The Life

The Life by Martina Cole Read Free Book Online

Book: The Life by Martina Cole Read Free Book Online
Authors: Martina Cole
carved the path for them all, herself included.
    She caressed her belly, and she swore to herself that, girl or boy, this little one would never be a part of the world that her husband inhabited and which her sons would one day join. As much as she loved them, she was determined that this child would not be a part of it. Daniel had brought the boys up to be with him; they would be beside him, follow him, and she had never questioned that before. As they approached manhood, though, the reality was beginning to hit home.
    Daniel would introduce the boys to, and expect them to be part of, the Life. They would have no choice. But what would their lives be if they were nicked? The thought of her lovely boys locked away for years on end tortured her. Unlike Ria, who was at peace with the paths chosen for her sons, Lena didn’t want it for her boys. She didn’t want them to be villains. Deep down, she hated that she had never had any real say in their lives.
    She hoped this intense worry was all down to her hormones, because she didn’t like feeling like this. She had lived through her married life secretly anxious that her husband might get a tug, but her husband and her boys were two different things. The thought of her sons banged up was anathema to her. A woman she had known for years had just seen her son get what amounted to a life sentence. He was a bank robber, a nice lad, but he had been caught with the guns and the money. He had been served up at the Old Bailey by the Serious Crime Squad, and they had made him look worse than a fucking murderer. They had arranged police outriders to follow his paddy wagon, so he looked far more dangerous than he was.The jury had seen them and before they had heard a word said in the actual courtroom the impression that he was dangerous was cemented. He had been handed down an eighteen stretch – he would not have got that even if he had raped and murdered someone!
    But money and property – that was what the courts cared about in this country. If you opened the paper, sex offenders were getting away with all sorts on a daily basis. Young girls were cross-examined in court about their sex lives as if
they
were on trial, not the piece of dirt that raped them. And, even if the man
was
found guilty, he didn’t get a real lump – four to seven years for ruining a girl’s whole life. But rob a Post Office and you were sent down for the duration. It was a scandal. Eighteen years for a robbery meant at least fourteen years before he was eligible for parole. He would have been better off if he had killed someone – then he would have been out in seven.
    The whole thing with her friend had thrown Lena Bailey; no one in her world had ever got a real sentence, a real lump. Fourteen years was a serious amount of time out of a young man’s life and it had really hit home that soon that could be one of
her
sons. Suddenly she saw the lives they could be aspiring to in stark reality with what Daniel wanted for them, and it bothered her.
    This child, she would make sure, would know nothing about the Life.
This
child would be brought up outside of it all; she would make sure that one of them at least would have the chance to escape it. She only hoped this was a girl, because she knew that a boy would be too hard to control, would look at his brothers and want what they had.
    She sighed. ‘Davey, would you do me a favour, son?’
    ‘’Course I will, Mum, what do you want?’
    ‘Can you phone your Auntie Ria and your nana? Then canyou please track your father down? My waters just broke.’
    Davey Bailey went whiter than a sheet. ‘Are you sure?’ he stuttered.
    Lena laughed. ‘I’m sure, son.’

Chapter Thirteen
    ‘It’s a girl, Pete!’ Daniel had just called home to check on Lena and been given the news.
    Peter Bailey was genuinely pleased for his brother; he knew that he’d wanted a girl this time, for Lena as much as for himself. Ria had a daughter, and he was glad about that. In their

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