“You have a visitor.”
Looking up at the armed guard, Juniper blinked a few times before asking. “I do?”
“Two.” Bowing his head slightly, the guard adjusted the way he was holding his gun. “They convinced us it was an important family matter, but we’ll be taking away two weeks worth of phone calls because of this unscheduled visit.”
Standing, Juniper decided to ignore that fact about losing her phone calls, silently wondering who it was. She knew it couldn’t be Nick as he usually stuck to the allowed times, as did the girls. Part of her wasn’t all too worried about losing her phone privileges; she had ways around it.
Holding out her wrists begrudgingly, she waited for the guard to handcuff her, scowling at him every moment. Juniper was aware of the fact that being locked away has changed her, but she would argue if anyone told her she had become a worse person. Being locked away like this made her realise how much her family meant to her, and just how much she was willing to fight for her family.
She’s not seen her own family in a long time. Ashton went kinda AWOL after Melody died, and Belle and Nathaniel refused to talk to her after the trial. Well, Belle refused to talk to her as soon as she got the incriminating evidence that she had killed Sam. Nathaniel on the other hand, she was speaking to him up until the guilty verdict. He’s never come to visit her.
After everything was said. After she had to bring up putrid memories of her husband’s abuse, and claiming that what she did was in self-defence. Saying that it was Sam who killed her sister and best friend and not having anyone, not even her own fucking brothers and sister believe her… Needless to say it resonated with her. The more she thought about it, the angrier she got.
Being convicted as a serial killer (which Juniper thought was a bit of a stretch) and as a fugitive spending years on the run has given her something of a name here. It still wasn’t clear to her whether or not she should be proud of the fact that she had lackeys here. Most of them were high security too. All in prison for killing their husbands or boyfriends, with as equal reason as she had. One woman’s husband’s laziness drove her to the edge, another woman’s boyfriend already had six other wives (one of those Mormons). Being here and learning the stories of other women made her realise one thing:
Men were either amazing and loving, the best people in the world and so supportive, or men were disgusting, rotten pigs who took women for advantage, and then would cry to the law if a woman tried to get her own back.
As she walked past a lot of the cells, there was silence. People here either feared her, wanted to be with her, or wanted her dead. All because of a silly little thing called a reputation. However, because of that reputation, it seemed as if even the guards were on high alert around her, which was unfair. The only other person they treated as unfairly was a woman she would call her equal in here. She was known for being a mafia boss who killed her husband and the entire mafia turned on her, blaming everything on her. She was the other scary bitch that the guards picked on.
Many of the guards here fell into the second category of men. Dirty rotten disgusting pigs. The more twisted side of her would love to hear the sound of those pigs squealing.
As she got to the private visiting room, she grinned as she saw Roisin. “Ro.” Sitting down opposite, she grinned. “How are you? What brings you here?” She asked, excited see her eldest daughter. She didn’t get to see Roisin as frequently as she would like.
“Well, uhm… There’s something I need to tell you.” Roisin started, smiling in return. She tried to seem natural hiding her hands under the table, but it was really difficult! She didn’t realise how frequently she held her hands on the table until now.
Looking her up and down, Juniper smiled somewhat uneasily. “What…?” Part of her was suspicious of the way Roisin was acting. From when she was little even until now, she’s always been awful at hiding secrets.
“Well, you know how Joe and I are still together, and that he’s come home for quite a while…” Roisin started, looking to the side. It was hard keeping things from her mom, especially when she looked at her like that.
“Yes, I still know who Joe, the boy who grew up next door to us and who’s mom was my best friend for a while, is and that he’s your, boyfriend.” Pausing slightly before saying that, Juniper raised an eyebrow. That had to be it, right? Hopefully. Even though she knew she would love every grandchild she may one day have, she didn’t feel old enough for her kids to be having kids just yet.
“Well, he’s not my boyfriend anymore.” Beaming, Roisin showed off her left hand. “We got engaged.”
