Disclaimer: I don't own Ashes. If I did, I'd give us all the ruddy trailer and press pack. I want my press pack!
A/N: Hey everyone! Since I worked so hard on Sunday doing eight hours of history coursework, I though I'd indulge a little idea for another Major Tommy one shot. This one follows Molly, as I think it'd be nice to see how she's getting on, after we had a glimpse of Gene, Alex's and Tommy's life in King David! I hope you enjoy it, please review if you have a spare minute! (Also, any mistakes are my own!)
13th of July, 2012.
Molly slid into the back of car, ruffling her hands through her damp hair as her gaze lifted to the rear view mirror, her mother's dark eyes tenderly watching her.
"Good day at school, Molls?" her mother spoke from behind the wheel.
"Rubbish, if I'm honest, thanks. How about yours?" Molly replied, her forehead settling against the rain spotted glass as she folded her arms.
She sensed that her daughter wasn't going to expand further than that for the time being, so she left it, "Well, I wouldn't exactly describe a trip to Sainsburys as thrilling, but it wasn't bad thanks. Are you going to tell your sister what you did today Ella?"
Molly's gaze flicked to the seat next to her, and she couldn't help but crack a smile; Ella's face was filled with such excitement and anticipation, she looked like she was about to sneeze glitter.
"I wrote a short story today Molls!" the little girl beamed, her jumbled up teeth on full show.
"Did you?" Molly smiled softly, "But you write stories nearly every day-"
"But today was different Molls! Today we wrote them at school!" she answered emphatically.
"For the first time ever?"
"Yes! It was the most fun I've ever had at school!" Ella said, sighing dramatically in remembrance, "And guess what?"
"I got nearly full marks on my spelling test!" she said smugly.
"Really? That's great! Which words did you get wrong?"
Ella rolled her eyes and leant back into her car seat, "Surrounded. . . and I practised it so hard with you yesterday after tea as well. . .it was those two stupid r's!"
"Don't worry about it, at least you'll remember it now!" Molly said sympathetically
"I hope so, I put it in my short story too, just to prove I could do it right. Penny put it in her story too, she wrote in hers that she was a princess. . ."
"Did you write yourself as a princess too, El?"
Ella wrinkled her nose in distaste, "Princess Ella? No, no, no, that's just silly! My story's got a lady in it, but she's not me and she's not a princess."
"Well, I can't wait to hear it El," her mother replied as she flicked the indicator, turning up the long gravel drive and parking in front of the grand Victorian house, the great sache windows peering out from underneath the deep green curtain of foliage that veiled the red bricks.
The three females quickly darted out of the car, the youngest squeeling as the rain hit her long, dark plaits, running ahead and proceeding to jump around on the doorstep, "Quick mummy, open the door! It's so rainy!"
"I am going as quick as I can!" she laughed, desperately searching through her fistful of keys and shoving them separately into the lock, guessing right on the third try.
The woman looked worriedly at her eldest daughter, who proceeded to quickly slip off her black flat shoes and walk lazily up the stairs, her shoulders sagging and her bag bumping up each step.
Ella quirked a small dark eyebrow as she kicked off her bright pink wellies, "Don't you want to listen to my story?" she called after her sister's ascending back.
"Later Ella, I promise." Molly replied half heartedly as her footsteps reached the first floor.
"Why's she upset?" Ella whispered, staring up at her mother.
Jennifer sighed, crouching down to the little girl's eye level and taking her grubby hands into her own, "Because, El, it's the day before her birthday."
Molly threw herself face down onto her bed, releasing a long muffled groan as she squeezed her eyes shut, her breath pressing hard into her duvet cover, which in turn warmed her own face, making the tears collecting behind her lids gather more rapidly.
She rolled over onto her back, rubbing her forehead, and then rubbing her eyes. It was days like these when she wished she could just go to bed and never wake up- everything was the epitome of crap, and in typical teenage fashion, she simply couldn't be bothered anymore.
She'd nearly burst into tears in the middle of history when she'd overhead Abby gossiping in the corner with Charlotte, "Did you know that Robert got off with Jessie on Saturday night at Ben's house? They were playing Ring of Fire apparently, and she was totally plastered. . . saying that, he'd drunk nothing. . ."
She'd presumed that Abby didn't realise she could hear her. But then again, she'd always been a bit of a bitch. Today of all days. . . it just had to be today, didn't it?
Her best friend, Georgia, had shot her an anxious sideways glance and reached out gently to touch her hand; she'd never felt so ashamed in her life.
"It's a hard, screwed up world you know. But if you trust me, I can try to help you get through it."
God had her mum been right, the world is nastier and crueller than she ever would've imagined- and quite a lot of the time she was convinced that that she was bearing the brunt of it.
I guess everyone my age thinks that, she laughed bitterly.
