Young Forever

Jason McCann,
Everyone observed him as a fierce, cold-blooded criminal.
I'm not exactly like 'Everyone'.
I was told to stay away.
Did I listen? No.
I enjoy discovering the damaged ones,
the ones that need the most healing in their lives.
It's a challenge,
but I was eager to take that challenge no matter what.
Who would ever thought he would actually let me inside his isolated world and his complications.
I could've cared less if 'everyone' thought I was senseless to give in to him.
We were free, a breakaway from all the difficulties, anxiety, and people in our lives.
Did I care that he was on the run from the forces? No.
I was willing to be on the run beside him.
I wasn't just his partner in crime,
I was his girlfriend.
I was His,
something I desired to be from the first time my eyes came across his.
We were convicts together, remaining young forever.

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3. 3 | "Take Care"

JADE

September 19th, 2010

A pink lamp deprived of a shade cover on my nightstand. I shifted on my bed slightly. I flipped to the page of my current read, The Great Gatsby.

A knock on the door removed my attention from my novel. Aggravation blew from my lips. I glared at the door, shoving my bookmark in the current page I was reading. I left my book lying on my bedsheets covered in multicolored flowers. The person behind the door knocked again, harder than before.

"Coming!" I shouted, bouncing off my bed and pacing towards my bedroom door.

I unlocked the door and swung it open. My mother stood in front of me, cheeks covered in tears. My heart gradually sunk to my stomach at the sight of her. A tissue was squeezed tightly in her hand, the phone in her other. Her hair was frizzy and scattered.

"M-Mom, what's wrong?" I whispered, drawing her into a hug.

“Grandma… she passed away this morning.” She muffled into my pajama shirt.

My mother’s tears soaked into my pajama shirt. I created my own set of tears while my mother wept in my chest. She drew out of the hug, looking up at me. She noticed my tear, reached up, and ran her fingers across my cheek to wipe them away.

“It’ll be okay. We’ll be okay, Jade.” She whispered, biting her lip afterwards, as if she wasn’t so sure about that herself.

The last time she talked like that was when my father walked out.

"The funeral is Tuesday afternoon." She turned on her heels and stormed downstairs.

Her sneakers squeaked up to the front door, keys jiggled, and the door slammed loudly behind her. I closed my door softly. I walked over to my bed, falling face-first into the pillow. More tears streamed down my face as I laid there. 

JASON

"And when is this bomb mission happening?" I asked, scraping up the last bit of my scrambled eggs with my fork and eating them.

"Tuesday," Luke muttered, too memorized in his phone.

"Why are we even doing this?" Skylar questioned, lifting his glass of orange juice to his lips.

"Huxbee said there's apparently a huge bag of money buried in the casket they're putting in the ground," Quincy responded while swinging open the fridge door.

I scoffed and leaned back in my chair.

"If it's not there, he's dead."

The boys chuckled, which doesn't make much sense to me because they should know by now that I am very serious when it comes to our business.

The room hushed when we heard twisting of the front door knob. No one tried to make any sudden movements. My hand dropped to my jean pocket, sliding out my handgun. The guys pulled out any weapon they had on them.

I peeped over at Skylar, who held a butter knife in his hand. I raised my eyebrow at him. He shrugged his shoulders and chuckled lightly.

The door creaked open. I turned my head to the right, preparing my gun for a perfect shot. My adrenaline was pumping quick as a silhouette stood in the doorframe with two suitcases.

I squinted my eyes to notice it was my brother, Alex. He stood there in the doorway with a goofy grin on his face. Everyone groaned in aggravation, dropping their weapons, and in Skylar’s case, he dropped his butter knife. Pathetic.

"What the heck, Alex! Don't scare us like that!" I snapped, motioning to me and the guys.

Alex strolled in the front door, closing it with the back of his foot. He chuckled, dropping his suitcases and strolling into the kitchen. He stared at all of us with his hands rested on his hips.

"So… what did I miss?" He asked, picking up one of James bagels and taking a bite.

I leaned back in my chair, sighed, and crossed my fingers together.

"Nothing much. Except the fact that I have been removed from the leadership of this gang." I blurted, folding my arms over my chest.

