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Bea Turvey

Banished - Bea Turvey

On first acquaintance there is nothing extraordinary about Bea Turvey.  A librarian in an Oxfordshire secondary school, she is married with two children, a dog, two cats and a goldfish.  She enjoys walking, swimming, camping, reading and being warm.  Nothing extraordinary at all. 

But within her is a world of stories and passion, her imagination plucks small snippets of unassuming information from her normal world and weaves into and around them tempestuous emotions and vibrant tales that make her cry as she writes them. 

Originally trained as an IT Manager, she changed direction after the birth of her children and was lucky enough to find the position she is in now, one where she is surrounded by books and  can indulge her passion for education and literacy.

As a complete bibliophile, she quite often has three or more books on the go, anything from the hilariously named 'Why eating  bogies is good for you' to 'The Elegance of the Hedgehog'.  She will read anything and everything she can get her hands on. 

It was one dreary day in November 2009, after a day of cleaning and cooking inedible dishes, that her husband said, 'now the kids are grown up why don't you pull out your writing pad?'; although she was sure the suggestion had much to do with preventing any more disasters from escaping the kitchen she succumbed to the temptation.  So, with much trepidation, in the second week of December of 2009 she sat at the empty dining table  and wrote...and wrote and wrote and wrote.  In January 2010 she started and completed her first novel Golden Obsession.  The first person to read it was her mother-in-law who loved it and encouraged Bea to continue.  In March she wrote Banished and it was this novel she chose to send off to the publishers.  Since then, Bea has written several more, many of them dealing with controversial and harrowing subjects such as child abduction, euthanasia and human trafficking and they will be published as soon as she gets round to editing them.

Bea Turvey's Blog:  http://beaturvey.wordpress.com

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Check out Banished here

 

 

Banished

 

 

Unexpectedly summoned to meet with the man she loves, Grace inadvertently witnesses a sight that shatters her fragile world.

Within the space of one devastating morning all that is familiar is ripped away and, as she struggles to overcome her loss, unforeseen circumstances flip it once again, hurtling her into a living nightmare. 

Follow Grace’s terrifying journey of love and loss, hope and regret, and the stark realisation that there are no guarantees in this world.

 

 

 

 

She was lovely.  There was no denying that.  Her bobbed, blonde hair was a glinting, sleek cap in the early morning sun.  Her happy blue eyes sparkling as they turned up to his face.

They laughed aloud at something he said.  The joyous wave of sound floating through the air felt as damaging as a mine explosion to Grace.

Reaching out, he slipped his strong arms around her waist, effortlessly lifting her off her feet into a crushing embrace as he kissed her, silencing the gurgles of joy.

The sight was eviscerating.  Through the smoked glass fronting the hotel foyer Grace watched her life ebb away, clenched fists pressed into the softness of her gut.

His message had requested that she wait for him in his offices, informing her he’d be back from his meeting by 9am.

His PA ought to learn to whisper.  Grace had overheard him, through the open door, informing a colleague that Donato had arrived.  At the news she’d slipped out, intending to surprise him.

She was the one surprised.  But was she truly surprised?  Wasn’t this exactly what she’d suspected these past couple of weeks?  He’d stayed later and later at the office; not turned up for his afternoon nap and meals; left before she’d risen, without a word or a kiss…she closed her eyes, swaying, as the most obvious clue interrupted her list – stopped sleeping in the same bed…

Raising heavy lashes she forced her agonised eyes to watch.

The kiss deepened, as did the pain slicing through her; the depth of her agony mirroring the depth of his attention to the other girl.

Her mind screamed in denial, scrabbling frantically for reasons why he would be kissing another girl so passionately…as he hadn’t kissed her for days.

Whimpering, she pressed a hand to the glass, in an attempt to obliterate the sight, but it slipped down, warring with her mind, wanting, needing this sight of him even though it was painful.  As her fingers came away a foggy hand-shaped mist remained on the glass, obscuring the view.  It slowly dissolved, the sight of the embracing couple reappearing.

She’d been living in her own mist-filled world these past days, ignoring the signals, refusing to look beyond them.

