, but her limit with numbers only
extended to her cash till, so I had been doing her finances for the past two
sure she only used me to hide her dodgy receipts. Some of them always brought a
chuckle forward. I mean, who the hell claims for a Spotify account? But give
the girl credit; she got her tax back for it when she declared it as essential,
saying she needed the music to calm the nervous customers.
heard a rowdy group enter the shop as I made the sandwiches and mugs of tea.
Stacking the plates on top of one another and grabbing all three mug handles
with the other hand, I made my way back into the main parlour.
plates and mugs slipped from my hands and crashed to the floor with a loud
smash when I set my eyes on who had entered Slink’s.
tea and bread mashed into a stodge on the floor as my heart dropped right there
eyes in the shop swung to me, but it was only one pair I couldn’t divert from
and I stood open mouthed like a fucking guppy staring at him.
breathing started to shallow out as my bones creaked under the pressure of the
body tremor that coursed its way throughout my body at a velocity that squeezed
my lungs on its way through.
Ethan stuttered as his jaw dropped as wide as mine. “Christ… Jen?”
group he was with eyed us both up and the female lifted her lips in a knowing
smile as she tipped her head to me and held out her hand. “Boss seems to have
lost his manners, Hi; I’m E. Short for Eve.”
flicked my eyes to her and they widened when I realised who she was. “Oh… yeah,
hi. Jen.” I returned her greeting.
Hell! I realised now that the whole of the rock group, Room 103, was currently
stood in Slink’s and it was a shame I was stood like a zombie playing musical
statues when the publicity could have been tremendous for Zoe.
smiled kindly and elbowed Ethan in the ribs. “Boss…”
just stood, silent and staring, his eyes roaming over every inch of me until
they settled on my cheek and I fought against the blush that was creeping up my
whole soul reached out and I grit my teeth and commanded it back inside, as my
body trembled along with it.
legs were going to collapse any minute, I knew they were and I desperately felt
around with my hands for something to support me.
he repeated with a whisper but I still stood silent and in shock as my eyes
drank every part of him, like a man dying of thirst after years in the desert.
Nine years to be exact.
huffed and glared at him, “I think we’ve established her name’s Jen, Boss. We
need to move on from that now, to something like hello.”
frowned and turned to E who was staring intently at him. “Fuck, E…” he choked
out before he turned and left the shop.
kind of fell silent and the vocalist of Room 103, Jax I think his name was,
lifted his eyebrows at E. “Babe?”
shook her head at him and plonked a smile on her face before turning back to me.
“Boss wanted a tattoo but he’s not very good with needles. Just shit himself
there” she tried to defend Ethan and I smiled and nodded, not believing a word
she said. I was the only one who knew the reason for Ethan’s behaviour, and it
wasn’t a phobia of needles… more a phobia of me.
uncomfortable silence fell before a tall dude with pure white hair and covered
in tattoos sucked air through his teeth and smiled, well I say smiled, it was
more of a cringe, “Well, I’ll be fucked if I come into a tat shop without
leaving with some new ink.”
was instantly beside me, a purr vibrating from her as she gestured to the
design book, “Would you like to take a look at what you want and I can get
right onto that for you.”
snorted. I bet you will Zo.
and her husband, I think they were married if I remember from the media
coverage of Room 103, sunk into the chairs in the corner of the shop and started
a whispered conversation.
thought you were in America?” I blurted out randomly and rudely.
raised his eyes to me and E smiled widely. “We were but Jax and I just adopted
a baby and I wanted to bring her up in England, so the guys kind of amalgamated
groups and took lead, kicked me out of the band and decided we should come
back” she said openly with a wide smile and I just nodded dumbly.
know Boss?” she asked warmly and I frowned at her. “Boss - Ethan” she
- yeah” I bit my lower lip as memories invaded my mind and I swallowed them
back and turned to Zoe. “I’m going Zo, see you later.”
didn’t give her chance to respond before I whipped my bag from behind the
counter and left the shop.
breathed a sigh of relief when I realised the house was empty and hurried
upstairs, pulling off my clothes and stepped straight into the shower, needing
the hot water to pelt my body and stimulate my brain on something other than
the way, Jen… I love you.’
baby, you’re gonna be mine, all mine one day, and when that day comes, when
it’s just you and me, then I’m dragging you up that fucking aisle, Jen…’
choose him Jen, please don’t choose him. I love you…..’
closed my eyes to the memory assault and stiffened when the screen door opened
and Kyle stood grinning at me, completely naked and obviously aroused if the
view of his erect penis was anything to go by.
stomach dropped through my arse and I frantically fought the urge to pummel
this man stood before me, beat him to a pulp for ruining my life and taking me
from the only thing in my life I had ever wanted.
Darling” he leered as his eyes roamed over my body and then grimaced when he
spotted a few bruises.
swallowed heavily before he lifted his eyes to me and I could see him shake off
the guilt as he took a step closer to me.
thought you were playing football with Jake?” I asked, hoping he had just
forgotten and my reminder would see him belting back out of the shower and
Jen. Good luck with that.
had to cancel, something to do with Harriet puking…” he whispered against my
neck as he nuzzled me and I grimaced when his hand settled on my breast.
eyes squeezed shut when his teeth dug into the soft flesh under my ear and his
cock slipped between my thighs, stroking along my sex slowly.
feel so good, Jen. It’s a good job you’re a great fuck, otherwise I’d have
divorced you years ago.”
I murmured as I fought the bile that was rising slowly up my throat and I
silently wondered if there was any way I could suddenly become a shit shag.
I was flung around and pushed into the tiles, my already sore cheek hitting the
ceramic with force, before he took me feverishly and violently.
didn’t have a choice really.
never did where Kyle was concerned.
minutes later, Kyle held the facecloth to my bloodied nose and rolled his eyes
at me humorously. “Fancy bashing your nose on the tiles you daft mare; they’re
hard you know, Jen.”
gave him a tiny tight smile and nodded, it was easier to just agree. What was I
supposed to say ‘Hey you great big knob, if you hadn’t grabbed my hair and
rammed my face into the tiles then I wouldn’t have nose bleed right now!’?
tenderly dabbed at my face, gently wiping away the blood as he planted a soft
kiss to my forehead.
back.” I spat out quickly.
the hell, Jen? What the hell did you say that for?
know why, so he didn’t find out from Brett and batter you for not telling him,
heard his teeth crack as he ground them together tightly and his fingers curled
around the washcloth so forcefully I was glad it wasn’t my neck he had been
holding when I told him.
narrowed his eyes on me “You speak to him?”
I answered honestly. I didn’t tell him I had just stared as Ethan repeatedly
announced my name.