Halo Ch. 09byMygypsy©
Hi to all my readers. Sorry about the long delay between chapters but life got in the way in the form of the premature arrival of my new Granddaughter, who is now doing great.
Janey sat on the edge of the bench sipping her orange juice while Ren stood between her knees watching her as he drank his coffee. When she had finished her juice he took the glass from her hand and placed it on the bench beside his cup before lowering his head to kiss her deeply.
"Knock it off you pair. Didn't you get enough last night," Brad said with a grin as he glanced their way at Janey's throaty little moan of pleasure.
Ren stopped kissing Janey to lift his head and glance at Brad where he sat at the table feeding Nicky. "I'll be away for a week so I'm just storing up enough to last while I'm away," Ren said with a quick smiling look at Janey.
"Any excuse is better than none I suppose," 'Tanaya said with a laugh beside Brad.
"May I point out we weren't the ones who used all the hot water this morning?" Ren pointed out with a chuckle.
'Tanaya glanced at Brad with a slightly embarrassed smile as she remembered what they had done to forget about turning off the shower.
"Daddaddaddad!" Nicky chuckled around a mouthful of toast.
"You going to pick on Dad too are you?" Brad asked him with a smile.
"Yummy," Nicky said as he offered Brad the piece of toast he held in his hand.
Brad looked at the well-chewed edge and pretended to eat some before making sounds of enjoyment.
"Yum, yum," Brad agreed. He glanced at Ren and Janey and shook his head when he saw Ren was kissing her once again.
The shrill ring of Janey's mobile interrupted them and Ren lifted his head to glance at it where it sat beside them on the bench. He frowned and tossed it to Brad. "You answer that would you?"
Brad looked at the screen of the phone he had caught before holding it to his ear and pushing the call answer button.
"Hallo, Janey's phone, Brad speaking." His face was expressionless as he listened to the caller speaking.
"Janey's busy at the moment. I'll let her know you called and she can call you back at her convenience," Brad said evenly.
"Here I'll talk to them," Janey said holding her hand out towards Brad.
Brad glanced at Ren and shrugged as he handed Janey the phone. "I tried mate," Brad said apologetically.
"Hallo?" Janey said holding the phone to her ear.
"What are you doing still there?" Adam demanded angrily.
"I said I'd talk to you when you got back Adam," Janey forced herself to say evenly.
"I didn't sleep last night worrying about you being there. You can't trust them. How many times do I have to tell you that? And Renford still sees you as his property. You do realise that don't you? As long as you go there he'll try to sucker you back in ..." Adam continued worriedly.
"Adam, I've heard all this before. I'll talk ..." Janey broke into his tirade.
"Please go home where I know you'll be safe. I'm going out of my mind with worry ..." Adam's voice started to get louder and Janey held the phone out from her ear with an unhappy frown.
Seeing Janey's growing unease and distress Ren took the phone from her unresisting fingers and raised it to his ear as he cleared his throat noisily. "Excuse me Adam but I believe Janey said she will talk to you when you return ..." Ren paused to listen for a moment then frowned with annoyance. "... Yes I know exactly what she said to you last night because she was with me when she took your call. Speak to her when you return," Ren said in a commanding tone before ending the call and turning the phone off.
"How dare you!" Janey said angrily as she made a grab for her phone but Ren tossed it onto the table and trapped her on the bench with his arms and body.
"He was upsetting you," Ren said calmly.
"I don't care! That is my phone and he called to talk to me. Who do you think you are deciding who I can talk to?" Janey demanded angrily.
Ren felt the blood rush in his head as his anger built; the roar in his ears deafened him momentarily before he brought his temper back under control. He leant in close to Janey, his rage showing clearly on his face and deep in his eyes.
Janey pushed at his shoulders, her own anger giving her courage against the rage on his face. Neither of them were aware of Brad and 'Tanaya taking Nicky from the room.
"I can talk to whoever I want to!" Janey declared angrily as her mind raced wildly. Is this where he starts treating me like Hawk did? He won't, he won't, Gabriel isn't Hawk. He's nothing like him.
Ren slammed his fists down onto the bench either side of her making her jump nervously without intending to, "You will not talk to Adam on the phone while we are together ..."
"YOU DON'T OWN ME! YOU CAN'T TELL ME WHO I CAN AND CAN'T TALK TO!" Janey yelled in outraged fright.
