Castle Roland

Never Give Up

by Maxieplus


Chapter 20

Published: 12 Feb 15

Never Give Up

by Maxieplus

I went into work with Dan the next day and there wasn't much on so I spoke to my boss, he didn't want to agree but finally caved in. He said I could come back anytime; he would find a job for me so I worked the next two weeks and then left my job. Annie and I had lunch and I told her I would be at the games and the bar at least two nights a week so we can catch up anytime. I wanted to concentrate on my future with Dan and my designing.

I was making a good income from my investments and Armani had bought all twenty eight designs from me. They also wanted to use the house for the new catalogue’s photo shoot of which I shared the substantial fee with Dan and the boys. I set up my office and work room in the big old garage, I had it re-lined and cut into two work spaces, one for me and one for Jamie. I had a small kitchen installed, all this was done to Jamie's specifications and it looked fantastic. I also found all my grandfather's architectural things in the container and installed them in Jamie's area; his big drawing board was magnificent.

Jamie couldn't believe it; he said it would have cost a fortune. He looked through granddad's portfolio and said,

"You do know your granddad designed many of Brisbane's finest buildings don't you Squirt?"

I didn't know but went through the folio with him; I couldn't believe he did all that.

I said, "I had better do some more investigation on him."

Well the garage looked great, we had sky lights installed everything was good and I was doing at least one top design a day. Armani didn't buy all my designs but they did buy most.

Again the subject of my own label came up, I did think deeply about the Cody Mitchell collection, I put aside all the designs Armani didn't take and started on a women’s collection, I improved the rejects and paired them up with dresses and suits to get a good portfolio going. When I showed April she went ape shit, "I want that, that and that one." she laughed.

I called into Mr Zimmerman's workroom and spoke to him at length. We did a deal so I was on the way. I would be designing outfits for private clients and he would make them up, he was more than happy to measure and fit my clients. So I set to design my own collection. Each design was inserted into a book that customers would look through, my prices weren't cheap but I knew the quality and workmanship were one hundred percent perfect.

I would go to training with Dan and watch, then to the bar and waited for him to come up. We would have a beer and then go home to eat; usually Luke would have it ready for us when we got there. We hardly ever stayed in Dan's apartment so he just kept it empty. It was a good investment property so he didn't want to sell it. We did go there after home games and just vacuumed and dusted. I noticed one Sunday someone was in Stewart's parent’s apartment but didn't dwell on it as they had probably let it out.

The Armani summer collection was hitting the catwalks of Europe, we all stayed up late to watch it on Fox. It was a brilliant collection where they had shown their main bread and butter stuff, the announcer said something in French, but when he repeated it in English I just went numb. He said,

"And now Armani's new summer collection, wholly designed by a new brilliant Australian designer ladies and gentlemen, the Cody Mitchell Armani collection."

The music cranked up and all my designs came alive on the catwalk, it was so awesome to see them, the boys just went ape shit, the phone started to ring. No one answered it we were all in shock. Dan's suit was the finale highlight; they had described them to a tee and then some. There were thirty messages on the machine by the time it was over. Jamie found some glasses and champagne.

I set to phoning people back, mum, Dan's mum and dad, April and Jaques. I made the calls brief and told everyone I would call back. I just wanted to celebrate the moment with my family, through tears I wept out a heart felt thank you to the three of them. Without them in my life I would be nothing, I gave Jamie a special hug then Luke and I kissed Dan forever. He had tears of joy in his eyes. I played with my little heart, looked at Luke, "never give up Cody", he mouthed. Dan and I decided to sit on the porch and chill to try and calm down. My heart, still in my hand I sent Luke a message, "Just thank you Luke." He replied, "Your welcome Codes."

We made a special kind of love that night, Dan made it about me, he did everything to make me feel good he even said,

"I want you to fuck me Codes, I need you in me."

We tried but I blew when I got near his tight hole, I guess we can do it another time. I blew him and we just nestled in. Me screwing him would be awesome but I really think he's not quite ready to go there. He turns me on that much I greased up but came just looking at his tight buns.


"Yes Dan?"

"Do you really want to screw me?"

"Yes Dan it's my dream."

"Codes, maybe we can try again tomorrow."

