“You take my place as I took yours.” Jess has a secret, a part of her life she tried to forget. Now a lost little girl threatens everything she holds dear.
A Primeval Fanfiction, rated T.
The sergeant motioned to his companion to cuff Jess. She looked up to see Lester stare at him, “No.”
“Jess, tell us what happened. From the beginning of everything, not just this bit. I feel it runs deeper than just recently.” Lester said, and Jess looked at him.
Jess focused on Lester, he seemed to be the only friendly, and trust worthy face in the room.
“Elizabeth Badby was my school friend.” She began, “we were best friends, and did everything together. But when I was given a place on the fast track project we were split up.
“I had the worst of teachers. The university professor wasn’t nice. He would teach me but would come too close when I needed something explaining, put his arm around me when he looked over my work, and comment on my uniform in a very crude way.
“Bessie and I were at her uncle’s pub on night. And he was there. Bessie left me to go to the toilets, and he started coming on to me. Whispering how he wished he could…” she kept her eyes on Lester, but the wall around her emotions was breaking down, “he whispered about how… how he wished he could… he told me how he’d fantasized about taking me over his desk, in the back of his car, anywhere. I was getting distressed when Bessie came back and pulled me from his grasp.
“Next thing I know, Bessie is telling me that she’s sorted everything. A kind of pay off. All she wanted me to do was to keep this secret along with the rest from her mother. It turned out Bessie had gone back to the pub that night, after dropping me off home. She’d agreed to take my place. We’d always looked similar, and she’d told him that she’d pretend to be me.
“Bessie then got bitchy and cruel. For my birthday, she took a dig at me. Buying gifts that she knew my mother would flip at, and hinting that I should have been screwing the professor. It got to the point when I couldn’t take it. I went to live with daddy for a few weeks; he was away on business, but the flat had spare rooms, and he welcomed me. I told him everything, and he promised to take it to the grave.
“Daddy and I went home together, and everything got better for a bit. It was like Bessie had missed me. I got a boyfriend when I got back, and it was fun. We went to another party at the pub, and my boyfriend left me for some other woman. I sat in the corner, drinking the orange juices that I knew had half shots of vodka in them. It was Bessie’s uncle’s way of making me feel better and I didn’t mind. It was that night that I couldn’t find my friend anywhere so went outside for a smoke. I found her in a compromising situation with one of the bar patrons.
“When Bessie told me a few weeks later she was pregnant, I thought she meant to the bloke who was just a quickie down the alley. She made me promise to help her. But told me no more.
“After Izzie’s birth, Bessie told me everything. The baby belonged to the professor, but he wanted nothing to do with her or the baby, so she was going to go it alone. In telling me this she also demanded that I be the girl’s godmother, because she was ‘truthfully mine’. Bessie had taken my place, and pretended to be me; therefore her child should be mine. She even named Izzie after me; her full name is Isabella, which was as close to my middle name, Isobel, as Bessie would get without risking losing me.
“My parents were in the middle of a divorce, and during the time between Izzie being born and her being christened, I gave up smoking, and told the court I was going to live with daddy. He only lived in the city, but compared to the suburbs it was a breath of fresh air. The day I left she gave me the flower from her lapel, a forget-me-not; I threw it from the window as soon as we were out of sight of the church. She may have been my friend, but I was prepared to leave it all behind.
“I thought if she couldn’t find me then it would all go away. I applied for this job, knowing that being a part of the government would make it that bit more difficult for her to trace me, especially when the organisation is secret. The only thing that I didn’t think of was the flat. It’s the same one I shared with daddy, he had the deeds signed over when he went to live in the Americas with my step-mother.
“On my day off, about two months ago, I woke up to a cardboard box that was screaming. Izzie was inside with a letter. – Jess pulled it out of her bra and placed it on the desk along with the more recent one, – Bessie couldn’t cope anymore so was bringing in my help. I spent the week trying to track her down. And when I found her mobile number I phoned her, threatened Social Services for Izzie if she didn’t come home, even threatened her with her mother. Bessie never thought I could get far in life because no one would want my smarts.
“I kept bringing Izzie into work, and my flat mates got to know her. Even though it was Connor who called you. I had to tell everything to Abby, because she was about to freak, and then I had to tell Hil, because I love him, and the secret nearly took him from me. Izzie settled in, and she’s like a little sister in a sense. But I kept hoping that Bessie would come home.
“I heard something on the radio the other day. A woman in Brighton found dead, but yet to be identified. I didn’t think the two were connected. And the report last night I missed because Izzie and I spent the night in the medical bay waiting for Hilary to wake up. Izzie was so happy when he did; I didn’t think a three year old could jump so high. She was there giving him a cuddle before I could walk across the room.” Jess smiled, but it quickly faded, she turned to the police sergeant, “I’ve probably done so many things wrong, but I just wanted to give my friend one last chance. I didn’t realise she would kill herself.”
“It’s okay Miss. We just had to make sure that you were who the documents said you were, and your friend seemed dreadfully worried.” The sergeant spoke calmly. “Izzie will have to stay in your care, until we find someone who is her kin, you could adopt her, though your friend Emily seems to be enamoured with the little girl.”
“Emily started looking after her when Hilary was injured, there was no one else. It seems the soldiers adore the pair; I’ve had so many requests to get them to have another day baking that I don’t know what to do.” Lester interrupted, “Jess, maybe Emily will adopt her, she’s decided she’s staying with Matt, and I’m sure that the pair would give her a good home. Or even Abby and Connor; they took such good care of her at the wedding.”
“I don’t know. I think Old Mrs Badby should have the first call. She’s her grandmother after all.” Jess contemplated.
“I’m sorry Miss Parker.” The sergeant explained, “Mrs Badby died earlier in the year, you have the choice to keep Izzie or send her into the Care System.”