The Sky Is Grey, Liam.

Dianna Tomlinson left her seaside home town of Lyme Regis for the bright lights of London when she was six with her mother after the split up, and never looked back. She had it all before she left Lyme; the happy life, the loving brother, the lovely hometown, the amazing best friends. But now she's back: Broken heart, and decided to hole up in her dead granny's bungalow with her dad and brother, Louis Tomlinson. Worse still, her mum wanted her to go back home to London but she refused to do it. So, she decides to start a new beginning in there and recover all the things she had missed when she was away. And one fine day, she met Liam, her old best friend and Harry. The story of three best friends, Liam, Harry and Dianna. They always together whenever they are. But what we had now didn't lasts forever right? The death has changed everything.


3. Granny Gilbert's Bungalow.

Dianna’s POV

   I hear barking in the undergrowth where Minnie, my puppy is chasing rabbits, she whines with excitement, through she has never come close to catching one.  The Undercliff is a strange place- Louis won’t walk here alone, he thinks it’s too isolated, but I love it. I have done ever since I used to lead the Bailey’s French Lieutrenant’s Woman tourist walk when I was in standard five, from the Cobb, up the hill into the Undercliff. After an hour spending time in there, I decided to go home.

     Minnie pulls on her lead towards the beach, in the opposite direction to the bungalow. I don’t blame her for not wanting to go back indoors, but we can’t hang around the town all day, purposeless. To be perfectly honest, we have been entirely without purpose since we arrived here a few days ago, but the important thing is that we should be purposeless out of sight of people who will report back to dad or Louis, so I drag Minnie back towards the path along the river.

     My parents already split up since ten years ago. I choose to stay with mum instead of  dad. And Louis stay with dad. So I was happy living together with mum until one day she introduced me to her fiancé and they are getting married. I refused to let her marry another man. So, I think this is the reason why I’m here. Only an idiot would come here to Lyme Regis to escape from things like that. I didn’t want mum to marry another man.

    I told Louis about this and suddenly I received a call from dad. He had offered me to stay with him so that we both can have that father-daugther times together since I haven’t met him and my brother about 11 years. I took some clothes and stuffs, though. There was making a point. Mum didn’t care anymore but she was disappointed to know that I wanted to stay with dad. By then I didn’t much care about what I wore; all my fancy clothes had hung, untouched, in my wardrobe for months, and there they stay.

     And I took Minnie, of course. I knew mum would be upset about Minnie. Sometimes I thought that she had bought me a puppy just so she could guarantee there would be someone in the house to greet me with boundless enthusiasm when she got back from work- God knows I couldn’t always manage it. I couldn’t leave Minnie behind. Mum was never at home anyway, so who’d have looked after her when she was away for work or a date? And even when she wasn’t away, Minnie have been too lonely on her own in the house all day. I should know. Perhaps if I’d thought a bit more about what I was running to, instead of what I was running from, I’d have to brought a bit more with me. Perhaps I shouldn’t have left with nothing after all; I hadn’t even fought for any of it.

     Minnie and I reached the end of the riverside path. It stops at a bridge, which offers us two choices; one direction will take them back towards the town, the other leads up the hill towards my dad’s bungalow, that was Granny Gilbert’s. Minnie looks up at me, unsure which direction to take. You and me,I think. But we take the path most travelled; the one that goes back to the bungalow. The one that’s not going to make any difference. There’s a reason why tourists don’t bother visiting Hill View Close, where Granny Gilbert’s 1960s bungalow faces its identically unattaractive neighbours across bleaky paved low-maintenance, wheelchair-accessible front gardens. No one poses for family photographs outside the boxy glass porches; no one stops to admire the sickly fern turning yellow in Granny Gilbert’s living-room window next to the Neighbourhood Watch sticker.

    No one wanders these Lyme Regis street and dreams of escaping the rat race for a new life in this cul-de-sac. Which would be why Granny Gilbert’s house has been on sale for over a year without a single offer. The estate agent’s board gives the house an even more forlorn look, like a poster advertising a show that has long since left town.

     This is the kind of home you move into not out of optimism and excitement and choice, but out of compromise. You move here when your garden has become too much for you, because your family’s concerned that you are unsteady on the stairs these days, because you no longer need all that space just for yourself. Because you was upset about your mum’s marriage and have nowhere else to go. I should be grateful for this. I am. It’s a place to live, for nothing. But it’s hard to see this move as the fresh start I thought I was running to.

