One week. One week since Jackson received that threat. He carried on as normal, couldn't bring himself to tell Aaron. After a few days he convinced himself he'd be ok, That Ed wouldn't have the guts to come after him.. Before Jackson arrived home Tuesday Night, he'd told Aaron he had a lot on with work, and wouldn't get to see him as often as he would have liked. Jackson had stopped the van outside his house, exhausted and ready to fall into his bed. He was inches away from his front door when he felt the arm around his waist and the cold metallic feeling of a knife pressed against his neck. He was pulled back down the gravel driveway outside his home and bundled into a car. Everything else after that he couldn't remember. Now, Jackson lay in the darkened room, his breath hitching as he sobbed. He had no idea where he was. Heavy restrictions on his writs and around his legs stopped him from moving. One thing played on his mind. Aaron. Was he safe? Had that arsehole got to him yet? How was he going to feel when he realised his boyfriend was missing? He silently cursed Cain. This was all his fault. If he'd done a proper job in the first place, He wouldn't be here. It now all clicked in just how right Aaron was. It was becoming highly likely that Ed was responsible for Adam's death, probably even responsible for the sudden disappearance of Cain. All he could do now was wait. Wait and see what Ed had in store for him, and pray he was going to get out alive.
Aaron sighed as he sat down in the garage, another failed attempt to get hold of Jackson had put him in a rotten mood. The doctor had now given Aaron the all-clear to work with the cars again, but he still had to take it easy. He began working on Dan Spencer's camper van when a gentle tapping on the garage door disturbed him. He looked up to find John Barton standing there, looking nervous.
"Aaron, We need to have a talk."
"Everything ok?" Aaron asked as he motioned for John to sit in the seat at the computer.
"No, not really...There's something I need to discuss with you."
Aaron nodded and leaned up against the camper van, feeling nervous himself.
"There's not really any other way I can say this..You deserve to know.."
"John, you're scaring me.. The girls and Moira are ok?" Aaron asked
"Yes. You know we've had a lot of work on recently, we've had to...We've had to take someone else on to help us at the farm."
"You've already replaced Adam?"
"We had to. The girls, bless them they are trying but Farming's not in their blood. They're moving away. Our Holly got a job in London and Hannah is going with her, We needed someone else Aaron."
"Adam is barely cold in the ground and you've already replaced him! He wasn't just a farm hand, he was your son and you've replaced him!"
"Aaron you knew deep down we would have had to replace him someday."
"But three weeks after his death?"
"It wasn't exactly an easy decision to make! Do you think I enjoyed going out there finding a suitable farm hand to replace my dead son? The man I thought would take over from me when I died? Myself and Moira had to do what was best for the farm, not what's best for us, unfortunately. You know how it is to run a business Aaron! If we don't get the help we suffer and I've worked too damn hard and too damn long on that farm to let it slip through my fingers!"
"So this new kid...He knows, does he?"
"Yeah. He feels pressurised.."
"Bless." Aaron mumbled, rolling his eyes
"Aaron! Look this lad came to see us a few times since Adam..." John sighed and shook his head "He said he'd met Adam in a bar one night and they got chatting when they were waiting to be served. He heard about the accident and came round. We got talking about the farm one day and he offered his services. He sounded like he had a bit of experience and we had to hire him. He's a nice lad you know, it wouldn't do any harm to get to know him."
"What and become BFFs or something?" Aaron snorted "Not a chance."
"Well if you ever do decide to force yourself, and stop seeing him as Adam's replacement, and hold that against him, His name is Robert, Robert Edwards, and he's gonna be working at the farm from now on, no matter how many times you throw your toys out of the pram over it." John replied, standing up and leaving the garage.
