Chapter tune: Danger Danger – I still think about you
Jesse had been standing in front of the Prosper Room since six o’clock in the morning on the day the renovation was supposed to begin.
It was strange seeing Bridgeport’s downtown so empty. But it was also well known that the city came into life after the sun had reached its highest point. And for Jesse, it was better this way. He just needed to be alone. No friends, no paparazzis, nobody.
At 10 a.m. the excavator finally destroyed “his” – no, “their” – balcony. There was no turning back.
Three moves. That’s what it took for his special place to be no more. For Jesse, it was like watching a funeral. When it was over, he silently said goodbye and left.
For the next few days, it was like he magically opened a door to two years before. He just stayed in his room, sulking and once again strumming his guitar.
He only left the room when he got hungry, which lately was especially rare considering his usual appetite, or to take long rides with his newly bought luxury car. A fast ride in that car outside of Bridgeport’s main area usually managed to calm him down enough.
After one of those rides, returning to the apartment, he found just Basil playing his favorite sports video game, and Owen and Meadow snuggling on the sofa.
“Hey guys…” Jesse said “where is everyone else?”
“Calla wanted to visit the Modern Art Museum and of course Dylan took her there, and Bryce… well I don’t really know man. I guess he’s at the library? He didn’t really say” Basil responded “Hey, wanna play a one-on-one with me? I promise I’ll be gentle.”
“Nah, I really gotta work on my new melodies. Sorry, maybe another time bro” Jesse mumbled and rushed upstairs.
“Hey uh… honey, can you excuse me for a minute? I need to talk to Jesse about something” Owen said to Meadow and followed his friend upstairs.
He knocked the door but didn’t really wait for an answer. Jesse had just grabbed his guitar.
“Hey man” Owen said “Can we talk for a bit?”
“Umm… sure man. Although I was just getting warmed up to play for a while. But whatever, shoot.”
“So… how are you feeling?” Owen asked Jesse as soon as they sat down.
“What do you mean dude? I’m feeling great. In about a month we’re gonna hold our biggest concert ever, we’re spending our summer in one of the awesomest penthouses in Bridgepot, I can have a different girl each night – you could too, you know, but whatever – so… you know, what’s there to complain about?”
“Yeah… I’m gonna pretend you didn’t just say that” Owen muttered, referring to Jesse’s any girl comment.
“Come ooon, I’m just messing with you man. So what did you wanna talk about?”
“Well, it seems to me that those last days something is bothering you man… you know, like back then. Dylan noticed it too. Are you sure you’re alright? Did something happen?”
“Shit man, I told you I’m more than fine. Was that all you wanted to ask me?”
“Uh… well, not really. I wanted to tell you something else too. It happened a few days ago and… I didn’t really know if I should tell you or not…”
“Gee man, just tell me already!”
“You know how Meadow is really fond of the outdoors, right?”
“Hey don’t tell me you’re about to move with her to a seaside village and live off the grid or some shit like that!”
“What? No, nothing like that man. Well, what you said has something to do with it actually. So anyway… as I was saying, we’re often going to the woods outside of Bridgeport for picnics and stuff… Meadow really likes that. Well, a few days ago we were there again, close to the southwest area. Nothing exciting, just… you know. Hanging out, eating and taking pictures. But this time, when we got home and were looking at those pictures, I saw something weird in a couple of them.”
“Are you trying to tell me a ghost story or something?” Jesse grinned “cause I gotta tell you, pretending like you experienced it, it’s a nice touch man. Well done.”
“Jesse, just… will you let me finish? As I was saying, I was looking at these pictures and in the distance, I saw a female figure. She was hanging some laundry – I think; no, it was definitely laundry – like she lived there, in the woods. Of course it made me curious, so I zoomed in. Her hair was covered under a hat or a beret or something like that… but I could make out her face and… I’m like ninety nine percent sure that it was -”
“Don’t say it.”
“I don’t wanna hear her name man! Please don’t say anything more.”
“I just thought you should know… I’m so sorry… I thought you were over her but…”
“I am” Jesse blatantly lied “But I also don’t wanna hear anything about her. Thanks for telling me, although I don’t really care now man. It’s been over for too long.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right” Owen muttered, unsure if he should believe his friend or not “Well, I’m gonna let you get back to your songs, man. See you later.”
Jesse tried to play some more, but he couldn’t concentrate. He tried to keep his mind and body occupied, but something was itching him to get out of there. As much as he tried to resist it, he got into his car and drove for hours around Bridgeport.
He passed outside his favorite bars; none of them felt like inviting him inside. As much as he hated it, the steering wheel had been taken over by something stronger than him, and it only led him to one particular place.
He had no intention or hope of actually seeing her again when he got out of his car there, in the woods. He just wanted to be alone, and think, and brood.
But as he was walking towards what seemed like an abandonded, tiny wooden abode, he saw a female figure, apparently trying to harvest something from a nearby tree.
As he slowly approached, he felt his heart skipping a beat. And then shattering into a million little pieces, over and over again. It was actually her. Perhaps a little skinnier than he remembered her, but it was her.
For so many times in the past, he had imagined that she’d eventually regret everything and come back, begging for his forgiveness. That she would be the one to search for him in the end. As he moved closer, his mind regretting every single step and his heart leading his legs further forward, she noticed him.
Her hair were covered, just like Owen had described, and it was obvious that she was tired and worn out.
After a couple of seconds staring at each other, she turned around and started running away.
He shouted her name, and after a couple of times shouting, she slowed down. Just as he realized they were close to that little wooden house, she pushed the door and left it open for him to enter.
Jesse had no idea what he expected out of this. He could have the closure that he longed for, that last conversation that she owed and never granted him. It still hurt him to think about her together with another man, but a part of him had the sick desire to learn everything about her life with him until that moment. He still needed to understand why.
He promptly entered the house and closed the door behind him.
He quickly decided it shouldn’t even been called a house. This place was disgusting, at least compared to the way he was used to living. On the right there was a bed – or rather a mattress on an old wooden palette. Jesse ached at the thought of her sharing it with that guy.
On the left he saw the worst excuse of a kitchen he’d ever layed his eyes on. Was she living in this dump? For all this time? Jesse was feeling more confused than ever.
He turned to face her. She had removed the hat, and he could again see her blonde hair framing her tired, unkempt, but still so beautiful face. And she was staring at him, with those big, sad grey eyes. It made his weak knees even weaker, and his heart was pounding so hard and so loud, that in the middle of this quiet night, it was the only thing he could hear.
PS: Hello! 🙂 If you made it this far, congratulations to you, haha! I hope you weren’t bored to death..! 😕 This chapter was originally supposed to have much more dialogue and more stuff was supposed to happen, but it was getting pretty long – and I wanted to get that “first encounter in the woods” thing out of the way… the next chapter won’t be as late to be posted, since it’s already been half written (and the pictures already taken). This one is definitely not one of my best (it’s sloppy and I kinda hate it already lol), but it was necessary for those two to meet in order to move the story forward already! Thank you much for reading… still! 😂 ❤