Read 31 Days of Autumn Online

Authors: C.J. Fallowfield

31 Days of Autumn (2 page)

Day One

Saturday 2
nd
September

It had been a month since I arrived back in England.
Four whole weeks of living in squalor as I tried to formulate a plan. I wrapped
the duvet closely around me. I was absolutely freezing, I ached all over, and I
couldn’t stop shaking. Fucking blow withdrawal, wrecked me every damn time. I
was in desperate need of another fix, but first I had to get money. I was nearly
out and barely had enough for food, let alone my various addictions, which had
led to this bloody mess I was in to start with. I looked back up at my notice
board, at the picture of the Davenports, my ticket to a better future. I drew
in a deep breath and closed my eyes. This was nothing, a short period of
suffering that would pale into insignificance once everything came together. I
focussed on my end game as I calmly breathed in through my nose, then exhaled
slowly through my mouth.

To get my ultimate payday, I had to find them
first. I’d made great progress now that he’d come out of hiding. The media had
been full of his story, how he’d been involved in an accident that ultimately
led to the death of his first wife. While they didn’t state where he lived, it hadn’t
been hard to piece together a rough location. While his main technology labs
were based in California, they’d cited that he was primarily based in the
United Kingdom now, working from his London head office and his home. They’d
named the Scottish hospital he’d been treated at, the specialist who switched
off his wife’s life support machine, and the hotel where he’d married Ellie.
The hospital and specialist were in Domartie, a town near Loch Airdrie, where
the hotel they got married at was located. A check into his company holdings,
which were public record, had soon revealed that he also owned a chain of
hotels, the one at Loch Airdrie being just one of them. Of course, I was still working
on assumptions, but it seemed too coincidental for all of those key events to
happen in the same area if he didn’t live there. He’d have to fly from
Davenport Technologies head office in London to Scotland, and the closest
airport to the hotel and town had given me the third point in a triangular area
where he was likely to live.

Money was key to everything. I needed it to
either get clean or get another fix, and I needed it to get out of this hovel
and into decent accommodation. I’d need it to start saving towards surveillance
equipment, so that when he left his London office to head home, I could track
him and find out exactly where he was based here and in Scotland. Once I’d
found his houses, it would be easy to keep tabs on him. All I’d need then was a
shit load of cash to recruit a team of well-trained mercenaries for hire,
looking for a decent payout. Given the value of Davenport Technologies, anyone
looking for a retirement-sized payday would snap my hand off to be a part of
this. I just needed to get back in the game. I needed to clean myself up, then
I could start approaching some of my old contacts and offer private consultancy
work. The beauty of my area of expertise was that with a little luck on my
side, I could make a killing in a relatively short time. Once the money started
rolling in, I could start my plan of action. I ran my eyes down my notepad,
checking my process. Not that I needed to read it, I’d practiced it over and
over again until I could recite it by heart. It was like the landing lights on
a runway, each one guided me one step closer to achieving my aim and reaching
my destination.

 

 

Ten steps.
Ten measly steps
. That was
all that stood between me and my shiny new life. It might take months, it might
take a couple of years, but if ten steps were all it was going to take, I
didn’t care. I could be patient. I slowly opened my eyes, looking straight at
that photo on my notice board, focussing on that dark-haired kid.

‘I’ll be seeing you soon,’ I whispered, my voice
a hoarse rattle from feeling like shit. I grinned, suddenly feeling a whole lot
better. ‘Enjoy your time with your parents, because as of this moment, it’s
limited. I’m going to make them know suffering like they’ve never known before.
No one fucks with me or takes what’s mine and gets away with it. No one.’

 

Day Two

One year later
~ Saturday 1
st
September

Ellie

I woke up with a start to hear Oliver calling me
over the baby monitor. I tried to sit up, but I should have known better. I
rarely woke up without Dan wrapped around me like a vine.

‘Good morning, Mrs. Davenport,’ his husky
morning voice whispered in my ear. His arms tightened around me as I smiled and
gently stretched out my legs.

‘Good morning,’ I replied, twisting my head to
kiss his firm bicep. ‘Someone’s awake.’

‘Yes I am, and a certain part of my anatomy is
feeling very,
very
awake,’ he murmured. I closed my eyes again and let
out a soft moan as his lips started to caress my neck, his obvious erection
pressed against my backside.

‘So I feel,’ I replied, full of frustration
that I didn’t have time to take advantage of that. ‘But I meant that Oliver’s awake.’

‘Jenny can get him up. I want to keep you in
bed for a few more hours.’

‘Hours? My God, does your stamina ever wane?’ I
giggled, still feeling the effects of our lengthy love making last night.

‘Never when I’m looking at you, baby,’ he
confirmed, with a gentle nip of my earlobe. ‘You’re my Viagra.’

‘Well, your stamina is going to have to last a
long time, as I need to go and get him up. It’s Saturday and it’s Jenny’s day
off.’

