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 .

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9. 9 | "The Most"

JASON

November 22nd, 2010

"Jason, you're going to have to start taking this class more seriously if you want to pass this year." Mrs. Denise warned me as I leaned back in my chair.

"You know I don't even want to be here, right? This crap was a part of my probation. I already have to go pick up trash in the community every other Saturday out of the month for six hours. I don't get why I'm even still here." I spat, slapping my pencil on my desk.

Mrs. Denise sighed. "School is a required benefit in your life, Jason. You're here because you need an education. I know things are hard at home because your parents are gone. I had rough times at sixteen-"

"I'm seventeen," I mumbled.

"Well, yeah, seventeen." She agreed.

I rolled my eyes as the bell rung. Mrs. Denise stood up from the seat beside me and went back to her desk. I gathered my belongings and hurried out of the classroom before she could add any final words.

These teachers really think I need to be here. Being in a gang doesn't require having an education. I did dream of having a real beneficial career when I was younger, but crap happens. Dreams don't always come true. They are so overrated these days.

I slammed my locker closed and leaned up against it. I watched Vanessa blabber to Jade about another boy she had a terrible experience with. Jade couldn't bother, but glance over at me every few seconds.

"You know we could talk about this later on the phone, right?" Jade chimed in, cutting Vanessa off mid-sentence.

Vanessa huffed. "Fine. I'll call you later."

Vanessa glared over at me across the hallway. I rolled my eyes and crossed my arms over my chest. She looked back forward as her heels clicked off and out the double doors. Jade shook her head, pulling her book bag over her shoulder.

I picked up my bookbag and raced over to Jade before she could exit the hallway.

"Jade," I started, tapping her on her shoulder.

She turned around to look at me and grinned.

"What's up?" She beamed.

Beads of sweat grew on my forehead as I stared at my beat-up converses.

"I-I was wondering if you wanted to come over for Thanksgiving this Thursday." I stammered before staring up to see her facial expression.

She nodded and smiled, "I'd love to come."

I looked up at her with a big grin plastered on my lips.

"Really?" I questioned.

She laughed, "Yeah."

I stuffed my hands in my pockets.

"I'll pick you up at 6:30pm then."

She nodded before waving and walking off out the double doors.

JADE

November 25th, 2010

My mom decided to invite some of her old friends over for a Thanksgiving at the house since I was leaving out.

I slid my legs into my black skinny jeans as my phone beeped. A message popped up from Jason, announcing that he was on his way over. I smiled before pulling my gray crop top over my head. I pulled my arms in the sleeves of a white cardigan.

Staring at myself in the mirror's reflection, I examined every bit of my outfit.

I wanted to look good, especially because of Jason. I don't really waste my time impressing anyone, but he seemed worth it by now.

The thought of Kristen knowing more about Jason than I do still annoys me at this very moment. I never spoke about the subject with him because it didn't seem that important.

Jason's horn beeped loudly outside front. I grinned, pulling my purse on my shoulder and rushing down the staircase.

"Have a wonderful time, sweetheart." My mom addressed, preparing the table for her guests.

As I slipped on my converses, I replied, "You too, mom."

Slamming the door shut, I paced over to Jason's car and slid into the passenger's seat. His eyes were burning into my skin as I strapped on my seat belt.

"You look nice." He complimented, putting the car in reverse to exit my neighborhood.

"Thank you." I thanked him, playing with my fingers in my lap.

• • •

"What did I tell you about having my food touch, James?" Skylar shouted across the table, scraping his mash potatoes from his green beans.

Jason, his gang members, and I were settled at a huge wooden brown table in their dining room with green painted walls. A huge chandelier lighting hung above us. Turkey, mash potatoes, green beans, stuffing, corn, gravy, yams, and pumpkin pie was set in the middle of the table. Jason's gang member, Vince, cooked everything with no help at all.

He explained early this evening that his mother taught him everything he needed to know to be a great cook in life.

"My bad." Vince shrugged, ready to chow into his turkey.

"Put that down! You know we say grace." Jason mumbled beside me, slapping the piece of turkey out James's hand.

Everyone furrowed their eyebrows at Jason.

"Since when?" Alex asked, picking up his fork.

