Part One: Chapter Seven

This chapter was not as I planned it, but it turned out better than my original idea, I think. Trust me, what I’ve produced is a far cry from what I was anticipating. But I actually think it flows much better with what’s happened and what’s to come. Feel free to share your thoughts on it though. 🙂

Aurora struggled in day-to-day life. She threw herself into her sculpting to try and forget the hole in her chest, but it only distracted her as long as the chisel was in her hand. Of course, the sunshine in Barnacle Bay was beautiful and rather uplifting, but every time it woke her with its beaming rays every morning, she was overcome with memories of playing outside with Jacob in the salty sea air. So she’d get dressed, pick up her chisel, and go to work.

On the other hand, her talents in sculpting were earning her a name around the island. She was selling her works as soon as she finished them, and people were beginning to contract her to make various pieces. She was grateful for this, because she didn’t have the emotional energy to pursue any real career, so to make a living doing something that put her slightly at ease was ideal.

Her evenings were spent in an entirely different frame of mind, however. As soon as the sun would set, her loneliness would overcome her, and the tears would fall once again. She’d curl up on the couch in front of the nightly news, looking for any sign of notable activity in Bridgeport that may give her a sign of Jake’s well-being. As the minutes ticked by, however, her misery would grow over her curiosity, and she would weep herself to sleep.

Without fail, she would always have vivid dreams about Jake, Wes, Shannon, that night–all things she didn’t want to remember. And she’d wake up with a churning stomach and rush to the bathroom.

One afternoon, Aurora was online in the Barnacle Bay chat room advertising her home sculpting business when a familiar name popped up on the screen.

Hey! It’s Ahmed… I talked to you once in here before?

Aurora stared in surprise at the screen, then quickly typed back, “I remember. Hello, Ahmed.

How have you been enjoying Barnacle Bay?

Well…” She hesitated. “It’s gorgeous here, from what I can see out of my windows.

You don’t get out much?

She laughed out loud to herself at this question. “No.

We should change that. Would you like to meet up tomorrow?

Her fingertips froze on the keyboard. It sounded like a date. How could she possibly consider it? Then again, what did she have to lose? She bit her lip and typed back one word: “Sure.”

After she’d set up a time to meet up with Ahmed, she got off the computer and decided to do something productive. So she headed outside to the front porch where her sculpting station still remained reliably.

She was in the middle of working on her newest creation in a medium she’d never tried before—ice—when she heard a voice behind her. “Excuse me.”

“Oh!” She nearly dropped the chainsaw in surprise, but luckily shut it off instead. She turned around to see a teenaged girl looking at her with wide eyes. Aurora cried, “Are you crazy? I have a chainsaw here!”

“I’m sorry,” the girl apologized quickly. “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

“It’s fine,” Aurora said with a sigh. She put the chainsaw in its rightful place and turned to face the girl. “Can I help you?”

“I’m here trying to earn money for a fundraiser at my school. We’re doing an island triathlon to support Barnacle Bay’s environmental health and pollution protection. I was wondering if you’d like to make a pledge?”

“Sure,” Aurora replied. “My wallet’s inside.”

“That’s fine; I can wait,” the girl said.

“No, no, you don’t have to wait out here. Come in for a minute,” Aurora said invitingly. She looked at the street suspiciously. “You never know what kind of people could walk by and see a young girl all alone on a porch.”

“You must be new,” the girl laughed. “There’s nobody you need to watch out for like that in Barnacle Bay.” But she followed Aurora in nevertheless.

“So it’s pretty obvious, then,” Aurora commented lightly.

“Well, between the pale skin and unnecessary paranoia, I’d say so.” The girl waited patiently while Aurora grabbed her wallet and dug out some simoleons, which were transferred from one set of feminine hands to the other. After pocketing the money, the girl said, “Thanks very much. What’s your name, anyway?”

“Aurora Dawn. And yours?”

“Pearl Inkbeard.” The girl waited expectantly for some kind of reaction, but when Aurora offered none, Pearl’s face morphed into a bewildered expression. “You must be from somewhere really different if you haven’t heard of the Inkbeards.”

“Yes. I’m from Bridgeport.” When Pearl only continued to look confused, Aurora explained, “It’s a big, big city very far away. A lot of celebrities live there, but there’s a lot of crime too.”

“Well, welcome to Barnacle Bay,” Pearl said kindly. She looked around the living room and added, “You have a nice house. How did you find it?”

Aurora mentally grimaced, but she replied honestly, “My boyfriend brought me here to get away from the city.”

“Oh! That’s so romantic,” Pearl said with a smile. She looked around again, as if expecting to see Jake sitting in a corner somewhere. “Is he here?”

