Rachel Fox origin story
"We find the defendant, Rachel O'Sullivan," the jury foreman said in a calm, stoic voice, "guilty as charged." Rachel screwed her eyes closed as tears trickled down her cheeks. Her entire future was destroyed, crushed in an instant... And all because she'd put her trust in another person.
Growing up, Rachel had quickly learned that in life, some people are given everything they want, and some people are given nothing that they want- and she was very much a member of the second category.
At school, Rachel's grades had been consistently above average, but had never been high enough to receive the praise from her teachers that seemed to be reserved for the truly elite students- and whenever they got close, Rachel's success was never met with praise, but suspicion, and all because of where she lived.
Rachel was the fourth child of six, all of whom (along with her parents) were crammed into a tiny two bedroom apartment in downtown New York. Her father was a perpetually unemployed alcoholic who, despite being third-generation American, clung tightly to his Irish roots and spent as much time in the NYPD drunk tank as he did pretending to care for his children. Her mother was an aspiring actress who could never land even a bit part in a production, no matter how many she auditioned for. Rachel and her siblings would regularly go hungry, and whenever Rachel saw other students at her school squandering the excess wealth they had, she grew envious, an envy which quickly made way for anger, which in turn made way for a burning hatred.
The only thing the young Rachel had going for her were her looks. A classically beautiful face was punctuated by bright blue eyes and long, flowing blonde locks that Rachel's older sister would often sculpt into many different styles- the only part of Rachel's home life that she would look back on with fondness.
Rachel had always been told that if she studied hard and applied herself, she could achieve anything she wanted. Her dreams of a life away from her ghetto-like upbringing would come true, and all she had to do was stick it out for a few more years.
...And then, just a few days after her eighteenth birthday, her whole life- what little of it she had, anyway- came crashing down around her ears. She arrived home from school to find her meagre possessions out on the street in front of her apartment. Her mother was gone, her father was being carted away in the back of an ambulance, her older siblings had all found friends' houses to crash at and her younger siblings were being taken away by social services. That fateful day would prove to be the last time Rachel would ever see another member of her family.
All of a sudden, Rachel's life went from being purgatory to being a living hell. She was no longer the poor kid in school, she was the homeless kid, spending each night in a different shelter if not outright sleeping out on the streets. The popular, rich kids at her school would endlessly torment her, the football team propositioning her with the promise of money, whilst the cheerleaders offered her money for degrading, demeaning pranks, each of which Rachel turned down in order to preserve her dignity- though each time she did, her empty stomach growled a little louder.
Finally, the day came for the high school's prom- a night Rachel wasn't dreading as such, but was eager to put behind her as fast as possible. As Rachel left school that afternoon, however, she heard a voice calling to her.
"Psst!" The voice called in a quiet voice. "Rachel! Hey, Rachel!" Rachel looked around in confusion- normally, when children at the school called to her, it was to tease or insult her, but this voice... Rachel dared to dream that it belonged to someone who genuinely wanted to talk to her. Rachel cautiously walked toward the owner of the voice, and discovered that it belonged to a small bespectacled girl from her class- a girl who had a reputation for getting into- and wriggling out of- a LOT of trouble.
"Jessica?" Rachel asked. "What do you want?"
"What does any high school girl want?" Jessica asked. "To go to prom, to be a cheerleader, to be pretty, rich and popular..."
"I hear that," Rachel sighed.
"Don't be so hard on yourself," Jessica said. "One out of five isn't bad."
"It's nice of you to say so," Rachel snorted. "I know which one of the five I'd rather be, though..."
"Let me guess," Jessica giggled. "Would you rather be... Rich, by any chance?"
"Ugh, who wouldn't?" Rachel snorted. "I mean, look at all those bitches. They snap their fingers and their precious daddies but them a convertible."
"Convertibles that are going to be parked at school tonight, parked for a LONG time..." Jessica teased.
