Chapter tune: Thin Lizzy – Jailbreak
Spring had come in full bloom when the day Skye would meet Jesse’s parents finally arrived. She was feeling more and more anxious as the moment was getting closer, but of course she wouldn’t show it.
“I never thought you’d own such a girly top baby” Jesse smirked when they were finally standing at the doorway “Did you buy it just for today?”
“What? No! I own girly clothes, I just… I never wear them.”
“Yeah, right” Jesse said amused “Admit it, you bought it to meet my folks! You wanna make a good impression..!”
“No I didn’t!”
“I’m just teasing you baby! You look really beautiful… like always.”
Skye gave him a playful smile. “You’re a jerk… but a cute one, I’ll give you that. ..thank you.”
Just before they were close enough to ring the bell, Jared and Rose – who probably saw them approaching through the window – opened the door.
“Welcome to our home” Rose said “It’s so nice to finally meet you Skye, I’ve heard so much about you!”
“Likewise” Skye replied “It’s so nice to meet you too. You have a beautiful house”
Out of the blue, Rose pulled Skye into a hug, not being able to contain her excitement any longer. “You are a sweetheart! I’m so thrilled to finally see you in person!” Skye returned the hug, albeit feeling a little awkward with this sudden burst of emotions. Still, it made her feel strangely warm inside, something she could well get used to feeling.
Then it was Jared’s turn to greet her. “Nice to meet you Skye” he grinned “So, help me clear something up here; how did this one ever manage to end up with a doll like you?”
Skye just stared at him, unsure of how to respond. “Jared!” Rose exclaimed, clearly embarassed. “Gee, thanks dad” Jesse muttered, almost at the same time.
“Ah, I’m just messing with them babe. So c’mon, the food is almost ready!”
Calla had already arrived and, since it was a particularly nice day, they all decided they should eat outside.
“Wow, this tastes so good. Did you make it Mr Frio?” Skye asked, after the food was served.
“No doll, this is all my beautiful wife’s cooking. She wanted to make everything by herself for you.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry, I thought…”
“It’s ok sweetie. Thank you for your compliment, I’m very happy you like it” Rose smiled “There’s plenty, so don’t hesitate to ask for more”
“If you want to taste my cooking, you should both come at the restaurant” Jared said “You know you’re always invited. How long has it been son? I have a new special menu inspired by your mom and her favorite recipes, I think it’s my masterpiece!”
“Yeah sure… we’ll drop by sometime” Jesse mumbled.
“We’ll definitely come” Skye said, seeing the slight disappointment in Jared’s face.
“So how’s Emily and Basil? And uncle Connor and aunt Emma? I haven’t talked to them in a while” Calla asked.
“Everyone’s fine princess” Jared replied “Emily’s managing the restaurant right now. Sunday is a busy day, so she couldn’t be here unfortunately. She told me to say hello though. And Basil is actually coming home next month.”
“He’s finishing college already? Wow, how time flies! You should definitely meet him Skye, he’s so funny! Him and Jesse together make quite a pair! And they used to jam together a lot too, he plays the bass. I’m sure you’ll adore him!”
“I can’t wait to meet him” Skye said with a wide smile.
“We’ll make plans as soon as he gets here” Jesse beamed “I admit that guy’s even funnier than I am!”
“You’re so modest” Calla teased her brother “Yeah he is, because he doesn’t have your mood swings”
“Oh, is that right?”
“Okay, stop it you two” Jared interrupted them “So, Skye. Tell us more about yourself, where are you from?”
“Dad, what’s with the third degree?” Jesse interrupted him, sensing that Skye wouldn’t want to talk about herself. She hadn’t even shared any details from her past with him yet.
“It’s okay Jesse…” she replied, caressing his hand under the table. It was unclear if she did that to soothe just him, or herself too. “I’m originally from Twinbrook, although it’s a long time since I’ve been there”
“Really? Rose is originally from Twinbrook too, what a coincidence!” Jared said excited “Well, if all girls from Twinbrook are anything like my lovely wife, then Jesse is one hell of a lucky guy, am I right son? What is your last name doll? Maybe Philip has heard of your family!”
