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!


16. You Left Us.

The clock ticked quietly as Moya poured the steaming tea. We were all sitting down awkwardly on two giant quilted sofas, smiling shyly at each other. Jamie, Moya, Chrystal and Lottie were sat on one, and Jasper, Marie and myself were seated on the other. Marie was perched on my lap.

The deafening silence seemed to go on for ever, when the doorbell rang. Jamie jumped up gratefully. "I'll get it!"

Moya shook her head at him. "He should have let Marie get it," she tutted.

"Sorry, mum," Marie whispered, shamefaced. Moya smiled fondly at her daughter. "Don't apologise, darling."

"Sorry," I heard Marie whisper again, but before Moya could scold her daughter's extraneous apology, Jamie bounded into the room jovially, followed miserably by my two brothers Mattie and Elliot. Their faces had turned slightly pink in the cold air outside, but apart from that they were as sullen and despondent as before. Moya stepped up and took the boys by their shoulders. Even though they were now teenagers they were still small, still delicate.

"I'm Moya," Moya began, "Jamie's partner." I could read the unfounded shock on their faces just the same as I had felt when I had first realised the connection. I hoped Jamie wasn't easily offended. With an intake of breath, Marie got up from my lap and went to join her mother's side. "I'm Marie," she said, "And Jamie's my dad." She looked at the boys and then back at me, as if she was trying to work something out. Then she nodded. "So I suppose you two are my uncles!"

The twins didn't say anything. Their faces were still solemnly fixed to the ground. Moya patted Marie's little head and showed the boys to an empty spot on the sofa, obviously trying to make them feel at home; but by judging how I had felt when I was in their position, they would never feel at home anywhere.

"Scone, Natalie?" Jamie offered, his eyes pained by how evidently awkward this reunion was going to be. I took one gratefully and absentmindedly picked it to pieces. Lottie stared at my busy fingers wonderingly, her legs crossed, her forehead furrowed as if she was trying to work something out.

"You left us."

The sudden outburst by Mattie left everyone astounded. My brothers had not spoken one word to anyone all day, and now, it looked like they were preparing to say a lot. The familiar expression of fury that covered Bella's face was just starting to appear on Mattie's. Elliot cowered at the edge of the sofa, breathing slowly, his nail bitten fingers knotted tightly together in his lap.

"You left us, and made us deal with her on our own." Mattie's voice wobbled slightly. "You left us like we were nothing."

I looked at Jamie, appalled. Who was this harsh statement directed at? Me? Jamie? Both of us?

"She started to drink," Mattie continued, "And she would cry for hours next to the front door, calling your names, the bottle empty in her arms."

So both of us then.

"She cradled the bottle like a baby." Mattie wrinkled his nose up in disgust. "Like she loved it. Like it was the only thing that mattered to her."

Now Moya stepped in. "Oh that's ridiculous, Mattie, she cared about..."

"Rubbish!" He snarled, tears pouring down his blotched face. "She didn't give a stuff about us! We were just a nuisance to her, with the education officer coming round every day..."

"Wait," I cut in, "You stopped going to school?"

"We had no choice, did we?" Elliot mumbled, "It was too far to walk. We needed Mum to drive us."

"So we just sat around in the flat all day," Mattie continued, "There was never any food,l no heating and no lights. Mum couldn't afford no bills."

"But then..." Elliot faltered. "Then..."

I watched with horror as Elliot collapsed back into the sofa. At once Jasper leaped up from my side and lifted Elliot's head up with both his hands. Jamie stroked his cheek urgently. "Come on, mate," he whispered, "Come on, Elliot. Wake up for me mate."

I could hardly watch Elliot's pale face grow paler by the minute, and suddenly his arms started shaking like he had some sort of condition.

"What's wrong with him?" Jamie almost yelled to Mattie, "Why's he doing this?"

Mattie shrugged, nonchalant. "Happens every time he remembers when he found Mum dead in the bath."

"What?" Jasper spluttered.

"All he needs is a glass of water," Mattie said, "And a bowl. He nearly always vomits when he wakes up."

Chrystal rushed out of the room and almost immediately returned with a glass full of ice-cold water and a huge enamel bowl. I took the signalling from Jamie and led Marie out of the room hurriedly. She didn't need to see this.

I almost laughed at the irony of it. Me and Jamie were trying to protect Marie from things she didn't need to see, a young boy vomiting, but years ago Jamie and I had done nothing to stop Mattie and Elliot from seeing things they shouldn't have to: like their Mother drowning herself in the bath.

Marie was craning her neck to look back into the room, but I turned her shoulders gently. "Just ignore it, Marie."

But even I couldn't block the sound of Elliot's retching from my ears.

"Natalie," Marie asked, her eyes wide with concern, "Why are those boys so sad?"

I hugged her tightly to my chest, unwilling to let her see my tears. "They've had a bad start, Maui."

I don't know where the nickname appeared from. it just... happened. Marie, or Maui, seemed to like it though. She put her chin on my shoulder.

"Thank you for my name," she whispered, "I know I'm lucky. I know I'm luckier than those sad boys in the Drawing Room."

Yes, I wanted to say, you are lucky. You're lucky that you have two devoted parents that will love you unconditionally, you are lucky that you live a sheltered life; that you will never have to see the things me and my family have had to see, and you are lucky that you are rich.

But instead I said, "You're welcome."


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