"Okay we will see what happens Dan I can't hurt you like that but if you want I will try."

"Okay Codes I really would like to try it."

While we were having this conversation I was probing his bum with my finger, we had greased it and I had loosened it up but he's letting me only play with it for now.

"Okay tomorrow."

"Codes what does this Armani parade do for you?"

"Dan it's awesome they don't usually do that, they must have been impressed with the collection not to save it for the Australian parades. It means hopefully I will be able to start my private design business. Dan I've had an idea running around in my head for some time now, I want to design for the individual, it won't be cheap but I already have a portfolio made up with about two hundred designs in it."

"How are you going to run this business Codes?"

"Well I thought I would meet the client here, have tea and get to know them then design to what I think they want. They pay me a fee for the design then take it to the workroom and get it made up. They then own that one off design, they can re-sell it on EBay or to a friend", I kissed his neck.

"The portfolio designs are cheaper, like off the rack designs they don't own, so I can resell them."

I had two fingers in and Dan was moaning. I was hard as a rock and as he was lying on his side I was spooning him, I slipped the third finger in, he was totally relaxed. He just sighed and was making little noises. I turned him on his back he gripped my waist with his powerful legs and slipped my knob in, he gasped, I sat there for a minute or two and slowly filled his hole with my cock.

I said "Dan are you okay?"

He just moaned, "Yes Codes awesome feeling."

I started to move in and out, he was so tight and hot inside. I didn't think I would hold on as long as I did.

"Codes, Codes,"

"Yes Dan?"

"I just came without touching my dick."

"I know Dan, I felt it and now I'm going to fill you up."

I had a mind blowing orgasm and fell into Dan's arms.

We stayed there till my cock flopped out.

I said, "You okay Dan?"

He said, "More than okay Codes but fuck that hurt!"

I sat up and said, "Dan why didn't you tell me?"

"Squirt, I've always wanted you in me, I can't get enough of you so I wanted it. I know the more I do it, it will get easier but for now it fucking hurts."

"But I'm glad we did it, thank you Codes."

I said, "Thank you Dan you were fucking awesome."

"You think so Codes?"

"Oh yes, for sure Dan."

"Okay we can do it again sometime, just as long as your happy Codes."

"Fuck Dan I couldn't be more happy."

We cleaned up and settled in for a beautiful nights sleep I whisper kissed Dan for ages just whispering,

"Thank you, thank you, I love you so much."

The phone didn't let up the next day, I spent it drinking coffee and by the end I just had to switch it to answer machine again. When I rang Jaques back he asked if I liked my surprise? I said I was awe struck; they didn't have to do it. He said, "They love your new fresh look, they thought they would give you a leg up. Well I am going to shoot off an email to them thanking them humbly for the help.

He said the Australian collection will all be my designs and asked if he could come and look at them and pick thirty, I invited him to the house Thursday. He also told me the photos he had taken will be used and my friends will have to get an agent because they will be used in the spectacular. That will be next month and he will bring complimentary tickets with him.

That Thursday was the turning point, Jaques brought six tickets and said I would be asked to open the parade; we could rehearse it a few days before. He was more than happy with the designs; he also loved my business idea.He took a pack of my contact cards then said he hoped I had the stamina to cope with what's ahead of me.

There was the fashion awards night coming up at the club next week so this time I was going as a guest. They were for the modelling industry and both Dan and Jamie were nominated "most popular" and "best new talent", very stuffy night but it gave me a forum for my designs. We got Mr and Mrs L down for the night with Mike. Mrs L said she had to shop for a new dress but I said I had it sorted.

The night arrived and so did April and Larry. I gave April, Larry, Mike and Dan's mum and dad a box each. When Larry was dressed he looked absolutely gorgeous and April nearly wet herself, his suit was very plain and simple but I had tweaked the accessories to match April's new evening gown which was an absolute smasher. Dan's dad’s was a sober suit, it was full of love and also complimented MrsL's evening gown, she came out crying.

I had Rory and Adam come by to do their hair, Dan's mum’s hair had grown back and looked wonderful again.

"Squirt you beautiful boy, this is the best dress I've ever owned."

I said to MrsL, "Your second best dress mum." She sparkled and flowed into the room looking a million, my mum gasped.

