Hello! So this is kind of a little story about Isla, it explains what happened in her childhood and how she felt towards Jem. And it also has a little more Jem/Isla fluff :P hope you enjoy it!
Isla had never fit in in Charlestown. First of all, she was the girl with the weird name; second of all she was the one who looked different. She never wore makeup because her skin was too sensitive. She tried to wear a glittery purple eye shadow once, but barely 20 minutes after she applied it she broke out everywhere. She had dark chestnut hair and it was long and plain and green eyes and she didn't wear revealing clothes, only a loose shirt and jean shorts and flip flops. She has a long strap purse that held her notebooks and an old teddy bear that her mother had given her. Her mother was dead for three years now, and her step father was in jail. Her biological father had run out on her and her mother when she was seven. Her mother had taken care of her. Her mother was her role-model and her best friend. But then five years ago, she had married Paul. That was the worst thing that ever happened to her. She put on a happy face for her mother… but when her mother was gone, Paul abused her and worse.
And then three years ago her mother gave birth to a baby boy, but died in the process. Isla's world was destroyed, everything she loved was gone. But then she met Sam the baby. Paul obviously was not going to take care of him, so the responsibility fell on Isla. But Sam was a little angel, her angel. Paul forced her out of school which killed her. Education meant a great deal to her, but then again, she could not risk leaving Sam by himself.
It was dusk and she was sitting on a broken down slide. A friend of her late mother was taking care of Sam because Isla needed to get away for a bit. She had come to a playground and had just sat on the slide for hours. All the girls for Charlestown avoided her because she was so different from them. She had never kissed a boy, and the girls laugh at that because most of them had already slept with many boys. It's not that she didn't like anyone, she defiantly did. But he was older and there was no way in hell he would ever even talk to her. His name was Jem-James- Coughlin. She saw him for the first time when she was sixteen.
She was sitting on the front porch, her brother asleep on her bed, when she saw her father stumble up to her. He was drunk, nothing unusual. He through an empty beer bottle at the ground and walked up to her, and without saying a word, hit her. She fell of the step and landed on the ground. She tried to get up bit he hit her again, and again and again. No one was around, so she was defenceless. The pain was unbearable and she couldn't take anymore.
"Please stop!" she screamed, hoping someone would hear her. And someone did. A moment later, Paul was pulled off her and someone had rolled her over and was staring at her. That person was Jem and right now he was the best sight she ever saw. She was gasping, but after a minute she sat up.
"Are you ok?" he asked her.
"Uh… yeah… I need to go upstairs." she said when she remembered Sam was upstairs. She couldn't leave him by himself. She scrambled to her feet, but her legs felt weak.
"Maybe you should sit down," Jem said and steadied her by holding her arm.
"No… I have to get Sam. He is up there himself…"
"Listen, I think it is a better idea for you to stay here-
She tried to push him away; didn't he understand that Sam was by himself? But he grabbed her by the waist and she couldn't keep the tears in anymore. She broke down and began to cry in sobs. She didn't really expect Jem to do anything, but he pulled her close to him and held her tightly. She knew she shouldn't be crying like this, but she needed to get the tears out and Jem's embrace felt warm and safe. She stayed in his arms for five minutes and then Jem led her to her bed and she crawled in beside her brother. Jem kneeled down beside her and pulled the blanket up and then he began to leave. But she grabbed his hand.
"Thank you." she whispered. He smiled and then he left.
Her father was put in jail two weeks after she turned eighteen and she was old enough to live on her own and take care of the baby, well toddler now. She also had a job, arranging flowers at Fergus Colm's shop.
She should be home; it was not a good idea to be out after dark around here. She got up, shoved her notebook back in her bag and began to walk back. Charlestown was creepy at nighttime, but she had gotten used to it after living here all her life. She heard the occasional yelling as she walked home, but she wasn't paying attention. She usually zoned out when she was on the streets. She was turning up a street when all of a sudden she walked into Jem.
"What the fuck-
He turned to her, but he was sort... leaning, he seemed pretty drunk. He was standing with some men who seemed just as drunk as him. She tried to push past them and keep walking but someone grabbed her by the shoulder, she turned and saw him holding her.
"Let go," she said quietly.
"A girl like you shouldn't be walking home by… herself." he said, but it came out in a slur of words.
She knew he was drunk, but even the fact that he was talking and his hand was on her shoulder made her feel that spark she felt the first time. But she knew that with six men who were drunk standing around her, it was a bad situation.
"Please." she said softly and pushed his hand off and then ran back to her house.
Her mother's friend yelled at her for not being back earlier, but then she calmed down and kissed her on the forehead and left. Sam had woken up and now Isla was lying on the couch holding him, and after a few minutes he was asleep. She had drifted off, and woke when the sun tickled her eye lids. She sat up quickly and checked the time, and if she didn't leave soon she would be late for work. She put Sam in a highchair and gave him a bottle and then ran upstairs to get ready. She put on a long tank top, shorts and flip flop's and just brushed her hair and then let it hang down her back.
