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Secrets and Lies

by FenixTaichou 

Posted: 28 November 2008
Word Count: 2679
Summary: I left the title as I originally named it, though its not quite apt. This was originally written as a stand alone but may be extended to a bigger story. The Groom and the Best Man are on their way to the Grooms hotel room before the wedding. Read on... (if anyone can think of a better category than "Relationships" please let me know)

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Secrets and Lies

Clyde Simon Barrington stepped into the lift, his hands clasped together behind his back. As he turned to face the door, he carefully adjusted his morning suit and gave his cravat a little nudge, before resuming his stiffened stance. As the doors began to close, another young man, pulled them open and hurriedly entered.

The man was dressed in a similar suit, only a little sloppier; his cravat was slanted too much to the right, his shirt was crudely tucked and his trousers were creased. Clyde looked him up and down with a look of disdain.
“You could have made more effort Nick, this is my wedding,” Clyde said sharply.
Nick shuffled his suit a little in a feeble attempt to tidy himself.
“I’m sorry Clyde,” Nick said, exhaustedly, “I had a few...ah, last minute things to sort out, so I got out in kind of a hurry.”

Nick leant forward, taking in deep breaths. Clyde pressed the button for the top floor of the hotel, and the doors of the lift closed. Nick straightened himself up and patted Clyde heavily on the back, startling him.
“You’re probably just stuffy from nerves. Why did you call me to meet you here anyway?”
Clyde started straight ahead silently.
“Clyde? What’s wrong...” Nick was cut off mid-sentence as the lift halted suddenly, making a grinding noise. With the jolt of the lift stopping, Nick lost his balanced and tumbled backwards onto his rear, while Clyde steadied himself on the handle bars of the lift. He cursed under his breath and began to frantically press the button for the top floor once more.

Nick pulled himself to his feet and tried to prise the door open.
“It’s useless,” he grunted. “It’s jammed shut. The lift must be stuck.”
He nudged past Clyde and looked at the many buttons of the lift control panel. The emergency button was bright red and much larger than the others. Nick pushed the button, and the small LED next to it began to flash periodically.
“I thought that was only true in spy movies,” Nick smirked.
Clyde spun round to face Nick.
“What?” Clyde snapped.
Nick moved back a few steps, as though Clyde’s aggressive response had pushed him.
“Are you going tell me what this is all about, and why you’re being so damn snappy? Your invite here wasn’t exactly very polite either if I recall.”

Once again, Clyde stood silently staring ahead, though his face had flushed red. Nick sighed and crossed his arms, leaning back against the rail.
“I think I know what this is about.”
Clyde huffed, but stayed resolute.
“Clyde...I’m sorry that I left the flat in a state this morning. The lads were over last night and we were watching the game. I figured you wouldn’t mind considering...y’know, you and Charlotte are moving in together.”
Clyde turned again quickly and shouted, his arms outstretched toward Nick.
“It’s not about that!!”
Nick gritted his teeth nervously.
“Those lift fixing chaps had better get here quick huh? We won’t have a wedding to go to otherwise!”
Clyde turned away again.
“There isn’t going to be one anyway,” he said, pointedly.
Nick pushed himself off from the rail and walked closer to Clyde.
“What are you talking about? What do you mean there isn’t going to be a wedding?!”
Clyde grabbed Nick by the lapels of his jacket and slammed him into the side of the lift.
“There isn’t going to be a wedding and you know full well why!” Clyde shouted, his face inches from Nick’s.
Nick pushed him away and straightened his suit.
“I don’t know what the bloody hell you’re talking about!”
“You and Charlotte! I know! I bloody well know what you two have been up to!” Clyde clutched the air in front of him in anger, as if choking Nick from afar. If air had a voice, it’d be screaming in pain.

