why does it always rain on jane?
Jane's life has never gone the way she wanted. A little explanation as to why Jane acts the way she does. Jane One-shot ChallengeThis story is dedicated to all the victims of the Victorian bushfires.
My entry to the Jane One-shot Challenge. Enjoy!
Rating 5/5 Word Count 1779 Review this Chapter
She looks out across the field. Searching. Her eyes scan the line of workers, collecting crops. Her gaze settles on one particular body. She can see the outline clearly, the skin tan from the sun, the muscles hard, firm, and sinewy from the strenuous work. The sun glints off the sweat beading on his skin, sending small rainbows of light up into the open blue sky. He stands up, straightening out his back after so long crouching down, stretching his arms above his head, turning his face towards the sun.
Jane thinks she has never seen anyone so beautiful.
She waits until the sun begins to set beyond the horizon, then gathers up her skirt and the daisy chain she has spent the day making, and follows the line of field workers over the top of the hill. She glances up at the sky now, and sees the clouds beginning to gather. There’ll be a storm tonight, she thinks.
She makes sure to keep him in her sight, and he is not hard to lose. He stands a good few inches above the rest, and even though she is tiny, she can see the top of his sandy-coloured head.
She waits until the line begins to thin, the workers heading for their homes and a hearty meal. He continues to walk ahead, and she has to run to catch up to him.
“Hi, Harry,” she says tentatively, slowing her pace as she comes to walk beside him.
He turns his head to see her, a smile lighting up his handsome face. “Hello, Jane. What are you doing here?”
She blushes, embarrassed. Thank God he didn’t realise she had been watching him all day. “I was just sitting in the field, getting away from home for a while,” she answers softly, a faint trace of something like pain evident in her voice.
“What do you mean?” he asks, seeming genuinely concerned.
She plays with the flowers in her hands, wondering if she wants to tell him about her troubles at home. Her problems with her mother are a deeply personal thing. The abuse she endures is not something she wants to share. She doesn’t want others to know how she suffers. Only Alec knows that.
“Oh, it’s nothing,” she says, better at masking the pain this time. “How long were you working for today?”
Harry doesn’t seem to want to pursue the previous subject, for which Jane is grateful. That’s another thing Jane loves about him.
“Since the hour after dawn,” he says, a yawn escaping through his closed lips.
They’re very full lips, Jane thinks. She wonders what it would be like to kiss those perfect, perfect lips. She realises that she very much wants to find out. She continues to dream about this, until Harry notices her prolonged silence.
“Come on,” he says, grabbing her small hand in his large one. “I’ll walk you home.”
His hand is warm, calloused from the work, but Jane has never felt anything so wonderful. He’s holding her hand! She’s only wanted this for as long as she can remember. She revels in the feel of his hand around hers, and wonders if it means anything.
They walk like this, not talking much, until they are a few hundred metres from Jane’s home. Harry stops, turning to face her, and taking her other hand in his.
“You look after yourself, okay?” he says gently.
Jane nods wordlessly, unable to do anything else after the shock of close contact.
Harry bends ever so slightly, leaning his face in towards hers. Her heart beats wildly in her chest – it’s happening! He’s going to kiss her! It’s her first kiss, and she can’t think of anyone she’d rather share it with. She leans her face up to his, and closes her eyes, anticipating.
A pair of soft, velvety lips touch her gently on the forehead. Jane opens her eyes abruptly. He looks down at her, shamefaced.
“I’m sorry, Jane. I just think this is a good idea.”
Jane takes two quick steps backwards. She stands numb, until suddenly her sense snaps back into her. Now she’s not shocked, or even disappointed.
She’s never liked rejection. She’s never put herself out there, put herself on the line like that. It makes her feel smaller, if that were possible. Jane has never been loved in her life, with the exception of Alec, yet she has always been able to love unconditionally.
Not any more.
In that moment of rejection, something inside her breaks. She can’t love him anymore. She doesn’t want to love him anymore.
After being abused by her mother, abandoned by her father, and now rejected by the love of her life, Jane wants to make him pay.
Feel her pain.
The rain begins to fall as she glares at him, long and hard, before running off into the night.
He will pay.
She adds the final ingredient to her pot with a flourish. Reaching over for the long wooden spoon on the bench, she catches sight of a figure in the doorway.
