Disclaimer: I don't own 'Mental' or any of its characters. The series is the property of Fox. So there is no copyright infringement intended, nor do I intend to tick anyone off – so please don't sue me, I'm poor enough already! But I do own the story itself and the non-'Mental' Characters…. :O)
This is my first 'Mental' fanfic. It is based on Jack Gallagher and the rest of the 'Mental'' cast and series; I really like Jack, just not with Nora, so she's never really in the picture here – sorry to all the Jack/Nora shippers out there. But it will feature his sister on and off through the story.
I do not intend to rip off any other writer so if this premise has been done before I'm sorry, I just hope mine is different enough for it not to be too boring. But if I digress from the series too much don't shoot me as I'm old, and the brain (what little I have) is not what it used to be! LOL!
If you've read any of my other stuff and liked it, hopefully you'll like this too.
All reviews, and constructive criticism, gratefully received – but no flaming please; and I will try to update regularly.
Summary: Jack Gallagher finds his sister; she's staying with someone not too far from the hospital – what happens when he finds out her 'mentor' is as off the wall as he is? JGxOFC
PIECES OF THE HEART
Jack Gallagher stood outside the little house, that stood in the non descript street in a reasonably nice part of Los Angeles – just as he had at some point every day for the last two weeks. His sister, Rebecca, had left another note; this time finally telling him where she was.
However, she hadn't mentioned whether he could see her; so he'd come here every day just on the off chance he might possibly catch a glimpse of his missing sibling, but had yet to summon the courage to contact her directly.
He had to tread carefully; he'd had limited contact with her over the last three years, his parents had had none. The last thing he wanted to do was scare her off; if she ran this time, he had no way of knowing if she'd ever make contact with him again.
Still, he was fairly sure that if he continued loitering here like this, pretty soon he'd be mistaken for a stalker or something. Taking a deep breath he strode up the short path and knocked on the door; no answer.
Sighing, he turned to leave; just then an old truck lumbered up the road and pulled into the drive. A woman got out and grabbed some bags of groceries; Jack sprinted back down the path and turned back to watch her.
She looked really preoccupied; her hair was all over the place and she was muttering to herself about "why can't stupid big brothers just say when they've used all the damn milk?"
She was quite attractive he decided; curvy in all the right places, an oval face framed by light auburn hair and, as she glanced down the drive, big blue eyes.
She got to her door and let herself in. Before he could think about it, Jack hurried back up the path and spoke just as she was about to shut the door "is Rebecca here please?" He tried really hard to keep the tremor out of his voice, he wasn't sure he'd succeeded.
The woman stopped, held the door for a moment; then the deep frown she'd had since arriving disappeared. In fact she smiled, and her whole face softened "you must be Jack, please come in. Becca's told me all about you." For some absurd reason he couldn't fathom, that last statement brought a lump to his throat; his sister spoke of him.
After she'd shut the door she showed him through to the kitchen "excuse me whilst I put this lot away. Oh and excuse the mess, but with a house full it's a nightmare to stay tidy and I wasn't expecting visitors. I'm Alexandra Holloway – but you can call me Lexie."
He nodded; just desperate to hear about Becca. Finally he could contain his questions no longer "how is she; is she alright, doing okay; do I need to worry more than I already am?"
She smiled "she's doing very well; of course paranoid schizophrenia is a huge illness to cope with, but her medication regime has been changed and she's doing so much better now than when I first met her, she hardly seems like the same woman."
"Good, that's good."
"Do you want a drink – I have proper British teabags; my dad sends me care packages with all my favourite stuff in it. Decent teabags, chocolate bourbon biscuits..." she chuckled.
Jack smiled in return "yeah, tea would be great. I usually stick to coffee..."
"Oh me too" Lexie nodded "when I'm anywhere but at home I have coffee; I love the Americans, but they can't make a decent cuppa to save their lives." She no/dded sagely "the Boston Tea Party has a lot to answer for."
Jack chuckled "how did you come to know my sister?"
"Bex is a patient of a friend of mine; Edward Parks. He's her psychiatrist at County General, and he was very concerned that she wasn't coping well with the hospital environment once her condition was stabilised. However the hospital wouldn't release her until they knew she had a family member or at least a 'mentor' and somewhere to live."
She smiled reassuringly "that's when Ed called me; he knows I have personal experience of mental health issues, can deal with the unexpected and would be willing to also be Becca's mentor."
"You have the same condition?" Jack was surprised; she didn't seem to have any of the usual indicators.
"Oh no, I don't suffer from PS, but I do – or least did – have my own mental health issues." She waved a hand at his curious look "long story, won't bore you with it – just call me the next time you have insomnia and I'll tell you then; if that doesn't send you to sleep, nothing will."
Jack laughed "I can see why Becca would like you; you're not really par for the course. She likes people who are a little...off centre."
