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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5. 5 | "Too Late"

JASON

October 9th, 2010

"Jason, wake up you oldie!" Alex shouted.

The guys were chuckling as Alex tapped me a few times. I groaned, whirling around in my bed-sheets.

"Go away, guys." I groaned, waving them away.

"Not until we congratulate our gang member turning seventeen." Vince chimed in.

A smirk played on my lips as I fluttered my eyes open. I sat upright in my bed-sheets as they placed at the cake in my lap. The cake was covered white icing and cursive purple words that read, "Happy 17th Birthday Jason!"

The guys started their obnoxious version of a happy birthday theme song. I stared down at my birthday cake to see there were seventeen candles aligned around the purple words.

"Thanks, guys." I grinned before blowing the candles out. They all applauded before removing the cake from my lap and piling their gifts on my bed.

Days like this bring us together as not a gang, but a family. I cherished these kinds of days the most. My family was taken from me at a very young age. This was my second source of what a real family should be like. One day, I hope to create my own.

"Open my gift first," Skylar commanded.

I gazed over the wrapped presents, seeing Skylar's name written in big letters on a small striped box. I picked it up, ripping off the wrapping paper. The guys fell into laughter as I stared down at the box of condoms.

"You're welcome," Skylar smirked, pointing a finger at me.

I rolled my eyes, continuing onto the next gift.

• • •

"Jason, I see so much of me in you and that makes me unbelievably proud. I know for sure that mom and dad are smiling down at you right now. You have come so far in your seventeen years with having only me as much of an influence. I hope you grow up and disregard these screwed up years behind us. Make new memories and have your own family. I'll forever be praying for you to find happiness in your life." Alex addressed, lifting his glass of vodka as a toast.

I smirked, leaning back on the couch cushion.

"Aw, someone is getting soft this evening you guys." I joked.

"Aye, accept my blessings or they will be denied by God." He pointed a finger at me.

I rolled my eyes, chuckling, "Thank you, Alex. It was probably the nicest thing I ever heard you say in my seventeen years."

"And the only thing." He grinned, sipping his vodka.

The door bell rung. I was the first to actually realize and head towards the door. I peeked through the hole to see who it was. Gasping, I unlocked the door and swung it open.

"Miss Sandy! I didn't expect to see you so soon!" I shrieked.

Miss Sandy's hair was pulled back into a ponytail. She was dressed in jeans, a baggy sweatshirt, and short black boot. A wrapped present was in her hands.

She smiled, pulling me into a hug.

"I wasn't going to miss out on my favorite inmate's birthday." She reassured.

I chuckled, pulling out of the hug a few seconds later.

"Well, come on in. You haven't met the guys yet."

JADE

"How could you be so sure that they didn't have anything to do with the bombings?" Vanessa asked, chewing on her pretzel piece covered with mustard.

"Jason doesn't seem-" I started.

"Jason?! Jade, didn't the girls and I basically explain to you that he's bad news? Why can't you just listen? He has a history of rebellious acts. I don't need another one of my friends getting caught up in that." She shook her head, ripping off more of her pretzel and stuffing it into the cup filled with mustard.

I cocked an eyebrow. "Wait, who else got caught up with him?"

She waved her hand in dismay.

"Doesn't matter." She concluded.

I sighed, leaning back in the restaurant chair.

"I still don't believe he'd be capable of something like that." I protested.

Vanessa rolled her eyes.

"Alex McCann, Jason's brother? His body language screams danger when anyone sees him. He's been in more trouble than Jason has ever been. You really think genetics don't spread between brothers? If Alex has a rebellious record, soon enough, Jason will too. Believe me." She spat.

"You just can't trust him, Jade. You have to trust what I'm saying right now." She nagged once more.

• • •

Finishing the dishes for the evening, I began scrubbing away stains on the counters. The restaurant bell rings as people walk in and exit the diner. Maxine kept seventy's music playing in the diner to "set the mood".

"See you tomorrow afternoon, Jade." Maxine notified, swinging her purse on her shoulder and hanging her apple designed apron.

"See you tomorrow. Goodnight." I replied as I watched her exit out the back door.

Staring around the diner, there wasn't one thing out of order. Chairs were pushed in neatly. Tables were cleared of food and trash. The floor was swept and moped correctly.

I gathered my things and turned off all the restaurant lights. I exited out the front doors, locking them behind me. Luckily, my car was sitting out front so I wouldn't have to walk far.

Unlocking it, I slid into the driver's seat and pushed my keys into the ignition. The car roared to life as I pulled out the parking spot.

