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Hate It Here

Guest jessica_2005

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Thanks to Adelle and Taniya_k for helping read and give me comments about the chapter.

Love Jess


Title: Hate It Here (Alternative Universe)

Type of story: Long

Main Characters: Aden, Belle, Larry, Irene, Annie, Geoff

Genre: Romantic Dramedy

BTTB Rating: A (V)

Spoilers: No

Summary: Belle Taylor is kidnapped by Larry Jeffries, Aden Jeffries works for Larry Jeffries who is his Father. How will Belle escape? Who Will help her? What does Larry want? What lengths will Irene Roberts go to save her Daughter?

Thursday 23rd October 2003

"...and finally, the mother of missing local businesswoman, Belle Taylor, has today publicly declared she believes rival businessman, Larry Jeffries, owner of The Big Ben, is involved in her disappearance.. Miss Taylor, who was 21 yesterday, was forcibly removed from the premises of her nightclub, Twister as she locked up on Tuesday night. Mr. Jeffries was voluntarily questioned yesterday and so far, police are satisfied with his non-involvement. However, Mrs Roberts and her two other children, Annie and Geoff Campbell have stressed that Larry Jeffries was never a business rival, and his reputation as a violent, scheming and vengeful man is extremely well publicised in "underground circles."

Irene Roberts herself vanished from the lives of her family for over three years, presumed missing after Mr Jeffries himself, says Mrs, Roberts ordered his execution. He took exile in Spain and only returned to his hometown when the falsified news of Mr. Jeffries's own demise reached him. Says Mrs Roberts, in a statement issued this morning; "My Belle has been taken for revenge. There is no doubt in my mind that Larry Jeffries and his associates are... displeased at my reappearance in the world of the living. The fact I had to hide for so many years means I know there's no way to reason with these men. So they have stolen away the most precious person in all my world, just to hurt me and my family. I will give them anything they want. I just beg, please... that they do not harm my daughter. I just want my daughter home. Stay strong, Belle. We love you"."

Belle forced her eyes shut, blinking back tears as the colours died away from the TV screen. But even then, she couldn't miss the way the robust man lurking menancingly in the corner, was smirking, proud to see the way she weakened. She bristled immediately, holding on to her Mother's words. Stay strong. If she didn't, she knew she was as good as dead. Not that any such threats had come. In fact, there'd been nothing to suggest she was a hostage and not a hotel guest, apart from the fact she had a very moralless someone twice her height and twice her weight stationed outside her door if she dared to head towards it. So she hadn't. No, Belle had stayed curled up against the large bed she had been shoved roughly against two nights ago. She'd long since abandoned looking out the window, the colour of the thunderous sky making her feel even more out of will. And besides, it had taken precisely thirty seconds of visual assessment to realise she had absolutely no idea where she was. She wouldn't have even known she was still in her home country, had she not been forced to watch all the local news announcements that concerned her.

"Enjoy that little piece did you, Belle? Very moving I thought."

Instinctively, Belle scowled. He made her flesh crawl more and more. She'd always been suspicious of him, hated him even, especially from the moment she believed her Mother was gone from her forever. And now, she was terrified it was to be the other way round at the self same hands. And she couldn't let him see it or she knew he'd delight in making her feel every second of physical pain. But then of course, it was wasn't really her that he wanted to hurt.

"What's it gonna take Larry?" she demanded in a low hiss.

Larry allowed the folds of his flabby neck to smooth out as he tilted his head back, laughing high and cold. "Always good to be kept in the loop, Belle, I like it."

"Well, come on then!"

He pursed his lips warningly as he levelled his gaze, causing Belle to shiver in repulsion as his pale yet sharp blue eyes burnt into her own, eager to seek out her fear, to feed from it. But at that moment, he was too impressed by her demanding tone. He didn't like it, and intended to let her know it, but still he was impressed. Belle had guts her piteous mother had never displayed.

