A short story, modern take on the sad story of Jane Grey and her husband. Slightly Exaggerated because of the truthful hatred between her husband and herself, exaggeration turns the story into a romance set in modern day...
Modern Jane Grey
I was never a popular girl at my school and after what happened in the time of a month and I can finally see why, people were never really friends with me. I was difficult, but not in a bad way or with an illness I just wasn’t easy to make friends with; I pushed people away more easily than letting them in. With the way I had been brought up it wasn’t going to be much a surprise.
Also, I was different as in quiet, I preferred to read a book then run around the playground like some mad child, I preferred the comfort of a classroom than the comfort of my home, I was just a little distant from a proper’s child life, but I was happy.
I had never realised that I could be so untamed and Reckless especially not in the time of a month. I ultimately realised what I had missed out on as a child after my frightening month, and the difference I saw in me afterwards was astounding and unpredictable, I was different but this time I wasn’t happy about it.
My father was a bank owner and a very successful one at that, he looked after people’s money and in return they looked after his reputation. He wasn’t an unfair man at all even though people believed him to be a bit of a scoundrel, because he had a wife but he had lots of women employees and most people believe that women are to low to work in a bank even in the 21st century! But my father was loyal and extremely hardworking.
Which is why it came as such a shock to my family when the unfortunate and the most horrible thing happened?
One horrible day my father passed away from the most unexpected and sudden heart attacks possible, it was literally a routine day and my father was happy and blissful. He woke in the morning complaining of some sort of aching in his arm, but he ruled it off as sleeping sideways.
But he told me at the breakfast table “Nevertheless. I shall be in my office for eight o’clock and nothing will stop me!”
I wasn’t at all apprehensive to the bizarreness about my father’s arm, and so I went to school in my normal cheery and different mood which my mother so much despised.
An hour later after arriving at my educational institution, I was called to the Reception where a teacher was waiting to take me to an unidentified place; it was my maths teacher, Mr Feck who was to ride with me in the car and who would be taking me to the anonymous and mysterious place.
I was just told to get into the taxi, and not ask too many questions until I arrived at the place that I was being taken to.
I didn’t want to abide by the rules, I wished not to get in the silver car until I knew where I was going except my legs disagreed with me and I found myself sitting on the left side of the car leaning on the inside handle staring out the window with my eyebrows down and my lips pursed.
I didn’t even hear the car start or Mr. Feck get in next to me awkwardly, it was obvious that he knew what was going on and it made him extremely nervy and hard to read. A thin line of sweat sat on the top of his brow he kept wiping it away with a tissue he held tightly in his right hands but it always appeared every time I glanced at him . I only realised that we were moving away from the school in the opposite direction of the school when the roar of the sweet little silver taxi made a surprising loud noise as the car started suddenly after reaching some traffic lights.
It came to my attention, after I realigned myself into a more comfortable position that Mr. Feck was being abnormally quiet, he was a teacher he was suppose to be comforting me in my anxiety telling me to stop wriggling in my seat and to stop asking questions but he just stared, forward at the headrest of the taxi drivers, refusing to answer any of my questions, acting completely oblivious to the distress I was in. It wasn’t long before I realised just asking question was not going to get a word to accidently slip between his tightly sealed lips, I would just have to wait patiently and tolerantly until all my questions were answered by the location of the shadowy place.
That was when I was when I saw the building, my dad’s building, the bank.
I was puzzled by why we were there but I didn’t ask questions, I didn’t want to know why we were there. It abruptly started to rain and as the raindrops fell from the sky, like little ballerinas, as graceful and as charming, setting a scene-like atmosphere of disappointment and displeasure.
Mr. Feck was already out of the car holding a slightly tinged colour of grey umbrella in his left hand while his right hand hung onto the car handle ready to push down when I was ready. I looked up at his gentle and compassionate face; I looked into his hazel eyes in admiration and warm approval but I could tell he was hiding something shocking and gloomy behind them which pained him dearly, mostly for me.
I nodded slightly and bit down on my lip trying to hold back my emotions which seemed to be spilling out of me one by one.
Mr. Feck slowly pressed down on the handle releasing me into the bank of the unknown and mysterious. As I stepped outside of the car, it was as if I could smell and feel the terrifying atmosphere around me, the feel of the air, the silence that contained the bank which would usually be buzzing with the hype of getting ready to open but there was no such noise, or such people. There was nothing. I was like there was a big black hole which had sucked out the normality and placed in the abnormality in the atmosphere.
There was an ambulance outside of the doors of the bank and I could hear some sort of sobbing noise. I breathed in hard and tried to wish that I was anywhere but where I was.
I once again had no control over my body; adrenalin was pumping through my veins like an acid, stinging at every movement I made.
My legs were numb and so were running to the doors of the bank; I could feel the piercing eyes of sympathy in my back from Mr. Feck.
I thrashed open the doors and I fell to the floor in pain and emotion. The stinging of the acid was more of a boiling feeling now, I was ready to tear and rip at my flesh as throbbing continued but now throughout my entire body including my legs.