Vanessa had left me wondering today after our talk over lunch. She swears down that Jason and his friends were the bombers. She absolutely didn't have any sort of proof. I refused to believe her claims at the moment. I'm just wondering what other friend of hers had a history with Jason.

Pulling into the driveway, I noticed the lights were turned off for the night. I'm guessing my mom is on a late night drive tonight. She's been driving around alone for the past couple nights because she's still heartbroken over grandma passing away.

I grabbed a small midnight snack from the kitchen and walked upstairs. Closing my bedroom door, I plopped on my bed before grabbing the remote.

Banging on my window made me stop from pressing the power button to the television. I slowly spun my head towards the window to see Jason behind the frame.

I cocked an eyebrow, standing up from my bed and walking over. Unhooking the window lock, I dragged it up.

"Jason? What are you doing here? And why so late at night?" I asked.

My heart was known for punching into my ribs violently when I ever saw him. My butterflies used to be in little cocoons, but they have been awoken by caramel-colored eyes. I just couldn't stay away from him. Not even if my life depended on it. 

He smiled. "Could I talk to you for a little bit?"

I gazed at my clock sitting on my dresser.

"Yeah, sure." I agreed.

He remained sitting on the roof outside my window. I climbed out and sat beside him. There was a full moon above us, which shined brightly in the atmosphere. Small stars glimmered around the moonlight. The wind blew hard on this autumn evening, but it felt outstanding.

He sighed, "Turned seventeen today."

My eyes enlarged, "Really? Happy birthday."

He chuckled. "Thanks."

"What did you do for your big day?"

"My brother and my friends threw me a party this afternoon. It was nice."

I nodded, "That's cool."

"You know one thing I never quite been able to understand?" He changed the subject while playing with the hem of his maroon flannel.

"What?" I asked.

"The word, ‘forever'. Ever since I was a little kid, it felt like that word came up as a lie. I've learned in my seventeen years that love, relationships, and even people don't last forever. I don't get the significance of that word." He crossed his arms, staring up the moon.

I nodded. "I get what you mean. My father made it seem like he was going to stay around forever. Instead, he walked out on us and failed to return ever since."

He stared into my eyes.

"When did he walk out? If you don't mind me asking..."

I could feel tears brimming up in my eyes.

"H-He walked out when I was twelve." I stammered.

"My parents were killed in front of me."

My lips quivered as I stared up at the moon.

"I'm-"

Jason shook his head. "Don't. I just wanted it to be known that you're not alone."

He pulled out his pack of cigarettes, offering me one.

Is he crazy?

"I don't smoke." I laughed.

He shrugged and pulled out one, lighting it up. He lifted it up to his lips, sucking in and exhaling the smoke into the atmosphere.

It might be a nasty habit, but he was the one person who looked attractive while doing it. I could feel the butterflies beginning to flap their wings inside me.

Finishing his cigarette, he flicked the bud off the roof.

"So... Is there a reason behind your friendship with Vanessa Francis?" He chuckled, glancing over at me.

Everyone always has some sort of curiosity about our friendship. It's one of those friendships where you guys inwardly wouldn't normally hang out because of the huge differences. But outwardly, you two got trapped up in a connection of friendships, which made you both forced to be friends with one another. It's a quite confusing.

I fumbled with my fingers, laughing, "No, not really. Paige Campbell was the first person I encountered when I moved here. She introduced me to Vanessa and Kristen. I felt like I was stuck with them because they're her only friends."

"Just got stuck in the middle, huh?"

I smiled and nodded, "Basically."

We joked around for a little while more before Jason asked to use the restroom. My comfort zone has never felt this great when talking to a guy. Vanessa claims were wrong.

Jason McCann was like a book. Everyone looked at his cover, but they refused to open the book to find the true story. I, for one, found it cruel.

"Jade?" Jason called.

I crooked my head to see Jason standing at the window frame in my bedroom.

"Yes?"

He sighed and shoved his hands in his pockets.

"Thanks for spending that time with me. I felt like I need a breather from my idiot friends. It's always great having someone to talk to."

"I agree."

"Well, goodnight."

"Goodnight," I replied, grinning.

Jason returned a close-mouth smile before turning on his heels and departing out my bedroom. I watched him get into his car and leave from the roof view. Sighing, I carefully stepped back in front my bedroom window.

Walking into the bathroom, my foot stepped on a crumbled up piece of paper. I furrowed my eyebrows and crouched down. Picking it up, I unraveled it.

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