I love this musical, and I wanted to write a little fic for it, as I saw there wasn't really any on this site. Mickey and Linda's young daughter, Sarah, is only briefly mentioned in the musical, and I often wondered what she'd be like, but I know that at the end Mickey shows he loves her unconditionally, despite everything he goes through. This little idea of a fic to show their relationship came to me, so I just went and wrote it. The age of Sarah is never confirmed, so I made it up. This takes place during when Mickey is spending time in jail in act two and is plummeted into depression.
Note: This is rated T because of the mention of self-harm and depression, and for language. I thought the themes in this may be upsetting to some.
I am no Willy Russell, just bare that in mind :P He owns these characters, not me. It's just a one-shot I did in my spare time, so I hope you like it, especially fans of this amazing musical. Please let me know what you think and I may write more.
"Our Little Secret"
"Mr Johnstone, you can receive your phone call."
He'd been led through that corridor that smelt of putrid body odour too many times to even notice the smell anymore. It became natural to fill his nostrils every minute of the day. The eyes of several junkies scowled at him every time he'd been guided through the corridors that shouted around him. The wandering glares of the criminals told him he was worth nothing, that not a single man in there with him were worth nothing more, than the dirt infested on the bottom of their shoes. They were trapped. Humiliated. That's what they were all treated like too.
Mind you, that's how they were treated before they even thought about the committing a crime. Every day, looked down upon by the privileged.
But it was okay, they were used to it. Most of them didn't give a tinker's bleedin' toot. They'd be out in a couple of weeks, ready to fill up their taste buds with next whiskey, or maybe go around a bleak alley corner to smoke the next bit of weed. Ah, that was how it went in Liverpool, 1983.
Nothing ever seemed to change in that prison. Not even Michael Johnstone's feelings. The constant feeling of, well, sadness, well…it never left. It gripped his heart.
Although he tried to see at least one possible ray of positivity while behind bars, there was no use. When you're from that side of the City where you're constantly thriving off the dole, every corner you're plunged into a street fight, and then the next thing you know, you're with your own brother, who's yielding a gun, and you're watching him bullet the guy until his life ends before your very eyes…it's hard to see yourself in a Land Of Hope And Glory, isn't it? Especially when you partially get the blame.
It was all Sammy's fault. It was Mickey's older brother, Sammy's fault, he was locked away. He was just there, when it happened. They just needed money. That was all. Money. But it was his fault he was crying every day, shaking so hard he couldn't sleep, eat, do anything. His fault he wasn't seeing his family.
He felt all those horrid emotions swarm inside of him as he continued being led down the corridor, to his phone call, from the tip of his little toe, to the very core of his scalp. Regret, sadness, pain. The depression throbbed in his head, his pulse was racing through his handcuffed hands. Sweat started to glisten on his head, with help from the cheap lights above him. He was shaking. He just wanted to speak to Linda.
Oh, how he wished he'd said no to Sammy now.
"Ah, don't be a pussy, Mick, it'll be fine, ya twat," he had mocked.
He eventually arrived at the confined location, and his handcuffed were aggressively removed.
"Right, Johnstone, you have fifteen minutes, no more," the policeman explained, briskly.
"When…when will I be let go, mate?" Mickey's voice was dry and crackling from his depressive state. "I just wanna see me wife…"
Mickey was ignored and the door was shut behind him, the officer guarding the door and examining him closely with beady eyes. Mickey escaped a raspy sigh and his weak hand lifted to the cheap handset before him. He was relieved to see no other six-feet gorilla prisoners were in there with him. They had all threatened to 'punch his lights out.' Mickey dialled the number to his house's phone number, and eagerly put the phone to his propelling ear.
The line began to ring. Mickey couldn't stop shuffling his feet around, and snivelling due to the ridiculous amount of dust filling up the room.
Finally, the phone was answered.
"Hello?" A welcoming, motherly tone answered the phone.
Mickey managed to smile slightly for the first time in what seemed like a lifetime.
"'Iya, mam," he said, his voice now having a slight grateful edge to it.
"Oh, Mickey!" she cried. "I was hopin' and prayin' it'd be you! Oh, son, how are ya? How ya doin'?"
"Ehh…I'm, eh…I'm pretty shit, to be honest, mam," he mumbled.
"Well, that don't surprise me to be honest, Mickey," Mrs Johnstone said. "Well, everyone 'ere's well, by the way…our Sammy is–"
"Mam…mam is Linda there?" He was so desperate to hear her voice again. Even if it was for a mere few seconds.