Nick’s stomach sank and his face flushed red.
“Clyde, that’s a big accusation to make.”
Clyde prodded an angry finger into Nick’s chest.
“Did you think I wouldn’t ever find out? You bastard. You’re supposed to be my best man! My best friend! How could you do this to me?!” He turned away to face the doors once more. “How could she do this to me?”
“Look, you’re just stressed mate,” Nick sighed, “But I swear nothing is going on. Where have you gotten this crazy idea from?”
Nick tried to place a reassuring hand on Clyde’s shoulder, but he shook it off.
“I have the evidence Nick, like the lengthy phone bill from her mobile to yours. The times she’d come home late with the feeble excuse of work keeping her back late. I know that was a lie as I’d checked her rota; I checked with Rudy, he told me every goddamn time that her shift had finished an hour, sometimes two or three hours before she said she’d been kept behind! And then there’s...” Clyde bit his lip, and Nick could see he was biting back the tears. “And then there’s the gold watch I bought her for our anniversary. Guess where I found it Nick?”
Nick gritted his teeth harder. He already knew the answer to that question.
“I found it in your goddamn bed Nick!” Clyde shouted.
“There’s a perfectly good explanation for this...”
Clyde turned and pushed Nick up against the lift wall again,
“I bloody well hope it was good for you, it had better have been worth it!”
Nick flung Clyde’s arms aside and sidestepped out of his way.
“You’re getting a little heavy handed aren’t you, Clyde?” Nick said, with a slight sneer to his voice.
Clyde turned on his heel, his face bright red.

Nick had the momentum and decided to turn Clyde’s aggression against him. It was a risky, desperate attempt to calm him and get him to listen. He hoped that it would catch him off guard and that he’d listen and calm down. That was the theory, Nick thought.
“Clyde, I swear on my dear mother’s grave that nothing whatsoever is going on with Charley.”
“Charley?!” Clyde barked, “You even have your own pet name for her?”
Nick put the palm of his hand to his face and groaned.
“Clyde, that watch was in my bed, yes, but nothing happened. She took it off and lost it, but do you know what she did?”
Clyde stood silently fuming. Nick continued,
“She cried. She cried her heart out because she was afraid of what you’d say about her losing it. We looked all over my room for it but couldn’t find it. What on earth were you doing in my room to find it anyway?”

There was a loud grinding noise, and the lift slowly began to move again. A moment passed with silence between the two men, both visibly angry. The lift halted and the doors slowly opened. Stood in the hallway was a young man dressed in a bright red porter uniform. He looked at Nick and Clyde and smiled nervously.
“Sorry about that sirs, a fault with the lift.”
“You don’t say?” Clyde said, his words heavily lined with sarcasm.
The porter twiddled his white gloved thumbs nervously.
“Yes, although they are working fine now, sirs. If you would like to...”
Clyde cut him off mid-speech by pushing past him.
“We’ll take the stairs.”
Nick frowned and looked at the porter, mouthing the words ‘sorry’ as he passed.

Nick caught up with Clyde as he pushed through the door to the stairwell. As he mounted the stairs two by two, Nick struggled to keep up.
“Clyde, where are we going?”
Clyde stopped suddenly half a flight of stairs up, making Nick stop unsteadily himself.
“We’re going to Charlotte’s room.”
Nick waved his hands frantically in front of him,
“Oh no, no, you can’t do that, it’s bad luck!”
Clyde scoffed, “Bad luck? My luck couldn’t get worse.”
Nick sighed and shook his head as Clyde continued to bound up the stairs.

After three more flights Clyde pushed through the door into the hallway and charged down the corridor. He glanced at each door number, counting them out aloud, until he stopped fives doors down and called out,
“Seventy-Six! The whore’s room!”
As Clyde made to rap on the door Nick charged after him. He was too late as Clyde knocked hard on the door. He stopped in the corridor and bent down to regain his breath. As he glanced up, Clyde strode into the room and slammed the door behind him. Nick put his head in his hands and groaned. He heard raised voices, mostly Clyde’s, and then a loud clap and a cry. Nick ran to the door and grabbed the handle, pushing at it frantically. As he pushed into the door with his shoulder it gave way and he half fell into the room.

