TouchStone for ever (The Story of Us Trilogy)

 

 

TouchStone

for ever

 

 

Sydney
Jamesson

 

 

   

 

First Published by S. J. Publishing, 2014

Copyright © Sydney Jamesson, 2014

 

This book is a work of fiction. The characters in
his book have

no existence outside the imagination of the
author, and have no relations

to anyone bearing the same  is purely
coincidental.

Likewise, places and incidents are used
fictitiously or

exist within the public domain.

 

 

All rights reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced,
copied,

scanned, Stored in a retrieval system, recorded or
transmitted,

in any form or by any means, without the prior

written permission of the publisher.

 

 

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available

from the British National Bibliography (BNB)

 

 

S. J. Publishing

[email protected]

 

ISBN –
ISBN 978-0-9575850-2-7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To the people in my life who mean

The most to me, I thank you for

your love and support: Barry,

Jenna, Mum & Dad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table
of Contents

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time
is too slow for those who wait,

too
swift for those who fear,

too
long for those who grieve,

too
short for those who rejoice,

But
for those who love,

time
is eternity.

 

Henry
Van Dyke

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Touchstone:
Noun: a basis for
comparison:

a
reference point  Against which other things can be evaluated.

 

 

 

The Story of
Us …

These
past few months, I feel as if I have lived several lifetimes. I have fallen in
love, travelled the world and changed my name; I have been face to face with
Evil and come through the experience battle weary but alive. 

Ayden Stone and I
wear our scars like medals of honour; matching mementoes of a time when we did
what had to be done and lived to tell the tale; each new chapter bringing us
closer to this point when our love transcends even the powers of the universe.
He is and always will be my saviour and my soul mate.

Our bond cannot and
will not be broken. 

Some days are better
than others; the ghosts remain hidden, afraid to appear in the light but, when
the darkness falls and I dream, that which I fear the most rises as if from the
dead to haunt me, possess me and steal me away.

I cannot outrun it,
defeat it or deny my destiny.

Self-sacrifice is my
only weapon; I must wield it with care, for every deadly blow to the heart
strikes deep, deeper than an ocean, wider than the sky.

Only my Knight in
shining armour can save me…
or, perhaps, we will have
to save each other once again.

So, as I prepare to
embark upon this magical adventure in search of my happy ever after, I invite
you to look and listen, and let me conclude the story of us …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

In
a single thrust he enters me, swallowing up my moans as the sweet agony of his
penetration has me convulsing. He rocks back and forth, widening the gap,
making the outward movement infinitesimally longer each time until he is ready,
once again, to slide into me in one stomach clenching thrust.

He
growls with contentment. “Look at me, Beth.”

I
open my eyes and see my husband’s features. All my senses combined serve only
to seduce me into total submission. Through heated breath he whispers, “I love
you. You’re mine.”

 

What’s
buzzing? Is it in the room? Is it in my head? I feel as if I’ve been caught
between two radio stations; I’m trying to tune in but only hearing white noise.

With
absolute concentration I engage my senses until the distorted sounds disperse
and reform into the beeping of a machine and gentle snoring.

Where
am I?

My
head is resting heavily on a pillow and turning to the right feels like a major
feat, requiring actual mental effort to do so.

My
body appears to be glowing with warmth; the balmy air in this hospital room is
suffocating and the body heat radiating off Ayden’s hands around mine has me
close to igniting. A centimeter at a time I release my fingers and raise my
hand as you would a lead weight until it comes to rest on his left cheek. I linger
on the bristles before weaving my fingers into his hair, gasping in horror when
I see the extent to which his face has been battered and bruised. My chest
hurts and tears form. I try to contain them as you might a pint pot overflowing
with froth but …

My
beautiful boy...

He
stirs and I still my hand, following the line of his silhouette with my eyes.
He’s wearing crumpled clothes and a white shirt that has been roughly rolled
back to the elbows. His wedding ring is the only object to draw the light. It’s
a reminder, if any were needed, that we are connected; that we have always been
connected.

I
leave him to sleep, letting myself settle to the sound of his slow, even
breaths then open my eyes suddenly when I hear movement at the other side of
the room. Fearful of what I might see in the shadows, I turn my head to the
right, squinting until my eyes make sense of the shape sleeping in the chair by
the window. It’s Jake.

