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The Price of Friendship

The Price of Friendship

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The Price of Friendship

Lunghezza:
227 pagine
3 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Apr 25, 2018
ISBN:
9780463619971
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

When friendships start to fall apart how hard do you fight to piece them back together?

Jayne and Debbie are best friends, but when Debbie falls seriously ill with benign brain tumours and Jayne falls pregnant that friendship is stretched to breaking point.
Theirs is a chequered history, great until an extra martial affair, lies and half truths begin to drive them apart.

Debbie needs surgery and quickly but the news of Jaynes pregnancy breaks at the same time and she disappears when Debbie needs her most. Instead she relies on her husband Adam and her other best friend Jade and their combined families. With her future uncertain and a long road to what would pass as a full recovery Debbie takes her first steps without her best friend.

When Adam and Jayne have a heated argument that comes from a complete misunderstanding Debbie is caught in the middle and life as she knows it implodes.
It comes after a long eighteen months of escalating hassle and heartache. Can the two of them learn to see each others point of view? Can what was a loving friendship recover and become what Debbie desires?

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Apr 25, 2018
ISBN:
9780463619971
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Clair Gibson currently splits her time between Glasgow and Manchester and sees writing works of fiction as her true venture in life and is currently working on her next offering. She has nine books available - Another Chance at Love Fat Bottomed Girls Blackpool Here We Come Left Behind All for Her Yours, mine & the truth Stifado for two The price of friendship Broken return See her blog for details of those and new works in development


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Anteprima del libro

The Price of Friendship - Clair Gibson

The Price

Of

Friendship

From closest of friends to strangers passing on opposite sides of the street.

This work of fiction is for anyone who finds themselves in similar circumstances. You are not alone.

Some names and identifying details have changed to protect the privacy of individuals. I have recreated events, locales and conversations from my memories and personal communications. To maintain their anonymity, I have changed identifying characteristics and details such as physical properties, occupations and places of residence.

Chapter List

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

***

Hi, I’m Debbie, but most people call me Debs. I held out my hand to the woman approaching the desk opposite mine keen to make a good impression.

Jayne. You transfer in?

Yesterday.

A simple by chance meeting and I’ve considered this person one of my best friend’s since. The way most women become friendly, bonding over long hours in front of computer screens. These days she worked for a different company and I worked from home, but kept in regular contact, which grew into a tight bond.

My husband, Adam, a completely different story. The boy next door. Still is, with a heart of gold. I wouldn’t be the woman I am without him. We are a textbook average couple married for nine years, own our home, two comfortable jobs, and have a good lifestyle.

Married before, it lasted a couple of years before my ex ran off with a woman he met online. Adam married someone he met at university but it didn’t last and they didn’t have kids. He often spoke about a moment of madness lasting a few years. We fell in love off the back of a party thrown by mutual friends and married soon afterwards. Months before I met Jayne I fell pregnant, against the odds, since we’d already suffered one miscarriage. We lost her after almost twenty weeks, a little girl we’d already named Emma. If she’d been safe inside me for a few more weeks, she may have stood a chance. Adam and I learned the true meaning of togetherness, and real love. It could and should have destroyed us but it drew the two of us closer than ever.

Our personal struggles were just that, but through months of chats I opened my heart and revealed our desires and struggles and she divulged hers. I’m blessed they are both in my life and hoped forever but I made the toughest decision in my near forty odd years on this earth. Do I side with my husband of nine years but my friend for almost forty or my best friend of six years? Now you see my dilemma.

Stuck in the middle between the two. An argument, disagreement, what I can only describe as a complete misunderstanding. But, it came on top of almost eighteen months of escalating hassle and heartache. So, let me walk you to the point where my life implodes and you decide if my choices were right.

***

1.

I’m breaking it off with Johnny. Jayne typed into the messenger app we used to communicate as I sat on the couch reading.

Why. What’s he done this time?

It’s over. It’s going nowhere.

And that’s it?

I pressed enter on the message and waited for the abuse coming my way. Younger than her and by her own admission, no good, he cast a magic spell over her and she saw good bits, nothing more. Every chat for almost a year turned into a teenage strop. I didn’t respect her wishes or appreciate what she needed or wanted. I read it repeatedly. Every exhausting conversation ended the same way. She took the hump and changed the subject. It wasn’t any different when we met in person.

Yes, but we wanted the same thing.

I read the words shaking my head. Every destructive step left a wide path of damage behind her. A prior failed relationship she escaped by seeing Johnny. The cheating, lies and false promises while sleeping with two men. It wasn’t the thing I ever expected from a close friend of mine but it was her choice and hers alone. I offered an ear to listen to her problems, suggesting helpful remedies, but she put nothing into practice.

