Chapter tune: Brian May – Last horizon
A/N: Hello!! 😀 ❤ Guys, I did it!! I finally managed to break my own record of chapter delay! Lol, let’s see: three months and seventeen days. Awesome 😁 I still have no idea why this chapter took me so long to write, but I do know that for very long, I dreaded opening my save in Bridgeport to take the remaining pictures I needed (I still think there should be a couple more and that the existing ones could be a lot better, but oh well. It is what it is) – but the lag man, the lag! Game save in Bridgeport… never again! 😛 Anyway, I kind of rushed some events (as you will see), because I couldn’t deal with that cursed storyline that was going on in my story anymore. The result may be kind of weird, without a lot of dialogue and with a fair deal of imbalance between the pictures and the text, but the good news is that there will be one or (most probably) two more chapters and then we’re finally done with this gen!! Woohoo! And those chapters won’t take long, because I actually look forward to writing them and I already have the pictures for! Double woohoo!! Also, big warning: I’m afraid after all this time my writing has become a little rusty. Okay, you’ve been warned lol! 😛 Well, that’s all I wanted to say 😉 Oh, and I’ve missed y’all! 😀 Thank you so much for reading! ❤
Two years later:
Jesse was in deep thought, sitting on the surprisingly comfortable chair of the band’s dressing room. He couldn’t stop thinking about the events that led him here tonight, at one of largest, most prestigious concert venues of the country.
It still hurt a little to think about that night. He was certain that he was done for. And he would be, if it wasn’t for the fact that his phone was easily traceable – something he always found irritating to think about. The police wouldn’t bother searching for him before at least 48 hours passed since his disappearance. Those news, along with the disappearance itself, had sent his otherwise quick and efficient sister into an emotional breakdown. Jesse would be eternally thankful that at least Dylan proved cool headed enough to think about tracing his phone while Calla was crying in Skye’s arms, in a strange act of reconciliation.
No, it wasn’t just the phone. He would surely be done for, if the one who found it wasn’t his dad, who came to Bridgeport for a surprise visit with his mom.
They were both so happy and proud of their son’s first big concert, that they booked a flight for Bridgeport a week earlier than what they had originally planned. Jesse remembered Calla saying that delivering the news to their parents that day was the most difficult thing she ever had to do.
After this, she had no strength to do anything else but sob on her mom’s shoulders, who was also a big mess.
Fortunately though, his dad had always been a man of action. As soon as the phone’s location was found, he took every member of the band to the place. Of course, Jesse wasn’t immediately found as his phone fell the minute he was attacked, but Jared’s buddy Xander – who still had some connections with the underworld – advised them to look to a very particular nearby bar.
The bartender immediately recognized Jesse in the picture that Jared showed him. And he easily pointed his finger to the man he was lastly seen with – Travis.
Apparently Travis had been hooked on several kinds of drugs since his teen years, a habit he briefly managed to get rid of when he decided to help Skye. Sadly, it took one encounter with Sinbad’s crew and he was hooked all over again. If Jesse hadn’t gotten Skye out of that sorry excuse of a house Travis put her in, it would have been a matter of time for her to be found.
But his bigger weakness was his fear of almost everything that moved. And Jared saw that in no time.
It only took a couple of words from Jared, something along the lines of “It’s been a while since I’ve hit the gym, or a face for that matter; but I’ll gladly break yours, you fucking pipsqueak. Tell me where my son is… or else.” Jared, to that day, was still bragging about how quickly he got him to talk.
So Travis quickly gave up Jesse’s location, a seemingly abandoned warehouse fortunately not far from where they already were.
Jesse would always remember that mixed sensation of relief and dread he felt when he saw his dad and his friends passing through the carelessly left unlocked door, as he knew that Sinbad and his ape were still somewhere in the building.
It didn’t take long for the two criminals to get that something was going on. But he completely misunderstood the situation. Simply put, he was outnumbered. As Owen and Bryce called the police, while Dylan and Basil swiftly overpowered Sinbad’s lackey, Jared took care of Sinbad himself.
The fact that his son had been captured and tortured by that scumbag, the knowledge of what he had done to Skye, and the memories of the way he had treated his wife and him, gave him an almost superhuman power. Sinbad might have been in better combat shape, but that moment he didn’t stand one chance to fight back. And Jared would have killed him right at the spot, if the sound of the police sirens and the bright lights of the squad cars arriving at the warehouse.
After that, everything became a blur for Jesse. He remembered almost collapsing onto the ground, before his dad grabbed him and got him the hell out of there. The drag of having to give the police their statements was still ahead of them, but for the moment he was finally safe. He was in the arms of the man who loved him more than anything in the world – the realization of this fact had finally sinked in.
The days at the hospital flew by in no time for Jesse, as most of the time he was kept drugged anyway. The news that Sinbad was found dead – most probably killed by cops themselves, in an act of revenge for their murdered colleagues – in his cell after a couple of days since he got arrested again, made his heart a little lighter in relief. She was finally free. But not him. Not yet anyway. The trauma of what had been done to him was too fresh to get over with. He felt empty, broken.