"Careful now-" Larry advised in that deceptively soothing tone. "-I don't think I like what you're getting at. What do you think I'm gonna do Belle? Slice off each of your fingers and send them home to Mummy?"

Belle recoiled, backed up so hard against the wall as she curled up on the bed that the ridges of her spine were throbbing painfully. But she ignored it, just as she hoped she might learn to ignore everything that was presently happening around her. But Larry refused to remain just a presence and moved steadily over to sink down upon the mattress. His hand snaked over to claim one of Belle's own, quaking all the more violently as he fought to uncurl each rigid fingertip, stroking down them to separate each finger.

"French manicure eh? Classy. I like that too. Oh dear, I hope this little... holiday... won't inconvenience your appointment shedule? Nothing more unattractive than a woman with peeling cuticles..."

"Don't touch me!" Belle spat, wrenching herself away. "What do you want for God's sake?"

Another smirk mocked her as it sprang up in the corner of Larry's rough lips, that brush of great hair overhanging the top one. "Oh I have everything I want right here, thank you very much..."

An icy sweep rocketed through Belle's tense body. She had understood the suggestion in Larry's tone she thought, and she felt sick with fear. Surely she was wrong? Larry Jeffries, he prided himself on his approach, even to the darkest of activities. Surely he was not so common a criminal as to kidnap a woman, any woman, Belle supposed frightfully, just to...

"...because I've certainly got Mummy's attention haven't I?" "Its a shame your Daddy ain't alive to see this"

Belle hated that she could not hold back her terrified tears, hated even more how they burnt at her skin as they slid slowly down her face. Larry seemed to draw some perverse pleasure out of watching the journey of each miserable droplet.

Her throat feeling immediately raw, Belle murmured; "What are you going to do to me?"

"Do?" Larry echoed, his broad back straightening in a jolt. He sounded pretty affronted, and Belle was made evn more queasy, especially as flecks of spit hit her face. "What sort of man do you think I am?"

Belle spat out a bitter laugh in reply. "You've kidnapped me, Larry. You left my Dad for dead at the bottom of a canal. I don't think you're a man at all."

"Well, well-" he answered quietly, sucking in an apprehensive breath. "-we're not all that grateful, are we Belle?" Belle opened her mouth to vehemently protest, but Larry lifted a chubby finger to silence her. "We could have done this the usual way you know. Grubby warehouse in another country, you tied to a pillar, weeks of grime in your hair, sitting in your own filth. But I thought no, a lady deserves more, especially on her birthday."

"This is more?" Belle shrieked angrily. "I'm dragged from my home, from my family, with no reason, no explanation. I'm a prisoner."

"Oh yes." Larry nodded sombrely, lacing his hands together. "We mustn't forget that. Larry, soft pillows... oh it's tragic."

"You have no idea..."

"No." he agreed again, sighing breathily as he pulled himself up. "I admit, I don't. No, no... that will have a few days I'm afraid. Got to make that mother of yours sweat a little bit. But don't worry, Belle, my boys will look after you."

"I know what "looking after" means to your sort." she hissed accusingly.

Eyes wide, Larry again was impressed. "My sort?" he echoed. "Now, now, Belle! I'm not about to kill you and I resent the suggestion. Deeply. Killing's so... unnecessary. Let's keep it that way shall we?"

His piercing eyes flashed and Belle read danger, biting into her lip to keep herself quiet as she cast her eyes down to the duvet. Because she knew that Larry Jeffries deemed nothing unnecessary in reality.

"Do you want my mum? Is that was this is? Cos you know... she'd be here like a shot, he'd let you do whatever you wanted..."

Larry listened steadily. "Have you ever played Trivial Pursuit?" he asked in a humoured whisper as soon as Belle stopped speaking. She jolted at his odd reply.


"Can't stand the flaming thing myself." Larry shrugged with a sneer. "It's all too easy. And I'm sure you'll agree Belle, it's no fun winning if the game weren't a challenge. The last thing I want is your mum making it easy on me. I'd be disappointed if she dared. I intend to enjoy this. Good night."