‘Damn it,’ he moaned. ‘Let’s just have a
quickie then.’

‘Oliver hungry, Mummy,’ came his insistent
little voice.

‘Daddy’s bloody hungry, too, but not for food,’
grumbled Dan when he heard Oliver’s voice on the monitor. I tried to get up
again, but he wouldn’t let me. I burst out laughing when Oliver started
chanting “food,” over and over.

‘Too late. He’s wide awake now. I promise to
make it up to you later.’

‘You’d better or I’ll never get you pregnant
again,’ he sighed, kissing my shoulder and throwing himself onto his back.

‘There’s no rush, I’m only thirty-one. We have
loads of time. Besides, our hands are rather full with two right now.’ I tossed
the duvet back and sat up, letting my feet drop to the oak floor below, then
looked back down at him and smiled. He’d shoved the duvet down to his waist and
had thrown an arm up over his handsome, stubbled face. I drank him in, still
wondering how I’d got so lucky to find a man like him. I had a lot to thank Zac
for. Without him, Dan and I might never have met. His body was still in amazing
shape, he worked out every day in the gym, as well as his daily swim in the
loch, until it got too cold and he’d take up running around the island instead.
I ran my eyes over his toned stomach and his six pack and firm pecs that I
loved to run my hands over when I was on top. He was just masculine perfection.
The haunted look that he’d had when I first met him was long gone, as was his
guilt over what had happened to Rebecca and Moira. Oliver had helped him to
relax so much, Dan just adored his firstborn.

It was hard to believe we’d been married for
over a year now. It had gone so fast and so much had happened. The second
extension on the house had been completed at the back, giving room for the new
security team of Andy and Chris, who worked in shifts. Andy tended to accompany
Dan on any trips out, while Chris shadowed Jenny and I when we were out with
the children. Superwoman Jenny might be, but trying to keep tabs on an
adventurous toddler, as well as an anxious mother and her six month old baby,
was even out of her capabilities.

The house purchases and conversions in London
had also been completed, which made things a lot easier when we travelled down
there to stay. We also headed over to San Francisco for a couple of weeks at
least once a quarter, for Dan to keep tabs on the progress of his latest
innovation. He was working with the Department of Defence on some kind of new
technology, which was so top-secret he wouldn’t even tell me what it was. I’d
reluctantly had to give up my job as Junior Partner for John. My publishers
wanted another book from me, for which I had a deadline. That, along with
Oliver nearly being two and a half
and
a new baby, meant that my focus
was split in too many directions. John had been so understanding and had
virtually pushed me out of the door, knowing how hard I was finding it to let
him down.

‘I’m coming, I’m coming,’ I called, quickly
getting up when I heard Oliver asking for me again.

‘I wish I was,’ sighed Dan wistfully, making me
laugh.

‘You still have a right hand in perfect working
order,’ I reminded him. I snatched up a hair band off the bedside table and
quickly pulled my long hair back into a ponytail.

‘Hardly the same as being buried inside you,
Ellie,’ he retorted with an unimpressed glare as he lifted his arm off his
face.

‘You’re telling me that sex is more important
than feeding your own offspring?’ I teased, knowing that he wouldn’t have a
comeback for that.

‘Bloody hell, woman. Go, before I drag you back
to bed, and put some damn clothes on before I combust,’ he uttered, staring at
my bare breasts.

I blew him a kiss and disappeared into the
dressing room to pull on a pair of jersey shorts and a white tank top. Getting
my babies up, preparing breakfast for us all, and then a shower, in that order,
was my plan of action. Dan had no idea, but I’d asked Mrs. McAdams if she’d
look after them later. I’d booked Dean to come in the helicopter so I could
surprise Dan with a trip out and have some rare quality alone time. It had been
our first wedding anniversary last month and he’d spoiled me with another trip
to our honeymoon destination, so I wanted to do something to thank him for
being an amazing husband and even better father. I headed downstairs, carefully
holding the banister. My nightmares about my accident were long gone, but my
fear on the stairs still remained. I wasn’t sure it would ever go away. I
headed into Oliver’s room to find him standing up in his crib, rattling the
bars. He broke into a big smile when he saw me and held his arms up.

‘Mummy.’

‘Good morning, gorgeous,’ I beamed. I leaned
down and picked him up, giving him a big squeeze and plastering his face with
kisses until he broke out into uncontrollable giggles. ‘So, you’re hungry again,
are you?’

‘Want cookie.’

‘No, cookies are treats, they’re not for
breakfast. Honestly, you have an appetite as large as your father’s.’

‘Where Daddy?’

‘Daddy will be down in a minute.’

‘Oliver want Jo-Jo,’ he pouted, pointing to the
room next door. I kissed his forehead and shifted him to my hip, then made my
way through the en-suite to the nursery next door, feeling my heart swell with
love as I looked into the crib. My six month old son was still fast asleep,
flat on his stomach, just like how Oliver used to lie. ‘Jo-Jo,’ yelled an excited
Oliver with a clap of his hands.

