Author's Name: Kate
Title: I Haven't Always Found It So
Fandom: Chalet School
Rating: G (?)
Summary: Juliet Carrick gets a letter - at the worst possible time.
Author's Notes: This story occurs at the same time as the events in "The halet School and Jo" just before the trip to Oberammergau. The parts marked by // \\are taken directly from that book. You may be very lost if you haven't read that book...
Disclaimer: I don't own or create the characters. Blah, blah.
The Lyric You Chose:
You speak my name,
I hear nothing,
You share your dreams,
I see nothing.
You Make Me Remember -- Leah Andreone
"My dear Juliet,
Perhaps you will be surprised at hearing from me. No "perhaps" about it, if truth be told, I know you will be surprised at hearing from me. I am dead now. I am writing this letter knowing I am dying. Every word pains me to write, both physically and emotionally, but you must know the truth. You must, Juliet, for I don't think you do know. I will entrust it to Madge Bettany until you are older, just as I have entrusted your care to her.
I want you to try to understand me and your mother and our actions. We were never selfish, although that is how it may have appeared and I can't but believe now that our actions turned out for the best. Only thinking of your happiness all along, Juliet, we tried to do the best we could. The words we wrote and spoke to you may have sounded cold, but it was a poor disguise for the anguish we felt as we were forced to leave you! We may have acted like we saw you as nothing but a nuisance, a trouble, an incubus, but that was just that - an act! Now I hope you can see what we truly thought of you - you were our treasure, our joy, our delight!"
Juliet Carrick stopped reading abruptly and frowned. Her father's effusive words grated. This didn't sound at all like the man she remembered. Mrs Russell (formerly Miss Bettany) had given her the letter that afternoon - Juliet's first in the Tyrol for almost six months - her reluctance to upset Juliet and her veiled suspicion of Juliet's father outweighed by her honest, natural desire to keep her promises. Juliet could tell all this, even though Madame's words were few and simple.
"Your father asked me, in his will, to give you this when you were old enough to understand. I hope this isn't too late or too soon."
Juliet knew she needed to read it, and so settled down to do so after Abendessen but all the same, wished she had told Madame, or even Joey, her own secret heartbreak before she had begun. Especially now that a cruel twist of fate had placed the perpetrators of this heartbreak so close by.
She shook her head to clear it, and stared out the window at her beloved Tiernsee still glistening in the light of the dying sun.
Forget about Donal, she thought with difficulty. He is no longer in your life. Concentrate on the letter. I must give him the benefit of the doubt. He is my father... Or was...
She continued to read.
"We love you so much, Juliet. Your mother - she thought of you every day, and spoke of you. We missed you. But it was for the best, it was!
Leaving you in the Hills may have been a mistake, Juliet. That I will admit. We under-estimated the cruelty of that headmistress, unfeeling woman that she is! That a woman could be so pitiless! But with kind Miss Bettany - there we were right. She is giving you a better life than we ever could have, Juliet, don't you see? We did what was best for you.
And think - you are alive today, and happy. If you were still with us you might have been killed in that car with your mother. We did you a great service, Juliet, a great service. Don't think badly of us, and know all we did we did for love."
Juliet shook her head again, willing the words to make sense, to agree with her memories of what happened. Closing her eyes, she breathed deeply. Was that the way it had happened? Was it really as simple as that? That her parents had loved her so deeply that they left her in the care of someone else so she could have a better life?
That didn't reconcile with Juliet's memories. She remembered only loneliness, anger from both parents, the harsh slaps her mother gave her when she lost her patience, the chilling wait in the Hills as her mother and father grudgingly came to take her back. And finally came a home, the one place she was ever wanted and loved, the Tiernsee, with her adored Madame, Joey and the Robin.
"The real purpose of this letter is not only to help you understand that, but to make one final provision for your future. As kind and loving as Miss Bettany is, she can hardly provide for you forever. You are a burden on her as she is not your real parent and you cannot hope that she will always care for you, no! You are better off out of her life once you have grown up. But we have provided for you, Juliet, you need not fear. There is a man in Monte Carlo - a great friend of mine - who runs a casino. He has agreed to take you into his employment and his home - perhaps even as his wife? - as soon as you are of age. The business details are in my will, and will be disclosed to you shortly. You should write to him at once.
I hope you are grateful for this opportunity. This is really what is best for you - have I ever steered you wrong? This is my dream for you, Juliet, don't disappoint me.
'Lindley F. C. Carrick.'"
Juliet re-read this last paragraph, unsure whether she should laugh or cry.
She decided to compromise with a choked sound midway between a chuckle and a sob. Proud possessor of a BSc, Juliet was in no need of a job, and recently heartbroken, was in no mood for a husband. And was this "opportunity" really what was "best for her"? Juliet doubted it. Her father had steered her wrong before. Many a time.
"I loved you, Father," she whispered eventually. "But I don't trust you. I don't think you did love me. This job...? This man...? No... I hear nothing. I see nothing. And I don't understand you..."
On the train to Oberammergau, Juliet finally told Joey of Donal, her pain and sadness over him blending with her unspoken and newly re-emerged pain over her father and mother.
//"Thanks Joey. How you understand, kid!"
"I love you. Love brings understanding."
"Perhaps so. I don't know - I haven't always found it so."\\
Juliet felt like she understood no-one. And only Jo understood her.
"It - it doesn't hurt so much now, does it?"\\
Juliet scrutinised Joey's open and innocent face. What was she talking about, Donal or her parents? How much did Joey know - or guess? Juliet didn't know. She answered as simply as she could.
//"Joey, it always hurts. But you can get accustomed to anything in time, so I suppose it will get better some day. Don't think any more about it, Joey, Herzliebchen."
Joey gave a little smile. "I'll do better than that."
A sudden horror of what Joey might do seized Juliet. She caught the younger girl by the shoulder. "Jo! You are not to interfere!"
"I won't. I've got more sense than that. But I can pray that things may come right and I will."\\
With Donal I'd finally be free from my father and his plans for me, Juliet thought. She squeezed Joey's hand. "Pray, Joey," she whispered, so softly that she wasn't heard. "Pray that love will bring understanding. I need to be understood."