Without giving Belle the chance to say a word, Larry swept from the room, the door seemingly opening on his approach and leaving the equally well dressed if not much slender neanderthal stationed on the other side of the door as Larry's own personal guardsmen, to hold it open for his Boss' departure. A wordless understanding seemed to happen between the two of them that Belle could not decipher as Larry went by and his charge stepped inside the room, stood tall against the wall and leaving his Boss to snap the door decidedly shut.

Listening to Larry's hefty footsteps die away along the landing for a few seconds, Belle threw herself back against the bed, screaming in frustration as fresh tears drenched the pillow her angry fists pounded at.

"What the f**k are you looking at?" she roared at her guardian as she rolled helplessly over onto her side. He flinched at her savageness and she sniffled a little less as she sat up again. "Jamie... that's your name isn't it?"

He flinched again, his composure entirely shattered as he turned his head to look quizzically at her.

Taking that as nothing more than confirmation, Belle scooted to the edge of the bed, swinging her bare feet back and forth. "You look how I feel. Assuming that you feel too of course. Can't be too sure given your line of work."

Jamie looked hesitantly away and remained silent.

"Wow." Belle observed, hunching her shoulders as she continued to look at him. "This could get boring quickly. I mean, how long am I gonna be here, Jamie? Oh come on, speak will you? Or are you struggling with the number of syllables?"

At that question, Jamie's attention was begrudgingly refocussed. "You take the ****."

"Yeah, well, you take hostages so..." And she shrugged, dismissing him. But he was quickly defensive.

"I didn't... I wouldn't..." But he seemed to realise instantly he had said too much and scowled again, biting hard into his lip as he returned to silence. But Belle had heard everything she needed to.

"You're new..." she said gently. "Not quite made of stone yet eh? You never broken someone's kneecaps then Jamie? Fired a gun? Swallowed a johnny full of crack? Ah... I always thought Larry got them young. Well never mind, got a lot to teach you, he has. Really must be something in the taste of blood for Larry."

Belle was sure she saw Jamie's lip quiver, and he was pretty certain of it too, so much so that the only colour left in it was from blood. Sighing heavily, he abandoned his rigid stance and sank down on the bed beside Belle. Unlike with Larry, she made no effort to escape his proximity. She was too taken by him. He was evidently so young, and yet aged so much by his haggard face. Where anger would have burnt once in his eyes, strong enough to make Larry enthuse so about his prospects, tiredness and misunderstanding reigned. Just like Belle, he looked as though he was somewhere he definitely didn't want to be.

"Aren't you scared?"

"Why?" Belle returned softly. "Are you supposed to make me that way? Cos if you are, then we might as well skip the preamble."

But Jamie's eyes shimmered sincerely as he shook his head. "If I knew what he was gonna do, I'd tell ya. But I don't, I really don't. You're a character you though, aren't ya? Think he likes that you ain't a pushover."

"Am I supposed to be flattered?"

"No." Jamie blustered guiltily, looking down. "I'm just saying... I don't think he will hurt ya."

Relief momentarily flooded through Belle. She believed him. Maybe cos there was little else to believe in right now and besides Larry's, Jamie's had been the only constant face in her life since the night she had been bundled in one painful blur from the club. All she could remember were gruff voices, screams that had probably been her own as she had tried to fight them off, as the walls began to spin. She'd thought they were just after the takings until... well until she had been forced into the back of a car, made to walk by having one of them kick repeatedly at the backs of her legs, a gun pressed into the small of her back, and a heavily gloved hand clamped to her mouth to put pay to any ideas she might have had about screaming.

She might have tried it if she hadn't been so terrified, barely breathing, her chest so tight as a nervous sweat broke out upon her feverish skin that she could barely breathe. She'd been forced to lie down on the backseat, the gun still pressed threateningly into her shuddering body. She could still feel the cool metal as if it had never been pulled back from her form. She had never been so terrified in all her life, the only mercy in that fact being that she was indeed too terrified to even think where all this madness had sprung from. These men had come for her undoubtedly - they hadn't even gone near the till which, since she'd had time to think about it, seemed pretty idiotic to Belle. Shouldn't they at least have tried to disguise the obviousness of her abduction?