She whispered, "I want that in green Codes."

"Already done mum."

She smiled while the boys took heaps of pics of her, she looked divine. Mike stole the show, his suit was awesome and I had spent a lot of time on it, in the inside pocket was the write up I did for him. He took his time reading it, he kept looking at me between pages then he kissed my cheek and whispered, "thank you Codes." He looked so handsome, he kept wiggling his ass at Jamie; Luke was having kittens.

At the ball he even asked James for a dance and I thought at that minute he was going to get a very well deserved beating. We had thousands of photos taken and when asked who dressed them, they all said Armani's new Cody Mitchell collection.

Home early we had coffee on the verandah and congratulations were handed out to my boys. Mum had gone straight home as she had an early flight and Mr and MrsL went to bed. Mike sat next to James. I was surprised when Jamie said something in Mike's ear and Mike settled down a bit, he had actually started to become human.

Dan and Jamie won their gongs, I knew they would, they looked perfect when their folio shots came up. The next day the papers were full of our photos and by the end of the week I had my first seven orders. The monthly magazines had features on us. Mum L was featured in one of them; they even did a write up on her and her sons. I did ask Jamie what did he say to Mike to get him off his back, he laughed and said,

"I asked him to meet me down the beach later tonight, we can dance and have some fun, but not to tell Luke, it would be their secret, he freaked", Jamie said giggling.

I burst out laughing. He said he had told Luke and if Mike starts again he will help me embarrass him.

My first client turned up, I made coffee and talked her through what I offered. She looked through my books and said she was having a thirtieth wedding anniversary, she wanted something very special for the night as her husband and two children were taking her to a high class restaurant. I gave her some tips, she gave me more information. I sat and designed an outfit for her; I then sketched her hair in a different style as well as the shoes and handbag I suggested as accompaniments. She was a lovely woman, she cried when she saw the dress, I explained at length the story on the dress, she was gobsmacked.

"How the heck did you know all that about me Cody?"

"Well Mrs Hillier, you told me. I could see when you arrived you were a smart tidy person by the way you sat and held your cup, pure elegance emanated from you. The love in your voice when you spoke of your children and husband was as if you had put your dreams on hold for them.

The midnight blue dress was full length, V necked, a smattering of sequins fell like a waterfall from the hips and pooled at the hem, these are your tears of joy. The neckline says, I may be married but I'm also independent, the sleeves lightly cover your arms where you have damaged your skin working in your beautiful garden, the elegant split is to show off your perfectly shaped legs and tiny feet, the drape says my life is flowing and I am content. There is so much more in this design, I will write it all down for you."

She decided there and then she wanted this design. I said, "Well you can either go to my workroom or I can measure you up now." She decided the workroom suited her best. She left a deposit and was a very happy woman when she left. It took a bit out of me but I quickly recovered.

By the end of the day I had everything set to paper, fifteen drawings all up. I then had it couriered to her house along with Mr Zimmerman's number and address. She did return with photos of the night, she had her hair cut and looked beautiful with her boys who had all worn tuxedos. She called again a week after and ordered three more of my book designs, the tailor already had her measurements on file so she didn't have to worry about going there, just a final fitting. She had told all her friends to get in early as I was busy, and I was.

Life couldn't be better for me, I did screw Dan again but he wasn't very keen so I decided to not put any pressure on him, he was doing it for me so I was more than happy to go back to where we were, but I'll never forget that feeling of Dan on my cock.

I had to put a stop to the number of clients I saw a week, I was booked out five weeks ahead so I dropped them to six a week, no weekend work.

There's a certain amount of psychology and guesswork in my job.

A client arrived one morning looking stressed and shaken. We sat as I designed for her and as we talked she played with her wedding ring. She told me it was a special anniversary for her and she was taking herself and her daughter out for the night.

As we talked I got a really sad feeling. I looked at what I had designed, it was beautiful and I added a bag and a new hairstyle. For some reason I added an orchid corsage to match the pale lilac frock. I showed her my initial design and she broke down and cried, she had never owned a frock like it.

I said to her, "When did your husband pass away?"

She was stunned; I poured more tea and waited till she gathered herself.

She said, "How do you know that Cody?"

