The next few weeks were a nightmare. Imagine constantly looking over your shoulder waiting for someone from your past to show up, waiting for your biggest secret to be revealed the most dangerous man you know. Just waiting for something to happen, because something must happen.
Unless of course Joe hadn't recognised me- who was I kidding? Of course he had. The way his brilliant brown eyes widened in shock and how his lips had parted into an O shape. The fact that as I charged down to jump into a cab that was luckily parked waiting for a fare he had began to follow me. Only stopping and staring when the cab began to zoom down the street.
Not to mention whilst all that happened Wayne, my party animal boss' son watched on, I'm willing to bet he was totally confused and probably confirmed who I was to Joe the moment he turned back to talk to him.
Should I of mentioned Wayne's possible dabbling in drugs to my boss? It sounds bad, but I had other things on my mind. But maybe Joe wasn't dealing anymore. I could hope.
Work was ruthless, it seemed to be busier than normal and I was just waiting for Joe or worst Billy to walk in. I wanted to ask Wayne about why he was with Joe and if he had asked about me, but I had no idea how to approach the matter.
Even if I did ask him, I knew I'd regret his answer the moment he replied.
The clocked ticked onwards and I sat there alone in my cold apartment gripping a mug of coffee; I couldn't afford to have the heating on constantly, even if it was nearly November- I'd stick to shivering before putting the heating on in time for the kids to be home in the morning.
Quickly, without even thinking I put my mug down and my coat on, about to leave for work an hour early.
Most definitely pathetic, but so was sitting there alone in the freezing cold.
Smoke swirled in the air and clouded the room in a foggy haze; the scarce amount of windows were barred and locked and the door was closed tightly, letting people know that they were forbidden to go in there.
Sweat dripped off the pale face of a man, and his cheek was smeared with his own blood; his eyes drooped heavily and bruise like shadows were set deep beneath his eyes.
His breathing was hoarse and ragged and he could barely keep his head up. Somebody had given him a good going over.
The door creaked open, light blinded the young man for the briefest of moments before the door was eagerly slammed again, drenching the room in darkness. The only light coming from a pitiful lamp that sat in the corner, barely any light coming from it.
"I swear I didn't take your money," the bruised and battered man spluttered out, his chin resting on his broad chest.
Almost the second the words passed his lips a burning cigarette came flying at him, burning his stained cheek. He screamed in agony as the cigarette burned his skin before managing to flick it off himself.
The aching man heard a tap of a lighter and a gruff throat inhaling before cigarette smoke was blown into his bruised face.
"Well," he inhaled again. "I think your lying." Billy grabbed the pleading man by the scruff, yanking him forward.
A scream of pain escaped the man's sore lips as his arms which were tied behind a chair were ripped forward. Billy leaned down so that he was head to head with the burning man, his head was tilted to the side and he crazily rubbed his shiny gun against the man's cut cheek.
"I'm gonna' go and have a fuckin' drink Terry, and when I come back your gonna' tell me where my money is, or you and my friend here are gonna' have a problem. Ya understand?"
Joe downed his beer before he stood up and shrugged his jacket onto his aching back, he hadn't slept properly in weeks and was slowly turning into a neurotic mess.
He had to sort it all out. He had to know what she was doing back? Was she crazy or just plain stupid?
Quickly he grabbed his keys and began to head out the door of the smoky bar. He pushed the creaking door open with a wail. "Joey, where ya goin'?"
Joe stopped dead in his tracks, his jaw slightly tightening; this is most certainly not what he wanted. He let out a deep breath before turning back around and facing the one person he didn't want to see, his big brother.
"I was heading over to see Tammie," Joe quickly lied, hoping that Billy would let him go if he thought a good lay was involved. "I'll send her over to ya later."
Billy walked over to Joe, clasping his sore back. "I have something for you to do." Billy placed his forehead against Joe's, his strong hand resting firmly on his younger brothers neck.
Joe let out deep breath, running round for Billy certainly weren't on his agenda that night.
"Forget Tammie, her cheap ass will still be waiting when you've finished work. I need you to get to the office now and pick up a couple of ounces of dope, ya remember where it's stashed?" Joe nodded into his brother hand. "Take that shit to Tommy and tell him to get his ass down that underpass. I'm gonna be here with Terry for a little longer." Joe just nodded again and began to walk away, ready to run Billy's errand for him. "Oh yeah, Margo's been calling the bar all night whinging that ya fuckin' phone been off. Ya need to whip that bitch of yours ass in shape Joe, she needs to learn her fucking place." Joe clenched his jaw and left the bar without another glance at his older brother.
The drive to the office was a killer, Billy was pilling the pressure onto Joe and honestly he didn't know if he could take it. Billy was rattling on and on about Joe becoming a man and was piling on more responsibility onto him at almost every opportunity. He had recently been told where one of Billy stashes were, where a lot of the drugs were kept after production. He had been sending him to Bones more than usual and giving him double shifts.
To add to Joe's problems he had been seeing a feisty red head waitress named Margo for the past couple of months and she couldn't take Joe new found responsibility within the gang. She didn't like not knowing where he was most nights and the crack whores that he sometimes hanged with- if she only knew the half of it. Joe just couldn't deal with her shit at the moment.
And then Trish had showed up again, fucking his head royally. He couldn't think straight, she was in almost every thought, his nieces or nephews were constantly in his thoughts. He wondered if she was okay- he needed to know if she was okay.
