Synopsis : The book centres around two characters called Casey Alder and Jodie Flynn. Casey is a mid-twenties cycle courier in London and lives in the area of Finsbury Park which is in the North end of London. She rents a first floor flat from an older lady, who lives in the ground floor of the house. The lady insists that Casey calls her Aunt Essie and she treats her like another grand-daughter. Casey is known as a player though out the gay scene, and is happy with that. That way it is easier to be safe. A childhood in care can make you uneasy of relationships.

Aunt Essie, though feels that Casey could do with being in a relationship, and would love for her to meet her grand-daughter Jodie. This proves harder than she thought and the two girls keep missing each other. Then Casey is shot and sees another person killed as she does a late night pick up for her job.

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Part 1

 

A Parcel of Trust

By Kerry McNair

Part 7


It had been nearly two months since Casey had handed in the package to the police, and as far as they were all aware it looked like they would be going to trial in a month or so. That is if everything went according to plan. Casey was back at work on a part time basis but she was not a happy bunny.

“Casey, shut the hell up would you, there is no way you are going back full time! At least not for another two weeks and that is the end of it, no ifs no buts. The answer is no! You are still working the mid shift. So shut the frigging hell up you are giving me a headache.”

Casey sat down on the tatty sofa in a huff, “It's not fair! I am perfectly capable of doing a full shift so why are you putting it on hold Cliff?” Casey looked over at Cliff who had gone red and was suddenly very busy looking at the computer screen. It all suddenly became clear to Casey. “ Oh I get it, two women have got to you! You have been intimidated by Jodie and Aunt Essie! I would laugh at you but it has annoyed me! Why on earth could you not have said no to them? Come on Cliff! Its not like your a pushover or anything.”

Cliff shook his head, “Ah Casey I'm sorry, but come on you know what they are like when they get together. God! Aunt Essie is bad enough, but Jodie, well she is a different kettle of fish. She makes Essie look like a puppy dog! Don't tell me you have won an argument with her? Cause if you say yes, I know you're lying'. Casey laughed loudly. 'What? Me win an argument with either of them? Nah Never, though it is fun to try if only for the make-up sex with Jodie'. She laughed even louder as Cliff blushed even more. 'Oh look at the state of you Cliff! We do have sex you know'?

Cliff got busy with some paperwork, “That's as may be young girl, but I think of you as a daughter. So I would appreciate it if you would keep that talk to yourself. Now go and annoy someone else. Your shift has finished and to be honest I'm bored of you now.”

“Charming! Calls me a daughter then tells me to get lost? Fine, fine! I am going. Oh! By the way, are you free Saturday afternoon? Only I am going up the lane to see if they have any tickets for the match left. Jodie is working so...' Casey said as she put her helmet on.

Cliff checked the schedule. “Yeah I'm free. Let me know how much it is and I will add it on to your wage packet.'

Casey nodded and made her way out the door “Later Dad” she winked as she let the door slam behind her knowing that it annoyed him.

Getting herself settled on her bike, she didn't notice the car across the road watching her. Checking the road behind her Casey rode off towards the Tottenham football stadium.

Back at the flat, Essie got hold of the broom and banged the handle onto the ceiling. “What are you doing up there child?', she shouted into the hallway.

“Eh? What's wrong? Why you hitting the floor?” Casey stood at the top on the stairs wearing her kick-boxing shorts and vest covered in sweat. “Oh your back to that carry-on are you? I forgot how noisy you can be' she grumbled.

“Well you are usually out when I'm training. Why aren't you at some old peoples thing?, she grinned down at Aunt Essie.

“Old peoples thing?' retorted Aunt Essie. 'Why you rude little madam! Get down here now so I can give you a clip round the ear!”

Just then the front door banged open as Jodie stepped in. “You can hear you two down the street! What's up now? Aunt Essie what you doing here aren't you meant to be..'

“Jodie no. Don't mention old people. She might hit you! Casey warned her with a laugh.

“Oh you two will be the death of me. I'm going out. Now behave if you can please'. Essie gave Jodie a kiss as she put her coat on and went out the front door.

Jodie smiled up at Casey who was leaning against the handrail “Oh aren't you a sight for sore eyes, and don't you know it girl, Sexy and already worked out up a sweat. Looks like I have some catching up to do'. She grinned as she ran up the stairs two at a time to catch Casey, throwing her coat and the parcel that a man had given her at the door into the kitchen as she followed Casey into the bedroom.

A couple of hours later, Jodie sat up as Casey brought her in a cup of tea, “Ah! Love you darling. For a coffee drinker you know how to make a good cup of tea. How is that?”

“Probably because you drink enough of the stuff. I'm sure you have tea instead of blood in those veins of yours!' said Casey as she propped herself up beside Jodie on the bed. “What's this? I found it on top of your coat on the kitchen floor”

Jodie took hold of the parcel and frowned. “Don't know. A guy was just about to ring the bell as I came up the front steps, I think I scared him, but he asked if I could deliver this to you if I was going that way. I said sure and was going to do just that, but then I saw you looking all sexy and cocky at the top of the stairs and it went out of my head. Wonder what it is? Jodie gave it a shake. “Nothing breakable I hope seeing as I flung it on the floor!.”

Casey put her coffee on the bedside table. “Pass it here lets and see what it is'. Casey opened the box and found an envelope inside. Looking at Jodie she raised an eyebrow. “What did the guy look like Jodie'? she asked as she peered into the envelope. Jodie watched as Casey's face drained of colour and she looked like she might faint.

. “Casey? Hey look at me! What is it? What's in there'? Jodie took the box and envelope from Casey and looked at the contents. “Oh my God! What the fuck.? I think I am going to be sick.' Jodie ran to the bathroom and just made it in time to be sick in the toilet. Unable to stop herself, she kept retching long after there was nothing more to be brought up. Finally she turned and leant against the bath. Shaking, she looked up as Casey came in holding the envelope in her hands. She sat beside Jodie and looked at her waiting to see her next reaction.

Jodie took a deep breathe and blew it out slowly. “Was that you in those photos Casey?' she asked gently. Looking down she pulled the envelope out of Casey's hands before she ground it into a pulp. Casey nodded. Jodie put her finger under Casey's chin and made her look into her eyes. “Is the reason why you were put into care?” Casey nodded again, then began to cry.

“Oh baby, I knew it was bad, but those photos! How can anyone do that to a child? You look about five for fucks sake. It's sick! That's what it is!' Jodie shouted out as she threw the photos across the bathroom. Casey made to move sure that Jodie was shouting at her. Jodie looked over at Casey and noticing her expression she stopped what she was doing and used a lower tone to comfort the miserable looking girl beside her. ”Hey hold your horses baby! Its the pervert in photos I am shouting at, not you! Don't you ever think that what he or anyone else did to you was right or you deserved it. Not one child deserves to be sexually abused, not one of them. Oh my God! Was it him that gave me the box? Jodie scrambled on her knees to look at the photos, making sure Casey couldn't see them. “Shit! I can't tell, but if it was him how did he know where you lived, and who is he anyway?”

Casey looked at Jodie with dead eyes, “That is, or was my stepfather. As far as I was aware, he is still in prison. I try to keep track of him. If it wasn't him who was it and how did they get hold of these? Casey sighed and let her head rest against the bath. 'Right Let's get this over with and hand them into the police. See if they can figure out where the photos came from, maybe ask my ex stepfather. They will be sick of the sight of me soon I tell you. . And later how about I tell you about my childhood. That is, if you want to know.' Casey looked at Jodie with trepidation in her eyes. Jodie gave her a sad smile and helped Casey to her feet, “You want me to let James know what's happening?”

Casey rubbed her eyes and leant her head on the door. “He is going to go mad, especially if it is my stepfather who sent them, He said if he ever got hold of him, he would kill him, and you know what Jodie? I think he might just do that. Give me the photos.' She sighed as Jodie kept a tight hold of them. 'Come on Jodie! Let me have them. I won't do anything stupid! I swear! You ring James and I will take the photo's to the police station. Let me do this my way Jodie, its the only way I know. When I get back we can talk.”