Ren took a deep breath as he stepped back from where she sat on the bench. He watched as she slid from the bench and moved to put more space between them. Ren couldn't help but feel that once again another man was coming between them as he took a deep trembling breath.
"I'm sick of ..." his voice trailed off for a few seconds. "We're through. This relationship between us is poison," Ren said tightly before turning and walking from the kitchen.
Janey took a deep breath as she struggled to understand what had just happened. One moment Ren had been kissing her and then the next everything seemed to dissolve into an awful mess. She attempted to take a deep breath but her throat seemed to close over and something was pressing hard against her chest, so hard it hurt to breathe.
Tears filled her eyes but she brushed them from her lashes angrily with the back of her hand, unable to make sense of what her mind was trying to tell her.
Her hand hurt and she looked down to where she held her mobile clenched tightly in her fist; she turned her hand so she could see the screen and a horrible wave of grief washed over her. If only Adam hadn't called. If only she hadn't turned the phone on earlier this morning. If only she had told Adam it was over between them before this.
* * * * *
Janey folded the last of Nicky's clothes and put it in the bag she used when she took him to visit his father. She closed the zipper up and then sat on the bed disheartened. She'd had no energy, no drive to do anything since Ren told her it was over between them.
"Need a hand out to the car with anything?" Jim asked from the doorway.
Janey turned her head to look at her father. "I'm right thanks," she said quietly.
Jim gave his daughter one last thoughtful look before heading back the way he had come; he knew something was wrong but Janey had said nothing to either him or her mother.
Janey sighed and glanced around the room to make sure she had not missed anything before getting to her feet and reaching for her overnight bag and the bag of clothes for Nicky. She hefted them and carried them outside to her car, put them in the back and headed back inside for the remainder of the things she intended to take with them.
Marina was in the kitchen washing Nicky's face and hands with a washcloth when Janey walked into the room.
"Everything in the car?" Marina asked.
"Everything except for Nicky and myself," Janey said evenly.
"I'll carry Nicky to the car for you. That way I get a good-bye cuddle," Marina said with a smile and a kiss on Nicky's cheek.
"You want to go see Daddy?" Janey asked her son.
Nicky looked at her with wide eyes, " 'Nay? Dar? Unca Maddy?"
Janey felt a tightening in her chest as Nicky asked for Dar; it was what he had decided he was calling Ren. "Just Daddy this weekend kiddo," Janey said softly.
"'Nay, Bubbubbub, Dar, Bubba, Mum ..." Nicky began chatting away to the stuffed teddy he was holding.
Janey watched as her mother placed Nicky in his child-seat and buckled him in carefully. She kissed her mother's cheek and hugged her father before climbing into the car and putting her seatbelt on.
The drive to Brad and 'Tanaya's place was uneventful and Janey arrived an hour before Brad was due home from work. The key was where he had told her it would be and she let herself and Nicky into the house. With Nicky happily playing in the kitchen she set about peeling vegetables and putting meat out to defrost.
She had a fresh pot of coffee made and fresh scones she had made that morning on the table when she heard the front door open.
"Who's that Nicky?" Janey coaxed as she lifted her son and placed him in the hallway where he could see Brad as he walked towards them.
"Daddaddaddad!" Nicky chuckled in glee and ran towards him holding his arms up.
"Hey there Nicky my boy!" Brad said happily as he swung Nicky up into his arms and hugged him close.
"Hi Brad," Janey greeted him with a smile.
"Hey Janey," Brad smiled and shifted Nicky to sit on his hip, "good to see you made it. I was a bit worried what happened between you and Ren might have upset things."
Janey looked down at her feet as she struggled to stop the tears that seemed to form for no reason this last few days.
"Nicky is your son. What happened won't come between you two," Janey said forcing calmness into her voice as she looked up.
"How are you and Adam doing?" Brad asked as he walked over and helped himself to a welcome mug of coffee.
"I told him Thursday morning that I was breaking up with him and I sent his ring back to him by courier the same day," Janey said quietly.
"Did you do that to try to fix things between you and Ren?" Brad asked levelly.
"I ... I finally did it ...I broke up with Adam, it was the right thing to do. I shouldn't have left Adam thinking things were fine between us. He kept calling me thinking it was good between us ... I just got to where I was having difficulty facing the mess I'd made. I thought he made me feel safe but I was just using him to hide behind. I used him as a barrier between me and the world," Janey said focusing on the wall past his shoulder, not meeting his eyes until she finished what she had to say.
