The Last Day brought upon the world chaos, destruction and mass death. When the EXLF Virus started spreading from person to person, many died but some refused to stay dead. Now the world's population is shrinking as many try to survive in this post-apocalyptic world. Chelsea Dalton is one of those people. Living in a world without government has given others to rise in anarchy. As Chelsea and her father try to find the rest of their family-they will have to navigate through the chaos that has erupted. Chelsea will have to make choices between life, love and death. Choices that threaten her survival and the survival of those she loves.

Copyright © 2011


3. Interrogations


I woke up the next morning with an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach, I knew today I would have to face my peers. The one thing about high school is usually there are more people talking behind your back than to your face. The staring and whispering would be unbearable but I had to face it sooner or later, I knew that. I sighed loudly, mentally building a thicker skin for myself and got out of bed. I quickly showered, put on a pair of jeans with a purple flannel shirt and pushed my thick black hair into a ponytail. I had to keep appearances simple today, which was unusual for me but I didn't want to attract anymore attention to myself than necessary. 

Normally, I was not a modest dressed girl and was known to be sent to the principal's office for a dress code violation. Being popular, a cheerleader and dressing sexy was a part of this wild child persona I built. Now today, I would make sure to show people the new me. I didn't want to have to hide anymore, life was too short to be spend it being someone I'm not. I rushed downstairs, to find William at the kitchen table eating cereal. I helped myself to some breakfast as well, and sat next to him. 

"Where is everyone else?" I asked.

"They had to rush out this morning both had early starts, and they took Charlotte to school early. They said sorry they couldn't be here to see you off." William told me. 

"Oh." I said, disappointed. 

"Today is going to be hard. You ready to do this?" William asked, taking his bowl to the sink. 

"Yeah. I'll be fine." I assured him. 

"I'll be around if you need me, and I'll be outside of your last class then we can go home. Sound good?" He asked.

I nodded. I grabbed my backpack, brought my bowl to the sink. I locked the house up as William started the car. I had my own car, a Toyota Prius, but I was in no shape to be behind the wheel when my nerves were on edge. William drove a black Honda Civic, I slide in the passenger side, and let the music clog my mind as we drove to school. Going to school was exactly as I predicted, the minute I went to my locker there were people staring. I felt like a freak, I was used to being the center of attention but never to this magnitude. Of course, I had the few people who wanted to be a part of the circus, they came up asking questions about what happened. I stuck to the script, I smiled politely and explained due to the investigation I couldn’t discuss it. They smiled sympathetically but the disappointment in their eyes betrayed their true intentions. All they wanted was more fuel for the gossip train, even worse than the staring and whispers was seeing him. 

He stared at me in the halls, his face unreadable but I could feel the tension between us. His green eyes filled with so many emotions; sympathy, anger, sadness, longing, and fear. Jack Sawyer, my former best friend and boyfriend. We’ve known each other since I was in seventh grade, and instantly gravitated towards each other. There was no secrets between us, each feeling and thought we shared to each other. There was a time where we had our own little world and I thought we would be in that world forever. That world came crashing down when I found out he cheated on me with my sworn enemy, Cordelia Parker. My heart has never recovered fully and the worst part was that I couldn’t hate them for what they did. At that time, I pushed Jack to his breaking point, I wasn’t myself anymore. I was caught up in the party life, the wild crowd and I took him for granted. It was payback I assumed for Cordelia, I had ‘stolen’ Jack from her and her crown as most popular girl. She wasn’t a cheating whore in her opinion but just reclaiming what had been hers before I came along. 