"Mickey, you know she's out lookin' for jobs every day," Mrs Johnstone, replied, guiltily. "She's out right now, I…I didn't know you was gonna ring, I would've–"
"Well…tell 'er to not go out, I…" Mickey's voice cracked. "I wanna talk to her at some point, an' what's all this about job interviews every fuckin' night? She told me, yeah, bu'…I just thought she's be with ya…mam where is she?"
"I just told ya, son…"
"No, mam, please…just…is there some way I can at least, please, mam…I miss 'er…"
"Son, listen…while Linda's…away…I'm lookin' after Sarah, maybe you'd wanna speak with her? Would you like that?"
Mickey's heart missed several beats. He sniffed hard.
"Yeah…" he said, softly. "I'd love to."
"Okay, just…just 'ang on a minute, then."
Mickey's heart was in a marathon as he waited. He heard the phone going wildly out of control, and a muffled conversation before it reverted back to a single, tiny little voice on the other end.
"Daddy?" it squeaked.
Mickey felt a tear tickling his cheek as it fell to the floor from the corner of his eye. He rubbed his nose with is thick orange sleeve, and inhaled deeply before he spoke.
"'Iya, baby," he chuckled.
"'Ang on a minute, daddy, I'm goin' up the stairs," the little girl said.
"Okay." Mickey couldn't help but laugh some more as he heard Sarah huff and puff as she sprinted up the stairs, and Mickey heard the door slam behind her. "You…you out of breath?" he asked when he heard her gasping for air.
"No," she answered, sharply, sounding like she was eager to impress. "Daddy?"
"I…I got me, uh…ya know that puzzle thing you and mammy told Santa to bring me?"
"I'm halfway through it already."
"Oh, wow, that's…that's amazin', sweetie."
"And daddy…nana asked me if I wanted any help finishing but I said no, 'cus…'cus I told her that you told me that I have to do it meself."
"'Ey, daddy…why aren't you at 'ome?"
Mickey heard his heart shatter onto the ground below him.
"Well, ehh…didn't nana tell you I won't be home for a long time, Sarah?" he asked.
"Yeah, bu'…bu' why, daddy?" the little girl asked, curiously. "I want you to come 'ome. Mammy gave me some crayons an' I drew a picture for you an' uncle Sammy, but uncle Sammy didn't like it…"
"Ah, well, don't listen to 'im, sweetheart. He don't know nothing."
They shared the same, infectious giggle.
"Bu' when will you get to see it, dad?" she questioned again.
"Why don't you ask ya mam to send it to me, then?" Mickey suggested.
"Where?" she asked again, now sounding desperate.
"Somewhere daddy deserves to be, but not where he wants to be," Mickey answered, feeling his eyes start to sting. "So will you ask her for me, then, darlin'?"
"Mm-hmm!" Sarah confirmed.
"So what is this picture of then?" Mickey inquired.
"I'm not tellin'!" the three-year-old girl laughed, squealing into mischievous giggles.
"Fair enough, cheeky monkey," her father chuckled with her. He took a deep breath. "How is ya mam, Sarah?"
"She says she misses you a lot," the girl said.
"Does she?" Mickey whispered. "What you two been getting' up to? Is she happy, your mam?"
"Sometimes she is, bu' she cries a lot. She doesn't want to tell me though, dad. But it's okay! Mammy and nana have given me all these toys an' auntie Donna and me play this game where she's the bad guy trying to rob my food! And she told me how to fight 'em off, daddy! You know how?"
"How's that then?"
"Auntie Donna told me that she, you and mammy used to play this game when you were little, where you just shoot all the bad guys with a gun! And mammy told me how to trick a policeman for when I'm grown up! She, uh…she puts me to bed every night an' tells me all these funny stories about when you an' 'er went to school! She said that that you were naughty."
Mickey couldn't help but laugh, quietly, as he felt another tear streaming down his cheek, as he listened to his bubbly three year old little girl tell her story, so full of life. More life than he had ever experienced. She was just like him and her mother when they were children. The mischievous kind. Mickey guessed she'd be Linda #2, as she was the spitting image of her, too. Another thing which just made him fall in love with his daughter when he used to see her every single day.
His heart was heavy from not being able to see Sarah. The harder thing was, she was too young to understand what her daddy and uncle Sammy had done that made him locked up, away from seeing her beaming face every day. Thank goodness she was the outgoing little angel she was, otherwise she would grow up to hate her father, and from what Mickey was hearing, he heard and felt love. He found love for the first time the day she was born, and now, thanks to a misunderstanding, he may have lost that.