His eyes darted around the room quickly. Clyde stood by an open window, staring out. Nick looked at the bed, and there sat Charlotte. She was clad in her wedding dress, a beautiful white flowing dress adorned in little pearls. As she turned to look at Nick her long, bright blonde hair tumbled from her shoulder. The veil covered her face, but he could tell something was wrong.

Clyde turned to face them both, as Nick closed the door.
“Now we’re all here the truth can come out.”
Charlotte shouted through sobs, “I told you Clyde, nothing is going on between me and Nick!”
Clyde shouted, “The watch I gave you for our anniversary! I found it in his bed!”
Nick stood next to Charlotte, putting a consoling hand on her shoulder. Clyde strode forward and wrenched Nick’s arm away, spitting, “Get your filthy hand off of her!”
Nick pulled his arm back, but Clyde swung for him, and his fist connected with Nick’s nose with a sickening thud. Nick fell to his knee and brought his hand up to his nose, grunting as blood began to gush from it.
“Clyde, you idiot!” Charlotte shouted, “I lost that watch in his room, yes... I took it off for a moment and it must have fallen from the bedside cabinet... but do you know why I was there?”
Clyde remained silent, glaring down at her.
“I was there because my cousin had died. When I tried to talk to you, you didn’t want to know; instead you were too interested in your stupid business deal!”
Clyde took a step forward and Charlotte recoiled a little.
“That business deal is paying for this sham of a wedding, you ungrateful...”
Nick stood quickly and stood between them.
“Back off Clyde, she’s telling the truth.” He struggled to speak through his broken nose, but he was determined through the pain, “I was consoling her, that’s all.”
Clyde took a step back.
“Why did you take off the watch?” he said, a little calmer.
Charlotte sniffled, trying to hold back the tears,
“Because I was angry at you. When we had done talking I noticed it was late, and I went to pick up the watch, but I couldn’t find it. I hurried out because I know you don’t like me being home late...”
Nick winced as his nose throbbed with pain,
“I said I’d find the watch for her.”

Clyde looked blankly at the pair, and pulled up a chair, sitting down heavily in it.
“Then what about the lies about the shifts? Rudy told me...”
“Rudy is an idiot,” Charlotte interrupted, “and I wasn’t lying to you. I finished the shifts at the time Rudy said. I’ve had a second job for a long time, working extra to get a little more money for you...”
Clyde held his hands out almost pleadingly,
“But what about the phone calls? I saw the bill with all of the phone calls to Nick!”
Charlotte glanced over at Nick, who nodded and simply said,
“Tell him.”
Clyde put his hands on his sides,
“Here we go. The real confession...”
Charlotte put her hands together on her lap and looked up at Clyde.
“We’ve been planning your birthday party. I called Nick from my mobile so that you wouldn’t know that I was doing it, and so you wouldn’t find out about the party. We were planning to do lots of things, take you out to places, inviting all your old friends. Nick was helping me a lot with it and that’s why I phoned him so much... I swear it’s true, please stop this Clyde, look what you’ve done to your best friend!”

Nick slumped down onto the bed next to Charlotte, still holding his nose, his hand wet and his sleeve sodden in blood. Clyde shook his head and walked to the door.
“I need to get some air, clear my head. I’m going to the balcony. I’ll be ten minutes. When I come back I want you gone, Nick.”
Nick tried to sneer but it sent sparks of agony through his face. Instead, he gave Clyde an acknowledging grunt. As Clyde opened the doors to the balcony and stepped out, he closed them behind him and disappeared out of sight.

Nick gently removed her veil. He cursed under his breath as he saw her bloody lip.
“He hit you didn’t he?”
Charlotte put her arms around him and buried her head in his chest. Her words were mumbled and she sobbed in-between them,
“Yes... if you hadn’t have been here I don’t know what he would have done.”
She looked up at him and he admired her beautiful blue eyes, her long, thin nose, and the little dimples in her cheeks.
“Nick... I don’t want him to hurt me anymore, please make it stop...”
Nick nodded slowly,
“I’ll get you out of here.”
Charlotte broke off from her hold of him,
“But if we leave now he’ll think everything we’ve said is a lie, that we really are having an affair!”

