Chapter One - Wednesday - 3rd of April 2007

 

Killian Briar walked across the sitting room, his toes curling into the thick cream carpet. “Shelly?” he called up the stairs and he heard laughter and then his eldest daughter stuck her head out her bedroom door. “Yes Daddy?” she smiled down at him and he swallowed hard, she looked so much like her mother.

She raised an eyebrow at him and he shrugged the thoughts of Jessica from his mind. “Can you hurry up with the phone love? I have to make a very important call.” he asked her after a moment and she grinned.

“Sure Dad, hang on a moment. Yes? Katie I’ll have to call you back ok? Daddy needs the phone. Actually why don’t you come over here tonight? We can plan it so much better if there are two of us! Ok? I’ll see you in a few hours then. Bring the movies! Ok bye Katie!” she hung up the phone and tossed it down the stairs to him.

“Here you go Dad. Katie is coming over soon and we’re going to plan a few more things for Friday.” she babbled excitedly as Killian clutched the phone in his hand and smiled.

“Ok Kiddo, do you want me to get one of your aunts to get you ice cream?”

“Double chocolate chip!” she called down as she walked back into her room. “Thanks, love you Dad.”

Killian laughed and walked back across the living room before slipping through the door of his study and closing it behind him. He sat down behind the desk and pulled some of his papers towards him.

Now where to start?

He pondered and he picked up the first document and read it through. “At the beginning I suppose.” he said aloud and he punched in the number on the phone and held it to his ear, pen poised over a fresh piece of paper and the laptop open and on the desk in front of him.

The phone had only rang about three times before a chirpy woman answered it.“Hello this is Hause and Halse, how may I help you?”

I haven‘t heard her before. She‘s new. Hopefully not as incompetent as their last secretary.

“Hello my name is Killian Briar. I’m returning a message for Mr. Michael Hause?”
Her voice took on a new tone for a brief moment, a slightly awed tone.

“Oh certainly Mr. Briar.” and then suddenly she was all professional again and he smiled at the page in front of him. “Could you please wait just one moment and I can transfer you to his direct line?”

“Thank you.” he said kindly and less then five seconds later the deep voice of Michael Hause was booming down the phone.“Killian! How are you?”

“I’m good Mike. New secretary?”

“Yeah, she seems to be doing well, settling in here quite quickly.”

“Give her a pay rise and promotion, she’s better then any of them.”

“Ah so she didn’t simper at you down the phone for five minutes then?” Michael laughed.

“Nope, just said my name and bang, ‘please hold a moment and I’ll transfer you straight over to his personal line’ and that took about five seconds.” Killian grinned as he stood up and walked around the study, stretching his legs.

“Hey by the way Mike, you still coming on Friday?”

“Wouldn’t miss it for the world!” his friend said smilingly.

“And Derek?” Killian inquired as he thought about Derek Halse, Michael’s partner in the firm.

“He’s going to try and make it with Martha and the boys. But you know my cousin, his head is up his backside when it comes to remembering dates and times. I’ll call Martha and ask her what the story is later. You know she’s due in a few weeks? I hope for her sake it’s not another boy, don’t get me wrong, five healthy boys would be great, but I know my sister always wanted a girl. Even just one.” Killian sat back at the desk.

“Well tell her not to worry if she can’t make it over. Her health is more important the Shelly’s 17th, she’ll always have an 18th next year. If they don’t think it’s best for her to travel, tell her I can sent a helicopter up to collect the boys and they can stay here that night if they want.”

“Sure thing boss.” Michael laughed. “I’ll see Derek later and I’ll ask him what the story is anyway. I’m still going to ring Martha though.”

They both laughed as they thought of Michael’s brother in law and his terrible memory and ability to organise things. Killian knew that without Michael, the business would have fallen apart long ago.

“Ok Mike, much as I would love to talk to you for the rest of the day, I have a lot of work to get through and I’m guessing so do you.”“Yeah that’s true.” Michael grumbled. “Seems everyone wants us these days. Right then ’Mr. Briar’, down to business.”

Killian picked up his pen and they began to talk in earnest, bouncing ideas and meetings off one another until finally an hour later Killian hung up, exhausted.He put the pen down on the now full notepad just as he heard a giggles from upstairs and the sound of running feet as Michelle chased Molly down the hallway and eventually caught her. Molly’s peals of laughter echoed through the house and she screamed at her sister “No Shelly stop. Stop tickling! DADDYYY!!” the laughter continued and then eventually everything went quiet.

Killian sighed and stared at a photograph that stood beside the computer. “Oh Jess,” he sighed “I wish you could see how much she’s grown up.”The blonde woman smiled up at him from the photograph, her blue eyes sparkling and her hair catching the sunlight and casting a million different colours about the place.

“Don’t worry Killi,” he could almost hear her say “I can keep an eye on her just fine.”Killian shrugged and wiped away a rogue tear that had begun to trickle down his face and suddenly a noise at the door made him look up and he saw his eldest daughter standing there, looking at him with a sad look on her face.She walked around the desk and gave him a hug.

“I miss her too Dad, but she’s still here, and we’ll see her again soon. She promised she’d always be with us, remember?”A sob broke from her lips as she spoke the last word and Killian pulled her into his arms and hugged her tightly. “I know Kiddo, it’s ok, I know.”

“It’s so hard Dad, why did she have to die? Why did god make that man fall asleep at the wheel just as she was coming around the corner. Why? She’s a good person!”

Killian choked back his own tears and smoothed Michelle’s hair back off her face. “Yes Shelly, she was a good person.” Killian put a little emphasis on the ‘was’ and Michelle’s eyes widened in realisation of what she had said. Her mouth formed a little ‘oh’ and she sniffed as she looked at the photograph.

Killian hugged her again and then gave her a little shove towards the door. “Go on Kiddo.” he said gently. “Don’t be upsetting yourself before your birthday, you have planning to do!”

Michelle nodded tearfully and stumbled to the door of the study. “There’s chocolate fudge cake in the fridge, it just needs some heating and a bit of fresh cream”

Killian looked down at some of the papers on his desk for a moment and when he’d looked back up again she was gone. He heard the sound of the microwave and smiled slightly. Kids. Nearly 17 and chocolates still makes her feel better!

Killian shook his head and lovingly ran a finger down the frame of the photograph. The trill of the phone cut into his thoughts and he answered it after a few seconds.

“Hello? Killian Briar speaking.”

“Hey Killian, I’m just in the town and I was wondering if you want anything or the girls want anything? I’m passing by the house on my way home so I could drop it in for you.”

The voice of his younger sister Margaret echoed down the line and he leant back in his chair as he answered her. “Yeah actually, could you pick up some ice cream and sweets and stuff for the girls? Maybe a movie or something? Katie is coming over tonight.”

He could almost hear the smile in her voice as she replied “Of course I will. I know just the thing. More planning is it? We girls need chocolate for that kind of thing. Stressful work you know!”

Killian laughed and they spoke for another few minutes about nothing in particular, the usual sibling banter. Margaret was his favourite sister because she knew exactly what to say and when to say it, and she constantly avoided the subject of Jessica. She knew he would talk about it when he was ready to talk about it.As he hung up the phone he looked once again at the picture and suddenly he couldn’t breathe.

“Oh Jess, why?”

Killian put his head in his hands and dissolved into tears.

The End

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