Jessica Franks is, as the saying goes, 35 going on 16. Or do they say it the other way around? It doesn’t matter, since for Jessica, the first statement is completely true.
Back when she really was 16, Jessica Wallace (her family name) was an intelligent, vivacious young lady with a bright future. A romantic at heart, she found dark corners of the library to read love poems. That romantic side also showed itself with her fantasies about that cute 22-year-old programmer that lived next door to Amy, Gill Baxter. Gill, for his part, attempted to ignore Jess and her group of friends, The Inseparables, so Jess flirted with him to get his attention. All of the time. And in not-so-subtle ways.
But then things changed. Or perhaps, they didn’t. The world moved on, and the pages of the calendar flipped, but Jess seemed to be frozen in time.
With Jess staying the same, her future began to look more like her past than what was expected.
Instead of going to college, she married that creepy Nate Franks right out of high school. With no college, she never moved out of town or became a teacher or any of the other million things that seemed to be in young Jessica Wallace’s/Frank’s future. She has been in Avebury to this day and makes a living by taking care of people’s houses and gardens and doing other odd jobs.
And she continues to be the Jess of 1998 or 1999.
Even married to Nate, Jess has continued to flirt with Gill, particularly when cleaning his large house. She knows exactly which buttons to press, and can figure out to the ninth decimal point the exact reaction they will have on Gill.
Not that she always plays the seductress when around Gill. She can be quite adult and is very much the professional when she needs to be. But when she does decide to tease him, it is usually much more sexual than it was when she really was a teen. Gill sometimes thinks she’s using a 2-by-4 to push those buttons.
Jess also knows her sister’s buttons. Of course, she has to be much more subtle with Lyndsey, but she knows the exact second to call or text and knows exactly what to say, to the ninth decimal point, to make Lyndsey think.
And yet, even with her seemingly shallow, 16-year-old ways, Jessica is an unfathomable mystery.
For instance, the minute things began to happen in town, things with the mill and mansion, Jessica seemed to know right away. Was she somehow mixed up in it? It didn’t seem possible, but then, most would say that a lot of what was occurring wasn’t possible. Like ghosts.
Since it was at her prodding that both Gill and Lyndsey were caught up in events, they assume she must have a role as well, but what?
But then, Gill and Lyndsey know it would be easier to get the answer to that question from Martha Goode than from Jessica, and Martha has been dead for some 118 years…
Jessica Franks, nee Wallace, is one of the main characters in the book The Old Mill. I will continue to post more about the characters in The Old Mill over the next few days. So far we have:
The Old Mill has now been released!
If you don’t see your country’s Amazon listed, you can try a search. It might be available in other online books stores as well – search on your favorite book site.
If you pick it up, I hope you enjoy!
A stench lies on Avebury, New Hampshire. It isn’t something that one can smell, it is more of a psychic soot polluting everybody’s mood. No one recalls when it arrived, but there does seem to be a connection with the Old Mill and its mysterious new owners.
Following the trail of the local legend, the ghost of Martha Goode, Gill Baxter is driven to discover the truth behind the events of 1821 and, hopefully, prevent another “time of dying.” That trail, though, leads directly to The Old Mill.