I said, "Mrs Addams, when you arrived you looked like you were running just one step ahead of falling in a heap, you are celebrating I think, your wedding anniversary, you constantly play with your wedding band.

I could see the grief in your eyes, your bitten fingernails and heard the despair in your voice."

She replied, "Three weeks ago, a sudden heart attack."

She went on about her love for him and the life they had shared, I just sat and let her sob and get it all out.

I then explained what I had designed for her also had a story to it. The colour I felt was her husband's favourite, the neckline was about the brave front she put on for her daughter and friends, the drape from the shoulder around her back to the opposite waistline was her husband's arm still around her. The flared hemline was the full and loving life they had together.

The seed beads on the drape were there to remind her how many times he said I love you. The orchid, I am guessing but I think it was his favourite flower."

"There is more Mrs Addams but I will have to write it down for you. What this dress says is I am still with you, wrapping my arms around you, I love you, grow and be happy. Then I added, "Never give up."

We went out and sat on the porch and talked for another two hours, we talked about her husband, my father, her daughter. I think when she left I saw a smile as she waved goodbye. The night of the anniversary I sent her a beautiful orchid I had made, a small pin covered in seed beads to hold it.

The next week a beautiful painting arrived of an orchid, it didn't have a return address but I knew who it was from by the signature, Duncan Addams. I had seen that name before, I googled it and he had won two Archibald prizes, his works were highly collectable. I rang her to thank her and she said it was the last piece he had painted, she said if I looked closely it was unfinished. She told me her night was wonderful; she could feel his arm around her. She thanked me over and over for giving her life back to her.

The footy season was well on its way and my summer collection was on the Saturday night. My team had a loss although it didn't make much difference as they were still top of the ladder but it did make Dan and Jamie feel a bit down. We decided to all dress at the apartment, just Dan, Luke, Jamie, April and Larry. Dan, Jamie and Luke would model their suits; I had prepared a small speech. As we left in the limousine I looked out and saw Stewart looking at us through the glass doors of his parent’s apartment, my heart sunk. We all arrived together and the press was all over us, I had designed new suits for us to wear and a gown for April.

Jaques and his friend Alan were at our table. I made my speech and the parade started, each item had a story. The boys played the catwalk like they were cruising the room, I was so proud of Luke, he lapped it up. It ended with a short film of the Milan catwalk on the screen which flashed intermittently "Never give up Cody Mitchell", It flashed in between catwalk shots. How they knew I don't know but they were right, I would never give up.

The picture of Stewart was in my head and my dark clouds were back. Dan noticed I wasn't my usual self. I just shrugged it off and said, "I'll tell you later." The after party was full of stars and socialites and I was asked for my card many times. Stewart, what the hell was he doing back there? I had to get out, get some fresh air; I was shaking and dreaded telling Dan, it would bring it all back again. Luke found me and I wept in his arms, I couldn't help it, I said I couldn't go through it again and I couldn't tell Dan because his nightmares would return. I told Luke I regretted having done what I did to Dan, I should have faced it and stood up to this man.

He held me and said, "Codes he's not your neighbour anymore, he can't hurt you and he's a nothing. If you want Jamie and I will go there and talk to him and try and find out why he's there." I cut him off,

"No Luke I don't trust him, he will hurt you and Jamie somehow, I know he will."

I said I wanted to go home so we gathered up the others and headed for the apartment. I could feel hateful eyes on me as I walked up the driveway to the lift, Luke held me. Dan made coffee and said,

"Now will someone tell me what's going on? Codes you first."

I just said I wasn't feeling so well, there were too many people there and I was overwhelmed.

Dan said, "I don't believe you Cody but I will let you get away with it tonight, but in the morning we talk."

"Luke anything to add?"

He said, "No Dan."

We went to bed and snuggled up. My dreams started again, Dan was pushed to the driveway, a beautiful boy was thrown through the window and Luke was being raped by a bad stench.

"Cody, Squirt, wake up."

It was Dan. "Uh?" I said.

"You were having a bad dream, are you okay?"

"Yes Dan, go back to sleep."

I waited til I heard his light snoring and went to the balcony, I wept for us all, my bad thoughts were going round and round in my head.