Once Sam was done eating she changed him, grabbed her purse and headed out the door. She left Sam at her mother friend's house and then ran to the flower shop. She was out of breath when she got there. Fergus was sitting on a stool chopping leafs of rose stems.
"Where were you, rosebud?" he asked (As far as bosses go, Fergus was actually nice… to her anyway. He never hit her or yelled at her. He even nicknamed her rosebud.)
"I'm sorry. What do you want me to do?" she asked and threw her purse in a room and then grabbed a small apron and tied it around her waist.
"Make a bouquet of red roses." he said and went back to his work.
She picked out 18 full red roses. She was just putting some little white flowers in for decoration when she heard the door open. She looked up and saw Doug MacRay and Jem walk in. Jem seemed grumpy; he must have had a bad hangover from last night.
"What the fuck happened to you?" Fergus asked him.
"None of your fucking business," he mumbled, and then he saw her standing at the counter with the roses.
"No. you stay out here." Fergus said and walked to the backroom with Doug. Doug glanced at Jem once and then followed Fergus.
Jem scowled at them and that sat down and put his head in his hands. After a few minutes of silence he turned to Isla.
"How are you?" he asked her.
"Fine" she said, she seemed a little surprised that he asked her.
He looked at her for a bit longer and then put his hand in his hand. She finished the bouquet and walked over to the freezer and put it in. Jem must not have remembered that he saw her the night before and he seemed to have a bad hangover.
"Do you want an aspirin?" she asked him as she closed the door.
He nodded and she walked over to a cupboard and grabbed the pill bottle and shook out two and then got a glass of water and walked back to Jem. She handed to him and then stood in front of him. He seemed feverish so she pressed her hand to his forehead. She was used to caring for Sam and checking him for fevers, so she didn't think twice about touching him, but then she realised what she was doing and she quickly pulled her hand away.
"You have a fever." she said and walked over to the sink and grabbed a cloth and ran it under cold water.
"It doesn't matter," he said to her.
"You took care of me once. Let me return the favor." she said and walked back to him and pressed the cold cloth on his forehead. He closed his eyes while she continued to wipe the cloth over his face.
"Were you out last night?" she asked him.
He nodded and opened his eyes and looked at her. She felt a bit uncomfortable, so she walked back to the sink and threw the cloth on it and then decided to go back to Jem. She sat on the counter next to him, when all of a sudden he reached up and touched her leg. He continued to run his hand up her leg, but stopped at the hem of her shorts. Instead he began to push away a strand of hair and then he leaned down and kissed her. She was caught completely off guard… but she was thrilled. This is what she wanted, she wanted him. He was the only person she ever saw, but she knew that she shouldn't let him do this… he was twenty years older than her. But she didn't want him to stop. But then she heard a door open and she pulled away from him and began making another bouquet of pink roses. She was very nervous and she dropped a few roses. And when she stood up, Jem was gone. She swallowed and continued putting the flowers together.
"I hope he was nice." Fergus asked her after Doug and Jem had left. He stood up began to walk closer to her.
"Oh, yes." she answered and continued to make the bouquet. It was almost finished and she was just putting some tiny white flowers in it for decoration and was cutting some ribbon with scissors. Suddenly she felt someone run a finger up her arm. She didn't bother looking, she already knew. Fergus was standing right beside her. She tensed up and forgot what she was doing and accidentally slit her hand.
"I won't hurt you," Fergus whispered in her ear. His hand started to move towards another part but she pushed him off.
"What are you doing?" she almost screamed.
He didn't say anything, only smiled at her.
She gaped at him and then untied her apron and threw it at his feet. She grabbed her purse and walked out. Her hand was bleeding pretty badly, but she did not notice. All she was thinking about was men. Why would do they do this? Being touched by Fergus brought back painful memories of her past with her step father… the times when he would be too drunk to realise what he was doing when he forced her on the ground…. God, she couldn't bear to think about it.
She stopped at a back ally way and thankfully it was empty. She leaned up against the brick wall and slowly slid down to the ground and she started to cry. If it was from the pain in her hand or from the pain of the memories, she didn't really know. She had not cried since her mother died, she had refused to cry since her mother died. She had to be strong, strong enough to stand the abuse from Paul, strong enough to care for Sam… but sometimes you could only go so long before breaking down. She was mentally kicking herself for breaking down out in the open, completely exposing her weakness. But she couldn't stop it, it just happened.
She didn't realise how badly her hand was bleeding until she looked down and saw that there was blood covering her shirt. She didn't really know what to do so she just clenched her hand, closed her eyes and leaned back against the hard brick.
"What happened to you?" someone asked her.
