When Gianna arrived ten minutes after Helena had called her, she was surprised, to say the least. Then she remembered that they had had plans to go out for drinks that night.
That wasn’t going to happen now.
“What’s going on? You sounded stressed on the phone. Is it the agent again?” Gianna questioned as she stepped through the door.
Helena wasn’t sure how she was going to even explain this to her friend. “You have to promise to keep an open mind about what I’m about to tell you.”
Gianna gave Helena a look that said she was unsure about what her friend wanted to talk about. “Hel, what is this about?”
Helena began to pace which only caused her friend to worry even more. “God, how do I even begin to explain?” Her British accent finally made an appearance as her guard was let down. “Sit down, please.”
Gianna moved over to the breakfast bar while Helena continued to pace before her. “What is this about? You call me over here, you tell me that I have to keep an open mind, you suddenly have a British accent, and now you’re pacing. Tell me what the fuck is going on.”
Helena flinched at the harshness of her friend’s voice but knew that stalling wasn’t going to do her any good. “Firstly, my name was never Lorelei Henry, it’s always been Helena Jekyll.” Gianna opened her mouth to ask a question, but Helena held up a hand to stop her. “Let me finish,” Gianna clamped her mouth shut. “I was born in eighteen sixty-eight to Edmund and Amelia Turner. I married my husband Elijah Jekyll in the year eighteen eighty-six. We were childhood best friends and we fell in love. Both of us loved science and would conduct experiments in the basement of our home. In eighteen eighty-eight I created a serum that could bring out a person’s… more violent side. I had a theory that everyone had two sides to them and some just fueled one half more than the other. Maybe if I could bring the bad out in someone good then maybe I could bring the good out in someone bad.
“It took several tries, but I succeeded. Elijah watched as I transformed into a completely different person known as Jacqueline Hyde. She had her own DNA and traits that were separate from my own. In all reality, she was her own person whenever I took the serum. At first, things were fine, but then I became a bit addicted to taking the serum. At night I would become Jacquline and she would go out and commit unspeakable horrors,” tears were brimming in Helena’s eyes. “I created Jack the Ripper with my serum. Because of me, those women in the Whitechapel District were murdered, and because of me, Jacqueline was never brought to justice. Elijah and I destroyed the serum and the research I had put into it, but the damage was already done, she lived with me inside my head for the rest of my days.
“I passed away of old age and somehow I was reborn in the year nineteen ninety-six. As a kid, I would talk about my life as Helena Jekyll and it scared my parents. They had research done on me. As I got older I waited to hear Jacqueline’s voice, I thought that she too would be here. But she never came and I thanked God for small mercies.” She pulled the note from her pocket, “Then my parents were murdered.”
“And you had the mental break,” Gianna’s voice was hushed as pieces of a puzzle clicked into place.
Helena nodded and sniffled, “I thought for the longest time that it was Jacqueline coming to exact vengeance on me. Then she never came, there wasn’t another murder, and I thought that I was clear. Then I received the call from Agent Lynch that the case was being reopened. And I received this today.” She handed the note over to Gianna. “It’s from her, I know it is, it’s her handwriting and everything.”
Gianna looked over the words scrawled on the piece of paper and then back up at her friend. “There’s more to this isn’t there?”
Helena nodded and finally let herself sit beside Gianna, “Ryder Lynch, the agent who called me in, looks exactly like my dead husband.” Gianna pulled her friend into her arms and let Helena sob. She wasn’t sure what else to do in this situation.
A part of Ginna wanted to believe Helena and what she was saying, but there was another part of her that was saying that this was outlandish and crazy. There had always been something different about Helena though, something that Gianna couldn’t explain. “Hel, why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
Helena pulled away from her friend and wiped at her tear-stained cheeks with her hands. “It was my burden to bear,” she explained. “I wasn’t even sure if you would believe me or not. This isn’t something that the average person has to deal with. Especially what I did in my past life. There were many times when I wanted to tell you - almost told you - but I couldn’t work up the courage too.”
Gianna knew that this was something that she was in overhead on, but her friend needed help and she wasn’t going to leave her in need. “I’ll help you, Hel, but you need to promise me that you won’t keep anything else from me.”
Helena held out her pinky to her friend, they linked their pinkies together and touched thumbs. It may have seemed childish to pinkie swear like this, but it was something that the girls had been doing since their college days, a show that they’re promises were serious and would remain unbroken. “I promise,” Helena vowed.
