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!


34. Resolutions

"Do you think she'll call?"

Jasper didn't need to ask who I meant. He knew I was talking about Bella, without me even explaining myself.

I was lying on Jasper's bed, with him sitting there stroking my hair, and Eden lounging in the chair opposite us, flicking through endless wedding magazines and brochures languidly. It had been three weeks and two days since the trial, and Jasper had been trying to distract me for every single one of those twenty three days. Of course, I had succumbed to the temptations whole-heartedly; including wedding planning, evenings out and yes, kissing, but mostly it was just to keep Jasper happy. I knew that he was sick with worry about how I was coping with everything, especially as I hadn't seen or spoken to any member of my family since the trial.

Jasper hadn't let me sleep alone in weeks. It had gotten so tiresome having to sneak Jasper into Sunningdale House every single evening that in the end I packed my bags, waved goodbye to Sally and set up residence at Jasper's. He was happy about it. But I had to pretend to fall asleep every single night, as if I let myself fall asleep properly soon enough I would wake us both up by screaming, way into the morning; as the nightmares were so shocking I wouldn't, or couldn't stop.

Now, he curled a lock of my hair around his finger lazily. It was late, and Eden was drooping, exhausted as school had finally finished for the Christmas holidays that day. Jasper kissed the top of my head. "For the hundredth time, I have no idea whether Bella will call," he murmured delicately against my hair, "if she does, she does, if she doesn't, she doesn't."

"But it isn't as simple as that, is it Jasper?" I sighed. "She's my sister. She's family. And now she's in some asylum somewhere and..."

Before I could continue Eden bounced up onto the bed, energy restored by the pretty dresses in the magazine, and jabbed the page with her finger. "See, Natalie? If you wear the dress we discussed before, then this silk over the bridesmaid's dresses would go perfectly!"

I yawned, and took the crinkled magazine from Eden. "I'm sorry, Ede, but I'm really not in the mood tonight."

"I think it's bedtime now, anyway," Jasper added, taking my hand, "it's gone eleven."

Eden groaned, but obeyed. She kissed me lightly on the cheek with a "only twenty eight more days!"

I waited until I heard Eden's bedroom door click, then I rolled over so I was lying on Jasper's chest. "Does Eden really have to remind me every single night of the number of days left until our wedding?"

Jasper's chest rumbled lightly, and then he bent down to kiss me. "Well I know that I'm counting every single hour until you become my bride," he breathed. I rolled my eyes.

"Yeah, yeah, me too love."

Jasper pushed the leaflets and magazines off his bed and pulled me under his duvet with him. I leaned my head on his hard shoulder. "Jasper," I began, "how many weeks have I missed of school?"

He chuckled. "Of all the things to be thinking about."

I looked at him, and narrowed my eyes. "How many weeks, Jasper?"

He sighed. "Six."

I didn't think I had heard him correctly. "How many?"

"I said, six weeks."

"Six weeks?!" I sat up as if a bolt of lightning had been shot through me. "I have been off school for six weeks?"

Jasper could tell I was furious. He stroked my cheek with the back of my hand as I tried to get my thoughts in order. "Natalie, I'm sorry I've kept you off. But me and Mum both agreed it was best to keep you off, after you ran out of school that day."

I closed my eyes, trying not to shout at him. "Jasper, you do know that I have exams next month?"

"Seriously, do you really think that you could do your January exams when you've been at home for more than a month?"

I cringed at the tone of his voice. It was clear that Jasper was irritated. Silently, I turned his face back around to look at me. "Jasper, what's wrong? Don't you want me to go back to school?"

A chink of light from a lamp-post in the street reflected off Jasper's hair, so each tousled strand looked like gold. He smiled. "Well my Mum certainly doesn't want you to go back." Jasper winked at me. "She said you've been an angel helping her with the housework."

I nudged him playfully, a bit more of my frustration seeping out of my system. "Please, Jasper," I said. "Please just tell me the truth."

"Okay." Jasper exhaled nosily. "I figure I'd better tell you the truth."

I sat up. I didn't like the sound of that. I didn't know that there was any truth to be told. Brushing my hair out of my eyes, I gave Jasper the look which says 'just tell me'. He appeared uncomfortable for a moment. Then he sighed. "I dropped out of sixth form."

"You what?!"

With one movement Jasper rolled out of the bed and stood with his back to me, flexing. His muscles were visible behind the thin cotton of his navy T shirt. I waited, holding my breath, tapping my foot, counting the number of seconds until it was acceptable for me to interrupt his deep thinking.

But surprisingly, Jasper turned around to face me first. His eyes were apologetic, arms dangling uselessly at his sides. "Look, Natalie..." he began.

I interrupted him. "No, Jasper, I understand."

In truth, I didn't understand. Why on earth would Jasper wreck his education, his future and his friendships... for me?

Realisation hit me like a huge, forceful, determined wave. He did it for me.

On impulse, I leaped off the bed and wrapped my arms around Jasper's waist. He put his hands over mine. "I did it for you," he said. "For us."

I sighed. "I know."

We stood there in mutual, companionable silence.

A resolution was in the air.

"Then I'm dropping out, too."

We were still facing the wall. Then Jasper spoke. "You sure?"

"Yes, I am. I've missed six weeks anyway. Besides, you've got your AS's."

His voice was scratched, croaky. "True."

It sounded like a compromise, but it sounded like a sentence.

I spoke quickly. "I love you, Jasper."

I felt a single tear drop onto my bare shoulder. I wanted to turn around, but somehow I couldn't bring myself to. I couldn't see Jasper cry.

"I love you too, Natalie."




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