Twelve: Messages

My life, from then on, became...I don’t know how to describe it, really.

Firstly, I moved out of Tina’s house. I packed up what little stuff I had at hers into some brand new suitcases, and I put my two lovely cats into cat baskets. Tina gave me a lift to my house, and I went in.

She offered to come in with me, but I turned down the offer, saying was something I needed to do alone.

Being back in the house shocked me, for the most part. It seemed so cold and desolate after Tina’s cramped and friendly home; I wondered how my great, great grandmother managed to live there all alone.

But I could cope. I wandered up to my bedroom, as this would be the most difficult room for me to be in after what happened, and it was. The bed was completely stripped, but there were some faint stains on the sheepskin rug by my bed; and of course, there was a huge one on the mattress where the blood had seeped through the bed. That was the first time that I realised it was a bloody miracle I was even alive.

I put my clothes away and got my cats’ reacquainted with the house, before putting some fresh sheets on my bed and making myself a meal.

At eight o’clock, I picked up the phone and rang Tina, just like I’d promised I would. She was full of panic and worry, and begged me to go back to her’s. I insisted I had to stay at mine and put the phone down, and then, I went upstairs and found the slip of paper that Gerard had slipped me and hopped back downstairs.

I dialled the number, but I only got an answer phone.

“Hi...if I haven’t answered, I’m just busy, so leave me a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can...”

I did leave a message.

“Gerard, this is...this is Layla. I thought I’d ring you to let you know I’ve moved out of Tina’s and...Well now you know my house number...I’d tell you my mobile but I don’t remember it right now. So yeah, I’m at my house now. to you later? Okay. Bye.” And I hung up; slightly disappointed he hadn’t been there.

He replied the next day, and I was in to receive the call. We talked to each other for two hours over the phone, about everything that popped into my head. He was great to talk to, he seriously was; he listened, and he made jokes when it was appropriate, but never when the conversation was at it’s darkest. He took what I was saying seriously, which was more than I could say for Tina who still seemed to think it was a “phase” I was going through.

After that, I’d ring him every week to fill him in on anything that had happened to me. Usually, it happened on a Sunday evening. Sometimes, he didn’t pick up so I left him an incredibly long phone message.

Everyday, Tina called me, often at the most inappropriate times. It started to irritate me, but I couldn’t find the words to tell her that it did.

It seemed to get to the point where Gerard couldn’t answer the phone less and less, so I retreated to sending him long emails instead. This was much easier; I could relate my thoughts better, and tell him what I was listening to this week. We swapped lyrics. It was through email that I first showed him some poetry I’d written.

One day, he asked if I wanted to meet up with him. I agreed. It was at the point when he was actually in the same area as me, and we met up at a notorious café I told him about.

Tina seemed very moody about my newfound friendship with Gerard, but for once, I didn’t care what she thought.

The day I met Gerard, I decided to dress nicely – I wore a black silk vest top, and a pair of dark grey skinny jeans and my black converse, with a black leather jacket over the top of my vest. I felt quite good and I drove away from my house in high spirits, and I remained that way throughout the day.

Gerard was nicer than the first time I’d met him, more talkative and not so curious (as he already knew most of the stuff you could know about me). But we still had fun together; we laughed and chatted as if we were old friends, and I didn’t even panic when his brother Mikey and the band’s guitarist Ray Toro joined us. In fact, I found them good to talk to as well.

We did leave on a slightly sombre note as Gerard wanted to talk to me about how I was getting on; but he rang me later and it was back to laughing together...How I liked it.

But I wake up today, and I’m feeling happy. I dress, and I drive to the shopping arcade and go to a newsagents to buy a newspaper, as I usually do; however, its one of those glossy magazines that catches my attention.

“She hasn’t spoken to us in three years – Layla Goss’ forgotten sister speaks out

I grab the magazine. I recognise the girl that is staring soberly out of the paper; she’s got a thin, cute face, dark eyes, and layered dark brown hair. She’s not smiling, but she’s still very pretty with smooth, pale skin.

It is my sister, my youngest sister Francesca.

What has she done?