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Title: The World Keeps Turning
Author: [livejournal.com profile] tromana
Rating: PG-13
Characters: Jal/Chris
Summary: Jal, as she could have been.
Disclaimer: If I don't own the Mentalist yet, am I any more likely to own Skins?
Notes: Written for [livejournal.com profile] writeskins, prompt table D.




The World Keeps Turning


She hears a voice.


It’s familiar, too familiar. And yet, she cannot quite place it. She wishes she could, oh how she wishes. It feels like it’s a part of her life that has been absent for far too long, but at the same time has been there all the time.


She turns and looks.


A child.


Of course it would be, who else could she expect it to be? It’s like looking into a mirror. Those big, rounded eyes are just like her own. Chocolate brown and full of hope and dreams. She loves life, this little girl does. Jal knows that in a heartbeat, because it’s what she’s taught her for these precious few years. How could she have misplaced this voice?


This is her daughter, her own flesh and blood. It’s not something you forget in a hurry.


She remembers the birth, as terribly lonely as it was. One of her brothers had said he’d accompany her, but hadn‘t been able to make it in the end. Couldn’t get the time off work to stand by her bedside and watch her endure the agony. At least he had understood that a new life was far more important than anything else she could achieve. Her career, her father’s pride. They’re things that can be regained. But this is a life, a new human life. That’s irreplaceable; even if she could have become pregnant again had she had an abortion.


Unfortunately, her father hadn’t seen it that way. He refused to have anything to do with her, kicked her out of the house. He hated the fact that she had chosen to sacrifice her life, everything, for the sake of having a baby at just seventeen. A blossoming career as a clarinettist had been flushed down the pan, her years of hard work and sacrifice just cast aside. How many orchestras would want an instrumentalist who could only work during school hours? None, that’s how many. And she remembers that each and every day. Her clarinet sits in her bedroom now, just gathering dust. It’s there for the memories; that’s all it’s worth.


Her baby girl giggles, with a cheeky mischievous grin erupting across her features. It’s the spitting image of Chris’ smile. It hurts her to know that her baby girl doesn’t know her father. Jal knows what it’s like to grow up with a single parent and though it’s no fault of her own, history is repeating itself. Except she has no one to blame; Chris didn’t go swanning off just to escape fatherhood. He died; a legitimate sickness stole him away from her. She misses him, of course she does. Not a day goes by when she cannot stop thinking about her first love. After all, she only needs to look at her only child to see just what she’s lost.


But at least he’s still living, in a way. Through their daughter. The one that she very nearly had killed simply because it didn’t fit in with her life’s plans. How could she have even given that concept a second thought? If she’d had the abortion, then she would have destroyed the one thing that she had left of him in this world.


Jal feels a bursting swell of pride as a small hand is placed into her own. They’re together. That’s what counts.


It could easily have been so different.


She blinks.


Opens her eyes again.


The girl is gone. Instead, she’s replaced by a tall, strapping man. He lays beside her, wearing just his pyjama bottoms. At the foot of a bed, a small boy, bouncing up and down. He’s no older than five.


Then she realises. It’s happening again.


It’s guilt, setting in. That’s what she always thinks of it as. Guilt.


She loves her son, really she does. Jal hasn’t told him yet, hasn’t told either of them that she had been pregnant once before. That she had destroyed a life, mostly because she hadn’t been sure what she had wanted at the time. Their baby boy could have had an elder brother or sister, somebody to guide him through life like her brothers did with her.


Then again, if she had, she would never have met her husband. She met him at work. At the time, she was never going to meet anyone anywhere else. Music had eaten up all of her free time. He plays a mean oboe and is one of the best in the country. Naturally. Only the best for her, or so her father says. It hadn’t been love at first sight, not quite. But she’s happy now, comfortable even. If she hadn’t been, then Jal would never have married him. It would have been a waste of her time, and his too.


His hand reaches out and strokes her left cheek. She flinches at the touch. It was something Chris used to do, all those years ago. Before…


And the memories are still fresh in her mind. If they hadn’t been, then the affectionate gesture would have effected her far less.


“You okay, babe?”


“I’m fine.”


No point in telling the truth. It wouldn’t get her anywhere.


end
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November 2011

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