Luke came out with coffee; I was still curled up on the settee. He gave me a cup and sat with me, his arm was around my shoulder. James arrived a few moments later coffee in hand, he had a dark look in his eyes, he just said,

"I think we will leave here early and get you and Dan home. Don't worry about it Codes, nothing's going to happen."

I said, "Anything could happen, I am more worried about Dan, he took all the guilt onto himself it's not fair he felt that way for such a long time, now my nightmares are back and I don't know how to tell him."

"You just did Codes." He was standing in the doorway.

He just said, "Luke, Jamie finish your coffee and go shower we are all going home."

We showered together, Dan gathered me in his arms and said,

"I know Codes, I know."

He started to whisper kiss me all over my face. I broke down and wept in his strong arms.

He added, "I will fix it Codes, he won't hurt us again."

I snapped my head up and said, "You know he's back?"

"Yes Codes, I was praying you wouldn't notice but I knew last night, when I checked the letterbox yesterday there was a note from him. It was a sort of love note, come apology letter. I don't want you to read it Codes. I will email his dad and find out why he's here, then we will go from there. I am certain now I have to sell."

I held him to me and said, "Dan, I'm sorry this is all my fault please don't go back to where you were I couldn't live with that again."

He said, "No way Codes, I'm clear headed and focused on us, just us."

It was shortly after that the hate letters arrived. They were addressed to me and weren't very nice. I didn't show anyone just put them away. I knew who sent them but couldn't prove it, there were only two of them but they were full of death threats for me and my family.

Dan heard back from Stewart's dad, he said Stewart was going back to uni and had got his act together at last, as far as he knows but he would be down on the weekend and would talk to him. Dan also put his apartment on the market. John and Matt decided they liked theirs too much so they weren't interested. I went about my work as normal but the clouds didn't go away.

A week later I got a very upset Jamie on the phone.

"Luke's had a car accident."

I nearly fainted as the blood left my body and made me feel frozen.

"What happened, where is he, is he okay?"

Jamie said, "Someone called me from the hospital, they had said to get his family there as soon as possible, it didn't look good and he was on his way there."

I said, "I will see you in twenty minutes."

I rang Dan and said, "Luke's been in a car accident, you are needed, it doesn't sound good. I will meet you at the hospital."

I drove like a maniac to get there, I found Jamie in the emergency department, Jamie was frantic because they wouldn't tell him anything, he wasn't family. Dan arrived ten minutes later and we told him what had happened. He was very angry. I tried to calm him down; it was common practice not to give out information to non-family members. He settled.

Then he inquired at the desk and they let him in.

He said, "Give me five minutes."

Jamie and I sat there stunned, he began to weep. I put my arm around him and said,

"How did you know he was here?"

He said a doctor had rung him and said there had been a bad accident and Luke was involved. The doctor had got his phone number from Luke's wallet.

Dan finally came out looking relieved. He said Luke was banged up; he had a fractured wrist and a bump on the head, some bruising. He was being settled now, they will know more soon. He also said he had put us both on the visitors list. Just then Detective Gow walked in, he saw me and came to say hello.

He said, "I hope everything’s okay with you?"

I said, "Dan's brother was involved in a car accident earlier, we are just waiting to see him."

"Oh, his name’s not Luke Lawrence is it?"

I said, "Yes Robert, how do you know his name?"

He said he was here to interview him. He had gone through a safety barrier on the freeway and when they had his car back at the police hold, the mechanics discovered a cut break line.

I gasped in horror. I sobbed loudly.

"What have I done, oh fuck Dan what have I done?"

I collapsed on the floor, my body went stiff and I was convulsing. A doctor rushed over with a nurse, they held me and I vomited but didn't shit myself. I blacked out, I could hear Dan's sobs and cries.

"What's happening? Cody, Cody."

When I came to I was in a ward, I felt dizzy but otherwise okay. Dan was there I said, "Luke?"

"It's okay Codes, he's okay, he will be here for a few days then we can get him home, how do you feel?"

"Fuck Dan like shit, like my whole world is about to collapse. Dan I need to speak to Detective Gow it's urgent."

"Why Codes? He's interviewed Lukey, he confirmed his brakes didn't work and he swerved to avoid hitting anyone."

"Dan please."

I was getting agitated.

"I need to see him, if not now as soon as possible."