He furrowed his eyebrows and spun his head to look at Mark.

I could already feel the drama ready to set a flame.

"We have a second new leader of the gang. His name is Huxbee." Mark admitted.

Alex's fists clenched, shading to a bright red.

"Who decided to have Jason step down from his former position?" Alex asked angrily, glancing around at everyone.

The room stayed silent as everyone looked at each other. Alex slammed his fist onto the table, making everyone flinch in fear.

"Who did it!" Alex roared.

"We all did," James admitted bluntly.

I waved a finger.

"No, actually, they agreed to Quincy's idea to change my position in the gang. I was informed by Mark a day after I returned." I corrected.

Quincy raised his hand to stop me.

"I wasn't trying to change your position, Jason. Mark complained about how we need a second leader while you two were away." Quincy argued back.

Alex slammed his fist down again, shouting, "ENOUGH!"

He sighed before continuing, "This is what is going to happen. Jason-"

I broke my glare at Quincy to look up, "Yeah?"

He pointed a finger in my direction, "You're back to your position as the second leader of this gang. I REFUSE anyone to try and take that position from you. I know how much it means to you. Dad gave me this leadership, and I always keep you in charge of being our second leader."

I licked my lips and nodded. “Thank you.”

My brother winked jokingly at me before turning to the rest of the gang.

"And the rest of you," He waved a finger around the room towards everyone else.

"No one is going to pointing out ideas of who should be the leader. We rarely have any conflicts in this gang so I'm going to let this situation slide. The next person that thinks their top boss besides me or Jason is getting not only removed from this gang but will be sent over to the other side with the Demon Knives. Do I make myself clear?" He instructed, making sure to make eye contact with everyone.

"Yes." The guys replied in unison.

I crossed my arms over my chest, interiorly pleased to get my way... like I always do.

JADE

September 21st, 2010

I didn’t bother to invite make-up to accompany my attire for the afternoon of my great-grandmother’s funeral. My eyes continuously watered with tears and the funeral had not even begun. I was quite surprised how well my mother could still drive with teary eyes. Some people weren't beautiful when they cry, but my mother was.

I bothered to invite my friends to the funeral, but only Paige agreed to show up. Vanessa was definite that this wasn't the right time for her to make a first appearance at a funeral. Kristen would’ve came, but she wasn’t returning from her business trip her mother until tomorrow afternoon.

I stepped out the passenger's side in my black flats once my mother pulled into a parking spot right in front of the cemetery. There wasn't much of a crowd that we had to struggle through. Some relatives held boxes of tissues, while other heads were bowed to the ground in sadness of our greatest loss.

My grandmother despised the color black because my grandfather wore that color every day to signify his depression. She always preferred white, so the family decided to wear white for this upsetting occasion.

"Everyone take your seats, please," The pastor requested, gesturing everyone to the white-painted bench seats aligned row-by-row behind the casket.

I overheard a car pull up after everyone sat down. I spun in my seat, seeing it was a maroon van with tinted windows. I cocked my eyebrow, wondering what family member could that be. I shrugged a second later, turning my attention back to the pastor.

"Here lies the beautiful and generous Amelia Carter. She had dreams that she chased all through her life. She always felt blessed by God because of her faithful children, and grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. She was strong, loyal, adventurous, and determined. She enjoyed putting a smile on anyone's face. Her main goal was to make others happy. Every Sunday, she would walk into the church with the biggest grin on her face. No matter how I felt that day, I smiled right back at her. She knew how to light up a room. She will never be forgotten for her greatness on this earth. Rest in peace, Amelia. We all love and miss you so dearly." The pastor concluded. He pulled out his handkerchief and wiped away the lonely tears that slid down his cheeks.

My grandmother's sister stood her from her seat. She laid a few roses down on top of my grandmother's casket. My mother bit down her bottom lip, crying harder than expected.

JASON

"Alex, this is Huxbee." Mark greeted, escorting Huxbee into the living room where we were all seated. Everyone had on their body guards with all sorts of weapons in the pockets.

I played with my gun while sitting in the recliner chair. My finger pulled back the trigger without any bullets in the gun. It made Skylar flinch a few times, definitely when he saw me pretending to put bullets in it.