Denial – it kept one sane…for a while.

She wanted to run out there and claw his arms away from her, step into the girl’s place.  Her place.

She held no grudge against the girl.  Envied her, yes, of course, but she knew how hard it was to resist him; near enough impossible.

She wanted to be the one in his arms, even now, after seeing him with someone else, and hated herself for her weakness.

The shame was nothing to the pain.

Silently lamenting the ever-demanding need that slipped inside, despite his infidelity, she whirled away from the destructive sight.  The silver bank of lifts at the rear of the lobby wavering in her tear-filled vision as she moved towards them, almost colliding into a pair of flamboyantly dressed honeymooners lost in their own embrace.

The far-left lift announced its arrival with a high-pitched “ping”, discharging an exuberant family intent on making the most of this glorious Italian summer’s day.  The youngest members ran past a dazed Grace, the indulgent parents throwing her a cursory glance as they tried to keep up with their charges.  An inflated beach ball bounced off the back of her leg and rolled past.  Her eyes followed its journey until the father scooped it up with a rueful smile and shrug, the universal gesture for “kids!”.

There were too many happy people around; it merely enhanced her torment.  She needed to escape.

Lurching into the lift she collapsed against the mirrored wall and pushed the button for the fifth floor with a shaky knuckle.

If she unclenched her hands the pain would spill out.

Pressing the straining white-skinned fists against her mouth she rocked against the glass, trying to balance the agony on a knife-edge of control.  The stinging of her eyes threatened to turn into an unstoppable waterfall and she squeezed them closed.

It was imperative for him not to see her like this.

Her heart thumped erratically, as if unable to decide whether or not to stop beating.

She had to make decisions.

She was now so cold; the thin, burning slivers of iced agony sliced deep, setting her bones quivering.

She needed…

She couldn’t…

The lift slid to a smooth stop, an emotionless voice announcing her floor.

The ensuing silence was hollow and empty.

Emotionless.  That was a good plan, for now.

As the doors glided into their recesses the silence escaped and the gentle hum of a distant vacuum cleaner took its place.  Grace gulped in calming, rattling breaths; pushing and squeezing, cramming the emotions down where they weren’t visible and exited shakily onto the plush carpet of the fifth floor corridor.

The offices were at the far end.  The distance had more than doubled since she’d walked along it earlier.

Her mouth was dry, her tongue stuck to the roof, and she chewed on it to create some moisture.

Wet eyes, dry mouth.  How did that work?  Didn’t tears drain through the nose and into the mouth?

Her legs were unsteady, the floor seemed to roll under her feet.  Locking her knees she attempted one step.

Robotic.  Unemotional.  This was good.

The black and white checked carpet muffled her approach to the offices.  Another of his subtle mind games, introducing a chessboard to his business lair, laying down challenges.  Donato liked to win.

She was glad of the distance; it gave her time to compose herself as she concentrated on placing her elegantly shod feet on every third square, slowing her breathing.  Her fists uncurled and she smoothed the silk over her abdomen with trembling fingers, subduing the tremors in her gut.

Not yet. Soon – she could give way soon.

‘Grace!’

She halted, swallowing the dryness of her arid mouth.

Taking a deep breath she turned her head as Alberto gave another shout.  Donato’s suave PA strode quickly towards her, a relieved look on his face, his normally immaculate appearance somewhat dishevelled.  ‘We have been looking everywhere for you.’  We?  ‘We were afraid –’ He broke off, lips twisting into a grimace as he smoothed a flat palm over his tie.  His rushed words were spoken in Italian; Alberto was more comfortable with his mother tongue although she knew his accented English was fluent.

She knew what he was afraid of.  That she might go downstairs, see Donato with his latest amante.  He was right to be worried.  Donato didn’t suffer mistakes kindly.

Closing his dark eyes briefly he exhaled with some force, and she felt for him.  ‘No matter.  You are here now, safe and sound.’ Safe? She knew he meant Donato was the one that was safe. ‘Please,’ he extended his arm in invitation to precede him as he held open the tall, carved door.