Skye was by Jesse’s side the whole time of his recovery. He only remembered part of that time, but she was always there. The sad fact though was that something had changed in him. He had lost his will to live, to love – properly love – another human being. He knew it would be hard to let her go, but she had to know.
She had never linked her misfortunes with him. It was her mother, her stepfather, her cursed childhood; anything but him. Her misery had always been her cross to bear and in a way it had been engraved in her, hardened her, became a part of her every day. But Jesse had never been miserable, not in that sense anyway. Only since he met her. It was just a brief time of suffering for him, he had suffered greatly. He didn’t think he would ever blame her in the slightest for this, but the painful truth is that deep down he might have; if only for a moment. And she probably already knew.
When Jesse finally opened his eyes in his bedroom, he raised his hand to gently touch her teary face before he spoke.
“Skye… please don’t cry baby. You’re free now. You shouldn’t waste your time here, with me.”
“Jesse… no, what are you talking about? I want to be here for you.”
“I think it would be best for you to leave Skye… I’m… I’m damaged goods now.”
Skye felt the inevitable tears streaming down her eyes as she tried the most determined look she could muster. “Jesse… you feel like this now but you’ll get better. I’ll help you.”
“I will baby, I know I will… But I’ll drag you down with me until I do. Skye… you should only be happy now. You can finally make all your dreams come true. And you truly deserve it… I could never hold you back. I won’t hold you back.”
Eventually, after a lot of protest – as well as tears, cursing and anger – he got her to leave. It wouldn’t be fair for her to not explore what the world had to offer now. Now that she could see everything under a brand new gaze, one without fear, only with hope for the things to come. She promised she’d be back one day and he just had to believe she’d keep that promise.
It took two years for the band to finally have that big concert they were all dreaming about. The one in Bridgeport was simply canceled. But the story of what had happened to the band’s cute guitar player became viral, and it only served for their popularity to rise even more. Fortunately Vito had the ability to maintain that popularity and cash in the situation to the band’s advantage, for longer than anyone would expect. As for Jesse, after a lot of therapy and quality time with his family (his dad mostly), he was finally ready to face the crowd. The new concert would be held in Starlight Shores. Bridgeport would be out of the question forever.
As he was hearing the crowd cheering, the girls with the short skirts and tight tops screaming his name, he knew they had made it. They had finally achieved money and fame, and was finally well enough to enjoy them. But he didn’t actually care for all that now, not deeply like years before. His mind was leading him to only one thought. Her.
“Ready man?” Dylan’s voice woke him up from his thoughts.
He raised his head to see his buddy and his sister together, inseparable as they had been lately. “Nice tank top, sis’ ” he said with a smirk “Did you lose a bet or something?”
“Bets are your area of expertise, smartass” she frowned “I just wanted to support my dear future husband. Besides, that was our deal if I wanted to get married to that beautiful, exclusive, year-long waiting list venue so… it was worth it. Yeah, totally worth it…” she mumbled those last words under her teeth.
“Yeah it was! Baby, I wanna see you in that top every day!” Dylan exclaimed
“Well, don’t count on it.” Calla scoffed.
“I’ll think of something to persuade you baby, I’ll count on that. So…” Dylan turned to Jesse “Vito wants us to start gathering soon, we’ll be starting in about thirty minutes. Are you sure you’re okay man?”
“Yeah man, I’m great.” Jesse smiled at future brother-in-law. If it was one man that could tolerate his sister’s difficult, abrasive character it was him. And Jesse knew that he was crazy enough to be looking forward to each and every day with her.
“So… you think she’s gonna take the hint and show up? Last I heard about her she had a gallery show at Sunlit Tides. It’s not very far from here but… still.”
The band’s concert in Starlight Shores was named Full House, and it was as much a wish as a rather straightforward reference to poker, and consequently the nickname Jesse had been calling Skye for so long. For him, it was a signal that he was finally ready. He was hoping that she would get the reference… and that she would still be in love with him too.
“I don’t know man… I mean, I hope so. But maybe she’s busy, or maybe she hates my guts by now. …I’ll try to be okay with whatever she chooses though, as long as she’s happy. Shit… I’ve become a total cliché. Maybe I should stop writing songs for a while.”
Suddenly, Dylan turned his head with a troubled expression on his face. “Man, I can hear Vito yelling for us to get ready… he said to gather in half an hour and that was five minutes ago. He always does that!”
“Hey” Calla told him “he’s been a big help for you guys, don’t nag about him.”
“But I wanted to spend some more time with my ginger ale…”
“Me too bear, but we’ll have all the time in the world when you finish. I’ll be with my parents. We’ll be cheering for you my big plush teddy bear!”
Jesse was rolling his eyes at the whole conversation, but they didn’t even paid attention. “Stop it you two, please. I don’t wanna throw up right before our big show!”
“Oh shut up” Calla said playfully “we’ll be cheering for you too! Jesse, aren’t you excited? It’s about to begin!”
The truth is, he was excited. And scared, and restless and inspired… He was feeling all kinds of emotions, something he hadn’t experienced for a long time, something he had always taken for granted. It would take one more thing for him to feel complete, and tonight he was hopeful he’d get it. That was one more feeling on the list. Life was looking good once again.
“Let’s do this.”