Authors: Kat Green
Copyright © 2012 Kat Green
All rights reserved.
Mum, you’ve always been my strength and my best friend. You still are. You might be gone but you’re forever in my heart.
I miss you.
So much pain
Was I OK
Nugget of Gold
No way in hell
I hate it, I hate it
Not a sound
Melissa ran through the halls, shaking and feeling like she was in a movie. It didn’t feel real. When she had left home that morning after another sleepless night she hadn’t expected how her day would end. Luke, who was still with Harris, his lawyer, wouldn’t be far behind her. She needed a few minutes to take in what had just happened so headed for the ladies bathroom. She crumpled over the toilet and everything that had built up over the past six months escaped. The pain, heartache, stress and interrogation had controlled her life. It felt like she was throwing up all of that. When she felt empty of all the darkness she collapsed against the cubicle wall. She pinched herself, then pinched herself again. No, it hurt. She wasn’t dreaming. How had she done it? How had she got through it? How was she still in one piece with her sanity seemly intact? Although that was still up for debate. Somehow she had fought with every bit of strength and dignity and taken on Jay-Den Lake. She had won over the jury and had made them believe her. Melissa Webb, a year ago she had been a nobody, today the most famous girl in the world. Literally. Every part of her had been clawed at, no part of her life left untouched. Everything she had left to cling onto had been laid out in court. But she had stood her ground, never changing her story, no matter how much Jay-Den’s legal team had tried to intimidate her. The one thing on her side was the truth, something Jay-Den didn’t have. He was as guilty as sin and everybody knew it, despite the failure of her attempt at recording their conversation as it hadn’t been connected right. Luke had been messing around with the studio equipment before they’d left for the premiere the night he had vanished. He had kicked himself when they’d realised it hadn’t worked. But it hadn’t mattered. Luke and the band had a great lawyer, and his team had stepped up and pulled out everything they had. Phone call records, emails between him and Amber. Everything had matched up, eventually.
The police had given everything to find every scrap of evidence; Jay-Den’s ultimate downfall had been traces of his hair and clothing fabric at the school where Luke had been kept. He’d claimed to have never been there but forensics told a different story. Every lie he’d told had been uncovered at each turn. In the end his arrogance and greed had been his destruction. His guilt had been so obvious to the world, and the label had suffered. Bands were no longer comfortable being with them; lawsuits were coming at them from every angle. Melissa had opened up one hell of a can of worms and it seemed that The Black Eagles were not the only band who had been betrayed. Everything Jay-Den had done had voided any contract they had signed, and Russell, through gritted teeth, agreed to let them go. Harris had negotiated a deal that had set them up for a long time. The deal released them from their contract and included a one-time pay-off to cover all royalties and compensation for all they had been put through, and that included Melissa and Megan. That alone had made a dent in the label’s bank account.
They were free agents but had no idea where to go now. How do you trust anyone after that? Luke couldn’t even think about it, too angry to even talk to anyone regarding a contract. And Toby wasn’t keen either. Ten minutes ago Jay-Den Lake had been found guilty of all charges against him. Attempted rape. Attempted murder and abduction. The words “guilty” had echoed in Melissa’s ears like a dream. She pinched herself again. No, still not dreaming.
‘Liss,’ Luke called out as the door to the ladies opened. ‘Are you in here?’
Melissa leapt to her feet, opened the cubicle door and fell into Luke’s strong and comforting arms. They stood like that in silence, letting it sink in. Giving his side of things, Luke also had been subjected to the same treatment. They had been put through the wringer, but it was now over.
‘Did that really just happen?’ Melissa said as she cried all over again.
‘Yes. You did it. I’m so fucking proud of you.’ He sat on the floor with her, wiped her tears and kissed her. In
eyes, she had done more to win this case than anyone. She was the one who had had to stand there and tell a room of strangers about what Jay-Den had done, in great detail. Over and over. How he’d groped her, torn at her clothes as he’d held her down. Touched her in places he had no business touching, while she begged him to stop. How he tried to strangle her when he knew it was all over for him. Luke hated hearing it, but couldn’t even begin to imagine how she had felt at the time. He’d cursed himself every time for not being there to protect her.
‘I’ve just been sick.’
‘I don’t care,’ Luke said.
Melissa slumped against him, exhausted. ‘I can’t go out there. I can’t face it. I’m done with talking. I am so tired.’
The press were outside and would want a statement of some kind. She couldn’t do it. Just because she had won, it didn’t make her happy. It was a battle she had won, but the war was yet to end. Everything that would need to be fixed, as of now was a personal thing. While the trial had been in full swing, they hadn’t had time to heal fully. They both still had demons to face. Now they could finally deal with them.