She inclined her head in thanks, not sure if she could speak as yet, the scream still bulging against her tight throat.

One mistake.  That was all it would take for the fractures to become long jagged crevices and she would fall apart.

Her composure was too fragile to test with trivialities.

He led her straight to Donato’s office, ignoring the openly curious stares of the office staff.  But she felt them, their unsubtle ogling glances too obvious, the sad looks demoralising, shaking her composure.

The whispers seemed to get louder once she’d passed.

Alberto paused and leant down to one of the girls – he must practice his whisper – asking her to call off the search.

Grace was surprised. They must have been looking for her with some urgency.

This other girl of Donato’s must be important to him to have involved so many.

The whispers resumed to normal volume as she stepped into the office, dying instantly as the heavy door shut them out.

Shut her in.

Donato’s office was not what you’d expect from a high-flying billionaire.  This five-star hotel had been his first acquisition, the beginning of a chain that would circle the world.  Although he had offices worldwide this spacious room had been his first and he’d made it the centre of his empire.  It was larger than when he’d first acquired it, the walls between it and the two offices either side having been removed so it was now a wide expanse of light and air.  The only signs of opulence were the thick carpet with the corporation’s logo and the deep curved wooden desk that dominated the central area.

The back wall held three sets of double glass doors leading out to a stone balcony.  She’d never understood the need for a balcony that overlooked a car park, but she supposed there hadn’t always been a car park there.  Not in the 17th century.  The age of the building was discernible in the alabaster mouldings and the door and window surrounds.  All else was modern, stark, uncluttered, unfussy.

A well-used round teak table sat to the right with ten chairs; for his personal knights to gather around; the entire front wall was covered with stocked wooden bookshelves.  To the left was a huddle of comfy chairs and coffee table, his mother’s touch and rarely used.

Alberto settled her in one now, offering refreshments even as he solicitously poured a glass of water she didn’t want.  She declined the offer with a shake of her head.  Her stomach couldn’t cope with anything.  Her soul…

A buzzing sound broke the stillness.

It took several seconds to realise it was her mobile phone.  Her bag was still on the coffee table where she’d left it earlier, while waiting for Donato.  Reaching inside she pulled out a flashing mobile.

18 messages and 6 missed calls.  She’d only been gone for 10 minutes.  She scrolled through the messages – they all said the same thing: Where are you? sent from Alberto’s mobile.  The calls were all from the hotel.  She blinked, very surprised, and looked to Alberto for an explanation.  Discomfited, he shrugged his shoulders, looking away.

‘Donato, he had arrived and, uh, I could not find you.  You know he doesn’t like to be kept waiting.’  Not fully convinced by his halting explanation – she’d seen why he needed to keep her secluded in this office, after all – she screened her eyes and decided to play along, nodding her head in acceptance.  It wasn’t that Donato didn’t like to be kept waiting, it was more the case that he’d rarely experienced it.  His family doted on him.  His staff all doted on him.

Alberto’s smile reappeared, reassured that she’d accepted his faltering speech.  It wasn’t Alberto’s fault his employer was a two-timing snake and, judging by the number of calls and messages, he’d spent long enough panicking over something he should never have been asked to be involved in.

‘I’ll leave you to... um,’ he hesitated, and she tilted her head questioningly, waiting politely.  ‘You won’t…go…anywhere, will you?’

She raised one finely plucked eyebrow imperiously at his presumption.  Was she a prisoner now?  Alberto flushed and she took pity on him.

‘No.  I shall wait.’  Her voice was hoarse, but Alberto didn’t notice.  Smiling tightly, he backed away hesitantly, still doubtful, to the door.  Even then, once he had it open, he paused, unsure.

She waved him on, forcing an upward curve to her lips.

Pursing his mouth he left, shutting the heavy door behind him.  Closing her in.

Replacing her small bag on the coffee table she smoothed the supple silk of her skirt, her nails a matching shade of baby pink, and stood.

It was so silent.  Only the sound of her quivering breaths rustled in the expectant room, the windows so thick that even the drone of Rome’s busy traffic couldn’t penetrate into Donato’s sanctuary.

