Brad & 'Tanaya Ch. 06byMygypsy©
'Tanaya paced backwards and forwards agitatedly in the kitchen for several minutes as she tried to work out what to do and say. Brad was leaning back against the sink watching Brent who was standing just outside the kitchen doorway in the dining room.
She couldn't believe that the two men had actually come to blows in her house; they had only stopped when she had managed to get in between them. Matty had grabbed Brent and pulled him back away from Brad where he was sprawled on the floor while she had literally sat on Brad to stop him getting to his feet and going after Brent.
'Tanaya glanced at her kitchen table where it sat canted to one end. One leg slanting back under the table broken while the other leg was bent at an angle semi detached. The chair Brad had been sitting in was on the floor with the seat broken and the front legs folding in towards the underside of the seat.
"I don't believe it! Youse have broken my kitchen table! And that chair ... that chair is fucked!" 'Tanaya exclaimed angrily.
Brad touched the back of one hand to his bottom lip and pulled his hand away to look at the smear of blood it now sported. He sent a dark glare at Brent where he stood in the other room and Brent grinned back savagely.
"You got it wrong with what you're thinking about Brent and I," 'Tanaya snapped at Brad.
Brad didn't make a reply but he had realised he had it wrong the moment he had been uttering those damned words. Some instinct had told him that 'Tanaya wouldn't have reacted to his lovemaking like she had if she had been involved with another man as well.
"'Tanay' and I share a history. We share something that nothing can diminish." Brent drawled baiting Brad.
'Tanaya turned to glare at Brent but he was busy watching Brad and didn't see the rage and hurt on her face.
"Oh I already figured that out," Brad said insolently.
Brent frowned in anger but glanced away from Brad as 'Tanaya stamped a foot hard with a harsh sound of anger.
"Brent!" 'Tanaya said angrily, she took a deep breath before continuing more mildly, "Matty, go back to your place. I need to talk to Brad and sort this out, once I've said what I have to say then he can please himself whether he stays or gets the fuck out!"
Brent hesitated a moment as 'Tanaya met his eyes and there was a moment of silent communication between them before he turned and headed for the front door.
'Tanaya waited until she heard the front door close behind Matty and Brent before she turned her attention back to Brad.
He was still leaning back against the sink but he kept touching his bottom lip with his fingers gingerly.
'Tanaya pulled an unbroken chair from under the intact end of the table and pushed it towards Brad roughly before sitting down on a chair herself.
"Sit down and shut up and let me say what I got to say. I'll start at the beginning so you can understand everything," 'Tanaya commanded and looked away out the kitchen window at the clouds that were slowly drifting across the blue of the sky.
Brad moved the chair clear of the table that was kneeling like an injured behemoth and sat down gingerly; he watched 'Tanaya warily until she turned her face back towards him.
Her expression was tight and closed as she looked past him and focused on the wall behind him. It was clear that what she was about to tell him pained her greatly.
"I runaway from home on my thirteenth birthday. My mother was part American Indian among other things but that was the heritage she liked to claim; looking back I guess to her it explained her weaknesses. She was an alcoholic who brought home whatever drunken man she was with at the time. I was feeling particularly put upon on my birthday, she was drunk and the bastard she was with didn't like me in the flat when he was there ..." 'Tanaya's voice trailed away for a moment and she cleared her throat before continuing,
"...I went to my best friends place but she was out with her parents for the weekend and only her big brother was home ... I wont go into details but I stayed in his room with him for the weekend and he relieved me of the burden of my virginity. He left for his home in the next town on the Monday, went back to a wife he hadn't bothered to tell me about.
I can't say if it would have made a difference if I had known he was married at the time but he was. I snuck home, grabbed my gear and cleared out. I lived on the streets most of the time for the next year and a half, stealing, going to refuges, whatever I had to do to survive.
My friends brother came across me one weekend, he'd split from his missus and decided on the spot he wanted me.
To cut a long story short I lived with him for nearly six years ... it was bad at times but at least he wanted me and I wasn't on the streets..."
"What's all that got to do..." Brad started to ask.
"I said sit down and shut up! Just listen, while I got the strength to tell you everything!" 'Tanaya snapped and turned away for a few seconds, she took a deep breath then continued.