When her relationship slipped sideways, she used me as her confident until I learned she used me for cover with her ex-partner and more times than my liking. He confronted me one morning as I bought coffee. A simple but effective ambush to ask about our weekend break, Jayne and I. At first, I looked past him. A blank expression on my face. I lied, Yeah great. No specific details, a white lie but I swear the growing crimson flush rising in my cheeks and confirmed what he already thought. I hated myself for lying to his face.

So now what?

I’ve told him it’s over.

Right.

I heard this too many times to care, she’d dumped him multiple times across the past three months but they always reconnected.

Serious. I’m done.

Yeah, yeah. Heard it before.

I am. I’ve got a date with a guy a friend at work suggested him.

I snorted the minute her words appeared on the screen. This was the thing about instant messaging. You had conversations about anything without seeing the other person’s reactions. Reduced to shaking my head, jumping from one man’s bed to another’s wasn’t cool. There’s no way this date ended with dinner. It wasn’t something I imagined myself doing even if I wasn’t married. I didn’t understand her state of mind at present or the constant companionship game playing multiple men, never happy to settle. Her inability to spend time alone astounding but not unusual in this modern age of disposability. I didn’t hear about her new guy for a while.

Two Facebook dating updates, and three days later, as I tapped away working on my laptop and an instant message popped onto my screen. The program we used allowed for instant login when you turned your computer on. I set it this way but remained hidden so I’d get work done but tonight I forgot.

Are you there?

Yeah, working out loose ends.

I’d worked as a freelance copy editor, data cleanser and manipulator for two years and had taken on extra work to fund new projects.

So, I told him. Jayne typed.

Who?

Johnny. Told him we’re done.

I closed my eyes not believing we would have yet another conversation about him, our one thousandth.

Did you not do it earlier this week?

I did, but he wanted to meet, talk.

So, it’s over? Again.

I didn’t need a play-by-play we’d been here before. Neither did I need the ins and outs of their last date. It might seem like I don’t care. I do, but frustration at the constant state of affairs dulled my ability to care.

Think so.

See what I mean. I decided not to rise to the bait.

How’s your date?

Dates. Been out for dinner and lunch. Two different guys. They’re ok but no spark.

As she typed, I drank from my coffee cup. Her answer appeared on the screen as I lowered it. Two dates and meeting Johnny, she wasn’t messing about.

Shame.

Yeah, I’ll keep looking. I deserve the best.

Adam walked into the house. His shift patterns the total opposite of my working day this week. He leaned over and kissed me. The taste of sweat mixed with the energy drink he drank on the way home. Dinner’s on a plate in the oven. You showering first?

Yeah. Jayne? He pointed at my laptop.

I raised my eyebrows and flashed him a grin.

You solve her problems and I’ll go get cleaned.

He’s right. That’s my role. Someone to solve her issues and listen to the whines.

Adam’s home. Not on for long. Haven’t seen him all week.

Awww, sweet.

I couldn’t tell if she used a serious or sarcastic tone.

Ok, I’ll let you run off to your husband. Catch you later over the weekend or next week.

Yeah, see ya.

I closed the conversation and logged off messenger keen to make sure it didn’t reopen and let her take over another conversation. Jayne’s escapades wore me to the point I didn’t want to switch the app on anymore. We used to have such fun, always planning something, theatre trips, days out, lunches, shopping, you name it, as close friends we’ve done it. She used to moan she wanted a relationship like mine. I thought she had that, but she moved on to Johnny instead.

I’ll put the oven on, I yelled walking past the bathroom.

Done already. The steam from Adam’s shower billowed in and out of the doorway, he hadn‘t closed it. Figured you’d be on for ages yet.

Nah. More dating dilemmas. I’ve heard it too many times and never changes.

Towel wrapped around his waist and rolled over at the top, the love of my life walked from the bathroom, water glistening on his tanned bare chest. Spiked short dark hair would flatten as it dried but I longed to run my fingers through it. He always smelled so good. She’ll come around.

Anyway, dinner will be ready soon. I avoided his point entirely not wanting to let her intrude on our time.

He stepped close wrapping those big arms around, holding me against him. It will be fine. You’ll see.

2.

Christmas came and left behind a snowy white horizon. We met for coffee a few days before and exchanged gifts spoiled by tense, strained conversation and the laugh less hour dragged. Previous meetings we’d grab dinner, few drinks and put the world to rights but over the last few weeks, we’d talked less. December’s always a busy month. Christmas parties, office nights out, family parties and that’s just the run up to the big day. I’d been busier than normal work-wise, and it took a toll on how many times I’d signed on to the app. If I wanted to grow my business, it required discipline.

Over the holidays I rose worse than I retired to bed. Days flew by. Headaches, tired eyes, and bone weary exhaustion an everyday occurrence. I logged on every few days and we chatted about everyday things. The atmosphere in the coffee shop carrying over to our online chat. We never mentioned men and dating and I didn’t ask. I did, however, mention I wasn’t well, and the GP recommended a hospital check up.