"That's wonderful, sweetheart," Mickey said, in a strangled cry.
"Daddy, why ya cryin'?" Sarah asked, sadly not knowing the truth behind his tears.
"Oh, I'm okay, darlin', I really am," her father replied. "I just miss you and ya mam so much. Will you tell her tha' for me when you see her later?"
"Yeah I will!" Sarah chirruped.
"Baby…you will see her later, won't you?" he wanted to know.
"I…I think so," she said, uncertainly.
Mickey's smile vanished as he felt his heart swallow hard down down his throat.
"You think so?" he repeated. "Shit…ah, Sarah, tell me the truth. Has somethin' happened to your mam?"
"Well…nana said that mammy had an accident," Sarah said, obliviously.
"What happened?" Mickey asked, sharply.
"Nana said I'm not allowed to say."
Mickey growled on the inside. He put on his strict 'father' voice he'd been working on, while his feet became uncontrollable again.
"Sarah, please…tell me right now," he said, sternly. "Has mammy hurt herself?"
Suddenly, little Sarah gasped, so excitedly, that it made Mickey jump.
"Daddy! Daddy!" she squealed. "If I tell ya, then it can be a secret, can't it?!"
"Ehh…well, yeah, baby…please…just tell me…I need to know."
"Will you be angry if I don't say?"
"Just tell me…"
"Will it be our secret?"
"Yeah, baby…our little secret."
"Okay, well…nana…nana said that mammy's wrists started bleedin', and so she's gone to the doctor to make 'er feel better because she's poorly."
"Whoa, whoa…'ang on, what? Her…wrists are bleedin'?"
"That's what nana said, daddy."
"Are you angry at me?"
Mickey gasped when he heard his little girl start to whimper, quietly.
"Oh, no, no…I'm not angry at you, sweetie. Come on…why ya cryin'?"
"Because I miss ya, daddy."
"An' I miss you, Sarah. I miss you so much. But don't worry, I'll see ya real soon."
"Will mammy be alright?"
Mickey closed his eyes as the unwanted truth finally tore a hole through his heart. His trembling breath shook in as he rubbed his hands through his face, in his tiresome state.
"Yeah…she'll be alright…she'll be fine," Mickey whimpered.
"Me mam always gets through stuff."
"Mr Johnstone, your time is up." The police officer had now come so close behind his back, Mickey could feel his hot breath on his hairy neck. "Come away from the phone."
"Hang on a minute, mate, I'm talkin' to me daughter," Mickey snapped. "Sweetheart, I have to go now," he said, down the phone, his eyes still rising up with tears. "Tell ya mam I love 'er, alright?"
"Aw, daddy, why'd ya have to go?" Sarah whined, now starting to sob more and more.
"Because…I'll get into trouble if I don't," he replied. "I'll see ya soon, princess, okay?"
"Daddy, don't go!" little Sarah wept.
"I love you."
"I love you, daddy!"
The phone was forcefully removed from Mickey's hand and slammed back down on the handset by the policeman behind him.
"Back to the cell, with you, Johnstone," the officer grunted, restraining him with handcuffed slapped around his wrists again.
"Mate, seriously…I need to go…" Mickey's voice was like leaves in the frost-bitten winter: wet and shaking terribly.
"You're not going anywhere, mate, you're a criminal," he muttered in reply, pushing him back the other way, leading him back to his frosty cell.
"Me…me wife…" Mickey cried. "Me wife's wrists are bleedin'! I can't fucking help her if I'm trapped in 'ere!"
"Maybe you should have thought of that before you committed a crime," the policeman hissed.
"You still don't get that I'm fucking innocent!" Mickey shouted.
"No! Please…I need to be released…I…I've been nothing but good…I'm ill, officer. Me three year old daughter's crying out for me…me wife's depressed, she needs 'elp, like me…please, mate…" By now he had been pushed back into his cell. "I can't go on anymore."
Without another word, the door was banged back into his face, and locked.
He was alone again.
All he could do now was stare down at the floor, with his bloodshot eyes, and pray. Pray for his happy life back, because that's not what he appeared to want, to the unwary eye. In his cigarette-stained heart, he just wanted his family back on track.
For him, Linda, Sarah…his mother…even his brothers and sisters to be happy. He couldn't help but think back to his childhood, where he met his blood brother, Eddie Lyons, at seven years old. They weren't brothers, but they were born on the same day.
He'd messed it up. He'd messed it up for his daughter.
Mickey saw his tears splash onto the floor below his unsteady feet, creating a puddle of unhappiness, but no could keep him company now, except his prayers.