Shattered

Shattered (verb): to break something into pieces, to damage as by breaking or crushing to impair or destroy, to be broken into fragments.
Hollie loved words, she had ever since she could remember. It was something many found irritating. Until she met Jack.

Jack’s world suddenly comes crashing down with a knock at the door and a ghost from the past he tried to keep hidden returns to haunt him.
Hollie doesn’t know what to believe and where to turn. Will the ghosts shatter their perfect life or will it make them stronger?

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10. Ten

One Year Later

 

    I sit down on the sofa, letting out a hefty sigh. The tears are still streaming down my face even though I don’t know how to feel. It’s like when I get pins and needles, you don’t know if you’re feeling anything or nothing. I don’t know whether I’m feeling something about it, or whether it’s completely numb to me.

    “You okay?” Sam asks, putting his hand on my shoulder as he sits down beside me. I give him a nod but I know something isn’t sitting quite right. “We can talk about it, you know, if you want to.”

    I shake my head. “No I don’t think so. I mean… what is there to talk about?”

    Sam chuckles lightly. “Well, he was found not guilty. He starts back at uni on Monday. I mean… it’s a big thing, Hollie. I just thought you might wanted to talk about it.”

    I sigh and sit up properly. “He’ll be back in our lives like it never happened. He gets to walk free because they say there is not enough evidence to suggest she couldn’t consent. I mean… I don’t understand how no one could have not seen how much she had to drink. I don’t understand how no one could have thought he was not able to do it. I know his personality says so, but seriously… he was drunk. So was she. The fact she was drunk is surely enough to know she didn’t consent? And I don’t understand how I think he’s done it when everything in my being says to believe the jury. I don’t get it, Sam, I don’t. I don’t know why he gets to go on with no repercussions while we still have to deal with the fall out.”

    Sam sighs and kisses the side of my head. “I don’t know why you feel like that, Hollie. But I totally understand it. You want to believe that he didn’t. Yet everything in your mind is telling you that he is guilty. The absolute truth is something that only he and her know for sure. The jury said they couldn’t find him guilty because of lack of evidence that she could consent or not. But that doesn’t mean he is actually innocent, does it?”

    “That doesn’t sound like justice, does it? What kind of justice is it, when a woman, or even a man, reports a sexual crime to be put through all of that and then be told he is to be let go because of a lack of evidence? What does that say about justice? He could have done it, he could have been a violent type and threatened her, put a knife to her throat, and yet he could have been let off for lack of evidence. And now he’s walking free, back to his cushy life as a trainee doctor. And if he has done it? She has to live with that for the rest of her life, try and move on and get on with it. Yet he gets off scotch free. That’s wrong,” I say. Something about this doesn’t sit right with me. Yeah, there may be lack of ‘reasonable doubt’ as they call it in the legal system. But if he has done it, her life is ruined in her eyes, and yet he is the one that gets to move on and do everything he ever wanted and forget it happened.

    “Don’t forget, Hollie, this will technically be down on his record. It’ll say ‘no further action’ but it’ll still be there. He’ll still have the reputation as someone who got arrested for it. It won’t leave him. It won’t be over at all. It might not be the right justice, but it’s something,” Sam says. I shrug in agreement with him. He’s right, of course, but it still doesn’t sit right with me. Something about knowing he’ll be back in our lives, technically, just really irritates me. I thought I was over it, fully. But now I know he’s legally ‘innocent’, well that just makes it worse.

    “He’s completely ruined everything and now he’s out and able to try it again,” I say.

    “Don’t be silly, sweetheart. I mean, yeah, there was a time where we both couldn’t see the light at the end of this hellhole of a tunnel, but we came out of it, didn’t we? We got there, together, and now we’re here, together. If anything, I’m kind of glad he fucked up,” he says, gripping my hand. “Means we could be where we are now. And if anything, the fact he’s had to be set back a year means I won’t have to see him every day. He’ll still be at uni while I’m doing my second foundation year. Then I’ll be his senior if anything. There’s some kind of justice, isn’t there?” we both chuckle lightly at that thought.

    He’s right of course, there is some kind of justice coming out of this. Jack cheated on me, whilst drunk and potentially (but not legally apparently) raped a girl. Then he lied about it, and then he got himself so convinced he was innocent he made himself mentally ill. And then tried to ruin my relationship with Sam. But even though he gets to walk free from prison, he still has that tarnished reputation of being the guy who went to trial for rape. He still has that tarnished on his record. People will still wonder whether he really did it because there was a lack of evidence. But Jessica? Well she’ll still have this in her head, she’ll still struggle with it daily, I imagine. Although I’ve never been in that situation I can still kind of imagine how awful it must be, how terribly horrific every day must be just to carry on. But I know she’s where Sam is now. She’s doing her foundation years, she got her medical degree. She came out with a first despite going through all the horrific crap of the last year. She knows the truth, and I know that me and Sam believe there is some kind of truth to what she says happened, yet she triumphed and did better than anyone thought she could do with that on her plate.

    I still get taunted, get hounded, get questioned on campus. It still lives with me even after graduation, and I know it still sticks with Sam whenever he sees people from his year. But we got through it. Together. We came through it and came through it together because we could see through the absolute crap.

    “It’ll be okay, Hollie, okay? I promise you,” Sam says and I turn to him, kissing him. Something about the way he gives me promises makes me feel safe and that nothing can ever go wrong.

 

    I walk into the kitchen to find Sam sitting at the table with Jack, both holding a cup of tea. One is sitting next to Sam, waiting for me to sit in front of it.

    I sigh and sit down beside Sam, my hands shaking. I know physically and emotionally, I am not over Jack fully. I don’t understand why, because I’ve moved on and found happiness with Sam, and everything in my life is working out. However I think it’s the closure I never got with Jack and that I will never know what really happened, and I will never fully be over it because I never got closure. There will always be a hole where Jack left me without the truth. Sam knows that and I know that Sam knows I know it too. I feel awful for not being able to fully leave it behind but the nature of what has happened, I don’t think anyone could blame me. I know it is the same for Sam, but on an entirely different level.

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