Her name is Lana. She wasn"t dealt the easiest cards in life. She wasn"t dealt the hardest. She has an illness, but she doesn"t let it rule her. The first time she laid eyes on her best friend"s twin brother she fell in love at first sight. It didn"t last very long. He was a hateful boy who made her miserable. The happiest day of her life was when he moved away to London six years ago.
His name is Robert. He breaks the ones who love him. He"s always liked to play games with Lana, see how far he could push her. He once thrived on her pain, but no more. Now she"s coming to London to live with his sister for the summer and this time he plans on being her friend instead of her tormentor. But Lana is scarred by his past bullying. She doesn"t trust him, nor does she have any reason to.
**Not suitable for younger readers. Contains strong language and scenes of a sexual nature.**Books by Author:L.H. Cosway Books
Cruelty is Seldom Forgotten
Sometimes love and hate can emerge from the very same womb.
Sasha and Robert Phillips became my next door neighbours when I was twelve years old. They were twins, two years older than I, both tall and beautiful with dark eyes and dark hair. I think I fell in love with the two of them at first sight. Well, I quickly fell out of love with Robert.
Sasha, though, she’ll always have my love. She’s one of those girls who has a knack for making you feel cooler just for the fact that you’re being seen with her. She’s the best friend I’ve ever had.
The twins were the result of a broken marriage; their mother was Irish and their father English. So when the divorce came about, their mother Liz moved back to Ireland to the house right across from mine, and their father Alan continued to live and work in London. That’s how I got my neighbours: a new best friend and her brother, who alternated between ignoring my existence and actively torturing me.
They’d spend September to June living with their mother and then go to London during the school holidays to live with their dad. Alan Phillips was and continues to be the owner of one of the most successful celebrity PR agencies in Britain. In other words, he’s filthy rich.
I always wondered how Alan and Liz ever managed to get along, never mind like each other enough to get married and have babies. They are polar opposites. Alan is coldly charming and violently ambitious, while Liz is warm and loving, with a great dry sense of humour. You could say that Sasha took after her mother and Robert after his father.
So why am I detailing all of this" Well, it seems that my whole world has revolved around Sasha and Robert ever since they walked into it with their refined beauty and strange English accents. Sasha could be considered responsible for the happiest times in my life " and Robert for the most miserable.
I’m not even sure if Robert realises how horribly he treated me when we were younger. I think he might be a few steps away from a full-on sociopath, like Patrick Bateman without the killing. Even hearing his name whenever Sasha mentions him makes my stomach drop and my pores tingle.
That’s the exact feeling I’m having right now. Sasha’s on the phone from London, telling me about Robert’s latest exploits seducing a married woman, whose husband beat him to a pulp when he discovered what had been going on. This story is nothing new. Ever since he was fifteen, Robert’s been getting himself into all sorts of deplorable situations with women.
Sasha’s just completed her first year working as a celebrity gossip columnist for The Daily Mail, putting her journalism degree to good use " sort of. It’s been awful not having her around these past twelve months. But we’ll be reunited very soon, because I’m going to stay with her for the summer in a week’s time. I’ll be starting my Ph.D. in ancient Greek mythology when I come home, so this is going to be my "Summer of Leisure in London." I like to think it has a nice ring to it.
Other than working part-time in an Italian wine and cheese restaurant, I’ll be as free as a bird to enjoy myself. (And yes, there is such a thing as a wine and cheese restaurant " this is the kind of job an arts graduate can expect to get nowadays, by the way, and the higher end of the spectrum at that.)
Anyway, I’m what you would call a perennial student. I love to study and research a topic that excites me until I can’t keep my eyes open and fall asleep, more often than not at my study desk. Basically, I’m a bit of a nerd. I also have a secret desire to sing on stage, but I"ve never told anyone about it. I don"t want to be a super-famous pop star like Beyonc", mind. It"s just something that I want to do, if only once. A bucket-list item, if you will.
"So anyway," says Sasha. "Robert came to my place last night to lick his wounds. Oh, God, Lana, you should have seen the pathetic state he made, two great big black eyes on him."
I snicker down the line. "Damn, I’m so annoyed I missed it. He would have hated to have me witness him all beaten up."
"I know!" she laughs.
Sasha understands that Robert and I have always been at loggerheads. She also knows that her brother’s an arsehole, but since he’s family she has to love him anyway. The weird thing is, I haven’t laid eyes on the guy more than a handful of times in the six years since he moved to London to work for his dad’s agency, and yet my hostility still remains. I suppose that just goes to show how intensely we hated one another. Not to mention the fact that Sasha always seems to have some new scandal to tell me about him, so it’s almost like he’s continually present in my life even though he isn’t. It’s a strange sort of torture.
When I was a teenager, I was skinny as can be. Top that off with braces and a head of starkly red hair, and there were endless ways in which Robert could make me feel like shit. I’ve since filled out and lost the braces. I’ve also come to learn that although red hair can turn you into a pariah as a child, it’s actually something that people envy you for when you get older.
"Anyway, enough about my prick of a brother. Are you all set for the big trip next week"" Sasha asks.
I plonk down onto my bed and let out a long sigh. "Yeah, Mum and Gran are making a fuss over me going, which is annoying, but all the arrangements have been made."
I live in a house of women: me, my sister Alison, my mum Fiona, and my grandmother Penny. Both my mother and my grandmother are extremely protective of me. I think they imagine me to be far more fragile than I actually am. That’s what happens when you’re the short one in a family of especially tall people. You get labelled as the baby. Alison is only sixteen, and already she towers over me.