Bella pushed her parents off a cliff on her 14th birthday and was taken into care. On her 16th birthday, she targeted Jona, the first person she ever "liked", and moved in with him - cuckoo-style". On her 18th, she met Catriona, and "liked" her, too. She bought a house, and moved Cat in. Jona joined them later and befriended Cat. Now he has discovered something shocking, which links Bella and Cat.
Bella Pleasance was the victim of a combination of her mother's optimism and her father's misfortune. Her name consisted of two misnomers. Her first name implied she was beautiful and her last that she had an agreeable personality. Sadly, neither was the case. She did not use her middle name, or the problem would have been compounded. because it was 'Grace', and she was neither gracious nor graceful.
Being totally lacking in any sense of humour, the irony of her naming was lost on her, which is unfortunate, because she might have been able to take some comfort in the ability to laugh at the situation.
By the time she reached her teens, she had resigned herself to her lot in life - that of one of its unfortunates, and thus, she was able to enjoy making life as miserable as possible, for as many people as possible.
How would one describe Bella? She was not repulsive to look at. Each of her individual features was perfectly satisfactory, Her eyes were a bright blue, but were deep set, and a very narrow nasal bridge gave the impression that they were too close together. Her nose was straight, but too long in a face that was too round. Her lips were nicely shaped, but she had a tendency to suck them in. Her ears were exquisite, even beautiful, but she grew her hair long and covered them, so no-one ever saw them. Her teeth were perfect, and pearl-white, but she never smiled, so the same thing applied.
Many physically unattractive people have a delightful personality which compensates for their lack of good looks, Not so for Bella, a grumpy, petulant and mean spirited child who grew to be a crotchety, surly and miserly adult.
Her parents were bewildered by their daughter's nasty traits. Mr Pleasance was a thoroughly amiable chap, the life and soul of every party, insightful and quick-witted. Mrs Pleasance was a sweet and caring lady, who had a kind word for everyone.
As a toddler, they had been concerned that Bella was a humourless, serious child, but hoped that she would improve as she started school and began mixing with other children. They were to be disappointed.
Bella's first day at school had marked out the way she would behave for the rest of her life. She sat at her little desk, snarling at her new classmates whenever they dared to speak to her, snapping at the teacher, and refusing to share the toys with any other child. The teacher was not overly concerned at this stage, putting Bella's reticence down to first day nerves and masked shyness, but after a month, she decided that Bella was simply unpleasant, no more and no less. She spoke to Mrs Pleasance one day after school, and voiced her concern, recommending that she and Mr Pleasance might wish to seek professional help for their daughter.
The following years were taken up with visits to specialist after expert after consultant. They tried psychiatry, psychology, cranial osteopathy, massage, aromatherapy, astrology, reflexology and prayer. The last resort would be exorcism, but they didn't get the opportunity to try it.
On Bella's fourteenth birthday, her parents took her to the seaside, and she pushed both of them off a cliff.
She was now an orphan. A very wealthy one. And she had ideas on how to use her wealth.