     The front door opens with a pop of insulation foam; Granny Gilbert liked her home to be hermetically sealed from every possibility of draught. There’s only Louis’s Mercedes in the porch. Dad’s Range Rover wasn’t there. I head straight for the back door to fling it wide open. Granny Gilbert’s garden is nothing special, just a square of patio surrounded by some scrubby rose bushes that Dad has hacked down to stumps, but I feel ashtonised every time I see the view. It’s like walking through the wardrobe into Narnia. Fooled by the drab of bungalow, you don’t expect to be presented with a scene straight from a watercolour painting.

I can feel my heart lift; it’s strange how a view can do that to you. Maybe it’s something that happens when you get older and older and older. I don’t really remember being awed by the scenery when I visited Granny Gilbert as a child with Louis- but everytime I step into the garden now I understand all over again why someone would move to one of these plain, simple and ugly bungalows. Once you’re inside, you don’t have to look at it, and from the garden you can feel like you’re flying over the town.

     ‘Kate, dear? Is that you?’

     Minnie starts as a voice calls out from behind the rose bushes. She runs back to hide behind my legs.

     ‘Hello?’, I say to the shrubbery. ‘It’s not Kate, it’s her daughter, Dianna’. I haven’t yet met a single neighbourhood but, to be honest, I have kept my head down every time I’ve left the house, unwilling to meet anyone’s eyes in case I’m drawn into a conversation. I’d rather not have to introduce myself and explain my circumstances to everyone in Lyme.

     I hear the harsh scraping sound of something metallic being dragged across paving stones, and then a muffled grunt. Two gnarled brown hands, a flaming red nail on each finger, grasp the top of Granny Gilbert’s garden fence with purpose. Rising up behind them, like the sun over the horizon, is a lavishly rubber-petalled orange swimming hat. And finally, a face, wrinkled and tanned to the consistency of biltong, in which two blue eyes twinkle brightly.

     ‘Now, you must be Dianna! How lovely. Don’t you look like your mother? I’d know you anywhere’

     I smiled, that’s a fact that I really look like mum. Blonded hair, blue eyes. ‘Hello’, I say, and I’m about to ask her name when there’s a clattering sound and the swimming hat disappears from view. For a moment her fingers still cling to the top of the fence, knuckles blanching with the effort, and then they disappear too. I hear a worrying thudding noise, of something soft landing on something hard.

     ‘Are you okay?’, I call over the fence, but there’s no answer.

     ‘Louis! Help me! Louis!’, I call over to Louis. I look up at his bedroom’s window that was wide opened. ‘Louis, do you hear me?! I need your help!’. Still there’s no answer. He must be asleep.

     ‘Shit’, I whisper under my breath. ‘You stay there, Minnie’, I say. I sprint back through the house and out into the deserted close. Not even a net curtain twitches. There’s no one to ask for help.

     A high wooden gate blocks off the entrance to next door’s garden, and it’s locked. I try to peer through the slats, but they’re too narrow to see anything; all I get is a faceful of creosote fumes. From Granny Gilbert’s garden I can hear Minnie’s high-pitched anxious bark. I rattle the metal latch and call out again, ‘Hello? Hello, are you all right?’

     I can hear a faint groan from behind the gate- what if the old lady is lying there with her head split open on the paving? God knows what Neighbourhood Watch will think, but I can’t just leave her. I step backwards and take a running jump to leap over the gate, which has clearly been designed with the specific aim of clearing it, I hang by my fingertips from the top, my feet scrabbling for purchase against the bottom, achieving absolutely nothing. At this rate there will be two of us lying unconscious outside this bungalow.

     Wait, though, is that a recycling box at the end of the drive? They’re sturdy things, aren’t they? I drag it to the base of the gate and make sure the lid is secured before I stand on it; it gives me just enough lift to allow me to launch myself over the top, swinging one leg over so I’m sitiing on top of the gate. From this new vantage point, steadying myself by clamping my legs on either side of the gate, I can see into next-door’s garden; a toppled stepladder lies on its side on the paving stones, but there is no sign of the old lady.

     I’m about to swing my other leg over and jump into the garden when the gate rattles alarmingly, as if it’s about to give away. Before I can lauch myself onto the other side, a hand grabs my leg and a male voice demands, ‘Care to explain what you’re doing breaking into my grandmother’s house?’