Relieved,
I allow my head to fall backwards into the pillow and return to that dark space
devoid of sensory stimulus; the place where there is only warmth and the
reassuring clutch of Ayden’s hand as it reaches for mine.

 

As
the haze of half sleep is diffused by the glow of early morning light, I hear
hushed voices…

“…
I know you’re worried about her Ayd but she’s gonna be alright. Now stop with
the fucking moping around.”

“Fuck
you Jake … you don’t know what she’s been through. I should’ve made sure she
had protection. That bastard was about to rape her. He would have killed her. I
know it.”

I
picture Ayden’s hand across the back of his neck, massaging muscles that have
become knotted with anxiety and lack of sleep. I listen in, letting them think
I’m still sedated.

“Look,
if she wanted to go off on her own after you told her not to, you can’t blame
yourself for what happened. Lester recognised the guy from her apartment block.
He was dead set on getting her. Even that Bowker guy said he’d been stalking
her. What a fucking psycho!” He pauses, thinking through what he’s about to
say. “The last thing she needs is you on a guilt trip. For fuck’s sake have you
gotten a look at yourself lately?”

I’d
only had a glimpse of him and that was bad enough. I squeeze my eyes shut and
focus on silent breathing.

“Once
she’s up and about you can take her off somewhere. She mentioned going on your
honeymoon on the flight back.”

There
is a thoughtful pause …

“She
did? What else did you two talk about?”

“This
and that.”

“Don’t
play games Jay, tell me.”

“She
knew about Alenka and … Elise.”

Ayden
huffs. “Yeah. We spoke about Elise. Beth got hold of the video, you know, the
one with you in the basement…”

“Fucking
hell!”

“Yes.
That’s what it was alright,” he states plainly.

“How
did she get hold of that?”

“Elise
paid me a visit while we were in Vegas and left the SD card where she knew Beth
would find it.”

Jake
is horrified. “What a bitch! And Beth watched it?”  

“She
watched enough …”

“Jeez!
And did she think …”

“…
Oh yeah. She assumed it was me …”

“And
you told her it wasn’t, right?” He waits expectantly for Ayden to answer.

“I
had to. It scared the shit out of her, thinking I wanted to be like
that
with her.”

“I’m
not surprised.  She’s not some twisted fuck who gets a kick out of being
treated like that. Have you heard from her?”

“I
told her not to call me but she does, around ten times a day. I don’t think
she’s one to take rejection in her stride. She’ll be trouble.”

“I’ve
got your back. I’ll have a word with her.”

“Watch
your step, she’s a loose cannon. Why do you think I’ve played along for so
long?”

“Beats
me! It’s none of my business but why you even got involved with that bitch in
the first place is a mystery to me. She’s got some major issues.”

Ayden
sniggers. “I just hope she never finds out who Beth
really
is or that
will be one almighty mind fuck”

“What
do you mean?”

“Those
pictures of the three of us at Bright Hill, remember, I showed you once?”

“Yeah.
Now that
would
rattle her cage.”

“I
won’t let her get to Beth. I have to keep her safe, or die trying.”

“You
almost did that already, remember?”

“I
tell you Jay, when I saw that bastard with her over a table …” He can barely
bring himself to utter the words.

Jake
is disgusted at the thought. “I’d have carved him up.”

“Yes.
Well … he might have had something to say about that …”

“What
do you mean?”

“He
was a big bastard, you know. And turns out he was a boxer, heavy weight I’d
say. He could box. He had me.”

“Fuck!”

“I
watched as Beth played for time while I caught my breath.” He pauses. “She was
like a rag doll in his hands and she still took him on. You had to see it to
believe it, Jay.”

“She
is something, Ayd.”

“Always
was …”

There’s
movement and I visualize a hand on a shoulder. “Well, you’ve found her and
she’s safe now. The last thing she needs to see is you in yesterday’s clothes.
Go take a shower, have a shave and I’ll keep watch. Don’t want her coming face
to face with some fucking hobo when she wakes up.”

Ayden
sighs at the thought. “You’re right, especially as I have to break the news to
her.”