There had always been competition between us, we used to be friends once but pressure to be the best tore us away from each other. Our falling out has split the school in two, among the girls at least. There is my clique, the cheerleaders, and there is Cordelia’s clique-the most sexiest group of girls around. They throw the best parties and guys flock to them, begging for a second of their time. The athletes have pledged their loyalty to my group of girls since my brother is the king of sports in his own right. It used to matter to me that my girls were number one in the school, that people knew our names, would see the flashy clothes and purses. That my makeup and clothes were perfect, that I was perfect in the social and academic world. Most people didn’t even realize I earned good grades in class because my antics would throw them off. Skipping a class or two there, flirting with Scott (our head of security) and partying hard. Today and from now, none of that mattered to me. By the middle of the day my thick skin was breaking down, I needed a break. It was lunch time, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I skipped lunch and walked to one of my favorite spots on the school grounds, it was a picnic table by the edge of the woods next to the track. The cool air calmed me, I sat there staring into the woods, in my own world. 
I inhaled sharply. I would know that voice anywhere, deep and melodious. It never failed to send shivers down my spine. 

“Hey, Jack.” I said, turning to face him.

He stood there watching me, his eyes inquisitive. He wore jeans, a white shirt and black hoodie. His perfect pink lips were pressed in a tight line, and I could see his chiseled chin clenched. My heart ached for him, because I remembered what it was like to lay my head on his strong chest and to feel his strong arms wrap around me. I remember the taste of his perfect lips on mine and I remember feeling safe with him. I pushed the memories in the back of my mind, I don’t know when I become an emotional train wreck. This day must’ve really had more of an impact on me than I realized.

“Mind if I join you?” He asked. 

“Sure.” I said. He sat on the opposite side of the table and handed me a small bag of Baked Lay’s Potato chips. 

“I know you’re skipping lunch but you have to eat something. This was the only good thing they had in the vending machines.” He explained. 

“Thank you.” I said, popping a chip in my mouth. “How’d you find me?”

“You love coming here. I figured today would be hard for you, you love being next to nature when you’re stressed out. I thought you would’ve left school by now.” 

“I was going to but I’ll only be giving more ammunition to the gossip vultures, might as well tough it out.” I explained. 

“I swear you are the toughest person I know.” He smiled at me, making me melt at the sight of his dimples. I smiled back.

“I try. I’m glad you’re here actually. I wanted to say thank you. My dad told me how you helped in the search and rescue. He told me you started a tip line and everything...” I trailed off. When I had learned of Jack’s involvement in trying to find me it touched me that he cared. 

“No problem. I’m glad you’re safe. I know you don’t want to talk about it but I have to ask...did you run away?” Jack’s eyes pierced mine, and I could hear the pain in his voice. 

“No.” I said firmly. “And I didn’t take drugs or run away with a boy, I know it sounds crazy but I swear Jack, I disappeared. The worst part is that I don’t remember, I woke up cold, and naked-” My voice broke, and a sob escaped me.

Jack had me in his arms in a second, I rested my head on his shoulder. His arms tightened around my waist, and he buried his face in my neck.

“It’s okay, I’m sorry you had to go through that. Damn it, I’m sorry I asked. I believe you Rose. I’m here for you, whatever you need.” He whispered in my ear. 

I released Jack, “Thank you, but I don’t think that’s a good idea. I don’t think Cordelia would like that.”

The words hung in the air and full weight of them hit Jack like a stack of bricks, he stared at me as if I betrayed him. The truth was that he betrayed me when he called me Rose, how dare he call me that? He was the only one to ever call me by my middle name, we used to say that it was fate that we met. It was as if we were the real life version of Jack and Rose from the movie “Titanic“, we used to say. Unlike those two, we’d be together forever. Guess we were wrong as well. 

  “You would like that wouldn't you? For me to stay away, that's how you want it to be.” Jack said flatly. 

The tears broke again, and I sprung up from the table. I stared down at him, “No, that’s not what I want. Why are you doing this Jack? Calling me Rose, you know better than to call me that. After four months this is what you want to do? Torture me about what I’ve lost? Because I already know. I miss you and you being here, calling me Rose and hugging me doesn’t help me get over you.” 
“Chelsea-” He started, standing up. 