Jodie passed the envelope over though she was still suspicious of what Casey would do. “Look I don't know what you want me to do Casey, but whatever it is, I am here for you.” Pushing Casey out of the bathroom, she grabbed a jacket for her to put on, “Go do what you have to do. I'll get hold of James”. Giving her a kiss, she watched as Casey went down the stairs and out the front door. Unsure with what she would tell James she just stood by the open door to the flat. The front door opened again and Aunt Essie came in, hands full of shopping bags. Jodie rolled her eyes, “Aunt Essie, how many times have Sean and I told you that we will do the shopping or order it online.” Jodie made her way downstairs to help her Aunt.

Aunt Essie smiled, “Well. Lets see... you know what? I think I have lost count my lovely little niece. Now that we have got that over and done with, how about you tell me why Casey just walked straight past me and totally ignored me?”

Taking some bags from her Aunt, Jodie went through to the kitchen to start putting away the shopping. “I don't think it is my place to say. If Casey wants, she will tell you later I promise. And before you get all agitated we have not had an argument. That at least I can say, so no more questions. You know what Casey is like with her privacy'. Aunt Essie watched as Jodie put the rest of the shopping away, wondering what on earth could be wrong. Jodie turned round, 'You Ok if I get on as I need to ring James?”

Aunt Essie started “You need to ring James? that can mean only one thing, something from Casey's

past'. Aunt Essie sat down and looked at Jodie. 'So? Am I right?'

Jodie smiled at her aunt and kissed her on the top of her head as she passed. “How do you know that? I might just be ringing him to see if they want to go to the cinema tonight or out for dinner. We do do that you know!”

Aunt Essie shook her head, “ I just have a feeling that is all. Tell Casey she knows where I am and not to be stupid over whatever it is that has upset her. I have had enough of you two being stupid, do you hear me girl?”

Jodie walked backwards out the front door, “Yes I hear you! I always hear you! It's just sometimes I don't listen”

As the door shut, Essie took a deep breathe “ain't that the truth”

“James will you please sit down, you are doing my head in with all that pacing!' Jodie snapped at him.

“No I won't sit down! How can I? She hasn't been to the police station and it's been 5 hours since she left to go there. Why is she always so bone headed? Why didn't she ring me before she went out?” James snapped right back at Jodie.

Nate choose that moment to come into the flat. “Hey Hey! What are you two shouting at each other for you? Where's Casey? he asked looking round.

Jodie spoke first “ I'm shouting because James is blaming me for Casey's actions! She asked me to ring him and I did. Now I am getting the brunt of his frustrations with her! It is not my fault she lied to me about what she was doing, and being a ass-hole isn't going to change that situation.' At this she looked at James, ' So why don't you use that head of yours and think about where she might be at this precise moment. Could she have gone back to where she used to live as a kid or..?' Before she could say any more, James jumped up, “Of course! That's where she would have gone! I'll go and round her up, Nate you come with me and I will fill you in on the way. Jodie I'm sorry for shouting at you. Can you stay here in case we miss her? I don't want her to be on her own” James cupped Jodie's face as he said sorry to her again.

“Of course I'll stay here. It's her home. She'll come back here. It's home, our home, before she started to cry she pushed the boys out of the flat. Looking around she took in what was now both their home, even though she still had her own flat, she knew she would never go back there. She just needed to decide with Casey whether they should sell it or rent it out. She picked up a photo that Casey had took when she had taken her skateboarding for the first time. She looked like Bambi on that dam board, but Casey loved it and insisted that it was framed and put on the shelf. The photo beside that was of one taken of Casey on her way out to work. God she looks sexy, thought Jodie. She chucked to herself. Who would have thought that cycling shoes, cycling top and baggy combat shorts could make her feel the way it did. Even the scratches on Casey's legs from where she fell into a bush one night, made her want her more. She loved her so much and it hurt her that Casey still didn't feel able to trust her with her innermost thoughts.

Lifting the phone and dialling, she sighed as it went through to answer phone yet again. “Ok Casey. James is on the warpath. I would be on the war path but he wants me to stay at home and wait until you come back. You are coming back Casey?' she ended the call on the question, hoping that would make Casey think about what was going on and how others were worrying.

Jodie stood in the middle of the lounge wondering what to do as she couldn't leave the flat. I know, she thought. Cleaning. That will keep me occupied.

After nearly two hours of cleaning and unnecessary tidying, Jodie stopped and rested her chin on the mop looking at the sparkling floor. Hearing the front door open she attempted to get to the door quickly, but managed to trip over the mop bucket and send it and its contents flying as she landed on the kitchen floor. “ Casey is that you? Bloody hell I'm soaked and you are for the high jump when I get myself up”, she shouted out towards the hallway.

Aunt Essie sidestepped the bucket and picked up the mop as she entered the kitchen to see Jodie

trying to get up. Resting a shoulder against the door frame she waited till Jodie noticed her and watched as her shoulders slumped when she saw it wasn't Casey.

“So have you both had an argument then seeing as you said she was for the high jump? Or is that your normal greeting? And why at ten o'clock at night are you cleaning the flat like it was Spring” aunt Essie asked as she began to mop up the spilt water.

“It is Spring and maybe I felt like getting a good clean done all in one swoop, and there are many times I tell Casey she is for the high jump. She can be very frustrating sometimes. Surely you know that?' she asked Essie. Seeing the look of disbelief on aunt Essie's face she swore under her breath and turned to put the kettle on, “Finish that mopping for me please and I will let you know what's wrong over a cup of tea”

Jodie sat across from Aunt Essie as they waited for the tea to brew. Neither of them spoke, both lost in their own thoughts. Jodie's were filled with fear that what had happened would send Casey over the edge, and Aunt Essie was scared to hear whatever Jodie had to tell her. She knew that whatever it was it could only mean more hurt for Casey. Why did one girl have to go through so much pain? She was a good girl was Casey. Yes she could be noisy, stubborn and sometimes childish in how she reacted to things, but she didn't go out of her way to hurt anyone. If anything she tried her best to make sure everyone else was alright. Now that she had found Jodie she thought that that was it. Happy ending and all that, and if she hoped really hard maybe some more grandchildren. Oh how she would love for Jodie and Casey to have kids. What a happy messy family that would be.

Jodie started to pour the tea and looked at Aunt Essie's face as it broke out into a smile. “What are you smiling about Aunt Essie?” Jodie asked as she passed a cup towards her and picked her own up. “Oh I was thinking about how nice it will be when you and Casey have some children'. Aunt Essie smiled as she watched Jodie choke on her tea.

Jodie wiped her mouth and put her cup down “Kids! Where did that come from'? she spluttered.

“Well I thought that as you were both settled now that after you get married you would have kids. Well more you will have the kids as I can't see Casey being pregnant, can you? Essie asked.

Jodie had to laugh when she thought of Casey being pregnant. “Oh that would be hilarious, Can you imagine it, I don't think she could cope, bless her. How can you think so far ahead Aunt Essie? I mean at the moment all we seem to do is fall from one disaster to another. Not a very settled environment for kids to be in is it now?”

Aunt Essie leant back in the chair, “Well, maybe not at the moment seeing as I know you are about to give me some more bad news, but in the future? Yes I do see you with kids and it will be a great family. I mean lovely parents, great uncles, and one very fabulous Great Aunt for them to play with. What could be wrong with that Jodie? Don't you want me to have any more grandchildren?” Essie smiled as she saw that Jodie knew she was teasing her. “Now that I have got you a bit calmer, why don't you spill whatever it is that has happened now. Have the police been in touch? Or has that family tried to contact Casey again?”

