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Rose Lane Ch28

by Jubbly 

Posted: 11 March 2004
Word Count: 2112

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This piece and/or subsequent comments may contain strong language.

Chapter Twenty Eight


No one spoke about that night. Philip simply pretended it never happened and Tara explained it all way, she was so good at that.
"Oh Brian, we got so out of it, you wouldn't believe it, I just crashed out, Philip undressed me then passed out too, I didn't even know where I was when I woke up."
Brian chose to believe this version of events, what the hell, he'd tried a similar experiment with Miranda years ago another awful drunken mistake, fortunately Miranda had kept her clothes on.
But things had never been the same between Tara and Philip, not since that night,and certainly not since he found out about Tara's little tete a tete with his ex fiancée Judith.

He found out on a rare trip back home to visit his parents. He'd been missing his pet cat but when he called and asked his mother if he could bring his cat back to Brian's, she said no. I don't think that's a good idea, not at her age., she's used to her life here. Philip agreed and said he'd pop over on the weekend, he wanted to pick up a few books and bits and pieces from his room, see how they all were, it was settled but at home in Blackheath a terrible scene awaited him.

His mother in a dreadful state weeping uncontrollably when she saw him, his father pale and suspicious preferring to sit in a darkened room reading his bible rather than come out and greet his only son. His sister Dymphna's eyes full of disgust as she ushered her new husband out of Philip's presence, her visible baby bump brushing against him as she passed.
"How could you?" she spat. "Judith's devastated."
"What are you talking about?"
Dymphna told him, she told him all the horrible things Tara had said to Judith. The real reason behind the break up. How she knew he was engaged in unnatural acts with a man, how it all made sense now, how much she despised him, how he'd hurt his beloved parents beyond belief and how she in no way wanted him involved in her unborn child's life. It was all so melodramatic and Victorian yet Philip was left devastated and all alone.

He wasn't prepared for this, as much as he wanted to leave his old life behind and move on, he couldn't. He was tied to his family an invisible emotional, tumultuous rope entwined itself around his disgraced and pitiful body. He was one of them and they had eaten right into his soul. Now through his selfish unnatural actions he'd taken steps to destroy everything he knew, he had to put things right, he just had to.

Tara had her own key to Brian's, so while his mother was in hospital having tests for a little something that was bothering her downstairs and Brian was constant at her bedside, proffering chocolates and rearranging flowers, Tara rang the doorbell of the 1930's house in Randwick.

She'd been up all night, dancing, drinking, earning a little cash from the dodgy drugs she sometimes sold at night-clubs. Nothing too serious, poppers, speed, grass. She'd phoned Philip earlier, no he didn't feel much like coming out, but why didn't she call round tomorrow? He'd fix her breakfast, clear her hangover, feast on all the sordid gossip from the night before, she was in a hurry and the traffic outside the phone box made it difficult to talk, had she taken more time, listened more intently she might just have caught the veiled hatred seeping through her friends affected voice. But thinking nothing odd, she called round as planned.

No one answered the door, Tara turned the knob, it was unlocked though the house was uncommonly silent, the fetor of cigarette smoke overwhelming. As she passed the kitchen the gaunt figure of Philip startled her.
"Shit, why didn't you say something you nearly scared me to death?"
He stared at her, eyes cold and fists clenched.
"Good night?"
"Yeah alright, Christ put the kettle on I need black coffee fast."

Philip did as requested, he filled the kettle but didn't take his eyes off her.

"Why are you staring at me, stop, you're freaking me out, do I look that bad?"

"You look like you haven't been to bed."

"I haven't, I'm going to go and lie in the sun in the garden, just sleep in the sun and wake up all vitamin D drenched and gorgeous if that's alright with you."

Philip continued making coffee while Tara lit a cigarette and refreshed her dark mulberry lipstick. Philip watched this woman, this creature who'd made it her business to set about a chain of events that would ultimately destroy his family.

"Christ, who do I have to fuck around here to get a cup of coffee, come on."
Tara pulled a comic impatient face and went to get a coffee mug from the cupboard. Philip snatched the cup from her hand and threw it on the floor, shattering it to pieces.

"What the hell.....

