Borders and Barriers

"He made her into a crashlander who was seeing reality for the first time, and she was happy to plummet."
When someone hears the name Emelia Archer they think of the Instagram famous trendsetter, the daughter of Archer Enterprises, and the one who crashed herself into a scandal.
When someone hears the name Jackson Andrews they go...huh? Then they think of the art-loving boy, the one who stayed in the shadows for the fun of it.
Push those two opposites together and you've got a story, maybe not a love story, but a story nonetheless.


2. He is wild.


Chapter Two


When a man is among the trees

He is wild.

Wild enough to have dirt under fingernails

But not in their blood.

Wild enough to care

But not to worry.

To breathe in life from the roots.



There was a couple breaking up on the train. The man was begging his now ex-girlfriend for one more chance, kneeling in front of her and using a chair for balance. The woman rolled her eyes and didn’t accept the excuse. The man pleaded, he would never do it again, and he had repented. The woman kicked at his knees and the man lost his balance, sprawling onto the floor.

This was drama in its purest form. Jackson wasn’t sure whether he liked it as such. He was going to the log cabin on the train because he wouldn’t be hounded by the tabloids. Emelia was going to the log cabin by car, being taken in the dead of night just to avoid the paparazzi.

Why had he signed again?

It had only resulted in him packing his flat up, only taking the essentials and leaving even his easel and paints behind. Jackson sighed and plugged his earphones more firmly into his ears, allowing the words of Coldplay to soothe his nerves.

This was the first time he had been out of Brigadier or London, trading a small town for an even smaller town. He had done his research, rather hesitantly he might add, but he had looked up the town they were going to.

“I used to rule the world… seas would rise when I gave the word…” he allowed the lyrics to flow over him as he remembered what Wikipedia said about the small town of Trinity.  Trinity was a tiny blink and you’ll miss it town, located technically in the middle of nowhere. The word ‘technically’ was used because it was nearly an hour away from a proper town and surrounded by either lakes, forests or the British Eastern Coast. That was what Trinity was known for; its peaceful outskirts. Wikipedia told of a calm land, where retirement and peaceful life was maintained. It all sounded too good to be true but Jackson would find out for himself when he arrived there. Much like Alnwick, Trinity did not have a train station, so Jackson had to disembark and then get a taxi into the small town.

The town looked like its online description, a meagre sign with the word Trinity on it, surrounded nearly entirely by towering trees. The taxi rolled up to the cabin, something that looked out of the pages of Percy Jackson, but Jackson supposed that it was because it was the joint cabin of both the Andrews and Archer families. The only joint property they owned because Richard and Michelle had spent many summers there in their childhoods.

He could tell that Emelia was already there since the door was open and the outside deck had unfolded chairs on it. He paid the taxi man, took his luggage and watched as the taxi drove off. There was his freedom, disappearing between the trees. And now he had to spend three months with a girl he didn’t particularly know besides what the tabloids said about her. Ethan had forced him to read most of them just to get a gist on the seriousness of the situation.

Briefly, he sighed and hauled his suitcase through the open door. The curtains were blowing through the open windows but Emelia was nowhere to be found in the main room. Putting down his suitcase he called out for her and heard nothing back. Dropping his suitcase by the sofa in the main room he went exploring to find his illustrious house guest. The cabin had a porch out front, the main room, kitchen, bathroom and three separate bedrooms. Emelia was in the first one, decorated in brown and blue, her suitcase was flung near the door and she was burrowed into the covers of a freshly made bed. Jackson could just see her dark hair from the top of the duvet and a barefoot was flung haphazardly over the corner of the bed.

She looked childlike, he decided, and nothing like what the tabloids depicted. But he hadn't truly met her yet. 

Jackson quirked his lips and left the room, closing the door just a little so that she would have some privacy. She must have gotten in early in the morning and crashed as soon as she arrived.

Looking into the other two rooms he decided on the one next to Emilia, it made more sense and he liked the light green walls. Lugging his suitcase from the main room he unpacked and sat down on the bed. It was deep into the evening, daylight fading when he picked up the bag that held his art equipment in. He decided to do something simple, roughly sketching the view from his bedroom window with a pencil onto his sketchbook.

