Jack & Joelle

Jack & Joelle – Chapter 3

And she danced. Her feet guided the framework of their bodies into endless circles atop the sand. His arm secured her torso of  beaded, midnight-blue chiffon while slithering his fingers down towards her waist. The last several months of dress-fittings and calorie-tracking allowed her size four figure to stun under the moonlight of Alki Beach. He held her  close as the water lapped upon the shore as though she may float out into the sea at any second if he were to let go of her for an instant.

Joelle wasn’t a dancer, she was the star of her high school cross-country team. Jack ran from his past. When he was with her he didn’t want to think about anything else. Her eyes were capable of  captivating an entire audience for hours without ever uttering a single, spoken word. Senior prom never crossed Jack’s mind – he had to be more concerned with sending away college applications than attempting to impress Jo with a new tuxedo. Everyone at Chandler Academy knew that Jack and Joelle were the ‘It’ couple – no girl wasn’t jealous of Joelle’s looks and Jack’s friends could only dream of calling a girl like Jo, theirs.

She never looked sub-par; her clothes was steam-pressed right off of the latest runways and her just-below-the-shoulder cut of heavenly, strawberry blonde waves bounced around her head with minimal effort. Nobody in their right mind could deny that her greatest accessory regardless of her extensive, designer shoe collection and heart-shaped Tiffany earrings, were her eyes: twinkling pools of aquamarine blue that couldn’t have been missed by the International Space Station. Jack’s hair was never not scuffed, revealing a pink, one-inch long scar running along the crest of his left eyebrow. His brown eyes and spindly yet muscular frame meshed into the  waves of adolescent men flooding the corridors of Chandler when classes were released on the hour. Their appearances combined with their backstories made their relationship a joke to the perfect stranger, but they were happy. They were in love.

With arms dangling loosely around his neck and hands grasped around her waist, their final dance came to a close as cars began to file out of the parking lot and girls removed their heels before returning to their respective limo drivers. Final kisses were delivered from couple to couple before embarking on their separate ways, although they were all destined to find one another at Chandler come next Monday morning. Nothing about the night hadn’t been ideal, perfect perhaps. The sea glistened under the light of the millions of stars, the jewels on Jo’s bodice reflecting every particle infinitely back into the night air.

Collective feminine screams deriving from the coastal avenue drew the attention of every student away from the magical nature of the evening to the armada of ambulances, police cruisers, and fire trucks swelling up just 200 meters from Jack’s feet. Flames shot into the air, the inevitable inferno multiplying its base until it occupied nearly 25 square feet. “Come with me”, Jack said to Joelle as he reached for her trembling hand, ultimately leading her away to the small sanctuary of his loft located four blocks into the distance from the tapped-in fire hydrants.

 

Jack & Joelle – Chapter 2

Jack travelled 28 weeks of the calendar year. Joelle couldn’t keep a job. Joelle didn’t need a job, she didn’t need the income. “To waste her time away”, as Jack would say, Joelle, or ‘Jo’ for short, spent her hours without Jack working as an unpaid student-teacher at the local high school. Jack made eight figures a year selling his watches world-wide after 12 years of focused education and hardened skill. He covered her every cost, whether it be the grocery bill, the newest collection of Chanel lipsticks, or a getaway to the palm-fronds of Dubai.

Jack was from the southern end of the island where trailer parks out-ruled mansions; Joelle grew up in a high-rise apartment a stride away from the hustle & bustle of Pike Place Market. His family grew up on welfare and food stamps, parents divorcing when he was four. Jack knew how to fight for what he needed, to fend for himself. Fashion was overlooked in his family as something that was prissy and unnecessary. Joelle’s father’s pharmaceutical company made its first million after discovering an experimental drug to cure cancer. Any of her needs were fulfilled within an instant by her father’s money without question.

By the time Jack turned 15, he had secretly saved enough money to move out from the park and into South Seattle. There was nothing more important to him than his education because no one in his family had ever graduated from high school. He wanted to do something for himself. He wanted to make something of himself. After seven years of working the local farm, there were enough funds in his BOA account to support a year of studying at the Chandler Academy in the city.

There was a girl like Joelle at nearly every high school imaginable; always smiling, untouchable beauty, as though there were a family of birds singing around her person at all times. It was impossible to not be awed when you were within her presence. The boys and girls all had eyes for her, yet the only person she had eyes for were her boyfriend, Leon. It is unknown what happened to Leon, all we know is that he is no longer relevant to their story.

Jack had one school-embossed uniform for the entire year, Joelle had five sets. As with every other male in her class, she was the only girl that was worthy of having a crush on. He didn’t believe that he would even have a chance to touch Jo’s hand. Little did he know, things had turned between Joelle and Leon. She didn’t feel loved, lonely.  Leon couldn’t keep up with the jealously of his friends. Jack caught Joelle’s eye across the corridor and he couldn’t have been more ready to endlessly, helplessly, fall into her gentle graces.

Jack & Joelle – Chapter One

It was once in a blue moon that Joelle could get herself ready for the day under her husband, Jack Hunter’s, watch. It was once in a blue moon that Jack would yell and shame her and instead give a relentless, passive-aggressive stare quickly followed by a generic, “I love you”, as she burnt the tip of her finger with a curling iron. This morning, a chilly, prompt, February morning, Joelle was giving Jack a ride to the airport as he was flying to Prague to sell his company’s spring collection of men’s fashion watches. Giving the Papillion, Juke, a pat on the head on their way out, the door scuffled close, Joelle fishing through her bag for her keys. “Hurry up! We don’t have all day, do we?”, Jack hollered from the perimeter of the steel Lexus, hand clenched on the passenger-door’s handle.

The drive to the regional airport was one that was long, silent, and uneasing.  Words were sparse, short, intentions hanging onto the last syllable of each phrase. Brown-speckled snow was still common along the edges of the crowned road. Up ahead, a seven-mile long pileup derived from a severe vehicular incident, awaiting Joelle’s car to enter within the mix. In the past, Joelle had uncontrollably enjoyed the hour-long drive through the country and into Seattle, WA, en route to SeaTac International. Jack made her uncomfortable. Jack made her feel unsure of her every move as though she were a toddler taking its first steps without their parent’s help. There was no man in the world that Joelle could imagine fearing more than she did Jack.

There were no bruises, no scars, no physical markings to prove that something was wrong. There was no pain or ligament torn that not even the finest doctor could detect. The only person who knew of Joelle’s mental turmoil was her husband Jack Hunter, her high-school sweetheart whom enjoyed taunting her with the pleasure of fear and the uncertainty of marriage. Since the day that they met in her sophomore Algebra class, she saw something in him; she saw a troubled soul in which she believed she could better him with her presence. She was 16, Jack 17 and held back a year after failing to pass his junior math course. When their eyes caught he saw youth within the exterior of the bright and shining young girl, the kind of look that you couldn’t possibly forget about no matter if you died the next day or lived for 100 years. She was smart, young, and beautiful with a heart of gold. Neither of them could have predicted their years together in the future nor who they would become and the troubles they would be to succumb under.