"Since we invited a guest to our house." Jason gestured towards me.

I grinned, glancing around at everyone.

"Everyone grab hands," Jason ordered, gripping on my hand.

"I'm grabbing wrists, not hands." Derek scoffed, snatching Quincy and Vince's wrists.

Jason rolled his eyes.

"Jade, can you go into prayer for us?" Jason asked, looking over at me.

I nodded, opening my mouth to speak.

"God, thank you for bringing us all together on this Thanksgiving Day and teaching us how to be thankful for all the blessings you give us. Thank you for introducing me to a group of amazing gentleman that aren't just a gang, but a family as well. We love you, Lord. Amen." I prayed.

"Amen." The guys all said in unison.

Everyone started digging into their food. I picked up my spoon, scooping up some mash potatoes.

"So... Jade, where are you from?" Mark asked, chewing on his green beans.

"Canada," I replied before pulling off a piece of turkey and popping it in my mouth.

"Wow, this turkey is amazing." Brent moaned.

I giggled while Vince smacked him in the back of his head.

"Save that moaning for your bedroom, boy." Vince snapped.

"That's pretty far from here," Mark spoke up, ignoring their side conversation.

"Yeah, but it was nice flying in a plane for the first time," I responded.

Jason was the first to finish his plate. He leaned back in his chair, holding his stomach with a huge grin on his lips.

"That was quick." I joked, giggling while chewing on my stuffing.

"I'm a fast eater. It was delicious, Vince. Thanks, man." Jason motioned a fist pump at Vince across the table.

Vince did an air fist pump back and smirked.

"No problem, man."

I wiped my mouth with my napkin before finishing the remains on my plate. I leaned back in my seat, feeling my phone vibrate.

I pulled it out and saw the phone was lightened with a text from Kristen.

"Did you ask him about Grace?"

I rolled my eyes, replying back, "No. He will tell me if he wants to."

Jason sighed loudly, standing up from the table. His gang members continued a conversation about their next mission while Jason departed the room.

I stood up and followed him behind him.

He unlocked the front door, stepping out on the porch. He yanked his pack of cigarettes out his pocket, lighting one up.

I joined him out on the porch and sat down on the first step.

"What do you think of the guys?" Jason asked, sitting down beside me, waving smoke out the way.

"They are friendly and goofy," I responded, twirling my hair in my fingers.

He nodded, "Yeah, they are all a pain sometimes."

I waved a hand, "They don't seem that bad. They would be cool to hang out with."

"Touchdown!" Derek shouted from inside the house.

I spun my head towards the front door as it opened, revealing Luke.

"Jason, you got to come see this game!" Luke shouted.

"I'll be in there in a minute," Jason replied, grazing his sneaker over the cigarette bud.

JASON

Sitting on the couch, I threw my arm over Jade's shoulder. She scooted closer, resting her head on my shoulder. The guys were shouting every once in a while when the team they favored to win scored a touchdown.

Alex walked in, ending a call he was in.

"Jason, can I talk to you out back for a second?"

I looked at him like he was crazy, motioning my head at Jade, who was staring at the television screen.

He mouthed, "I don't care. Come here!"

I rolled my eyes, "I'll be back."

Jade lifted her head and stared up at me as I walked out of the room.

Alex led us out the back of the kitchen. I slammed the door behind us.

"What you want, man! You saw I was in the middle of something!" I shouted.

"Actually, you weren't. You're being friend-zoned at the moment. Anyways, I've been trying to call that old hag, Huxbee, but I've got no answers. Have you heard from him lately?" Alex asked, shoving his phone into his back pocket.

"No, I don't track his whereabouts." I snapped.

Alex held a hand up, "I just asked, gosh. Go back to your friend-zoned girlfriend."

I smirked. "For now."

• • •

"Thank you for the great dinner, James," Jade informed, hugging Vince.

Vince threw his arms around her, patting her on her back. He smirked at me as I rolled my eyes.

"No problem, little lady." He replied, pulling out of the hug.

"You coming back right?" Skylar asked as Jade pulled him into a hug.

"Of course." She beamed, glancing back at me with a smile on her lips.

"Good." He grinned.

