Part One: Chapter Five

Bah! I thought I wasn’t going to get this up before I went to work. But, alas, success! ‘Tis up!

(Don’t mind my strange lingo today. It happens.)

Enjoy!

The next six months seemed to rush by in a blur of bliss for both Aurora and Jake. Nothing was heard from the police—which displeased Jake but relieved Aurora—so the two occupied their time with other things.

Jake often played his guitar around the house with Aurora nearby to listen. He played songs specifically for her, songs of love, of silliness, of a great future. It was so uplifting for her to hear what he had to say to her combined with his natural talent. In fact, he was getting so good at it that she found herself growing jealous that he had a talent to grow.

He got so good at the guitar that the local theater offered him a job to play. Jake was inclined to say no, having a hard time using his skill for anything other than enjoyment, but time was passing and their funds were running low. Thus, he accepted the position and began working to support Aurora and himself.

Aurora needn’t have worried about being bored while Jake was at work, however, because for her 27th birthday, he took her outside and presented her with a bouquet of red roses and a sculpting station.

“Omigod!” she shrieked. “You shouldn’t have!”

“Well, now, what kind of boyfriend would I be if I didn’t make sure my woman stayed entertained while I was working my butt off?” he asked teasingly.

“Oh, please,” she said, rolling her eyes with a grin. “You love playing your guitar; I’d hardly call that work.”

Aside from sculpting, Aurora also tried her hand at cooking. She was a dunce in the kitchen if a microwave wasn’t involved, and it didn’t help that Jake insisted on standing near her the entire time.

“Would you stop giggling?!” she demanded as she stared at the ingredients helplessly.

“You have to open the box,” he chuckled back in response.

Perhaps that was why he ended up covered in egg yolks…

Despite all his jabs, though, Jake kept his comments to himself as he sat down to a plate of Aurora’s homemade, charred waffles.

When Jake wasn’t working, they spent their days around various spots on the island. The sunshine and their laughter was such a positive sight that the other islanders started to know them just for their goofy antics.

Their nights were always spent together, sitting outside in front of the house watching the stars.

“It’s so beautiful here,” Aurora often sighed. “Bridgeport is too polluted to really see the loveliness of the earth.”

And Jake turned to her, cupped her chin in his hand, and said, “I know one thing Bridgeport had that was beautiful.”

And they’d kiss and proceed with their night…inside.

Ultimately, though, they spent the time growing together. Their relationship blossomed into something Aurora had sorely missed and Jake had always craved. They were best friends, lovers, confidantes, mentors—never enemies. The feelings between them were so pure that Aurora was nearly pained with the raw vulnerability of her heart in Jake’s hands. But he always handled it tenderly, and he quickly proved himself to be the kind of significant other she had always dreamed about.

Still, she had yet to say she loved him. He said he loved her all the time, and he didn’t seem to mind that she couldn’t return the phrase yet. But she wondered why she couldn’t bring herself to say it. She did love him, and she knew it quite well, but the words just wouldn’t fall from her lips.

And then, one evening while Jake was at work, Aurora’s phone buzzed in her pocket.

She was in the middle of working on a basic clay sculpture. She loved playing around on her sculpting station; she’d missed the art so much. Plus, the environment in Barnacle Bay was perfect for natural inspiration.

With a confused expression on her face, she dropped her tools and picked up her phone. “Hello?”

“This Aurora Erickson?”

Her stomach seemed to drop to the ground at the mention of her late husband’s surname. “Yes,” she whispered, even though she had never taken Wes’s last name.

“Shit, you are one hard bitch to get a hold of,” the man on the other end of the line snarled. “Listen. Wes owed me money. A lot of money.”

Aurora’s throat felt scratchy and dry. “How much?” she wheezed.

“§54,002. And I want my money, down to those last 2 simoleons. Now, listen. I respect you.” His tone changed to slightly amused. “Takes guts to kill a man in cold blood. But I want my money, one way or another.”

“How do you know I did it?” she asked.

The man laughed. “It wasn’t any of my guys. Knowing Wes, he could’ve gotten mixed up with some other messy people. But I figured you’d do something about it once you found out about him and his whore.”

This statement brought about a fresh burst of betrayal through her heart. “You knew?”

He laughed. “Baby, everyone knew. He paraded her around like she was a prize he’d won.” Aurora’s blood ran cold.

“That’s just great,” she snapped. Her voice was nasty now. “Now you listen to me. She was clearly mixed up in this shit too, if you all knew about her. So if you want money, you go after her. Hack into her bank account, dig up her damn body, I don’t care. But I’m not paying off that scum’s debt. If anyone’s going to, that bitch is going to, dead or not.”