Alex remained sitting, eyeing the old guy from head to toe. Huxbee held out his hand to shake. Alex waved his hand in dismay, refusing. I smirked widely at his disapproval.

"Let me make something clear right here, Huxbee." Alex began.

He cleared his throat, pressing his finger on the coffee table multiple times to make himself clear to Huxbee. "You are a part of this gang, but you ARE NOT a gang leader. Alright?"

Huxbee furrowed his eyebrows. "I was informed that I was the second gang leader when I returned to take my position-"

Alex held up a hand to stop Huxbee mid-sentence.

"That's been changed because first, I'm the main leader of this gang. I'm the only one that chooses who rightfully can stand behind me. The guy that has that spot is my brother here, Jason McCann." He pointed over to me, still staring at Huxbee.

"I understand."

"You better," I spoke up, scowling up at Huxbee.

Alex glared at me and mouthed, "Shut up."

• • •

My palms were increasingly sweaty for some reason. This all didn't feel right, but of course, I was caught up in some sort of trouble because I decided to take a lead part in a gang.

The leather seat squeaked as I turned, glancing back at Mark, who was flipping through a playboy magazine. Quincy, on the other hand, was bobbing his head with earbuds stuffed into his eardrums, blasting old hip-hop music.

"You guys are in position?" Alex asked through the speaker phone.

"Yup," I replied, parking the van on the side of the vacant road.

"Good. You guys remember the plan, right?"

"Of course." Mark chimed in, typing away on his cell phone.

I picked up one of the timers of the bombs. The time ticked down from five minutes.

"What's the bomb time on?" Luke asked in the background of Alex's side of the line.

"Four minutes and twenty seconds," I shouted for all them to hear.

I stared out the window to watch people at the funeral rising from their seats to leave. One person stood out of the crowd. She couldn't see me, but I could sure see her.

"Crap." I muttered, pushing the keys back into the ignition.

"Bro, what’s wrong?" Alex nervously asked.

"We got to go. We need to get out of here. Now. " I ordered, twisting the keys and the engine roared.

"What?! Jason, are you crazy?! You can't leave the area! We need to help dig up this cash. You know we need this!" Mark barked from the back seat.

"We have to go! I can't explain this right now." I shouted.

I pulled off from the side of the road and hit the gas. I stared over at the timer, which was down to one minute and five seconds.

"What are you doing, Jason! Why is the tracker showing you guys leaving the perimeter?!" Alex roared through the phone.

I refused to respond to the yelling through the speaker phone and around me. My foot pressed hard on the gas, speeding down the road at a fifty-five-mile pace.

There was no way for me to stop the timer. The bombs were already in their positions to blow. I glared back at the timer. It was ticking down from ten seconds.

Nine... eight... seven... six... five... four... three... two... one…

JADE

Everyone ducked as explosions of grass bits blew everywhere. Screams grew loudly but were unheard with the bombs setting off. My mother clutched onto me and rushed to the car quickly. I turned back around a few times as we ran for safety. Luckily, my grandmother's casket was already set on the ground. Chairs were tossed everywhere from the horrific explosions. What a way to end a funeral, huh?

"What was that!" My mother cried as we slid into our car seats.

I bit down on my bottom lip and stared down in my lap.

No one could even comprehend what just happened or why it happened. It lasted for about five minutes at least. Six bombs that went off. No one was killed, surprisingly, but quite a few were injured.

As my mother sped down the road, we had to pull over for several cops and ambulances to quickly get to the dreadful scene. The car ride was the quietest one we ever had.

When we returned home late that evening, my mother made a few calls to make sure everyone was doing just fine. She made dinner in silence, which she rarely does and went to bed early. I felt like the tables been turned. I was the one with insomnia tonight.

"Late this afternoon, six bombs exploded in a cemetery, injuring fourteen people that attended the funeral. The funeral was held for a family's beloved grandmother, Amelia Carter, who died from old age this past Sunday. No one has any information on any suspects yet. Police are currently checking their bombing records and bringing in suspicious suspects. We will stay tuned for this information all week. This is your nightly news. Goodnight."

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