Chapter 3. Questions.
Dee and Jim were not the only ones troubled by events. Dee’s mother Lauren was having an internal struggle too. And like Dee’s, this was old baggage for Lauren. All her life she had battled with sexual identity issues and, for some reason she couldn’t see, meeting Regan had set them off again. She found being near the girl unsettling. At first she’d put it down to rekindled fears about Jim Burrows being a cop and a Special Detective Unit one at that. When she heard he was ex-Met and RUC, all her alarms went off big time. All this happened when Kath Burrows and Lauren’s daughter Christine first became an item. When David got together with Regan, Lauren’s alarms all went off again. A little probing soon revealed Regan’s true parentage, and her true father’s family links to the East German Stasi added to the alarm din. Lauren had to tread carefully because Bonny had warned her David had been smitten by the girl for years and would not react well to having his budding relationship with her interfered with. Bonny shared some of Lauren’s concerns but the big-hearted generosity of Bonny would overcome her fears. Lauren had seen much and was too world-weary and skeptical to be so trusting.
As she dug more and found out about how Regan and Mary had been abused and how Jim Burrows had acted, she began to be less paranoid and more accepting. She allowed herself to get closer to the girl and was surprised to find she was still being unsettled and made anxious around Regan. As was usual, Bonny’s magical radar had been turned on Lauren when she sensed the trouble brewing and after a few months she’d talked to Lauren about it.
They awoke very early one morning. Or rather Lauren was awake and, in getting out of bed to go sit and stare out at the sea and Sandy Cove Island, she’d woken Bonny. Bonny had sat up and peered at Lauren draped over the big armchair and then said something that had really startled Lauren and made her sit upright and look at Bonny astonished. “Do you get the hots and come over all confused when you look at Regan, dear?”
“Bonny-Ann Dawes! What the hell sort of question is that?” said Lauren.
“Oh my, yes it’s an odd one, I’ll grant you that. But it’s touching something in you. I can see it in your eyes, love.”
Lauren leaned back in the chair and seemed to deflate and shrink. She put her hands to her eyes and pressed as if trying to remove some internal vision. Bonny spoke again: “Laurie, when I look at Regan I see who you might have been if you’d not taken the path you did. I mean the athletics and the ‘I’m as good as the son you didn’t have,’ thing with your father. She is like a young you but more so, and she is disturbingly beautiful. Even I am moved by that…” As Bonny spoke, Lauren had taken her hands from her eyes and looked at Bonny. Then she slipped off the chair and crawled across the carpet to the bed. Bonny had a vision of a beautiful tigress stalking across the room. She paused in her talk until Lauren reached the bed and then, when Lauren had crawled onto the bed and sat cross-legged, peering closely into Bonny’s eyes. Bonny continued: “She makes me feel sexy and squirmy when I look at her closely. She has some sort of magical quality. So still and contained and… well, it’s kind of daft to say it, but Goddess like. You have the same quality. You make people unsettled and disturb the air around you like she does. In your case it’s not just your beauty but also your confusing signals. You and I know well where that comes from, but for others it’s just ambiguous sexual identity. Regan has no such ambiguity. She is the very essence of pure femininity. She is what you would be without the ambiguity. You have always deep down longed for that purity, cursed the ambiguity in yourself, battled and swung back and forth. She is the personification of who you sometimes longed to be.”
Lauren leaned forward with her elbows on her wide spread knees and supported her face in her hands. She said nothing, but Bonny could see Lauren’s fierce scalpel-sharp intellect at work as she examined what she heard. After a time she moved a little and leaned on one hand. With the other she reached out and cupped and weighed one of Bonny’s heavy breasts. Still she didn’t speak, but a smile began to flicker on her face: “Wee earth-mother wise-owl has struck again, I feel.”
“No Laurie, not feel – think. Thinking is what is dominant in you. Feeling is my thang.”
“Yes, that’s true. But gosh, you know how to put your feeling-driven insights into thought provoking words.”
As Lauren sat looking at Regan and David trying to keep their hands off each other on the Patricia-Clara, she remembered Bonny’s words and examined what she was feeling. Yes, there was a tingle that could have been sexual arousal. There was something akin to envy. There was protectiveness towards David. Then, like light flashing in darkness, Lauren saw what it was that was disturbing her. She sat upright and got so agitated she had to get up and walk away, up the steps and along to the bridge. There she paced back and forward as the picture became clearer in her mind. Bonny had been right, Regan was disturbingly like Lauren, but Bonny had missed something only Lauren could see. Regan was not cool and contained and together. She was hanging on a precipice by her fingernails. Exactly as Lauren had been at the same age and for similar reasons. The sense of danger Lauren had seen in the girl stemmed from that. Regan is struggling with her sexual identity just as I did. But for Regan it’s not about male – female conflict. For her it’s about the power of her feminine sexuality and overwhelming beauty. She’s paid a heavy price for that, been abused, pursued, objectified, rejected and hated by her own mother and, and, yes, yes, people have died and I’ll bet she’s created a whirlwind of conflict for Jim and Biddy. There was something? Gosh, I bet she made a play for Jim and scared the hell out of him. You can see the conflict in him sometimes. Shit on it, you stupid woman. It’s so obvious now. David is like Jim Burrows, the same sensitivity and big strong masculine presence and older, and yes it makes such sense for her to go for someone like the first bloke who saved her and didn’t abuse her. She played around with Mary but that was only wanking, Regan is bi without a doubt. But she’s not sorted yet. She’s hanging on in there and she’s happy now, but she’s a bomb waiting to go off. That’s the danger I see. That’s what I’m afraid off. I had wee wise owl and the most secure male on the planet to support me when I detonated. That’s how I survived. Regan will go bang over David and I’m afraid he won’t cope. He’ll get mauled in the fallout. But what can I do? Can Bonny help? Can Jim help? I need to talk to him. He’s her guide. But I’ve been so distant from him, kept him at arm’s length. He’ll think I’m daft. Too bad, I’ve got to do something to protect David, and Regan too.
Regan was accustomed to being watched and stared at. Fond gazes or hungry looks had followed her all her life. So when she noticed Lauren watching her intently she didn’t pay much attention. From the beginning of her relationship with David she’d been aware of Lauren’s polite but distant attitude to her. Regan had been aware of Lauren, long before she’d hooked up with David. She was a bit of a local celebrity due to her athletic feats and the round the island swim. Regan often saw her running, swimming or riding trials motorcycles in highly unlikely places. Then there was how she looked, which was impossible to ignore. Regan felt connection with that. Many years later when David introduced her to Lauren over dinner, Regan had sensed hostility and had to struggle not to flee. At the time, Regan was struggling to come to terms with her past and felt consumed by guilt about her new boyfriend’s family discovering what she considered a sordid past.
Lauren had been polite but had none of Bonny’s warm welcoming openness. She asked questions and some had been edgy and made Regan feel Lauren knew all her secrets and was testing her to see if she would lie. Regan had tried to avoid that but felt she could not be completely frank about her Internet site past. She spoke honestly about her family and how she came to be adopted by the Burrows. After a few more visits Lauren seemed to accept her and stopped asking such probing questions but remained a little distant.