Kiss of death

After one snog, I realised the big mistake I'd made...

Published by: Jai Breitnauer and Rebecca Leach
Published on: 23rd June 2010

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. I’d certainly taken that saying to heart. I’d first met Stephen Smith three years earlier when I’d moved in next door to his mum.
First time I’d seen him over the garden fence, I’d grabbed the washing line for support!
Muscular arms, tanned bod and piercing blue eyes. He was gorgeous!
Soon he was around mine so much, I’d asked him to move in.
But it wasn’t long before takeaways and snuggling on the sofa turned into rows about bills and the washing up. We’d tried talking things through, we’d even tried rekindling the romance with cheesy date nights – but nothing was working…
Now here I was, breaking up with him. ‘I still love you, but…’
I took a deep breath.
‘…we’re not getting on. I know, it’s over,’ finished Stephen, running a hand through his sandy brown hair. Giving me one last hug, he went back to his mum’s.
Sitting alone on my sofa, I wondered if I’d done the right thing. Then I noticed the mug rings on the coffee table, the dirty footprints in the hall…
What I needed was a girls’ night out, that would take my mind off things. So I called my mates. And just two hours later…
‘I’m Neil, can I buy you a drink?’ smiled a guy from across the bar.
Turned out he was a friend of a friend.
I wasn’t in the mood, but I wasn’t going to be rude either.
‘Okay,’ I shrugged.
Neil had me in stitches, though, and hours later when getting my coat to leave, I realised I hadn’t thought of Stephen all night. So when he leaned in for a kiss, I let him.
Next day, though, I couldn’t get my sore head around what I’d done. Even though Stephen and me had split, I felt like I’d cheated on him.
‘You’re on the rebound,’ I told my pasty reflection in the mirror. ‘It meant nothing.’
Suddenly, my phone beeped – it was Neil. Fancy a pizza? he’d text.
I sighed, I didn’t want this.
So I bashed out a quick reply – Sorry, I’m not dating.
But he wouldn’t take no for an answer. Five texts and two calls later, I’d agreed to meet him Tuesday night. Well, it’d get him off my back, stop him bugging me.
Thing is, that night as we chatted over a 12in pepperoni pizza, I could see what other girls saw in him. He’d picked me up from my house like a gent, wearing a swish Ted Baker shirt. But all I could think about was Stephen.
That snog with Neil had got me thinking about what I was missing – mug rings and all.
‘So, Friday night then?’ grinned Neil over dessert.
‘I think we should be friends,’ I said, gently. ‘You’re great, but I’m only just out of a relationship.’
‘Oh, okay,’ he laughed nervously.
Next day, I manned the market stall I worked on, as usual. Glanced around for potential customers… There was Neil!
‘Fancy lunch?’ he smiled.
‘Neil, I…’
‘As friends?’ he beamed. Big brown eyes likes a puppy’s gazed up at me – and no one likes to kick a puppy do they…
‘Okay,’ I sighed.
A quick sarnie didn’t get rid of him, though. That night, when I got to my flat, he was sat outside with a bottle of wine!
‘Thought you might want some company,’ he said, eagerly.
I wanted to tell him to bog off, that I was too tired to see anyone,         and that I wouldn’t have fancied him if he was the last man on earth. But… well, it’d be a bit rude, and the fact was he’d done nothing to deserve such harsh treatment. So I swallowed my anger and politely let him in.
Still, I tried my best not to encourage him, sitting the other side of the sofa, kicking him out after EastEnders. But Neil wasn’t taking my hints.
Over the next two weeks, Neil was always waiting for me at the market or at home and, if I didn’t see him, he’d phone or text.
But the more I saw of Neil, the more I missed Stephen. Each text made my heart skip hoping it was from Stephen – then sink when I realised it was from Neil.
I’m not interested, leave me alone, I text after my phone beeped for the umpteenth time.
But he was straight back with another message. I love you, it said.
It was time for straight talking. You’re sweet, but I’ve told you I’m not interested. Leave me alone.
After that… nothing! A whole afternoon without my phone beeping every five minutes. It was bliss! Walking home, I felt a weight had been lifted – until I heard my name being called. Had he still not got the message?!
Wait a minute, though… that was Stephen running towards me. ‘Fancy a drink?’ he panted.
‘Why not?’ I grinned. Sat in our local, it was like old times. Suddenly, I realised I’d never stopped thinking about him since we’d split. ‘I-I was hoping…’ he stuttered. ‘Could we give it another go?’
Of course! Smiling, I leaned forward to give him a kiss. Then my heart stopped. Because standing in the doorway was Neil. ‘Oh God,’ I hissed, ducking.
Too late, he’d seen us. Quickly, I filled Stephen in. ‘Are you angry?’ I grimaced, sure I’d ruined things.
‘Course not,’ he said. ‘We’d split up, but we better come clean now.’
As Neil approached, we stood up. ‘Katie,’ he nodded coolly.
‘This is Stephen, my boyfriend,’ I said. ‘We’ve got back together.’
‘In that case, I’ll buy you a drink,’ he smiled. He wasn’t upset!
That night, I fell asleep in Stephen’s arms, happy that finally life was back on track.
Hours later, though, I was woken by a strange noise, and opened my eyes to see my bloke silhouetted in the doorway. ‘Stephen?’ I whispered. ‘What you doing?’
‘I’m here,’ a voice croaked next to me. If Stephen was in bed, who was standing over there?
Suddenly, the shadow shifted and a twisted face was flooded with light from the streetlamp outside.
‘Neil, what the…’ Smiling, he lifted his arms above his head. What was he holding? As it glinted in the light, I realised… a crowbar.
‘No!’ I screamed, scrambling up the bed to get away from him.
But it wasn’t me he was aiming for. The metal bar came crashing down on Stephen’s skull with a sickening crack. I threw myself forward to protect him, but Neil swatted me away like a fly.
‘Stephen!’ I screamed, as he rolled naked on to the floor with a bloodcurdling scream. Neil stood over him and swung the crowbar down like an axe.
Again and again it slammed into Stephen’s head, face and body. He curled into a ball to protect himself against Neil’s silent fury. ‘Stop!’ I begged, sobs catching in my throat. I could hear sirens wailing outside, someone must have dialled 999.
Suddenly, Neil bolted for the door. ‘I’ll kill you!’ he screamed.From the bloody mess of Stephen’s body, he’d given it his best shot to make good on that threat. Stephen was quivering in a corner. ‘Help me,’ he whispered.
An ambulance rushed us to hospital. Stephen had a broken hand and deep wounds to his head and body. He’d been hit with the crowbar at least 28 times. If I hadn’t kissed Neil, none of this would have happened. ‘I’m sorry,’ I sobbed. ‘You could’ve been killed.’
It took police two weeks to catch Neil. In that time, we bolted all the windows, had the locks changed.
In October, at Leeds Crown Court, Neil Charles, 30, admitted wounding with intent to commit grievous bodily harm. The court heard how he’d worked himself into a jealous rage, unable to accept I didn’t want a relationship with him. He was sentenced to four years behind bars.
Me and Stephen are still together and trying to put what happened behind us. Neil tried to make me fall for him, but now I hope he’s out of my life forever.
Kate Gilbert, 21, Leeds, West Yorkshire