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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23. Two Fragile, Sensitive, Mentally Disturbed Boys.

The warm air greeted me welcomingly as I stepped into the coffee shop. Although it was only October the air was biting, frosty, and early morning shoppers were wrapped in colourful scarves and thick coats. It was nice to escape to this part of town sometimes. To just pretend that, for one second, you were normal.

The shop was vibrant, friendly; filled with easy chatter and the delicious smell of freshly ground coffee. I looked around me, and the place was busy, but not packed, with young mothers with their babies in prams beside them, and writers with laptops typing furiously on their keyboards.

Altogether, it seemed that this was the worst place possible to meet Mattie and Elliot.

Last week Felicity had agreed, slightly grudgingly I couldn't help but notice, to let her 'beloved boys' to meet me in a fairly neutral environment, a coffee shop down on King Street, to talk. I looked around nervously. It wasn't that I wasn't looking forward to seeing my brothers again, I was. But the situation was... Difficult.

I walked over to the counter and ordered a large cappucino. "And I'll have a..." I faltered. I hated the fact that I didn't even know what my own brothers liked to drink. "I'll get back to you," I told the man behind the counter. He looked friendly enough, with sleek blonde hair, almost whitish looking, and two huge blue eyes, deep as the sea.

Now he smiled at me, and handed me a large double chocolate muffin. "On the house, darling," he whispered.

I forced a smile, and a painful, "Thank you," and took my coffee and the muffin. As a care kid, the one thing you hated above all else was being given charity.

Having chosen a table, a nice quiet one by a large window so that if the conversation weakened I could always point out something of interest happening on the busy streets outside, I relaxed.

Just as I was taking my first sip of frothy coffee, my thoughts drifted back to the... events of last night. To my surprise, and utter exultation, I had discovered soon enough that Jasper wasn't careful this time, wasn't worried, and seemed, finally, to trust himself with me.

The only downside was the fact that when I woke up this morning, tired and groggy, Jasper's body was not curled up beside mine. Instead lay a note: crisp, white, innocent, neatly on the pillow beside me.

'I'm sorry that I had to leave,' It had said, 'But if Sally had found me she would have murdered me. I'll pick you up tonight and we'll go to dinner or something, get out for a while. I love you.'

"Natalie?" 

A croaky, unsteady, barely broken voice was calling my name. I jolted out of my daydream, and stood up to face my brothers shakily.

Mattie and Elliot were standing by my table, almost ceremoniously, dressed casually in jeans and long checked shirts. Mum had never dressed them the same, said that it would make them too similar, but they had done it anyway for as long as I can remember.

Mattie was staring at me seriously, his deep blue set eyes looking at me in a way I could not fathom. Elliot took the first move, to my surprise, and sat in the chair opposite me. I smiled at them, my brothers, and silently vowed to take care of them forever.

"You can sit down, Mattie," Elliot whispered hurriedly, nudging his brother in the ribs. Smiling kindly, I motioned encouragingly to the free chair beside Elliot. Mattie just looked at me, then seemed to pull himself together, closing his eyes quickly and then opening them again.

"I'm sorry," he spluttered, sitting down next to Elliot, who squeezed his arm, "It's just..." He sighed. "It's been a while."

I motioned to a waiter standing by the coffee machine. "It has for all of us, Mattie," I reassured him, "but that's what I want to change. We need to see each other more often." The waiter came over and took the boy's orders. 'Banana milkshake and a hot chocolate, banana milkshake and a hot chocolate', I committed to memory.

"So is this why you asked us to come?" Elliot asked, "to talk?"

"Well not exactly," I admitted, "Actually, I wanted to get your opinion on something."

Mattie and Elliot exchanged glances with each other briefly, then looked back at me. "What?"

I sighed. "It's about the trial."

The drinks arrived, but nobody touched them. There was a fleeting stillness for a moment, then Mattie dipped a finger furtively into the cream of his hot chocolate. "Can we ask you something first?"

I nodded, maybe a bit too much. "Anything."

It seemed like a cloud had passed over the twin's faces for a moment. Their faces drooped downwards, and for a second I recognised them from the two young boys I had seen at the hearing; having been temporarily replaced by the two sharp, inquisitive boys that had arrived to have coffee with me. Mattie ran a finger around the rim of his mug slowly. "We heard mum... I mean... Felicity," He corrected himself quickly, "Talking to Bella's lawyer."

Oh no. Seriously, how could this... this Felicity be so stupid? Telling two fragile, sensitive, mentally disturbed boys that there was absolutely no hope of saving her sister from imprisonment wasn't the best way to comfort them, surely?

"What did he say?" I almost growled. Mattie seemed to be fighting hard to hold his tears back . "The lawyer said..." He closed his eyes for a moment. "That it is highly unlikely that he will win the case on the evidence they've got right now."

There was silence. Then Elliot leant forward, brushing his hand against mine momentarily. I wasn't sure if it was deliberate, or a mistake.

"Will Bella go to prison?" He asked bluntly.

I broke off a crumb of the muffin, not knowing what to say. This was the crux of all of my problems. "Mattie," I tried to keep my voice level, "Why are you telling me this?"

Elliot looked at me plainly. "You could change that."

I leant forward in my chair. The heat in my body was rising slowly upwards to my head. "I need to think about it. I can't just make a decision like that in a couple of seconds."

"But why not?" Mattie demanded, "She's our sister!"

"But he's my brother," I whispered.

"You're going to have to choose sometime, you know." Elliot leant back in his chair, defeated.

I raised my mug to my lips to have a calming sip of frothy coffee, but now it was empty. I pushed over the unfinished muffin to the twins, but they ignored it. Then Mattie piped up. His blotched face was pale, and this eyes cold. "Just tell me this, Natalie," He rasped. "Who's more your family? Us... Or him?"

I sighed, and looked both of them in the eye. "You can't pick your family, Mattie."

And with that, my two brothers stood up and left me, sitting there in the shop with my empty mug, and an empty heart.

I put my head in my hands.

 

 

 

 

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