"Yes, so what?" Rachel asked, before her eyes went wide as she realised what her classmate was implying. "Oh no, no no no, I'm not-"
"You're not what, Rachel?" Jessica asked. "You're not 'a person who wants money'? 'A person who needs money to pay for a roof over her head so she doesn't have to sleep at a homeless shelter tonight'? 'A person who could use the money being offered by her friend, who happens to know some gentlemen who would be VERY interested in an almost new Chrysler..."
"...Whose Chrysler, and how much are we talking about?" Rachel asked.
"Becky Watson's," Jessica said, bringing a smile to Rachel's face. "And at least 5K each. Enough to set you up with a nice apartment of your own for a few months, enough to get you started at college..." Rachel bit her lip as she pondered Jessica's offer. Her two older brothers had both served time in jail for petty crimes in the past, and she was determined not to go down the same route as them- but the promise of five thousand dollars- AT LEAST five thousand dollars- was an opportunity she literally couldn't afford to pass up.
"...I'm in," Rachel said, smiling as Jessica giggled devilishly.
That night, as their classmates danced and drank and kissed, Rachel and Jessica snuck into the school's parking lot where, as Jessica had predicted, the soft-top Chrysler or Becky Watson- the captain of the school's cheerleading team- was quietly sat, as unaware of its fate as its owner was.
"I still don't get why you need me for this," Rachel whispered as she and Jessica snuck toward the car, their faces obscured by balaclavas.
"Simple, really," Jessica whispered as she began to fiddle with the lock on Becky's car. "Two heads are always better than one. Not so much for this job, but definitely for future ones!"
"But I don't even know how to drive," Rachel protested.
"Then use the profits from this job to learn," Jessica retorted. "And call me once you get your licence, then we can make a lot more money!" Jessica giggled as the driver door to Becky's car popped open, and after fiddling around under the dashboard, the alarm was disabled and the ignition was started. Rachel giggled nervously as she got in the passenger seat- what she was doing was utterly illegal and immoral, and yet Rachel couldn't shake the feeling of excitement that they were going to get away with their crime- and couldn't shake the feeling of anticipation of her upcoming payday.
Twenty minutes later, Jessica and Rachel pulled into a quiet alleyway in the centre of the city, at the end of which stood three men. Rachel gulped when she saw that two of the men were clearly brandishing handguns.
"Relax," Jessica reassured her partner in crime. "They're here to pay us, not kill us."
"What's stopping them from just killing us and keeping the car AND the money?" Rachel hissed.
"Oh Rachel, you are so naive," Jessica giggled. "They see the gorgeous state of this car, and they'll want more, so it's in their best interest to keep us happy and well-paid." Jessica beamed her sweetest smile as she exited the car to greet her guests.
"Who's the blonde?" The unarmed man- who was clutching a rucksack that was clearly full of money- asked.
"Just a friend," Jessica said. "You got the money?"
"All ten K, right here," the man said, throwing Jessica the rucksack. "Nice condition... Take it it's hotwired?"
"'Fraid so," Jessica shrugged. "Shouldn't be too much of a problem for someone with your talents, surely?"
"It works," the man shrugged. "Call me when you get another one, my number's in the bag. See you round, Fox." Rachel looked on in confusion as one of the man's associated drove the car away, whilst the other two men got in their unmarked van and drove off.
"'Fox'?" Rachel asked.
"I'm not going to give them my REAL name, am I?" Jessica giggled. "Come on, let's go. Two teenaged girls in an alley at this time of night is far too suspicious. So, where d'you want to-" Jessica froze as the alleyway was suddenly lit up, and the same three men they were just speaking to returned to confront the two girls- accompanied by three armed police officers.
"Shit!" Jessica squeaked as she darted around a corner in the alley, with Rachel following closely behind.
"What!?" Rachel asked, panicked. "What's going on?"
"It's a sting!" Jessica hissed, smiling as she saw the end of the alley blocked by a ten foot high fence. "Perfect. Come on, give me a boost!" Rachel hurriedly helped Jessica to climb the fence before following, her face straining as the wire mesh dug into her delicate fingers.