Silence greeted her outburst on the other end, and she waited, fuming, for a response. Finally, the man said, “You have a point. The Starrs are loaded.”

“Glad we understand each other,” she barked. “Nice talking to you.”

“You too, sweetheart. You ever need anything, you come ‘round Bridgeport again.”

“Not likely.” She hung up and stormed inside.

Jake got home from work that night and found Aurora sitting on the couch. Her face was one of anger and disgust.

“Hey,” he said. “What’s wrong?”

She looked up at him. “Nothing,” she lied. “Just a bad day.”

He gave her a sympathetic expression. They both had their bad days emotionally, thanks to that one horrible night in Bridgeport, but they supported each other unconditionally, and this was no different.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

She shrugged. “I’ll be fine.”

“Well, don’t worry about it,” Jake said, pulling her to her feet. He took her to the window. “We’re in a beautiful place, in a nice house, and we have each other.”

She fell against him, holding him close in a needy hug. He hugged her back, his warmth blanketing her skin. “Thank you,” she mumbled against his neck.

“Want to go to bed?” he offered. His voice suggested more than sleeping.

She laughed. “We always go to bed.”

“What’s so wrong with that?” he teased, chucking her chin affectionately.

“Nothing’s wrong with that,” she agreed with a smile. And, as agreed they went to bed.

A few evenings later, Aurora was working on her sculpting when she realized Jake wasn’t in the house. It was his day off, and he’d been gone for quite some time. She looked into the sky, where the sun was setting its brilliant colors, and made a face. Where did he go?

It occurred to her that he was at the beach. He was always at the beach when he wasn’t at home or work. She put her tools away and decided to investigate.

She was right. He stood on the sand by the water’s edge with his guitar, playing a song she only recognized too well as Shannon’s. Her heart tightened in her chest.

He didn’t even notice her standing a car length from him. He was so immersed in the music and in the memory of his sister that he hardly knew it was almost nighttime, nor that the bottoms of his jeans were soaked and sandy. He knew nothing but his older sister at that moment.

She approached him.

“Jake,” she said over the chords.

He didn’t look up. She realized he had traces of tears on his face, and her heart broke further. She had done this.

“Jake, please,” she murmured.

“I know I act like I’m okay,” he said. She wasn’t sure if he was talking to her or just out loud. “But I miss her so much.”

Aurora almost crumbled under these words and confessed everything. She had thought he was okay. Sure, he had his bad days, but he seemed so happy overall to be here with her that she thought he was healing. But now she saw his wounds were as raw as they always had been.

“Come home,” she begged. When he didn’t respond, she started to cry. He still didn’t react. With the most sorrow she’d felt in a long time, she turned around and went home.

She curled up on the bed she’d abandoned when she and Jake had begun their relationship. Her tears flowed freely, and her heart ached. She so foolishly had thought that they, together, had everything, but she didn’t even see how much she’d taken from him. No matter how much he loved her, she didn’t remove the pain.

And that made her hurt worse than anything she’d ever felt.

Jake found her in her old room. She sat up quickly, wiping her eyes off, but the look on his face revealed that he didn’t even notice. “I’m going to Bridgeport,” he announced.

“What?” Her eyes widened in horrified shock.

“My mom had a heart attack.” His voice was oddly strangled. “The drug lords that killed Wes cornered her and demanded she give them all the money Shannon ever had. Bank accounts, credit cards, anything. Everything. She was so scared that she had a heart attack.”

The room spun around her as she listened. It hadn’t ended that night. It was a domino effect. She first took Jake’s sister, and now his mother. It would only continue. How much more could he take? How much more could she take from him?

She had to confess.

“Jake.” She got to her feet. Her eyes were dry, which she found strange since she cried about everything. Her limbs felt like jelly, but she felt strong in her own skin for the first time since the murders. “Jake, I have to tell you something.”

He didn’t reply, being in a hurry to leave for Bridgeport, but she took her time. With a large inhale and lips that slightly trembled, she opened herself up.

“It was me, Jake. I killed them.”

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~ by lilrunningback on June 17, 2011.

3 Responses to “Part One: Chapter Five”

  1. Great Chapter!!!!!!!You must Post More!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!LOL

    • Thank you very much! I’ve got another chapter coming up pretty soon here — Monday I should definitely have it up, but more than likely sometime tomorrow it’ll be up!

  2. Yay!

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