“You got engaged?!” Juniper asked, grinning as she gently took Roisin’s hand, before letting go as the guard in the room cleared his throat. “I can’t believe it! My little baby Ro’s getting married.” Smiling at her, there was a part of her that hurt, knowing she’d not be able to see her own daughter’s wedding. It was something she had already come to terms with though, but it still stung.
“Yeah, we’re getting married.” Beaming, Roisin hesitated for a second before saying. “We’re not so sure when though because of Joe’s deployment. It makes it hard to pick a good time to do it. But still! Someday!”
“I’m so happy for you, baby.” Grinning still, Juniper paused for a second before she asked. “Is it just you here today? I half figured when I saw you that Lainey might be here too. The two of you often come together.”
“Lainey’s been practising skating a lot. She’s been back on the ice for a while. These people wanted to show off her and Caleb skating for this silly TV show. I don’t know if she’s going to go back into doing it professionally, I’d be surprised if she doesn’t. I’m keeping an eye on her though, because you know.” Roisin informed her, and paused before saying. “There is someone else who wants to see you though.”
“I think I remember Nick saying. Make sure Lainey’s okay, alright? Keep an eye on her room and make sure she’s not bringing home anything weird.” Almost warning her, Juniper then asked. “Who else has come with you?” There were very few people who came to see her. After the thrill of the story died down, it was only really her husband and kids who came to see her.
Roisin tried to come up with an answer, but really didn’t know how. Instead, she stood up while mumbling. “Just… Someone I met recently.”
It was a few moments before the door opened. Even though she hasn’t seen her in so many years, Juniper recognised her. A mother recognises her own child, no matter how long it’s been.
The door closed softly behind Roisin, leaving the two Junipers (and the guard) in the room. The two Junipers were just looking at each other.
The older Juniper just stared at her, dumbfounded. It baffled her how she managed to find her. She probably managed to find Roisin first, and then Roisin lead her here, presumably. Even still, seeing her estranged, adopted daughter here… The older Juniper tried to not get emotional seeing her.
“I…” Juniper started, unsure how how to react. Somewhat awkwardly, she smiled at her daughter. “It’s nice to see you again.” It was weird, all those times she thought about her, that little baby that she gave away… That little baby was all grown up now. Sure, she had been given pictures of her when she was growing up, and even went to a few early birthday parties, but it always seemed harder leaving than joyous going, so eventually she stopped keeping in contact.
The younger Juniper pressed her lips into a line, not so sure what to say either. When she got here, she had this whole monologue prepared about how angry and hurt she was that she never saw her, and that she had to find Roisin and how she had to do all the work to find her. But, finally meeting her mom, all those negative emotions just seemed to… Fade.
“I’m sure you have a lot of questions for me, don’t you?” Juniper assumed, smiling slightly at her. Honestly? A large part of her was happy to see her, even if it did mean that she now would have to answer some very difficult questions, but seeing her baby again made her heart race. Juniper wanted to know all about her, all about her life, every single report card and grade, every detention and times she was grounded. She wanted to know about any heartbreak or romances. She wanted to know about everything, about all she had missed out on.
Pausing for a long time and steeling herself, the younger Juniper asked. “I just want to know why.” It took all of her strength to keep her voice from cracking, and even still it failed her. “Why didn’t you want to keep me?”
Being met with coldness was hard, but understandable; from Juniper’s point of view, she was nothing more than a girl stupid enough to get pregnant accidentally, and couldn’t deal with the consequences all grown up. Sighing heavily, the older Juniper mumbled. “I kinda figured you’d ask that.” Biting her lower lip, she took a moment before continuing. “Don’t get the wrong impression, I wanted to keep you. I wanted so badly to keep you-”
“Then why didn’t you?” Interrupting, the younger Juniper asked that. She didn’t care if it was being rude, she wanted to know. What made her so different from Roisin or any of her mom’s other kids?
