Eventually my stitches came out and I was deemed fit enough to go home, on the understanding that I was not to do anything physical which could result in my wound re-opening – a thought which did not really appeal.
Joe had finally asked Rose out for a date amid whoops and hollers from Ruby and the girls. She had said ‘yes’ and they had been inseparable for the couple of weeks since. It turned out that they had many things in common and Joe even made her laugh – something which he did with very few people.
They made an extremely attractive couple. Joe, tall and darkly handsome; Rose, slight and delicate with a beauty that was fresh and irresistible.
To celebrate Joe and Sarah’s eighteenth birthday, the two of them, together with Rose and me, went for a slap up meal at The Acropolis. We were seated at the very best table and drank champagne all night. We were even served by Greasy Phil himself, who could not have been more accommodating – especially now the word was out that we were tight with Vinnie Reece.
The night was a great success. Rose and Sarah hit it off straight away and we all ended up getting more than a little drunk. I had never seen Joe so full of fun; teasing Sarah and myself mercilessly about when we were getting married; telling jokes – which was certainly out of character; and generally having a good time. He appeared to be carefree, whilst being very attentive to Rose and openly showing his obvious affection for her. It was probably the happiest I’ve ever seen him.
Our work routine returned to normal, although I let Joe take care of any trouble if it arose. My side was healing nicely, the scab that had formed was hard and crusty, although still quite sore to touch but another couple of weeks and I would d have been back to normal.
Unfortunately, I suffered a set back which both Joe and I would remember for the rest of our lives.
Continues tomorrow or download the complete novel here