Disclaimer: I don't own the images in this banner, they all belong to their respective sites/ owners.
Tag Team Story
The Dominoes Fell In Slow Motion
Chapter 1 – Death of A Loved One
Sometimes you never know what you had until it is taken away. There are some people I thought would always be there. One evening I had it all, perfect family, a small group of friends whom I trusted with all my being and a dear lack of negative experiences. The next morning I lost two, I lost family, I experienced negativity, it was only later on that I began to question my friends.
You must understand that each occurrence triggered the next, my life didn't just collapse, this way was worse. Like dominoes falling in slow motion, but sadder, for this was a hideous chain of events. And all it took was one bullet to start the chain, but this nightmare, well it never ended.
Crime, crime was part of my life. My occupation – Private Detective meant I knew a lot about criminal psychology, motives, weapons and evidence of past cases were imprinted in my mind. I had investigated many deaths, met the most unlikely killers. But this, this was far too close to home.
Death, I had learnt a long time ago, that death affected us all differently and in the end it would change us all.
Felix sat beside me on one side, Hannah on the other. Tears streamed down Hannah’s red face, as her shoulder length blond hair flew into her eyes. Her sobs were loud and snotty, I had not sobbed at all (not at the ceremony), despite the fact that I was closer to my father than she was. I would rather say that the reason I had not sobbed was that I was being strong for their sake, Hannah and mothers, but the truth is that when the world does its worst and when you're at your saddest, you become too sad for tears.
I glanced at Felix, hoping that he would be able to comfort me somehow; he knew how I must be feeling his own father had died in an accident half a dozen years ago just after we first met, he claimed his pain was still raw. But for once Felix wouldn`t meet my eyes.
It was only then that I acknowledged the fact the last time I had seen Felix my father had been alive. Wincing in pain as I thought of my father, how would I live without him? Hannah was lucky, she could cry. Extreme pain, excruciating pain, is subsequently followed by unbearable numbness.
I stared and stared at Felix, he looked older, his long brown hair fell closer to his eyes that usual. He had bags under his hazel eyes almost as pale as he had been when I first met him, just after the accident. He wore a black suit as usual and was by far the tallest person in the room. Oh, how I longed for him to put his arms around me and tell me it would all be okay.
As the Vicar spoke of loss, told us we had to celebrate life and that once we grieved properly we would understand this. He asked us whether my father would have wanted us to be sad. He droned and droned on; I didn’t believe a word he said. I felt an overwhelming urge to proclaim it “a load of bullshit,” or something else along those lines. The rest of them may have believed in God, but I didn’t. I wanted to shake this man, but this was his job, just like investigating murders was mine
I heard the beginning of a familiar tune and I was taken back to the conversation I had with my mother a week beforehand.
“Lisa,” she began, “Lisa, what song would your father have liked played, you know at his funeral?” She asked quietly.
“The Smiths,” I said, “The Smiths – How Soon Is Now?” I muttered quickly. Music was one of the many things my father and I had in common.
Afterwards she had left the room and I had sighed. My mother and I used to be closer, though never as close as she had been to my sister. Hannah had become a vet, she had always wanted to be a vet and had worked hard, Hannah was happily engaged to a doctor named Steve, whom I had never met. My mother had expected me to become a teacher, I dreamed of being in a band, I wrote decent songs, despite the fact I couldn’t read music, nor did I have a decent voice. At twenty six my sister was successful and settled, at twenty eight I had barely tasted success and was nowhere near being settled. At least I helped people though.
So as such a song played and I remembered what a man my father is, no was, I felt as if I would vomit. If my father was here he would have noticed how uncomfortable I looked, he would have comforted me just by being there. But he would never be beside me again. My insides had gone wild and my head was practically in my lap, Hannah was still too distraught to notice and Felix still refused to look at me.
They lowered him to the ground and sang hymns, all in all it was a tasteful event, but I was breaking. Why, why was Felix ignoring me when I needed him most? I had no energy to somehow persuade my best friend to acknowledge my presence, let alone my pain.
