(First draft excerpts ~ Unedited ~ A Carpet of Purple Flowers)

The night before Bea's uncle died. Roxy, Leanne’s friend, showed up in the early hours of the morning creating havoc by persistently banging on the shop door. Bea rushed down the stairs thinking Brandon was in some sort of trouble, again, but to her surprise, she found Roxy swaying on the doorstep, drunk.

“You’d best get down to The Castle. Brandon took a girl back with him from the Red Lion.”

Bea felt sick at the revelation and the rest of Roxy’s words became a jumbled blur. She didn’t want to leave her uncle to check out Roxy’s drunken spill, but after all the past rumours, she had to put her mind at rest.

When she arrived at Brandon’s pub, The Mitcham Castle, a young lad called Jerry, let her in. Tommy, Brandon’s right-hand man, ran up the stairs after her. “Bea love, please don’t go up there. Come, let me take you ‘ome.” he had insisted.

It was then that she knew Roxy was speaking the truth. She pushed past Tommy and burst the bedroom door open. Her stomach turned at recalling the memory.

Brandon’s head twisted round towards the door. “Shit.” he grunted, as he lay naked on top of a pretty, blonde. Bea instantly recognised the woman’s face. It was Rosie, one of the old landlord’s daughters. She knew that Brandon had been spiralling out of control, but she never thought that he would betray her, not like this, not now. “How could you?” she yelled.

Brandon threw the sheet over Rosie, jumped from the bed, and started searching for his pants while yelling at Tommy. He needed someone to blame other than himself, as always. Bea ran as fast as she could from the pub and him.

The next thing she knew Brandon was kerb-crawling the roadside beside her. She ignored him, but on reaching the shop, he scrambled out of the car, still high from whatever he took earlier, and begged her to listen. Bea pulled away, opening the shop door, but when she tried to close it, he stuck his foot out, jarring it.

“Move your foot, Brandon. NOW!”

“Hear me out? Please, babe.”

His explanation involved, 'You were going through so much. I didn’t want to pester you. I don’t love her, it was only sex.' Needless to say, his poor excuse given for his betrayal as her uncle lay dying, fell on deaf ears.

The little tinkle of the shop’s bell broke her away from the past. She felt her heart pang as Leanne approached. She knew that Brandon’s behaviour had nothing to do with his little sister, but only seconds ago, she was reliving the pain that he had so carelessly delivered a year ago, and seeing her again only heightened the feelings of resentment. Bea took a deep breath trying to lay the memories to rest on exhaling.

“Hi, Bea.” Leanne gave her a warm, but cautious smile.

“Hi, birthday girl. It’s good to see you. How does it feel to be officially an adult?”

Leanne shrugged, “No different to yesterday.”

Bea knew Leanne could feel her awkwardness. It was written all over her gentle face. Slowly, Leanne reached out and held Bea’s hand. “I know my brother hurt you, and I should’ve popped in after you broke up…I’m sorry. I didn't want to be in the middle...I wanted you know that Brandon isn’t around much these days anyway.” She paused and smiled. “So, please, come tonight. I’d really like you to be there.”

Bea gulped. “Of course, I’ll be there.”

A big grin appeared upon Leanne’s face and she hugged Bea with excitement. “I’ll see you tonight then? With Liza? We'll catch up, then?”

Bea nodded. Guess the excuse I was planning to give Liza later has just been kissed goodbye.