He lifted his eyebrow, I said,

"Dan I'm so sorry I caused this to happen to Luke. It's my fault he's here I nearly killed him. Dan my saviour, I nearly killed him."

I cried, the tears flowing down my cheeks. Dan rang for the nurse and she gave me a sedative. I became more agitated, I jumped out of bed and started to dress, all the time Dan was saying,

"What have you done? None of this is your fault, none of it Cody. You couldn't hurt Luke if you tried."

I wasn't thinking straight, I screamed,

"I nearly killed him Dan, look in my desk drawer. Stewart did this, it was him. I should have spoken sooner."

By now there were orderlies in the room trying to calm me down. I thought about my allergy to some medications and I screamed again,

"I'm going insane, no more medication I'm allergic to it."

Luke crashed through the window and fell to the ground, his head cracked open spewing brains out on the driveway. I saw Dan with Stewart they were fucking, Stewart was fucking Dan and he loved it. I started screaming again.

"Dan, Dan I'm sorry I killed Luke, I killed him."


I couldn't move, my eye lids were partly open, Dan and Jamie were at my side, Mrs L and mum were there also. Dan had been crying. My feet and hands wouldn't move, I said,

"Mummy what's happened? Where's daddy?"

I blacked out. Later when I opened my eyes only Dan was there, I saw someone else but couldn't recognise them. I focused, it was Luke, he was in a wheelchair. I opened my eyes and looked at him, he was very bruised, his eyes were black. I let out an almighty scream.

"NO!" I wailed.

Dan jumped up and held me, he said,

"I'm here Codes, I'm here, I won't let anyone hurt you, your safe, I'm here I love you, come back to us."

Luke held my hand.

"Codes please don't give up, please fight, don't give up."

I looked at him and said,

"I nearly killed you Luke, how can you stand to look at me."

He kissed my hand and said,

"Utter nonsense Cody, you didn't try to kill me at all, I love you with my life and you love me with your life, you couldn't hurt me if you tried."

He laughed. I calmed down.

He explained to me that I had been restrained; the medication the nurse had given me was powerful as they were afraid I would harm myself. He said,

"Are you feeling okay now Codes?"

I said, "My panic has gone but my heart was breaking."

He said to Dan.

"Untie him Dan."

He did something at my feet then my legs were free, followed by my hands, I looked at him and he pulled me into his arms, I held him tight.

"Why didn't you tell me Codes?"

He was weeping.

"Why don't you trust me?"

I said, "There were only the two letters Dan. I thought he would get sick of writing them. If I had of got a third one I was going to take them to detective Gow, Dan I didn't want you to know, I couldn't put you through that again."

"Well he has them now and Stewart is in custody, they found one of his thumb prints on the letters."

"There's something else Dan, Jamie's phone call from the doctor here was from Stewart also, they can check his phone records. Jamie said the doctor told him he got his phone number from Luke's wallet, I'm guessing Luke only has his number on his phone am I right?"

"Correct as usual Squirt."

Luke smiled, "This guy will be charged with attempted murder."

I let out a deep breath, "His poor parents." I looked at Dan, he said,

"I know Codes, I know."

"Are you really okay Luke? "

"Yes I'm fine Codes, I'm more worried about you, I suspect you have a lesion on your brain that causes you to have fits. I looked at your history and you did have a nasty bump on your head when you went through that door, an MRI should confirm it Codes. If it is that, it's better it comes from me now then they can try to fix it but I wouldn't recommend brain surgery, it only seems to flare up when you are overly stressed. We can manage that now there’s nothing for you to do til tomorrow, I'm going home today but when you get there tomorrow I want to be waited on hand and foot."

I smiled and looked at Dan, he smiled and whispered,

"I love you Cody Mitchell so much so it hurts to breathe when I'm near you."

I teared up again.

I said, "Dan I'm so sorry please believe me when I say it's the same for me."

Luke took both our hands and said, "Me too."

Mrs L came to see me that afternoon.

She said. "Squirt I'm glad the effects of that medication has worn off, you’re looking a lot better, we were so worried about you, your mum will be here shortly to visit."

"I'm so sorry mum I could have prevented this from happening."

"Poppycock Squirt there was nothing you could do. Luke's just glad he did that defensive driving course we bought him for Christmas."