“I knew everyone there” Philip agreed.
Skye was terrified. She couldn’t share her real name. Everyone in Twinbrook knew of her messed, screwed up family – if that joke could ever be called a family. Why did she have to tell them the truth about her place of birth? She could easily say any other place and it wouldn’t make a difference.
“It, uh… it’s Grayson.”
“Grayson… hmm… doesn’t ring a bell. Well, you got me there Lily, I don’t know of any Graysons in Twinbrook… I guess I don’t really know everyone it seems… although your face does strike me as kind of familiar somehow.”
“Dad” Rose said lovingly – although a bit worried too – “Her name is not Lily, it’s Skye.”
“Well isn’t that what I said?” Philip asked Jared.
“I’m sorry sweetie, my father gets a little confused with names sometimes.” Rose said to Skye. “Now if you’ll all excuse me, I’m going to finish up a strawberry pie I’ve been preparing for dessert”
“Um… can I help you with that Mrs Frio? I know it’s your specialty and I’d really like to see how you make it” Skye asked. The truth was, she desperately needed to get away from that table, so the conversation about her family wouldn’t have to carry on any longer.
“Of course you can! Oh, if I only knew it, I wouldn’t have prepared most of it in advance… but it’s okay, next time I’ll make it from scratch for you to see it… come with me, sweetie”
While Rose and Skye went to the kitchen, Jared and Jesse got up for a smoke.
“So… Skye” Jared said “she seems like a nice kid. I can see why you have a soft spot for her”
“Well, as a matter of fact, she’s perfect” Jesse replied.
“Nobody’s perfect son. But I know what you mean. And I really like her. Your mom does too, I can tell. Although she doesn’t talk much, does she?”
“She talks, but I think today you did enough talking for everyone”
“I guess that’s true” Jared laughed “You should care for her, son. She looks like a girl who has been through much.”
Jesse kept silent. He knew his father was right, although he still had no idea about the kind of the things she had been through.
“So, uh… dad. Since you liked Skye, and you can clearly see why I like her so much, I wanted to talk to you about something”
“Sure son, shoot”
Jesse started explaining to his dad everything about the bet, and how he eventually lost it and how now he owed Vito the award. Jared’s face started becoming red with anger while hearing everything.
“Are you fucking insane? How the hell did it even occur to you that I’d give up my award?”
“I didn’t think I’d lose the bet dad, I’m sorry! You should see Skye then, she hated my guts! I believed there was no chance with her anyway, not in a million years! And Vito threatened to leave the band, what was I supposed to do?”
“That is not my fucking problem!”
“I’m sorry! I really fucked up this time, okay?”
Jared’s face suddenly calmed down. After a short pause, he talked.
“Fuck… can’t say I don’t know what that’s like, son. Look, Vito shouldn’t have made you take that bet. And you shouldn’t have agreed with him son, the award wasn’t yours to lose. But what’s done is done… what you did for your girl was the right thing to do. And don’t worry about Vito, I’ll deal with him personally when he gets back, alright?”
“Sure… thanks dad. You know, everything turned to shit with the band because of that bet… but I don’t care, I just wanna be with her. I’m thinking of asking Basil to join… we’ll see. I’m really sorry for messing up with your award though, I know how much you love that thing…”
“I love you more than that thing son, but don’t go around betting my stuff again, okay? Now say, what did you ever do to that girl to hate you when you first met?”
“Well, I was really late for a live show with the band and I was kinda speeding up…”
Later in the afternoon, Rose and Jared were cleaning up and Philip went for a nap, so the three kids stayed outside for a cup of coffee.
“What the hell is this shit you’re drinking sis?”
“Hey..! It’s coffee with cinnamon sticks and some marshmellows… I can’t stand the scent of coffee alone”
“Then why aren’t you drinking something else?”
