2. Chapter two
~~Katherine Roche, now Kate Todd, looked at her reflection staring back at her; she did not see the woman she did 15 years ago. The physical scars remained but had faded as had the mental scars. She pulled her hair back into a bun, tugged at the bottom of her blazer and took in a death breath. She was ready for work.
"Finely" She called as she stepped out of her room, picking up her handbag from the bottom of her bed before she did. "Are you ready?"
"Nearly" Her daughter called back.
"Mum, I've been given a family project to look into our family tree but I don't know my father's name, do you have any information on him or his family?" Finely had been trying to find the courage to ask the question for days. She had tried to bring up the topic of her father before but her mum had always shut that conversation down before it had even began.
"I've told you before, I don't want to hear anymore. I don't want you to ask about your father! I didn't know him well and I don't want to talk about it" Kate instantly shut down, snapping at her daughter even though she wasn't angry at her. She boiled up whenever she thought about him so she tried not to. The fear that she always used to feel now transferred into anger as she thought about what she should have done.
"You might not want to talk about him but I do, you know more than you want me to believe" Finley pushed for more, she fought her corner like she had never done before.
"Stop it Finley! I don't want to here anymore!" Kate was yelling now.
"I SAID STOP!" Finley had never seen her mum so angry before. Never had she yelled like she just had. She regretted pushing buttons when she knew she was pushing them but she was also feeling anger.
Kate had flashes of her dreaded past. Her husband, Finley's father shouting at her, yelling at her. She felt a wave of guilt at what she had just done, she was horrified at what she had seen in herself.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry" She stepped forward and reached out to pull her daughter into a hug but Finley didn't cooperate. She stepped back, turned as she pull her bag further on her shoulder and walked out the door. From where she stood in the hallway, Kate could hear the car door slam and although she was expecting it, the noise didn't fail to make her jump. She looked up from the floor and caught herself in the mirror opposite her and for a second she thought she saw him. Then she realised she was clenching her fists so tight that her nails had began digging into her palms. She wasn't him. She would become him. She was not who he was.
When she approached the car she saw the passenger seat empty. She slid into the driver's seat and glanced up at the rears view mirror. Finely had her head down, ear phones in. Maybe is she hadn't sat in the back maybe things would have turned out differently, maybe if they hadn't argued. Maybe.
The drive was quiet, silent, only the hum of the engine and the songs on the radio. Kate kept looking at her daughter in the mirror, only once or twice did she catch her gaze but she always looked away immediately.
One gaze too many, one second not looking at the road ahead was all it took. The car in front had lost control and she had lost seconds of time to react. She slammed on the break but tried swerving as a quick fix, a last resort. Too late, there was nothing she could do. The cars collided. There was an awful mix of sounds; the crushing of metal, the screeching of tyres, screams from the front and the back.
Kate fell into darkness.
Finley fell into darkness.
'Yesterday at 8:30 in Manchester a five car tragedy was the result of a drunken, off duty police officer who is lying in hospital fighting for his life along with two others: a mother of three and a teenage male. While six others got away with no serious injuries. The injured include young couple Max and Daisy Heath, teacher Martin Hollingsworth, Mother and daughter Kate and Finley Todd...'
Michael Roche looked up from his beer and stared at the screen. Had he actually heard what he thought he had? Was it the alcohol mixing up words? No. Then name he heard was written on the screen running along the bottom. It didn't mean it was her though. But the names fitted together like two pieces of a puzzle. Kate Todd and Finley Todd. It had to be, surely it was.
Anger bubbled up inside him as memories of that night 15 years ago were brought to the front of his mind, like someone has pressed play on a DVD that had been left on pause. His brows narrowed and drew closer to his nose, the creases on his forehead growing deeper, his jaw clench shut so tight that his teeth pushed into the gums. He had never forgotten. The details were hazy but the remembered all that he needed to remember.
He fumbled to get his wallet out from his back pocket and with the shaking hand of a drunk he attempted several times to grab the photo from the slot at the back before he actually manages to pull it out. The photo was crease, fading at the crease lines where it had been folded and unfolded several times but is daughters little smile was still clear, her blue eyes looks at him. She was not his little girl anymore, she hadn't been for a long time but he never forgot her. Never.