"Then I met Brent and I left Robby, we were together about three months when Robby found me and dragged me back with him. He belted me so badly I lost the baby I was carrying, I hadn't even known about it until I ended up in hospital from the beating Robby gave me. When I got out of hospital and healed some I ran away, found Brent and we kept running and hiding. I ended up pregnant again, Brent and I were thrilled but we had to stay in one place ... I was too sick to keep moving. I was only about two weeks away from my due date when Robby found me..."
'Tanaya broke off for a few moments and seemed to be finding it hard to swallow.
"Robby had a gun and said if I didn't go with him he'd kill Brent when he got back from work, he made me write a note saying I didn't want him following me and then dragged me to the town where he lived. I knew Brent would look for me no matter what.
Ro...Rob...bee ...Robby was so rough with me that ... my ...I... my water broke while he was fucking me; he refused ... to take me to a doctor or hospital. I ended up having my little girl by myself ... on the bathroom floor. Three days later a neighbour rang the police on us. Robby kept yelling and threatening me because little Amy wouldn't stop crying.
The police called an ambulance; Amy and I were rushed to hospital. Amy had caught an infection from being born on the bathroom floor and I had an infection because not all the afterbirth had come away. While I was in surgery ... Brent had found us and rushed to the hospital, he was holding our little girl when she died ..."
'Tanaya broke off with an audible sob but jerked away when Brad tried to take her hand. She met his gaze with anger filled eyes and looked away once again before continuing.
"... when I came around the doctor said it is very unlikely I will ever be able to have another child because of the damage the infection did and then I found out about my Amy. I blamed Robby but most of all I blamed Brent for not being able to find us. I said a lot of horrible things to him and hated him every time I saw a baby or a small child. Then I met Rory in a bar and woke up one morning in bed with him and sober.
When Amy died something in me died as well, the part that let me love another person. Well I thought it had until I watched some big brute of a guy watch his mate's back while he kicked the arse of some bastard and then I found I had started feeling again."
Brad sat in silence for a few minutes not sure what to say or even if there was anything he could say. He bowed his head and felt tears start to flow down his cheeks. He didn't try to stop the tears as he cried for the little girl who had died before she should have and he cried for the pain 'Tanaya must have felt.
"I can't give you more children but I would never do anything that endangered you seeing Nicky." 'Tanaya said softly.
"You don't hate Brent any longer," Brad said quietly.
"No I don't. I've made my peace with him and every year we go and put flowers on our daughter's grave." 'Tanaya said very faintly. "That bond is still there but I don't love him, at least not that way. I still hate the fact he got to say goodbye to our daughter when I never did; she was buried before I recovered from surgery and the infection."
Brad nodded his head and raised his head to meet her eyes.
'Tanaya smiled a watery smile and Brad got to his feet slowly; he could still feel the wetness from his own tears on his face as he held a hand out to 'Tanaya.
'Tanaya hesitated a moment before letting Brad take her hand and gently tug her closer. She closed her eyes and leant her head against his chest as she realised she was trembling with remembered emotion.
Brad closed his arms around 'Tanaya and shut his own eyes as he held her gently. Suddenly so much about 'Tanaya that had troubled him made sense; she flirted incessantly with men because she had no self-confidence. Never having had a chance to grow emotionally because of a dysfunctional family and then an abusive relationship. She no doubt believed herself un loveable.
Of course she would feel threatened by Janey. Not only was Janey quite beautiful but she also had his son; something 'Tanaya would never be able to do.
"My brave and beautiful woman," Brad murmured softly.
"I'm not either," 'Tanaya denied and Brad could tell she really believed it.
"Well to me I see you as beautiful and you just showed me how brave you are," he said softly before he brushed a kiss beside her mouth. "and sexy as hell."
The next kiss was slow and sweet, gently brushing lips together in long lingering caresses. When Brad finally lifted his head 'Tanaya was clinging to him and he slipped an arm behind her knees to scoop her up into his arms and carry her to her room.
'Tanaya rested her head against his shoulder as he carried her into her room and placed her gently on her bed; he knelt at the edge of the bed and gently lifted her face to meet his eyes.
"Have you had something to eat?" He asked her.
