Bree’s Faith: Part One.
Anonymous said to imagineclaireandjamie: So I’ve had this idea running in my head. You know in the trailer when Frank tells Brianna to make a wish? What if she wishes to meet her real father, because she instinctively knows Frank isn’t her biological dad? What if the reason why she wants to meet Jamie is because she wants a father/daughter relationship she never got? Perhaps she knows Frank doesn’t love her and she just wants to be loved and wanted.
She’d always known she was different, even from an early age and her peers hadn’t had any issues holding back their ideas on the subject. As soon as they’d learnt to tease, her classmates had pointed out the differences between her and her parents.
She had fiery red hair, her parents did not. She had fierce blue eyes, like a sea before storm. They did not.
She’d asked her teachers, all of whom had made vague comments about ‘skipping generations’ and ‘recessive genes’. At first it had placated her, but as she’d grown it had just grated more and more. She knew it wasn’t a just matter of science, it was something more.
She hadn’t dared to ask her parents, something told her it wasn’t something her mama wanted to discuss. But, nevertheless, she still felt this shift in her bones.
The question had arisen in class; ‘who do you think you are?’ it read. It was meant as an innocuous statement to get the children thinking about who they were, who they wanted to be and where they came from but to Brianna it was simply more of an indicator that she didn’t fit.
She mulled it over, on and off, for weeks. Sitting in her favourite branch, outside in their garden where she could think straight, she spent hours considering it. If she closed her eyes and reached out she could almost imagine the place to which she belonged. It was strange, there were no cars, no massive buildings, no traffic or rush. The air was clean and the trees were dense and populous, rising above all else.
She ached for it.
The song the group had sung for them in their whole-school assembly sat at the front of her mind, rolling around over and over. The lyrics haunted her. The woman had told her, with great confidence; 'you always have faith’ after she’d approached them afterwards.
At first she’d quirked her head to the side, confused. The tall lady with long black hair had winked and walked away, muttering 'soon you will understand’, and as she’d slept she had.
The clear water in the bath used to mock her, her reflection showing all of those differences -ones she couldn’t attribute to anyone or anything-, but now her eyes mirrored something she wanted to dive into. Before they screamed 'different’ now they sang to her. The blue swimming with something that connected her to something bigger than herself. She could sense someone else in them. She sat in the water until it cooled, staring at herself until her eyes crossed and she could no longer see clearly. The voice that echoed in her mind seemed closer to her when she looked at herself, more like it was a part of her than simply another segment of white noise.
Brianna Ellen Randall did this night after night, often sitting in the water until it had gone tepid and cold. She didn’t worry though, because her thoughts kept her occupied.
As the water gargled, the bubbling glug amassing at the plughole as she emptied it once more, she saw in her distorted reflection something she’d never seen in all the time she’d been looking at herself this way.
She saw home.
She started to sneak into her mama and papa’s bedroom at night in the hopes that her mama would talk to her in her dreams. Bree’s heart would always sink a little when she came away empty handed, she swore she’d heard her whispering a name a few nights prior but so far both of her parents had been motionless in sleep, only moving occasionally to shift position.
One night, whilst the wind howled and the windows rattled, Bree had been spooked by the storm. She’d lunged forward as the thunder crackled through the sky and gripped her mama’s hand, her small fingers curling around the jagged silver ring that lay there. All at once and without warning Claire had said a name. Bree’s heart was pounding so hard in her chest that she couldn’t quite make it out, but from that night onwards she’d instinctively known how to get her mama to talk.
The next few nights she’d slept through and woken full of sorrow that she’d missed it, but eventually a bad dream woke her and she’d stumbled blearily into her parents bedroom once more. Taking Claire’s hand against hers she’d sat on the floor by the bed massaging the ring on her finger until her mama had started to babble in her slumber.
First it was just one-off words; then came the stories. Bree collected them, writing down all she could in a little journal her papa had procured for her. Eventually she had a whole pad full. Stories of far off lands, of green, of daring men on horseback, and of a fearless warrior who stood tall amongst all the others, who laid down his life for love.
She rushed home after school, forgoing her usual habit of waiting in the library for her father to collect her, she had too much on her mind to wait. She could have just used the bibles the library would have stocked, but she had a feeling she needed her own. Faith, she recalled the woman saying all those months ago. That in itself could have meant any number of things, but the small pocket sized worn thing her mother had given her years ago, a gift from Reverend Wakefield, seemed to call to her.
She groped under the plant pot for the hidden key for what seemed like an age, her fingers trapping against the bottom of the heavy ceramic base until she finally managed to grip it. In her haste to get upstairs she slammed the door so hard that her first year kindergarten photo fell to the floor with a thud. She paid it no mind as she scarpered to her room and pulled the tatty bible from below her pillow.
At her desk she scoured the pages, no clue as to what she was looking for. Nothing seemed to stand out, nothing that could lead her on the voyage of discovery she’d assumed it would. Her parents arrived home, offered her dinner, generally fussed around her until she shooed them both away. She wouldn’t be distracted. The sun started to dip in the sky, the faint rays of deep yellow dancing through the thin gap in her curtains. Then, all of a sudden something caught her eye. It was written in scrawled letters at the bottom of a page, the black ink faded with time and wear. Faith, 17,44; it read, a slight curl on the 'F’. The breath caught in her throat as she ran her tiny fingers over the intended text.
So focused on those handwritten words was she that it took her a while to notice the page on which they were scrawled. Hebrews 11. The words of first line seemed to float off the page as she read, trapping themselves on the backs of her irises. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Her heart was thudding in her chest, 'things not seen’ seemed most important. Then, almost at the same time the lyrics to the song the choir had sung to her class sprung up. “They live in you…” whirled around her brain meshed with the lines from her bible, she closed her eyes and focused inwards trying to connect with her conscious.