Outside his window, the forest was in full view, tree after tree after tree, with more cabins in the distance. Their cabin was called Cabin 231 or as the Archer and Andrews had nicknamed it, Everwood, and it was a bit away from the other cabins. Unlike most cabins they had a porch around the back as well with a hot tub looking out onto the forest. It was for privacy and peace that they had the space around them.

As the light struggled to illuminate the forest, the branches he was drawing became blobs and misshapen lines. He became immersed in grey lines and blurs and the world washed away into darkness.

“When did you get here?” a voice uttered from the door and Jackson’s pencil went flying. It connected with the person’s forehead bouncing off lightly, “Ow,” the person said and Jackson knew that it could only be Emelia.

She looked like a free shadow in the darkness of the doorway and only a voice made her different from everything else.

“A couple of hours ago,” Jackson quickly hurled out and stood, allowing the sketchbook to fall from his lap, “Sorry for the pencil thing…” he trailed off awkwardly and didn’t know how to order the words coherently.

“It’s alright.”

And then she left, Jackson only knew because the lines of her shadow disappeared from the doorway. She did not come back.

Their exchange was done just after it had begun.

He had three more months of this and he didn’t know how he would survive it.



Emelia was bored. So fantastically bored. For the last week, she had been cooped up in small spaces, first in Archer Enterprises then in a car, and then in the cabin for hours.

Without flashing lights and a strawberry tongue, her mind tripped over itself as it ran. She thought too much, that was her problem. So, when she met Jackson Andrews for the first time in Cabin 231 she found a ghost rather than a human, someone preferring to be reserved and shy. When she looked beyond the windows of the cabin she saw the night and her world tumbled.

She could hardly remember crashing the limousine, all she could clarify was the feeling of Spencer’s lips on her neck, the feeling of keys in her hands, night sky flying past the windows, more lips on cheeks and lips. Then nothing, just blackness. It was infuriating.

The night beyond the windows of the cabin reminded her of that night, although in this instance there were fewer bodies surrounding her and less alcohol involved. In the days that followed the incident she was plagued with headache after headache, insomnia during the night but not the day, lethargy even when she managed to sleep. It was boggling, maybe she was going through withdrawal symptoms or something.

She wanted it to stop. The thing that made it stop was flashing lights and strawberry tongues. Abandoning her perch in the kitchen she made her way to the kitchen, passing Jackson’s room to find him asleep. Good, she didn’t need him to witness this.

This was her pulling out the hair dye out of her bag. The hair dye was red, a shade just verging out of ginger and it would mix well with her light brown hair. The point of coming to Trinity was to get away from the tabloids, to appear allusive, but that did not mean that her life had to halt, that headaches and lethargy would take over her body.

She made sure to keep quiet as she did her hair, drumming on the sink with a tempo in her fingers.

Nearly two hours later she had a copper head, earrings in her ears and a leather jacket on her shoulders. She had done her research on Trinity, and as much as it boasted about being peaceful it also had to cater to summer goers. That catering meant having a single twenty four hour bar, a hub for parents when their kids fell asleep from sugar-induced energy and excitement.

It may have been verging on midnight but that meant that the night was still young. She snuck out with a backwards glance to the solidly asleep Jackson and she made her way back into her past reputation.

The bar, named Josie’s like a stereotypical small town bar, was in the centre of a park of cabins. It had dark floors, a jukebox playing in the corner and pool tables. Her boots clacked against the floor, heads turning to meet the newcomer and that hadn’t changed. She always attracted stares. It was how her reputation worked.

She ordered a vodka and coke, needing something to itch the back of her throat and tangle her thoughts. Emelia sat next to a man and ordered her drink, noticing how his stare lingered on her. This was her as the Love Queen, confident and demanding, sexy and witty. This was her at her best.

