Jane was packing the present for Lucy so carefully and ever so passionately: first the wrapping paper, then the red ribbon, then the card, and finally, the whole box went into a transparent bag and sprinkled over with rose petals. Jane knew roses were Lucy’s favourite flowers, and she was excited at the idea of her dear friend opening the package and inhaling the sweet aroma. Well, let’s be honest – Lucy was not quite just a friend for Jane. In fact, the girls were lovers. They’ve been dating for four months now, and St. Valentine’s Day came in handy. Jane noticed that Lucy was somehow distant, and she was eager to use the holiday to revive their feelings and make her girlfriend as affectionate and passionate as she used to be a few months before.
When they met for the very first time, it was a warm and sunny October day, and their school was getting ready for Halloween celebration. Jane spotted Lucy in a group of her friends and came closer to see if she needed any help. Lucy was so skinny that she seemed almost transparent. Her large green eyes were marvellously shaded by red hair, and Jane immediately thought, “This girl should be called Foxie because of her hair colour and her swift and careful movements.” Despite being a bit shy, Kane approached Lucy and got acquainted with her. The two girls were interested in further communication, so after the preparations, they went to a café to have some coffee and get to know each other closer.
Recalling those first conversations made Jane shiver. How could Lucy have become so distant? Why wouldn’t she return Jane’s calls for a couple of weeks? Why did she delete all their Instagram pictures? The one they took at the ocean on an excursion in November… The one picturing Jane hugging Lucy, them wearing identical ugly sweaters on Christmas… The one where they are skating on the town’s newly opened skating-rink in January… So many things Jane couldn’t understand but was intended to find out once her beloved Foxie changed her mind and agreed to meet her.
The morning was chilly and frosty, and Jane put on her warm jacket and the bright red scarf that Lucy had knotted for her. It was Jane’s favourite thing because the object of her passion had made it with love and care especially for her. There was a time when one boy tried to steal the scarf from her, and Jane beat him up while defending her precious present. Jane was very careful about her things and never let anyone borrow them, especially the ones she got from Lucy.
The girl left her house and decided to take a walk. Although it was quite cold, the sun was shining brightly, and Jane decided to calm down while strolling and come up with the right words to say to Foxie when she would see her. Jane forgot her gloves at home, and her hands began to freeze because she wanted to carry Lucy’s present by herself, carefully, like the most fragile thing in the whole world. She would not put it in her backpack, and she didn’t want to get a gift bag for it. She wanted everyone to see that she had someone dear to congratulate on that day. So she kept walking, thinking of hot coffee, but most of all, dreaming of Lucy returning her calls again and never ceasing communication in the future.
Suddenly, Jane felt dizzy, and she could not walk any longer. She couldn’t even stand straight and lost her consciousness. When she was falling down on the cold ground, the only thing she could think of was to keep the present safe and not let it get damaged…
Jane woke up in a hospital ward, not understanding what was going on and why she was there. She could not remember her name, and her mind was disturbed, so the doctors could not find out how a young girl appeared in the dilapidated factory, on the outskirts, where some teenagers found her in the middle of the night. Then, one nurse noticed a card on the box the girl had with her. It read, “To my beloved Foxie. Once mine, forever mine. I promise, we shall be together soon.” The nurse checked on a recent paper and realised that their patient was the heroine of a two-week-old story from a local news issue. There was a terrible story of one girl (J.) almost driving another one (L.) to commit suicide. J. had been stalking the other girl for several months, trying to make her fall in love with her. She had stolen several things from L., including her favourite red scarf, which her late mother had made for her. When L.’s brother tried to take the scarf away, J. hit him in the face. The paper said that the two girls used to be friends at first, but when L. understood that J.’s motives were unhealthy, she limited their communication. Meanwhile, J. kept calling, sending messages, and coming to L.’s home. Finally, L. became so devastated under the constant pressure that she ate half a bottle of sleeping pills. Her brother noticed her and called 911 before it was too late. It was mentioned in the newspaper that L. was at the asylum, but she was getting better.
Jane’s doctors and nurses were quite disturbed, but they knew she would not run away since her fingers and toes were frozen badly. She had to undergo a lengthy treatment process, upon which her parents were going to take her to a psychiatric hospital. The girl was not getting any better because she was very depressed and angry. She kept repeating that she was in a hurry and she had to deliver a parcel to her friend’s home. Jane begged for her phone, but it was taken away, as well as her persona belongings. The only thing she could do was wait until her wounds would heal, and she could leave the ward. Jane was obsessed with the idea of meeting Lucy, but she was smart enough not to share it with anyone.