     I’m so intent on not falling off the gate that I can’t look down properly to see who has hold of my leg.

     ‘I’m not- I didn’t- I think she’s fallen over in the garden. The lad- the ladder’, I’m babbling incoherently.

     ‘What’s going on here? And mate, why you holding my sister’s leg?’, asks a voice from behind followed by Minnie’s bark. I knew it was Louis.

     “What? Are you seriously, Lou? Is this Di-‘

     Before the man could answer Louis’ question, another voice interrupt. ‘What is going on?’, asks a querulous voice.

     The swimming hat is gone, revealing a damp, wispy head of hair, like the down of a freshyly hatched chick. And now I can see it wasn’t just her face that was tanned. The old lady is burnished to a rich shade of mahogany, the kind of Seventies colour you rarely see in these days of SPFs and skin cancer warnings. I wonder if it can be real, but she looks far too no-nonsense to be messing around with fake tan or sunbeds.

     ‘Are you okay?’, I ask firmly. ‘It sounded like… I thought you’d fallen, I was trying to check…’

     The old lady looks annoyed, her eyes flash at me. ‘In the garden just now?’, she says. ‘I simply slipped. Nothing to worry about, I assure you’

     ‘Oh, it’s just then you went to suddenly’, I say, clutching onto the gate with my knees. ‘While we were talking. It made me worried when I saw your swimming hat disappear like that’

     ‘Swimming hat?’, says Louis, frowning.

     ‘I wasn’t wearing a swimming hat’, the old lady retorts. She glares at me pointedly.

     ‘Have you been swimming this morning?’, asks the man. He put his hands on his hips and looks at her accusingly. ‘I thought we’d agreed you’d only go when I can take you’

     ‘Honestly, I’m not some helpless little old lady’, says the little old lady, waving a dissmive hand in a way that is meant to include both of us. ‘All of this fuss about nothing’

     Now the man’s let go of my leg. I see my chances to get down at last; my thights are beginning to protest at having to support me in this position. There is no elegant way to lower yourself backwards off a six-foot-high gate, let me tell you. I can only be grateful that I’m in jeans and not a skirt, though I can’t help wishing they weren’t tight ones; I realize my bum must look huge as I hang over the top of the gate, my feet scrabbling in mid-air for the recycling box below.

     Suddenly, the voice behind me stop. I feel hands around my waist and I’m lowered onto the ground.

     ‘Thank you’, I say primly, trying to regain my dignity. My hair has been flying all over the place thanks to my exertions, and I pull it back off my face in an effort to look respectable, and not like a pensioner-robbing house-breaker.

     ‘No way’, says the man, a slow smile spreading across his face. He is standing far too close to me.

     ‘What?’ I say crossly. I don’t like the way he’s staring. I turn to see Louis, also smile as he watch us before I turn back to the guy.

     ‘Dianna Tomlinson, I don’t belive it’. I haven’t been called Dianna Tomlinson for 10 years as mum wanted me to be called Dianna Agron. I’m about to correct him but Louis knows it. He walk closer to me and lean in, ‘No. You are Dianna Tomlinson. Remember that, Didi. I love you’, he whisper and pulls me into a hug. I’m Dianna Tomlinson. But I stop myself when I realize that I don’t really know what to call myself at the moment. Louis then pulls away before walk back to Granny Gilbert’s bungalow.

     ‘I’m sorry. I don’t remember-‘, I begin.

     ‘Oh, of course you don’t’ he laughs, stepping back to link his arm through his grandmother’s. She pats the drying wisps of her hair, trying to style it. ‘The famous Dianna Tomlinson’s forgotten all about Lyme, hasn’t she?’

     I look at him more closely, I’m sure I would remember if I knew this man, he doesn’t look like someone who’s easy to forget. He towers above his grandmother, his dark hair is closely cropped to his head and he has the kind of strong nose and beautiful honey eyes that would be disaster on girls. Girls, not a girl. Take note. But which lends his face a certain character. It’s the commanding sort of profile you would expect to see on an ancient coin.

     His beautiful eyes begin to crinkle under my scrutiny, as if he’s about to burst out laughing. ‘Vas happenin. Got it yet?’, he asks cockily, but I can see his apparent confidence waver momentarily. He looks much younger for that second, and suddenly I know exactly who he is.

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