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Authors: Martina Cole

The Business

BOOK: The Business
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The Business
 
 
MARTINA COLE
 
 
headline
 
Copyright © 2008 Martina Cole
 
 
The right of Martina Cole to be identified as the Author
of the Work has been asserted by her in accordance with the
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
 
Demian: The Story of Emil Sinclair’s Youth
© Hermann Hesse,
with permission Harper Perennial
 
Apart from any use permitted under UK copyright law, this publication
may only be reproduced, stored, or transmitted, in any form, or by any
means, with prior permission in writing of the publishers or, in the case of
reprographic production, in accordance with the terms of licences issued
by the Copyright Licensing Agency.
 
 
First published as an Ebook by Headline Publishing Group in 2008
 
 
All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real
persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
 
 
Every effort has been made to fulfil requirements with regard to producing
copyright material. The author and publisher will be glad to rectify any
omissions at the earliest opportunity.
 
Cataloguing in Publication Data is available from the British Library
 
 
ISBN 978 0 7553 5249 4
 
 
This Ebook produced by Jouve Digitalisation des Informations
 
 
HEADLINE PUBLISHING GROUP
An Hachette Livre UK Company
338 Euston Road
London NW1 3BH
 
Table of Contents
 
 
 
 
 
For Luke Hubbard.
Gone but never forgotten.
For Tim and Sean.
And Louise Page and her lovely mum.
Thanks, Lou, you’re a star.
 
And Lavinia Warner.
We always get there in the end! Love ya.
 
And for Sue P. and Elaine.
Great mates and great girls!
 
For Michael H. and Jordanna - thanks for letting me use
your names!
 
And for all the people caught up in heroin addiction.
I lost so many friends to it in the 70s and 80s,
I hate that it’s coming back again.
Prologue
‘Just get her off my doorstep, will you?’
The young woman’s whole demeanour was one of controlled anger. Controlled, hard anger. The fact she was acting like this whole scenario was a bad joke spoke volumes in itself. Her deep-blue eyes were mocking her protagonist; laughing at her, and telling her she was well able for anything she might have to offer. It was the silent come-on, where actions spoke much louder than words.
The young policeman was nervous; he had never had to attend anything remotely like this before. He had heard about these kind of events, heard how women fighting could be far more intimidating and violent than two men, or even a gang of men come to that. But he had not believed they could be so vicious. So disturbing. Frightening.
The fact that the two protagonists the police were trying to keep apart looked like twins didn’t help, especially as apparently they were mother and daughter. But what really threw the policeman was the violence of the language. Not from the lady of the house, but from her so-called mother. From the elder of the two, a good-looker who was well fuckable in his books and who he knew, without any kind of official certificate, was not the full twenty pence. In fact, she was an obvious nut-bag. As her next words proved.
‘You fucking lairy little whore, get out here and fight me like a fucking woman. Do you honestly think I am going to swallow that from you, you mad bastard?’
The younger woman grinned, her absolute disgust for her mother written all over her face. Unfortunately this made her look more like her mother than ever. It gave her the same dark expression, the same sinister aura that told anyone who was foolish enough to mess with them that they were both more than capable of taking care of themselves.
The policewoman standing by, waiting to intervene should a fight actually ensue, was impressed with the girl’s controlled demeanour. It was obvious that the mother was a headcase, and it was even more obvious that her daughter knew exactly which buttons to press to get a reaction from her. The policewoman also sensed that the daughter was enjoying her mother’s discomfort. This was proved when the girl said with practised disdain, ‘Listen to yourself, Mum, and then you wonder why I won’t have anything to do with you. Why I moved as far away from you as possible. Why I am ashamed to admit you are me flesh and blood. All me life I cared for you, stuck up for you, and you weren’t worth it. As everyone always said, you ain’t worth a fucking wank.’
The tall woman went in for the attack once more, and PC White again held her back, only this time the job was far more difficult as the woman had the strength of ten men.
As he dragged her physically from the doorstep, a Range Rover pulled up sharply. The noise of it screeching to a halt was louder than the two women’s strident voices.
A large, heavy-set man with dark-blue eyes and a determined expression jumped out. He made his way over to them quickly, his powerful body emphasised by the tightness of his sweatshirt. The police realised immediately who he was, and their horror was rapidly replaced with terror. They were in the presence of a local legend, someone they had all heard of, had seen in photographs but who, until now, they had never seen in the flesh. Kenneth Dooley was even more intimidating than they had realised; he was very imposing. And he was not known for having a kindly nature.
Grabbing the older woman roughly from the young policeman he said gruffly, ‘Come on, Mum, let’s be having you.’
She turned on him then, spitting vitriol. ‘I might have known you would be on
her
side as usual, you’re like a pair of fucking rednecks . . . duelling banjos you two. Always were.’
He ignored her, dragging her physically away from her daughter’s front door. He was rough with her, and it was obvious that this was a regular occurrence.
‘Just let it go, eh, she’s come back and you will have to get over it,’ he shouted to the woman left standing on the doorstep. He was dragging the irate woman towards his Range Rover, but she was determined that she wasn’t going anywhere without a fight. He bundled her unceremoniously into the vehicle.
As he pulled away he was aware that the people in the surrounding houses were all watching the proceedings with interest. He had known this would happen eventually, he had just not expected it to happen so quickly.
 