As soon as Jane’s physical health got better, her parents arranged for her to go to a psychiatrist. The girl had long sessions several times a week. She did not understand what they wanted from her, but she was not allowed to leave: one of her parents was constantly accompanying her and waiting at the door to take her home after the appointment. Jane’s parents were devastated: she was their only daughter, and they could not understand how they could have missed such a massive disorder. Also, they felt extremely ashamed of their daughter’s behaviour toward Lucy, the girl who had been driven almost mad by their child.
While Jane was still at the hospital, her mother found strange pictures on her laptop. There was a photo of Jane and her friend Bob: Jane was hugging him, and they both looked very happy. On another photo, Bob’s face was replaced by Lucy’s. The same went for the Christmas picture of Jane and her cousin in identical ugly sweaters. The image of Jane and her neighbour staking in January was also transformed to look as if it was Lucy on it. Finally, there was an image of their family trip to the ocean in November, where Lucy’s face was also photoshopped. Jane’s mother was devastated: she didn’t know how for long it all had lasted and didn’t know how to help her child. Moreover, she was afraid to remain with Jane alone, feeling powerless and unable to cope with her child’s issues.
Jane was getting better and better at her sessions with the psychiatrist, but he still recommended to send the girl to a mental institution for a while. The doctor was convinced that his young patient would receive full-time qualified care there, and her parents would be able to prepare for a job transfer and house movement which they had thought of. The town was small, everyone knew their story, and, although people understood that the girl was sick, many of them were quite hostile and said unpleasant things to Jane’s family. Due to the town being small, there was only one mental hospital, but by the time Jane was admitted, Lucy had been discharged.
Jane’s parents hastily packed their belongings. They did not want to leave the house they had made a comfortable little nest. Neither did any of them want to quit the jobs where they felt appreciated and respected. However, their only child’s health and happiness were more important. During the process of packing, Jane’s mom deleted the queer photoshopped images from her laptop, and also got rid of the stuff the girl had stolen from Lucy. Jane’s parents went to Lucy’s family to apologise, but her father and brother wouldn’t let them see Lucy.
When almost everything was packed, and only a few little things were to be done about the movement, Jane’s father realised he could not find his gun. It was a small old gun that he had been having for ten years. He searched and searched, but all was in vain. The man filed for a lost or stolen possession to avoid problems with law enforcement. Jane’s parents gradually filled an old van with boxes and waited for their daughter to be discharged from the asylum.
Meanwhile, Jane was getting better and better. Gradually, a smile returned to her face, and even a slight hint of colour – to her cheeks. She was more responsive to doctors’ recommendations and participated in group therapy eagerly. However, before her discharge, the doctor had a serious conversation with Jane’s parents. He said that sometimes, she looked distracted and did not seem to realise what was going on around her. He advised not to leave her alone until she completely recovered. Jane’s parents assured the specialist they would do their best to help their child recover fully.
On their way home, Jane’s mom and dad carefully prepared her to the news about moving house and changing the town. They explained that it was for the best, and Jane listened carefully and smiled wistfully. She said, “Of course, mummy and daddy. If you say so, I believe we will be happy in the new place. Just three of us together.” Her parents felt reassured and relieved. Finally, they saw the results of a lengthy treatment process, and they could hope that their family life would soon be back to normal.
They had a couple of days left in their house. During those days, either her father or mother stayed with her, and Jane could not even go for a walk by herself. However, once, when her father was out shopping, and her mom was taking a shower, Jane ran away. She kept running so fast that her heart almost forgot how to beat. She ran to the place where her lost love lived. She hurried to her Foxie’s home. She had spent the past few days fiercely tracing Lucy’s Instagram account, her father’s and brother’s social networks, and even her father’s work schedule. Of course, she had to do it ever so carefully, ever so cautiously. She knew her parents would lose alertness once she showed that she was happy and smiled back at their stupid grins. She knew she simply had to get to Lucy’s house that once last time.
Jane knocked on Foxie’s door and hid her face behind a large bouquet of flowers. Lucy opened, looking excited and surprised. When Jane pulled her father’s gun from her pocket, Lucy’s face changed, turning into a grimace of horror and desperation. She didn’t move. Jane smiled and pulled the trigger. One bullet was destined for Lucy, another – for herself. “I promised I would return. I told you: once mine, forever mine” were her last words. Jane was calm; her gift was finally delivered.