Eternity: Jax and Allie

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

A man given the power to see the future times of death of people he encounters, is left with only the memories of a woman with whom he had a whirlwind romance.

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Eternity: Jax and Allie

Submitted: June 19, 2010

Reads: 146

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Submitted: June 19, 2010

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Meeting
 
“An ex?”
The sudden voice stirred me from my deep reverie to focus on the source of the words addressed to me. I raised an eyebrow, knowing my expression was not friendly. It wasn’t meant to be. The voice was female. Her expression was open and amused, but as she gauged my expression, her features soon conveyed her apology.
“Sorry,” she gulped. “It’s just that you’ve been here regularly, and I noticed that you always seem to be looking at that couple a lot when you’re here.” She quickly turned around and left.
It took me some time to comprehend what she’d said and what its implications meant for me. Paying the bill, I hurried to catch her. I was barely aware of the harsh tinkling of the bell behind me as I exited the bakery. I looked around for the young woman, but couldn’t find her. I had not paid any particular attention to what she was wearing, and could only recall her face. I tried to shrug off what she had said, but they remained on my mind for the rest of the day.
I could hardly sleep. I kept thinking about what to do next. It was only after I had resolved to watch out for her the next morning that I fell into an exhausted sleep. Then again, I had never had much sleep before, but any relaxation was gladly welcomed.
*
 
I remember waking up later than usual the next morning. Why had the encounter given me some peace, when in fact it should have kept me awake with worry and dread? It was with some alarm that I realized that Samantha would already be at the bakery with Gio. The phrase What if? ran through my mind as I rushed to put on my clothes and hurry to the bakery.
With some surprise, I bumped into someone just entering the bakery. I was relieved to see Samantha seated at her usual spot. Her husband Gio was seated across from her—his usual spot. Able to calm down now that I was assured they were still alive; I turned my attention to the unfortunate civilian I had bumped into.
It was the girl from yesterday.
“Sorry.” I mumbled.
She blinked a bit to recover from her surprise at seeing me. “Um, it’s okay.” she replied before grabbing her paper bag and coffee to-go. My eyes flicked to the clock. 7:45.
As I tried to think of what to say, I heard the gunshots outside the door. The girl I had bumped into was already outside, having nothing more to say to me, and had made use of my checking the time to make a graceful exit. I had not heard the bells by the door ring when she went outside.
The sound of the gunshots had me on the alert. Already I was sweating, and my adrenalin had shot up and my fingers were shaking minutely. This was the event I had been waiting for.
I knew I couldn’t just leave the girl outside, when the gunmen were running towards the bakery. The screams of alarm and the frantic voice of the clerk as he talked to the police alerted me to take action. Running outside, I grabbed the girl and pulled her back inside the bakery. I had barely made it past the door when the gunmen entered.
I learned later that they had successfully robbed the nearby bank, but their escape route had been blocked, prompting them to make use of the bakery’s doors at the back to flee from the bank’s police force.
I can never recall what really happened after that. All I know is that my instinct had told me that something awful was about to happen. And something awful did occur. I hugged the girl close to me as I dived for cover behind the counter. Then the gunshots. Glass rained down where I lay.
It was over in a few minutes.
I lifted myself off the floor and checked the girl for any injuries. She looked all right to me. The throbbing on my right side which had made impact on the tiled floor I had yet to feel.
I stood up carefully, my eyes looking at once for Samantha. Gio was holding an already bloodstained hand to her right side. I was stunned. Gio was struggling to prop up his already dead wife. His face was contorted into one of desperation as he whispered into his wife’s ear things she would not know he said. I looked away and had to stop myself from vomiting on the bakery’s floor. The police arrived, together with an ambulance and medical personnel. The time of Samantha’s death was 7:47.
*
I met the girl again a week later. The incident at the bakery was still fresh in my mind, and I cannot think of our first meeting without thinking of Samantha and how she died. Samantha’s death in the baker had been in my vision. Elements such as the shattered glass, the bloodstained hand, and the time of 7:47 had shown themselves to me.
“Hey! Hey, you. Jackson!”
I looked up from the pavement to search for whoever had called out my name. I knew that not many would be looking for me, for hardly anyone knew my name. So I responded to it. She was across the street, waving an arm in the air to catch my attention. I took careful note of how she looked like this time. Her black wavy hair was long, past her shoulders. Her eyes were also black, framed by long lashes. She wasn’t particularly stunning at first sight, but as I got to know her, her beauty grew on me. I waited for her to cross the street and meet me.
“I’m Alathea. Alathea Parkinson. But call me Allie.” she said, holding out her hand.
I hesitated. Physical skin-to-skin contact was something I had avoided successfully for a week.
“Jackson. Jax.” I replied, my hand still in my pockets.
Silence. She was probably thinking what a rude person I was. She put down her hand.
“I came to thank you.” Her smile returned.
I gave a nod before making a move to resume walking along. My jaw was set hard as I thought about how I knew something would happen.
Samantha was done, and maybe this Alathea girl would be next. Or it could be a waitress in some bar, or a guard in a store. A first touch would be the trigger.
Alathea seemed like a nice girl. Friendly, and with a healthy dose of curiosity. After seeing Samantha die, I didn’t want to be witness to another tragic event in the life of someone who had much love to give. Maybe the next person would be some grumpy old lout, or a thief who was lost in the gritty dirty world of crime. The deaths of these kinds of people would not affect me so much. This was the reason why I did not hold her hand with my own. Usually I had gloves on, or else I just stuffed my hands in my pockets.
Allie followed me as I walked. I quickened my pace ever so slightly. She didn’t seem discouraged by my silence, but walked along. We made a curious pair, walking side-by-side like that without any conversation between us. I made a conscious effort to keep at least a few inches of space between us. Maybe she was lost in her own thoughts and did not notice the awkward situation.
I quickened my pace some more. She followed suit. I slowed my steps after a while. She adjusted easily, almost unconsciously.
When we had gone some time like this, she said, “You know Fruitanella?”
I looked at her when she spoke. She kept her eyes focused downwards. I had heard of the store selling fruit beverages a few streets down from the bakery, but I had not entered it before. I nodded, but since she was not looking, I replied with a hesitant yes.
“Well, thank you. And I hope to see you again.” she said, still not looking at me as said her goodbye. My brows were furrowed in their usual manner. She walked away. I turned to look at her as she retreated. Fruitanella. Hmm. Sounded like Fruitella, the fruit-flavored chewy candy. It didn’t take much to figure out that she wanted to meet me there. I went home wondering if I should take the bait.
I slept a fitful sleep that night.


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