Chapter 7 - The Betrayal

Tom had found out, of course he did. He knew everything. She didn't know how he knew, but he did.

"I hope this is the last conversation you and I ever have," he spoke, sharply and in meaning every single word. She knew he was angry, that was a given. But from what she could gather, Lorna had got off Scot-free. She was the one who'd had the abortion! That was the real betrayal! Izzie had tried to talk her out of it, and she had been so happy at the thought of her oldest mate having a baby - why would she have wanted Lorna to go through with it? Even if she and Tom had split up, she would have been there for her. She would have been the best auntie to that kid and the best friend to Lorna - because that's what both of them deserved.

But then she realised why Tom was angry and she could have cried; Tom was used to Lorna lying to him. She'd gotten rather good at hiding things from him throughout their relationship. But Izzie was the one person he felt he could still trust and she'd lied to him too. Such a realisation didn't mean she was unaffected by Tom's words. Hardly. But she knew that she deserved everything she got.

She should have told him about it the minute Lorna told her. Not because she was against abortion, per se, but she realised now that Tom had the right to be involved in that decision. It was Lorna's body, granted, but it was Tom's baby, too.

While she could see his point of view, she was just so entirely fed up of their dramas that she told him to shove it. Enough was enough. On top of the day she'd had, she just didn't need it.

She'd been punishing Jimmy for weeks, ever since the accident. He was a dreadful father, and because of his selfishness, Chlo could have been killed in that crash. Mika was convinced that she was being unfair, but Izzie honestly couldn't have cared less. He was an adult, and when adults made mistakes, they should be held accountable. Chlo had actually been on her side, too, for once. She hadn't blamed him for the accident, but the anger she still held over Jimmy leaving his family for Shelly was enough. She couldn't trust him either.

But apparently, Jimmy didn't like taking accountability for his actions. Maybe he felt guilty for everything he'd done to the family. Whatever was going on in his stupid head had prompted him to stage a fathers for justice-style protest on the school roof. She was blissfully unaware until Mika barged into the staff room, face held by a smirk and proclaimed: "I think dad's on the roof... dressed as a bunny."

Izzie might have laughed herself, if it wasn't her ex on the roof, chanting like a moron. Indeed, she found herself sobbing, rather than laughing, after a number of failed attempts to get him off the roof. Not only did her best mate now hate her, but for the first time in her career, she'd actually been humiliated in front of her colleagues and students. She felt trapped, like she couldn't go anywhere without people whispering or laughing at her. If she didn't feel utterly responsible for the havoc making waves through the school, she might have done a runner. But it was her fault and she had a responsibility. Much as she hated Jimmy, she would feel terrible if he fell off the roof. She didn't want the kids, particularly Chlo and Mika, having to witness something quite so terrible when they'd been through enough.

It was towards the end of the day when the finally got him down, Chlo and Mika finding out that Jimmy hadn't paid his Child Maintenance fees in the year they'd been separated. She hadn't struggled, not really. It wasn't like Jimmy even contributed all that much anyway. But she couldn't pretend it didn't hurt. The kids wanted nothing to do with him, either. And with that, she promised the kids she'd take them out for a burger or pizza after football practice.

I hope this is the last conversation you and I ever have.

She'd taken off. How dare he? He could clean up the football kits on his own. She was off to have a brilliant with her girls. Of course, her rational had kicked in and she had realised what she had done to deserve his words of anger. Didn't mean she was happy to be spoken to like that, mind.

But she'd focus on the girls tonight, because her own family mattered more.

Mika realised that her mother may not have been acting out of spite, rather, with the aim of protecting the girls from their father's behaviour. She had apologised the entire way home; for going against her wishes about seeing Jimmy, for reading her diary, for her attitude in the past few weeks. She was so upset it only served to break Izzie's heart even further. She loved her kids so much and finally she felt like it was reciprocated.

"Right, Chlo," she said, crisp in hand. It was silly, really. Chucking crisps into one another's mouths (usually missing, occasionally scoring). But it was a laugh, they were all laughing. And besides, Izzie was actually pretty good at it.

"I went to see Donte today, mum."

She put the crisp back into the bowl, willing herself not to get angry. Chlo must have been kidding, it was just a sick, stupid joke.

"How many times have I told you not to associate with that criminal."

Chlo kept her eyes locked on her mother's defiant, "If he's a criminal, then so am I."

No, she explained. Donte is a criminal. He goes out looking for trouble. Chlo just seemed to stumble across it. You're not like him, Chlo. Do not think for one second you are anything like that boy. Chlo was kind-hearted, loyal, clever. Donte was, yeah, a criminal. A lowlife. A bully. He was in prison quicker than she expected, but he still ended up there.

"I was driving the car that night."

The world stopped for a moment. No. She had to be lying. Was the another joke? Why wasn't Chlo laughing? Mika looked equally as shocked, putting down her food and standing up, mumbling something about homework she still had to finish. Izzie's eyes never left Chlo's - hoping to catch a glimpse of something, anything, that would help her suss out the more complex of her two daughters. A moment; but nothing.

"Chlo, do you realise what you're saying? I don't think you do."

"Yeah," she insisted. "I was driving the car that night. It's my fault Adam's dead, it's my fault Holly's in a coma. Alright?"

Chlo stood up, attempting to brush past her mother. Izzie wouldn't budge, hand tight on Chlo's elbow.

"No, Chlo. Not alright. Chlo, I know you think you love Donte, but you need to think about what you're saying-"

"I love Donte!"

And finally, she snapped.

"Chlo, enough!" she screamed, holding her even tighter than before. Chlo flinched at the volume of her mother, but she couldn't care less. Enough was enough.

"If you want to wreck your life for this boy, be my guest. Just don't come running to me when you end up in prison for something you didn't do. Have I done something to deserve this?"

Chlo pulled her arm out of her mother's grip, "You're just so miserable because you fancy someone you can't have. Mr Clarkson is married, mum. Time to move on, yeah?"

Izzie looked away, taking a break from her anger for only a moment, substituted for embarrassment. When she looked back, it was pure anger once more, and she knew Chlo had realised she'd gone too far this time. She opened her mouth to apologise, but her mother merely shook her head; no.

"Get out of my sight."

Chlo darted from the room, just in time to miss the beginning of the hysterics. By the time the sobbing and smashing of glasses had started, Chlo had run past Mika on the stairs, making it a priority to speak to Mr Clarkson in the morning.