So when the man offered to pay for her drink and she quipped that she would pay him back with a game of pool, she knew that she had him hooked. Now all she had to do was reel him in like a fish, and that was achieved by some dancing in the low light with a song that demanded her to grind. She knew this game because she invented it when she was fifteen and learning how to rebel.

“You are a wild woman,” the man whispered in her ear, his breath on his neck.

“Are you going to try to tame me?” She said winking up from underneath her lashes. This was a daring game but she was the winner and she always won.

“I don’t think you can be,” the man decided and they both knew that it wasn’t the trees that made her wild, no it was something too hot and fizzy to come from strong bark and leaves, “But that isn’t a bad thing.”

It was then that she remembered something that her best friend once told her when Emelia was learning the game when she was fifteen.

The strongest are the richest.

The wildest are those who are confident with clipped wings on their hearts.

Emelia was a knot of giggles and energy. She stumbled back to the cabin holding onto the man’s arm – his name escaped her mind –  and her brain no longer ran, in fact, it crawled in the best way.

“Do you want me to come in?” his breath was on her ear again, like it had been for most of the night – or morning if you wanted to be technical.

“No, she does not.”

Emelia had not said that and she struggled to make out a form on the porch.

“Jackson, I thought you were in bed,” she giggled nearly giving away his surname.

“Well, I was until I heard you stumbling back with that annoying giggle of yours.”

His arms were crossed, she could make out that but barely.

“And who are you meant to be?” the man behind her questioned, letting go of her so that she stumbled slightly forward.

“I’m her boyfriend you asshole.”

Wait – what?

Her brain couldn’t comprehend it. The man was backing away like she was a burning fire poker and he was apologising profusely. Where was that manly persona that he had shown her in the bar?

He was careening back in between the trees and Emelia was left to pick her way towards Jackson’s form. His very angry and annoyed form.

“You,” she uttered pointing a drunken finger at his chest, “Are not my boyfriend, I hardly k-know you.” She hiccupped halfway through and made her way through the door of the Cabin. What was the nickname of it again? Cabin 231 was such a mouthful.

“I may not be, but I’m the one that gets it in the neck if you go off the rails,” he said unfolding his arms as he followed her in. And it was true, in the contract it bizarrely gave Jackson far too much responsibility for Emelia’s character. He had to make sure that things went well because Emelia couldn’t be trusted with that.

“You would just retreat back into your shell, like the turtle you are.”

Now that didn’t make any sense but it did to Emelia when drunk she was a creative genius.

“You’ve been here for a day, been off the party scene for not even a week, and yet you’ve thrown your head straight into the bottom of a bottle again!”

“You don’t know what it’s like.”

“I don’t know what it’s like? To be a party, Insta-famous IT girl? You got that right.” Jackson was wild, not the kind of wild that Emelia liked, and his hair seemed manic.

It was odd that it was his hair, black and curled from sleep, that came alive with his anger and not his eyes. His eyes remained dead as doors.

“I don’t know what it’s like to be the girl that’s being trademarked as a hot whore of a mess.” He was still going on and she blinked at him.

“No, ‘cos you’re just a turtle. A turtle who hates the outside and the normal bat-shit crazy present day.  Go back into your shell Jackson and stay there. I don’t need you, nobody needs you.” She was shouldering out of her leather jacket and toeing off her boots, too drunk to muster up the energy to deal with Jackson.

“I’d rather be a ‘turtle’ than a tabloid travesty who’s on a spiral to liver disease.” He chucked magazines at her, the paper hitting her chest and her face and the chaos of the limousine reflected back at her.

She was being haunted and he was making sure that she felt every part of the poltergeist.

“I’d rather be a travesty than a waste of space nobody whose parents don’t even acknowledge,” her words were venom as the paper fell to the floor.

“Oh piss off and climb onto a lap of another nameless guy.” Jackson was close to her, too close. A single boot separated them.

"Why don't you get a life you freak."

They were two bodies standing face to face, not one of them properly coherent. They were the products of society and wealth and yet they were wild messes, made not out of trees but out of loneliness.

They were together, yet alone in a crowded, anger hot room. 


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