Jodie held her hand up to quieten Essie before she came up with any more questions. “No to both questions, I don't know how to say this, it makes me sick to think of it. In fact when I saw the photos I was sick, can you imagine how that made Casey feel? God what was I thinking! No wonder she hasn't come back yet! She thinks she makes me feel like that. How could I be so stupid Aunt Essie, how how?' Aunt Essie got up and motioned for Jodie to follow her to the lounge when they were both sat on the settee. Essie pulled her into her arms. “Ok Jodie lets start at the beginning, what happened and don't get all worked up.”

Essie sat in shock at what Jodie had just told her. Jodie could feel the anger shaking out of her. 'Aunt Essie I promise I didn't meant to act like I did, it just happened” Jodie cried.

“Shush child', Essie rocked Jodie in her arms. 'I'm not angry at you but I am angry. Livid that some person thinks that they can attempt to ruin Casey's life again. Just who do they think they are? They must know the man in those photos as I am pretty sure he is still in prison. Right let's think. Where would she go, because she needs to be here with her proper family. Where has James gone to look? Does he need help? What am I saying? Of course he needs help, he can only be in one place at a time. Where is your phone we need to phone Sean. Come on Jodie up find me the phone.”

Jodie watched in amazement as her aunt took charge, telling Sean he was needed again to try and locate Casey, and she squeezed her eyes shut as she told him. Why, Casey is going to kill me when she finds out how many people know this, but she will at least have to be at home to kill me.

Lifting her head she looked at her aunt as she put the phone down. 'He is going to check round the pubs and clubs for us and he asked me to pass a message onto you. He said that he will call his favours in and get both of you out in the street looking for his kids when they are old enough to be causing trouble'. Jodie smiled. She really loved her family, even when things were bad, they could always make you smile.

Casey sat on the battered couch at work and waited on Cliff's decision on whether she could work tonight.

“Honest Cliff, we are really stretched at the moment. What with the rent on my place and with Jodie living with me, it means we are paying the mortgage on her place while we decide to sell it or rent it out for a bit, so if you have any extra shifts it would help out loads'. Casey then tried the puppy dog eyes on him.

“Oh give over with those eyes girl! I am not sure if I believe you, but for some reason you would rather be sat here with me asking for work then sitting at home with Jodie doing something far more interesting, so for tonight I will give you the benefit of doubt as it is to late to be ringing people to check if what you say is true. I can send you out in about fifteen minutes, pick up over in Camden and taking it to the west end. That suit you ok? I will let you know if anything else comes in while you out” Cliff sighed as he passed the paperwork to Casey.

Casey tucked it into her backpack, Looking over her shoulder she asked Cliff, “Why don't you believe me?”

Cliff rolled his eyes, “I said you could leave in fifteen minutes Casey and why don't I believe you? Well it could be you the way to came in here with red eyes looking like shit asking for overtime. Most normal people would ring up during the day to ask and not turn up at eleven pm at night. That is why I don't believe you, but your here so the job is yours, and if you want to leave now rather than sitting with me and talking about what's wrong, then go”

Cliff turned his back on Casey as he waited

for her to decide what she wanted to do. When he heard the door shut a minute later he really hoped that Casey was still there, but when he looked over his shoulder the office was empty. Sighing he made his way to the coffee maker, wondering what it would take for Casey to trust him. She had worked for him since she was 16. She could have done so much more with her life but she seemed content to work for him. It was as if she craved the solitude of being a cycle courier. She was good at her job in fact he trusted her with his livelihood, and one day he would actually do that, if she let him.

Three hours later Cliff stood up and stretched wondering again why he had said he would cover the night shift for a few days. Moving over to the small kitchen at the side of his office to put a fresh pot of coffee on, he heard the door open. Looking at his watch he wondered who on earth it could be seeing as how the early shift weren't due in for another thirty minutes. Popping his head out he did a double take when he saw a male version of Jodie stood by the door. Taking a closer look he saw Casey was fast asleep between two chairs. Now that has to be uncomfortable. he thought. The man came towards him taking care not to wake Casey. Cliff nodded his head towards his office and sat down waiting for the man to follow.

Sean walked in and quietly closed the door behind him, he shook hands with Cliff and sat down on the other side of the desk.

Cliff looked at him with questions in his eyes.

“You must be Cliff'. he asked. At Cliff's nod, he smiled. 'I'm Sean, Jodie's brother and I have just spent the past four hours trying to locate a certain Miss Casey Alder and the last place I look she's here. Thank God. I thought I was going to have to go back to Aunt Essie empty handed, and that was scaring the crap out of me to be honest. Is she ok?' He asked Cliff.

Cliff relaxed when he realised it was family that had come looking for Casey and not trouble, though in his heart he knew that whatever had brought Casey to him three hours was not going to be good news. “How bad is it”? Cliff asked as he rested his elbows on the table and ran his hands through his hair.

Sean grimaced, “Bad. You have known Casey for a long time'? At Cliffs nod, he continued. “Do you know anything about her past at all?”

“Well I know that she was in Care and that she went there when she was about six or seven I think. Casey never really spoke about it, and I didn't want to pry. Whatever it was must have been bad, because if anyone brought up the subject of childhood or growing up she totally shut down.” Cliff shrugged, “apart from that sorry, nothing really.”

“Ok. Well in that case, it is up to her to talk to you about that if she ever wants to. All I can say is that some issues from her past, from before she went into care has surfaced and it has hit Casey for six. So she did what she seems to do very well, she ran. Only this time I think she forgot she has family who care about her. Jodie is at home worried out of her mind and James and Nate running round the same as I have like headless chickens trying to find her and bring her home where she belongs. So do you mind if I wake her and take her back?”

“Good god no, of course I don't mind. I knew something was wrong when she turned up, but if she was working for me then she was safe, and she did come back after she worked a job so that's a good sign. Go on take her home and tell Aunt Essie if I had known I would have taken her back myself.” Sean walked over and knelt beside Casey, and gently shook her, he watched as she jumped awake.

Casey felt something touch her and she was instantly awake, Looking around to see what it was she found herself looking into those green eyes again, she smiled as yet again she realised that it was Sean and not Jodie. Holding onto Sean's shoulder she got herself into a sitting position. “Sean why is it that when I am at my worst I always seem to wake up looking into your eyes, and thinking for a few seconds that its Jodie”, she asked him quietly and with a sadness in her heart.

“Because Jodie is at home waiting for me to bring you home safe, she is worried about you Casey. As is Essie, James and Nate. We are your family when things happen we stick together, and when what has just happened to you even more so”.

Casey looked at Sean with stunned eyes “You know? You know everything? When this sank in she felt sick. How could he even look at her.

Sean was stunned as Casey jumped up and tried to run for the door. He managed to grab her arm and pull her back before she slammed out the door and away again. Holding her back against his chest her hugged her close and whispered soothing sounds in her ears. When he felt her relax a bit, he loosened his hold but not completely, as he was afraid she would bolt again. Sean stroked her arms and spoke softly. “Hey, relax Casey. I still think the same of you as I did before. You are still the girl who makes me laugh, who looks after and loves my daft sister. You work hard and you care so much for us all. Why do you think that what man did to you would change that? So when I let my arms drop are you going to run from us, or are you coming home to Jodie? Now bear in mind you know what she is like when she is upset, so I can understand any indecision”. Sean ended his little speech and let Casey go, standing back he waited and watched Casey's shoulders move up and down as she tried to settle herself. Finally she began to turn towards him with a lopsided grin on her face. Looking at her now as she stood before him in her baggy cargo shorts and hooded sweatshirt, with the tousled hair, he could see why Jodie was in love with her. She looked like trouble but trouble with a heart, and that grin? He could also see that getting her out of trouble on more than one occasion. “How much trouble am I in with Jodie? Casey smiled at Sean.

“Oh you are in so much trouble I think there will be a lot of shouting and cussing and of course after she has finished with you, you have more shouting I would presume from Aunt Essie. Then there is James and Nate, will they be shouting too? Sean asked with a smile.