“Oh, Mrs Williams! Come in,” she says, motioning towards the rough wooden table in the centre of the room.
Mrs Williams moves awkwardly, her hands wrapped around her large stomach. She sits down heavily, breathing a heavy sigh.
“I do hope it comes soon,’ she says wearily, gesturing towards the baby in her womb. “I can barely walk anymore!”
Jane smiles kindly as she stirs the pot. “Don’t worry, Mrs Williams, this brew will have the baby out within the day.” She ladles some of the mixture into a bottle, corks it, than passes it to the lady at the table.
“Thank you, Jane. You’re a dear. I don’t know what we would do without you.” Mrs Williams stands up, takes the bottle from the table, and begins to walk towards the door.
“Take it with your next meal, and the labour should begin. Send someone to me if you have problems, Mrs Williams,” says Jane.
Mrs Williams smiles, and leaves the house.
Jane moves to the window, watching her neighbour walk slowly through the fields surrounding the house. The sun is high in the sky, and she can see the workers, their skin shining in the sunlight. She wonders if Harry is among them, and sighs. She hasn’t seen him since that night in the rain.
She doesn’t want to.
The rejection still seethes inside her body, yet she finds she still loves him. There are just some things you can’t help, she thinks.
She is lost in her reverie, until a door slamming behind her brings her back into reality.
It’s her mother.
There’s another almighty crash, and Jane turns in apprehension, wondering what she will be punished for this time. With a sinking feeling in her stomach, she realises that she’s left her pot and ingredients in the kitchen.
She runs through the house to find her mother in the midst of ingredients and utensils, having just flung them around the room. Her cooking pot is rolling around on the floor, a large crack running up the middle.
Her mother looks up at her only daughter, a look of hatred obscuring the subtle beauty there. “What is going on here, you evil child?” she whispers, deadly in her rage.
Jane cowers against the wall, shaking in fear. Her mother advances towards her, her eyes dancing with fury. The woman stands inches away from her daughters face.
“My child is a witch!” she spits with disgust. “A witch!” she cries, turning from the small girl, hesitating, then turns again, and slaps the Jane across the face.
She falls to the floor, her hands cradling her face, covered in blood, sweat and spit. Her mother glowers over her once more, before kicking her and running from the house, screaming profanities and insults for all the world to hear.
Alec is the one to find her, curled up in a ball in the corner of the kitchen, dried blood and spit caking her face. She whimpers with pain and fear as he gently shakes her awake.
“Jane. Jane,” he whispers gently. She looks up at him, the only person who has always loved her.
“Jane, we have to go. They’re coming for you.” He voice betrays the fear within, and Jane struggles to her feet, looking at him in confusion.
“Who’s coming, Alec?”
“The witch hunters.”
She sways on the spot, and then everything goes black.
When she wakes, she finds herself lying on the floor of a roughly made cart. Alec sits beside her, his face contorted with fear.
“Alec? What’s happening? Tell me, Alec!” she begins to panic now, the smell of smoke permeating the air.
“Alec? Where are we going?”
He turns his head to look at her, and she sees his face is streaked with tears. “They’re going to burn us, Jane.”
“But why?!’ she asks, her voice rising, the smoke getting inside her lungs. She finally realises where the smoke is coming from.
“Jane, mother turned us in. she told them.”
She looks at her brother in horror, as the smell of smoke comes closer. She can see the stake in the middle of the town square, and the huge crowd surrounding it.
Her hands and feet are bound to the wood with the strongest rope they could find. She can feel the heat from the fire below her beginning to heat the soles of her feet. She scans the crowd, desperate to find one person.
The older woman is pushing her way to the front. Jane’s heart leaps. She wants to save us! But as the woman grows closer, she sees that it is not true. She stares into her mother’s face, and her mother stares back.
She whispers two words, and they break her daughter’s heart.
Then she turns and walks back into the mass of people.
Jane’s rage overcomes her. All the pain that anyone has ever caused her; her father, her mother, Harry, the fire burning strongly underneath her – it all comes back, and she focuses it onto her mother at that moment in time.
Than, to her surprise, her mother drops in a heap, screaming in agony. Hundreds of eyes turn their focus onto Jane, and the air is filled with cries of “witch!”
Jane knows it is over. She closes her eyes as the screaming starts. She thinks it is her and Alec. In future, she is glad she didn’t know any better.