From Humble Beginnings (Joe Steel)

Free From Humble Beginnings (Joe Steel) by Ian Harwood

Book: From Humble Beginnings (Joe Steel) by Ian Harwood Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ian Harwood
Bernard came back a month or so later and he was almost back to normal. A little more controlled, sleeping easier, but he was different. He never told me what happened there, but I think it brought back memories of his childhood.” Left unspoken was the word Holocaust. “He’d disappear a few days a week; I didn’t know where he was going. It wasn’t home, because I asked my mother. Turned out, he was going back to the live-in centre to visit one of the patients there.”
    Wincing, I hazard a guess. “Rebecca?”
    “Got it in one.” She smirks. “I can see why Bernard promoted you.”
    “Thanks!”
    Her wry smile disappears. “She was in there, because her husband had died. Only, it turned out he wasn’t her husband, the man was a bigamist.”
    “Ouch.”
    “Yeah. You know Rebecca; she’s as weak as a kitten. She couldn’t handle it. Couldn’t get over her husband’s death and she had a breakdown. Bernard told me that she’d been in the centre for nearly a year by the time he went. For six months, he visited her and out of the blue, he married her. Took her out of there and installed her in his home. He’s a guardian, a protector more than anything else. He isn’t her husband. That’s for her stability. She’s safe and well cared for and while she’s still batty, because what happened really crossed her wires, she isn’t a wife.”
    “You’re his wife.” I’m rather proud of my astute assumption, because the way Cass is talking; I can hear the passion in her voice, the need to defend the man she cares for.
    Her features contort; her mouth twisting and her eyes narrowing. “In the ways that count, yes.”
    “Didn’t it piss you off, when he married Rebecca?”
    “No. She’s weak and needs support. I don’t. I’ve never wanted a formal arrangement with Bernard. We have an open relationship. But I don’t want to talk about that. That’s my private affair and not Bernard’s, which is the reason I’m telling you this.
    “Juliet thought her mother was an angel that Bernard was the devil, because he was never there, because he never gave her any attention. In a way, she’s right. But Sara was no angel. Had she lived, she’d have grown ever more destructive.”
    “It would be cruel to say that it was good timing, but it wasn’t exactly bad. Sara was a negative influence. Whatever she touched turned sour. Bo was too old not to realize what her mother was like and unfortunately, she was tainted a tad.”
    “That’s hardly fair. She’s an artist, not the Antichrist.”
    Cass snorts. “I don’t mean that. When she was Juliet’s age, she went through a similar destructive phase. Granted, that time was blended with her confusion over her sexuality, but Bernard shipped her off to rehab in Arizona, before the situation could worsen. He didn’t want her to turn into her mother. He’s old school; doesn’t approve of her being homosexual, but I think he prefers that to the alternative. Her going off the rail just like Sara did.
    “Because Bo was affected by her mother, Bernard has gone out of his way to protect Juliet. I’ve told him for years that he was making it harder for himself, but the situation came to a head at the party and now, he’s dealing with it.”
    “No. That’s bullshit.  Now he wants me to deal with it. Juliet isn’t some business deal. Some transaction that can be passed off to one of his minions. He should tell her this. Not me.”
    “He won’t. He’s still trying to protect her even though she’s obviously bitter at what she believed happened.” Cass leans forward, moving out of her earlier position of legs neatly crossed and back relaxed into the chair. “You’ll have to tell her; especially if you want to get anywhere with her. Only God knows what skewiffed tak e she has on relationships! Her father brings in another wife months after her mother dies and all the while, he’s having an affair with his PA? I know how bad it looks, Joe. I know why she hates

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