... wanted revenge?
We say no words in the back of the black cab, Frieda is morosely quiet - usually she's harping on about her lifestyle, the people she knows or the designer clothes and shoes or people who make those commodities - but it's eerily quiet and that's got me thinking.
We arrive at my house and I silently let her in, thankfully no one is home to witness her arrival so I have time to text everyone to let her know that she's here.
"Do you want something to drink, eat?" are the first words I offer her.
She nods, "I'm okay, thanks. Just tired." She sits stiffly on the couch, staring at the wall.
I head to the kitchen and grab a glass and pour some orange juice. I don't know why on earth I brought her here but some where deep inside me, I do feel sorry for her. I pull out my iPhone and text Toni, Ronan and Charlotte about her and Ronan immediately texts back and I can already hear his gasp of utter horror.
What the fuck is she doing there?
No holds barred, that's Ronan for you. I text back and he replies.
Pregnant or not pregnant- does she remember what she did to you?!!!
I can't get into this right now, I really can't. I read the message again and exhale.
"I'll be out of your hair in a minute," my sister says from behind me.
I turn around to see that her eyes are red and her make-up's mashed up with all streaky tears.
"I don't think I know what love is," she begins and I stay quiet, "If I knew an ounce of what it meant, I wouldn't have betrayed you, nor would I have slept with your boyfriend and then continued to sleep with Hartley in spite of still being with someone else. I think that's one definition of being a bitch, right?"
I can only think of what a stellar performance this is- there used to be a time when I believed this crap and I got sucked into it, but not anymore, "When are you going?"
This time she exhales, "Soon, I'm going to mum and dad's - I just don't want to burden you with this, we haven't seen each other in two years or so and it's unfair that I should dump this on you- when frankly, we didn't exactly leave on equal footing."
"My footing was fine- it was yours that mis-stepped," I point out.
"I deserve that, would you call me a cab please... I'm going to stay at the Lanesborough- whilst I figure out my next step," she says hortily. I'm back to being just another servant for her, easily dismissed as usual. My iPhone pings with a message and it's from Ronan.
You never guess who I am having a conversation with- of all the fucking places in London?! Hartley Armstrong.
I text back, looking at Frieda who has fallen asleep on my couch. I don't have the heart to wake her, to tell her... I text Ronan back quickly. He texts back.
He looks dishevelled but lush. Could eat him on a stick.
I roll my eyes, some things never change with Ronan. He texts back, it seems the power of Ronan has somehow got Hartley's jaw going (and no, not like that). It seems he's trying to track down Frieda St. Claire.
My sister. Ronan texts back and says, he won't tell Hartley where she is because frankly, Frieda St. Claire doesn't deserve happiness. I'm taken a back by his loyalty to me, above any superstar. Ronan has been there through the trials and our friendship is super tight. If he were straight, he would make the perfect boyfriend but hey, you can't want something that can never exist, right? There's an incoming call coming in and it's Jack, I head out into the garden to take it.
"Frederica, what's up?" his voice is deep, husky and there's concern written all over it.
"What do you mean?" I say, a tad confused because I really don't know what he means.
"I went to your shop and it's closed, thought it was odd because you're usually open," he says.
"Oh yeah, err.... ummm," I don't quite know how to talk about family stuff- I mean, are we a couple? Or is he just a friend?
"Spit it out," he says jokingly.
"Frieda turned up and I'm just trying to sort the situation out,"
"Brought all her drama with her then?" he comments.
"What do you mean?" even more confused.
"I was passing the Evening Standard stand y'know and there's your face and hers on the front cover Double Trouble- seems the press are having a field day, knowing that Frieda St. Claire has a twin."
"Crap!" I utter. This is not good, not good at all.
"Have you eaten?" he asks. changing the subject. My stomach growls and he laughs, "Do you mind if I drop by with some munchies?"
"Now's not a good time Jack, she's here," I say in annoyance, because I would really like to see him.