Aurora’s lips tightened. “No. He went back to Bridgeport.”

Pearl nodded quietly in response. It was clear Aurora didn’t want to air her dirty laundry on the subject, and there was no reason to pry. “Well, thanks very much for your donation,” Pearl said. “I’d better get going now.”

“Of course,” Aurora replied, walking her to the door. “I hope you get all the money you need.”

Pearl smiled in response and departed. When Aurora closed the door, she was alone yet again, and she realized how much she’d missed human interaction.

The next morning, she hailed a taxi and told the driver the address of her destination. It pulled up to a house that looked entirely too boring to be of any living interest to anyone, and she frowned. Ahmed lived here?

She thanked the driver and exited the vehicle. As she walked up to the door, her heart pounded nervously. She wasn’t sure why she was so anxious; it wasn’t as if she was doing anything wrong. If anything, she was only doing what Jake had asked of her. And this wasn’t really a date. They were just meeting to get to know each other because the internet was such an impersonal medium.

Right?

She rang the doorbell and stood back to allow him to open the door and greet her. Then she waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

She finally gave up and hailed a taxi to take her back home.

As soon as she got out of the cab, her chin started wobbling in humiliated frustration. He stood her up? Or had he just forgotten? Either way, she was embarrassed and hurt, but ultimately, she was disappointed. Talking to Pearl yesterday had showed her how much she needed to be around people, and Ahmed had seemed like a nice guy.

Not that she was interested in him that way. Jake still had her heart, whether he was here or not. But Ahmed seemed like someone who was genuinely nice, someone she could get along with well, and possibly someone who could fill the void in her heart a little bit.

But so much for that.

She wiped her eyes and headed to the computer in her bedroom.

She directed herself immediately into the Barnacle Bay chat room. If Ahmed was in there, she was determined to give him a piece of her mind.

He wasn’t, however, and she felt even more confused than before. Maybe something had happened to him.

And then her eyes scanned a username that made her wonder. Letting her curiosity get the best of her, she clicked and typed, “Hi. My name is Aurora.

Hey Aurora! It’s Pearl Inkbeard!

The girl’s enthusiasm brought a small smile to Aurora’s bitter lips. “I thought so. How are you?

Good. Hey, you said your boyfriend’s name is Jake from Bridgeport, right?

He’s not my boyfriend anymore, but yes. Why?

’Cause Jake Starr is the new guitarist for the Llamas! I don’t know if it’s him or not, but you should check out his music. It’s really good. I’ll send you the link.

With a twisting stomach, Aurora clicked Pearl’s link, which directed her to an article featuring Jake with the Llamas. She watched the video of them playing, and she watched Jake step up to the microphone.

“This song is for her,” he told the audience. They cheered, and her body seemed to go numb. She waited in anticipation for the opening chords of one of her songs to start.

And then she heard Shannon’s song.

Is it him?” Pearl anxiously asked.

Aurora swallowed hard and, with only her index finger, typed back, “Yes.

That’s SO COOL. You dated a rock star!” Pearl gushed. “Did you know he’s Emmy Starr’s cousin? Did you ever meet her?

No, I didn’t.” Aurora’s stomach whirled. “I have to go now, Pearl. It was nice talking to you.

And she logged off.

She made her way numbly to the living room and sat down on the couch.

So that was it. While she was here in Barnacle Bay, trying everything she could to just get through the day, Jake was back in Bridgeport getting famous and playing Shannon’s song for the world. It was like he didn’t miss her at all.

Not that she blamed him. After what she’d done, how hard could it be to get over her?

Nevertheless, the proof of Jake’s happiness sent a searing ache through her heart that she had worked so hard to avoid. With emotional exhaustion, she lay down on the couch and stared at the wall.

She lay there until well after sundown. At one point, she turned on the TV to try and distract herself, but nothing of interest was on, and she found herself only ignoring the noise.

It was after 10:00 when her phone rang. She took it out of her pocket and hoarsely said, “Hello?”

“Is this Aurora?”

“Yes.”

“This is Ahmed Barbarossa. We were supposed to meet up today?” His voice sounded rushed and very apologetic. “I’m so sorry about earlier. My roommate was supposed to be home to let you in because I had ran out for a minute, but he decided to leave. Jackass. Anyway, I was wondering if you wanted to meet now, since I’m off of work. I promise I’ll be here.”

She didn’t feel like socializing at all. But she knew she needed to get out of the house, or else she would be swallowed by this mass of terminal misery that was preparing to take her over. “I’ll leave right now,” she told him.

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~ by lilrunningback on June 22, 2011.

2 Responses to “Part One: Chapter Seven”

  1. Ooooh cant wait for the next chapter! 😀 Well done!

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