So, angsty little fic idea that popped into my head! It's going to be mulitchapter, and maybe a bit OOC, but I hope you'll like it! It's set post series three, and... well... you'll have to read it and see! Please enjoy and R&R!
The phone rang loudly, cutting through Gene's headache like a red hot knife. He rubbed his eyes with one hand, blinking away the boredom that threatened to consume his life ever since Bolly had... well. Been Bolly, and done the exact opposite of what he'd wanted her to, and gone into the Railway Arms. He snatched up the receiver irritably.
"Hunt." He snapped, his tone rough and brisk.
"When are you coming home?" The voice on the other end was light, educated and distinctly female. He scowled with distaste.
"Jen, I'm busy... I can't make it 'ome." He didn't offer an apology, didn't try to explain. He just cut her off, not in the mood to talk.
"I know you're lying. I know you're not." Her tone was starting to break with emotion, and he sighed heavily.
"Yeah, I am. Won't be 'ome till late tomorrow. Go on to bed." He tried to be gentle with her, but it was hard. He'd never known what to say to her, not ever.
"Dad, please! What have I done that's so wrong? Why do you hate me?" she pleaded with him, and he sighed again.
"Got ter go. Talk soon." He hung up without further explanation or justification for his actions.
It was never going to be easy, raising a teenage daughter by himself. He'd always had to raise her alone, ever since his wife had refused to go near the strange child that turned up on the doorstep late one night, no word of explanation. It was obvious to everyone what had happened, and his wife, whilst tolerating the strange, hazel-eyed child, had never accepted her.
For Gene, she was a constant reminder of the woman he had spent only one night with, the woman he had known – with utter certainty – that he had loved, the woman he had wanted to be with. He didn't even remember her name, not any more, but he remembered her eyes – hazel orbs, sparkling with love and life, that were now mirrored in their daughter. Baby Jenna. Not such a baby any more, not so ignorant to Daddy spending every waking hour at work.
As she got older, she looked more and more like the woman who was fading from Gene's memory, more and more like the mother she had never even known, who had disappeared without a trace. The more she began to become a painful reminder of the woman he could never have, the woman who had made him so happy and yet so indescribably sad. The more she had tried to be herself, the more she waved her hair and smiled and laughed and tried to be her own, immediate, natural self, the sadder he became, and he had debated whether or not to just leave her in Manchester when he moved, but of course he couldn't.
So she'd moved down here with him, a new school, a new life, and he supposed he should feel guilty but he didn't. She grew and developed, and then all of a sudden there she was. Alex Drake. Fainting her way into his life, and she was so like his daughter that work was no longer the place he could be free but another sick reminder of the mystery woman he so coveted.
Even now, her name escaped him, swimming almost to the forefront of his memory and then slipping away. He closed his eyes. What could he remember?
Eyes... sparkling, hazel orbs. Hair... long, wavy, deep chestnut. Her laugh... richer than Jenna's. Something about Bolly's made him think of it.
He shook his head. Always back to her. He couldn't stop bloody thinking about her, even when he thought about his home life. Lots of people laughed like that. Christ, why couldn't he ever escape any more? He came to work – he thought about Bolly. He went home – he thought about the mystery woman.
The phone rang again.
"What?" He barked impatiently, his tone furious.
"I love you, Dad."
He slammed the receiver back into the cradle without responding. She was his daughter, but he hardly knew her. Every time he saw her, he asked himself the same question:
Do I love you? Or do I love you because you're so like your mother?