"I'm not coming to see her, I just wanted to see you... and by the sounds of it, I think your stomach wants to see me too, as I'll be bringing some food," he laughs. Oh, how sweet he sounds.
"Sure, come on over... just drop call me when you're at the door, so not to wake her."
We say goodbye and my heart does a somersault. Some things never change.
Frieda is still asleep when Jack arrives and we creep outside into the garden and Jack opens up the food packages of home made humous, kofte, doner, pilaf and Turkish delight and we get stuck in.
"Thanks for coming by, it's so nice to see a friendly face," I say in between bites.
"No problem, so what's her problem?" Jack doesn't sugar coat or anything, he goes right in for the punch line.
I exhale, "She's pregnant." And I proceed to fill him in on the details.
At last he replies, "I guess she's your sister at the end of the day, even if she hasn't been a gracious sister at that- if the roles were reversed, would she be as accommodating?"
I never really thought about that, I take a while to answer because in actual fact, I don't think she would. She wouldn't have the time nor the energy to spare a few minutes of her time.
"There's your answer," Jack says.
"I guess so- I've always felt like an only child, which is quite ironic considering, well, twins are meant to be solid, tight... my twin sister and I, are sadly not."
"Is that something you wished you had had with her?" Jack asks.
"You make it sound as if she's dead or something," I say.
"Well, yeah... by what you've told me of her, she sounds like a self centred cow," Jack says.
"Hey! You have no right to say that about her... you don't know her," I say indignantly.
"Quite frankly, I don't think I would waste my time wanting to get to know her, she's obviously spineless just turning up here after how many years and to think you would allow it- and you said so yourself, she slept with some hotshot guy when she was with her boyfriend, by the way... was your ex... how is that not categorically wrong?"
I'm quiet, I know that what Jack says is the truth but I can't seem to grapple with it and before I can answer- Frieda is standing behind us, fuming.
"And who the fuck are you to hold judgement?" comes her threat.
Jack spins around in his chair and doesn't bat an eyelid.
"I said, who the fuck do you think you are?" her shrill voice says.
"We were having a private conversation Frieda," I begin.
"Yes, you may be having a private conversation Fred but the topic was about me and I don't like people talking about me," she screams.
"Then you're in the wrong business then, aren't you?" Jack sarcastically says.
Frieda looks from me to Jack and I can see her hand making it's way towards his face. Jack grabs her hand before it hits his face and shoves her backwards into the house.
"Are you going to allow him to treat me like that Fred?" Frieda says to me.
I touch my temples, not this again, why can't she just avoid these confrontations, these hissy fits. Surely this amount of confrontation, this stress is doing more harm then good, especially now that she's pregnant and all.
"Frieda, he has his own mind- as do you but God help me, if you continue to act like the spoilt brat that you are, you will just have to leave."
"Oh, so you're choosing him over me... is that right?" Frieda says with venom.
Little does she know, that two can play at that game, "Like you chose my boyfriend over me? Don't try pulling that fast one on me, sis. God, I'm fed up with this shit. Why is it you just manage to complicate things everywhere you go, does Hartley know what he's got himself in for with you?"
Frieda is fuming and when I say fuming, she's hyperventilating but before we know it, her eyes are rolling to the back of her head and she falls in a heap on the floor, banging her head on the glass coffee table on the way down. Oh lord, I better call the ambulance.
Of course, the famous actress that my sister is can only mean one thing... she attracts attention wherever she goes and of course, before no time, my parents get hold of this information and they're calling me, fuming at me, calling me careless and... well, I don't really need to go into detail but they're pissed off. They're coming on the first flight out to see her and take care of her, little do they know she's harbouring a secret, her pregnancy. I'm used to this treatment, I'm always the odd ball- the less successful and smart one in the family, no matter how many accomplishments, how many successes I have notched under my belt, I have never really been good enough. They have always prized my sister on being famous, being in films knowing people and I guess in that sense, their sight is flawed. I know they love me, but they love my sister more and sometimes, I wish I were an only child purely for the fact that I wouldn't have to feel like I ought to compete with my twin sister.
