Tell Laura – Chapter 23
TommyI guess it all started at our parents’ funeral. Probably, the roots grew in the decade before as teenagers and the seeds sown even earlier as young children. Like all teenagers, we thought our parents were stupid, we thought we had the upper hand. A perfect example of this was one of us distracting our parents, so the other could sneak some cake out of the kitchen. This illusion came crashing down when I was about fourteen and Mum handed me two napkins, to catch the crumbs.Before Laura left for University we swore an oath together. No matter where we ended up, we would always look out for and look after each other. At the very least to make sure we were being looked after. We spent five years apart, meeting up only during the holidays while we studied at university. We both did well.Laura became a photographer and I got a Master’s in software development and started working for one of the big computer game companies. My job paid well and by my mid-twenties I was able to buy a two-bedroom home near my work. This, unfortunately, took me away from my family.Laura met the love of her life at university and as the years passed, it was inevitable they would be married. He was not one to compromise and insisted they live near his family. This was only one of the things I disliked about him. Not that he wanted to be near his family, most people would, given the choice. Laura wasn’t given the choice and there was no compromise, like trying somewhere between the two families. Worse still, due to my move, this was further away from me.Well, it was only a seven or eight-hour drive, on a clean run, which is nothing to spend good time with a close sibling. Even though Laura worked freelance, it seemed she could never make the trip to visit me. That was fine, I was happy to do the running. Preserving our relationship was more important than whatever reasons were behind Laura’s reticence. I loved my sister, so had the only reason I needed to visit, that it pissed off her husband, was just a bonus.They were doing well for themselves and had a good-sized house, with a spare room. Curiously, neither was available any time any of Laura’s family or friends visited. Again, this was not an issue for me. Staying in a hotel was a small price to pay to see my big sister.He let slip once, or maybe it wasn’t a slip, that his friends stayed in the house. This rang an alarm bell or two, but it more pissed me off that even our parents could not stay overnight with them. While walking down the beach with her on that visit I asked her about it.”He was telling me about his friends staying at the house,” I tried to be vague, not to catch Laura out, but to see if she would say anything to corroborate my suspicions.I know, I just didn’t like him and was primarily hoping I was wrong, but as I thought I wasn’t. My secondary hope was that I could stop it before it went too far. My thoughts were along the lines of him doing his best to separate Laura from her friends and Sefaköy escort family. The move to Scotland was one step, restricting her phone use was the next, until Dad and I signed her up on a tariff at our expense.He made it difficult when we visited and tried to be around as much as possible, giving minimal alone time with Laura. All these things stank of someone controlling her, to the extent of abuse, but there was never that final piece of proof I needed to do something. I had no idea what hornet’s nest I had just poked.Other than being protective of Laura and being an annoyance with things like paying for her phone, I also had reasonably flexible working hours, especially when no deadlines were looming. My boss liked me; as a single man, when everything was on a push, I would happily work eighteen to twenty hours a day, seven days a week, to get on top and ahead of myself. There were a few like me, but we were happy doing it because the bonuses were good and the company reciprocated.So, I would turn up out of the blue, unannounced, on odd days of the week and make life hard for my brother-in-law to work around. I was comfortable tagging along with Laura when she went on photoshoots or helping with her chores. When we were at home, we would help each other as it gave us more time to goof about. It didn’t matter what we were doing, it was about alone time together. It was during a break in one of her shoots, that we found ourselves walking along this beach.She got quite out of sorts and defensive at first, then tried to pacify me. ‘He doesn’t mean to be rude’, ‘He quite likes you’, but the one I jumped on was, ‘Tommy, it’s not what you think’, because, I didn’t know what I was thinking.So, I asked, “What do you mean? What am I thinking?””That I’m just a slut,” she stopped, looking at the sand.I put my arms around her and held her head against my chest, while she cried.After a few minutes, when the worst of her sobs had died down, I asked, “Why on earth would I think that?”“He told you about his friends.”“Staying at the house, yes. I don’t think he meant to tell me because there’s always a reason me and our parents can’t stay there,”Now, many alarm bells were ringing in my head, along with blaring klaxons.I asked my next question, “What is it about his friends staying that would make me think you are a slut?”“It’s not as bad as it might sound. Sometimes it’s quite nice to get a break from him. Some of his friends are rough, but some do try to make love, even though he says it is only sex and his friends deserve the entertainment.”“What the fuck, Laura? What is he doing to you?”“Tommy, please, I know he loves me, he only asks me to do this for his close friends.”“Have you ever said no?”Laura didn’t answer but looked down at the sand again.“Laura, this is not someone that loves you. This is abuse, you can’t stay with him.”Laura got very defensive and shouted at me, “Oh, really? You’ve said about Escort Yenibosna his control before, who’s trying to control me now?”