Forgiving Justice

"...So it came a bit of a shock to me when I saw what was happening between Bella and Theo. No one would have guessed that anything like that could happen to us: the happy go lucky Balmers and Kensits living in the big house on the corner. But that’s the funny thing about life.
You never know what’s coming next."

Fifteen year old Natalie Balmer/Kensit has never really felt like she belongs. Throughout her childhood she was continually bounced from one home to another- whilst keeping a terrible secret that her older sister Bella was being brutally abused.
Now, living in care, seperated from her family and in a steady relationship with boyfriend Jasper, Natalie is shocked to find her past being dragged out in front of her.

Theo is back. And his story's in court.

Natalie, as the only witness to Bella and Theo's injustice, is now compelled to make a life changing decision- Keep her families together?

Or serve Bella justice and send her sister to prison?

Coming soon!




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20. Family Loyalty

Every single time I saw myself in my Curzon Street school uniform, it reminded me of two things: how much I missed Bella, and how great Jasper looked in his compared to me. I remember when I was about nine or ten, and I'd have to sit through watching Bella every morning at the dining table nibbling her breakfast, eyes darting nervously between me and Mum, putting off the moment when she would have to wear a different face, a different personality, a different person just to go to school. I'd forgotten how important moving on was for Bella, and how much she probably hated all of this court business being dragged out now.

Looking down at my bottle green blazer and dark grey skirt now, I sighed. As hard as I tried, I would never be able to pull it off like Bella. Or Jasper, for that matter. I looked sideways at him, self-inflicting my own pain. We were sitting side by side in the back of the mini-bus together in warm, comfortable silence. We could take the car I suppose, but I hated drawing too much attention to us two as a couple. As usual, I ignored the jealous mutters and stares, and as usual Jasper was completely oblivious to anything being said at all.

Then suddenly, without any warning, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a crinkled newspaper with a huge coffee stain on it. "Look here, Natalie, look at this," Jasper said excitedly, "I found it this morning at breakfast, I forgot to tell you."

I yawned, and took the paper from Jasper. "It's early," I moaned. "Whatever it is, I doubt I could really..."

And that's when I saw it. Right there, slap bang on the front page.

"Oh my God."

Because right before my eyes, on the front cover of the Daily Telegraph, was an article.

About the hearing.

Jasper smiled at me, unaware of my horrified expression. "On the plus side, they describe you perfectly." He elbowed me teasingly.

"What, a 'sad young girl with obvious confidence issues'?"

"Um... yeah."

Seething, I scrunched up the newspaper and shoved it down the side of my chewing gum covered seat. Jasper, now aware of my mood, put his arm around me. "You understand that they are allowed to print articles about the hearing, Natalie?" He asked. "It isn't juvenile court, you know."

"I know." I sidled up to Jasper sadly. "That was the whole reason Bella ran away."

He turned to face me properly now. "What?"

I nodded. "If they hadn't printed that article about her 'murdering Theo', she wouldn't have ran away. And plus she wouldn't have broken up with her boyfriend." I sighed. "I liked Peter."

Jasper nudged me as the bus pulled into the school gates. "So you're going to run away now, baby?"

I winked. "You got it."

"And break up with me?"

I linked my arms around his long neck, pulling his face close to mine. "Wouldn't even dream of it."

The school bell coming from the depressed grey stone building interrupted our kiss. "Come on then, short stuff," Jasper laughed. "Time for school."

                                                      * * *

"Class, get your books out please."

Luckily enough for me, I had history first. Sometimes, especially on days such as today, it was nice to simply forget all that was going on in the modern world, and my life, and drift back to Tudor Times, or Victorian Britain, or 19th century Native America. But today, I wasn't so lucky.

Miss Peterson hitched up her rapidly sinking blouse, and flicked on the interactive white board. I groaned inwardly.

For printed on the board in huge, black letters were the words:

FAMILY LOYALTY

For the past couple of days, I had tried to keep the whole Bella/Theo juggling act out of my head. So far it had proved successful; what with Jasper's 'distractions' and the newspaper article, but in the space of just a few moments it had all come flooding back, leaving me more confused and worried as before.

I hardly listened to the beginning of the lesson, and I'm pretty sure my head was on my desk for part of it, but I shot up like a firework when my name was finally called.

"Yes miss?"

Miss Peterson folded her arms indignantly, she hawk-like gaze reducing me to ash. "Have you been paying attention, Natalie?" she asked. "Or having a little nap?"

"A bit of both," I admitted sheepishly.

Well, this was half true. I was having, as Miss Peterson put it, a little nap. But at the same time I couldn't help but listen to the class discussion, making me angrier by the minute.

"So what's your viewpoint, Natalie?"

"Um..." I stood up, scarping my chair back harder than necessary to suspend the awkward silence for as long as humanly possible. "I believe that Anne Frank should have thought about what she wanted, you know?"

Miss Peterson looked at me. "Pardon?"

I cleared my throat. Evidently, this was going to be difficult. "Personally, I believe that it wasn't Anne's duty to protect her family. I believe that, as a child, Anne should have thought about what she needed. If she wanted to go out and play, that's what she should have done. If a Nazi caught her, then it wasn't her fault if her whole family got sent to Concentration Camps.

"Her whole family did get sent to Concentration Camps," my partner Ali mumbled valiantly. I ignored her. Miss Peterson came forward and perched at the end of my desk. "So you're saying that you would have done that?"

I slammed my palms down on my desk. My Bella streak was coming through now loud and clear. "You don't know how difficult it is!" I shouted. "To choose between two things, two people that you shouldn't but equally love!"

I stood up and donned my backpack roughly. I hissed the words. "You have no idea."

God, that was sure to go on my file now. Not that I cared. They'd probably call Sally too. Not that I cared about that either; Sally's idea of punishment for a care kid was a cup of tea and a 'chat'.

Stuff school.

Stuff life.

I had nothing to look forward to anymore.

Well, only if you counted a trial, exams and a wedding, but to be honest I wasn't exactly singing about any of these events right now.

I trudged down the corridor aimlessly, eyeing the displays I had never contributed work to, clubs I had never joined, advertisements I had never made.

My life at the minute was one big hole of crap, with the faint glimmer of light which was Jasper, but even he only just managed to keep the hole from getting darker.

I watched the slow but sadly inevitable raindrops trickle down the windows endlessly.

That perfectly described my life.

My life was endless.

I had to leave.

Without time for hesitation or thoughts about Jasper I hitched my backpack further up my shoulder and flounced through the school gates, thankfully left open for the latecomers.

I didn't know where I was going.

And to be honest, I didn't really care.

But nonetheless, somehow I found myself walking down the street to Jasper's parents house.

 

 

 

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