But then of course, no. Larry wanted Irene's attention. And even Belle had to admit, this was one fantastically obvious way of getting it. But what could Larry want from Irene? The thrill of the chase, procuring the kill? Was Irene to be the victim in Belle's place? Oh she didn't know, was made too sick to think on it, especially as she looked upon Jamie.

She was right. He did look how she felt. Fragile. And Belle found, strangely, that there was another part of her able to hate Larry of Jamie's behalf. Because whatever happened to her, and the hundreds of others Larry would no doubt find himself in the future, he would also still be looking for the brawn, the help, the muscle, and honing in on weaknesses in men like Jamie and turning them into... killers? Was Jamie to become Belle's own any day soon? Even while considering the likelihood of it, Belle pitied the man sat beside her, even as fear squirmed in her stomach.

"Well, you best hope so eh? Cos my guess is, you'll be the lucky guy that gets to do it, and by the look of ya, you ain't ready just yet. I think I like that about you, Jamie. Yeah, I think I do."


Hope you liked it.

Love Jess


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I'm gonna leave a line between each of these sentences so you get the extra emphasis.

Firstly, WOW!!!

You're writing is INCREDIBLE!!!!

The imagery, descriptions, dialogue we're all absolutely fantastic!

The background history was made obvious AND interestingly put across!

and lastly, have you had writing experience because i don't think most books i have read have as good as writing in them as this??!??!?

I think you can guess that i was VERY impressed!

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Please update soon!!!

Thanks glad you like it.

Will try to post more asap.

I agree.

I have a theory - Is Jamie actually Aden?

Update ASAP.

I wouldnt want your theory to be correct. Which you will find out Soon.

Glad you liked it. And thanks for the comment.

I love the idea of the alternative universe! It rocks! Keep it up x

Thanks Zetti. Glad you liked the idea of AU. Thanks for the comment. I appreciate it.

I'm gonna leave a line between each of these sentences so you get the extra emphasis.

Firstly, WOW!!!

You're writing is INCREDIBLE!!!!

The imagery, descriptions, dialogue we're all absolutely fantastic!

The background history was made obvious AND interestingly put across!

and lastly, have you had writing experience because i don't think most books i have read have as good as writing in them as this??!??!?

I think you can guess that i was VERY impressed!

Wowww. I loved your comment. And i am really glad you like my fic.

Thank you sooo much. I appreciate it.

LOL. I havent really had writing experience. And wowww. Loved your comment at the end too, how most books didnt have writing in them as the first chapter. Thankkkksssss.

wow this is amazing can't wait to read more.

Thank youuuuu. Glad you liked it. WIll try to post moreee.

love it, update ASAP

Glad you love it. Will try to post moreee soon.


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Belle and Aden haven't met before.

But Aden does know about Belle and about her family.

And Irene is Belle, Annie and Geoffs real mother.

Daniel Roberts was Irenes Husband and Belle/Annie/Geoff's father.

I hope it isn't confusing if it is tell me.

Thanks to everyone who has commented. I really apreciate it.

I hope you like this chapter. ^_^

Chapter 2

Thursday 23rd October 2003


Pushing down the lid of the box that just a few minutes ago housed a perfectly folded cerise silk nightdress and matching sash dressing gown, hand-delivered by Jamie at half past nine just in case she "was ready to get her head down", Belle settled back on the bed, calling gently; "I'm dressed now, Jamie..."

The door-handle tweaked as his pressure from the other side forces it down, sliding back into the room, with the smallest smile. He should smile more often, he looks better for it, Belle considered. Since they'd dared to begin talking, they hadn't really stopped. She was well aware he could be lying to her, and she'd told him she was prepared to accept the probablity of it too. That was when he gave her his saddest smile. But when she answered his questions or just spoke about herself, Belle chose to speak the truth. She didn't see a reason not to. If it was Jamie that was gonna have to come to her, hands shaking no doubt and kill her, then mightn't he just as well know the truth of the person whose life he would be stealing?