"Freeze!" One of the policemen yelled as they rounded the corner in the alley, pointing their weapons at the two girls.
"Shit," Jessica whispered again as she stared at Rachel. Whilst Jessica had managed to climb over the top of the fence, Rachel had still yet to reach the top, and her back offered the policemen a juicy target for his gun.
"What do we do now?" Rachel hissed.
"'We' do nothing," Jessica said with a wicked look in her eyes. "You, on the other hand..." Rachel stared in horror as Jessica pushed her full-force in the face, leaving her to fall back down onto the hard concrete of the alley with a sickening thud, whilst Jessica herself dropped gracefully onto her feet and was soon out of sight of both Rachel and the cop- who had pointed his gun straight into Rachel's terrified face.
"I am placing you under arrest on the charge of grand theft auto," the policeman said as his colleague hauled the still-stunned Rachel to her feet and handcuffed her wrists behind her back.
"Despite this being your first offence," the judge said, snapping Rachel out of her funk, "a message must be sent to the criminal of this city that such crimes will not go unpunished. Therefore, I am sentencing you to eighteen months' incarceration." Rachel openly wept as the judge's gavel hammered down onto his bench, but as she was led away to begin her sentence, her sadness, like her envy of her schoolmates, gave way to anger. She was to be denied eighteen months of her life, simply to send a message? Was she truly that unimportant in the grand scheme of things, that rich young so-called 'affluenza sufferers' could actively endanger lives with reckless driving or drug dealing and get away with community service or fines, but she had to be imprisoned for stealing one single car?
Rachel's anger festered as she was transferred to the prison where she would live for the coming months, though her anger was tempered by fear as she was led into her cell to meet her cellmate.
"New girl?" The woman- a stocky, stubble-haired woman in her early forties snorted as she looked Rachel up and down. "What you in here for?"
"...I stole a car," Rachel meekly mumbled, before shivering in fear as her new cellmate stood up, her large frame dwarfing even Rachel's 5' 8" body. Rachel let out a terrified squeak as the huge woman raised a hand, only to stare in confusion as the hand was placed gently on Rachel's shoulder.
"You'd better get over those shivers if you want to survive in here," the ogreish woman said in a soft, motherly voice. "Any of the other girls see it, they will eat you for breakfast. Come on, sit down. Name's Carolyn."
"R- Rachel," the terrified blonde girl stammered.
"You got a surname, Rachel?" Carolyn asked.
"Yeah," Rachel said as her fear once again made way for her anger. "...It's Fox. Rachel Fox."
"Nice to meet you, Rachel Fox!" Carolyn said, shaking Rachel's hand. "Obviously you don't belong here, any idiot can see that. Well, any idiot who isn't a judge, anyway. What we've got to do is make sure everyone else thinks you DO belong in here."
"...How?" Rachel asked, before smiling as Carolyn chuckled.
"...It's gonna take a lot of hard work," Carolyn laughed.
Over the next year, Rachel kept her head down and studied hard from her 'mentor'- who quickly became more of a mother to Rachel than her 'real' mother had been. Rachel learned how to fight, how to use her looks to intimidate and to charm, and how to make the most of every opportunity that came her way- and most importantly, she learned that the only person you can truly trust, especially in the big, bad world, is yourself.
Rachel coolly strode out of prison thirteen months after she was sentenced, just as broke and homeless as before, but with a new sense of optimism- and more importantly, a new arsenal of abilities, ways she could use what she had to gain so, so much more. Rachel had had enough of being trodden on, being used as an 'example' by life. Now, it was her turn to get what she wanted, to use others as an 'example' of how to get herself a better life.
Rachel smiled as she saw a young teenager step out of a shiny, expensive BMW- a car he simply could not have bought with his own money. The boy looked nervous, unsure of himself and oh, so naive... Just as Rachel herself had been little more than a year earlier.
"Time to say hello to Miss Fox," Rachel whispered to herself as she followed the boy into a nearby coffee bar, where she soon caught his interest...