"I'm glad you could see that for yourself," Brad said gently.
"Yeah well better late then never I suppose," Janey said unhappily and turned away.
"Bickie, bickie," Nicky insisted and reached towards the container on the table.
"Is it okay for Nicky to have some of whatever you got there?" Brad asked.
Janey glanced at the container on the table and smiled, "Of course. They're only date scones but he loves them," she said.
"Well don't tell Brent, he loves 'em too," Brad laughed as Nicky tried to launch himself at the food Janey pulled from the container.
"There's enough to go around if the guys want to come over," Janey said with a smile.
"You don't mind?" Brad asked curiously as he watched Nicky start to demolish a scone.
"I don't mind their company. They're actually pretty nice guys," Janey said with a shrug and a faint smile.
"I sometimes wonder if you ever wish all reminders of what happened would vanish into thin air," Brad said and rushed to continue when Janey glanced at Nicky shocked. "I mean except for Nicky here, I know you think the world of him."
"How about we have a chat when Nicky goes to sleep? Maybe it's time we talked about what happened between us at least," Janey said with an uncomfortable grimace.
"Yeah, that might be a good idea," Brad said quietly after a long pause.
"I got tea all ready to just put on and cook for when you're hungry," Janey said into the silence that descended between them.
"Great, good thinking," Brad said with a smile. "How about I give this young fellow a bath and have a shower myself? I'm a bit grubby from work,"
"Sounds like a plan," Janey agreed with a relieved smile.
* * * * *
Brad got a beer and a can of coke from the fridge before heading back to the lounge room. Nicky was finally in his cot asleep and Matt and Brent had left for the night.
"Here, have a drink," Brad said as he passed the can of coke to Janey before settling comfortably in his recliner chair.
"Thanks," Janey said. She was suddenly nervous and shy now they were alone. Would Brad remember they were going to talk about what had happened?
"It's a bit hard to know where to start isn't it," Brad said quietly after several minutes of silence between them.
"It wasn't as clear and simple as everyone thinks it was," Janey admitted softly.
"I know now that you weren't willing when I slept with you, I hope I didn't ... I hope I didn't hurt you," Brad said carefully.
Janey was silent for several moments as she thought carefully about what she was about to say. Finally she took a deep breath and glanced his way.
"I wasn't willing the first time, but then my only experience had been rape. I know now that Hawk had meant for it to be a horrible experience," Janey paused as she took another deep breath. "That first time I wasn't willing but you made sure my body wanted it Brad. You were tender and gentle and showed me that sex could feel good. It didn't have to be degrading and hurtful."
"I thought that you liked playing reluctant. I thought that was what was happening between you and Hawk, role-playing. I can't believe I was so stupid," Brad said tightly.
"After that first time it wasn't against my will. I even wished a few times that he'd give me to you for the night or something ..." Janey broke off embarrassed.
"So you could enjoy it and he couldn't hurt you," Brad offered.
Janey gave a slight nod and a self-conscious laugh, "Yeah something along those lines," she agreed.
"So how did you end up with Adam?" Brad asked quietly.
"I'm not really sure," Janey said slightly surprised. She thought for a few minutes before giving a slight shrug, "He was involved in ... he showed me books with photos to see if I could identify any of my abductors. And he was just ... I ended up sleeping with him, I actually missed sex," she said giving a tight uncomfortable laugh.
"I know the feeling," Brad offered tentatively. "So did he chase you or what?"
"I thought he was cute. He wears bike boots and leather jackets a lot. He was so nice to me, and I felt safe around him. He's not threatening, I don't feel threatened around him," Janey tried to explain.
"I think I can understand what you're saying. And safe was something you really needed to feel," Brad said quietly.
"I'm glad we're friends," Janey said suddenly, "not everything that came out of it was bad,"
"Nicky's something special isn't he," Brad mused softly.
"Not that we're biased," Janey laughed softly.
"So do you think things can be worked out between you and Ren?" Brad enquired. "Do you want to work things out with him?"
"It takes two ... " Janey broke off as her throat thickened and she cleared it before continuing, "I don't think he wants to."
"I think you pair really need to sit down and have a calm chat to each other," Brad said firmly.
"I think it might be too late for that," Janey said regretfully. "I think he'll keep away from me."
"Give it time and see how things go between you when he gets back," Brad advised gently.