The
news …

“What
will you tell her about the baby?”

No

“What
can
I say? He must have used her as a punching bag before I got there.”

He
did.

“Right
now she needs to get over the operation and recuperate, Ayd. She needs you to
be strong.”

Operation?

 “Look,
Lester’s brought your overnight bag.” He moves across the room. “Here take it
and go make yourself presentable. If she wakes, I’ll come get you.”

The
door of what I assume is an en-suite bathroom closes and the sound of running
water tells me I am alone with Jake. I hear him approaching and sense him
looking down at me.

A
gentle hand pushes back a strand of hair from my brow. “I don’t know if you can
hear me, Beth but … I apologise for the way I’ve treated you, as if you were
just another one of Ayd’s … friends. You’re more than that. I see it now. Get
well beautiful.” I feel warm lips on my forehead a single second before I fade
into oblivion.

 

***

 

A
black
Golf GTI crawls along the curb, crushing fallen leaves in the gutter, before
coming to a deliberate stop outside 4 Milton Avenue. That’s the address Elise Richards
has scrawled on a scrap of paper; it belonged to Dan Rizler.

Earlier in the day,
she called Human Resources at Cambridge University pretending to be a Police
Detective confirming the address they had on file for their recently deceased
employee. They had been eager to assist with her investigation and in less than
ten minutes had provided her with what she needed to check out his primary
residence.

Anticipating it would
not be a desirable place in which to live, she has dressed down; slipped into a
pair of jeans and a white blouse, even tied her hair back, intending to freshen
up and put her work clothes back on before returning to her office in town.

Leaving the sound of
the car alarm ringing out behind her, she approaches no. 4; a two-story, seedy-looking
block of apartments that would benefit from being knocked down and rebuilt;
better still turned into a car park or a supermarket. 

Next to the door
there are four buzzers; 4a has the name Rizler next to it but she presses them
all: 4d answers.

“Yeah.”

“Delivery for 4a,”
she says. To her delight, it clicks open; she steps inside, taking care not to
touch anything, even though she’s wearing a pair of black leather gloves. 

Stepping into the
dark and dingy entrance she becomes aware of the smell of dampness and neglect.
The first door on the right is 4a. The lock has been broken and it is slightly
ajar. It creaks as she pushes it open, one inch at a time.

All she can do is
shake her head when she enters. “What a shit hole,” she remarks. “So this is where
you lived is it Dan?”

Stepping over broken
pieces of chairs and shredded cushions she makes her way to the far end of the
room, spotting the clean rectangular patch of wallpaper about the size of a
noticeboard on the far wall. “I wonder what you had pinned to that wall, Dan?
Pictures of little Miss Perfect I should think.” She sneers at the thought.

In the bedroom there
is more evidence that someone once lived there. Tattered clothes, an unmade bed
and … on the floor she spots an old mobile phone. It must be around ten years
old. She picks it up and turns it over, detecting the missing battery by its
light weight, hoping to find something else in it that could prove useful. She
slides off the back and shakes her head. The SIM card has been removed. “Oh,
well.”

She dismisses the
remaining contents of the room and returns to the kitchen area, scanning the
corners and crevices for any clues that might help to unravel the mystery of
Dan Rizler. She marches over to the rubbish bin and, with one hesitant hand,
lifts off the plastic lid that is carelessly balanced on the top. Inside she
sees a plastic bag. The bag seems full of paper but, when she drags it out, she
sees it’s full of torn photographs. Tipped out onto the kitchen table the
photographs scatter like jigsaw pieces, leaving her to match faces to bodies.
She soon recognises that it’s the same girl in every photo.

“What have you been
up to, Dan?” she sneers. The tell-tale pin prick holes on the corners of each
photograph are all the clues she needs. “You have been stalking Miss Parker for
some time, it seems. You naughty man.”

She prepares to step
away from the spread of mismatched images, but one of them catches her eye.
It’s yellowing around the edges but Elizabeth Parker is in perfect focus,
posing shyly. Her dark hair is blowing around her and her right hand is lifted
to her mouth as she leans into the group sheltering from the wind.

She holds the two
halves of the photo in front of her and scowls. “What the fuck!”

 

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