Nick looked into her eyes again, and then quickly looked away. Nick had longed for Charlotte for a long time, but kept faithful to his best friend. He had had suspicions that Clyde was hurting her for some time but no solid way to prove it; after all he didn’t want to believe that his best friend was abusing.
“I don’t care Charley, you can’t stay like this. Come back to mine, we’ll grab some clothes and some money and get away for a while. You can clear your head and I’ll keep Clyde off of your back. How does that sound?”
Charlotte looked up again at Nick, her mascara now a mess, the makeup running down her face.
“You’d do that for me?”
Nick ruffled her hair a little,
“Course I would Charley. We’ll talk more in the car.”
Charlotte stood up quickly, and nodded,
“I need to write him a quick note at least...”
She fumbled around the room for some paper and a pen. She found them and hurriedly scribbled something down and left it on the bed. She gathered her few possessions from the room in a bag and came back to Nick.
“We should hurry Charley, he’ll be here any moment,” he said.
“What about your nose? You should get that looked at,” she said, concern clear in her voice.
“I will. I just want to make sure you’re safe first.”
She managed a smile, and glanced back at the balcony. The opened the door quickly, and followed by Nick, left the room.

Five minutes later, the balcony door opened and Clyde stepped into the room. He glanced around the room, and his eyes fell onto the note. He picked up and read it, then read it again. His face boiled red and he screwed it up, throwing it against the wall.

Outside, Nick opened the door of his car for Charlotte.
“You’ve abandoned your wedding, your big new house, and a lot of money. How do you feel?”
She looked at Nick.
“Safe,” she said, and with a smile. “Free.”

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Comments by other Members

NMott at 14:32 on 01 December 2008  Report this post
Hi, I didn't have time to read the whole thing, so I've just taken the opening paragraphs and tweeked them a little to give you an idea on how to tweek the rest of it.

- NaomiM

A very good start, and a good characte sketch of both Clyde and Nick.
It does help to imagine your characters body positions as your writing, so, eg:

Clyde Simon Barrington stepped into the lift, his hands clasped together behind his back.

- Very good, but he's got to unclasp his hands before he can push the button on the lift and adjust his cravat.

As he turned to face the door, he carefully adjusted his morning suit and gave his cravat a little nudge, before resuming his stiffened stance.

- excellent

As the doors began to close, another young man pulled them open and hurriedly entered.

Good. I've deleted the second comma.

The man was dressed in a similar suit, only a little sloppier; his cravat slanted too much to the right, his shirt crudely tucked into the waist band of his trousers, and the trouser legs were creased.

- excellent. I've deleted two 'was's, and added a little more description.

Clyde looked him up and down with disdain.

- Good. I've deleted the second 'look'.

“You could have made more effort Nick, this is my wedding,”

- good. I've deleted Clyde said sharply, partly because we already know who's who, so the reader can guess it's Clyde speaking, and partly because you don't need the 'sharply' tag - I think you can safely leave it to the reader to interpret the tone of the dialogue.

Nick shuffled his suit a little in a feeble attempt to tidy himself.

Good, although you have swapped point of views (povs) from Clyde to Nick - only Nick will know it's a feeble attempt, while Clyde will think of it as a feeble attempt. It is usually best to keep to one pov per chapter or scene, but in this instance it doesn't really need changing.

“I’m sorry Clyde,” he said, “I had a few...ah, last minute things to sort out, so I got out in kind of a hurry.”

I've deleted 'Nick said, exhaustedly' because it's self evident it's Nick who's speaking, and, again, you don't need the 'exhaustedly' tag: the reader is already given enough information to this effect, with the crumpled suit and the rest of the dialogue.

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