“Good,” Gianna unlinked their pinkies. “Now tell me everything and tell me what I’m looking for.”
Their plans for the evening went forgotten as Helena went more in-depth into what happened in her past and then gave her samples of her DNA which Gianna promised to test as soon as possible. Having her best friend know the truth was a huge relief for Helena. No longer did she feel weighed down by the burden of her secret, but lighter and like she no longer had to walk on eggshells around her. She could be herself at last.
They decided on pizza for dinner and fell asleep watching Golden Girl reruns on the TV in Helena’s room.
In the morning Helena woke to an empty bed but the smell of breakfast and two voices arguing. Confused Helena sat up and rubbed the sleep from her eyes before grabbing her glasses off the nightstand. It was too early and she wasn’t putting in her contacts.
Trudging down the hall she found Gianna and a man standing in her living room looking like they were having a heated argument. It took Helena a moment to realize that the man was Ryder. “She was here all evening with me!” Gianna whisper yelled at Ryder. “We had plans to go out, but Helena wasn’t feeling well and we decided on pizza and TV.”
“Gi?” Both of them turned at the sound of her voice. “What’s going on? Why are you here Ryder?” She knew that she had left in a rush the day before and that he had been confused, but that didn’t mean he should show up at her house and question her best friend.
Gianna came over to Helena and put a hand on her arm, “There’s been another murder.” Helena’s head whipped toward Gianna, her eyes going wide and mouth falling open. She felt like she was going to be sick. “Sometime last night after I arrived.”
“I’m gonna be sick,” she murmured before she ran for the bathroom and threw up the remnants of last night’s dinner into the bowl. Gianna and Ryder followed her, the former holding back her hair as she threw up.
Ryder watched with worry as Helena clung to the toilet. This was such a violent reaction to there being another murder, almost as if she had a reason to feel guilty. Once again Ryder found himself feeling very perplexed by the woman in front of him. He had already ruled her out as a suspect, but there was something about this case that seemed to center around Helena. He couldn’t put his finger on it, it was just a feeling that he had.
“Hel,” Gianna murmured once Helena had flushed the toilet and leaned back against the tub. “Are you gonna be all right?”
Helena nodded and looked at Ryder, almost couldn’t bear the worried look she saw him giving her. “Was it a man or a woman?”
“A man this time,” he told her.
“That can’t be right,” Helena muttered. She stood and rushed from the bathroom leaving Gianna and Ryder to quickly glance at one another before following after her. “Jacqueline exclusively killed women,” her voice was still low, but Ryder heard her.
“Jacquline? Who the hell is that?” He put his hands on his waist as he watched her rifle through her notes.
Helena straightened and turned to face Ryder, “Why are you here, Ryder?”
“No, you don’t get to turn this around on me right now Helena. I’m trying to solve several murders and you’re over here muttering about some woman named Jacqueline. I need you to tell me everything that you know,” he wasn’t about to let her get past this. He excused a lot of things in their interview, but not this time.
“Agent Lynch,” she put her folder down and squared her shoulders. “I don’t believe I gave you permission to be here and unless you have a warrant then I suggest--”
“Damn it, Helena!” He shouted. “I can’t protect you if you don’t tell me what’s going on! You know more than you’re telling me and if you’re somehow involved then I need to know!”
“I don’t need you protecting me. I never needed you to protect me, Elijah!” She slapped a hand over her mouth and Gianna froze. The two women looked at one another, Helena’s heart racing.
Ryder’s eyebrows drew together in confusion, “Elijah? Who the hell is Elijah?” He then threw up his hands, “No better yet, what the hell is going on here?”
Helena collapsed into a chair and buried her face in her hands, “Fuck, fuck, fuck!”
Gianna acted as a barrier between the two of them. “I think it’s best if you leave right now, agent Lynch.”
He looked between the two of them, his eyes coming back to Gianna, “I still need to know what’s going on, Miss Anderson. This is an active investigation and if Helena knows something that pertains to the case then that means that I need to know as well.” He looked at Helena who was staring at the floor as if in a trance. “I’ll give you the day, but two days from now I’m coming to your office and you and I are going to talk about this.” He then turned and left her home still wondering who Jacqueline and Elijah were.
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