The cold breeze hit me in the face and my chocolate hair whipped round wildly behind me. The street was quiet and oddly empty almost eerie even, I had been catching cabs home from work for the last couple of weeks now, all because I was terrified. I didn't want to find myself in a dark street with Billy Darley anytime soon.
But catching a cab almost every night was seriously draining my scarce funds so I was determined to walk home even if the paranoia was taking over me.
I rushed down the street, pulling my coat tighter to me as I went. It really was becoming bitter; I'd have to get the kids some new scarves and gloves soon.
The silence of the empty street was interrupted by a low rumbling sound that I knew too well. I stopped dead in my tracks, unable to move. Fear taking over every limb in my body. The low rumble of the black mustang I had spent so much time cruising around in didn't stop, it didn't become louder or faze away into the distance it stayed loudly rumbling near. But I couldn't see the car anywhere, there were a couple of alleys around but I was too nervous to peak into them.
"Trish," I jumped at the sound if Kevin's voice. His hand gently touched my shoulder, I flinched away. "Are you okay?"
I turned slowly to face him, relief washing over me as I took in his tall dark frame. "I thought I heard something," I said quietly, still looking around for the low rumble.
"C'mon, I'll give you a lift home." I had never accepted a lift home from my boss but tonight was different. My so called determination had gone out of the window.
As Kevin and I drove down the street I swear a black mustang was following us. It only seemed to appear round the corner as we pulled out of the street and into another, if anything I was only catching glimpses of it. It was probably my wired imagination.
Kevin drove silently, sending quick glances my way. He watched as I stared into the mirrors frantically. Before I had even realised it he had pulled up outside my apartment building.
The street was brightly lit by street lamps, and the apartments hallway light glowed out on the street creating a river of light from the car door to my apartment.
Whilst I was staring out onto the street Kevin's vast hand slipped onto my thigh, much higher than I found acceptable. He began to rub the area with his soft thumb, through my thin trousers I could feel ever soft caress.
I turned to face him whilst removing his hand from my thigh with my own. "Kevin, please don't do this again," I all but whispered not looking into his dark pools before getting out of his car and slamming the door. I swear he took off even before the car door had fully shut.
So I was stood there alone.
I began to fumble clumsily through my bag for my key to get into the building, and like every other night I ended up emptying my bag on the narrow steps leading to my building. I searched through the piles of rubbish- old sweet wrappers, empty packets of gum, miscellaneous pieces of make-up and a five dollar note. That made me happy.
Happy until I heard the low rumbling again. I was like a dear caught in headlights, the car stormed down the street it's lights shining in my face. I scrambled around looking for my key whilst shoving things back into my bag; I needed to get into my building.
The black mustang with red tribal patterns down the sides ground to a halt exactly where Kevin had been not two minuets ago, I couldn't see who was inside the car and I tried to pretend like I had never seen that car before in my life whilst eagerly searching for the key.
My heart sunk as I heard the car door slam shut. Shit Shit Shit!
"Is this what ya lookin' for?" A familiar voice that surprisingly made me relax almost immediately said. I was holding my breath as I turned around slowly, coming face to face with Joe Darley who was standing in just a black T-shirt and a pair of jeans, he was holding up a brass key in his hands.
"Yeah, where did you find it?" I asked stupidly, it didn't matter where he found it, I had it and I should run inside immediately.
His grin widened, it was contagious within seconds I was smiling wildly too.
"On the sidewalk, I guess it fell out of your pocket when you got out of the car." It was silent for a moment. "Look Trish, we got to talk. Let's just sit down here and talk." He said whilst plonking his bony frame on the cold stone steps.
I stared at him, my lips pursed. "Get up, we can't sit out here you'll catch pneumonia." I opened the door with my newly found key and held the door open for Joe to enter the apartment building.
We walked silently up the two staircases together, both of us looking straight ahead.
My apartment opened into a long hallway in the shape of a T, at the bottom of the hall there were two archways facing each other, one entered the kitchen the other the living room. Once in the living room there were two doorways, one to my bedroom and the other the bathroom. There was a small staircase in the living room that led to the twins bedroom.
The whole apartment was decorated nicely, in pastel shades. I couldn't take credit, I'd never had a flare for design; I was lucky enough that the owner had a pretty good eye for that stuff.
I walked slowly from the kitchen to the living room, clutching two beers. Joe accepted one silently.
"Ya got a real nice place here," Joe observed looking around the yellow room. His eyes stopped when he saw a framed photograph on the television stand, without a word I snagged it and handed it to him. It was a photo of from above, the kids were laying in the snow making snow angels.
"That's your niece and nephew." I murmured. "That's Jake," I said my finger tracing my little boys picture, my finger moved carelessly over to the picture of my little girl wrapped in a big pink coat. "And that's Ronnie."
Joe's head snapped up to look at me. "After my mom?" I nodded slowly.
The silence was interrupted my Joe cell phone ringing noisily, he answered it reluctantly.
I could hear the angry shouting coming from the phone. I didn't have to guess to know who it was; my hands were shaking as I heard his gruff voice again.
"I'll be there." Joe muttered before closing his cell and standing up. "When can I come by again?" he asked quickly.
I pursed my lips together. "I don't think that suck a good idea-"
"I want to meet them, C'mon Trish. Please." I played with the hem of my white blouse. "Billy will never know about it." He promised me, and with a small nod of my head I told him to return the following evening.