Yep, or shall I say James will shout and Nate will try to calm him down”. Casey went to Cliff and

hugged him, “Thanks Cliff for being there, but God. Do those seats hurt your back when you sleep on them” Casey was trying really hard to make everyone think she was ok. That was the best tactic. If they think you are ok, they leave you alone.

“Ok Sean take me home to face the music”. She followed Sean out the door and into his car.

Jodie jumped up as she heard the front door open. Standing by the armchair she waited to see who would walk down the hallway and into the lounge. Essie sat on the couch looked between the door and Jodie, hoping it was Casey.

Casey stopped in the hallway, trying to get her feet to move her closer, but her stomach was tied up in knots and she was scared to make those final few steps. Sean moved in behind her and softly got hold of her shoulders, kissed her on the top of her head and gave her a gentle push forward. He followed her to make sure she continued walking. Jodie finally let her breath out when she say Casey standing in the doorway with her brother behind her. Neither moved, but Jodie's eyes moved up and down Casey's body to make sure she was in one piece. While they stood looking at each other, Sean beckoned his aunt to follow him out and give the two of them time together. Essie gave Casey a kiss on her cheek as she passed, and whispered in her ear that she loved her.

When Jodie heard the door close behind them, she took a deep breath not wanting to scare Casey away again, but also wanting her to know that what she had done was wrong and that she was so angry she could spit feathers.

Looking over she saw that Casey had dipped her head to one side and lifted her hands palm up as if to say, Go on I give you permission to chew me a new one. Ok Jodie thought, lets go.

Jodie moved forward till she was within a foot of Casey before she let rip. “Do you have any idea of the pain you have put me through? What gives you the right to run out on me when things get bad? To have your whole family up in the middle of the night chasing round London after you? Now I know you think that what you did was right, but I think you need a big reality check. Do I need to spell this out for you Casey I love you, listen to me again I love you, do you get it? You its all about you, everything I do, want and need revolves around you. So don't you ever run out on me again, don't ever think I couldn't love you”, Jodie was shouting all of this into Casey's face and Casey knew she had to take it. Of course she knew that Jodie loved her, although God knows why. She was so beautiful she could have had her pick of the women out there, but she had chosen her and here she was acting like an idiot. She did the only thing she could do.

Waiting till Jodie paused to take a breath, she took her chance, leaned forward and kissed her said “I am sorry” then stood back and waited to see what happened next.

Jodie looked at Casey with wide eyes. Yet again she had stopped her in her tracks, and yet again Casey had been right to do that, pulling her close she held her tight. “Sometimes you drive me to distraction, but always remember that underneath me shouting at you, I love you baby. And I am glad you are home, tomorrow is the time for trying to sort things out”

” Taking hold of Casey's hand she pulled her into the bedroom.

Casey let herself be pulled, smiling inside at the fact that Jodie was taking control. She stood by the bed and watched as Jodie slowly undressed in front of her, as each bit of skin was shown, Casey's breath caught in her throat. When Jodie was wearing just a pair of green boy briefs, she stumbled as she made to touch her. Jodie stopped her with a light slap on her hand, then began to undress her.

Casey loved it when Jodie was the one to dictate how things went, the feeling of being so loved was the best in the world. Jodie trailed her fingers over her breast as she knelt down in front of her.

Casey blushed as she felt her shorts being pushed down to her ankles, she then felt her legs being prised apart. Jodie looked up at Casey, and smiling when she saw the blush covering her face and the top of her chest.

Tugging on the boxers that Casey had on, “Love the underwear Casey. Very Sexy. Who knew that pants of the local football team could be just that” Jodie smiled as saw Casey throw her head back with a groan.

Casey stared to explain why she was wearing the underwear, but was stopped in her tracks as she watched as Jodie put her hand between her legs and cup her tight, then kissed her pussy through the

pants. Jodie was looking her straight in the eyes when she let her tongue mark a trail down to where her clit was already on fire. What with that going on and Jodie's fingers making their way under the bottom of her shorts, she couldn't help it when she fell backwards onto the bed.

Jodie now knew that she had Casey's full attention, continued to lick and kiss all over Casey's boxers. She could feel how wet she was becoming, but was in no hurry for this to end. Reaching up she began to slowly roll Casey's nipples between her fingers. They were already so hard, and as much as she wanted to kiss and bite them, it would have to wait till later. Grabbing hold of the band of the boxers she pulled them off and threw them across the room. Opening Casey's legs wider she leaned in close and took a deep breath, Fuck, she smelled good. Settling herself in between, she used both hands to open Casey up to her, then she lightly blew on her clit, watching as the body in front of her began it twitch. She blew again, then took the pulsing clit between her teeth and nipped it, following that with a kiss, she continued this, till she sensed that Casey was nearly ready to come. When she heard Casey begging to come, she gave in, she let her tongue lick the whole length of her pussy before she took the clit in her mouth and sucked letting her tongue flick quickly back and forth across it. When she was sure Casey was about to come, she took her fingers and plunged them deep within her so she could feel what Casey was feeling. As Casey exploded into her mouth she licked greedily not able to get enough of her, wanting to suck her dry of every last drop. When Casey's hand landed on her head she knew that she was asking for a time out, so she let her fingers fall slowly out of her. Jodie moved up the bed and looked down at her lover, who was trying to get her breath back. When she was sure that she was back in the room, she put a finger under her chin and tipped her head so that Casey was looking deep into her eyes. “This is where you belong Casey, with me and don't you ever forget it” Jodie spoke it with as much conviction as she could to make sure that Casey fully understood her. When Casey blinked and nodded she knew that the next time anything happened Casey would at least try and not run away from her, and that was a start.

She shoved Casey up onto the bed and covered the pair of them with the quilt, when Casey attempted to make love to her, she stopped her. This was about Casey being loved and all she needed was for Casey to be in her bed with her. And that is what she had, they were both smiling as they drifted off to sleep.

Two weeks has passed since the photos had arrived. Casey and Jodie had gone to the police the morning after and left them with Detective Defoe who had promised to pass them onto the Sex Crimes Division. Since then all they could do was wait. Jodie could tell the waiting was driving Casey up the wall, but there was little she could do to help her apart from be there and it was so hard watching Casey. Jodie knew she was hurting. If she could walk out there and find the man who was in name only a father to Casey, and hurt him as much as he had hurt her over the years she would have done it in the blink of an eye. However she had no idea where what or how to look for whoever he had got to send the photos, so she spent her time making sure that they were constantly busy. Just the week before they had decided to rent out her flat, so they were spending a lot of time there. For the past week, they had made their way to the flat once they had both finished work, decorating it and getting it ready for a rental market. By the time they got home, it was all they could do to climb into bed and sleep, they were that tired. Jodie was so pleased to be home at a reasonable hour for once, Casey was working the late shift, so she had the place to herself. Kicking her shoes off she closed the door behind her, slipped on the post and just stopped herself from falling on her arse. Lifting the letters up from the floor she flicked through them as she walked into the kitchen and flicked the kettle on. “Junk junk junk' she muttered as she threw half of it in the bin. She nearly missed the card that was stuck on the back of a leaflet advertising great deals for windows. Why does Aunt Essie think we need this? She could throw it away with her junk mail Jodie grumbled. Sitting down she looked at the card that let her know that Detective Defoe had called round asking could they give him a call when they got the message. Jodie sat back turning the card between her fingers wondering if it would be more bad news. Now that, they did not need. Looking up at the clock she saw that it was just after nine. Sighing, she realised it was too late now to call him. Great, a night of tossing and turning wondering what Detective Defoe wanted to see them for while she waited for the morning to come. She was confused. Did she call Casey and let her know or wait till the morning? Rubbing her eyes she got up and went into the lounge to check for messages while she made a decision.