"My sons are capable of many things Squirt, don't ever blame yourself. If the police only had the letters and fingerprint that bloke would have walked free, now with the accident and Dan's letter they can charge him with so much more. Next time it might have been someone’s life Codes."

"Thanks mum, I just feel so sorry for his family but at least he's not dead."

I proceeded to tell her about Susan and a beautiful boy I once knew for a minute. I didn't mention Dan's involvement.

She said "Shaun?"

I said, "Yes, how do you know his name?

She replied,

"Dan told me about it and about Stewart and about what he had done to you. Don't be mad at him Squirt. He just wanted, no needed, someone to talk to. I listened all afternoon as he wept for you. He loves his mum baby but I'm afraid he loves you more."

"No that's not true mum, we all love you much more."

Just then my Mum came in, she looked old.

"Hi mum, I'm sorry you both had to see me like that, I'm feeling a lot better now."

"Well Cody it's good to see you up and about, I think they are going to let you go home tonight. The MRI confirmed a tiny lesion on your brain they recommended leaving it there, it's too dangerous to play with."

I said, "Dr Lawrence had already diagnosed it this morning."

The doctor came in and confirmed it and said I could go home when I'm ready. He gave me a script to fill and said,

"It's a natural sedative so it should be alright to take but only when your feeling agitated."

Mum brought the morning paper, it had a full page spread on me and my association with Armani, the pictures were wonderful and the write up was all about the new young rising star.

One small piece in another gossip paper said I had a complete meltdown at the parade and was hospitalised. I somehow know my story may be about to go public, my clouds moved in.

Dan arrived with a smile on his face.

"Hi Codes."

He hugged and kissed me.

"Come on let's get you home, your public awaits, reporters have been ringing non-stop for interviews. If your up to it I will drop you a half mile from the house and Luke and Jamie will meet you and walk up the beach with you. The news has got out about the arrest and your meltdown and there are reporters everywhere. I have hired some of Greg's security team to patrol the grounds."

On the way home we talked, Mrs L was staying with us for a few days, mum followed behind. I got out of the car and headed for the beach, Jamie gave me hugs and kisses, he was so relieved I was okay, Luke did the same. We talked as we strolled up the beach all alone, by the time we got there a late lunch was on the stove and coffee was served on the verandah.

"I guess Dan we need a plan of action."

He said,

"Sorted Codes, no ones going to bother us here. The reporters know it's a private beach and they won't come here for fear of being arrested."

"Now I said, bring me up to date on Stewart?"

"It's okay Codes that's sorted also. His parents tried to have him bailed but the judge wouldn't hear of it after reading the evidence. He's instructed him to get a full psychiatric evaluation done. Squirt he may get off with that report but he will have to have ongoing treatment, I pray it will help him understand life a little better. I have also instructed our solicitor to get an intervention order for us four; he won't be able to come within two hundred feet of us. His dad sent me an email apologising and it also said Stewart has had a complete mental breakdown, he wished us well."

"Well Dan you have got it sorted."

Everybody laughed and it broke the clouds away.

I said,

"I had better start apologising to the clients I let down."

"Squirt" Mrs L said, "Also all sorted, you only had two and they said they could wait till you could fit them in."

"Okay" I said, "I'll do them on the weekend. Lets get back to normal, what's for lunch

Mum L?"

"Casserole Squirt, I made two, one for us and a bigger one for the growing men."

More rounds of laughter. We ate in relative silence but I couldn't stop looking at my boys, I loved my family so much. Occasionally Jamie would squeeze my hand, I felt a lot better.

"Dan" I said.

"Yes Codes."

"When do you think the court case will happen?"

He said, "Maybe there won't be one, if Stewart has his report he will probably be committed to a mental ward for treatment."

We all readied ourselves for bed, Dan and I had a shower together and it was awesome. I snuggled in with him when we went to bed.

He said, "Codes?"

"Yes Dan?"

"Can we not dwell on Stewart too much?"

"Of course Dan, I've no intention of giving him the satisfaction of disturbing our happy place."

"Dan? Do you still want to sell the apartment?"

"Yes Codes, it's a good time to sell and this is our home, now; I love it here more and more each day."