“I was young, and I was living with Lainey’s, you know Lainey, right? You must do. I was living with Lainey’s dad at the time, Nick. Have you met Nick?” She asked, and got a nod in response. “Well, I was living with him and Roisin and Lainey in this kinda small three bedroom flat. Not too dissimilar to Roisin’s and Lainey’s, apart from I think mine was a little bit smaller than theirs, maybe. Less bathrooms at least. I was about twenty three when I found out about you, so probably only a little bit older than what Lainey is now. I was dating this older, rich guy who I was only half serious about. I couldn’t really see a future with him, but he made me happy in the short term. Me and your dad were pretty much on the verge of breaking up when I found out I was pregnant with you.” Juniper started, unsure of how much detail she should go into. She figured it would probably be easiest to just tell the story as it happened, rather than dwell on the emotional side. She knew that there would be emotional scars that no number of times repeating ‘I wanted to keep you’ can heal. Even though it was the truth, and there were a lot of times she wished she did keep her, there wasn’t much that could be done.
“Wait, so my dad was the rich guy?” Younger Juniper asked, and then explained. “My dads told me that there was some thing about who my real dad was.”
Pressing her lips into a line, Juniper nodded. “Yes, your dad was the rich guy. I’ll get onto that a little bit later. Anyway, I was terrified when I found out about you. Roisin was different because I was married when I had Roisin and we were planning on having kids, but you were a little surprise. It’s funny because the first person who knew about you was my friend Sarah, Joe’s mom, as in Roisin’s Joe.” Pausing for a moment, she then followed up with. “I told your dad next. He wasn’t very supportive to put it in the nicest way possible. He didn’t really like Roisin, so part of me expected him to react badly. He didn’t want you, and I’m assuming because of his wealth and status, he had been in a few situations like this before with women probably similar to me. Whether or not they were telling the truth, I don’t know. There’s a lot of sick people out there, trust me.”
“Your dad gave me a cheque, and told me to ‘do the right thing’. He also was the one who brought up how unequipped for another baby I was. Roisin and Lainey were already sharing a room, and Nick and I had different rooms because, well, we were still friends at that point and we couldn’t really share a room. Anyway, after I talked with your dad, I went back to the flat and told Nick. He told me how he’d be there for me, no matter what I decided. I knew from the start that I couldn’t keep you, even though I wanted you more than anything. I thought for a long time about what to do, and whenever I thought about taking your dad’s advise, I just saw Roisin and Lainey together, and it really resonated with me that you were another little Roisin. Different, obviously, but still. So, I decided to give you to someone else. I knew I couldn’t give you the life you deserved, but I still wanted you to have one.” It felt hard talking about this. For so long she had just almost burried her feelings and emotions regarding the subject, because it was easier.
“It took me so long to work out who I wanted to give you to. I had pretty much every file from every adoption agency within two and a half’s drive. Then, I found your dads’ file, and I just knew that they were the people who should have you, and everything was sorted for a while, until a few days before you were born. Your adopted dad Lukas and I spent a lot of time together. Maybe he was doing it so you’d recognise his voice, or maybe he just wanted to spend time with me and know better where you were coming from, I don’t know. We were out one day, and I saw your dad. He started texting me soon after that, and said that he missed me and such. Feeling rather lonely, I started texting him back and saying that I missed him too. It wasn’t too long before he called saying that he was worried that his finances would go to waste without someone to pass them down to, and that he wanted full custody of you.”
“Hearing your dad say that broke my heart. I wanted so badly for you to go to Anthony and Lukas, your dads. So, I made up that I wasn’t sure if you were his, in a way to get him off my case, and he called my bluff and requested a paternity test on you. I never told your dads the full reason behind why he wanted a test, mostly because I knew how it would end, but it turns out I really didn’t. Your dad always thought there was something going on between me and Nick, which there wasn’t at the time, but Nick ended up giving a sample too. When your dad left the room and the nurse did too, Nick switched the names on the samples so they’d think that you were his, instead of your dad’s. So, because of that, you got to go with your dads and live with them.” Finishing the story, she then gave a small smile. “But I did still see you. You probably won’t remember, but your dads used to call me Aunty Jenny, because that’s what they knew me as; Jennifer. So, I did see you from time to time.”