Jamie however, did not look murderous in the slightest. His features had softened a lot, were a lot less dark and tired, as if he was unburdened in some way. He'd chosen not to speak of the brutalities of his work, instead told Belle about himself. He was known as the Karate Kid, because he'd apparantly been the youngest person in the county to acquire a black belt. That settled Belle a bit, made Jamie look a lot less vulnerable. He could obviously handle himself well with that kind of credit to his name. So Belle wondered what could make him so afraid of Larry? And fear was all it could be. She refused to believe respect could feature in any way when Larry thought nothing of these men.

In Jamie's case, it was nothing like that. Apparantly, Larry had romanced Jamie's mother. The idea of anyone being taken in by Larry in such a way made Belle nauseous. But still, the level of their conversation definitely made her feel compassion for Jamie, and a lot less frightened and lonely in his company too. He listened intently as she confessed how worried she was for Irene, Annie & Geoff's state of mind at the moment. To know in herself that she was fine, being treated as well as this was not enough, not while she knew how frantic her family would be. She'd tried not to cry, but the tears had overcome her and Jamie, of course powerless to help, had mumbled something about needing to get back outside.

But there he was now, having obediently stepped outside to allow Belle the privacy to change when she was pretty sure any other watchman would have leered over her readily, and he came forward, his step as rushed as his speech.

"Jamie, slow down... what?"

"They can't know I've got it Belle, you understand? You have to be quick."

Hastily, he pulled a mobile phone from his deep pocket. Belle's mouth hung agape in wonderment as he pressed it into her shaking hands.

"Call your Mum. Let him know you're OK."

Grateful tears welled in Belle's eyes and she stretched up on her toes to wrap her arms tight around Jamie's neck.

"Thank you..." she whispered sincerely against his ear.

"Don't worry about that." he said dismissively as he pushed her gently back on to the balls of her feet. "Just... make sure you withhold the number alright or I am so much more than a dead man."

Realising how implicitly he meant those last few chilling words, Belle nodded anxiously, head already bowed to stab at the keys as he moved back and sank onto the bed, watching her pace as the call connected.

"Yep?" her Mother enquired, with the heaviest of sighs that told her she hadn't slept from the moment she was gone.

But oh, just to hear her voice, she tremored all the more, a lump swelling painfully in her throat as she whispered tenderly; "Mum, it's me..."

"Belle?" Irene barked desperately, alert now for nothing but the fear that he might lose her again as unexpectedly as she had come. "Who's there with you Belle, is... is Larry there? Oh... Belle!"

"It's alright!" she soothed. "I swear to you, I'm alright. Please don't worry about me. Tell Geoff and Annie not to worry. Go to sleep. All of you. It'll be alright. I love you."

Those last three words had robbed her of breath and she began to choke. She could hear Irene's calls for her response fizzing away in the handset but she simply could not placate her. Jamie leapt up and wrenched the phone from her hand, ending the call and helping her straighten out so that she might force some much needed air into her lungs. He went into the bathroom to get her some water as he advised her to get comfortable on the bed. He could still hear how she was struggling to breathe as he went back and handed her the glass. She took it gratefully into her shaking hands and tried to sip at it. Jamie felt the need to lean forward and support her. Guilt was kicking at him on the inside as he drew back, dropping the covers over Belle's upper body.

"It didn't help, did it?" he questioned mournfully.

But Belle wriggled round as she scooched her head into the pillow and smiled softly. "I think I'll sleep tonight."

"Good." Jamie smiled back and pushed himself up from the bed, leaving the half-drunk glass of water on the bedside table and then going across the room to the door, turning out the light. "Night." And he stepped back out into the corridor, supposing that Belle was asleep before the door clicked shut, leaving her in the complete darkness.