But before she could finish, Philip was right in front of her, as if to kiss her but instead he reached out, cupping her tiny face in his big, land worker hands.

"You little bitch!" he spat.

Philip released his grip and took a step back, no he was going to be reasonable he was going to give her the benefit of the doubt.

"What did you say to her?"

"What's the matter with you, who are you talking about? " Tara wasn't in the mood for mind games. Her room at the East Sydney squat had been taken over by an androgynous tap dancer who went by the name of Little Missy Temple and Tara's good favour bank was clearly overdrawn.

"Judith, that's who, what the fuck did you do this time?"

"Boring ", said Tara in her arch tone.

"I know you had a little conversation with her Tara, why, why did you do it?"

"Oh," shrugged Tara, pouring herself orange juice from the fridge. "Miss Jumping Jehovah, sorry Phil, I just couldn't take it any more so I told her the truth."

Philip glared, then banged his fist on the kitchen table with such force, Tara jumped.
"What truth? Answer me!"

"Oh please, calm down, The truth, it's okay, you're off the hook, she knows you take it up the arse, don't worry she'll get over it, we all do."

"She's told my family."
Tara shrugged, " Not in those words I hope."

"I hate you for this Tara, I will never forgive you for this you had no right.....

"Oh please, take a break from all the dramatics, so what, they know, great, they would've found out one day."

"No," he shook his head, "No they wouldn't have, they never needed to know."
Tara rounded on him.
"What about poor Brian, what were you going to do, just use him then go and get married and preach all round the country in that freaky fucking church you belong to, you're sick Philip, do you know that, really fucking sick." she made a circular motion around her ear with her finger.

"We could've carried on as we were, they didn't have to know a thing."
"You don't give a shit about Brian do you?" Tara taunted, pouring herself a glass of water.

"Of course I do, you don't know anything about us, just shut up you stupid bitch!"
"If you're so devoted to Brian then why did you fuck me?"
Tara slammed her glass down hard on the kitchen bench and went to battle.
"Get real Philip, you're a grown man not some pathetic little choir boy, so what we got pissed and fell into bed, big deal, don't even remember, just another booze addled crap lay. Another day, another dick, that's me okay, why don't you just grow up, go and tell your parents you don't believe in God and you like sucking cock, who knows it probably won't come as a surprise."

Philip lunged at her, gripping her throat with his hands and wresting her to the ground oblivious to her gasping and choking sounds.

"No, stop, Philip...I'm sorry...stop it..

She coughed and gasped and fought and scratched but he didn't care. If his God wanted something to be angry about then he'd bloody well give him something, something really terrible, really bad, not just a misguided sexual preference, he would do something truly evil.
Tara managed to free herself from his grip and raced through the open back door but just as she was about to escape he caught her by the foot, tripping her up. As she struggled to get her balance on the landing of the back stairs, Philip saw his opportunity and pulling himself up onto his feet then pushed her all the way down the stairs. Her scream was just a faint cry, suppressed by shock and the damage to her throat he'd already done and unfortunately concealed by the sound of motorised lawn mower a few yards away.

She fell, banging her head on the rockery at the base of the stairs. Thud!

By the time his rage subsided and all was calm Tara had gone. If he truly believed in his God, he would have felt relieved, poor unloved Tara, desperate for attention, never really happy, confused and all alone, well now she was in heaven, another lost soul sitting at the arm of the Lord . But if he truly believed, as he professed, he'd know his fate would be very terrible indeed. He cleaned up the blood from the rock and made his decision.

The freshly laid foundations for the new acting studio he was building for Brian had been left to set. Brian wouldn't be back for ages , no one ever missed Tara and so he took her limp body, removing any clothing and jewellery that might identify her and plunged her deep into the soft cement, water, sand and coarse aggregate her bed now. He made a bonfire in one of Mr Trinder Snrs old tin barrels and burnt it all, her clothes, bag, make up , even her beloved copy of Anais Nin's Delta of Venus. The jewellery he kept, earrings, rings, bangles and chains, he threw them over the side of the Manly ferry one late night and that was it, she was gone for good, or so he thought. There she lay , a skeletal carpet for the acting workshops of the future and when Brian finally tired of teaching and the theatre, he used the studio for his new hobby, storing antiques and bits and bobs he picked up from flea markets. And tire he did, just got fed up, there was never any grand production at the Sydney Opera house, or award winning success for his graduates, they faded and left and all his dreams turned to dust.

