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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7. 7 | "Grass Ain't Greener"

JASON

October 17th, 2010

"Let me get this straight," Alex started, rubbing his hands together.

I chewed on my bottom lip as he glanced around the room.

"You went to this chick's house, lost the notes from the funeral bombing, and tried to keep that from us? Jason, we're screwed now all because of you! Who knows who she told!" He barked, throwing his hands up in frustration.

"I doubt she told. She doesn't seem like a snitch." I reassured.

"Jason, just shut up! You don't know her. We all don't know her. Who knows what she'll do or say." Alex spat.

I sighed loudly, hiding my face in my sweaty palms.

Typically, I don't let anyone take authority of me. My brother has been my only sort of Father figure since I was eight years old. I had to obey the rules he instructed.

"Dang, you just lost your chance on hitting that. She's hot." Skylar chimed in.

I smacked him in the back of his head while Derek chuckled.

Mark's rap music boomed loudly from the basement. You could basically feel the beat through the floors. Brent bobbed his head to pounding beat. Alex groaned angrily, banging on the basement door.

"Mark, turn that crap down or I'll tear those speakers out and throw them out the three-story window!" He threatened.

A minute later, the music was lowered to a reasonable volume.

"What are we going to do? She's the only one outside of the gang that knows, as we know of." Luke spoke up, fixing the collar on his polo shirt.

Alex picked up his coffee from the table, "I don't know."

"Don't even stress guys. I got this." I added.

Alex pointed a finger at me.

"You're the one that put us in the situation. Maybe I should just hand this."

He started to pull his gun out his pocket.

Wide-eyed, I replied, "N-No, I swear, Alex. I'll handle it."

He sipped his coffee. "You better."

Huxbee stood up from the cushioned single-person couch.

"I don't why you all just continuously let him handle stuff around here. Let's do a little survey here. Who thinks Jason should be permanently removed from being second leader?" Huxbee protested.

The room grew quiet. The guys looked at each other. I glared at everyone, wondering who was encouraged enough with the idea to raise their hand.

Alex scrunched up his eyebrows.

"Sit down, you old hag. That's not even happening. He made a mistake, and he's going to fix it before I have to. Right, Jason?" Alex asked.

I glared at Huxbee before replying, "Right."

He's not going to last in this gang much longer. I'll say that right now.

JADE

The last costumer stood up, paid for their food and departed the restaurant for the night. Maxine cleaned off their table as I emptied the dirty dish water out of the sink.

"Jade," She called.

"Yeah?" I shouted from the kitchen.

"Don't forget to put icing on all three-hundred of those cupcakes sitting back there. You may take one home to your mom. Tell her Maxine said hi." She instructed.

"Okay, I will." I agreed, grabbing the white vanilla-flavored icing from the fridge.

Pulling open a drawer, I found a spoon to wipe the icing on with. The bell on the front door rung, notifying someone was entering. Sneakers squeaked up against the floor.

"Hey, Jason, what are you doing here?"

I stopped what I was doing to look out the kitchen window. Sure enough, Jason was hugging Maxine with ruby red roses in his right hand.

"I just came to speak to your employee, Jade." He informed, looking up at me.

Maxine pulled out of the hug, glancing back at me.

"Jade, give Jason a cupcake as well before you leave, okay? See you on Tuesday." Maxine announced, waving off.

The bell rung again as she exited through the front door. I sighed, spreading white icing on a cupcake.

"Jade," Jason started, walking back to the kitchen to join me.

Ignoring his call, I continued to spread icing on the next cupcake.

"Look, I apologize for what happen and what you saw. I swear, I didn't have anything to do with it." He addressed.

I scoffed. "I've heard that before."

He sighed, "Fine, I'll save the apology for last. You have to trust what I'm about to say. First of all, I'm in a gang. Yes, it sounds crazy, but I am. It's not something a normal sixteen-year-old would do, but I didn't choose to be in this position. My father wanted my brother to continue his job as a gang leader. My brother wanted me to feel special so he made me second in charge. Together, we built this gang full of guys that we took years to trust. Recently, this old guy joined our gang. His name is Huxbee, real name Paul. He was supposed to be taking over my position, but Alex refused. He planned for us to bomb a funeral. There was money around one of the graves. Everyone liked the plan because we needed the money to buy more equipment for our missions. The day came and I saw you getting up from the funeral. I was extremely nervous and dashed from the scene before the bombs exploded."

I glanced over at Jason, who was standing by the dishwasher with the roses still clutched in his hand. His eyes were teary and puffy. He looked down and sighed loudly.

I wonder if I'm the first person seeing him like this.

"I-I apologize for all of it. If you don't mind me asking, who did you lose that day?" He breathed out.

"My grandmother." I muttered, tears brimming in my eyes.

"Well, I got you these..." He continued, walking over to hand me the roses.

I scrunched up my eyebrows.

"Is this a way of you saying you're sorry?" I snapped.

"N-No. I wanted to take you to the cemetery so you could lay them on her casket and say your final goodbye." He confirmed.

I smiled weakly and took them.

"Thank you."

He nodded, smiling before staring at the ground.

I picked up one of the cupcakes covered in icing.

"Here," I said, handing it to him.

He looked up and chuckled.

"You didn't really have to give me one, but thank you."

He peeled off the cupcake paper, chewing into it.

"Wow, these are good." He admitted, grinning.

I threw my head back, laughing at his childishness.

• • •


I glanced over at my car still parked in front of the store while Jason escorted us to his Range Rover. His eyes followed where I was looking.

"I'll bring you back to get it in the morning." He whispered.

I nodded, hearing the his car unlock. I swung the passenger's door open, sliding into the car seat. Jason got into the driver's seat, pushing his keys into the ignition. His range rover roared to life as he reversed the car, pulling out of the parking spot.

"How old were you and your brother when your father passed on the job of being a gang leader?" I questioned, fumbling with my fingers in my lap.

"I was ten and my brother was fourteen." He answered.

His sped increased from twenty-five to forty as he drove down the vacant road. Turning the corner, he passed a few buildings. I laid my head against the window, staring at everything he drove past.

Street lights and neon store lights led a pathway of lighting in the streets at night. I lifted my watch as the little hand revolved around the big numbers.

"You don't have a curfew, do you?" Jason joked, noticing I was squinting at my watch.

I laughed, "No."

He pulled into the cemetery, which was blocked off around the perimeter. Luckily, the parking spots were blocked off. He pulled into the closest one and turned off the car. He swung his door open, racing over to open mine.

His eyes were still puffy red. I stepped one foot out the vehicle, hopping out.

He stepped over the yellow tape that blocked off the cemetery. He held his hand out for me. I smiled weakly, placing my hand in his.

His hand gripped on mine as I stepped over the tape. I escorted us to the far side of the cemetery, standing in front of the gray stone.

Amelia Carter 
December 4th, 1953 - September 19th, 2010

My eyes began to swell up with tears while we stood there in front of her grave. I crouched down, placing the roses behind her engraved stone.

Jason crouched down beside me, snaking an arm over my shoulder. I fell into the grass, sobbing loudly.

"Here," He whispered, putting a tissue in my hand.

I raised it to my eyes, drying my tears before laying my head on his shoulder for comfort.

I could tell by now that Jason wasn't just some ex-convict known throughout the city, but he was also a down to earth guy that always wanted to make things right at the end of the day. I adored that.

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