Specialists poked, prodded and sent me for test after test, until for a grand finale, I lay under an MRI scanner. A few days later Adam sat to my left holding my hand tight. He hadn’t done it in such a long time. Deep worry lines formed across his brow. Well? His hands tightened cutting off the circulation to my own. What is it?

More tumours. The reply from the doctor delivered in a clinical fashion. No emotion whatsoever.

How many? The words stuttered in horror before I held my breath for his reply. Please god, one. Give me a chance here. My eyes pleading with him to give me an ounce of good news.

Three, in different areas of your brain. I’d guess benign like before but we can't be sure.

Jesus. Adam recoiled into his chair. What are our options?

Only one, surgery followed the possibility by radiation, if they can’t get enough but it’s not without risks.

What kind? My mind reeling from his last answer, trying to focus but nothing prepared me for what came next.

Short term, mobility issues, headaches and the usual issues when you go through an operation. Long term, possibly loss of speech, memory both short and long-term, sight problems and your behaviour and personality may change.

Why so many?

We can only reach two of the three tumours. They are in different places but close enough it’s possible to remove most with surgery. I’ve sent your file to a specialist who will review it and should confirm the plan. He’s in London, so any operation will be there and soon. The doctor scratched his chin. He’s a busy man, the best in his field, but it takes about three months to arrange.

Wow, quick! Adam let go of my hand and pulled me towards his chest. So, benign like the others? What now? His questions reeling unfiltered from his brain to his mouth.

We can’t confirm that till they come out. Take her home. Keep her comfortable, keep using the pain meds and I’ll organise counselling to help prepare for surgery and what to expect afterwards.

Back home I wallowed, can’t explain it any other way. My world stopped, again. I couldn’t get past it, for three days it took every ounce of energy just to allow my lungs to rise and fall. The doctor’s comments circling my mind allowing recovery doubts to gain substance instead of confronting the danger and vowing to come back complete. Adam did his best, but he hurt as much as I did. I never heard from Jayne but then I didn’t switch on my laptop. I looked at my phone a few times and considered reaching out with a message, but I’d told her about the appointment. Something stopped me. I wasn’t sure what but certain, I didn’t need another conversation about her dating dilemmas.

My other best friend Jade reached out, yet she lived three and a half thousand miles away in Canada. The morning after my visit I opened an email asking the questions I expected from a close friend, how did it go? We met on a website community for folks working from home, everyone with similar tasks and ideals for freedom of time management. That led to many an email, long chats on the phone and grew into a close, loving friendship. Lately I wondered why Jayne and Jade were so different and what each brought to my life. Jade brought a friendship built on a continuous positive energy, even when both of us weren’t having a good time. Jayne used to do that, but of late I don’t know how I would describe what we meant to each other.

A few days later I got the first counselling appointment.

The cold, all white office caught me off guard as we entered. A typical clinical hospital appearance instead of walls full of helpful posters and warming colours. Adam came with me supportive as ever. He is my rock. Hands intertwined we waited for whatever came our way. I’ve no idea how long we sat but neither of us spoke. We’d lived on the tumour merry-go-round before, almost two years ago, when they removed two from my neck and shoulder. Both benign and our ordeal lasted a few weeks.

Doctors figured more would appear in the future. They advised regular check-ups and watch for changes. Same instructions they gave to a million other patients. It didn’t reassure, neither did the knowledge they did not understand why the tumors grew or reoccurred in the first place. I didn’t go public with the news or treatment except for updating Jade and Jayne and wasn’t out of action for more than a few days after surgery. People commented on the scar for a few months but it faded and so did their concerns. No one rebuked me for not telling them.

Jade, supportive as ever, was nearing the end of her own health battle with a thyroid problem but we supported each other through email, phone calls and Skype updates. Jayne saw me for coffee once the operation was over. The news broke three weeks before she went on holiday for fourteen days. Her own things going on, trying to get work organised for her annual leave, my problem barely dented her life. We briefly spoke twice but on her return and once I could go out we caught up and carried on as normal.

Debbie and Adam Scott? A short older man with round-rimmed glasses and a fuzzy ginger beard appeared from the end of a corridor. Follow me please.

He walked away before we’d even got close.

Inside his room, we sat and stared at our surroundings, a normal office with his desk tucked in beside the wall and two chairs on this side. I’ve never been to a therapist or counsellor and so far, every preconceived idea turned out to be wrong. Where was the comfortable couch? The bright pastel shades on the walls and pictures. There wasn’t even a plant in the corner of the room.

So, Debbie, I have your notes here, we’ve a lot of hard work in front of us.

Adam sat on the edge of the chair. One hand wrapped in mine, the other wrapped over his knee, gripping tight. His demeanour screaming that he

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