She traveled around to everyone else, giving them friendly hugs. She got back to me and tackled me in a hug. I wrapped my arms around her waist, hugging back tightly.

"Aw!" The guys said back in unison while we hugged.

I rolled my eyes. "Shut up and go clean that kitchen back up."

They all released groans while walking off to the kitchen in a line. Jade pulled out of the hug, looking up at me.

"Thank you for inviting me, Jason. Who knows how boring it would've been with my mom and her friends this evening." She rolled her eyes.

I chuckled.

"No problem. I didn't want you to suffer." I joked.

She giggled, twisting the door knob.

"Bye, guys!" She shouted happily.

They all shouted back their versions of a goodbye while we departed the house. I made sure to lock the door behind us.

She got into the passenger's seat, buckling her seat belt. I strapped on my seat belt as well and started the car up.

"Jason," Jade started.

"Yup?" I glanced over at her while pulling out of the driveway.

"Kristen told me there were some things I should know about you, but I refused to say anything before. I didn't believe you were comfortable with telling me." She accused, leaning her head up against the window.

Shifting a little in my seat, I asked, "What did she tell you?"

"She said something about a girl name Grace Hilton." She replied.

I pulled over on the side of the road, pressing brake on the car.

"Grace?" I stared over at her.

She lifted her head and nodded.

I sighed, "Grace was my ex-girlfriend. I dated her before I was put in prison. Remember how I said I can't stand the word forever? Well, she made me think we were forever. Our love was going to last for eternity. I believed that too. I was very naive one day and let her get way to close to one of my bombs. She always wanted to help towards me while I was busy. She ended up bombing up our old warehouse into flames with her inside alone. There was no way she could get out. I was devastated and heartbroken for months after it happened."

Tears swelled up in my eyes as I glanced over at Jade. Her jaw was hung open in utter disbelief. I violently rubbed my eyes and pulled back off the side of the road.

"I-I'm so sorry." She muttered.

"Don't start that crap, Jade. You asked a question and I answered. It's over. People say stuff happens for a reason." I snapped, speeding up a mile.

She folded her hands together, sitting up in the passenger's seat. She didn't bother to speak a word until I pulled up in front of her house.

She furrowed her eyebrows at the black volt's wagon parked in the driveway.

"Jason, you mind coming in?" She asked, glancing back at me.

"Sure," I replied, snapping off my seat belt.

We walked up to her front door. She pulled out her house keys, unlocking the door. She gasped as she stepped inside.

"Dad?" She choked, staring at the man sitting at her kitchen table.

He had a short buzz cut, dressed in a white polo shirt and baggy jeans. He stood up from the table, strolling over to us.

"What are you even doing here?" Jade snapped.

"I came to see my family, of course." He replied, stuffing his hands into his pockets.

She scoffed. "It's a little too late for that, Greg."

"Don't disrespect your father, Jade. Who is this with you?" Jade's mother walked in from the kitchen, patting down her dirty apron.

"My friend, Jason McCann," Jade muttered.

I smiled weakly, putting my hand out to shake.

Jade's mother greeted, "Nice to meet you, Jason."

"You too, Mrs. Taylor," I replied.

"Give me an explanation of why you show up after missing out on four years of my life. Huh, dad?" Jade shouted beside me.

"I didn't know when the right time to return... " Her father trailed off, staring at the ground.

"Maybe the birthdays you missed. Even a call from you would've been nice." Jade remarked.

"I did call... to check on how you were doing. I called your mother all the time."

Jade snapped her head towards her mother.

"Is this true?" She asked, tears brimming in her eyes.

"Yes. I knew how angry you were with him so I didn't bother mentioning it to you." Her mother replied, walking closer to Jade.

Jade put her hand up, "Don't get any closer. I can't believe you two."

She stared at me while I stood there awkwardly.

"I think you should go. I'll see you at school, Jason. Thanks for tonight." She hugged me once more before jogging up the staircase.

Her bedroom door slammed as her mother sighed, closing her eyes. Her father rubbed between his eyebrows in frustration.

"Goodnight," I muttered, departing out of their home.

Once I got to my car, I swung the door open and slid into the driver's seat. Turning on the car, I blasted the radio as I sped off from in front of her house.

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