MR. MASTERS/C1 Prologue
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C1 Prologue

Julian Masters


1984 – 2013

Wife and beloved mother.

In God’s hands we trust.

Grief. The Grim Reaper of life.

Stealer of joy, hope and purpose.

Some days are bearable. Other days I can hardly breathe, and I suffocate in a world of regret where good reason has no sense.

I never know when those days will hit, only that when I wake, my chest feels constricted and I need to run. I need to be anywhere but here, dealing with this life.

My life.

Our life.

Until you left.

The sound of a distant lawnmower brings me back to the present, and I glance over at the cemetery’s caretaker. He’s concentrating as he weaves between the tombstones, careful not to clip or damage one as he passes. It’s dusk, and the mist is rolling in for the night.

I come here often to think, to try and feel.

I can’t talk to anyone. I can’t express my true feelings.

I want to know why.

Why did you do this to us?

I clench my jaw as I stare at my late wife’s tombstone.

We could have had it all… but, we didn’t.

I lean down and brush the dust away from her name and rearrange the pink lilies that I have just placed in the vase. I touch her face on the small oval photo. She stares back at me, void of emotion.

Stepping back, I drop my hands in the pockets of my black overcoat.

I could stand here and stare at this headstone all day—sometimes I do—but I turn and walk to the car without looking back.

My Porsche.

Sure, I have money and two kids that love me. I’m at the top of my professional field, working as a judge. I have all the tools to be happy, but I’m not.

I’m barely surviving; holding on by a thread.

Playing the façade to the world.

Dying inside.

Half an hour later, I arrive at Madison’s—my therapist.

I always leave here relaxed.

I don’t have to talk, I don’t have to think, don’t have to feel.

I walk through the front doors on autopilot.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Smith.” Hayley the receptionist smiles. “Your room is waiting, sir.”

“Thank you.” I frown, feeling like I need something more today. Something to take this edginess off.

“I’ll have someone extra today, Hayley.”

“Of course, sir. Who would you like?”

I frown and take a moment to get it right. A distraction.

“I’ll have someone extra today, Hayley.”

“Of course, sir. Who would you like?”

I frown and take a moment to get it right. “Hmm. Hannah.”

“So, Hannah and Belinda?”

“Yes.”No problem, sir. Make yourself comfortable and they will be right up.”

I take the lift to the exclusive penthouse. Once there I make myself a scotch and stare out the smoke-glass window overlooking London.

I hear the door click behind me and I turn toward the sound.

Holly and Belinda stand before me smiling.

Belinda has long, blonde hair, while Hannah is a brunette. There’s no denying they’re both young and beautiful.

“Hello, Mr Smith,” they say in unison

I sip my scotch as my eyes drink them in.

“Where would you like us, sir?”

I unbuckle my belt. “On your knees.”

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