She opened her eyes to see Jem kneeling down in front of her. He looked concerned, which was different from his usual annoyed expression.
"Seriously what happened?" he asked her again.
"Nothing." she responded quietly.
He looked at her again, and then he noticed the blood on her shirt. He took both of her hands and pulled them away from her torso and then noticed the hand that was bleeding. He opened her fingers and carefully smudged away the blood.
"What did you? Try to commit suicide?" he asked and looked at her once again.
"No, of course not…. I had an accident." she said.
"With a knife?"
"Ah," he said and went back to examining her hand. After a minute he stood up.
"Come on," he said, extending his hand. She was hesitant, but eventually took it. He pulled her up and they walked to Jem's house. It was messy and cluttered and covered in Irish symbols. He led her into the kitchen and then disappeared to look for something. While he was gone, she had a chance to look around; there were empty beer bottles everywhere and empty chip bags and wrappers. Then something caught her eye, a faded picture of a little boy and what looked like a father standing beside him. As she looked closer, she realised that the little boy looked like Jem. And that must have been his father.
"What are you doing?" Jem asked her as he came back in with a bottle of rubbing alcohol and a bandage.
"Sorry." she said and he took her hand and poured the alcohol on a cloth and began rubbing it on her hand. She caught her breath for a moment at the sudden sting.
"Did I hurt you?" Jem asked her as he put the cloth down and began to wrap the bandage around her hand.
She shook her head and looked back at the picture. "Is that you?" she asked him.
"Yeah," he said and then reached over and folded the picture and put it in his pocket.
"It is a nice picture." she said.
"Thanks." he said quietly and continued to wrap her hand. He finished quickly and then pinned it so it wouldn't unravel.
"Thank you." she said and began to leave but then stopped at the door way.
"Do you need something else?" Jem asked her as he sat down at a small table.
"I was just thinking, since you did take me off the street, I could clean your kitchen if you want. It is in… a bit of a mess." she said.
"Don't you have to work at Fergie's?" he asked her.
"No. Not anymore." she answered quietly and looked down at her hands.
"Well, sure whatever." he said.
Isla smiled and began to throw away the empty wrappers and beer bottles.
"So why aren't you working at the flower shop anymore?" Jem asked her after a few minutes of silence.
"I don't want to talk about it…" she said quietly, but absentmindedly she reached up and rested her hand on her forearm.
"Listen Isla… what happened earlier…. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done it-
"It's ok. I should have said no. it was my fault."
He didn't respond. He just looked out his window. Isla finished throwing things away and walked over to him. She leaned against the table and looked down at him. He avoided looking at her, but then turned and ran his finger over her arm.
"Why did you have to come along now?" he said quietly.
"What do you mean?" she asked him.
"Of all the time you could have come… you had to pick now."
"I don't understand. What do you mean? What did I do wrong?" she asked him, starting to get scared.
He snorted and stood up, towering over her. "You didn't do anything wrong… it's just. I wish I could… have spent more time with you."
"Are you planning something? Jem, are you going to get hurt. Please tell me you're not going to get hurt." she said, tears forming in her eyes.
"Go home Isla. If you stay with me, you will be the one to get hurt. Just go home." he said. Isla didn't know that in a day, he was going to do another job. He did not want to involve Isla in his complicated and dangerous life. The only way to keep her safe was to push her away.
"Please don't make me leave-
But he was silenced by Jem crushing his lips against hers. She was momentarily shocked, but then she relaxed and Jem put his hand on the side of her face and pulled her even closer to him. But all too soon, he broke away.
"Shit." he muttered under his breath.
Isla turned away and covered her mouth with her hand and leaned against the table. She was on the verge of tears and did not want Jem to see her cry.
"Go home, Isla." Jem said.
Isla ran out the door and continued running until she got home. The woman babysitting seemed surprised to see her, but Isla thanked her for her time and then told her to go home. Once she was gone, Isla leaned against the door and slid down to the floor. Why did this have to happen?
The next day she left Sam at her mother's friend house and went for a walk. She had no idea where she was going, but she needed to get away and clear her head. She was walking through the streets when she saw many police cars. And then she heard "Fuck you." and gunshots.
It was Jem. She couldn't see him, but she knew the voice. Jem turned and fired more shots, so she ran behind a hedge but was still able to see what was happening.
"You've got thirty seconds, asshole." a man yelled.
There was dead silence, but then she heard "Ok… I surrender. I surrender." he yelled and then came out with guns ready. They didn't hesitate in filling him with lead.
Isla covered her mouth and her knees buckled and she slumped to the ground. He was dead… the only man who had ever paid any attention to her, who had ever cared about her was gone. She started to cry in sobs, like the night when she first met Jem. She brought her knees to her chest and wrapped her arms around them. Jem was gone and there was nothing she could do about it.