Molly stood up suddenly, peeling off her school clothes and slipping into some leggings and a huge blue jumper, she padded across the room and pulled a battered shoebox out from under her wardrobe.
She sighed, wiping her eyes with the corner of her sleeves as she sat cross legged and steadily inched the lid off the box, various pictures from her younger years, birthday cards, insignificant little notes that she'd collected up when she'd arrived home without a mother four years ago, just so she could remember her handwriting.
Molly delicately selected a photo from the back of pile- a picture of her mother. . . her first mother, hugging a ten year old Molly who was smiling up at her madly. She remembered that day well, they'd stumbled off one of the more tame rides together at Alton Towers, all jelly legged and breathless. Evan had taken the picture as they'd approached him, giddy smiles pasted on their faces.
Molly had grieved for her mother, it had taken a long time, but engrossing herself with school and what she had called her 'new life' had helped her immensely. Molly didn't like to be overly emotional, but she did allow herself one day every year to let all barriers of the past break down, and everything flood out. She found it easier to plan when to grieve, when to remember, because more than anything, she wanted to keep control.
She'd never had any siblings, but with who she referred to mentally as the parents of the second stage of her life, she had that. She loved the idea of being a role model to someone else, someone who she could guide; she'd wanted that more than anything when she was younger. Molly couldn't wait for those days in the future when her and Ella would ring each other up and chat on the phone for hours, laughing about their lives and times gone by.
Molly chuckled tearfully to herself just thinking about it.
She heard her younger sister's voice float from in between her floorboards, her small, clear, golden voice preaching her own written word from the kitchen counter.
Jennifer's eyes shot upwards as she heard Molly move about her room, the same as she did every year. There was only one day a year where Molly truly let her guard down to her past, the 13th of July: the day before her birthday, and the day before Alex died.
Jennifer tucked a dark curl behind her hair, bending down as she flicked the gas switch on the hob, her mocha skin glowing from the blue ring of flame that jumped up.
She suddenly heard the rampant patter of footsteps as Ella charged back into the room, her bookbag dragging on the floor as she held up a piece of paper in her other hand, "Mum, look this is it!" she grinned happily, "My short story!"
"Oh El, this looks wonderful, are you going to read it to me whilst I cook?" Jennifer smiled good naturedly.
Ella nodded rapidly, scrambling up onto the counter and crossing her legs, "Hey missy, no feet on the counter tops!" her mother scalded, tapping her shoe with the end of the wooden spoon; Ella huffed loudly as she unfolded her legs and let them hang over the edge, proceeding to clear her throat, "It's not finished yet, so you won't understand it!"
"That's fine, tell me what you've written so far."
"My story starts in the world we all live in. It is about the girl who got to live again. She had the darkest hair and the darkest eyes, and she was a mystery to all. She would spend each day quietly, smiling politely and talking a little, yet she would never let anyone touch her heart. Boys thought she beautiful and were determined to catch her, but she was like a mermaid in the sea- lost in her own world, only the luckiest getting a glimpse of her. Although to many she seemed cold, the real reason was that she felt like she didn't truly belong. She felt out of place, and that made her lonely. When one day this girl died, everyone wondered where the silent mermaid had swam to-"
"How did she die?" Jennifer asked, looking at her daughter's annoyed face appear from behind her paper.
"That's not the important bit mum!" Ella pouted.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry." she replied, holding the wooden spoon up in mock surrender, a small smile on her face as her daughter continued.
"The girl blinked, opening her eyes to the colours that surrounded her, and she felt like she was born again in her own perfect world. She wore floaty dresses as she ran through great empty plains, her eyes painted blue as she stared at the endless sky.
It was as she danced that she met a boy. He was big and strong, but his face scarred and his hands calloused. The girl at first was frightened, she clutched her hands to her chest and wished him to leave. She saw a pain in his eyes that reminded her of her first life, a life of loss.
But then the boy held out his hand, and in his silver eyes, she felt trust in her body, mixing with her blood. She watched his face, and although at first she had thought him horrible, she realised that the scars that he had and the loss in his heart was what made him the most perfect thing in the world. Whatever their souls were made of, both were the same."
Jennifer jerked out of her reverie as her daughter loudly folded the paper and looked at her expectantly, "Do you like it so far?"
The older woman smiled softly, leaning over and giving her daughter her hug, burying her face into the soft crook of her neck, "I love it Ella." she said sincerely, "You should let your dad read it, he'd love it."
Ella smirked as she hopped off the counter, pinning her work to the centre of the family notice board, "I hope so; it's my best piece of literacy work so far Ms Elibiol told me!"
"Best piece of literacy so far?" a man's voice said suddenly, appearing in the kitchen doorway as he slung his coat over his arm, "Well then I'll have to read it!"
"Dad!" the small girl cried, doing a running jump into his free arm.
"Hello you!" he said smiling as his daughter kissed his cheek, "Good day then at school?"