I could hear my brother’s gentle voice, speaking softly to another man but with a slight twinge as he spoke the words “What is going to happen to my father, now.” He left a small pause between each word as if he couldn’t believe it in truth I knew he couldn’t.
No one could see me I was tucked up nicely in the corner under a desk where I had fallen in pain, the throbbing had gone but I felt like there were weights pressing down on my body which prevented me from moving anywhere, but then Eddie my brother saw and he could see I was in distress and he pulled me from the side of the desk onto his lap where he cradled me to cry.
I could feel that I had soaked his shirt but he didn’t release me and I was glad that he didn’t, I was not ready to be moved and I never thought I would be.
I couldn’t hear my mum and I began to wonder where she was so I held in the sobs and tried to ask where mum was to Eddie, but in the end I had to spell it out for him on paper because my throat burnt with choking tears and sobbing.
“She’s at home.”
“Why isn’t she here?”
“She said she didn’t like people seeing her upset and left, you know mum she’s a hard shell.”
“She still should be here, for you, for us.”
The tears began to slow and my vocal chords felt less tight making me able to breathe.
“Are you alright now? Can you get up?” I nodded stupidly, I hadn’t noticed the amount of people who were crowding around us, one lady had a cup of Hot chocolate which was still steaming and a few biscuits, not something you would want when your father had just died, but when you had been crying for an hour or so, you are gonna be thirsty and hungry.
Eddie sat me with the lady who put her arm around me and told me to drink up; while he went to talk to the man I had heard him talking to before. Even though they thought I couldn’t hear them speaking I could.
“What are you going to do Edwards?”
Edward? Nobody called Eddie Edward unless it was something really serious. The voice of the second man was foreign and well spoken, perhaps African or Indian.
I tried to listen in carefully hoping that the nice lady wouldn’t notice my dreamy like state when she was talking to me. But I was unsuccessful.
“Jane? What are dreaming about?”
“Nothing.” I said trying not to worry anyone about me, I hated all this commotion and fuss, and I still feel the piercing eyes of sympathy on me, embarrassingly.
“Can I go home now?”
“Of course sweetie I’ll just get your brother so he can take you.”
“No!” She turned around to face me; I smiled and shrugged like they do in the movies when they speak to drastically.
“I mean, he’s busy. I’ll just get a lift with Mr. Feck.”
My brother Eddie, took over the bank he was only 19 at the time and we were expecting him to go to university and become a lawyer but Eddie was a family man and he knew that he couldn’t leave my mother and I to study for 7 years about how to win a fight, instead he took up our fathers position as a manager of a bank. My mother was not at all the type of mother you would expect a mother to be. She spent most of her free nights going to clubs and speed dating at the club bringing home the most abominable men possible, I wouldn’t be able to get to sleep with the amount of noise that they made next door to the room next to mine; I just read my beloved books. Books were my only Salvation in life other than Eddie but even though my books will last me my lifetime, Eddie would not.
It was a typical day, I woke from my disturbed bed with the ringing of my bothersome alarm, and I would cheerfully get out of bed and stretch my arms in the air. I would get up at 7:30 usually in time for my mother to have left to her breakfast club at the village hall for anyone who wanted to join and meet people. It was more of a youth club for seniors. I would get grab some clothes to put on, so anything I had in my drawers, most likely something like me jeans and a T-shirt. I would go into the bathroom where I would brush my hair in even strokes before, getting changed into the raggedy old clothes which barely fitted me right and I would go downstairs.
My mother would never have cleaned up from the night before so once again that was my job, cleaning the stove and the table making sure that the packets of cereal and egg cartons were closed properly before taking out the rubbish and placing the large black bin bags over-flowing with meal leftovers and drinks cartons and bottles against our gate for the bin men to take in the afternoon.
Then I had to make a small bowl of oatmeal for my brother who was laying upstairs in bed as weak and feeble as a leaf.
One week while he was at work he became pale and disorientated and no one knew what was wrong with him, one of his workman called an ambulance and that trip to the hospital explained his life plan. He had got pancreatic cancer and had less than a month to live, what was worse was that he had known that something was up but was too stubborn and to full of pride and honour to abandon the bank for one afternoon to go find out for himself and because of that stupid little stubbornness his life was to end, the only solace I could take in the fact that I knew he was going to die was the exact reason I hated it! I knew I only had so much time so I was not going to waste it by telling him he was an idiot like my mother I was going to spend as much time as I was allowed and could get to talk to him, to sooth him, too entertain him while he sat terrified in his bed longing for a cure or a pain soother even I wasn’t the thing that he needed! I was useless, pathetic and I felt the wrath of that terrible thing every night from my mother, when she came home with her make-up smudge all over her face from where she had let the men attack her hourglass body with their hairy large masculine hands, touching her everywhere, everywhere my father had touched her! It sickened me and she used it against me! She hated me; she wanted me dead instead of my brother. Why was I alive and well when he suffered dying silently in unbearable agony, why?