“To keep me from falling asleep, silly! Especially after all this food. You know Skye, Jesse had a thing for a barista when he was a teen and whenever he ordered coffee from her – everyday, that is – she kept putting sugar inside. The poor thing always drank it with no complaint, hoping that would be enough to get him into her pants!”
Skye laughed hard. “And did he, eventually?”
“Nah, I think she was in her mid twenties, so she probably saw him as a kid. But he was quite good looking already, if you count out the mustache growing period. Has my brother shown you any photos of that time? I think we got plenty of those here!”
“Really? I can’t say that I’ve ever seen any old photos of him… and I can’t say that I don’t want to” Skye smiled mischievously.
“Don’t you dare!” Jesse glared at his twin.
“Too late!” Calla said, while jumping out of her chair. As she was busy digging out old family photo albums – despite Jesse’s threats – Jesse and Skye decided to relax in the garden, next to the fountain, as Rose had turned that place into a small heaven.
“I had such a great time today…” Skye sighed “I wish this day would never end. Your mom is the sweetest person I’ve ever met and your dad… he’s really something. And he loves you and your mom so much.”
“Yeah, he’s alright.”
“No, he’s great. I don’t understand why you brushed him off when he invited us at the restaurant.”
“Well, it’s… he still treats me like a little kid sometimes.”
“Well, maybe that’s because you behave like a little kid sometimes.”
“It’s not just that… I know this will probably sound lame, but… look, he does love my mother very much. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a couple so much in love – it’s disgusting sometimes when I realize we’re talking about my parents – but despite that, he has hurt my mom really bad in the past. And I saw it. As it turned out it was nothing but still… it blew. And you know… when someone so much in love does that, it makes me wonder if the rest of us poor bastards even stand a chance for something real… I know, it’s pretty lame. But whenever I see him I think about what I saw that night”
“Did he cheat on your mom?”
“No, he just kissed someone. Well, she kissed him but he didn’t do anything to stop her – that’s his story anyway”
“Your mom obviously believed him, and I don’t take her to be stupid or gullible. And you know, he probably still regrets what he did. He’s only human Jesse… No human is perfect.”
Skye smiled, although her eyes were suddenly filled with sadness. “I’m not perfect Jesse… in fact, I’m very, very far from it. I know I promised to tell you all about Bridgeport and my family but I didn’t want to ruin this… so tell me if you still think I’m perfect when you know everything.”
Jesse kissed her tenderly. “Don’t ever think that you’ll say anything that will make me stop loving you” he whispered.
They stayed silent for a while, trying to take in as much from the scenery and scents of Rose’s flower garden as possible, before they had to leave for Skye’s crappy apartment.
“We can come back here whenever you like baby” Jesse said while caressing Skye’s hair.
“I’d really love that” she replied “after we visit your dad’s restaurant”
“Whatever my girl wants. Do you want to go inside for a bit before we leave?”
“Of course I do.”
Before they got to the living room, Jared’s furious voice was heard: “THAT FUCKING SON OF A BITCH!”
They both rushed inside. “Dad! What happened?!”
Jared nodded for them to look at the tv. “That mother fucking psycho should rot in hell and they just lost him like that!”
“One officer is dead from last night’s jailbreak at Twinbrook’s high security prison facilities. The police is currently looking for known criminal Sinbad Rotter who broke free and is believed to have remained in Twinbrook or its close neighbor Sunset Valley. Citizens are required to not speak with him if they spot him, but call the police immediately instead.”
“Dad? Mom? Who the hell is this?” Calla asked, confused.
Jesse noticed that Skye’s face had turned pale, and she was shaking. Something was terribly wrong. He embraced her tenderly. “Baby… what’s wrong? Who is that man?”
She shrugged in an attempt to get his arms off of her, something she had not done before, not even at her worst moments. Tears were streaming down her cheeks and her voice was broken. “He’s… my nightmare”