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?


3. Three

    “We don’t need to go over something…” Jack stops speaking when I polish off my glass and pour another one.

    “Merely two days ago you proposed to me, Jack. I agreed to marry you. And now you’ve been accused of raping someone. And then you return home and expect me to not want to know what happened? You owe me an explanation, Jack. And to be quite honest, I don’t know what to think. Most of me can’t see you ever doing something… so disgusting. But part of me is also thinking that if you hadn’t done it, you would have given me at least some form of explanation by now. So talk,” I snap.

    “I don’t know what to tell you, Hollie,” he shrugs at me, a single tear dripping from his chin. I ease up and relax for a minute. There is just no way I can ever see him doing this kind of thing. Ever.

    “Tell me the truth,” I say, trying to keep myself composed. Whether he has factually done this or not, I need to know what I’m up against. “When, who, why, how?”

    He sighs and nods, putting his head down on the table. “She was…is…she is some girl from my course, well the five year medicine course anyway, in her fourth year.”

    “So you know who accused you?” I say rhetorically. I watch him nod in acknowledgement, still looking at the table beneath him. His shoulders are hunched, his frown lines set in and if I wasn’t so confused about everything, I would probably drop to my knees and give him a cuddle. But I’m just… I don’t know what to believe.

    “Yeah,” he says and takes a breath. “She’s accused me of… of raping her.”

    “Did you?” I ask simply. He shoots daggers at me in confusion. “Jack… did you?”

    “No! No! We were… drunk,” he says and I immediately sigh, closing my eyes.

    “You realise it’s not as black and white as that, yeah? Do you remember it? Was she…was she drunk or absolutely off her face drunk?” I ask. So it’s not a case of did he or didn’t he, it’s a case of consent. This is the worst type, surely, to be involved in, to be prosecuted against? Because as a “defendant” surely most men think it’s not, whereas the woman sees it differently. That’s if she remembers it at all. If she doesn’t remember, is it rape? I don’t know. But that’s not for me to decipher is it?

    “I know that, I’m not an idiot,” Jack snaps.

    I laugh. “Do not snap at me, Jack, for the love of God. I think you’ll find you’re not in the position to be snapping at me right now.”

    “I’m sorry.”

    “So… you met her where exactly? Student union? Freshers week? On your course? You both met up, got hammered, and then what?” I ask.

    “We all went out, buying each other rounds, we just… ended back at mine and carried on the party. We ended up…you know. Next thing I know about it, this happens.”

    I snort. “There is more to it. You must remember. She said no? She’s making it up? You were both too hammered to know what consent means? What am I missing here? Girls in medicine school do not just make up that they’ve been raped, Jack. So what exactly am I missing?”

     “I would tell you if I knew! All I remember is waking up next to her, both of us naked, okay? I don’t remember much, I remember you know, doing it, but not much about you know, the consent bit,” he says.

     “Well, let’s first try and remember, did she say no?”

    “I don’t know! I know for a fact if she had I would have stopped,” he says. I sigh. I’m not going to get anywhere. “Do we have to… do this? I’ve already had it all day by the police.”

    I roll my eyes and down my drink – I’ve finished the bottle. Damn. “Yeah, fine. But it’s going to get a hell of a lot worse from now on. And this,” I point between him and me. “is not over. You owe me answers.”

    “Yeah I know,” he says and I walk into the bathroom. I lock the door and lean against the sink with a sigh.


    A tapping on the door of the bedroom makes me jump. After an hour he’s finally making contact with me? I’ve been sitting on the bed brooding for a while now. I think about the times we’ve been out – rarely, but still – and got drunk together. We’d often have just enough to feel the effects, but still be able to navigate ourselves, get a kebab and come home and watch TV together before falling into a fit of giggles together and go to sleep. I would never ever imagine him having sex with me during those times, let alone if I was anymore drunk than we have been. Would he? I know he knows, I know he’s not telling me something.

    “Hollie?” I hear softly through the door.

    “Not now, Jack, okay? I’m going to go to bed,” I say. He opens the door anyway and walks in, staring at me in confusion. “I said not now.” I close my mouth before making a jibe at him about how I said no, and she did too. But I still don’t know what happened, I don’t know if he is truly guilty or not, so who am I to say anything?

    “Okay,” he says and walks out the bedroom again, leaving a frosty feeling in his wake. I sit back down on the bed and put my head in my hands and I feel myself getting heavier. Could this get any worse? I mean, what am I meant to tell the police? I don’t think my fiancé is capable of that… but I really don’t know? He told me that he slept with whoever this girl is, but he says he would never do it?