Philip stayed with Brian until the studio was finished. He toiled night and day, much to Brian's chagrin. "Come on luv, can't we just go out and get a beer?" But no, Philip kept on working. This was nothing new to him, where he came from his whole family were devoted to the art of church planting. They were forever gathering together on weekends to construct houses of worship for the brethren. The new churches would be believers churches, rather than territorial churches, free from state control and committed to mission. They would be churches characterised by multi-voiced worship, the exercise of church discipline, mutual aid, truth telling, evangelism and non - violence. Whoops. When Brian enquired about Tara, Philip said she'd gone to Queensland, was working in a bar on the Gold Coast, had a letter just the other day. When Brian asked to read it, Philip said he couldn't find it, never mind, she'll be back, we all know what Tara's like. A few weeks later, when the studio was finished, Philip departed and never contacted Brian again . He left a note saying he wanted to go travelling, do some thinking, sort himself out. He never married his Judith or became a Minster in his parents church, instead he worked in various bars up and down the coast, finally settling in Surfers paradise, contracting the HIV virus and dying there in 1987. His parents didn't try and trace him, as far as they were concerned he was lost to them, God could watch over him now, they'd tried Lord knows they'd done their best but now it was up to a far greater entity to take over their duties..

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Comments by other Members

Account Closed at 16:38 on 11 March 2004  Report this post
The freshly laid foundations for the new acting studio he was building for Brian – Where did this come from? Did you mention it before?

non - violence. Whoops –flippant considering the circumstances.

it all way,=away?

her age.,

but at home in Blackheath a terrible scene awaited him = do you need this? Won’t we find out soon enough?

dodgy drugs = do you need dodgy for drugs sold in a nightclub?!

friends affected voice. = ‘s

No one answered the door, Tara turned the knob, it was unlocked though = wouldn’t full stops after door and knob be better to build tension?

Tara's good favour bank was clearly overdrawn. = like it! But maybe replace clearly with something else… badly?

If his God wanted something to be angry about then he'd bloody well give him something, something really terrible, really bad, not just a misguided sexual preference, he would do something truly evil.

This seems a bit reflective, it breaks up the action and makes the crime look less furious, more pre-meditated.

The last two paragraphs: I’m not sure I want all this info right now. I’m just digesting a cold-blooded murder plus I thought it was Brian who killed her so you’re giving me too much info again!

I think this is the key to the novel – what it has been building up to but there is a whole part of Philip’s life which we haven’t seen. For me, Philip needs to be more of a key player. Do you know much about these churches? Imagine the film version – Philip and his family building the church – the services, the chit-chat that is normal in their world, heavily contrasted with the decadent theatrical world of Brian. The key people are Brian, Philip, Miranda and Tara with Brain’s mother, Miranda’s husband, the other actors, Pattie and the rest of Mel’s family as secondary characters plus Philip's family and his girlfriend. Then there's Mel as a sort of distant narrator. We need to see what a strong impression Tara made on Mel’s life.

In the present day story you’ve got the balance right and Elise is the 2004 version of Tara. I think you should bring this out more plus the fact that it’s her she’s painting.

You really need to cut out the lesser characters who give us amusing anecdotes but don’t advance the plot. Leave Aunt Jean (of course) but she’s enough.

Saying this I’ve got 2 chapters to go but I presume it wraps up the present situation and maybe we’ll get to meet the sons… You have got a really great, strong skeleton – it’s all there and I repeat it’s a good story.

It might be an idea to write a fairly detailed synopsis to see who and what really matters to moving the story forward.

Hope this helps


ps It's much much easier to crit than to write..

Jubbly at 16:50 on 11 March 2004  Report this post
Thanks Elspeth, you're a brilliant crit, I find it very difficult - I get half way through and then think, ' Oh no that's just me, what do I know.' But you are really really helpful and I've very grateful you've stayed with it. There are two more to go and a tinsy epiloguey thingy, all quite short, I'll get them over with in the next few days then start rewriting, send out again then put it all to bed. Good luck with Suitcase, cheers my Guardian Angel.


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