The first message was from Detective Defoe, asking them to contact them when they could; the second was James wanting to know if they wanted to go to the cinema on Friday. Sounds good, she thought as she smiled at James ending his message with kissing sounds. The last message was from Casey. Jodie leaned against the sofa and listened to her lover's voice. “Hey, sexy! Hope you didn't work too hard tonight. I miss you and love you lots. Think of me as you fall asleep baby”

Jodie hugged herself and played the message again, loving the sound of Casey's voice. Hearing it made her pick up the phone knowing that she need to let Casey be aware that they were wanted at the police station. She wouldn't want her worrying on her own.

“Hey gorgeous, where are you?” she asked as Casey answered the phone, “Do you think you can come home early? The detective left us a card asking us to call, but it's too late, and I don't want to wait until morning on my own” Jodie smiled as Casey said she would be home within the hour; she just needed to finish this job and let Cliff know she was needed elsewhere.

Jodie was in bed when she heard the front door close softly as Casey tried not to wake her in case she was asleep. Just another reason she loved her, Casey always thought about her.

Hearing her name being called from the bedroom, Casey smiled as she took over her jacket and shoes making her way into the bedroom she stopped and leaned against the door frame, “ I thought you would be asleep you must be knackered baby?, “

Jodie shook her head, “Waiting for you to come home. I like to feel your arms round me when I fall off to sleep. Takes me ages when you're not here”.

Casey shook her head at her as she got undressed then made her way over to the bed. She got herself under the covers and took Jodie into her arms and kissed the top of her head. “Well I'm home now baby so time to relax. I'm glad you rang. It's better to wait together, did he say what he wanted or needed?” Jodie snuggled in closer to Casey, “Nope just to contact him when we got the message, but I thought it was too late. Morning should be ok? If not, I am sure he will contact us before then if something is really wrong.' She said as she looked up into Casey's eyes that reflected the worry she felt. Sitting up she gave her a kiss and told her that it was OK, they would get through it. Nothing was going to hurt her now” Casey kissed Jodie hard ensuring Jodie knew that it was fine and all was good when they were together. Gathering her tight to her side, Casey turned the light of and pulled the quilt up over the two of them, and told Jodie to go to sleep. Listening to the sounds of Jodie's breath deepening, Casey found herself drifting off to sleep as well.

The next morning was a quiet event, broken with just questions about what to eat for breakfast. Casey insisted she wasn't hungry only to find herself sitting at the table with boiled eggs, toast and cereal, with coffee and fresh juice. So much to not being hungry she thought, then looking up at Jodie who was now cleaning the cooker, even though she had only boiled a couple of eggs, it was

like a light bulb had gone off in her head. Dam she could be so stupid sometimes. Jodie was just as worried and keeping busy was helping her stay in control. Getting up from the table, Casey got

hold of Jodie's hand and brought her back round the table. Sitting down she pulled her onto her lap and gave her a kiss. “Worried at all baby? it will be fine I promise. Whatever he has to say we will deal with it, you me and the rest of the family. Now eat some of my toast, because I am not sure how I am going to eat four slices. I think you got carried away” she tapped Jodie on the nose and waited for her to relax. A minute later, she smiled as Jodie kissed her and took a piece of toast.

“Yeah Just a bit” she laughed.

An hour later the two of them where standing outside Finsbury Park police station, both not able to take the next steps that would take them into the station and ask for Detective Defoe. Holding each other's hands tight, they looked at each other then up at the door.

“Ready?” asked Casey. When she got a nod of Jodie, they made the move to the door, ready to face whatever was to come.

Sitting at his desk, Detective Defoe looked across at the two young girls across from him. They looked scared but also determined to face what was coming even though they had no idea of what that was. He liked them and he hated the fact that the only reason they were in front of him was because of the actions of another human being. His mind went back to the photos that he had looked at before he passed them onto the Sex Crimes Division and he felt an anger grow inside him. Despite his years on the force, he still found it hard to understand how someone could commit those horrendous acts to an innocent child but he also felt proud that that child had grown up into a lovely woman. Oh, he knew there were scars externally and internally that may never heal, but she was here and with another person who loved her. And at the end of the day that was all that mattered, the fact she was loved and was able to accept that love was how far she had come. She was no longer a victim but a survivor of sexual abuse.

Across the table Casey watched as the detective looked at both of them and waited for what must be bad news, because that was all they every seemed to hear recently. Seeing him pick up a folder, Casey stiffened and held her breath. Then she felt Jodie give her hand a squeeze and turning to look at her Casey relaxed as Jodie smiled at her and mouthed that she loved her. Whatever was going to happen would happen, so let's get this over with. Turning back to the Detective, she asked the question “What do you need to see us for sir?”

They sat and listened as the detective told them that the photos had been sent by the Dempsey's. From what I can gather they looked into Casey's past to try and find some way to scare her into not testifying against them. When they found out about what had happened to you as a child they thought they had you. When you saw the photos you would hide etc. They didn't count on you being a survivor and a brave one at that. It is just another charge we can bring against them. They will go away for a long time I can assure you.

An hour later they left the station and headed to the local park and found a quiet spot to sit under some trees. “Well for once, it wasn't bad news”. Casey smiled at Jodie and then laid back on the grass and looked up at the sky. “Just the trial to get though with. It will be good to know those thugs are behind bars for a long time for the hurt and pain they have caused you”. Squinting up at Jodie “You know what though? There is some good to come out of this whole episode of hell. You know what that is?”

Jodie looked down at Casey and gave a humourless laugh. “Some good? Are you insane? What good has there been? You get shot, a man is dead, our home gets broken into and then both of us beaten up. Arguments, fear and God knows what else! So enlighten me honey because from where I am sitting, I see no good at all,” Jodie finished with a nod of her head as if she was happy that she was right. Casey laughed and sat up on her elbows, shoving her leg against Jodie's to get her attention, “Yea there has been all that, but you forgot one thing. Quite a big thing actually.”

Jodie turned so she was facing Casey and waited for the rest.

Casey cocked her head to one side “You and me Jodie. You and me. If I hadn't been shot, I think we would still be avoiding each other. But now I am totally and unconditionally in love with you and that is the best feeling in the world. So yes, I think some good did come out of it and I for one am very happy.”

Jodie let her head fall back and just laughed “Very true. I really think I'd still be single, and thinking that you were very much a player, and an arrogant one at that even though I hadn't even met you. God I must have been a horrible person. How could I have thought that of you?” Jodie covered her mouth with her hand in horror. Casey laughed, grabbed hold of her arm and pulled Jodie down beside her. “It's true I was a player of sorts. It was a lot easier that way. Don't let them in and you don't get hurt. Simple, eh? But then again the people that I kinda called friends were the same as me, just looking for the next easy lay. No ties no problems. Just another body, to forget life. But then you Jodie arrived into my life and turned it upside down. Do you know that you were the first woman to ever shout at me? To tell me, 'no'. I have never had anyone in my life who has cared that much about me! To actually think, about what might be right for me. It felt good and it feels good. I like having you on my side though. At least when I get into trouble, you shout at me, but the makeup sex is great.” Jodie punched Casey in the side and was pleased when she heard the ouch coming out of her lips. “You know what Casey Alder? I sometimes think that you get in my bad books on purpose as you know I get all heated up and somehow that spills over into sex. In fact come to think of it, I know that you do”

Casey grinned “Oooh! Am I in your bad books now”? she asked then batted her eyelashes at Jodie.

Laughing, Casey watched as Jodie, looked her up and down and then licked her lips and wiggled her eyebrows in mock lust., “I'll think about it. Depends how much trouble you can get into before we get home and” She stopped when she was interrupted by Casey's phone ringing. “Hey James!” she said into the phone, “Cinema? What tonight? Nope didn't get your message. Hold on a minute. Jodie? Did you get the message that James left asking us to go to the cinema tonight”? Jodie nodded and then gave Casey a thumbs up that they should go. Casey turned back to the phone. “James. Yep that's great. We kinda had a funny night last night but we will let you know all that has happened later. No, no. We are both fine. Just lying in the park enjoying the sun and relaxing. Love you too. See you tonight! Oh Jodie sends her love too. Later Hun”

“Ooh he got himself all in a tiss when he thought something bad had happened. He is such a drama queen. Now, how much trouble can I get into? Hmm. I think lots. Can we go home and get all hot and sweaty? We have the day to ourselves after all”. Jodie's answer to the question was to stand up and began walking backwards. “Well what's keeping you? Come on girl, let's go home”, Jodie held her hand out and waited for Casey to grasp hold of it and then pulled her close as they walked from the park.

