chapter three

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.