Friday 24th October 2003


When Belle had fallen asleep hardly mattered. How well she had slept (which was very well, thanks to the bizarre comfort the phone call home had given her) was now too inconsequential. Because the thrashing and painful thudding and angry yelling, no, they weren't confined to ara's sub-conscious. The darkness in which she found herself was not that or her mind, but of the room itself. It was all real. The thudding was making the wall reverberate and was always followed by a painful yell that made Belle wince. Her head still fuzzy from a little of that much needed sleep, she groped around on the bedside table to flick the switch of the lamp - but instead found her hand colliding forcefully with a glass that with a very rebellious splatter, decided to empty its contents over the side of the little table and onto the carpet.

Belle cursed beneath her breath, and as the yelling from the landing intensified, she pulled back the duvet and swung her legs to the floor, promptly placing her feet in the wet patch created by the water. She shivered as it seeped through the skin of her toes, but was up too quickly to really register it, flying blindly across the room, slamming into the light switch there and pulling open the door.


Jamie was indeed still out on the landing. But he was not keeping watch anymore. Oh no. For the pained yells were his, and rightfully so. He was being dragged across the landing by four of Larry's most sour and blood-thirsty henchmen, being beaten in any way and anywhere he could be struck as they went along. Fear beat immediately, making the whole of Belle's body tense. It was her senses that seemed to scream for her as she bolted forward.

"Jamie! Jamie! Oh my God, what are you- stop it! Leave him alone! JAMIE!"

She was determined to go after them, but a fifth bully Belle had not registered as the furious hot tears blurred her vision, stepped into her path, holding her back, almost sounding amused as he said; "Uh, no... I don't think so, darlin'!"

"Get the f**k off me!" Belle yelled, fighting against his restraint as still Jamie suffered, his torment almost gone from Belle's view. "They're killing him, can't you see they're-"

"Another drama queen, eh? Jesus, Larry don't half know how to pick them."

"A drama queen?" Belle spat viciously as she looked up into his face for the first time and found her palms were itching to smack that smug look right off his face. "Didn't you see what they were doing to him? They were... why were they...? He was supposed to be... looking after me!"

"Yeah." came the dry reply. "Definitely been looking after you, hasn't he, Belle?"

Belle flinched. "How do you know my name? Who the Hell are you?"

But the stranger seemed oddly amused by her venom and nodded towards the room she had flown from in such a panic. "Get back in there and I'll tell you. You don't and... oooh, it won't be pretty."

"Why?" she demanded. "I get a beating too, do I?"

His face darkened, the corners of his rough lips sinking dramatically. "Do you mind?" he snapped hotly back. "I do know where the bloody line lies!"

"Yeah? In Jamie's skull someplace?"

"Oh, I like you." he observed smoothly. "You're quick, that's good."

"Yeah? Well, you're a stupid animal. Go and wash the blood off your hands, you spineless ****."

"Oooh, got some flair too. This gets better and better this does."

"You know what? Men like you make me sick!"

"Oh stop it, you're gonna make me blush!"

Unable to retain her anger, Belle raised her palm to strike him across the face. But he caught her wrist a moment before contact and the corner of his mouth rose again into that intolerable smirk.

"Getting physical already? Well, well, aren't I the lucky one?"

"Take - your - hands - off - me!" Belle hissed demandingly.

"Well, that's not very polite is it Belle? Seems to me you couldn't wait to have yours all over me. Not that I'm gonna complain of course..."

Belle tore herself from his loosened grasp in disgust and turned away back into her room, bile rising in her throat and tears stinging readily in her eyes as she considered the agonising state poor Jamie must have been in by now. She crashed mindlessly through to the bathroom, scrabbling at a roll of toilet tissue to dab at her eyes. They stung too as they adjusted to the bright light she had forced into the room by pulling on the cord. It was then she froze. The mobile Jamie had allowed Belle to use to call home was sat abandoned next to the cold tap.