She could be in a tomb.

Another shiver shook her spine and she felt for her pulse.  Faint.

Clinging tightly to her upper arms, attempting to hold her fragile heart in place, she crossed the space to Donato’s desk.

Her fingers tingled, itching to trail over the gleaming cherry wood, place her hands where his would be, but she resisted.  Her knee nudged at the soft leather of his chair and it spun halfway round.

She wanted to sit in his chair, absorb his essence, but she resisted that too.

The sun filtered in through the UV protected glass, picking out the dust motes that danced in the air as she exhaled.

She still breathed.  Still lived.

She wanted to die.

The memory of the first time she’d seen him sitting in this chair flew into her mind, the sun was shining behind him, lighting him up, only the sky and clouds visible behind him.   Like a God.

It wasn’t his fault she’d put him on a pedestal.

Dear heaven!  Was she making excuses for his behaviour now?  Even though she’d seen him with her own eyes she still couldn’t believe…

She’d dropped a box of trowels on her foot once, ignored the pain for days and days, limping around until she’d finally given in and visited the doctor.  The result had been a bright pink plaster cast, which she’d had to haul around for several weeks.

It didn’t do to ignore things.  She hadn’t learnt.

Her head hurt.  The heavy pain swelled against the barrier she’d erected to contain it.

Not yet.  Soon…

Even though the opening door didn’t make a sound she knew at once he was there.  She always knew.

The fine hairs rose on her arms; her heart sped; she could feel the burn of desire-laced blood waking every sense.

He was here and now she was too chicken to face him.  It wasn’t cowardice, it was self-preservation.

While she didn’t look at him, acknowledge him, he was still hers…and she still lived…

With fear churning in her gut she turned her head, gazing at him over her shoulder.  This was the first time she’d seen him in two days, if you discounted earlier.

He looked the same as always – no, he was thinner.  His cheeks were hollow, as though he hadn’t been eating.  There were dark circles under his lapis blue eyes as though he hadn’t been sleeping.

Too busy to eat or sleep.  Too busy with her?

Neither of them moved.  Donato’s unsmiling gaze travelled over her elegant form.  Clad in pale pink and white, long legs bare, she was beautiful, she knew.  She’d made herself beautiful, for him.

A white ribbon held back the luxuriant chestnut locks he preferred unbound, a few tendrils escaping to curl onto her long elegant neck, meshing with the fine silver chain that held a single rose coloured pearl, unblemished, perfect.

Her beauty had not been enough.  She had not been enough.

Her eyes travelled his length in turn, taking in his dark suit and tie.  He looked as though he was on his way to a funeral, but it didn’t disguise the muscular body underneath.

‘We need to…talk.’  It was the end.  His deathly quiet voice matched his suit, matched his expression.  She understood now.  The funeral was for the death of their relationship, this room its resting place.

Relationship?  Had they even had that?  Arrangement was a more suitable word, less emotive.

Closing her eyes she turned back to the window and swallowed.  It felt as though the flesh of her body had been replaced with pain.

She could do this.

She had built up their “arrangement” into more than it was.  Prettied it with the frilly bows of need and companionship when all it had been…was…was sex!

Sex had no need for emotion.  Sex had no need for affection.  Sex devoured and moved on.

The large rock that had settled in her chest wobbled alarmingly and she hugged her arms tightly to hold it in, stop it from rolling out.  He must not see.

Turning to face him she nodded her agreement and baby-stepped her way back to the chair she’d occupied earlier, even now hoping, praying, that she was wrong; that this wasn’t the end; he wasn’t going to send her away.

Hope had resilience beyond human imagination.

Following her progress he stopped a few feet away.  Pushing his fists into his pockets, jacket unbuttoned, he looked irritably down at her, frowning with jaw clenched.

‘Are you cold?  Where’s your jacket?’  His voice was frigid, pushed out from between gritted teeth.