“Jodie! Stop fussing! You look fine. It's me that's on the stand today not you. Though if you were, I think the jury would love you. Whereas me? Not so sure what they'll think. But I refuse to dress up just to make them think that I am more respectable. Where do they get off thinking those type of things? Why can't they look at the person beneath the clothes? God I hate this. I want it to be over now!” Jodie watched from the mirror where she had been fixing her hair as Casey went from sitting on the sofa to pacing in front of the window to sitting back on the sofa only for her to get back up to start all over again. As she passed her, Jodie took hold of her arm and pulled her into a hug whispering in her ear “Hey Sexy. You look just like you should do”. Putting her at arm's length she looked Casey up and down and liked what she saw. She had on a casual pair of black trousers that were shaped like jeans but smarter, and a light blue polo shirt. Her hair was flopping over her forehead and Jodie pushed it back and gave her a light kiss on the lips. “They will see a very competent young woman who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and agree with everything you say. I mean I'd believe you if you told me it”

 

Casey smiled thinking again how lucky she was to have Jodie in her life. It felt good to have someone love her and think that she was worth so much. Who would have thought, with her Child hood and all the horrible things that had happened to her that she would be safe in this adopted family. “Thank you baby. I feel much better now”. Looking at her watch she frowned. “Where are

the others? They said they would be here at eight and its nearly that now. I bet that it's James keeping them late”. Just then the doorbell rang and made them both jump. Jodie laughed “Well you did say eight and it is that” then went to open the door. “Oh good God James you look.... Shit! I'm lost for words! Nate how did you manage this?” Jodie stepped back to let the two of them through and into the hallway. Looking at James, she was in shock seeing how well he looked all scrubbed up and looking smart. She was used to seeing him in his work gear for being a DJ or just lazing in jeans or sweats with t-shirts. She looked at Nate and back to James, who stood with his hands perched on his waist, “Well what's wrong with how I look? I though this was what you are meant to wear when you go to court?” James then looked down at himself then back at Jodie. Jodie got a hold of herself, and kissed James on the cheek. “James believe me. You look absolutely fantastic. I mean that suit looks like it was made for you and just look at the shine on those shoes! You look good and so do you Nate. Its just I have usually seen you in suits before but this one here?”, she said pointed towards James, “Its lucky if his bum gets covered at work!” With all of them laughing, they made it into the sitting room. Casey was leaning against the windowsill with her legs crossed at the ankles. When she saw James she blinked and looked again and then began to cry. James crossed the room quickly, “Casey Alder you stop that now. I did this for you and I want people to know that you are a good person and if me sitting there looking like a shop dummy from an up market store helps you, then by God I will do it. In fact you there is not much I wouldn't do for either of you, so stop this nonsense and get Aunt Essie and go tell them what those bastards did to you and that other guy because the sooner we tell them, the sooner we can all get back to a sense of normality” and with that he threw a tissue at Casey and stomped out of the room expecting them all to follow which they did after looking at each other and shrugging their shoulders. It would seem that it was James who was in charge today, and that was just fine with Casey.

Aunt Essie was sat between Casey and Jodie in the taxi holding both their hands. “Now it is going to be just fine. You tell the truth like you always do Casey, the jury will see him for what he is and put him behind bars. It's very simple.” Casey smiled and gripped her hand just that little bit tighter. “I like your thoughts Aunt Essie and I hope they all see it as you do. Now let's get this show on the road”. She looked at Jodie who was sat very quietly. Casey caught her eyes and mouthed “I love you”. Seeing her relax a bit made things a bit easier.

Casey was sitting in a room on her own waiting to be called and didn't like it one bit. Her family were all sitting in the court. Even Sean and Lindy had turned up to give her support. She wished she was sitting with them. Then the door opened, and a police officer called her name and said it was time. Standing up, Casey ran her fingers through her hair and then flattened them down the front of her polo shirt and made her way to the door and into the court room. As she passed the officer he said quietly that she looked fine so stand up tall and go in to the court room with her head held high. Casey nodded and took his advice as she made it to the chair where she would give her evidence. She felt confident and hoped it showed to all those who were now intently watching her.

After taking the oath, she watched as the prosecution crossed to her and began asking her about the events that had taken place all those months ago. Casey found herself transported back then as she told the jury how she had been asked by her boss to do a split shift that day. Then explained what a spilt shift was. She told them that as the only female member of staff there, she had to do this job as the lady had asked for it to be a female courier only.

Taking a drink of water, she got towards the point where she had been shot. She took a deep breath. “I thought the lady was acting strange when I picked up the package. She kept looking up and down

the street as if she was expecting someone or something. She asked if I was any good, I told her I was quick and reliable. She seemed to think about it for a few seconds. I think she decided I would have to do seeing as how I was there anyway. She signed the paperwork and shoved the package into my hands and told me to go. I thought 'well that's a lovely polite customer' but carried on as I usually would, only for some reason I decided to put the package into my combats pocket and not the bag. I guess it was because it was quite small, and I didn't want to be hanging around the ladies house any longer than I had to. I got on my bike and started to gently free-wheel on the pavement as I got myself sorted. Behind me I head a door bang. I turned just as a young man jumped down the steps and onto the pavement. About the same time a car came round the corner very quickly but it slowed to halt as it got close to the man and a gun came out the window and just fired straight into the man's chest, I couldn't believe it, but I knew I had to try and get down and out of sight of the man in the car with the gun, but in my hurry to do that, I got myself tangled up with my courier bag and the bike. The car made its way towards me and the man took aim. I really think he meant to kill me, but just as he fired I fell from my bike and the shot took me in the shoulder. I think they believed they had hit me full on just like the man so they didn't stop and the car carried on”

The prosecution then asked if she had seen the make of the car or any faces within the car.

Casey answered that it was a dark BMW, but she wasn't sure of the exact colour and she hadn't seen the registration number plate. But she recognised the man who was shooting the gun as it was the same man who had broken into her flat and beaten her and her girlfriend up to get the package which at that point, she had totally forgotten about. Thinking of that night made Casey go pale and the lawyer asked for a ten minute break for Casey to compose herself. The Judge looked over at the defence, who nodded his agreement, then told the court there would be a ten minute recess for the witness to have a drink and try to relax a bit.

As the judge and the jury left the court room, Casey looked over at her family, who were all looking at her with concern, but Jodie gave her the thumbs up and mouthed at her to be strong. Casey drank her water and listened as the lawyer told her she was doing great and to just tell it to the jury like it had happened, and the rest would take care of itself.

As the court room filled up again, Casey looked over at the man who had taken a life and would quite easily have taken hers and Jodie's if he had wanted to, and shivered. Closing her eyes she told the court what had happened the night that the man who was seated in front of her, came so violently into their lives.