"I'm fine, I had a sandwich earlier. Are you hungry?" 'Tanaya asked as she went to get off the bed.
"Don't worry about me, I'm not hungry for food." Brad said huskily as he sat on the edge of the bed. "Do you feel up to talking more?" he asked softly as he took hold of both of her hands.
"Not really but I think we really do need to talk about things more," 'Tanaya said as she lay back against her pillow with a sigh.
Brad brushed his thumbs over the back of her fingers as he tried to make out her expression in the dim light. He released her hands and got to his feet slowly; he was starting to feel the results of the fights with Brent.
"I'll just go and get us some cold soda's and then come back. Is there anything you want?" Brad asked softly.
"Just for you to hurry back and hold me," 'Tanaya said softly.
Brad heard the vulnerability beneath her light tone and reached out to give her hand a slight squeeze before he hurried off to lock up for the night and grab the drinks.
'Tanaya quickly skimmed out of her clothes and slipped beneath the covers; she was aware of how fragile her position with Brad was. She knew that sometime in the future he would meet someone who could give him children; fall in love with them and then he would walk out of her life. She intended to make sure she had plenty of memories to keep her warm once he left her.
'Tanaya remained awake in Brad's embrace long after they had stopped talking and he had fallen asleep. She couldn't credit that he was still interested in her even after they had talked about how she had survived as a teenager and her inability to have more children.
'Tanaya had not long drifted off to sleep when Brad began to stir and wake for the day ahead. Seeing 'Tanaya asleep and the dark smudges under her eyes he climbed from the bed; tucked the covers around her carefully and set about preparing for a day of work. As he was leaving he walked quietly into the bedroom and whispered to 'Tanaya he was leaving for work, she didn't stir as he brushed a light kiss on the corner of her mouth before leaving the room.
* * * * *
Brad glanced across at Matty and Brent where they were gathering their esky's for lunch. They grabbed discarded paint tins to use as seats and headed to the patch of shade where he sat.
"Boy am I glad it's not as hot as yesterday," Matty said as he set his paint can down and sat on it with a relieved sigh.
"Yesterday was a bit on the hot side," Brad agreed.
Brent sat down without making a comment and opened his esky; things had been tense between the two men for the last three days after the fights at the weekend.
"Janey is trying to set up Nicky's christening so it's at the little country church just outside of town. Her normal Father from her church does a service there once a month." Brad said before taking a bite of his sandwich.
"When would it be? I'd like to go if that's okay with Janey," Matty said.
"It'll be in three weeks if the minister is willing," Brad answered and spared a quick glance at Brent.
Brent met his eyes but didn't say anything; Brad knew he still had reservations about the things that had lead up to the fights between the two of them.
"Do you think her boyfriend will object to having the christening there?" Matty asked with a frown.
"Only if he knows I'll be there." Brad answered in a clipped tone.
"Of course he doesn't want you near his woman," Brent spoke up at last.
"If he was half as smart as he thinks he is then he would realise that I'm not a threat to his relationship with Janey." Brad said with a shake of his head.
"Maybe it's not you he's worried about but whether or not Ren will be around when he gets out." Matty said quietly.
A rueful smile curved Brad's lips at the though, "Oh I think we can safely bet Ren will be around when he gets out. And it won't be where his friends are that will be influencing him, it'll be where the woman he wants is."
"Be interesting to see if Janey stays with the boyfriend or gets with Ren." Matty said quietly.
"Things seem pretty solid between her and the boyfriend even though he's a bit of a waste of space." Brad said evenly.
"You obviously hadn't been paying that much attention to the way Janey acts then," Brent said almost sounding pleased.
Brad looked his way with a puzzled frown.
"Janey always is so tense when he's around, like she has to watch every move she makes." Brent commented.
"Talking of Ren has 'Tanaya heard when his appeal goes before the court yet?" Matty asked.
"A hearing date has been set for the week after next, 'Tanaya is going to make sure she has the day off so she can go as moral support for him. I plan on going if I'm not working as well." Brad said.
"Have you thought about seeing if Janey would go up to the prison farm and let you introduce Nicky to Ren?" Brent inquired.