Lexie nodded with a cheeky grin "that's me...all the way off centre." She shrugged "I tried normal once" she paused, before pulling a face "I nearly died of boredom."
Jack continued to grin; there was something about her that put him at ease. He could see why his troubled sister would feel safe with this woman.
He looked around now at the debris around the lower floor "I take it you and Becca don't live here alone?"
Lexie followed his gaze "oh no, even I couldn't produce fallout on this scale with only one person's help. Sometimes my brother stays over, as he has this past weekend, and then of course there's my eleven year old daughter. Now she could produce this sort of nuclear waste all on her Jonesy, the fact that she has my brother to help her is just a bonus as far as she's concerned."
She continued to make the drinks and pick up after her family and his sister as they chatted. Eventually she sat down and indicated a chair for him "Becca's doing well you know – better than you might be thinking she could. I've been trying to get her to talk to you; she seemed to be thinking about it..."
"She's been leaving me notes and stuff at work; about two weeks ago she left a note with your address on it saying "I'm here." I just didn't know if that meant I could come see her or not."
"So you waited?"
Jack looked at the floor a little shamefacedly "not really" he looked up and held Lexie's gaze "I came straight over actually. Stood outside the house and just watched, I've been doing that every day for the last two weeks. Finally today I figured I better knock before your neighbours think you've got a stalker."
Lexie laughed out loud and Jack grinned – her laugh was infectious; a bright, happy noise that made you feel like you could cope with the world. Finally, after he told her of his work at Warton Memorial, he had to go and so did Lexie "I have to go out too – but I'll drop by the hospital in the next couple of days; after I've asked Bex if it's alright for you to carry on 'stalking' us." She smiled at him.
But then she sobered and looked sad; Jack felt like the sun had dimmed, she certainly had a way with her "I'm sorry I have to do that – I would hate it if someone was telling me I couldn't automatically see my brother when I wanted to; or at least have contact with someone who's with him..."
Jack held up a hand "it's fine; I totally understand and you're right, it's up to Becca and what she wants to do. At least I've got something good to tell our parents when I call them tonight; it'll be a real relief to them and a major change for me."
"How long's it been since you had contact with her?" Lexie looked genuinely concerned and interested about his relationship with his sister, and for that Jack was grateful; he felt he wasn't alone any more with his fight to make contact with her.
"I've had a few phone calls over the last six months; she doesn't speak, but I can hear her breathing, then the notes started. She doesn't really say anything in them as such – I got some Jasmine in the first, after I mentioned it to her in a call. The next one had a single piece of my favourite chocolate in it, then the next one after that had a key ring with 'world's greatest brother' on it" Jack never admitted he cried about that "and finally the last one had your address on it. But before that – nothing."
"They haven't heard from her at all for the last three years – she won't call, write...nothing" Jack sighed "I don't have any idea why, and Mum's feeling really hurt and worried; she doesn't say much, but I know. I just can't do anything about it; if Becca thinks I'm taking sides she'll bolt again and I can't lose her."
Lexie nodded "life sucks – get used to it."
Jack's eyebrows went up "have you?"
Lexie nodded brightly "oh yeah, totally; once I learned that the light at the end of the tunnel was some little git with a torch, I cheered right up."
Jack laughed out loud "you really do have a way with words."
Lexie grinned "that's what Becca says; she says that I'm just like..."
"What?" Jack would take any little snippets about his sister he could; any information was worth hunting for.
"Doesn't matter..." Lexie shook her head, blushing.
Jack touched her wrist "OUCH!"
Lexie sat back quickly "damn; that's some static shock you got there Jack – what do you do, wear nylon boxer shorts?"
He chuckled as they both rubbed their sore hands "I swear I saw sparks flying!"
"Yeah well, wear wellington's next time you come, 'kay?" Lexie shook her arm; the shock had virtually ricocheted up to her shoulder.
"I can come again?" Jack grinned broadly.
"Sure – look" she said suddenly decisively "even if Bex is a little unsure about meeting you, at least I can keep you up to speed right? Anyway, I doubt very much if your sister will mind me chatting to you; she loves you."
Jack nodded, a lump in his throat - he knew that, despite all her problems, Becca loved him, but it was nice to hear all the same. Lexie scribbled something on a scrap of paper "here's my home number and my mobile...sorry, cell phone number. If you need anything, just call – alright?"
Jack could've hugged her, but restrained himself "yeah, sure – yeah."
She looked at her watch "I really have to go – I've got an appointment..."
"Sure, no problem." He pocketed the paper "and thanks for this...and looking after Becca; I know she can't be easy..."
"Your sister is doing a lot better than you might think. She's just taking it a day at a time right now; I'm sorry I can't give you better news than that."
"Hey listen, she's not stuck in some institution somewhere or lying in a gutter – that's streets ahead of my worst nightmare..." Jack nodded and took his leave.
As he got back on his bike he sighed with relief; maybe his life wasn't going so terribly after all...