"Yeah, we did loads of reading and writing today." she commented.
"And we all know how much you love your writing!" the man chuckled, glancing at his wife who he saw looking pointedly at the giant pile of paper on the kitchen table, covered in Ella's scrawl.
"How was your day, Mrs Hunt?" he smiled, moving towards his wife and kissing her on the forehead.
"Ah, same old. How about you?" she asked nonchalantly, stirring the pasta in the pan as her ochre eyes sparkled up at him.
"Yeah, it was fine. Mostly paperwork today to be honest, where's Molly?" he asked, his eyes flicking over the open kitchen and dining area.
Jennifer pulled a face, Tom's mouth making an "o" shape in silent understanding as his eyes lifted quickly to the ceiling; now doubt only a few metres above him Molly was curled up by her wardrobe.
"Was she ok in the car?" he asked, inwardly wincing.
"She put on a brave face for Ella." Jennifer concluded, as Tom put his youngest daughter down.
"I'll go talk to her in a minute," Tommy said, running a hand through his brown floppy hair.
Jennifer nodded, her eyes sympathetic, "She barely said a word to me or Ella when we arrived home-"
"Can I go watch some TV please mummy?" Ella interrupted, her hands in front of her as if in prayer and her legs twisted in some sort of odd curtsey.
The two adults broke out of their conversation, "Yes, off you go you little terror!" her mother smirked as she heard a small pair of legs thunder down the corridor.
"Your father was right you know Tom; Ella may look like me, but she has that constant enthusiasm you were apparently blessed with as a boy."
Tommy grinned, kissing his wife firmly on the lips, "I'm going to go speak to Molls." he said, "Back in a bit."
Molly sniffed, almost not hearing the light knock on her door, looking up through puffy lids, she saw her dad poking his head round the door, concern etched on his face.
"Hey dad." she said weakly, a sad smile gracing her lips as he came and sat next to her, both leaning against her bedroom wall.
"Hey you, you feeling ok?" he asked affectionately.
Molly let out a breathy laugh, catching her dad's eye, "Rob cheated on me."
Tom's eyebrows shot up under his hair, "What? Are you sure?"
"I've heard it in whispers all day, he basically confessed to me at lunchtime, so I finished it there and then. Any other day I might have given him another chance, but you know what, why should I?"
Her father smiled at her benevolently; Molly's streak of pride a mirror image of Alex's.
She let a long breath escape her lips, pushing the shoebox towards him as he looked at his daughter knowingly, "You know what today's always like for me anyway." she replied meekly. "I just feel her keenly, like she's with me somehow."
"Wherever she is, Molls, she'll be thinking about you, wishing you a happy birthday for tomorrow." Tommy said softly.
She felt her heart in her throat, "I hope so, I just pray she's happy." Molly whispered, pausing as she swallowed, "I never really considered myself a spiritual person, but a small part of me, I think a small part of everyone, secretly wishes for some sort of life after death, even if you don't truly believe it."
Tommy put his arm around his daughter, and she let her eyelids slip shut as her father rubbed her arm comfortingly, "I hope. . .that anyone who's been taken before their time gets a second chance to be happy, a second chance to live."
He smiled at Molly's words, tears collecting in his own eyes at a torment that whirled in his heart, a secret his eldest child would never know, "Your mother will have been given that chance, Molls, I'm sure of it."
Later that evening, Tom sat on the sofa under the glare of the reading lamp, his wife curled up to him with her chin on his shoulder, two pairs of eyes flicking across the pages of their daughter's writing.
"She reminds me of your mother," Jennifer smiled knowingly.
"Yes, she does."
14th of July, 2012.
Molly closed her eyes, blowing as hard as she could to extinguish all the tiny flames, Ella clapping erratically and flinging her arms around her big sister's neck.
"Happy birthday!" the little girl cried, planting a kiss on her cheek and earning a musical laugh from her parents.
"You're strangling her Ella, perhaps you should let go?" Tommy said warmly, Ella reluctantly pulling her hands from Molly,
"But she's leaving soon!" Ella said sadly.
"University's not for a couple of my years yet, El!" Molly laughed, hugging her sister.
"Oh. . . ok." she replied, a pink blush painting her cheeks as the petals of her lips parted in a grin, "I'll go get the plates for the cake!" she added, running into the kitchen.
"There's a missed call from Peter by the way Molls, says he's calling from West Ontario without Ju-" her father mentioned.
"I'll call him back later. . .right now, I'm spending time with my family." she said, "When's Evan coming over?"
"Later, he'll be over in a bit." Tom added.
"So, how's it feel being sixteen?" Jennifer asked, smiling as Molly pulled both her parents into a big hug.
"Like everything going to be fine."
A/N: I'd like to thank Wuthering Heights and The Lovely Bones for inspiration. And thanks to all who've R&R! :)