There was only one feature her two identities had in common: they both seemed to be amused by something the rest of the world didn't know. They both seemed to laugh at a secret understanding of how the world worked.
At boarding school, her teachers mistook this for intelligence and loved the quiet Anne Pritchard for it. It was the same air of mystery that made Luke W., her 26 year-old boyfriend, fall for Jacky. But two months after they'd started seeing each other, it drove him mad too.
Whenever the fourteen year old schoolgirl sneaked out to spend the night clubbing with Luke, she slathered herself in make up and hairspray and put on heels that were longer than her skirt. Luke assumed that she was 21 because the bouncers of clubs never rejected her. In reality, she was only fourteen years old and using a passport she had found in the bathroom of a pub two years earlier. Jacqueline Dupont, to whom the passport belonged, was six inches taller than Anne – hence the heels – and had much fuller lips and bigger cheekbones. But they were both blonde with blue eyes and make-up can work wonders.
Luke and Jacky used to meet up two or three nights a week. However, when Anne's new room-mate Fiona S. caught her preparing cheating notes before a test, Anne got in trouble. Fiona made Anne do her chores for her in exchange for her silence, but when one of the teacher discovered that Fiona wasn't doing her own chores, the story came out anyway. She had to be extra careful hiding her second life now that the teachers were watching her, and had to stand Luke up twice in a row.
Luke assumed Jacky was cheating on him and punched her in the stomach when they met again. She was floored in one blow, but just gave him that secretive smile that seemed to say: “you've got it all wrong, boy, you've got it all wrong.” They made up in the playground in Holland Park, snorted cocaine and had a ball of a time.
The next week, however, she texted him twice to cancel their appointment again. This time, Luke started wondering why she had never asked him round her place. Instead of losing his temper again, he asked whether they could spend the night at hers for a change. When she just said no without explaining why, he decided to follow her home when she left his house at four o'clock in the morning.
At first, he didn't understand what he saw. Was she a teacher at a girls school? But why was she giong in this early? And why was she climbing through a hole in the fence instead of taking the main entrance. Why had she never...
“Jacky!” He got out of his car and ran after her, just able to grab her ankle through the gate.
“Sssh!” She put her finger to her lips.
“What are you doing?”
She poked her head back through the gate.
“I live here. Now leave me alone.”
“You... what? You never told me you...”
She gave him that mocking grin and winked at him.
He knew she'd been hiding something, but this... Anger flared up inside him and he didn't know what he was doing when he punched her in the face as hard as he could.
She ran in – leaving him at the gate – hid her clothes, washed her face, put on her pyjama and woke up Fiona with a smack in the face. Her room mate woke up fighting back.
When they had to explain to the head of the school what they were fighting about, both girls claimed the other attacked her out of the blue. They both had to stay in all weekend to write an essay on the political situation in Israel – but at least Anne didn't have to explain how she got that blue eye.
When Luke realized there was a word for what he had been doing – paedophilia – he almost killed himself. He wanted to apologize to her parents, he wanted to shout and swear at her, he wanted to stop thinking and caring and he snorted all of his cocaine in one go. When she called, he didn't answer. When she rang his doorbell, he didn't answer. When she let herself in through the back door, she found him crying on the sofa.
“Why didn't you tell me?” he asked
“How did you find out?” she asked.
“I can't see you again,” he said
“Don't say that, or I'll have to tell my parents about you.”
“I'll tell them you knew all along and gave me a false passport so that I could go clubbing with you.”
“But that's not true!”
“And I'll tell them about the cocaine too.”
The next morning, Anne was reported missing. Two days later, Luke read in the newspaper what Jacky's real name was. Five days later, a neighbour told the police he'd seen the missing girl break into his garden. Her body was found in Luke's cellar, wrapped in a carpet.