“It was about 4 am in the morning when the man, who is sitting over there”, at this point Casey lifted her hand and for the first time acknowledged him, “broke into my girlfriends and my flat. He punched me and then got hold of my girlfriend and held her up against the wall by her throat and with her feet barely touching the floor, I remember running at the man to try and stop him but he punched me in the face again before I could do anything. He was shouting at me asking for the package, but I didn't know at that point what he was asking for. I told him that and to let Jodie go. I again began to run at him, but he reached behind his back and pulled out a gun and pointed it at me. I stopped not sure what to do. I didn't want to give him an excuse to shoot Jodie or me. He then let go of Jodie, hit her and threw her up against the side of the wardrobe. I couldn't stop myself and tried to get to her. I didn't care now that he had a gun. I just needed to make sure that Jodie was OK. The man got hold of me, and told me that I better think long and hard about what I had that was his. He said I had better return it to them. He then pushed his thumb into my shoulder where the bullet had gone in and pushed deep, causing me a lot of pain He then dropped me to the floor and left. At that point I crawled over to Jodie to see if she was conscious and then rang the police.” After another break, the defence began asking her more or less the same questions again. Casey answered them exactly as she had done in the first round. As the questions were rounding up, the defence turned and asked why it had taken her so long to hand the package in, why she suddenly remembered where it had been all the time. Casey frowned as she thought back to that time when she thought she could be tougher than anyone else and protect those she held close. Then answered with the truth, just like she had all along. “I honestly forgot. When I was in hospital, my Aunt Essie took my clothes home to be washed and emptied the contents onto her dresser and didn't think anything else of it. I mean that was the least of Aunt Essie's problems; she had me injured in hospital and she was extremely worried about me and how we would all cope when I had to come home. As for me it didn't even enter my head about it to be truthful. I thought the police had all that stuff anyway from when I was brought into hospital. So I really had no idea when he broke in that that was what he wanted. As for not going to the police as soon as I found it, I thought I could maybe just give it back or something as I was scared what they would do to Jodie and myself if they knew I had gone to the police with it. But in the end, it was thinking of my family and keeping them as safe as I could that I realised that I had to go to the police. I was only one girl up against God knows what. It may have been delayed but in the end I believe I made the right choice.

After the judge asked if there was any further questions, Casey was free to go. Not wanting to stay in the court room a moment longer than she had to, she looked at the family and motioned with her head for them to follow. She left the room without a single look at the man who could so easily have ended her life and the life of her partner.

Once outside they all made their way to the nearest coffee shop. Sean and James took charge and got everyone seated and then the drinks all sorted. Aunt Essie sat close to Casey and held her in a tight hug. “It's all over now. That's the last time you have to repeat what happened Casey. It's all about the future now.” Kissing her on the head she gently pushed her away from her and into Jodie's arms. The family gathered close and sheltered them both from watching eyes as they both cried with relief and the knowledge that hopefully today they would see that man behind bars. Sniffing and drying her eyes, she smiled at her family. Jodie looked at her drink, looked at Sean, then back at the drink. “Since when did I drink coffee Sean? How many years have we been related and you still don't know that I drink tea!” With that she threw her napkin at him, and the tension was eased as they waited for the call to bring them back to court to hear the verdict. It took two hours and a lot of drinking before the call came. They all walked back to the court and took their seats in the front row of the courtroom. Standing as the Judge came in, Casey kept her eyes to the front and held on tight to Jodie's and James' hand. Sitting down again, they all watched as the Judge asked if the jury had come to a verdict. They said they had and a piece of paper was passed to the clerk of the court who in turn passed it the judge. He then read the piece of paper, turned and asked the jury spokesperson how in the charge of breaking and entering, did they find the defendant? The spokesperson answered 'Guilty'. “In the charges of grievous bodily harm against Ms Casey Alder and Ms Jodie Flynn, how do you find the defendant”? The spokesperson looked at Casey and back to the judge. Guilty. And in the final charge of the murder of Mr John Feely and the attempted murder of Ms Casey Alder, how did they find the defendant? When the Judge mentioned the words attempted murder and Casey's name in one sentence Jodie began to shake, Casey pulled her close and told her it was OK, and with her arms round her girlfriend she listened for the verdict. The courtroom went totally silent as every person's eyes moved towards the jury spokesperson. He took a deep breath and said in the charge of murder and attempted murder they found the defendant guilty. Hearing those words, Casey sat back with a thump and let her head fall into her hands and she just cried. It was over. The man who had so violently entered her and her family's life would be going to prison and hopefully for a very long time. Jodie sat down beside her and rested her hand

on the small of Casey's back and did very small rubbing circles, waiting for Casey to gain her composure, not rushing her, knowing that she needed to collect her thoughts. Around her she watched as their family jumped with joy and shook each others hands and hugged. She loved that they were able to show their joy but she also knew that for her and Casey, it was more relief than joy. The relief that it was over, but she was also sad, even though the man who had been killed was a member of a gang, it was still a life wasted and she knew that Casey was grieving for him to and his family. Casey slowly sat up, looked at Jodie then around the courtroom. It was as if everything was in slow motion. It was finally over, they could look to the future, start planning. She didn't know what, but she knew that to have the ability to do that was the greatest feeling in the world. Standing up, she smiled at Jodie, took her hand and stepped into the love of her family.

Three months has passed since the guy who had shot Casey was sentenced and life was great,

Casey smiled as she sat in the chair across from Cliff. She had a feeling that he was up to something but she couldn't figure out what it was. She had been trying for days to get some information from him, but all he would do was shake his head and say all in good time, young one, all in good time. Well it was driving her mad, and because of that it was also driving Jodie mad as all she could do was talk about it and wonder what it was when she went home from work.

Jodie on more than one occasion had told her for the love of God to just shut up, and only last night as she had again brought it up on the way to bed, Jodie had turned to her with a glare on her face.

“That's it, I told you to shut up about it, to just ask him, but here you are still chatting on about it. Well I have had enough! There will be no sex in this house while you keep talking about whatever it is. I have a headache” and with that Jodie stomped of into the bedroom, got into bed and pulled the quilt up tight to her neck. Casey stood at the door with her mouth open wide. Had her girlfriend just told her there would be no sex? Frowning she made her way to the bed, got undressed and slid under the quilt. Moving slowly towards Jodie she had let her hand move down her stomach and tried to gently place it between Jodie's legs. Jodie at once clamped her legs shut, looked at Casey and then removed her hand. “ It's simple Casey, either you find out what's happening, or you shut up about it till Cliff is ready to let you know. But until you do either of those things, my body is off limits. You got it?” Casey had only been able to nod her head that she understood, but she pouted as she did. Jodie had just laughed her and told her it was her own fault, turned on her side and went to sleep.

Casey smiled to herself, as she thought about how much it was Jodie that had control off everything in her life and she loved it, even though it meant she had had to do without sex for the night.

Cliff put down the paperwork he had been looking at, and asked Casey why she was smiling.

Casey laughed “Well I have been a pain in the ass at home as I keep wondering what you are up to and Jodie has been driven up the wall by it, so last night she banned me from sex until I either shut up or found out what it was”

Cliff sat back in his chair and laughed with her, “In that case, maybe I should hold off in telling you my news, just to see you suffer a bit more. I mean one night isn't long. Maybe I could tell you in say a week or so? How does that sound?” Cliff smirked as he watched Casey go pale.

“God Cliff you wouldn't do that to me would you? Come on have a heart. Do you know how hard it is to be in the same bed as a beautiful woman and not be allowed to touch her? Its torture, and she paraded naked in front of me this morning when I was having my breakfast. she really doesn't fight fair that girl.”

Cliff smiled and decided to take pity on Casey. “Oh Ok, I will let you know what I have been doing for the past week or so”. He reached over and placed the paperwork that he had been looking at when Casey had come into the room in front of her.” Look at that that and tell me what you think?”

Casey took hold of the papers that Cliff had passed to her and started reading. Cliff left the room to let her read them in peace. Casey had to read them twice before she believed what was written. It would seem that Cliff was looking to retire in the next couple of years but he also wanted to ease down on his time spent at his business, so over the next couple of years he wanted to pass more and more responsibility to Casey and when the time came, he wanted her to take over. To have, the business. Casey put the papers on the table, rubbed her eyes and went in search of Cliff. She found him outside having a cigarette.

“Cliff, you really want me to have everything you have worked for? Why? I mean I'm only Casey. The girl, who works for you.”

Cliff took one last drag and then ground the cigarette into the ground, turned to face Casey and leant against the wall.