Jordanna Dooley went back inside her small council house and closed the door on the police and the local onlookers. She had been used to this kind of interest in her family since she was a child. Her mother had developed a habit of making everything in her life public. She was the equivalent to movie royalty where they had lived. Her whole life had been played out to an audience for someone else’s benefit. She was the Britney Spears of her generation, and she could have taught that poor whore a few things.
Once inside the house Jordanna found she was shaking, trembling with fear, a fear that was born from memories, not from her mother’s actual presence. She had not seen her mother in quite a while and it always amazed her just how lovely she looked at first glance. How young she still seemed, even though the woman had lived at least two lifetimes and had made sure that her children lived them too.
Jordanna had never really known what it was to be a child; all her life she had been nothing more than an appendage, nothing more than her mother’s object, her mother’s chattel. Her hatred of her mother, like her private thoughts about her, were almost biblical in their outrageousness - she would quite happily send fifty plagues to her if she could. Not locusts or fucking frogs either, she would send that bitch every fatal disease known to man.
So broken had Jordanna been by her mother’s disloyalty that she had eventually walked away from not only her, but her whole life. It was the only way she could get some kind of peace. When her mother had hunted her down, Jordanna had retreated into the Bible, into religion, in an effort to make her life mean something, to validate her existence. She had tried to keep her mother away with prayers. God knew, the courts would not help her.
Jordanna instinctively placed her hands across her stomach, feeling the small bump there that she hoped and prayed this time would grow into a full-term baby. Not another sticky mess that she would have to clean up and mourn so painfully like all the others.
That was her mother’s fault as well, her inability to keep a child within the confines of a womb that had been sexually invaded much too early, and which now rejected anything that seemed to find comfort inside it. A womb that expelled her offspring before it could even be called a baby, a child, before it had anything even resembling a personality, a life.
It was as if with each of these rejections, Jordanna was being told by nature that anything she produced would not be fit for the company of other human beings, for the real world. That what she was hoping to create was somehow not good enough, was second-best.
And now, seeing what her mother was like once more, she was on the verge of agreeing with that belief. It was getting harder and harder to justify her existence and she knew that was because of her mother’s influence. She knew that her early life was still shaping her adult life, even now, no matter how hard she tried to stop it.
But all that still didn’t change the fact she wanted a child of her own so badly, so desperately, that she would kill for that chance. She lived for that opportunity, and told herself that it was something she could achieve one day. Without that she would be finished, and she knew it. Her only real strength was her belief that one day she would carry a child to full term. Would finally hold a baby in her arms and love it unconditionally. She wiped the sweat from her forehead and took a few deep breaths to steady herself.
When she felt calm enough she walked into the small, spotless kitchen and sat down at her new IKEA dining table. She felt the fluttering inside her subside and lit herself a cigarette. The first puff made her feel sick and dizzy, the second draw brought her the comfort she needed.
She was not supposed to smoke, but she needed to now, needed a cigarette desperately. Her mother affected a lot of people like that, she seemed to destroy everyone she came into contact with, and that wasn’t an exaggeration, it was a simple fact.
She heard the ringtone of her mobile then, Amy Winehouse singing ‘Rehab’, and the irony of it suddenly struck her.
She was laughing as she answered the call, but the laughter disappeared when she heard the voice of her grandmother asking belligerently, ‘Is it true, has she tracked you down again?’
Kenny Dooley sighed heavily; his mother was now doing her quiet and hurt act. She had a lot of personas but this was the most irritating because it always worked with him. As much as she annoyed him, and she did annoy him, in fact she made him angrier than anyone else in the world, unlike his sister he could still feel a measure of sympathy towards her. It was this that brought on the anger in the first place because she didn’t deserve his sympathy, she didn’t deserve anyone’s. Certainly not her daughter’s, who she had bullied and used all her life.
He flipped open the small fridge between the car seats and said gruffly, ‘Get yourself a beer, Mum, and stop fucking looking so sorry for yourself. You knew she wasn’t going to hang out the fucking flags and kill a fatted calf so why are you acting as if this is a shock to you? If you had waited I would have had a word, tried to get you round there without all this drama.’
BOOK: The Business
6.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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