Boy, Was She Wrong About Him
Zoe sat along with the other mourners. It was her boyfriend's funeral. He had been making his way home with friends after a night out in town, when they ran into a gang who began taunting them. Darren's friends ran off but Darren didn't; he ended up being badly beaten and died later in hospital.
As soon as the service was over, everyone got up to leave to make their way to the cemetery.
'Are You OK, Zoe?' her friend asked, once outside.
'Oh, Claire, I can't handle this.'
'It'll be all right.'
They got into Claire's car to make the short drive. It was a dreary day. It had been raining hard. Puddles lingered.
Once at the cemetery, Zoe and Claire huddled together under a brolly and walked towards the grave as rain poured once more.
Darren was only nineteen. He had his whole life in front of him and it was cruely taken away by a cowardly gang. There were eight of them and just one of Darren. His friends didn't stick around to help and only one had bothered to turn up for his funeral. But Zoe held no bitterness. She wasn't the type to bear a grudge.
Leaving the graveside, this lad began to stare at Zoe; he smiled and she smiled back.
'Who's he?' Claire asked.
'Dunno. I've never seen him before.'
But what Zoe didn't realize was that she would to run into him again, while walking her dog in the park.
He went straight up to her.
'You stalkin' me?' she asked him.
'Would you mind if I was?'
She never answered, but then asked him how he knew Darren.
'It's a long story,' he replied.
He didn't want to tell her, but he did ask if he could see her again.
Zoe was shocked. Her boyfriend had just been buried, how could she begin to think about going out with someone else. But to her surprise she found herself agreeing to go to the pub with him that night.
When she arrived back home, she found Claire waiting for her.
'You're what?' Claire asked, when Zoe told her who she was seeing later.
'It'll be all right. He seems a nice lad.'
'They all seem nice at first,' said Claire , as though she was speaking from experience.
He called for Zoe just before seven. They then made their way to the pub. After leaving the pub he walked her home, and once inside the house she couldn't help but think about him. He was charming, and definitely good looking. But how did he know Darren? And why was he so secretive about it? She knew he wasn't one of his regular friends.
Next day, she found out how he did know Darren - he was one of his attackers. It was in the local paper. He was arrested, soon after walking her home, and later charged.
Then a week after, he turned up on her doorstep - he had been given bail.
'What the hell do you want?' she asked him.
'You helped kill my boyfriend. What's to explain?'
'I didn't. I wanted no part in it. I tried to stop it.'
She wasn't listening. She slammed the door in his face.
A month went by, then she saw his name mentioned again. This time, stating he'd been cleared of all charges relating to Darren's death. A reluctant wittness had come forward, who had seen him try to stop the gang from attacking Darren.
Boy, was she wrong about him. How she wished she could see him once more so she could apologize for not believing him.
The following day she got her wish, when she saw him sitting on a bench while on her usual walk wih her dog.
'What are you doing here?' she said to him, nearing the bench.
'I want to ask you something.'
'Fancy going to that pub again?'
She didn't need to reply, the expression her face gave him the answer.