She shook her head.  Even now her treacherous heart flipped at the faint note of concern in his pool of annoyance.  He’d always been considerate.  She couldn’t fault him there.  ‘I’m fine.’ Her voice was barely audible and she cleared her throat.  ‘I’m fine,’ she repeated.

She was anything but fine.

Ignoring her response he returned to the door and turned the regulator on the thermostat.  The room, like the others at the house, was kept at the perfect temperature by some unknown silent device.

His step was cautious as he approached to stand behind the chair opposite.  Shielding himself?  From her?  What harm could she do?

‘I have a lot of meetings over the next few days,’ he stated in a low voice.  He spoke as though he was reading a rehearsed speech.  ‘They’re mainly out of town so I won’t be able to spend much time at…at the house.’   The knuckles of his long, elegant fingers whitened as they clung tightly to the back of the chair.

She bit her lip as it trembled; couldn’t he even say the word “home”?

He hadn’t spent much time there over the last week, had told her nothing about his absences, so why the explanation now?

His gaze flickered away from hers and settled on the wall behind.  ‘I have…arranged…for you to fly back to England.’  Her eyes widened at this news.  ‘You’ll be closer to your family and friends.  You won’t be so… lonely.’

With just a few words the chain that anchored her to his side was severed.  He was sending her away.  This was it.  It had come. The empty, greedy chasm gaped wider to swallow their…arrangement.

She’d expected it, but not yet.  Please, not yet…

‘I’ll call you.  I’ll…’ he blew out a ragged breath, bowing his head, ‘uh, I’ll come over in a few days and we can…’ his accent, never noticeable before, was thickening, his arm waving vaguely.  He couldn’t even look at her as he discarded her from his life.  Was she not worth even a glance?

‘I understand.  I’ll go and pack.’ Where did those cool words come from?  Why wasn’t she arguing?  Demanding?  Begging?  Anything to negate the decision.

She started to rise but he waved her down again.  ‘No need,’ he dismissed curtly.  ‘Your bags are packed and were sent on an earlier flight.’

What was it about her that she couldn’t be trusted to do her own packing?  ‘Christos will escort you.  All the arrangements are made.’

Of course.  So efficient, with no room for manoeuvre.  A method he’d perfected in the boardroom. Had she expected anything else?  A chance to say goodbye to the others perhaps.

The phone on his desk rang simultaneously with a knock on the door.

‘Basta!  Avanti!’  Slapping his palms against the chair back he growled his annoyance at the interruption, picking up the receiver at the same time as Christos, his driver, entered.  This was only the second time she’d seen Donato so angry and agitated and she wondered at his lack of control.

She rose to greet the well-dressed man – she didn’t think she’d seen a single member of his staff who didn’t look or dress well – sending him a forced smile, while Donato spoke quietly but fiercely into the phone, his rigid back displaying his anger.

His voice was too low for her to make out the words, but it was clear something had gone wrong.

She’d never seen Donato so worked up about the business before.

She hesitated, unsure if she ought to wait.  But what more was to be said?  Was she really going to hang around waiting for…what?  A hug?  A kiss?  And how much worse would it be if neither was forthcoming?

Now the moment was here – this final moment when she was able to look upon him uninvited, uninterrupted as hers for the last time.  She regretted not taking advantage of all the opportunities she’d had before; regretted not savouring every single undiluted second of his company.  But one never knows when the end will come and it is a given that one always regrets not doing more.

‘Addio, mio amore,’ she breathed silently to his back. Her stinging eyes refused to blink, wanted to take their fill of him while they still could.  His dark silhouette hunched over the desk, preying over the person he spoke to, ready to savage them in his all-consuming anger.  So unlike the carefree, laughing Donato she knew him to be.

Without waiting another second she silently crossed to the door and walked out, with Christos following close behind.

She didn’t breathe again until they were in the lift, going down.

The limousine was already waiting outside and she allowed a concerned Christos to help her into the back.

No one stopped her.

No one came running out asking her to please, wait.  Don’t go.

A hairline crack appeared in her composure, a little of the frantic reaction she’d been suppressing leaked out and she had to clutch at the car; her knees were decidedly wobbly as she slid onto the back seat, trembling.  Her jacket was exactly where she’d left it, on the seat from when she’d arrived, and she pulled it on with shaking fingers but the cold didn’t release it’s biting grip.