‘I’ll get you out, somehow.’ Luke lifted her up in his arms. Her legs wouldn’t work properly and he had to carry her out.
Her parents were waiting and rushed to them, thinking she was ill. ‘She’s exhausted, Jean,’ Luke said. ‘We need to get her out of here. She doesn’t want to face the scrum outside.’
Mick nodded and took his daughter from Luke. ‘Then she doesn’t have to. You go and fend them off. We’ll get her out. Meet you back at home.’
Luke kissed Melissa on the cheek before she was taken by her mum and dad to find a way out. Then Harris joined Luke and they made their way outside.
Harris gave a statement to the waiting press, telling them the important and relevant details, leaving Luke to give his very short statement. Luke knew he had to, but he could have done without it. Speaking to these people wasn’t important to him. He wanted to be on his way home with Melissa who needed him more than they did. If it wasn’t that Harris had pointed out to him that the fans would appreciate it, he wouldn’t have bothered.
‘Today, justice has been done. Melissa has done me proud. Thank you to our legal team, friends, family and mostly my boys. They have been instrumental in us getting through this. I can’t ever repay them for taking care of my Liss when I was unable to. To our fans, your support and kind words haven’t gone unnoticed. We are taking a break to heal and rebuild our lives. Don’t worry – The Black Eagles will be back. That’s a promise. For now I’m asking for some peace. We’re still devastated as a couple, and as a band, over what’s happened and it will take time for all of us to get over this. Jay-Den Lake got everything he deserved.’
Then Luke turned his back and was done. He thanked Harris and his team before getting in his car and heading home. The drive was a silent one, his thoughts played out as the world went by. Once he had remembered what had happened to him, recounting it over and over had drained him. Hearing what had happened to Melissa had made him ill, and the damage left behind was added pressure. It had seemed like he was never going to remember what had happened the night he vanished; all attempts at bringing his memory back had failed. They had been forced to rely on the evidence to piece together the events of that night, until suddenly, out of nowhere, some memories came rushing back to him. He had been sitting in his studio trying to write some new material when he’d made a small and at the time insignificant movement. His hand, gripping at the neck of his main electric guitar, now officially named Shadow by Melissa, had sparked a memory. He was suddenly back in the old school, bound and cold and Amber was crouched over his guitar sobbing, begging Jay-Den, who towered over her, to let her keep it.
‘You can’t destroy her. He will be so mad,’ Amber had begged.
Jay-Den had looked down at her irritated. ‘Fine,’ he’d agreed, and shaken his head in disgust, then dropped a bag of food and water beside her. ‘That should keep you going for a few days.’ Amber had grabbed it, searching inside for a bottle of water which she took to Luke. She’d forced the top of the bottle into his mouth, begging him to drink. Jay-Den had run at her yelling in panic, a look of fury in his eyes. He’d grabbed her violently up from Luke’s side. ‘He’s awake. I’m not supposed to be here. He can’t see me!’ Jay-Den had yelled in her face while forcing the GHB drug into her hand to knock Luke out. They’d argued about it, Amber seemingly unwilling to do what he wanted. ‘Do as you’re told, little girl,’ Jay-Den had warned her.
‘No. Let him be awake for a while. Please. It’s lonely here on my own,’ she had begged. The slap was vicious and she’d fallen to the floor. Luke had flinched. It was Amber, but it was still a man hitting a women. It still wasn’t right. He’d heard her whimper, before composing herself. She’d stood, shaken herself off and slapped him back; her dominant side had taken over.
‘I will let that one go, but don’t push it,’ Amber had snapped back. Then she’d returned to Luke and forced the liquid down his throat.
Then his mind went blank again. It was like a door had opened, and after that the memories had come flooding back, several a day, until he could begin to piece them all together like a jigsaw puzzle. The main hole in his memory had been the night he vanished. Just how had he been taken from the busy venue in London’s Leicester Square and deposited in his old school in Portsmouth? The memory had been triggered by Melissa switching on the radio one Sunday morning, and “Burn” by Elle Goulding was playing. He had dropped his coffee, and stood mute, eyes vacant as the memory played out before him. Melissa was frantic with worry, not really understanding what was wrong, and her cries seeming to go unheard by him. Fragmented memories that didn’t make much sense. His mind went blank again, but an hour later more memories came through like a film on rewind and then slowed down to replay. He’d calmed his breathing and focused. It held the most important part: his abduction.