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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35. Jasper's Mental Illness.

"He's depressed?"

"I'm sorry, Natalie. I know it can't be easy."

Dazed, I stepped back off the front step of the Murray household and shook my head. Depressed? But Jasper couldn't be depressed! Jasper was one of the happiest, easiest, jovial people I know. That's what I loved about him. I shook my head again in sheer disbelief.

"Julie, are you sure  that he is depressed? I mean," I threw my hands up in the air exasperatedly, "are you sure? It isn't just one of those days where he lies in bed with a pillow on his head listening to Handel? Because that happens a lot..."

Julie interrupted me with a slightly sad look. "No, honey." She took the shopping I had just fetched for her from my hand gently. "The doctor confirmed it yesterday when you were visiting Sally and the kids. He didn't want you to know."

She motioned me inside. I trod lightly on the cream carpet, as if someone had died in there. Julie took my hand kindly, her eyes pleading me to be understanding. "I told him you had to know, Natalie. He didn't listen."

"Sounds like him," I muttered.

Julie laughed quickly. I wondered how she could be so amiable over her son's mental illness. Ouch. Mental illness. Those words hurt.

"You can go in, love," she told me tenderly. "I don't know if he's sleeping, but if he is I'm sure he'd love to wake up to you."

"Thank you, Julie."

All of a sudden I realised that mine and Julie's relationship had changed completely in a matter of minutes. We weren't just like mother and daughter anymore. We were carers. We were two young women caring for a guy we both loved incessantly.

My throat was tight as I turned the knob of Jasper's bedroom door. I turned around quickly just to catch Julie before she headed down the stairs. My voice was embarrassingly hoarse. The words came out in a rush.

"Does Eden know?"

It wasn't a question. Not really.

Julie automatically flinched at the question, and I knew the answer. "I... I packed her off to my sisters' for the weekend." She gripped the banister urgently, as if she was afraid she would fall. "I thought it would... Make things easier."

"How exactly?"

The words came out harshly without me meaning them to. Julie brushed her mascaraed eyes, and smiled at me weakly. "I know. You're right. I'll give Elizabeth a call." She began walking down the stairs dejectedly. "Let me know if Jasper needs anything."

I nodded, but I knew Julie couldn't see. My lips were set in a thin, tight line. Decisively, I pushed open the door and stood there, appalled at the picture that lay before me. Jasper lay on his bed, fast asleep, half covered by his duvet; a perfect corpse. His face was waxy, his hair stuck to his forehead with sweat and huge dark circles ringed his closed eyes. Altogether, he looked awful. 

It was all my fault.

I knew Jasper. Cursing myself inwardly, I realised angrily that I should have noticed the warning signs. On the day of the hearing when Jasper had begged, pleaded for us to go home, when I had ran away from school, when he had held a drooping, unconscious Bella in his arms... It had all added up. And it was beginning to affect his life. Just a week ago he had dropped out of school, unable to cope anymore.

Jasper had finally cracked.

Letting only one tear escape from my tired eyes, I sat on the end of Jasper's bed and stroked his clammy head softly. I was scared that if I touched him too hard he would shatter into a million pieces under my hand. I hated how fragile he suddenly was.

I watched, relieved, as one coffee eye opened, and then the other. He didn't smile at me. Instead he spoke. "You know."

Again, it wasn't a question. I bent down and pressed my lips to his temple lightly, whispering in his ear, "How long did you expect to keep it from me?"

Jasper sighed. "Long enough for it to be over."

"It isn't like a Twilight movie, Jasper. You can't just sit it out."

He did something close to laughing, but to me it looked like more of a wince. "I'll get over it eventually. It's just a stupid faze."

I jumped up from the bed without even thinking about it, "This is not some stupid faze! This is a mental illness."

"Don't call it that!"

I stopped, my heart pounding a thousand beats per minute. I figured I'd better not be working him up. Slowly, I knelt down and took both of his sweaty hands into mine. "You're going to get better. I'm sorry about all the crap you've had to deal with since I came into your life..."

Jasper interrupted. "Don't be so..."

"No, I'm serious. Come on, Jasper. Only three weeks until our wedding. You have to be better for that."

The corner of his mouth twitched into what I hoped could be a smile. "You know I will, Nat. But I need you. I need you here to help me."

I hugged myself closer to his body. "I'm here. I'm always here, Jasper."

We lay there, letting the soft Mozart slip softly into our ears. In that moment, we were both content. We were happy. We were more at peace than we had been the entire year.

And that's when the phone rang.

I let it ring for a moment, then Jasper broke the stillness. "Do you remember when this happened last time? We were in the exact same place... Though with fewer clothes on."

I rolled my eyes. The Jasper I knew was obviously coming back. I rolled off the bed in one movement and picked up the phone that was resting in the cradle on Jasper's paper-stacked desk. A part of me, thinking back to last time, sort of hoped that it would be Jamie. I needed to hear his voice again, know that he forgave me. But even I wasn't that stupid.

"Hello? Jasper's phone."

"Who's this?" The voice was deep, croaky. The sort of voice people have when they first wake up in the morning.

"Um... This is Natalie. Natalie Balmer."

"Natalie?"

An unexplainable force knocked me backwards towards the door with a thump. My heart was in my throat, my hands at my mouth. "Bella?"

Jasper's expression was unreadable. I gabbled urgently into the phone. "Bella, where are you? Are you okay? Have you seen anyone yet?"

I could almost imagine Bella closing her eyes and holding up her hand as she would normally do to stop someone talking. "Natalie. I'm here."

"Oh." I couldn't think of anything else to say. "Is it... Nice?"

"It's bearable."

"Good."

There was an awkward pause for a moment. I looked at Jasper, and saw that he had fallen asleep. Finally, I heard a sigh from the other end of the phone. "Look, Natalie, I don't blame you for what happened. Nobody does. They're all just a bit... sour at the moment."

"Sour? Bella, they hate me."

"They don't hate you. They'll come back to you in time. It's strange but, you know, after all that's passed I finally feel that I'm coming to terms with what's happened."

I was still shocked at Bella speaking for this long without being forced to. If Jasper was awake, he'd be so happy.

"I'm glad, Bella. You sound so much happier."

"I am happier. And..." she paused for a moment. "I want you to come and see me."

"Come and see you?"

"Yes." Her voice was a lot more authoritative now. It sounded less like an invitation, more of a duty.

"Please, Natalie."

"Okay." I was breathless. Hurriedly, I grabbed my backpack from under Jasper's bed and stuffed it with the few possessions I owned. "Give me the address."

Bella sounded relieved. "42 Penstowe Gardens. The place is called Brocklehurst House."

I grabbed a biro from Jasper's desk, tore the lid off with my teeth and scribbled the address down on a faded post-it note. "I'm on my way."

"Now?"

I stopped for a moment, relieved. Maybe she would give me some time. "Is... Is that okay?"

She sighed. "Perfect. Thank you, Natalie. Thank you so much."

"Any time." I gabbled, and hung up the phone. I was puzzled to as why Bella was so desperate for me to come and see her. But she was desperate, and that's all that mattered. I was just about to rush out the door, when I saw Jasper lying there, looking like an angel, the vision of peace; and now I was leaving him so abruptly.

But this was Bella. This was my sister. I had no choice but to go to her. Stooping down, I kissed Jasper's snowy cheek. Then after one last kiss, one he didn't return; and leaving a note on his pillow which read:

'Gone to stay with Bella. Call me. Love you.'

I slipped out of the door, out of my life, out of this world to meet my sister.

 

 

 

 

 

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