At the moment, my sister is getting checked out by one of the residents at the hospital- security has been dispatched at her door, preventing unwanted visitors - her status as a Hollywood actress has garnered that accolade. Jack has happily come with me for the company and we're sitting outside in the waiting area. I exhale, close my eyes and just wish this day is over.
"I'm not going to apologise for what I said about her," Jack says.
"I know and that's fine, I don't care... I don't care about what's said about her, I don't care about her, I just don't care anymore."
My admission is what does me in, I just break down. I never asked for this... I never asked not to be loved as an equal to my sister but there's no use in asking or wishing because I know some how it'll never come to any of it.
Jack takes my hand and squeezes it, "You should tell your parents how you feel."
"What's the point? They won't listen to me, they never have." I say with disgust, my parents have never listened to me, so what's the point of starting now.
"You should try, they're probably set in their ways by your sister... by the way she is, she's probably fed them a bunch of lies or something..." Jack tries to convince me but I'm just too tired to do anything.
It's a few hours later and it's late evening, I have been checking in on Frieda every so often and she's been asleep for the majority of it. My parents have just called to let me know that they have landed and are on their way to see her. There is no 'us' in the equation. Their beloved daughter is more their concern then the fact that she comes in a set.
Jack left a few hours ago, he had to get on with work and work stops for no one. I'm still trying to figure out what we are, because I myself am confused but I'm just happy that he was there for me, when I needed a friend. Back to work tomorrow - then I can really concentrate on the big orders.
My parents pass me, as they head towards my sister's room. I stand up and call them back, "Mum, Dad!" They stop in their tracks to look at me and are almost annoyed by the interruption, they come back, kiss me on the cheeks and waste no time in asking about Frieda, of course, I love my parents too much to stretch their time, so I point to the guard who's standing outside her room. They go in and all I can hear is the soppy kisses and hugs they must be showering my sister now. I notice, they hadn't invited me in, so like a lost puppy I walk into the room and stand in the very corner. Frieda is explaining the circumstances and of course, she twists the truth round to suit her and I'm seen as the bad guy, my parents barely notice I'm in the room and I can hear Frieda's horty voice bouncing all the walls, the one thing she hasn't told my parents is the fact that she's with child and she doesn't know who's it is. God, I want so badly to speak up and be the bearer of bad news but, it's just not my decision to make and I'll just come off as shallow and attention seeking, which is what my sister is and has always been. She's an actress, after all. It's in her nature to seek attention and feed off from people. Oh Lord, she's definitely letting it rip with the tears now. I can't bear it any longer, I reach for the door and am about to turn the handle when the door swings open and a tall broad man walks in and looks straight at me. He looks at me, as if assessing me and then his eyes pan out to the three shocked faces to the side. He smiles at me and then his face changes to thunder and addresses Frieda at the foot of her bed.
"Is it true?" his voice is stormy as he directs this one question to my sister.
"Is what true?" my sister plays at being coy.
"You're pregnant and you don't know if it's mine," he says.
Frieda looks at me with disgust in her eyes, "I told you not to tell anyone."
"I didn't," I say simply but it's Hartley Armstrong that comes to my defence.
"She knows nothing about this, leave her out of this," he smiles at me, "You should count yourself lucky to have such a great sister like her, pulling you out of paparazzi scrums, putting up with your lies and bullshit. What I want to know, is whether that child you're carrying is mine or if it's Eric's."
My mother looks like she's been hit by a thunder bolt.
"I repeat, is that child mine or his?" Hartley says.
"I don't know," Frieda says.
"So you slept with me whilst you were with someone else? Why didn't you tell me you were pregnant... do you think I would be so unfeeling towards you to know that I would turn you away from knowing I fathered a child?" Hartley says with disgust and I can tell my parents are just as shocked as he is.
I quickly exit because I don't want to be included in anymore of this drama, no one stops me but I feel like justice has been served - at least they know the truth about my sister and how manipulative she can be. She will just have to face up to it.
I take a cab home, looking forward to home and bed.