"Codes? Do you think you could halve your client list? It's just, I think you've taken on too much, you not only design brilliant outfits but you’re getting involved with complete stranger's problems and I don't think it's healthy for you."

"Okay Dan I will think on it but sometimes people just want a stranger to talk to, it's harmless but I see where you're coming from."


"Yes babe."

"What did Stewart say in his letter to you?"

I got complete silence. He finally said,

"Codes, I would rather not tell you but I know closure is good also. He apologised for upsetting you and wanted you to know how sorry he was. He said he loved you the instant he met you. He said his plan was to find you when you left and try to talk you into loving him.

He thought you were the kindest, most generous person he has met and it killed him to say the things he did. He's living in some fantasy world Squirt, he changed directions halfway through and thanked me for the hot sex we had the night he stayed, he would never forget it. Then he babbled on about his parents not believing his uncle molested him. He is insane Codes and very confused about which one of us he loved, I swear to you Cody nothing happened that night, I wanted so bad to hold you."

"Can I read the letter Dan?"

He said unfortunately detective Gow had it for evidence and when it's released I could read it but he'd rather I didn't.

"Okay Dan, goodnight, sweet dreams."

"Goodnight Codes, I love you always."

"I love you deeply Dan."

No nightmares but early morning I found Dan on the porch watching the sunrise, he looked like he hadn't slept.

I said, "Dan why don't you go back to bed?"

He said he was up most of the night watching me in case I needed him. I thanked him then led him into the bed and cuddled him till he went to sleep. I watched over him and I was glad he didn't dream, I loved him so much.

In a few days all was back to normal. Rob had picked Mrs L up, we promised we would come to the farm soon and Luke and Jamie were going there after the game on Saturday. We thought about it but Dan had said let's have time to ourselves for a change. The media had dwindled off but I still got plenty of offers for interviews however if it wasn't about my work I wasn't interested. Unfortunately the interviews I did do turned personal, so I put a stop to them. Dan was still on TV, they taped his segment during the day and he had training and the game on weekends, when it was interstate I went with him. We stayed in our own room most of the time.

I was making very good money doing what I did and our accountant wanted me to spend a lot of it to offset the tax. I thought about a shop but I said I couldn't even find time to organise it. I was talking to Adam about it as he fluffed my hair, I so needed to have it done. He restyled it now that it was longer, I was so happy with it; he had done a great job. He finished and said,

"Come with me Cody."

I followed him out the back; his shop had a small warehouse attached to it. He said he could extend down one side and I could share the rent and start a small boutique. The storeroom, tearoom and office we could both share and I could have the space down the back and the one side for racks of my clothes.

"It won't take much to move my sinks and taps across, I only have four chairs and they can stay where they are. Now you are a well known brand and internationally I may add; we can help each other. I get new clients, put more stylists on, they get work and I get more money, it's a win, win situation. Cody you only need to hire a good manager and maybe a couple of part timers."

I said I had the part timers but I couldn't do the manager bit full time. He said,

"I have one name for you Codes, Rory."

I gave him a puzzled look. He went on,

"Well he's very up to date with the trends, he's got a great personality, he's a fabulous stylist, he's funny, he's good looking, he's not happy where he's working and he's for hire. Give him a break Codes, god knows he needs one."

He laughed, I smiled at him."Bingo."

"Well my friend you might just have something there. I could still do my private clients and if they want more, I could send them to my boutique that will cut out half of the workload."

I then set about to pilfer Rory, it didn't take much to get him to agree to a good wage and a percentage of what he sold. Also, I talked with Luke and Jamie, they were really eager and said they would work it when they didn't have training or classes. Jamie said he did most of his work online anyway. Good, I shook their hands and said,


They would also get a percentage of what they sold. Next was Mr Zimmerman, I told him about my ideas and he immediately agreed with me. He would still do the special one offs but he couldn't handle the every day stuff so he put me onto an agent in Malaysia who would organise my book designs to be made in ten different sizes. I faxed off two of my designs to her and within two weeks I received a parcel with the made up samples in it. The workmanship was faultless so I sent my book to her and placed a very large order. They cost next to nothing to make so I insisted my workers got a monthly bonus, it was enough to cover their rents and as I got busier I would increase that amount generously, no sweathouses for me.

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