There were tears, so many tears, but I was convinced nobody felt the same way as I did. My mother practically wailed, as we left the old cemetery, wailed apologies for how stressed she had made him in life. Nobody noticed as I slipped away from my family and sought out my friends.
I saw Elsbeth and her husband Fredrick, it was pretty hard to miss them, Elsbeth was quite striking as usual. She wore her wedding dress, but had dyed it black where it used to be a dark purple and with this dress she wore a pair of black floral Doc Martens. Her eyes were heavily made up in the darkest black, which emphasized their lightness and her onyx necklace was ever present around her pale neck.
She possessed the most gorgeous English accent and would have charmed many had she not married early. Only after her wedding had she dared to change her light brown hair, which she insisted was “not” blond. Her long, light brown hair dip dyed black and a great big purple bow on top to finish, meant she stood out like a sore thumb.
Fredrick was closest in height to Felix, but the two of them had never bonded. Felix didn’t have any male friends, Elsbeth once said this was probably, because most guys thought he would snatch away their girlfriends and with good reason. Born in Ireland, raised in England, he and Elsbeth had moved to Los Angeles together. His hair was the darkest brown, his eyes a lighter brown and his skin freckled; he wore a simple black suit that was obviously expensive.
The two of them had tied the knot a year ago and what a charming tale of love they had. So the poet had fallen for the artist and somehow they could both afford the match. The two had met at The Tate Modern and then The National Gallery they bonded over their mutual love for art, both old and new, football and good music. They became inseparable after Arsenals 7-1 victory over Blackburn at the Emirates Stadium after which they first kissed.
I wished I could have what they had, but I was too busy, not to mention too filled with sadness, at the moment anyway. Elsbeth was the only one of my friends anywhere near settled and she was determined to change that, becoming matchmaker for the rest of us.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, Elsbeth immediately noticed me, walked over and put her arms round me, she knew how important my father was to me. I was glad to see somebody who wasn’t engulfed in a coat of tears, but Elsbeth had only ever met my father on one occasion, though he had admitted to being a fan of her modern artwork.
“Lisa, ”Elsbeth called pulling her husband along after she let go of me, “darling today must have been hard, are you okay?”
“What do you think?” I growled, before adding, “Yes Elsbeth it has been hard, let’s get out of here.”
“I have no idea what you’re feeling, but whatever you say,” she nodded.
“I don`t particularly like cemetery’s, “added a flustered looking Fredrick with a facial expression that almost made me laugh.
I sniffed, then shivered for a while in my simple black cotton dress and a grotesque pair of brown flats. Jenna and Helena caught up with us handing me a small bouquet that I later presented to Elsbeth. They both attempted to comfort me, but I shrugged them away.
The five of us stepped in the direction of my apartment flat, having left the cemetery long ago.
“Where’s Felix?” whispered Helena.
“He was at the service, but left immediately afterwards,” Jenna said in a voice a little less chirpy than usual.
“It was today you know,” Helena chimed in.
“What?” I interrupted.
“What was today?” I demanded.
Clearly surprised by my interruption Helena brushed her long dark hair out of her dark brown eyes and began to chew her lip. I glared at her until she broke the silence.
“Today was the anniversary of Felix`s father’s death, it’s been six years since the accident,” she spluttered, now Elsbeth was the one glaring at her.
“Whatever, Felix shouldn`t have f***ing disappeared when his best friend needed him the most,” Elsbeth growled, needless to say her husband was looking more than a little embarrassed.
“No need to swear,” breathed Jenna, beside her Helena lit a cigarette.
“Poor Felix,” I said quickly destroying any potential for a fight, “he must be grieving too, how good of him to even attend.”
“Pah,” groaned Elsbeth, as now everybody was glaring at her as if she was the bad guy.
“And Elsbeth you know you're my best friend,” I added feeling a little sorry for her now Helena was staring at her friends husbands lips, she wouldn’t, would she?
“Bull – you know you like Felix far more than you like me; perhaps you like him too much. Perhaps, you more than just like him.”
