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"Why is it so bad to admit to being with me? I'm a big girl, I can handle it, believe me. I've taken on a practically unbeatable cancer diagnosis and won; I have f**ked-up hormones but deal with it. What's a few paparazzi and psycho blonde Twiglets compared to that? I know my shortcomings, Tudor. I’m not naïve, but I am also super proud of who I am. You will be hard-pressed to find anyone better than me, especially when it comes to you. I adore you, I f**king worship the ground you walk on. I just want to be with you without the lies and secrets. I at least deserve that much. I want happiness in my life. I want the fairy-tale happily ever after… I want it with you." My voice was laced with hurt.

He stroked my cheek. "You are strong and brave, you blow my mind every day and I completely adore you too – you have no idea – but are you listening to me, Tash? It's not bad admitting being with you, I'm simply protecting you. We will get our happily ever after, but it can’t be public, yet."

"Why? What are you protecting me from?" I groaned.

If I have to ask that question one more time…

He paused, pinching the bridge of his nose, controlling his emotions, debating what to tell me. He eventually sighed and bowed his head in defeat. "I'm gonna go, give you time to cool down. I'll see you soon okay." He tried to kiss my cheek as he moved past.

I pulled away. "See yourself out."

I could feel him staring at me, willing me to face at him, but I couldn't . I couldn't look him in the way he wanted, I thought I would break if I did.

He rubbed his hands over his pale, unshaven cheeks and swiftly left, slamming the door for effect.

Chapter 24

The fall of the Tudor reign

Now what's a girl to do when she's feeling low and unloved? That's right, I hit the gym and worked out my frustrations.

Yeah, right!

I hit the cupboards, brought out as many things containing chocolate I could find and watched my much-loved DVD of Wuthering Heights, featuring Tom Hardy as Heathcliff, on the sofa decked in my (somewhat fitting) snug piggy onesie. I sat there for hours, wallowing in misery, and found myself screaming at Cathy to ditch Heathcliff as a friend or otherwise, that he was wrong for her, that he would ruin her with all his schizophrenic actions and broodiness, that she should just love Edgar Linton, have a nice loving life with Edgar Linton. No matter how much I screamed at the screen, Cathy didn’t listen to me and my fantastic advice – even in death she chose the heavily-tattooed and muscly Tom Hardy interpretation of Heathcliff. Why do women always go for the bad boys? Can't live with them, can't live without them.

Oh My God!

I bolted upright, crushing chocolate wrappers under my ever-expanding arse as it dawned on me. I was Cathy and Tudor was Heathcliff, just instead of moors in Yorkshire we had condos in Calgary! Shit a brick! Kate Bush should be crooning about Mr. Tribal Tattoo and his perpetually confused curvy tit-bit!

Tink came in a few hours later and gasped at the amount of wrappers spread around my comatose and sugar-ravished body. After blowing a kiss and slapping his arse at Tom Hardy on the screen, he proclaimed, "Well, toss my greens and call me Caesar!" and started to wade through the sea of rubbish to reach me.

"What's he done?"

I groaned at the chocolate-induced sickness swirling in my bloated stomach. "He’s issued a statement on this fine winter day telling the world that we are not together, that I'm a friend he met only briefly while prepping for a movie or some shit like that. How f**king splendid! And how was your day, darling?"

Tink squished next to me on the couch and looked at me wearily, “I saw the photo, Prosciutto."

That snapped me out of it. "And?"

"And I’ve already spoken to Tudor. He called me a couple of hours ago, worrying about you and the way you were feeling when he left. He explained that he had issued a denial statement, but that he was doing it to protect you, and that we were not due to cash in our 'You dare hurt Tash and we'll throw down' deal just yet."

I sighed. "Did he tell you what he was protecting me from?"

He shook his head. "Tate reckons that Tudor is having a tough time at the moment, like, sandpaper-rough; like, non-moisturised-face-in-a-harsh-winter-rough; like, a-Northern-lass-on-the-walk-of-shame-rough; like–," I ignored the rest of Tink’s beautiful analogies.

"Then why won't he explain things to me?"

He moved in for a cuddle. "Look, Wil, I love you, and I see how Tudor is with you. It makes me happy to see you together now. If he says he is keeping things from you for your sake, I'd be inclined to let it go. I wouldn't stand by and let him hurt you without issuing him a bitch slap if I thought he was being malicious and cruel."

I huffed and rammed a whole Cadbury's Dairy Milk bar into my mouth – I know, talented aren’t I? "Easier said than done!" I mumbled through my full mouth.

"Well, keeping things from the ones you love is difficult, but sometimes if you think it's for the best, you go with that option." he said with conviction.

"Oh yeah? And how would you know, gobshite?"

He laid a hand over his chest, mouth open. "Erm... hello! Gay-boy present. I was so far back in the closet to my family, I was living in Narnia! I met the Snow Queen but out-bitched her, stole all of her Turkish Delight and ravaged Mr. Tumnus, ruining him for all other fawns!"

"Fine, you do get it... but didn't you feel better when you shared your secret?"

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