2 Weeks Ago
Jac Naylor sat on a bench outside the hospital. She looked up at the bright clear sky and sighed. Two weeks until her wedding. Two weeks until she would become Mrs. Byrne. Jac smiled jovially. At last something was going right, Jac thought. The last couple of weeks had come and gone without any incident and Jac was daring herself to feel happy. As she sat watching the sky, Jac could hear footsteps marching towards her. She brought her gaze back down to earth and found herself looking into the smug eyes of Michael Spence. He was clutching a half-eaten McDonald's crispy chicken wrap in his hands. Jac scowled derisively.
"Typical American," Jac muttered under her breath. Michael did not hear her. He took another bite from his wrap and swallowed ungracefully.
"Afternoon Ms. Naylor," he said silkily. Jac nodded curtly. Michael came closer, wafting the smell of battered chicken in her face. Jac sniffed and her face curled into a grimace. Michael grinned. "Sure I can't tempt you Naylor?"
"Drop dead," Jac said calmly.
"Touchy touchy," Michael said in an annoyingly sing-song voice. He moved the wrap closer to her face. Jac looked away. "Go on Naylor, you know you want to," Michael teased.
"Don't you have a shift or something? Shouldn't you be up there mutilating people's dreams?" Jac asked.
"My shift starts in five minutes," Michael explained, waving the wrap towards her mouth. Jac fixed him with her most icy stare.
"If I had wanted a clown to wave food in my face I would have paged Dr. Valentine," she said simply. Michael frowned.
"How is Dr. Valentine?" he asked concernedly.
"Learning," Jac replied.
"Learning who's boss," Jac clarified. Michael's lips curled upwards.
"Oh yeah, and who's that?" he drawled.
"I am," Jac said.
"Yeah, why's that then?"
"Because I'm the Cardio Consultant," Jac said matter-of-factly. Michael laughed and in that instance a tiny droplet of sauce spilled over the wrap and landed with a deathly splash on Jac's perfectly clean frilly shirt. "Oh Michael!" she cried exasperatedly. Ignoring Michael's apologies Jac got up from the bench and headed over to the car park where Joseph's car had just pulled up. Jac opened the door and climbed inside.
"Sorry I took so long, mother phoned," Joseph said apologetically.
"It's okay," Jac said, clipping the seatbelt. As she sat back in the seat, Joseph noticed the stain on her shirt.
"What happened to you?"
"Michael Spence," Jac said crossly. Joseph looked over at Michael who was slowly disappearing from sight into the hospital. His eyes narrowed suspiciously. He looked back at the road, put the car in gear and drove carefully away.
"Mother and Sophia are coming over to the house this evening for dinner," Joseph told Jac, looking at her apprehensively. Jac forced herself to smile.
"Lovely," she said.
"Sophia invited herself and mother this morning," Joseph clarified. Jac sighed. Unbelievable, she thought.
"Joseph, how old are you?" Joseph frowned at her through the mirror.
"Thirty-six," he replied, puzzled.
"Oh right," Jac said. "It's just anyone would have thought you were twelve the way you let your family walk all over you." Joseph said nothing. The rest of the journey followed in silence.
At 7pm that evening the doorbell rang loudly. Leaving Joseph to check on the meal in the oven, Jac with her long hair tied up in an elegant bun answered the door. Standing on the threshold wearing their most extravagant dresses were Lady Byrne and Sophia Byrne. Jac ushered them inside, smiling sweetly. Sophia made no attempt to hide her dislike for Jac. Lady Byrne smiled back at her.
"Would you like us to go through to the drawing room?" She asked Jac.
"Yes I think that would be best," Jac replied. Sophia turned up her nose.
"Where's Joseph?" She asked pompously. Jac fixed her with a deathly silky smile.
"He's just checking on dinner," she said.
"That's my Joseph, always striving for perfection," Lady Byrne said. Sophia snorted, then hastily covered it up with a cough. They walked down the hallway and into the drawing room. Lady Byrne and Sophia took their seats and sat waiting for Joseph to appear. Jac hung by the doorway. "Wont you take a seat Jac?" Lady Byrne offered.
"No thank you, I'm fine." Then after a pause Jac said, "Can I get you a drink?"
"Oh yes that would be lovely," Lady Byrne said. "Just a glass of white wine thank you." Jac looked to Sophia.
"Oh the same please," Sophia said without looking at her. Jac exited the room.
In the kitchen, Jac poured two small glasses of white wine. She looked at Joseph crossly.
"Are you okay?"Joseph asked, feeling wary of the inevitable answer. Jac glared dangerously.
"No I'm not okay," she said shrilly. "Your bloody sister, Joseph. She is so superior!" Jac's eyes flashed.
"I'm sorry about her," Joseph said genuinely. "Look can you just put on a brave face until she goes?" he asked. Jac thought about this but then with a heavy sigh she nodded. "Thank you." He peered into the oven. "I'd say dinner's just about ready," he said.
"I'll go and show them to the dining room," Jac said. Joseph nodded. Jac picked up the glasses of wine and strode off towards the drawing room. Ten minutes later they were all sat around the dining room table tucking into beef casserole.
"This is very nice," Lady Byrne said her gaze fixed on Jac.
"Oh it was all Joseph's doing," Jac said. Sophia remained decisively silent. She was eating the vegetarian option Joseph had provided, eyeing the casserole with distaste.
"So is everything sorted for the big day?" Lady Byrne asked.
"Nearly, I just need to sort out who's going to be my best man," said Joseph in one breath.
"Have you not chosen any one yet Joseph," Sophia interjected surprised.
"I thought I might ask Michael," Joseph said. Jac looked up from her food quickly. She eyed him with a look of deep thought.
"Michael Spence?" Lady Byrne asked ponderously. "Are you sure?"
"Can't do any worse than last time can I?" Joseph said. The room fell silent, awkwardly. Sophia looked at Joseph, her mind whirring quietly.
"Didn't you have a thing with Michael?" Sophia asked Jac bitchily.
"No," Jac said.
"Oh my mistake. I'm sure I heard you had had a brief fling, I must be thinking of someone else," Sophia said looking meaningfully at Joseph as if to tell him something without the others noticing. The rest of the meal passed in silence, Jac looking uncharacteristically nervous.
At last they were alone as Jac and Joseph finally waved off Lady Byrne and Sophia. Joseph was looking uncomfortable, Sophia had whispered something in his ear just before she had left and he now eyed Jac with suspicion. He shook his head.
"Shall we head up then?" Joseph asked her.
"I'm knackered," Jac said with a yawn. They stood for a moment in the hallway staring into each other's eyes. Without pausing to think, they kissed. Taking Joseph by the hand, Jac led him upstairs...
Jac finished speaking and looked up at Keenan. Young was scribbling away on sheets of paper, his eyes purposely fixed away from Jac.
"Is any of this relevant," Keenan asked. Jac nodded. "What does this..." He checked Young's notes. "Michael Spence have to do with it?"
"If you want to know the truth, let me tell you the story. Michael Spence has everything to do with it," Jac told him her green eyes wide and staring. Keenan stopped the tape recording. He leaned his head towards Young.
"Bring Spence in..." Keenan returned his focus to Jac. For a split second he thought he saw Jac clutching her stomach. He frowned. No it couldn't be, he decided. Or was she?
TO BE CONTINUED...