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Stepping Backwards

Guest -Jade-

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Title: Stepping Backwards

Category: one shot

Genre: drama

Main Character: Pippa

Rating: T

Warnings: None

Summary: Pippa finally comes to terms with her father's death.

Well I thought I'd post this here - it's a one shot I wrote for the fanfic competition. Reviews are welcome with constructive critisicm or compliments. Thanks to I Love Music and Skykat for proofing - you guys were a lot of help! :)

Stepping Backwards

An unmistakable silence filled the room, the house even, with a comforting secluded, private feeling. Through the window, in a darkening sky the stars were watching, each as silent as the room, and lonely as the night.

The door of the living room twisted on its hinges, revealing the room in its darkness. Slowly she tiptoed across the wooden floor boards, the moonlight projecting a gentle beam across her feet, almost as if she wasn’t supposed to be up, doing this. There was no one in the house and yet the silence induced a feeling of secrecy. She was alone; just how it should be. Just how he probably would have wanted it. Because this was her moment.

Her and her dad’s.

With careful precision she slipped the tape into the machine, her hand shaking slightly, anticipation flowing through her body at the same time as the nervousness grasped her. As it clicked into place, she backed away bit by bit, her legs hitting the sofa forcing her to fall through the air and hit the cushions with a gentle thud. A soft whirring noise ensued, almost giving her warning that it was about the start.

A flickering light burst into sudden life and cast shadows against the quiet walls.

Here she was, sitting in her living room, preparing to meet him for the first time. Finally, she was going to meet the person who was her real dad. Not the replacement that had filled her life, but her real father. The one she’d seen only in photos. The well known member of the community. The much loved friend and husband. The respected doctor. Flynn.

But her hand reached for the remote. The pause button was pressed hurriedly. She could feel her heart pounding inside her chest quicker than it had ever done before. She breathed with shuddering breaths, along with the slow rhythm of the night, the moonlight creeping inside. Was she really ready for this? She had known about the tape for what must have been months, and she hadn’t touched it. And then suddenly, that night, she had been unable to get to sleep. She had felt unfulfilled, restless, and it had occurred to her that maybe she knew how to fill that gap, that void. Had she been wrong? She really wasn’t sure if she was ready, but then again, would she ever be?

Her hand hovered above the remote, almost reluctantly. Giving in she picked it up. Looking apprehensively at the electronic gadget poised gently in her fingers, she lightly placed her thumb on the surface of the Play button. One button, one push; that was all it would take. Part of her had an urge to press it, part of her hung back. This one video: it could change everything. Her life was good; she was happy. But she needed to know her dad. She had been talked through the picture albums, she’d visited the place where her mum had scattered his ashes, and she had seen where he had worked. Her mum, her brother, her sister; they had all made the utmost effort to keep his memory alive. But she needed to hear his voice; to see him move; to fit in the last piece of the puzzle. The hardest piece.

She needed to know too what was in his heart; to share in his hopes and his dreams.

The button was pressed partly with curiosity; partly with a need that was overwhelming her senses. The picture appeared and there he was. Her dad. The one who had been taken away from her.

The warmth of his voice filled the room, bringing tingles to her spine and tears to the back of her eyes. She didn't dare move, she stared transfixed at the screen, afraid of breaking this precious moment.

“My beautiful baby girl. I’m sure you are not such a baby anymore, but that is how I will always remember you. If you are watching this, then of course I am not with you anymore, but this tape, it is just one thing, solely from me to you. This is our video, our meeting.”

The connection, the love was immediate. As if seeing him moving, speaking, watching the camera, had somehow connected her to his soul. Already her eyes were staring solidly at the screen, refusing to move from their position, refusing to break the contact. Her surroundings disappeared, faded into the background, and only his image remained: bright and clear. Her eyes swept over the screen, taking in everything about him; observing his features: his eyes, his smile; and noting the sea in the background. That was where she went to think, the sea was a part of her, and it had obviously been a part of her dad. It still was; she realised, watching as the sea breezes gently ruffled his hair.

Subconsciously, she slipped off the sofa, moved closer to the screen, moved closer to Flynn. She desperately wanted to absorb everything about him in that brief, intense moment. Tears pricked her eyes, threatening to spill, and she fought hard not to cry.

“When you came into our lives, you were such a blessing. You were the most beautiful thing I had ever set my eyes on. You still are. You were an angel sent from heaven to us; the best thing me and your mum ever could have hoped for. And I just want to let you know that I had never felt so proud. I know I wasn’t with you long, but I loved every minute. Every second was precious and filled with joy, just for you being there.”

Pippa felt her whole body heave with emotion.

The feelings were indescribable.

She wanted to scream. Scream with sadness; scream with pain. Scream with anger and frustration. Why did he leave her? Why her? What had she ever done? At that moment in time, as her face was stained with fresh tears, she threw the remote at the screen and let out an anguished sob. No one deserved this pain.

“I’m sure you’ve grown up now, and I regret never having got to see that, but I know that I can be sure that you have grown into a woman just as beautiful as your mother. I hope you are all happy: your mum, Ric, Cassie… You are my family, my precious daughter, and never forget that I will always be with you, now and forever; wherever you go I’ll follow. Just remember; I love you from the very deepest part of my heart and that love; it will last for an eternity. It will never be broken”

As Flynn finished talking, he smiled before the screen gradually faded to black. All evidence of his existent wiped away in a second, in one moment. She gazed at the screen, feeling lost, empty. She wanted the video to keep playing forever, and yet she yearned for something more. She could see and hear him, but that wasn’t enough. The image on the screen was but a faint replication of her dad. She wanted to touch him, feel his presence, but she couldn’t.

Nothing was left but moonlight and her solitary shadow cast on the quiet wall.

Her body shook as she cried. It was like she was finally grieving for the first time, because when he had died, she had been small, young; and as she had grown up she had not known that loss. She hadn’t fully realised that something was missing. However, now, everything was raw. Like she was reopening wounds that she hadn’t even known existed. She placed the sleeve of her dressing gown to her eyes to absorb her tears, but still they kept flowing.

“Come back.” She uttered quietly. “Come back…”


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