“I’m not trying to Laura, I love you, I don’t want to see you hurt or abused.”“Just go, just leave me alone, Tommy.”“But Laura, what he’s asking is wrong, if you have said no, it’s a serious issue.”“Tommy, it’s bad enough after your visits. If you see him now, you’ll make it worse. Please just go home.”“Laura?”She turned on me, “I know you hate him, but he loves me and I… I, I do love him. Go and stop trying to split us up! If you love me as you profess, just… just, go. I need to think.”“Of course,” I could feel a tear run from my eye down my cheek. “I love you, Laura. If you need me, you only need to call and I will drop everything.”“Whatever.”That was the last word Laura said to me on that visit, as she turned and walked back along the beach. I was proud of the way she carried herself, shoulders back, bolt upright, almost haughty, not showing a sign of the hurt that she felt, at that moment, from me.The following month, I had still not heard from her, even though I had sent her a text and email, every day. I worried, but she had said her bit. Mum and Dad had been in touch with her and were visiting just before Christmas. I had filled them in and although they hated it, they also said that Laura was an adult and it was up to her.I hadn’t said about my question over her consent, again it was about proof. They booked into the hotel we were now regulars at, as once again, even for the Christmas visit, there was some reason why they couldn’t use the spare room.I got a call, that night as they had popped in. The difference was that Laura knew when they would be there. Apparently, my darling brother-in-law had a friend visiting and they made a show of passing Laura back and forth between them, like a toy. My father suffered from angina and was not placed to do any more than feel sick and they left, promising to speak to Laura the next day. The next day never came for them.There was a fire in the hotel they were staying in. Officially, they died from smoke inhalation, but we were not allowed to see the bodies, as the fire had got to them. Unofficially, that curse to the ground that he walks upon, my brother-in-law had killed them as surely as if he had lit the fire himself.Laura was almost inconsolable, given what had happened the night before and that they did have a free room. At the funeral, he held her tight, almost smirking at me during the service. We did hold hands, but almost as soon as it was over, she let go and started walking away with only a quick glance back.When we got outside some of my friends walked me away to make sure I didn’t hurt him. It was a nightmare. Laura and I hadn’t spoken alone since that day on the beach, other than her call to tell me of the fire. Even making the arrangements, he was there, hovering, not giving me five minutes. I blew up Halkalı escort bayan at one point, wanting five minutes with my sister and Laura got angry at me.“I need to speak to her, if she goes, I’m scared I’ll never see her again, but I don’t think she’s interested.”“I’ll go and tell her,” said one of my close friends.Next, there was a commotion coming from the car park, shouting and screeching of tyres, then more shouting. I went to see what was happening.His car was half out of a space with doors wide open, with my friend’s car across the back of it. Laura was shouting, my friend was shouting. I went over to tell him to let them go, but as I got closer, I realised both were shouting at her husband, who was marching around the car to Laura. I started to run, but was too far away, he slapped her hard across the face, making her fall to the ground.“Get in the fucking car, you whore!”My friend went to intervene and pushed him away, then helped Laura up. I was sprinting now and came around the car at full speed.“Oi! Cunt!” I shouted.He looked around at me as I approached, I held my arm out straight and ran past, clotheslining him and knocking him to the ground. I stopped, turned and stamped on the hand he had slapped Laura with, feeling a satisfying crunch under my heel.“You will not speak to her or try to contact her. You will go home and pack her clothes and belongings neatly. I will be up in a week to collect them. Any damage and I will take it out of you. You will put your house up for sale and I want notification from your solicitor within the same week that he has been instructed to forward half the proceeds to Laura. Any hesitation and I will take it out of you.”“You can’t…” he started.“Yes, she’s your wife, I know. But my sister, the daughter of the man and woman who died because of you. Be thankful you are not being arrested for abuse, yet.“Now get in your car, fuck off back to Scotland and don’t even think of entering the country again.”“You broke my hand, I can’t drive,” he croaked.“You should have thought of that before raising it to my sister. Go, now!”As I straightened up and turned from him, I saw my friend gesture with his finger as if to say, ‘don’t try it’. I looked behind and he had scrambled to his knees, then stopped. I just raised my eyebrows at him, then continued to walk away. Laura broke from my friend and ran over to me, tears streaming down her face.There was a plaintive, “Laura?” from behind me, it was the first time since she had met him that she had openly deferred to me.“Just do as Tommy says, fuck off, get my stuff together and sell the house. Do that and I won’t press for abuse, I won’t tell your parents how you whored me out. I’m just sorry I didn’t listen to Tommy sooner, our parents might still be alive, you are a snivelling piece of shit, a bully and a thug.”I got the car blocking him moved and watched as he gingerly put it into gear and pulled away. Someone had had the presence of mind or nosiness, to film everything from the first raised voices. When the police, who were later called by the hospital treating his bruised windpipe, saw it, their first question was whether Laura wanted to press charges. She laid down the conditions that she would not and he was subsequently arrested and bailed.