Janey shrugged and was silent; she didn't know what to say.
"So what do you plan to do in the future? Be a stay at home mum or get some kind of a job?" Brad asked curiously.
"I been thinking of doing some kind of course at the local TAFE college," Janey answered.
"I don't think I've heard of that college," Brad remarked.
"TAFE stands for Tertiary And Further Education. They offer courses from Mechanics, Nursing, Childcare to Business Admin and Accounting, " Janey explained.
"What course are you thinking about?" Brad asked.
"Either a Business Admin course where I can work part-time in an office or an Accounting course and work from home. I don't want to put Nicky into day care and only see him at nights," Janey explained.
"Wouldn't having another baby with Adam have interfered with your plans or is the course thing new since you decided to give him the flick?" Brad asked with a raised eyebrow.
Janey felt the heat rise in her face quickly and shrugged uncomfortably, "I was using a diaphram without telling Adam. I just didn't feel ready to cope with a second child," Janey admitted.
"I'm glad to hear you had your head screwed on properly," was all Brad had to say. He yawned and stretched and glanced at his watch.
"Tired?" Janey asked with a quick glance.
"Yeah but I really miss 'Tanaya. Not just the sex but the company as well," Brad admitted quietly.
Janey nodded, she understood. She missed Gabriel when she wasn't with him. She'd never missed Adam that way she realised with a start.
"Not looking forward to going to bed in an empty bed huh," Janey said quietly.
"You got that right. I didn't realise just how much I would miss her," Brad said flatly.
"Well cheer up, it's only another what ... five or six days until she gets back," Janey said with forced brightness.
"Six. They get back Thursday," Brad confirmed. "I bet you'll be glad to see Ren again."
When Janey remained silent Brad glanced her way. He frowned when he saw the pained expression on her face. "Come on don't tell me you're not going to fight for him."
"He's the one who broke things up. He said it's over between us," Janey said in a strained whisper.
"Don't you realise he only did that because he thought he was treating you in a similar way to the way Hawk treated you?" Brad demanded angrily. " He was only trying to prevent that shithead upsetting you and instead he gets accused of treating you as if he thought he owned you."
"What happened is between Gabriel and I," Janey said tightly.
"Is it? That is my son in there!" Brad said angrily motioning towards the bedroom, "And every time you get upset and argue with Ren, Nicky gets upset, so it affects me too! Not to mention ..."
The ringing of the phone interrupted his tirade and he got to his feet to answer the phone with an angry snarl.
"Hallo," Brad said curtly, his expression changed and he smiled. "Hey 'Tanaya, how are you tonight?"
He was silent for close to a minute before he laughed softly, "Yeah, Janey brought Nicky over to see me ... 'Tanaya and Ren say hi Janey ..."
"Hi 'Tanaya," Janey called. "I might head to bed. See you in the morning," she told Brad as she got to her feet and headed for the bedroom.
* * * * *
Ren paced the small lounge room restlessly; impatient to get his business done. Check on his restaurants and return back to the place he was beginning to think of as home.
"Can you sit down! You're making feel exhausted with your pacing," 'Tanaya snapped at him irritated.
Ren frowned darkly at her but sat down in one of the two-seater lounges.
"Why don't you have a beer and unwind a bit?" 'Tanaya asked levelly.
"I don't want a god-damned beer!" Ren snarled.
"No, you want Janey," 'Tanaya said.
Ren glowered at her but didn't confirm or refute her statement.
"Why don't you call Brad so you get off my back," Ren said after several minutes of silence between them.
'Tanaya smiled. She knew that he would hang around hoping for some snippet of news about Janey.
Picking up the telephone 'Tanaya raised her eyebrows at Ren, "Will you want to speak to Janey?"
"Why torture both of us?" Ren grunted angrily as he turned his face away.
"Idiot," 'Tanaya muttered as she dialled the familiar phone number.
Ren glanced back at 'Tanaya annoyed as he heard her muttered comment. She was watching him closely obviously ready to give him her view on things whether he wanted it or not so he remained silent.
After what seemed like forever to Ren 'Tanaya smiled to herself.
"Hi Janey, is Brad around?"
Ren watched as the smile faded from 'Tanaya's face to be replaced with a look of near panic.
"How bad is he hurt? Can I speak to him? Tell me exactly what happened, I want to speak to Brad now ..." 'Tanaya barely paused for breath as the words exploded out of her.