Anger took over Aaron and he launched the spanner he was holding across the garage. The large metal object made contact with the computer screen and smashed it to pieces. "FUCKING PEICE OF SHIT!" Aaron growled, racing over to the table and tipping it over, kicking and punching at the wooden desk. "Fucking replacing Adam! Like he didn't even fucking matter!" Aaron screamed, rapidly destroying the garage. Tools were taken off the wall and chucked around, the company phone had been chucked against the wall. "Who the fuck does he think he is? Fucking prick! "ooh don't throw your toys out of the pram!" Fucking arsehole! Total fucking..arsehole..." Aaron sobbed. He looked around the garage and saw the damage that he had done. Debbie was going to kill him. He sighed and looked towards the still open doors of the garage. He was surprised no-one heard him in his destructive mode. Someone wearing red passing the garage distracted Aaron. He was damn sure in that split second he recognised that coat. He left the garage and slowly walked up the forecourt, rounding the corner to the main village. He saw them again. Everything was right. The coat, the curly hair, the build. He was here. Fear overtook Aaron and he ran back to the garage, slamming the doors behind him.
He gasped for breath as a panic attack took over him and he slumped in the corner, rocking backwards and forwards as tears rushed down his face. as he rocked, he banged his head off the wall with more force than he intended. He winced slightly and shook off the pain, but the pleasure overtook him. He did it again, allowing himself to hit the wall with more force after each blow. With one final, sharp hit he reached around the back of his head and relief flooded through him as he felt the familiar, sticky liquid running through his short hair. He wiped his bloody hands on his overalls and jumped up when he heard the door creak open and Cameron enter the garage.
"Jesus Aaron what the hell happened?"
"I saw him..."
"Saw who? Aaron have you done this?" Cameron asked, looking around the garage
"He was here, Cameron!"
"Aaron, you aren't making sense...Who was here?"
"You don't believe me do you?"
"I didn't say that! Look, just tell me the truth, I won't tell Debbie. Have you done this?"
Tears flowed down Aaron's face as he nodded. "John's hired someone else at the farm. He came round to tell me."
"And that's upset you because you think it's too soon to replace Adam?"
Aaron nodded again and winced as a sharp pain travelled through his head.
"Have you hurt yourself Aaron?"
Aaron said nothing and kept his eyes fixed onto the floor. Cameron stepped forward and placed his hand on Aaron's shoulder. "Show me.."
Aaron nodded and turned around so Cameron could see the cut on his head. "How did you do this?"
"Hit my head."
"I'm telling you the truth Cameron!"
"You're doing this to yourself aren't you? I saw the scars on your arms when you were changing out of your overalls the other day. Now this? Not forgetting you apparently split your stitches open when Cain left you here..."
"You think I'm crazy don't you? Everyone thinks it I know they do...They'll lock me in the nut house for this Cameron you can't tell anyone!"
"Mate...Come on you have to stop this!"
"Yes, you can. Cause I'm going to help you. I'm not going to ignore this and pray that it goes away. I'm getting you through this Aaron."
"You've done enough for me. You've been amazing during this Cameron. You've done too much already."
"That doesn't mean I'm going to stop caring." Cameron smiled, gently placing his hand on the side of Aaron's face. "You need someone and I seem to be the only person you're opening up to. For as long as you need me, I'll be here."
Aaron nodded and stared into Cameron's blue eyes, a mirror image to his own. an awkward silence filled the room and Cameron moved forward slowly, capturing Aaron's lips in a tender kiss. To his surprise, Aaron didn't pull away. The kiss deepened and intensified before Cameron came to his senses and pulled away. "Oh god Aaron I'm sorry...Look I'll go, yeah?" Before Aaron had the chance to respond, Cameron had left the garage. He sighed and picked up the computer chair from the floor, he sat down and rubbed his hands over his head. How could he let that happen? He wasn't a cheat, but he couldn't stop the thoughts creeping into his head. What would it be like to kiss him again, to fuck him, even. He shook his head and began tidying up the garage, trying to push the thoughts to the back of his mind.
Standing outside the garage he stared in through the window, having witnessed everything. He pulled Jackson's phone from his pocket and typed out a text. "Hope his mouth tasted nice..."