“Elsbeth!” we all yelled.
“Now that is the definition of talking bullshit darling," I began to giggle uncontrollably.
Then I remembered and my laughter ceased. How could I forget?
Fredrick looked uncomfortable, Helena was oblivious, Elsbeth tried to hug me, but it was Jenna who came to me first.
“So Lisa, do you want to know who I saw last night?” She giggled.
We all murmured in encouragement as she told us of how she saw my ex-boyfriend who I had dumped on account of the fact he was a complete and utter idiot. Apparently he had got so drunk he had sung the lyrics to ABBA Dancing Queen to the backing track of a David Bowie song, then walked right into a lamp post. I pulled myself together and giggled along, but my heart wasn’t in it, my head was a long way away.
As we reached my apartment they continued to chat about the previous evening, whilst I remember the headlines about my father, a multimillionaires death. They seemed so straight to the point, detached, unfeeling words in bold type that struck me from behind, even breathing was hard now. I swallowed, I wanted to vomit, but nothing came up, I had refused to eat.
Just as I stepped into the place I called my own, I happened to look down to see a pale figure with wild, long, brown hair, it was him and he looked hungrily at the plain blond with the short skirt and big lips beside him. Only he could look that wild, that lost.
I had been stupid, I had forgotten the date, but Elsbeth was right. As I locked the door, he turned and sent me an apologetic smile, a weak smile through a window when I needed him the most. I punched the door as I locked it, he did not deserve a response.
Elsbeth, Fredrick and Helena sipped the coffee I had made quietly; Jenna drank her tea in the same manner. Could they tell I was in need of silence or had they simply guessed?
Once they had drunk their hot beverages, Helena stood up.
“I have to be going now,” she said buttoning up her jacket and giving me a small smile.
“Sorry,” squeaked Jenna, “I better be going too.”
Jenna brushed back her short, blond hair, with her usual shyness, polite manner and simple petite beauty nobody would guess the true extent of her knowledge.
“It will get better Lisa,” she whispered as she brushed past me.
I locked the door behind them and Elsbeth gave me her usual questioning expression which seemed to ask its usual question (a question of the upmost importance) – music, film, TV or chat?
In answer I chucked the remote control to my flat screen TV over my shoulder. She began to flick through the channels.
Later that evening I had found Elsbeth and Fredrick checking the English, or at least it might have been English, football scores. Their team had won and they cheered at the news, then they seemed to realize where they were. Elsbeth sent me an apologetic glance, I tried to smile raising each corner of my mouth, I must have looked ridiculous, because Elsbeth nearly had a fit laughing. She nudged Fredrick; he smiled and winked at me.
They began to slip into their old habits, up to their old tricks again – they made out on my couch for at least fifteen minutes.
“Ahem,” I squealed for what seemed like the hundredth time
They rolled off each other and I waggled my finger at them, after all I was a little older and a little more responsible than either of them, this being proved by the gesture that Elsbeth made after my interruption.
“It’s late,” I announced, “knowing you two, you both probably have places to be tomorrow.”
They glanced over to my large antique grandfather clock, which I had bought second hand much to my father’s horror. My father!
Elsbeth must have sensed my sadness.
“We could stay here tonight,” Elsbeth suggested, “if you would rather not be alone Liss.” Her eyes were full of concern.
“Judging by what you did on my couch,” I began forcing a chuckle, “ I may be just a little disturbed by what you would do in my spare bed.”
They exchanged glances and blushed.
“I`ll be alright,” I lied.
They stood up and headed for the door, I realized I really didn’t want them to leave but I had far too much pride to protest. They smiled at me, with them it was always as if I was younger.
“Good night Liss,” Elsbeth hugged me as she left, her husband stopping to give me a quick nod.
I looked out my window and watched the two of them walk out of sight, Fredrick’s arm round his wife as he kissed her cheek. There was still purpose, still hope, I thought and the two of the two of them were living proof, people could live happily ever after. And best of all there were no wild men in seedy alleyways.