I've decided to do a series of mini chapters suggesting who Rachel's mum could be, since it was left on such a cliff-hanger. Well, we need something to speculate about for a year ;)
I filled my diary entry with reasons why Gill couldn't be Rachel's mum on Tuesday night, as you do. I personally think it's ridiculous. But lots of people seem to think she could be, so I decided to start with her.
Suddenly, a lot of things fell into place for Rachel Bailey.
The sense of unease whenever she approached her boss – and not just because she was an intimidating woman to be around – because something had never seemed quite right. The sense that Gill was always trying to hide something from her, something important.
Déjà vu, she'd always thought, and then she'd always dismissed the concern, because if she faced the truth there was rather a lot of pointless concern inside her head on a permanent basis.
She'd been around to Janet's for tea a few weeks ago – funnily enough to slag off Gill after a long, hard day in the hellhole some people called work – and Dorothy had somehow picked up the photo, and jabbed a finger down on Rachel's mother's smiling face.
"You know everyone, mum," Janet had smirked.
Rachel's mum had left when she was twelve. Rachel still remembered things about her – how immaculate she had always been, how much of a perfectionist. Like Gill. She'd had a crap taste in men, obviously, having three children with an abusive alcoholic. Like Gill, marrying that... that man.
The voice; she'd sounded so muffled over the phone when they'd arranged to meet up. Rachel had thought she'd just been nervous, because she would've been nervous if she'd been meeting up with a kid she'd abandoned; she'd have been worried for her nose, in case she got a punch.
Everyone said she was like Gill. And she'd said oh God, no, not Godzilla, but now she could see the similarities. They were both so stroppy, sometimes, but they were both resilient. They both made mistakes, and they both learnt from them.
They loved alcohol a little bit too much for their livers' liking.
Gill had always seemed fascinated by her. Keen to give her a chance, when no-one else would. Had she known she was her daughter all along? Or had she discovered it somewhere along the line, in the files, or in something someone had said?
To think that so much had happened in front of her mother made her skin crawl. She'd seen her at her best, and at her worst. Their lives were entwined by work, connected by late nights and early mornings, and by the tears they only ever cried alone for the victims of these horrible crimes.
I made a big mistake, once. That was what she'd said. Oh God, she'd been hinting the entire time, hadn't she? Trying to soften the blow, when it came. Their midnight conversation in the hotel room about Nick Savage, and how Gill had reached out and squeezed her shoulder in the interview room. Little glimpses of the person she was behind the mask.
Rachel lowered the phone now, met her mother's gaze for the first time. Gill raised a hand to her face, almost as though she was forming a barrier between them – did she really think Rachel would hit her? There were still raw scars on her knuckles from the lamp-post incident. She was a violent person, really, wasn't she? Well, who could blame her?
"Rachel," Gill whispered, as though she was savouring the word.
Gill? Mum? Gill the mum? Mum the Gill? She was mad. Bonkers, psychotic, deranged. She shook her head. Maybe they both were.
Gill's high heels, gleaming red. She'd picked herself up when she'd been down. Rachel had admired her. It made her feel sick to think she was her mother, but somehow it also made her feel proud.
Policing ran in the genes. Sammy wanted to be a copper, didn't he? Sammy, that dirty bastard's son – the dirty bastard that had hurt her mother. Her mother. Sammy was her half-brother now.
And somehow Rachel understood why her mum had walked out; she'd had to salvage the little she had left of her life. And God, it was going to take some explaining on Gill's part before Rachel would forgive her, but... but it suddenly felt so right.
"Rachel, I...I'm sorry." Sorry for so many things.
Gill's arms were around her neck, suffocating her, warming her, soothing her. Nothing else mattered, for a moment. Her mum, sobbing into her hair, full of remorse, clinging to her as though she'd never let go.
That suited Rachel just fine.