“So you are just the girl who works for me then? Oh please Casey. You are much more that and you know it, and you already do half the stuff in the office anyway. But you want to know the real reason why I want you have all of this?” and at that he nodded his head at the business. “It's because you are like family to me. Cathy and I have no kids and we think of you like a daughter and isn't it normal for when you retire to pass the business onto your children? So that is what I am doing. I want you to take over the family business. And it's not like I am going to disappear. I only want to go part time over the next couple of years and then after that, well I'm sure that I won't be too far from this place or indeed you and Jodie. So what do you say? Do you think you could do it for me, take over everything?”

Casey took a step back and looked at the frontage of the cycle couriers. It had been part of her life for the best part of ten years. She thought back to the day when as a scruffy teenager, just out of Care, she had been placed in a dirty studio flat in the bad end of Finsbury Park and told goodbye and good luck. She had needed a job, and it was outside Cliffs that she had ended up. He had looked her up and down much in the same way as Aunt Essie would do in a couple of year's time, found something that he thought was good. And she had never looked back. Looking back to Cliff she smiled and then ran and jumped into his arms and shouted “Yes yes! I would love to! It would be an honour and a privilege, but on one condition” she stepped back as Cliff looked at her with a question in his eyes. “Ok what's the condition?” he asked.

“That we change the name of the business to 'Ace and Daughter' as I know that however much you say you will fade quietly into the background, I know you won't and I also don't want you too”

Cliff laughed as he knew she was a hundred per cent right. This place was as much in his heart as his actual home was. He pretended to spit on his hand and placed it in Casey's and they both shook.

Casey raced home to change, then caught a cab to Jodie's work. Walking slowly across the car park, she smiled as she saw Jodie in the back of one of the vans. Going quietly up behind her, she placed her hand on Jodie's backside and leant down to whisper in her ear.

“Well now! That is one sexy ass if ever I saw one. If only I had been able to touch it like I am doing now last night, imagine what could have happened! But no, we're in the middle of the car park where everyone can see. It's not the same really is it baby?” and with those words she let her hand fall lower and start to move between Jodie's legs.

“Casey Alder what do you think you are doing? God woman, we can't do this here!”

Casey grinned and stuck her tongue into Jodie's ear then let it trail down her neck, “It feels good though, tell me it doesn't and I will stop. Just say no, and I will step away from your very sexy body”

Jodie bit her lips and unsuccessfully held back a groan, “God Casey, you are killing me”

Just at that moment Sean came round the corner to put some equipment in the van.

“Ah! Come on you two. Give a guy a break. You can't be having sex in the van just as I'm about to take it out. It's really very inconsiderate.”

Casey felt Jodie try to pull away, but held her for a few seconds longer, then slowly let her hands fall away from her and stepped back. Turning she gave Sean a hug as Jodie tried to calm herself down, but there was no way she could get that lovely red blush of her face no matter how long she tried. Sean hugged Casey back, “To what do we owe the honour of you here in the middle of the work day, apart from the fact you fancied some sex in the back of a dirty pick up van?” He gave her a poke in the side, then hastily stepped back as his sister turned to him with a glare on her face. “Sean Flynn, you take yourself and that dirty mind of yours some place else. I think Casey might need to talk to me”

Sean sniggered as he backed away, “Talking? Is that what she was doing when I came round the corner?” Jodie continued to glare at her twin until he was out of sight, then looked at Casey who was sitting on the ledge at the back of the van with her head cocked to one side with her 'butter wouldn't melt' face on.

Sitting down beside her “Oh you are a nightmare. One night without sex and you end up at my work and try to have your wicked way with me. What am I to do with you?” she ruffled Casey's hair and leaned back on her arms and waited for Casey to let her know what it was that had brought her here.

“Well, for one thing. You shouldn't deny me sex if you don't want this to happen, and two I know

what it is that Cliff has been plotting. As of tomorrow when we go to the solicitors to sign the paperwork, I will be co-owner of Ace Couriers, and in two years time when Cliff fully retires he is passing the whole business to me! God can you believe it?” Casey jumped up and pulled Jodie with her.

Jodie was screaming and laughing at the same time so much so that Sean came running back around the corner to see what was happening. Letting him know the news he ran off to arrange a family celebration.

Casey was so happy. Things in life were finally settling.

As the days passed into weeks and then months, things carried on as normal until the day she received a phone call from Jodie and told her to come home as the police wanted to talk to her. So Casey made her way home to change as she had been out all morning doing deliveries.

Coming in the door of the flat she shouted to let Jodie know she was home. Taking her coat off, she made her way to the kitchen as she knew that was where her girlfriend would be baking as she seemed to be doing most days now. She stopped at the door and watched as another batch of cookies were placed on the cooling racks on the table. She then moved round and waited till Jodie had got rid of the hot tray, pulled her into her arms kissed her then leant down and kissed the tummy of her by now seven month pregnant girlfriend. “And how have my favourite people been today then”? she asked. Jodie kissed her back “We have all been very well thank you. Just worried, as to why the police need to see you, but apart from that, I have more cookies!” Jodie laughed as she waved her hand at the copious amounts of cookies on the table. “I really can't seem to stop. It's like a really stupid craving”

Casey took one of the cookies and bit into it, “Well this is one craving I can live with but I think I will have to take most of them to work tomorrow/ Keep the troops happy and all that. Oh this is good Jodie, real good. As for the police? No point in wondering and worrying. Let me get changed and then we will have a drive down and see what it is they want me for this time”.

Both Casey and Jodie sat back on their chairs as they heard the news that Casey' stepfather had been released from prison the previous month. During that time he had managed to get himself into some trouble regarding some more child pornography and was now back in jail awaiting sentence. I don't think he will be getting out anytime in his lifetime. Having lived through a nightmare of a childhood, she knew she was very lucky to have come out the other end. She knew there were many more who hadn't and she knew that there would be more just like her. It was never-ending. But at least the bastard who raped her when she just five years old and abused countless others would be going back to prison, and she really hoped he was put into general population. He needed a lesson. Casey stood then helped Jodie to her feet, which was a task that was getting harder each day as Jodie got bigger and bigger. God! How much more would she grow? After that, she turned and thanked the detective for letting her know, and to keep her informed of the outcome of the Court Hearing.

Jodie screamed at Casey that if it was the last thing she did she would make sure she knew what the pain that she was in was like, because it bloody hurt.

Casey grimaced as another wave of contractions hit her girlfriend's body. All she could do was hold on tight and hope to God that she was able to get circulation back into her hand whenever and if ever Jodie actually let go. Then she heard the midwife say “ That's it Jodie, give me one more push. I can see a head come on you can do it. Jodie looked up into Casey's eyes and gave a huge push gritting her teeth together in the effort. She felt the baby move further down.

Casey looked down just as a baby with a head of dark hair arrived into the midwife's hands. Blinking her eyes at the miracle that just happened, all she could do was cry. Watching as they wiped the baby's face, she tried to see if they had a boy or a girl. As they held the baby up, Jodie and Casey smiled as they saw it was definitely a boy. Before either of them could do any more than look, another contraction hit Jodie hard and she screamed as she again held on even tighter to Casey's hand and pushed again. Within minutes, another baby arrived with a scream, and continued screaming as it was cleaned up. The midwife held the baby up and they found they had a little girl who really wanted them to know she had arrived. She screamed the whole way through the weighing and wrapping procedure and it wasn't until both babies were wrapped up and put into Jodie's arms did she quieten. Casey sat on the edge of the bed and took in the sight of two beautiful babies held onto tightly by the woman she called her wife. It sometimes felt like a dream. A couple of hours late sitting back in a chair beside Jodie's bed, Casey holding the little boy they had named Zack, and watched as Aunt Essie was showing her namesake the world outside the window. Turning her head she took in the rest of the rooms occupants. Sean and Lindy were there with their two children, and then there was James and Nate. She felt Jodie's hand creep into hers and she looked into her tired but happy face. This was family and she felt just right sitting here with them. She felt home.

 

The End

 

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