    In all of my life so far, I had never thought I’d ever get in trouble with the law. I never thought I’d know someone capable of fucking up so big that it could tarnish not just their life, but mine. I know he would never intentionally do this, and yet if he’s sent to prison for this, well then he’s screwed. And so am I. Yet if I go in there tomorrow and say I know nothing, I’m screwing everything for myself up. I have nothing to gain by lying, but I have nothing to gain by telling them what he told me just now. I wish I knew what he’d told them. I wish I knew what is going on in his head; you think you know someone like the palm of your hand, and then something like this happens and you start to wonder if you really knew them at all.


    “Do you know this woman?” the policeman puts a photo in front of me. A brunette girl in what looks like her version of Jack’s university and hospital ID. Long hair, dark eyes, a smile on her face. Was that before or after this happened?

    “I don’t, no,” I say honestly.

    “This is Jessica Smith, she’s twenty two years old, and in the penultimate year of her medicine degree. She works with your… fiancé, Jack,” he tells me.

    “Never met her before, I may have seen her in passing, but she doesn’t look like someone I know,” I say honestly. The policeman nods and retracts the photo from my view. I swallow hard – this is nerve wracking, even without the knowledge Jack gave me of what he thinks happened last night.

    “Where were you on the night of fifth May of this year?” the policeman asks and I furrow my eyes at him.

    “Fifth May this year?” I ask for clarification and he nods.

    “Uhh, well, I was at home working on an assignment. It was the Sunday of the May bank holiday so I didn’t have uni the next day, and Jack had the next day off. I remember he went out in the afternoon and I stayed at home to finish an assignment due that week,” I recall. “Why?”

    “We have reason to believe that Mr Davis ended up going back to Miss Smith’s flat…”

    So, he lied. He lied. He told me they ended up going back to his place, which if this is right, and the police say it happened last month, would make ‘his place’, our home. Which didn’t happen. He was out all night, told me he’d stayed with friends from his course. He lied through his teeth to me.

    “He was out all night, he texted me to tell me he was staying with his friends from his course. I had no reason not to trust him,” I offer. “Came home around eleven, I remember because we’d joked about it I think. He went straight to the shower and then we got on with our day.”

    “Our accounts suggest he had stayed at Miss Smith’s all night and he left around eight in the morning,” the policeman says. “What do you suspect your boyfriend was doing during those hours when he’d left?”

    I stop for a second and think about that. What would I have done after cheating on my girlfriend… by potentially raping a woman? If that is what happened? I don’t know.

    “He would have either gone to his friends’ place or gone for a drive. If he had been drinking then he wouldn’t have been driving. Apart from this… he wouldn’t do anything to jeopardise his career,” I say.

    “How did Mr Davis seem to you when he arrived home the next day?”

    “Skittish. Hungover. He was eager to have a shower and get on with our day. He seemed very eager to do the food shopping for the week. I just put it down to he had one too many and crashed out, and wanted to get rid of the hangover,” I say with a small shrug. “It didn’t seem like overly odd behaviour, just like he’d had too much.”

    “And he never gave you any indication that he had been at another woman’s flat? That they’d shared a bed?”


    “What is your relationship usually like?”

    “Perfect. We get on really well, always have done. Stressful at the moment with his shifts at the hospital and my end of degree work going on, but we’re fine. He’s just proposed so… I had no reason to believe anything was wrong, or going to happen anyway,” I admit.

    “Any violence or anything similar?”

    “Never. Jack would never, ever do anything near to violence or threatening behaviour. He wouldn’t hurt a fly,” I say honestly.

    “Has he spoken to you about this… incident before in any way shape or form?” the policeman asks and this is where I stutter for a minute. If I tell the truth, it could look bad on Jack. If I lie, I could get myself into trouble. But what have I to gain in either scenario? If Jack’s done anything, I can’t see a future where I could put up with the fact, but if he hasn’t, he’ll find out I told the truth which goes against him, and he would probably never forgive it.  

    “Yes,” I admit and sigh. “Last night when we got home from here… he told me little bits and pieces.”

    “Like what?”

    “He told me that they’d gone out together, that they ended back at his place. He and her were drunk and the next thing he knew was that they’d woken up naked in the same bed. He told me that if she had said no he would have stopped,” I say. “But I know some of that is a lie. If this happened this year, we’ve been living together for two years, so if they had ended up at his place, I’d have known. They didn’t end up at mine because I was alone in the flat all night.”

    “So why do you think he told you they’d gone back to his?”

    “He was trying to cover up the fact whether this is rape or not, the fact he’s cheated on me regardless of whether there was consent or not,” I say. “I have no doubt that the act of sex happened. I know Jack and I know he wouldn’t have told me he woke up next to a girl naked if they did nothing.”

    “Do you think Mr Davis could have raped Miss Smith?” he asks.

    “Honestly? I don’t know,” I say.

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