It wasn’t long before her father told her of a most important trip, his eyes alight with excitement at the prospect of journeying -once again- to see Reverend Wakefield on the quest for historical information that only the old reverend could help him to find. The school holidays were fast approaching and Brianna’s mind whirled with the infinite possibilities that now lay before her.
Reverend Wakefield had been the one to give the bible to her mama, that meant that he knew the key to its origins.
Without letting on a word to either of her parents, Bree broached the subject over a quiet family dinner. As the clock ticked loudly on the mantle she turned to her papa, a coy smile on her face as she tried to quash any feelings of excitement before she’d gotten either of them to agree to her proposal.
“Papa, you said Mr Wakefield has a son and his housekeeper has a daughter around my age?”
Frank looked up over his thick rimmed glasses as he sipped on his tea, Smiling a little he passed Bree another bread roll as if coaxing her to eat more before coughing a little to clear his throat. “Yes darling, they do. It’s lovely over there with young Roger and Fiona running about the place, it makes the manse seem alive.” There was kindness in his voice and also a hint of sorrow as he spoke about the children that startled Bree somewhat, but she ignored it and nodded.
“Well, since it’s holidays,” she began, watching as Claire chewed slowly on the last of her beef, before glancing once at her daughter and then back down at her plate, “maybe I could come with you? I’d be good, I promise!” She chimed in almost immediately, not giving Frank the opportunity to decline her straight away. “I’ll play with Roger and Fiona nicely, I won’t get in the way…” looking up from under her lashes, Bree played the doting daughter card whilst her heart was pounding mercilessly in her chest.
Frank placed down his glass and looked across at Claire with an unreadable expression on his face, “what do you think?” He asked, calmly, but Bree picked up on a certain undercurrent of tension. Ignoring it, Bree twinned her legs under her chair to stop herself from bouncing where she sat.
Claire looked at Bree, her eyes softening as she watched her daughter desperately trying to curtail her growing excitement.
“Please, mama…pretty please…” Bree mouthed, her sweaty palms resting solidly on the dinner table as she silently pleaded with her mother.
Claire sighed and nodded. “But please be careful, love. No running off from your father, alright?”
Nodding wildly, Brianna pushed herself away from the table and skittered off to her room - too excited now to consider finishing her supper. It was only later, cocooned under her duvet with the bible clutched tightly to her chest that she felt the slight pinch of sorrow at double-crossing her parents. Frank was willing to take her, something he’d never been accepting of before, and already she was conceiving ways that she could go off investigating a land she’d never even set foot in before.
Heck, she didn’t even know *what* she was looking for. Again the little niggle at the back of her mind piped up, its quiet voice easing her worries just enough. Something was guiding her, something unseen but incredibly hard to evade. Putting her trust in this –ghost– should have made her nervous.
It should have, but it didn’t.
“I’m coming for you,” she sighed as her eyes grew heavy, sleep claiming her. “Don’t worry, you won’t be alone for long…”
The fresh Scottish air hit Brianna the second she stepped off the plane and the urge to rush off into the wilderness became almost overwhelming. But she managed to calm herself.
Frank, seeing her immediate excitement, took hold of Bree’s hand, his large warm fingers keeping her firmly at his side. “Stay close please, Brianna,” he muttered, turning his head to give her a firm but fair nod. “It’s busy here and your mother will never forgive me should I lose you in the airport before we’ve even begun, eh!”
Bree giggled as Frank tickled her palm and guided her towards customs and their luggage collection.
Reverend Wakefield was there in the arrivals lounge, a large friendly smile plastered across his face with a young lad by his side. Bree spotted her name twinned with Frank’s on the small white placard and she waved at the pair as Frank grappled with two heavy suitcases.
Blissfully the car ride passed quickly. Roger, slightly older than Bree by a few years, helped by pointing out a wide array of scenery as they drove from Glasgow up to Inverness. The mountains were amazing, the beauty of the flourishing heather captivated her in a way countryside never had before. Instantly she felt at ease here, her unconscious guide going almost silent as they made the last part of the drive through Aviemore and up through the last few miles of the Cairngorms national park.
“Do ye like it then?” Roger probed, his wide blue eyes alight with wonder at Bree as she pushed her nose against the glass of the small car as she tried to capture every moment of the passing landscape.
“Oh yes,” she sighed, sounding very much like Claire in that moment, her Bostonian accent seeming softer since her arrival on British soil. “It’s so beautiful out there.”
“I can take ye to see some nice places whilst our fathers work, Brianna, should you fancy? Fiona is verra excited about having someone to share Inverness wi’…”
Frank turned in his seat, listening as the kids conversed. His stomach lurched at the mention of the outskirts of Inverness, the past rearing up before him like a tidal wave as his thoughts turned to Claire’s disappearance and something in his belly told him to be wary of allowing Brianna to wander too far. Shaking his head, he dismissed the notion, certain that Bree knew nothing of her mother’s forays into Scottish history. ‘Silly,’ he admonished, not even stopping to warn his precocious daughter of the dangers. ‘Roger wouldn’t take her near to the stones,’ he continued, his internal monologue dismissing it as daft.
In the back, Bree smiled to herself. Roger and Fiona were willing and able to take her on adventures in the Scottish wilds and her inner voice was quietly pleased with the revelation. Still unsure as to why, she knew now that she could get where she needed to be.
The text in the bible sprung forth before her eyes as they finally pulled into the manse. She didn’t know who’d written it, or why…but she had the feeling she was about to find out.