“No. I’m sorry. I’m losing it, I’m being an emotional nutcase. Jack forget everything I’ve said. It’s over, I know that. I’m going to go.” I said, my mind wanted to explode. I couldn’t believe I’d let myself lose control like that, being tired and stressed was not a good combination. I turned away from him, ready to walk back into school, find my brother and leave. 

Jack grabbed my arm, I stared at him. His eyes were green oceans of pain, to see him in pain made my heart ache.

“It is over...between me and Cordelia. I broke up with her the minute I heard you disappeared. My world ended when I got the news, everything snapped into place. I am so sorry that I hurt you, that I allowed our relationship to turn toxic. I’m sorry that I cheated on you, Rose. I can’t take it back, I wish I could. I would take it all back and go back to when it was just you and me. Before the social politics got in the way, before I let you go. Before I turned into someone I didn’t recognize or like. I’m done pretending like I haven’t thought about you since we’ve broken up or that there is anyone else in this world for me besides you. Losing you, I realized what’s important in life. You’re important to me. It wasn’t over between us then and it’s not over between us now.” Jack’s chest rose up and down rapidly, as the words rushed from him. 

I never got a chance to respond, because before I knew it his mouth was on mine. My body responded eagerly and for the first time in days I felt a sense of safety, that nothing in the world could ever harm me again. I kissed him back as my hands tangled in his hair, and his grip on my waist tightened. Regretfully, I had to be the first to break the kiss because I needed to come up for air. A tear fell down my face, Jack wiped it away. 

“What’s wrong ?” He asked me, concerned.

“I’m just so happy. I’ve missed you, and now...this isn’t a cruel joke right? We’re back together?” I whispered.

Jack tilted my head to lock eyes with me, “I’ll never let you go ever again, and I will never hurt you again. This time we both have to be honest with each other, and work at this relationship. I’m willing to do it if you are. If you will give me another chance to prove to you I can make you happy until the day I die. I love you.” 

“I love you too.” I said, I kissed him again. Only with Jack could we have picked up as if time had not passed, there was too much history to be ignored. We had a deeper connection with each other than I ever felt with anyone, even with my own family. We both became people we didn’t like and it could be only fate that we both at the same time, had come to the same conclusion. 

“Jack, let’s get out of here.” I said. 

“Okay.” Jack led me to his car. I text messaged William telling him I was leaving school with Jack and I would see him at home. 

I knew Will would be pissed off but that he would understand and wouldn’t rat me out to mom and dad. Jack’s parents weren’t home because they were both at work when we arrived to his place. We sat in the living room and talked for hours, catching up on each other’s lives. My heart felt complete, listening to him talk about how excited he was to go the University of Connecticut in the fall and how he wanted me to join him when I graduated. I would’ve sat and listened to him talk all day but I didn’t want to talk anymore. I sat up from the couch, and made my way up the stairs.

“Hey where are you going?” Jack asked, laughing in surprise. 

“To your room.” I told him. I held his gaze as the weight of my words sank in. 

Jack’s mouth opened in shock and I didn’t wait around to see what he was going to say, instead I walked into his room and sat on his bed. He soon followed me but remained standing in the doorway. 

“We don’t have to do this Rose, this has been an emotional day for you. We have time to...” He started.

I sprung up from the bed and walked to him, taking his hands into mine. “We both know that we have time but we know that time can be short. I don’t want to waste anymore time. I’m ready. I want this here now, with you. I’ve always only wanted it to be with you. I love you.”

Jack’s eyes pierced through my soul as was if he could see it and I could see his resolve breaking. The truth was he ached for me as much as I did for him, it was time. His eyes searched mine once more and once he saw no hesitation or fear in them as he kissed me fiercely. He picked me up and brought me to his bed. We fell into a tangle of soft kisses and caresses. Since it was my first time I have to admit there was a moment of self consciousness, I’d never been naked in front of Jack before and I’d never seen him naked. He was beautiful, I let my hands explore him, committing every contour of his body to memory. 
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