Authors: Zara Stoneley
Copyright © Zara Stoneley
Published by Zara Stoneley 2013
Edited by Annie Seaton
The moral right of Zara
Stoneley to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in
accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988.
All right reserved. With
the exception of quotes used in reviews, no part of this publication may be
reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or
mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or otherwise, without the written permission
of the publisher.
This book is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, businesses, organizations, places and events are used fictitiously.
Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
A note from the author
This is Book 2 in the Good
Enough series. Each book can be read independently, however reading them in
order will help you understand more about the lives of Holly, Sophie, Dane and
Book 1, ‘Good Enough to
Share’, introduces the four friends, but centres around Holly and the issues
she has had to deal with in her life. Book 2 is Sophie’s story. If you would
like to find out more about the series, or any of my other stories, please
visit my website – I love to meet readers and chat!
This story is set in
Cornwall, a place I love. Many of the place names used are real, but locations,
buildings and characters are all used fictitiously – but for me, the mystical
atmosphere and the magic exist. I hope you enjoy reading this story as much as
I enjoyed writing it.
Discover more about
Zara Stoneley at
Recent titles by Zara
Good Enough to Share – Book 1
Spice It Up
damp and it was cold. The kind of damp that creeps under your defences, seeps
into your skin and wraps itself around your heart. The kind of damp guaranteed
to make you feel sad and alone even when you aren’t.
I glance back over
my shoulder to the lone tall figure standing by the cemetery gate and he half
raises a hand. And I know I’m not alone, not really alone. Maybe I never have
been, I just haven’t been prepared to accept it.
Even shoving my
hands deeper into my pockets doesn’t stop the little shiver running down my
spine as I turn back to face the way I’m heading, and I pick my way along the
unfamiliar path to the two graves which mean so much to me. One slow step at a
time. I’ve only been here a couple of times. I mean, you don’t have to be
hanging around the headstones to prove to someone you loved them do you?
But, if I’m
honest, it isn’t anything so simple keeping me away. Fear is the thing that has
stopped me coming here. Fear of being wrong, and fear of being right.
I was here on the
day they were buried, watching as their bodies were dropped into the dark,
unwelcoming earth and the pang of guilt spearing my gut was so sharp it
released the sharp tang of bile into my throat. I’d hated him then, my dad.
Hated him with every tender, sore part of me as I’d clenched my hands into
fists in my pockets. But I was still a part of him, he was still my father, if
not often my dad. And I’ve realised now that he probably did love her, the
woman who will lie next to him forever. Two people never to part. My parents.
It wasn’t a love I could understand, or forgive. But he did, just as she loved
him back with an unerring passion and devotion that was as bad as it was good.
After the funeral
I’d not been back for a long time. I hadn’t wanted to face the fear I suppose,
but I guess now I was finally starting to understand, to accept. I’d been
frightened of the truth. The fact that maybe they had meant it to happen, that
I’d been kidding myself I could have made anything any different. Been kidding
myself that it was all my fault, and if I’d never tried to live my own life it
would never have happened.
Nothing like an
But I’d finally
realised I wasn’t that important. One tiny action of mine hadn’t changed the
future, hadn’t changed anything. If they hadn’t done it then, they’d have done
it another day.
One day, any day.
I guess once
you’ve decided that death is the only way out, then it’s hard to find a way
back, isn’t it?
I stoop down in
front of my mother’s grave, let the cold, brittle stone dig into my knees, and
for the first time in far too long I can actually hear her voice, she’s
speaking to me, saying out loud the words from her goodbye letter. The suicide
note that I’d never let myself believe she could have written.
always been someone else’s words to my ears, but now I realise – or rather
accept – the truth. They are her words, not his; the pattern, the tone is all
hers. Maybe she’d been crying when she wrote them, maybe she’d not quite known
what to write, but they still ring true.
When I came back
here at New Year I’d not heard anything, but maybe I’d been shutting my ears.
I’d stood, looked at them, and just wanted, I mean really wanted, to
understand. And I just couldn’t, which was why I’d gone away. I could see now
that I’d needed to open more than my heart. I’d needed to open my mind.
“I worked it out,
Mum.” I picked up a daffodil from the small vase on the grave, ran my fingers
up the stem. My little sis, Megan, had probably been here, she’d always
accepted it. Not like me. But then she hadn’t blamed herself, had she? She
hadn’t been the one running away.
“No one’s perfect,
are they? I guess though I’d always thought when I was little that you and Dad
were. I mean parents are, aren’t they, perfect in every way, the people we want
to grow up into? I’d never grown up and realised you weren’t, but I think I’ve
finally got it.”
There was the
faintest hint of spring when I held the trumpet of the flower up to my face,
the softest velvet as I stroked the subtle, lemon-white petal between finger
“Now I’ve got to
work out what I really want and that’s the tough bit, isn’t it? Oh, you know
all about tough don’t you, Mum, and I really wish you were here to help me,
except that’s the point isn’t it? I have to work it out myself. I want him, you
know. I always wanted him, but I might have fucked it up. But isn’t that what
you’ve taught me, you and Dad? That a real relationship is about being able to
do your worst and still be forgiven?”