Brad gave a snort of amusement before speaking, "Do you honestly think her boyfriend would let her go near the jail to visit when Ren's there? I don't think he'd let her out of his sight if he even suspected it might be on the cards, and I'm not sure what James would say about it. Her brother has supported her in all her decisions even when he hasn't agreed with them." Brad pointed out.
"Yeah, James is a cool guy." Brent acknowledged.
"What are you lot gossiping about?" Gerry asked as he walked over from where he and his two friends had been eating.
"Nothing much," Brent said casually.
"So tell me Stanton, who was that sexy little blonde you took to the supermarket on Saturday? I mean the chick you're shacked up with is hot but that blonde, now she is a different story." Gerry said and gave a wolf whistle.
All three men got to their feet and Hank hurried over as if expecting trouble.
"Ready to go back to work are we?" He asked as he glanced at the stormy expressions on the faces of Brad, Brent and Matty.
"Yeah boss, ready when you are," Brent said stepping between Brad and Gerry and breaking the eye contact between the two of them.
Hank watched his crew go back to work, he was aware of the growing problem between Gerry and Brad. Gerry had worked for him for three years and had a reputation around town as a bit of a bully, picking on those weaker than him. And although Hank had only known Brad since he had started working for him nearly a month ago he considered Brad a bigger asset to his work crew then Gerry. Hopefully it wouldn't come to having to fire one of them to prevent trouble in the crew.
* * * * *
'Tanaya unlocked her front door and walked into the house, the air inside was hot from the day's heat and she went around opening windows to let the cool evening breeze work it's magic on the stuffy house.
With all the windows open she went to the kitchen and put the peculator on and buttered herself a cinnamon bun while she waited for the coffee to be ready.
The faint odour of burnt meat reached her and she wondered who could be b-b-queing this early in the afternoon.
The percolator stopped and 'Tanaya poured herself a cup of the fragrant brew, topped it off with milk and sugar and took her bun and fresh coffee out to the back porch so she could sit and relax.
The shade from the garage was turning the lawn into a pleasant place to sit in the evening as 'Tanaya settled herself in a plastic chair and leant back to relax. Again the burnt meat smell reached her and 'Tanaya looked around her neighbours backyards curiously wondering who was cooking out and making a mess of it.
A strange flickering light in the kitchen window of the house next door was all she noticed and she turned her attention back to her drink. A prickle of unease ran down her spine and she turned to look at the window once more.
The light seemed to have grown brighter and with a sudden shock 'Tanaya realised she was seeing flames licking at a stove across the far side of the room. Jumping to her feet 'Tanaya raced into her house to the phone, she picked it up and dialled 000. Hurriedly she talked to the operator and got put onto the fire department.
With the fire department notified 'Tanaya ran out the front door to the neighbouring house and pounded on their front door, when there was no answer she raced along the far side of the house to the back of the house. The back door was open but the screen door shut and she peered into the smoke filled interior worriedly.
"Mrs Brinkley! Mrs Brinkley! Are you all right! Mrs Brinkley!" 'Tanaya yelled frantically.
"Has anyone called the fire brigade?" The owner of the house on the other side asked as he huffed and puffed to the back of the house.
'Tanaya looked around and noticed with a start that there were several people there now. "I called before running over here. Does anyone know where Mrs Brinkley is?" 'Tanaya demanded.
"Gloria said she was going to cook Gerald a roast for tea. Said she was going to put the meat on and have a nap before adding the vegetables. Oh dear! I hope she's not at home." The wife of the fat neighbour said as her hands fluttered in near panic.
"Mrs Brinkley! Mrs Brinkley!" 'Tanaya resumed yelling at the doorway. There was a sinister crackle coming from inside and the distant sound of sirens before the loud shattering of a glass window made everyone jump.
For a moment 'Tanaya fancied she could hear someone calling from inside the house and she glanced around the people who stood around the backyard. Several of the men had the garden hose running and were trying to hose the kitchen window but the heat was keeping them well back. Again 'Tanaya fancied she could hear the faint sound from inside and the woman beside her gasped in shock.
"Oh no," She moaned softly in horror.
'Tanaya ran to the clothesline and yanked a towel from the line then ran to where the men where hosing the side of the kitchen futilely. "Here! Wet this!" 'Tanaya demanded as she grabbed at the hose.