"Didn't wanna call home again did ya?"

Frightfully, Belle whirled around to meet the intrusion of the stranger, leant casually against the doorframe, watching her. It made Belle shiver slightly in repulsion. She felt too exposed at the moment.

"I don't remember asking you in here." she hissed in reply. But again, this was somehow comical.

"Yeah well, you're not calling the shots now that lovely little Jamie's been... displaced are ya, Belle?"

This time, her stomach did most definitely jolt she was so sickened by his words, by the sight of him, whoever he might have been - she hated him anyway because he appeared to be revelling so much in Jamie's agony.

"Is that why he's been... beaten to within an inch of his life? Because I made a phone call?"

"No." the stranger assured her with a simple shake of the head. A beat of silence followed and then Belle was at last offered explanation. "Because he let you make a phone call." He mocked a sad look as Belle recoiled in horror. "Our Jamie's been a very silly boy..."

Belle's mouth went dry. "Are they... Are they going to kill him?"

His burst of laughter was cold. "I don't know what you've been watching darlin'..."

Hatred twisted Belle's stomach. "You just don't care, do you? You couldn't give a **** whether he lives or dies!"

"There's worse ways to go, love."

Belle balked, disgusted by his flippancy. "Do you even know who you're talking to?"

"Oh yeah." the stranger grinned, apparantly proud to have such information to bestow. "Everyone knows who you are, Daniel Robert's daughter, right?"

"Yeah... so I was the one stood by that bastard canal watching my dad's corpse being dragged out the water. I've seen the worst, but it don't make what animals like you do to the likes of Jamie any better! You're evil... I hope you've made Larry proud." She offered a tight smile and made to shove past, but he stood in her way. Belle tilted her head up, looking defiantly into his cold eyes. "Or maybe you haven't huh? I mean, what did you do? Stood at the side, never actually getting your hands dirty!"

With a scoff, he rolled his eyes. "Make your bloody mind up. One minute you're screaming your head off cos poor little Jamie gets what's coming and the next... you're having a go cos I weren't the one that dished it!"

"Gets what's coming? Do you even hear yourself? It was a twenty second phone call!"

"There are rules round here, Belle. Jamie knows that."

"Or at least he will by the time he's had both his legs broken! Where do you get off on that? He's only fourteen, he's just a kid for God's sake."

The stranger's face darkened again as he muttered; "We all had to start somewhere, sometime, darlin'."

"Well your mother must be so ****in' proud!"

Belle flinched as the words left her mouth, sure she'd seen his knuckles flex angrily before he hastily rammed his fists deep into his pockets and turned wordlessly from the room, his eyes stormy and... frightening. Belle had said something wrong, most definitely, the door slamming furiously after the stranger's departure. And she was left alone in the middle of the lit room, shaking ever so slightly in her flimsy nightdress before she managed to pull herself together and decide to clamber into the bed as soon as she had turned the light out.

But the darkness seemed to terrify her more, taunting her as that one face refused to leave her mind, leave her to sleep. She could not get comfortable, finding that somehow, she was disgusted at herself, without quite knowing what she had done. But she knew, especially with what she had seen happen to poor Jamie that whatever it was had been too much. Fear caused her to hate the stranger more. She was adamant she didn't want to see him again. His eyes had been too cold, and his laughter too warm as he had mocked Jamie's agony. Belle held the scrunched duvet in her fist, feeling her tears soak through the material. For the first time, she was afraid. She hoped she'd never see the stranger again. She only wanted to see Jamie.

Please be OK, Jamie... Please be OK...

End of chapter 2........

So what do you lot think?

Was it good or bad?

Comments appreciated.

Teasers for Chapter 3:

"Jamie?" she called out croakily.

The doorhandle went down willingly. Belle's heart began to pound a little faster than she could bear.

She recoiled immediately in disgust. "Get out."

Belle gave him a tight smile as she nodded. "Well either you go or I do. Yeah, the bathroom window's looking more and more inviting..."

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