Deleted scene - chapter 1
Tears welled, spilling down Polly Jayne Lester’s cheeks. She was tempted to wipe them, at least then she’d be able to see properly, but only until the next ones fell. Ahead of her a petrol station came into view, the forecourt packed, cars lined up behind each and every pump, not that it mattered; she wasn’t stopping to refill, she was stopping because her chest was heaving so fucking hard, it ached.
If that was all PJ had to deal with, she probably would have kept driving, but behind every pounding heartbeat was something darker; something waiting, desperate to crush what remained of her dignity.
How could he have done this to her?
She’d given the man everything; the promise of a future, the secrets of her past, she’d shared her dreams, wrapping them carefully around his, and all for what? The ultimate betrayal.
She was tempted to punch the dashboard, just to feel a different kind of pain from the one tearing her apart, but she didn’t, she slowly pulled into a car park instead. Yanking the door open, PJ climbed out into the rain. It was ten steps to the shop door and she was drenched by the time she walked through it, but at least the rain camouflaged her tears, her red-rimmed eyes and runny nose—not so much.
For a moment she stood surrounded by people, the incessant noise, the sickly sweet fumes of diesel, the scent of her ex-fiancé, which she could still smell on her skin if she turned her head fast enough.
An hour ago Sam would have been the same, her perfume lingering on his shirt from when she’d held him, kissing him goodbye like she always did before she left his place for work. And he’d kissed her back, even grabbed her ass, grinding against her in suggestive little thrusts, but clearly that erection had been for someone else.
Would she have known that he was cheating on her if she hadn’t forgotten her phone, returning to find him in bed with another woman, and not just any other woman, but PJ’s best friend? In hindsight, she should have seen it coming, the amount of time they spent together, the shared jokes that quietened down whenever anyone else got close. She didn’t consider herself a fool, but by fuck, she felt like one now.
The ache in her chest twisted into something so painful, PJ actually stumbled back a step, inadvertently entering the queue for the Lotto counter. The fact that she didn’t move out of it was a true indication of how devastated she really was. All she needed was a phone card and possibly some tissues. What difference did it make who served her?
Rummaging in her handbag produced a tampon, some electrical tape, then finally her wallet, but just as PJ was about to pull her hand back out, her phone rang, the last dredges of its charge being drained by Sam’s ringtone.
What the hell was she meant to say to him, or him to her for that matter? She didn’t want to hear his apology, or worse, his excuses about how she’d been working so much lately, not putting the effort into their relationship—ignoring him. They were fucking adults, shit happened. It wasn’t a reason to cheat. And as for Becky—PJ actually had to stop that thought right there, it was either that or scream.
For a moment, her vision faded, everything going black. There was just too much pressure behind her eyes and in her chest; her whole body locked tight, but the release she so desperately needed never came. There would be no more crying in public today.
Glancing up, PJ found the bald middle-aged shop assistant staring at her with an odd kind of smile.
“You want a ticket, Love?”
No, she actually just wanted him to look at her face, not her boobs. “No, thank you. I want a twenty-dollar phone card and some of these.” Grabbing a packet of tissues, she handed over the cash, waiting as he entered the sale, but he seemed in no particular hurry to hand her change back.
“You sure? Biggest jackpot in New Zealand history this weekend, and it’s gotta go.”
So did she or he was going to have a hysterical female wailing in the middle of his petrol station. “Fine, just give me what everyone else got.”
Saliva pooled at the sides of his mouth as he grinned. “Could change your life, a win like that.”
Any more changes and she wouldn’t recognize it; she barely did now. Yesterday she’d had everything the average twenty-seven year old female wanted. A doting fiancé, plans for the future, friends she could trust, yet the reckless actions of the one person that was meant to love her had destroyed all of that.
Picking up the tissues, PJ pulled one out, blowing her nose before she was handed her little golden ticket, a handful of change and a top-up card.
“Thanks.” Her phone was ringing again, but she just ignored it as she worked her way back out onto the forecourt. It took forever to find her keys and even longer for her hands to stop shaking, but they had by the time she pulled back onto the motorway.
Half an hour later she was calm as she walked into the office, her eyes no longer red, her cheeks no longer flushed. Her heart was still beating a little to fast, but that was to be expected because it honestly felt like it had been torn in two. Switching off her cell phone, PJ dropped it in her bag; she also flicked her landline to call minder. If she could just get through the day without having to deal with Sam or Becky, or any of her well-meaning friends, who no doubt knew all about the final humiliating demise of her relationship, she could deal with this, in her own way and in her own time.
When the door slammed behind her though, heavy footsteps pounding up the hallway, she knew it was never going to be that easy. Sam wasn’t the only man capable of turning her life upside down. Derrick, her boss, had been doing it all year. The man was an asshole, hell bent on seeing her fail in every task he put in front of her. The fact that she hadn’t yet, just seemed to make it worse.