“Why did you stop seeing me?” Younger Juniper asked after a while of processing what her mother had just said. It was partially hard to process, as it sounded more like a telenovella rather than her mom’s life before she was born.
“You don’t have kids, do you?” Juniper asked rhetorically, knowing the answer was no. “When you do, you’ll know how hard it is to leave them, even if it’s just dropping them off at school. I mean, fuck, on Roisin’s first day of daycare I cried for hours, just wanting her back, and that was only for a few hours. It hurt so much saying goodbye to you the first time, and I had to relive that every time I said goodbye to the point where I couldn’t keep putting myself through that pain. I wanted you so badly, but I couldn’t have you because you were a weird mix of mine but also not mine.” Glancing over at the guard as he cleared his throat and wordlessly pointed to the clock, she mumbled. “We can’t talk for all too much longer I’m afraid. I can only talk for a certain amount of time.”
“What?! But! No! I-!” The younger Juniper started. She had only just met her mom, and now she had to leave again?! No! That wasn’t fair! That wasn’t-!
As if interrupting her thoughts, Juniper took her daughter’s hand, against the will of the guard. Palm against palm, she mumbled. “There’s a lot of things about reputation, Junie. A lot. A reputation can make or break someone. No matter what you hear about me, the protests your sisters say against my being held in here, don’t think less of me by it.” Giving a somewhat weird smile, she stated. “I’m not some pathetic little damsel in distress. I’m not some princess being kept in some nasty place. I am, and always will be, a bad guy. There’s some things I’ve done in my life that would probably make you feel horrified, besides why I’m in here.” Pressing her hand closed, Juniper smiled knowingly at her daughter. “Believe what the news reporters said about me. I’m not evil mind you, I just have questionably moral thoughts. I’m no one’s hero, so don’t make me out to be a hero. I’m a psychopath who killed her first husband, sister and best friend, and hid that fact from her family until I got caught. There are tough people in here who are scared shitless of me, and there’s quite a lot of people who follow me and do things for me. Why? Because I’m the bad guy, Junie.”
Juniper watched her mom stand, and the guards handcuff her again. Before she could go, the younger Juniper stood, her hands still clenched. “Wait! I just want to ask you something. I know I’ll visit you again soon but I just need to know something.”
Juniper looked at her daughter, refusing to move until she had spoken. The younger Juniper took a moment before asking. “Do you have any regrets? About me I mean?” With what felt like her heart being in her throat, she asked that question.
“Yes. Every day. But, I know that it was my decision, and I know that if I did keep you, well, I don’t know. I can’t imagine what I would have thought, whether I would have regretted keeping you when I probably couldn’t handle another baby.” Looking directly at her, and seeing the same eyes as her own, she stated. “I always thought about you though, always. I’m so happy I got to see you again.”
Juniper stayed stood in silence, watching the door where her mother had just left. Out of all the possible ways she imagined her mother, that wasn’t one of them. Her mom was a lot more refined than what people made her out to be, and a lot less of a crazed killer than what the media portrayed her as. She seemed… Normal-ish. After a few moments, she opened up what her mom had given her. She recognised it, it was the same picture that she had shown Roisin and Lainey when she first met them, a picture of the her mom and her when she was born, but it was damaged from being folded up and kept folded.
However, it was slightly different. “Juniper & Baby Junie.” was written in messy handwriting in faded pen. In very different handwriting (much neater handwriting) underneath, there was a message. “I love you, with all my heart. I think about you a lot, all the time. I wish I could have spent more time with you, and learned about the young woman you became. You’ll always be my biggest what if. P.S. You inherit your talent from me”.
AN: OMG! We got to see Juniper again! (adult Juniper i mean lmao)
I dunno what else to say about this chapter other than thanks for reading *peace emoji*