My feet slip in
the gravel as I stand up and the sound does a shimmy around me in the still
air. I’m alone, but not, if you know what I mean. I’ve never felt exactly
lonely, but I’ve been alone lots. But something tells me it’s shifted.
“I’m sorry Mum,
Dad, I guess I only just realised that what you had was real.” I clutch the
flower a bit tighter as the ache in my throat gets harder to bear and I can
feel the heat welling up behind my eyes. There’s a tight knot where my heart
should be. It’s supposed to be easy coming back, now I understand, but it’s not
because I miss them even more. And I can’t hate them, I just want them back. I
want them beside me, I want them holding me. I want them to tell me it’s all
okay, to dry my tears and rock me to sleep. I can’t see the gravestone clearly
now, because my eyes have blurred over with the tears I should have let fall a
long, long time ago. Burning tears and a hurt I don’t want to battle with any
I might not be
alone, but there’s still a massive gap where they should be. I squeeze my eyes
tight shut, feel the dampness stain my face, the panic welling up in my throat
and I let myself stand, sway for a moment. Fight with the lump in my throat
until it isn’t quite as bad. Imagine how it used to be. And it’s strange
because I don’t see us, our family, how we used to be. I see him, Ollie. Young
and carefree, laughing as I play the fool. I open my eyes again, take a breath
and it’s okay.
“It wasn’t always
nice, but you did love each other, didn’t you? Holly tried to tell me at
Christmas, but I wasn’t ready to listen, I suppose. I mean, loving each other
so much is for other people, isn’t it Mum, not people like us?” My fingers are
cold from holding the flower but I don’t want to let it go. It’s almost like
it’s a part of all of us, of the family I never saw properly. A present from
little sis to our parents, and now passed on to me.
Would I be
prepared to die for love? Would I ever let myself go enough, let so much
passion and want and need into my life? Would I ever trust anyone enough to let
them end my life, so we could be together forever without the pain? I can’t
answer questions like that, not yet.
I take one last
careful look because I don’t know when I’ll be back. Loving is hard, it hurts.
And saying it all hasn’t made everything better, they’re still gone.
I walk back up the
gravel footpath and the crunch in my ears seems to run through my body until I
feel like I’m slowly shattering like a pane of glass into those tiny fragments
you see when a car windscreen breaks.
His gaze has never
left me, all the time we’ve been here. I swallow, feel the fragments pulling
back together. Reforming into something clearer, something without the flaws. I
slip my hand under his arm and the rough familiar fabric rubs against my
knuckles. Some of the tension eases away.
I nod and try to
ignore the tears that I know are threatening to spill. “Thank you.” He raises a
quizzical eyebrow. “For coming with me.”
But it’s more than
that, so much more.
“So, I take it
you’re not going to help then? Even though I tell everyone I know that you’re
not just beef burger on legs, that there’s a sensitive, feeling soul deep down
under that thick skin?” I stared, and a pair of the biggest, brownest eyes I’d
ever seen stared straight back at me. It could have been the look of love,
except they were partnered by a big, lolling tongue and a runny nose, and the
thick skin was covered in fur, or hair. Or whatever you say cows are covered
in, skipping the leather bit of course. Mentioning that would be insensitive.
I dragged my gaze
away from the nearest heavyweight, and there was another dozen backing it up.
Not good. They had all lowered their heads which made me think of an impending
rugby scrum, and an uneasy prickle made its way down my spine – competing with
the damp, misty air to win the first prize for what could make me feel most
uncomfortable. All the better to see me, I hoped. They were herbivores, weren’t
I shoved my hands
a bit deeper into my pockets and shuffled back a bit in what I hoped was a
casual way, and tried to ignore the way they seemed to have edged that little
bit closer. They were just cows after all, and even though I never was much of
a country girl surely I wasn’t going to run away from a group of vegetarian
Not me, Miss
I’ll-do-Anything-Once? I don’t know what hurt most, my teeth biting into the
softness of my bottom lip or my nails digging into the palms of my hands, but
either way I didn’t exactly feel relaxed and at ease.
So much for being
at one with nature, eh? Bugger.
Even breaking eye
contact with the small group of furry monsters didn’t help much, looking up the
mist-laden hill as far as I could, which believe me wasn’t far, just made me
shiver inwardly. If I carried on like this I’d be a nervous wreck before the
day was out, and I hadn’t even started to do what I was here for.
I had to be mad to
be doing this today, tramping across the strange, unwelcoming countryside. Last
time I had been up here it had been sunny, no cows in sight, and after a few
minutes of climbing we’d turned around and stood silently in some kind of awed
amazement. You could see for miles, across the rough tufts of grass, along the
craggy, rock-scarred hills and out to sea. But today if I turned around all I’d
be able to see would be—a broad chest.