‘Sssshhhh,’ I laughed, putting two fingers on
Oliver’s lips in a bid to hush him. ‘You’ll wake him up. He’s a baby and needs
lots more sleep than you.’ I smoothed some of Oliver’s dark hair back from his
forehead, which I kissed. Oliver looked just like his dad, whereas Jonas had
much lighter hair, and some of my features were already discernible on him. I’d
so wanted a girl throughout my pregnancy, but when we found out we were having
another boy, I couldn’t stay sad for long. Dan had been over the moon, but
despite being a nervous wreck during the birth, he knew how much I wanted a
girl, so he’d promised me that we’d try again. ‘Let’s leave him to sleep a
little longer while we get breakfast ready, ok?’

‘Ok,’ Oliver beamed. He put his arms around my
neck and snuggled against me. I headed through to the kitchen and strapped him
into his booster seat at the dining table. I lay out his crayons and paper each
night before I went to bed so he’d be occupied the moment he sat down, and sure
enough, he started scribbling straight away. I went to get him some juice and
set the coffee machine. I smiled to myself as I heard Dan bounding down the
stairs. The smell of his first morning coffee, along with the promise of food,
always roused him. ‘Daddy,’ Oliver called, craning his neck as he waited for
him to appear, then yelled with happiness when he did.

‘Good morning, Ollie. What are you drawing
there?’ Dan crouched at his side and kissed him, then ruffled his hair as he
sat down next to him to observe his progress. Dan was the only one who called
him Ollie, everyone else called him Oliver. I made our coffees as I watched
them with a smile. Oliver loved his dad, especially when he had time to play
with him. I headed over with Dan’s coffee, squealing as he slapped my backside
when I walked away. He burst out laughing and Oliver started giggling. He
adored Dan’s laugh, though his deep singing voice was still a whole other
matter. I started preparing a full English breakfast as I listened to the two
of them having fun together and sighed, full of contentment. I was so happy. I
wished my mum and dad were here to see what an amazing life I had.

We’d just started eating when I heard a cry
from Jonas’s room.

‘I’ll go,’ Dan offered, kissing my cheek. ‘You
eat too many cold breakfasts as it is. Enjoy it and I’ll get him changed and
bring him out in a while.’

‘What about your breakfast,’ I protested,
looking at his virtually untouched plate.

‘Stop worrying about everyone else. You know me
and my appetite, I’ll eat anything and everything. Eat yours warm for once,’ he
ordered, before tossing down his napkin and striding out. I took his plate and
put it under the grill, which was still warm, to try and keep his food hot
while he was gone. I wolfed mine down while also helping Oliver to draw. It
nearly broke my heart to see Dan appear with Jonas in one arm, dressed in a
fresh romper suit, yawning his head off.

‘Jo-Jo,’ Oliver called, holding out his arms.
Dan crouched next to him and let Oliver give his baby brother a big wet sloppy
kiss, before handing him over to me to feed.

‘So, what’s the plan for the day?’

‘When he’s fed, I’ll get Oliver cleaned up and
changed, then have a shower myself. Dress in running gear. Mrs. McAdams is
coming to look after the boys while we go out for the rest of the day,’ I
confirmed.

‘We’re going running?’ he asked, his face
looking crestfallen. ‘What about s-e-x,’ he spelled out, mouthing it instead of
saying it out loud. Oliver was learning to talk so fast that we had to be so
careful what we said around him. He’d already picked up the word “damn” from
his Uncle Lucas, who I was still trying to get used to calling Lucas, now that he’d
reverted from his middle name of Logan to his Christian name. Oliver saying
“damn” hadn’t amused me as much as it had Dan and Luiza.

‘Trust me, Oliver Daniel Davenport, I’ve a whole
day planned out for us and I’m sure you’ll be more than satisfied with the
outcome.’

 

Dan

I grinned as I undid Ellie’s straps when we
landed in the clearing just below the forest. She was taking me up to the
waterfall. We hadn’t been back here since I’d brought her when I was trying to
woo her, before she got pregnant with Oliver. In fact, that could have been the
time she conceived.

‘We have no food or water,’ I reminded her,
offering my hand for her to step down while I breathed in the scent of all the
pine trees. God, I loved the air up here. So much fresher than London.

‘Like I’d let you go hungry,’ she replied with
a roll of her eyes and a laugh.

‘You did this morning,’ I reminded her, taking
the opportunity to run my eyes over her body again. She was in a tight t-shirt,
a pair of loose-fitting, cut-off jersey shorts, and her trainers. Even casual,
she took my breath away. She was everything I’d ever wanted in a woman. Loyal,
loving, sexy, passionate, feisty, funny, caring, and nurturing. Seeing the way
she mothered my two boys, not to mention me, reminded me that I was the
luckiest guy alive. We’d not had the easiest start to our relationship, but having
gone through all of that, we were so much stronger for it.

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