Christos turned from his position in the driver’s seat as the central partition sighed out of view.

‘Siete tutto il di destra?’ he enquired.  Her Italian had improved vastly over the last couple of months and she replied in the same.

Yes, she was fine.  She maintained the shallow upward curve to her mouth as, with a less-than-satisfied nod, he depressed the button to raise the partition and returned her to her privacy.

Not yet, she urged her churning stomach.  Soon…Soon.

Christos walked her into the bustling airport, organised her ticket and seats, and saw her swiftly through security with barely enough time before the gate closed, a troubled frown marring his face the whole time.

It had taken less than an hour to get from Donato’s office and into the first class seat where she was being offered champagne, orange juice and canapés.  She rejected everything but water.  The swiftness of the whole process took her breath away.

The man in the seat across the aisle was staring.  She turned away.

He continued to stare, she could sense the attention pressing against her chilled skin, but every time she turned to catch him out his head was lowered to the open book in his lap.

Maybe she was paranoid.  He didn’t look any different to the other passengers, just an average, non-descript person with wire-framed spectacles, dressed in a dark business suit.

Putting down the water she sagged into the deep cushioned seat.  Holding back her emotions was exhausting.  Even now her mind was turning to the trip she’d made on the way out.  How different she’d felt then.

How confident.

How optimistic.

How happy.

Her arrival had been based on a single question: ‘Will you come to Italy with me?’

Her departure was decided on just as few words: ‘I have arranged for you to fly back…’ Not a question this time.  Not a choice.

The flight was fast as they had a good wind.  Everything was transpiring to remove her from Donato as swiftly as possible.

She declined heated towels, a meal and more drinks.  All she wanted, needed, she’d left behind her in the office, dressed in a dark suit.  A sneaky tendril of hysteria attempted to escape from deep within her and was quickly quashed, but a fragile moan still managed to squeeze through.  She squeezed close her stinging eyes and pressed two slender fingers to her lips, before returning to her blank inspection of the windowpane.  She’d been practising this rigid hold on her composure for days now.

The man was still staring; she caught him out once, fleetingly, before his gaze dropped, the flash of light on his glasses giving him away.

When the pilot announced that they were entering Swiss airspace and directed them to enjoy the majestic view below, her stomach lurched sickeningly.  She couldn’t look, couldn’t watch the distance stretch between now and what had been.  Instead she flicked blindly through one of the magazines a steward had left conveniently close.

Out of the corner of her eye she caught the faint movement as the man turned over a page.  If nothing else he was keeping her mind distracted.

She stopped flicking, transfixed by one glossy photograph.  A small grainy picture of Donato, exiting from the restaurant he’d taken her to during their first time in Rome, took up three inches on a colourful page featuring eligible bachelors.  His right arm was curved around a girl.  The girl wasn’t Grace.

She flipped back to the front of the magazine – this week’s edition of the Italian gossip pages.

Despite the bad quality of the print there was no mistaking those shoulders, that hair or that smile.  When they’d eaten at that restaurant, she recalled, he’d run, furious, after the photographer who’d tried to take a snap of them.  Yet here he was, smiling assuredly into the camera, taking pride in the girl he escorted.  It was the same girl from this morning.

Grace’s finger stroked over his happy face, down his chest and trousers to his shoes.  One foot was poised to step out of the building, the rest of him still inside, protectively bowed over the girl.

Banished - Bea TurveyShe wanted to lift him off the page.  Her finger curled and pressed so the nail scored around his frame.  It merely indented the paper.

Peeling the page away from the rest of the magazine she tore away the excess – all that wasn’t Donato – and slipped him, smiling, one arm missing, into her jacket pocket.

Her head dropped back onto the headrest.

He’d been smiling, laughing, as she hadn’t seen him laugh in weeks, as he had when she’d first met him.  The bubble of memory burst and flooded her mind.

 

 

Check out Banished here

                        


 

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